Tag Archive for 'reception conditions'

No re-instalation of Dublin returns to Greece! Solidarity to all squats!

One year after the closure of the Balkan Route – One year after the EU-Turkey Deal – Six years after the halt of Dublin returns to Greece: 62,000 and more refugees are stuck in limbo in Greece merely able to survive

copyright: noborder

Two days ago, two squats in Athens got attacked and raided by Greek police on March 13, 2017. In one of the squats 127 refugees were hosted. This repressive measure comes one year after the closure of the Balkan Route when more than 57,000 refugees got trapped in Greece and were transferred in provisory tent camps without any assistance, which were set up ad hoc over the night were run in the majority of cases by the army. It is a period where still 23,000-30,000 refugees have no adequate housing but stay under inhuman conditions in state run camps – some of which still are in tents! Among them are hundreds of highly vulnerable people placed at the margins of Greek society without adequate support and any survival perspective on the long run.

On March 13th, the Athens police raided in the early morning hours two squats in the capital one of which in Alkiviadou Street (near Aharnon) was hosting more than 120 refugees since February, who all got apprehended. The other squat which got raided was “Villa Zografou”, an alternative social space and one of the oldest squats in Athens. More then 120 persons were arrested in Alkiviadou Squat and eight persons in Villa Zografou. After one day detention at the Central Aliens Police Departement Petrou Ralli only 31 got transferred to Skaramangas Camp. All the rest of the arrested refugees were left in the middle of the nights on the streets with anywhere to go, while the activists had been released quickly after the apprehension. Many of them are families and people with medical problems from Syria (according to activists there were two people diagnosed with diabetes, one pregnant woman, a man in a wheelchair and one woman who had recently had surgery on her back with severe pain). They finally found emergency housing in other squats and through volunteers. People who were arrested in the squats and who did not have papers, were taken to detention in Amygdaleza pre-removal detention centre where they will stay until their registration. In the meantime more than 1,500 people protested in the evening against the eviction of the two squats. The next day the refugees tried to pick up their belongings from piles outside of the evicted building in Alkiviadou but they were soon stopped by the police and their belongings got thrown in the garbage. Even documents or other important things like medicines got lost this way. The building which was squatted belongs to the Red Cross, which announced that they had planned to open a reception centre for unaccompanied minors there. Continue reading ‘No re-instalation of Dublin returns to Greece! Solidarity to all squats!’

“90€” – A Poem by Ahmed Al-Mouhmad

No food for them save bitter thorn-fruit, which does not nourish nor release from hunger.

The UNHCR has announced on several occasions that it intends to begin distributing money to refugees in Greece. On Monday, officers of the UNHCR informed me that my friends and I would be included in this new scheme. We expect a roll-back in services provided by volunteers, as well as UNHCR as they will say we are now able to ‘support ourselves, as they have provided 90 euros a month per person.’ They have continually treated us badly and left us in inhumane conditions, all we want is to get out of these camps and move on with our lives; to have jobs, education, relationships and a life; everyone reading this knows 90 euros is hardly enough to support yourself for a week in Europe, let alone a month.

“90€”

how to earn ninety euro a month?
sell your humanity
to earn ninety euro
let your human rights be employed
to the highest bidder
they will be sold
your feelings, them too
and in return: ninety euro
yes, you could sell these things
if you had nothing but them
but here, we don’t have the right to choose
we take ninety euro
instead of our humanity
after all, it’s useless
if you’re living life as a refugee
let me tell you how
how to ‘earn’ 90 euros a month
without even working at all:
simply live your life like a sheep
just eat
and sleep
and drink
and wait
then you will take ninety euro
while others store millions in your name
UNHCR, European authorities, European governments that is theirs
simply be a that person who the others call a
refugee
then you will take ninety euros
each and every month
you want to?
simply run away from war
save your life from death
and you will receive ninety euros
simply seek asylum
even better: in one of the European countries
no more, no less
no rights, no love
but, here, have 90 euros
instead
I’m a refugee
I’m in Greece
so now I’m 90 euros better off
each month
but
every day
Europe drops our rights in the ocean
where little baby bodies rot
drowned on the way to your lands
the little ones you all forgot
tell, me, please
what can we buy with 90 euros?
our humanity back
our feelings back
our human rights back
oh, wait: my mistake…
no store that stocks humanity
no shelf with feelings
no aisle of human rights
they were bought from us
with weapons, and oil and all the band things in-between
now you bask in your millions and strip us of our humanity
what you can buy with 90 euros?
let me tell you:
a new T-shirt or
new shoes
that’s it, then the money’s gone; no roof, no food and no life
maybe we can go to a pub
sit on a chair like a normal person
call the waiter:
‘’excuse me, two drinks please,’’
he tells you they are quite expensive
he sees through your eyes
knows your really a refugee
‘’oh, don’t worry, i reply: i just got 90 euros.’’
even now we can invite a partner for a drink
but don’t tell them nothing
case they find out your a refugee
because thats what we’ve learnt from humans
care more for euros
than for life
more for things
than a wife
my suggestion is,
anyone with 90 euros
or even with 9
buy yourself a book
on human rights
read it, cover to cover
don’t leave it on the shelf
out of sight
like me and my friends
I don’t like to take without giving
but my hands are tied
behind my back
breaking under your inhumanity
make a line
make a line
everybody get in line
you earned ninety euros
congratulations
it’s distribution time.

Source: Are you Syrious

AI: Deep concerns over bad conditions in Elliniko Camp

Following a research visit in Elliniko on February 4th, Lia Gogou (researcher for Amnesty International in Greece and Cyprus) expressed her deep concern about the miserable conditions in Elliniko Camp and the lack of alternatives for refugees staying there.

“The refugees are stuck here since one year. Our researcher during their visit last Saturday documented big problems inthe sanitary infrastructure, the lack of fresh air and sufficient toilettes and showers. They saw people sleeping in tents, exposed to the cold and rain. Refugees themselves mentioned they were worried about the quality of the food and the limited access to hot water. Among people interviewed were highly vulnerable persons such as unaccompanied minor boys and single mothers. They said they were not feeling safe in the camp, and they were desperate due to bad living conditions and the lack of alternatives.”

Many Afghan refugees, of whom AI has taken interviews are excluded from the relocation scheme merely by their nationality and from family reunification as their relatives might not belong to the close definition of a family unit. There are many highly vulnerable refugees that should be legally moved with Humanitarian Visas to other EU-states as their survival cannot be secured in Greece.

Letter by the last 9 refugees staying in Oraiokastro Camp

Dear Authorities,

We the last remaining nine residents of Oraikastro Refugee Camp are PROTESTING against the moving of us to yet another military camp. We understand you have to close the camp.

But we do not want to be moved to another camp. The camps Veria and Alexandria that you are suggesting is too far away. We have friends and family in Thessaloniki. Some of us have been split up from our siblings as we are not considered to be part of their family. We may not even be relocated to the same country as them. We may not get the opportunity to see them for many years. Please don’t rob us of this last opportunity to stay near our friends and family before relocation.

We stayed in Idomeni camp and now Oraikastro in very poor inhumane conditions. We don’t want to move to another camp and be unsettled again. No matter how good the other camps may be, camp conditions are not good for us. It takes time to become used to a new camp and every move has always led to new problems. None of these camps are suitable for human beings to live in.

Some of us have also had our second interviews and we were promised to be moved into an apartment or hotel after the second interview.

Today the families were moved to a hotel. We understand that families with children should be priority and we are happy they will be living in better conditions now. BUT WHAT ABOUT US??

We simply asked for our right to stay in a better condition also and we were refused. Unfortunately one of the ministry professionals who attended today was rude to us. We are sorry that some of us shouted and became angry. We are sorry that one of us pushed a member of staff over. We have suffered a lot in our countries that sometimes we can’t control our emotions. We are sorry if we disrespected or hurt anyone. WE ARE SORRY.

We fled war. Our family members and loved ones died. We are split up from our families. We lost homes, our education and our dignity. We are traumatised and although we may seem like strong young men some of us are vulnerable too. WHAT ABOUT US??

We have been told that if we don’t move then the Greek ministry will send police to evacuate us by force. We know what that means and we have seen it before. THEY WILL HURT US.

We the last nine remaining residents of Oraikastro Refugee Camp are appealing to UNHCR and Norwegian Refugee Council to please help us. We don’t want to fight and we don’t want them to force and hurt us either.
We promise to be calm and we promise to peacefully protest but we don’t want to move to another camp.

Norwegian Refugee Council and UNHCR please give us back our dignity and keep us safe from the harsh nature of the military police who maybe coming for us. Please protect us. Give us our right to at least a standard living condition. There is nine people left and we request three rooms for nine of us to share. That is all.

Abdo Alrajab, Raed Anbtawy, Mustafa Aldeider, Shas Alkasem, Basel Yatakan, Abdelilah Alhamoud, Loay Ammar, Mahamoud Bayer AND Belal Mustafa

Hunger Strike in Elliniko Camp

On 5th February 2017, most of the adults among the 711 refugees residing in a state-run Camp in the former Athens National Airport (Camp Elliniko II), in the majority coming from Afghanistan, started a hunger strike to protest against their degrading living conditions demanding for their transfer to homes, papers and freedom of movement for all. As reported by one of the refugees, it is very likely that residents of the two other camps in Elliniko (the nearby Olympic baseball and a hockey stadiums) might join in the protest tomorrow.

Hunger strike starts in Elliniko Camp

Among the 1,600 refugees living in the three camps of Elliniko there are some who are there already since one year. Elliniko Camp was opened already back in autoumn 2015, in a period where thousands were arriving to Greece and many stayed homeless in the parks and squares of Athens. Planned as a temporary solution to ‘clear’ the capitals’ streets from the many homeless and repeatedly announced to be closed as belonging to one of the most infamous camps in Greece, it still stayed open until today, but always portrayed as ‘provisory’ under the UNHCR-category ‘informal site’.
Continue reading ‘Hunger Strike in Elliniko Camp’

Death in Greek Camps

Five refugees dead in Greek camps since last week due to inadequate reception conditions. Several others tried to commit suicide. Does life still matter in Europe?

– On Monday 30th of January a 20-year-old refugee from Pakistan died in Moria Hot Spot.

– On Saturday 28th of January a 46-year-old Syrian passed away in Moria Hot Spot detention centre reportedly from hypothermia. He was staying in the same tent as another man who died only four days ago.

– Meanwhile the same day in Ritsona camp in mainland Greece a two-months-old baby was transferred to hospital in Chalkida due to a cystic fibrosis and later on passed away in the ambulance which was taking it to Athens. While the parents had to deal with tremendous problems in finding help for their sick child since it was born, and were under shock of its sudden death authorities and media chose to accuse them for minor neglect and bring them to the local police station. Read here: Announcement of the solidarity group in Chalkida

– On Wednesday 25th of January a 42-year-old refugee named Benjo Massoud, father of three children, passed away in the overcrowded Hot Spot on Samos Island. According to Greek media the Kurdish refugee from Iraq had visited on Wednesday morning the camp doctor suffering reportedly from pain in the chest. He reported to have Diabetes and blood high pressure. A cardiogram was made and he got referred immediately to the hospital of the island, where he died while waiting to be examined. An employee of the camp said that the refugee had received already some days ago a letter of a doctor asking for heart exams in the hospital of the island. Despite this fact, he remained in his tent with his family the days that was very cold. Few days ago he had found by himself an empty container and settled in it together with his family. When he informed the camp managers, they just registered the transfer to the prefabricated house. The refugee had arrived on December 7th and went through first reception procedures without anyone noticing any heart problem. Already back in October Medicines Sans Frontiers reported the inadequacy of the system to screen new arrivals for vulnerability in the Hot Spots of the Aegean.

-One day before, on Tuesday the 24th, a 21-year-old Egyptian refugee was found dead in his tent by a friend in the Hot Spot in Moria on Lesbos Island. The cause of his death is still unknown. While reportedly his death was caused by the kerosine heaters’ gas he had inhaled while trying to keep himself warm.

– These were not the first refugee deaths of this winter in Moria. At the end of November 2016 a a 60-year-old woman and her 5-year-old grandchild died in a fire inside their tent while the woman was cooking dinner.
Continue reading ‘Death in Greek Camps’

w2eu Statement 22.01.2017: No Dublin Returns to Greece!

‘One step forward, hundreds back…’ seems to be the motto under which EU experts implement refugee policy, as currently also demonstrated in Greece. On 8 December 2015, the European Commission published its fourth recommendation on the resumption of Dublin Returns to Greece, this time stating that they could be gradually re-installed, as according to them, refugee rights would be adequately protected in Greece. At the same time, images of people who fled war and are now staying in tents covered in snow are spreading through the global media. Once more, the EU is using Greece to make a point: Dublin has to survive, not matter what, that’s the plan. But in reality, this failed plan has significant consequences, causing one more massive human tragedy in Europe for thousands of people who are escaping war, conflict, disaster, hunger and poverty.

Refugees are exposed to snow and rain while forced to stay in tents and unheated prefabricated houses, some of which are old and have broken doors and windows. Over the last days awful pictures from the “Hotspot” detention-camp in Moria on Lesvos have travelled around the world. This time, small tents, not even sufficient for a short summer rain, were collapsing under the pressure of snow and the heavy rains. These pictures where taken by the inhabitants themselves, only a few days after the Greek Deputy Minister of Migration Ioannis Mouzalas had proudly announced that now most refugees would not have to live in tents any more. But refugees and solidarity people alike rose in anger immediately posting photos and videos from camps all around Greece on the internet, demonstrating the opposite. The ‘Winterization’ project failed, during a time when the EU is asserting that Greece is now a safe place for refugees, able to offer adequate living conditions and proper access to asylum procedures.

Greece is not a safe country for refugees. Refugees stuck in Greece are suffering in the inhuman and inadequate living conditions in detention centres and mass camps despite the presence of the UNHCR and numerous international and national NGOs. Refugees lack basic legal rights, access to information and legal aid. They have endured months without access to asylum procedures. They have spent months fighting for their right to stay in Greece while the feasibility of their deportation to Turkey is being examined by the EU’s so-called asylum experts. Hundreds were returned without proper access to legal aid for an appeal against the return decision, without a proper examination of their individual persecution in Turkey, without their asylum claim being heard, without a proper examination of their vulnerability, which should exclude them from any deportation procedure. Their lives have been put on hold on the islands of the Aegean and on the mainland by long-lasting procedures of pre-registration and registration. Access to the asylum procedure is yet not secured as the blocked Skype calls to authorities remain the only way to make an appointment, while thousands of families are separated and have to wait to reunite for almost one year.

Even Greeks are escaping Greece. And so are recognized refugees as there is no welfare system and no labour market, which could offer on the prospect of a dignified life. Even survival is not secured upon receiving the right to stay in Greece as those recognized are excluded even from state housing for refugees and from most of the social support structures offered by NGOs. May we remind you that Greece is suffering for years from a massive economic crisis and all people living here have to cope with the devastating austerity measures forced upon them by the Troika, by our European governments and institutions.

We strongly denounce the EU’s dirty game! The Hotspots are detention centres at the external borders of Europe, meant to select and sort human beings into ‘deportable’ or ‘not-deportable’, ‘migrant’ or ‘refugee’, ‘useless’ or ‘useful’, ‘unwanted’ or ‘wanted’. EASO experts are those who carry out the selection. Frontex is not only the key-institution pursuing militarised controls and the deterrence of “refugee flows” at sea, but also responsible for deportations from the Aegean islands back to Turkey. The Dublin Regulation is a mechanism aimed to keep all refugees at the external borders of the EU. Relocation has failed with only 6,212 persons out of 66,400 successfully moving to other EU-states until the beginning of January 2016 – within the first year of a two-year implementation period. ‘Voluntary’ return is for most people the last choice, and a decision followed the suffering of massive deterrence policies, such as enduring for a year a life in a tent at the rims of Greek society. Refugees give up, finally, preferring to “die at once, than every second again and again” – a sentence that is heard over and over again by refugees in the Greek camps. The cruelty of deportations to Afghanistan is obvious, when we see how European citizens are advised not to go there due to concerns for their safety. Nevertheless, and ironically, the life-threatening situation in Afghanistan is swiftly forgotten when it comes to the granting of asylum to Afghan refugees. The EU-Turkey Deal is nothing more than the result of the blackmailing strategies of a dictator, using Europe’s desire to keep refugees out as leverage.

But Dublin will fall again! Deportations to Greece were already once stopped back in 2011 following the decision of the European Human Rights Court in the case ‘MSS v. Greece’ – and as a result of a long struggle during which many, many refugees escaped from Greece, were deported and escaped again. Some had to flee through Europe 5-6 times. But finally it was over, they succeeded often, and stayed.
Dublin Returns to Greece will be strongly contested in national and international courts again now. As we have seen, the Dublin-regulation has been overrun many times before by the struggles for freedom of movement of individuals and groups.
Mouzalas had to correct himself. We politely suggest the European Commission to do the same.

Refugees are no numbers on a tent, no fingerprints, but people with faces, names and stories!

The Dublin Regulation has to be abolished now.
Human rights violations have to end now.
People have to join their families now.
People have to be in safety and in dignified conditions now.

We therefore demand:

Equal rights for all!
Freedom of movement to all refugees in Greece and elsewhere!
The right to stay for all!
Stop deportations!

No one is illegal!

w2eu – a network born out of the struggle against Dublin returns in 2009

“We need a solution!” – Refugees protest in front of Schisto camp

20160314_130847_resized_1“We need a solution!”, says Mohamed an afghan refugee who protest together with other refugees from Afghanistan in front of the camp Schisto in Attika Region. “Our papers are to expire! We demand from the Greek government to renew them for one month more. Otherwise we will get illegalised and they might detain us here or even deport us back”, he says.

Along the protesters is also a woman from Afghanistan, who is trying to describe the situation inside the camp, inside the big tent where she and her children are sleeping. “The wind blows through the tent. There is no heating. Lately rain water entered the tent. Each of us has just two blankets in order to warm herself in the night. We are freezing! How can I survive with my children under these conditions?”, she says. Next to her is a couple of very elderly refugees also from Afghanistan and a young woman with a serious health problem. She can be fed through a tube that is in her stomach. “The doctors here told me to solely drink water.” Continue reading ‘“We need a solution!” – Refugees protest in front of Schisto camp’

Unaccompanied minors unidentified in mass camps in Athens

“There is no food here. I want to go Germany, Denmark or Holland. I want to study sciences.”

Z., 12 years old unaccompanied minor from Afghanistan

“We know that here in Greece there is no help for us. There is no work. Greek people are jobless. I want to go to Germany because there they accept us.”

M., 15 years old unaccompanied minor from Afghanistan

12802840_10205648379024483_1358599872503481329_nEllinikon has three spaces: the former airport, a hockey stadium and since today also a baseball field. Currently, there are about 4,000 refugees temporarily hosted there. Refugees there complain about the food in the camp: “Its expired. We had to buy ourselves food in order to give to our children, outherwise they would starve. Other people do not have the money though.” Meanwhile hundreds of unaccompanied minors remain unidentified in substandard mass reception centers as this one lacking any protection or special support.


fotos: Chrissa Wilkens

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