November 10th, 2012
We are a group of immigrants, illegal ones, who managed to avoid arrest during the “Xenios Zeus” operations that took place in Patras on the 1st of October. During this operation many of our friends were arrested and are now being held for no reason whatsoever in concentration camps (prisons). The reason for writing these words is because our wish is that our message will reach everyone who lives in Greece so that we can make certain things clear, because the State has molded a much distorted image of us.
Continue reading ‘Message from Migrants concerning sweep in Patras’
This letter was written and distributed on January 2, 2012 after another beating of refugees had occurred in Patras by the coast guard. The same day a young Afghan refugee died of suffocation in Patras while he was trying to resist the cold weather with his friends inside a truck were they lit a small fire. His two friends survived and are currently hospitalised.
In the name of god,
Since we were small kids in our home countries there was trouble, but we didn’t understand what this trouble was. Later we grew up and we understood that this trouble is war. The seasons were changing and every day became more difficult. On this way we reached today.
Since then and until today we are thinking about our future and what our destiny will be. When we were in our countries they were telling us lies. They told us in Europe we would find democracy and we would get human rights. But it is different here. To build up our lives we have to cross the borders. In Greece this is very difficult.
“We wanted to cross the border at the river in two boats. We were many people and two boats. We entered the second boat. 13 persons in a boat for 3! For some reason our boat got into a slipstream. It turned around and we all fell into the water. It was night. Some of us hold on to the boat and reached the Turkish coast. Me and my daughters were carried away by the stream together with another woman and three men. We couldn’t swim. I was struggling to keep myself over the water level in order not to drown. I just heard my daughter shouting: Mum, help me! Then the Turkish border guards found us and pulled me out of the water. I told them about the others and they searched some hours for them without any results. After release from detention in Turkey we crossed again into Greece and went directly to the police. We told them that we lost our children and asked for help. They brought us into another prison.”
On the 18th of September the Afghan Community of Greece sent a letter to the Prime Ministers’ office in order to inform him of the continuing racist attacks against refugees and migrants in Athens and demanding for an immediate intervention by the authorities. The letter was a reaction to a huge number of racist attacks in the last three years, specifically, the last violent aggression of the beginning of August. Three persons had attacked an Afghan asylum seeker with a knife leaving him behind with severe injuries. A witness reported the racist attack and filed charges against the aggressors. The trial is going to be at the 27th September. It is one of the rare occasions when victims of racist attacks actually step away from their fear in order to report the violent act against them. It is also one of the rare incidents when the police actually accepted to register the report of a racist attack.
One of the most fatal results of the race motivated attacks is that they divide us as human beings when we need unity and solidarity the most. In the middle of the financial crisis, immigrants are able to contribute up to a level, promoting Greece abroad and taking part in the financial activity of the country. Racism can become a serious threat to the coexistence of cultures and social progress.
Read the letter in
read the press release by the UNHCR (in greek)
Evros: Push-back of Afghan unaccompanied minor October 2007
The fourth time I tried to enter Greece I came through Evros. The police arrested me and my friend who was also as young as me. We had to discuss a lot until they accepted us to be Afghans. They did not give us food until the next day. Nobody asked how old we are. They only asked our names. They brought us to Tyhero prison, they took our money and mobile phones. We were 200 persons in each cell – in total 400, I think. At least it was like in this in the night we were deported. Minors and adults were all together. We stayed five days. Then they put 50 of us into a truck in the night. After one hour we arrived at the river. We were waiting inside the truck. There was the sound of the Turkish soldiers. We could hear it inside the truck. They started again driving. In another place near the river on a dust road we were told to leave the truck in groups of 20. There were soldiers, civil police, border police. They told us to walk silently and don’t make any noise. Then we had to sit and wait. Then they put us into small inflatable boats – each 20 persons and two Greek police officers. They brought us to the Turkish side and told us to leave. Then they returned. The whole prison was returned to Turkey! Not all from one place, in groups of hundreds they spread us along the border. There were Palestinians, Pakistani, Afghans, Iranians… all boys and men.
We prisoners in Filakio need your help from the outside. We do not have access to other cells, we don’t get fresh air, the water is dirty, food is just enough to survive, we cannot go outside.
When someone is sick, we cannot reach the doctor for help. Again and again, people fall sick since the toilets are dirty. We want to leave this prison. The police is beating us again and again, on our hands, on our feet, they insult us endlessly. Nobody answers our question to what our future will be. There are even people that have gone crazy, and still we cannot leave. We are a lot of people, with different nationalities, in one cell.
We have not committed any crime, and we have not chosen this fate.
We have fled war, oppression and poverty to reach European democratic countries.
Somebody tell us what is awaiting us, what will happen to us.
We prisons from Filakio, we are thankful that people are listening to us now.
Recently one of the prisoners went on hungerstrike. He fainted after 12 days of hungerstrike. After two days in hospital he was brought back to the prison cell. Nobody took note of his protest.
12th September 2011
I would like to tell you about my sad day. I want to let you know how much I suffer and how blood-shat over me painfully during the tragedy that happened to me. I am alone, helpless, justice-less and with the absolute violation of my humanity. I was attacked by five persons today. When I was going to my work they beat me without any reason. I shouted for help but nobody responded. Continue reading ‘another two racist attacks in Athens’
Around the 8th of September unknown people set fire on a barack where asylum seekers were temporarily living in the transit-port of Patras.
As A., an Eritrean refugee reported:
I have been homeless in Athens. I have been homeless in Patras. I have been homeless in Igoumenitsa. I applied for asylum. Now I am again homeless in Patras. I live on the beach and in ruins. Police is hunting us every day.
A few days ago somebody lit fire on the ruin we were living in. I think it was the racists. Everything burned. All our belongings. My AFM (tax number), my work permit, my clothes. Everything. I am left now only with my Pink Card (asylum seekers temporary residence permit) but what is it worth? What can it do for me? I am still homeless and unprotected.
“I only stay here because I don’t have any other place to go! There is no chance to leave from here for Italy. Very very few manage. The new port is very dangerous. Police is hunting and beating us, they even have dogs. My Pink Card got tear up by my former employer who didn’t want to pay me for the work I did. Now it is almost one month that I am only with a copy of my Pink Card. They say, I cannot get a new one if I don’t have an address in Patras, but where should I get it from? Two days ago a police control arrested me. I asked them to go and catch the copy of my Pink Card, but they didn’t let me go. I was in prison for two days. I am understanding more and more about this country. Nothing good to tell!”
Yesterday we received a phone-call from relatives of Syrian refugees, who have been prisoners in Fylakio (Northern Greece) since a few days:
Today I talked with somebody who was released a few days ago from Fylakio prison about his experiences there. He didn’t want to talk about it first. He said he didn’t want me to feel sorry for something that happened to him, and make me suffer, me and my family. But I said to him: “Tell me the whole truth. The people have to know what happens in there!” Continue reading ‘Fylakio in September 2011’