Pushed Back – systematic human rights violations against refugees in the aegean sea and at the greek turkish land border
On the Greek-Turkish land border refugees are systematically refouled with brutal, shocking and systematic violations of human rights: ‘When they left us in the Turkish waters they made waves again and six of us – all men – fell into the sea. The Greeks saw that, but they didn’t help, they just left.’ PRO ASYL documents these systematic pushback in the report “Pushed Back – systematic human rights violations against refugees in the aegean sea and the greek-turkish land border”. With few exceptions, all documented pushback took place in the area of operations of Frontex. PRO ASYL raises the question of the involvement of Frontex on the human rights violations and calls: Frontex must end its operations in Greece.
The Monaghan Report on the scandalous death of Jimmy Mubenga during his expulsion from Britain highlighted the broader issue of the inhuman treatment of immigrants in Europe. We become more and more accustomed to their demonisation and dehumanisation; even worse, the recent “Go Home” vans campaign in Britain warns that immigrant-bashing might soon become something like official policy. A system in crisis needs scapegoats, and the immigrants come in handy here, being much sexier scapegoats than bankers. Could this be a prelude to a wider authoritarian turn? Just watch what is happening in Greece.
The plight of the newcomers has often been described in words and in film. It does not lack official sanction. Before the elections, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, whose extreme Right past and affiliations are no secret, decried that “our cities have been occupied by illegal immigrants; we will take them back”. This would actually be an act of charity towards Greek children: “Kindergartens are now full of immigrant children, and Greeks cannot enter. This will stop!” he added. Nikos Dendias, Minister for Public Order, put things into perspective: “Immigration is a problem perhaps greater than the [economic crisis]“. Such declarations are not taken by the police as implying that immigrant rights are sacrosanct. As for the judicial and the administrative system, they protect these rights no better. In all, asylum seekers are systematically detained and face inhuman or degrading treatment. This is not leftist rhetoric, but an official statement of the highest EU Court of Justice, which in 2011 put a ban on the deportation of asylum seekers to Greece for exactly that reason. Continue reading ‘The new untouchables, An essay by Spyros Marchetos’
ON August 10th detained migrants in Amigdaleza near Athens protested in an uprising against the extension of their detention from 12 to 18 months. 1.620 migrants are currently detained in this prison while it was built only for 820. In the past months different human rights organisations had reported about the inhuman detention conditions, about cases of police violence and forced “voluntary returns”.
Saturday 10th of August: Immigrants imprisoned at Amygdaleza detention center (near Athens) started a revolt around 21.00 o’clock. They protested against the deplorable conditions and the extension of their detention from 12 to 18 months. Many of the detainees face deportation following the negative decisions on their asylum cases and have lost hope.Continue reading ‘Uprising in Amigdaleza’
The Afghan community of Greece denounces about the critical health condition of Mohammad Hassan who has been transferred to hospital on July 2nd from Corinth detention centre and is fighting to survive now. He had been detained more than 11 months. His inmates had protested against the ignorant police guards who were not bringing Mr. Hassan to any doctor despite his strong pains.
I a recent visit of Elliniko detention centre Javed Aslam form the Pakistani community together representatives of KEERFA spoke with migrants who had been tortured in the Athens airport police. They had been first detained in Amigdaleza, then transferred for forced deportation to the airport.
Now they are detained in Elliniko. The three detainees reported that they had been beaten and electroshocked. One of them reportedly had been boxed in the face, nine times electroshocked and kicked in the stomache. Another detainee had bruises on his back and sholder. The third one reported that he had been hurt with the Teaser’s electricity on his genital organs. He also showed injuries on his arm.
Furthermore, they reportedly were insulted and sexually harassed by police officers who asked them for oral sex.
Bulut Yayla, a Turkish archaeology student and left-wing activist, says he travelled to Greece in April this year to escape imprisonment and torture he endured under the government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Once in Athens he tried to seek asylum as a political refugee to escape an international arrest warrant issued against him after being accused of having links with an outlawed Marxist organisation.
On 30 May, Bulut, 26, left the restaurant where he worked, in the central Athens neighbourhood of Exarhia, to meet some friends He never made it. At around 9pm, witnesses say they saw five men beating him near the restaurant, forcing him into a car and driving off. Two days later, his family got a call from Turkish authorities, informing them he was in their custody, in a high-security prison. The head of Greek police later confirmed the car’s licence plates showed it was a police vehicle.
“He was seized, handcuffed and shoved by force in a car where they closed his eyes, nose and mouth, and tortured him,”
On Thursday 30.05.2013 at 9.30pm, Bulut Yayla, a 24 years old, Turkish political refugee was detained, beaten and violently abducted by people aboard a private car at the center of Athens – Greece.
Through eyewitness testimonies and research conducted by the victim’s comrades and lawyers, it was revealed that the license plate of the car in question belongs to the Greek Police. However, the police still claim they have nothing to do with the incident, despite the persistent and constant allegations of his comrades, lawyers and political actors.
Yesterday 01.06.2013, Bulut Yayla’s family announced that he is kept in custody at Istanbul’s Antiterrorist Unit. According to the victim’s allegations, a group of people speaking Greek, pushed him inside a car, using extreme violence, shutting his mouth and eyes. Then he was transferred by another car by a second group of people speaking Greek and Turkish and then a third group who spoke Turkish and English. Continue reading ‘URGENT ANNOUNCEMENT CONCERNING THE CASE OF THE ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCE OF BULUT YAYLA’
The Movement “Expel Racism” reported yesterday (01 June 2013) that, according to information given by the Turkish police to his lawyers and relatives, Yayla Bulut, a Turkish Kurd asylum seeker in Greece, is now in police custody in Turkey. He was abducted in downtown Athens in the evening of 30 May by five men who dragged him in a car and had been unheard from since.
An urgent press release dated 31 May and co-signed by the Greek Council for Refugees, the Social Support Network for Refugees and Migrants, the Team of Lawyers for Refugee and Migrant Rights and the Solidarity Committee for Political Prisoners in Turkey and Kurdistan describe events surrounding his disappearance as follows:
As Yayla Bulut crossed the street after leaving a Kurdish restaurant in the Exarchia neighbourhood of Athens, five men leapt out of a car that had been parked nearby for several hours, immobilized him, beat him savagely, gagged him and shoved him into the car before driving away. Continue reading ‘Turkish Kurd asylum seeker abducted in Athens and handed over to Turkish authorities’
Manolada strawberry farmers shoot immigrants who demanded 6 months salaries. More than 20 wounded in hospital.
The immigrant workers had reportedly gathered to demand six-months’ worth of unpaid wages when one of three work supervisors whom they were negotiating with shot them. About 20-30 of the 200 strawberry pickers from Bangladesh got injured. Local media reported that four of them are in a serious health condition. The employer has been arrested and investigations are going on.
Only one day later some of the in Patras hospitalised migrants instead of left to go home were arrested for lacking valid residence permits and transferred to detention for deportation.
Several thousand migrant workers (many of them reportedly undocumented) are empoyed as strawberry pickers in the area.
This is not the first time that immigrants in Nea Manolada have protested against harsh working conditions.
In 2008, immigrant farm workers staged a two-day strike (delaying the shipments of strawberries by at least a few days) to protest against harsh working conditions. Their strike exposed slave wage exploitation, shocking living conditions and prejudice.
The government at the time responded to the strike by ordering labour inspectors to crack the whip on farmers exploiting migrant workers in Nea Manolada.
Despite the country’s soaring rate of unemployment, agriculture is heavily reliant on immigrant labour.
In 2009, two farmers in Manolada, alleged to have tied two Bangladeshi immigrants to a motorcycle and reportedly dragged them through a central square.
... is like a “paper boat”. We chose this as a metaphor for what we want to create and for the situation of refugees and migrants in Greece. The paper boat is a folded boat able to swim – for a while. Then you have to build a new one to go on travelling. A paper boat is symbolic for the journey of life, vulnerable but in your own hands and to be recreated again and again. It is simple, but it carries many hopes and dreams. It can dance on a turbulent sea. It belongs to everybody. And it might become the small version – like a first draft – of a welcome-space.
A 13-year-old girl of Serbian origin has died of carbon monoxide poisoning in an apartment in Thessaloniki, northern Greece. The young girl and her mother used indoors a barbecue apparatus in order to heat themselves, as DEI (the electricity supply company in Greece) has cut-off electricity because of unpaid bills. The mother was arrested for […]
On 25. November 2013 the Five-Member Naval Court of Piraeus found two out of three accused coast guards guilty for having committed acts of torture against an asylum seeker, including restricting the victim's breathing so as to simulate drowning and suffocation ('wet and dry submarino'), carrying out mock execution, as well as other serious at […]
Statement of the network “Welcome to Europe“, 6th of August 2013 Since Sunday night, 5th of August, the tanker “Salamis”, whose crew rescued 102 boatpeople is blocked on open sea by Maltese maritime forces. The refugees came in distress while fleeing via Libya in direction of Europe. Since more than 34 hours the ship is […]