Tag Archive for 'self-injured'

Press Release: Unaccompanied minor severely self-injured himself in Moria “first reception” detention centre in Lesvos

PRESS RELEASE 21.07.14 Lesvos

Unaccompanied minor severely self-injured himself in Moria “first reception” detention centre in Lesvos

On 17/7/2014 a 17-year-old Afghan who had been detained for many days in Moria awaiting his transfer to a special reception centre for minors cut his arms in an act of despair and protest as he could not stand anymore being closed up for many days and under such conditions. He was transferred to the psychiatry department of the local hospital.

In Greece there are 10 reception centres for unaccompanied minors with about 330 places in total that need to cover the needs of thousands. At the same time that a vast number of reception places are lacking many minors fear long detention upon arrival in Greece in so called First Reception Camps (detention centres) if they register with their real age and register themselves as adults. The background: Unaccompanied minors arriving in first reception centres have to undergo a number of medical examinations and then wait for a place in one of the overcrowded reception centres in order to be released. The detention duration varies and can reach one month or more months, while delays depend on the crowdedness in the reception facilities.

As a consequence hundreds of unaccompanied minors register as adults. They are being transferred to Pre-removal Detention Centres at the mainland, such as Amigdaleza, Corinth, Komotini, Xanthi, Fylakio or Drama / Parenesti where legal aid is not existing. When they realise that they end up facing 18 months detention or more due to their changed age all of them try to find ways to proof that they are minors.

Anyhow, if age-assesment has taken place already in First Reception Detention it is unlikely if not impossible (without the help of a lawyer) the authorities will approve a second age-assesment later. Age-assesment procedures have been recently defined in a Ministerial Decision for First Reception but not for Pre-Removal Detention Centres. As a result the procedures vary in the different places and more than that the ways and methods carried out are highly questionable. For this reason among others many unaccompanied minors end up in 18 month detention.

We demand for the immediate creation of sufficient special reception centres for unaccompanied minors. In this frame the Reception Centre for Unaccompanied Minors in Agiassos, Lesvos, which was closed earlier this year despite the huge need should be re-opened with the necessary funding to allow for its functioning.

And we demand for the immediate release of all unaccompanied minors in first reception detention centres, pre-removal centres or any other form of detention. As provided for in the Guidelines on Policies and Procedures in dealing with Unaccompanied Children Seeking Asylum from UNHCR (1997) “(T)he child should be given the benefit of the doubt if the exact age is uncertain” and “the main guiding principle in any child care and protection action is the principle of the ‘best interest of the child'”.

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17-year-old Afghan self-injured himself to protest detention in Lesvos

A 17-year-old Afghan self-injured himself to protest against the long detention duration in Moria “first Reception” detention camp in Lesvos, Greece.

He has been transferred to the psychiatric clinic of Lesvos Bostation Hospital. A number of unaccompanied minors have stayed even up to two months in Moria awaiting transfer to a special open camp for separated children. The long duration of detention is the reason for many minors to register themselves as adults in fear of being locked up long periods. Anyway, thereby they loose not only their rights as children but also often end up in 18 month (and longer) detention as adults in one of the many pre-removal detention centres at the mainland.

Moria in April 2014 while the construction of the fences was not yet finished

Moria in April 2014 while the construction of the fences was not yet finished

efimerida ton sindakton (in greek)

Announcement of new rule on detention duration causes wave of protests

Protests in the big detention centres after declaration of an extension of the detention duration to more than 18 months

Today the authorities of the mass detention centres in Drama/ Parenesti, Komotini, Corinth and Xanthi informed the detained sans-papiers that they might stay even longer than 18 months, up to 24 months, or 36 or for an endless period if they do not co-operate with the authorities according to a new rule. In fact co-operation means here “voluntary return”. The only alternative is an asylum application.
It has to be noted though that according to the European Directive 18 months are the maximum period for administrative detention and this only if the deportation is feasible. Nevertheless, the greek authorities detain many people belonging to nationalities that can not be deported, such as Afghans, Eritreans, Somalis and even people from Syria.

copyright: Ta NEA 2013

copyright: Ta NEA 2013


The detainees in the so called pre-removal centres that opened with the initiation of Xenios Dias police raid in beginning of August 2012 have been already psychology broken by getting every three months the information of their prolongued detention for another 3 or 6 months. The limit of 18 months seemed already so far but at least gave a hope to an end of their imprisonment. Today the shocking information of even more time behind the bars led to uprisings, self-injuries and hunger strikes.

Yet it will become clear in the next days if the threat of another extension of the detention duration will get real or not when the next detainees complete 18 months. Reportedly a few of them have already received detention decisions that with an extension of the maximum detention period of 18 months for another 6 months – even before they have completed 18 months.

Migrants injured in protest against detention conditions in Igoumenitsa

Eleven of the migrants who were being detained at holding cells in the port of Igoumenitsa have been taken to the hospital to have injuries treated following a protest against the conditions they were being held in.
Authorities said the 11 were injured when they started banging their heads and bodies against the bars of their cells.
Skai TV and radio reported that there is only capacity to detain 30 people but there are currently about 90 being held at the port.

detention centre of the coast guard in igoumenitsa


The detention centre is known for overcrowding under miserable conditions. Minors, families and children are held as well as men. Some minors in earlier days had reported having been closed up there for up to a month.

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