Tag Archive for 'struggles and resistance'

Greek farmers who shot 28 workers for demanding pay walk free from court in ‘scandalous, racist’ verdict

A Greek court has sparked an “unprecedented racist scandal” after it cleared farmers who shot and wounded 28 Bangladeshi strawberry pickers when they asked to be paid.

In a verdict described as “an outrage and a disgrace” and which led to protests outside the court in the southern city of Patras, the owner of the farm and head foreman were cleared of all charges – which included human trafficking.

The incident in April last year saw farmers turn their shotguns on migrant workers in Manolada who had asked to be recompensed for six months of unpaid labour. Dozens were injured, four of them severely.
Continue reading ‘Greek farmers who shot 28 workers for demanding pay walk free from court in ‘scandalous, racist’ verdict’

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)

Hunger strike against 18+ detention in Corinth detention centre

On June 9th, 2014 refugees detained in Corinth detention centre began a hunger strike to protest against indefinite detention. In February 2014, the Greek authorities had announced a policy of indefinite detention until repatriation, based on an opinion of the Legal Council of the Greek State. Only recently Athens court considered in an appeal-case of an Afghan refugee that the detention of more than 18 months is against national and European legislation and asked for it to be revoked.

Letter from the detainees:

Many undocumented refugees were arrested by the Greek authorities since a year and a half (August 2012). The massive controls and arrests were realised in a very racist and cruel way. People were brought in detention centres all around Greece. Without going into a lot of details about the bad situation that we, all these refugees, went through, our only fault was that we didn’t have a piece of paper.

When the detention centres were opened the Greek government published a law where the maximum detention period of a refugee was 6 months. Then they increased the detention period to a 1 year, then to 1 1/2 years and this is the maximum period that the Greek law allows today.

But then suddenly some weeks ago they even increased the detention duration to open end periods!!!!! This step was a racist decision. It is injustice. The aim of this is only to stop us refugees from coming to Greece, us whom we left our countries due to our suffering. Now we are forced to suffer in Greece.

With the systematic and open end detention the Greek government is massacring us. They are wasting our lives and killing our dreams and hopes inside the prisons. All of that while none of us has committed any crime.

Most of us are having severe health problems: both physical and
psychological. Specially those who stayed already more that 18 months are in a devastating state and desperately need support.

Today on 9.6.2014 we people detained in the detention centre of Corinth have started a hunger strike. We feel an immense pressure due to our unknown destinies. We protest against the illegal extension of the detention duration to more than 18 months! Continue reading ‘Hunger strike against 18+ detention in Corinth detention centre’

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.

People protest against planned new detention centre in Aghia Barbara Hospital, Athens

Hospitals are closed; detention centres opened

Aghia Barbara Hospital in Aigaleo, Athens has been announced to become one of the new detention centres for migrants in Athens adding to the alreaady existing 5,000 places in mass detention centres that were opened after August 4th, 2012 Operation Xenios Dias.

Antiracist organisations, labour unions, municipal movements and neighbours protested against the change into a detention centre and demanded the re-opening of the hospital. They stopped bulldozers from entering the to be construction site. Also the mayor expressed that there was no interest by the local government to accept this measure and that he would proceed to protect peoples lives. Consequently the re-construction was temporarily stopped but will continue after elections, Minister Dendias said. As he continued the government planned an open camp for men and women there and not a detention centre. Nonetheless and given the Ministers tradition in anti-migratory policies no one trusts his statement.

The government meanwhile plans to open also detention centres in other recently closed down hospitals of West-Athens such as the Therapeftirio Chronion Pathiseon Paidon in Sxistou and Skaramanga street.

efymerida ton syndakton (in greek)
left.gr (in greek)
efymerida ton syndakton (in greek)

400 migrants on hunger strike in Orestiada detention center

400 migrants are since the morning of August 28th on hunger strike in Fylakio detention center near Orestiada in Evros.
Their protest began when they were informed that their detention duration would get extended to 18 months.

left.gr (in greek)

Uprising in Amigdaleza

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”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei-yh2FyPoQ&feature=player_embedded#at=15

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.GREECE-IMMIGRATION-POLICE-RIGHTS Continue reading ‘Uprising in Amigdaleza’

Detention conditions in Greece inhuman and life-threatening – IOM enforces “voluntary return”

In Lesvos island dozens of refugees are detained in the port being exposed to the burning sun while lacking water and food supply. Among them are children and even a 2-month-old baby. +++ In Amigdaleza detention conditions have even worsened since November 2012, said Rebecca Harms from the Green Party after a second visit in June 2013. +++ Meanwhile a young migrant (20-year-old) from Cote d’Ivoire committed suicide in Grevena police station because he didn’t want to be deported to his country.

Meanwhile, KEERFA (ΚΕΕΡΦΑ), the Movement “United against racism and the fascist threat” denounces that Greek authorities and IOM use “Gestapo like torture methods” to force refugees and migrants detained in Amigdaleza to “voluntarily” return.

First they are detained for many months without knowing when they might be released, then they are being pulled by force to the airport. A woman employee from IOM escorts them who threatens that if they don’t accept to sign the voluntary return they will wear them head covering masks and bring them by force to the airport. IOM employees enter detention centers to collect signatures for voluntary return in co-operation with some embassies such as the one from Pakistan.
Continue reading ‘Detention conditions in Greece inhuman and life-threatening – IOM enforces “voluntary return”’

38 detained migrants in hunger strike in Iraklio, Crete / also hunger strikes in Xanthi and Piraeus

Following the repeated announcement of prolonguation of their detention, the migrants which were arrested during police raids of the Xenios Dias police operation started a hunger strike in the police station of Iraklio, Crete. Reportedly they suffer also from police violence and repeated ill-treatments.

“It happens often that they beat us with punches and kicks whenever we ask for something, even the smallest thing. The worst behaviour is shown by the officers when some one of us is ill and asks to see a doctor or to get medicine. One officer shouted repeatedly: ‘Put my d…g in your mouth and you won’t need any further medicine!’”

rozkarta (in greek)

Only 10 days earlier 21 migrants had started a hunger strike in Xanthi detention centre when they heard their detention period will be extended again and they might stay almost 2 years in prison without committing any crime.

roz karta (in greek)

In the end of April detainees in Kalipoli police station in Piraeus had started a hunger strike to protest the prolonged detention in a cell with no access to natural light designed for maximum 1-2 days of detention. Some of them have been there since August 2012. The officers made a whole in the wall to get some sun light in because they said detainees had lost their natural feeling for day and night. Among the persons detained there is one with cardiological problems and another who needs psychological treatment. Some of them were detained in summer, lacked winter clothes and now ask for summer clothes again. They have almost reached one year of detention in a small cell.

indymedia athens (in greek)

The infomobile

... 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.

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