Tag Archive for 'unaccompanied minors'

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

Greek authorities mark arms of in Crete stranded Syrian refugees with registration numbers

In the night of the 12.05.2015 a refugee boat by the name of “M/S Sula” carrying 192 refugees got in distress near Palaiochora, Crete. The mainly Syrian passengers were saved and brought to a closed gym. According to testimonies of refugees the police authorities wrote registration numbers on their arms while they were sleeping. Representatives of local NGOs explained, this was a common practice during massive arrivals on the island.

registration numbers marked on the arms of the refugees

registration numbers marked on the arms of the refugees


It’s the second arrival of a refugee boat in Crete within one month. The “M/S Sula” had reportedly started in Antalya, Turkey and was heading towards Italy when the bad weather conditions forced the refugees to send SOS to Greek authorities. Most of the passengers were Syrian protection seekers while there were also some Palestinians. There were also 70 children among them as well as five unaccompanied minors. All refugees were first brought to a closed gym. The minors were then transferred the next day to detention in the police station of Souda/Chania awaiting a free place in a reception center for minors. UNHCR and IOM representatives visited them the first day of arrival. On May 14, 2015 most of the newcomers were transferred to Athens with an official note that allows them to stay for six months in Greece.
"M/S Sula" - 12.05.15

“M/S Sula” – 12.05.15

In the meantime, six persons were arrested and charged as smugglers. One of these arrested was traveling with his wife. She had to be brought to emergency department of the Hospital of Chania because of a panic attack on May 14, 2015 and following the arrest of her husband.

R. from Syria:

“We went to Lebanon and from there to Turkey. We wanted to go directly to Italy. Our boat was only 35 meters long while we were more than 180 persons. It was in a very bad condition being rusty and old and the waves were getting very high. We were four days on the sea. It was very dangerous. Some people got crazy of fear and started screaming. All people in the boat vomited. We were alone in the sea. No other ships. We called for help. Then the Greek authorities came and brought us to Crete. The police wrote registration numbers on our arms. They called me with the number. That is horrible. It’s not my name.”

M. from Syria:

“I am from Damascus. I lost everything in Syria. I just have my family. A lot of friends are dead. Some of my friends escaped to Europe. Others stayed in Syria fighting. I want to go to Germany to save my family. (…) When no NGOs and no journalists are here in the gym during night, they start shouting on us. They also don’t allow us to go out. The first night while I was sleeping, they came and wrote on my arm this number. I feel horrible about this. Why they put a number on me? Why they call me by a number? We are humans. We have names. Even they wrote numbers on small children arms.”

See also: Hellenic Coast Guard Press Release

Hunger strike of unaccompanied minors in Lithi police station

540670_111975469002392_1093727323_nOn Thursday 19, 2014 about 17 unaccompanied minors started a hunger strike in Lithi police station near Thessaloniki. Most of them were only recently released after months of detention. They had been in pre-removal centres such as Corinth, Amygdaleza or Paranesti Drama while waiting to be assessed as underage and / or awaiting their transfer to one of the scarce accommodation places for minors in open reception centres. Some of the minors detained in Lithi have been already more than six months detained. They have been arrested as they left the reception centers hosting them and were reported missing thereafter. The so called “protective detention” is supposed to be the better alternative than leaving them on the streets. This kind of “protection” is not wanted by any of them.

Currently only around 350 places are available in 12 reception centres all over Greece while there are nearly 200 registered unaccompanied minors waiting in detention for a place in order to get released. The new government has announced to focus on the creation of reception centers and the release of vulnerable groups like unaccompanied minors from detention.
The minors held in Lithi demand their immediate freedom.
Minors should receive special protection and not long and repeated detention!

NO PRISONS!
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT IS EVERYBODYS’ RIGHT!

update:
On Friday 20, 2014 two minors were brought to hospital.
The hunger strike continued until the evening.

“Hunger strike until freedom”: Fourth day of hunger strike in Amygdaleza detention centre

“Hunger strike until freedom”*

On November 17th, 2014 hundreds of refugees detained administratively in the pre-removal centre of Amygdaleza started to protest massively against the prolonged detention of more than 18 months, against the detention of dozens of minors and the detention conditions that amongst others recently led to the death of two detainees.

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“They coop us up here like sheep and then don’t care anymore about us. (…)”
“There are persons detained 26 months. (…)”
“When we say ‘my stomach hurts’, they’d answer ‘my balls hurt’.”

Only on November 6th the 26-year-old Mohammed Asfak died of the consequences of beating by law enforcement officers in Corinth detention centre during one of the uprisings of migrants there 5-6 months ago. His injuries had not been taken care of adequately. He was only transferred to hospital after a break down. For 15 days he had been begging the police to bring him to the hospital as he had respiratory problems. When asking for medical aid, police even replied: “Die, we don’t care.” Only some days after this tragic incident, another detainee from Bangladesh died of lacking sufficient medical aid.

Yesterday, on the third day of hunger strike the Movement against Racism and Fascist Threat (KEERFA) reported of 15 detainees who had been transferred to the hospital after fainting and 90% participation in the hunger strike. KEERFA furthermore said that the detainees chose to go on hunger strike on November 17 as a symbolic move because the particular date marks the 41st anniversary of the student uprising against the junta.

The Amygdaleza detention center is 10 kilometers away from Athens and it is supposed to hold 1,000 inmates. In October 2014, the number of detainees was 1,600. The facility has repeatedly come under serious criticism both due to the indefinite time of the detention of migrants and refugees, as well as the squalid conditions they are held in. Among the approximately 1,600 detainees are many vulnerable groups such as 15-year-old children, asylum seekers, de facto refugees such as Syrians and other nationalities whose deportation is not feasible according to UNHCR such as Eritreans. There are also persons with close relatives in other EU-member states awaiting family reunification, victims of torture who have never been identified by the authorities and sick persons.
solidarité-avec-les-immigrants

“We will fight until freedom”, an underage refugee declared, who has been registered as adult.

Continue reading ‘“Hunger strike until freedom”: Fourth day of hunger strike in Amygdaleza detention centre’

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)

15-year-old Afghan died of suffocation inside a truck in Igoumenitsa port

Igoumenitsa port police has discovered the dead body of an Afghan refugee inside the cargo ares of a truck. The truck was going to board on a ship departing for Italy. The corpse has been transferred to the Coroner in Ioanena.

efymerida ton syndakton (in greek)

3 Videos / CNN / Europe’s Lost Children: Journeys of pain, despair – and joy.

Immigrants fleeing violence pay people smugglers thousands of dollars to enter Europe through Greece. The exodus includes children, alone and at risk. Their dreams are big, but the reality far different.
Story by: Irene Chapple. Film, Wojciech Treszczynski. Photo, Giorgos Moutafis.

Sisters’ tears for broken family

Arazu has dressed carefully for her morning flight. The petite, youthful 43-year-old wears summery white trousers and Jackie O-inspired cream plastic sunglasses. Her nails are painted deep burgundy and her hair sits in a soft bob above her shoulders. Her earrings are delicate twisted wire balls with little pearls buried inside, gifts from her two daughters at Christmastime.video.placeholder.1

But it’s the trousers and sunglasses that carry the most powerful memories for Arazu. She wore them the day she left Greece with fake papers more than two years ago. Now, as a legal resident of Europe, she’s wearing them upon her return as a symbol of freedom — and a message of hope.
Continue reading ‘3 Videos / CNN / Europe’s Lost Children: Journeys of pain, despair – and joy.’

Reception centre for unaccompanied minors in Mytilini in danger to be closed

According to the Ombudsman for the Child Greece, Giorgos Moschos, there are currently more than 5.000 unaccompanied minors in Greece but only less than 400 places in specialised reception centres. Furthermore, there are no reception centres for the under 12-year-olds or for unaccompanied girls.

Despite the overall lack of accommodation facilities currently the reception centre in Agiassos, Mitilini, which is one of the biggest in Greece and exists since five years, is in danger to be closed putting 60 unaccompanied minors in danger of becoming homeless and a dozen of employees in fear to stay jobless.

enet (in greek)

“Turned away” HRW reports about illegal push-backs of minors from the Italian Sea Ports to Greece

Read the whole report here

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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email: infomobile.w2eu@gmail.com

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