Refugees call for protests against the limitation of family reunifications from Greece to Germany

After a protest which took place on August 2nd, 2017 in front of the German Embassy, more and more refugee families are uniting to demand their immediate transfer to Germany. On August 7th they continued their struggle with dozens of families in the Himalaya offices, the only travel agency responsible to issue them tickets and tomorrow, on Thursday 10th of August 2017, they will protest again in front of the Greek Asylum Service in Katekhaki.

About 2,400 refugees are awaiting currently their transfer. Many have spent already more than 1 ½ years under inhuman conditions in Greece and more than two years far from their beloved. Within the last year, German authorities have made a sharp u-turn from the “welcome” culture of 2015, harshening not only national asylum policies and suspending the possibility of family reunion for refugees with subsidiary protection for two years, but also imposing stricter visa policies in general and showing more reluctance to accept family reunifications while slowing down abruptly the transfers of already accepted applicants. In a time when German news speak of a revival of Dublin returns to Greece, the desperate families who got separated by escaping war struggle for their human right to be with their family.

Read here the refugees`call:

“Let our families reunite now!”

We, the Syrian families from different camps in Greece (i.e. Elaionas, Koutsochero, Ritsona and Skaramangas), who have our beloved relatives in Germany are inviting all refugees who have also their families there and everybody else who wants to join our struggle and stand in solidarity with us, to a peaceful protest on Thursday August 10th at 11 o’clock in front of the offices of the Greek Asylum Service / Dublin Offices near Katekhaki metro station.

We want to express our strong concern and disagreement about the informal agreement between the German and the Greek government, which let to the practice limiting transfers of persons accepted through family reunification to go to Germany to 70 per month.

There are more and more families who have been accepted to go to Germany more than six months ago.
There are grandparents, fathers, mothers and children waiting to join each other after years of separation.
There are elderly, sick, disabled, newborns, victims of torture and other forms of violence or exploitation as well as many other vulnerable persons among us, who are in urgent need of their families.
There are many of us who wait already since more than 1 ½ years under very difficult conditions in Greece.

We have escaped war.
We need our families and a life in peace.

“Let our families reunite now!”

Athens, Greece

See for more information also:

Greek:
huffington post
efymerida twn syndaktwn
cnn
answer from european commission in greek

English:
nrttv
refugee support aegean / pro asyl

German:
pro asyl

Still strangers in a bosses’ world

Clandestina is now focused in practical solidarity and analysis.
For daily news on migrants struggles you can check the Thessaloniki No Border Camp facebook page:
https://web.facebook.com/NoBorderCampThessaloniki2016/

In the summer of 2016, the Refugee to Refugee Call Center (R2R) was established in Thessaloniki:

http://www.callcenter.coop

https://web.facebook.com/Refugees-to-Refugees-R2R-Solidarity-Call-Center-1039101139520127/

You can read more about the trials of the 100 people arrested after the Thessaloniki No Border Camp (and about other similar cases) in the webpage “You can’t evict solidarity” that was created in the autumn of 2016:

https://cantevictsolidarity.noblogs.org/

You can find a collection of texts presented at the Thessaloniki No Border Camp here:

http://noborder2016.espivblogs.net/2017/08/02/a-collection-of-texts-presented-at-the-thessaloniki-no-border-camp-july-15-24-2016-updated-by-their-authors/


Urgent call for solidarity with our dear friend S.

Farewell sister!

We first met S. in December 2015, an 41-year-old woman from Uganda victim of torture in her country. She was waiting in the cold with hundreds of other refugees in the informal tent camp in Idomeni at the border to FYROM, the time when the borders started to gradually close, beginning with refugees who were not from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan (non-SIA countries). Along with many others, she had the hope that the Balkan corridor would re-open for all and she could move forward and later re-unite with her family in a better place. We met her while she was cooking in a big casserole for the group of African refugees she was staying with. We remember her tired and sad smile of those days. Full of stress, she asked us what would happen to her and all the other people if the borders would not re-open. Who would help her if she had to stay in Greece, she asked. Who could support her two children, which got separated from their mother and who had at that time remained back alone in Turkey. 

When S. gave up trying to leave Greece and came back to Athens, we offered her a safe place to stay in the Welcome Island, a solidarity flat run by private donations as a grassroots project. She stayed for more than one year in the apartment, co-living first with people from Somalia and later from Afghanistan and Uganda. Sharing a room with women from another culture, who had their own problems and suffering, was not always easy, but S. was a strong, honest and faithful partner in this flat-sharing project and she has never hesitated to help others or to give us a smile. She brought to the flat her friend who was in advanced pregnancy and alone and supported her to stay in the house and get help.

For months she tried hard to find a job in order to support her family. During the whole period of stay S. suffered not only from her very serious health problems and trauma as a victim of torture, but specifically from the separation from her children. She was supported by friends and volunteers, as well as the Greek Refugee Council (GCR), Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF), and Babel Day Care Centre until her very last days – even until today.

Tragically, S. finally lost her courageous struggle and died in the early morning of 12th July in a hospital in Athens. Now, we want to say goodbye in dignity and help her on her last journey back to Uganda, where her children have returned to. Her beloved ones, as a last wish for their mother, asked her body to be transferred and buried close to them in Uganda. 

GCR made a solidarity call to collect the amount of 2,100 Euro for the purpose of the transfer of the corpse back home to Uganda. We would like to call for solidarity also from our side and ask you to support the family of S. on these last steps. She never reached her destiny; she could not fulfill her dreams. We want her to be in the arms of her family finally, that this personal fight against the monster Fortress Europe ended for her in Greece. 

Stand by the side of this family now so that S. can reach her children and they can say a last goodbye. Her corpse needs to be transferred soon, so any solidarity is urgent.

Dear S.,

You will be our good friend always and in our hearts forever!

With all our love,

Your room-mates and your support family from infomobile / w2eu

For solidarity donations please use the following GCR account:

National Bank of Greece: GR5301101160000011629606464
Piraeus Bank: GR8001720320005032016706911

Welcome Islands Report 2016/2017

The story of the welcome islands…

Since 2011 a small group of activists from Welcome to Europe (http:w2eu.info) who are involved in the Infomobile
Greece grassroots project, and some refugee friends recognized an urgent need to create solidarity shelters for
emergency housing of refugees who were not covered by the official shelters. At the time, the number of places in
state-founded refugee accommodation was nearly non-existing and did not reach 1,000 in total – half of which were
used specifically to house unaccompanied minors….

Welcome Islands 2016/2017. Read the whole story here!

Freedom for Gabriele del Grande!

Our dear friend Gabriele del Grande, human rights activist, journalist and documentary filmmaker, was arrested on April 10, in Hatay / Turkey. He was doing a research for his new book-project about Syrian refugees. Since four days now, he is on a hunger strike, struggling for his freedom.

Photo: Jacques Berset

Gabriele has been active since years, monitoring deaths of refugees in the Mediterranean, on his blog ‘Fortress Europe’ and later focussing on the complexities of the war in Syria and its effects on the Syrian civil society and the refugees in Europe. All of us loved his documentary “On the bride’s side” in which he combined documentary filming with activism in his own way, struggling for another world.

Like other 150 journalists and thousands of political prisoners in Turkey, Gabriele is being denied his freedom, without being charged of any offence. Since July 2016, the Turkish prisons have been filled with activists arbitrarily arrested – a common way the Turkish regime tries to silence criticism and protest.

Gabriele is in solitary confinement and he’s on a hunger strike. On April 18, when he was finally allowed to contact his family, informed them that:

»My documents are okay, but they don’t allow me to appoint a lawyer, nor do they tell me when they are going to release me. […] I am not allowed to use the phone, my phone and my personal belongings were confiscated, even though I’m not officially charged of any crime. . […] From tonight on I will go on a hunger strike and I ask everyone to support me, so that my rights are respected.«

Gabriele’s appeal found thousands of supporters who demand for his immediate release. A petition was already signed by more then 50.000 people and under the Hashtag #iostocongabriele many express their solidarity.

We stand in solidarity with Gabriele and demand his immediate release from prison!

Freedom for Gabriele and freedom for all other prisoners who were arrested for opposing the Turkish regime!

We demand from all governments involved, to immediately stop the dirty refugee-deal the EU made with Turkey. Freedom of movement for everyone!

welcome to europe – watchthemed alarmphone – infomobile greece

*****************************************

More information on Gabriele del Grande you may find on his Blog fortresseurope.blogspot.de as well as on his Twitter-Account @AbuNefeli. Facebook-page “On the brides side”: https://www.facebook.com/IO-STO-CON-LA-SPOSA-614167855342727/

A petition for Gabrieles release can be signed here: https://www.change.org/p/angealfa-per-il-ritorno-a-casa-di-gabriele-del-grande

Happy Birthday City Plaza!

On April 22, 2017 we celebrate together one year of solidarity with our CP-family

City Plaza today is everywhere:
In Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Serbia, Sweden … !
It is not just a building, but a home defined by its people. From here solidarity is spread like seeds we carry in our small luggage to continue the struggle for equal rights everywhere we’ll go.

Former residents now living in other countries have collected songs and wishes as a present for City Plazas birthday. Their thoughts were brought together once more in a small booklet. It is dedicated to the ones who are still on their journey, as well as to the ones that are struggling to arrive and the ones who stand with them. It is dedicated also to the ones we lost on this road but who will be in our hearts forever!

We will stand always together and we shall never give up!

OPEN HOUSES! SMASH BORDERS!
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT FOR ALL!

download the booklet here

Detained refugees and migrants in pre-removal centres in mainland Greece left to survive

The situation in the pre-removal centers in Greece is becoming more and more tragic. While the big NGOs focus on helping refugees in the open camps, about 2,000 other refugees – most of which are asylum seekers – are suffering inhuman conditions in silence as they do not receive sufficient aid and have to endure inhuman and degrading detention conditions. Recent photos from sick persons lacking proper treatment inside the pre-removal center of Corinth are shocking.

Corinth pre-removal detention centre is a 1 ½ hour drive from Athens an has a capacity of 768. While it had been used extensively in the past and was considered by the new SYRIZA-led government in beginning of 2015 as closed for a while, it was “re-opened” in December 2015 with the re-use and transfer of more than 150 Morroccans planned to be deported. On the background of a closing Balkan corridor, the government at that time chose return to all infamous policies of systematic detention starting with the Maghreb nationalities who as a total were not considered to belong to the classical refugee producing nations, but are generally seen as migrants.

Detainees complained that access to medical services was particularly limited. Medical services are provided “on a voluntary basis” by the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO), according to a AIDA report written by Greek Refugee Council (GCR). The Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection had hired doctors and nurses of the KEELPNO on temporary work contract for the medical care in pre-removal centres until the beginning of 2017. In December 2016 GCR had found that in Corinth pre-removal centre, where a number of about 650-700 persons were detained at that time, doctors were visiting the centre only three times per week. During a SYRIZA visit in beginning of March 2017, doctors were only visiting twice a week and there were even in those times no sufficient number of doctors available for all the sick. Also they noticed the very filthy state of the detention centre due to a funding gap for a cleaning company and insufficient and inadequate nutrition of the detainees. Respectively, and as the Unionist Movement “Overturning”, a faction of the Federation of Hospital Doctors in Greece (OENGE) resulted in a Press Release in March 2017, in Petrou Ralli detention centre was only one doctor for 200 detainees in a morning shift during the week and one other in Amygdaleza for 300 detainees (which is also visited twice a week by a psychologist).

Dozens of detainees, most of them belonging to the supposingly “non-refugee” and thus “unwanted nationalities”, like Pakistanis or Moroccans, are enduring scabbies and bacterial infections without proper treatment and while remaining in an inadequate environment where healing is almost impossible and the risk of re-infection ist high. They claim that they haven’t receive enough treatment and that they are left in the dark regarding their rights. “There is not enough medical staff. There is no access to lawyers without payment. We have no information about what will happen to us, how long we will stay in this prison.”, says one of them in a phone conversation.

Only last October 28, 2016, the detained refugees had put fire in the center, protesting against the extension of their detention decisions. People who transported there, from all other Greece, i.e. newcomers from Mytilene or Crete, are trying to find help for appealing their detention and for receiving asylum. Some of them are more than six months there. Even after a recent shipwreck in the Ioanian Sea near Patras, many of the 113 survivors got transferred to Corinth detention centre.

While administrative detention should be the exception, it is used regularly and without individual assessment and reasoning.

According to law ground for detention are:
– in order to determine his or her identity or nationality;
– in order to determine those elements on which the application for international protection is based which could not be obtained otherwise, in particular when there is a risk of absconding of the applicant;
– if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the applicant is making the application for international protection merely in order to delay or frustrate the enforcement of a return decision, if it is probable that the enforcement of such a measure can be effected;
– when he or she constitutes a danger for national security or public order;
– when there is a serious risk of absconding of the applicant, in order to ensure the enforcement of a transfer decision according to the Dublin III Regulation.

Many of the detainees in pre-removal centres got detained already on the islands of the Aegean soon upon arrival to Greece as it was considered they applied merely in order to delay or frustrate return or on “law-breaking conduct” grounds. Additionally, on 18 June 2016 a new Police Circular introduced a practice according to which third-country nationals residing on the islands with “law-breaking conduct” (παραβατική συμπεριφορά), would be transferred, on the basis of a decision of the local Director of the Police, approved by the Directorate of the Police, to pre-removal detention centers in the mainland where they would remain detained. Others while not having applied for asylum from within detention despite this fact got arrested after registering their claim and were detained while law prescribes that such kind of automaticity and lack of individual examination should not be carried out and asylum seekers should not be generally deprived of their liberty. Among the detainees in pre-removal centres there are not only many asylum seekers but also vulnerable persons. Reportedly there are detainees in Corinth how are held already more than 6 months.

No re-instalation of Dublin returns to Greece! Solidarity to all squats!

One year after the closure of the Balkan Route – One year after the EU-Turkey Deal – Six years after the halt of Dublin returns to Greece: 62,000 and more refugees are stuck in limbo in Greece merely able to survive

copyright: noborder

Two days ago, two squats in Athens got attacked and raided by Greek police on March 13, 2017. In one of the squats 127 refugees were hosted. This repressive measure comes one year after the closure of the Balkan Route when more than 57,000 refugees got trapped in Greece and were transferred in provisory tent camps without any assistance, which were set up ad hoc over the night were run in the majority of cases by the army. It is a period where still 23,000-30,000 refugees have no adequate housing but stay under inhuman conditions in state run camps – some of which still are in tents! Among them are hundreds of highly vulnerable people placed at the margins of Greek society without adequate support and any survival perspective on the long run.

On March 13th, the Athens police raided in the early morning hours two squats in the capital one of which in Alkiviadou Street (near Aharnon) was hosting more than 120 refugees since February, who all got apprehended. The other squat which got raided was “Villa Zografou”, an alternative social space and one of the oldest squats in Athens. More then 120 persons were arrested in Alkiviadou Squat and eight persons in Villa Zografou. After one day detention at the Central Aliens Police Departement Petrou Ralli only 31 got transferred to Skaramangas Camp. All the rest of the arrested refugees were left in the middle of the nights on the streets with anywhere to go, while the activists had been released quickly after the apprehension. Many of them are families and people with medical problems from Syria (according to activists there were two people diagnosed with diabetes, one pregnant woman, a man in a wheelchair and one woman who had recently had surgery on her back with severe pain). They finally found emergency housing in other squats and through volunteers. People who were arrested in the squats and who did not have papers, were taken to detention in Amygdaleza pre-removal detention centre where they will stay until their registration. In the meantime more than 1,500 people protested in the evening against the eviction of the two squats. The next day the refugees tried to pick up their belongings from piles outside of the evicted building in Alkiviadou but they were soon stopped by the police and their belongings got thrown in the garbage. Even documents or other important things like medicines got lost this way. The building which was squatted belongs to the Red Cross, which announced that they had planned to open a reception centre for unaccompanied minors there.

copyright: Khora

Around 3,000 refugees live currently in squats in respectable conditions in the centre of Athens. The government estimated that more than 7,000 refugees are self-sheltered in general – which is more than 12% of the refugee population in Greece. The refugee squats along with other forms of self-funded solidarity housing have saved hundreds of vulnerable people since the closure of the Balkan Route in March 3, 2016, who had been cramped in the state’s mass tent camps, without any support for months. People with life threatening diseases like cancer, elderly, disabled persons, pregnant women and mothers of newborns, people with severe psychological trauma, victims of shipwrecks or fascist attacks and other forms of violence and abuse… all found refuge in the squats when no help was offered to them by the state. Only run with private donations and the solidarity of the civil society – people from crisis stricken Greece and all over the world – these squats have shown how we can live together despite differences and how we can stand side by side in solidarity to create another world especially in difficult times.

The EU-Turkey Statement from 18. March 2016 was only one crucial step towards the increased militarization of the EU’s external and internal borders throughout 2015/2016 that hit the essence of human rights in general and refugee rights specifically. The inauguration of Hot Spots on the Aegean Islands (October 2015 – March 2016), the arrival of NATO boats in the Aegean (11. February 2016), the closure of the Balkan Corridor (8. March 2016), the raid and evacuation of Idomeni informal camp (24/25. May 2016), the pre-registration excercize (9. June- 30. July 2016), the amendment of Presidential Decree 144/2010 which gave way to the new independent asylum committees (24. June 2016), the raids in two squats in Thessaloniki and the evacuation of Piraeus informal camp (27. July 2016), the transformation of Frontex to the European Border- and Coast Guard and the expanding of their operational framework (6. October 2016) and the changes brought with the Joint Action Plan of the European Commissioner for the Implementation of the EU-Turkey Deal (8. December 2016) were all steps towards an even darker future for refugees in Greece. In 2016 borders were closed and deportations increased, leading to death and despair instead of protection and security.

Ever since, the Aegean Islands were turned into open air prisons. Now, European member states plan to re-instal also Dublin returns to Greece for the first time after six years. On 8th of December 2016 the European Commission had suggested this step backward in terms of refugee rights to be implemented from March 2017 onwards gradually. Germany for its part, along with Belgium and Austria, already gave a hint that it agrees that Greece has improved the conditions for refugees in such a sufficient way, that it plans to re-start the returns from 15th of March.

We have been fighting against Dublin returns already eight years ago. We strongly oppose this step backwards that reduces again freedom of movement. It will make more people loose years of their lives escaping from unbearable living-conditions, being deported back and need to escape again. We have been whitnessing it already years ago, in summer 2010, when we reported about those refugees who had escaped from Greece 1-2-3-4 times being again and again deported back, without another chance to try it another time. Fortunately and as a result of consistent struggles, in 2011 this tragedy could be stopped. The unbearable conditions for refugees in Greece were obvious but needed to be documented by different human rights organizations in order to show results. In the case of MSS vs. Greece and Belgium the European Court of Human Rights decided to temporarily halt the returns after years of protests by refugees being detained and deported back and forth all over Europe. Ever since many things changed in Greece but only few to the better. What we see today is only a “lifting” of the ugly face Greece had many years. Behind the curtain there is still only suffering.

The re-instalation of Dublin returns to Greece has to stop now!

– Today more refugees than ever are dying at the European borders. In 2016 5,022 persons died or were reported missing in the Meditarranean Sea (compared to 3,771 in 2015). The number of dead refugees per 1,000 new arrivals in the same period rose from 0,9 to 2,5 (absolute number 2015: 799; 2016: 441).
– 58,000 refugees have been blocked from finding security in Greece and the European Commission is putting pressure on Greece to detain and to return more refugees (37,000 arrests in Turkey at the border to Greece, 2,000 readmissions to Turkey from Greece, 19,000 deportations and voluntary returns from Greece to the countries of origin in 2016).
– More refugees than ever are suffering from the severe deterioration of their mental health in Greece. The number of committed suicide attempts is on the rise also among children and youngsters.
– Hundreds of vulnerable refugees are left alone in camps or other housing forms with no or inadequate support. More than 85% of refugees in Greece come from war-torn countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. More than 35% of them are children.
– Adequate access to the asylum procedure is not secured. The independence of the asylum committees is in danger with recent amendments to law, the new independent asylum committees and the role of EASO in the decision-making process. Procedural safeguards are successively shrinking due to pressure form the EU to effectively implement the EU-Turkey Deal and respective returns of refugees.
– The mismanagement of aid and the dysfunctional system of big INGOs and NGOs have left refugees until January 2017 in unsafe and appalling conditions with the “winterization” of accommodation been too late to save the lives of seven people dying in Moria and Samos Hot Spot, while staying in the cold and trying to warm themselves with kerosine heaters.
– Newcomers who arrived after 20. March 2016 are excluded from relocation. Almost half of the refugees in all of Greece are excluded only by belonging to nationalities that do not correspond to the criteria (over 75% of recognition rate in Europe) – among them are Afghans, Iraqis, Iranians, Somalis and many others. Only 9,632 persons have been relocated so far from Greece (as of March 3rd) corresponding to 14% of the aimed 66,400.
– More than 2,000 refugees are currently in administrative detention under devastating conditions in the six pre-removal detention centres. Another five pre-removal centres are planned to open soon on the Aegean Islands.
– Recognized refugees merely survive in Greece as they lack access to their social rights in the majority of cases.

Smash the borders, open houses!
Freedom of movement is everybodies right!
No one is illegal!
Safe passage!

INFOMOBILE GREECE – W2EU

City Plaza Hotel Athens (Greece)

By riva

cityplaza14

A refugee-housing squat as an example of how to fight social struggles together on a daily level and for another tomorrow

„The City Plaza squat at 78 Acharnon celebrates its first month. The hotel now houses refugee families totalling 385 people, including 180 children. These include 22 single parent families, as well as people with disabilities. The nationalities that make up City Plaza include Afghans, Kurds, Syrians, Palestinians, Iranians, Iraqis and Pakistanis. The families being housed at City Plaza were selected on the basis of their previous “housing” arrangement as well as on the particular problems being faced by each one. Each family lives in a separate room of the hotel, while all inhabitants are provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as with hygiene products and other essentials. Nearly all are covered through solidarity offerings, while the few purchases that need to be made are financed through donations sourced from within Greece and from abroad.

In a framework of self- organization and coexistence, there are teams for cleaning, cooking, security, education and childcare, medical care, communications, reception, as well as regular assemblies of refugees and solidarians. Initiatives such as that of City Plaza, apart from granting obvious rights and …read more

From:: infomobile greece

Idomeni: eviction has started

By riva

idomeni-eviction-I

Since the early morning hours of today, Greek riot police started to evict Idomeni. Idomeni became a symbol since the closure of the Greek-Macedonian border. It became a symbol of Europe at a crossroad. It became a symbol of a militarized and repressive borderregime violently gaining back force. And even more then this it became a symbol of hope and of the strong commitment of thousands of families, women, men and children in their daily struggle for freedom of movement and open borders.

Maybe Idomeni will be emptied. Maybe all will be forced into isolated camps all over Greece. But not only is the soil of Idomeni now full of the stories of resistance.

It is the travellers who will keep this struggle alive and tell the stories to those who will follow. A friend in a very similar situation, stuck in Greece many years before said:

Noone can stop the rain.

For updates on the eviction, follow the Live-Ticker of Moving Europe:

http://moving-europe.org/24-5-2016-updates-from-the-eviction-in-idomeni/

Already yesterday Moving Europe published an article on the upcoming eviction:

Source: http://moving-europe.org/idomeni-eviction-on-early-tuesday-morning/

Since heavy clashes between the Greek police and inhabitants of the makeshift camp of …read more

From:: infomobile greece

Voices from Inside VIAL / Chios: Unaccompanied minor detained since 49 days

By momo

On the March 19, 2016, one day before the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal, Hamid* and his three friends arrived in a boat with 46 people on the shores of Chios. They where transferred to detention in VIAL. From that day on they suffer mostly from the lack of freedom and protection. They have expressed fear and anxiety due to a lack of information on their rights and growing tensions among inmates. According to the teenager many refugees in VIAL suffer severe psychological problems due to the detention conditions, the violence (also by law-enforcement officers) and the fear to be the next returned to Turkey.

„If every one gets to know about our problems in VIAL it will be good. I don’t have any one in this world. I swear. There is no one but God I can rely on.

The frist day I arrived to Turkey a taxi driver picked me up at the airport and took me to Taksim. In the car he told me to give him all my money or he would hurt me and tell the police that I am going to rub him. I was afraid, so I gave him everything I had. He …read more

From:: infomobile greece

Report: Infomobile Greece 2015

By riva

Nobody could have foreseen how quickly the situation in the Aegean changed in 2015, due to unpredictable migration movements. More than 7.000 people arrived on the Greek island of Lesvos on a single day in late October 2015 and more than 56.000 people arrived on the island in the last week of October. When we stood on the beaches of northern Lesvos and experienced how one boat after another arrived there, while volunteers from all over Europe welcomed the newly arrived, one could have thought that this border had long been overrun and become a fact of the past. But, at the same time, we became witnesses of the loss of hundreds of people who drowned in the Aegean Sea. Even the mayor of Mytilene demanded ferries that would transport people from Turkey to Greece so long as no safe paths to Europe existed. 2015 was an incredible year. Since we have followed the refugee situation in the Aegean for a long time, we detected major developments here: in 2015 and still today, more and more women and children, as well as old people, those injured through war, and the sick were now travelling. And while the first groups of …read more

From:: infomobile greece

120 refugees pushed back at the Greek-Turkish land-border in the night from 12th to 13th of February 2016

By riva

The way they had already walked by foot.

On 4th of April 2016 refugees in Idomeni reported to us a push-back operation they experienced at the Greek-Turkish land-border in February. Among the witnesses are a 63-year-old woman and several families with small children.

In the night from 12th to 13th of February they crossed the land-border coming from Edirne/Turkey, fleeing to Greece. They arrived in Greece around 6am. It was a big group of about 120 refugees, among them many children and also several elderly. After the border-crossing they divided into three groups, each group about 40 persons, because it seemed too difficult to walk with the big group. They hide in a forest until it was dark again. At 8pm they started to walk and they walked until 6am.

The way they had already walked by foot.

After the whole night walking the smaller children were unable to continue. In their group of 40 there were 13 children and also 3 elderly, one of the woman sitting with us is about 63 years old, another couple was much older then her, in their 80ies. In this group all people were refugees from Syria, all Kurds from the region of Qamishli.

At about 6am they found a kind of closed …read more

From:: infomobile greece

Solidarity structures in Greece confronted with criminalization, control and diverse obstacles

By ronja

P3190409

Since the dirty deal between the EU and Turkey was made on 18th of March the situation in Greece worsened rapidly. Safer formal ways through the Balkan-corridor were closed down already before by the European governments while more than 50,000 refugees are caught up inside Greece. More than 90% come from war torn countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and the majority are women and children. More than one month after the closure of the border to FYROM / Macedonia they are still under shock by the sudden changes unable even to consider alternatives such as relocation, family reunification or asylum. They cannot realize and accept that this is the new reality they have to confront, with everybody being stuck in limbo under inhuman conditions in refugee tent camps all over Greece.

DSC00345

From Monday, 4th of April, on the return agreement with Turkey will be implemented with more than 500 people being readmitted from the Hot Spots on the islands of the Aegean which have been turned into detention and deportation centres in practice. Only the ones applying for asylum or family reunification and unaccompanied minors will not be deported back to Turkey. Asylum …read more

From:: infomobile greece

Lesvos 21.3.2016: Detained Pakistanis transported with Blue Star in handcuffs to Piraeus / additional information

By momo

pakistani

A witness account

We were traveling with the ferry Blue Star 1 from Mytilene to Piraeus on the 21.3.16.
As we entered the ship at 19.45 o’clock we saw an overcrowded bus entering filled with with sitting and standing persons. Outside media representatives and volunteers where watching the situation.

The bus on which was written EURORIDE on the front right side and which had the plate nr. PAZ1316 stopped inside the ship and we could see from a distance of 1 meter the people running handcuffed two by two up the stairs. We asked how many they are and someone from the crew said 150.

Around an hour later we had the opportunity to offer some water and chips to the detainees and saw that they still were hand cuffed to one another two by two.

Even if the government made an announcement that it was not handcuffs but plastic handcuffs we are sure that the police would never use plastic handcuffs if they were not sure that they are as effective as metal ones. Injuries of people having been handcuffed for hours with plastic handcuffs prove this around the world.

When the ship arrived in the harbour of Piraeus all passengers and cars disembarked among …read more

From:: infomobile greece

Detention/ deportation centre “Vial” on Chios island: “Hurria means Freedom!”

By momo

Protest against readmissions to Turkey and for the right to continue the journey to Europe

Today, on Tuesday 22nd of March, in the afternoon, hundreds of refugees locked up in the new detention centre and former fabric “Vial” on Chios island started a protest raising their voices against the new Fortress Europe. They continue their struggle for freedom of movement as they became the first refugees affected by the new cruel detention / readmission measures following the dirty deal between the EU and Turkey.

Video of protest of refugees March 22th, 2016

Thousands of refugees are now behind bars directly after they survived the dangerous journeys by boat while simultaneously volunteers and many NGOs were kicked out of the former Hot Spots. At the same time UNHCR and also Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) left the camps openly critisizing the new system as unfair and inhumane.

UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming: “UNHCR is not a party to the EU-Turkey deal, nor will we be involved in returns or detention.” Marie Elisabeth Ingres, MSF Head of Mission in Greece: “We will not allow our assistance to be instrumentalized for a mass expulsion operation …read more

From:: infomobile greece

Aegean islands: Government evacuates thousands from Hot Spots

By momo

copyright: Marily Stroux

copyright: Marily Stroux

The Greek government yesterday emptied the Hot Spots on the islands of the Aegean in order to start implementing the newly decided measures as concluded during the EU-Summit with Turkey on 17./18.th. About 2,700 were transferred from Chios, 4,000 from Lesvos and 800 from Samos. Tragically, as activists report, the refugees were not informed where they would be brought and were highly stressed and in fear.

Thessaloniki port

copyright: Marily Stroux

Hundreds were brought to Kavala port and from there to Thessaloniki where gates in the port were prepared to host refugees.
Others arrived to Skaramangas port near Athens. Many will be transferred to camps around Ioannena. New arrivals were brought also to Koutsochero – an army camp in the middle of nowhere.

copyright: Marily Stroux

copyright: Marily Stroux

On Sunaday 47,536 refugees were in Greece. In the last hours before the EU-Summit conclusions would come into force hundreds of refugees tried reaching the Greek islands. The agreement referring to the quick readmission of all newcomers does not however affect the more than 46,000 refugees and migrants already …read more

From:: infomobile greece

Athens: Hundreds take to the streets and demand open borders

By momo

copyright: Salinis Stroux

copyright: Salinis Stroux

During an antiracist rally that started from Victoria Square in the centre of Athens and passed the Greek Parliament to reach the Offices of the Representation of the European Commission in Greece, hundreds of antiracists along with many Afghan refugees demanded the opening of the border, protection and a safe passage instead of deportations. The Afghans came from different transit camps as Elliniko and Schisto.

Freedom of movement is everybody’s right!


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copyright: Salinia Stroux

…read more

From:: infomobile greece

Larissa: Letter from Afghan refugees in former Roca factory to the authorities and the UN

By momo

prosfyges-roka-larisa

About 400 refugees from Syria and Afghanistan are currently hosted in the tent camp near the former Roca factory in Larissa half of which are children. Now refugees sent a letter demanding for better conditions.

15/3/2016

To: Representatives of United Nations, the Mayor of Larissa city and his assistants, the Head of Police of Larissa and the representative of volunteers people of Larissa

We – Afghans refugees – resided in Pireaus port of Athens city under Mr. Satery’s management. After a few days responsibles of the camp promised us that we would be transfered to a camp in some building in Larissa city which has sanitary facilities like bathrooms, showers and so on but unfortunately, they lied to us. That’s why refugees don’t believe responsibles and top brass of Greece goverment.

Right now this camp which is located near Roka factory doesn’t have any sanitary facilities necessary for living which is hinted in enclosure of this letter. They suggested us to be transfered to a military camp about 12 kilometer far away from Larissa city by the name of Koutsochero, but we didn’t agree to go there because that camp is located very far from the cit,y it is located in a …read more

From:: infomobile greece

Moria, Lesvos: Refugee protest against Readmissions to Turkey

By momo

copyright: Marily Stroux

copyright: Marily Stroux

Refugees are stuck the islands of the Aegean as Greek government forbid them moving on to the mainland in order to control the distribution of thousands to different mass camps. Currently more than 4,000 persons are caught up in Piraeus port at different gates in warehouses and tents outside. There is no more space for newcomers. Among the refugees in the port are many who were transferred to new mass camps in the periphery but denied to stay in these nowhere lands and returned.

On Lesbos island nearly 5,000 refugees are waiting to depart and continue their quest for security in Europe. Some of them are already registered and wait inside Moria Hot Spot, others still wait to enter procedures while sleeping in the informal and completely volunteer run tent camp outside of the Hot Spot.

But not all refugees are kicking their heels to complete identification and registration in Moria. People from Morocco, Algeria, Tunesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan have been declared typical migrant nationalities and are detained and readmitted upon arrival. 608 persons were sent back from Greece since the beginning of 2016 based on the Readmission Protocole with Turkey, the majority of which were from …read more

From:: infomobile greece

“We need a solution!” – Refugees protest in front of Schisto camp

By momo

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“We need a solution!”, says Mohamed an afghan refugee who protest together with other refugees from Afghanistan in front of the camp Schisto in Attika Region. “Our papers are to expire! We demand from the Greek government to renew them for one month more. Otherwise we will get illegalised and they might detain us here or even deport us back”, he says.

Along the protesters is also a woman from Afghanistan, who is trying to describe the situation inside the camp, inside the big tent where she and her children are sleeping. “The wind blows through the tent. There is no heating. Lately rain water entered the tent. Each of us has just two blankets in order to warm herself in the night. We are freezing! How can I survive with my children under these conditions?”, she says. Next to her is a couple of very elderly refugees also from Afghanistan and a young woman with a serious health problem. She can be fed through a tube that is in her stomach. “The doctors here told me to solely drink water.”

The refugees outside Schisto are complaining that whatever problem they have, the doctors give them just one kind …read more

From:: infomobile greece

Open the border! Open houses! – Struggles and resistance growing in Greece

By momo

Hot Spot Moria

Hot Spot Moria

In the past two weeks protests of refugees and supporters are growing over all of the country as the border to the Balkans was closed and thousands are stuck in Greece. From the Hot Spot in Moria, to the transit camp Schisto near Athens, Victoria Square, Thermoupolis, Kozani to Idomeni – people are standing up and demanding the opening of borders.

Schisto protest

Solidarity is further sprouting in all over Greece with the sixth refugee housing squat opening yesterday in Athens at Kaningos / Kapodistriou in the centre of Athens. “open borders – open houses” it says on a banner outside the building.

Victoria Square - Refugees Welcome

Victoria Square – Refugees Welcome

One of the first squats which opened to host refugees was Notara 26 / Exarhia on 25. September 2015. In the former building of the insurance fund ETAM, which had been empty for years activists at first provided for 35 places. Meanwhile more than 120 are hosted there as needs grew rapidly. A priority is given to families and minors. Papers are not any matter …read more

From:: infomobile greece

EUs new Gatekeeper Turkey burning life-vests of refugees

By momo

copyright: Salinia Stroux

copyright: Salinia Stroux

The last few days hundreds of refugees were caught on the Turkish mainland, along the western coast and in Turkish territorial waters while trying to set over to Greece clandestinely. Among the refugees who come mainly from war-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are more than 30% children. Whilst getting intercepted, sometimes detained or directly send back to Izmir and Istanbul, the authorities take away their life-vests. Many refugees report that the Gendarmes even burned, while telling them that: “We do that so you wouldn’t try again!”

In some occasions refugee dinghies intercepted in the Aegean Sea even were threatened by Turkish coast guards that they would shoot their dinghy if they don’t go back.

Consequently, most refugees when trying again to set over have no money left to buy new life-vests while most of them cannot swim neither.

Refugees will not stop fleeing to Europe despite NATO, Frontex, Coastguards, the usage of Drones, war ships or helicopters to locate, intercept and return them. They will not stop at barbed wire or in front of armed soldiers who are blocking their ways. As long there is war, people will move on, no matter what.

An Afghan father indicates with a movement of his …read more

From:: infomobile greece

Idomeni about to explode: Anybody listening out there?

By momo

copyright: Amir Karimi

copyright: Amir Karimi

“Like dogs! We are waiting here under unbearable conditions – it is not even suitable for animals!” says a young woman who is enduring since days at the borders of Idomeni. Everywhere around the transit border camp are media representatives from all over the world covering the humanitarian crisis of the last two weeks. It was then when Austria and the Balkan states decided to further reduce the numbers of the refugees who can pass the borders by limiting the eligible nationalities on Iraqis and Syrians. On Monday refugees started a hunger strike after a 13-years-old boy got electroshocked by a cable of a standing train. But is anybody listening out there?

copyright: Chrissi Wilkens

Since the last weekend border police in Macedonia and other Balkan states are pushing refugees back who come from regions which are not considered to be war zones, like i.e. Damascus, Mosul, Rakka. Omar a refugee from Syria is standing infront of the border. He is sleeping with his family in a camp near Idomeni and came by taxi to check the situation. Next to him on the ground some families are sitting in the mud with their babies and …read more

From:: infomobile greece

Macedonia is further limiting the criteria for people allowed passage at the border with Greece

By momo

source: news that moves

March 3, 2016
Authorities confirmed they will deny entry to Syrian and Iraqi asylum seekers who declare the intention to reach Western Europe because of family reunification, education and to avoid military recruitment in their country of origin.

The Macedonian police confirmed that those who stayed for more than 30 days in ‘safe third countries’ like Turkey and Greece are also not anymore allowed to cross into Macedonia.

Only Syrian and Iraqi citizens who declare during an interview with the police that they are fleeing war, and seeking asylum are now permitted to pass into Macedonia.

The Macedonian police confirmed today that more new rules for selecting which asylum seekers can enter Macedonia and proceed further along the Balkan Route are in force immediately.

The police will assess which asylum seekers can enter Macedonia during a 30-minutes long interview at the border crossing in Gevgelija.

Police teams from the Czech Republic and Austria, assisted by interpreters, are conducting the interviews. Macedonian police are present as observers.

Those refused after the interviews face immediate deportation to Greece.

Macedonian authorities will deny entry to Syrians and Iraqis declaring that they want to reunite with their families that are already in Austria, Germany or in other EU …read more

From:: infomobile greece