Monthly Archive for September, 2010

Iranian refugees continue their struggle for Asylum in Athens

For two weeks around 60 Iranian, but also some Afghan and Pakistani refugees started a protest in the centre of Athens demanding asylum for all refugees. Almost all are trapped for years, even a decade, in the precarious status of the Temporary Residence Permit of Asylum Seekers (red card), without any information on their case, living with the fear of a final negative decision and without the chance to apply for asylum in another European countries due to Dublin II regulation.

Propylaea square is now occupied by the refugees, where they have put banners, distribute information material and stay night and day in the tents. They are trying to press the authorities and to attract the interest of local and international rights organizations and media and they are programming their next steps and the escalation of their struggle forms.

Statement by the Committee of Iranian Refugees in Greece

POLITICAL ASYLUM FOR ALL REFUGEES NOW!

the Commission of Iranian political refugees started its struggle on July 20 2010 [with a hunger strike] outside the UN High Commission for Refugees office in Athens. Our First victory came by gaining political asylum recognition to six Iranian hunger strikers. One of them, Hamid Sadeqi had sewn his mouth. Now we continue the struggle in the center of Athens at Propylaea (University of Athens), demanding asylum for all refugees!

We wait for the announcement of the starting day of the sessions of Asylum Committees by the government, as it was promised: “The transition process for Asylum under the new presidential decree is expected to be operational in September” (06/08/2010). No more fake promises!

There are thousands of refugees waiting in vain without any information on their case. Children born in Greece or came in an early age and now grow as if there is no future! What should the children and their families do to get asylum after 5,6 or even 12 years? Do they also need to sew their mouths?

We fight for the vindication of all refugees. We fight to stop the violation of our rights. We were persecuted by dictatorial regimes and illiberal states like Iran and suffered prisons, torture, death penalty, disappearances and also hunger and poverty. How to live in countries devastated by war such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia? How to survive in Pakistan, where half the country sank beneath the waters and the indifference of the government scatters despair, disease and death? How to live in African countries that have been ravaged by famine?
We urge Greek people, workers and youth, trade unions, student associations, organizations fighting for democratic rights to support the struggle that we start and will not stop unless we take our rights.

Samos Report

This is a first interim report of this year’s Swarming No Border activities in Greece. The first stop was Samos, an island in the Aegean sea, close to the Turkish mainland. The proximity to Turkey is why many migrants arrive here and consequently Frontex is stationed here too. Together with activists from Samos, we organised an anti-racist weekend during our stay there.

Continue reading ‘Samos Report’

From Lesvos to Kabul

About the readmission agreement between Turkey and Greece leading to direct refoulement to states that practise torture

The readmission protocol between Greece and Turkey was signed in 2001, but hasn’t entered into force yet. Instead Greece carried out illegal push backs to Turkey via the northern border in the Evros region. In May 2010 Greek and Turkish authorities met and discussed the concrete implementation. They declared their will to implement the readmission protocol in the near future and agreed that at least 1000 requests per year will be accepted by Turkey. More detailed negotiations concerning the protocol are ongoing at the moment. On our journey from Samos via Izmir to Mytilene we found out that parallel to the negotiations first steps are taken to start a one year pilot project, which is expected to start in two to three month from now.

The sign reads: Izmir Police Management, Foreigners department Deportation Center


Continue reading ‘From Lesvos to Kabul’

Pagani – Last Good Bye

On Monday we took our exhibition Traces from Lesvos through Europe to Pagani and turned the space where refugees and migrants have been detained and humiliated into a museum – a place that belongs to the past.

Continue reading ‘Pagani – Last Good Bye’

Al-Jazeera on refugee situation in Greece

Memorial for the drowned refugees of October 2009 [+speech]

Survivors of the accident with the rescued baby

On Sunday, 5th of September, Welcome To Europe installed a memorial for the drowned refugees of October 2009. It reads:

We mourn the refugees that died during the attempt to overcome Fortress Europe on the 27th of October 2010.

Yalda 8 * Neda 10 * Mehdi 4 * Zakia * Tsima * Sonia 6 * Abdulfasl 3 * Zomaya

We thank the heroic fishermen who saved the lives of the survivors.

The Speech

We came together today, here in Korakas. A horrifying name – Raven is its meaning. A messenger of death. Today we gathered in Korakas for remembering the dead.

We gathered for giving back a piece of dignity to those who survived. A piece of dignity that was lost on the way to Europe, like the passports or the photographs showing the faces of the beloved ones that disappeared in the water. We gathered to give back a piece of dignity to those who might even feel that having survived is a betrayal to those who died. We want to give back a piece of dignity, also to those whose death disappeared – right here – into the senselessness of the European borders.

Here and today, at this place of failure, we want to pause and create a space for all those who lost their lives. Remembering here means to save the stories of the uncounted faces of those who lost their lives at the borders of Europe from the tremendous arrogance of the posterity.

Their death is the death in search for freedom. And that concerns all of us. So let us speak together.

Yalda – She lives!
Neda – She lives!
Mehdi – He lives!
Zakia – She lives!
Tsima – She lives!
Sonia – She lives!
Abdulfasl – He lives!
Zomaya – She lives!

We shall never forget them.
We shall tear down the borders that killed them.

w2eu@lesvos: our programme for the next days

Saturday, 4th of September 2010, Platia Sappho, Mitilini. 6pm
Exhibition Traces from Lesvos through Europe – one year after the noborder camp in Lesvos

Last year during noborder, we met a lot of people that soon continued their way through Europe. With the exhibition, we want to bring the stories of the people back. Where did they go and what happened to them?

Sunday, 5th of September 2010, Skala Sikaminias. 5pm
Installation of a memorial for the drowned refugees of October 2009

On 26.10.2009 next to the coast of Korakas, eight refugees drowned during their attempt to reach Europe. A local fisherman could rescue a baby from one of the families, who had the luck to survive. To remember this great act of solidarity but also all the deaths of fortress europe we will be installing a memorial at the lighthouse at the beach of Korakas outside Skala Sikaminias.

Monday, 6th of September 2010, Pagani, Mitilini. 6pm to 9pm
Temporary museum of migrant struggles against detention camps

We present the exhibition Traces as well as photo- and video-screenings about the continued resistance of refugees and migrants from the inside and about the protests from the outside against the imprisonment of refugees and migrants. The protests led to its official closure in October of last year. Pagani is an abandoned place today, but the traces of the struggles are still alive.

Pagani – Relict of an old system

The migrant prison of Pagani near Mitilini, Lesvos stood at the centre of the activities of last year’s noborder. During the noborder, the refugees imprisoned in Pagani started hunger strikes, while noborders stages actions outside, which together led to a significant number of people being set free immediately. September saw numerous revolts inside Pagani, cells were set on fire and the police ultimately withdrew. Pagani was declared as officially closed at the beginning of October.

Continue reading ‘Pagani – Relict of an old system’

Meanwhile in Australia

Yes, we have arrived on Lesvos island, and we are preparing out first reports, discussing our timetable and meeting with local activists. Expect updates soon.

But right now, we would like to turn your attention to Australia, where more than 80 Afghan refugees whose asylum claim had been rejected and who were detained in a privately run detention centre in Darwin have broken free and staged a protest in order to halt their deportation. They have now been arrested and are being taken to another detention centre.

From an article in the The Australian:

Immigration Department spokesman Sandi Logan earlier said the men had broken through two electrified fences – an interior fence and a perimeter fence, both carrying 11,000 volts – at about 6.30 this morning.

Followups: here, here and there generally seem to be tensions at Darwin detention centre: Indonesian fisherman who are charged with people smuggling and face a 20-year prison sentence have been rioting.

We send our solidarity to all those imprisoned in Australian detention centre! Freedom! Azadi!

About w2eu

This is the blog of the antiracist network Welcome to Europe. It was formerly known as lesvos09.antira.info.

 

The name Welcome to Europe expresses the discontent and anger we feel when looking at the fatal realities of the European external border: the long documented deaths and suffering have continued for years, and no end is in sight. We stand for a grassroots movement that embraces migration and wants to create a Europe of hospitality.

 

We maintain our focus on the European external border in Greece, but will not limit ourselves to that geographical area. The right of freely roaming the globe has to be fought for everywhere. Join us!

 

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Voices from the Inside of Pagani (2009)

Watch the video