Here is our first press statement (5th of August 2009)
European Antiracist Camp in Lesvos, Greece
Between the 25th and 31st of August, various antiracist groups from all over Europe will be organising a protest camp against the deadly refugee and migration policies of the European Union. Lesvos is a first step into the European Union for many refugees. However, Greece and the EU are determined to impede their arrival: refugees have frequently been reporting about torture, destruction of their boats, catastrophic condition in the detention centres and illegal deportations. Around 1.000 participants are expected, they will call for the abolition of the militarized border. To this end, the camp will block the Greek coast guard and the ongoing Frontex operation for one day.
The Greek island of Lesvos is at times only 10 kms apart from Turkey and therefore the aim of many refugees, especially from the war-torn countries of Iraq and Afghanistan. In small rubber boats, they attempt the crossing of the the straits without being discovered by the Greek coast guard. If they are caught, insults, torture and the destruction of their boats is the consequence. Human rights organisations like the German “Pro Asyl” have been reporting that after this degrading treatment, the refugees are often sent back into the sea or abandoned on deserted islands. Is is being estimated that every year, several hundred refugees lose their life due to this practice.
If the refugees nevertheless make it to Lesvos, they will be incarcerated in the permanently over-crowded detention centre of Pagani. It is virtually impossible to make an asylum claim, and many refugees are being illegaly deported to Turkey before they are even heard. Even the refugees that manage to make an asylum application are left without social support.
The treatment of refugees in Lesvos is only one example for the restrictive migration policies of the European Union. Be it the border with Ukraine or Marokko, every day, tragedies are taking place at the EU external border. This policy of firewalling Europe is technically implemented by the European Border Agency Frontex. In the framework of the so called Joint Operation Poseidon, Frontex is also active in Lesvos.
The noborder camp is directed against the inhuman refugee policies of the Greek government, but also demands a fundamental change of european migration policies. The programme of the camp will consist of workshops, practical support for and solidarity with arriving refugees, information events in the cities and villages of Lesvos. The climax of the camp will be the blockade of the coast guard and Frontex operation for one day.
The right to migration has been systematically undermined in the European Union. For one week, we ourselves will carry into effect this fundamental human right.