Since today, Wednesday the 9th of March 2011, 6pm, the hunger strike is over. The hunger strikers feel that their demands have been met by the Greek government. More information soon!
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Freedom, not Frontex
There cannot be democracy without global freedom of movement
The dynamic of the Arab spring is emanating into the entire world. The movements of revolt in the Maghreb encourage and give hope, not only because despotic regimes that have been believed invincible were chased away. Although the direction of further developments remain open it is obvious that the domino effect of the Tunisian jasmine revolution swiftly brought back the old insight that history is driven from below. The struggles are directed against the day-to-day poverty as well as against general oppression, they are as much about better living conditions as they are about dignity, in short: “bread and roses”.
Continue reading ‘Freedom, not Frontex’
+++ As hunger strike of 300 approaches day 30, striker are in dire need of transnational support! +++ It is time to ACT NOW! +++ Fax, E-Mail and phone the Greek authorities and demand immediate legalisation NOW +++
I want to be treated as a human being – like the Greeks. When we will get papers, I will not anymore be afraid of police and I can work legally with an insurance. But most of the time I think now: what will happen if the government does not give an answer? (Arqal, hunger striker in Athens)
Since the 25th of January 300 migrants are on a hunger strike in Athens and Thessaloníki. Many of them live in Greece for more than six years. Most have been working in the harvest – all of them under extremely problematic conditions. To be without papers means: no health insurance, unpaid wages, no chance to travel…
They decided to go on a hunger strike, demanding the unconditional legalisation of all migrants in Greece. A big group of hunger strikers came with by ship from Crete. Solidarity groups welcomed the migrants at the port of Piraeus, and then, they altogether moved to an empty building of the university in the centre of Athens. A university building was picked because police is not allowed to enter the university (university asylum) since the end of the military junta, when soldiers entered the polytechnic university by force – but in the case of migrant protesters the university asylum was not respected. As a result of negotiations the hunger strikers moved to a building close to the university.
But until now the government did not move. The hunger strike is at a decisive point. Each day the hunger strikers are getting weaker. Each day brings more dramatic developments. On Friday Hassan, one of the hunger strikers, collapsed during a press conference:
As you well know, today is the 25th day of our hunger strike. So far we have had no response from the Government. No one has spoken. What is the Government waiting for? Is it waiting for us to die?
After speaking these words, Hassan suffered a hypoglycaemic shock and turned unconscious. The incident illustrates the extreme situation of the strikers who have been on an austere hunger strike for more than 25 days now, taking only water, sugar and salt. Eight hunger strikers are in hospital to date (day 26), dozens more face serious health problems. But until now the authorities don’t move to fulfill their demand for legalisation.
We are sending a message to the Prime Minister, who has said that he was a cleaner in Sweden and has experienced racism. It is time to intervene before it’s too late. So that we won’t have any deaths.
The wave of support for the hunger strikers has become enormous: from institutional members, to unions, hundreds of artists and intellectuals, thousands of supporters in Greece and abroad stand in solidarity. But obviously the government needs some more kicking – so now it’s also up to you. It is time to act!
I believe that the resistance of migrants against expulsions, harassments, discriminations and exploitation, struggling for their rights and their existence, is a dramatic human cause of our times. In addition, or rather, inseparably, it represents a crucial element of the popular movement for democracy in Europe, which crosses borders and for that reason elicits a redoubled xenophobia. The solidarity with the migrants must take form not only at a local scale, but at the continental level. (Etienne Balibar)
+++ THIS IS WHAT YOU CAN DO +++
Stream of recent information as always:
Yesterday (21st of January 2011) was a bad day for the Dublin II system. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg judged Belgium and Greece for violating European Convention on Human Rights.
Continue reading ‘ECtHR front kicks Dublin II’
Hürriyet daily alerts us to the fact that the Greek Parliament has passed the long announced overhaul of the country’s migration law.
The new law removes control over asylum seekers from the police and hands it over to a new asylum service that will deal with a backlog of some 47,000 applicants, many of them awaiting approval for years. The law will also put in place a procedure for appealing rejected asylum requests.
Citizen’s Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis said the law would allow Greece to set up a screening process under which illegal migrants “will be voluntarily repatriated or expelled.”
We had previously reported on the screening centres: Screening, Detention, Centres
The Guardian released two embassy cables provided by the by now well-known wikileaks cablegate that report on the Greek government’s position and strategy on dealing with irregular migration. This article provides a short summary of the contents. Both reports were written shortly after the change of government in October 2009, in December and February respectively. They don’t offer any surprising insight, but sketch some policy lines.
The first embassy cable, Greece tackles migration and asylum issues confirms that asylum and migration are high priority to the new government, both on a domestic as well as on a European level. From the summary:
17 / 18 December 2010
download report as PDF: Short visit to Hungary_12.2010
The following report refers to conversations during a two-day visit to Hungary. Predominantly, we talked to Afghan refugees in Debrecen (reception centre – transfers after the first screening in Békéscsaba or after the end of detention in one of the various detention centres) and in Bicske (camp for unaccompanied minors and recognised refugees), but also to staff of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. The focus of these conversations was the situation of refugees, deported to Hungary under the Dublin II Regulation – but also the social conditions of refugees in Hungary in general. This was not the first visit to Hungary in which members of the Welcome to Europe Network participated: As a result of the Border Monitoring Project Ukraine (http://bordermonitoring-ukraine.eu/), there have been good contacts also to Hungary for more than two years now. And the Infomobile which has been touring Greece since the summer (http://infomobile.w2eu.net/) also stopped in Hungary on its first tour this summer. So on this trip we made some new contacts, refreshed old ones and met some known faces – and we will certainly come back…
from afghanistan 6 days here what the broblem?
asks young Hamis Abdalah Ghasmi from Afghanistan on a piece of cardboard that was slipped to our delegation in Fylakio. And indeed, it is the question all migrants in detention in the Evros region have in mind: Why am I being kept here?
Yesterday, i.e. Saturday, the 18th of December 2010, saw a mobilisation from the Greek antiracist movement to the Evros region, where most of the border crossings happened the last months and where many hundreds of migrants are being detained under comparably horrible circumstances as in the infamous prison of Pagani.
The deployment of European border guard forces at the Greek-Turkish border increases the danger of readmitting refugees to Turkey and from there to their country of origin, where they are put at risk of facing human rights violations. The European Union should meet its obligations and ensure refugees’ protection and well-being.
Greece requested the European Union to send armed so called Frontex Rapid Border Intervention Teams (RABITs) to the Greek-Turkish border. This became public on Monday the 25th of October 2010.
Greek government statistics state that irregular migration has been increasing in the Evros-Region where the land broder to Turkey stretches over 12 km. According to the Greek Minister of Citizens’ Protection Christos Papoutsis only during the first October weekend of this year 1,400 refugees have been intercepted in that region.
Interview with F. (17) in Zalaergerszeg detention prison
The following interview was taken under difficult circumstances, on the phone of the prison. We had never seen each other before – it was a friend of a friend who brought us in contact. F. was not in a good mood – but he said that he wants to give testimony what happens in Hungary to the deported. He hopes that maybe, if the authorities knew what happens, they might stop the Dublin-system. He says:
For me it’s to late now, but maybe all the others, they should not experience the same!
Zalaergerszeg, 13th Oktober 2010 –
There are two conclusions: