Archive for the 'Dublin II' Category

Page 2 of 2

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.

On two of the hunger strikers in Athens [2 Updates]

Update 2: Victory!
Just found the information on the UNHCR website. We wrote:

We were discussing with a lawyer here in Greece, and she said that she would find it highly unlikely if they received political asylum, since the actual asylum system has been suspended. The Ministry of citizen protection itself has pointed out that it cannot brake the law by giving asylum based on a suspended presidential decree and said that only in September, when the new presidential decree would enter into force, asylum could be granted.

The UNHCR says:

Given the imminent threat to the health and lives of Iranian asylum seekers continued hunger strike in front of the Office of the High Commissioner of UNHCR, the Ministry of Civil Protection has decided yesterday to activate the Appeal Board for the accumulated applications provided by Presidential Decree 81/2009, “on humanitarian grounds and very exceptional, […] despite the government’s steadfast position that the current asylum procedure is impractical, ineffective and outdated.

So yes, our doubts were right, and yes, they did indeed get a proper asylum status. That is very good. Congratulations, we are so happy that all went well in the end! Why did our friends have to take such drastic measures in the first place?
#END OF UPDATE 2

Update 1: Victory?
Today, on the 30th of August, there was the announcement that the six of the seven hunger strikers will obtain political asylum, and that the seventh might likely receive it tomorrow. That would be a huge success. The hunger strikers have since been brought to the hospital, and we are very lucky that the hunger strike is concluded.

You notice the question mark in the headline? We were discussing with a lawyer here in Greece, and she said that she would find it highly unlikely if they received political asylum, since the actual asylum system has been suspended. The Ministry of citizen protection itself has pointed out that it cannot brake the law by giving asylum based on a suspended presidential decree and said that only in September, when the new presidential decree would enter into force, asylum could be granted.

So we were wondering if the hunger strikers were granted humanitarian protection rather than asylum? That would leave them in a much more difficult status, since it would not allow them to leave Greece as some hunger strikers have wished, and the access to social support in Greece would also be much more precarious. We really do hope that the hunger strikes did obtain a proper refugee recognition, and we will continue to look for more precise information. If you know something, please post it in the comments.
#END OF UPDATE 1

Since 13 days seven Iranians are on hunger strike in front of the UNHCR office in Athens. Two of them are in their 32nd day, and you can find previous reports here, here and here + video + video.

We went to see the hunger strikers, and this is our account:

One hunger striker, Seid Rouhollah (28) was deported from Germany back to Greece one and a half years ago under the Dublin II system. He came to Greece via Mytiline, Lesvos, in one small boat with 26 persons. He was the only survivor when the Greek coast guard punched a hole in their dinghy. Seid is a good swimmer, so he managed to survive, but since than he is afraid of the sea and in his nightmares he sees black bodies drowning in the sea and he can’t do anything – just save his own life.

Seid managed to leave Greece after three months. He arrives in Germany where he gets caught in the airport. He spends another three months in detention camp and is finally deported to “Grieschenland” (the word for Greece in a particular German accent). And “Tschüüüss” the german word for bye-bye he still remembers as the police said to him at the deportation. They also told him that it would be nice in Greece, because of the fine weather. He says: Maybe for vacation it is nice. They say: Don’t worry, now they will care for you!

He arrives at Athens airport. They keep him imprisoned for 20 days. It is totally overcrowded, 20-30 persons in one cell. Only once a day there is food: ‘Malakas’ they say and they feed us like animals. There is no shower and when he leaves he has scabies.

They issue him a Pink Card. Go, go! they say and he has no shelter and no money. He contacts the Greek Refugee Council, but they say he shoud come again after one week. Since one and a half year now. There are not enough places in the shelters and since Seid is an adult man, he is not considered especially vulnerable. He has slept in a park since then. He says he had been waiting for the chance the hunger strike now gives to him, to finally make his voice heard.

Continue reading ‘On two of the hunger strikers in Athens [2 Updates]’

First Words from Samos

In the last few days we gradually arrived in Samos and found a totally unexpected situation. The huge detention centre above Vathy is empty, all detainees have been transferred off the island, presumably to Athens, where they are either held in another detention facility or are released with the infamous White Paper.

Currently, there is an Italian Guardia Frontera ship in the harbour representing FRONTEX. The Dutch coast guard is present with a speedboat. From our observations, the latter basically go around and drink coffee at the various beaches. The Greek coast guard has two boats in Vathy, one of them is broken, though. The Italian Frontex ship leaves every night at 10 p.m. and returns in the early morning – but these days they are not very “successful”: According to what they say, they have not caught anybody during the last weeks. Inhabitants told us that still some people arrive on the island but without being caught. But compared to last year, arrivals have dropped dramatically. According to a chatty coast guard officer most refugees now choose the route via the Evros region in the north of Greece. The few people caught on the island are imprisoned in one of three police stations on the island and usually not taken to the detention centre, but sent to Athens straight.

Continue reading ‘First Words from Samos’

A Dublin II Deportation Diary


Why did you want me back in Greece?, ask the refugees being returned due to the Dublin II regulation from different other European countries. The deportation diary carrying the same name evolved out of a short visit in Athens, where activists from the newly founded infomobile project conducted interviews with refugees affected by this European regulation.

The findings, based on interviews with the people affected, are shocking and deeply disturbing. For although every story of flight to and within Europe is different, if we were to summarise, there are two main conclusions that need to be drawn.

Continue reading ‘A Dublin II Deportation Diary’

Interview with Milad in Sweden

Milad, 17, is from Afghanistan. We met the first time in summer 2009 in front of the Infopoint, a circus tent in Mytiline at the island of Lesvos. It was the time of Noborder, when Milad had just done his first step on European ground. His shoes were still salty from the trip with the small boat. Some days later he was captured in the harbour when he tried to save his fingerprints and to escape unregistered from the island. They brought him and his friends to Pagani, the big detention centre. He was part of the revolts that gave the last kick to shut down this place and was released after their cell got burnt down, after 2 months of prison. His narration on Noborder and the revolts in Pagani have been published.

Dublin II means they play football with us, shooting us from one country to another, playing with us and wasting our time.

Four days after this talk, he was deported back to Greece from Italy. He even did not have the chance to leave the ship. He was then imprisoned in Arta/Greece for another 10 weeks. He was still on his way to Norway and so he went directly into the next truck after his release. One day later he was imprisoned again. This time in Macedonia. He hurt himself very badly to get out of there after another 10 weeks of prison. He was captured again in Hungary in a very cold night in February. It was in Hungary when he said the first time that he feels a little bit tired of all this. It was the first time that his trust to reach Norway and to be safe there was shattered. He had applied for asylum in Hungary. He said he felt too powerless and too tired to stand the prison for another unknown period of time, although he feared now that his deportation to Hungary was even more risky than to Greece. He felt the Dublin II trap for the first time. He was not able to stay in Hungary, where as he says: The conditions to have less than nothing drives the people to rob the one besides him. He finally reached Norway some months ago. When he got to know that he would be deported to Hungary he fled to Sweden. The interview was made via telephone in June 2010.

w2eu: Hey Milad, how are you? And: where are you?

Milad: I’m in Sweden now. Near to Orebro in a camp for refugees. It is a very small camp for minors and the people here are kind. Nice place, television and everything. We are only 10-11 guys here, all of them underage. It is really nice for one week, two weeks. But actually we are wasting our time here. And it is very far from the city – far from society. We are not in fact imprisoned. We can go to the city. But it is 20-30 kilometre far. Too far to walk every day.

Continue reading ‘Interview with Milad in Sweden’

The bigger picture

With the revolts going on in Pagani, what is the bigger picture? A friend wrote to let us know:

The minister of “citizen’s protection” (sic!, former ministry of public order) of the new socialist party government announced the liberation of 1.200 migrants from detention centers and police departments (from the total of 5.500 migrants who are kept in detention for illegal entry).

He presented this as a humanitarian move, but for sure this was necessary for the whole detention system, which was completely stuck after a summer with large police operations and arrests and the new arrivals. The released migrants will get the famous white paper (deportation decision with 30 days of tollerance to leave the country).

He also announced large scale repatriation with IOM’s help and with european funding and once again declared “zero tolerance to illegal migrants”.

You can also read an article in Kathimerini. So much for the new government (war is peace, citizen’s protection is repression, George is Orwell, etc). There was one incident in Athens were the police torture-killed a migrant. Occupied London has a report, and there was a demonstration afterwards which got attacked by the police. Another friend from Greece summarises the situation as follows:

Continue reading ‘The bigger picture’

Of lies, more lies and some successes

Last week, we reported about the revolt going on in Pagani. In the immediate days after the revolt, there seemed to be some development favourable to the situation of refugees. Some friendly observers from Lesvos reported that on the very Tuesday of the revolt, there were

700 prisoners in Pagani, around 150 women and children and 150 unaccompanied minors. The minors living on the first floor set fire to matrasses in their cell, which produced a lot of smoke. To escape from the smoke they broke the bars of the window and went on the very small balcony in front of their cell window. They screamed for their freedom, some were very upset and the situation was very dangerous. The policemen of the prison managed to extinguish the fire. More policemen, fire brigades, journalists and observer in solidarity arrived. The tension spread to the other cells.

The prisoners broke the door with the iron bars and went out into the yard. They were absolutely peaceful and the police didn’t react. Around 400 prisoners were in the yard. The negotiations between the prisoners and the police and the prefect lasted until late in the night.

Continue reading ‘Of lies, more lies and some successes’

Current Situation

This came from people still in Mytilini (slightly edited):

92 new minors arrived in Mitilini yesterday and where brought to Pagani. That means 140 minors and around 500 people all together are detained in Pagani at this stage.

Two days ago all refugees from one cell refused to return into the cell. But after a while they where forced to do so. Unfortunately there where not more infos about it and noone knew while this happend.

People say that every now and then the prisoners scream FREEDOM and AZADI.

A newspaper is being prepared about the noborder and the other actions around it and more local news to be distributed widely and to be the beginning for an open discussion
in town and further campaigning.

The Frontex boat is still not around. [It might actually have left]

Local people told us that many did not know or did not hear about the actions and they asked for more information. The interest is big to know what they missed.

And the sky is grey since two days.

In the meanwhile, we finally got around to include a form for signing our Dublin-II call. Since the whole idea with signing through the comment function didn’t work so well, we adjusted and now invite you again to support the cause.

There is actually movement on the Dublin-II issue, at least in Germany. The highest court i.e. the constitutional court, ruled yesterday that they would decide on a case brought forward by an Iraqi refugee in Germany. Since he had been registered in Greece before, the german authorities wanted to deport him to Greece so that he could seek asylum there, in accordance with Dublin II. This deportation was now stopped by the constitutional court, and they will have a hearing on the issue.

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!

 

get in touch, follow us

Voices from the Inside of Pagani (2009)

Watch the video