Tag Archive for 'Deportation'

Greece: Dublin II deportations suspended for another year

The German Ministry of Interior informed in a letter that deportations to Greece under the Dublin II Regulation will be suspended for another year. The letter states that despite initial changes in the treatment of asylum seekers in Greece the asylum system still does not comply with European standards.
The moratorium is valid until 12th of January 2013.

Pagani – Villa Azadi – Dikili

As you can see, this our blog is picking up speed again, and we intend to maintain that speed: A lot of things are happening, and of course we will make a lot of things happen this year again, too. But one after the other. We receive a lot of questions concerning various developments, so we try to follow up. We start with these sites.

Pagani, detention centre/prison
Is Pagani closed or not? This is the question most often asked, and subject of heated debate. We have always stated that Pagani is closed (as not-functioning as a detention centre) and open (as in rather open reception centre). This is not entirely true anymore.

To be very clear: The situation in Pagani is far from what it was last year, and this is still a major success. To date, not more than 30 refugees are detained in Pagani, but at most for a couple of days, until they are being transferred to Xios or Athens. We still need to verify what is happening to them there (white paper? detention? deportation?), so bear with us for the time being. The cells however are never closed, a lot of people sleep in the yard, which however is locked and guarded by the local police. The visible difference is that Frontex has become active in the camp, interrogating detainees (like what is happening in Samos).

What to make of this news? The Greek state clearly has not managed to reverse the situation that was created during and after noborder last year. There are no real detention capacities, a new, human-rights-compatible detention centre has not been built (also due to local popular resistance), it is only the european side of things that is moving forward, intervening, forging ahead.

Villa Azadi, open reception centre for under-age refugees
Some of you might be familiar with Villa Azadi, the open reception centre for under-age refugees near the village Agiassos on Lesvos. It was one of the few efforts on behalf of the greek state to house migrants in need of protection in a good and safe environment.

Villa Azadi is not functioning anymore as of this month. There is no more money, hence no paid staff.

Dikili, Turkish port opposite Lesvos, to become deportation port
The newspaper Ethnos reported on the 5th of July that

[d]uring last week’s meeting of Greek and Turkish officials on irregular migration in Athens, the Turkish side agreed to set out the port of Dikili, about 15 miles off Lesvos island, to serve the readmission of irregular migrants in Turkey. Turkish authorities estimate that the port will start operating within the present month of July.

In May, during a joint cabinet session of the Greek and Turkish governments, an agreement was reached to reinforce the Greek-Turkish Readmission Protocol. Apart from agreeing to process 1.000 readmission requests per year, the Turkish side also agreed to open a port for direct deportations. So far, deportations from Greece to Turkey had to pass the land border at the river Evros/Meriç. So in the case of the islands, all intercepted and to-be-deported migrants had to be transferred to Athens, then on to Thrace, and over the land border. This might change now.

The developments in the Agean are severely lopsided. While Greece and Europe are strengthening their deportation capabilities (Frontex patrols, Frontex interrogators, deportations via sea, the continued use of Pagani), the reform (read: creation) of an asylum system vaguely reminiscent of protection is not moving forward at all, and the few gems like Villa Azadi are being shut down.

Samos: preparations for the deportation of 50 refugees

From Samos, the Movement for the Human Rights Solidarity to the Refugees sends a press release, denouncing the pending deportation of 50 refugees from the island. In a presse release, they write:

For one more time on thursday 1/7/2010 50 refugees where transported from the detention center of samos to be deported. They where transferred to the center of Aspropyrgos (detention centre near Athens) without having been informed that they will be transferred or the reasons without lawyers and without translators. For one more time the police, the coast guard and Frontex coordinate their actions and transferred illegaly also a minor of 15 years with health problems.

Who gives the permission to frontex to be inside the detention centers and to collect information from the refugees and decides about their nationalities and their deportation?

In the same way like the Greek Government accepts that the European Union and the International money fonds take decisions against the working greeks in the same way the greek Goverment has let the decisions about the future of the refugees to Frontex forgetting everything about constitution and conventions on human rights.

We are denouncing this practices and unite our voices with all humans beings who act against this violations of human rights.

We are in solidarity with this people who where forced to abandon their countries and flee because of wars, poverty and desertation that causes the imperialist atrocity.

Those who produce refugees, face the refugees as criminals, without rights, without voice, without future.
Solidarity is our weapon.

Movement for the Human Rights Solidarity to the Refugees – Samos (4th of June)

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’

Stop deportations to Greece – suspend Dublin II!

Please read, spread and sign this Communiqué from activists of the international No Border Camp 2009 on Lesvos concerning the Dublin II regulations and deportations to Greece. You can sign using the form below (introduced due to popular demand). Let’s build pressure!

As activists of the international No Border Camp 2009 on Lesvos, we are witnessing a policy of systematic human rights abuse against migrants and refugees. As a crucial symbol for this policy stands Pagani, a detention centre, situated in the outskirts of the city of Mitilini, for migrtants and refugees, women, men, minors and children, who arrive in Greece without documents. People are imprisoned in Pagani for many weeks, even months. They are forced to share a room with approximately 100 people. About 1000 people are constantly locked up in a place normally designed for only 280 people. Sanitary and medical conditions are beyond any possible imagination. It is not even necessary to describe the further consequences of forcing people to under these circumstances, since the absolute lack of human rights is all too obvious.

Continue reading ‘Stop deportations to Greece – suspend Dublin II!’

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