Tag Archive for 'hunger strike'

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Performative statement of civil disobedience!

This statement, is an answer to the attempt by the government, to criminalize solidarity with the hunger strikers by saying that “those who are responsible for these processes we will search for with the prosecutor’s intervention and those who participated will be held accountable”.
Below is an email address for you to support this performative statement!

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Declaration of solidarity with the hunger strikers in Greece – Legalisation and equal rights now – Call for a week of action

The 25th of January is the day on which 300 migrants in Greece started a hunger strike. Their demand is a collective legalisation of all the people excluded from Greek society based on their status – be it asylum seekers, not recognised refugees, illegalised people, exploited migrant labourers. It is not the first hunger strike in Greece where human beings are forced to use such a drastic measure to fight for their rights.

Hunger strikers in Thessaloniki

Hunger strikers in Thessaloniki


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25th of January 300 migrants will go on hunger strike in Greece

Announcement by the Assembly of Migrant Hunger Strikers

We are migrant men and women from all over Greece. We came here due to poverty, unemployment, wars and dictatorships. The multinational companies and their political servants did not leave another choice for us than risking 10 times our lives to arrive in Europe’s door. The West that is depriving our countries while having much better living conditions is our only chance to live as humans. We came (either with regular entry or not) in Greece and we are working to support ourselves and our families. We live without dignity, in the darkness of illegalness in order to benefit employers and state’s services from the harsh exploitation of our labor. We live from our sweat and with the dream, some day, to have equal rights with our Greek fellow workers.

During the last period our life has become even more unbearable. As salaries and pensions are cut and everything is getting more expensive, the migrants are presented as those to blame, as those whose fault is the abjection and harsh exploitation of greek workers and small businessman. The propaganda of fascist and racist parties and groups is nowadays the official state discourse for issues of migration. The far right discourse is reproduced through media when they talk about us. The “proposals” of the far right are announced as governmental policies: wall in Evros, floating detention centers and European army in the Aegean, repression in the cities, massive deportations. They want to convince greek workers that, all in a sudden, we are a threat to them, that we are to blame for the unprecedented attack from their own governments.

The answer to the lies and the cruelty has to be given now and it will come from us, from migrant men and women. We are going in the front line, with our own lives to stop this injustice. We ask the legalization of all migrant men and women, we ask for equal political and social rights and obligations with greek workers. We ask from our greek fellow workers, from every person suffering from exploitation to stand next to us. We ask them to support our struggle. Not to let the lie, the injustice, the fascism and the autarchy of the political and economic elites to be dominant in their own places too; all these conditions that are dominant in our countries and led us to migrate, us and our children, in order to be able to live with dignity.

We don’t have another way to make our voices heard, to make you learn about our rights. Three hundred (300) of us will start a Hunger Strike in Athens and in Thessaloniki, in the 25th of January. We risk our lives, as, one way or another, this is no life for people with dignity. We prefer to die here rather our children to suffer what we have been through.

January 2011
Assembly of migrant hunger strikers

[Update] There are now blogs of the Hunger Strikers:

Ongoing hunger strike of Afghan refugees in Athens

Today is day 12 of the hunger strike, and some of the strikers sewed their lips to emphasize their determination. While we have not been documenting this struggle, our friends at ‘afghan muhajer’ have done so extensively, so please pay them a visit to find out more.

continue reading on Afghan Muhajer Blog.
Update: Here is another Blog: AFGHAN POLITICAL ASYLUM SEEKERS IN PROPYLAIA – ATHENS – GREECE

How the Rabit saved the refugee

Iranian refugees detained in Evros continue wave of hunger strikes
27th November, Athens, by Infomobile

Four Iranians detained at the border station of Feres in northeastern Greece have sewed their mouths in protest of their prolonged detention. Only one of them, a journalist, managed to apply for asylum. The situation in Feres is critical due to overcrowded cells but also because victims of torture, asylum seekers and other vulnerable groups are held for long periods in detention.

In the beginning of October two Iranian refugees started a hunger strike while being in detention in Evros. They stitched their mouths using fibbers from their shoelaces as an act of protest against their deportation and for their right to political asylum. If they wouldn’t had been in a critical medical condition, which led to their transfer to Alexandroupolis hospital, their cases would not have reached the public. They would have been possibly deported back to Iran where they would face imprisonment and execution for political reasons.
Since the early summer of 2010 more and more refugees – mainly coming from Iran – are caught up in the midst of a protection gap. They resorted to hunger strikes as act of political resistance, their last means of struggle, the only way to be heard and helped. Repeatedly they have fought for their right to asylum, some of them succeeded. They also fight for their freedom and basic human rights.
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Short history of hunger strikes by refugees

…in Greece within the last year:
by Infomobile

  • 19th September – 22nd October 2009:
    After a number of revolts inside the detention centre Pagani on Lesvos island, the prison was finally officially closed and the last refugees left to Athens. Huge numbers of refugees had been imprisoned in the overcrowded prison all over the summer, leading to repeated uprisings. The refugees demanded freedom through hunger strikes, broke the doors of the cells and put the cells on fire. The revolts gained a lot of public attention and media coverage through the noborder action Lesvos 2009.
  • 3rd February 2010:
    Refugees detained in Venna put fire on their clothes and mattresses to protest against their prolonged imprisonment and the inhuman detention conditions. Only three days later 42 of them were judged penalties of 4-6 months detention and following deportation without having any access to lawyers and interpreters. Then they were transferred to other prisons in order to isolate them.
  • 13th March:
    In the night of 13th March 2010, 35 detainees set the detention centre of the police station of Patras on fire to protest against their detention and the detention conditions.
  • 13th–17th April:
    124 detained refugees started a hunger strike in the detention centre of Samos protesting against the transfer of 60 refugees from Samos detention centre to a prison close to the Bulgarian border and to protest against their deportation
  • Continue reading ‘Short history of hunger strikes by refugees’

Hunger strike in Horst (Germany) III

But people do fight back | 26th September 2010

More school-age children have been sent from Hamburg to Horst, despite an agreement to the contrary. A fascist attack occurred on a refugee who is forced to live in Horst. It is the second week of protests in Horst, where the refugees are still waiting for an opportunity to finally talk about their demands with the camp management.

On Wednesday, the camp management and the interior ministry invited politicians and selected journalists to visit the facilities in a desperate attempt to silence the 300 people who live there. No attempt has been made to talk to the refugees about their demands.

On Saturday, 25th September several people and solidarity groups from various cities visited the refugees to reassure them of their support. The attempt to visit them was stopped at the gate, due to a general ban on visits. Whenever we asked in the past why the IDs of everyone wanting to visit were checked, we were given the excuse that told that the camp was open, the people were free and the checkpoints were only for the protection of the refugees.

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Hunger strike in Horst (Germany) II

Rally outside the camp in Horst | 23rd September 2010

11 days ago, a young refugee decided to go on a hunger strike to protest against the inhumane conditions in the camp in Horst. Other refugees joined him, and together with supporters from the outside, the pressure on the camp management has been increased. So yesterday, the camp management invited government officials, political parties, the refugee council and selected journalists to visit the camp in order to counter the images the public have seen in recent days with their propaganda.

It soon became obvious that the journalists who were invited were those who had written negatively about the camp. A photographer and a reporter from the magazine “Spiegel”, as well as other major news agencies had to obey the ban on visits that had been in force since the hunger strike began and had to wait outside.

Solidarity groups had organized a rally outside the camp to make sure that the journalists would see and hear the messages of the refugees. Immediately the refugees joined them, children drew pictures on the ground and others put up banners. Their demands were read out in Farsi, Serbo-Croatian, English, French and Arabic. Hearing their demands through the PA system gave people strength and as soon as the music played, the children started to dance. It didn’t take long for the rest to join and all the people who had told us their stories in the last few days were able to dance away their worries for a moment. People were singing, the fence was covered with banners and all that was missing was the delegation.

Continue reading ‘Hunger strike in Horst (Germany) II’

Hunger strike in Horst (Germany) I

Day 10 | 17th September 2010

Ten days after the start of the hunger strike in the refugee camp in Horst (a small town approximately 100 km east of Hamburg), the refugees gathered again in the canteen to emphasize their demands.

Although the hunger strike has left its mark on the refugees, they are still determined. The camp management is trying to break their resolve with repression, threats and isolation. While at the beginning of the hunger strike, the management started to cancel the work opportunities for the refugees and closed the common rooms, they now resort to taking down the details of those who speak to the press. They also openly threaten with deportation. Despite all this, a lot of people have been showing solidarity with their struggeling neighbors. Also ctivists from various cities are among the supporters.

During the past year, the refugees have managed to draw attention to their disastrous situation. More and more media are arriving at the camp to get a picture of the situation. On Saturday, Mehmed Yildis, a member of the Hamburg Parliament from the party “Die Linke”, visited the refugee camp together with journalists. However, they we were denied access, and so far no journalists or anyone else have been allowed in.

Continue reading ‘Hunger strike in Horst (Germany) I’

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]’

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