Developments on the Greek Islands
In mid-April, after a court decision, the news that the restriction of movement to the mainland for all migrants arriving on the Greek islands from then on had been lifted made the headlines. Hopes were high of these developments among refugees and their supporters. However, the Greek government quickly issued an administrative decision only a couple of days later, reinstating the former policy, known as the “containment policy” that is responsible for the terrible conditions many migrants face.
Meanwhile, in the four-day trial against the #Moria35 in April, 32 of the 35 defendants were collectively convicted of injuring police officers. The process was politically motivated from the very beginning with almost no proof against the defendants. They were collectively convicted to a 26 months suspended prison sentence, though this penalty is temporarily suspended, since their lawyers lodged an appeal against the decision. Valeria Hänsel, who contributes to HarekAct, drawing on her insights on the situation of refugees on Lesvos and focusing on their detention and deportations, wrote a report about the trial, that we published on HarekAct (in German). Continue reading HarekAct Newsletter V – April, May, and June 2018
The North Aegean regional governor announced the closure of Pikpa camp on the basis of a report by the health inspection which found shortcomings in the common kitchen handled by the residents, a broken net in the food distribution area and a leakage to a water tank for washing machines. For these reasons, it considers Pikpa dangerous to public health and the environment. Continue reading REACTION TO ANNOUNCEMENT TO CLOSE PIKPA CAMP
Saad Abdllah reports for the Samos Chronicles about a forced deportation from Turkey to Syria. His friend Mohammad was attempting to cross the Aegean Sea to Greece by boat with other migrants when they were picked up by the Turkish Coast Guard shortly after starting. They were then detained for 6 days, loaded onto a bus without knowing the destination and finally ended up in Idlib, Syria.
Little is known on what happens to migrants who are being picked up by the Turkish Coast Guard, Police or Gendarmery when trying to irregularly cross to Greece, except these horrific single stories of detention and forced deportation. We would like to ask our readers to share their knowledge, insights, articles and contributions on this issue with us! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Via Samos Chronicles (19th June) – For the past ten days I have been waiting for news from Mohammad. Like me he comes from Aleppo but for the past 6 years he has been with his mother and brother living in Istanbul. Mohammad is 18 years old.
We became friends through Facebook where he saw that I was involved with many refugees in Athens and in Samos. He had read my story in the Samos Chronicles. As a young gay man he turned to me for advice and help which I was happy to give. Over the past six months we have talked a lot and a good friendship has developed. I know that he trusts me.
Via Legal Centre Lesbos – In the months since our last update on rights violations and resistance in Lesvos, our advocacy and campaigning resources were almost exclusively focused on the two trials for the Moria 35 and Moria 10 that took place in Chios in late April and early May 2018.
The situation has predictably worsened in Lesvos. Continue reading New Monthly Report on Rights Violations and Resistance by Legal Centre Lesbos
Via #opentheislands, June 8th 2018 – The Kurdish individuals who are temporarily living in Pikpa Camp in Lesvos have released a statement demanding that Greek and European authorities protect their rights. These individuals fled war and persecution in Syria and Turkey and on 25 May 2018 they faced further violence in Moria Camp. The extreme violence they have fled and that they continue to face in Lesvos, Greece has left several injured and traumatized. Their trauma has not ended however, as Moria camp administration have this week threatened them with deportation to Turkey if they do not return to Moria Camp, which would subject them to collective expulsion and persecution in Turkey, in violation of human rights and refugee law.
Their statement and demands are found below in Greek and English.
In the light of these developments, civil society organisations have reiterated their call on the Greek government to proceed with the immediate transfer of a large number of migrants to the mainland. Around 160 people who fled the recent violence at the Moria hotspot have been transported by boat to Athens and housed in tents at the Malakasa camp. However, this number is highly insufficient. According to the government, further transfers are on hold due to a lack of accommodation on the mainland.
The Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament has recently published a study focusing on the detrimental impact that the EU-Turkey Statement and the implementation of the “hotspot approach” in Greece is having on the rights of refugees and migrants arriving. The study finds that that the current procedures and practices for processing asylum applications on the Greek islands under the EU-Turkey statement violate the applicants’ right to asylum and due process.
Via Ekathimerini -Dozens of asylum seekers who left the Moria migrant processing center for other facilities on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos will be barred from the process if they do not return to the official camp, the Migration Ministry announced on Monday.
The case concerns 1,000 Kurds who left the squalid Moria camp last week and moved to facilities run by the municipal authority where living conditions are better. Of them, 158 have been transferred to a camp on mainland Greece, but 354 remain at a facility in the former Larso sports arena and 269 at the old PIKPA campsite.
Authorities have given these 623 Kurds until Friday to return to Moria, the official camp or hot spot for refugees and migrants, or face being ejected from the asylum process and deported to Turkey. Continue reading Dozens of Kurds face deportation if they don’t return to Moria camp
On Friday afternoon 25 May 2018, intense fighting broke out at Moria camp, leaving many people injured. A group of around 70 refugees, including many families with young children and several injured people, fled the violence and found refuge in a park in Mytilini. Some injured people were transferred to the hospital by ambulance. The police did not allow the group to stay in the park out of fear for racist attacks. The refugees refused to return to Moria camp stating they feared for their lives. The police insisted for the team of Pikpa to host the people in Pikpa camp that night and guaranteed that the next day the families will be transferred to Kara Tepe. The Pikpa team was determined not to allow escalation of racist and fascist attacks in town and the police transferred the people to Pikpa.
Via Refugees Deeply – Hundreds of Kurdish refugees have left an overcrowded refugee center after violent incidents last week, saying they no longer feel safe there.
Fighting reportedly broke out between Kurdish and Arab refugees held at Moria camp over Kurds’ non-observance of the Ramadan fast. At least six people were injured. Continue reading Kurdish Refugees Walk Out of Greek Camp After Violent Clashes