Via Evrensel (Report in Turkish) – Amnesty International launched a campaign to end the refugee policy that holds refugees on the Greek islands. Because of the “Readmission Agreement” signed between the European Union and Turkey, the refugees who have been kept on Greek islands since 20 months and have not been given any permission to cross into mainland Greece, are trying to shelter in tents. They are exposed to the hardship when it comes to accessing basic needs such as clean water and health care services. Amnesty International Refugee Rights Coordinator Volkan Görendağ states that Amnesty International is launching a campaign to make the Greek government end its policy on the islands and allow asylum seekers to move to mainland Greece.
Via T24 (Link in Turkish) – The Greek government is preparing a legislative amendment, which includes the assessment of asylum requests of asylum seekers in the country. This legislative amendment, which is due to be discussed in parliament next week, is supposed to speed up the returning of asylum seekers to Turkey.
Via Ekathimerini – The Greek government is planning to amend a law governing the process of granting asylum to refugees next week! The aim is to accelerate the process of returning migrants to Turkey, which had been one of the goals of a deal that was struck last year between Ankara and the European Union but which is being inadequately enforced.
On Wednesday, Greece’s asylum service said its staff have processed 33,021 applications for asylum since March 2016, when the Turkey-EU deal was signed. The fact that rejected asylum claims are often appealed, and that reviews of those appeals take months, appears to be the main reason that thousands of applications remain pending, and thousands of migrants remain cooped up in state camps. Continue reading Greek gov’t aims to speed up migrant returns to Turkey
In Solidarity with the 35 people arrested after uprisings in Moria camp in July 2017, we repost this Joint Statement by the Panhellenic Network of Antiracist and Solidarity Collectivities:
“On 18/7/17 refugees and immigrants, victims of wars but also extreme poverty or persecutions in their countries, demonstrated in Moria, protesting for the failing to have their substantiated asylum claims examined, resulting in them being held in the infamous Lesvos hot spot for a very long time in which, indicatively, killed at least 5 people last winter, due to the unacceptable living conditions as well as the dozens of suicide attempts reported. Continue reading Joint Announcement by the Panhellenic Network of Antiracist and Solidarity Collectivities: Freedom to the 35 arrested at Moria
Via Keep Talking Greece – The German Foreign Ministry has made it clear that it will not provide additional winter assistance to refugees on the Aegean islands. In a related question from German newspapers, the foreign ministry replied that “responsibility for accommodating and feeding refugees falls under the jurisdiction of each country.”
According to dpa, the Foreign Ministry recalled that Berlin recently funded the installation of 135 heated containers for a total of 800 people in two camps in the Thessaloniki region and that the EU has allocated up to now 1.4 billion euros to tackle the refugee crisis in Greece.
Continue reading German Foreign Ministry rejects additional winter aid for refugees on Greek islands
Via Greekreporter – Lesvos island decongestion plan is in full progress. 408 persons have left the island in the last 24 hours. 152 refugees and migrants left on Friday evening from the port of Piraeus while another 256 left with the ferry “Nissos Samos” on Saturday for the port of Heraklio, Crete. Continue reading Large Number of Migrants and Refugees Leave from Lesvos; Migration Ministry’s Decongestion Plan in Full Progress
Via No Border Kitchen Lesvos – Two brothers from Nigeria who made the deadly crossing from Turkey to Lesvos in a rubber dinghy were immediately detained in the pre-removal prison inside the so-called “Hotspot camp”, Moria. For almost three months they were isolated from society, adequate legal assistance or support structures. All refugees from countries with less than 33% acceptance rate (which are more than 28 countries including Syrian single men) can currently be detained immediately after their arrival on Lesvos, for the entire duration of their asylum procedure. While the two brothers were held in detention, their asylum application was rejected twice under the fast-track border procedure implemented on the Greek islands since the EU-Turkey statement of March 18th 2016. It has been repeatedly pointed out by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and lawyers such as those from the Legal Centre Lesbos that the fast-track procedure tramples roughshod over human rights. In practice, individuals are targeted because of their nationality and stripped of their legal right to a fair and proper asylum hearing.
Author: Valeria Hänsel
The Greek island of Lesvos is going through a period of strong protests. Across all political camps, the people on the island refuse to carry out the European policy measures which are transforming Lesvos into an open-air prison for refugees on the edge of Europe. Groups that are strongly divided by ideological convictions, including local left wing, moderate and right wing groups, refugees and international activists share one concern: They oppose the situation created by the EU-Turkey statement.
While right wing groups are driven by racist sentiments, the majority of protesters does not longer accept the dehumanizing living conditions in the European “Hotspot Camp” Moria. More than 6.000 people are forced to live in overcrowded containers or in small summer tents and are exposed to wind and weather without adequate protection. Some have been forced to live under these conditions for more than 18 months and six people have died in Moria during the last winter.
To make this situation visible and fight for freedom of movement, there have been several protests marches and refugees have occupied space on the central Sappho Square in Lesvos’ capital Mytilene for the whole of November. When the police evicted the square, they occupied the local office of the ruling party SYRIZA with the support of local antifascists.
Via Middle East Eye – Vandals have damaged a memorial on the Greek island of Lesbos to refugees who lost their lives trying to reach safety in Europe, rights groups said on Thursday.
Black paint was poured on the memorial, which was erected in 2013 on the east coast of Lesbos after 20 refugees drowned trying to reach the island in the winter of 2012. In 2015, hundreds more would die in the Aegean Sea as over a million people – mainly fleeing the Syrian civil war – crossed to Greece from Turkey.
“One can only wonder what the perpetrators were thinking of, insulting the memory of people who were so unjustly lost”
– Iva Vougiouka-Frangou, head of local support group Continue reading Memorial to drowned refugees vandalised on Greek island
Author: Valeria Hänsel
On Thursday, 23rd November 2017, the deportation of two migrants was stopped last minute. The two men from Iran and Afghanistan were held in detention on Lesvos Island. Shortly before they were transported to the harbour of Mytilene to be quietly deported to Turkey via ferry, lawyers and activists managed to intervene and stop the deportation of the two men. Eight other people from Haiti, Tunisia, Afghanistan and Pakistan were however deported and will be detained in Turkey, among them a family with a small child.
For the two cases that were stopped, there were serious doubts about the lawfulness of the deportation practice. Alireza Kamran from Iran is suffering from severe health problems while Tarik Chian from Afghanistan was prevented from exhausting his legal remedies in Greece. The names and cases of the other deportees were not known to the lawyers and activists monitoring the deportation. Therefore the legality of their deportation cannot be assessed but it is doubted that the persons concerned have received sufficient support to challenge second instance rejections.