Migration and Struggle in Greece

Mini revolt by refugee minors in Lesvos detention center

Posted by clandestina on 3 June 2009

This is a translation of an article by the local newspaper “Empros”.

Here you may read the complaints madeby the social workers of Samos.  And here is a view on the Situation in Samos a year ago.


Black out with refugee minors

by Pelli Yakoumi

A mini uprising occurred yesterday morning when more than 150 refugee children who have been detained in Pagani Center for nearly a month, after the Minors’ Center at Aghiasos was crammed in early May and since then has been unable to receive any more refugees. Around 10 yesterday morning minors in Pagani began to shout, to break windows and drum on the doors, asking – what else – their freedom.

Although the law provides that minors immigrants should be released almost immediately after arriving from the Turkish coast, provided that there has been taken care for them in terms of housing and care, young boys aged 15 to 17 years remain under detention at the Pagani center for time which exceeds the time adults stay – three – at most – days, that is.

Aghiasos is full

The Agiasos Minors’Center, which was built to solve the issue of the reception of juvenile migrants, is chock full, as there has been no provision for the period the minors would be allowed to stay there until they are moved to other organized centers in Athens.  Aghiassos has been operating for about a year, and it succeeded in “keeping” a significant number of minors, who choose the Center as a temporary home until they find another solution. The fact that they are provided there with shelter, food, education, entertainment for free means the conditions there are better from seek their fortunes in blind, in Athens or in some other country.  But the hosting possibilities at Aghiasos are since early May they have been exchausted.
«Our capability was to host up to 100 people and currently there are 120 people at the Center.  There is no space, we can not receive any more people. We say that the Health Ministry should take measures », said to “Empros” the manager of the«Theomitor» [the managing institution] Apostolos Athenaios.

Tied hands

Local authorities have their hands tied over where children constantly arriving from the opposite coast should go, while at the same time the Ministry of Health seeks funds to provide the social workers to escort the minors to Athens with ferry tickets.  We actually expect that the “ball” will be next thrown to the prefecture.  But even if money are ensured for the tickets, finsing hosting spaces is not easy in Athens as the centers are chock full of minors there as well.

«In the summer the problem will be even greater.  The Aghiasos Center can stay full like now for months, sinse no one can take minors out from there.  We have proposed that those who reach asulthood may be released, still this is not easy to know, as the minors do not have any documents and we only know their age by their own statements», says Mr. Athinaios.
Although yesterday’s incident in the Pagani Center lasted only a short time, the management of the Center expects more episodes as they days go by and the problem remains unsolved.

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