Migration and Struggle in Greece

Archive for September, 2009

Group of migrants in Calais started a hunger strike

Posted by clandestina on 30 September 2009




As of 12am French time today a group of migrants in Calais started a highly visible hunger strike in a public place. The migrants, from regions including Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan, Palestine, and Egypt, say they will continue the strike until Western countries co-operate to offer them asylum. They are also demanding that no migrant in Calais is readmitted to Greece, Italy or Malta.

The migrants face constant harassment from police. Every day some amongst their number are arrested, taken to the police station only to be released in four to six hours. Occasionally they are held for as long as two days. Repression intensified recently with the destruction of the jungle where many migrants lived, the trigger-happy use of tear gas including on pregnant women, destruction of personal belongings and the targeting of migrants observing fasting during Ramadan by arresting them at nightfall and throwing away their food. If the police try to separate the hunger strikers or arrest them on spurious grounds, they say they will continue the hunger strike while under arrest and move again to a public space to continue the action when freed.

No Borders activists are already supporting the hunger strikers by standing alongside them, but the migrants are calling for support from all over the world. Messages of support can be left at and the hunger strikers welcome anyone who wants to join the hunger strike in solidarity whether in Calais or elsewhere.

Benjamin, 38, an asylum seeker from Iran, says: “The police tell us we cannot be here but we have nowhere to go. The world is ignoring us so we are making our suffering public by going on hunger strike in full view. Tourists moving through the port and exercising their freedom of movement will be forced to see our lack of freedom until Western governments work together to offer us somewhere to build a new life safely.”

With migrants facing increasing repression and winter approaching, the situation is urgent. But they say Western countries should not abrogate their responsibilities by readmitting migrants to the first European country they were fingerprinted in.  Many migrants who are readmitted to Italy, Greece and Malta say the situation is much worse there than living clandestinely in Calais and that they are oppressed there. In Greece, readmitted migrants are often locked up for three months and increasingly for six months. On release, migrants still have nowhere to go and continue to be targeted by police who beat them and sometimes rip up their papers. Readmission is not the solution according to the hunger strikers – countries including the UK, Canada, USA and Sweden should take a proportion of the hunger strikers.


For further information, or to arrange an interview with one of the hunger strikers, call 0033634810710. HYPERLINK “”

Posted in Action & Struggle Reports, Calls to Action, Campaigns, Appeals & Petitions, Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Other Groups' and Organisations' Releases | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The situation at the Samos refugee detention center

Posted by clandestina on 30 September 2009


Tuesday, 29th of September 2009.

The situation at the Samos refugee detention center

After one more summer of great influx of immigrants and refugees
to the Samos island, the situation has not improved at all.  In short, we want to share three incidents, which we believe adequately describe the theater of the absurd that is stagede at the expense of these people.

Right now in the center at Samos there are at least 500 people. Many of them sleep outside the facility with not even a bed sheet … Many families, many children!The staff is absolutely inadequate and the living conditions deplorable.
For these reasons, and other reasons, it is not difficult for anyone
to undestand why the single social worker of the Center
resigned a few days ago.   How can anyone resist the inhuman
and blatant indifference of all pertinent authorities?

At the same time in the detention center there are 15-20 (maybe more)
unaccompanied minors, who have benn illegally detained for more than 15 days in there.  In addition, 9 of them have been already there for 55 days virtually forgotten by the authorities after many of their peers had been transported to the Hospitality Center for Children in Mytilene more than 3
weeks ago.  It is well known that minors in accordance with the law should not be considered detainees, so situations such as these defy all legality.

Let us finally understand that we are dealing with people and not inanimate ‘packages’.

Right now at the port of Vathi you can see several refugees, with the paper of administrative deportation issued by the police in hand, but no tickets for Athens. This is because, for some unknown reason, the police didgave them the paper in order to go the Center, but the Prefecture, arguing that there is no money, did not give them  tickets.   One can reasonably ask:
What is the rationale behind this? What can these people, whose only asset is their despair, do?
Who would like to have “‘indignant’ citizens on top of  the  desperate refugees?

Let us be side to side with refugees and immigrants and not let anyone turn us against them!

There are no illegal lives!

Movement for Human Rights – Solidarity with Refiugees – Samos

Posted in Calls to Action, Campaigns, Appeals & Petitions, Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Other Groups' and Organisations' Releases, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research, Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

At squares and workplaces anti-immigrant police operations continue

Posted by clandestina on 30 September 2009

Athens Indymedia users have been reporting lately the increased police presence – cops in uniforms and undercover ones – in one more area of the center of Athens, Vathi Square. One police mini-bus, full of immigrants, presumably to de deported, was spotted. The square already seems “evacuated” and it is possible that the young-aged undercover cops operating there are paving the way for pogroms in the nearby area.

Other Athens Indymedia users report that more and more police operations (document checks) now take place in workplaces, like construction sites, as well as at streets and squares around Greece where immigrants stand everyday early in the morning waiting for someone to hire them for one day’s work (in farms, construction sites, etc.). There has been reports of such incidents in Athens and Heraclion, Greece. This period is ideal for cops to start entering workplaces since Union representatives are preoccupied with election campaigns of their affiliate parties.

sources in Greek:

Posted in Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

UNHCR raises alarm over young migrants held in Greece

Posted by clandestina on 26 September 2009


UNHCR raises alarm over young migrants held in Greece

September 24, 2009

The UN Refugee Agency repeated its criticism towards Greece for holding 140 young migrants at a detention camp on a Greek island on Tuesday. The UNHCR said the unaccompanied minors, mainly Afghans, should not have been detained at the Pagani centre on the island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea.

Ketty Kehayoglou, UNHCR Greece, said the UNHCR would “alert Greek authorities to the fate of these minors, who should not be detained but who have not been offered any sort of structured reception“.

The UN Refugee Agency has previously urged Greece, a major entry point into Europe for migrants, to stop placing children and asylum seekers in detention camps.

Gilles van Moortel, spokesperson for UNHCR in Brussels, says the other EU Member States should not return refugees to Greece under the Dublin regulation. “As long as Greece does not guarantee the legal rights of the individual and as long as other European countries despite that are returning asylum-seekers to Greece, this rotation will continue. The Dublin-system does not work”, he explained.

Earlier this summer UNHCR pulled out of its cooperation with Greece and has recommended that countries make exceptions to the Dublin regulation, refraining from returning asylum-seekers to Greece.

Posted in Calls to Action, Campaigns, Appeals & Petitions, Other Groups' and Organisations' Releases | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Human Rights Watch: Don’t Return Calais Migrants to Greece

Posted by clandestina on 26 September 2009

source: human rights watch website

EU Asylum Disparities Put Those Sent Back at Risk of Mistreatment

SEPTEMBER 25, 2009

(Paris) – Many of the hundreds of migrants arrested by French authorities following the destruction of their makeshift camp in Calais are at risk of being sent back to Greece, Human Rights Watch said today.

The French police reportedly arrested 276 migrants, including 125 children, on September 22, 2009, and destroyed their makeshift camp. The French immigration minister said several months ago that many asylum seekers entered through Greece and should be returned there. The New York Times, reporting on the situation, cited remarks by French officials that those who had entered the European Union through Greece would be returned there. The UK’s home secretary is quoted in The Guardian expressing his “delight” at the Calais operation and saying that the migrants there could seek asylum in the first country they entered, meaning that many are likely to be returned to Greece.

“France, the UK, and the rest of Europe act as if everything is perfectly fine in Greece,” said Bill Frelick, refugee policy director at Human Rights Watch. “But Greece denies 99.5 percent of all asylum claims, has recently eliminated its appeals procedure, and detains migrants in deplorable conditions.”

Human Rights Watch said that France and the UK should ensure that any children among those removed who have family members in the UK, including siblings and other close relatives, are able to join them on humanitarian grounds.

Under the European Union’s Dublin II regulations, the country where a person first entered the EU is generally held responsible for examining that person’s asylum claim, whether or not the person applied there. European governments enter the fingerprints of all migrants they apprehend into an EU-wide database that allows other governments to trace where a person first entered the EU and to send that person back.

While the Dublin II regulations are premised on the notion that all EU member states have comparable asylum and migration practices, there are wide disparities, with some countries like Greece effectively offering no protection at all. This disparity underscores the importance of reforming the Dublin system and ensuring that EU member states are held to account for their failure to respect their obligations under EU law to provide access to asylum.

Human Rights Watch has called on European governments, in two reports released in 2008, to stop sending migrants and asylum seekers, including unaccompanied children, back to Greece under the Dublin II regulations. The reports said that Greece fails to guarantee a fair assessment of asylum claims, continues to detain migrants and asylum seekers in conditions that can be inhuman and degrading, and has not provided adequate reception conditions for migrants, or special protection for vulnerable groups, such as unaccompanied migrant children. Greece also adopted a law in July abolishing ameaningful appeals procedure. The new law leaves asylum seekers with no right to an appeal or remedy against risk of removal to inhuman or degrading treatment, as required by article 39 of the EU’s procedures directive and articles 13 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Asylum seekers whose claim has been rejected are at risk of being immediately deported.

Concerns are further heightened, Human Rights Watch said, due to Greece’s recent arrests of large numbers of asylum seekers and their transfer to detention centers in the north, close to the Turkish border, where some are reported to have been pushed across the border back to Turkey. Greece has a record of systematically pushing migrants back to Turkey, including those seeking protection.

On August 5, Human Rights Watch wrote to the Greek interior minister asking him to take immediate steps to stop this practice and to treat migrants apprehended in Greek territory in a humane and dignified manner.

In a November 2008 report, “Stuck in a Revolving Door: Iraqis and Other Asylum Seekers and Migrants at the Greece/Turkey Entrance to the European Union,” Human Rights Watch documented how Greek authorities have systematically expelled migrants illegally across the Greece-Turkey border, in violation of international law. These “pushbacks” typically occur at night from the northern detention facilities, and they involve considerable logistical preparation. At that time, Human Rights Watch conducted private, confidential interviews in various locations in both Greece and Turkey with 41 asylum seekers and refugees, who gave consistent accounts of Greek authorities taking them to the Evros river at night and then forcing them across.

France and other EU member states are bound under the European Convention on Human Rights not to return a person to a country where he or she is at risk of inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 3) and bound by the international legal principle of nonrefoulement. The Dublin Convention allows parties to exercise their discretion under article 3 (2) (the sovereignty clause) not to return an asylum seeker and to examine the asylum claim themselves.

“It is hard not to have the impression that European governments are perfectly happy with Greece doing the dirty work for them and giving them the opportunity to get rid of these migrants, including potential refugees,” Frelick said. “Instead of sending them back to Greece, French authorities should ensure these migrants have the chance to apply for asylum in France.”

Posted in Calls to Action, Campaigns, Appeals & Petitions, Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Other Groups' and Organisations' Releases, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Immigrant severely injured in Thesprotia, North-West Greece

Posted by clandestina on 24 September 2009

On September 21, at 15:15 in Ladochori Thesprotia, an immigrant boarded on a parked truck in order to be hidden there and be transferred abroad.  When he noticed that the vehicle was moving towards Ioannina and not to Igoumenitsa port, he jumped  of the moving vehicle and suffered an injury to his head.   He was discovered by police patrols and transferred to hospitals of the Ipeirus region.

Posted in Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Greece: They could not understand why they and their children were being detained

Posted by clandestina on 24 September 2009


Greece 2009 © MSF

In the detention facility for migrants in Lesvos, MSF arranges for detained children to see their fathers.

Ioanna Kotsioni works as the Deputy Head of Mission for the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) project providing assistance to migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees in Greece since December 2008. She has visited the project in the detention center of Pagani in Lesvos, an island in the eastern Aegean Sea, and she shares with us her experience inside the detention center.

Between August 20 and 28, I visited the detention center of Pagani to support the MSF team that since July has been providing psychosocial support to the undocumented migrants inside the center. The situation I faced when I first arrived was shocking.

In the center, there were more than 900 people detained in extremely overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. The facility is actually an old warehouse that is not suitable to accommodate people. According to local authorities, its capacity is for up to 300 people, but when I visited I saw three times that many people—men, women, adolescents, and children—living in overcrowded cells, most of them sleeping on mattresses on the floor with no bed sheets. In each of the seven cells, including the cell with women and children, there were only two toilets and showers to be used by the 100 to 250 people detained there. People eat their meals inside the cell and are not regularly allowed in the yard.

To move around, you had to walk over dirty mattresses lying on the floor . . . most of the women were complaining that their children were sick and that they had not seen a doctor for days.

The situation was extremely tense in the detention center, as many people had been held for days without knowing when they would be released. Some of the unaccompanied minors had already been in detention for 50 days or more. The day I arrived, more than 100 unaccompanied minors were on the third day of a hunger strike, protesting over the living conditions in the center and demanding to be released. In total, more than 220 unaccompanied minors were kept in two cells. Fortunately, that hunger strike ended the following day, as some of them were released and transferred to the hospitality center for unaccompanied minors in Agiassos.

Families Divided

What was very alarming for MSF was that there were many women with small children inside the center. In one cell of about 200 square meters we found more than 200 women with children. Out of the 68 children, 36 where under the age of five. Among the women there were five pregnant women in the final months of pregnancy. Two of them gave birth in the local hospital in the second half of August. Conditions in that cell were extremely overcrowded. To move around, you had to walk over dirty mattresses lying on the floor. Because of the overcrowding and the poor sanitary conditions, most of the women were complaining that their children were sick and that they had not seen a doctor for days.

Greece 2009 © MSF

A group of migrants from Lesvos arrive in Athens.

Many of the women who talked to our psychologist and me were in a very bad psychological condition, especially those who had been detained in the center for a long period of time, often for over three weeks. They could not understand why they and their children were being detained there in such bad living conditions. They were in distress and had given up hope, as they were expecting every day to be released from the detention center. They were uncertain about their future and all of them were asking to be released. One Eritrean woman, held there for more than 45 days, threatened she would hurt herself if she was not released. Another Afghan woman told me that she was shocked when she arrived in Greece and was brought to this detention center, because she thought that she had finally reached Europe—the Europe that had taught the world about human rights. So she was asking me why she and her elder mother were locked in there.

Children greet their fathers through bars

Our team was faced with a general situation of distress. Priority was given to the most vulnerable groups: children, unaccompanied minors, and women. When we arrived, women had not been allowed out of their cell into the yard for a few days. One of the first things we did was arrange for the children to leave the cell, and we accompanied them to visit their fathers in the rooms at the front part of the building. That was a very touching moment for us to see the fathers hugging their small children through the bars of the cell, many of them crying. We also asked the police to allow the children to go out in the yard, where we organized some group activities, so that children could make drawings and play. The psychologist was also able to conduct some individual sessions with patients, who needed special attention.

He was worried that his wife and his newborn baby would be brought back to the detention center. He was also afraid that he and his family would die in there.

One father kept asking us about his wife and his newborn child that had been born a few days ago in the local hospital. His wife and the baby were still in the hospital and he was not allowed to visit them there. He was worried that his wife and his newborn baby would be brought back to the detention center. He was also afraid that he and his family would die in there.

It became apparent that the situation in the detention center was dangerous and that an immediate solution had to be found so that the 200 unaccompanied minors and 200 women with children would be moved to another facility. In an urgent meeting with local authorities, the UNHCR, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in the center, we tried to emphasize the humanitarian needs of women and young children and to pressure local authorities to find a shelter for them in another facility with better living conditions, where children would not be locked up in cells.

A better solution needed

Local authorities came up with a temporary measure to host unaccompanied minors, women, and children in an open holiday camp site in Lesvos. There, women and children could wait for their fathers to be released. Indeed over the next four days many women, children, and unaccompanied minors were transferred from Pagani to the camp site, where living conditions were much better. However, they could stay there for only a few days, until they could obtain a boat ticket to Athens. Leaving for Athens, they held in their hands their release note, which stated that their refoulement—the return of a refugee to their home country—was not possible. They were asked to leave Greece by their own means in the next 30 days.

Two days later, a boat with approximately 300 people, mostly families and unaccompanied minors who had been released from Pagani, arrived in the port of Piraeus in Athens. Among them were two Palestinian families with small children, the mothers of whom were in their eighth month of pregnancy. There was also an Afghan family with a newborn child and two more young children. The aunt of the newborn told me they decided to name the baby Daria, which means “sea”, and kept telling me that she is a Greek baby now, as she was born in Greece.

These families and others, in total 40 people, were stranded at the port having nowhere to go and looking hopeless. After a couple of hours, the municipality of Piraeus took the initiative to host them temporarily in a shelter. While welcomed, this is however an ad hoc temporary solution. Indeed for all these undocumented migrants there is no provision for shelter, food, and—very importantly—access to health care.

Their condition remains extremely critical in a country like Greece that does not ensure a minimum of access to health care for migrant families with young children, unaccompanied minors, and people with health problems, and does not cover their enormous humanitarian needs. MSF is extremely worried about the fate of all these vulnerable people who face a future of destitution and uncertainty.

Posted in Calls to Action, Campaigns, Appeals & Petitions, Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Interviews and Testimonies, Photos, Videos, Audios, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

100 Kurds evicted from their residence in Daphne, Athens

Posted by clandestina on 24 September 2009


On Sunday, 20 of September, 100 North Iraq Kurds were evicted from the homes they were residing in, although they had been paying the rent, and they had the informal reveipts for that – which is a very usual thing in Greece, especially in the case of refugee new comers.  The order for the eviction was issued by the Major of the Daphne, and implementd by the police, who took the people out of their place by pointing them with guns.  The order was issued after complaints had been made by neighboors and school authorities on hygiene grounds.  The Major said the refugees are to be hosted for one or two days at  children summer camp facilities in Attica.

Posted in Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fascist violence victim snatched from hospital by Greek police

Posted by clandestina on 24 September 2009

Submitted by taxikipali on Sep 10 2009 at

Seriously injured, an immigrant, victim of fascist violence was snatched by police from hospital, and held in parastate-controlled area of Agios Panteleimonas in a new parastate outrage.

The organic cooperation of the police with fascist groups dating back to the nazi occupation has been subject to recent dizzying upgrading to the degree that the ex-chief of EYP, the Greek MI5, and the man responsible for the abduction of dozens of Pakistanis to secret interrogation camps four years ago, was appointed a leading candidate of the fascist Orthodox Alarm (LAOS) party. According to the estimations of many analysts, the intensification and arming of the fascist parastate and its open endorsement by the police are part of a state plan to create an extra-administrative force of repression and terror in the face of the rising social antagonistic movement.

A victim of the continuous parastate operations of fascists and plainclothes policemen in the area of Agios Panteleimonas in Athens was snatched early this week from hospital by police forces violating doctors orders and basic rights to healthcare. The immigrant was attacked last Saturday by the usual 15-strong group of junta-nostalgic vigilantes, and had his chest pierced with an iron rod, receiving serious injuries throughout his body and head.

Instead of even ordering an investigation on the assassination attempt, the greek authorities moved to arrest an eye-witness of the incident and to abduct the unfortunate immigrant from hospital. Both are now held in the notorious police department of Agios Panteleimonas which a few years ago came under protester attack after systematic torture of underage Afghan boys in its basements. The police station is a free-way for neo-nazi scum , which according to human rights groups and lawyers who have pressed charges against the police authorities, are harboured there allowed to roam through files and intervene in procedures. Lawyers have claimed that the injured man is kept in medieval conditions of hygiene and is in risk for his life.

Posted in Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research, Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Solidarity with Rosa Nera squat, attacked by fascists on 13th September 2009

Posted by clandestina on 24 September 2009

On Sunday, 13 September 2009, a cowardly group, armed with helmets and helves, attacked the  Rosa Nera squat in Chania, at a time when almost all comrades were at the local antiracist festival.  At the entrance of the squat they hit a mother, her student son, a friend and an immigrant and then left quickly, within 2-3 minutes, hitting one more elderly person and his son who were at that time returning to the building .  During the last week posters and banners of the festival were torn across the city.



Posted in Calls to Action, Campaigns, Appeals & Petitions, Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Other Groups' and Organisations' Releases, Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »