Migration and Struggle in Greece

Archive for January, 2012

One more dead in Evros

Posted by clandestina on 30 January 2012

An immigrant died of hypothermia while 14 others were rescued. The 15 migrants were trying to cross river Evros from Turkey to Greece, and were trapped in an island on the Evros river near Tychero village. Seven of the survivors are nationals of Eritrea, two are Palestinian nationals, three are from Algeria, one from Syria and one from Bangladesh. The dead immigrant was also Palestinian. He was transferred in critical condition at the Medical Center of Feres, where he died of hypothermia.

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Little girl and her grandfather missing after boat with immigrants is overturned

Posted by clandestina on 30 January 2012

A 9-year-old girl and her grandfather have gone missing in their effort to cross the freezing Evros river from Turkey to Greece on a boat (with another nine sans papiers immigrants) which was overturned

Meanwhile, a boy of 3, child of sans papiers immigrants, was saved and is being kept at the University Hospital of Alexandroupolis. The boy is in a very good condition. The boy had been saved by a sans papiers immigrant and his compatriot, both of whom were arrested by the police in Orestiada. It is they who informed the police about a shipwreck with nine passengers.

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Five migrants killed in Astakos

Posted by clandestina on 28 January 2012

Five people were killed on Friday evening when the van on which they were aboard crashed, 5 km from the town of Astakos (located in west Greece, by the Ionian sea).
According to the Police, aboard the, driven by Bulgarian traffickers, van were about 30 migrants, probably of Kurdish origin.

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Fence on Greek-Turkish border to be ready in five months

Posted by clandestina on 20 January 2012

The contract to build a fence on Greece’s border with Turkey in Evros was signed on Thursday.

The 12.5-kilometer construction is being built to deter illegal immigration and trafficking but has prompted opposition from human rights groups.

Citizens’ Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis said that the signing of the deal proved the government was serious about moving ahead with the construction of the fence.

“This is the best answer to all those who argued that the project would never begin,” he said.

The fence is due to be completed within five months and will cost about 5 million euros.

Last year, more than 47,000 illegal immigrants were detained in Evros.

Source: , Thursday Jan 19, 2012

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European Court finds a Turkish migrant was tortured by one of the Greek coastguard officers supervising him

Posted by clandestina on 18 January 2012

In the Chamber judgment of January 17, 2012, in the case Zontul v. Greece, the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The applicant, Necati Zontul, is a Turkish national who was born in 1968 and lives in London (United Kingdom).
On 27 May 2001 he and 164 other migrants boarded a boat in Istanbul which was bound for Italy. On 30 May the vessel was intercepted by Greek coastguards and escorted to the port of Chania (Crete). The migrants were placed in a disused merchant navy training school. According to Mr Zontul, the conditions of detention there were poor and several detainees were deliberately attacked by guards. He alleged that, between 1 and 6 June 2001, several detainees had been taken into a room from which they had emerged with injuries and, in some cases, unable to walk. There had also been reports of mock executions and Russian roulette.

On 5 June 2001 Mr Zontul reported that two coastguard officers had forced him to undress while he was in the bathroom. One of them had threatened him with a truncheon and had then raped him with it. One of the applicant’s fellow detainees had helped him back to the dormitory after the officers had left. In protest at that incident, the detainees had decided to go on hunger strike the following morning. Some of the coastguard officers had then burst into the dining room and gathered the detainees together, before beating them with truncheons and splashing them with water and a product resembling eau de cologne. One of the detainees had been made to “jump like a rabbit”.

The Court reiterated that the rape of a detainee by an official of the State was to be considered as an especially grave and abhorrent form of ill-treatment.

Under Article 41 (just satisfaction) of the Convention, the European Court held that Greece was to pay the applicant 50,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 3,500 in respect of costs and expenses.

Read European Court’s decision here.

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LOST AT BORDER – A journey to the lost and the dead of the Greek borders

Posted by clandestina on 17 January 2012

LOST AT BORDER <> reports on the reality of loss and death at the Greek borders. As a close friend of ours said once: “If you are a refugee and you die nobody asks any questions. But for living somewhere, everybody is questioning you!” We want to break the silence and ask: What happened with all these people whose traces got lost? Read the rest of this entry »

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Albanians in Greece: Heading home again

Posted by clandestina on 14 January 2012


IT IS lunchtime and children pour out of Sunday-school classes in Thessaloniki. Waiting parents seem agitated as they talk to Valbona Hystuna, a teacher. The adults speak Albanian; the children talk to each other in Greek. Many of the youngsters have no knowledge of Albania. But the crisis in Greece is forcing their families to return home.

The latest census by Albania’s statistical office found only 2.8m inhabitants in the country, several hundred thousand fewer than expected and 7.7% less than a decade ago. As many as 1.4m are believed to have emigrated in the past 20 years, over half of them to Greece. But jobless Albanians have begun to return. Many men worked in construction, which has ground to a halt in Greece.

There is much anecdotal evidence of Albanians going home, but few statistics. Edmond Haxhinasto, Albania’s foreign minister, says only a few have returned. Still, Ms Hystuna says that “a lot of people have left, a lot plan to leave and everyone is talking about it.” In the past many Albanians lived and worked in Greece illegally, but most of them now have residence permits. Yet those who lose their jobs may also lose their permits, forcing them either to return home or to stay illegally.

Albanians have mostly integrated well. Their children often speak better Greek than Albanian; many need language classes before going back to Albania. But, says Ms Hystuna, the Greeks can make life difficult. The anxious parents she spoke to told her that the authorities have, out of the blue, insisted that the Albanian papers their Greek-born children have are unacceptable, since they use the Albanian rather than the Greek name for Thessaloniki.

As with migrant numbers, remittances are hard to measure. But what figures there are point to a sharp decline. In 2007 migrants sent home an estimated €950m ($1.3 billion). In 2010 that figure shrank to €690m; for the first three quarters of 2011 it was €475m. In 2009 remittances were reckoned to make up 9% of Albania’s GDP. Yet the economy, unlike Greece’s, has not gone into recession: it is expected to have grown by 2.5% in 2011.

Many Albanians in Greece are transferring savings to banks at home, fearful of what might happen if Greece leaves the euro. Some Greek companies have also begun to set up firms in Albania run by trusted Albanians who worked for them in Greece. So far, the effects of being a tiny economy largely dependent on recession-hit Greece and Italy have been negative but not disastrous. Yet as more Albanians move back, they will find jobs (and decent wages) scarce at home.

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6 immigrants missing in Evros

Posted by clandestina on 12 January 2012

Two plastic boats, loaded with sans-papiers immigrants trying to cross Evros river, capsized early today morning. Up to now, rescue teams have discovered 6 immigrants. The rescued immigrants are two Afghans from the one boat (on which 4 more were aboard)  and 4 nationals of Bangladesh who, along with two other compatriots tried to cross the river Evros, but without success, as their boat also overturned.

Investigations are continuing to find and rescue the missing immigrants (4 Afghans and 2 Bangladeshi), while the survivors were transferred for first aid to the Health Center for Orestiada.

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Another deportation of 43 migrants from Athens airport

Posted by clandestina on 11 January 2012

On January 10, 2012 there was another deportation flight. The deported immigrants were:

36 from Afghanistan
4 from Iraq
2 from Tunisia
1 from Pakistan

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Another deportation of 29 migrants from Athens airport today

Posted by clandestina on 5 January 2012

23 from Bangladesh
1 from Egypt
4 from Pakistan
1 from Uganda

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