Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘Afghan immigrants’

Second pogrom against foreign workers in Lakonia, Peloponnese

Posted by clandestina on 25 July 2010

On Tuesday, July 22, around 2 a.m., “indignant citizens”, nationalist thugs that is , assaulted Afghan workers at the district Sotiras or Kouskouni near Areopolis in Lakonia Prefecture, Peloponnese.   According to the police report around ten people wearing hoodies broke and entered in the Afghans’ house and beat them with clubs.  Then they fired a gun on the air and left with their cars.  Four Afghans were taken to the Health Center of Areopolis and Sparta Hospital, and were allowed to return home in the afternoon of the same day.   The police mentions some small dispute the Afghans had with Greek locals in the previous days.

This is the second major racist incident in Sparta in the last months.  On February 5 2010, a group of 13 adolescents 14-17 years old set the house of Banghladeshi workers on fire.   The workers who were sleeping inside took notice of the fire in the last instance and managed to escape.  The young arsonists posted on the web the video they had shot with their cell phones some hours later.

adaptation of this enet article.

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From Anti-Immigrant Summer to Zero Tolerance on Election Bait 

Posted by clandestina on 20 December 2009

Text in Greek available here.

On the occasion of the International Migrants Day

From Anti-Immigrant Summer to Zero Tolerance on Election Bait

Just over a month and half ago Prime Minister Papandreou used the Global Forum on Immigration & Development proceedings in Athens to sketch government measures which would stand for a humanitarian turn compared to the policies and situation of the recent months .  He described as necessary

“[T]o stimulate the participation of immigrants in the political life of the country, through the possibility of Greek citizenship acquisition, particularly of course for the so-called ‘second generation’, in which we are suggesting the acquisition of citizenship by birth for the new person born in our territory.”

For people in Greece, though, the announcement of the Secretary for Home Affairs Theodora Tzakri two weeks later, which made clear that Greek citizenship would be granted only to children born to legal immigrants, came as no surprise.

The doctrine of “Zero tolerance to illegal migration” goes hand in hand with this government’s humanitarian turn… As for what this turn is all about, it aims at incorporating immigrants mostly from Albania, after two decades of overexploitation, and in exchange for votes. A phony exchange indeed.

Along with this, the dividing of immigrants into ‘good’ and ‘bad’, ‘useful’ and ‘superfluous’, ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ becomes more intense, and the system of exploitation grows deeper roots .

As we wrote in our above linked text on the Global Forum on Immigration & Development:

“The aim of developmental policy is to control migration flows (through the FRONTEX patrols and detention centres) as well as to regulate them (through 5-year rotating work permits, the annulment of asylum rights), in order to keep a stable proportion of productive inhabitants within the increasingly ageing, unproductive populations of Europe. In other words, recycling the migrants will keep the indexes of development in check, development being the systematic and bloodthirsty pillage of lives and resources, time and space.

According to the “UN Population Division report on replacement migration”, if the Europeans want to keep their ratio of older people to active workers at the 1995 levels, the Union will need 135 million immigrants by 2025.

This demographic issue is only part of the story, and maybe not the most important. Neoliberalization inside Europe has meant a weakened, destabilized labor force. It’s not just that capital wants selected migrants because it needs more workers, it wants migrants because they are powerless, unorganized, low-paid workers for whom there will be no job security, no health care and no pensions.In other words, they are far cheaper and less troublesome workers”.

Illegal immigrants are necessary because through them the rights of the legal ones are suppressed (there is of course rotation of people in these roles). At the same time, illegal immigration helps governments maintain a useful xenophobic atmosphere to impose authoritarian policies. “Migration management” includes both authoritarian hysteria and humanitarian logistics. The two seemingly opposite positions are the two sides of the same coin of subjugation.

So let’s outline against this backdrop the government’s humanitarian turn after the elections of October 2009…

The Doctrine “Insulated Greece”

The new doctrine was introduced by Minister of Citizen Protection (= Public Order) M. Chrisochoïdis on Tuesday, December 15, at his meeting with the FRONTEX Executive Director J.Laitinen.   The construction of the Southeast Mediterranean FRONTEX Headquarters at the U.S. base of Aktion or at Piraeus has been a permanent request of the Greek government, which proudly stated that 75% of illegal entry arrests at the sea borders of EU for this year took place in the Aegean sea.

A few days earlier in the frame of FRONTEX operations (on Saturday, December 12) officers in Samos island, on no notice whatsoever and violently, carried out with utmost secrecy the transfer of over 85 Afghan refugees from the local detention center to the island’s airport at Pythagorio.  There the refugees were boarded on an airplane which departed for an unknown destination.

The slaughter in the Aegean Sea continues

In less than two months, 16 migrants have died in the icy waters of the Aegean. Most of them were children.

  • On Tuesday, October 27, 8 immigrants, three adults and five children, drowned in the east part of the Aegean Sea.
  • On Saturday, November 7, the lifeless bodies of six children from Palestine, aged 2 to 12 years, washed up on shore near Bodrum (Alikarnasos), Turkey.  The boat in which 19 Palestinians – half of them children – squeezed themselves on an effort to pass from the Turkish town of Turgutreis to Kos island overturned 500 meters from the shore.
  • On Friday, December 11, a boat carrying undocumented migrants sank near the island of Leros. Fishermen found 25 migrants perched on a rocky island and two more lifeless bodies in the sea.

Police violence

Incidents of abuse and humiliation by the police amount to dozens, and most of them never reach the public attention. We report the following characteristic cases:

Para-state violence

The para-state mechanism was launched last summer against immigrants and since then it has been working relentlessly despite the supposed change of policy.

Para-state organized violence encourages and feeds the diffuse social one.

  • Thus, on November 8, four immigrants who had been working at olive fields in Messolongi, Western Greece, were attacked with crowbars and clubs and beaten savagely by circa 15 people. The immigrants were transferred to the emergency dept. of the Messolongi hospital. The immigrants had been asking their wages from the owner of the fields in which they had been working.  They were ambushed and beaten in an old warehouse, where they had an appointment with their employer to get their money.

Institutional violence

  • In late November the trial of 25 immigrants (mainly Arabs and one Afghan) took place; they had been arrested during the events of December 2008 and had been detained ever since.  All this period they were considered missing.  All of them were sentenced to imprisonment from 7 months to 3 years.  It is characteristic for the fairness of the trial that only one interpreter had been assigned , who translated simultaneously for 24 defendants who were divided in three groups in the court’s room.  The Afghan who did not understand Arabic was seated on the last bench of the room…
  • On Friday, December 11, in Thessaloniki, a report was issued by the Hellenic League for Human Rights, about the detention centers in Evros and Rodopi.  The survey took place from the 25th to the 29th of November 2009 and states:

In many cases there is inadequate lighting, ventilation and heating (…)  At virtually none of the premises visited have the possibility to go outdoors on some yard. Even in detention centers where there is an adequate yard, the large number of detainees on the one hand and the lack of personnel on the other allows usually only for some prisoners to have outdoor breaks for a minimum period and not on a daily basis (…)  Food in many cases is inadequate, the quantity and quality in general varies (..). The care taken for sanitation and hygiene conditions varies from inexistent to inadequate (…) The availability of medical and nursing staff is poor and at all cases occasional (…) The detainees were in total confusion regarding their rights, the time of their detention and ill-informed as to asylum procedures; interpreters were not available.

December 18, 2009

Clandestina Network

Group of Immigrants and Refugees, Thessaloniki

Posted in Group of Immigrants and Refugees / Clandestina Network Texts & Announcements, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research, Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Arrests of sans papiers in Ileia, Peloponnese and Ipeirus

Posted by clandestina on 4 September 2009


41 undocumented immigrants from Iraq, Afganistan and Palestine were arrested the night before yesterday in Ileia, Peloponnese (the prefecture which lays  next to Patras’ prefecture in the south).  They had paid 1,000 – 1,5000 euros each to be transported by a little fish-ship to Brindesi, Italy.   After the ship-owners abandoned them at the shore at the Katakolon area, they tried to hide but were reported and arrested.

Some hours later, in the nearby area of Lehena, Ileia, Peloponnese, 21 refugees from Palestine were arrested.

In two days, 2 and 3 of  September, 137 immigrants were arrested in Ipeirus region, in northwestern Greece. source:

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Violent assaults against immigrants in Athens during August

Posted by clandestina on 29 August 2009

Two new attacks on refugees in the area of Aghios Panteleimonas

In the first case on August 6 an asylum seeker from Afghanistan was prevented from some Greeks to pass through the square and when he asked them the reasonhe was attacked by at least ten of them, who immobilized and beat him, and then left him unconscious on the street.

The local police did not register the event but referred him to a hospital where he remained  the following day until dawn as his injuries were severe.   He returned to the police station where he was deferred twice from filing a complaint.  After this the victim with the legal advice of the Council of Refugees filed a lawsuit in Athens Prosecutor.

The more recent  case is the one of an Afghan of recognized refugee status who has been receiving the last two weeks daily pressures and threats to close down his shop  «so that foreigners stop gathering there».  On August 17 about 10 people started hitting the window of the restaurant and told him to shut down; he refused, called the police for help but the police never came.   He was forced to close his shop, since the threats were repeated, and the police never came on the spot.


One more fascist attack in Attiki Square

An Afghan immigrant was produced by ambulance to the emergency wing of Evangelismos hospital, having been heavily injured yesterday at 8.30pm on an attack at Attikis square.  He suffers several injuries throughout his body and has been pierced with a crowbar  beneath the heart!

He was attacked by a gang of fascists who patrol every night in the area.  The standard, daily gathering spot of the fascist gang is just 30 meters from the Police Department of  Aghios Panteleimonas.   It is obvious that the contract between the fascists and the minister of public order involves daily patrols of thugs who stab and beat immigrants. In the summer many immigrants have been produced to hospitals according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.


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A sum-up of August so far

Posted by clandestina on 26 August 2009


According to an “Eleftherotypia” newspaper article, 3.000 refugees are detained in police detentions spaces (in the prison cells of police departments) and 3.000 more in dtetention centers. The detention center conditions, which are even more unbearable due to seasonal heat, could only be described as hellish during August due to the the inhumane overcrowding, which is now the situation at Greece’s mainland detention spaces as well. This has been described as unprecedented, with the facilities with no exception now being 50% over their capacity. Detainees are constantly being transferred from one detention space to the next, but constant “sweep operations” have gradually filled all premises. According to leaks, there are also some “informal” detentions spaces running. The only strategy of the pertinent ministry of interior is actually summary expulsions of refugees to Turkey.

The minister and deputy minister of interior are said to be in political rivalry, and their urge to meet with the “message of the euroelections”, the cleansing of Athens and urban centers of immigrants, has clashed with coordination problems and the lack of any realistic plan for “reception centers”, at the expense of refugees’ treatment of course, as described above. The minister is said to follow a plan of constucting four camps until the end of the year, the deputy minister two camps as early as mid September.

The situation is believed to worsen by the end of August when the new law which denies refugees to lodge an appeal for rejected asylum applications will be put in effect, opening thus the way for the deportation thus thousands of refugees whose applications are now pending.

“Now you will die!”: Coast Guard attempt to drown asylum-seekers in Lesbos


Coast guard of Lesbos tied 12 Somali immigrants in an inflatable boat and then pierced its sides with knives in order to drown the helpless asylum seekers who were saved by passing cruise boat

The Coast Guard of Lesbos Island has been accused of attempting to mass murder 12 Somali asylum seekers, amongst which one woman. According to the case, on the 5th of July an Austrian European border Frontex Helicopter spotted an inflatable boat containing the 12 immigrants off Korakas Cape in Lesbos.

Upon the arrival of the Greek Coast Guard, the helicopter left, leaving the Greek cops to arrest the 12. The Coast Guard took the 12 out of their boat, tied their hands to their necks, beat them, and put them back in the inflatable boat before piercing its sides with knives. Then they let the boat go to the open sea telling the asylum seekers in English: “Now you will die!”.

Immediately the boat started getting water in, and sinking. The asylum seekers were saved from certain drowning when a British cruise boat passed by, saw them and saved them. The asylum seekers were then taken to Pagani detention camp on Lesbos from where they contacted the UN through a sympathetic lawyer. The Coast Guard adding insult to harm has called the UN law suit against them an act of provocation.

4 Iraqis on hunger strike in Arta


In Arta, a town in north-western Greece of 25.000, four Iraqis went on hunger strike on the 9th of July, while another four Albanians are expecting for their asylum requests to be examined. The immigrants are not being accused of any crime, yet they have been locked up in a dirty and crowded cell at the police station for over two weeks, depending only on the good will of the police officers to leave the cell. The Iraqis, considerably weakened by the hunger strike and the conditions of detention, have even abstained from requesting political asylum and are hoping their hunger strike will help accelerate the process leading to their release and administrative deportation.

THE IMMEDIATE LEGACY OF THE PATRAS EVICTION: 23 immigrants on hunger strike in Agrinion

source: athens indymedia

On the 11 July 2009, the Patras TV channel “superb” broadcasted a live interview of the president of the police officers’ Union of Agrinion, a town of 100.000 inhabitants in Western Greece. The officer stated that 23 of 26 immigrants who had been arrested after the complete demolition of the 15-year-old refugee settlement in Patras by the authorities, and had then been transferred to the police headquarters in Agrinion, have now started a hunger strike. (The remaining three immigrants had been released.)

All 23 of the detainees (Somalis and Afghanis) were reported to be suffering contageous diseases, (mainly tuberculosis and scabs) yet were still being kept in jail instead of being taken to a hospital for proper care. The guards refused to go near them for fear of becoming infected and had therefore arranged for the immigrants to have direct access to the toilets. The police officers’ union president added that the immigrants had been offered to be returned to their countries on the expense of the Greek State but they had all declined.

A month later, on the 12th of August, four of the immigrants were transferred to the hospital, where they joined another four immigrants-hunger strikers who had been transferred there the previous day. All eight of them are in a critical condition. The original 23 immigrants were still refusing food until the 20th of August, when six of them were transferred to an unknown destination. 17 immigrants are now being detained in Agrinio, accepting water and food and awaiting the State’s decision about their fate.

Hunger Strike in Pagani, Lesvos

source and much material and updates at

Published on 20. August 2009,

On 18th of August 2009, 160 unaccompanied minors detained in Pagani detention centre went on hunger strike to demand their immediate freedom. All of them are detained in just one room, where they share one toilet, many need to sleep on the floor due to lack of beds. Some of the minors are only eight or nine years old. 50 of them have been detained for over 2 months, the others have been in Pagani for several weeks already. The detention of minors is illegal under greek law.

Today, 150 people from a local solidarity movement and antiracist groups here to prepare the noborder camp took to the detention centre to show solidarity and support for their demand for immediate freedom. On arrival, the detained persons started shouting “freedom, freedom”, which was answered by the demonstaration. Messages in English and Farsi were read out as the migrants inside passed letters with their demands and concerning their situation to the outside.

All participants of the demonstration were severly shocked in the light of the unbearable conditions in Pagani. We learnt of a 13-year-old boy inside Pagani who was extremely sick and in urgent need of medical attention for two days already. However, none of the authorities responsible acted. It was only when we called an ambulance it was possible to transport the sick boy to the hospital. We also learnt of a heavily pregnant woman in a very bad health state. She however refused to be brought to the hospital since she didn’t want to leave her other two little children alone in Pagani.

We left with the promise to come back soon and to spread the information about these obvious human rights abuses worldwide and went to the city to confront the attorney responsible with his neglect in taking care of the minors he is in charge of.

One letter we received reads:

We are having hardship times in this worst jail, more than three months in a bad situation, without any supporters except you. The police refuses or rejects to explain our bad situation in this bad jail. We are more than 1.000 prisoners, ladies, guys as well as lots of children. So as a conclusion, please do whatever you can. We are waiting a lot from you, we need our freedom as well as our rights.

Best regards, prisoners

Samos Hunger Strike: almost 600 Samos immigrants go on hunger strike over transfers, expulsions


The recent government policy of moving illegal immigrants to reception centers in northern Greece before expelling them from the country ran into more trouble yesterday, as 580 migrants being held on Samos went on hunger strike to protest the measure.

The migrants’ complaints were prompted by an attempt by authorities to remove 26 illegal immigrants from the island on Tuesday so that they could be transferred to another center in northern Greece.

Authorities have recently attempted to crack down on illegal immigration by stepping up the number of expulsions, while also taking into custody migrants squatting or renting accommodation in run-down buildings in Athens.

The practice of transferring migrants to northern Greece has, in recent weeks, met with the opposition of human rights campaigners who have attempted to prevent the operations from taking place.

Yesterday’s protest came as sources revealed to Kathimerini that one in three applications made this year to remain here by the families of migrants living legally in Greece will be rejected.

Sources said that some 9,000 applications had been made but that in some 3,000 cases, the requests would be turned down because the migrant who is the main breadwinner in the family was not earning enough money.

According to Greek law, for a migrant’s family to be allowed to remain in Greece, the head of the family must declare an income that is 20 percent more than that of an unskilled laborer, which amounts to 10,200 euros per year before taxes.

Campaigners for migrants’ rights have expressed concern that since, given the current economic conditions, many immigrants’ incomes do not reach this level, their wives and children will be deemed to be living here illegally.

The Interior Ministry said that migrants can appeal any decision to deport their families and instead of a residence permit will be issued with a document confirming their legal status (“veveosi”) that will then be renewed every six months until their case is heard.

Deaths in Kos and Igoumenitsa

from fortresseurope.blogspot

07/08/09 Greece Body found at Igoumenitsa port. He sneaked onto a truck believing it was about to board a ferry for Italy and he died after he jumped off when it appears that the truck was headed for mainland Greece
13/08/09 Greece Two bodies were recovered from the sea off the coast of the eastern Aegean island of Kos while another three people were reported to be missing

Children in prison in Thessaloniki

August 12, 2009


Two little girls from Afghanistan were among the immigrants detained in the Border Guard Station of Kordelio outside Thessaloniki. 8 year old Narges and 2 year old Farzona were arrested with their parents trying to board on forged documents on a plane to Stuttgart. Although the public prosecutor decided that the family should be trialed in October 2010, the police arrested them and detained the father and the rest of the family in different police prison spaces. In the mean time the police decision for their deportation was issued. Fortunately the next day a court decision ordered their release and their transfer to an NGO managed reception center.

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Testimonies from refugees raided in Patras

Posted by clandestina on 20 July 2009

source, uk indymedia

Testimonies from refugees raided in Patras

Translated from Italian by Chiara- from

by Basir Ahang

Sunday 12th July, at 5 o’clock in the morning, the Greek police and army commandos have entered the camp of Patras, destroying and setting fire to everything. The migrants had built this camp in 2002, and since then thousands of people had found refuge there. Here lived Iranians, Iraqis, Africans, but mostly Afghans fleeing the inferno of war.
The destruction of the camp was decided by the Greek government in April, although this violated the Human Rights and was legally prohibited by the Geneva Convention.
Mustafa, a young resident at the Afghan camp, phoned me in tears telling that at 5 in the morning the police entered with bulldozers in the area, but, realising that the boys had no intention of leaving the only place that had left, began to threaten them by saying that they had permission to shoot if their orders were not obeyed. As this threat proved entirely ineffective, the police began to set fire to the shacks.
Once they exited the camp, the boys were immediately arrested. They were one hundred in all: 60 of them were transferred to prison in Komotini, while the other 40 have been deported to a town on the border between Greece and Albania. Among them two boys, Najib Haidari and Saeid Mustafa, were certainly among those who were able to appeal to the European Court. Yet Mustafa, during the same call, said he was scared because 240 people had already been deported in the days before the destruction of the camp, first to Turkey, Istanbul, and from there many were deported to Afghanistan. Najib and Mustafa were in possession of a document sent by the European Court in which it was expressly declared the prohibition to touch these people. When the guys showed the document to police officers, they just answered that the document was written in French and therefore it was valid in France, not in Greece.

So one wonders: who is responsible for the protection of these boys?
The UNCHR? The European Union? Nobody in the world?

If the Geneva Convention and Human Rights were respected these people should be protected from the violence of the Greek government, and they are all still there, those who fled, those already on the way home, condemned to death by a state that passes this sentence only for immigrants.

Here is a list of addresses and phone numbers useful for those who want to tell those responsible what they think about the attack to the refugee camp of Patras:

Ambasciata di Grecia presso lo Stato Italiano Via S. Embassy of Greece to the Italian State.

Mercadante 36Via Mercadante 3600198-Rome

Phone 06.8537551

Fax 06.8415927 Fax 06.8415927

Office of Defense at the Embassy of Greece in Italy
Viale Rossini, 4 Via Rossini, 4
Phone 06.8553100
Fax 06.85354014

[ mercoledì 15 luglio 2009 ] [Wednesday 15 July 2009]

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

Greece: Amnesty International condemns forced evictions in Patras

Posted by clandestina on 17 July 2009



16 July 2009

AI Index: EUR 25/007/2009

Greece: Amnesty International condemns forced evictions in Patras

Amnesty International is calling on the Greek government to ensure that around 100 people who became homeless after being forcibly evicted from their makeshift homes in Patras on 12 July 2009 are provided with immediate emergency relief, including shelter, water and access to medical assistance. The government should also ensure that all victims of the forced eviction are guaranteed the right to an effective remedy and receive adequate alternative accommodation and compensation.

In the context of its long standing concerns that the treatment of irregular migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees in Greece violates international standards, Amnesty International is also urging the authorities to provide access to fair and satisfactory asylum procedures to the individuals evicted from the campsite and those arrested during and following the operation who wish to apply for asylum including full procedural safeguards.

Amnesty International also calls the authorities to ensure that the deportation procedures initiated against the irregular migrants arrested during and following the eviction operation are in accordance with due process of law and include procedural safeguards, including the ability to challenge individually the decision to deport; access to competent interpretation services and legal counsel; and access to a review, ideally a judicial review, of a negative decision.

The campsite in Patras has been occupied for some 13 years, most recently by approximately 300 people of Afghani origin including asylum-seekers and irregular migrants. A significant number of these individuals were minors, many of whom were unaccompanied. In breach of international law, people were forcibly evicted from their homes without adequate notice, any prior consultation with the community, due process of law including access to legal remedies, and provision of adequate alternative accommodation for many of those who were evicted. Forced evictions violate a range of international and regional human rights standards to which Greece is a party, including the right to adequate housing. Evictions may only be carried out as a last resort, once all other feasible alternatives have been explored, and only when all appropriate procedural protections are in place. All persons, irrespective of their legal status, must be guaranteed protection against forced evictions.

The afternoon before the evictions officers from the Patras police force are said to have orally informed some of the individuals living at the campsite that their homes would be demolished the following day, but no official notice of the order was given. The makeshift dwellings were demolished from 5.30am on 12 July in an operation carried out by the county administration, the planning authorities and the police. According to reports many people were not provided with adequate time to remove all their belongings and that day the authorities also refused to show the order of demolition to lawyers representing a non-governmental organization working for the rights of refugees and migrants in the city of Patras. Thus, many people lost their belongings as a result of the demolition and also of a fire that broke out during the demolition.

Around 200 people were present at the time of the evictions, as some of those affected including unaccompanied minors were said to have left the campsite the night before. According to information from the Achaias Police Directorate, in the context of the demolition operation conducted on 12 July 2009, the police documented 45 unaccompanied minors of Afghani origin who were later sent to the special reception centre for minors in the town of Konitsa. Seventeen more minors of Afghani origin subsequently presented themselves at the Patras police station in the days following the eviction, and will be transferred to minors’ reception centres in the north of Greece;

The Police Directorate also documented several asylum-seekers of Afghani origin holding documentation proving they had applied for asylum. This number included 23 people who stated that they were homeless and who were subsequently provided with accommodation in local hotels; 15 people of Afghani origin with no papers who were arrested and detained as irregular migrants; and 14 more migrants from various African countries with no papers who were arrested and detained during the same day in different police operations. For all of those arrested, deportation procedures have been initiated.

Currently, however, there are reported to be some 80 to 100 individuals evicted from the campsite who are homeless and living in fields close to Patras without shelter or access to water, sanitation and medical assistance. Among those left unprotected are said to be a small number of unaccompanied minors. Under international human rights standards, Greece is obligated to ensure that evictions do not result in individuals becoming homeless or vulnerable to violations of other human rights.

Early last year, Amnesty International had expressed concern over the welfare of a large number of individuals then living at the Patras campsite when they were threatened with eviction following a decision by the planning authorities to demolish their makeshift homes in December 2007. The evictions did not take place at that time as the planning authorities accepted an appeal lodged against the order of demolition.

The current operation comes against the backdrop of a series of moves by the Greek police across the country in the past few months which have seen many irregular migrants arrested, detained and deported back to their countries of origin. In recent months the Patras police have reportedly carried out three such operations at the site where the demolition took place, arresting between 40 and 50 people each time. As a result the number of those living at the site is said to have fallen from a rough estimate of 500 people in May this year to the 300 individuals said to have been living there prior to the evictions.

Amnesty International is requesting additional information on the eviction from the Greek government including on what measures the government will take to ensure that all those who were forcibly evicted are guaranteed their right to an effective remedy, including adequate alternative accommodation and compensation for all losses. Amnesty International is also urging the Greek authorities to ensure that the reported 80 to 100 people left without shelter are provided with emergency relief, including shelter, access to water and medical assistance. Specific measures should be taken to identify and protect the unaccompanied minors said to be among this number.

Furthermore, Amnesty International reiterates its position that the Greek authorities should only ever detain migrants as a measure of last resort, after justifying in each individual case that it is a necessary and proportionate measure that conforms with international law. Alternative non-custodial measures should be the preferred solution and should always be considered before resorting to detention. Recognized refugees and migrants with a regular status should never have their rights to liberty or freedom of movement restricted for immigration purposes.

For further information about Amnesty International’s concerns about the asylum system and the treatment of asylum seekers and migrants in Greece see:

Greece: Proposed ch…, AI Index: EUR 25/005/2009

Greece: Amnesty Int…, AI Index: EUR 25/006/2009

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Greek and Italian prime ministers cooperate closely

Posted by clandestina on 16 July 2009


Italy and Greece urge EU to play greater immigration role

Rome – The European Union should seek direct commitments from individual African nations for the repatriation of illegal immigrants, Italian and Greek leaders said Wednesday. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his Greek counterpart Kostas Karamanlis made the remarks at a joint news conference following their talks in Rome.

The 27-member EU as a whole should take responsibility for dealing with the issue of illegal immigration, rather than “individual member states having to reach agreements with those on the African side of the Mediterranean coast,” Berlusconi said.

On Tuesday the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) had criticised both countries for their treatment of asylum-seekers and refugees.

Earlier this month Italy sent back to Libya migrants from Eritrea even though they were in need of asylum, the Geneva-based agency said.

The UNHCR also voiced concern over Greek authorities’ decision to close a makeshift camp hosting hundreds of would-be immigrants in the city of Patros, without however, providing alternative accommodation.

On Wednesday Berlusconi and Karamanlis did not directly address the criticism.

Instead, Karamanlis said Italy and Greece would continue to “cooperate closely,” on illegal immigration and also seek ways to boost the EU’s external border security agency, Frontex, so that it may step up patrols in the Mediterranean.

In May, following the coming into effect of an agreement with Libya, Italy introduced a strict “push-back” policy, to prevent migrants from entering its territory illegally.

Through the agreement, Libya has agreed to prevent the use of its shores for such sea journeys and to accept would-be immigrants intercepted by Italian authorities in international waters.

Rights activists, United Nations officials and the Vatican have all condemned what they say are deportations by Italy done without determining whether the migrants qualify for political asylum.


Greek-Italian push for EU migrant pacts: PMs promote repatriation agreements


Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (r) ushers his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis into the Palazzo Chigi in Rome for talks that focused on illegal immigration. The leaders also discussed cooperation in the energy sector, in the proposed ITGI and South Stream gas pipelines, prompting Karamanlis to highlight their ‘strong common interests.’

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi yesterday agreed to promote the creation of a common European policy for curbing a growing tide of illegal immigrants, proposing repatriation pacts between Brussels and the migrants’ states of origin and transit countries.

Speaking after talks in Rome, Karamanlis said that Greek and Italian authorities saw eye-to-eye on many issues relating to illegal immigration. “We agreed to push forward with common initiatives in all directions including the promotion of repatriation agreements between the EU and the countries of origin and transit of the migrants,” Karamanlis said, adding that the role of the EU’s border monitoring agency Frontex should also be boosted.

Berlusconi struck a similar note, calling on all member states to contribute to efforts to make the 27-member EU the “common point of reference” so that repatriation pacts relate to the EU as a whole “rather than individual member states having to reach agreements with those on the African side of the Mediterranean coast.”

Earlier in the week the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) had criticized both Greece and Italy for their treatment of asylum seekers.

The UNHCR expressed concern over the decision by Greek authorities to raze a makeshift settlement in the western port of Patra that, until recently, had hosted hundreds of would-be migrants seeking an opportunity to sneak onto a ferry to Italy.

The United Nations refugee agency has also appealed to Greece to avoid so-called “push-backs” of migrants originating from war zones.

In a related development yesterday, Alternate Interior Minister Christos Markoyiannakis announced that an aircraft had left Athens with 90 would-be migrants from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Hundreds more migrants are believed to have been deported over the past few months.

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Emigrating Afghans: no crisis in the smuggling business in a destroyed country

Posted by clandestina on 5 July 2009


Afghans Flee Hell at Home & Newspapers

CAIRO — Many Afghans, young and old, are forking over their life savings to be smuggled into Europe in pursuit of a better life away from the death and destruction plaguing their county.

“People can’t find jobs here,” Abdul Ahad, 26, told the New York Times on Sunday, July 5.

“And if you go to a place where there’s work, you’ll be killed in a week.”

Abdul Ahad was laid off from his full-time driving job and forced to take the only work he could find: a once-a-week driving gig through a dangerous Kabul territory.

In the past eight months, a suicide bomb and a firefight nearly took his life.

“I’m desperate.”

He began scouting potential smugglers to take him elsewhere in the world, where he hopes to find a life.

“It’s not a big dream. I just want to finish my studies and live normally.”

He is one of many Afghans who gave up hope after years of war, death and poverty, losing faith in their shaky government.

“We’ve got a president called Hamid Karzai who has done nothing for Afghan people,” fumes Shuja Halimi, a Kabul resident with three children.

Eight years on after the US invasion, Afghanistan is so destitute and undeveloped that most inhabitants have no central heating, electricity or running water.

According to aid agencies, violence has surged over the last three years with more than 2,500 people killed until the first six months of 2008.

Lesser Evil

Afghan smugglers say the number of “clients” is up 60 percent from last year and business is so thriving that they even turned away some customers.

“It’s out of my power to deal with the demand,” one smuggler in Kabul told the NY Times.

“I never imagined it would get like this.”

The most common route for smuggling Afghans is by road from Iran via Turkey to Greece and costs around $16,000.

Once in Europe, Afghans apply for asylum most often in the United Kingdom, Greece and Italy.

Last year, about 18,000 Afghans applied for asylum in Europe, a figure nearly double the 2007 total.

But immigration experts affirm that Afghans do not often find a better life outside their country.

In France, for example, an immigration detention complex dubbed the Jungle is keeping about 600 Afghans in conditions that are “very, very bad,” said Jean-Philippe Chauzy of the International Organization for Migration in Geneva.

Halimi, the Kabul father, has a personal experience.

He was deported from the UK after a two-month journey across 12 countries, including Bulgaria, where he says he eluded gunfire at the border.

He insists that while living conditions in Europe were awful, but not as bad as in Afghanistan.

That’s precisely why many war-weary Afghans prefer the struggle abroad to the at home.

Akbar Khan, who was among 30 young Afghans returned from England recently, is one of them

But despite the struggle he endured, he is vowing to try again.

“We’ll try to go back in about a month after we save some money.”

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Charter flights to Afghanistan – the Greek state to continue deportations the whole summer

Posted by clandestina on 24 June 2009

A charter flight to Afghanistan deported Afghan immigrants yesterday, according to the newpaper reports that the number of deportees was 25.  This was done in the frame of the deportations programme implemented by the ministry of interior, under which 55 Pakistanis were deported. The ministry leaks that these deportations flights will continue after agreements made with “various embassies”. reports that the number of deportees was 25.

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