clandestina

Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘Calais’

Europe’s murderous borders: report by Migreurop

Posted by clandestina on 26 December 2009

Text below by BRISTOL NO BORDERS

“A report published by Migreurop (a Euro-African network of 40 organisations from 13 countries working on issues of immigration policy, externalisation and their consequences within and beyond the EU’s borders) in October 2009 paints a vivid picture of the effects of the EU’s migration policies by focussing on three regions in which a number of common denominators are identified in spite of the significant difference between them (the Calais region and the north of France, the Greek-Turkish border and the Oujda region in eastern Morocco). These are added to by a case study on events on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where practices have been adopted for the sake of expediency that confirm the suspicion that legal guarantees and human rights conceived as minimum standards for the treatment of all human beings are becoming a luxury that is not meant for migrants who have been criminalised and de-humanised as “illegals”.”\

The themes that run through all the sections from specific areas are those of controls and attempts to stop migrants, their detention in awful conditions that often entails abuses by guards, and a de-humanisation that goes so far as to result in deaths and in the use of legal and illegal dissuasive practices, among which the Dublin II regulation and illegal repatriations are identified as being particularly harmful. Instances of resistance against policies enacted by government by migrants themselves and local populations that express solidarity for them are also examined. A special emphasis is placed on how some French policies are officially justified as seeking to prevent “a draught” that would encourage others to migrate towards Europe, that the authors interpret as people being made to endure dreadful situations not for their own sake, but for the message to reach their home countries and particularly those who might be tempted to follow them in the future.

Surprising parallels are drawn, such as those between the “tranquillos” in northern Morocco and the so-called “jungles” in France, which are both make-shift shelters self-managed by those attempting to escape the attention of the police, immigration authorities, in short, to become invisible while they try to plan the next stage in their journey after hitting a dead end. In Morocco, they face the choice between trying to cross a heavily guarded stretch of the sea in which thousands have died en route to Spain, trying to climb the six-metre-high fencing erected around the Spanish north African enclave cities of Ceuta and Melilla, or to reach them by swimming around the border, again, risking death. In France, they have the Channel blocking their way into the UK, the Dublin II regulation stopping refugees among them from claiming asylum in case they are sent back to the countries they first entered the EU from (most often Greece, where the level of successful applications is well below 1%), resulting in a likelihood of them never being able to obtain asylum regardless of whether they fulfil the requirements for it.

Everywhere, the police are on their tracks, and capture involves the risk of detention, sometimes entailing violence as well as terrible living conditions, and expulsion, except for those who come from countries to where some European states will not expel them (unlike the UK, France does not usually repatriate Afghans), although this is not an issue if they are captured in Morocco or in Greece, where night-time returns to Turkey in perilous conditions across the river Evros are commonplace. The Italian practice of directly returning intercepted boats to Libya without identifying the people on board or their nationalities since May 2009 is a classic example of how the wish for expediency is trampling even the limited guarantees provided by increasingly harsh national immigration laws- expulsion without a judicial authority issuing a formal order; the presence of likely refugees disregarded; returns to presumed transit countries where they are likely to experience further abuses.

There are many excerpts of first-hand accounts from migrants’ experiences, ranging from a complete lack of understanding of the situation in which they are forced, for instance an Afghan youth in Calais who wonders how it is possible that he is not allowed to stay, nor allowed to leave and is thus condemned to roaming aimlessly, feeling as if he were “in a cage”, to harrowing descriptions of spiteful and mocking treatment at the hands of border guards that went so far as to lead people to perish, both on the Moroccan-Spanish border and the Greek-Turkish one.

The lasting impression caused by the report is that thousands of people are facing incredible ordeals as a result of policies, that awful living conditions from poorer countries are entering the EU as a result of exclusion and the creation of categories that are permanently forced to live in a condition of invisibility. On the other hand, to help them “regulate” immigration flows, the EU and its member states are funding a vast expansion of the internal security apparatus in bordering countries and of tough laws that are often implemented on the basis of skin colour.

This often means that visits by authorities from European countries and EU institutions for negotiations with third-country governments in this field result in indiscriminate round-ups in neighbourhoods in which large numbers of migrants live and in the spread of racism, both by security and police forces as well as by members of public, for example in north African countries against sub-Saharan migrants suspected of seeking to emigrate to Europe.The report is available on the Migreurop website:

Les frontières assassines de l’Europe (French, original)

Europe’s murderous borders (English)

Fronteras asesinas de Europa (Spanish)

Rapport-Migreurop-nov2009-en

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Group of migrants in Calais started a hunger strike

Posted by clandestina on 30 September 2009

source: http://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/2009/09/30/hunger-strike-starts-today/

PRESS RELEASE

EMBARGO 12 NOON FRENCH TIME, WEDNESDAY 30TH SEPTEMBER

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 http://calaishungerstrike.wordpress.com 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.

ENDS

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

http://calaismigrrantsolidarity.wordpress.com HYPERLINK “http://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/” http://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com

calaisolidarity@gmail.com

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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.”

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What’s happening in Calais and ways to help

Posted by clandestina on 31 July 2009

If you are coming to Calais to show solidarity and want information call (from UK) 00 33 6 34 81 07 10 from France 06 34 81 07 10

Latest information from activists on the ground in Calais

*Friday 31st July (3.30pm)

PATROLS
We have been continuing with the patrols early morning and at night.
We do not have news yet on the 2 migrants who were attacked
yesterday. Generally everything seems quite calm. Today we saw a CRS
(riot police) van with 6-7 Afghans but the police had not been to
the ‘jungle’ so they must have picked them up elsewhere.
The patrols are essential, but time consuming so we are also trying
to find residents near the jungles who will help us monitor

SCABIES/MEDICS
We have been doing some basic first aid and taking maalox. If anyone
is coming from England alcohol gel which doesn’t require water is
cheaper there so please bring some for us to distribute!
Medecins du monde has called for all NGO’s to work together to take
action on scabies between 17-21 August. The operation will take place
across Calais.
Treatment of scabies, Hygiene kit, Shower, Medical consultation,
Clean clothes, ‘Coverage’
MDM and MSF will provide most of the materials and do lobbying.
People are trying to find out where the NGO’s are meeting to get
more info(we haven’t been invited!) will send more info soon

CONCERNS
-are the migrants being cleaned up ahead of being put on charter
flights and deported?
-need to mobilize to make sure activist’s in the area at this time
even if deportations do not take place the migrants will be very
vulnerable if their homes etc are being ‘cleaned’
-how will it be organized?
-how will it be maintained?
(stopped from coming back if still no water?)

OFFICE SPACE

We really need one! People looking this afternoon at apartments.
Funding is still an issue;
JOBS THAT CAN BE DONE FROM OUTSIDE CALAIS
Please help with these if you can and email to confirm they are
happening
-fundraising
Needed desperately!
-design a window display/flag
We talked about making something really simple (using barbed wire to
birds logo maybe) that local supporters could display in their
windows (and could be given out or even sold at the market)
-leaflets and letters to residents
About Calais that can be given out at events in town and door to door
-improve the business card for migrants
At the moment we have a card in English only with the emergency phone
number on it 0650734104. We have been giving it out, so far not many
people have been using it but trying to improve this. Would be good
to have it in as many languages as possible, small business card
size that just says ‘in case of raids call 0650734104′ and that we
are from no borders/Calais migrant solidarity.
-UK arrivals leaflet
Being distributed in farsi and Arabic needs better translation into
pashtun. Needs a contact number for people who make it to England to
call. Please send a comment to this blog if you can help with any
of this.

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URGENT: Stop Destruction of Calais Migrant camps and mass deportations

Posted by clandestina on 20 July 2009

source: http://no-racism.net/article/3033

[ 19. Jul 2009 ]

URGENT: Stop Destruction of Calais Migrant camps and mass deportations

Migrant camps threatened with clearance at Calais 21st July 2009. Mass deportations to Afghanistan planned for 24th July, widespread human rights abuses imminent.

Open statement about Calais situation to all concerned

Please forward and reply to calais.witnesses (at) googlemail.com, adding your name below.

Preamble

We are writing to a number of organisations, which we understand operate in different ways and have different remits. We have prepared this statement, below, which we are asking groups and individuals to sign, as well as inviting both your suggestions and your urgent intervention to avert this crisis, in any way that you are able to.

According to humanitarian groups in Calais, up to 2000 individuals in the Calais region of northern France are under imminent threat gross violations of human rights because of their status as migrants. Following the announcement on 6th July, 2009 of a joint Anglo-French agreement for £15 million [1] to strengthen the French UK border, humanitarian groups in France have been notified that an official date, this Monday 20th July, 2009, has been set by French authorities to clear and destroy the makeshift camps that migrants have been forced to live in in already appalling conditions.[2] This will fundamentally affect these people’s right to safety and will undoubtedly traumatize and destroy the few possessions that they have. Official plans for people once their dwellings have been destroyed are still unclear but we are informed by Calais-based, French humanitarian organization, ASSOCIATION SALAM [3], that proceedings have begun by the French government as part of the Franco-British Agreement to charter mass deportation flights [4] to Kabul and Iraq. While UK immigration Minister Phil Woolas boasts of a “ring of steel that protects Britain”, there are many individuals in Calais who are simply seeking safety and are trapped by a European immigration policy that is denying basic human rights. Without urgent intervention that there is very real threat of mass refoulement [5] of asylum seekers back to countries of origin from which they have fled and where they could face torture, imprisonment and in some cases death.

In the wake of the clearance of migrant camps in Patras, Greece and in Paris we believe that strong condemnation of these plans and independent observers and monitors in Calais are urgently required. We call on you to pressure the British and French authorities to respect their international obligations to provide protection under the Geneva Convention and respect human rights. We demand the immediate cessation of any attempts to clear and destroy refugee camps as well as plans to deport migrants to who have a right to seek asylum in Europe.

Last November, two charter flights to Afghanistan were cancelled thanks to the mobilisation of all. DON’T LET THIS CHARTER OF DEATH LEAVE!

Signed:

Laura Maragoudaki, Alice Cutler, Calais Witnesses [6]

To support this call, please send a message with your name or the name of your organisation to calais.witnesses (at) googlemail.com

Notes:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Europe to be “cleansed” of Sans Papiers? Fight against the mass deportation of refugees from Calais

Posted by clandestina on 18 July 2009

source: bristolnoborders.wordpress

Europe to be “cleansed” of Sans Papiers?

Arrests, Detentions,Expulsions? Indignation!

Arrests, Detentions,Expulsions? Indignation!

With the burning and clearing of the main migrant camp in Patras, Greece (see article below) it seems there is a Europe-Wide attack on those without the luck to have a EU-Passport.On Tuseday next week the make-shifts camp whoch the migrants have built in calais are to be destroyed.There are plans for mass- deportation flights to follow. Activists are travelling to Calais to witness, and to try to intervene in Calais as we speak. However, the situation is desperate and we call on all those who can’t make it to call the numbers below. Green MEP’s statement condemming the actions of the authorities

URGENT CALL OUT for activists, legal observers, journalists and video activists to support migrants in Calais against imminent police attack and deportation!

The French immigration minister, Mr.Besson has officially announced that plans for the destruction of the refugee camps in Calais and the subsequent deportation of refugees will take place this week between the 20th and 25th of July.

There is an urgent need for people to go to Calais to protest against the clearances as well as to act as legal & human rights observers as police begin destroying the camps and attempting to remove people.

Please act now in any of the following ways:

CLICK HERE TO FIND MORE ON WAYS TO JOIN THE CAMPAIGN.

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