Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘Evros’

Two immigrants dead in Evros region

Posted by clandestina on 8 October 2011

Two sans-papiers immigrants died a tragic death shortly after 23:00 Friday night (October 7, 2011) when a train moving on the Alexandroupolis – Dikaia railway line ran over them. The two immigrants were walking on the train rails.

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Revolt in Fylakio detention center

Posted by clandestina on 4 September 2011

On Saturday afternoon immigrants held in the detention center of Fylakio, Evros, set fire to mattresses.
Border police forced the inmates out of the building, where they were guarded by riot police units, while fire brigade that arrived from the city of Orestiada managed to put out the fire.
One immigrant was transferred by ambulance to the Medical Center of Orestiada.

Only recently the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) denounced that for almost a month, there has been no medical care to immigrants and asylum seekers in detention in Evros region.

Meanwhile, greek navy and coast police keep searching for survivors from early Saturday shipwreck near the island of Kefalonia. Unfortunately the number of dead will probably rise to 19.

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Giving back names and dignity to lost migrants

Posted by clandestina on 2 September 2011

Fountain to remember death and missing at the border in Tichero (Northern Greece)

John lost his wife Jane and Tahera her husband Bashir in the Evros River. They represent hundreds of other migrants who drowned in the water, were killed by landmines or are still missing. Their dead bodies were treated disrespectfully: In 2010 we discovered a mass grave in Sidero where the corpses could not be identified. We returned to give back a piece of dignity to the death and also those who survived.

Tichero, 30th of August 2011

We came together today, here on the road to Tichero.

We gathered in Tichero around this fountain for remembering the dead of the European border regime. Read the rest of this entry »

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Greek army is digging a second Evros!

Posted by clandestina on 3 August 2011

In the photo you see the ditch that the Greek army is creating in Evros.
Greek army is digging the ditch right on the border of Turkey. The ditch’s official initial aim was to serve as an anti-tank project and it was supposed to extend 20 km along the Greek-Turkish Border.

According to newspaper “TA NEA” the ditch will be 120 km long, 7 meters deep and 30 meters wide and it will serve “as a natural barrier to illegal immigrants”.

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Evros, August 30, 2011: creation of a memorial space for the refugees that died during the attempt to overcome Fortress Europe

Posted by clandestina on 28 July 2011

John is missing Jen. Jen got lost when she tried to cross the border to Greece. Maybe she drowned in Evros, the river between Turkey and Greece. We will mourn Jen and all the refugees that died during the attempt to overcome Fortress Europe on the 30th of August 2011 in Evros.  We want to give back a piece of dignity, to those whose death disappeared – right here – into the senselessness of the European borders. And we will gather for giving back a piece of dignity to those who survived. We will create a memorial space.

Interview with John, Athens, 11.05.11. Read the rest of this entry »

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Evros: construction of border fence has started

Posted by clandestina on 22 July 2011

According to the newspaper “ΤΑ ΝΕΑ” the operations for the construction of the 12,5 km long border fence at the borders between Greece and Turkey at Evros river, near Nea Vissa village, have already started, by making 18 holes where poles will be placed. The poles will support the double wired steel  fence and the thermal surveillance cameras.
The fence will be consisted by double wire with a corridor between, where there will be police patrols (like the fence in southern Spain Ceuta and Melilla) and will be of 3m height. It is aimed that the fence will incorporate all the 23 border “pyramid towers” inside the river Evros so all of this part of the border will be controlled. According to the ministry of “Protection of citizen” the cost will not exceed 5 million euros.
Since the construction of the fence was announced half a year ago, sans papiers immigrants have sifted the crossing of river Evros from the area of the Nea Vissa village to the area near the town of Soufli.

The local authorities as also those of western Greece do not accept the creation of detention centers at their regions.

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Immigrant child drowned in the river Evros

Posted by clandestina on 23 July 2010

The dead body of a young child was discovered yesterday in the river Ebros, near the village of New Cheimonio.
The unlucky boy was probably one of the sans papiers immigrants, who were carried away from river waters and found dead in the region of Dilofoy – Marasion, a few days ago. The corpse, in advanced decay, was discovered by a fisherman, who notified the Police.

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15 dead in suspected immigrant boat accident in northern Greece

Posted by clandestina on 5 January 2010

UPDATE JAN 8, EVENING: The number of bodies found so far has risen to 15.  The date of the shipwreck is estimated to be the 29th of december.

UPDATE JAN 6, AFTERNOON: Unfortunately, the number of dead bodies washed ashore is rising, 10 bodies have been found so far.

source: associated press

THESSALONIKI, Greece – Police in northern Greece say six bodies have been recovered from the sea or have washed up on the shore following a suspected boat accident involving illegal immigrants.  Their IDs were not found, reports said.

Two bodies were found Monday and four at the weekend near Alexandroupoli, a city in northeastern Greece, near the border with Turkey.

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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

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Posted by clandestina on 23 October 2009

Based on evidence gathered during investigations in Greece, Turkey and Iraq between April and
September 2009, and corroborated by reports and fi ndings of international human rights
monitoring bodies and NGOs, we argue that the principle of non-refoulement is severely
threatened by the Greek practice of illegal deportations, and consequently by transfers of asylum
seekers to Greece under the Dublin II Regulation.
In this report we present specifi c instances of illegal deportations by the Greek authorities of
persons with pending asylum cases, as well as of other groups. Such deportations take place in
such an arbitrary manner that there is no basis for claiming that Dublin returnees enjoy a higher
degree of protection than others.Out the Back Door:

Report by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC), the Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers (NOAS) and Aitima.

The report is available here.

Out the Back Door:  Dublin II Regulation and illegal deportations from Greece

Based on evidence gathered during investigations in Greece, Turkey and Iraq between April and September 2009, and corroborated by reports and fi ndings of international human rights monitoring bodies and NGOs, we argue that the principle of non-refoulement is severely threatened by the Greek practice of illegal deportations, and consequently by transfers of asylum seekers to Greece under the Dublin II Regulation.

In this report we present specifi c instances of illegal deportations by the Greek authorities of persons with pending asylum cases, as well as of other groups. Such deportations take place in such an arbitrary manner that there is no basis for claiming that Dublin returnees enjoy a higher degree of protection than others.

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