A 16-year-old boy from Syria, trying to enter Greece from Turkey, lost his life in a police pursuit in the border region of Evros on Thursday, December 1, 2011. The boy was found dead when the vehicle driven by a smuggler lost control and was overturned in the area of Makri, Evros.
The incident happened when Greek border policemen and officials of FRONTEX tried to immobilize two vehicles carrying sans papiers immigrants, moving on Egnatia Odos towards the city of Komotini. The smugglers speeded up and managed to escape.
After a while there was a second attempt by the police to stop the vehicles, at the Makri junction. One of the vehicles crashed, while the second managed to escape. In the vehicle, policemen found a 36-year-old smuggler, two injured immigrants and the dead 16-year-old boy from Syria.
Posts Tagged ‘Fortress European Union’
Posted by clandestina on 3 December 2011
A 16-year-old boy from Syria, trying to enter Greece from Turkey, lost his life in a police pursuit in the border region of Evros on Thursday, December 1, 2011. The boy was found dead when the vehicle driven by a smuggler lost control and was overturned in the area of Makri, Evros.
Posted by clandestina on 3 August 2011
(ROME) — Twenty-five African migrants trying to reach Italy from Libya died in the hold of a rickety boat so packed with people that the migrants could not get out as they struggled to breathe, officials said Monday after the bodies were found below decks. Source:http://www.time.com
Hundreds of migrants fleeing unrest and conflict in Libya and across North Africa are believed to have died since the beginning of the year in desperate journeys across the Mediterranean. (See pictures of Lampedusa flooded by Tunisian migrants.)
The 50-foot boat was carrying 296 people, including women and children, said Coast Guard Capt. Antonio Morana. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by clandestina on 23 July 2011
Dublin-Deaths between Kerkyra/Greece and Bari/Italy
The following testimony of Amin Fedaii, a 16-year-old afghan refugee, is alarming. On January 15th 2011 more than 20 refugees (mainly from Afghanistan) died while trying to flee from Greece and to reach their relatives and friends in other European countries.
The asylum system in the crisis-ridden Mediterranean country has entirely collapsed. Refugees cannot find protection neither any income and often even no accommodation. Against this background deportations to Greece according the Dublin II-regulation have been stopped in many European Countries, but the affected persons got stuck in unbearable conditions in Athens or in the harbour-cities of Patras and Igoumenitsa. While EU-citizens can travel without any problems, refugees are trapped: a regular exit is refused, although they have – particularly if they come from war-zones like Afghanistan – good chances to receive a residence permit on humanitarian grounds in many EU-countries.
Amin survived and is now living in an accomodation for minor refugees in Hessen, Germany. But he had to experience the meaningless death of 20 persons by drowning, because firstly entry and afterwards their rescue has been refused: 20 more victims of a merciless european border regime, which obviously is calculating with the death of refugees. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Interviews and Testimonies, Other Groups' and Organisations' Releases, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research, Undeclared War news | Tagged: Fortress European Union, Igoumenitsa, Italy, Patras | Leave a Comment »
Posted by clandestina on 11 February 2010
One more fatal shipwreck in the Agean. The coast guard found early today 8 bodies at the Potokakio area of Samos island.
Yesterday, a Palestinian was rescued by a commercial vessel at the sea area near Turkey. He told the authorities that he had boarded on a plastic boat along with 10 or 12 more people and sailed from Turkey to Greece. Due to strong winds and rough sea the boat capsized.
The weather conditions were so adverse that rescue and coast guard helicopters could not fly.
The exact number of people missing is not clear since there is a probability that there have been more than one shipwrecks in the area in the last night(s).
Posted in Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Short Reports, Undeclared War news | Tagged: Aegean, boat people, border war, deaths, Fortress European Union, Samos Island, Tureky | 1 Comment »
Posted by clandestina on 8 February 2010
“1984 is here, no really, this time we’re not lying , honest”.
A personal slant on the disturbing confluence of the a ever more sophiscated and extensive controlling and surveilling techonolgy on the one hand, and increaslingly repressive legislation on the other.
For those of you who have the time to read Statewatch reports: you needn’t bother reading this .
Yep, I know that using Orwell is a bit of a cliche but its too appropriate not to.
Download it here: thestockholmprogramme1984ishere
Produced by one of Bristol No Borders
Comments and feedback appreciated
Posted in Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Other Groups' and Organisations' Releases, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research | Tagged: Fortress European Union, legislation & control, legislation & policies, Stockholm Programme | Leave a Comment »
Posted by clandestina on 26 January 2010
The proposed legislation to grant citizenship to some second generation immigrants puts partially an end to their chronic status of being hostages in the country where they were born and have lived so far their lives . However, this bill, which is ostensibly introduced to correct at least partially an injustice, does hold many pitfalls:
1) Children’s “legalisation” depends on the “legality” of their parents. As has been repeatedly stressed, no sans papiers can benefit from the proposed naturalization process.
2) The proposed conditions for granting citizenship turn the latter into a “certificate of social conscience” [as the one issued by post-civil war police or army authorities certifying that its owner was not a communist – thereof employable in the public sector and entitled to various other rights]; those eligible and finally granted citizenship will be under the constant threat of having their citizenship removed; moreover, one to be eligible for the naturalisation process ”must have not been convicted to a prison sentence of at least one year for a period of ten years prior to the application, must have not been convicted of offences against the state, (…) of resistance to authority [for instance, resistance to arrest], of slander” as well as “of facilitating the transfer or the provision of shelter to illegal immigrants or of breaches of legislation concerning the settlement and movement of aliens in Greece.”
3) Proposed army recruitment of immigrants (a relief for the army ranks in view of the growing reluctance among Greek youth to draft) adds to the exploitative blackmail that makes legal residence dependent on work revenue stamps (immigrant active workforce’s contributions with no pension claims so far have been so far the Greek administrations preferred approach for dealing with the ailing public insurance funds); the unacceptably high fee (1,000 euros per person which means millions of euros for the state ) is maintained.
4) The much debated bill is merely an integration regulation for immigrants mostly from Albania, after two decades of overexploitation and in exchange for votes. On April 28, 2009 Albania formally applied for EU membership. This prospect might seem remote, but wasn’t it the same with Romania and Bulgaria some years ago? Thus, although it now seems that the naturalization process applies and is of interest for the majority of immigrants in Greece, in a few years, when the Albanians will be EU citizens, the now proposed regulation will only aplly to a very small minotirty of immigrants. In fact, those in the worst position now will be then further devalued. The division into ‘goods’ and ‘bads’, ‘useful’ and ‘superfluous’, ‘legal’ and ‘clandestine’ immigrants is being petrified as the global system of exploitation deepens.
Alongside with the proposal of the “benefactory” bill the Greek state has been all the more stressing its commitment to “zero tolerance” policies, the “sealing” of the borders, deportation camps, the Pact on Immigration and Asylum, the Dublin II Regulation, the Schengen Treaty, the Outrageous Directive. Finally, we should remind that the law provision for deporting immigrants charged (not convicted) of minor misdeeds on “public order and security” grounds is still in effect.
Clandestina network, January 2010
Posted in Group of Immigrants and Refugees / Clandestina Network Texts & Announcements | Tagged: "integration", Albanian immigrants, border war, citizenship, deportations, Dublin Regulation, Fortress European Union, Greece, legislation & control, legislation & policies, Outrageous Directive, political rights, refugee camps, sans papiers, second generation, the Pact on Immigration and Asylum, the Schengen Treaty, zero immigration | 2 Comments »
Posted by clandestina on 23 January 2010
Posted in Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Short Reports, Undeclared War news | Tagged: border war, Fortress European Union, FRONTEX, legislation & control, legislation & policies, pushbacks | Leave a Comment »
Posted by clandestina on 14 January 2010
This short post is long due, but still usefull for anyone to understand why Turkey is not Libya, in other words, why the externalisation of Fortress Europe borders to Turkey is a stake in a complex and hard bargaining between the EU and the regional megapower (in which money is not everything for the latter).
According to the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet, the European Union is ready to offer political advantages to Turkey in exchange for signing a readmission agreement. We found out what readmission means for Turkey, when Oktay Durukan, member of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly of Turkey, analytically presented (in Greek) Turkey’s policies during the conference “Suspended people”, that took place in Thessaloniki on October 30th, 2009. It is worth pointing out a little known fact that was mentioned in the conference: Turkey can only offer asylum to European Union member state nationals!
Turkey was one of the countries that negotiated about the Refugee Status in the 1951 Refugee Convention, and was one of the first countries to sign it. However, Turkey has retained one of the Convention’s paragraphs, the so-called “geographical limitation”, thus still offering protection only to migrants involuntarily displaced “as a result of events in Europe”. Therefore and according to the aforementioned paragraph, Turkey welcomes only EU member states’ nationals as refuge applicants.
Third country nationals, also referred to as “non-Europeans”, claiming refugee status in Turkey have to apply in a Turkish police station for a “temporary asylum status” regardless of their application to UNHCR, which has to pre-exist. If they are arrested before managing to apply for refugee status, then they reach a dead end: the police will not accept an application for the temporary refugee status and consequently deny them access to any refugee status application at all.
The ”lucky” ones who are recognized as asylum seekers by the UNHCR are then dispersed across the country, hosted in 30 so-called “satellite towns”. There they live in average for two to three years while the final decisions on their requests for asylum and resettlement are pending. They are obliged to find shelter on their own and receive little assistance with regards to daily expenses or health-care. The chances for declared work are minimal thus many of them are forced into illegal work, mainly as sex workers. Last but not least, they are obliged to pay a resident fee in order to obtain a residence permit.
EU to grant visa flexibility in return for readmission agreement
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
BRUSSELS – Hürriyet Daily News
The European Union is reportedly ready to introduce some visa flexibility if Turkey signs a readmission agreement to tackle the flow of illegal immigrants to Europe.
The European Union and Turkey will discuss the readmission agreement again Dec. 4. Visa flexibility will be introduced once Ankara agrees to sign the agreement to deal with illegal immigration to Europe, a high-ranked official from the European Commission in Brussels has revealed.
“We will start the new round of discussions between [the commission] and Turkey on the readmission agreement in Ankara on Dec. 4,” a senior official from the commission said under condition of anonymity during a meeting with Turkish journalists. “This is certainly a critical issue.”
A significant number of people fleeing their poverty-stricken or war-torn countries of origin seek an opportunity to live in Europe. Turkey is the main route for thousands of illegal immigrants coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East.
The agreement would be binding for the entire union, as no individual solution is envisioned, the official said, adding that the financial burden would be shared. “The EU will grant support to Turkey to tackle the problem. We have expressed our readiness to look into all means to help,” the official said. “Of course we have budgetary limitations, but we are ready to help you.”
EU officials held the first round of talks Nov. 5 in Ankara to convince their Turkish counterparts to sign a readmission agreement. The EU member states, which apply a common asylum policy in line with the Dublin-2 Convention, have been seeking cooperation from candidate countries. According to Chapter 24 of negotiations between the EU and Turkey, Brussels is increasing pressure on Ankara with a call to adopt more deterrence measures or grant asylum to immigrants.
The readmission bargain may result in visa flexibility for Turkish citizens, the official said, adding, “As soon as the readmission agreement is signed, we will offer a lot of new opportunities in terms of visas.”
Some EU member countries set a pre-condition of readmission in order to facilitate visa-free travel, he said. “We cannot consider any visa facilitation with Turkey if we do not have a readmission agreement between the EU and Turkey,” the official said. “Once we have a readmission agreement, we will be very open to negotiate visa facilitation. Journalists, academics, business people and scientists will be able to travel easily to the EU.”
After the European Court of Human Rights granted two Turkish drivers visa-free travel for business purposes, Turkish diplomats kicked off a campaign to widen visa flexibility in cooperation with business associations. Turkey advocates that the court ruling be applied to students, academics, artists, scientists and businessmen under the Customs Union agreement.
Germany has already introduced new regulations in line with the court verdict, but most of the other EU member states are still reluctant to take any further steps.
Last year, Turkey detained some 68,000 illegal immigrants attempting to make their way into the European Union. According to official statistics, up to 18,000 asylum seekers are waiting in Turkey for acceptance to a third country.
Existing Turkish regulations do not allow the country to grant asylum to people from outside the European Council member states.
PS: in April last year, in a case that received widespread publicity, 18 Syrians and Iranian citizens, including 5 recognized as refugees by the UNHCR, were forced by threat of weapons by Turkish soldiers to cross borders swimming through a non-guarded part of the river that separates Turkey from Iraq.
This is an example of a unilateral, ‘black’ expulsion of people to a third country they have nothing to do with. 4 of them died, including one Iranian of the recognized ones by the UNHCR . The latter condemned the incident in a press release, based on testimonies received by survivors. To date, however, no serious investigation into the incident has taken place.
Posted in Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Group of Immigrants and Refugees / Clandestina Network Texts & Announcements, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research, Undeclared War news | Tagged: border war, Fortress European Union, human rights, Iran, Iraq, legislation & policies, political refugees, pushbacks, readmission agreement, refugee camps, refugees, Turkey, UNHCR | Leave a Comment »
Posted by clandestina on 23 November 2009
21 NOV 09
Simone Troller of Human Rights Watch describes the plight of migrant and refugee children in Greece and how Greek authorities are doing the dirty work for other members of the European Union – giving them the opportunity to get rid of migrants, including potential refugees.
“We were one group of twelve persons they took out from the detention centre. They drove us in a car, for maybe one and a half hours. We arrived in the forest around 9 PM. They kept us there until midnight, they told us not to move, otherwise the Turkish police would find us. It was next to a small river. This side was Greece, the other side was Turkey… The boat was a metal boat, a long metal boat. Inside the boat there was one policeman. He started the engine and after we arrived to the other side he told us to get out quickly and the boat went straight back. When the Turkish police arrived two of us explained what happened. We were, for twelve days, in Turkish detention. They beat me too much… When the Turkish police beat me they said I should call my family to send me money to return to Afghanistan. I asked them not to send me back to Afghanistan, because I had problems. I asked them to keep me. But they did not care.”
This was how a seventeen-year-old Afghan boy described his secret expulsion from Greece to Turkey and ultimately back to Afghanistan. Unfortunately, his experience is typical of the fate of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers who have been expelled from the European Union at the hands of Greek authorities. As a result, many people who need protection are sent back to danger, abuse or inhuman detention conditions.
In 2008 and 2009, Human Rights Watch investigated the treatment of migrants and asylum seekers, including unaccompanied children, in Greece and published its findings in three reports. In late 2008, when we first presented our findings to the Greek government about systematic illegal expulsions of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees to Turkey, we were given the cold shoulder – they ignored our findings.
When we presented them to EU policymakers in Brussels and also described the total absence of protection for migrant children who arrive without a parent or caregiver, there was recognisable disbelief and even shock in people’s faces. When I summarised in a meeting with a policymaker in Brussels that an unaccompanied migrant child who enters Greece is either detained or left to survive on the streets, I was told: “I don’t believe this.”
It may be hard to believe that such callous and illegal acts are taking place in the heart of Europe that has long committed itself to respect basic human rights standards. It may also be hard to believe that Greece offers no safety net for unaccompanied children. Those who are not expelled are either detained in filthy and overcrowded conditions or released onto the streets where they face a miserable struggle for survival and exploitation, including as child labourers.
Yet, ignoring the reality on the ground means such acts will continue to take place. Greece’s treatment of migrants and refugees, including these children, violates binding European Union directives for asylum seekers.
Despite the shocked reactions in Brussels when we described what we had found, our call to the European Commission to take Greece to the European Court of Justice for these violations has so far gone unheeded.
We also expected a stronger signal from other EU member states. In late 2008, in a meeting with EU member state delegations, we urged them to stop sending migrants and asylum seekers back to Greece under the so-called Dublin II regulations, because of the ill-treatment, detention and unfair asylum procedures. They told us, in the words of one diplomat: “If we stop doing that, more migrants will arrive to our country.”
There is no doubt that Greece is on the frontline of migration to Europe and that it carries a heavy burden for the rest of the EU under the Dublin II rules. But that reflects a wider failure of Europe’s asylum and migration policy that puts pressure on countries at its borders instead of ensuring equitable burden-sharing across the continent.
Under Dublin II regulations, the country where a person first enters the EU is generally held responsible for examining that person’s asylum claim, though for unaccompanied children the rule applies only if the child has made a claim there. The regulations are premised on the notion that all EU member states have comparable asylum and migration practices. Yet, there are wide disparities, with countries like Greece effectively offering no protection at all.
Greece gives refugee status to 0.05% of asylum seekers after a first interview and recently abolished meaningful appeals. This prompted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to withdraw from a formal role in Greece’s asylum procedure. Yet, EU member states continue to return migrants, asylum seekers, and even unaccompanied children to Greece, simply pretending that everything is perfectly fine.
It is hard not to get the impression that these EU member states are perfectly happy with Greece doing the dirty work for them – giving them the opportunity to get rid of these migrants, including potential refugees among them. In mid-2009, six months after we brought our findings to both Greek and EU attention, the Greek government began a new crackdown against migrants – arresting hundreds across the country, bulldozing a make-shift camp in Patras, evicting them from run-down dwellings in Athens, and detaining new arrivals on its islands.
Human Rights Watch returned to Greece in September 2009 and collected evidence that Greek authorities have arrested persons all over the country, and summarily expelled some of them across the river to Turkey, though previously it only sent those who had just entered from Turkey back that way. This means that no part of Greece is now safe for anyone in need of protection.
While the EU has largely remained silent on Greece’s abusive record or has focused on blaming Turkey for refusing to take migrants back, there are some encouraging signs from the newly elected Greek government. It announced in mid-October that Greece would no longer be a hell pit for migrants. The government also pledged to release 1,200 migrants from detention, where most are held in inhuman conditions, and to create a special police unit to investigate allegations of abuse.
Fixing the system will be a tall order, though. The new government inherits an asylum system that no longer deserves that name, a police force that commits abuses against migrants both in broad daylight and in secret nighttime operations, and detention facilities that are a hazard for detainees and staff alike. Fixing this will require more than promises and symbolic acts.
Despite the overwhelming agenda, there are obvious priorities. The Greek government can protect the most vulnerable migrants, especially unaccompanied children, and get rid of the stark alternatives in the current system of either detaining them or abandoning them to the streets and to exploitation. Greece should give them decent shelter, food, clothing, health care, and, of course, protection from traffickers.
Not all of the more urgent reforms even require more resources. An unambiguous commitment to stop the illegal expulsion of migrants to Turkey is essentially a matter of political will to operate according to the rule of law. The new police unit should immediately investigate these secret expulsions and levy sanctions against those responsible. Accountability for these acts is paramount for meaningful police reform.
Greece also needs to come to terms with the reality that many undocumented foreigners, adults and children alike, left their countries because their lives were in danger and have a legitimate claim for protection. The government needs to put its broken asylum system back on track, take the asylum procedure away from the police, create a special body that assesses claims fairly and promptly and institute a fair, workable appeals process. Otherwise, the adults and children the Greek government releases from detention now will end up again in a dead-end situation: unable to leave Greece, unable to return to their countries, and unable to be recognised as refugees.
Halting human rights abuses that have gone unchecked for too long should be urgent priorities both for Athens and for Brussels. The European Commission should make clear to Athens that unless the new government takes steps to bring its laws and practice in line with EU and human rights standards, the commission will refer the matter to the European Court of Justice. In addition, the EU needs to ensure that EU member states are held to account when they fail to respect their obligations under EU law, and ultimately to reform the Dublin system. Only then can the EU take meaningful steps toward creating a common European asylum system that offers equal level of protection across the continent and supports the countries on the frontline.♦
Simone Troller is Researcher, Human Rights Watch. For more on migrant and refugee children in Greece, see: Greece: Unsafe and unwelcoming shores and Left to survive: Systematic failure to protect unaccompanied migrant children in Greece, available at http://www.hrw.org
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: asylum seekers, Fortress European Union, Greece, human rights, Human Rights Watch, refugee camps, sans papiers, unaccompanied minors | Leave a Comment »
Posted by clandestina on 13 November 2009
Greek asylum procedures are violating EU law, say organisations from across Europe
13 November 2009
Refugee groups from across the EU, including the Refugee Council, have today filed a complaint with the European Commission stating that the Greek asylum system is failing and, as it currently stands, violates EU legislation on the treatment of asylum seekers.
The complaint states that asylum seekers in Greece are detained in overcrowded, dirty prisons or forced to live on the streets where many of them face harassment and violence. Asylum application can only be made on Saturdays at the police station in Athens. Every week thousands of asylum seekers queue up outside the station, yet only a small number are able to make a claim. There is a severe lack of information available about the asylum process, no interpreters and little access to legal aid. A serious shortage of accommodation means men, women and children are being left street homeless. And there is a serious risk that many refugees will end up being sent back either over the border to Turkey or to their home country to face the persecution from which they were fleeing, violating the terms of the 1951 Refugee Convention.
Because of its geographical position, Greece receives a high number of asylum seekers. Each year tens of thousands of asylum seekers arrive in Greece. On top of this, the UK returns refugees who arrive in the UK to Greece without considering their asylum application if it can be shown that they have passed through the country.
Jonathan Ellis, Director of Policy and Development said:
“The situation is untenable. We can no longer stand by while the Greek authorities continue to violate EU law and treat asylum seekers in this way. Until the asylum process is accessible and fair we should halt all returns to Greece immediately. It is unacceptable that anyone should be sent back to Greece while we have such serious concerns for their safety and how they might be treated.
“This is yet another example of why we need a pan-European approach towards those who seek refuge in Europe. European countries need to work together to ensure that each country does its fair share to relieve the pressure on countries close to the borders and ensure that all asylum seekers to the EU are treated fairly and humanely.”
Posted in Calls to Action, Campaigns, Appeals & Petitions, Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Other Groups' and Organisations' Releases | Tagged: asylum, European Union Commision, Fortress European Union, Greece, legislation & policies, NGOs, pushbacks, sans papiers, Turkey, UK | Leave a Comment »