Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘legislation & policies’

EU information management instruments

Posted by clandestina on 22 July 2010

21 Jul, 2010
The Commission presents today a clear, comprehensive and transparent summary of instruments regulating the collection, storage or cross-border exchange of personal data for the purpose of law enforcement or migration management, setting out at the same time the core principles that should underpin the evaluation of information management instruments in the area of freedom, security and justice.

These same principles will be followed in the future development of instruments for data collection, storage or exchange: (pdf at

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The transformations of Petrou Ralli Street, or the search for asylum in Greece.

Posted by clandestina on 29 March 2010

This is a translation of this filoxenoi.wordpress post. More posts on Petrou Ralli str. Directorate for Foreigners here, here and here.

Many thanks to Olga for her help with this.

The transformations of Petrou Ralli Street, or the search for asylum in Greece

26/03/2010 by filoxenoi

The “department of foreigners” at Petrou Ralli is a reference point of the “glorious” policies of the Greek state in terms of asylum granting, as all those that follow the developments in the field know.  It consists of humiliating bureaucracy, indecent treatment, endless waiting hours in queues, no sense of rationality, poor or non-existent medical care, assaults, torture and even murders.

This situation has caused some reactions and resistance. When three refugees were murdered while waiting outside the directorate, refugees and sympathizers gathered and blocked the streets, demonstrated and made the events public. After all this, the ever- efficient people in charge there came up with the solution: to transfer the entrance from Petrou Ralli street to Salamina street – “to better serve” the thousands of people that were gathering to make their applications .  With regard to the process and the realities that these people were facing, absolutely nothing changed, apart from the crucial fact that they were now less visible. The Greek police – which, due to another Greek peculiarity, was responsible for the asylum granting – would be able to experiment as much as it wanted on the bodies and souls of the hundreds of refugees that had already started making the now infamous “queue of Salaminias”, hidden from the indiscreet eyes of various “curious” and “unwanted” passers-by.

In any case, one should not forget that those who managed to get to the end of the Salaminias queue all they were granted was a small paper, by which they could claim having an appointment, usually after several months, occasion at which they could file the application and then have their cases examined and decided upon. One  should also not forget that “out of 15.928 asylum applications presented to Greece in 2009, only 0,04% were accepted and the refugee status was only granted to 0,06% of the cases”.

Over the last months, the immigration policy of the Greek state including the policies on asylum have being going through a process of restructuring and remodeling. One part of the restructuring, at least at an institutional level, seems to be the the law regarding the granting of Greek citizenship to second generation immigrants and the further sealing of the country’s borders.

Regarding the asylum policies, there have been up to now –always socialist- proclamations for the improvement of the process of asylum granting by assigning it to an independent commission, staffed with experts on immigration and asylum issues, interpreters etc., and with the role of the police regulated to be less important.

In the meantime, the queue has disappeared. Not because there are no people in Greece that need protection from their own countries’ regimes, but because the responsible body refuses to take more applications. In other words, whoever goes to the directorate of foreigners at Petrou Ralli, will leave empty handed, in an absurd story of Kafkaesque inspiration. As easily as that, the modern “hospitable” Greek democracy, the one springing directly out of the basic principles of the ancient Greek civilisation of Xenios Zeus, refuses to accept and register the applications for asylum (the access to which, according to the 1951 Geneva Convention on the legal status of refugees, should be undisturbed and the mere expression of seeking asylum by the refugee should be enough for its registration).

As easily as that, the hospitable Greek democracy condemns hundreds of people to live in fear and to be helpless in the hands of the cops that they will encounter. They even face torture and death with their obligatory return to their countries, from which they fought so hard to escape, since the controls and the expulsions from the country are still going on -despite the fact that the asylum procedures have stopped…

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Citizenship bill: one more bitter provision.

Posted by clandestina on 4 March 2010

On the new citizenship bill now discussed at the parliament we have already posted here and here.   The current version seems to be even worse than the ones that gave rise to so many reactions for their insufficieny and calculated segregation effects.

Many of the conditions for eligibility demanding political and social conformity have already been pointed out (click on the links above).

What is new in the now discussed version is a small addition providing that the rationale of the state for rejecting an application will not be made known to the applicant when involving  issues of the “general policy of the country”.

Which means that applications by whole categories of immigrants could be rejected in bulk and on no justification, should them immigrants, for instance, come from countries  Greece has disputes against or wants to put pressure on, etc.

Immigrants amidst the process of citizenship acquisitions are thus turned into leviers of foreign policy and tools for geopolitical pressures.  Citizenship rights get dependent not only to personal conduct but also to intrasnsparent “general policies”.

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Open discussion in Thessaloniki: the new citizenship bill. Τuesday 16 February.

Posted by clandestina on 10 February 2010

Ο νέος νόμος για την ιθαγένεια

Συμμετέχουν: Ομάδα Αλλοδαπών-Μεταναστών Φοιτητών Θεσσαλονίκης, Φόρουμ Μεταναστών Κρήτης, Oμάδα Μεταναστών & Προσφύγων, Κ. Τσιτσελίκης (καθηγητής ΠαΜακ), Σ. Μαρκέτος (καθηγητής ΑΠΘ), Δίκτυο Clandestina
Τρίτη 16 Φλεβάρη, 7.00 μμ
ΕΔΟΘ, Πρ. Κορομηλά 51

Open discussion:
the new citizenship bill

Speaking: Group of Foreign & Immigrant Students (Thessaloniki),
Forum of Immigrants in Crete,
Group of Immigrants and Refugees,
Κ. Τsitselikis (professor UOM),
S. Marketos (professor ΑUTh),
Clandestina network
Τuesday 16 February 7.00 pm
Koromila 51

Bisedë: Ligji i ri për shtetësinë
Marrin pjesë: Grupi i Studentëve Emigrantë & të Huaj Selanik, Forumi i Emigrantëve te Kretes, Grupi emigrantëve politikë dhe ekonomikë, K. Cicelikis (Profesor i universitetit PAMAK), S. Marketos (Profesor i UAS), Rrjeti Clandestina
të Martën 16/2 më orën 19:00
Koromila 51

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The final (Feb 4) version of the immigration bill: from bad to worse!

Posted by clandestina on 9 February 2010

In our recent text we argued that “the bill, which is ostensibly introduced to correct at least partially an injustice, does hold many pitfalls…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.”

The final, modified version of the draft law which was officially announced on February 4, 2010!

  • Both parents of the child to be entitled to citizenship must meet the requirement of 5 years of incessant legal residence in Greece (first version provided for only one parent).
  • Adult immigrants to be eligible for citizenship must present proof of 7 – instead of 5 as was first proposed – years of incessant legal residence in Greece, to which the further requirement of a “long residence permit”, which has been granted to just 130 persons since its inception in 2006!).
  • To the existing requirements of exclusion (high fees, law-abiding behaviour, clean criminal record etc,) the new draft law adds:
  • Special Civil Education and History tests set up by the Citizenship Committee.
  • That there are no “public or national security” reasons to deny citizenship.
  • Insurance and financial status
  • According to the ministry of interior those eligible to file an application today are: 130 long residing people, 14.000 with a 5 year residence, 1.000 parents of Greek citizens, 1.000 entitled to international protection, 120 people with no citizenship, a sum total of less than 16.500 people!

    Posted in Group of Immigrants and Refugees / Clandestina Network Texts & Announcements, Short Reports | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

    The Stockholm Programme: 1984 is here

    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: , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Citizenship bill made stricter

    Posted by clandestina on 5 February 2010

    source kathimerini

    Citizenship bill made stricter

    Second-generation immigrants who are hoping to obtain Greek citizenship under the new law proposed by the government yesterday discovered that the conditions for doing so are going to be substantially stricter than had originally been announced.

    PASOK submitted the revised bill to Parliament yesterday and it soon became apparent that some of the draft law’s provisions have been tightened up following a period of public consultation during which there were many objections to what some people regarded as the ease with which citizenship would be awarded.

    Under the new provisions, a child born in Greece to immigrant parents will need to have had both his father and mother living in the country legally for five years before he or she can apply for citizenship. Originally, only one parent would have had to be a legal resident.

    Also, the children will have to prove that they have spent at least six years in Greek schools rather than the three years originally proposed by the government.

    In another major change to the initial plans, applicants will also need to produce recommendation letters from three Greek citizens.

    The proposed law would still allow second-generation immigrants to vote in local elections and to stand as city councilors after obtaining citizenship and proving that they have a good command of Greek.

    The Interior Ministry estimates that the bill would allow more than 250,000 people to join the electoral register after gaining citizenship. Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis said that the imminent law would apply to any immigrants who obtained legal status up to January 2005.

    Despite the stricter measures contained in the new bill, New Democracy still criticized the draft law for being too lax. “Every immigration measure that the government has announced so far constitutes the lowest threshold anywhere in Europe for awarding citizenship to immigrants,” said ND spokesman Panos Panayiotopoulos.

    Meanwhile, the Church of Greece’s Holy Synod said it believes the bill does not effectively tackle the country’s immigration problem.

    “The citizenship bill does not directly respond to the immigration problem, so the state has to carefully study the conditions under which citizenship will be granted,” the statement read. “At the same time, though, it has to approach the immigration issue with seriousness, taking into account the sensitivities and particularities of certain parts of our homeland and the possible effect it will have on the general population.”

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    On the much discussed bill on citizenship

    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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

    One step forward, two steps back! Forum of Migrants in Crete event on the new Immigration Bill

    Posted by clandestina on 25 January 2010

    This is a translation of a Forum of Migrants in Crete press release.

    for debate on the  immigration bill
    1 step forward and two steps back

    The Forum of Migrants in Crete considers that the proposed amendments to the Code of citizenship and the participation in elections of local government indeed are in the right direction – at any case we would be saying the same thing, even if it was about a single immigrant obtaining his/her rights.

    The proposal to grant citizenship to second generation immigrants puts partially an end to the chronic hostage status of the second generation immigrants.  However the bill requires 5 years of lawful and undisrupted residence of their parents in the country, attendance of the first three classes of the primary school or 6 years of attendance at a Greek school.   So, we ask:

    • what about the children whose parents had been legally residing but were at some point unable to renew their residence permits (in most cases because they had not adequate work revenue stamps)?
    • what about the children who have no parents (since many minors come on their own)?
    • what about the children of parents without legal documents?

    Concerning the proposal for the participation of all long-term foreign residents in the local authority elections, we ask why the boll excludes them from being candidates for senior posts?

    We respond to xenophobic voices that they should not worry, since in any case the bill concerns to only a very small percentage of people from other countries, those who live lawfully and continuously for many years in Greece.

    As for the acquisition of Greek citizenship by first generation immigrants, we actually wait to see the concrete and final requirements of the bill; under the pressure of racist critics. though, we expect them to be harsch.

    We will continue to struggle for the legalization of all immigrants (the draft law does not say a single word about sans papiers, and legal documents is a prerequisite for everything proposed by the bill).

    We will continue to struggle for citizenship for all children born, live and grown-up in this place.

    We call for an info, discussion and recommendations event on Tuesday, January 26, 6:00 pm at Agora Sq. Chania.

    Chania, Jan. 24, 2010.
    Forum of Immigrants in Crete

    NOTE: this call by the Forum of Immigrants in Crete is in the frame of a AN ANTIRACIST DEMONSTRATION CALL BY VARIOUS ORGANISATIONS IN CHANIA.  SIMILAR CALLS AHVE BEEN MADE IN OTHER CITIES AS WELL (Herakleion, Ioannina etc.) This is the Chania demonstrations poster:

    Posted in Calls to Action, Campaigns, Appeals & Petitions, Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Events, Other Groups' and Organisations' Releases | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Expulsions From EU Rise Sharply

    Posted by clandestina on 23 January 2010


    Expulsions From EU Rise Sharply

    David Cronin

    BRUSSELS, Jan 22 (IPS) – The number of asylum-seekers and other migrants expelled from the European Union in joint operations between its governments has grown three times in as many years, IPS has learned.

    At least 1,570 individuals were removed from the EU’s territory in 31 flights coordinated by the bloc’s external borders agency Frontex between Jan. 1 and Dec. 15 last year. This represented a tripling in joint expulsions – involving authorities from two or more EU states – since 2007. Some 428 migrants were flown out in such operations that year, with the figure rising to over 800 in 2008.

    The data – unpublished until now – indicates that Frontex has rapidly stepped up the pace of its activities in the four-and-a-half years since it was founded. And the involvement of the Warsaw-based agency in expelling people who have been denied permission to remain in the EU looks set to increase further.

    When the EU’s presidents and prime ministers met in Brussels in late October, they approved a plan to expand the work of Frontex. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has been asked to come forward with proposals early this year to beef up the agency’s powers. The plan foresees that the agency will finance a greater number of chartered flights for expulsions and cooperate more closely with countries from which migrants trying to enter Europe originate.

    Organisations working with asylum-seekers are perturbed that Frontex is acquiring greater resources and responsibility without being required to demonstrate that fundamental human rights are safeguarded during its activities.

    A recent report by Human Rights Watch drew attention to how Frontex has helped the Italian authorities expel migrants to Libya, without giving them an opportunity to apply for asylum.

    In June last year, Frontex coordinated Operation Nautilus, in which a boat carrying an estimated 75 migrants was intercepted off the Italian coast. Using a German Puma helicopter, the operation was the first of its kind in which Frontex succeeded in forcing migrants from the central Mediterranean Sea back to Libya.

    Titled ‘Pushed Back, Pushed Around’, the Human Rights Watch report stated that Frontex was unable to give guarantees that Libya had allowed the migrants to apply for asylum. All individuals are entitled to seek asylum from persecution in a country other than their own under the United Nations’ 61- year-old Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Bill Frelick, a campaigner on asylum issues with Human Rights Watch, said he was concerned that Frontex is being given a bigger role in expulsions and that its future operations will needed to be carefully scrutinised.

    Bjarte Vandvik, director of the European Council for Refugees and Exile, a group defending the rights of asylum-seekers, said that whenever an individual is removed from the EU, the principle of “non-refoulement” must be respected. A key tenet of international refugee law, non-refoulement means that nobody should be sent to a country where he or she will be at risk of persecution.

    “Frontex as an EU agency continues to struggle with issues of transparency and accountability,” said Vandvik. “It is not clear how Frontex will put in place procedures for returns (of migrants) that guarantee non-refoulement, that can be independently monitored and are safe, dignified and humane. The mandated powers and allocated budget of Frontex are expanding fast but the systems for accountability and compliance with international and EC (European Community) legal obligations are not.”

    A Frontex spokeswoman said that it is not the agency’s task to monitor if human rights law is respected. “Our role is limited to coordination,” the spokeswoman added. “The rules that apply on board the plane depend on the (EU) member state owning the plane. There is a system of checks and balances in the member states. For example, Austria always requires that there is a human rights observer on board the plane.”

    Philip Amaral, a policy officer with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Brussels, said that Frontex staff should be given proper training to ensure that asylum law is upheld in their operations and that the basic needs of migrants are met.

    “Our primary concern with Frontex is that its activities are quite obscure,” said Amaral. “We’re always strongly arguing for increased European Parliament monitoring over Frontex, especially now that it’s foreseen that its role will be enlarged. There should be a level of monitoring to make sure that asylum- seekers and migrants have access to asylum procedures and that they are not being sent back (to another country) right away.”

    Frontex previously aroused the ire of human rights workers in 2008 when it emerged that guns were pointed directly at migrants who landed in Italy during an operation in which the agency had participated. Giusto Catania, an Italian member of the European Parliament, described the use of weapons in this way as a “real scandal”. (EU/AF/IP/HD/PR/MI/DC/SS/10) (END/2010)

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