clandestina

Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘Somali immigrants’

Somalis in Greece

Posted by clandestina on 8 November 2009

source: http://www.mareeg.com/fidsan.php?sid=14200&tirsan=3

Glimpse of-hope for Somali immigrants suffering in Greece to improve in the near

A massive demonstration in which all illegal immigrants at any level of age, with full participation of Somalis in Greece has peacefully happened on 4th November, 2009

The purpose of demonstrators was to ask the Greek government to clarify what the future holds for illegal immigrants in Greece.

What problems are the Somalis experiencing in Greece?

The life- issue of Somali immigrants in Greece is really ineffable and seems strange. There is no any one who felt an obligation to write and verbalize about dire complaints and hardships of the immigrants, especially Somalis in Greece. Most of Somalis in home, Africa and Asia are obsessed about going to Europe by any means, believing that poverty, ignorance, lack of healthcare, poor education, unemployment and uncertainty of the future are the only signs in the life outside Europe. To avoid those horrendous and aching scenarios in Africa and Asia, most of Somalis choose more than other immigrants in the world to wildly embark upon death – life journeys to get to – as they believe – the most comfortable and prosperous countries in Europe, Scandinavian nations or Great Britain in particular in search of unfailing future together with what the best life in those countries can offer to everyone. Although there are many travel routes in which Somalis exert, all of them don’t succeed in accomplishing the painful travels they face so some all the time take a risk and lose their lives on their way to their desiring destinations after they drown in either Mediterranean sea or red sea. A great number of Somali prisoners who are immigrants – because their country already turned to a ghost land – are in the jails of the countries like Libya, Tanzania Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and others.

Some Somali immigrants successfully completed their adventurous trips to Europe but some got trapped in Greece where in recent times became only route for Somalis illegally departing to Europe. There their dreams of life changing came to an end in despair. These people have encountered a lot of hardships in the life and lacked any way to get out of Greek country while their families who arranged the travels financially and morally for them anxiously wait to find any kind of life – support from them.

Ms. Safio Isaq Anshur, a Somali female immigrant in Greece’s capital Athens talked at length about the living conditions of Somalis and said, “The living standoff between Somali immigrants and Greek officials had been frequent and there were arrests conducted against immigrants especially Somalis in Greece after complaint demonstrations were held. There are many Somalis here who failed in resumption of the travels to their already allocated countries

Ms. Safio Isaq Anshur who genuinely talked in her magnificent report which she forwarded to most of Somali speaking websites went on and said, “Greek security forces at all times without indiscrimination shackle Somalis youth in groups after they demonstrate how they are not pleased with the ways Greece deals with them,”

Greek government authorities regularly address about the situation in order to find a lasting solution to the plight of Somali immigrants. The officers put strong recommendations forward to Somalis living in the country to take Greek permanent immigrants documents and the government would handle the needs of Somalis or to enroll themselves in UNHCR offices in the country and that is not lovable for them. These substantial advices from Greece went to deaf ears because Somali migrants who are so far on move of passing though Greece to Scandinavia or UK are extremely scared to be ever stuck in Greece because of their fingerprints taken by the police.

Although regular demonstrations in which Somalis in Greece turn out increase zero, the call from the officer has instantly inspired all immigrants in Greece in general and Somalis in particular with a little of life hope. This follows after Greek authorities in office received countless requests from supreme agents of Somali immigrants, encouraging Greece to crack down on the living conditions of immigrants

After arresting the biggest number of Somali prisoners in the last week, Greek foreign Minister held talks with representatives from Somali-Greek Diaspora. Among the discussed matters in meeting was Somali inmates who some of them had been in jails for long

Somali Greek Diaspora activist, Mr. Ilyaas Ali, called at some of Greek detention centers in Athens like Elidabon,Kiria and another prison in the vicinity of Athens airport where the detainees are mostly Somalis to assess the conditions and make out the arrested number of Somalis. This evaluation visit seems to the suffering Somalis in Greece the start of release of hundreds of Somalis in jails and the route to better life in the near future.

Translated /Written by

Ustaad Mohamed – Nur Hersi Abdi Tallman

Tallmog@hotmail.com

 

Nairobi – Kenya

Sender from Greece Safiya Isaaq Canshuur

 

Saafi43@hotmail.com

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

A sum-up of August so far

Posted by clandestina on 26 August 2009

THE SITUATION IN GENERAL

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

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

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

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

Source: http://libcom.org/news/now-you-will-die-coast-guard-attempt-drown-asylum-seekers-lesbos-03082009

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

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

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

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

4 Iraqis on hunger strike in Arta

source: http://www.ele.gr/(A(YogGIgNBygEkAAAAYjRjNWU1YTAtZWRmMC00ZTU5LWIzNDYtMDE0NWY4ZjU0NDZjN4pB9lQR8gfgptGCq2k4zvtIU-Q1))/ShowArticle.aspx?ID=1945

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

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

source: athens indymedia

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

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

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

Hunger Strike in Pagani, Lesvos

source and much material and updates at http://lesvos09.antira.info/

Published on 20. August 2009,

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

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

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

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

One letter we received reads:

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

Best regards, prisoners

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

source: http://ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_politics_100002_06/08/2009_109598


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deaths in Kos and Igoumenitsa

from fortresseurope.blogspot

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


Children in prison in Thessaloniki

August 12, 2009

source: tvxs.gr

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

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Anti-immigrant terror in Greece: attempts for pushbacks of refugees, sweep operations, police – fascist collaboration, forced evictions…

Posted by clandestina on 30 July 2009

Sachtouri street - athens indymedia photo

Sachtouri street - athens indymedia photo

ABDUCTIONS AND PUSHBACKS

After a police abduction that took them from the southern end of the country to the northern, the Kurdish refugees who reached the shores of  Crete seem to have been transferred to Rodopi, Thrace.  There is an ongoing campaign against their deportation, especially the deportation of the children among them and of the ones that have already filed asylum applications in Chania.

In Greek, see http://fmkritis.wordpress.com/

Same with the Chios refugees, who are now detained in Tychero, Evros,  near the border with Turkey.  The police chief of Alexandroupolis has been contacted by journalists and there are two important facts : first, that there were children among the immigrants, who have now been tranferred to Thessaloniki (the exact place is unknown) and, secondly, that he does not want to give a clear answer on what they plan to do. However, it is considered certain that the police wants to «return» them to Turkey.

In Greek see http://indy.gr/newswire/sto-ty3c7ero-toy-ebroy-kratoyntai-oi-prosfyges-poy-ekdi3c7thikan-apo-ti-3c7io/tyxero-b.jpg

There are also reports of ca. 61 arrested immigrants reaching Peireus port with the “Mykonos” F/B. http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1064479

SWEEP OPERATIONS AND POLICE – FASCIST SCUM COLLABORATION

According to the police, yesterday, 109 people were arrested during one more storming of the center of Athens by various police forces.  About 90 of them were sans papiers.  What is more, at  21.00 in the evening,  fascists went down in Attikis square – around which many immigrants live -, without even previously announcing their presence with the infamous “committees of residents” rally calls.  The fascists came to the square and began to bludgeon whatever laid ahead of them; they also sprayed faces with some unknown gas.   At least three refugees were transported to hospital, many others were injured.  Among the injured people was an American professor who was in the area and attempted to photograph the racist pogrom. He spent the night in the hospital, with blows to his head. The fascists took his camera.  Around the square there was a large police force, who not only did nothing, but went on to mass arrest mainly Afghan refugees!

In Greek, see http://indy.gr/newswire/agria-epithesi-fasistn-kai-mazikes-syllpseis-apo-tin-astynomia-3c7thes-brady-stin-pl-attiks

EVICTIONS, MASS ARRESTS AND CLASHES

Today the police evicted immigrants en masse from two buildings in the center of Athens, which had been designated by the prefecture of Athens as dangerous for the public health or something.  Police forces  invaded the buildings at Sachtouri 7, and at Veranzerou str. near Omonia, and arrested a total of 86 immigrants.

During the eviction at Verantzerou street neighbors and immigrants with flags of Somalia were gathered in support of the arrested people, as well as some ΠAME (Communist Party trade union) members and a Communist Party MP (many Somalis who work as builders have links with their organised in ΠAME colleagues).  The Somali women at some point reacted vocally and attempted a sit-in protest, but the cops confined them again in the building to isolate them from journalists.  According to the cops, the building was rented to a company which sub-letted it illegally to immigrants for of 5 euros a day per person.

When the cops tried to transfer the arrested immigrants from the rear street where they thought they would face no obstruction.  Once this was understood by the assembled immigrants, some óf them moved to the rear of the police vehicle to prevent it from departing.  Some of them clashed with riot police men and other police forces with sticks, punches, etc.  The police vehicles made it to leave afterwards, leaving behind women and children.   A few minutes later the large police forces withdrew from the point and concentrated their attention to guarding the nearby police department.

During the operation, a passer-by  woman of about 50 years complained loudly about the police brutality calling the cops  fascists for behaving this way to the immigrants.  An undercover cop grasped her by the head and attempted to take her to the police station  but people  protested and intervened and the woman managed to escape.

Angry Somali men and women broke the window of a  shop on the ground floor of the building where the immigrants lived.  The squads were on the corner and intervened directly and there were more clashes.  Indeed, the shop-owner had been insulting the immigrants everyday by calling them racist names, and has been a pioneer member in the “committees of residents and shop-owners” of the center –  perhaps this is why the passing police patrols salute him.

The building was not completely evacuated, there were immigrants left inside when the police left.

About the evictions read in Greek http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1064260

The Somalis took it to the street on a protest march later in the day, together with ΠΑΜΕ – photos at http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=1064493

As an Athens Indymedia user commented, this day was an Ode to the Barbarity of Democracy -5 days ago was the anniversary of 35 years of Greek Democracy after the fall of colonels’ junta back in 1974.

TVXS.gr video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjPAN762lj4&eurl=http://www.tvxs.gr/v17277&feature=player_embedded

Many photos at:

Posted in Action & Struggle Reports, Calls to Action, Campaigns, Appeals & Petitions, Content Reproductions/ Adaptations/ Translations, Publications, Long Reports, Analyses, Reviews & Research, Undeclared War news | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Solidarity blockades against the transfer of refugees in Chios island

Posted by clandestina on 27 July 2009

info: enet.gr

photo from relevant Athens Indymedia article

photo from relevant Athens Indymedia article

Much tension yesterday afternoon at the port of Chios island, where demonstrators, members of the Chios Refugees Solidarity Committee and PAME [note: Communist Party of Greece trade union] tried to prevent the boarding of two buses carrying 60 migrants from the refugee camp of  Mersinidi into the F/B «Theofilos» in order to tranfer them to Thessaloniki.  Port police and Police broke the blockade of the citizens in the port of Chios and manage to board the hand-cuffed Afghan, Pakistani and Somali immigrants.   After the boarding of refugees, one Communist Party member dived in the sea, between the coast and the ship, which caused the ship to leave the island a further one hour later than expected.

It should be noted that the transfers of immigrants  towards Northern Greece come after the recent law which increases detention time to six months.  This has rendered the situation in the centers of Chios and Mytilini extremely tense.  The capacity of the Mersenidi center is 120 people, still, already 220 people are detained therein, while in the Mitilini Pagani camp the respective numbers are  250 and 400!

People protest because they believe that behind these «innocent» transfers is the attempt to expell immigrants without much «trouble»to Turkey via Evros.

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UNHCR Greece stresses the need for protection of refugees according to international conventions

Posted by clandestina on 17 June 2009

In a meeting with Coalition of the Left, of Movements and Ecology (SYN) President Alexis Tsipras, on behalf of the UNHRC, Giorgos Tsarbopoulos referred to Greece’s specific international obligations under the Geneva Convention to guarantee facilities for the reception and hospitality of people requesting asylum. He stressed that it is a mistake to use the term ‘illegal immigrant’ indiscriminately, pointing out that there are specific countries that produce refugees, such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. People coming from these countries should be treated as asylum seekers and there should be reception structures to cater to their immediate needs, he stressed.

source: ANA MPA


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Pogrom against Somalis and Sudanese in Patras

Posted by clandestina on 22 May 2009

Around 60 Somalis and Sudanese imigrants were virually hunted and captured (=arrested) by the police in Patras.  They were then detained at the police headquarteres of the nearby town of Patras.  Now in the detention room there are 80 immigrants, despite the fact that the space there is hardly enough for 30.  The detainees were yesterday visited by members of the Movement for the Advocacy of Migrant and Refugee Rights.  10 migrants have applied for political asylum, but communication is dificult since there is no interpretator.   There is some info suggesting that the immigrants will be either tranferred to Athens or deported.  There is a protest gathering today outside Pyrgos police at 13.00.  

info: Athens Indymedia Article, Patras Indymedia Article, tvxs article.

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