• Greece, ABR: The Greek government are building walls around the five mainland refugee camps

    The Greek government are building walls around the five mainland refugee camps, #Ritsona, #Polykastro, #Diavata, #Makakasa and #Nea_Kavala. Why this is necessary, and for what purpose, when the camps already are fenced in with barbed wire fences, is difficult to understand.
    “Closed controlled camps" ensuring that asylum seekers are cut off from the outside communities and services. A very dark period in Greece and in EU refugee Policy.
    Three meter high concrete walls, outside the already existing barbed wire fences, would makes this no different than a prison. Who are they claiming to protect with these extreme measures, refugees living inside from Greek right wing extremists, or people living outside from these “dangerous” men, women and children? We must remember that this is supposed to be a refugee camps, not high security prisons.
    EU agreed on financing these camps, on the condition that they should be open facilities, same goes for the new camps that are being constructed on the island. In reality people will be locked up in these prisons most of the day, only allowed to go out on specific times, under strict control, between 07.00-19.00. Remember that we are talking about families with children, and not criminals, so why are they being treated as such?
    While Greece are opening up, welcoming tourists from all over the world, they are locking up men, women and children seeking safety in Europe, in prisons behind barbed wire fences and concrete walls, out of sight, out of mind. When these new camps on the islands, financed by Europe are finished, they will also be fenced in by high concrete walls. Mark my words: nothing good will come of this!
    “From Malakasa, Nea Kavala, Polycastro and Diavata camps to the world!!
    “if you have find us silent against the walls,it doesn’t mean that we agree to live like prisoners,but in fact we are all afraid to be threaten,if we speak out and raise our voices!!”

    (https://twitter.com/parwana_amiri/status/1395593312460025858)

    https://www.facebook.com/AegeanBoatReport/posts/1088971624959274

    #murs #asile #migrations #réfugiés #camps_de_réfugiés #Grèce #camps_fermés #barbelés

    • "Ø double military-grade walls
      Ø restricted entrance and exit times (8am-8pm: itself a questionable suggestion: why should people be banned from going outside at any time of day or night? Under what possible justification?)
      Ø a CCTV system and video monitors
      Ø drone flights over the ‘camps’
      Ø camera-monitored perimeter alarms
      Ø control gates with metal detectors and x-ray devices
      Ø a system to broadcast announcements from loudspeakers
      Ø a control centre for the camps at the ministry’s HQ
      And this will be paid for – a total bill of €33m – by the EU.
      As this cash is on top of the €250m the EU has already promised to build these camps – described, we must stress, as ‘closed’ repeatedly in the Greek governments’ ‘deliverability document’ even though the EU, and specifically its Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson who confirmed the €250m payment on her visit to the Aegean islands in March this year, promised the EU would not fund closed camps - it is absolutely vital that the Union is not misled into handing over millions of Euros for a programme designed to break international law and strip men, women and children of their fundamental human rights and protections.
      We must stress: these men, women and children have committed no crime. Even if they were suspected of having done so, they would be entitled to a trial before a jury before having their freedom taken away from them for – based on the current advised waiting period for asylum cases to be processed in Greece – up to five years.»

      ( text by Koraki : https://www.facebook.com/koraki.org)
      source : https://www.facebook.com/yorgos.konstantinou/posts/10223644448395917


      source : https://www.facebook.com/yorgos.konstantinou/posts/10223644448395917

      –—


      source : https://www.facebook.com/yorgos.konstantinou/posts/10223657767448885

      #caricature #dessin_de_presse by #Yorgos_Konstantinou

    • Pétition:

      EU: Build Schools, Not Walls

      We strongly stand against allocating European funds to build walls around Greek refugee camps.

      The ongoing fencing work at the Ritsona, Polykastro, Diavata, Malakasa and Nea Kavala camps must stop immediately.

      Greece, with the full support of the European Union, is turning refugee camps into de-facto prisons.

      Millions of euros allocated for building walls should be spent on education, psychological support and the improvement of hygienic conditions in the refugee camps.

      What happened?

      In January and February 2021, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) published two invitations to bid for the construction of fences in refugee camps in mainland Greece.

      However, the fences became concrete walls. In March the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum commissioned to build NATO type fences and introduce additional security measures.

      Nobody - including camp residents - was informed about it.

      The walls are a jeopardy for integration, safety and mental health

      Residents of refugee camps fled their country in search for safety. In Europe their (mental) health is worsening because of the horrific conditions in the camps.

      Building the walls after a year of strict lockdown will lead to a further deterioration in their mental state.

      Moreover, it will:
      – deepen divisions between people: it will make the interaction between refugees and the local community even more difficult, if not impossible.
      – make it even harder for journalists and NGO’s to monitor the situation in the camp
      – put the residents of the camps in danger in case of fire.

      As EU citizens we cannot allow that innocent people are being locked behind the walls, in the middle of nowhere. Being a refugee is not a crime.

      Seeking asylum is a human right.

      Democracy and freedom cannot be built with concrete walls.

      Building walls was always the beginning of dark periods in history.

      Crushing walls - is the source of hope, reconciliation and (what is a foundation of European idea) solidarity.

      No more walls in the EU!

      https://secure.avaaz.org/community_petitions/en/notis_mitarachi_the_minister_of_migration_of_greec_eu_build_schools_no

    • La Grèce construit des camps barricadés pour isoler les réfugiés

      L’Union européenne a investi cette année 276 millions d’euros pour la construction de camps de réfugiés sur cinq îles grecques. À #Leros, où un camp de 1 800 places ouvrira bientôt, habitants et ONG s’indignent contre cet édifice barricadé. Le gouvernement assume.

      L’Union européenne a investi cette année 276 millions d’euros pour la construction de camps de réfugiés sur cinq îles grecques. À Leros, où un camp de 1 800 places ouvrira bientôt, habitants et ONG s’indignent contre cet édifice barricadé. Le gouvernement assume.

      Le champ de #conteneurs blancs s’étale sur 63 000 mètres carrés sur une colline inhabitée. Depuis les bateaux de plaisance qui pénètrent dans la baie de Lakki, dans le sud de Leros, on ne voit qu’eux. Ils forment le tout nouveau camp de réfugiés de 1 860 places, interdit d’accès au public, qui doit ouvrir ses portes d’ici à la rentrée sur cette île grecque de 8 000 habitants, qui compte aujourd’hui 75 demandeurs d’asile.

      « Il sera doté de mini-supermarchés, restaurants, laveries, écoles, distributeurs d’argent, terrains de basket », détaille #Filio_Kyprizoglou, sa future directrice. Soit un « village, avec tous les services compris pour les demandeurs d’asile ! », s’emballe-t-elle.

      Mais le « village » sera cerné de hauts murs, puis d’une route périphérique destinée aux patrouilles de police, elle aussi entourée d’un mur surplombé de #barbelés. Depuis sa taverne sur le port de Lakki, Theodoros Kosmopoulou observe avec amertume cette « #nouvelle_prison », dont la construction a démarré en février, sur des terres appartenant à l’État grec.

      Ce nouveau centre barricadé est l’un des cinq camps de réfugiés grecs en construction sur les îles à proximité de la Turquie et ayant connu des arrivées ces dernières années. Ces structures sont financées à hauteur de 276 millions d’euros par l’Union européenne (UE). Si celui de Leros est bien visible dans la baie de Lakki, les centres qui s’élèveront à #Kos, #Samos, #Chios et #Lesbos seront, eux, souvent isolés des villes.

      Ces camps dits éphémères pourront héberger au total 15 000 demandeurs d’asile ou des personnes déboutées. Ils seront tous opérationnels à la fin de l’année, espère la Commission européenne. Celui de Samos, 3 600 places, sera ouvert cet été, suivi de Kos, 2 000 places, et Leros. L’appel d’offres pour la construction des camps de Chios (de 1 800 à 3 000 places) et Lesbos (5 000 places) a été publié en mai.

      Si l’Europe les qualifie de « #centres_de_premier_accueil_multifonctionnels », le ministère grec de l’immigration parle, lui, de « #structures_contrôlées_fermées ». Elles doivent remplacer les anciens camps dits « #hotspots », déjà présents sur ces îles, qui abritent maintenant 9 000 migrants. Souvent surpeuplés depuis leur création en 2016, ils sont décriés pour leurs conditions de vie indignes. Le traitement des demandes d’asile peut y prendre des mois.

      Des compagnies privées pour gérer les camps ?

      Dans ces nouveaux camps, les réfugiés auront une réponse à leur demande dans les cinq jours, assure le ministère grec de l’immigration. Les personnes déboutées seront détenues dans des parties fermées – seulement les hommes seuls - dans l’attente de leur renvoi.

      Un membre d’une organisation d’aide internationale, qui s’exprime anonymement, craint que les procédures de demande d’asile ne soient « expédiées plus rapidement et qu’il y ait plus de rejets ». « Le gouvernement de droite est de plus en plus dur avec les réfugiés », estime-t-il. Athènes, qui compte aujourd’hui quelque 100 000 demandeurs d’asile (chiffre de mai 2021 donné par l’UNHCR), a en effet durci sa politique migratoire durant la pandémie.

      La Grèce vient aussi d’élargir la liste des nationalités pouvant être renvoyées vers le pays voisin. La Turquie est désormais considérée comme un « pays sûr » pour les Syriens, Bangladais, Afghans, Somaliens et Pakistanais.

      (—> voir https://seenthis.net/messages/919682)

      Pour la mise en œuvre de cette #procédure_d’asile, le gouvernement compte sur l’organisation et surtout la #surveillance de ces camps, au regard des plans détaillés que Manos Logothetis, secrétaire général du ministère de l’immigration, déplie fièrement dans son bureau d’Athènes. Chaque centre, cerné de murs, sera divisé en #zones compartimentées pour les mineurs non accompagnés, les familles, etc. Les demandeurs d’asile ne pourront circuler entre ces #espaces_séparés qu’avec une #carte_magnétique « d’identité ».

      "Je doute qu’une organisation de défense des droits humains ou de la société civile soit autorisée à témoigner de ce qui se passe dans ce nouveau camp." (Catharina Kahane, cofondatrice de l’ONG autrichienne Echo100Plus)

      Celle-ci leur permettra également de sortir du camp, en journée uniquement, avertit Manos Logothetis : « S’ils reviennent après la tombée de la #nuit, les réfugiés resteront à l’extérieur jusqu’au lendemain, dans un lieu prévu à cet effet. Ils devront justifier leur retard auprès des autorités du centre. » Les « autorités » présentes à l’ouverture seront l’#UNHCR, les services de santé et de l’asile grec, #Europol, l’#OIM, #Frontex et quelques ONG « bienvenues », affirme le secrétaire général - ce que réfutent les ONG, visiblement sous pression.

      Le gouvernement souhaite néanmoins un changement dans la gestion des camps. « Dans d’autres États, cette fonction est à la charge de compagnies privées […]. Nous y songeons aussi. Dans certains camps grecs, tout a été sous le contrôle de l’OIM et de l’UNHCR […], critique Manos Logothetis. Nous pensons qu’il est temps qu’elles fassent un pas en arrière. Nous devrions diriger ces camps via une compagnie privée, sous l’égide du gouvernement. »

      « Qui va venir dans ces centres ? »

      À Leros, à des centaines de kilomètres au nord-ouest d’Athènes, ces propos inquiètent. « Je doute qu’une organisation de défense des droits humains ou de la société civile soit autorisée à témoigner de ce qui se passe dans ce nouveau camp, dit Catharina Kahane, cofondatrice de l’ONG autrichienne Echo100Plus. Nous n’avons jamais été invités à le visiter. Toutes les ONG enregistrées auprès du gouvernement précédent [de la gauche Syriza jusqu’en 2019 – ndlr] ont dû s’inscrire à nouveau auprès de la nouvelle administration [il y a deux ans - ndlr]. Très peu d’organisations ont réussi, beaucoup ont été rejetées. »

      La municipalité de Leros s’interroge, pour sa part, sur la finalité de ce camp. #Michael_Kolias, maire sans étiquette de l’île, ne croit pas à son caractère « éphémère » vendu aux insulaires. « Les autorités détruisent la nature pour le construire ! », argumente celui-ci. La municipalité a déposé un recours auprès du Conseil d’État pour empêcher son ouverture.

      Ce camp aux allures de centre de détention ravive également de douloureux souvenirs pour les riverains. Leros porte, en effet, le surnom de l’île des damnés. La profonde baie de Lakki a longtemps caché ceux que la Grèce ne voulait pas voir. Sous la junte (1967-1974), ses bâtiments d’architecture italienne sont devenus des prisons pour des milliers de communistes. D’autres édifices néoclassiques ont également été transformés en hôpital psychiatrique, critiqué pour ses mauvais traitements jusque dans les années 1980.

      C’est d’ailleurs dans l’enceinte même de l’hôpital psychiatrique, qui compte toujours quelques patients, qu’a été construit un premier « hotspot » de réfugiés de 860 places, en 2016. Aujourd’hui, 75 demandeurs d’asile syriens et irakiens y sont parqués. Ils s’expriment peu, sous la surveillance permanente des policiers.

      Il n’y a presque plus d’arrivées de migrants de la Turquie depuis deux ans. « Mais qui va donc venir occuper les 1 800 places du nouveau camp ?, interpelle le maire de Leros. Est-ce que les personnes dublinées rejetées d’autres pays de l’UE vont être placées ici ? » Le ministère de l’immigration assure que le nouveau camp n’abritera que les primo-arrivants des côtes turques. Il n’y aura aucun transfert d’une autre région ou pays dans ces centres des îles, dit-il.

      La Turquie, voisin « ennemi »

      Le gouvernement maintient que la capacité importante de ces nouveaux camps se justifie par la « #menace_permanente » d’arrivées massives de migrants de la #Turquie, voisin « ennemi », comme le souligne le secrétaire général Manos Logothetis. « En Grèce, nous avons souffert, elle nous a attaqués en mars 2020 ! », lâche le responsable, en référence à l’annonce de l’ouverture de la frontière gréco-turque par le président turc Erdogan, qui avait alors entraîné l’arrivée de milliers de demandeurs d’asile aux portes de la Grèce.

      Selon l’accord controversé UE-Turquie de 2016, Ankara doit, en échange de 6 milliards d’euros, réintégrer les déboutés de l’asile - pour lesquels la Turquie est jugée « pays sûr »- et empêcher les départs de migrants de ses côtes. « Elle ne collabore pas […]. Il faut utiliser tous les moyens possibles et légaux pour protéger le territoire national ! »,avance Manos Logothetis.

      Pour le gouvernement, cela passe apparemment par la #fortification de sa frontière en vue de dissuader la venue de migrants, notamment dans le nord-est du pays. Deux canons sonores viennent d’être installés sur un nouveau mur en acier, le long de cette lisière terrestre gréco-turque.

      De l’autre côté de cette barrière, la Turquie, qui compte près de quatre millions de réfugiés, n’accepte plus de retours de migrants de Grèce depuis le début de la pandémie. Elle aura « l’obligation de les reprendre », répète fermement Manos Logothetis. Auquel cas de nombreux réfugiés déboutés pourraient rester longtemps prisonniers des nouveaux « villages » de l’UE.

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/240621/la-grece-construit-des-camps-barricades-pour-isoler-les-refugies
      #business #HCR #privatisation

    • Grèce : sur l’île de Samos, les migrants découvrent leur nouveau centre aux allures de « prison »

      Sur l’île grecque de Samos, proche de la Turquie, un nouveau camp de réfugiés dit « fermé », isolé et doté d’une structure ultra-sécuritaire vient d’entrer en service. Les quelque 500 demandeurs d’asile qui se trouvaient encore dans l’ancien camp de Vathy ont commencé à y être transférés. Reportage.

      « Camp fermé ? On ne sait pas ce que c’est un camp fermé. C’est une prison ou bien c’est pour les immigrés ? Parce qu’on m’a dit que c’était conçu comme une prison. » Comme ce jeune Malien, assis à côté de ses sacs, les demandeurs d’asile s’interrogent et s’inquiètent, eux qui s’apprêtent à quitter le camp de Vathy et ses airs de bidonville pour le nouveau camp de l’île de Samos et sa réputation de prison.

      Au Cameroun, Paulette tenait un commerce de pièces détachées qui l’amenait à voyager à Dubaï voire en Chine. Ce nouveau camp, elle s’y résigne à contrecœur. « Ça me fend le cœur, dit-elle. Moi je n’ai pas le choix. Si j’avais le choix, je ne pourrais pas accepter d’aller là-bas. C’est parce que je n’ai pas le choix, je suis obligée de partir. »

      Comme elle s’est sentie obligée aussi de quitter le Cameroun. « À Buea, il y a la guerre, la guerre politique, on tue les gens, on kidnappe les gens. Moi, j’ai perdu ma mère, j’ai perdu mon père, j’ai perdu mon enfant, j’ai perdu ma petite sœur, mon grand frère… Donc je me suis retrouvée seule. Et moi je ne savais pas. S’il fallait le refaire, moi je préfèrerais mourir dans mon pays que de venir ici. Oui. Parce que ces gens-ci, ils n’ont pas de cœur. »

      Alors que les transferts entre les deux camps démarrent tout juste, la pelleteuse est déjà prête. La destruction de l’ancien camp de Vathy est prévue pour la fin de semaine.

      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/35176/grece--sur-lile-de-samos-les-migrants-decouvrent-leur-nouveau-centre-a

    • Grèce : ouverture de deux nouveaux camps fermés pour migrants

      La Grèce a ouvert samedi deux nouveaux camps fermés pour demandeurs d’asile dans les îles de #Leros et de #Kos, un modèle critiqué par des défenseurs des droits humains pour les contrôle stricts qui y sont imposés.

      La Grèce a ouvert samedi deux nouveaux camps fermés pour demandeurs d’asile dans les îles de Leros et de Kos, un modèle critiqué par des défenseurs des droits humains pour les contrôle stricts qui y sont imposés.

      « Une nouvelle ère commence », a déclaré le ministre des Migrations Notis Mitarachi en annonçant l’ouverture de ces deux nouveaux camps.

      Les nouveaux camps sécurisés, entourés de barbelés, pourvus de caméras de surveillance et de portails magnétiques où les demandeurs d’asile doivent présenter des badges électroniques et leurs empreintes digitales pour pouvoir entrer, sont fermés la nuit.

      Les demandeurs d’asile peuvent sortir dans la journée mais doivent impérativement rentrer le soir.

      Ces nouvelles installations que la Grèce s’est engagée à mettre en place grâce des fonds de l’Union européennes, sont appelées à remplacer les anciens camps sordides où s’entassaient des milliers de migrants dans des conditions insalubres.

      « Nous libérons nos îles du problème des migrants et de ses conséquences », a ajouté le ministre. « Les images des années 2015-2019 appartiennent désormais au passé ».

      Le premier camp sécurisé de ce type a été ouvert en septembre sur l’île de Samos, après le démantèlement du vieux camp, véritable bidonville, qui avait abrité près de 7.000 demandeurs d’asile au plus fort de la crise migratoire entre 2015 et 1016.

      La Grèce avait été la principale porte d’entrée par laquelle plus d’un million de demandeurs d’asile, principalement des Syriens, des Irakiens et des Afghans, étaient arrivés en Europe en 2015.

      Le situation en Afghanistan a fait redouter l’arrivée d’une nouvelle vague de migrants.

      Les nouveaux camps à accès contrôlé sont dotés de commodités comme l’eau courante, les toilettes et de meilleures conditions de sécurité qui étaient absentes dans les anciens camps.

      La Grèce a prévu d’ouvrir deux autres nouveaux camps sécurisés sur les îles de Lesbos et de Chios.

      La contribution de l’UE pour la mise en place de ces nouvelles installations s’élève à 276 millions d’euros (326 millions de dollars).

      Des ONG se sont toutefois inquiétées de l’isolement des personnes qui y sont hebergées, estimant que leur liberté de mouvement ne devrait pas être soumise à des restrictions aussi sévères.

      Selon des estimations de l’ONU, quelque 96.000 réfugiés et demandeurs d’asile se trouvent sur le territoire grec.

      https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/fil-dactualites/271121/grece-ouverture-de-deux-nouveaux-camps-fermes-pour-migrants

    • Τσιμεντένιο τείχος και στο καμπ της Νέας Καβάλας

      Τι γυρεύει ένα τσιμεντένιο τείχος γύρω από τα καμπ των προσφύγων ; Είναι ένα ερώτημα που έρχεται αυθόρμητα στο νου με αφορμή την ανέγερση τειχών στα Διαβατά και στη Νέα Καβάλα.

      Μετά το δημοσίευμα του alterthess για την ανέγερση ψηλού φράχτη στα Διαβατά, την μελέτη, τον διαγωνισμό και την κατασκευή της οποίας έχει αναλάβει ο ΔΟΜ, οι πληροφορίες για αντίστοιχους φράχτες στη Νέα Καβάλα επιβεβαιώνονται και μάλιστα με τον χειρότερο δυνατό ενδεχόμενο.

      Ενώ αρχικά οι πληροφορίες έκαναν λόγο για συρμάτινους φράχτες, στη Νέα Καβάλα, όπως δείχνουν και οι φωτογραφίες που δημοσιεύουμε σήμερα, ανεγείρεται τσιμεντένιο τείχος το οποίο θα περιβληθεί με σύρμα, καθιστώντας το « σπίτι » των 1.400 περίπου προσφύγων μια πραγματική φυλακή.

      Σαν να μην έφτανε ο αποκλεισμός τους από τον αστικό ιστό, από την εκπαίδευση και από βασικά δικαιώματα, τώρα θα πρέπει να ζουν σε τοπίο τραμπικής έμπνευσης που θα τους κρύβει και την οπτική επαφή με τον « έξω » κόσμο.

      Μάλιστα, σύμφωνα με πληροφορίες, οι πρόσφυγες δεν έχουν ενημερωθεί από τους αρμόδιους διοικητές των καμπ για την εξέλιξη αυτή, απλά συνειδητοποιούν καθημερινά -ακόμη και τις μέρες του Πάσχα- ότι υψώνονται νέα τείχη διαχωρισμού τους από την υπόλοιπη κοινωνία.

      Σύμφωνα με ρεπορτάζ του Δημήτρη Αγγελίδη από την Εφημερίδα των Συντακτών, εργασίες περίφραξης με τσιμεντένιο τείχος έχουν ξεκινήσει και στην Ριτσώνα ενώ στην προκήρυξη του ΔΟΜ αναφέρεται ότι αντίστοιχο τείχος θα φτιαχτεί και στο καμπ της Μαλακάσας.

      Βασικό μέλημα της κυβέρνησης είναι, όπως φαίνεται, αφενός να μετατρέψει τα προσφυγικά καμπ από ανοιχτού σε ουσιαστικά κλειστού τύπου, μετατρέποντας την έξοδο και την είσοδο των προσφύγων από τους καταυλισμούς σε μία πλήρως ελεγχόμενη διαδικασία. Αφετέρου, επιδιώκει να αποκλείσει τις αφίξεις οικογενειών προσφύγων που ολοένα και περισσότερες μένουν άστεγες λόγω της πολιτικής των εξώσεων που ακολουθεί η κυβέρνηση τους τελευταίους μήνες.

      Είναι, επίσης, αδιανόητο να ξοδεύονται εκατομμύρια ευρώ τα οποία θα μπορούσαν να δοθούν στη βελτίωση της στέγασης και φροντίδας των ανθρώπων αυτών σε σύρματα και τσιμέντα για καμπ που θα μοιάζουν με κέντρα κράτησης.

      Σταυρούλα Πουλημένη


      https://alterthess.gr/tsimentenio-teichos-kai-sto-kamp-tis-neas-kavalas

  • AYS Daily Digest 05/05/20

    Releasing first hand testimony and photographic evidence indicating the existence of violent collective expulsions

    Border Violence Monitoring Network, Wave-Thessaloniki and Mobile Info Team have published a press release: Collective Expulsion from Greek Centres on Tuesday:
    “In response to the recent spike in pushbacks from Greece to Turkey, (we) are releasing first hand testimony and photographic evidence indicating the existence of violent collective expulsions. In the space of six weeks, the teams received reports of 194 people removed and pushed back into Turkey from the refugee camp in Diavata and the Drama Paranesti Pre-removal Detention Centre.”
    “In the case of Diavata, respondents report being removed from this accomodation centre by police with the information that they would be issued a document to temporarily regularise their stay (informally known as a “Khartia”). Instead they shared experiences of being beaten, robbed and detained before being driven to the border area where military personnel used boats to return them to Turkey across the Evros river. Meanwhile, another large group was taken from detention in Drama Paranesti and expelled with the same means. Though the pushbacks seem to be a regular occurence from Greece to Turkey, rarely have groups been removed from inner city camps halfway across the territory or at such a scale from inland detention spaces. Within the existing closure of the Greek asylum office and restriction measures due to COVID-19, the repression of asylum seekers and wider transit community looks to have reached a zenith in these cases.”
    The collected evidence comes from cases on 31st March 2020, 16th April 2020, 17th April 2020, 23rd April 2020, and two separate cases on 28th April 2020. Many of the cases involved people being pushed into vans from Diavata camp and driven to the Turkish border to be expelled.

    There are still more reports of recent mysterious pushbacks not yet accounted for. On April 30th, dozens of people saw a small inflatable boat of about 10 to 15 people reach the shore of Chios, when the Greek Navy appeared on site to tow them “away.” Chios MP Andreas Michailidis spoke about the incident:
    “If the suspicions expressed in the reports are confirmed, the Greek government is seriously exposed and fully responsible for the consequences of its practices.”
    Josoor Blog just published an editorial on “Pushed around Europe: The story of a young man who was pushed back more than 15 times.” It’s not an easy read, but if you need to see the bravery in the human spirit right about now, take a look. This young man’s story also evidences the absolutely inhumanity of pushbacks occurring in Europe. They were intolerable and breaking international law before COVID-19, and they continue up until now…

    *

    Residents in northern Greece protest arrival of 300 vulnerable asylum seekers to hotel, transfer oversaw by IOM

    After Tuesday’s Press conference with the General Police Director of the North Aegean, journalist Franziska Grillmeier laid out some excellent points behind the disturbing fact that most of the fines for COVID-19 restrictions were given to refugees:

    “Background: During this time, over 3 big fires broke out in Moria + Vathy, causing hundreds of people to flee for a safe place. Many inhabitants of #Moria were also fined in front of Supermarket, where ppl got basics like flour, oil + diapers that weren’t provided in Camp.
    Additionally: many inhabitants couldn’t charge phone with credit — since they were not allowed to travel to Mytilini anymore to charge. Hence, SMS to communte could rarely be sent. ALSO, people report to be left without information on COVIDー19 regulations for most time.
    While not to forget that up to 19,000 men, children + women are currently trapped in a space made for 2,840 alone in Moria. Women with disabilities, women giving birth, newborn children, elderly men with movement difficulties in olive grove fields + with no future outlook.”

    https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/ays-daily-digest-05-05-20-photographic-evidence-first-hand-testimony-greece-

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Grèce #Camp #Diavata #Paranesti #Expulsions #Expulsionscollectives #turquie #incendie #moria #vathi #transfert #hôtel

  • AYS Daily Digest 01/05/2020

    GREECE
    On 2 March 2020, the Greek government adopted an emergency legislative decree stripping persons arriving undocumented in the country of the right to seek asylum during that month. Recently, the NGO Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) has produced a report on the situation for refugees in Greece and what they experienced in March 2020. As a result of the Decree, individuals who entered Greece with the aim of seeking international protection in March 2020 were automatically and indiscriminately detained for the purpose of return and were denied access to the asylum procedure and a series of rights provided by national, European and international legislation. According to UNHCR statistics, 2,927 persons entered Greece via land and sea in the course of that month. These persons were automatically and arbitrarily placed in detention under abhorrent conditions and continue to remain in closed facilities without effective judicial protection, despite ultimately being allowed to express the intention to lodge an asylum application with the Asylum Service. In Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) Legal Report examines the administrative treatment and policy of detention applied to persons falling within the scope of the Decree, the conditions in which they have been detained and the response adopted thus far from the different fora approached by individuals in search of judicial redress at domestic and European level. Read More Here.
    On Friday, at least 50 asylum seekers were moved by the police from Diavata refugee camp in Thessaloniki on April 27. Their tents were destroyed. Some of them had already been in Greece for 10 months. All the asylum seekers are afraid of secret pushbacks to Turkey.

    A total of 60 new containers have been sent to Greece from Austria. They are bound mainly to the eastern Aegean Islands, especially Samos, were fires destroyed tents and containers earlier in the week. The containers are meant for housing and sanitary purposes. Another 120 are supposed to arrive within the next week.
    According to Refugee Support Aegean new sanitary containers arrived in Malakasa camp, but according to the residents they are still locked and cannot be used yet.

    A video has been published by Mare Liberum in which two women speak about their experiences and the dangers they are exposed to every day in Moria camp.

    CROATIA

    Croatian Police once again attacked people on the move on Friday in the BiH border town Velika Kladusa. This is the testimony of one of those attacked:
    “The police intercepted our group. After being seized from our phones and personal belongings, a member of the group, who was taller than the others, was ordered to sit down. They thought he was the leader of the group. One officer called another, who soon brought the police. The police dog was given the command to attack the sitting man. A friend was roaring with pain and fear. We stood motionless. One cop was recording the video and laughing loudly like the others. After that we had to take all our clothes off. We went barefoot without our clothes back to Bosnia and there was a car in Bosnia that read SOS Bihac and they gave us clothes.
    I will always ask myself, why are they doing this to us? “

    https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/ays-daily-digest-01-05-2020-maltas-government-has-been-involved-in-the-push-

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Grèce #Croatie #Diavata #Thessalonique #Détention #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Frontière #Velikakladusa #Violence

  • AYS Daily Digest 29/04/2020

    Moria Residents Protest Conditions in Camp
    Early Wednesday morning, a group of Moria residents protested in front of the gates of the camp. The protest is part of a series of weekly demonstrations against the conditions in the camps, which have always been unsanitary but now become even more potentially deadly in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic. The organizers and participants are international — last week the demonstration was made up mostly of Afghan residents, while this week it was mostly residents from Africa who turned out.

    People are protesting against unsanitary conditions in the camp and overcrowding that could easily be solved if the rest of the European Union did its duty and accepted asylum seekers.

    The Greek government is claiming that 400 asylum seekers will be relocated from Moria to the mainland next Sunday, at a ceremony that will even be attended by Notis Mitarakis, the Minister for Asylum and Immigration. Residents and media are not trusting this announcement, because last weekend a different planned transport for 1500 people was cancelled. Even if several hundred “lucky” people are allowed to leave Moria, the camp will still be thousands over capacity and the conditions for those who remain will still be terrible.
    Instead of improving conditions in the camps or addressing the concerns of residents when they rightfully pointed out how deadly an outbreak would be, Mitarakis said on Wednesday that there are no cases so far in island hotspots and implied that the government’s response should be praised because … they carry out daily checks. Never mind that most residents of island camps don’t have access to running water, basic hygienic supplies, or enough space to social distance properly! 130 people who were detained on beach camps in the North of Lesvos and were finally transferred to Moria recently don’t even have any kind of shelter within the camp. In an interview with Mission Lifeline, a mother stuck in Moria talks about the dangerous, unhygienic conditions her and her children are forced to live in.
    There are many examples of International organizations and NGOs are trying to help, such as by donating medical equipment to the hospital on Lesvos, but it is not enough.

    Even if the Greek government is ignoring the protests of people in Moria, we must not! Something must be done to fix the situation in island camps.

    Government Uses COVID-19 As an Excuse to Deport, Another Crack Down on People on the Move
    Following yesterday’s report by AYS of a potential illegal pushback from Diavata camp, Greek news broke the story that another group of 30 people “disappeared” from Samos. Witnesses from the village of Drakakia saw a group of people land on the island’s shore. The group later came in the village and as is customary, asked residents to notify the police. A vehicle arrived to pick them up but their arrival was never registered and the police are denying the incident occurred.

    Aegean Boat Report published video footage of another incident where a boat was captured by the Turkish Coast Guard. However, the Greek Coast Guard was at the ready to push back the boat if it crossed into Greek waters, showing that despite the pandemic, the government is continuing its illegal border violence campaign. Either people are pushed back in the sea and left to drown or if they are able to reach land, they are pushed back without being registered or allowed to apply for asylum.
    In the same statement where he talked about coronavirus, Minister Mitarakis claimed that there have been no arrivals in April. This is clearly untrue — people are still arriving in Greece, the Greek government is just pushing them back, breaking international law by refusing to register them, and lying to the media.
    Journalists, NGOs, and people on the move have already exposed the Greek government’s illegal pushbacks, which are often done in unsafe liferafts that have a high risk of capsizing at sea. To deport people during a pandemic, when international travel is mostly banned and most countries have stopped repatriations, is even more dangerous and immoral.
    In addition to illegal deportations, the Greek government is using emergency coronavirus response measures as an excuse to target the most vulnerable, including people on the move. Mitarakis said the government might deny asylum to people found violating coronavirus emergency measures. While a Greek citizen flouting government regulations will only have to pay a fine, a non-citizen could lose their entire future and be deported to an unsafe country for the same violation. It’s also much harder for asylum seekers living in crowded camps to follow government regulations about social distancing in the first place. In addition to penalties being harsher for people on the move than for Greeks, police are targeting the most vulnerable with tickets and fines. 81 homeless asylum seekers in Thessaloniki reported being fined for leaving their home — which they don’t even have. The police specifically target the homeless by waiting outside a camp people use to shower and distributing tickets. If the government actually cared about stopping the spread, they would find homes or at least temporary housing for these people. The only outcome of their current actions is abuse of power.

    SLOVENIA
    Slovenia To Accept Unaccompanied Minors
    Slovenia has finally agreed to step up and accept unaccompanied minors from Greece — but they will only accept four children. They also said that the children must be younger than ten — because eleven-year-olds are dangerous and do not deserve a safe home. The children are expected to arrive at the end of May.
    While Slovenia is a small country, to accept less than five children and to publicize that fact is absurd. Luxembourg, which has about a quarter of Slovenia’s population, has taken three times as many children (which is still low, considering the thousands that are held in Greek camps).

    https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/protests-in-moria-camp-again-12638f897e6f

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Grèce #Moria #Lesbos #Protestation #Manifestation #Transfert #Camp #Diavata #Samos #Drakakia #Slovénie #Mineursnonaccompagnés

  • AYS Daily Digest 28/04/20

    Camp residents from Diavata camp near Thessaloniki sent AYS footage of a police raid

    They took over 30 people to an unknown location, after entering the camp in riot gear and forcing people into vans. They targeted the people who were camping in tents and improvised shelters in the grounds of the centre.
    There is serious concern that new legislation for the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the recent asylum suspension, has resulted in an increase of people being removed from camps in Greece in April, and more pushbacks being conducted to Turkey. It is expected that this is the probable fate for 30 people from Tuesday morning.
    Eye witnesses inside Diavata camp report the use of violence to arrest those 30 people. Many others in the camp fled fearing capture and possible removal. Volunteers spoke to one man who alleges his friend was taken and had still not heard from him.

    Update on fires in Samos

    On Sunday, fires broke out in Samos’s Vathy camp. Frances, a volunteer for Action for Education, documented what happened:
    “Tensions peaked at 6pm, it was then the first fire began to blaze. After dark, a second fire started, it burned 6 containers. The next morning a third fire began. Estimations suggest 500 people lost everything, they now have no place to stay. MSF went outside the camp to set up a medical first response with psychosocial support. NGOs started distributing blankets before being stopped by police.
    The next day (Monday), police prevented camp residents from entering town. Authorities continue to have limited communication with NGOs but tent distributions have been able to take place. Displaced people have been left to sleep on the ‘football pitch’ outside the camp. This is really just a gravel square. There are rumours that people escaped to the beaches to sleep. Tensions continue to be high in the camp, there are rumours that the ‘war’ is not over. This ‘war’ refers to community in-fighting as people struggle for supplies. Limited resources result in a power imbalance that fuels tensions.
    The atmosphere has calmed now, but many camp residents still live in fear. We have heard reports from NGOs that minors in camp are pleading for shelter as they are worried they will be ‘mixed up in the war’…”
    In an update from Samos Volunteers, they say the causes of the fires are still unclear, but tensions between various communities living in the camp have risen due to overcrowding conditions on top of Covid-19 fears. More here.

    Mission Lifeline has raised 55,000 euros in donations in order to fly 150 refugees currently in Lesvos to Germany. Lifeline’s spokesperson Axel Steier said:
    “With this sum, one could finance two Boeing 747–300 flights and get around 150 people from the Moria refugee camp in Lesbos…The association has a total of 110,000 euros available for the planned construction of a civil airlift between Lesbos and Berlin.”
    All they are waiting for is permission from the Interior Minister since negotiations with the Greek service provider have concluded well. More here.

    In an update from Legal Centre Lesvos on the gunman’s trial who shot two people living in Moria last week:

    “At the gunman’s two pre-trial hearings, yesterday and last Friday, tens of people — including known members of the far-right, one of whom had been convicted in February 2020 for making online threats against a Lesvos Solidarity — Pikpa coordinator — stood outside the court to support him. The police made no effort to disperse the group, despite Covid-19 measures which prohibit leaving one’s house except for state-sanctioned reasons such as for essential shopping, exercise, and doctor visits, and prohibit any public gatherings. When journalists arrived to the scene and were harrassed by the gunman’s supporters, police instructed them — but not those insulting them — to leave for their own safety.
    At his pretrial hearing, the gunman, who admitted to having shot at the two migrants, was released from detention on pre-trial bail and was charged with attempted premeditated murder. Migrants who have been charged with lesser and non-violent crimes — such as alleged stealing of sheep — have been ordered by the same court to wait in pre-trial detention, which is sometimes up to a year of imprisonment, demonstrating the discriminatory use of pre-trial detention to punish and further criminalize migrants.
    The authorities’ open tolerance of fascist violence in Lesvos and the discriminatory application of the law to target migrants — by the police, the municipal government, and the court — now means that members of the far-right act with impunity, while migrants face punishment for the legitimate exercise of their rights.”

    https://medium.com/are-you-syrious/ays-daily-digest-28-04-20-police-raid-in-diavata-camp-near-thessaloniki-fear

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Grèce #Diavata #Thessalonique #Arrestation #Camp #Samos #incendie #Vathi #Lesbos #Allemagne #Transfert #Moria #Incident

  • Collective Expulsion from Greek Centres

    The Border Violence Monitoring Network are releasing new case material presenting evidence of removals from Greek centres and the subsequent pushback of at least 194 people to Turkey. The incidents, occurring from the camp in #Diavata and the #Drama_Paranesti Pre-removal Centre, show the extension of collective expulsion during the COVID-19 period. These are brazen acts which situate institutional accommodation sites and detention spaces firmly within the illegal pushback regime. Find out more in the full briefing attached below:

    https://www.borderviolence.eu/wp-content/uploads/Press-Release_Greek-Pushbacks.pdf
    #push-backs #push-back #renvois #refoulements #refoulement #Grèce #Turquie #Grèce #covid-19 #coronavirus #apport #Evros

    ping @luciebacon

    • Migrants accuse Greece of forced deportations

      New findings suggest Greek authorities are illegally deporting refugees across the Turkish border. As part of an international research team, DW identified and met some of the victims who were forced back. 

      “Come with us and we will issue you new papers,” a Greek police officer told Bakhtyar on a Wednesday morning in late April. The 22-year-old Afghan man believed the offer was the key to realizing his dream of starting a new life in Europe.

      Two months earlier Bakhtyar had crossed the Evros River, a border between Turkey and Greece, and a key route for refugees seeking to reach the European Union. He continued onward to Diavata, the official refugee camp set up on the outskirts of Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki. Upon arrival he was careful to register with the Greek police, the precursor to seeking international protection — and a first step in the asylum process. A photograph of his document shows the date to be February 12, 2020.

      The coronavirus lockdown had closed most public services, and Bakhtyar says he had been anxious for the office to reopen so he could make an official asylum claim. He would not get the chance to do so.

      Recalling his encounter with police in April, Bakhtyar says he was put in a white van and taken to a police station in the center of Thessaloniki. Instead of getting the crucial papers as he was promised, Bakhtyar says the police confiscated all his belongings, including his phone. He was later relocated to another police station where, he says, officers slapped and kicked him before putting him onto the back of a truck. Bakhtyar remembers a sheet being pulled down to prevent anyone seeing who was inside the truck. He did not realize it at the time, but the truck was heading east — retracing his arduous journey back towards Turkey.

      When the truck stopped, Bakhtyar realized he was not alone. Other asylum-seekers like him were lined up along the banks of the Evros River. He recalls seeing young men loaded onto dinghies, 10 at a time. The boatman, Bakhtyar says, spoke in Greek to people he assumed were police, and to the asylum-seekers in their native Dari. DW could not independently verify that the men were Greek police officers. For Bakhtyar, he says it was clear it was not the boatman’s first such crosing to Turkey.

      Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the border between Greece and Turkey is closed. All official deportation procedures have been put on hold. When Bakhtyar and other asylum-seekers reached the far bank on the Turkish side, there was nothing and no-one waiting for them.  

      DW meets pushback victims 

      When DW met with Bakhtyar for this report, he was staying in Istanbul’s Esenler district, home to a substantial Afghan population. The city was under lockdown at the time and it was hard to move around. Wearing a red T-shirt with “New York” written across the front, Bakhtyar appeared sad and upset. He wants to get back to Greece as soon as possible to pursue his dream of living in Europe.

      Bakhtyar’s experience is not an isolated story. In a joint investigation between DW, the Dutch news publication Trouw, media nonprofit Lighthouse Reports, and the independent verification collective Bellingcat, we were able to locate Bakhtyar and other young men in Turkey and verify that they had been forcibly returned after previously being in Greece. Their accounts, all given separately, establish a clear pattern: male, under 30 and traveling by themselves. Most of them are from Afghanistan, some of them are from Pakistan and North Africa. They were either arrested in the Greek camp of Diavata or picked up seemingly at random by local police near the camp.

      Together with our news partners, we met with and interviewed multiple eyewitnesses in Greece and Turkey, collected Greek police documents and established a chain of evidence, from the refugee camp in Diavata to the streets of Istanbul. Using publicly available data, including refugees’ social media posts, which were time-stamped and featured photographs of landmarks in Greece that were geolocated, we were able to corroborate key elements of witness testimony.

      In total we contacted six people in Istanbul who recounted their experiences with “pushbacks” — the forceful return of refugees and migrants across a border — and located another four elsewhere in Turkey, all of whom could prove their previous stays in Greece.

      Pushbacks are deportations carried out without consideration of individual circumstances and without any possibility to apply for asylum or to put forward arguments against the measures taken, according to the European Convention on Human Rights.

      ’Modern slavery’

      One of the other men we met in Istanbul is Rashid, who fled his native Afghanistan three years ago and made his way to Turkey. He worked as a packer and mover in Ankara, the Turkish capital, before heading to Istanbul where he found work as a welder. He has temporary protection status in Turkey but is not provided with medical assistance or housing.

      “In Turkey, life is full of uncertainties for young Afghan men who lack access to basic healthcare and social services,” Zakira Hekmat, co-founder of the Afghan Refugees Solidarity Association in Turkey, told DW. “They are precariously employed in low-paid jobs without permits. It is modern slavery.” Afghan men in Turkey mostly toil in the underground economy working tough, physical jobs in construction, transportation or textiles.

      Hoping for a better future, Rashid left Turkey for Greece at the beginning of 2020. He recalls crossing the Evros River with about 20 other people on a boat. He says he stayed in a tent for roughly two months next to the refugee camp at Diavata. But everything changed for him in late March when he was returning from Friday prayers.

      Rashid says he was stopped by Greek police who told him to wait. He then describes to DW how a white van pulled up and armed men without uniforms appeared. They told him to get in. Rashid says he did not even know who the men were and that he only found out later that they were working with Greek police after he was taken to a police station. DW could not verify the connection between the men and the police.

      His Greek documents, originally valid for one month, had expired but renewal during the coronavirus outbreak had not been possible as immigration offices were closed. At the station, Rashid says, the police confiscated all his belongings.

      “They didn’t even give me a glass of water at the police station,” he recalls. Rashid was not asked to sign any papers by the Greek authorities. He says he was later driven for hours in a van across Greece and then forced onto a small boat to cross the Evros River back into Turkey.

      Recognizing a pattern

      Reports on alleged pushbacks, especially at the Evros border, are numerous. The witness accounts we have gathered with our news partners corroborate reports from human rights organizations working with the Border Violence Monitoring Network, an independent database. They indicate that there were at least five police raids carried out in Diavata camp between March 31 and May 5, resulting in the seemingly illegal deportation of dozens of migrants. In almost all cases, police appear to have targeted young, single men from Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Africa.

      Vassilis Papadopoulos, president of the Greek Council of Refugees and a migration official in a previous administration, sees a clear pattern in the pushbacks.

      “Police vans come to the camp and the officers carry out a brief check of the people who are not yet registered. They ask for their papers  [...] they detain them and tell them that they will be taken to the station, to either check their papers or to provide them with new papers and instead of that, according to the complaints, [these people] are returned to Turkey,” he says. 

      “What is important and unprecedented in these allegations, if proven valid, is that we are talking about pushbacks from [deep] inside the country and even so from a camp without any formal deportation procedure being followed.”

      When DW confronted the Ministry of Migration and Asylum with the reports of illegal pushbacks, Alternate Minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos denied them. “The allegations about human rights violations by Greek law enforcement personnel are fabricated, false and uncorroborated,” he said.

      Sealing the borders

      Greece has been under intense pressure at its borders since the end of February when Turkey signaled the end of its 2016 agreement with the EU over restricting refugee and migrant flows. Ankara had encouraged migrants to head towards the land and maritime borders with Greece. Athens responded by sealing its borders and suspended access to asylum during March. While the asylum system officially resumed in April, the number of arrivals is 97% below levels for the previous April, according to statistics from the Ministry of Migration and Asylum.

      In early May, Greek media reported that the government was said to be pursuing “aggressive surveillance” aimed at preventing refugees from arriving. The government has not specified what this entails.

      DW approached the Ministry of Migration and Asylum for further details on the extent of the government’s activities. Alternate Minister Koumoutsakos said, “measures taken so far have been proportionate to the gravity of the situation and pursued legitimate aims, such as, in particular, the protection of national security, public order and public health.”

      Notis Mitarakis, the Greek Minister on Migration and Asylum, has defended the government’s harder line on asylum and migration. Speaking to state television during a visit to Samos on April 28, he said: “There have been zero arrivals to our country in April 2020 thanks to the very big efforts made by our security forces.”

      On the same day, however, residents of the Aegean island reported on local media and Facebook that they had seen newly arrived migrants in the village of Drakei. Lighthouse Reports and Bellingcat analyzed video footage from the Turkish coast guardand refugees that indicated a boat carrying 22 asylum-seekers arrived at a cove on Samos at around 7:30 a.m. that day.
      Pushed back from Samos island

      Jouma was among the refugees who climbed the steep path up from the remote cove on Samos to the village. This was the fourth time the young man from Damascus, Syria had tried to reach Greece. For a few hours on the morning of April 28 he believed he had finally made it.

      In a detailed account, Jouma recalls what he experienced after the refugees reached Samos. He says that a girl from the group who spoke a little English asked a local to notify Greek police that they had arrived. The new arrivals expected that they would be taken to the Samos’ refugee camp. Instead, the police who came detained them and took their phones. They were driven to a port where they were transferred between boats before being loaded onto a black-orange life raft without an engine or paddles. Jouma says they were towed towards Turkish waters. The raft was set adrift in the open sea with the waves pushing them back towards Greece and a Greek vessel pushing them towards Turkey.

      The worst thing, Jouma says, was a Greek power boat maneuvering around them trying to push them into Turkish waters, while the Turkish coast guard was just observing. “The Greek coast guard would retreat to make room for their Turkish counterparts to come and take us, but they wouldn’t come, and it went on all night,” Jouma says.

      The group was eventually picked up at noon the next day by the Turks. The port authorities on Samos told DW that there were no arrivals of asylum seekers to the island on April 28. The apparent use of orange life rafts in previous pushback operations was reported by Greek national newspaper Efimerida Ton Syntakton on April 7.

      Are pushbacks in compliance with EU law?

      Greece, like other EU border states such as Croatia, has long been dogged by accusations of pushbacks. Dimitris Christopoulos, who was until recently the president of the International Federation for Human Rights, says that the new intensity of incidents and the number of witnesses raises questions to what extent Greek authorities have been authorizing these pushbacks and how much the EU is aware of what is happening on the Greek border.

      “Obviously, these tactics are violating the Greek Constitution and customary international law, yet they seem to be tolerated by the EU since they serve the purpose of preventing further people from crossing the Aegean or the River Evros into Europe,” says Christopoulos.

      When DW again questioned the Ministry of Migration and Asylum about the legality of the government’s tactics, Alternate Minister Koumoutsakos categorically denied that such operations were taking place. “Greece has been complying, and will continue to do so, with its obligations under international law, including all relevant human rights treaties to which it is a party, also mindful of its obligations under the borders, migration and asylum EU legal framework, as enshrined in the EU Treaties.”

      Jürgen Bast, Professor of European Law at the University of Giessen in Germany, calls such a pushback strategy a clear violation of the law “This goes against everything European law stipulates.” The pushbacks, as described by the refugees, break all the rules of the official return directive, Bast says, referring to the orderly procedure that an asylum request entails, including a personal interview and the right of the individual to stay in Greece until a decision is made. The destination country, Bast continues, must also be informed and may have the right to refuse rejected asylum-seekers from third countries.

      None of the young men DW met said they had been notified ahead of time that they would have to leave Greece; nor did they give the impression that they had been informed of their legal rights. Instead, the experiences recounted by Bakhtyar, Jouma, Rashid, and the others interviewed suggest that forceful pushbacks across the Greek-Turkish border have become an increasingly common pattern.

      Desperate to get to Europe

      Rashid now lives in a cramped Istanbul flat with 10 other young Afghans. As an undocumented migrant in Turkey, he faces the threat of being deported back to Afghanistan. According to official statistics, 302,278 Afghans have been apprehended by security forces in Turkey in the last two years. Since 2018 it has become extremely difficult for Afghans to register for asylum in Turkey.

      Surrounded by what appear to be dead ends for him in Turkey, Rashid is desperately searching for a way to once again reach Europe. “I do not know what I will do here. We are not guilty. Of course, I want to cross the border again,” he says. “I have to.”

      https://www.dw.com/en/migrants-accuse-greece-of-forced-deportations/a-53520642

  • En #Grèce, des centaines de migrants font pression sur les autorités pour quitter le pays

    Près de 200 migrants et demandeurs d’asile ont envahi les rails de la principale gare d’Athènes, en Grèce, vendredi. Ils réclament entre autre l’ouverture de la frontière avec la Macédoine. Au même moment, 500 migrants se sont rassemblés à Diavata, non loin de Thessalonique. Eux aussi réclament l’ouverture du poste-frontière d’#Idomeni.

    Le trafic ferroviaire entre Athènes et Thessalonique était perturbé vendredi 5 avril en raison d’une manifestation d’environ 200 demandeurs d’asile qui ont envahi les rails de la principale gare de la capitale grecque, Larisis. Les manifestants réclament l’ouverture de la frontière greco-macédonienne, plus de rapidité dans le traitement de leur dossier d’asile et de meilleures conditions de vie.

    « Saloniki (Thessalonique ndrl) », « Germany ! », scandaient les manifestants, dont certains ont installé des tentes sur le quai de la gare, selon un journaliste de l’AFP.

    Aucun train ne pouvait quitter la gare d’Athènes alors que la police tentait de persuader les manifestants de quitter les lieux.

    Cette #manifestation est « un message pour l’Europe qui doit comprendre que la question [migratoire] demande une solution européenne », a expliqué aux médias Miltiadis Klapas, secrétaire général au ministère de la Politique migratoire, qui s’est rendu sur place.

    Un #rassemblement de 500 migrants à #Diavata

    Selon le journal grec, Ekathimerini, les manifestants ont demandé un bus pour les conduire dans la région de Diavata, dans le nord de la Grèce, près de Thessalonique, où environ 500 migrants, y compris des familles avec de jeunes enfants, se sont rassemblés depuis jeudi dans un champ de maïs à l’extérieur d’un #camp, à la suite d’appels sur les réseaux sociaux.

    Ces centaines de migrants rassemblés à Diavata réclament l’ouverture du poste-frontalier d’Idomeni, selon Nikos Ragos, responsable local de la politique migratoire. « Les migrants ont commencé à arriver à Diavata après des rumeurs et ‘#fake_news’ véhiculés sur les #réseaux_sociaux, les appelant à venir dans le nord de la Grèce pour faire pression et réclamer l’ouverture de la frontière ».

    Des heurts ont d’ailleurs éclaté dans la petite ville de Diavata, ce vendredi, entre forces de l’ordre et migrants.

    Situé sur la « route des Balkans », un camp gigantesque s’était formé à Idomeni en 2015. Des dizaines de milliers de migrants y étaient passés en direction du nord de l’Europe avant sa fermeture à la suite de la signature d’un pacte migratoire Union européenne-Turquie en mars 2016 et de son démantèlement.

    Près de 70 000 migrants sont actuellement installés en Grèce, dont 15 000 entassés dans des camps disséminés sur des îles de la mer Égée.

    Depuis le début de l’année, la Grèce a repris la première place pour les arrivées illégales en Europe, devant l’Espagne, avec près de 5 500 arrivées en janvier et février, en hausse d’un tiers par rapport au début 2018, selon l’agence européenne de protection des frontières, Frontex.


    https://twitter.com/JohnPapanikos/status/1113898606405267457/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1113898606405267457&

    https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/16147/en-grece-des-centaines-de-migrants-font-pression-sur-les-autorites-pou
    #résistance #asile #migrations #réfugiés #gare #occupation #campement #route_des_balkans #frontières #fermeture_des_frontières #Macédoine #accord_UE-Turquie

  • Un autre hiver... un de plus...
    Winter conditions add to migrant hardship in northern Greece

    Freezing weather is exacerbating difficult conditions for migrants in overcrowded refugee camps in northern Greece. Last week the cold spell led to a protest by dozens of migrants at a camp near Thessaloniki. Greek officials have blamed the number of people flooding into the camp from the islands and across the Turkish border. But could the situation have been prevented?

    Harsh winter conditions hit northern Greece a few days into the new year, bringing sub-zero temperatures, strong winds, snow and ice. In the Diavata refugee camp near the port city of Thessaloniki, several hundred people are struggling with basic survival. Yet every week, despite the weather conditions, more continue to arrive.

    “They don’t think about this kind of thing, they just want to move on,” said one man at Diavata after another Afghan family arrived in the snow. “They just think that in the next stage from Turkey, when they go to Greece, everything will be fine.”

    Camp protests

    When they reach Diavata, the migrants find the reality is different. The camp is full to capacity, with around 800 registered asylum seekers. On top of these, there are between 500 and 650 people living at the site without having been registered by migration authorities.

    “Most of them have built their own makeshift shelters and tents, which are not providing them with the protection needed,” says Mike Bonke, the Greece country director of the Arbeiter Samariter Bund (ASB), an NGO providing support services to Diavata. “They have no (safe) heating, washing and sanitation and cooking facilities.”

    Last week, the difficult conditions prompted around 40 migrants to hold a protest outside the camp, burning tires and blockading the road. A truck driver tried to get through the barricade resulting in a fight which left one man in hospital.

    The driver lost his patience and started swearing at the migrants, who threw rocks and broke his windscreen, reports said. The driver and four migrants were charged with causing grievous bodily harm, according to the Greek daily, Katherimini.

    Conditions create health concerns

    Diavata is just one of a number of migrant facilities in northern Greece to have been affected by the cold snap. An NGO contacted by InfoMigrants said that Orestiada, near the Evros river to the east, was covered in snow. Migrants in the critically overcrowded camps on the islands too are contending with snow, frozen water pipes and icy roads.

    According to the ASB, the refugee reception camps lack resources to cope with the current conditions. “Healthcare services at all (refugee reception) sites are not adequate,” Bonke says.

    Agis Terzidis, an advisor to the Greek Minister of Health and Vice-President of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) which coordinates healthcare provision to migrants and refugees, admits that the cold weather, in addition to the poor conditions and overcrowding in the camps, is exacerbating migrants’ health problems. “We have people living in conditions that are not acceptable for anyone,” he says.

    National health system must step up

    In response to the worsening situation, there are plans to boost EU-funded medical teams operating in camps throughout the country, including the islands, Agis Terzidis says. But he told InfoMigrants that from now on, more pressure would be put on the Greek national health system and local hospitals to tackle the problem, rather than medical staff in the camps themselves.

    Terzidis also insisted that fixing the situation in the camps was “not in the mandate” of the CDC, as it was chiefly a result of greater numbers of people arriving and consequent overcrowding.

    Instead, the CDC’s main priority remains vaccinating migrants to prevent outbreaks of hepatitis, measles and other infectious diseases. It also focuses on treating those suffering from chronic diseases, some of whom will likely succumb to the harsh winter conditions.

    Too many people

    With more bleak weather predicted, a vegetable garden is being planned in the Diavata camp, giving the residents something to look forward to. That will have to be abandoned if more people start to arrive when the weather improves.

    The camps continue to be under pressure from the large and unpredictable numbers of arrivals. Currently there are around 20 arrivals per week at Diavata, but that could quickly escalate to hundreds. So far, Greek authorities do not seem to have taken steps to limit how many end up at the camps seeking protection.

    I think we can all agree that this situation should have been solved by registering these refugees in the Greek Migration system and providing them with dignified and safe shelters.
    _ Mike Bonke, Greece country director, Arbeiter Samariter Bund

    As both government and army staff and their NGO colleagues in the camps remain powerless to solve the problem of overcrowding, their main task will be to protect migrants from harm and exposure as the winter enters its coldest months.

    http://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/14401/winter-conditions-add-to-migrant-hardship-in-northern-greece
    #Grèce #asile #migrations #réfugiés #camps_de_réfugiés #neige #froid #Salonique #Softex #Diavata #résistance #protestation

  • La Grecia dei campi, l’Europa degli hotspot

    #Diavata refugee camp, sette chilometri nella periferia nord di Salonicco. Uno dei tre militari di guardia all’ingresso si avvicina, indicando un gruppo di ragazzi siriani fuori dalla tenda: “tutti questi vogliono andare in Europa, non stare in Grecia, ma l’Europa non li lascia passare”. L’Europa, dopo la chiusura della rotta balcanica e la pressione dell’UE sulla Grecia affinché registri tutte le persone che arrivano via mare, si è fatta decisamente più distante. Per i migranti, prima di tutto, per i quali la Grecia non è l’Europa che si aspettano; e per i cittadini greci stessi, che assistono alla presenza crescente di agenzie europee negli spazi-frontiera del Paese dispiegate per controllare che la polizia nazionale non lasci passare sul territorio migranti in transito senza identificarli e bloccarli. Diavata, dove attualmente vivono 2500 persone, è uno dei 51 refugee camps greci, aperti nei primi mesi di quest’anno dove sono stati trasferiti, tra gli altri, dopo lo sgombero di Idomeni, donne, uomini e bambini che erano rimasti bloccati in seguito alla chiusura della frontiera.


    http://www.euronomade.info/?p=7602
    #Grèce #camps_de_réfugiés #hotspots #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Idomeni #relocation_camp