Lesvos and Chios: volunteers helping refugees arrested by police and Frontex, involvement of the International Rescue Committee

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Mark.
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Feb 5 2016 11:13

Facebook post from yesterday

Are you Syrious? wrote:

‪#‎SYRIA‬: A huge new wave of up to 70,000 refugees, fleeing mostly from north Aleppo area, have started moving towards Turkey, many of them reaching the border today. The exodus began on Monday after government forces backed up by Russian air strikes began an operation that has severed the main rebel supply route into the city and broken an opposition siege on two regime-held towns, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed. AYS volunteer from the ground reports a chaos on Bab Al Salameh / Kilis border crossing, with thousands of new refugees reaching the border today (pictured here, photos taken in the morning, and then again at 7PM). The border remained closed today, leaving thousands of desperate refugees waiting on Syrian side, some of them resorting to smugglers in order to enter Turkey. According to info from the ground, Turkish authorities have promised to open the border tomorrow. As Turkish camps are mostly overcrowded, many of new refugees will probably be heading to Greece soon.
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‪#‎GREECE‬: Yesterday, 3,299 new refugees were registered on Greek islands, including 2,046 on Lesvos, 806 on Chios, 255 on Leros, 87 in Southern Dodecanese, 86 on Samos and 11 on Kos, while 3,829 have departed for Greek mainland. By 9PM today, only two boats have landed on south Lesvos shores, while other numbers are still missing.

Early this morning on ‪#‎Lesvos‬, where residents are participating in Greek general strike, BDFM, the South Coast teams, Swiss Cross, ERCI, Ceriba, Mahracar, Pikpa and many independent volunteers came together to transport all the refugees to the port in time for the special 6.45AM ferrry while the buses and taxis were striking. It was a great team effort and no one missed the ferry to Athens!

Potential new volunteers on Lesvos must be aware that work at the beach is now restricted to specialised volunteers and authorised organisations. The same is with Moria Camp, which is getting more and more difficult to access even for registered and previously authorised Better Days for Moria, I AM YOU, etc. However, if you really want to go to Lesvos, there's still plenty of work to be done. We suggest following this group for extensive Lesvos volunteer info: http://on.fb.me/1NSLVcO

In ‪#‎Athens‬, Elliniko camp is full of people, both inside and outside, hosting up to 3,000 people according to some volunteer estimations. As most buses didn't depart from Athens due to general strike today, ‪#‎Piraeus‬ port is also crowded. After another ferry was announced late in the evening, police has told the volunteers to prepare port terminal E1 for 200 refugees sleeping there.

Situation is still very hard in ‪#‎Polykastro‬ and ‪#‎Idomeni‬, with conflicting reports about 50-70 buses on EKO bus station, while up to 6,000 people are sleeping in Idomeni camp. Document check-ups and border procedures are still very slow, leaving a lot of people stranded on the border (pictured here). If you want to volunteer in Greece, this area needs most support at the moment.
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Mark.
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Feb 5 2016 11:51
Omaira Gill wrote:

Urgent call for volunteers @ Pireaus port today,100s of families stranded overnight due to general strike, only 4 volunteers currently there

As usual, absolutely no official presence or coordination at Piraeus. Volunteers doing it all @tsipras_eu #refugees

NoBorders wrote:

Only port police presence and yesterday they were asking volunteers to REGISTRATE. It's a nightmare

Any supplies you can offer urgently needed at Piraeus port.Try contact volunteers, station inside gateE1

@Refugees_Gr do you know why these people are stuck at the port? aren't buses for Idomeni leaving?

@filiopk because of the strikes. This started yesterday morning after many ship arrivals. I'll get updates in a few minutes

We remind that at Piraeus port there is NO official medical or social presence, organisations or NGOs

Mark.
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Feb 5 2016 11:35
Solidarity Team Platanos wrote:

Protest February 6/2 at 11:00, central high schools area, Mytilene

while Europe is building fences and borders,
while Frontex, the coastguard and the greek police repress every initiative to help the refugees,
while the institutional separation of refugees/migrants traps thousands of people in detention centres and concentrations camps,
while immigrants face racist attacks and economic exploitation everyday,

We will keep fighting for open borders, free movement and safe passage for everyone,
Against the fictitious segregation of people into refugees and immigrants,
Against a Europe that builds fences and walls
Unmediated solidarity!

-Lesvos Initiative of Solidarity to Immigrants
-Platanos Self-organized Structure

Mark.
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Feb 5 2016 14:13

'The army in command, the refugees inside, society far away'

Ο στρατός στο κουμάντο, οι πρόσφυγες μέσα, η κοινωνία μακριά

Mark.
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Feb 5 2016 16:45

Video from the No Border Kitchen on a beach outside Mytilene, operating since November without official authorisation and presumably under threat from the new restrictions.

As far as registration goes I'm still not sure how significant it is. This account by a volunteer makes it sound more of a minor bureaucratic hurdle, but it does give the authorities the opportunity to prevent individuals or groups from helping, and I suppose withdraw permission if they feel like it.

Mark.
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Feb 5 2016 17:02

Video from the Refugee Solidarity Movement Thessaloniki and Idomeni

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Feb 5 2016 17:15

The newly opened Soli Cafe on Chios, the target of a police raid and arrests a couple of weeks ago.

Quote:

Soli Cafe is up and running !

After one month of squatting a building, renovating it, building up a kitchen, talking to neighbours, picking up free furniture and a stressful police raid, Soli Cafe on Chios is up and running. We are so happy and proud of this place, where everybody, regardless of nationality, gender or religion, can come and enjoy tea, food and socialize.

While official institutions like the European Union, the member states, Frontex and others build up walls and fences at the borders where people constantly die, Soli Cafe shall be a lighthouse in the fight for the freedom of movement and a world without racist borders.

For four days we have been chopping vegetables, cleaning dishes and mopping floors together with extremely kind and energetic people from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria and other countries. We meet on an eye-to-eye level, help each other out and learn from one another.
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Mark.
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Feb 5 2016 18:33
Leros Solidarity Network wrote:
Leros Solidarity Network has pioneered humanitarian refugee reception, setting up PIKPA and The Villa, 2 purposely converted buildings that offer refuge to vulnerable refugees, mostly women and children. The volunteers who work within them, full of compassion and love for humankind care for the refugees they host like their own family members. The refugees that pass through these centres are so grateful for the glimpse of humanity they have been offered. We are now being threatened with the closure of these sites in favour of the hotspot detention centre. We have seen the difference that our approach has made to the people we have met, and will now start campaigning for these initiatives to be allowed to remain open to continue their work. We will campaign against the de-humanising of the refugees which is inevitable in the proposed hotspot.
Leros Solidarity Network wrote:

Why is Pikpa so important?

The politics of numbers: Inhuman refugee reception

The recent refugee crisis has been called one of the greatest humanitarian disasters since the Second World War. The LSN concurs. We believe that the only disaster greater than this is the total absence of political vision on the part of our elected leaders to adequately respond to it. In a confused and confusing way they sit and haggle over numbers: how many can be processed; how many can be allowed through a fence; how many can find a place in a country.

Numbers. And in the media, we read about the crisis in terms of numbers all the time: five thousand refugees crossing daily onto Greek islands; one million who have survived the treacherous journey across European borders; 3600 dead in trying to arrive. These figures are sensational. They describe things, entities, bodies, in a way that excites shock, horror, fear. These emotions encourage us to accept political solutions, which are driven by the principles of administrative efficiency and order, rather than human compassion, dignity and empathy.

Our political leaders engage with a game of numbers that is focused on finding a rapid solution to a human problem, which leaves the human beings out of the equation. They seem to believe that if we get ‘all these bodies’ in one place and hold them there, we can solve the refugee crisis. “Hot spots” are ways of corralling, detaining, holding people in order to assess and validate claims for asylum. They are about managing numbers.

In a supremely cynical move, the municipal government on Leros proposes to open up Lepida as a “hotspot” to house refugees. Lepida is associated with the concentration camp for political prisoners held under the Junta and with the infamous mental hospital that became renowned for the treatment of its incarcerated as insensate beasts. Lepida, like all concentration camps in Europe, is not simply a “place”; it is a place of memory. Like all concentration camps, it is a place, which gave birth to a European conscience, a collective commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law. It is a place, which reminds us why it is essential to protect these principles.

The conversion of Lepida into a European “hotspot “ is a cynical dismissal of this history. But it is also a clarion call to Europeans. How governments should manage the refugee crisis is opening a major political fault line. On one side are those who believe in a policy based on the principle of administrative efficiency. On the other, is the international solidarity movement, that which upholds the primacy of the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. By some quirk of fate, Leros is an epicenter of this divide, which is being drawn across a struggle between two institutions dedicated to two fundamentally different visions of refugee reception: Lepida (seen in these photos) and Pikpa (mentioned previously).

Madalena Grossmann

A Fortnight in Leros wrote:

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The traffickers do not bring their charges directly to Leros, given the risk of prosecution and imprisonment. Entry without a visa is of course illegal, as well, but the sheer numbers make enforcement almost impossible. Usually, the refugees bound for Leros are deposited on Farmakonisi, a bare island with a small military base where they must wait for days to be picked up by the Greek coast guard or a merchant marine vessel, the VOS Grace donated by Britain to aid the search-and-rescue missions in the Aegean Sea.

The inhumane conditions on Farmakonisi have provoked charges of human rights violations against the Greek military. A refugee traveling with his wife and young daughter told me how he and a group of 80 others were penned up on the barren island for five days. Soldiers were shooting into the air to intimidate them. Instead of feeding them, as required by law, the soldiers were blithely selling them water and biscuits. Sleeping on the ground in the rain, he watched other starving refugees eat snails.
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Which doesn't sound promising for the military takeover of the refugee crisis.

Mark.
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Feb 5 2016 21:15

Report from Idomeni

Mark.
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Feb 6 2016 12:11

Action day against fortress Europe

https://mobile.twitter.com/hashtag/actionday0602?src=hash

Mark.
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Feb 7 2016 00:16
Kathimerini wrote:

Greek authorities agreed on Friday to recognize Turkey as a “safe third country,” which means migrants for whom Turkey is a country of transit, not of origin, can be returned there.

The decision was announced after a meeting in Athens between Greek Interior Minister Panayiotis Kouroublis and his French and German counterparts, Bernard Cazeneuve and Thomas de Maiziere.

“This is a major step for Greece and we are taking it because we want to show our willingness to find a comprehensive way to address the problem,” said Kouroublis after the meeting. European officials said the shift in Greek policy was a “good start.”

The goal “cannot just be to register arriving refugees and to relocate them equitably [but above all] to reduce the flow,” said de Maiziere at the end of his two-day visit. He added that Germany is sending 100 police officers and two coast guard vessels to Greece.
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Asteris Masouras wrote:

For shame, @tsipras_eu, Turkey has deported Syrians back to Assad/IS

Ping me if you see video statements of Tsipras saying Turkey is a safe country for Syrian refugees. For posterity.

Turkey isn't even safe for its own citizens, let alone refugees. Expediency doesn't trump humanity, Europe https://twitter.com/dilkocer/status/695926910182957056

Benjamin Julian wrote:
Top EU officials remind Turkey of its obligations to keep frontiers open to refugees. The irony is unbearable.
Bruno Tersago wrote:
EU says Turkey must keep border open to Syrian refugees - This is some serious trolling http://f24.my/1QjuGDu

.
EU Law Analysis - The EU, Turkey and the refugee crisis: what could possibly go wrong?

Mark.
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Feb 6 2016 20:07
Teacher Dude wrote:

Lots of Greek riot police at Polykastro gas station nr #Idomeni. 1000s of #refugees there as well.

Gas station sound system playing recorded message in Arabic, Farsi, English earning people not to leave the grounds.

Not sure what we can expect at #Idomeni today, even if we'll be allowed access. Demo in progress, police blocked roads

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Long, difficult day at #Idomeni. Made even more difficult by @UNHCRGreece who needed nearly 2 hours to give us permission to set up.

We've been going up to #Idomeni twice a week since September yet we virtually have to beg to be given a few sq metres of space to work

When we were helping in summer the only UNHCR presence was 2 witless clowns who'd shout insults at exhausted refugees.

We are not a bunch of amateurs who just turn up out of nowhere. We work well with other groups and make sure our work doesn't impact others

Border now closed at #Idomeni, camps gradually filling up, temperatures dropping to near zero

Greek police giving volunteers at the clothing tent a hard time, threatening to shut them down.

Mark.
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Feb 6 2016 20:38

Clowns Without Borders on the new conditions for volunteers on Lesvos, including exclusion from camps.

Quote:
At this point, we have some definitive ‘no’ answers to our request for permission to become a registered NGO within the camp system of Greece.
Mark.
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Feb 6 2016 22:12

'Desperate EU to criminalize humanitarian assistance in Greece'

Mark.
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Feb 7 2016 10:40

Protest in Mytilene yesterday here and here

Mark.
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Feb 7 2016 18:42
Refugee Support wrote:

35000 refugees from #Aleppo arrived at Turkish border at #Kilis. But border has been closed. Open the border now!

It is a clear violation of the Geneva convention to push back refugees into a war zone (Art. 33)!

governor announced humanitarian supply will be given to refugees in #Syria. Throwing food over fence isn't a solution

refugees arriving now are trying to flee an offensive by Assad's troops and Russian airstrikes in the area of Aleppo.

It's a shame how nobody cared about #pushbacks happening everyday at Turkish border and now all of a sudden as numbers rise in spectacular heights every news agency shows up and all politicians feel the need to say something bout it

#EU specifically asked #Turkey to seal border and now they demand Turkey to open the border?
That's hypocritical bullshit.

free movement 4 all wrote:

Hotspots are jail camps, targeting on violation of human rights, imposed by Germany

The only reason for incarceration of refugees is illegal deportation. Lets not let that happen.

Volunteers must not help to separate "migrants" from refugees. Their right to apply for asylum is violated.

If #EU would really want Turkey to open the border for Syrians it would enable #Safepassage

By preparing for massive pushbacks and deportations from #Greece #EU & #Frontex push #Turkey to close the border for Syrians.

Mark.
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Feb 7 2016 17:35
Samos Refugees / Πρόσφυγες στη Σαμο wrote:

Nobel Prize Nonsense?

There seems to be some enthusiasm for nominating the people of the Greek frontier islands for the Nobel Peace Prize. Maybe there are some on the islands who would be happy for their efforts to be recognised but there are many others who want nothing to do with such an award.

For a start this is a prize from the 'top' and not from 'below'. It is awarded by the Norwegian parliament which is being increasingly dominated by the populist right Progress Party. The Norwegian government now proudly boasts that it has some of the toughest policies on refugees in the whole of Europe. It is threatening to send back thousands of refugees and cruelly demands that refugees have to spend 4 years in Norway before they can seek family re-unification. We know that the elites of Europe are experts on hypocrisy so we can always be surprised. But who would want an award from that lot ?

Our experience on Samos has been those at the top have been and remain a huge problem. They have done so little to help and so much to make our efforts more difficult. For example, until the middle of the summer 2015 it was against the law of Greece to give a lift to a refugee in your own car. It is beyond counting how many times we were threatened with prosecution for carrying refugees in our vehicles or in our small boats. The authorities here actively tried suppress our humanity; to make us frightened. It was outrageous.

Some of the most courageous activists included many visitors to Samos; people who were on the island as holiday makers and tourists. People who could not stand by in the face of such suffering and joined in with us to feed, clothe and care for the refugees at a time when the Greek state did nothing and when there were none of the big NGOs on the island. Their contribution was massive not the least because they had more money than us. But they have been made invisible in this Nobel nonsense.

Many things have changed on Samos since the summer of 2015. Not only do we have the big NGOs on the island but we also have many 'volunteers'. The latter are a mixed group but it is amazing how quickly some of them become self righteous and pompous in their 'do-goodery'. They never seem to realise that we are deeply offended when they thank us for our efforts. Who do they think they are to 'thank us'. We have done nothing for them. Their arrogance is sometimes breathtaking.

Thankfully not all the volunteers are like this but sadly too many are; they are the ones who enjoy being the story and getting their photos in the papers as they hand out a bottle of water. Facebook is full of their nauseating righteousness where they wallow in feedback which describes them as “awe inspiring” angels and so forth. It wouldn't surprise us to see them wearing campaign medals like I was on Samos/ Chios/ Lesbos/ Kos 2015!

Even worse so many of the volunteers are happy to comply with the current demands of the Greek authorities to be registered and regulated. They seem to actively seek the blessing of the authorities which for years have been and remain part of the problem and never part of the solution.

We do what we do because we are human. To stand and do nothing in the face of the suffering we see on the frontier islands is not an option unless you are prepared to be dehumanised. There is absolutely nothing special about us. But we see heroism constantly. We witness the most amazing solidarities full of compassion and care and love. And it is most evident amongst the refugees. It is their qualities which enable so many to survive and overcome the traumas of both 'the escape' and the journey. Our contribution is nothing compared to this. If there are to be any prizes handed out give them to the refugees.

For us the idea of a Nobel Prize is disgusting and a further sign of a screwed up world where to be a human being is now considered to be worthy of a prize.

Mark.
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Feb 7 2016 18:21

Lesvos today Eric Kempson's video blog

Mark.
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Feb 8 2016 14:50

Leaked minutes of a meeting between Erdogan, Juncker and Tusk haggling over the refugee crisis in November. Scroll down past the Greek text to see the minutes in English.

Mark.
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Feb 8 2016 17:28

Lesvos: the NGOs talk amongst themselves - report from a joint meeting in December.

Quote:
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An alternative view was that there were now too many volunteer groups on Lesvos that were proving difficult to coordinate and that, given the anti-refugee policies being adopted by some EU member states and increasingly hostile public attitudes towards refugees, it would be helpful if some volunteers remained at home and focussed their efforts on changing those policies and attitudes. How to channel the ‘volunteer phenomenon’ from action on the ground to advocacy back home was an important challenge for agencies - whether humanitarian or refugee/asylum agencies.
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It was pointed out that one of the most effective advocacy strategies was to mobilise members of the public to encourage/put pressure on their local MP to engage with the issue. The people that politicians listen to most are those that vote for them and especially those who go and talk to them about the issue. Organisations need to provide information and create the opportunities to enable constituents to meet with their MPs to raise these issues.
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Mark.
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Feb 8 2016 20:44
Benjamin Julian wrote:

Your life ends here

Another day, another report of deaths at the borders. On Saturday, two women froze to death in the Bulgarian mountains. One of them was a teenage girl. This mountain pass is the way of desperation, for people who can not afford the death boats to Greece.

People subject themselves to this misery and this fatal risk because it offers them the one thing that matters: getting closer to safety, stability and a new chance at life.

This possibility is now rapidly being eroded. Only three nationalities still have it, and even they will only be allowed to stay in Europe while their “home” is suffering war. Then they have to go back. Their possibility of family reunification, which has allowed relatives of healthy young adults to join them later via safe routes, is being restricted. Fences are being built, pushback agreements signed and camps, which no person should ever have to live in, are being proposed as an endpoint for the refugee trail.

Thus everything is brought back to normality. Arabs stay in Arabia, Africans in Africa, and Europeans can again pretend they’re not racist by throwing money at refugees over the five-meter razor-wire fences. People fleeing war will again be portrayed as impotent beggars, not as autonomous subjects that are free to move on their own terms. Freedom of movement will again be reserved for the people who only move if they want to, but never have to. It will again become our luxury product.

Resistance to this apartheid has mostly been offered by the migrants themselves. Ever since thousands of refugees, fed up with delays and blockages, ran across the Macedonian border last August, they have been the dominant force in the course of events.

Since then, hundreds of thousands have made it through borders that kept them from realizing their dreams, and they’re still coming. It is an achievement that decades of European open-border activism could only dream of. But now that such a force has entered the stage, our activism has taken an unexpected turn. Instead of fierce battles for freedom of movement, we have directed our attention at providing food, clothes, shelter. Things to make it more bearable to be stuck somewhere. For the first time in decades, the European public has its eyes on the consequences of border politics, but the drama has been focused on the beaches rather than the fences. Where are the lock-ons, sit-ins, roadblocks, black blocs, banner drops and paint bombs? Where are the protests, political appeals and actions? The European public’s attention is waning, the state’s actions are growing more determined, and still we’re mostly providing the refugees and the public with feel-good activism.

Obviously, food and clothes are important. But they are not what we are being asked for. We are being asked: how can we get to Germany? This, the ongoing possibility of movement, is the all-important point that no amount of soup will resolve. It is also the point that the state is now clearing up all on its own, month by month, by chopping up and regaining control of the Balkan route.

The political activism has largely been left to migrants – and it’s been impressive: They’ve marched to the border against police orders, attacked fences, protested against detention while in prison and blocked roads when they’ve been kept stuck. In the prison at Corinth, two Moroccans even tried jumping out of a window to make a run for it. They broke their legs and got apprehended. When brought before a judge, they named bad food as one of their grievances. The food handler got changed as a result. They now face deportation.

Their case reminds us of two things. Firstly, change comes in small steps. We won’t open all borders with One Big Action – but we do need to start somewhere. There are fences, prisons, camps and government offices all around, offering opportunities for protest and direct action. There are companies, essential to the functioning of refugee segregation, that specialize in separating nationalities by listening to their accents. These methods and practices have to be protested, one by one, to resist their ever harsher use.

Secondly, the Moroccans’ fate reminds us how easy and risk-free it is for us to protest. We are not at risk of being deported into the cold, hard hands of a repressive regime. We have experienced protesters and activists in our ranks and passports that give us significant political freedoms. It is essential that we use them, not just for migrants, but for our own society’s sake. A society that kills people at its borders, segregates them, makes them drown and freeze to death, a society that resolves a mass movement of people fleeing war by storing them in containers for years, is a society that breeds evil. It is imperative that we resist it.

Mark.
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Feb 11 2016 23:29

Greece with Simon Reeve - travel show filmed last summer with a better than expected report on Lesvos.

Edit: Yiannis Baboulias was involved in this which may explain why it was surprisingly good.

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Feb 9 2016 16:13

Amnesty report on detention and deportation of refugees in Turkey.

Quote:

The human rights violations documented in this briefing contrast with the generally favourable, humanitarian approach of the Turkish authorities towards refugees and asylum-seekers in the country. Given that they coincide with the opening of negotiations around the Joint EU-Turkey Action Plan, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Turkey’s unlawful treatment of refugees and asylum-seekers caught attempting to leave irregularly has been triggered by the political and logistical demands exerted upon them by the EU to stop hundreds of thousands of people crossing a sea border with Greece of more than 700 km. The fact that detention and deportation are exceptional does not make them excusable. Irrefutable evidence shows that the Turkish authorities are detaining some of the most vulnerable people in their jurisdiction, including children, in a manner more akin to kidnapping than a lawful detention regime. Forcibly returning refugees back to Syria and Iraq is as unconscionable as it is unlawful under international and domestic Turkish law.

The fact that these detentions and returns took place in the context of negotiations and the signing of the EU-Turkey deal to combat irregular crossings, is chilling...

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Feb 11 2016 00:29

In Greek

Meeting in Exarcheia at the weekend - panhellenic network of anti-racist, anti-fascist, solidarity and migrant/refugee associations.

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Feb 11 2016 13:04
Soli Cafe wrote:

In Vial, in the hillside of Chios, far from the touristy shore, a so called Refugee Hotspot is being built. It is obvious, that this place will fail to respond to the immigration of people fleeing war, persecution or poverty in a humanitarian way. The camp will restrict all chances for self-sufficiency of the migrants, being far from shops or supermarkets and public. Furthermore, a big part of the camp is already fenced in. It is likely to assume that people, who look for shelter, will be imprisoned, hold as criminals and deported from there.

Officials announced, that this detention center could be opened in two weeks. How will this change the support, that we as local and international volunteers and activists can provide to migrants on Chios? In order to discuss this question and the possibilities of a protest action against the Hotspot, you are invited to a meeting at Friday, the 12th of February at 11 am at the Soli Cafe. Feel welcomed to join in!

Philippa Kempson wrote:

Please share widely among any volunteers and organisations currently active or present in Lesvos.

**RE: Information Meeting on the Targeting of Volunteers and the Identification of Legal Responses Towards it. **
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Οn Saturday 02/13/2016 the Greek Action for Human Rights - "Pleiades" will host an informative meeting on "The announced recording, monitoring, coordination and supervision of volunteer services of individuals and entities in the perspective of the UN Convention for the protection of human rights defenders" with Electra Leda Koutra, Human Rights lawyer from Athens.

The event will take place in the hall of the Bar Association of Mytilene, which is located inside the building of the Court of Mytilene. The briefing will be followed by a discussion that will help identify responses towards the escalating targeting of volunteers and those who defend human rights.
....

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Feb 12 2016 00:02

Germany sends NATO warships to patrol with Frontex in the Aegean.

Faloulah wrote:
Wanna see how #refugeesGR death toll will rise? Wait till NATO deploys twitter.com/asteris
Damomac wrote:

In welcoming #Nato intervention, #Syriza partner #Kammenos says #Greece is closing "chapter of illegal immigration". No mention of refugees.

#Syriza coalition partner Kammenos welcomes #Nato decision: "arrested immigrants will be sent straight back to Turkey".

Kammenos is minister of defence in the Syriza/ANEL (Independent Greeks) coalition government. Initially this appointment may have looked like giving the leader of Syriza's right wing nationalist coalition partner a chance to play soldiers without it having much wider significance. With the Greek military taking over responsibility for managing the refugee crisis it's starting to look more disturbing. For a reminder about Kammenos, the Independent Greeks and the coalition see this article by Irate Greek written just after last January's elections.

Irate Greek wrote:

....

One last word

I am incensed – INCENSED – that SYRIZA chose to go for a coalition with Independent Greeks instead of repeat elections. I believe that people like Panos Kammenos – the raving, racist lunatic who said last week that that “Buddhists, Jews and Muslims don’t pay taxes” – should never, ever be given positions of power. Furthermore, accepting people such as Kammenos in a left-led government is playing with fire because it gives public and political legitimacy to his xenophobic, racist, antisemitic, homophobic views and Greece doesn’t need more of that when it already has a neo-Nazi party as its third largest political force.

So everything I wrote above is not arguments I agree with. I can see the reasons why SYRIZA chose this alliance, and I can see why it was the only possible alliance, but I think that, in the long term, it will prove to be the wrong choice.

Edit:

Π. Καμμένος για συμφωνία ΝΑΤΟ: Κλείνει το κεφάλαιο της παράνομης μετανάστευσης

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Feb 11 2016 20:00
Platanos Refugee Solidarity wrote:

The situation in Lesvos has changed radically the last 10 days. New Frontex vessels appeared and together with the greek coastguard are barricading the sea the whole day. Very few refugees reach the shore cause most of them are being stopped by the authorities who take everyone on board and send them directly to Mytilene, Molyvos or Petra and then to the registration camp in Moria. In that way, no support from the frontline camps can be offered to these people, leading them to spend many hours without food, clothes and medical attention.

Platanos sea rescue team was stopped several times from providing help or guidance to refugee boats and we were ordered to back away.

In some cases the refugees had to wait for over an hour in the middle of the sea for the bigger frontex ships to arrive and pick them up.

From the comments below that post:

Platanos Refugee Solidarity wrote:

Its obvious that they want to take control of the situation and the management of the flows.

Also it's part of the plan of the EU that wants to immediately deport those who don't meet the criteria of the refugees. That's why they want to ensure that everyone will get to Moria where they will separate them and those who won't gain the status of the "refugee", will be send back to Turkey. Recently Greece recognized Turkey as a safe country, that means they intend to make Turkey the place where economic immigrants will ask for asylum.

....

1) Μας πειράζει όταν άνθρωποι περιμένουν βρεγμένοι μεσοπέλαγα να έρθει η Φρόντεξ να τους πάρει τη στιγμή που απέχουν 500 μέτρα από την ακτή. Επιπλέον, οι λιμενικοί τους πάνε κατευθείαν στην Πέτρα και από κει τα λεωφορεία τους μεταφέρουν στο κέντρο καταγραφής. Έτσι, για τουλάχιστον 5-6 ώρες τους στερούνται τα στεγνά ρούχα, το φαγητό, η ιατρική φροντίδα και γενικά όλη η υποστήριξη των δομών της παραλίας.

2) Πρέπει να το καταλάβουμε επιτέλους ότι η Φρόντεξ και το λιμενικό είναι εδώ για να ελέγχουν την ασφάλεια των συνόρων και όχι για να περιθάλπουν ανθρώπους. Αστυνομικοί είναι, όχι ναυαγοσώστες. Ακόμα και σε τεχνικό επίπεδο, τα σκάφη τους είναι παντελώς ακατάλληλα για διασώσεις. (Φαντάσου ότι ο μόνος τρόπος να περισυλλέξουν ναυαγούς είναι από την πλατφόρμα πίσω, λίγο πιο δίπλα από τις προπέλες δηλαδή, που φυσικά δεν έχουν καν το προστατευτικό δαχτυλίδι που έχουν τα διασωστικά.) Να το πούμε και πιο ξάστερα;

Οι ελληνικές αρχές και η φρόντεξ δεν έχουν κανένα επίσημο διασωστικό σκάφος, έχουν μόνο σκάφη περιπολίας και καταδίωξης!

3) Όλη αυτή η επιχείριση εντάσσεται στο γενικότερο σχέδιο ελέγχου των ροών και περιορισμού της μετανάστευσης. Το επίσημο σχέδιο της πολιτείας θέλει να ελέγχονται όσοι μπαίνουν στη Λέσβο, να μεταφέρονται στο κέντρο καταγραφής και όσοι δεν πληρούν τα κριτήρια του πρόσφυγα και θεωρηθούν οικονομικοί μετανάστες να επιστρέφονται στην Τουρκία με σκάφη της Φρόντεξ. Ήδη η Ελλάδα αναγνώρισε την Τουρκία ως ασφαλή χώρα, οπότε όσοι είναι για αίτηση ασύλου πολύ πιθανώς να μεταφέρονται εκεί.

Mark.
Online
Joined: 11-02-07
Feb 11 2016 20:54

EU 'recommendations' to Greece on managing its borders

Spiegel - Closing the Balkan route: will Greece become a refugee bottleneck?

Mark.
Online
Joined: 11-02-07
Feb 11 2016 20:59
Chris wrote:
In port of Samos the camp is broken and moved to mountains by military. I was forced to "leave the harbor". https://twitter.com/martingommel/status/697761543627399172
Mark.
Online
Joined: 11-02-07
Feb 11 2016 21:25

In Greek

Soldiers refusing to take part in construction of 'concentration camps'

Νίκη φαντάρων που αρνήθηκαν να πάνε στα hot spot-στρατοπεδα συγκέντρωσης: κόπηκαν οι αποσπάσεις τους