Refugees die, trying to reach Greece

This video says about itself:

Action Xenios Zeus

18 Jan 2013

The clip contains interviews with lawyers from the Greek council of refugees and a delegate of Syriza on the newly created detention centers in Greece and the massive detention of refugees and migrants there in the name of Xenios Zeus.

From I Can’t Relax in Greece blog, about a TV program by German broadcasting organisation ARD:

ARD: Many refugees lose their lives trying to reach Greece

Posted on 26/07/2013 by icantrelaxingreece

According to Amnesty International, only 0.9% of asylum applications get approved.

The reportage begins with the image of a corpse on a steep beach of Lesvos island, with the presenter Fritz Frey indicating that they he was an Afghan refugee who lost his life trying to reach Greece. This shows the “dark side” of Lesvos, an island that, as he points [out], is a favourite holiday destination for many Germans.

During the reportage there are videos – among others – showing pictures of the Greek Coast Guard locating boats with refugees and it is also highlighted that the Greek authorities treat them as if they are illegal immigrants and not refugees.

Giorgos Kosmopoulos from Amnesty International states in the reportage that given the really shost distance separating Lesvos from the Turkish coast, the passage to the opposite coast for many of the refugees means “security, protection and hope for the future”. However, they often have to confront terrible situations, such as their unnecessary ill-treatment by the authorities and their ‘push-back’ [turning migrants back across the border] to Turkey, where they have no hope.

Statements are also made ​​by navy lieutenant Antonios Sofiadelis, who states that “we must fulfill our duty to rescue people who are in the sea and to intercept those who attempt to come here illegally” and notes that the guidelines are decided by the central administration and that it is a political issue.

The reportage also shows footage from the refugee reception center in Lesvos, which is visited by Rebecca Harms, the parliamentary leader of the Greens in the European Parliament. The reporter highlights the practice of putting into long-term detention unaccompanied minors with no known family members.

The MEP states that “as long as these refugees do not come to us, we tolerate the violation of human rights in a European country like Greece. We must guarantee that the human rights conventions and the relevant international standards apply also to those people. And this is something we have not been doing so far”.

The reportage ends with footage from Lesvos’s cemetery, where one can see makeshift improvised graves marked only with numbers for the refugees that lost their lives while trying to reach Europe.

“Nobody knows their names”, the journalist notes and he asks “how many more must die on Europe’s doorstep”?

Translated from ‘To Vima’ newspaper, 24/07/2013, online at:

See also here.

Xenophobia in Greece: here.

15 thoughts on “Refugees die, trying to reach Greece

  1. Greek teachers protest mass firings by government

    On Monday, 2,000 Greek teachers were suspended from their jobs with immediate effect, following the abolition of a number of courses at technical and vocational schools last week. The measures ended 388 nursing courses and 335 early childhood care courses.

    Secondary school teachers from vocational and technical upper high schools participated in nationwide rallies the same day to protest the suspensions. The protests included a demonstration in Athens main Syntagma Square.

    Under the dictatorial measures, the teachers will be paid 75 percent of their salary for up to eight months. They will then be fired if they haven’t been transferred to another state job.

    The secondary teachers union Olme has refused to call out all its members in support of the sacked teachers. Instead it has filed a legal complaint against the education minister and other officials. It accuses them of implementing the measures prior to parliament passing the legislation. It complains that the government published the names and other personal data of some 2,500 affected teachers.

    In May, the union defied a 95 percent vote for strike action from delegates at regional conferences of OLME. This paved the way for the government to step its offensive against teachers.


    Health workers in Greece oppose mass sackings

    State health service workers in Greece struck Wednesday to protest government plans to involuntarily transfer around 2,500 staff into a “labour mobility” austerity scheme. State hospitals and surgeries operated with emergency staff during the 24-hour strike. Health workers also struck to oppose the measures on July 16.

    One employee at the University Hospital of Ioannia told Press TV, “The national health system’s budget has already been cut [by] 40 percent in the last three years. We are in desperate need of more doctors, nursing staff, and medical technicians.”

    The action was called by the PanHellenic Federation of Employees in Public Hospitals (POEDIN). POEDIN stated “The mergers, the closure of hospitals, the closure of 770 units, which are parts of the Greek National Health System, the new organizations, the possible repeal of entire professional fields, will be the tools for the implementation of this analgesic policy in the field of health.”

    Under the scheme, agreed last week with the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, workers are removed from employment and paid at a lower rate for months. The conditions stipulate that if workers don’t accept whatever job is subsequently offered to them, they can be sacked. It is likely that workers will not be offered alternative employment in any case.

    Health workers, teachers and municipal workers are among the 12,500 public-sector staff, to be subjected to transfers and inevitable firings. The labour mobility scheme will cut 15,000 jobs by the end of 2014.

    In another move to cut health spending the Greek government intends to transform at least five public hospitals in Athens into health centres, focussing on chronic illnesses.


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  3. But it is geography and world politics that have thrown the spotlight on Samos. An island that would wish to be known for its nature and rich flora, for its beaches, and for its association with the mathematician Pythagoras, is now becoming infamous for the way it treats the refugees. In the past 18 months there have been at least two highly critical visits and reports on the situation. One was from a German charity, which was alarmed by the hopeless manner in which the Greek authorities were processing refugees. The second was from an EU commission that had similar concerns arising from the extremely low approval rate (0.61 percent) for asylum seekers. This is the lowest approval rate in the EU. We now await a third report from a Norwegian human rights group.


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