Greece, keep refugees inside concentration camps, European Union says

This 2013 video is called “Hellas Hell: Refugees’ hell in Greece“.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Greece plan to release 3,500 illegal immigrants from asylum centres sets it on a collision course with Europe

About 3,500 detainees who will be released from the camps if Greece’s new anti-austerity rulers make good on their promises – to the consternation of both Greeks and the EU

Nsathalie Savaricas

Athens, Sunday 05 April 2015

Inside the barbed wire and fences at the Amygdaleza camp, undocumented migrants of all ages wander around the yard, tending to clothes hanging to dry outside shipping containers.

The Athens detention centre, at the foot of Mount Parnitha’s lush fir forest and a few minutes’ drive from the country’s oldest casino, is among seven migrant centres across Greece. Its occupants are among about 3,500 detainees who will be released from the camps if Greece’s new anti-austerity rulers make good on their promises.

For people like Bilal Hussein, it cannot come too soon. He was held in various detention centres in Greece, including the now notorious Amygdaleza. “It was horrible,” he recalls.

When the 34-year-old was released at the end of last month in the northern town of Xanthi, he was still wearing his summer clothes from the time he was arrested last year. “It was cold but we had nothing to wear, only a T-shirt and trousers – not even socks.”

Mr Hussein fled his home town of Sialkot in Pakistan nine years ago. He had begun a relationship with a woman whose family were outraged that they were not married. His girlfriend was murdered by her own family. He fled and sought sanctuary in Europe. But life in Greece, he said, has been “worse”. He says he watched many inmates die from illnesses because of neglect and the lack of any healthcare at Amygdaleza.

“The [camp] was very dirty. If anyone got sick, no one cared – we’d get beaten up when we asked for a doctor,” he tells The Independent. Other migrants also talk of widespread physical abuse in Greece’s detention centres. For years, Athens has repeatedly been condemned for the treatment of migrants by the European Court of Human Rights.

In its recently published report after visiting Amygdaleza in February, the NGO Médecins du Monde (MDM) lamented the poor living conditions but noted there was no evidence of violence. “It was really the image of a concentration camp,” the head of Greece’s branch of MDM, Nikitas Kanakis, said.

Mr Kanakis, who has been working for MDM for more than 20 years covering all major crises and wars around the world, said the residents at the camp were “neglected, malnourished and living in isolation without even knowing what the future held for them”. He cites as an example the day his NGO visited; it was snowing, yet some immigrants were still wearing the clothes they were wearing when they were arrested last summer – just like Mr Hussein.

Left-wing Syriza swept to power vowing to break with the policies of the past, and wants to free about 20 migrants every day, while ensuring the safe housing of 210 unaccompanied minors who are spread around the country’s camps. The government wants to shut down the camps gradually or transform them into open reception centres. “There is a huge change in our government policy,” Tasia Christodoulopoulou, the Immigration Minister, tells The Independent. “We want to bridge the chasm between safety and freedom.” …

She says her ministry will start freeing foreigners whose only crime is “to have illegally crossed into Greece”.

What Syriza offers is very far-from a revolutionary programme. Nevertheless, the victory of a socialist party which is critical of the “European project” as it is defined in Brussels and Frankfurt, while not quite offering a bonfire of the EU’s vanities, is at least a glimmer of warmth and light in this freezing winter of neoliberal glaciation. They are demonstrating for all to see that “austerity” is not simply about balancing budgets. It is an attempt to use the crisis as an excuse to roll back half a century of redistributive state policies.

Pressures on the Greek government to betray its supporters and abandon its mandate are growing and there are few options left for Mr Varoufakis, given his open commitment to remaining within the EU: here.

Greece seeks to reach an agreement with its international creditors but refuses to go back on its election pledges to end austerity measures, Greek Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis told Sunday newspaper To Vima: here.

47 thoughts on “Greece, keep refugees inside concentration camps, European Union says

  1. Pingback: Greece, keep refugees inside concentration camps, European Union says | Ώρα Κοινής Ανησυχίας

  2. 1) 26-28 June Athens: Euro the problem, exit the solution
    2) Greek minister: overturn German EU


    1) Anti-EU Forum Athens

    Call for an International Forum (Athens 26-28/6/2015) and the establishment of a European Co-ordination of Left political parties, popular organisations and social movements fighting for exit from the European Union, the euro and NATO.


    2) Confront, overturn German Europe!
    Groundbreaking interview with Greek minister Lafazanis

    Lafazanis is the most senior exponent of the Left Platform within Syriza and holds decisive governmental office. Together with others like the economist and PM Lavapitsas they seem decided not to back down as other parts of Syriza are prone to.

    A break with the Euro-German creditor’s oligarchy will most likely run through Syriza. An anti-EU liberation front will become necessary comprising all forces determined to defend the popular classes rallying the majority.

    They will need massive international solidarity especially from the anti-systemic forces within the Euro core countries. The International Anti-EU Forum will be the place to forge this European alliance. The Left Platform of Syriza together with all the Greek forces preparing for the Euro exit are preparing this meeting:

    “The pathway of the country away from the crisis goes through tough confrontation, if not collision, with the Germanized Europe. The current Germanized establishment, despite its internal differences, is the most devastating thing for Greece, and more comprehensively, for the entire European continent.

    No “institution”, no blackmailing and no dilemma is going to bury the decade-long struggles of the executive members of SYRIZA, which were given together with the Left and its principles. SYRIZA is not going to be absorbed by the state, and will not become a crutch and manager of the neoliberal “state-fed” Greek capitalism. The soul of SYRIZA is the society and the need for a progressive reconstruction of the country with a socialist horizon.

    The only realism at these critical moments we live in is the overturn.”


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