w2eu press release: Mytilene / Greece: European Border Agency FRONTEX invades place of solidarity

Mytilene / Greece: European Border Agency FRONTEX invades place of

The people of the Greek island Lesvos (Mytilene) are famous for their
solidarity to the refugees arriving on the island. In December 2012 the
solidarity organized by the network “Village of Alltogether” was in the
focus of international media as a seldom example of good practice
showing that human rights in reality are a matter of the people and not
of politicians and their empty words.

Now, in September 2013, again the local people are offering with the
help of the islands’ authorities a shelter in PIKPA (a place for youth
summer camps) to 70 refugees mainly coming from Syria, Afghanistan and
Somalia. The people of the solidarity movement take once more the
responsibility to cover all the daily needs like food, clothes e.g.
Local people individually pass by practicing the famous Greek
hospitality and bring whatever useful they can offer: some apples, loafs
of bread, soap or just a welcoming smile.

On one of our solidarity visits we made to support the local structures
in their everyday effort, we – some members of the network Welcome to
Europe (http://lesvos.w2eu.net) – got aware of the fact that the
European Border Agency FRONTEX, has prepared themselves to occupy two
rooms in the main building with the aim to open an office for their so
called “screening”. This procedure most of the times results in the
wrong registration of refugees’ nationalities and/or age. With this
involvement they have the power to categorize you in “readmittable”,
“deportable” or a potential refugee and thus determine the immediate
destiny of all new arriving sans papiers. It depends on what they write
if a refugee will be send back to Turkey, if he/she will be detained or
not and even if he/she will be treated as a an adult or as a child.
FRONTEXs screening is part of their “risk research” to improve “border
security” in an area known for the inhuman treatment of refugees trying
to cross the external borders of the EU. Meanwhile FRONTEX is playing a
key role being responsible for the implementation of structures, through
know-how, staff and equipment sealing the European borders also in
Greece. They are directly and indirectly involved in national and
international structures of human rights abuses against refugees who try
to enter Greece (i.e. witnessing push-backs) and who already managed to
enter Europe (i.e. witnessing the degrading detention conditions in
prisons such as the police stations of Lesvos and the new detention
center to be built on the island).

On the 6th of September 2013 two FRONTEX-officers from Italy and Sweden
expulsed a family with small children and a pregnant woman from the
rooms they were hosted in order to occupy and re-use these rooms as
their offices introducing themselves as European Border Police. It is
more than obvious that thereby they abused the solidarity the local
people are offering and the trust that has developed among the civilian
supporters and the refugees in order to fulfill their task: to
militarize Europes’ borders instead of building a common space of

Mytilene, 9th of September 2013

Network Welcome to Europe
Contact: w2eu@hotmail.com