In early March 2015, the mayor of Lesvos Spiros Galinos called on the ‘Village of all together’ to move out all the refugees accommodated in PIKPA. He wanted to renovate PIKPA for a tennis tournament that would take place in May. He seriously proposed the prison of Moria as an alternative that could be turned into an open centre. This is where the refugees could live!
We came back to Lesvos in August 2014. We returned once again to the outer border of Europe which was for many of us the place of our first arrival here. Again it was a journey that was full of memories, full of new encounters with people who experience today what many of us have been facing in the past. In this boobklet you will find many impressions from these days.
This year we were a very mixed group: There were young people who have already received a right to stay in Germany
and Sweden and who came back to meet with those who didn’t yet find a way out of Greece. From Athens a whole group of refugees came who currently live in the ´Welcome Island and some who are friends we knew from our camping last year in Lesvos or from the tours in Greece and Turkey. The trip was organized once again by Youth without Borders (JOG) and´Welcome to Europe (w2eu), together with many local friends.
We experienced incredible days on Lesvos, days full of memories of our own suffering but also our own success stories.
We welcomed the newly arrived and we had many encounters at the harbour of Mytilene when people left to continue their
journeys. We mourned those who didn’t arrive but died at this border. We protested against the prison close to the village of Moria and we overcame the fence with music. We had some incredible parties in PIKPA, the self organised welcome centre. …
We promise to come back again! Until this border becomes history.
29th of August 2014
We received the information that there is a rescue operation in Nees Kydonies Lesvou. A 38-year-old woman has gone missing. Strong winds in the area. The coast guard boats are not sailing only a helicopter flies for a while over the area.
At noon 25 Afghan refugees arrived at PIKPA. Two dingy boats had arrived early that morning. Strong winds and waves can’t stop smugglers but also can’t stop the need of people escaping war. Among the survivors of the first boat there is a five year old girl with her uncle. Her mother is missing. The child is resting in PIKPA. PIKPA is overcrowded again. More than 150 people arrived yesterday. No available beds and the families taking care of the girl give her their own beds. We inform the Doctors of the world in Moria detention camp about the tragic incident as well as Red Cross International. The child has a sister and her father in Belgium and they talk on the phone when the child is transferred in Moria to be examined and supported by the doctors. Continue reading Life not Death, by Efi Latsoudi→
On Wednesday night (27th August 2014) a group of 73 refugees most of which were Afghan was transferred from Moria first reception detention centre in Lesvos to the port of Mytilene. When the last load of people reached the port it was already dark. They were then brought on board discretely and in the shadow of one Greek officer at a time. During this seemingly secretive operation the port was full of civil police and coast guards.
As the refugees thought they would be released – similar to the previously detained refugees all the other days, they were shocked and in panic when they found themselves in the port facing a 116 metres long ship of the Greek Navy. They were not informed about what was going to happen. They didn’t know where they would be brought. And their biggest fear was that they were being send back to Turkey.
Many of the persons transferred are relatives of families who were released shortly before, there are unaccompanied minors among them who were afraid to register with their real age as they heard the underage stay longer in detention and there are others who have family members in other European countries. All these persons have escaped war and conflict to find security and protection in Europe.
• We demand to know where these people were brought as to inform their relatives and lawyers! Transparency to all official procedures concerning refugees instead of secretive operations!
• Stop the transfer of refugees on Navy Boats that terrifies and retraumatizes them!
• Stop the arbitrary and discriminative treatment! We demand freedom for all refugees! Stop the detention of protection seekers!
• We also demand to know the whereabouts of the 36 unaccompanied minors who were seemingly transferred from Moria on August 18th to Athens/ Amigdaleza!
LESVOS: Unaccompanied minors kept in detention for days and transferred to detention in Amigdaleza with plastic handcuffs
On Tuesday 19th of August 2014 we became witnesses when the police transferred 36 unaccompanied minors from Moria “first reception” detention centre in Mytilene, Lesvos Island to the port and on the ferry heading to Athens as some of us were travelling the same day. The children and teenagers – some of which are merely older than 13 years – were handcuffed (with plastic wire straps) and guarded by dozens of uniformed officers and civil police. On the first sight we thought that we would be travelling with penal detainees being transferred to Chios prison. Only on the second sight we recognized minors we had met a few days ago in PIKPA and then again in Moria during our days of action on the island. They were not even allowed to take of the handcuffs when going to the toilette!
Unaccompanied children upon arrival to Greece are afraid to say the truth about their age. They are so afraid to suffer more days in detention that they often declare themselves as adults neglecting all the possible negative consequences this decision might have in long term. The boys who were transferred to Athens on the 18th said the truth about their young age. It seems like they are being punished for that. And even more, it seems that the newly arriving are deterred from registering as minors when observing what happens to the others or listening to their stories.
These days hundreds of refugees have arrived on Lesvos island. Moria detention centre has been filled – also with unaccompanied minors. Due to high numbers in arrivals adult refugees are being released within a few days, while the few unaccompanied minors who register as such have to stay behind the barbed wire and wait for a place in a specialised open reception centre.
The day before yesterday the 36 unaccompanied minors were brought like prisoners into the ferry. Yesterday they most probably arrived to Amigdaleza detention centre for minors in Athens. With the words “We don’t want food. We want freedom!” they had been peacefully protesting in Moria against detention. Some of them were locked up more than three weeks under miserable conditions. Now they are in a real prison for minors. Only one month ago (17.7.14) a 17-year-old Afghan out of despair self-injured himself in Moria detention centre. He was struggling for his freedom. Also elsewhere in Greece like in Samos island dozens of unaccompanied minors are held for weeks before they are send to open reception centres for children. Yet their voices are seldom heard as contact to the inside of the detention centres is not existent for the civil society.
• We demand the immediate release of all children and teenagers from Amigdaleza, Moria, Samos and any other detention centre! Freedom to all!
• We demand child appropriate treatment and protection instead of (re-)traumatising procedures! No police guards for children! No handcuffs on children! No children in prison!
• We demand for the opening of more specialised open camps for child refugees! Welcome to Europe | Youth Without Borders Email: firstname.lastname@example.org