PIKPA is a self-organised welcome center run since December 2012 by the civil society of Mytilene- Specifically the local network village of all together has been offered the former summer camp for youth by the municipality in order to host new arriving refugees. In the beginning the open camp was meant to host the homeless refugees who were arriving on the island and whom the police denied to arrest. When the local authorities started arresting the newcomers and the new first reception detentiuon center in Moria was opened PIKPA changed into a place hosting the ones released from detention who could not reach a ship at the day of release. Meanwhile numbers of newly arriving refugees have increased dramatically and to such a degree that they won’t fit in Moria detention center and again the authorities started transfering them to PIKPA. Refugees are currently first arrested by the coast guard, then transferred to PIKPA and then to to Moria.
In the frame of the second “back-to-the-border”-camp from youth without borders and the network welcome to europe a protest took place at August 10th 2014 in front of the detention center in Moria on Lesvos island.
About 80 people, mainly young refugees and migrants, organized a concert by Renovatio, Open Mike and a DJ in front of the so called “first reception center”.
Wednesday, 6th August 2014, first day at the harbour of Mitilini:
When I started telling the people my own story, that I came here via Greece and have been very long here and than made it out – it changed our relation immediately. I had all the memories from the past – it was exactly this harbour and it was exactly this place of my arrival. But the difference was: when I arrived here, nobody was there to explain anything to me or to say welcome.
We are now here in Mitilini on our second journey back to the border. In a group of activists from various countries – with many of us having arrived in Europe via the Greek islands – we decided to go daily to the harbour to meet with people who were released from the refugee-prison in Moria and sought to leave for Athens. On the first day we met 24 people, all of them Afghan refugees. After their arrival on the island by boat they were imprisoned in Moria. From there they were transferred directly by a police-van to the harbour. Most of them had been imprisoned for about one and a half weeks – and all of them were quite happy to be able to continue their trip. These days there are daily releases from the prison as there are daily arrivals too and people try to continue their trip with the ferries going to Athens. Upon release they receive a white paper (deportation order) that says that they have to leave the country within 30-days. When the 30 days are over they become undocumented again and fear imprisonment again only for this reason up to 18 months and more. Continue reading Traces Back Part II: Farewell to refugees released from Moria→
‘First reception’ practices of refugees in Greece: The example of Moria on Lesvos island
“We didn’t come to Europe to get beaten, insulted and imprisoned.”
In September 26th, 2013 the new so called “first reception center (KEPY)” opened in Moria on the island of Lesvos. It is the second of its kind in Greece following the example of the KEPY in Fylakio, Evros that opened earlier in the same year.
The Pagani of the Troika – as it is called to remind of former prisons and to disconnect it from nearby Moria village, is a prison where only a few selected NGOs have access under the precondition not to share any information with the outside world. Civil society gets presented the term ‘first reception’ that gives a false impression of an open, accessible place while it is nothing else than another new prison in the tradition of Amigdaleza’s fenced containers the only difference being the detention duration – at first sight. As prescribed by law, detention does not exceed 25 days maximum in this place BUT detainees might just be transferred to (pre-removal) detention centers such as Fylakio, Komotini, Xanthi or Chios for example, where they might stay up to 18 months or more if they are not readmitted to Turkey, deported or sign voluntary return in the meanwhile.
Currently the detention center in Moria is being constructed directly next to the “first reception” center, and build within the same fences and with the same containers. It is about to be opened in beginning of July 2014 with a capacity of 750 people while the capacity of the “first reception” screening center is supposed to reach 250 places. Nonetheless, only detention is what has marked the character of Moria since the beginning.
It is our aim to show from the very beginning of its functioning the real face of the ‘first reception’ detention center and to insist that this has to be closed. We do not argue for better detention conditions but for freedom!
We asked refugees having passed through Moria prison one single question: