Τρίτη, 1 Σεπτεμβρίου 2009

New humanitarian crisis with the government’s blessings

With its persistent efforts the NO BORDER CAMPING team managed to do what the appropriate authorities should have already done: release 500 prisoners from the immigrants’ detention center in Pagani.

On Saturday, August 29th, a team of NO BORDER lawyers managed to extract a decision from the police and the local authorities for the immediate release of children, women and their husbands, 150 adolescents who were not accompanied by their parents as well as prisoners that should have been released last week. This came following the rebellion of prisoners inside the detention center. As immigrants were being released, 40 activists organised a protest in the port of Mytilini and even managed to open up a banner at sea reading “FRONTEX KILLS”. At the same time other protesters were marching through the city. As the day came to an end, prisoners were transferred to a hospital in Neapoli, Mytilini where they will remain temporarily and protesters clashed with special police forces.

So far so good.

But problems have only just begun. Any group of activists, no matter how well organised, cannot substitute the work that should be done by authorities.

All released prisoners received a document for their deportation (non-executable) and a ferry ticket to Piraeus and therefore to Athens. The Ministry of Health has promised to transfer unaccompanied adolescents to a special facility but no provision has been made for other prisoners - or for those that continue to arrive at the Pagani Special Detention Center for Immigrants.

The 500 prisoners that have been released from Pagani – families, women with babies, children and elderly – are condemned to even worse living conditions than those they experienced in Pagani. Without food, shelter or medical care. The roads to Europe are closed and returning to their own countries is not an option. 500 more people are simply pushed into the black market and a life as outlaws. The humanitarian crisis of Pagani is simply carried to the streets of Athens and managing that responsibility is passed on from the authorities to the citizens of Athens.
This never-ending cycle is to continue and new souls come to take the place of those already residing in parks and squares in Athens. Police patrols organising operations to pick up illegal immigrants fail to provide a sustainable solution both for the immigrants as well as for locals.
Transferring the problem from the islands to the capital and from one square to another certainly doesn’t indicate the existence of any immigration policy.

Within days the center of Athens will face yet another humanitarian crisis and any notion of social integration or coherence will vanish in thin air thanks to the decisions of the government.

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