In September 2022, Homayoun Sabetara, a native of Iran, was handed an 18-year prison sentence for “aiding unauthorized entry into the EU from third countries.” Having driven a car from Turkey to Greece with six others seeking refuge, he was apprehended by the police in Thessaloniki. For the past two years, the almost 60-year-old has remained behind bars, while his daughter, Mahtab Sabetara, has been tirelessly advocating for his release, along with other refugees detained in Greece under charges of “people smuggling.”
In distressing news, the Makhmour Camp, which has been frequently targeted by Turkish airstrikes, is now facing a siege by the Iraqi army. On May 20th, special army units accompanied by armored vehicles attempted to encircle the camp with wire fences and establish towers in strategic locations. However, the residents of the camp strongly opposed these measures, leading to clashes with the army. One person was injured as a result of the army’s attacks, further fueling the determination of the camp residents, who are now in their first week of resistance.
In a somber announcement, the human rights monitoring group Mare Liberum has announced its withdrawal from Lesvos island, the end of its operations, and the dissolution of the association. The decision came after five years of operation in the Aegean, during which the group faced multiple forms of sabotage, obstruction, and repression.
As the upcoming presidential election draws near, political parties are making a variety of promises on how to handle the refugee crisis. Unfortunately, one of the topics dominating election news is the potential deportation of refugees back to their home countries in order to stem the flow of movement across borders.
The brutal reality of refugee camps in Greece has been exposed by the EODY workers’ union, who have issued a damning statement about the conditions faced by asylum seekers. According to the union, the government is turning Reception and Identification Centers into real prisons, complete with double NATO-style military fencing, card and fingerprint entry gates, and surveillance systems. Asylum seekers are being forced to live in these structures, with their freedom severely restricted, even though they have committed no crime.
In recent years, Greece has seen a reconfiguration of its migrant concentration camps, with new camps being erected on islands and existing camps being converted into “closed controlled centers” surrounded by walls. These military-style camps are part of a broader racist-colonial system operating within Greece and throughout Europe.
In 2016, the European Union (EU) and Turkey reached a deal known as the EU-Turkey Statement, aimed at managing the large influx of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe from conflict zones in the Middle East and North Africa. Under the agreement, Turkey agreed to take back all refugees and migrants who arrived in Greece illegally, while the EU pledged to provide Turkey with financial assistance and visa liberalization for Turkish citizens.
The new Immigration bill. What a fascinating piece of work. It’s like watching a magician perform a sleight-of-hand trick, distracting us with one hand while the other is doing something entirely different. In this case, the government is proposing to overhaul the legal framework governing immigration in Greece, while simultaneously erecting insurmountable barriers to the protection of the rights of immigrants who have been living in the country for years.
The question of migration has been at the forefront of public discourse for many years. The migration of people from their countries of origin to other parts of the world has been a part of human history for as long as civilization has existed. However, the issue has taken on new urgency in the modern era, as a result of a variety of factors, including war, political instability, and climate change.
A large crowd of beneficiaries of international or subsidiary protection have not been able to renew their residence permits, and are only receiving a 6-month certificate confirming that their renewal is pending. This can cause serious problems in many areas, including employment and insurance. Although they have these certificates, many refugees have complained that they are taken to police stations and held for hours while the police claim to be checking their validity.
Waris Ali and Tsiona Nzita are two resent examples of individuals who have died in the refugee camps due to lack of access to medical care. The reason for the death of both of them was the long delay in the arrival of the ambulance.
At the western edge of Athens, several hundreds of refugees live in the camp of Eleonas. It was planned to be evicted on August 16, 2022, against the residents’ wishes. Over the past few weeks, they have built a strong resistance against racism, physical violence, threats against their children, blackmailing, misinformation, and worsening food and medication shortages from the camp management, police, and municipality. I joint the struggle and here is my story on the event.