Press Release – DIAPLOUS for vulnerable women and children

Diaplous means safely crossing a sea area and four women with their three babies from North and Sub-Saharan Africa are the first to have already settled in the apartments, for vulnerable women, which started operating in Thessaloniki by ARSIS – Social Youth Support Organization, under the program “Diaplous”.

The program refers to vulnerable women, single mothers, victims of sexual or gender-based violence, who have sought asylum and are living in homelessness or precarious conditions.

Racist Violence Recording Network: Justice shields the rule of law and human rights in Greece

The trial of the Golden Dawn case is going to be completed soon, after a lengthy process of almost six years, while the Court has ruled unanimously that Golden Dawn was set up and operated as a criminal organization and found guilty the majority of those accused of a number of criminal acts.

PUBLIC STATEMENT – SAVE DIGNITY, SAVE PIKPA AND KARA TEPE

Μore than 160 Greek and international organizations,  academics and other actors from all over Europe urge the Greek authorities to revoke the decision to close dignified alternatives in accommodating refugees οn Lesvos 

Athens, 30 September 2020

We, the undersigned, call on the Minister of Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarakis, and the local authorities of Lesvos to repeal their decision to terminate the operations of PIKPA and Kara Tepe facilities for vulnerable asylum seekers on the island of Lesvos. The authorities should not only revoke the decision to shut down these facilities but in this time of great need, they should further strengthen and protect all dignified alternative solutions for asylum seekers’ housing and protection.

In the last five years, PIKPA and Kara Tepe have sheltered vulnerable people escaping from the deplorable living conditions in the Reception and Identification Center (RIC) of Moria, a dangerous place where residents’ health and safety was continuously in jeopardy. The decision to shut down these facilities comes only a few days after a devastating series of blazes burned camp Moria to the ground, leaving more than 12.000 women, men and children with no access to shelter, food and water. 

While a new “emergency” camp has been set up on the island, which is currently hosting former residents of Moria camp, many of the signatories present on the ground report significant gaps in protection, access to electricity, water supply and sanitation, safety and security. For as long as the conditions in the RICs are undignified for human beings, alternative responses will be needed, to protect the most vulnerable. PIKPA and Kara Tepe should now, by all means, continue to offer accommodation and protection solutions that are appropriate, especially for the most vulnerable, including unaccompanied and separated children, single mothers, victims of torture and ill-treatment, male and female survivors of gender-based and sexual violence, and people with disabilities. 

PIKPA, an open, self-organised solidarity space, has provided essential services and assistance to refugees on Lesvos since 2012. In 2016, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), awarded the Nansen Refugee Award to one of the co-founders of PIKPA, in recognition of their work saving lives and providing a safe haven for the most vulnerable during the refugee ‘crisis’ in 2015. Today, PIKPA hosts unaccompanied children, single mothers and persons that have suffered torture or ill-treatment, as well as many people with heightened vulnerabilities. Survivors of torture and ill-treatment suffer from chronic physical pain for years after their abuse, and psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, withdrawal and self-isolation, post-traumatic stress, known as PTSD etc. PIKPA offers a dignified and safe space for the survivors who would otherwise be continuously re-traumatized in an unsafe environment.

Kara Tepe has been run by the municipality with a capacity of more than 1,000 people. It has offered humane living conditions to vulnerable asylum seekers and families that were transferred there from Moria, including single parents, people with disabilities, and many families with health problems. It has been lauded for its infrastructure and community-like atmosphere.  

While it is unclear where current residents of PIKPA and Kara Tepe will be transferred, the undersigned are convinced that going to the new “emergency” camp would endanger their physical and mental health and should be avoided at all costs. In addition, PIKPA and Kara Tepe could actually take in and better provide for the individuals who are more “at-risk” currently residing in the new Lesvos RIC. This would be especially important for people with disabilities, for example, as there are no accessible latrines in the new RIC at this time. 

We urge Greece’s national and local authorities:

To immediately halt the closure of PIKPA and Kara Tepe and to support and further enhance their outstanding contributions.  At the same time, the authorities should seek solutions in line with human rights standards for the operation of the new temporary camp in Lesvos, pursuing the ultimate goal of its steady decongestion, and providing adequate standards in terms of safety, water, sanitation and medical assistance to all residents, until all are moved to safer and dignified accommodation conditions”.

The signatories: 

A Buon Diritto Onlus

ActionAid Hellas

Agir pour la paix

Aid Brigade

AITIMA

Amnesty International 

Anders Wachsen

ANTIGONE – Information and Documentation Centre on Racism, Ecology, Peace and Non Violence

Are You Syrious (AYS)

ARSIS – Association for the Social Support of Youth

Asociacion Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucia  (APDHA)

Asociación SINGA España

Association européenne de défense des droits de l’Homme (AEDH)

Babel Day Centre

Basta Violenza alle Frontiere

Be a Robin

Better Days

borderline-europe e.V.

Calais Action Brighton

Casetta Rossa

Catch a Smile asbl

Centre Avec asbl

Centre de formation Bienenberg

Changemakers Lab

Choosehumanity

Chorleywood4Refugees

Christian Peacemaker Teams

Christian Peacemaker Teams Netherlands

Church and Peace

Coexistence and Communication in the Aegean

Collectif de soutien de l’EHESS aux sans-papiers et aux migrant-es 

Collectif pour une terre plus humaine

Collective Aid

Comité de Solidarité avec le Peuple Grèce de Lyon

Coordindora de Barrios

CPT – Aegean Migrant Solidarity

CRIBS International

CRID – Centre de recherche et d’information pour le développement

Diotima

Danish Refugee Council (DRC)

Defence for Children International

Defence for Children International – Italy

Defence for Children International – Netherlands

Defence for Children International Greece

Defensa de Niñas y Niños – Internacional , DNI España

Défense des enfants International Belgique

Député Wallon (Belgique)

Destination Unknown campaign

Distribute Aid

Doctors Worldwide

Donate4Refugees

ECHO for Refugees

ECHO100PLUS

Ecological Movement of Thessaloniki

European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies

ELIX – Conservation Volunteers Greece

ENAR – European Network Against Racism

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH – rehabilitate Human Dignity

European Women’s Lobby

Everyday, just a smile

Fenix – Humanitarian Legal Aid 

Firetree Philanthropy

Firetree Trust

Fondation Danielle Mitterrand

foodKIND

FORGE for humanity

Fresh Response

Friends Of Refugees

German Mennonite Peace Committee

Glocal Roots

Greek Council for Refugees

Greek Helsinki Monitor

Griechenland Solidaritätskomitee Köln 

Heimatstern e.V.

Hello My Friend

Help Refugees / Choose Love

Herts for Refugees

HIAS Greece

HIGGS

Hoffnung leben e.V., Bonn, Deutschland

Hope and Aid Direct

HuBB – Humans Before Borders

Human Rights Watch

Humanitas, Centre for Global Education and Cooperation

Humanity Now

HumanRights360

Initiative for an alternative mental health

Initiative for the Detainees’ Rights

InterEuropean Human Aid Association

International Centre for Refugees ICERAS

International Federation of Social Workers, European Region (IFSW Europe)

International Rescue Committee

INTERSOS

InterVolve

Iride

Jelscha Dietrich

Jesuit Refugee Service Greece

Khora Community Centre 

La Luna Di Vasilika ONLUS

Latitude Adjustment Podcast

Le Paria

Legal Centre Lesvos

Lesvos Solidarity

Love Welcomes

Make Mothers Matter

MAMbrella

Medecins du Monde/ Greece

Medecins Sans Frontieres -Doctors Without Borders -MSF

Medico International

Melissa: Network of Migrant Women in Greece

Mennonite Mission Network

Mennonitisches Friedenszentrum Berlin/Mennonite Peace Center Berlin

Migrant Voice

Migrations Libres

MiGreat

Mαζί/Together/معاً

Network for Children’s Rights

One Family-No Borders

One Happy Family

ONGD CEPAC-IB

Open Cultural Center

Organization Earth

Owl’s Watch

Pampiraiki Support Initiative for Refugees & Migrants

Parroquia San Carlos Borromeo

Peaceful Borders

People in motion

Pluspunt Netherlands

Project Armonia

Protestant Association for Conscientious Objectors and Peace (EAK), Germany

Rechtsanwältin

Refugee Aid Network Uk

Refugee Compassion

Refugee Education And Learning International

Refugee Law Clinic Berlin e.V.

Refugee Rescue

Refugee Support Aegean ( R.S.A.)

Refugee Support Europe

Refugee Trauma Initiative

Refugee Youth Service

Refugees International

REFUGYM

RefuNet

Reseau Foi & Justice Afrique Europe Antenne France

Respekt für Griechenland e.V.

Rethinking Refugees – Knowledge and Action

Safe Passage UK

SAO Association for displaced women

Seebruecke Wuppertal

ShowerPower Foundation

Side by Side Refugees

SolidarityNow

Still I Rise

Stop Precarite

Support Art Workers (Greece)

Symbiosis-School of Political Studies in Greece

Terre des hommes Hellas

Thalassa of Solidarity

Vasilika Moon

Velos Youth

Verein FAIR

Voice Of Ezidis

Wiltshire For Refugees

Yoga and Sport For Refugees

Youth for Refugees

Youth organization “Protests”

Also endorsed by: 


  • Prof. dr. Ilse Derluyn, Centre for the Social Study of Migration and Refugees (CESSMIR), Department of Social Work and Social Pedagogy
  • Vassilis Pavlopoulos , Associate Professor of Cross-Cultural Psychology – National and Kapodistrian University of Athens 
  • Dr. Antonello D’Elia, Presidente di Società Italiana di Psichiatria Democratica Onlus 
  • Hellen Gerolymatos McDonald, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, MSW, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, School of Social Work, U.S.A (The opinions are Hellen McDonald’s and not those of the University of Illinois) 
  • Luciano Rondine, Settore immigrazione e inclusione sociale, Centro di prevenzione psicosociale Nodo Sankara
  • Joanna Kato, chair of Human Rights & Social Responsibility Committee of the European Association for Gestalt Therapy (EAGT)
  • Athina Fragkouli, President of the Board of the Society of Social Psychiatry P. Sakellaropoulos

Joint Announcement on the European Pact on Μigration and Asylum.

The European Commission last week unveiled the long-awaited Pact on Μigrationand Asylum. On a first glance we notice that once again theCommission’s proposal is inferior to the circumstances. This Pact gives economic character to solidarity, allows countries to refuse the acceptance of refugees, and leaves the countries of entry helpless to cope on their own, with the consolation of voluntary “solidarity” from their allies.

Following the presentation of the agreement by the two Commissioners, we notice that they refer to the end of the Dublin Regulation. Although there is a change in the regulation which allows the asylum seeker to request relocation to another EU country due to strong ties, we do not see whether Dublin Regulation is being sidelined or “sleeping” as stated by Commissioner Schoinas. Instead, we see that the weight of the plan is given to returns rather than integration, to border control rather than control of fundamental human rights. The return strategy for years does not work either as a deterrent or as a decongestion measure.

We are reviewing the Migration and Asylum Pact like all civil society organizations in order to propose specific solutions through the National and European Networks in which we participate, but in any case we can not be silent and not react to what we heard from the European Commissioners.

We remain committed to our request for ​safe passage to Europe​, a ​safe passage for refugees​, a ​guarantee of their rights and fair treatment by all EU Member States​. We can not stand idly by in the face of a plan that reinforces the racist narrative that refugees and migrants are “invaders” in Europe. This contradicts the character and foundations of theEuropean Union.

Athens, 28 September 2020

Cosigning organisations: Greek Forum of Migrants, Ηuman Rights 360, Antiracist Observatory of the University of the Aegean, ARSIS – Association for the Social Support of Youth, InterVolve, Day Centre “Babel” / Syn-Eirmos, Medicins Du Monde – Greece, Generation 2.0 RED

Moria: Urgent action needed! FEANTSA and the Greek Housing Network call for dignified accommodation for former residents of the Moria Centre.

FEANTSA and the Greek Housing Network have written a letter to the European Commission and the Greek government, calling for urgent action to ensure dignified accommodation for asylum seekers and refugees formerly residing in the Moria Reception Identification Centre. Read the letter below.

Brussels and Athens, 15/09/2020

To the:

President of the European Commission, Mrs Ursula Von Der Leyen

Vice-President of the European Commission, Mr Margaritis Schinas

European Commissioner of Home Affairs, Mrs Ylva Johansson

Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Mr Kyriakos Mitsotakis

Minister of Migration & Asylum of the Hellenic Republic, Mr Notis Mitarachi