13. November 2017 · Kommentare deaktiviert für Announcement by the initiative of solidarity to the 14 refugee hungerstrikers for family reunification. · Kategorien: Deutschland, Griechenland · Tags: ,

Refugee Accommodation and Solidarity Space City Plaza | 12.11.2017

The 7 women and 7 men are on their twelfth day of hunger strike on Syntagma, demanding that which should be obvious. Their demands for reunification with their families in Germany have been accepted by the Greek and German authorities. Yet while the law requires that reunification take place within six months of the reunification application being accepted, this limit has been exceeds, due to the clandestine deal between Greece and Germany – it is therefore unknown when refugees will travel.

The authorities of both countries continue the mockery.

• The German government continues to break the law with a view to restricting the rights of refugees. Due to the pressure created by the hunger strike, German officials were forced to clarify their position on family reunification, but these clarifications contradict the truth, demonstrating an absolute lack of respect for the people putting their bodies on the line to demand the obvious, and for the hundreds of others waiting to meet their loved ones.

• The excuses of the German side were that bureaucratic and administrative issues, mainly on the Greek side, delay the process, as do tourist seasons and related limited ticket availability. They dodge the question of whether the German side accepts that charter flights are needed, as is the case with relocation programs.

• Moreover, on Wednesday 8 November, the German embassy in Greece forbade women hunger strikers from taking part in the meeting scheduled for that day, thereby reproducing obscurantist, sexist, and racist behaviors. They have as yet provided no reason for this insulting and offensive demand.

• The Greek side, which met with representatives of the hunger strikers, confines itself to hackneyed promises, which are insensitive to the risk the hunger strikers’ health is at.

• The Greek side appeared willing to book charter flights only after the hunger strike began, but confined itself to a general wish only. 5e question is, why don’t they book the flights straight away? Might this be because of the framework imposed by the inhuman illegal deal with the German government?

• The Ministry for Migration Policy, in a show of irrelevance and mockery, stew that “it is clear that applicants can pay for the trip with their own means, in order to speed up the reunification process”, creating misleading impressions. Refugees accepted into the family reunification program cannot travel within six months, because they are being given neither a permit nor relevant travel documents by the Greek authorities, so they are unable to even buy tickets. When, after months of delays, the Greek Asylum Service does allow them to travel, 5e only choice they have is to buy flexible tickets from only one travel agency, at specific prices, currently between 200 and 300 euros per ticket.It is audacious, to say the least, that the ministry dr sees up this situation as a concession or facilitation to refugees since Greece, as required by the European Regulation, must cover travel costs. There are dozens of refugees whose travel documents have been issued, but who could not pay for their tickets, and who lost their turn, and have had to join the queue once more until they are called at a later date.

• Why didn’t the Greek government carry out an international competition for covering the travel costs for refugees earlier? No matter how many excuses they put forward, it is clear that the high cost of tickets is part of the plan to restrict refugee movement. It is clear that the restrictions on reunification and the other serious issues faced by refugees remain unsolved not due to administrative, but due to political reasons.

In other word, the Greek government is backing the German government, within the framework of the anti-refugee policies of the European Union, using administrative decisions signaling inhuman deterrence to future refugees. It thereby circumvents the Geneva Convention, by pushing refugees back to “safe third countries”, without examining asylum requests, and by imprisoning them in terrible refugee camps.
As far as we are concerned, we will remain on the side of the hunger strikers til the end. We will continue to fight on their side until the inhuman policy towards refugee families stops, until deportations stop, until detention centers, wretched camps, and hotspots close, before any more deaths, until the abolition of the EU-Turkey deal of shame.

Syntagma Square, Athens 12 November 2017

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