Happy New Year for All (?)
Christmas and a New Year. Gathering of food supplies and staples. Funding and programs for state and ngos. Campaigns of awareness and lobbying concerning the refugees.
And deep down the cruel reality of young people living in abominable conditions not in some camp or hot spot in the islands or some solidarity space but in ruined, abandoned buildings in downtown Athens two steps away from the Asylum service, the ministries, the camps, the ngos/ingos, the provided accommodation and the many millions said to being given for these people to live decently.
In the testimony we recorded (26.12.2017) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gm9wN6gjUTg in one of the abandoned buildings we pretend do not exist, two minors show us the place where they have recently been living among others with only ray of hope an old clock on one of the walls and a Christmas ornament to remind us that it is people who live here and a meal from the nearby Elaionas camp, outside the entrance tents of which they hang out every single day with the hope of being accepted inside.
Despite being next to what should be a solution to dealing with their difficult stay here, these children might take hours trying to connect via skype, in some hospitable spot, to be able to complete their so desired application for asylum, but this has been exceptionally difficult to practically impossible due to the limited duration of the skype call –1 to 2 hours a day but for some languages even just 1 to 2 hours a week– for the refugees who call simultaneously by the hundreds.
In Greece, an EU member-state and one that funding has been given to for refugees, the social reflexes and regional political balances have so intensely been tested on one hand, only to have refugees who have themselves been tested both psychologically and physically to find themselves in better conditions come against wretchedness and inhumane coercion to indecent living among garbage, also putting themselves in immediate danger if they wish to warm up by lighting a fire in the cold days of winter that has set in; and all this not in some island or near the borders, but downtown Athens, a European capital.
Τhe Greek Forum of Refugees urges all those responsible for the abominable situation created not just in the Aegean islands but also next door, in the center of Athens, which is otherwise full of Christmas trees and new year’s ornaments, to provide the refugees with all that they are entitled to directly and to help those who support them to keep doing so effectively.
Immediate access to the asylum procedure for the asylum seekers to be able to enjoy the minimum of their rights to accommodation, health care and food,
Access to accommodation for all refugees and asylum seekers without distinctions and especially for the vulnerable groups,
Facilitation in the provision of the monthly financial support through pre- paid cash cards, for which hundreds are waiting to register,
Speeding up of family reunifications, the delay of which may cause severe and permanent damage especially to mothers and children,
Immediate protection of all unaccompanied minors to avoid the deterioration of their situation and being taken advantage of.
In the hope that 2018 will be better…