August 21, 2010
Why did you want me back in Greece?, ask the refugees being returned due to the Dublin II regulation from different other European countries. The deportation diary carrying the same name evolved out of a short visit in Athens, where activists from the newly founded infomobile project conducted interviews with refugees affected by this European regulation.
The findings, based on interviews with the people affected, are shocking and deeply disturbing. For although every story of flight to and within Europe is different, if we were to summarise, there are two main conclusions that need to be drawn.
In Greece, despite numerous announcements and communications of intent by the relevant authorities of the PASOK government, the situation has only worsened for refugees. There still is no support system for refugees providing even the most basic necessities, while the impact of the economic crisis has hit refugees the hardest: they are in an even more precarious situation by now. Frequent police raids have made their stay in Greece even more volatile and have increased the risk of repeated and prolonged detention under the same inhuman conditions documented countless times. At the same time, the Greek asylum system is still dysfunctional and only existent by name.
The Dublin II-regulation, on the other hand, destroys all hope refugees might have to reach their final destination and to escape the conditions in Greece by moving on to another European country. As the regulation stipulates that the responsibility for an asylum application lies with the country of first entry, many refugees that manage the journey onwards are simply deported back, without any examination of their situation. This leads to refugees straying around Europe, searching for protection and rest, sometimes even for years, only to find themselves deported back to Greece. Given the current situation of refugees in Greece, we contend that the human rights of refugees are fundamentally violated in Greece. Under this perspective, the Dublin II-regulation is a systematic violation of the non-refoulement principle laid down in the Geneva Convention on Refugees and needs to be abolished at once.
We invite you to follow the kaleidoscope of stories assembled in the report and to spread the word about it. The Dublin II-regulation is already under intense legal scrutiny by highest national and European courts, and it is the facts that you can read in this report that need to be brought to the public attention all over Europe: the state of the European asylum system in 2010 is a state of organised irresponsibility and violation of fundamental principle of human rights and international laws.
We invite you to read, not to freeze but to get involved: it is an invitation to join the refugees’ struggles for freedom of movement. It is not enough to report. Convince your government to accept more refugees and stop sending them back here! was one of the instructions we received at Attiki Square in the centre of Athens.