Greece’s rejected asylum seekers caught in limbo


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Mytilene, Lesbos Island, Greece – When Armine Nenareh’s first asylum application was as soon as rejected by Greek authorities three months ago, he was as soon as overwhelmed with misfortune of being despatched reduction to Iran.

Living in a squatted swear of work belonging to Syriza, Greece’s ruling left-wing birthday celebration, in Mytilene, the 30-one year-aged Iranian Kurd explained that he spent extra than a one year in the decrepit and overcrowded Moria camp, a closed facility on Lesbos Island.

Nenareh is no doubt one of the vital dozens of refugees who on the 2d, with the help and assistance of native anti-fascist activists, occupy occupied Syriza’s swear of work for added than two weeks.

They’ll occupy to be moved to Athens and build in valid accommodation aside from refugee camps.

« It was as soon as esteem hell there, and all people knows it, » he told Al Jazeera, recalling residing in a tiny tent with eight others in the camp, which is on the 2d home to extra than 6,000 refugees and migrants.

« I will no longer expose how depressed it was as soon as. »

After making the harmful scramble all around the mountainous border space between Iran and Turkey and taking a dinghy all around the Mediterranean Sea to Greece, he found himself ready in reputedly unending queues to scrutinize a health care provider or salvage a bottle of water in Moria.

« We would wake up at six in the morning and await a extraordinarily long time, occasionally two hours, for a tiny bottle of water and fairly share of bread, » he remembered.

« There might possibly be a selection of strain and stress [in the camp], and fights broke out in the queues in overall. »

Though the Greek authorities has barred asylum seekers from travelling to the nation’s mainland, authorities lately announced a decision to transfer 5,000 refugees and migrants to Athens to ease the mounting strain on the islands due to overcrowding.

But, existence took a flip for the worse after Nenareh bought info his asylum application was as soon as rejected, prompting him to head away Moria out of misfortune of being apprehended by police. 

« After the refusal came, I knew that [authorities] could per chance additionally arrest me at any 2d, » he said, adding that he confronted « issues » in Iran due to Kurdish political activism. 

Though Nenareh declined to form tiny print about his swear in Iran owing to swear for the protection of his family, watchdogs occupy decried the Iranian authorities’s treatment of the Kurdish minority, which comprises spherical eight % of the population.

Timorous to head outside

On account of the March 2016 deal between the European Union and Turkey, which aims to stem the waft of refugees from to Europe, asylum seekers can apply in Greece or be deported to Turkey to apply for relocation from there.

Higher than 60,000 refugees and migrants are stranded in Greece due to that deal and a sequence of closed borders all around the Balkan space. 

In September, Greece’s perfect administrative court dominated that two rejected Syrian asylum seekers might possibly well be returned to Turkey after rejecting appeals against their deportation orders. 

That call drew the condemnation of rights teams, including Amnesty International.

Of the eight,500 refugees on Lesbos, extra than 6,000 live in Moria, which residents occupy described as a ‘penal complicated’ [Patrick Strickland/Al Jazeera]

John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe director, described the choice « as an ominous precedent for a huge selection of diversified asylum-seekers who occupy fled battle and persecution and are on the 2d stranded on the Greek islands ».

Explaining in a statement on the time that prerequisites for refugees in Turkey are unsafe, Dalhuisen persisted: « Till such time as asylum-seekers and refugees could per chance additionally additionally be guaranteed efficient security in Turkey, EU countries need to discontinuance sending them there. »

For Nenareh, existence has transform doubly difficult while caught in limbo, dodging authorities and feeling hopeless and out of alternate recommendations.

« We doubtless no longer feel earn going out, » he said, alluding to the likelihood of being arrested and an obvious upsurge in anti-refugee xenophobia on Lesbos.

Whereas Nenareh and dozens of others lately occupied Sappho Sq., a central position in Mytilene, for added than a month to squawk residing prerequisites in Moria, native a ways-rightists hurled racist insults at them and photographed their faces. 

« We disappear and salvage food, but then we bustle reduction. We salvage a pack of cigarettes, but we plot no longer wait spherical. It be no longer earn. »

At the time of newsletter, Greece’s migration ministry had no longer replied to Al Jazeera’s seek info from for a yelp.

Greek Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas lately defended the EU-Turkey deal against frequent criticism. 

« No topic the difficulties of [the deal], which has grey areas Europe need to make clear, it is a precious agreement for Greece, » he told the native Ekathimerini day-to-day final month.

Nasim Lomani, a member of the Unity Initiative for Political and Financial Refugees activist group, said that Greek authorities in overall provide asylum to individuals of a family and reject their kinfolk.

« Nearly talking, they divide households in pronounce that half of the households can transfer from the island and diversified can’t, » he told Al Jazeera.

« Meanwhile, the thought appears to be like to take care of the necessities [on the islands] so depressed that others plot no longer approach [from Turkey].”

‘Did no longer take into consideration Europe was as soon as esteem this’

Raza, a 31-one year-aged ethnic Arab who fled Iran’s Ahvaz and arrived in Greece six months ago, also had his first asylum seek info from rejected.

Ahvaz is the capital of Iran’s Khuzestan space, which is home to extra than three million Arabs that suffer systematic discrimination connected to politics, employment and cultural rights, in accordance with rights teams.

Ahvaz’s Arabs occupy also been targeted by mass arrests and executions for their political activism, Amnesty International has observed previously.

We disappear and salvage food, but then we bustle reduction. We salvage a pack of cigarettes, but we plot no longer wait spherical. It be no longer earn.

Armine Nenareh, Iranian Kurdish refugee in Greece

Declining to form his surname for misfortune of his kinfolk’ security in Iran, he explained that he spent three months in Moria ahead of leaving the camp after his asylum seek info from was as soon as rejected.

« The police [in Moria] made us actually feel esteem we were prisoners, » he told Al Jazeera. « In each and every device, they didn’t treat us effectively. »

Though Raza and Nenareh occupy filed appeals, they’re no longer hopeful that Greek authorities will reverse their decisions. 

Raza’s lawyer lately told him there might possibly be ninety-% likelihood his enchantment will be rejected, he said. 

Raza worries about at final being returned to Iran, where he says his brother died in penal complicated after being jailed for political activities.

« I occupy an Iranian passport, I plot no longer favor it, » he said, adding that he hopes to reach the UK and construct asylum there. « I deserve to occupy a look at, to salvage married, and I’ve by no methodology began my existence due to our swear in Iran. »

Doubtful of his destiny, Raza said he is exhausted from stress. Authorities occupy suggested him that he has except January 31 to successfully enchantment his asylum rejection or disappear away the nation, he said.

« Ready is appealing, it is esteem a psychological penal complicated, » Raza added. « I had no thought Europe was as soon as going to be esteem this … I am vastly greatly surprised to approach reduction to either Turkey or Iran. »

For his half, Nenareh no longer wishes to defend in Greece.

« At this level, I would disappear anyplace where folks treat me esteem a human being, » he concluded. « We’re all [rejected asylum seekers] in the identical swear. »

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