Su iniziativa degli eurodeputati greci Kostadinka Kuneva e Kostas Chrysogonos (Syriza, GUE/NGL) è stata indirizzata a Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissario europeo per le migrazioni, gli affari interni e la cittadinanza, una lettera aperta in cui si denuncia la situazione dei duecento profughi siriani in sciopero della fame da una decina di giorni davanti alla sede del Parlamento greco per ottenere il diritto di lasciare il paese legalmente, e, nell’attesa, di ricevere riparo, cibo e cure mediche nel rispetto della Convenzione delle Nazioni Unite sullo status dei Rifugiati. Queste persone sono state costrette a lasciare la Siria a causa della guerra civile che ha provocato più di 100.000 morti e ha costretto alla fuga quasi tre milioni di persone.
Il governo greco, per voce del suo ministro dell’Interno, ha informato i profughi siriani che in base al regolamento di Dublino possono sottoporre richiesta d’asilo esclusivamente alla Grecia, primo paese di accoglienza: non otterranno documenti di viaggio per raggiungere altri paesi dell’Unione Europea, e non sarà possibile garantire l’alloggio a tutti. Ai profughi è stato inoltre comunicato che la ricerca di un impiego in Grecia, con 1,24 milioni di disoccupati, sarebbe inutile. Il ministro si è rifiutato di prendere in considerazione le possibilità contemplate dalla Direttiva del Consiglio europeo 2001/55/EC del 20 luglio 2001 a proposito delle norme minime sulla concessione della protezione temporanea in caso di afflusso massiccio di sfollati e l’adozione di misure intese a garantire l’equilibrio degli sforzi tra gli Stati membri che ricevono tali persone e subiscono le conseguenze dell’accoglienza delle stesse. Si chiede pertanto al ministro di attivare la Direttiva, consentendo ai profughi siriani di chiedere asilo ai paesi in cui spesso si trovano altri membri delle loro famiglie, favorendo una distribuzione equilibrata dei profughi siriani nei vari paesi europei e permettendo all’Unione Europea di mostrarsi responsabile e solidale nei confronti di coloro che cercano riparo da una guerra.
Aggiornamento, venerdì 5 dicembre: è stata data notizia della morte di due profughi siriani di piazza Syntagma.
By this letter, we would like bring to your attention a case that you might already be aware of. For the last twelve days, a group of about two hundred Syrian refugees, among which women with their children, elderly and injured, are staging a protest in Syntagma Square in Athens, just across the Greek Parliament. For almost ten days now, most of them are on hunger strike. Until this very moment, seventeen hunger strikers have shown signs of exhaustion (faints) and were sent for hospitalization.
Syrian refugees are requesting for travel documents that would enable them to travel safely and with dignity to other European countries. But until this request succeeds, they are seeking for shelter, food, medical care and social protection, fundamental rights foreseen and protected in the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, as well as in the European legislation. These people have been forced to leave Syria due to the civil war which has been going on for over three years, costing the lives of over 100,000 people and forcing almost three million people to flee the country and become refugees. Those people took a huge risk, crossing Turkey and reaching on a boat to Greece, a country serving as a transit point for their final destinations, which are other countries of EU. Their desire is to reunite with members of their families, who have managed to reach safer destinations which have the structure to receive the refugees and asylum seekers.
In a resolution drafted by the Syrians refugees themselves, who are located in Syntagma Square since November 19th, it is emphatically stated the following: “We are here to demand the only solution that can exist for us and for our families: the right to continue our journey in order to be able to set up a new life in a new place, in another corner of the world, with safety, freedom and dignity for us and for our children. We ask the European countries to take their share of responsibility for the suffering of the Syrian people and to welcome the war refugees into their territory. We ask the Greek Government to initiate the procedures that would enable us to continue our journey. ”
The Greek Government, through its Ministry of Interior, informed Syrian refugees that their only option is to submit an asylum request to Greece, as foreseen in Dublin Regulations which obliges the asylum seekers to submit their application to the country of first reception. They were warned that no travel document can be given to them in order to travel to other EU countries and that housing for everyone cannot be ensured. Additionally, they notified them that searching for employment in Greece, where there are 1.24 million unemployed, would be futile. The Minister refuses to acknowledge and use the possibilities provided in the Council Directive 2001/55/EC of 20 July 2001 on minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and on measures promoting a balance of efforts between Member States in receiving such persons and bearing the consequences thereof, ratified by Presidential Decree 80/2006, which could come into force, if Greece requested the Commission to submit a proposal to the Council.
The influx of Syrian refugees in Greece illustrates the pressure created to EU countries which form part of its external borders. This situation leads both the EU as a whole and its Member States separately, to violate the responsibilities they have assumed by signing and ratifying human rights treaties, especially those that have been set for the protection of refugees.
During your hearing at the European Parliament you set as priority “to respond in effective way to migratory pressures at our borders and to ensure the full respect of human rights”. You further acknowledged that “as long as the humanitarian crisis is on-going due to the Syrian civil war, the Iraq crisis and the general instability in our area, we will continue to see a large number of people from various parts of the world to seek international protection.“ You also committed yourself to properly implement the Common European Asylum System.
This is the time where you can take the first step and effectively realize some of your commitments. We urge you to take initiative in addressing the situation of the Syrian refugees in Greece, in cooperation with European and Greek authorities. It is well known that Greece cannot respond alone to the massive influx of refugees or provide them with adequate or even decent means of living, a flagrant example of that is the situation with the rest of the hundreds of Syrian refugees saved from drowning a few days ago in the South of Crete. By activating Directive 2001/55/EC, you will give the Syrian refugees the opportunity to seek asylum in countries that they really want to reside with other members of their families. Also, you will allow a balanced distribution of Syrian refugees in the different EU countries and, mostly, you will allow EU to show true solidarity to these people who have escaped war.
We are also expressing our serious concerns on possible massive police operations against them and we are looking forward to see your immediate initiatives and actions, before the Syrians hunger strikers suffer in Greece what they escaped from Syria of horror and of war.