Thursday, June 5, 2014

The difficulties of being a Syrian refugee in Greece

-More than 9,000 Syrians have been arrested in Greece in the past two years.

-Some of the problems they have to face are difficulties with the bureaucratic process, absence of accommodation, police violence or lack of information.

-The Syrian community and the Greek Forum of Refugees will send a formal letter to the Ministry of Public Order and Citizen protection to complain about the bad conditions Syrians asylum seekers face in Greece.

At least 2.6 million Syrians have fled the country since the war began three years ago, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Most are in refugee camps in neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. The few Syrians who make it to Europe are often middle-class and college-educated. But they see northern Europe — not Greece — as a safe haven. Syrians have no hope for asylum, social benefits or work in Greece.

To discuss these matters the Greek Forum of Refugees is making encounters with members of the Syrian community in order to know their problems and hear their testimonies. The last meeting took place on June 4th. The president of the Syrian association in Greece and some of the members spoke about a terrifying panorama: is not easy, not to say impossible, to get the refugee official status in Greece. In almost every country in the UE they have access to asylum and registration, but things are different here.

One of the biggest problems they face when they arrive to Greece is accommodation. They can get a legal document that postpones their repatriation for six months, but this is not always so easy. Usually is only valid for one month and in order to renovate it they have to present an official address with a renting contract. That is impossible for them, because if you are not legal you cannot rent. Is a circle that results in lots of Syrian families living in a Mosque that the community has. No residence, no papers. No papers, no residence.

They also face imprisonment at substandard detention centers as well as police abuse and physical and mental aggressions. There is no safe approach for them, not information.They are by themselves when the Greek state is suppose to shelter them.
For all these motives, the Greek Forum of Refugees in cooperation with the association of Syrians in Greece will send a formal complain to the Ministry of Public Order and Citizen Protection. It's time to change conditions of living of these people who are not criminals, just persons running away for war and trying to have a future.

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