Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Appalling living conditions of single parent refugees’ families

This press release follows the last announcement of Greek Forum of Refugees concerning the access to Asylum Services (28/11/2014) and the Press Release on behalf of the Afghan Community in Greece
about homeless Afghan families in Athens. We visited Afghan families in a derelict building in the center of Athens on Thursday afternoon 15.01.2015 in order to record their problems and offer food and clothes. During this visit, we were informed and witnessed a variety of serious problems.

We would like to draw everyone's attention to the following issues:

-At least seven one parent families (women with minor children and babies) live in the abandoned building. The living conditions are particularly adverse and inhumane. The place is used by the drug addicts, has adverse sanitary conditions: there is no electricity, heating and water. We are also witnessing tens’ of other families who have to live under such conditions.

-We underline the scarcity of information available to refugees upon their arrival, which acerbates the problem and these people remain trapped in the hands of abusers for extensive periods of time. Especially when they haven’t managed to submit their request for international protection because of the difficulties to the access to the Asylum Service. This leads to prolonged economic exploitation by the organizers of the illicit trafficking. We would like to denounce this type of exploitation.

-Many of the families have already asked for help from local social NGO and organizations but they cannot get any because they don’t have the asylum application sheet even though they have tried to apply many times. As mentioned above, this is not possible due to the difficulties to Asylum Service.

We believe that we should pay attention with sensitivity to the following problems. We ask:

-To facilitate the application procedures for asylum, mainly for socially vulnerable groups as one parent families. It is urgent their demands be recorded by the Asylum Service.
-The Municipality of Athens to ensure for the proper and decent housing of families, especially after the written expressed interest about the tragic circumstances for minors in the detention of Amygdaleza.

-We as Greek Refugee Forum, we will do anything that is possible in order to inform asylum seekers and to highlight their problems to the competent Greek and European authorities.

Finally, we will be grateful to those who are able to offer material assistance.

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