PERMANENT MISSION IN IDOMENI
GCR has been present in Idomeni from April of 2015. With a permanent mission from October of 2015, it observes and records the reality of the displaced population as it had evolved and changed day to day. The missions, comprised of lawyers, social workers, and interpreters, work in the field in order to identify vulnerable social groups (unaccompanied children, women, families—single parent families, individuals with disabilities, victims of abuse and exploitation), focusing on securing an effective and fair system of asylum for all, as well as ensuring a safe transition for them over the border and into corresponding networks.
The permanent presence of the GCR at the settlement of Idomeni is funded by the “Open Society Institute” Foundation, in collaboration with the “Open Society Initiative for Europe of the Open Society Foundations. More about the program can be found here.
Wednesday, 9 March 2016
From Monday, nobody crosses the border. The transit site population is over 10.000, while about 1.000 individuals are at the service station of Polykastro.
Daily tensions persist, but all incidents are resolved without causing issues, just like the protests against the closing of the borders occurring globally. Certain children picked the first flowers of spring, leaving them symbolically on the barbed wire fence.
The rain has made life very difficult in the region. Some individuals have already asked to return to the cities; they have lost hope in the reopening of the borders.
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016
Tensions are ongoing, while small protests are being organized throughout the day. There are estimated to be around 10.000 people in the transit site and surrounding areas, while buses and taxis continue coming in, transporting more and more people.
The Greek Council for Refugees expresses its concern for the following practices that have been noted on the Greece/FYROM borders, which threaten the rights of the refugee population, and call upon the Greek authorities to take every necessary measure to protect this population.
Even before unblocking the railway line in Eidomeni on 9/12/2015, the FYROM authorities had started arbitrarily confiscating documents from people who were attempting to cross the border and, under the pretense that the documents were forged, prohibited their crossing and forced them to remain on Greek grounds, now without any legal documents or documents proving their country of origin.
Monday, February 29th, 2016
The delays, the harsh conditions, and the hopes and desire of thousands of people have led them to attempt to cross the border through breaking down its “door”. This is an iron door that was put up to create a path in the fence for trains to pass.
The authorities’ response was stun grenades and tear gas. People began to disperse while many children were injured in their attempt to run through the crowd. Many were separated from their families for a little while.
Hundreds of protesters remained near that point in the border for hours after the embroilment.
Fatigue, long waiting periods and hope, all push them to not think of themselves and to disregard their physical wellbeing.
Saturday and Sunday, January 23rd and 24th, 2016
With temperatures nearing -15 degrees Celsius, people continue coming into the area.
Today, from noon onwards, tens of buses were stationed at the usual gas stations. At around 11:00 at night, there were 40 buses in the area. The cold cannot be tolerated. The NGOs have been distributing provisions in an attempt to help the people. There were many cases that needed immediate intervention, such as newborn babies, because the bus driver decided to lock them out of the bus.
There are 6 tents in the camp with a capacity of around 600 and 1.500, depending on the situation. Today, for the first time, bunk beds were placed in the area, limiting the capacity but improving the conditions of stay for the people who have already gone through so much. Also for the first time, heaters were placed outside of the police’s container today for the people waiting in line.