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Brief Report from Eidomeni (2/3/2016 – 1/3/2016)

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. 

From 12:30 pm. to 4:30 p.m. only 70 people were permitted to cross the border. For someone to be permitted entry to FYROM, they are required to present a Greek travel document as well as their identity card or passport. In the case they possess a visa to Turkey, they are prohibited from crossing. The same applies if there is even one differing number or letter between their documents. 

More specifically, it has been observed that many people’s Greek travel documents list January 1st as their birthdate, while their passports list their actual one. They wait in the area for a week and they suddenly realize that they cannot cross the border. Unaccompanied minors are not permitted entry. Based on reports from MYLA (Macedonian Young Lawyers Association) according to a new document that has been introduced in FYROM, only family children can cross the borders and not nephews, nieces etc.

It should be noted that people trapped between the two fences were transported to the refugee camp in Gevgelija early Wednesday morning. This operation took place using FYROM military vehicles.

 

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

 

At nighttime, around 8.000 people were in the transit site, while it was estimated that the number reached around 10.000 the next morning. There is a high demand for tents and blankets. Rain destroys many of the tents, testing peoples’ limits even further. Many families wake up in the middle of the night to wipe the water away and take care of their children.

Tents have been set up all throughout the surrounding areas of the transit site and even on the borders close to the fence, where some groups have been waiting to cross as early as Saturday. Among them are many vulnerable cases that have been given priority. They have also been waiting there since Saturday…

A double fence has been built near the border’s gate and trapped on top of it are over 50 people, some of whom are families with children from various countries. These people have stayed there since last night, exposed to the harsh weather conditions. Their sole protection from the rain was a plastic cover with which they covered themselves. Information we gathered from the authorities mentions that while these people would be returned from FYROM to Greece, as has so often been the case, in this case the procedure followed would be that of readmission. The FYROM authorities held these people in between the two fences and in public view most likely to exert pressure. They are people from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Currently the most important issue is informing the people on alternative courses of action since their passage has been significantly restricted.

At this point it is important to note that relocation centers have started operating in Diavata since 24/2, and in Cherso and Nea Kavala, both in Kilkis, since 28/2.

It seems there over 6.000 people in total are staying at these three centers.

Today until midnight no one has crossed the border.

A particularly important issue that continues to raise concerns is that of unaccompanied minors who have been listed as adults, while other people belonging to vulnerable communities such as person with disabilities as well as pregnant women, are exposed to various dangers.

Heavy rain began on March 1st early morning; families come out of their tents because they have already been filled with water.  “Is this a life? Seven days we’re here and we cannot rest. We woke up our children in water. I can’t live like this…” A father sleeps with his child in his arms outside of the tent under three blankets however as soon as rain started to pour they tried to find shelter. “It is impossible to find a place and we are just waiting to cross the borders, without a tent without anything, only with these blankets.”

A woman from Syria sits next to the fence and looks at those trapped in between the wires “They haven’t eaten anything. Look at them... I can’t believe that they treat people like this. I want to save them, I scream but no one hears me.” She continued trying to give them words of encouragement…

 

“The want to exterminate us! They drove us out of our country and now they are behaving in the worst way. What is my life or these children’s lives worth? – pointing to the tents all around - All these people are good and are not jihadists. I don’t know what Europe is afraid of. What can we do to a continent? How much evil do they think we are carrying? You see how we are, where we live, what we eat and what we don’t eat. This situation cannot be tolerated and the worst part, it does not seem that we have many alternative solutions.” This is what a young Syrian, who had been sitting looking at the closed border gate for hours, told us.

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Δίκτυο Καταγραφής Περιστατικών Ρατσιστικής ΒίαςEuropean Council on Refugees and ExilesEuropean Network on StatelessnessSeperated Children in Europe ProgrammeEuro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network

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