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Le Mafalde association, from Prato, has settled a group of women lawyers and experts on immigration and international protection issues and two interpreters.
From 6 to 13 of may the team reached the Idomeni refugees camp in Greece, just before the Macedonian border, to back what international volounteers are doing, including creating and managing since months the “Info Tent” inside the camp.
This information point was even supported by italian project “No Border Wi-Fi”, ruled by #OverTheFortress, that bought electricity power unities and created the only space where it was possible recharging cellphones and more. The set also a wi-fi point the only one all over the camp.
Our task inside the Info Tent was listening to the people and select the cases the most sensitive (this wasn’t easy because into the camp there are plenty of vulnerable situations).
The greater part of these people has already relatives in Europe (husbands, wifes, minor sons, ..) and most of them have the right not only to ask for the international protection but they can also make a request for family reunification.
But this right becomes insuperable once the state where they try to ask for reunification requires a list of certifications they’re unable to produce and to show, like a passport (people tell us many of them have ever had a passport and the ones who got it, dind’t think to bring it up while their houses were under bombs), a relative relations certificate to be legalized and translated in the language of the country where the family reunification request is made.
We wrote to the Germany embassy in Greece to know which are the required documents to ask for family reunification for people having relatives in Germany. Their answer shows clearly how the european bureaucracy doesn’t have simplified itself at all to ease people who escape from their countries and are eligible for international protection.
Other required documents are:
valid passport or valid travel document that could be obtained in every embassy, together with an official identity documen (ID, driving license,..);
certifications of family composition, birth and marriage, that must be previously pre-legalized by the Foreign Ministry in Damasco and then properly legalized by the german embassy in Beirut (Lebanon).
Some family reunification cases are:
N. kurdish-siryan woman, she is in the camp with her husband and a little son and doesn’t succeed to rejoin her 14-years-old son who is in Germany since months, into a not-accompained minors centre;
F. siryan woman, very sick and alone with three little daughters: she doesn’t succeed to reach her husband, in Germany one year by now with an asylum applicant permit.
Our team collected 17 stories made by claimants’ statements, where they explained the reasons why they escaped from origin contries; troubles in obtaining the international protection; the country they are aiming to go and for which motivation; a copy of the greek registration document released when they arrived in Greece; identity documents as well family composition and healthcare papers. The claimants authorized TEAM people and every statement written in arabic was translated in english by an interpreter.
The application with all the attached documents were sent by fax e by a fast mail agency from Greece before we left, to be used for an urgent recourse at the European Court for Human rights (ECHR).
Specifically, the following violations to the European agreement on Human rights have been reported:
art. 3 “no person can be exposed to torture and neither inhumane or degrading panalties or treatment”;
art. 8 “every person has the right to be respected in his own private and familiar life, in his own domicile and private mail…there can’t be a public authority interference in enjoying this right unless the foresaid interference is expected by law …and necessary for public security..”.
In these last two months ECHR wrote us many times in order to llok for integration or more information about where and how people are doing at Idomeni and, if they are set in governemnt camps, how they live, which are their conditions at the right time.
ECHR even asked the greek government to explain something about 4 claimants and their conditions inside the camp.
Greek government said to ECHR that the 4 claimants are not inside the camp we reported and so doing it didn’t answer to ECHR about the claimants’ conditions. Moreover they said the camps have water, elecrticity and food for all the people.
Everything the greek government wrote wasn’t proved by facts or pertinent documentation.
Our team contest this answer and it sent other documents and photos showing the contrary fact, that is to say that inside the camps there is a lack of health assistants, the food is low and of a bad quality, only a liter and a half of water per day is distributed even with the current high temperatures, wi-fi signal is not stable.
To the moment people are not allowed to ask for asylum but they are waiting the pre-registration, a way to further postpone their right to the asylum and the eligibility to the international protection request.
Greek government must provide further evidence whithin july, the 18th.
Throughout these months:
we tried to stay in touch, at least every day, with claimants; after the clear out of Idomeni we lost many people and know that many of them succeeded to reach Germany with the help of people traders, other people we know nothing about;
we tried to reach greek lawyers to be supported for the requests of the most vulnerable cases but we have ever had an answer by either organizations for legal help or private law firms;
we are in touch with the tutor of N. ‘s son: this boy stays alone in Germany and we are trying to understand which way to use for asking a family reunification with his mother, father and brother located in the camp in Greece;
we are looking for lawyers in Germany in order to help claimants’ relatives whom have relatives into greek camps, searching to make faster the family reunification proceedure;
ECHR: we go on to produce documentation and update news about claimants’ conditions inside greek governmental camps.
During our stay at Idomeni it was clear that it is important to create a network made of lawyers and legal experts: throughout the months many of them have been at Idomeni and handled some requests and searched for information: the information exchange is a key point. We filled a document with all the people we’ve been in touch before and after Idomeni and we shared it, but after the clear out of the camp this wish to work together was a bit diminished.
To find greek lawyers willing to handle the situations of the people inside camps;
to find german lawyers willing to handle the situations of people who live in Germany having relatives inside the camps;
to share the management of the legal cases;
to create an italian network of lawyers and legal with international relationships ;
to ask the greek government to translate all the documents given to people into a well-known language;
to search of overtaking the stop to the submission of international protection requests, due to Skype calls and pre-registration that make the right to ask for asylum slower;
to start a proceedure of violation toward Greece.
Women Legal Team, 15 luglio 2016