AYS SPECIAL: The criminalization of refugees

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Sunday, March 11, 2018
AYS SPECIAL: The criminalization of refugees

Recently we receved an letter from a refugee from Iraq who is stranded in Greece. He asked us to publish this story, without mentioning his name. It shows again the problem of lack of freedom of speech for many refugees in Greece, but also all over Europe. Not only that people are living in unbearable conditions, but they are also afraid to talk openly about that being afraid they could lose even this little they have.

Only in Europe can one be a prisoner without commiting a crime. Yes, it is unbelievable but it has been happening for some time in the EU.

In Europe, one can be imprisoned for a period that reaches several months. Because in the eyes of the European Union, being a refugee who fled horrific wars seeking a safe place could be considered a crime.

What is the “crime” of being a refugee? These people who are imprisoned for their legal status have not committed theft, murder or rape. No, their only “crime” is that they had their appeal rejected. The review of asylum applications may take up to one year or more. During this period, refugees live in very difficult conditions. In all aspects of life, they live with a conflict between the pain of the present and the fear of the future.

Many of the refugees walk in a broken way — as if the are carrying mountains on their shoulders. They are carrying the weight of racist slurs, backwards glances, and the slow brutality of a broken system.

The moment a refugee receives the final refusal, handcuffs are placed on their hands. From the bad situation in the camp, we are thrown into an even worse situation in prison. What defines the prison is that it is warmer than the camp because of its small size, but refugees cannot sleep well. They sleep alternately, divided into two teams: the team that sleeps and the team that has to remain awake for lack of space — just before it members will be transported to another prison.

We know very well that imprisonment is used to punish someone who commits an offense. This means that seeking asylum today is to commit an offense. It means that one’s search for a safe place is a crime. It means that Europe thinks we deserve to die in our country.

Thus, the refugee oscillates between his present misery and the fear of deportation as the prison term ends. The confusion in decision-making that determines the fate of refugees by the EU is the result of insufficient knowledge and information about the refugee situation. EU lawmakers should take into account humanitarian and moral aspects when devising the asylum policy. We are humans, we have feelings, we exist.

We did not come to Europe for entertainment, or to find better work; we came looking for the safety that we lost in our home.

This is an aching deep wound which does not heal.

Source: medium.com/are-you-syrious >>>