Asylum in Greece: refugees in Distress

Anxious huddles Amal in the corner of a street right in the centre of Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city. Amal is the Arabic word for hope. But it is f

Asylum in Greece: refugees in Distress

Anxious huddles Amal in the corner of a street right in the centre of Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city. Amal is the Arabic word for hope. But it is felt in the 62-year-old Syrian girl nothing.

"afraid of you in front of the police," says the 30-year-old Paul Esser, a social worker from Germany. He has previously worked for the Greek relief organization in NAOMI. Today, he volunteers and cares for Amal, along with NAOMI head Dorothee Vakalis. Situations such as that of Amal are not an isolated case.

A loud thud, men shouting, closely passing cars: Everything could lead to the collapse, explains Esser. Then Amal back in the war, in her home town of Al-Hasakah in the North-East of Syria. There, she lost her four sons and her husband. There is of fighters of the terrorist militia "Islamic state" (IS) abused and raped is.

Since 2018, the devout Christian living as a recognized Refugee in Greece. "As you come here, don't know you," explains Nihad Ibraheem. The native Palestinians has been working since the 1980s as a psychologist and psychotherapist in Thessaloniki. As Esser and Vakalis he also volunteers and cares for Amal. She was highly traumatized by what she had in the war, befall, says Ibraheem.

Flashbacks from the war

Therefore, that of Amal everyday life make difficult: "she has lost touch with reality and regularly experienced Flashbacks from their past," says Ibraheem. "Then she falls somewhere on the road, and has even been robbed already."

Amal manners indicate that you come from a wealthy family, so Ibraheem more. He also met neighbours of Amal in Thessaloniki that originate from the same town as you. Of these women, he knew that Amal's family was influential.

Of all know Amal, only bits and pieces. In order to overcome their Trauma and to remember to need you, especially stability. But this is exactly the can not provide Greece with her.

Since 2017 is not Amal managed within the framework of the ESTIA programme of the international governmental organization INTERSOS. ESTIA is an EU-funded programme, with the asylum seekers, a housing, social protection services and support access to health and education is financed.

a few helpers

Just explained but in severe cases, such as that of Amal, the design itself is not always easy, Giorgos Giouvanoudis, program Director of INTERSOS Greece. In two years, you had to move a total of five Times. Landlords would be agreements not to terminate, sometimes it works to live together with other Refugees or the apartment out of the place as not wheelchair accessible.

Many refugees have mental and other health problems, explains Giouvanoudis. Overall, his Organisation will be in charge of which 1,683 cases, to 500 in Thessaloniki, where only six are social workers and a psychologist. A new regulation from Athens, the organization is preparing and their proteges to new problems: refugees with Asylum must leave the program and your Dwelling.

Even for Amal, the lease agreement and the financial support of 150 Euro at the end of the month of July ends. Actually, you would have to go to the end of June, however, the organization was able to obtain from the competent Ministry for an extension.

Although it is nothing New that people with my positive asylum decision to leave the program. But the political pressure was significantly increased, so Giouvanoudis: "in the past, you had to inform the asylum seekers six months in advance, that the program is no longer responsible. Now this period has been reduced to a month. The generated frighteningly difficult situations, especially in times of Corona."

wave of dismissals

According to the UN high Commissioner for refugees UNHCR, the ESTIA-program managed, were at 22. June 22.586 people in the framework of the programme reported, 6.432 of them recognized as refugees. For Giorgos Giouvanoudis and his Team, this means a lot of work. They strive to help the Recognised in your difficult Situation - but in view of the many highly vulnerable people, this is hardly possible: "This is a big wave of terminations, to a new big wave will follow. The vulnerable have little time to understand what is going on and what you

need to do" Especially for the most vulnerable of the positive asylum brings know, especially problems. Although there is the HELIOS program, to support recognised refugees in housing Finance. A Greek-rates, and employment counselling are provided. However, in view of the strong demand, and a discount on the part of the landlords to make apartments available, many people could end up on the street.

persons with serious health problems, such as Amal were particularly vulnerable, but the Problem is bigger, explains Giouvanoudis: "for example, There are many cases of women who are alone with minor children. Where can you find work? And if so, they should leave the children alone? You would then be violating their duty of supervision, simply because they are gone in order to survive."

For these people, a safety net must be provided that the Greek System offers simply criticized Giouvanoudis. The Vivi Paschalidou, a lawyer at the Greek Council for refugees (GRC) white. Recognised refugees have almost the same rights as Greek citizens – but only in theory.

Greece is overwhelmed

In practice, however, the Greek state had failed to bring early enough integration programmes, in order to pave refugees the way in the Greek society. There is hardly any language courses, and without the Greek, it was almost impossible to find an apartment or work.

with no income but the Survival is difficult: "There is financial support. The same, of the Greek citizens. But it is rather symbolic in nature. In order for you do not go to the root of the problem. A person who has a family with three, four children, and is not helped with such symbolic solutions. It is not enough for the basic service, not even for the Greeks."

Here's the reality colliding not only with the national laws, but also with European law. More and more device, the Athenian government for its refugee policy in the criticism, however, admonition, words from Brussels will remain, at least in Public: "Greece is determined according to the Feedback it gets from the European institutions. Recently, the Greek migration Minister congratulations from Brussels has received for the good work that the Greek state is doing", writes Paschalidou Monique Pariat, Director-General of the European Commission's Migration and home Affairs, for their words of praise of Athens in the direction of.

Lack of social services are intercepted in Greece, mostly of the family. This support, Refugees have not. Amal has the support of three volunteers. NAOMI pays of the medications they needed. Because in spite of the 2.57 billion euros paid by the European Union, Greece for 2015, is not guaranteed medical care for all.

Amal helper wish that the traumatized Syrian may travel to Germany, which has the necessary infrastructure. Amal wants to just come to rest. And mourn, to her four sons and her husband.

author: Florian Schmitz

*The contribution of "asylum in Greece, Recognised refugees in Need" published by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle
Updated Date: 07 July 2020, 04:27

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