On June 20ieth, we went to the detention center of Petrou Ralli. We met 23 detained women. Women invisible to the mechanisms of the state and to the majority of its citizens. In violation of the most basic provisions prohibiting the imprisonment of minors, we found 3 minors from war zones and difficult areas. This is generally the case, because until the bureaucratic mechanism moves, to mandate by the one and only prosecutor of unaccompanied minors, the minimum shelters for minors, to include these girls in their list of registerd minors, when vacuum positions are found, time passes by… So they are forced to experience the inhumane conditions of heinous imprisonment, with tragic consequences for their health and their development. The two girls, like others before, had requested the assistance of the police to take them to a shelter, to end up in the cells of Petrou Ralli, as the most secure version, until a place was found for them, somewhere else. The third one was with her mother. 15, 16 and 17 years old, respectively.
The conditions are explosive and the testimony that should be noted, because, as every summer, more difficult days come, is as follows. Women told us that for three nights they could not sleep a wink, because on the terrace, next to their cells, the policemen had dragged and tortured imprisoned men for long hours. Their screams of pain were terrifying. They were desperately calling for help. Another testimony which complements this tragic event, is that three days ago, male prisoners had set fire to their cells and they were violently forced by the Authorities to evacuate them. The women were brought out of their cells, too, because they were hard to breathe. What happened, must be taken into account by the collectives of the antagonistic movement that have contact with male prisoners. Let them be alert, for with the heatwaves, which make life unbearable, in this hellhole, men rise up and torture intensifies.
Women complain that there are no translators for Farsi and other Languages which are necessary. How can the social worker or the psychologist help, when there is no common language of communication? People go crazy… There are no activities. Library for reading, lessons, etc. Another complaint that we often hear, as long as we go, there, also this time, is: “Many organisations have passed by, they have taken our stories and they have done nothing. We need a lawyer and a psychologist”. “The lawyer of the organization who took me in, came once, talked to me, told me not to worry and it’s been 1 month and I’ve never seen her again. The phone number of the organization’s office she gave me never answers.”They throw people away and forget them there. Well-known organisations that manage the refugee drama and millions of euros.
A female police officer called the prisoners by nationality and not by name. While she has the list of their names available, they have no name for her, and this is not accidental: “Afghanistan” “Albania” “Syria”, “Sri Lanka,” Philippines”,” Congo”, ‘China”, ‘Colombia”, Palestine”, ‘Iraq”, Azerbaijan”, ‘Nepal“, Tunisia”, “Russia”, “Belarus”.
Through the solidarity network with immigrant women who experienced a similar problem, we were able to find the minor boy’s whereabouts, who had been forcibly separated from his mother at the airport, before a month and a half. We refer to this incident in our previous denunciation. If we hadn’t insisted to look for him, having taken his history in detail from his mother, they would never be able to find him and take away genetic material for a DNA test, to compare it with his mother’s to prove their relationship.. If this can ever this be possible, and yet it happened. His name was misspelled on the list of names where they had registered him, and someone, we do not know who, had wrongly advised him to say that his mother is at her country… They’re gonna stay apart until the DNA results come back and two vacant places are found in a maternity shelter with children. How many and how many children are lost. How many rings are reported every now and then, with workers in UN organisations, dealing with underage children? His mother’s joy and ours, that he is found, is indescribable.
We also met women in severe psychological and physical pain. Couple of days ago, their husbands reported to the police that they had no papers, to arrest them. Shortly before these women had been subjected to murderous abuse in their hands and were rescued by passers-by and neighbors who called the police. The persecutors were let free because they had papers. It’s not the first time we hear such a multilevel dehumanizing story from survivors who are detained. Patriarchy kills. We need each other and step by step trust is being built. In the end of our meetings this becomes obvious. Roads of mutual interaction and solidarity open up. We realize that only when we turn our hidden fears & anger into collective resistance, we feel the healing power of our self liberation and that’s a valuable experience. We need each other, and step by step, trust is built. At the end of our meetings this becomes obvious. There are roads of mutual interaction and solidarity. We realize that it is only when we turn our hidden fears and anger into collective resistance that we feel the healing power of self-liberation, and this is a valuable experience. We realize that together we can change the world and smash Patriarchy.
Until all detention centers are banned and the borders open
In streets, in squares and prison cells, migrant women you are not alone!
Solidarity and Self Organization are our weapons!
The Assembly of the Initiative: The House of Women for the Empowerment & Emancipation