Hungerstrike in moria

Since yesterday 12 people are on hungerstrike in moria camp. 1 is from Syria and 12 Kurdish from Syria. Three of them await deportation to Turkey, their appeals were rejected which means they have basically no option to get asylum in Europe anymore.  The others had their first interview rejected and are still waiting for their appeal do be decided.

According to our information they didn’t take any food or drinks since yesterday morning. But still they are determined to continue and protest against the situation here in the island and the inhuman EU politics that create it.



Deportations, more deportations and arbitray detention…What’s going on on the island

In the last weeks the repression on Lesvos continues. There have been more forced deportations to Turkey and the asylum procedure is still a tangle of bureaucratic nightmares, especially for people from certain nationalities. This situation creates a great hopelessness. Many peoples mental health is getting worse and a lot of people sign for a so called „voluntary return” to their home countries as their only option to get out of this island and not spend months in prison in Turkey.

Trying to get asylum on Lesvos often means long abuse and imprisonment for people already fleeing abuse and imprisonment in their home coutries. Here are two example stories that show the situation for deportations once arriving in Greece.

A. arrived on Lesvos in April 2016. He has been waiting for almost a year in the hot-spot Moria to have his case examined. When they finally do so his asylum is rejected. They pick him up on the street and bring him to prison in Moria. There he is held for 2 months and then transferred to the police station where again he is held for one month. Then he is deported to Turkey. He will spend 6 months in prison there. When his deportation to his homecountry finally happens he is arrested at the airport upon arrival and again taken to prison for 3 month.

B. also arrived in April after being released from a detention center in Turkey where they held him for several months. After a year of waiting on Lesvos he is arrested in the camp when he tries to renew his papers. He is brought to the prison in Moria. There they force him to apply for asylum. After a few days he has his interview. Because independent lawyers have no access to the camp he has no preparation for the interview and his case is rejected. He is tired of Lesvos and wants to get out of prison so he signs up for voluntary deportation. The process takes weeks to many months in Lesvos. Finally he is transferred to Athens into a detention center. He is imprisoned for 2 months. When he arrives at the airport of his homecountry he has to bribe the police not to be taken to prison.


In April a total of 70 people were deported from Lesvos to Turkey, for whom we have confirmed information. 49 people were brought from Mytilini to Dikili on April 6th and another 21 persons on April 12th. Most of them have citizenship of Algeria, Pakistan, Marrocco and Bangladesh. Upon their arrival they are held in closed removal centers essentially a prison. According to the people being held there, they are told they will be there for 6 months. We found that there is no maximum period of the detention…anything from a few weeks to several months to a year is possible. The people in the center are asked to pay for their deportation themselves with the promise of being deported faster if they do so.

It is incredibly difficult to keep in contact with people deported to Turkey. Not even lawyers have good access to people in the removal centers. The detainees phones are confiscated with no access to friends, family or a lawyer. Their only option is to use the expensive payphones inside the prisons. If they are out of money they might loose contact to the outer world. Furthermore we have been told repeatedly about the horrible living conditions of no proper food, overcrowded cells, no cigarettes and lots of police abuse.


To avoid being deported to Turkey, many people on Lesvos are signing for their own deportation with IOM (International Organization for Migration.) The IOM returns people to their country of origin. We cannot find official numbers of returns with IOM for the last two months (yet). As we have posted earlier, the so called „voluntary return“ is not as voluntary as IOM claims.

Voluntary returns are forced by the circumstance on this island. The hopelessness, the living condition, the waiting, the fear of being returned to Turkey, the fear of spending months in prison and always the fear of the police.

Voluntary deportees are now being promised 1000€.1

IOM’s website says the “voluntary return“ is for people who do not apply for asylum or have been rejected but it has not been possible for people who appeal a negative asylum decision and were rejected to return with IOM. Instead they are forcefully returned to Turkey. We know of two cases who were returned to Turkey against their will after they signed for a voluntary return with IOM but we believe there are many more.

“The International Organization for Migration (IOM) confirmed to News That Moves that people hosted on the Greek islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos, who have entered Greece after March 20th, 2016 and whose asylum request has been rejected, have five days to either:

  • Appeal against the rejection decision;

  • Or, ask for assistance from IOM for voluntary return to their home country, if eligible.2

This creates a situation were people have to decide between using their right to appeal the decision and maybe be deported to Turkey to spend months in prison there OR to return before having the chance of having their case examined by a court. Their rights to a fair asylum procedures are undermined by threat of imprisonment and forced deportation.


After signing for IOM deportation some people were released from prison. Others signed and remained in the jail for several months in Mytilini before being transferred to a jail in Athens and eventually deported. People never know how long they have to stay in prison. The two weeks some people are told they have to stay by the police sometimes turn into several months.

Prior to their deportation to Turkey people are held for weeks and sometimes months in Mytilini either in the prison inside Moria or the police station in the city. While in the Moria prison they can keep the phones they cannot do so in the police station. Here, just as in the Turkish centers, their only way to have contact is to use the pay phone. Visists are only possible for close familiy members…of which many have none on Lesvos.

As reported also by a pro asyl report arbitrary detention of asylum seeker is common on the islands and new closed detention centers are already being established on the other islands. New laws are being established that basically make it possible to detain any asylum seeker on the islands.

“The legal framework defining the grounds for detention of refugees and migrant, leaves many options for arbitrary detention, i.e. under the general grounds that persons who are alleged of “law-breaking conduct” or “considered to apply merely in order to delay or frustrate return“ can be detained. These prerequisites open up the possibility to arbitrarily detain almost every protection seeker on the islands. “3

In December the EU states made a Joint Action plan for the implementation of the EU-Turkey Agreement. Among others things it stated that detention capacities on the islands should be increased. On Lesvos people are detained based on their nationality, especially people from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Marrocco and Algeria are held during their asylum procedure. Therefore the people of these nationalities have very little access to a fair asylum process. In prison it is hard for them to access independent legal aid prior to their interviews. Furthermore the asylum process is negatively biased towards the people with the citizenships above. Many of the people that are in prison during their procedure are or will be in fact deported back to either Turkey or their home countries.

Even for the people that have chances of getting asylum the situation is not good. The waiting time for the interviews are very long. Some people have waited for many month only for their first interview. Often when their interview date comes and they go to Moria they are told to come back again in a few days or weeks. Some people had their interview date delayed for five or six times before they finally could do it. There are also other faults in the system, like a lack of skilled translators and interviewers that are sensible towards gender based violence as a reason for women fleeing their home countries. Furthermore the EASO is loosing interviews and therefore forcing people to go through the process a second time.

People that are granted asylum in Greece are left with nothing. They receive papers that allow them to stay in Greece but get no support whatsoever in order to survive and build a life for themselves here. Of course the responsibility for this does not lay only with Greece but rather with the EU politics of forcing people to apply in the first country they enter Europe and therefore forcing people to stay in the poorer southern European countries.

A conclusion of all of this? Everything on this island is totally fucked up and we don’t see where all of this is leading except to even more repression and more suffering.



Building Solidarity and Confronting Conflict (plus destroying fascism)

As most of you know it has been a difficult and changing time for No Border Kitchen in the last months. There has been violence and conflicts within the group as well as a a split between members of No Border Kitchen. As a result of the on-going conflict and as an attempt to move forward we have decided to ask one member of No Border Kitchen to leave the group and all organizing structures.

We define our group with anti-authoritarian, anti-sexist, anti-fascist principles and acts. This has been hindered by a member who continues to act with violent, sexist, patriarchal and hierarchical behaviour.

The decision was not made lightly. It has been a very difficult process and this process will continue as excluding one person does not solve all structural problems we are facing while working in No Border Kitchen.

We feel it is important to communicate this information because we know that many groups struggle with conflict between members and often have to ask an individual to leave. We want to be honest about these problems and how we are finding solution for them.

In the last months we were not able to have a group process and come to a decision because there were too many urgent concerns that took priority. We have learned now that if we are in conflict with the police and the Greek government and the borders we cannot be wasting time fighting our comrades. We will now be able support others better if we have solidarity and common principles within our group.

To all the people who have been or are currently involved in NBK from outside Lesvos, please contact us with any questions.

Love and Rage

Your NBK crew

Many arrests at squats today

Police was coming today early in the morning to the squats. They came to the different squats one after the other with 3 cars and two arrest vans. In total 17 people were arrested, sixteen refugees and one person with European passport.

In the squat where they went first two person were arrested. After they went to the other squat. There they arrested one European person and also kicked her during the arrest. Then they went through one of the building taking all the people from their rooms. All papers were checked and then the police took pictures of each person.

At the same time other cops started to go to another building and to the beach were some people were sleeping. When one person tried to run he was severely beaten. He had to be transferred to the hospital for treatment.

In the other buildings also people were arrested.

All people were taken to Moria. 11 of them are still in the prison inside Moria. 5 people were released again today, 4 of the arrested refugees and the person with European passport. 

Some of the people that are now in Moria prison will be deported.

We are incredibly sad and angry. Once again today our friends and comrades were imprisoned and beaten for no other reason than being in Europe without having the “right” passport. Now many face weeks or month in prison and after that deportation…for nothing. Only for looking for a safe place to live.

Prison, Food boxes, Spring on Lesvos…an update

It is blooming everywhere on the island and the warm sun is back. The situation here for most refugees continuous getting worse though.

Still there are continuously people arrested and imprisoned. Mostly it is people from four countries: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Marroco, Algeria. Police is targeting these nationalities for their low chances of getting asylum. People continue to have to fear to walk to the city to use the internet or have a coffee, fear to walk to Moria camp to renew their papers or get their cash card.

Moria camp is more and more constructed like a prison…even more than before. While the EU celebrates itself for providing winterproof shelters (in March after the cold is over anyways….) it is clear that they don’t do it to improve the well being of the people in the camp. Much more it is another way of control. Moria is now structured into different sections that are mostly made up by containers. Access is only possible for people living in the section and only with a wristband they have to wear.

As the repression got worse a task that gained more and more importance in the last weeks is the Anti-repression work some people were doing for some time now. As people are in prison for many weeks or sometimes even months we do our best to support them. For this we currently need support ourselves…people joining us for a longer period as well as practical help for the people in prison. If you want to support contact us by mail!

Furthermore we continue to support the several squats with food boxes and other support. Also we are still cooking for Tsamakia. Due to the heavy police presence and arrests of the last weeks we cook now only few portions daily for Tsamakia. Instead we give out more food boxes and since a few days we are also providing food for some of the local Roma people.

Surprisingly there has also been some good news in the past weeks. While the current emptying of the islands means deportation for many it also can mean a ticket to Athens for few. We are happy about some friends who finally managed to legally leave the islands. All of them after struggling here months and many with an uncertain future and another long waiting time in Athens. But still… its one step forward, and we could celebrate a few happier goodbyes in the past month.

Keep updated and come by in May or June if you have some weeks to spare…we will need you!

As always with a lot of Love & Rage,

your Nbk crew


…. how the foodboxes look like

Join us in May and June!

We are calling out to people joining us from end of April. With the spring in Lesvos the weather got better but the situation on this island is getting worse and worse. While the number of boat arrivals went down the number of people in prison and people facing deportation is going up. There are many reasons for us to be here, there is a lot of work to do. To be able to continue our work we need your support!

We cook, we support the people in squats and camps, we fight against this system that criminalizes people looking for a refuge in Europe. Join us and let us fight together.

If you think of coming contact us by mail, phone or write us a message on facebook. We especially look for people that can stay for a longer period of time. We welcome all people that share our basic political principals and are happy about a diversity of people and ideas!

Freedom! Demonstration for freedom of movement and against the EU-Turkey Deal

Today we came together with several hundred of people from different countries to demonstrate for freedom of movement and against the EU-Turkey-Deal. The demonstration was organized by an alliance of refugees from Moria and local solidarity initiatives. Today we demonstrated not only on Lesvos but all over Europe and showed our solidarity with each other and everyone struggeling against Europes deadly borders.

One year has passed since the deal came into effect, one year of people suffering its consequences here on Lesvos.

Since the deal Turkey is assumed to be a „safe country“ and people can be and are continously sent back to Turkey instead of getting asylum in Europe. Of course we all know that turkey is not safe at all. In the past we already wrote about how false the assumption of Turkey as a „safe country“ is. Refugees in Turkey face long imprisonment in so called „removal-centers“ without access to a fair asylum procedure, legal support, medical care or decent living conditions. Instead of getting protection refugees are deported back to their homecountries, where most of them have to face war and persecution.

One year has passed since the implementation of the deal, one year of people being stuck on the island. one year of people suffering the horrible living conditions in the hot-spots. One year of detention, deportation, violence, hopelessness.

It is clear that the deal has to be stopped. Today we were fighting against this deal, against the suffering the EU-borders cause here on Lesvos and everywhere else in Europe and beyond. We will continue fighting here for freedom of movement, for open borders and for the right of everyone to live.

„They made me undress all my clothes [then] they beat me“ Accounts of everyday police violence in Lesbos

Police violence is omnipresent in Lesbos. It happens in the day, in the night, in the street, in the police station, in Moria prison and to people with and without papers.. Every day on this island people are controlled, harassed, humiliated insulted and beaten.

The following text is not a complete report on police violence in Lesbos and doesn’t aim to be one. Rather it attempts to give a glimpse into the everyday violence that happens here on Lesbos. All the citations are part of testimonies we collected during the last 3 month.

People that the police assumes are refugees are repeatedly controlled on the basis of the color of their skin. When they are stopped in the street they are usually asked to show their papers. We know of several people who failing to show identification were taken to the police station and there they were beaten. They were brought to a separate room in the police station that didn’t have cameras and beaten with fists, kicks and sticks. After this they were released again. At least one person was unable to walk after being severely beaten with sticks and another had his arm broken.

People are beaten even while carrying their papers. One person told us that he was arrested in Mytilini. He was not asked to show his papers but instead immediately handcuffed, pushed to the ground and beaten with elbows. Then he was brought to the police station where again he was held down to the ground and again beaten. At no point did the police ask him for his papers or tell him why he was arrested and beaten. After the beating he was released.

Another form of violence the police use is humiliation. People are being insulted and forced to undress in front of the police. A person told us his story which happened in a night in December when the temperatures dropped to zero every night. He said

„the police came with three cars and stopped me. They asked me for my papers. I showed them my papers. After they gave me back my papers. Then they told me to undress. I had to put my jacket, my trouser, all my clothes on the ground. I was only in my underwear. I was very cold. I had to stand there for two or three hours without my clothes. The policemen were looking at me and laughing. Then they told me to dress. Then they beat me. They kicked me with their boots in the back and on the legs.“

The containers where people try to cross to the mainland with are another main point where violence takes place. Most people we know that try this way were either beaten or saw their friends being beaten. Again it is similar stories of people being beaten, kicked, insulted by several police officers.

„I was trying to get to Athens in a container. […] Then the police came and arrested me. […] They pushed my head down to the ground and beat me on the head and after 10 days I still have pain in my head. They handcuffed my hands behind my back and took me to the police station with a car. They took me to a room inside of the police station. They made me undress all my clothes. I was shivering from cold. Then they started the electricity fan. First they beat me with hands and then they kicked me. Three policemen were holding me down on the ground. Two policemen were beating and kicking me in the back and legs, […] The other two people that were in the container with me were also beaten in the same way.“

While refugees face the severest and most frequent police violence supporters are also targeted. They are controlled and sometimes taken to the police station while simply walking in the street without a reason given. One female supporter was controlled on the way home:

„ They told me I have to come to the police station. […] This time it was three policemen in the car with me. In the car they asked me where I was from. I said Holland. They said they like Dutch girls. They asked me if I fuck with a condom. I didn’t reply. They asked again. Then he asked me if I was lesbian or normal.“

Many people traveling to Europe imagine it is place of justice, peace and freedom guaranteeing the human right to seek refugee. But in fact there is no justice or real human rights for refugees in Europe, and especially not on Lesvos. No one here is receiving the rights they deserve and they were coming to Europe for such as respect, safety, morality, love. Instead refugees on Lesvos are being abused and threatened by police everywhere and every time. They find violence instead of refuge.

The police assume that refugees are defenseless and that they can act with impunity, but refugees are documenting, denouncing, and filing complaints against the police for these illegal actions. We will continue to work together to make visible the everyday institutionalized violence of police towards refugees. So get in touch if you hear accounts of police violence and want to work together on the topic.

Deportations are never voluntary…voluntary returns, bribes and prison

More and more people that we know on Lesbos agreed to so called Voluntary Return in the past weeks. This comes with the pressure of forced deportations as well as the current wave of arrests and imprisonments. People in danger of being deported or imprisoned in the closed area of Moria camp have the “voluntary” deportation as a sometimes last option to presumably escape more time in prison and a forced deportation. Most people are stuck here since months, for some it’s now almost a year. In fact Lesbos is an open air prison.

For some that tried to get asylum and were rejected, that tried to cross to the mainland and failed it is impossible to leave but it is also impossible to stay here. Staying is impossible even if it means going back to a country they escaped for a variety of reasons. Even if it means abandoning a hope they risked their lives for.

Another reason why people choose the “voluntary” deportation is that the IOM (International Organization for Migration) bribes the people if they sign for it. It seems that the conditions for deportation vary according to the migrant´s nationality. At the moment we hear that Pakistanis nationals are promised 500€ at departure and another 1500€ at arrival. We were told by people that agreed to the voluntary return that they only received the 500€ and never saw the additional 1500€ (yet) after they returned to their country of origin. On the other side, Algerians are offered 1000€ if they accept “voluntary departure”. At the moment there is a significant number of Algerian nationals imprisoned in the closed area of the Moria camp waiting for their deportation – some of them since months. Even though the Greek authorities, assisted by IOM, are obviously urging people to register for voluntary deportation, it seems that the administrative and logistic removal system is taking a long time.

To agree to voluntary return means spending time in prison in Greece. Some people sign the papers inside of the prison in Moria to be able to leave it again at some point. They have to stay during the procedure, which can take several weeks or even months. Others sign it outside of prison but have to spend several weeks in a prison on the mainland until taking a flight to their country of origin.

Some people cannot escape the prison even after their return. Many countries see irregular emigration as a strong enough reason to imprison the returned for several months. We keep hearing stories of people that were imprisoned for 3-6 months in their country of origin. The ones that can leave the prison after a few days or escape imprisonment all together can mostly do so because they have enough money to bribe the police. More often than not, the reintegration assistance, so the money the people receive for the voluntary return, directly wanders into the pockets of corrupt police.

Deportations and new prisons…what’s going on on Lesvos?

A few days ago we reported about the police coming to the squats and arresting several people. These arrests have been going on for several weeks now and some of the people arrested are still in jail. Certain nationalities are targeted…at the moment especially people from Pakistan, Algeria, Marocoo and Bangladesh which are the people that are very unlikely to be granted asylum.
These arrests are part of a bigger strategy. Since many months the plan of the EU and the Greek government is to empty the islands, speed up deportations, lock up more people. Therefore the people arrested in the past weeks are either forced to apply for asylum if they didn’t do so yet. If they already had their asyulm rejected they are incarcerated and will most likely be deported. All has been going on for months now but we feel that now its getting more serious, and more fast. The following text wants to  be a summary of what´s going on politically now on Lesvos and tries an analyzis of changes in the coming weeks and months.


On 8th of December 2016 the European Commission published a report about the « Progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement ». The asked to « speed up processing of asylum applications on the Greek islands » and state that « further efforts are needed, […] so that the processing of asylum applications at first instance is expedited and that the number of returns is increased and sustained ». [i]


According to this report « In total, 1,187 irregular migrants were returned from Greece to Turkey in the course of 2016 under the EU-Turkey Statement or the Greece-Turkey bilateral readmission protocol. […]Non-Syrian migrants are being returned to Turkey by boat and transferred to a removal centre […] Reportedly, so far 47 persons submitted their applications to the Turkish authorities […] So far, 417 persons, who did not apply for a refugee status in Turkey, have been returned to their countries of origin. »[ii] Among the people deported were also 93 Syrians. According to this report 163 people from the islands persons returned « voluntarily » to their country of origin since 28 September 2016.


The greek press [iii]  also wrote about the will of Greek government, enforced by European authorities as Frontex, to  speed up the deportation back to Turkey. According to these report the number of people on the islands will be cut by half until mid April 2017.


The greek authorities plan to put people in jail after their interview has been rejected. Even if they appeal a negative decision, they can be incarcerated during the time of their appeal. This concerns especially certain nationailites (see above) that have low chances for asylum recognition. Although detaining people by nationality is illegal in principal, greek authorities can do it until a court pronounces these incarcerations as illegal. For this increase of incarcerations, Authorities are already planning new « pre-removal centers » on the islands[iv]. We are at this moment not sure how these plans will be implemented on Lesvos. While reports speak about a new pre-removal center being planned, there is also the option of Moria turning more and more into a closed camp. In the past weeks,  families and nationalities with chances of asylum in Greece (as Syrians) have been moved out of Moria camp, leaving mostly single men behind.


But not only in Greece we will see a worsening of conditions for people and a raise of the incarceration of people based on the sole fact of being « irregular » migrants with low chances of being granted asylum. There are also strong concerns about the conditions of returnees back in Turkey. Reports show [v] that people that are placed in closed camp respectively detention centers have very limited or no acces to legal or medical support. Furthermore the living conditions are very bad and personal belongings including mobile phones (which are essentiel to get in touch with a lawyer) are confiscated by the police. As that would not be enough we also repetedly hear stories of violence and abuse towards asylum-seekers and migrants in these centers. Plus, the Turkish government has been already breaking the Non-refoulment principle, and is sending back people to unsafe countries.


Furthermore the European Commission also recommended the re-implementation of deportations from EU-member states back to Greece under the Dublin agreement [vi] in December and thus putting even more pressure on the Greek asylum system. Several countries, including Germany, have announced to start again the deportations. That will concern people that enter Greece after March 15th.

As we wrote before, Lesvos is not anymore a door to Europe that is possible to pass. Lesvos and Europe are more and more turned into a revolving door. Many countries in the north of Europe, for example Germany, are increasing deportations to peoples countries of origin (in the last weeks Germany deported many people to Afghanistan) and will start to send people back to Greece. Greece will raise the number of people being deported to Turkey and Turkey deports people to their country of origin. All completely ignoring human rights, bad living conditions of people and also ignoring the risks of persecution in the peoples country of origins. All this happens on the false assumptions that the countries where people are returned to (be it Greece, Turkey or Afghanistan) are « safe »…an assupmtion thats always very far from the reality that´s people face in these countries after their return.