The 14 women and men refugees, who went on hunger strike yesterday, demanding the speeding up
of family reunification processes to Germany, organized a press conference today, Thursday 2nd
November. The refugees condemned the Greek government for the delays, highlighting that they
have been attempting to receive an official response for the Asylum Service for months, but all they
have received are false promises. Their relatives in Germany have been met with similar responses
from the authorities. The seven women and seven men hunger strikers represent a total of 4500
refugees, who have had their reunification requests accepted, only to remain trapped in Greece. They
stressed that, after months of effort and mobilization, their patience has run out. They are
determined to continue their hunger strike to the end, which will either be victory of death.
The hunger strikers told their stories of flight and dangerous wanderings after fleeing from their war
torn country, and described how, upon crossing the borders, they were separated from members of
their family, and are today forced to live in refugee camps.
Foaz from Syria said that the families who have been in Greece for two years, and whose request for
reunification has been accepted, are living in refugee camps under terrible conditions. He said that
his ten year old son has been living in Greece for two years and cannot even write his name. He also
pointed out that “we go to the asylum service like beggars, we are being treated like slaves and are
often kicked out like dogs”. He condemned the minister for migration, saying that “the minister said
yesterday that refugees are only provided with the essentials. We have nothing, we are only given 90
euros per month. Those lucky enough to be accepted for reunification must pay for the ticket
themselves, amounting to a cost of over 300 euros per month. They are pushing us towards
desperation and trafficking. The solution is in the hands of the government, they are responsible. Our
demand is simple, as is its solution”.
Fidan, a Kurd from Syria, mother of three underage children, said that her husband has been living in
Germany for the past four years, while they are living in a camp in Greece, where it is impossible for
anyone to stay for long. The children are not going to school, health care is insufficient. The wait
makes her wish she had stayed in Syria. “At least there I would die proud” – she said.
A very moved hunger striker only said: “I am Ibrahim’s mother, I have not seen him in four years
because he is in Germany”, and left the press conference weeping.
A representative of the Solidarity Initiative pointed out that the refugee struggle is self-organized,
and follows months of protests. He added that an open Solidarity Initiative has been set up, and
called on collectives and individuals to express their solidarity in kind, and to help with shifts at
Syntagma, where the protest is taking place. Teams for security, logistics, legal and medical support,
and communications, have already been set up. He went on to condemn both the Greek and German
governments for their shady dealings under the table as regards family reunifications, but also for
the “Common Declaration”, the so-called EU-Turkey deal. With these in mind, the hunger strikes in
Syntagma and Mytilene are parts of the common struggle against Fortress Europe, for equal rights for
locals and migrants, against discrimination and racism.
Finally, he added that the struggle for family reunification is taking place in both Greece and
Germany. Protests will be taking place simultaneously in Athens and Berlin next Wednesday 8th
A children’s party will be taking place in Syntagma on Saturday 4th November, to celebrate the
children of the hunger strikers. Children of locals and immigrants are also welcome.
On Sunday 5th November, an information campaign will be taking place in the streets of Athens.
An ADEDY representative was also present at the press conference, and handed a resolution of
solidarity to the hunger strikers. Many collectives also spoke at the press conference.