16 June 2009
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I believe that seeking Asylum should not be a crime in anyone’s eyes, because no one is ready to leave their country of origin, if they are not forced to do so. People emigrate for different reasons, but escaping war is the most difficult and important part of immigration. Fleeing from war has been the story of the people of Afghanistan, unfortunately, for thirty years.
The war in Afghanistan never stopped and the mass killing of innocent people via bombardment of NATO forces and the Taliban continues. For example, in 2008 nearly 80,000 people were killed in Afghanistan. And now, its people have no hope that war will ever stop. Every day thousands of people flee their country in order to survive.
Until two months ago nearly two thousand Afghan asylum seekers lived in a camp in Patras, Greece. Most were unaccompanied minors. Despite daily assaults and torture by local police they continued to live there since there was no safe alternative.
Two months ago, the government of Greece decided to close this camp. With this decision, the government of Greece has undermined every immigration treaty and international convention on refugees. No one has bothered to ask why such a thing could happen. Next they decided to deport all asylum seekers back to their country of origin. Every day, dozens of people are arrested by the police, then deported to a firing line.
Yesterday, about four o’clock in the morning, as everyone slept in their tents, the Greek police, without warning, arrested 70 people and deported them to Turkey (the neighboring country), to be sent back to Afghanistan. Every one knows the situation in Afghanistan and the legitimate reasons that people leave the country, but no one wants to support them. Dozens of these unaccompanied minors have escaped from the camp to hide in the mountains. They contacted me and told me their story. I have no answer for them, except to just write these few lines; to bring their voices to people who have respect for human rights; to those who love humanity and ask them to help.
If there is anything called human rights, if the people of Afghanistan are members of the United Nations and included in the Universal declaration of Human Rights, please do not let the people who have escaped from death be returned to the firing line once again.