Refugees – Crossing Borders Towards A New Struggle

Confinement and control imposed on refugees goes beyond the tightened border security. Unwanted, refugee and asylum seekers are kept in confined areas by visible and invisible layers of control created by a web of security and bureaucracy adapted by most governments in Europe. Unfortunately, these include children.

 

Documentary Photographer and Photojournalist Cinzia D’Ambrosi is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography.  From her ongoing project ‘Hate Hurts‘ .   For more info on Hate Hurts click on any photograph.

 

Over the last two years, I have chronicled the personal costs of psychological and physical violence against refugees and asylum seekers. Working across Europe, in Greece, Italy, Hungary, Iceland and Serbia. Refugees and asylum seekers face violence from the moment they try to cross one of Europe’s borders, when they wait for formal protection. The EU’s continuous failure to handle the flow of refugees has only increased violence, push-backs (illegal practice of forcibly sending back asylum seekers once they cross a border) and abusive practices by organised criminals, those with links to the far right and institutional violence, most often carried out by European government’s own security forces. The scale and the repercussion are still under-reported, while unscrupulous media reporting and the use of these for political gain have created further misery for refugees and migrants. With ‘Hate Hurts’ I am highlighting the negative impact of racism, prejudice and violence on the lives of refugees and migrants in Europe. By exposing these crimes, whether silent of viciously marked on the bodies of the victims, I am hoping that awareness will help to prevent and stop them.

 

Hate Hurts – Italy

 

Those that have shared their experiences have recounted acts of extreme torture and segregation in Libya.

 

At the Centro Astalli Sud in Naples, Italy, most occupants have made their journey from Libya to Sicily, where those that are registered are sent to various centers in Italy.

 

Until a decision is taken on an individual case, there is no place that an asylum seeker could go. He/she needs to wait, which often means spending months and even years in a refugee center.

 

Zahid was finger printed in Hungary which has left him in a very vulnerable situation. He cannot go to the Questura (police headquarters) because he would be deported and cannot receive any assistance for the same reason. He lives in an abandoned train carriage now. He has been advised to stay put and try to survive for the next months as the rule on his first entry in Hungary will be removed after two years.

 

At the Centro Astalli, the manager often gives tasks to the refugees to run the center to allow them to form a bond with each other and give them a sense of purpose. “One of the hardest thing is the lack of a purpose, day in and out. We are young and eager to work, yet we have nothing to do.” M.

 

Hate Hurts – Greece

 

Baba is 76 years old man from Afghanistan, staying in Eleonas, an open refugee camp in Athens, waiting to be moved again. For Baba being in Greece represented the end of a long-life ordeal. One in which, the physical strain is just a small part of it. Taking the last weeks, saw him walking for over 17 hours to reach the boat in Turkey, then embarking in the perilous journey to Greece followed by long hours in the military camps, the detention camp and now in Eleonas. He explained that he had nothing when he reached Greece. He had to drop his rucksack into the sea because the ‘captain’ said that the boat had to be light. They were 54 of them on the small boat. When he finally reached the Greek shores, he was not offered food or water but made to stay put for the night outside the police quarters. In the morning a bus came and took them to a military camp. It was full of people and for next 3 days he had no food or water again. That was very hard. He was unwelcome and had no respite from the hardship that he has suffered.

 

Meisy is receiving medical treatment for clinical depression following repeated hate crime abuses. In one incident, Meisy had just got off from a train when a woman began shouting at her and holding her tightly. No one came to her assistance, whilst the woman made a call to Golden Dawn members to summon them to the station as she was holding someone black to be beaten up. Meisy called her husband and the police. The police never arrived. Her husband frantically went to the police station and demanded that they would go with him to the station. By then, the woman had escaped. She was found later by the police but was never convicted.

 

B. has had many spells of detentions, mostly being singled out on the street of Athens and brought in detention. Unfortunately, the legal system is structured in a way that every 2 weeks, a refugee must request permission to stay and leave his/her documents with immigration. This leaves them liable for detention if stopped by the police and no legal paper is found on them. Even if, it is known issue, the loophole is abused by those in power.

 

She made it through the perilous journey on a boat. The Sudanese community is helping by giving her a little job at the center. She is making teas, coffees and some food. She lives with some Sudanese women she met through the center. Without papers, she is stranded.

 

Next for Cinzia D’Ambrosi

Refugee Stories From

 Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovakia

 

 

 

 

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