HUNGER STRIKE ON LESVOS, GREECE REACHES 35th DAY
(35 DZIEŃ STRAJKU GŁODOWEGO NA LESVOS)
Aug 1, 2017
EN- BAHROOZ ARASH AND KOZHIN HUSSEIN ARE NOW ON DAY 35 OF THEIR HUNGER STRIKE IN "SECTION B" DETENTION CENTER INSIDE MORIA REFUGEE CAMP. FELLOW REFUGEE AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST ARASH HAMPAY HAS JOINED THEM FOR 34 DAYS IN A HUNGER STRIKE AND VIGIL IN THE CITY CENTER OF MYTILINI. HIS BROTHER, AMIR HAMPAY, who WAS JUST RELEASED LAST WEEK ON HUMANITARIAN GROUNDS FOLLOWING HIS OWN HUNGER STRIKE INSIDE SECTION B, STILL FACES IMMINENT DANGER AND ARBITRARY DEPORTATION.
THE HUNGER STRIKERS DEMAND AN END:
-BRUTAL VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS- DEPRIVATION, HUMILIATION, PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL ABUSE FACED BY REFUGEES ON A DAILY BASIS INSIDE MORIA CAMP.
-THE ILLICIT AND ARBITRARY DETENTION OF REFUGEES FOR MONTHS WITHOUT TRIAL WHILE ASYLUM APPLICATIONS ARE BEING PROCESSED
-THE EUROPEAN BORDE REGIME, WHICH IS SYSTEMATICALLY DEPORTING REFUGEES TO FACE PERSECUTION, TORTURE AND DEATH BACK IN TURKEY OR THEIR NATIVE COUNTRIES.
For weeks, hunger strikers inside Moria camp have been denied access to basic medical care. They have been systematically blocked from communications with their legal team, friends and supporters outside. Arash, who has been staging his hunger strike in Sappho Square in Mytilini port, has faced regular police harassment and abuse from greek government officials including the deputy mayor or Mytilini.
In their native Iran, several of the hunger strikers were imprisoned and tortured for their human rights activities, and their families were assassinated by government agents for similar actions. for these reasons they fled, seeking asylum in Europe, but now face similar conditions and treatment in Moria camp. Bahrooz Arash has dropped from 60 to 43kg (132-94lbs), losing a third of his body mass over the past month. This severe weight loss has exacerbated serious pre-existing conditions, and doctors urge that he be immediately transferred to a hospital to save his life. at current, authorities in Moria camp are not allowing him access to medical services.
Overcrowding and inadequate shelter have condemned at least five (5) refugees to death inside Moria refugee camp. A recent report by MSF- Medecins Sans Frontieres- found self-harm within Moria had increased 600%, alongside multiple suicide attempts since EU-Turkey deal closed borders, trapping tens of thousands of refugees in Greece, Italy and the Balkans. following protests last week police have been reported roaming through the camp assaulting and arresting indiscriminately. refugees report random beatings, being pelted with stones, beatings with batons and boots while handcuffed, racist abuses and manhandling of pregnant women. The hunger strikers are inside "Section B, a notorious detention center within Moria where refugees are kept isolated and denied access to basic human rights and legal support.
EN- Arash spoke with us for several hours on Day 16 of his hunger strike. While in high spirits regarding the chance of their release, Arash stated, "I have been on hunger strike many times in Iran and have always been successful." He followed that if he was unsuccessful that it would not happen in the shadows. "If we die it will not be invisible. We will die right in front of everyone here in Mytilini. And we will not stop until they are all released." His brother, Amir Hampay, was released on his 25th day, but Arash refused to end his strike until all three men were released. " Bahrooz and Kozhin do not want to commit suicide. They are not crazy, They are two young Kurdish men. They are smart and they are handsome. They are in love with life. They understand and appreciate the essence of beauty and the joy of life. This is the very reason why they do not kneel and submit to oppression and injustice."
A recent petition on change.org has circled urging the current Greek Minister for Migration- Ioannis Mouzalas- to release the Hunger Strikers and effectively address the regular conditions refugees endure inside Moria and other camps like it throughout Greece. In the petition Arash speaks of his mother's thoughts and confidence for her sons' decision to leave Iran and claim asylum. "I remember my mother. My pure-minded mother who said goodbye to me with an ease of mind. 'I am sure the people and the State won't hurt you. They won't imprison or torture you.' In this you were wrong my dear mother, my beloved angel."
Shortly after Arash started his vigil and hunger strike in port, The UK's Independent posted a report by Arash in their VOICES section. At the outset, Germany's International broadcaster- DW (Deutsche Welle) also reported on the seemingly permanent daily conditions inside Moria and on Lesvos. Yet a month into the Strike and the international media has gone silent.
Meanwhile a young filmmaker Fridoon Joinda, 23- also a refugee from Afghanistan who has been living on Lesvos for over a year, recently produced the documentary "Sent To Their Death" chronicling the refugee experience in Moria and on Lesvos. The film features Arash and the Hunger Strikers in their protest of the conditions inside Moria and arbitrary deportations sending people back to Turkey or their home countries regardless of conditions there. You can watch it here on 1976km, and on Fridoon's Facebook page- @Joinda production.
1976km will provide regular updates on this situation via Facebook and on Instagram (@1976km), and a spotlight video and special podcast is coming soon. Check back and stay engaged.
Video: "Sent To Their Death" Documentary- @FridoonJoinda