With the unfortunate continual rise of right-wing movements and xenophobic opinions in Europe, more and more refugees and migrants are becoming victims of racist incidents and hate crimes. Even though a recent survey shows that Greek people, despite their difficult economical situation, are more in favour of hospitality towards refugees than the European average, there still was an increase in racist attacks and hate crimes in Greece in 2018.
To support victims of racist attacks and hate crimes, the Mobile Info Team reached out to the Racist Violence Recording Network (RVRN). It was founded in 2011 to document racist violence, advocate for positive change, and inform the public about racist violence in Greece. Victims of racist attacks or hate crimes have the possibility to report the incident to a member of RVRN. To inform refugees and migrants about this opportunity, we made a post on our Facebook page, which was widely viewed. We were able to refer multiple people to RVRN, so that their grievances can be heard and used to make proactive recommendations to the Greek government on how to best combat racist violence.
Ahmed* was in a lot of distress when he called the Mobile Info Team Hotline. His young daughter was in Egypt – in desperate need of heart surgery. Ahmed was trying to access his bank account so he could buy a plane ticket for her to join him and have the procedure here in Greece. However, due to his legal status, Ahmed was unable to access his bank account and buy the ticket. Time was running out, as his daughter’s medical visa was soon expiring. Mobile Info Team immediately began looking for funders who would be willing to help him buy a plane ticket. End of May, our efforts paid off, as Ahmed’s young daughter and wife landed safely in Greece. Now, we are hoping his little girl can access the medical care she needs and that she has a quick and safe recovery!
*Name and picture changed to ensure confidentiality
One of our May info sessions was at the Sindos Community Centre in the west of Thessaloniki. Quite a lot of the people visiting the centre already have an asylum status and were now wondering about their travel documents, so we held two group sessions about this topic. Afterwards, in multiple one-on-one conversions, we were able to clarify countless questions about numerous topics, such as family reunification and work authorization in Greece. In total, our caseworkers, together with the invaluable help of our translators, spoke with more than 30 people individually in 4 different languages (Arabic, Farsi, Kurmandji and French). It was amazing to be able to visit the strong community in Sindos and we are planning to have monthly info sessions in the Sindos Community Centre from now on.
As of May 2019, MIT has four new team members! Juliette, a lawyer from France, is supporting with coordination and asylum interview preparation efforts. Kirsten from the USA has numerous prior experiences with Greek and international refugee issues, and will be overseeing advocacy efforts. Marie-Claire from Belgium and Jacob from the USA have both studied law and are new caseworkers. All four possess a wide variety of background experience, and they are bringing it to bear on the Greek asylum procedure. They are shadowing current team members both on the hotline and in the field at community centres and will soon be up to speed to provide information and support our family reunification cases. We also bid farewell to our backbone, Gabrielle. She was with us for 6 months as our co-coordinator and will be missed.
If you want to know more about what we do, see pictures from our work or have a look at our team, please go to our website: