Migration

For releases describing work with people who have left their homes for reasons of economic or lethal violence.

BORDERLANDS: The Rosary on the Migrant Trail

 

 

By John Heid

A traditional Catholic rosary consists of five decades, totaling fifty-nine beads, and a crucifix on a cord. Within the past year fifty-eight bodies where recovered from the Sonoran desert in the vicinity of Ajo, AZ, forty-two miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. Humanitarian aid organizations estimate that for every body recovered, at least five are not. The remote nature of borderlands and the natural conditions accelerate decomposition.  Fifty-nine bodies, fifty-eight beads.

Prayers for Peacemakers 4 July 2018 Lesvos

Prayers for Peacemakers 4 July 2018  Lesvos

Pray for the refugees and volunteers who make a life together at the PIPKA Camp.  

Authorities on Lesvos are threatening to shut the camp down for “hygienic” reasons, although these reasons seem to be a front for political motives.  PIPKA provides refugees and asylum seekers a more dignified and safer environment than the filthy, chaotic and overcrowded Moria camp.

For more information on the threat to PIPKA see this press release.

For actions you can take on social media, see the Facebook page.

LESVOS: CPTer documents minute-by-minute account of fascist attack on Afghan refugees in Sappho Square, Mytilene

The following represents a minute-by-minute report that the Christian Peacemaker Team on Lesvos made of the night of 22-23 April when fascists attacked the Afghan refugee families who were occupying Sappho Square in Mytilene, Lesvos.  The families were nonviolently protesting their internment at Moria Camp, saying it was the "Guantanamo of Europe," and demanding that they be allowed to move forward with their asylum process.

19:10 Police in riot gear made a small circle around refugee protestors. The policeman told a western foreigner (reporter) to move for his safety because something might happen. (Reported by a foreign volunteer).

19:40 The refugee group told the CPTer to stay inside the circle; the men formed two lines to protect the women. 

19:50 A sound of marching and drumming moved toward the square. Some Greek people standing on the other side clapped their hands to welcome the march group. Greek people sang the national anthem (maybe). The leader of the refugee protestors told people to stay quiet when the Greek people sang their national anthem. Two police buses blocked the sight of the refugee protestors.

Prayers for Peacemakers 18 April 2018 Lesvos

Prayers for Peacemakers  18 April 2018  Lesvos

Pray that the Moria 35 receive justice when they stand trial on 20 April 2018.  If convicted, they could receive sentences of up to ten years and/or deportation.

On 18 July 2017, thirty-five people were arbitrarily arrested during a violent police raid in Moria camp on Lesvos.  That morning a peaceful protest took place in Moria camp, where people demanded that the authorities lift the geographical restriction imposed by the EU-Turkey statement, allow people to travel to mainland Greece, and denounced the inhumane living conditions in the camp. During the demonstration, a confrontation occurred between the police and some of the protesters. An hour after this skirmish had ended, riot police violently raided the African section of the camp and arrested people at random. There is substantial evidence of brutal police violence during the raid, the arrests and in the police station. Many of the people arrested were not even present in Moria camp at the time of the protest. The Moria 35 all face identical criminal charges including arson, resisting arrest, attempted assault, rioting, damage to private property and disturbing the public peace.  No credible or individual evidence appears to exist against any of them.  Authorities have kept them in prison since 18 July. The risk of conviction not only includes a prison sentence, but also an impending threat of deportation.

Members of CPT Lesvos visited some of the people in Chios prison to collect their personal stories in order to counter the state narrative that paints these people as criminals. The team acts as a part of a broader campaign that calls for justice and solidarity for the Moria 35. Pray for justice.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 14 March 2018 Lesvos

Prayers for Peacemakers,  14 March 2018   Lesvos

 

 

Pray for the safety of the 400 migrants who arrived on Lesvos last week, and for the authorities to extend them the kindness and care they need.  Migrants who come to the island and are put in the Moria concentration camp do not receive the medical treatment that people who have made such a difficult journey following severe experiences of violence should get.

Pray for the migrants and inhabitants of islands who fell victim to the unfair and unlawful deal between Turkey and the EU, which resulted in the heavy militarisation of the artificial borders in the Aegean Sea. Thousands of migrants and refugees are stranded in a situation of constant limbo because of the EU-Turkey deal.

Pray for the participants in the Convergence of CPT-Europe that starts today on Lesvos, so that they have clarity and wisdom to make right decisions.

LESVOS: No one is an island

 

On 12 February, in the city center of Mytilene, Lesvos Island, a social gathering remembered the Syrian civilians who lost their lives in a recent bombing . In the past weeks, Turkish-sanctioned airstrikes have killed and injured hundreds of civilians in Afrin, Syria.  The Kurdish civilians who live there are trying to establish social safety by forming an autonomous territory.   The CPT-Lesvos team helped distribute this message and engage nearby pedestrians in conversations about it.

In a conversation about the effects Turkish military aggression has on refugees trying to enter the European Union (EU), one medical practitioner shared their observation about a rescue mission operated by the authorities. Our contact witnessed, for example, the Turkish coast guard approaching the refugees’ dinghy boat in a very intimidating way. Because of the EU-Turkey statement, the Turkish government has received money from EU to stop the refugee boats from entering Greece.  This collaboration between the EU and Turkey is especially worrisome since Turkey is also the country launching the attacks that are causing these people to flee their homeland. There is a direct correlation between the refugee crisis in the EU and the attacks happening in Syria, Iraq, and other Middle Eastern countries.

BORDERLANDS: Josseline Jamileth Hernandez Quinteros: PRESENTE!

 

 

Josseline Jamileth Hernandez Quinteros 

Tuesday, 20 February marked the tenth anniversary of the death of fourteen-year-old Josseline Jamileth Hernandez Quinteros from El Salvador. Her remains were discovered in remote Cedar Canyon near Arivaca, AZ seven miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. Efforts to rescue her had failed. Since mid-January humanitarian aid workers had combed the area after receiving reports from her family members that Josseline had become ill while crossing the Sonoran desert and couldn't continue. “She was just a little girl. She was on her way to see her mother,” said a Tucson human rights activist.

A full decade has passed since Josseline died. Untold thousands have crossed since then. Untold numbers are unaccounted for, consumed by policies which have forced young and old alike into unforgiving desert terrain. Consumed by bipartisan failure to create a humanitarian immigration policy. Consumed by national unawareness, sometimes apathy, sometimes xenophobia. A cloud of unknowing.

Josseline is one of many. Yet we do not know who they are. Most death certificates at the Pima County Corner's Office have no names. We call these Desconocidas or Desconocidos. The unknown ones.

The geographical terrain of this holy season, Lent, is the desert. Mystics and prophets sought this austere terrain for reflection, prayer, and sacrifice. May we find those places inside ourselves and search for deeper truths. Brighter light to guide our feet. There is no time for guilt. That won't serve the contemporary Josselines anyway. What is needed, as Father Dan Berrigan once said, are “mystics with feet.”

PRESENTE literally means one is still present among us, even though their bodies are not. Josseline lives each time we remember her death. And her life... and open our hearts and eyes to what's happening in our deserts, our communities, our nation. And resurrect.

Josseline Jamileth Hernandez Quninteros ¡PRESENTE!

LESVOS: Moria’s 5 star review

Moria in winter

It was time for my trip to the sauna in one of Europe's best hotels, Moria, which is a well-known hotel for tourists who use the crowded boats to get into the EU.

I was one of these tourists.

A year after leaving Syria my wife and I felt that we missed a sense of adventure in our lives. We were bored. As you may know, when you get bored of the day-to-day routine in your life, you usually take a boat with sixty-one other bored people to go and discover the world.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 3 January 2017 Lesvos

Prayers for Peacemakers, 3 January 2017   Lesvos

Pray for refugees automatically rejected during the asylum process because of where they came from, or because of their ethnicity.

Many countries that western nations categorize as "safe" are really quite volatile, especially for specific ethnicities within those countries. This includes many countries in Western Africa and the subcontinent of Asia. The refugees from those locations often receive denials based on racial profiling, because they are only "economic migrants" or their countries fall into this "safe" category.  One man who has worked quite closely with the Christian Peacemaker Team on Lesvos is currently in prison facing deportation because of his ethnicity.

 Hesam Shaeri Hesari, one of the hunger strikers on Lesvos, scheduled for imminent deportation. 
Image by Arash Hampay

LESVOS REFLECTION: Alexander's Great Lie

Occasionally when I fly to Lesbos, I travel through Thessaloniki.  Thessaloniki International Airport is situated outside of town with not much to see other than the somewhat barren landscape. One time, as I wandered around the small terminal in search of an outlet to revitalize my dying phone, I came across what might be called a shrine to Alexander the Great and the text of an oath he made to his armies and commanders after his conquest into Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the rest of the known world of his day.