Campaigners are targeting the Amygdaleza Centre, a former shelter for female victims of trafficking, which has now been transformed into a brutal removal centre for women facing deportation.
Greek refugee rights campaigners are taking to the streets. On 6 March 2005, Mothering Sunday, a demonstration will be held outside the Amygdaleza Centre near Athens demanding, among other things, the end to arbitrary detention and the immediate release of all child detainees.
The irony is that the original function of the Amygdaleza Centre was to provide shelter for female victims of trafficking. It has now been transformed into a removal centre for women facing deportation. The catalyst for the Sunday protest was a six-page article in the magazine Tahydromos which included graphic photographs and exposed the fact that women and children are being detained in small cells. Access to daylight comes just twice a week, when detainees are allowed out into a tiny courtyard. Hygiene at the centre is said to be almost non-existent and intimidation by police guards has also been highlighted.
Greece has come under repeated criticism from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for an asylum system which does not meet international or European standards and which granted refugee status to only eleven people in 2004.