The Refugee Archipelago: The Inside Story of What Went Wrong in Greece, Daniel Howden, Apostolis Fotiadis,, 06/03/2017

Refugees Deeply investigates failures in the most expensive humanitarian response in history, which played out during the refugee crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean.

(…) « The archipelago strategy, while commended for avoiding refugee ghettos, placed an administrative and cost burden that the misfiring alliance of the Greek government and international organizations could not sustain. It also revealed the shocking absence of a functioning chain of command.

Ask exactly how many refugee camps there are in Greece and no one is certain. Migration ministry bulletins list 39 camps, some of which are empty; others are mothballed and others still are in the planning phase but do not appear on the list. The UNHCR said there were more than 50, but did not give a specific number.

When the border was closed and the West Balkan route was blocked, as many as 11,000 refugees piled up in Idomeni. Behind the scenes a scramble for potential sites has been going on for months directed by Mouzalas and his close circle of advisers, including Alexandridis. Among the most problematic choices they made were a string of privately owned warehouses including Oreokastro, where the Madrati family found themselves, the Karamanlis tannery outside Thessaloniki, and Softex.

These sites, chosen in preference to public ones, also lacked all basic utilities. They were not served by sewerage, electricity or water systems sufficient for large populations. Transport connections – essential for refugees, who need to access health and asylum services – were largely nonexistent. At Softex the public bus company operates no services because the area has been a hub for drug dealing and is considered dangerous.

The insistence on these sites further complicated the role of the UNHCR and ECHO, which are not allowed to develop private property. When U.N. officials objected they were promised in private by Mouzalas that the sites would close after a two-month stopgap. Mouzalas declined to comment on the reported promises. Several of the sites continue to operate to this day.

“It’s inexplicable that they were not able to find publicly owned sites,” says the country director of one of the large international NGOs operating in Greece. “To have so many sites on private land is madness, and they’re paying rent for unacceptable conditions.” » (…)

photo@ L. Pillant (programme Médimurs), Centre de rétention de Pagani, Lesbos, 2011

En Grèce, le cri de colère des réfugiés et des ONG contre l’accord UE-Turquie, Marina Rafenberg,, 20/03/2017

Un an après la mise en vigueur de l’accord, les associations s’alarment d’une disposition qui, selon elles, bafoue le droit d’asile.

 (…) « Un an après l’accord entre l’Union européenne et la Turquie, près de 62 400 migrants seraient toujours bloqués en Grèce, d’après les chiffres du gouvernement grec. C’est à Léros, Cos, Chios, Samos, Lesbos, les cinq centres d’identification et d’enregistrements des migrants dits « hot spots », que la situation est la plus critique. Selon le Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés (HCR), ces cinq îles peuvent accueillir jusqu’à 8 759 personnes, alors que 14 000 demandeurs d’asile s’y trouveraient actuellement.

« A Lesbos, le camp de Moria est en surchauffe. Les conditions sont difficiles. Cet hiver, nous avons vu notamment des tentes non chauffées abriter des familles, trois personnes sont également mortes dans ce centre… », rappelle Efi Latsoudi qui, depuis 2012, gère à Lesbos un centre pour les réfugiés les plus vulnérables arrivés sur l’île (femmes enceintes, jeunes enfants, handicapés) et qui a été récompensée en 2016 par le prix Nansen pour les réfugiés décerné par le HCR. « Nous observons de plus en plus de cas de dépression et de stress aigu chez les réfugiés. Ils ont peur d’être renvoyés en Turquie. Certains sont depuis un an dans les camps sans savoir ce qu’ils vont devenir… », expose-t-elle.

Selon Médecins sans frontières, les automutilations et tentatives de suicide sont en « nette augmentation ». D’après le rapport de l’organisation non gouvernementle (ONG), à Lesbos les psychologues ont reçu ces derniers mois trois fois plus de patients souffrant de stress post-traumatique. » (…)

Lire aussi :   Quel est le bilan du pacte migratoire UE-Turquie au bout d’un an ?

Lire aussi :   Flambée anti-réfugiés sur les îles de la mer Egée

Lire aussi :   Sous la neige de Lesbos, l’hiver éreinte les réfugiés


Montage photos @ S. Mangriotis (programme Médimurs)

Voir : Archéologie d'une frontière, S. Mangriotis, L. Pillant, programme Médimurs




Call for Papers : “Borders of war, borders of peace”, L’Espace politique

We are pleased to announce you the call for contributions for a special issue of L’Espace Politique on the theme:

Borders of war, borders of peace

coordinated by Amaël Cattaruzza and Anne-Laure Amilhat-Szary.

All the details of this call for contributions can be found at

The call of contributions deadline is May 31st 2017.

You are welcome to send us papers in French or English on other theme or propose us to coordinate future issues of our Journal

The Editorial board of L’Espace Politique

Frédéric Lemaître, L’Europe des confins, une série en cinq volets,, fin 2016

photo@ Lisa Ritaine, 2014, avec autorisation

Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez; Josiah Heyman (eds.), The U.S.-Mexico Transborder Region, 2017

 Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez; Josiah Heyman (eds.), The U.S.-Mexico Transborder Region. Cultural Dynamics and Historical Interactions, The Arizona University Press, 2017

« The U.S.-Mexico Transborder Region presents advanced anthropological theorizing of culture in an important regional setting. Not a static entity, the transborder region is peopled by ever-changing groups who face the challenges of social inequality: political enforcement of privilege, economic subordination of indigenous communities, and organized resistance to domination.

The book, influenced by the work of Eric Wolf and senior editor Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez, centers on the greater Mexican North/U.S. Southwest, although the geographic range extends farther. This tradition, like other transborder approaches, attends to complex and fluid cultural and linguistic processes, going beyond the classical modern anthropological vision of one people, one culture, one language. With respect to recent approaches, however, it is more deeply social, focusing on vertical relations of power and horizontal bonds of mutuality.

Vélez-Ibáñez and Heyman envision this region as involving diverse and unequal social groups in dynamic motion over thousands of years. Thus the historical interaction of the U.S.-Mexico border, however massively unequal and powerful, is only the most recent manifestation of this longer history and common ecology. Contributors emphasize the dynamic « transborder » quality—conflicts, resistance, slanting, displacements, and persistence—in order to combine a critical perspective on unequal power relations with a questioning perspective on claims to bounded simplicity and perfection.

The book is notable for its high degree of connection across the various chapters, strengthened by internal syntheses from notable border scholars, including Robert R. Alvarez and Alejandro Lugo. In the final section, Judith Freidenberg draws general lessons from particular case studies, summarizing that « access to valued scarce resources prompts the erection of human differences that get solidified into borders, » dividing and limiting, engendering vulnerabilities and marginalizing some people.

At a time when understanding the U.S.-Mexico border is more important than ever, this volume offers a critical anthropological and historical approach to working in transborder regions. » (editor)