In a questionable bid to persuade the Syrian war refugees camped in Syntagma Square opposite parliament demanding documents so they can travel to other EU countries, the interior ministry distributed a leaflet last week, urging them to give up their peaceful protest and apply for asylum as their only legal option.
The leaflet in English and Greek (not in Arabic) simply-entitled ‘To refugees from Syria’, tells the protestors that the only solution for them is to apply for asylum, as that will secure them free healthcare and the right to work and the right to visit other European countries for three months, twice a year.
“For those of you with relatives who have applied for asylum in other EU member states, if asked, the asylum service will reunite you with your families.”
It also seeks to explain to the refugees that Greece, or any other EU country for that matter, cannot provide the travel documents they are demanding because they simply do not exist.
“There is NO such document. No European Union member state can issue such a document,” it read.
It further states that the Greek state is not able to provide accommodation for all people arriving from Syria.
“What is possible is to examine housing for those that are granted asylum especially in case of families with small children who live on the streets”
The leaflet ends by urging the refugees to end their protest.
The refugees from war-torn Syria, including women, old men, children and babies,who arrived in Greece with the intent of reaching northern and western Europe by paying traffickers, have been camped at the central Athens square for the last two weeks. Some have been on hunger strike while others have been hospitalised.
Debt-ridden Greece has borne the brunt of a rapidly rising wave of refugees from war-ravaged countries like Iraq and Syria that are trying to enter the EU putting their lives in jeopardy with treacherous sea journeys on rickety boats.
source: the press project