Refugees take break from Syntagma Square hunger strike

A group of refugees on hunger strike for the last fortnight announced on Tuesday they were stopping with their protest to be with their children.

The protesting refugees, seven men and seven women – were camped on Syntagma Square hoping to put pressure on EU governments to implement rules for the reunification of refugee families living in different EU countries.

“This fight was so that our voice might be heard, both by the Greek and the German side. Through the hunger strike our voice reached the governments of Greece and Germany,” one of them said.

“Here, in the European Union and everywhere, they talk about human rights when in practice they trample on them,” said another man. He pointed out that the Dublin treaty clearly states that the reunification of families must take place within six months, adding that this rule was routinely ignored.

The group of 14 refugees also reported meetings at the German embassy, during which they were told that their requests will be conveyed to Berlin and they were asked to wait. The reason why they had begun the hunger strike was that they could not bear to wait any longer, they said.

The group demanded to be reunited with family members living in Germany – in accordance with EU rules – as well as financial assistance to cover the cost of the flights and transparency regarding the order of priority in refugee relocations.