Czech volunteers express solidarity with the hunger striking refugees in detention

11. 11. 2015


"We, the Czech volunteers, feel obliged to react to the latest situation in the Drahonice refugee detention centre," says the press release issued by Czech volunteers who help refugees on the Serbian-Croatian border and on the Greek island of Lesbos. On Tuesday, an eighteen-year old boy, held in the Drahonice detention centre, tried to harm himself, in despair over his situation. Several dozen other refugees held there are on hunger strike. Their dramatic attempts to remind the outside world of their situation are the result of their maltreatment and of the fact that no one has explained to them why they are being detained. There are no interpreters in the detention centres who could communicate with the refugees. It is only volunteers who go to the detention centres to interpret for the refugees and to listen to the stories of those people who are being held there behind barbed wire. The Czech government has still not explained satisfactorily why it places refugees in detention. This practice is nonsensical both from the legal and the economic points of view - many weeks or months after their arrest, the detained refugees are released and they continue on their journeys to other countries. They have to pay for their detention and the detention centres are also financed by the Czech tax payers. Their detention is nonsensical, it only worsens the reputation of the Czech Republic.

These people are running away from war and miserable conditions in their countries. They are trying to reach Europe, which is for them a symbol of freedom and normal life. We used to think that the Czech Republic is a part of Europe and that it respects human rights. We are in daily contact with organisations and volunteers from other countries. We are frequently being asked what is happening in the Czech Republic and why is it that so many refugees say that the detention in the Czech Republic has been the worst experience of their whole journey. We are unable to answer these questions.

We call on the responsible authorities to change the conditions within the Czech detention centres. We appeal to the Czech government to change its attitude to the refugees. The Czech authorities arrest the refugees, hold them for several months and then they allow them to continue to travel further, to freer countries, after their money has been confiscated and after they have been damaged, physically and mentally, by their imprisonment.

We will continue to help those people who need it.

Source in Czech HERE

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Obsah vydání | 13. 11. 2015