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[Evros, gateway to Europe 8] Sharifi G. wanted to join his sister in Germany, he was imprisoned in Greece

(B2) Sharifi G. has just spent six months in the Athens refugee camp. He prepared the 85 euros which should allow him to have papers to join his sister, in Germany

Sharifi G, in front of the entrance to the Elaionas refugee camp, in Athens (© B2/Emmanuelle Stroesser)

Germany was where Sharif wanted to go when he was arrested in Alexandroupolis. He had just crossed the land border with Turkey, along the Evros river. He had left Afghanistan several months ago. Because after leaving Afghanistan, he first stopped in Iran for three months. But the future wasn't there for him either. He continued to Turkey, then Greece. He does not reveal all the details of the crossing, it is not done with an open face. He agrees to be photographed and to tell the story.

"Lot of Walks"

Shoes abandoned in the camp (© B2/Emmanuelle Stroesser)

Crossing the border between Turkey and Greece, he walked to Didymoteicho, descending along the Evros river. " Lot of walk (Lot of walk) he slips. Then he stopped at Alexandroupolis, before leaving the region of Thrace for Eastern Macedonia. He then joined Thessaloniki, the second largest city in Greece. He lived in a squat.

Greece as a stopover

The barbed wire of the Athens camps (© B2/Emmanuelle Stroesser)

He did not have a valid visa, so he was arrested by the police. He served four months in detention. " And then I had an interview and it was positive “, he explains. His administrative situation is not very clear. But he assures that he should have a passport in a few weeks. Then he will hit the road again for Frankfurt, Germany. He wants to join his big sister there. He thinks he can find work, with his level of engineer.

five in a container

The entrance to the camp (© B2/Emmanuelle Stroesser)

It is 17 p.m., like him, many refugees are returning. They return to their containers. The men crowd there in groups of five. Families in pairs. Sharif is not complaining. To eat and the rest, the monthly nest egg of the "UN Card" allows you to survive. It's when the electricity goes out, like for five days in mid-January, that life in the camp becomes difficult. For the rest, he has obviously seen much worse.

off the capitol

Children in the Athens camp (© B2/Emmanuelle Stroesser)

Athens Camp is a five-minute walk from the metro in Elaionas, an outlying neighborhood of Athens. The road leading to it is strewn with rubbish, lined with salvage warehouses of all kinds (clothing, scrap metal). The camp can be seen a stone's throw from an open dump. The curious stranger is quickly spotted. The guards at the entrance ensure that no one enters. Not even to watch. Tone up. Circulate.

(Emmanuelle Stoesser)

All the articles from our report [Evros, gateway to Europe]

  1. The Evros River, the other gateway for refugees to Europe
  2. Turkey is pulling the strings at the EU's external borders (G. Koumoutsakos)
  3. In Greece, the number of pending asylum applications explodes
  4. The reception and treatment of refugees under the pressure of the EU-Turkey agreement
  5. EASO will double its workforce in Greece
  6. UNHCR, guardian of the right to asylum, in a balanced position
  7. For MSF, the only crisis is that of a lack of political will
  8. Sharifi G. wanted to join his sister in Germany, he was imprisoned in Greece

Emmanuelle Stroesser

A journalist for magazines and the press, Emmanuelle specializes in humanitarian issues, development, asylum and migration and human rights.