Vial Hunger Strike – Day 3

Greek version here

This is Farhem Al Ghanmi. He is 38 years old from Iraq. He is wheelchair bound as he injured his spine in a war. He has travelled alone knocking on the doors of Europe seeking international protection.

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Farhem is currently on his third day of a hunger strike together with two others from Iraq and Iran. They have also sewn their lips shut. Another person named Hussein, just 21 years old, a Palestinian from Syria has joined the hunger strike today.

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Photo credit: Sarah Gueguen

We spoke to Farhem on Day 2 (video by Sarah Gueguen) and via phone with Gabrielle Tan on Day 3 of his hunger strike.

He is exhausted but determined for the world to hear them. In the video below, he talks about the lack of facilities for the disabled in Vial, which creates particular hardships for his condition.

Not only is he facing the challenge of subpar humanitarian facilities, he speaks of receiving no support from groups / NGOS nor the authorities, even though he is a clear vulnerable case.

In the video, he alleges that the police told him earlier in the day “you’ll go back to Turkey.” 

He has expressed his intent to seek asylum but the system is overwhelmed. He has been in Vial for 45 days and counting.

As of today, the First Reception Service (FRS) is on strike with no site management in Vial.

Greek version found here

Unsanitary conditions

We have collected testimonials, photographic and video evidence of plainly unsanitary conditions in the outside areas of the centre, including what appears to be untreated sewage. 

We have collected testimonial and video evidence that access to running water is limited, allegedly to around six hours per day.

We have collected video evidence of plainly unsanitary conditions in the toilet and shower blocks, including broken shower heads, toilets not functioning, and human faeces on the floor.

Human Rights Watch confirmed that Vial has “no showers that are accessible for people in wheelchairs, with one ONE accessible toilet for people who physical disabilities in EACH section of the camp.”

We have collected testimonial evidence from a wheelchair-bound woman who could not access the toilets.

 

Video: a refugee describes being unable to wash properly for a month.

Video: broken taps in the washrooms at Vial.

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Photo: pools of unsanitary water in the outside areas at Vial.

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Photo: discarded clothes in a pool of unsanitary water.

Video: a refugee discusses the health danger of open sewage.

 

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Photo: a wheelchair-bound woman in Vial.

 

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Photo: refugees sit in the large main hall of Vial.

 

What is Vial?

Part of the Greek government’s response to the unprecedented number of refugees currently arriving in the country has been the implementation of five ‘hotspots’ on the islands closest to Turkey. On Chios, this hotspot is called Vial.

The aim of the ‘hotspot’ approach was to provide centres to register and process incoming refugees, who would subsequently be transferred to the mainland.

Since the EU-Turkey deal of March 20th, this process of transferral has been stopped, and Vial has become home to a static population, and a registration centre has effectively become a detention centre.

The hotspot on Chios is managed by First Reception Service, an ‘independent agency under the Deputy Ministry for the Interior’, in co-operation with the Hellenic Army.

Though temporary accommodation was always a part of the contracted agreement between the Chios municipality and the Greek government, Vial was not set up to be home to a large static population, and living standards within the facility have deteriorated significantly since March 20th.

Our main objective on this website is to provide a resource for the media, and to document notable cases of sub-standard, dangerous and possibly illegal standards of living in the centre. 

This resource will be updated as we receive new material and documentary evidence.

As you review the evidence we have collected here, it is important to remember that the majority of the refugees involved in the videos, photographs and testimonials here have been detained inside Vial for over 30 days.

While not a majority, a significant proportion of the refugees documented here sleep on a hard concrete floor, with limited bedding or blankets.

The cases we have currently documented are categorised under Sanitation, NutritionInadequate Medical Care and Clothing.

All photos, unless specified, are free to use, and credited to insidevial.wordpress.com.