Family Reunification from Greece: Let them be together again!
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My name is Michael. I’ve been working in Greece as a volunteer for Mobile Info Team for more than a year now. I provide information on asylum procedures and legal support for refugees.
Most of the people I speak to are trying to get back to loved ones. They’re going through what’s called a ‘Dublin procedure’ for family reunification. This takes up to eleven months. Currently there are more than 2000 people waiting to do this in Greece.
In March, the German Interior Minister, Thomas de Maizière, requested a restriction on these transfers, starting in April. Before then, Germany was reunifying over 300 people a month, now it’s around 70.
If this continues, even people who have had their transfer approved could be waiting for another 3 years or might not even be allowed to fly.
Mahmoud, 27 years old from Syria, has been in Greece for more than 18 months. His mother is sick and his brother has Down Syndrome. They are both in Germany. His sick mother has to take care of his brother around the clock, and that only makes her illness worse. She is alone and close to a breakdown. Mahmoud wants to be there and take care of them.
“It is nearly unbearable,” he told me. “I can’t stand by their side, now when they need me so much. I don’t know how my mother can make it through so long without me.”
Since we learned about the restriction, I’ve received dozens of calls and messages from desperate mothers, husbands, and siblings. They wish for nothing more than to start a new life with their families. They cannot understand why it’s taking so long. Lives are being put on hold. Many people have been here since the beginning of 2016. They are tired and feel powerless. They’re in an endless state of transit.
This cannot continue. I urge Minister de Maizière to remove this limit immediately. Family unity is a human right!
We’re collecting letters from people affected. We’re translating and sending them to Mr de Maizière, to make sure he understands what they’re going through. With your signatures behind their voices, we can force Mr de Maizière to listen to Mahmoud and the thousands of families who remain separated, and make him lift the restriction.
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