IFRC


Stranded in Greece

Published: 2 December 2015 23:19 CET

Caroline Haga, IFRC

What do you do when you have been on the run for weeks and are suddenly not allowed further, even if your life is threatened in your home country?

On 19 November three countries along the migratory route – the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia - made the decision to permit only migrants from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to cross their border. Since then, thousands of people on the move have been left stranded on the Greek side of the border without knowing what will happen. Here are Mahmod’s and Ali’s stories.

Mahmod, 22, from Syria

Mahmod hopes to become a computer engineer. He was born in Palestine and was living in Syria in recent years. Now he has fled seeking safety.

He has been waiting by the border in Idomeni for six days. “Because my papers say that I am Palestinian they are not letting me through,” Mahmod explains. He and his brother have been travelling for more than two weeks. Their dream is to make it to Switzerland.

“We are former Muslims. It would be very dangerous for us to go back.”

Ali, 25, from Iran

Ali has been waiting by the border in Idomeni for eight days. He tells us that he had to flee because he feels extremely threatened in his home country. He is harassed and intimidated because he is homosexual and HIV-positive. “They tried to kill me back home,” Ali explains and shows us pictures of his car’s shattered windows.

He is exhausted from the journey and restless nights in the cold tents in Idomeni. But the journey doesn’t matter to him as long as he can feel safe somewhere. It is the only wish he has.

“I cannot go back. They would kill me. Please help me.”





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