PRO ASYL and RSA welcome the German authorities’ recent decisions accepting the family reunification request of one of the three survivors and three family members of refugees who lost their lives last March after their boat capsized near the island of Agathonis, Greece.
The two organizations believe that the decisions are a step towards ensuring some recovery for the deeply traumatized survivors and families of those who perished. Once reunified with their families, the four refugees will be able to enjoy a supportive environment that will allow them to restore to an extent their personal, familial and social lives and cope somewhat with their trauma.
Sixteen refugees including nine children lost their lives and at least three are missing and strong evidence points out to the failure of the Greek coastguard to conduct a prompt search and rescue operation. Fahima is an Afghan refugee and one of the three survivors. She witnessed her four children and other relatives perish in front of her eyes and has been deeply traumatized by the incident. The decision will allow her to reunify with wider family in Germany and find some support to cope with her profound loss.
The German authorities have also accepted the reunification requests by Zarghona – Fahima’s sister and two of her children. Zarghona has lost her husband, elder daughter and two of her sons in the tragedy. She and two of her surviving children will reunify with one of her sons who live in Germany. Since the time of the tragedy, Fahima and Zarghona’s families in Germany provided crucial and continuous support to their relatives.
PRO ASYL and RSA continue to urge the Greek authorities to ensure a prompt and impartial investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy.