Story of Somali Migrant

Somalia didn’t have functional a government since 1991, so that there is no security for the civilians, and especially for small clans. That situation caused good chance for non-governmental groups (Mafia). Those groups have big money, strong army, new weapons, political interest, farms to produce drugs, and also they have connections with abroad countries, like Russia, Yemen, and all African countries.

I was born in Mogadishu in 1982. I finished high School studying there for 12 years. After that I entered college of Computer studies (1 year of studies), successfully passing exams on Information Technology I was hired to one Computer Company. I am married and have four children from 1 to 7years old.

Pirates took the half of my salary each time. If I did not give them money they said, they would kill my wife and children. My salary was $200. My wife became ill and we succeeded to run away from Mogadiscio to another place. It was only a 40 % safe place. When I left my country, my wife was pregnant with the fourth baby. Sometimes I communicate with my wife on the phone.

First, I went to Moscow. I stayed there two days. Then I had my way to Kyiv. There I met one Somali boy. We bought tickets and reached Uzhgorod by train. In Uzhgorod we asked a taxi driver to drive us to Hungary. The driver said that, it was already Hungary. But it was not true. We had to walk more than 1 day to reach Hungarian territory. I had $140 which Hungarian border guards took away. They made a protocol and gave me back only $100. Then we were detained there. The Hungarian border guards gave us a paper, they signed it, and then they were taken the fingerprints. After that  we were sent back to Ukrainian side.

Ukrainian border guards put us to Pavshyno. First, when the border guards catch migrants in the area of the border they try to take all the things these detainees have: money, mobiles, etc. after that they take to their post and bit everybody, sometimes even women. When we went to Pavshyno the soldier leader take us to a small office and ask to put off all the clothes for thorough check. There was no food, no heating, and no medical examination. Once I filled very bad and the soldiers called a doctor. The doctor asked me to pay $10 for the service. We filled in the application form on granting the refugee status. Some lawyers came to visit me and to have an interview with me. I was released from Pavshyno after 8 months. I have terrible memories about this period. It was very cold there, there was nothing to eat, and the water was absent. There were many insects there.

In Uzhgorod I did not have any problems with native citizens. If they understand me, they can help. The only problem is police: Meeting Somali people in the street, they ask for checking their documents and after that,they screw out money of us, if we do not wish to do this they frighten us to tear our documents after what we will be send again to Chop.

Now I am in Sweden already for six months waiting to get my official document. I visited language courses, passed exams and now I have a certificate asserting that I know the Swedish language. I had done all these steps in order to find job and get his family closer to him. But still I have not found any job.

I remember my wife and children every second; My big problem is, that my wife and my small children are still under the risk of fire, diseases and hunger.

Inside Pawschino

Dear friends,

My name is (name supplied), I’m a refugee from Palestine seeking asylum from persecution in my country. I was detained in the Pawschino Camp in the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine.

On behalf of my fellows, I’d like to share with you my experience and circumstances in the camp.

After a long journey of eight days at sea, living in hunger and thirst and being affected by sickness, we (me and others “refugees on the same boat”) eventually arrived to Ukraine. My boat landed on shore at Port Odessa and at night we were taken away by a car. We got to Kiev in nine hours and two days later we crossed the Slovakian border. After 12 hours walking into Slovakia we were detained by the Slovakian police and although we asked for asylum in Slovakia, we were returned to Ukraine on the same night.

When we got to Ukraine, we were taken to Pawschino. There we were striped naked of our clothes and the border guards took all our money, mobiles, personal stuff, what have you The border guards do not return any of the stuff back to the refugees, but it can be later bought back from them for money. Then we were thrown into a crowded building where there was no place to sleep. I myself had to sleep on the very dirty floor like many others in that miserable place, in Pawschino.

Conditions in Pawschino are inhuman. There is no clean drinking water and we have to drink from a rusty pipe that brings water to the heating system of the border guard building. (Caritas, an Austrian organization provides 200 liters of clean drinking water a week for more than 500 refugees.) The toilets are flooded all the time, since there is no water in the toilets.The food is full of dust and most of the time we couldn’t wash our dishes because the water from the heating system of the border guards building was not running. I’ve seen many fights between inmates in Pawschino because of the water. We can see when a car is bringing a 200 liter tank of drinking water and as soon as we hear it coming in the camp, everyone grabs a bottle or whatever they can find and starts running and getting ready to fight for every drop of water. The tank has two taps that everyone fights over. Usually, the soldiers are just standing aside watching and taking photos of the fights on their mobile phones.

Whoever is sick in Pawschino cannot even get access to proper medical aid. The answer from the border guard’s nurse, who is not always present in the camp, is that they don’t have any medicine except “Panadol” or “Paracetamol”, which is provided by Caritas. A Caritas doctor visits the camp once a month and brings with him this Panadol or Paracetamol. But if without even these simple painkillers for the rest of the month.

When I was in the camp, a couple of people were very ill and we asked the border guard’s nurse to check them out. But he said that he is not a doctor and can’t advise us on anything. He said we would have to wait for the big Caritas doctor. But these two guys were very ill, so we asked if they could be moved to a hospital. The nurse then told us that he wanted some money to send a text message to the hospital nearby so that they could send an ambulance. Some days later, the two guys were moved to the hospital, but one of them died there. I guess it was too late for him. But I hear he wasn’t the only one who died in a hospital after getting sick in Pawschino.

For legal aid, you get a visit from a lawyer who gives you a form to fill out in your native language. The lawyer takes the form and hands it to the border guard’s chief office in the camp and within 4 to 6 months, the immigration office prepares an interview for you if you asked for asylum in that form. There are no translators provided for this interview that has to be conducted in your native language and so you have to pay for your own translator. I paid $400, but I saw others pay up to $1000 for a private translator, depending on the language. In the process, neither the lawyers nor the translators explain our status according to the Ukrainian laws and that leaves us with a combination of isolation and uncertainty, all we know about laws is what we learn from older inmates and its all speculations, you hear many different advices from different inmates about what is going to happen to you, we ask the lawyers but as I said they give you nothing, the private translators refuse to talk to you unless you pay, and when you pay them they tell you not to concern yourself about anything and that they will handle everything, you paid didn’t you, so you’ll get your «freedom»…

Having been detained in this camp for almost 5 months myself, I was always in fear of being deported. I also strongly felt that there would be no agencies or organizations working there to support or help us in case we were jailed or harassed.

My mind and heart were always pre-occupied with the fear of persecution, day and night. This was how I had felt in my homeland and it was actually why I left my country and sought asylum in
the first place.

I see that many inmates even after leaving Pawschino feel broken by the experience and what they had to go through. Some feel ashamed of the whole thing. I believe that it is because we were treated like criminals.

I believe that in sharing my experiences will shade a light on what is going inside Pawschino that may help Human rights Advocates in the fight against such cruel treatment of people who their “crime” is that of seeking asylum…

Thank you very much for your time reading through this letter.
My best wishes to you all.