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Adolescence denied : Youth migrants in Greece

alessandro penso | Greece

2012. Greece. Migrants after crossing the river Evros . Evros river (or Meriç in turkish) for 120 km marks the land border between Turkey and Greece. One which, it seems, is becoming the latest "open door" for the European Union migrants and asylum seekers.

 In 2012 I turned my attention to Greece, through which an estimated 80% of migrants to Europe pass. With the war in Afghanistan, the Arab Spring, and the war in Syria, Greece has seen increasingly young migrants arrive, typically aged 14 to 20. Persecution for religious, ethnic or political reasons could allow many of them to obtain refugee status in other EU countries, but the Dublin Regulation, the EU law with responsibility for granting asylum, dictates that the country where a person is first identified decides whether or not to grant refugee status, irrespective of where the application for asylum is made. Greece refuses more than 99.5% of asylum requests. For this reason, they are forced to hide, because having a Greek police record would mean the end of the dream of safe reception in Europe.  The project shows the daily life of teenagers in Greece.

 Alessandro Penso studied clinical psychology at Rome's La Sapienza University. In 2007, he received a scholarship to study photojournalism at the "Scuola Romana di Fotografia". Since completing his studies, his work has won several awards, including the PDN Photo Student Award, the PDN Photo Annual Award, Px3, the Project Launch Award in Santa Fe 2011, and the Terry O' Neill TAG Award 2012. Alessandro is deeply committed to social issues, and in recent years he has been focusing on the issue of immigration in the Mediterranean. During this time, he has produced work on detention centres in Malta, the situation of migrant workers in the agricultural sector in the south of Italy, and young people stuck in limbo in Greece. Motivated by the desire to raise awareness of situations of injustice at Europe's margins, Alessandro intends to continue working on this issue in the months and years to come. Alessandro is also keenly aware that the difficult social and economic conditions in Mediterranean countries are providing an outlet for the phenomena of cultural closure, xenophobia and violence, which represent, for migrants, an insurmountable obstacle to their enjoyment of even the most basic human rights. In 2012, he witnessed a brutal attack on a group of migrants in Corinth, Greece, in which one young man, Mostafa, was hit by a car. This experience has further motivated Alessandro to continue his work on this issue, also in an effort to raise awareness of and to help combat xenophobia and race-related violence. He hopes his work will also help fight the dehumanisation and stereotyping of migrants which can take place in public discussion, sometimes for political gain. Alessandro's work has appeared in numerous publications, including Stern Magazine, The Guardian, BBC, The New York Times, Businessweek, Time Magazine, the International Herald Tribune, Human Rights Watch, L'Espresso , Internazionale, D di Repubblica, Vanity Fair Italia, El Periodico, Le journal de la photographie, Enet and Ekathimerini.




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