AYS Daily Digest 05/10/17: Number of Afghans returned from Europe nearly tripled
Alarmphone‘s third anniversary / NGOs facing more risks in Libya / Increased sea and land arrivals in Greece / Inadequate sleeping conditions from Greece to France, help needed / Proposal to open a reception centre in Brussels / and more
Number of Afghans returned from Europe nearly tripled
At a time when civilian casualties in Afghanistan are at their highest levels on record, the new report from Amnesty International says, European governments are forcing increasing numbers of asylum-seekers back to the dangers from which they fled, in brazen violation of international law.
Countries that once pledged support for a better future for Afghans are now abandoning them to a country that has become even more dangerous since they fled, Amnesty’s Horia Mosadiq said.
Afghans forcibly returned from Europe, the report says, include unaccompanied children and young adults who were children at the time when they arrived in Europe. Several people Amnesty interviewed for the report were sent to parts of Afghanistan they had never known, despite the dangerous situation and impunity for crimes such as torture.
According to official EU statistics, between 2015 and 2016, the number of Afghans returned by European countries to Afghanistan nearly tripled: from 3,290 to 9,460. The returns correspond to marked fall in recognition of asylum applications, from 68% in September 2015 to 33% in December 2016. — AI
EU agencies acknowledged Afghanistan’s “worsening security situation and threats to which people are exposed,”, Amnesty writes, as well as the “record levels of terrorist attacks and civilian casualties”. Still, “more than 80,000 persons could potentially need to be returned in the near future.”
Amnesty is calling on all European countries to implement a moratorium on returns to Afghanistan until they can take place in safety and dignity.
Alarmphone‘s third anniversary
Alarmphone has been supporting people on the move since October 2014. In this period, they have dealt with more than 1840 emergency situations in the three main regions of the Mediterranean Sea. Here you can find a summary of their work so far.
In this climate of repression and uncertainty but also uplifting collective mobilisation and struggle, we will continue with our work: documenting, networking, intervening. From its contested border-zones, the architects and practitioners of the EU border regime seek to chase away non-governmental actors who support people on the move. They want to (re-)create a maritime void where their actions are not observed, where border violence is perpetrated without being seen, where the deaths of thousands receive no attention and go unpunished. It is precisely therefore that our ability to look, to listen, and to act ‘disobediently’ in these spaces remains crucial. — Alarmphone
Due to the drop in boats reaching international waters north of Libya, MSF has decided to end SAR operations on their Prudence ship, they wrote today. They will remain at sea on the Aquarius and continues to assist those fleeing Libya with land projects on both sides of the Mediterranean.
“Lifeline” is leaving the port very soon to save lives. Donations are still needed for gas costs, you can contribute here. Sea-Watch Moonbird airplane is now ready to fly again too. Tomorrow morning, the crew will be in standby waiting for calls from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre or other requests, they reported.
NGOs are now facing risk of being targeted by air forces, besides the existing threats from Libyan Coastguard.
The EU still pays to keep Libya’s detention centers running. A new report by Foreign Policy digs inside the dirty deal.
Eighteen months after the EU unveiled its controversial plan to curb illegal migration through Libya — now the primary point of departure for sub-Saharan Africans crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe — migrants have become a commodity to be captured, sold, traded, and leveraged. Regardless of their immigration status, they are hunted down by militias loyal to Libya’s U.N.-backed government, caged in overcrowded prisons, and sold on open markets that human rights advocates have likened to slave auctions.
The EU has so far pledged roughly $160 million for new detention facilities to warehouse migrants before they can be deported back to their home countries and to train and equip the Libyan coast guard so that it can intercept migrant boats at sea, FP writes.
Turkey hosts “around 45 percent of all Syrian refugees in the region”, as EU has failed to uphold refugee promises, Daily Sabah writes. The number of Syrians seeking refuge in Turkey has reached 3,208,131 according to the Directorate General of Migration Management.
The Government is closing temporary sites and more people are staying in rented housing. However, increased sea and land arrivals land arrivals of 4,200 people this month accentuated the overcrowded conditions in island and border reception centres leading to alarming conditions and slower asylum procedures, stands in UNHCR’s latest report.
Two boats landed last night on Lesvos. First boat outside Molivos with 41 people, among which 20 children. Second boat arrived on Kagia with 37 people, 11 children, 11 women and 15 men. Three boats arrived today.
The third boat was picked up in the South carrying 52 people.
There were 96 new registrations on Lesbos, 1 on Kos and 46 others. Today 13 people were deported back to Turkey.
Samos Volunteers just published a press release detailing the devastating conditions and urging immediate action from Greek and European organizations.
- More than 2200 people live in a refugee camp designed for 700
- People are being forced to sleep in pop-up tents and make-shift shelters outside of the camp perimeter
- Nearly 100 unaccompanied minors live in the camp with more than 760 children there in total
Bogdan Andrei, coordinator of Samos Volunteers, calls for immediate action to ease living conditions: “This is the worst camp situation I have encountered on Samos in the past two years. When the rain starts, hundreds of people will be flooded out of their tents and left without a place to sleep. No actor present on the island currently has the ability to effectively assist those in need.”
DocMobile is looking for qualified doctors (GP, emergency doctors, pediatricians) to work in different places in Greece where they provide free medical care for refugees. The work is with an international team communicating in English, they are looking for volunteers available starting next week or later, for a minimum of one week. Nurses and paramedics are also welcome to apply. Contact Kai Wittstock or email@example.com.
There are no sleeping bags, they are absolutely needed as winter is approaching and people are sleeping outside. Volunteers are trying to recycle sleeping bags the best way they can and Ospiti in Arrivo is supporting but still there is an absolute emergency.
Free Italian courses
Starting today, the State wants to set up a Minimal day-center, with mobile toilets and an inflatable tent in Puythouck, as a reception structure, so refugees can rest during the day, but also to convince them to leave the woods and go to the official centers, French media report . On Monday, a bus will follow with more toilets, where coffee will be served and staff will recommend the refugees to join the official centers. Unfortunately, volunteers say, this is not solving the problem, because what is needed is an unconditional day-center or accommodation, because most of the refugees do not want to enter the French asylum system, but continue to the UK. The government is strictly against any day center of permanent camp.
The camps in the forest have been evacuated several times, and refugees were brought to the reception centers, but most of the refugees return back to the forest in order to get to the UK.
About 100 refugees, mostly families with more than 40 children, have moved their tents in Clermont-Ferrand from Place du 1er Mai to a place in front of the University. Activists from Réseau éducation sans frontières (RESF) have organized the move in order to protest the previous conditions. Most of the migrants are either waiting for the asylum procedure or had their claim rejected, FranceInfo reports.
Very basic medical supplies are needed urgently:
Strepsils, Eye/ear drops, Iodine, Scabies cream, Ibuprofen gel, Fungal cream, anti acid tablets, vaporub, oblas oil, sudocrem, vitamines, emergency blankets, lip sore cream, athletes filth cream, steripods (saline)
Message Sarah Fenby-dixon for addresses.
Debates in Belgium are ongoing about a proposal to open a reception centre for asylum seekers in Brussels. Some believe that this will attract people to Brussels who will use it as a base from where to try to get to the UK, while others argue that it will keep people who wish to seek asylum in Belgium, including families and children, off the streets during the winter months, Refugee Info Bus writes. More info available here.
Accessible right to work for people in asylum process
The Irish Refugee Council asked for an opportunity to present to the taskforce looking at the issue of work in line with the Supreme Court ruling made earlier this year, and that people in the asylum process also be given this opportunity. You can help by asking your local TDs to lobby for an accessible right to work for people in the asylum process, for more information see here.
Refugee & Migrant Solidarity Ireland’s solidarity dinner will be held next week and the organizers are looking for more people to participate on 14th of October.
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