AYS Daily Digest 07/12/17: EU takes Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland to the Court of Justice

Commission proposal for a EU Agency for Asylum / Moving to mainland Greece / Islands on the verge of another crisis / Ventimiglia — Calais of Italy / New pressure to alter Denmark’s family reunification rules

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“It’s freezing cold in Beqaa now. There is snow in the mountains and people are living in tents. The temperature has been dropping this week and yesterday heavy rain was falling. The puddles on the ground are getting bigger and bigger.” Photo: AYS

FEATURE

The European Commission is suing eastern member states for failing to fulfill their legal obligations in accepting their share of asylum seekers, DW reports.

EU

Commission proposal for a EU Agency for Asylum

Preliminary agreement on a EU-wide asylum agency has been reached between co-legislators, while work on a technical level is still required. The proposal should be adopted by March 2018, EASO (European Asylum Support Office) writes.

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Source: EASO

LEBANON

A big fire broke out in Beqaa this afternoon, burning down a whole settlement and taking the lives of at least eight people. Children are believed to be among the dead. The number of second-time displaced people are still unknown, but it could be in the hundreds. Red Cross, among other emergency response teams, have been on site. Not much is known right now and a more nuanced update will follow tomorrow.

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One of thousands of settlements in the Beqaa valley, Lebanon. Photo: AYS

TURKEY

The Turkish Coast Guard Command recently published comprehensive statistics on arrivals in all seas surrounding Turkey, comparing the years 2016 and 2017.

GREECE

Urgent call for medical volunteers on Chios

SMH, guardians of the shores of Chios, ensuring that refugees receive appropriate medical aid and screenings upon arrival, needs medical volunteers (general practitioners or emergency specialists) between December 15th and January 15th. Besides landings, duties include being on call at the Athena Centre for Women and Vial. Volunteers should write to sanitario.smh@gmail.com.

Refugees being moved to mainland

Some 1,000 refugees and migrants belonging to vulnerable groups are set to be removed on Saturday from camps on the eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos, Chios, and Samos. The transfer is part of the Migration Policy Ministry’s efforts to remove as many vulnerable refugees and migrants — including seniors, disabled people, families with children, and women — from the islands as possible, Ekathimerini writes.

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Samos, source: MSF

Latest arrivals

Three more boats arrived on Greek shores since yesterday evening. Two to Lesvos, carrying nine and 82 people, and one to Chios with 71 people, among them 38 children! Among those on the boat to Lesvos with 82 people were four medical cases that had to be taken to the hospital. The boat to Chios was saved by HCG after its engine stopped working and the sea was getting rough.

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Yesterday night around 9 o’clock a small boat came with 9 people. Nationality Afghanistan. They came in a small wooden boat, which is quite unusual. They were rescued by the Portuguese frontex and transferred to the port of Skala — Refugee 4 Refugees

SEA

There are reports of another rescue this afternoon in Alboran, in which 33 people (among them five women and three children) on board were saved by the Guardamar Polyhymnia. Another five rafts were rescued by patrol boats from Morocco in Alboran.

LIBYA

The Security Council referred to reports of migrants being sold into slavery in Libya at today’s Council meeting. They condemned it as heinous abuses of human rights and possible crimes against humanity, and called for those responsible to be held to account. The Council also welcomed statements by the African Union calling for an immediate end to such practices and by the United Nations Secretary‑General requesting United Nations actors to actively pursue the matter. Reaffirming support for the Action Plan for Libya, the Council emphasized that a stable Libya was the only way to help improve the living conditions of all people in the country, including migrants, ReliefWeb reports.

ITALY

Ventimiglia

The mayor of the Italian border town of Ventimiglia — dubbed ‘the Calais of Italy’ — said the situation is now extreme, and can only be solved through reform of the Dublin Convention. Ioculano said a response to the consequences of the migration crisis “can only be provided” by the EU as a whole, and called on European countries “to do their part” in the framework of a future system of shared responsibility for asylum seekers, EU Observer reports. Proper functioning of the current Dublin Regulation is “impossible,” said S&D MEP Brando Benifei. There are over 600 asylum seekers currenly in Ventimiglia. There are “shortcomings in the overall management,” and a worryingly high number of children, he added.

Pordenone

The public prosecutor’s office has received the situation of the people, above all asylum seekers, living outside in this cold period. A group of 15 people and the migrants’ association have delivered it, raising the case and asking whose responsibility this was.

Demonstrations planned

On December 16th there will be a demonstration in Gorizia against inhumane reception policies and the mistreatment of migrants. Find more information on the event here.

SERBIA

Krnjača camp football club

Next Tuesday, December 12th, at 14:00, RAS representatives will be waiting outside Krnjača camp to take any interested refugees to their first of a series of regular football sessions in Belgrade.

An evening of solidarity and discussion with Refugee Aid Serbia

Lazara Marinkovic’s VICE documentary, “City within the City: Abdul’s Story,” will be screened (in Serbian and English) this Sunday to commemorate the struggle of the more than 60 million displaced people around the globe on World Human Rights Day. After the documentary follows a video-message from Abdul, where he talks about the continuation of his journey towards a life in peace and dignity. There will also be the possibility to discuss with Lazara, the Serbian photojournalist who made the documentary and who became an advocate for refugee rights. Find more on the event here.

FRANCE

Nantes

Since November 26th, students have occupied the castle of Tertre in Nantes. The building, belonging to the University, was occupied with participation from and in solidarity with refugees. The trigger for action was Nantes’ left-wing local government’s refusal to house refugees, many of whom are unaccompanied children, instead leaving the fully functioning building capable of giving shelter to hundreds of people empty, Freedom News writes. The university’s press releases had prior suggested that, contrary to evidence otherwise, there were no young homeless people on the streets of Nantes, sparking outrage among the students.

Legal advice available via WhatsApp

If you have a problem and you would like to talk to a lawyer about it, you can do it via your WhatsApp this Saturday. Find more information and register for a session here.

DENMARK

Family reunifications

According to the current reunification scheme, refugees given asylum must wait three years before they are eligible for their families to join them in Denmark. The new demands made by the Danish People’s Party leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl would represent a fundamental change in Denmark’s asylum policies. Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen appeared on Thursday ready to change rules on family reunification, as well as on the return of asylum seekers granted so-called temporary residence (midlertidigt ophold in Danish), The Local reports. These rule changes would be likely to affect a large group of Syrian refugees who arrived in Denmark in 2015.

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Daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.

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