AYS Daily Digest 08/03/17: We offer waiting, risking, violence and a cold welcome

Smuggling blooms everywhere / New cases of police violence against refugees used to press charges against the Police in Croatia / Floods in the island camps make life impossible / Information for refugees who have managed to arrive in Greece or islands without having their fingerprints taken / Bulgaria struggles with accepting refugee families in small communities / Austria urges for denying financial support to those who deny international protection to refugees / Evictions in Italy

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Iraqi women who have been traumatised at the hand of ISIS are creating through their own projects, to rebuild their livelihoods and independence (Photo: Help Refugees)
In the vast sea of texts, messages and media about women, here is just a glimpse of the complex specific situation and problems that thousands of refugee women are facing right now.


Croatia — Pressing charges against the police violence

A month ago the first testimonials about the police violence towards the refugees, gathered by the AYS and the Welcome Initiative were filed to the Ministry of Interior in Croatia and a criminal investigation was under way. After the legal deadline had passed, the Police have informed us that they have made an investigation to confirm the allegations and that no unprofessional or illegal conduct happened towards the migrants, as they said, so on Tuesday the AYS and Welcome Initiative filed criminal charges.


The islands — arrivals

75 people have arrived on Greek islands in the past 48 hours: 13 on Lesvos, 21 on Chios and 41 on Samos, authorities said. A total of 8,780 asylum-seekers are currently stranded on the islands, according to official data Wednesday.


According to the last week’s report by the UNHCR, 919 people are registered and living on Samos in the refugee camp. The situation for these people is definitely not getting any easier and the changing weather conditions are not helping them either. Lately, with the cash cards system in place on Samos, the Samos Volunteers group have stopped their clothes distribution and will continue to be an emergency response team catering for the clothing needs of those arriving in the camp while increasing their psycho-social activities where the needs are far from being met, as they say.

Information for refugees — ‘no fingerprints or papers’

For refugees who have managed to arrive in Greece or islands without having their fingerprints taken, this is the process to take:
1) get your initial registration and fingerprints taken at the police station — this is the first crucial step as without this, you will not be able to register further. For post 20/3, there is likely to be an admissibility interview first.
See question 26 of the GAS questions and answers here.
2) then register via skype if appropriate (skype schedule can be found here)
3) pre 20/03/2016, ask for, whichever is appropriate, Asylum, Family Reunion or Relocation (for those that are eligible) with the Greek Asylum Service
Post 20/3/2016, ask for Asylum or Reunification, whichever is appropriate with GAS. This may involve an admissability interview if not carried out at fingerprint/registration stage.
see the flowchart of the process here on GAS website.
NOTE: if you say you arrived via islands there is a strong possibility that you will be sent back to the islands to have your admissibility interview.


Teams at the Khora Community Centre are continually on the look out for long term volunteers.

Fenced new face of Vasilika raises questions

As we’ve previously reported, Vasilika camp has closed recently and it was said the camp will soon be prepared to host newly arrived refugees from the Greek islands. However, what most of us had in mind as a “preparation” did not have a fence wall in it as a part of the idea of making it a better place to welcome people.

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Pharmaceutical treatment in Greece

NTM have published new information in their Rumours/Facts series.

Smuggling business blooming

The growing number of refugees smuggled into EU countries is a result of the fully functional and coordinated network of smugglers and other actors in the process that is particularly active in the area starting from the northern Greece. We are told prices for a trip from the north of Greece to the Serbian border have grown rapidly, reaching up to 2000 euro.
In Macedonia, a trend in attacking and closing up people along the route has also been present, according to some sources, and people must pay a price of 1,000 euro in order to be able to leave. It seems the locals, foreigners, officials and everyone who finds benefit in these activities takes part along with the key organizers, the smugglers. The EU doesn’t seem to have and effective way or a political will to approach the problem nearly as firm as they do when closing the borders is the topic, where all these life threatening situations stem from in the first place.


Tensions over refugee families’ housing

Hostilities towards the Syrian refugee families who have arrived in Bulgaria and were given international protection or asylum continue. Similar to the recent story of the family in Elin Pelin that we reported about, another such case is leading the family to cosider leaving.

These and similar widely present attitudes are preventing those who are seeking refuge from war and persecution, including a growing number of unaccompanied minors, to believe that an EU member country has the will to provide them with the basic human solidarity and shelter they need desperately.


Selective solidarity should result in selective payments

Once again, the idea that the EU members who refuse to accept refugees to receive less funding is back on the table.
Germany and Austria could not continue to contribute high amounts into the EU budget if the bloc did not come to an agreement on a fair distribution of refugees, said the Austrian Chancellor Kern. Therefore, countries that shirk their responsibilities on migration should not receive high funds. “A weak Europe weakens Austria too,” he declared.


A smell of ‘clearing out’ in San Ferdinando (Reggio Calabria)

The makeshift camp of San Ferdinando is under a threat of evacuation.
Comitato Lavoratori delle Campagne reports that the police raided the San Ferdinando’s camp on Tuesday, this time in full deployment with dogs. They have checked everyone, inspected the documents as a preparation for an evacuation in order to move the people to the new — so far incomplete — tent camp. The reason for this, supposedly, has to do with the way the local trade of the informal shops and restaurants in the camp work and earn.

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There are still big gaps when it comes to the opportunity for an asylum seeker to legally be employed. This difference concerns the possibility to work in itself, as well as the delay before getting the right to work. The ONE EUROPE OF DETENTION, INEQUALITY & RACISM campaign aims at revealing the differences between refugees’ rights across Europe. More information here. By Greek Forum of Refugees

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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