AYS DAILY DIGEST 09/10/2017: Crash in Maltese waters claims at least 8 lives, 20 missing
Deadly Crash in Maltese Waters//Strikes in Turkey//New Arrivals, Music workshop, and Volunteer opportunities//Donation needs in Greece//Refugees Stranded in Libya, at the mercy of militias supported by EU governments//Impending crisis in France due to lack of Support on Streets // Victory for Sudanese Refugees in Belgium! //Refugees Caps Discussed in Germany in attempt to court Right Wing
According to local media in Malta, “at least eight people are dead and an unknown number missing after a migrant vessel and a Tunisian naval ship collided in Malta’s search and rescue zone.”
A spokesperson for the IOM stated that around 20 people were missing since the crash, leaving the death toll estimated at 28. There were between 70 and 80 migrants on the ship in total.
Since the advent of the Italy-Libya deal, crossings between Africa and Italy have become even more deadly, with the now EU-funded Libyan Coast Guard forcefully pushing refugees back into Libya. There have even been reports of the Libyan Coast Guard beating refugees who have been rescued, and firing upon refugee vessels. The violent actions of the Libyan forces have not deterred the flow of refugees into Europe, but have only made the voyage deadlier for those who attempt it, and forced refugees to brave the crossing in more remote and dangerous places.
Although the Tunisian coast guard have not yet played a major visible (at least not as covered in the news) in implementing the Italy-Libya agreement and the general crackdown on passage between North Africa and Europe, we can sadly expect more of these kinds of tragic accidents. According to another source, the naval boat was approaching the refugee-laden boat in order to assess “who was on board.”
In spite of this tragic news, the larger image of Tunisians again, reflects warmly on the actions of the normal everyday people. From before many of us were even aware of the refugee crisis, Tunisian fishermen were engaged in rescue and recovery efforts of refugees crossing. Additionally, their heroism became came into even more focus this summer as they prevented the racist identitarian ship the C-star from docking in a port in Tunisia. As the actions of the Tunisian fishermen demonstrate, we must rely on the efforts of everyday people rather than our policy makers and implementers to do the right thing for refugees.
Syrian workers in Turkey have been organizing strikes with their Turkish co-workers to demand fair pay and treatment; as a result of this several Syrian refugees have been threatened with deportation. The movement started in Adana, but has since spread to several cities, including Izmir. The story linked is merely one example of the difficult conditions many migrants are forced to work under when they are protected neither by citizenship status nor labor laws. Many international and local NGOs have repeatedly spoken out about the abuse of cheap Syrian labor and how, in particular, children have been exploited in the Turkish textile industry.
There were 147 new arrivals on the island of Chios today, with three boats coming in to the island.
Three boats arrived on the island of Lesvos as well today, for a total of 82 new arrivals on the island.
Reposting general information of UNHCR eligibility criteria in Greece
1. Cases with specific needs and family members, that entered after 01/01/2015 and are Asylum seekers,. Need to be in some kind of risk.
2. Relocation candidates with a relocation decision, accepted by the receiving member state and not currently residing in the Attica region.
3. (New) Asylum seekers, recognised refugees and beneficiaries of international protection who have been accommodated in UAM shelter but have reached adulthood. After an assessment, showing that they have the skills needed to live independently.
4. Evacuation of sites and RICS, in that case it might deviate from usual eligibility criteria.
NOT eligible: 1. People requiring 24/7 specialist care due to a medical condition, and do not have the appropriate network to support them (family + friends) 2. People for whom the accommodation scheme cannot cater for (e.g. drug users) 3. People likely to endanger themselves or others.
The organization “A Drop in the Ocean” has a list of needed Winter items for their work in Nea Kavala that you can see here.
1. Male Winter Shoes (Boots, Shoes covering the ankle) priority in sizes 42, 43, 44 and 45.
2. Male Winter Jackets ONLY in S.
3. Male clothing of all types (Trousers, Jeans, Sweatpants, Sport Shorts, Short Sleeve, Long Sleeve, Jumpers and Jackets) ONLY in sizes S and M.
This is a good example of the many clothes and supplies donations that will be desperately needed in hotspots across the Aegean for this winter. It is important that we start preparing now as the winter will be harsh as it has been the previous two years.
Volunteers at Khora forward this announcement!
Khora (Asklipiou 80, Athens) will be hosting music workshops run by the Shropshire Music Foundation beginning Saturday October 28. Shropshire has been active in former war zones for over 20 years, working to bring music to children and teenagers. They use music as a tool for trauma relief, using simple instruments like penny whistles and harmonicas. Not only that, but t
hey focus on training local populations — particularly teenagers — so that programs can sustain themselves. Participants don’t need any prior musical training, the program is easy to learn and to teach. We will be hosting workshops run by the founder of the organization beginning Saturday, October 28th. It will be from 2pm-5pm, and run every Saturday for four weeks. Afterwards, Shropshire will provide enough instruments to any organizations that want to run the program at their site.
The volunteer organization “No Borders School” needs English and German teachers in Athens, you can contact them here.
Up to 6,000 refugees have been found stranded in the port city of Sabratha after fighting between militia groups in the area. This city has been the main point of departure for refugees and migrants making the journey to Italy.
The fighting broke out as a result of Italy pledging support for the Al-Ammu militia group in exchange for a stemming the flow of boats crossing the Mediterranean.
Once again, we see how the will to act begins and ends with prioritizing borders over the safety and security of humans.
In response to this heightened power of the Al-Ammu militia, a second militia group known as the Anti-ISIS Operation Room wrested control of the area. Following the clash between the militias, thousands of refugees were found stranded throughout the city. Libya has taken these refugees out of the smuggler’s camps where they were found, and into detention centres, the same detention centres that have been repeatedly condemned as abhorrently inhumane by various human rights organizations.
Refugees are still trapped in Calais and attempting to get into the UK. They desperately need boots and warm clothes for the winter, which various NGO’s are working to provide. Care4Calais posted a fundraiser for boots, which we know are an crucial and ongoing neeed to prepare for winter. Boots are especially important in consideration of repeated reports of trenchfoot throughout the summer and fall. If you wish to support their efforts, click here to donate.
As many volunteers are sharing information on the intensifying crisis in France, it is important to realize currently-existing avenues of support. One of which is this platform which allows interested individuals to post if they have accommodation, showering facilities, or storage space. You can access the platform here.
Deeply unsettling news from Paris from volunteers.
According to volunteers on the ground, the situation in Paris is getting worse, and there was no food distribution in 2 days. Reportedly, even the police asked volunteers to try to find some food to decrease tension. There are up to 1500 refugees on the street right now and not enough support. Food or monetary support can be sent to PRGS (Paris Refugee Ground Support), for example, to be distributed on the street as soon as possible.
A tribunal in Liege has announced that the forced deportation of Sudanese people back to their country of origin is illegal, given the the immense threats these people face back in their homeland. Furthermore, the tribunal has announced that the deportation of Sudanese refugees back to their EU country of entry under the Dublin agreement is also illegal, given the risk of further deportation from these countries.
The Citizen’s Platform for Solidarity with Refugees in Brussels has issued a statement on this tribunal, stating that previous to this agreement,
By organizing the repatriation of these Sudanese nationals, the secretary of state for asylum and migration has committed an illegal act. By issuing orders [to Sudanese people] to leave the territory, the Belgian State has acted illegally and has committed a failure to violate the subjective rights of the sudanese people not to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment and torture under the Article 3 of the echr and not to be rejected under article 33 of the Geneva Convention.
While this is certainly a victory for those Sudanese living in Belgium, it also highlights the hypocrisy of a system that continues forced deportations back to countries just as dangerous as Sudan. The arbitrary determination of what is a safe country and what is not is a common motif in the refugee crisis, and contributes to mental health crises in refugee and migrant populations.
France24 news reports that two weeks after winning her re-election, “Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on Sunday to limit Germany’s refugee intake in a bid to unite her conservative camp ahead of tough coalition talks to form a new government.”
While this agreeement itself may not be major news, and the law has not yet mad eits way through the German Parliament, it is significant that Angela Merkel is seemingly willing to make compromises with Gemrany’s far-right party (AfD), which is the first right wing extremist party to be elected tot he German Parliament since WWII. Given Merkel’s longstanding refusal to create any cap for refugees in Germany, this recent compromise may be indicative of a trend where more centrist EU politicians are willing to compromise with their extrmeist colleagues.
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