AYS Daily Digest 10/3: Who Bears the Cost?

Another family scared out of relocated home in Bulgaria. Finger pointing in Greece as refugees await news on Turkey deportations. Serbia border hideouts evicted yet again. Dunkirk to remain open until September 2017.

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Children learning from school boxes in Greece. Photo credit: We Are Here

FEATURE: who bears the cost?

Bordermonitoring.eu brought attention to a disturbing development in Bulgaria:

The irony of this terrible event is only heightened by a recent poll in which Bulgarians marked “freedom of movement” within the EU as the most valued right as members of the EU. This is the second case of a family being pushed out of a town protesting the relocation scheme.

It is events like these that serve to ground the abstract and dry political monologues on “comparative approaches to solidarity” like those discussed in parliament. Across the world, the phrase “but who will bear the cost?” is invoked time and time again to justify turning on refugees — arbitrarily and artificially pitting “the common man” of that country against the incoming refugees. As governments, media, and citizens continue to normalize anti-refugee rhetoric under the guise of “simple questioning of the norm” and focus exclusively on the refugee issue as an example of how the EU is overreaching itself in the name of solidarity, the repercussions are terrifying.

GREECE

Only 359 relocations from Greece between the 27th of February and 9th of March. While France remains the country with the most relocations, it has relocated only 62 people since (at least) mid-January. Additionally, the mayors of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros, and Kos have secured 50 million euros in additional EU funding in order to further shore up the flagging official “refugee support” system there. How the money will be spent, however, is not yet known.

Additionally, in spite of a recent dig by Angela Merkel, who criticized not only conditions for refugees in Greece but also, conversely, the lack of implementation of the EU-Turkey deal (read: sending people back to Turkey), the highest administrative court in Greece heard a case on Friday that could possibly set a precedent for two Syrian asylum-seekers whose cases were rejected and who now face deportation to Turkey. ReliefWeb reports:

The results of the case are pending.

NewsThatMoves posted a comprehensive guide to the active medical NGOs as well as the services they can provide to refugees. It is crucial that refugees know what services are actually available rather than being forced to rely on rumours that disincentivize individuals from exploring their options. Read the list here.

We Are Here posted a fabulous update on their educational activities which now include people of all ages and genders in several locations.

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Teenagers’ class. Photo courtesy of We Are Here

It is great news to hear that men and boys are getting some much-needed attention as many volunteers note that the traditional Humanitarian Sphere focus on women and children often endangers men, while reduplicating services to women and children.

The team also have innovated the solution “school in a box” in order to reach the children who are falling through the cracks and don’t have access to even semi-regular educational activities:

As can be expected, the boxes are a hit.

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School bus or a school box? Photo courtesy of We Are Here

SERBIA

Soul Welders reports that there was yet another police “cleansing” in the spaces in and around Subotica this morning.

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According to UNHCR, 114 individuals were taken from their shelters and taken by bus to Preševo camp. Although 30 were allowed to return, a cleansing team accompanied the police officers to “clean up” (as in take) all belongings left behind.

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“clean up” in Kelebija

In spite of this, it is anticipated that numbers will return to normal within a week as the treadmill of individuals trying to play the game will continue, and possibly increase in flow as the weather continues to improve.

France:

In a glimmer of hope, the French government has announced that Dunkirk camp will be maintained through September 2017, meaning a breath of relief for persecuted humanitarian and volunteer groups trying to support the thousands of people on the margins of society.

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Dunkirk. Photo courtesy of Help Refugees.

Help Refugees has posted a comprehensive update on their activities which cover a broad range. They also collaborate and work with several other humanitarian actors on the ground.

Read the full report here.

Additionally, in spite of the bleak situation in Paris, many Paris startups have announced that they will open their doors to refugees looking for jobs in startups. Please see the Techfugees group for more updates.

Activists in France are organizing a massive protest against the deportation of Farhad, a refugee from Afghanistan who was arrested while trying to change locations in France.

On March 13th, Farhad will be forcibly placed on a plane and sent back to Afghanistan; however, this plan does not mean we cannot be moved to action. Raising awareness and protesting the action may not result in Farhad being released, but it will show him, and many others, that we will not let them go without a fight. Join here.

SWEDEN

A recent report documents that Sweden was unprepared to take in the 163,000 asylum seekers it did over the course of 2015. From the beginning of the crisis, Sweden remained one of the greatest promised lands; however the accommodation abilities became extended beyond their capacity. Success was noted in that accommodation was provided to all; however, bureaucratic measures such as registration were patchy and resulted in additional confusion for refugees and workers. The report states that this will hopefully result in strengthening the Swedish system to accommodate further influxes of refugees, although it is unclear if Sweden will be loosening its now-strict immigration procedure any time soon.

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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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