AYS Daily Digest 11/10/17: Ongoing crisis facing Afghanistan deportees

FEATURE: Deportation Death Sentence — the ongoing crisis of Afghanistan Deportees // Many new arrivals in Greece, with many more coming by land // Volunteer needs to prepare for brutal winter in Greece // Updates on Ahmed H.’s trial in Hungary — ways to act! // Over 600 picked up in the Med // Calls for volunteers and asylum resources in Italy // Situation in France at a Breaking Point

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Photo credit: Gabriel Tizon

FEATURE: Deportation Death Sentence

Deportations can happen in almost any country — this means that finding ways to prevent or highlight the dangers of deportation is the duty of ALL. In this piece, we examine the absurdities of the recent Swedish deportation, the results of deportation, as well as some urgent advice in order to protect those at the center of it all.

Follow up on the attempts to prevent or postpone the October 10th deportation of people to Afghanistan from Sweden reveals the cracks in the system. According to a translated article published on the day,

Seven of the persons that was to be deported to Afghanistan yesterday, Tuesday the 10th of October, the very same day got the information that their deportation was postponed.

One of the returnees got on the plane, arrived in Kabul and (as far as it seems) almost right away was transferred back to Sweden. The reason to this is not clear at this point but it could have to do with invalid travel documents or identification documents. In this specific case the Afghan authorities of some reason didn’t accept the return, that was put on a plane back in the very same direction he came from.

(Source)

The chief of border police in Sweden commented on the “absurd” cost of flying people back; however, very few seem to have the voice to talk about the cost of sending people away. Additionally, the disconnect of reducing the life and death situation of many to a cold economic calculation shows staggering inhumanity.

Several groups of activists and volunteers had been working tirelessly to help all those slated for deportation.

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Swedish activists. Photo credit: Open Borders

One such volunteer group is Afghanistan Migrants Advice & Support Org which recently posted an update on 21 unfortunate people who were “successfully” deported to Afghanistan from Sweden and Austria. They write

Those who do not have network and families in Afghanistan will be moved to Spinzar hotel, which is located in the middle of Kabul city.

The returnees can stay at the hotel for at least 14 days before they find their own accommodation and move out.

Amnesty International has repeatedly condemned Europe’s “betrayal of Afghan asylum seekers”, highlighting the acute dangers faced by those being forcibly returned. In particular, they brought to light the plight of a family who spoke out about the dangers they faced back in Afghanistan and, yet, were still deported from Norway, where they fled to in 2015. Shortly after their arrival in Afghanistan, the father of the family was killed, in sad fulfillment of their worst nightmares.

The Amnesty International report goes on to note how the increase of deportations of Afghanistan has continued unabated, in spite of the ever-deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan. Quoting a UN report, it describes how in 2016, 11,418 civilians were killed in Afghanistan as a result of ongoing fighting. That is only slightly above the approximate number of people deported that same year — 10,000.

The following video documents the situation for a few deportees.

With this sobering backdrop, ECADA — European Citizens Against Deportation to Afghanistan recently published a helpful reminder to help protect those who are being subjected to deportation. It is crucial to prioritize the safety of the individual no matter what, whether the prevention of their deportation was or was not successful. They provide more details why and how you can do just that. It can be easy to be swept up in the fervor of new friendships, but sometimes, this fervor can result in people facing danger if they are deported.

What seemed safe to post in Europe, can become life-endangering in Afghanistan.
Therefore we ask you for the following in the interest of your friends:
- Keep pictures of deportees off the social media
- Never use full names
- Do not give locations of friends in Afghanistan to people you do not know.
- Keep their pictures OFF the social media (Yes, again.)

Please also advise your friends to close their profiles to the public and to keep their friendship-lists private.

These are good rules to follow in any case. The full context for the post can be found here. This is a helpful reminder regarding posting information about people who are met along the route. In some cases, photographic evidence of their journey could be used against them, either in the destination country, or elsewhere. Think and ensure that you have reasonable, informed consent from the person, and always be mindful of locking down your privacy settings. Remember that preserving the safety and dignity of a new friend is perhaps worth keeping your cherished memories away from the internet.

GREECE

Arrivals

Four boats arrived on Lesvos over the course of the day, carrying a total of 220 people between them.

64 arrived on Chios, with children, a pregnant woman, old women, and disabled among them. Four were transferred to the hospital.

Registrations
Lesvos: 44
Chios: 130
Kos: 21
Total: 195

In addition to boat crossings, the land border between Greece and Turkey has also seen an increase in activity, with 2,428 people crossing in September, a significantly higher number than the 1,497 in August. Whether this increase is due to people wishing to avoid bad weather or some other cause, it averages out to nearly 81 people per day — a significant number. Source.

Islands

According to the Middle East Monitor via NoBorders, hundreds of refugees have taken shelter in the forest of Samos in response to horrifically inadequate support inside the camp.

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Photo credit: Middle East Monitor

Volunteer Needs

Dråpen i Havet or Drop in the Ocean is seeking long-term volunteers to join their team on Lesvos in anticipation of a hard winter. Their requirements are as follows:

Are you over 25 years, have a drivers license and preferably some experience from rescue work and first aid? Can you contribute to us as volunteer on Lesvos for minimum 10 days? Can you travel on short notice?
Then we need you on Lesvos!
Desired arrival dates to Lesvos are:
October 20th
October 25th
October 30th
November 4th
November 9th
November 14th

Additionally there is a new project that will be opening in the Mytilini area, read more below:

Volunteers needed for this amazing project from about 1st Nov. 2017
MOBILE KITCHEN– FEEDING REFUGEES — update — Mytilini

Further our long meeting this morning with head of port authority, our lawyer Mr Dimitris Kallias — President of Association of Lesvos Lawyers. We have after tense negotiations agreed a way forward and the Mobile Kitchen has been released from the port….
Please join-in with Stand by Me Lesvos and help us to feed vulnerable refugees. 1,000’s of new refugees has arrived here in the last few months. The winter is just around the corner. We need all the support we can get.

Shafique Azam
Co-Founder www.standbymeleveos.org
Email: azam@standbymeleveos.org
Donate: https://standbymelesvos.org/donating/
#lesvos #refugee #feedinghumanity #standbymelesvos

Mainland

A new social centre will open in Athens on October 12th! Free hot food, daily.

HUNGARY

There are a few weeks left before the retrial of Ahmed H. of the “Röszke 11" — a group of eleven refugees who were accused of being terrorists simply for their participation in a protest of the border crossing between Serbia and Hungary in 2015. Ahmed H. was singled out as a leader and was sentenced to 10 years in maximum security in Hungary. His retrial will be on October 30th and November 2nd; in June he was issued the retrial after a court cited “lack of reasoning and interpretation” as a possible counter to the charges.

It is clear that the Hungarian government is making a show-trial out of the event, which is why it is even more crucial to send our own message back.

Welcome to Europe posted a lovely guide on how to support Ahmed H. in his fight for justice!

How can you support?

1)Join the protests
Join our decentral actions all over Europe to put pressure on the Hungarian government and court system and show Ahmed that he is not alone! During the days around the trial dates on the 30th of October and 2nd of November protests at embassies and consulates in different cities will take place: Budapest, Vienna, Marseille, … If you want to organize a protest at your local embassy/consulate or other solidarity actions contact us and we will link it on our website. Also more creative and subversive forms of protest are welcome!

2) Support for lawyer costs
To support Ahmed and his family with the high lawyer costs, please visit our fundraising campaign: https://www.generosity.com/…/justice-for-ahmed-fundraising-…
or use our donation account:
Rote Hilfe e.V. Ortsgruppe Frankfurt
Donation Reference: Röszke 11
IBAN: DE24 4306 0967 4007 2383 90
BIC: GENODEM1GLS

3) Spread the word
Spread this update, the information about the trials, our website and the crowdfunding over your networks! Solidarity is our weapon !

ITALY

The Council of Europe is putting pressure on the Italian government, holding them accountable for the egregious human rights abuses that are escalating in the wake of the “successful” deal with Libya.

As has been mentioned before, the deal has resulted in a significant drop in people being able to successfully cross the Mediterranean. The strengthened and emboldened Libyan authorities and various other “implementation partners” in the agreement are holding tens of thousands in squalid, horrific detention centres. The danger for those trapped by this agreement has only increased. Now, the commissioner of the Council of Europe, Nils Muižnieks, published a letter to Minister Marco Minniti of the Ministry of the Interior of Italy, applauding the life-saving efforts of the Italian coast guard while pressing for information on the famed agreement

“In light of recent reports on the current human rights situation of migrants in Libya, handing individuals over to the Libyan authorities or other groups in Libya would expose them to a real risk of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. For this reason, I urge the Italian government to clarify the kind of support operations they expect to provide to the Libyan authorities in Libyan territorial waters and what safeguards Italy has put in place to ensure that people intercepted or rescued by Italian vessels in Libyan territorial waters do not subsequently face a situation contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

Read the full letter here.

Arrivals and volunteer opportunities

Although there has been a noted decrease in arrivals from Libya, arrivals from Tunisia have remained quite high, with 2,700 coming in the last 3 months, according to InfoMigrants.

Around 12 people of Libyan nationality landed in Lampedusa, while dozens more people of all backgrounds are sleeping rough across the country — 50 in Pordenone and an unspecified number in Ventimiglia.

Two groups in Ventimiglia — Kesha Niya and Progetto20k are in need of medical, food prep, and legal volunteers. Language skills (Arabic, French, and/or Italian) is a plus but is not required. For more information, go to their Facebook post here!

We have enough space, food and love enough for everyone here.

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Photo credit: Kesha Niya Project

Although the information on this youtube channel hosted by Asilo in Europa is not breaking news (the New Italian Provisions on Unaccompanied Minors or Legge Zampa was released several months ago), it is still a helpful resource for those seeking English-language information on asylum procedures in Italy. Check out the video below and go to their page for more.

FRANCE

The pleas for help from France have only intensified in the last weeks. Heavy, non-stop rain and violent wakeup calls from sadistic police is the reality of life for many refugees in Paris and other hotspots in France.

If you follow the link below, you will find a distressing video showing the aftermath of a typical police raid. As can be seen (and has been seen with disturbing regularity across Europe) there is a systematic destruction of items belonging to refugees.

Reliable, long-term volunteers and organizations are in need of donations and financial support.

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Paris. Photo credit: Sarah Fenby-Dixon, click for more.

We strive to echo correct news from the ground through collaboration and fairness.

Every effort has been made to credit organizations and individuals with regard to the supply of information, video, and photo material (in cases where the source wanted to be accredited). Please notify us regarding corrections.

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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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