AYS Daily Digest 13/06/17: Shocking treatment of people in Hungary’s transit zones

Hungary continues abuse in its “transit zones” / Syrian doctors to be employed in Syrian refugee camps in Turkey / Police violence and mistreatment continue along the Serbian-Croatian border / Volunteers urge the French state to assume responsibility in accommodating refugees / And more news…

Photo by Haider Ali (Source and and copyright belong to Index.hu)

FEATURE—Mistreatment continues in Hungary’s transit zones

“The transit zone operates as a no man’s land, as if the laws of the Hungarian state would not be entirely valid in that area,” Hungarian media say of the infamous border area holding refugees as prisoners.


The “safe” country’s most recent displacement statistics

126,594 individuals left their homes due to ongoing conflict in the region from January 1st, 2017 to June 4th, 2017 alone. 29 out of 34 provinces have recorded some measure of forced displacement.


Food poisoning in a refugee camp

The Iraqi Ministry of Health said a woman and a younger girl died while at least 300 people remain in critical condition from food poisoning at the Khazir camp, caused by something in the iftar meal served to them, although local media put the death toll at one. Khazir camp—a refugee camp near Mosul—is home to thousands of internally displaced people who have fled their homes in Mosul since the launch of a military offensive to dislodge Daesh from the city. Hundreds more affected by the poisoning are still currently being treated, according to The New Arab.


Sea crossings in 2017

A total of 73,189 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea since the start of the year through June 11th, with almost 85 per cent arriving in Italy. The remainder landed primarily in Greece, Cyprus, and Spain, according to reports.

Source: IOM
“NGO crews rescued more than 3,000 people during this mad weekend in the Med. At the same time, we mourn the loss of those we could not save. We need more Search and Rescue capacities from the EU!” —Sea-Watch


Syrian doctors and medical personnel to be employed at health centers for Syrian refugees

“Syrian doctors and health care staff will be working in [the new] centres.
We have seen that they have had good training in general,” Turkey’s Health Minister said during a recent meeting on the topic of health services in Istanbul.

Education in emergencies funds for refugee schooling

Cash transfers are now available to families whose children attend classes regularly as part of a program to help 230,000 refugees and their families access education in the country.


Recent arrivals to Greece

According to locals involved in helping refugees in the Greek islands, two boats were picked up in the early hours this morning by the Greek Coast Guard. One boat was found off the southeast coast of Lesvos with 57 people on board, while the second boat was found off the north coast with 47 people on board: 7 children, 11 women and 29 men.

“Nothing is more destabilizing than uncertainty”

“Refugee children at the Souda refugee camp on Chios are toxically stressed,” a psychotherapist from a non-profit organization that promotes mental health for women around the world testified at the Concordia Europe Summit. It is already unsettling enough that these children suffer from psychosis. Not knowing how long will they or their families will stay—nor whether or not they will be sent back to Turkey—is dangerously unsettling and only adds to their distress, she said.

Volunteers at Open Cultural Center — OCC have been providing refugees in the north of Greece constant support and informal educational activities since the organization’s launch a year ago. They now continue supporting both adults and children in urban areas where they have been resettled through a number of programs operating out of their two culture centres. OCC has most recently started new outdoor activities in Polykastro (Photo by Open Cultural Center — OCC)


87 demands for asylum made on behalf of 97 individuals have been claimed in Bosnia and Herzegovina this year alone. Up to the time this was written, 38 asylum requests involving 42 people in total were terminated on the grounds that the people in question had left the asylum seeker centres while their requests were under consideration.


Refugee centres in Serbia are still chronically overcrowded, as people continue to seek temporary, emergency shelter in rubb halls or tents.

Another bad experience with the Serbian police

This most recent story to reach AYS dates from today, June 13th:


New accounts of police brutality

Recent reports have highlighted new accounts of violence committed by the Croatian police forces, including detailed descriptions of the locations, the men involved and exact time frame of the happenings.
AYS will make further legal steps demanding justice, fair treatment and respect of the human dignity of each person that steps on the Croatian soil.
We hope the institutions in charge will do their job, as with the previous charges that we raised against the members of the Croatian police.
Our team is confused by the apparent lack of information of the highest ranking police officials and disappointed by the lack of their engagement in investigating the claims that, apart from us and the CMS, a number of foreign organizations present on the ground and countless refugee individuals have stated. According to the UNHCR, they have received reports of 78 collective expulsions from Croatia, with many alleging to have been denied access to asylum procedures in Croatia.


Hungary targets its NGOs


Faux pas in the legal procedure might bring back a returned refugee to Austria

The case of an Afghan refugee who was deported from Austria to Kabul is circling through social media. After two courts rejected his application for aslum—and after his deportation—Austria’s highest court decided that the deportation was not legal, since there were some errors in the the procedure. The refugee was not formally interviewed nor heard by any judge. In the meantime, the man at question has again fled Afghanistan—this time to Iran—and now a decision is expected to be made if the Austrian government is obliged to organize his return to Austria or not.


Political asylum provided to a person holding asylum status in Greece

In the first case of its kind, an African refugee has been granted asylum by Belgium despite already having asylum status in Greece.


IOM’s most recent information chart


Locals have recently called the police, reporting refugees who are sleeping in the parks. For refugees on the other hand, there is nowhere else to go while they await a response to enter the arrival hub.

Another death in Ventimiglia

A 16 years old boy from Sudan drowned while trying to catch a shoe he lost on the riverside. Intersos denounces the fact that 250 people are living at the border with France with no services or assistance from the State which is turning its eyes away from this emergency. One third of the migrants is underage.


Mayor Raggi wrote a letter to the Prefect and says that given the continuos flow of migrants in the city, it is impossible and dangerous (!) to find other accommodation and reception centres for them. She suggests a moratorium on the number of new arrivals of migrants in town.

Via Vannina on Tuesday morning, photo by Rome volunteers


‘If the State doesn’t react, the people might start dying of hunger on the streets ‘

Despite letters written to the president, the premier minister and the mayor of Paris, the authorities ignore the fact that there is an urgency to create a better scheme and organization in order to provide help to the people who might be arriving in larger numbers, volunteer organizations claim.
Solidarité migrants Wilson claim they urgently need better public support this summer, considering the number of refugees living on the streets on the rise and volunteers are expected to be smaller numbers.
A month ago, the Camp at la Chapelle was evacuated. Today, Solidarité migrants Wilson are again distributing 200 meals per day, sometimes even 500 to 700. Their experience shows that with warmer temperatures these numbers are going to increase. The group demands that the officials provide structures for human reception, the abolishment of the Dublin procedure, since it’s in fact deprives people of the asylum right there, as well as a better protection of minors.
People would have died on the streets in winter if volunteers hadn’t helped. With estimated costs of 20.000 Euro per month, the volunteers pay their own costs of helping, therefore filling the gaps the State ignores. In the past 15 days, about 1000 new arrivals have been counted. They are exhausted, and some will part to well deserved vacations soon, so they are asking for public support from the city of Paris, because otherwise people might die on the streets soon.


Notice: There is no MSF Mobile clinic this week because it is in Calais.


An internal audit at the Germany authority for migration and refugees (BAMF) found, that the average training status of asylum case workers is only 21.6% (they’ve done only 21% of their training curriculum that they are supposed to have). The BAMF has implemented a new training program, but this will start only in September. With the large numbers of refugees in 2015, the BAMF has hired thousands of new employees to speed up the asylum process, separating interview and from decision (the deciding case worker was not part of the interview). The processing time was not shorted through this measure, it has increased from 1.6 months to 1.9 months during the last year. The quality of the decisions has been criticized a lot by ProAsyl and other NGOs.


The European Commission announced on Tuesday that it would launch infringement procedures against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland over their refusal to take in asylum seekers. The three EU states have opposed a legally-binding scheme to relocate people from Italy and Greece.

EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said “relocation is a legal obligation, not a choice.”

Slovakia is the only one of the Višegrad group of countries that won’t face sanctions at this point, since they are the only one of them that has been taking in people in the last 12 months.

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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