AYS Daily Digest 13/09/17: Life Vest Actions take place across Europe

Life Vest Action on Lesvos

FEATURE: Italian authorities impound ship Iuventa for not signing its maritime Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct severely restricts the abilities of rescue missions in the Mediterranean to conduct their work. The group rightly refused to sign the document, as it directly contravenes maritime law. By its actions, the EU has shown that it is more concerned with creating further impediments for refugees who are forced to flee their homes as a result of warfare and economic deprivation which have stricken their countries than it is with protecting the safety of people.

Europe is currently engaging in a project of propping up the so-called Libyan Coastguard, which is in actuality a medley of militias who capture and imprison refugees in horrifying conditions.

Life Vest Action in Bremen

Public outcry about the ship has been rather large, with the hashtag #freeiuventa gaining traction on Twitter. All of this culminated today in numerous demonstrations across the continent. From Germany to Italy to Greece, thousands of people have made it clear that they do not want these actions to be taken in their name. These protests have been given the name ‘Life Vest Action’, as they often involve putting life vests onto historic monuments in their respective cities. The visual effect is simultaneously powerful and yet absurd, and serves as a powerful indictment of European conduct against refugees.

Life Vest Action in Göttingen

We at AYS declare our full solidarity with our comrades undertaking these actions, and we hope that the bright orange jackets contrasted with the dull metal exteriors of the statues catches the eyes of the European populace, that people become aware of what is being done in their name, and wholeheartedly condemn their governments’ failure to ensure safety and freedom for all people.


Norwegian Refugee Council releases data on Alexandria site

UNHCR has many available housing units on the mainland while islands face constant overcrowding

Decongestion of the islands would do more than just about anything else to improve the quality of life for refugees, and as the availability of housing is not by any stretch of the imagination a problem, we ask that the Greek government allow people to finally resettle onto the mainland.

No Borders reports on violation of rights of refugees on Crete

InterVolve seeks long-term volunteers in Larissa

New arrivals

First boat on Samos: 43 refugees .
Second boat on Chios: 53 refugees .
Third boat on Mitilini: 30 refugees.
Fourth boat on Mitilini: 29 refugees .
Fifth boat on Mitilini: 64 refugees .
Sixth boat on Samos: 48 refugees .

Official registrations on 12/09 were as follows:

Lesvos: 94
Chios: 53
Samos: 127
Kos: 6
Others: 13
Total: 293

This brings the month’s total to more than 2,200 new registrations, more than 17,000 in 2017 and more than 43,800 since the implementation of the deal.

Relocation program ending for people who arrived in Greece before 20/03/16

You can find more info from The Mobile Info Team.

Cafe Day for mothers in Athens


Bosnian police crack down on smuggling network


UNHCR releases new information on refugee situation in Serbia

UNHCR Serbia and partners continue to encounter new arrivals (117 this week as compared to 108 last week). Most were Yazidi families from Iraq, mainly arriving from Bulgaria.

UNHCR Serbia and partners collected testimonies on 52 collective pushbacks from Hungary, and 45 from Croatia, with most alleging to have been denied due access to asylum procedures there.

In August, 282 individuals registered intentions to seek asylum in Serbia. 50% were made by men, 6% by women and 44% were registered for children. Most applications were made by citizens of Pakistan (30%), Afghanistan (30%), Iraq (14%), Syria (6%), and other nationalities (19%). Of these, one person was granted refugee status, making him/her the second person to receive a positive decision since the start of this year.

No Name Kitchen in Belgrade reports being harassed by authorities

A further update on the situation of the organization may be found below.


UNHCR High Commissioner calls Hungarian transit zones what they truly are: detention centers

Mr. Grandi noted that that since Hungary is able to provide good care for children under the age of 14, who are placed in open centers where all of their necessities are taken care of, there is nothing to justify the cruel and inhumane conditions found in the detention centers, where refugees’ freedom of movement and access to basic amenities are severely limited. The refugees in the Röszke camp for example live in small, cramped containers and many residents complain about the dearth of information on the asylum process. It is unlikely that Mr. Grandi’s criticisms will be taken seriously, as the Hungarian government has shown itself to be completely intransigent to pressure from the outside world, but one can hope that his words will effect change.


First deportation since May has taken place

A protestor in Dusseldorf Airport holds a sign saying, “Afghanistan is not safe.” (Photo by B. Thissen)

At least 12 Afghan refugees were deported from Germany last night from Dusseldorf Airport. This marks the first such deportation from Germany since May, when a terrorist act shook the so-called safe city of Kabul, leaving at least 150 people dead and countless others injured. The attack forced the German government to temporarily halt its deportations, as it made plainly clear that there is grave danger in store for the inhabitants of Afghanistan. Since then, several terrorist attacks (thankfully on a much smaller scale) have taken place within Kabul itself. Just earlier today, ISIS purportedly carried out a suicide bombing in a stadium just outside of Kabul as an audience watched a cricket match. The attack has killed at least 3 people at the time that this is being written. Anyone who believes that such a thing can happen with such regularity in a so-called safe country is either lying, lives in an entirely different reality, or does not hold the lives of Afghan people to be of equal value to that of Europeans.

There are currently 10,000 refugees from Afghanistan living in Germany whose asylum applications were rejected and who may no longer remain legally in the country. As the election draws nearer and Angela Merkel builds up her image as being ‘tough on refugees’, it is not inconceivable that the government will try to schedule another deportation in the near future. We as an organization hope that the asylum cases of those up for deportation will be re-examined, and that European begins to follow the rhetoric on the value of human rights with full sincerity.


Protest against deportations planned in Salzburg for tomorrow

Refugees and their allies are planning to stage a demonstration tomorrow against continued deportations to Afghanistan. The demonstration will start at 3:30pm and last until 7pm in Mirabellplatz.


Utopia 56 announces end to work with Paris Nord Centre de Premier Accueil

Dear members, Utopia 56 is announcing its departure from the Paris Nord Initial Reception Centre (Centre de Premier Accueil), the first humanitarian centre for new arrivals opened in France, at the initiative of Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris.

We had hoped that this centre, opened last year on the 10th of November, would be a model for the establishment of 5 similar centres in France along the migratory route of the migrants. It has become evident, however, that the administrative treatment of the refugees at the centre is anything but humanitarian and devalues the refugees. What’s more, the police have recently launched a manhunt against the refugees. In other words, this centre cannot be a model. Utopia 56 announces its departure from the centre and will intensify its aid efforts to migrants in the street.

Why is Utopia 56 leaving?

Thousands of migrants have entered the Paris New Arrivals centre since the 10th of November. The mandatory visit to the Centre for Administrative Status Review (Centre d’examen de situation administrative (Cesa)) has become an administrative trap for many refugees and deprives them of their right to seek asylum. Often, they believe that they have submitted their asylum application whereas in actuality they haven’t. They then end up in a deportation procedure: entering the centre put them at a disadvantage!
In addition, police repression around the centre has grown more acute. These past weeks, the police have been waking up the migrants every two hours to make them leave. This is torture. Utopia 56 aspires to humanitarian centres that respect the law and where the migrants are truly welcomed, including while they are queuing and in the vicinity of the centre.

What’s next?

Utopia 56 will continue its volunteer work in the aid of migrants at the Initial Reception Centre until the end of October to give our partners, Emmaüs Solidarité and the City of Paris, the time to reorganise. We will then continue our volunteer work in the streets of Paris, intensifying our efforts: the distribution of blankets, clothes and water, help with food distributions, making sure queues are peaceful, welcoming and providing guidance to unaccompanied foreign minors, especially those who are not officially recognized as minors, helping the most vulnerable individuals and families etc.”

Mobile Refugee Support calls for donations of old phones, power banks, and charging cables

Volunteers and donations needed in Paris this weekend!

In addition, the organization is looking for donations of hygiene products, such as shampoo, shower gel, soap, razors, shaving cream, lotion, deodorant, toothbrushes, dental floss, tampons/pads, and (new) women’s underwear. Also needed are milk and diapers. Any and all help will be greatly appreciated!


UNHCR releases latest data on the relocation project

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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.