AYS Daily Digest 14/12/17: Libya drops ban for privately organized international rescue teams

Libyan government lifting the SAR blockade off its coast / Many rescued at sea / Röszke 11 (Ahmed H.) trial to be continued in early January / An open letter to Emmanuel Macron / Keep City Plaza open / And more news…

In order to measure the magnitude of the horror that is happening in Libya, we must only look at the conditions in which people are forced into the sea. Today among more than 300 rescued people, a young paraplegic in a wheelchair. Proactiva Open Arms


The IMO Secretariat has received an official communication from the government representative of Libya to withdraw its previous official notification to the IMO Secretary-General on the government’s designation of Libyan SRR.

UNHCR published general legal considerations on search-and-rescue operations involving refugees and migrants at sea today.
Some of the highlights as pointed out by Paolo Biondi are as follows:

  • Non-refoulement prohibits any State conduct leading to the return of a refugee ‘in any manner whatsoever.’
  • Interception measures should not result in asylum-seekers and refugees being denied access to international protection, or result in those in need of international protection being returned, directly or indirectly, to the frontiers of territories where they are at risk.
  • States are obliged not to hand over those concerned to the control of a State where they would be at risk of persecution, or from which there is a foreseeable possibility that they will be returned to another country where such a risk exists.
  • Although search-and-rescue operations and interceptions at sea are distinct, non-refoulement obligations are engaged equally in both circumstances.


The joint EU-AU-UN task force on migration set up last month in Abidjan met today in Brussels. The emergency voluntary humanitarian return (VHR) operation has started in line with the agreement previously reached in Abidjan. From November 28th to the present, 3,100 migrants have been assisted to return from Libya to their countries of origin. This makes for a total of 16,000 people voluntarily returned from Libya to their home countries, EEAS reports. The EU will provide assistance to an additional 15,000 people by February, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini stated today.

The task force agreed on a series of urgent measures including making available at least 100 million EUR in additional funding to support the work of the IOM and UNHCR on the ground. This is to allow them to continue to scale up their operations and to support the African Union in continuing to step up its work with African countries of origin in providing consular services to their nationals in Libya.


“Any little procedure from renewing a white card (ID) to asking about your case, implies long hours of waiting in queues. Some people even sleep around the gates the night before to increase their chance of being heard,” they say. “Time is flying, unfortunately only time is fast, the Greek and European asylum systems are not.”

Call for volunteers

Keep City Plaza open

City Plaza is an entirely voluntary effort, without any paid staff or public funding. It in turn takes significant resources to run. At the moment, City Plaza is at an important crossroad and in need of your solidarity in order to continue to run as a living alternative to the dominant European migration management system in Greece.

Donate here — let’s keep it open together.

So far, for around 20 months, City Plaza has managed to be a house of dignity, safety and struggle for more than 1.700 refugees -more than a third of them babies and children.


New arrivals

More rescues at sea today

245 people were transferred this morning to an Italian military ship: 193 men, 43 women — eight of them pregnant — and a young paraplegic who had to flee Libya across the Mediterranean with a wheelchair, Proactiva Open Arms’ founder reported. After 10 hours of searching, the light of a refugee phone served as a beacon.

Spanish Guardamar Polimniahas has been rescuing people at sea since four in the morning today. 114 people were rescued from three boats, including 16 women and one deceased person.

New figures on the dead and missing


The trial on second level court will continue on January 8th, 10th and
12th 2018 in Szeged. We, the campaign Free the Röszke 11, invite you to join us in our support and action! There is a lot to do: We will monitor and review the
days in the court, translate for international activists, have some
action and attract some attention to the EU and Hungary and its racist
borderregime and a lot more…
Let’s meet at Szeged Court (Szeged, Széchényi tér 4.) Room 117 or
contact us via: freetheroszke11@riseup.net
More details will follow soon.


Samer Amin from Syria was arrested today and taken in detention. He was “invited” by the police to talk about his case in Austria, but instead of having the interview as believed, he was arrested and is likely to be expelled to Croatia tomorrow, December 15th. His case has not even been admitted for official asylum procedure in Austria, but he has been living in Austria for two years. He speaks decent German (B1), had three public exhibitions as a photographer, and gives talks at schools to tell children about his story (in German). He has had two job offers in one year’s time, but has not been allowed to work due to his status.

He has been volunteering at many local events as a photographer. His brother is a recognized refugee pursing an apprenticeship in Austria. Samer has many friends, family, and close ties in Austria. Locals are shocked and hope their protests will help him to stay in Austria, since Samer is an ideal example for integration.



A video posted yesterday depicts events from December 11th, when tents were sliced open by police during an expulsion of a camp.

The conviction of four members of Migrant Solidarity La Royal has been confirmed by the circuit court in Aix-en-Provence. The four retired citizens were convicted in June and ordered to pay a 800 Euro fine for helping six migrants in January 2016. The citizens plan to appeal this decision at the human rights court.


Shelter “La Porte d’Ulysse”

More information on the project is available here.

Haren building opened

Belgium Kitchen calls for volunteers

If you want to help, send an SMS to Yassine at +32 488 88 82 27 stating: your name, how you want to help (cooking or distribution), your availability, and if you are motorized or not.

Photo by Belgium Kitchen


Find more information on the Jusoor Scholarship here.

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

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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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