AYS DAILY DIGEST 19/02/2017: A glimpse hope for some minors stuck in France

Britsh Home Office announces review of new information regarding potential family reunion cases under the Dublin scheme in France / After the eviction in Paris people were reportedly only hosted for one night and are now back on the streets / Greek authorities want to install pre-detention centers on Aegean islands and EU’s special envoy on migration wants to reduce number of people there by 50 percent / Sudanese citizens appeal against repatriation from Italy / Smugglers operating in Como arrested / Germany thinks about checking smartphones of asylum seekers without their consent / 9 Afghans, including one woman, deported from Norway.

Minors playing football with volunteers in Calais. Credits: Signal of Solidarity

The British Home Office agreed to reconsider cases of unaccompanied minors in France with direct family links to the UK. Following an agreement with French authorities, they “ will look again at some of these Dublin cases”, The Guardian reports. However the Home Office said that the Calais operation has now concluded and all the children were not eligible for a transfer to the UK. It now ensured that “ we will review any new information from children formerly resident in the Calais camp to assess whether it would change our determination of their eligibility under the Dublin regulation, to encourage an application.” So far it is unknown how many children could benefit from this announcement.

During the last weeks an increasing number of unaccompanied minors returned from reception centers to the streets of Calais, to try to make it to the UK on their own. Volunteers recently estimated that 160 minors and young people are in and around Calais for that purpose with new people arriving every day. Several of them say that they have family members in the UK. In talks with AYS volunteers residents in CAOs also assumed that the number of people coming back to Calais will rise further when the weather becomes better. Reports of people still making it to the UK despite the tighter border controls could encourage them to try it, too.

Organisers of a petition to transfer 3000 minors from Greece, Italy and France to the UK already got more than 60.000 supporters. So far only 350 minors were allowed to enter the UK legally under the promised scheme, which just had been ended surprisingly. Meanwhile Shani Taggart lodged another official petition to not put children in detention but ensure their safety and wellbeing.

Reacting to the increasing number of people in Calais, Care4Calais wants to extend its activities and provide art workshops, English and French classes, sports, music and other activities. If you are interested in joining them or want more information, write an E-Mail to clare@care4calais.org.

Activities for minores. Credits: Care4Calais

The Refugee Community Kitchen also sees an increasing number in and around Calais. Nowadays they distribute between 180 and 200 meals on the ground and additional 160 to 200 meals daily at Secours Catholique, a charity which provides ongoing legal and educational support to refugees in the area. In Dunkirk their daily distribution remains steady at 500 to 600 meals a day.

Volunteers preparing food for people in Calais and Dunkirk. Credits: Sam Jones

On the night evacuation from the 9th to 10th of February, the Collectif Parisien de Soutien aux Exilés (CPSE) says, people were only brought to the “Boulangerie” (an emergency reception centre with terrible living conditions) for one night, allowing the city to install stones to prevent people from sleeping there again. Reports from volunteers on the ground also concluded that the evicted were not hosted for longer time but just gathered on other spots in Paris. Less than ten people per day were able to enter the Paris refugee camp this week. CPSE further advises against entering the camp for people who left their fingerprints elsewhere and therefore depend on Dublin III.


According to a report of Ekathimerini, Greek authorities want to set up pre-departure detention facilities on the eastern Aegean islands to speed up deportations to Turkey. These closed facilities should have a capacity of 150 to 200 persons and should relieve the islands, which host most of the people, who arrived after the EU-Turkey deal in March 2016. The report follows a visit of EU’s special envoy on migration, Maarten Verwey, on the islands last weeks. He is coordinator for the implementation of the deal and said, that the numbers of residents on the Greek Islands (governmental figures are at 14.600) should but cut by half by the end of April. Since the beginning of the year Greek has deported overall 455 people to Turkey, 60 left voluntarily.

Volunteers in Athens created a list of hotels, which are willing to host refugees. They further gave advises what to consider when checking in and where the get help. The full overview can be found here. As the government still fails to provide appropiate accomodation for asylum seekers, Humanwire according to its account spent more than 60 000 US-Dollar during the last three months to move 106 people from camps to appartements. Help Refugees distributed 500 pairs of shoes and underwear on Lesvos.

In Alexandreia volunteers and residents of the camp came together for a sunday cooking. What it looked like, can be seen in the following video.

In Polykastro volunteers worked hard for two weeks but finally managed to build a school for children. Impressions in the following video.


Five Sudanese citizens coming from Darfur, victims of the repatriation executed on 24 August 2016 by Italy, have presented an appeal at the European Court of the Human Rights to verify the illegitimacy of the Italian Government under the European Convention of the Human Rights, along with a compensation for the damages received.
The event follows the subscription of the police agreement between the police chief Franco Gabrielli and the chief of Sudanese national police, dated 3 August 2016, to simplify the repatriation of citizens in third countries in irregular condition. The State wanted to give a strong sign of performance adhering to the agreement, so it organized the arrest of 60 Sudanese in Ventimiglia. Only few of them managed to escape the flight to Khartoum, and it is remarkable to notice that they received the status of political refugee, under Geneva Convention of 1951.
The appeal refers to the violation of several articles of the European Convention of Human Rights, at the press conference occurred yesterday in Rome and attended by Arci, Asgi, Federation of the Evangelic Churches, Amnesty International, A Buon Diritto, Senza Confine, Cncaa, Medu, CIR, Focus — Casa dei Diritti Sociali, and Centro Astalli. Lawyers and EU deputies pulled together and, between 19 and 22 December 2016, they went to Sudan to meet the appealers. This appeal is intended to represent a key suggestion for EU member states not to stipulate any agreement with dictatorships like Sudan, for agreements of repatriation damaging the life and the freedom of the person, so that Europe can be again be a receiving land promoting democracy.

Four smugglers have been arrested, as part of an organized criminal group, by Italian and Swiss police, Espansione TV reports. They used to meet migrants in the railway stations of Como Borghi and Como Camerlata, in the public canteens and in the nearby of Regina Teodolinda Centre. They were recruiting “clients” in Como, even close to migrants’ center of via Regina, and they made the people transit to Switzerland, taking advantage of the emergency situation at the border, asking 90 to 150 euro per passage. When paid, they took them to the stations in Lugano and Zurich through the pass Ronago-Fonte Faloppia in the late afternoon and in the first evening. Only in October 2016, the investigators reported at least 45 passages in a car controlled by the pass of Crociale Mulini. The smugglers had been arrested last 13 December 2016 (first a woman driver, then another member in his house in Rebbio). Two days ago, the Swiss police issued two mandates of arrest for repatriation. Last morning, 18 February, the last two smugglers have been arrested in Como. 200 people have been transported from Como to Canton Ticino.

A migrant has been found dead two days ago on the roof of a train parked at Cannes station “La Bocca”, TGCom24 reports. The man might have died by the electroshock: the corpse has been found in contact with the pantograph of the vehicle, the device connected to the wires. The train had left that morning at 5,30 from Ventimiglia. It is not clear whether the victim had jumped on the roof pass illegally to France. The video-surveillance is currently verifying the dynamic.


Nine Afghans have been deported from Norway on 15th February. The Afghanistan Migrants Advice & Support Org reports, that for the first time a 20 year old woman was among the deported persons. “AMASO is not aware of any alone girl yet deported from any European countries. Afghanistan had earlier opposed deportation of alone girls and female heads of the family due to the particular problems women face in Afghanistan,” the organisation says.


In a draft “‎for better enforcement of the ‎obligation to leave” the interior ministry reportedly propses to empower the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees to check smartphones of asylum seekers. At the moment people have to agree to this. Reading out media in Germany usually is an encroachment, which usually needs a judicial ruling and is only possible, when there’s a probable cause of a crime. With the proposal authorities want to avoid the judicial ruling and check the identities of the asylum seekers. With geodata and the contact list they want to research, where the claimant is from. The ministry estimates, that they would have considered this measure in 50 to 60 percent of the cases in 2016. So far the proposal is still in interdepartmental coordination.


Only yesterday SouldWelders in Belgrade distributed ten cubic meters of firewood. Further they built up three grills and made a barbecue for the people stuck in capital of Serbia. “ We created a great atmosphere with Afghani and Pakistani music, 3 grills burning to cook chicken for everybody and a lot of volunteers and refugees working together to feed people with meat,” they report.

Barbecue for Belgrade. Credits: SoulWelders

Additionally to this mealtime, Support Convoy announced to transport a field kitchen and cookers to Belgrade. Volunteers are to follow.


On Wednesday volunteers of Signal of Solidarity and Sirius.Help as already reported took care of a group of people. Sirius.Help now added some details on the incident and published a video of the work in the field. “ Of the 25 men 6 are unaccompanied minors, the youngest boy is 12 years old. They had been on the road on foot in Hungary for 2 days when the police held them up, about 50 kilometres from the border. Divers of them had not eaten for days.”

Daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.