AYS Daily Digest 19/07/17: The situation of unaccompanied child minors in Greece is untenable

Activists continue hunger strike, call for investigation of Arsal refugee camp military operation / 35 arrested in Moria after police escalate violence / Refugees stage sit-in in front of German embassy in Athens / Nearly 500 being held in camps on Serbian-Hungarian border / CRS confiscate refugees’ blankets and tents in Calais and Dunkirk / Newest numbers show a massive spike in the number of arrivals to Italy / 29 refugees relocated to Spain from Italy / And more news…

A photo of a refugee boy from today’s protest in front of the German embassy in Athens. Photo Credit; Refugee Info Bus


The situation for unaccompanied child refugees still leaves much to be desired. There are only 1,223 spaces for unaccompanied child refugees, of the estimated 2,250 such people in Greece. This means that nearly half of those in need of shelter are being left out. Many of these children are forced to live in dangerous conditions and endure homelessness, or find themselves in police custody, which is not at all suited to match their needs.

Furthermore, many of these children suffer from mental health problems as a result of their traumatic experiences. Access to mental health resources is a problem more generally in Greece and many refugees cannot access the counseling that they need. Children are particularly vulnerable to these problems, and must face additional stress in the face of a system which does not have enough space to accommodate them. The massive delays in procedure, such as forcing children to stay in Greece for months after their reunification application is approved, does not do anything to remedy the situation.


Syrian activists continue hunger strike, demand independent investigation at Arsal refugee camp

Sakher Edris, a journalist and founder of the Working Group for Syrian Detainees, says that in Lebanon, more than 5,000 Syrian refugees are being detained throughout the country, where their human rights are regularly violated.

To protest the events of that day, Syrian solidarity activists worldwide have started a hunger strike which has so far lasted for 14 days. The activists’ demands are that the UN carries out an independent investigation on the events of that day, as well as the deployment of independent monitors to Syrian refugee camps to provide accurate information about incidents in the camps. They also ask that the world community takes seriously the crimes of the Syrian government which are responsible for spurring the refugee crisis in the first place.


35 refugees arrested after clashes on Moria

Three men accused of holding refugees hostage are arrested

Refugees stage protest outside of German embassy against limits on family reunification

A sit-in took place outside of the German embassy in Athens. There is a limit on 70 reunifications from Greece to Germany per month, which forces many with family members in Germany to be trapped in a legal limbo for months or even years. Please sign the petition associated with the protesters’ at the following link.


Call for volunteers at 5th School Clinic

We are seeking particularly General Practitioners , Family Medicine Drs, General Nurses, General physicians, Emergency Medicine Drs, paediatricians, gynaecologists, psychiatrists and psychologists (some ability to work in general adult medicine a big bonus!)

We are also happy to welcome dental teams.”

If you would like to get involved, please message the 5th School Facebook page.

Samos volunteers in need of donations!

There were 102 arrivals on Samos in the last two days. With a steady stream of refugees coming into the island, the aid workers have an ever larger contingent of people to care for in terms of schooling, clothing, and food. If you are in a position donate, you may do so by going to their website at www.samosvolunteers.org.


TruckShop offers guidance for NGOs importing donations for refugees


Nearly 500 refugees are currently being kept locked up on Hungarian-Serbian border

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee reports that as of July 16, there are 447 asylum seekers being detained in 2 transit zones on the Hungarian-Serbian border. There are 262 people at Röszke and 185 at Tompa. Among this number are 26 unaccompanied child refugees.


CRS confiscates what little refugees in Calais, Dunkirk have

Refugees’ tents and blankets were rounded up and taken away. Photo Credit: Auberge des Migrants

The CRS has been hard at work to establish its reputation as a vile agency. Last week, it came out that CRS officers were contaminating drinking water with tear gas in an attempt to get migrants to leave the area. Today, the CRS was spotted rounding up the belongings of refugees in an impromptu camp and driving them away. Such activity was spotted near the Grand Synthe camp in Calais as well as in Dunkirk. As part of the French government’s policy of not allowing refugees to set up temporary communities. the CRS has been given the juridical stamp do go about their business however they see fit. Tear gas is deployed on occasion. Sometimes refugees will be beaten. Other times both refugees and the volunteers helping them will be physically intimidated. The CRS’s conduct at this point easily matches the worst abuses of power as seen in countries like Hungary, and their actions must be actively protested.

Several cases of trenchfoot reported in Calais

The doctor further noted that the only access to showers that most refugees have comes from a “shower truck” which makes it impossible to maintain personal hygiene at a healthy level. Similarly, refugees are unable to wash their clothing. The ability to maintain personal hygiene constitutes the bare minimum for living a dignified life, and in addition to damaging individuals’ sense of themselves, bad hygiene facilitates the spread of disease. By purposefully hindering access to such a basic facet to human existence, the French government is violating refugees’ human rights.


County Council halts the transfer of unaccompanied child minors into their district

The council had accepted 10 children over the course of the last year. The council additionally said that they are open to accepting children who are discovered inside of the country, but they will no longer take them in from abroad. They added further that they are open to starting the program anew should the government provide additional funds. In light of the decision, dozens of local activists protested outside of the county hall, arguing that compassion should trump financial considerations in the case of refugees who were forced to flee their native lands as a result of violence. The council clearly believes otherwise.


Italy Refugee Crisis Database releases new data on refugees entering Italy

The number of new arrivals for 2017 is far outpacing the rate in 2016. As of July 18, there have been 93,284 arrivals to Italy, compared to 79,877 in 2016. Among them are 9,761 unaccompanied children (as of June 27). The largest demographic of refugees originates from Nigeria (14%) followed by Bangladesh (9%), Guinea (8.5%), Ivory Coast (8.1%) and Eritrea (5.6%). The report also shows that the period from June 13 to July 18 was by far the most active period of arrivals this year. In the span of five weeks, a total of 29.126 refugees arrived, a 31% increase.

With such a massive volume, Italian resources are already stretched too thin. The system is at capacity, and it is a massive struggle to house refugees in humane conditions. Europe as a whole has the resources to integrate the thousands of people languishing in subpar camps in Italy and Greece, but the desire is simply not there. They are content to spend resources instead on border control measures to keep refugees from inconveniencing the other governments of Europe. The refugees whose needs are thus neglected are well on their way into turning into a “lost generation” without any prospects of betterment or economic self-sufficiency, and if Europe does not act soon, there will be no reversing this tide.

CILD publishes legal guide to sea rescues


29 refugees arrive in Spain under relocation program

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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