AYS Daily Digest 19/09/2018: At Salzburg Summit, EU leaders once more push border externalization

Human rights violations continue in Morocco // Transfers to the mainland — and then what? // Aid Brigade needs help in Bosnia // Arrivals to Spain and Greece outstrip Italy // The passengers of the Aquarius 3 months later // Winter is coming in Calais

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Transfers from Samos to the mainland. Source: Aegean Boat Report.

In other words: a stronger external border. Even better if that border effectively lies outside the bounds of Continental Europe. In a repeated tactic of “border externalization,” the EU has struck deals with Turkey, Libya, and other countries that lie on its outskirts in order to ensure that the “problem” remains elsewhere.

As Tusk noted, Egypt has performed admirably on this count, with only around 30 people coming from its shores to Italy and Greece at last count this year even in the absence of financial incentives from the EU to sweeten the pot. “This is a partner which is taking its responsibility seriously, a partner we can work with in the context of migration even more,” Tusk said. Egypt, of course, is in control of an authoritarian leader who restricts free speech and targets his critics — a country with few economic prospects for its own citizens and fewer still for the over 100,000 Syrian refugees who live in overcrowded slums there.


Meanwhile, in Morocco, the human toll of the very border externalization that the EU has encouraged — and paid for — can be seen nearly every day.

In Tangier, an Alarm Phone member was brutally beaten by Moroccan armed forces and taken by force to the southern border along with a number of other migrants. On the Achakar beach, a group of migrants were aggressively rounded up by machine-gun toting police. And, perhaps most disturbingly, around 50 migrants were visited by representatives of their home countries in jail — in order to take photocopies of their documents and encourage them not to attempt the crossing to Europe. According to the Association Marocaine des Droits Humaines, the migrants in question remain incarcerated.


HarekAct reports that Deportation Monitoring Aegean and the Legal Center Lesbos have published a joint report that details abuses on the islands and discriminatory deportation procedures and calls on the EU to halt deportations to Turkey, among other demands:


Colibri and Aquarius are the only two civilian rescue operations left in the Mediterranean. Pilotes Voluntaires are asking for donations to fund continued missions. Find out more information about the organization here.


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Refugees sleep on the floor inside an overcrowded warehouse in Moria Camp on Lesvos. Credit: Katelyn Ray.


Arrivals to Spain and Greece are both outpacing those to Italy, InfoMigrants reports, perhaps in part due to Italy’s controversial ban on the disembarkation of rescue ships. Today, member of Open Arms, Sea Watch, and MSF visited the Italian Chamber of Deputies in order to protest the criminalization of humanitarian rescue boats.


InfoMigrants also reports that none of the people aboard the Aquarius’ infamously prolonged rescue excursion — 608 of whom who formally requested asylum after finally being allowed to leave the ship in June — has yet received a response to their asylum request. This delay is not unsurprising, given the extremely high rate of arrivals to Spain so far this year, but it does underscore the impossibility, even absurdity, of evaluating asylum requests while the applicants are still onboard their rescue ships, as Salvini and his Austrian counterpart, Herbert Kickl, have suggested.


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Makeshift campgrounds in the forests surrounding Calais. Credit: Calais Refugee Aid.
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A man attempts to light a small campfire in the woods of Calais. Credit: Calais Refugee Aid.


Volunteers needed to serve food daily at Serve the City Brussels — drop them a line at haren@servethecity.be or find out more information here.

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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