AYS Daily Digest 20/06/17: Reports of three new shipwrecks ahead of World Refugee Day

Investigation on pushback to Turkey under way / One deportation from France to Afghanistan cancelled / New cases of violence from Hungary / At least 130 missing in the Mediterranean / And more news…

(Photo by Jugend Rettet)

Feature

At least 130 missing in the Mediterranean

UNHCR says at least 130 people are dead or missing after it received information on three new shipwrecks in the Mediterranean last night. The first and largest of these incidents involved a rubber dinghy that left Libya on 15 June and began taking on water just hours into its journey. The boat carried at least 133 people and there are only four survivors.

Photo by Proactiva Open Arms

Greece

Investigation on pushbacks to Turkey under way

Ekathimerini reports an investigation is currently under way into claims that several Turkish asylum-seekers have been forcibly returned to their country at the Greek border. The Hellenic League for Human Rights had said that an unofficial refoulement from Greece to Turkey took place along the Evros River on May 24th, among them Murat Çapan, who was a journalist for the magazine Nokta and is now imprisoned in Turkey where he was previously sentenced for 22,5 years. The Hellenic League has also said that Turks were pushed back on the 2nd of June and has documented a total of 17 pushbacks so far, including those of seven children.

Syrian refugee discharged by court in Farmakonisi case

Pro Asyl reports the deaths in the Farmakonisi case were caused by the intervention of the Greek coastguard authorities, as the boat carrying the refugees was towed by the coastguard vessel. A young Syrian refugee and the 16th survivor of the deadly boat accident was acquitted of any responsibility.

From Midnight Helpers. Photo by Petros Giannakouris/AP

Donations needed for Ramadan

Photo by Refugee Support Greece

Donations needed for the Corinth detention centre

Bulgaria

Volunteers needed for the Busmantsi Detention Centre

Caritas Sofia is looking for volunteers to lead English, Bulgarian and sports classes for adults and activities for children in the Busmantsi Detention Centre for Temporary Placement of Foreigners. The adults and children living there are not allowed to leave the compound, and are only allowed outside for an hour per day. Caritas says the educational activities make a significant difference to the quality of life of asylum seekers, as life is extremely monotonous there.

Croatia

Are You Syrious’ new projects

Are You Syrious started welcoming refugees in its free shop, which is a part of the AYS integration centre in Zagreb. Refugees are welcomed to come and ask for whatever they need to have a comfortable and dignified life in Zagreb. We are no longer in the moment of crisis in Croatia. The goal is now to integrate refugees that have come and are here to stay; allow them to live with the same rights and opportunities as the locals. AYS is touched by how many local peoples have come to bring donations, ask what is needed and how they can help, offering their time, skill and materials. The free shop has grown out of being just a place for receiving donations; it is a place of solidarity and first friendships between refugees and locals.

Hungary

Violence continues

Our friends from Fresh Response team, who together with Rigardu team are helping us to collect info about violence at the border with Hungary and Croatia, on a World Refugee Day recorded another example of police violence. A group of Hungarian police officers spent 3 hours beating a group of refugees, 11 people, including children of 14 and 15 years old, who were caught at 7am in the morning. They were reportedly subjected to 3 hours of violence before being forced back onto the Serbian side.

France

Update on Calais

The Refugee Youth Service says Sunday was the first food distribution in a long time where the heavy presence of police did not hang overhead, as the current court case seems to have caused a rethink. 12 charities have taken legal action, asking for a system to be put in place to ensure basic human rights are met in the Calais area. Care4Calais says “ food aid distribution is regularly disrupted, sleeping bags confiscated, tear gas used and park bans enforced”. They ask for access to toilet facilities, drinking water and the enabling of regular food distribution without disruption. Refugee Youth Service says it is now able to support young people outside of the 1.5 hour time window recently put in place. The group also organized a dance party, board games and other activities.

Photos by Refugee Youth Service

Deportation to Afghanistan prevented

La Chapelle Debout says the deportation of an Afghan asylum seeker was cancelled today, after activists protested at the airport. The man has a wife and an eight month old baby in France. Many of those under threat of deportation come from the Kapisa province, were the security context remains problematic. La Chapelle Debout says the next deportation is expected to take place on the 21nd and six Afghans in total were supposed to be deported this month.

Refugees on hunger strike in Briancon

Refugees in Briancon from Sudan and Chad have installed tents in front of the local reception centre and have started a hunger strike in protest against Dublin III deportations to Italy. 16 out of 24 refugees who went to this reception centre in November 2016 are concerned by this procedure. The refugees feel betrayed, are asking for their fundamental right to be informed and to have the possibility to chose in which country they ask for asylum.

Photo by Refugee Info Bus (Calais)

UK

Help Refugees launches its High Court challenge over the Dubs scheme

Today, Help Refugees launched its High Court challenge against the Government over the number of unaccompanied child refugees accepted into the UK under the Dubs scheme. The Independent reports the NGO accuses the Home Office of adopting a “seriously defective” process to measure the capacity of local councils to take in child refugees, after it emerged many local authorities were not properly consulted. It accuses the Home Office of failing to provide the local authorities with critical information such as the fact that there was a 14 October 2016 cut-off date for responses. This meant the Home Office failed to count 91% of the places offered by Scottish local authorities because they were sent after the “cut-off” date, as well as 86% of the places offered by Welsh local authorities and 45% of places offered in England.

Netherlands

Court annuls decision to deny asylum to gay Iraqi refugee considered ‘not gay enough’

Last week the Court of Rotterdam annulled a decision to deny asylum to a gay Iraqi refugee because he could not convince the Dutch government of his homosexuality in a series of hearings, with officials saying he was ‘not gay enough’.

EU

Hope for legal protection

Advocate General Sharpston at the European Court of Justice considers that an applicant for international protection can challenge a Member State’s decision to transfer him to another Member State on the basis that the ‘take charge request’ sent by the first Member State was not made within the time limits set out under EU law.

Libya

Shocking images of kidnapped refugees

In a hard to read article, France 24 reports on shocking images and interviews collected by a Somali journalist during a video call on WhatsApp with kidnapped refugees. The video and testimonies show refugees have been tortured by their captors because they cannot pay their ransom. Some of them have been imprisoned for years and others describe widespread sexual violence.

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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