AYS Daily Digest 20/11/17: A warning and cry for help from the Aegean

tensions rise on the overcrowded underprepared Greek islands / Bulgaria doubles its refusals / Indignation of the refugees in the north of Italy due to unbearable state of the reception centres / The only reliable help in the north of France / Late surge of arrivals from the sea — prison in Spain as a provisional reception centre / Solidarity protest in Berlin / Another suicide in Morton Hall / …

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Children in a refugee camp on a Greek island, November 2017. They are not playing to live there. (Photo taken from: 1951RefugeeConvention)

FEATURE

Imprisonment of the people who have managed to survive the perilous journey across the sea and reach the Greek islands, is a constant state they live in, under miserable living conditions. Their isolation, constant state of dependence and repression they are faced with when trying to challenge or question such inhumane treatment go against everything the EU and the UN claim to stand for. The official systems seem to have went from supporting such a state that keeps the refugees silent and weak, to sending a message that goes way beyond the EU borders and seas.

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by United Rescue Aid

Protests and fire broke in Moria camp last night.

Weather gives the most dangerous of warnings about the situation

Tents on Samos were destroyed by the strong winds, heavy rain and low temperatures so most of the refugees are now without tents..
People, among them many children, have found themselves out in the streets.

MEDITERRANEAN

EU

Magnifying glass at the EU borders

EU Observer reports that on Monday the EU adopted new rules that will require border guards to register the entry, exit and refusal of entry information of non-EU nationals crossing the external borders of the Schengen passport-free area. The so called “entry-exit system” is suposedly intended to crack down on those who overstay their visas and improve the fight against terrorism. The new system will not be in place until 2020.

GREECE

Help to fill a container intended for Lesvos — contact

The Greek locals also protest

Residents of Lesvos went on strike on Monday to protest against European policies they say have turned it into a “prison” for migrants and refugees, Ekathimerini reports.
The Greek government and the EU have so far ignored pleas from the mayors of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos, to allow more refugees to travel to the Greek mainland, resulting in major overcrowding at the island facilities.
In their protest, the islanders shut businesses, shops, municipal offices, nurseries and pharmacies and dozens rallied on a central square, calling on the government to transfer asylum-seekers to the mainland.

Greek law regulates the detention of asylum seekers

According to the law, an asylum seeker should not be detained for the sole reason of seeking international protection or having entered and/or stayed in the country irregularly. Read more here.

BULGARIA

Less asylum seekers, harder conditions and more refusals

This year, about 3400 people had been newly registered, had sought protection and more than 12 000 decisions had been issued regarding the overall number of applications.Refusals to grant refugee or humanitarian status have doubled, refugees agency head said to the official Bulgarian media.

A person given refugee status has a deadline of two weeks to leave the refugee centre, and is expected to find work and start earning a living.

SERBIA

BelgrAid team is looking for volunteers to join them working in food service. If you have such experience and/or would like to help out, please email them at: volunteer@belgraid.org

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“ To all our refugee friends in Serbia, this Saturday we are launching our gardening project! RAS got allocated a plot in Baštalište, the community garden of Belgrade. This Saturday 25th of november, we will garden together and prepare the plot for the winter. It’s an excellent chance to meet people, we will have food together and a small party. We are meeting in the morning and go to the garden together. If you want to come, please contact Cesar on +381 61 16 57 048 (Also whatsapp). We hope to see you there!” — Refugee Aid Serbia

ITALY

Sleeping rough ahead of the worsening weather conditions — help needed

Refugees in the north of Italy are experiencing a very harsh reality, both in the woods, streets and road tunnels where some are sleeping rough, but also in what was meant to be reception centres.
A number of people who arrived by sea and were later on settled in some of the centres for the first reception have later on entered some of the other facilities (as a part of the official reception programs or independently) and in the end ended up outside again, while the others had been living in other EU member states, where their asylum claim was denied and they came to Italy to try again. Many are different, yet similar stories of suffering and struggle to obtain a status considered worthy of care and respect by the system.

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Gorizia, area close to the border with Slovenia (Photos: Mauro Chiarabba)

Forgotten at the reception centres

Most of the rooms are without heating and the facility is largely with no hot water. Food is always the problem, as the local volunteer groups report and refugees confirm.

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Photos: Mauro Chiarabba
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Desperation driving refugees in the streets

Local volunteers posted a video earlier today documenting a march of approximately 50 refugees who have been staying in the reception centre in Cona for a while now. They left the centre due to poor conditions of the facility and were walking towards Piove di Sacco. Describing the conditions in the reception centre, an abandoned former military base in Conetta, they said they prefer staying outside than in the facility, mentioning also the food as one of the problems (according to them, rice is all they ever get).

SPAIN

FRANCE

Support the group and individual efforts in Calais and Dunkirk

Refugees in Calais and Dunkirk are going through a really difficult period, getting worse by the day as the winter draws near, no permanent solution is in sight and constant raids and tough police presence is a daily routine. They mostly rely literally on the ‘kindness of strangers’ through the solid and consistent support that volunteer groups provide in different ways.
Here are a few:

Food

The Refugee Community Kitchen are providing over 2,500 meals a day and have been the only regular source of cooked food for the refugees in the north of France. They need support to keep going:

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“Every day we use: 75–100kg Dried Beans/Pulses
180kg Basmati Rice or Pasta or 250kg Potatoes
150kg Onions
5kg Garlic
5kg Ginger
30L Sunflower Oil
5L Olive Oil
8kg Spices & chilli
100kg Salad Veg
100kg Veg + Potatoes for Curry — That’s A LOT of food! Please share & give what you can so that we can keep serving nourishing meals to people in need!” — RCK

Health

People sleeping rough and facing (yet another) winter outside in the cold undoubtedly suffer additionally a number of health problems and their already existing conditions are usually not being treated for months while on the way. Volunteer medical teams and doctors who have worked with refugees along the way confirm that a number of recurring infections and chronic diseases, including a lot of dental problems and pain are among the most common conditions they treat.
Here’s a recent feedback from a group health professionals who provide First Aid in the unrecognized refugee camps of the Dunkirk and Calais area:

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Photos and quoted comment: Raid Ali

Connecting

BELGIUM

Plateforme citoyenne de soutien aux réfugiés Bruxelles is planing to set up showers for the refugees in Brussels and they are inviting people to join the facebook group and donate for the cause so everyone can be a part of the civil answer to the general ignorance of the officials who seem to have denied public funds for this particular purpose.

GERMANY

Protest in Berlin

Tomorrow, Tuesday 21/11, from 16h/4pm, a protest will be held in Belin, near the Brandemburg gate

UK

Another suicide at Morton Hall

An emergency vigil will be held tomorrow, Tuesday 21/11, at the Home Office in Glasgow following the news that a man has taken his own life in the detention/removal centre. Unfortunately, the inquiries prompted by such horrific events usually lead nowhere and fail to hold anyone accountable, so more and more people feel the need and responsibility to raise their voice and raise awareness. Join them in protest:

Written by

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