AYS DAILY DIGEST 21/02/2017: Volunteers in Paris fined for distributing aid

German The Higher Administrative Court says not every Syrian must be recognized as refugee. / 74 people found dead on the coast of Libya. / British House of Commons passes law to transfer unaccompanied minors. / Volunteers in Slovenia and Greece provide essential needs. / Sweden doesn’t want to come back to more permissive migration politics. / Exhibition in Belgrade

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Volunteers distributing essential needs. Credits: Solidarité migrants Wilson


Solidarité migrants Wilson says, that in Paris is still lots of media present and currently the police completely ignores the volunteers (in a good sense). At the moment, there are less people waiting in line of the camp La Chapelle. They still distributed lots of food, clothes, hygiene packs, directed people to the nearest shower, helped a man with a dental emergency and distributed documentss with legal information. As it seems people didn’t get food within the center, but this problem seems to be solved now by Utopia. The volunteers receive lots of solidarity after media reported internationally. But reportedly other volunteers in Paris received fines from the police yesterday for distributing food in “wrong areas”. As a small organisation this could affect their capacity to continue with humanitarian work. A police spokesperson says that there are no official bans– but that the volunteers had to move their activities due to “logistic problems”. Only days after rocks being placed under bridges.


The Higher Administrative Court of Muenster, North Rhine-Westphalia, sentenced today that Syrians do not have the right to obtain refugee status under the Geneva Convention solely because of their country of origin, several media have reported. “It couldn’t be assumed that returning asylum seekers would face political persecution only because of their asylum request, because of their stay here or because of their illegal leaving of their homeland”, the court said. To be recognised as refugee, there needs to be a high possibility that the basic human rights would be violated because of his political or religious beliefs. They didn’t see these points in the case of the plaintiff, who said he would be persecuted by government forces as well as by the opposition. With this decision the judges confirmed the decision of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, BAMF, to give the man a status of subsidiary protection. More than 30 000 Syrians in Germany are currently suing against this decision, because the family reunification has been suspended for this status for two years in 2016. The Higher Administrative Court denied the possibility to appeal, although this could be contested before the Federal Administrative Court.

According to various sources in Germany, it has now been confirmed that the deportation planned for Afghanistan carrying an unknown number of deportees will leave Munich, Germany around tomorrow evening, 22 February, and will arrive in Kabul late night, the Afghanistan Migrants Advice & Support Org reports. Activists in Germany will be protesting in different cities to ask the German authorities for a halt of deportations to Afghanistan. Human Rights Organisations are criticising deportations to Afghanistan, because it is not a safe country at all. Also some federal states of Germany decided to stop deportations to Afghanistan because of safety concerns.


The Libyan Red Crescent has recovered the bodies of 74 people who washed ashore yesterday. Because a rubber dinghy was reportedly found nearby, they assumed, that the people tried to make their way to Europe and find a safe place.


As Help Refugees reports, Lord Alf Dubs’ amendment to allow unaccompanied children to be offered safe refuge in the UK passed in the House of Commons. To ensure, that the children and teenagers really have the possibility to be transferred to the UK as fast as possible, they are calling citizens to follow their guideline.


It may be a small number of people seeking refuge in Slovenia, but there are. And volunteers are taking care of them. In a musical workshop in Maribor new and old residents were experiencing Slovenian, Arabic and Tigrinyan songs.

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Culturual exchange in Maribor. Credits: Slovenska filantropija


Turkey continues to be the world’s largest refugee hosting country: 2,814,613 Syrians registered as of 22 December 2016 according to the Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM), out of whom 258,585 were hosted in refugee camps, and 2,556,046 were residing in host communities. In addition, 291,209 refugees and asylum-seekers from Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Somalia and a number of other countries were registered with UNHCR as of 31 December. Close to 29,000 refugees were submitted for resettlement during 2016 — the highest level of resettlement submissions in the history of UNHCR Turkey.


Today eight people were registered on the island of Kos. This raises the count of new arrivals for 2017 to 2001. Of them 690 have been registered this month. According to offical figures 757 people have left Greece voluntarily, 93 have been deported to Turkey. According to AYS information so far 10 people were arrested today in two police sweeps in no border kitchen squats. : Among them were 4 Pakistani, 1 Afghan, 1 Moroccan, 3 Algerians, 1 Syrian.

The recently opened bakery in Kara Tepe just boosted its capacity and is now producing 300 breads daily.

In Katsikas camp volunteers of Refugee Support Greece managed to change the old warehouse into a new shopping arcade. This gives the residents the opportunity to become independent of distributions but to choose their clothes on their own and to experience it in a positive way. Further they did one of their monthly distributions to the Hellenic Red Cross, supplying them with food boxes.

Meanwhile camp Veria received a nutrition program by Bridge2Refugees supported by Help Refugees. In an art project the children created this sign. To continue their work, Help Refugees is looking for two coordinators. If you are interested in volunteering with them, check the announcement.

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Nutrition programme in Veria. Credits: Help Refugees

The Home project managed to open it’s second shelter in Athens and is ready to accomodate 20 children. “ The kids will live in a healing environment and receive support, protection, education and social integration services,” they say.

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A shelter for children. Credits: The home project


The Swedish Socialdemocrats says no to going back to their former more permissive migration politics, the Svenska Dagbladet reports. They refer to EU politics, which according to them make it impossible for Sweden alone to be more allowing towards refugees and migrants and that they have to avoid the situation to be as it was back in 2015. There are plans on a common migration policy and the Social democrats don’t want to make their own policy before the EU has agreed.

The more restrictive rules, with temporary instead of permanent residence, will be evaluated in 2018, but it is not likely that there will be a change back regarding that either. The decisions mentioned are made by the ruling parts of the party, there are local departments in municipalities across the country that have handed in written suggestions about a more liberal migration policy. Those suggestions are at this point not likely to be listened to.

Especially sensitive is the situation in Turkey — which, if it gets worse, could cause another flow of migrants across the Mediterranean.

Politicians don’t want to confirm any details at this point and there are still some things left to discuss before everything is clear. But politicians think this restrictive politics will get majority votes in congress.


From 24th February to 3rd March there will be an exhibition in Belgrade about the lives of refugees in Serbia, including a call for donations. For more information, see the details of the Facebook event.

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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