AYS DAILY DIGEST 22/01/2018: Germany’s Foreign Office spreaded inaccurate information

New deportations scheduled from Düsseldorf and Vienna / Update on the cash assistance in Greece and forced returns of Syrians to Turkey / Number of asylum request in Switzerland reach lowest number since 2010 / Minors in Calais transferred to a new reception center / and more…

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“Bombs in Afghanistan are a bad perspective to stay” — banner at G20-summit-protests. Credits: Flickr/Rasande Tyskar (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Germany

On its “Rumours about Germany” homepage the Federal Foreign Office claims that they want to deliver “facts for migrants”. However, the German newspaper “tageszeitung” (taz) reports, the office had to correct some information that were not accurate.

In an earlier version the simple answer to the question “Are you going to be deported if you enter the country illegally?” was “Yes” which in fact is not true. The “Netzwerk Flüchtlingsforschung” (Network Refugee Research) made this public earlier this month. The office justified the simple answer with an extended version, that said that people with a negative decision, who do not return voluntarily, will be deported.

“Your nationality = Your right for asylum?” was another question with the answer: “No. Only people, who have suffered from prosecution or serious damages, can hope for the right for asylum.” The authors of Netzwerk Flüchtlingsforschung disproved this statement, too. The reasonable fear for prosecution or serious damage could be a reason.

Already after its launch last year, the webpage has been criticized for being inaccurate and giving misleading information. Some say, that the intention is rather to frighten people and discourage them from leaving their countries, than to show them opportunities.

Around 50 Iraqis have protested for the right to stay in Germany last weekend in Düsseldorf. Across the district court they showed a play to highlight how peope are being kidnapped, beaten, arrested and killed in their country of origin, report-d writes.

Because a deportation to Afghanistan is scheduled for tomorrow from Düsseldorf, solidarity groups call again for action.

Greece

A total number of 37.597 refugees and asylum seekers in around 17.000 households in 92 locations all over Greece received cash assistance, according to AYS info. The eligibility for this assistance depends on various factors such as legal status, the current location and the date of entry into Greece. Also, the amount of cash assistance disbursed to each houshold varies proportionally to the number of family members.

The total range is between 90 Euros for an individual in an accomodation, where meals are included, to up to 550 Euros for a family of seven members or more in a self-supplying accomodation. 85% of the individuals in the cash assistance scheme are Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, Palestinian or Iranian nationals.

As the NGO providing the cash assistance has changed now a couple of times, this sometimes is connected with longer waiting times. Eligible are only the ones who are recognized asylum seekers and have a formal address, which makes the program inaccessible for homeless people or the ones living in alternative accomodations like squats. Further, only NGOs running their accomodation projects under the EKKA programme are allowed to refer their residents to the cash cassistance, but it does not happen automatically. As sometimes people who live in official sites, are still not registered properly, the yalso do not have access to the program.

People living in private shelters, can use this online form to apply for the cash card. It should be known that it expires after six months, although they might not get direct access to the Greek social system. Still — if granted — it can be helpful in this time.

For the second time, Syrian nationals have been returned from Greece to Turkey against their will under the EU-Turkey deal. A total of 22 people, 21 men and one women, were transferred by plane from Mytilene to Adana, the Greek Ministry of Citizen Protection announced. While eleven of them withdrew their asylum applications, seven had a negative decision in the second degree and four after a recall.

The first deportation after a negative decision was conducted on 8th November, when four Syrians, two of them after they withdrew they applications, were returned from Greece to Turkey. In the end of September 2017, the Greek Supreme Court ruled that Syrians can be returned to Turkey under the deal signed in March 2016, as it would not be an unsafe country for them. Since the deal came into force, more than 250 Syrians — most of them voluntarily due to the bad conditions on the Greek islands —(were) returned to Turkey under this scheme, making it the second biggest group after Pakistani (more than 630).

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Because of the dire conditions in the hotspots, many people return to Turkey voluntarily. Credits: Miss Montag‏

So far, 43 people have been returned to Turkey under the EU-Turkey deal in 2018. Depending on the sources, as of today a total 1527 (Greek Ministry), 1528 (European Commission) or 1534 (AYS research) people have been returned to Turkey under the so called “EU-Turkey Statement”.

Meanwhile, eight new arrivals have been registered by the Greek authorities on “other” islands. 15 were transferred from Lesvos to the mainland. Also, Lighthouse Relief asks for more volunteers on Lesvos to keep the activities going. More information can be found on their homepage.

What should people do, when they have just arrived to Greece through the land border? The Mobile Info Team for refugees in Greece has published a guide in English and Arabic. You can find it on their Facebook page.

Residents of Athens now have a new opportunity to volunteer by opening their doors to people in need. The “Refugees at Home” project aims to connect both groups and conveys a shelter. As the increased utility costs are one of the biggest financial aspects, they can be covered by financial assistance with donations from overseas. More information can be found on http://www.refugeesathome.org/ or via direct contact to volunteer Rando Wagner on Facebook.

In Patras 65 men have been arrested at the port of Patras during the weekend, trying to board ferries to Italy, NoBorders reports referring to Greek Media.
Meanwhile, the “Movement for the Rights of Refugees and Immigrants” group in Patras published an updated list of needed donations to supply the people sleeping rough: Canned milk / sugar / raisins / tea for breakfast; rice / lentils / pulses / sunflower oil / tomato juice / pasta; sports shoes (size 40, 41, 42, 43) and socks; jackets; footer / fleese clothes (trousers and blouses); jeans. The opening times of the the movement’s centre at Ioannou Vlachou Street 19, Patras, are Monday and Thursday 7.30pm to 8.30pm as well as Tuesday and Wednesday 7.30pm to 9.00pm.

The Victoria Square Project in Athens announced its schedule for this week. It is starting with knitting tomorrow at 17.30 local time at Ελπίδος 13, 10434 Athens. Following you can find the event on Facebook as well as the full schedule. More information is available on their homepage: victoriasquareproject.gr

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This weeks schedule. Credits: VSP

Also, Zataar is requestion donations for their Orange House in Athens. Needed items are: Shelves, mirrors, boxes, curtains, notebooks, markers, pencils, tools for the kitchen, glasses, mixer, etc., toilet paper. Additionally, they published their schedule for the week.

We remain in Athens, where the No Border School will host its third Teacher’s Workshop on Thursday. Starting at 7pm at Khora, they are inviting teachers to “ can come together to reflect on and improve their teaching practices”.

Hungary

The Helsinki Committee in Hungary has published an unoffical translation of the government’s plan to restrict the actions of humanitarian aid organizations.

Croatia

The Ministry of the Interior informed today that less than 400 people are accomodated in the reception centre Porin in Zagreb at the moment. This is a significant decrease compared to the average number of residents of around 550 last year. Most of the people left to western EU member states, only few went back to Turkey or their countries of origin. Additionally, on 25th January a group of 43 people will arrive from Turkey to Croatia under the scheme of the resettlement programme. They will be transferred to the rception centre in Kutina, primarly intended for families with children.

Austria

The next deportation from Vienna to Afghanistan is scheduled for 23rd January, according to information of the group Refugees Linz. Apparently, the Austrian government will share a flight with Norway and Sweden. Furthermore, a couple of Chechnyan families with children have been detained recently. “Also, the ‘silent’ deportations to Africa continue” with single deportations to Nigeria, Gambia, Algeria, Morocco, Tunesia and other countries.

Switzerland

The number of asylum requests in Switzerland has dropped to the lowest level since 2010 last year, Reuters reports. For the first time since then, the number has been below 20.000. Compared to 2016, the numbers were lower by one third with a total of 18.088 asylum requests. This means less than 50 percent of the applications in 2015, when almost 40.000 people asked for international protection. The main nationals in 2017 were Eritreans, making almost half of the number of requests, followed by Syrians, Afghans and Turkey.

Sea

With 400 people at once, Sea-Watch saw a record disembark at the mainland yesterday.

According to their own account, Salvamento Maritimo have rescued 51 people in the Alboran Sea on their way to Almeria, Spain.

On the Spanish mainland, authorities together with Europol arrested six alleged traffickers, Ansa reports. They are accused of having smuggled people from Kurdistan to Northern Europe in trucks and trains.

France

Following our yesterday’s reports about the arrival of some 150 minors in Calais, L’Aubgerge des Migrants confirmed this incident and stated, that the number might be as high as 200. While most of them came because of president Emmanuel Marcon’s visit to Calais, in the hope they get an accellerated family reunion to the UK as part of the Dubs’ scheme, another group, mainly from Eritrea, also showed because ofrumors that there was an opportunity to get relocated to Canada. The origin of this is not known yet.

Reacting to this influx, the prefecture reportedly moved around 100 minors to a new center in Pas de Calais. As neither volunteers nor people on the ground knew about this step and no information was spread before, this created panic connected with the hope of the minors to be transferred to the UK. “We notice a lot of confusion and a lack of information from official sources,” L’Auberge states.

In a long read, the Refugee Info Bus has analysed the current situation in Calais since the eviction of the ‘Jungle’ in October 2016. They conclude: “There is even less understanding of the current situation on the ground” which leads to certain problems. Although there are some measures to improve the lives of people staying in France — and to encourage them not to try to make it to the UK, the group also sees “the deep mistrust of French government institutions and authorities that currently exists in the minds of asylum seekers will make it difficult to provide better access to the French asylum system.”

Solidarités St. Bernard de la Chapelle needs some helping hands at the locker room at 12, rue st. Bruno 75018 Paris / angle rue St. Luc. At Wednesday’s 3pm they are sorting the clothes and start the distribution for minors at 5pm to 7pm. On Saturday’s 9am the room is open for women, children and men. If you are interested, please send a SMS to manager Pedro at 06 03 02 83 72. Furthermore, especially hygiene donations as well as backpacks, sleeping bags, blousons season, pants size 38 to 42, boxers, shoes from 40 to 46, hats, gloves, scarves donations are needed. The warehouse is open Wednesday’s from 3pm to 6pm and Saturday’s and Sunday’s from 9am an. Please announce your delivery at the same number.

Netherlands

Welcome to Europe has updated its country sheet for the Netherlands. It includes new information on medical assistance.

Sweden

As a consequence of fingerprint records in the identification process, the number of deportations from Sweden to Morocco has increased significantly, The Local writes referring to Sveriges Radio. In 2017 Swedish authorities started a partnership with Morocco, getting access to a Moroccan database. After 75 conducted deportations in 2016, last year 135 Moroccans have been deported.

General

A total of 171.332 people arrived in Europe through Italy, Greece and Spain in 2017, Unicef stated in a recent report. Of all arrivals, around 25 percent — what means one in four — were children. Between January and November 2017 they recorded 158.215 child asylum-seekers in Europe, while 21.500 were estimated to be stranded Greece, Bulgaria, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia last December. By the same month, some 11.000 have been relocated from Greece and Italy under the relocation scheme of the EU from Greece and Italy.

We strive to echo correct news from the ground through collaboration and fairness.

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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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