AYS Daily Digest 25/07/17: Citizens versus politics in France

Mistreatment of refugees by police following Moria protests / More than 2,300 people dead in the Mediterranean this year / Awaiting a judgement in the Austria-Croatia Dublin III case / Organizations in France to hold a conference on inclusive and humane welcoming of refugees / And more news…

DUBLIN/C: C-490/16 C-646/16—26 July, 9:30 a.m.: The European Court in Luxembourg’s rule on 700 “Dublin deportations” from Austria to Croatia. (Photo by Border Crossing Spielfeld)

FEATURE: French initiative to focus on inclusive and humane welcome for refugees

Currently, neither their expertise from working in the field, nor citizens’ will to advocate for a dignified welcome are recognized by the public officials in power. Just the opposite: these individuals and groups have an incredible amount of obstacles in their way, that is, if their work has not been completely stopped because of them being pursued for—and accused of—solidarity.
Although OFPRA’s director has recently made statements in support of a quick and fair asylum process, the organization’s work comes short of being supportive.

A great number of refugees who have asked for asylum in France have spoken to us about the way they were (and still are) treated by the Office’s officials. Their greatest obstacle and problem during the procedure is the interview, where they say they felt as if the main objective is to doubt, question, oppose, and discredit their stories, experiences, and the paths that led them to the long waiting and demeaning conditions in which they were left to wonder for months and months. This was so even though the officials claim the procedure time has become much shorter. Arguably long periods of waiting to be called for an interview or to receive an answer, combined with a worrying lack of accommodation and the fact that most of their lives are “on hold” as they cannot study, work, or stop their reliance on the fallible system, all creates an atmosphere of mistrust and despair, and leads to the conclusion that the country is not only a bad solidarity neighbour of Italy—who has only this year welcomed on its soil more than 90,000 people—but is also officially reluctant to provide a warm welcome for new arrivals.

After the 470 organizations active in welcoming and helping refugees in France had sent a letter to the president and government last June, titled Appel à un changement radical de politique migratoire en France, they now insist through organized meetings and common rhetoric to create a prof a welcoming political environment in line with the values of solidarity and humanity that many people in France cherish.

In the meantime, we will continue hearing about walls being built to prevent a migrant centre from opening, police violence against refugees, monitoring and frequently taking into custody many volunteers and people running from women’s and children’s centres etc., destroying food donations, and threatening those who organize distributions… and only occasional inspiring stories and initiatives made possible thanks to the individual efforts of the many people working hard on the ground.


Boat found floating with 13 people who had lost their lives



New arrivals

A statement from Lesbos’ No Border team

Daily Routine of Injustice

Yesterday morning at 5 o’clock, riot police started to detain people in Camp Moria and in Community centers. They arrested around 50 persons of whom 20–25 persons were released later today.
First we assumed that they were hunting for people with two negative asylum decisions but as we found out they also arrested people with papers.
We think this happened for one reason: To raise fear.
Again they want to raise dread of deportation and detention among people, to increase suppression and by doing so, preventing the people to ask for their basic human rights.
We believe this, together with the super unjust court hearings that are going on these days in Mytilini court (we will publish an update about that soon!) are all to create an atmosphere of anxiety on the island.
We wish strength to all the people still detained in the police station and Moria’s section B and other places worldwide to not give up the struggle for freedom.

According to volunteers, many among the refugees arrested have filed complaints against the police for abuse of power and excessive use of force during their arrest and at police headquarters:

P., a 23 year-old man from Cameroon was encircled by ten policemen who beat him to the ground, spitting in his face when he was handcuffed;

D. S. a 21 year-old man from Cameroon stated that when he entered the police station, six policemen cornered him and beat him, stopping only when a colleague intervened to remind them that the police station is under camera surveillance;

N., a 27 year-old man from Senegal, reported that a police man put on a ring before punching him in the eye;

B., an 18 year-old man from Mali, who is asthmatic, remained in his container for the duration of the protest and was arrested together with others. As they lay face-down on the floor, he lifted his head from the ground to breathe better and was kicked down by a police officer.
Another man shot in the lungs with a tear gas canister at point-blank range remains in the hospital in serious condition.

No Border’s original statement can be read in full here.

Translators wanted on Chios

Those interested in joining the team are encouraged to write to: nicholas@baas-schweiz.ch.

“Thanks to the initiative of a 14-year-old refugee boy who started planting fruits, vegetables, and edible plants outside his container, Eleonas’ streets are becoming greener and greener! — Project Elea” (Photo by Campfire Innovation)


Rahimi finally received the justice he deserved as an Athens court this week convicted Ali’s attackers. The court pointed out that today’s victims in similar cases of xenophonic violence should not have to wait this long for justice.

“What is at stake is nothing less than the survival and well being of a generation of innocents. When the larger NGOs pull their services due to funding cuts a lot of gaps will need to be covered and we intend on meeting the immediate needs of our refugee friends here in Greece that have been through so much.” (Photo: Collective Calling)



The kitchen is not only a place to distribute food and clothes, but also a social hub, a meeting point to share stories, play games, learn languages etc. We are trying our best to optimize every resource we have (we are now building a charging station with a 2 solar panel and 8 batteries so they can charge their phones).
Along with donations, every hand is needed to move forward, so contact us if you want to volunteer!

Infographics: IOM


New arrivals

Search and rescue activity in the central Mediterranean Sea — May report

Number of persons rescued under the coordination of the I.M.R.C.C.: 22.698

See the entire report here.

Initiative in San Ferdinando

UNICEF claims that in 6 months, 12,239 migrants under the age of 18 have arrived in Italy, 93% of them are unaccompanied minors. They seem to leave voluntarily their countries and do not envision Europe as their final destination, the report says. The most traumatic part of the journey is Libya.


700 refugees deported from Austria to Croatia — illegal or legal decision?


Food needed

  • onions, oil, spices, tinned tomatos, tomato concentrate, dry vegetables, all canned vegetables, potatos, carrots and other fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, pasta, cous cous
  • table spoons, cups — plastic
  • tea, coffee, sugar, biscuits are always welcome for the evening distribution

All donations can be brought to 4 rue Jean et Marie Moinon Paris 10e, Mon — Wed, from 9 h to15 h, or donate online.

Border locals demand better treatment of refugees

“We can’t remain indifferent towards the many people in this country, be it those in Calais, under the bridges in paris or in la Roya, France is not fulfilling its international obligations. It is not done by chasing the refugees, in attempts to block their path and criminalizing those who come to their aid, this crisis must be solved.”

La Roya / Nice (Photos: José Bové)


We strive to echo correct news from the ground through collaboration and fairness, so let us know if something you read here is not right.

If there is anything you want to share, contact us on Facebook or write to: areyousyrious@gmail.com.

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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