AYS DAILY DIGEST 27/12/2017: The absurdity of European policies hits again

Another boy found hanging on the bottom of a bus while trying to cross the Serbian-Croatian border / UNHCR monthly report has been published / Information for migrants intercepted at sea in Turkey and for those deported or readmitted from Greece / Minors in Moria are 40% of the population / New GAS figures on asylum applications / Call for volunteers in Greece/Serbia’s commissioner for refugees and migrants statement on the last days’ protest are absurd / More news from Greece, Italy, Spain…

The governments, whenever they can’t silence the people, use their dirty political power to divide people and rule them; you know, objectifying refugees. […] Credit: Arash Hampay

“The governments, whenever they can’t silence the people, use their dirty political power to divide people and rule them; you know, objecting refugees.

I’m talking about people who, after 80 days protest and sit-ins and 26 days hunger strike were beaten by the Mytilini’s police, persecuted and put in jail ready to deport them. So many lies and play from the government, Syriza, the police! So much danger from fascist people!

Still they couldn’t even grant their request! All they are asking for is freedom!

Government, police, United Nations and anyone who trying to keep refugees in Lebsos Island understand that people who are united are strong. Their collective courage is so powerful, and they will not stop until they get their rights and freedom. So they tried to bring dissension among those 35 tired people…

I’m not sorry for the refugees, because they don’t know about politics and how dirty it is.

I’m even not sorry for the government and the police, because it’s in their nature and their way…

But I’m sorry for some volunteers who are saying that they want to support refugees and some lawyers who fight, but the police and the government side against us!

Yes, unfortunately I have to say some of these 35 people have been rejected and might be deported.One of them is still in jail and waiting for his deportation to Iran, and some are still waiting for their Athens paper..

I hope in this dirty game the government and its friends will fail and the people will win!

The government and its friends persuaded an Afghan family to go back to Karatepe camp again with their dirty and lying politics… But the good thing is that the family, after 2 nights, understood was that they lied to them and came back to Syriza again.

They came back to the group to wait until all 35 refugees get their freedom.

But tonight again the government persuaded single guys to go back to the camp. These guys have been rejected and might get deported soon. They were with us for around 80 days in protest.

This is a dangerous tactic for the refugees, because the group can be persuaded that they don’t need Arash Hampay along with them, and when the Afghan family and single guys go back to the camp, it’s like what they did last year with some refugees and some leaders.. They deported them like this last year!”


Statement of Arash Hampay

Local newspapers in Croatia are reporting on a teenage boy, (12 or 13 years old), who was found hanging onto the bottom of a bus was driving from Serbia to Croatia. The boy was found after passengers heard unusual sounds and demanded the driver to stop and check. Speaking to the local media, the driver said that the boy came out of the space in between the wheels, dirty and obviously in shock.

The boy was very skinny. Me and several passengers went to the gas station and bought him some food and something to drink. The boy was hanging on the bus from Belgrade to Zagreb. I do not know how he did that,” one of the witnesses told the media.

The company that owns the bus said they have had cases like this before, with migrants trying to cross the border this way.

The journey from Belgrade to Zagreb is about a 5 hour drive.

Police came to pick up the boy and it is still not clear where he was taken, but, they told the passengers they would take him to the hospital. However, AYS volunteers have contacted hospitals in the region where the boy was found, and no one knew anything about his case. Journalists of N1 television have officially asked the police where the boy was taken, but they have not yet received any reply.

Recently many people who managed to enter Croatia have been pushed back into Serbia.

UNHCR has published the monthly report containing information on sea arrivals between January and November 2017.

Here are the main figures:

  • 171.300 people arrived by sea and land to Europe in 2017, with arrivals during November 2017 51% less than November 2016
  • An estimated 3.100 lost their lives or went missing
  • 117.000 landed in Italy (32% less than the same period in 2016)
  • 15.540 of those arriving in Italy were unaccompanied minors
  • Eritreans were the main nationality to reach Italian shores in November (1.100 arrivals, over 700 of them had arrived on 2 boats)
  • 25.900 migrants arrived in Spain during this period (+ 106% compared to the same time period in 2016)
  • 27.300 people arrived in Greece during this period ( — 84% compared to the same time period in 2016)
  • More than 40% of the sea arrivals into Greece were children
  • An estimated 5.100 people crossed the land border with Turkey in 2017, 700 just in November
  • 4.400 migrants were present in Serbia up to November 2017, “just 13 of them have been granted asylum during first instance procedures”
  • 32.043 asylum seekers have been relocated from Greece and Italy, according to the European Commission
  • “In Greece, no person who has arrived after 20 March 2016 has been referred and submitted for relocation”
  • 1.468 returns to Turkey

More information and the full report can be found here

Welcome2Europe has updated their information portal for migrants who are intercepted at sea and brought back to Turkey and for those who are readmitted/deported from Greece. Moreover, you can find information here on detention in Turkey, the asylum procedure and free legal aid that is available in different cities.


MSF stated that about 40% of the migrants present in Moria are children (more than 2.000) and of those 25% are unaccompanied minors (432).

In addition to children, in the camp are many pregnant women and around 500 people on a waiting list for psychiatric care

UNHCR has worked together with the government to move asylum seekers out of the islands in order to improve life conditions for those vulnerable people who leave and for those who are still forced to stay.

The camp is strewn with garbage and dotted with home-made shelters, which offer poor protection against winter rains and falling temperatures

Good news on the other hand! Help Refugees and The Timber Project have managed to start the Flooring Project to insulate tents and floors and help refugees to cope with the dire winter conditions.

Moreover, a new Baby Hamam is now open in Moria and will soon start running, allowing mothers and toddlers to have a safe space for themselves!


We would like to clarify an important point that has been sensationalised in local media, when reporting about a young boy who was arrested in Vial last night.

Here is the link to the original news source (in Greek). A member of the AYS team who knows the young boy well, points out that even though he had been in trouble before because of a fight, he did not try to kill anyone. He is now charged with alleged attempted homicide and is in jail facing very serious consequences.

We would like to stress how important it is for the media to report correct facts and for volunteers to respect the people they get in touch with during their work and to consider the consequences of their actions.


The Greek Asylum Service have today published new key figures on asylum applications in November 2017

AYS has received an email concerning the prosecution of those evicted by the squatted house Albatross in April.

Here is the text of the email:

The owners of the house tried to sue for damages, allegedly caused by the squatters who fixed a lot of problems in the house which was abandoned for ten years before it was brought to live again, and even the judge had to acknowledge this was a ridiculous claim.

However everybody who was arrested in the house was found guilty of squatting, except for one person from Germany who hired a lawyer that spoke out against squatting in court with the only aim of getting an innocent verdict for his client. This shows plainly how the justice system rewards people denying the violence and contradictions we are confronted with every day and paying lip service to the state. They are charged with 6 month prison on three years probation. Another person, that was not arrested during the eviction but present during the arrest is charged with 7 months prison on three years probation for resisting the police.

Those of us without European passports, were other than in similar cases also charged and found guilty for squatting. Not everybody has the chance to choose how one wants to live and some were just trying to live a more dignified life than in the camps around Thessaloniki. It is an attempt to scare those who are oppressed from acting and speaking out against their marginalisation and oppression.

The clearly political trial and the populistic media campaign surrounding it show once more that a system that knows only profit and efficiency is neither able nor willing to ensure the needs of people.

Property is the base of this system, establishing and manifesting the divisions of rich and poor, European and non-European and therefore deciding who has the right for a dignified life and who doesn’t.

While we are happy that the owners will not be able to extort money from us with the help of the legal system we will not accept this decision! With our lawyers we are confident to be able to reach an innocent verdict in an appeal.

No Justice — No Peace!

No roof without people — no people without roof!

As reported by Ekathimerini, weather conditions in Greece are getting worse and worse in the final part of this week, with strong downpours, storms and the possibility of heavy snowfalls over 1.200 meters.

On Friday, the showers and storms are expected to head east, hitting Thrace, the northern and eastern Aegean, the islands of the Cyclades and Dodecanese, and reaching Crete by late afternoon

Call for volunteers

The Open Cultural Center (OCC) is looking for volunteers for January and February with experience in teaching or children to support their work. If you can, get in touch with them.

ERCI is also looking for volunteers to help them continue their activities on the ground. For the different profiles needed and contacts, follow this link.

After the recent protest, we’ve been reporting these past few days about a group of migrants at the border between Serbia and Croatia. All those protesting were taken to a camp near Bela Palanka, a far away place in east Serbia. The Commissioner for refugees and migrations, Vladimir Cucić, has told local media that people who protested are “arrogant” and that they are “misusing visa free regime” between Iran and Serbia. He also said, without offering any proof or explanation, that protesters were supported by “volunteers and anarchists”. “They are in the border area and they are misusing all what Serbia is doing, and, while doing this, they harm people who are waiting their turn; they are making problems” he said. “They are Iranian and they do not want to wait for their turn,” Cucić said referring to the list to enter Hungary legally. Daily, 20 people can enter Hungary, from Serbia.

He also said that some people, who took part in the protest, are not happy with their accommodation in the Principovac centre, adding that in the centre they have rooms with 4 beds, bathrooms and 3 meals a day, living at the “highest standard of hygiene”.

“[…] You can not choose, you go where there is place. Serbia does not have to fulfil somebodies’ wishes. Those who want and have possibility can go by them selves,” he said.

AYS recently visited the Principovac center and 2 families inside. The entire building is in very bad condition, old and basically not suitable for people to live there.

Rooms have way more than 4 beds, and none of them with their own bathroom. The center looks dreadful and sad, while some of the personnel are rude and disrespectful.


Rain boots are needed for around 15–20 people sleeping rough every night. Sizes 41, 42, 43

The government of Valencia has been granting healthcare to 30.000 migrants over the past 2 years but, in its last ruling, the Spanish Constitutional Court has ruled against this draft legislation, stating that it is unconstitutional.

Amnesty International, together with other international NGOs have denounced the decision, calling it ‘’regressive’’ and ‘’discriminatory.”

Open Arms sailing towards Malta. End-of-mission 37. Unfortunately there will be more… Here no one ever rests. The Central Mediterranean will keep swallowing more lives while politicians continue raising walls and pulling barbed wire. #Openarmsrescue. © A.Pampliega (Dec 2017)

These amazing volunteers and professionals, as well as the migrants, are facing difficult weather conditions when out on a mission.

Among the 373 people transferred to Aquarius yesterday, there was a little 2 year old boy.

Sea-Watch will be able to improve their work with the help of a reconnaissance aeroplane starting in 2018.

UNHCR latest data on their work in Libya so far:

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

Every effort has been made to credit organizations and individuals with regard to the supply of information, video, and photo material (in cases where the source wanted to be accredited). Please notify us regarding corrections.

If there’s anything you want to share or comment, contact us through 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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