AYS Daily Digest 29/07/17: First wedding of Syrians to take place on Lesbos

Pushbacks from Greece and France reported / Police on Chios destroys tents of 50 people / Hungary apparently defies court orders / Germany introduces new asylum identify technology / 140 people sleeping rough in Italy / Netherlands continues deportations to Afghanistan

Today some good news at the beginning, enough bad are to follow. Credits: Art Against/ Lora Zombie

First wedding of Syrian refugees on Greek soil

Today we want to start with some good news. According to Ekathimerini, the first civil wedding of Syrian refugees on Greek soil is about to happen in mid-August. The 20-year-old woman arrived with her family on Lesbos in December 2016 and met her fiance in the camp of Kara Tepe. Nowadays they are expecting baby.

Following some bureaucratic trouble about missing documents and certificates, the magistrate now allowed the wedding, ruling that war refugees can not be expected to have all required documents according to Greek law. “In such cases, the Greek state must show not just tolerance, but flexibility and an expansive spirit,” the magistrate said.


Unfortunately not all of today’s news contain so happy content. Watch the Med yesterday witnessed an illegal pushback of a vessel by the Greek Coastguard: “The contact person informed us that the Greek coastguards were trying to return the boat to Turkey, and forwarded us a video that showed the boat of the coastguards circling around the travellers, creating waves which resulted in water entering the boat.” After the pushback they were arrested onshore by Turkish police.

Meanwhile the hunger strikers Arash Hampay, Arash Bahruz and Hussein Kozhin reached day 31 and 32 of their protest.

Humans 4 Humanity are looking for volunteers, especially with building, carpentry, gardening skills. Over the next period of time, they want to install the existing materials in their new house in Mytilene. Additionally they need support to set up their clothing shop and to mange other tasks. If you have time to assist them, please contact them on Facebook.

Humans 4 Humanity is setting up a new house. Credits: Neda Kadri

In Souda camp on Chios authorities reportedly removed the tents of some 50 people. The police destroyed the provisorial shelter and told the residents to share with others or move to Vial camp. It seems unclear, why authorities took this step as around 1000 people currently live in Souda.

After ten days of no new arrivals, until Saturday morning, 59 people were registered.

If you need any information from Chios, volunteers have launched a Google Map of organizations and services for refugees on the eastern Aegean island. Probably it is not complete by now, if you want to add something, please use the linked form.

Volunteers delivered shampoos, soaps, razors, washing powder, clothes, 700 bags of instant coffee and sugar, plastic coffee shakers and flip flops to detainees of the detention center in Korinthos.


Hungary apparently is defying court orders to improve the living conditions in the reception centres. In March the parliament voted to tighten the asylum laws once again: This time the members decided to detain asylum seekers in closed container camps until authorities make their decision. In the following the European Court of Human Rights in the case of two men from Bangladesh ruled, that this is a “de facto deprivation of their liberty.”

Speaking to Politico, András Léderer, advocacy officer at the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, now accused the Hungarian government of defying the court ruling. “This practice of ignoring the interim measures of the court not only breaches the convention and Hungary’s obligations, but has severe effects on our clients and must end immediately.” The government is denying to ignore binding orders.


The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) introduced a new asylum identity technology, to reduce mistakes. It is a consequence of a right-wing extremist from the Bundeswehr, who was able to pretend to be a Syrian refugee. He didn’t speak or write any Arabic, but numerous mistakes withing the office led to his positive decision. The new technology of the BAMF according to Infomigrants includes “language biometrics” software to recognize dialects. With another tool the staff shall be able to compare biometric photos to avoid multiple registrations like in the case of the Berlin attacker last year.

Additionally, a software was implented to transcribe names from Arabic to Roman letters in a standardised way. This also caused confusions and problems in the past, easening multiple registrations with different spellings of one name. With this measures the Bamf not only expects more precise procedures but also a speed-up.


Egyptian security authorities have found and arrested around 100 undocumented Sudanese, who resided and worked illegally in the Red Sea region. It is expected, that Egypt will deport them in the next days.

Mediterranean Sea

In the last days a couple of meetings concerning the situation in die Mediterranean Sea were held. Openmigration released a summary of the recent events, including the Tunis meeting, Macrons suggestion of Hotspots in Lybia, Italians decision to enter Lybian water to fight smugglers and the new code of conduct for rescue organisations.


At the port of Catania activists protested the expected arrival of the “C Star”, the chartered boat of the right-wing extremist from “Defend Europe”. The boat left Cyprus and is now on it’s way to Italy to block rescue NGOs in the Mediterranean Sea.

“Stop the attack on refugees”, the activists claim. Credits: Globalproject.info

In Gorizia some 140 people are now sleeping rough and in two days they won’t even have the chance to sleep in the park anymore, volunteers report. They need donations and human solidarity.

Soon they won’t be even able to sleep in the park. Credits: Mauro Chiarabba

In Ponzano (Treviso) this morning some exponents of Lega Nord (right wing party) tried to protest under the residence of some asylum seekers who were moved to the village. The number of asylum seekers is 46, of whom 8 already have the asylum status. Local activists managed to stop the protest

Further volunteers report about an increasing number of pushbacks from France to Italy. Only yesterday some 30 people have been transferred back to Taranto hotspot by bus. Up to six buses are bringing the people back, each transfer costing 6000 Euros. In the pushbacks of the last days also a family including a pregnant got seperated during these procedure.


Following the heavy rain the last days, L’Auberge des Migrants wants to buy rain ponchos for people sleeping rough in and around Calais. For that purpose the NGO tries to raise 500 Euros. Even though the target is almost reached, additional funding will help them to stock up their capacities and to buy other needed items. The fundraiser can be found on their homepage.


According to the Afghanistan Migrants Advice & Support Org the Netherlands today conducted a deportation to Afghanistan. A family of five was forced to depart and will land in Kabul after a stop in New Delhi.

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.

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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.