AYS DAILY DIGEST 4/12/17: Syrian Man Attempts the Sea Crossing Alone

//Rescues at Sea//attacks on press in Greece//Illegal arrests on Lesbos//Donation needs in Athens//Activist faces bogus charges in Morocco//Sleeping rough in France//German pilots resist deportations!//and more.. .

A night rescue in the Mediterranean. Photo Credit: SMH

SEA

An Italian outlet reported today that a 30 year old Syrian man named Sami Naser attempted the crossing from Tripoli to Lampedusa on his own. He was rescued by a Spanish vessel, who were shocked to see someone attempting the dangerous journey alone. Sami told the volunteers who rescued him that he had no choice but to flee Libya. He had been working as a nurse outside of Tripoli in a state of semi-slavery for months, with all his wages being stolen. Sami wanted to leave the country before he fell into the hands of kindappers who would likely torture and ransom him. Sami explained: “In Libya there is a hunt for Syrians, they are convinced that we are full of money, as soon as they find you they kidnap you to extort money from you. I could not take it anymore, with what little I had left I bought this rubber boat from a friend in Tripoli and I left: either live or die”. Sami knew that his small rubber dinghy would never make it all the way to Lampedusa, so he was praying to be found by a rescue vessel en route. Although Sami knew there was a high chance he would not be found and die at sea, he said it would be “a greater risk to stay in Libya.”

TURKEY

The Kapilar organization, in central Izmir, is offering open hours on mondays for migrants and refugees to learn more about services available to them. More information here.

GREECE

Islands

There were 17 new arrivals to the island of Chios early this morning. Given the unacceptable conditions in Vial camp on the island, it is likely that their hardships are far from over.

Police illegally detaining refugees, 4/12/17, Lesbos. Photo Credit: No Borders Kitchen
Ahmet Satuff. Photo Credit: NoBorders

Mainland

Volunteers in Athens are preparing for a distribution tomorrow night in Syntagma Square, Athens. They will be passing out blankets, hot tea and soup from 11:30 at night until the following dawn. Information here.

ITALY

Activists and volunteers on the ground in the Pordenone area continue to report unacceptable conditions for refugees there. While the right and left wing parties continue their asinine debates over who is a “real” refugee, the real questions are being ignored. As a Pordenone solidarity organization put it: “The real issues here are: why are they on the streets, forced to sleep in the fields? Why do they not even have a place for their primary needs, to bathe, drink and eat?”

SPAIN

The Spanish journalist and human rights defender Helena Maleno Garzon has been requested to appear before a Moroccan court (her country of residence). While the charges against her are forthcoming, the international human rights organization FIDH has surmised from the court documents that she is being charged with involvement in human trafficking. This charge appears to stem from the fact that, because of her long standing work as an advocate, she is a frequent point of contact for refugees crossing the Mediterranean. In particular, she has been called by many refugees requiring emergency rescue at sea.

Photo from Helena Garzon’s facebook.

FRANCE

The Utopia 56 volunteer group is pleased to announce that their initiative to connect refugees with locals who are willing to share housing has been a conitnuing success. They had their best night this week, when over 50 refugees found housing through their program! To learn more about this project and get involved, click here.

Photo Credit: Care4Calais

GERMANY

According to a recent report by the media outlet Die Welt, in the first half of 2017 Germany processed more asylum applications than the rest of the EU combined. 357,625 decsions on asylum cases had been made in Germany, and a total of 199,405 in all other EU states. While Germany has taken in a large number of refugees, and in some regards dealt with the issue in a more timely and humane manner than other EU states, there is still huge room for improvement. With the far-right gaining prominence in German politics, refugees are at increased risk in the country, and there has even been discussions of starting deportations to Syria. Germany continues to deport many Afghani asylum seekers, putting them at huge risk.

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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