AYS Daily Digest 5/4/17: After 15 months in Germany, woken up and deported to Croatia

Croatia — rising number or refused demands for asylum and deported people from other EU countries, lowest number of relocations // UN Council spoke. // Hundreds of lives saved at the sea // Racist attacks in Greece // Romania tightens border policies // Hungary activates more “Border Hunters” // Dutch court rules the country must take in more refugees

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The chemical bombing of Syria and innocent children that nobody is held responsible for — — — — an illustration by Shahrokh Heidari
Via Syrilution Creative Arts



Traumatic experience of a deported girl

Later in the evening, when the ER was invited for the second time, she was taken to the emergency hospital with very low blood pressure. The medical record of the child says that she was in such state possibly as a result of the deportation. AYS volunteers have spent the night with her in the hospital and later talked to the Q family. The family said that they feel confused and disoriented since they spent so much time in Germany where they arrived at the beginning of the February 2016 via the so called Balkan Route, and they do not know the reasons for the deportation since they did not leave their fingerprints in Croatia.

There are indications of new deportations from Germany, based on Dublin regulation. If a country does not answer to a demand to process a deportation according to the Dublin agreement, the deportation is done. Such were a number of cases in Croatia.

It is necessary to mention a strong need for the assistance to refugees in the centre to be provided 24/7, since these kind of situations often occur during the night hours, when all organizations who are active at the facility, including Red Cross and Medicins du Monde, finish their working hours and only police and security personnel are present.

A lot of people have recently been denied request for asylum and many are left depressed, hopeless and without any information or idea what to do as the next legitimate and legal step to obtain international protection in the country. Messages like “Do you really think there is hope for us?” were sent to our volunteers by a number of people staying and waiting there.

What’s the situation in Croatia?

The average waiting time for receiving asylum in Croatia should be about 6 months, but the period is prolonging and some have now been waiting for their answer for up to 15 months.
After a period of 9 months, asylum seekers can get a work permit. Asylum seekers have the right to free emergency medical assistance and necessary treatment (life threatening conditions), while those who have asylum in the country have the same rights (health insurance) as other Croatian citizens.

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circle of numbers in different languages made by the elementary school students at the afternoon homework class in Porin (Photo:AYS)

NGOs present at the Porin facility are active in education, social activities and language courses, something that is missing as a formal obligation of the Ministry of Education and volunteers and NGO personnel (even the Ministry of Interior at times is coordinating educational activities) are doing their job at the moment. Great progress has been made with children. The youngest have started preschool and everyone received vaccines. More and more children are enrolled in schools, with big assistance also from the AYS volunteers, who read, study and help them write homework — every day.

A lot of activities, workshops and field trips are organized by different NGOs, the management has weekly meetings with all NGOs and tries to work their way up as much as possible. But, some elements are still weak — the absence of systematic language course education for all, lack of diversity in nutrition and food for those with special needs, limits in the use of washing machines causing many to wash by hand, lack of translators for some specific languages, difficulties in accessing medical assistance, poor integration mechanisms and some social instances that occur in such semi-closed ethnically diverse communities if left in a loose structure of daily activities and social habits.

Still, we insist, fight and work to make things better and especially hope to find ways to help those struggling with bureaucracy and legal issues on their way to receive asylum and finally continue their lives (every help in that field is very welcome).


That means that Croatia has so far relocated only 19 people in a year time. That includes people from Syria and Erithrea, some of whom have already left the country. We have information from more Syrians in Greece that they are in the preparatory phase to be relocated to Croatia.

Financial aspect

The four specific objectives of the Fund are: ensuring that EU legislation in the field of asylum is efficiently and uniformly applied, promoting the effective integration of non-EU nationals, enhancing fair and effective return strategies, and solidarity — making sure that EU States which are most affected by migration and asylum flows can count on solidarity from other EU States. Its implementation is done through National programs.

“The national programs are prepared, implemented, monitored and evaluated by the responsible authorities in EU States, in partnership with the relevant stakeholders in the field, including the civil society” — such is the definition of the Fund.

Croatian National Program AMIF is available here.


UN Security Council emergency meeting

However, the U.S. government believes the chemical agent sarin was used in the attack, a U.S. government source said, adding it was “almost certainly” carried out by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

UK Action for Refugees have launched an emergency appeal in partnership with Syria Relief to get protective clothing to the medics in Syria to allow them to safely treat the victims.


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“After 2 days spent patrolling its assigned area of operations since the launch of the new mission, today the Phoenix was engaged in 3 different rescues, pulling to safety 320 people from 3 different boats.
2 boats were spotted this early morning by our maritime patrol aircraft, this year for the first time operating alongside our Phoenix, allowing the rescue to be conducted smoothly and with no danger. Operations have been ongoing for approximately 12 hours since the early morning.” — MOAS
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“The MSF Aquarius has rescued 101 people from a rubber boat. They’re exhausted and seasick but relieved to be alive.” — MSF Sea
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This week, 558 refugees have been saved at see and brought to Sicily, of whom 61 minors (Photo: Borderline Sicilia ONLUS)



“So far in April we have already supported 107 people from 3 refugee boats arriving on Lesvos, of which half were women and children”, Lighthouse Relief has reported.

Volunteers from Lesvos reported that 70 more people arrived in Moria today and put in the B compound with the 50 already there ready to be deported back to Turkey. If anyone has more updates on this important information, let us know.


According to official figures, 62,204 migrants and refugees are currently stranded in mainland Greece and its islands.

Racist attacks on refugees

This town was making problems in the past as last year the government tried to place refugees there but the mayor and the population strongly opposed it and in the end the issue was not resolved. Some volunteers from the area said that at the time a big percentage of the town population are actually refugees or descendants who arrived there decades ago, but now don’t want to accept other people in need.

Volunteers wanted at Refugee Info Bus

We work on legal rights outreach through technology as well as collaborative journalism. We are looking for speakers of Greek, Arabic, Farsi or Dari with good English to join our team.
If you are passionate about the rights of Refugees and Migrant Workers and have a EU driving licence we would love to hear from you.
You must have good communication skills and experience of working with Refugees as well as patience, flexibility, passion for your work and a willingness to travel.


President speaks out against the common regulation

The EC president Tusk expressed the EU’s determination to ‘keep routes of illegal migration’ in the Balkans ‘closed’ and made clear the bloc remains ‘committed to the full implementation of the EU-Turkey statement.’ Tusk also welcomed President Radev’s efforts to increase security on Bulgaria’s southeastern border with Turkey and pledged additional financing if the situation worsened.

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The Afghan sewing / knitting / embroidery workshop has just started at the camp in Harmanli. For the time being, it is more of a workshop, an educational activity, but they have the ambition to start producing high quality items that could be sold in order to fund the workshop and teach people how they could run a small business. They want to produce clothes, household items, accessories and toys.

We have 4 sewing machines and an overlock, an iron and some materials donated by people who support the project.
We need:

Big pieces of one-color cotton material (soft but not too thin) for traditional Afghan dresses — 10m (if 1m wide) or 8 m (if 1.50 wide) — different bright colors
Small pieces of any kind of material
Squared fabric for embroidery
Applique fabric
Textile border bands — colorful
Big spools of thread for the overlock and normal sewing machine spools — different colors
Advice where to buy plastic gear belt and a cutter for overlock machine SEIKO GN 1–2
Cotton embroidery thread — different colors
Embroidery needles and hoops
Yarn, hooks for crocheting and needles for knitting

If you could donate something from above, please contact: lyd.students@gmail.com


Tightening the border control


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Photo source: Daily News Hungary


Prison for the italian activist who helped people on their way

Francesca, activist and volunteer, was arrested when she helped 8 people, including one family with a 6 month old baby cross the border from Italy to France. Before that, her story had become known when she helped reunite a mother with her five year old daughter who had to cross the Mediterranean on her own.

Unconfirmed rumors state that at the CIE (center for identification and expulsion) in Torino, the last such center open in Northern Italy, refugees are preparing a hunger strike to protest against living conditions in the center and detention. Yesterday night, sounds of uproar such as screaming, whistling, and beating objects against metal grates could be heard from outside, Italian media report.


Dunkerque Refugee Women’s Center is looking for interns

Are you looking for an internship ?
A first professional experience ?
Or perhaps a big change in your career ?

If you volunteer with the Women’s Centre for a couple of months, we’ll get you accommodation and will provide an incredible experience — both on a personal and a professional level. You will have more responsibilities and opportunities to take initiatives than ever. — see more: here


Volunteers needed Sunday April 9, in Brighton

We need a team!
1) to collect the items in the morning (bring sturdy binbags!)
2) to sort and organise clothes in the afternoon
3) to take bags of items to wash and dry ready for taking to France
4) people with cars!

PLEASE share this amongst anyone you know in Brighton and if you can help, join the group to keep updated or email calaisactionbrighton@gmail.com with any questions.



Dutch Court rules on the refugee reception

So, in March the Foundation We Gaan Ze Halen together with a famous law firm set up a court case against the State of the Netherlands, accusing the Dutch State of not honoring the September 2015 EU agreement.

The court determined among other things:
-that the obligations for the EU member states deriving from the EU Council decisions of September 2015 still stand,
- that these EU Council decisions, other than the Dutch State has argued, also pertain to refugees arriving after the EU-Turkey deal;
- that it is to be expected that the Dutch State will take in more refugees if the numbers of refugees will increase in the coming months, as a result of which by the end of September 2017 it may be concluded that the State has fulfilled its obligations.

In other words: the Dutch State is wrong where it claims that it is not obliged to take in refugees that have arrived after the EU-Turkey deal, and the Dutch State — with the increasing numbers of refugees arriving now from both Greece and Italy — has to increase the number of refugees it takes in.


- We demand that the Danish Immigration Service reopen Zarmena’s case and grant her residence!
- We demand that Denmark stops all deportations to Afghanistan!
- We demand that Danish doctors live up to their Hippocratic oath and the instructions of the Medical Association, and refuse to assist in deportations!

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We appreciate all contribution and strive for accuracy and collaboration. Please direct your feedback, corrections and information you wish to share to: areyousyrious@gmail.com or message us on Facebook

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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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