AYS Daily Digest 6/8: Tightening of borders in Bulgaria and arrests of refugees

Yusra Mardini is a hero of the day. She came first in women 100m butterly at the Olympics in Rio. Some future Olympic winners are maybe arrested or stranded inside the European rules and borders, that are becoming even more strict. Police officer hurt in fight in Chios. Joint action between three countries to arrest human traffickers. Warning from Serbia — uncertain autumn and winter are coming

Yustra Mardini — The golden girl. Photo Olympics.

Go girl!

For a long time we did not have a chance to open our daily digest with something truly beautiful. Tonight, we are happy to congratulate to Yusra Mardini, a Syrian swimmer who came first in women’s 100m butterfly with a time of 1:09.21 at her first Olympic games.

The end of Aleppo siege

Another good news is coming from Syria. Acording to the various news media, as well as sources in Aleppo, the siege of the city has ended.

Police officer injured in Chios

“As long as these people remain trapped on the Greek island, we will continue to witness such incidents every day. The situation is tense and no one knows what is to come,” said a police officer from Chios.

Medical staff needed

ECO Project is looking for medical staff to work along them to to create a structure for medical care and first aid. They need medical staff or teams in order to keep it running constantly. The team is near Vasilika camp.

Smile agains borders

Contaminando Sonrisas, went on tour and visited several military camps, houses occupy and settlements not controlled by the state, where they met thousands of people who are hoping to find safe heaven. What they found is rather desperate picture of inhuman conditions people are left to live in. They were shocked by the conditions in the outskirts of Athens where up to 3.800 people are living in the streets. “No trees, just asphalt and barracks… this is horrible, heinous, inhuman.”

Photo by Cntaminando Sorisas.

“And you know friends. don’t stop talking about us of them and the independent projects that day to day fight for that situation of the people in transit. Little by little we’re building alternatives, ties and friendships. They share a common purpose: to knock down the borders, both physical and mental.”

Help needed in Oinofyta camp

Kerrie Moor, an volunteer, shared info about situation in Oinofyta Camp. We wrote about it in details in our special report, but we are adding some new info.

Current volunteering opportunities in Athens (beginning August 1)


Help needed in Serbia

Number of refugees arriving to Belgrade is still increasing. According to the Info Park, lots of vulnerable people with a very little or no protection at all, children, women, minors, returnees from Hungarian border, wounded or injured, desperate and stranded grown ups, are in the city. From their FB page we read warning: “We are heading to a very unpredictable autumn and winter. They are just around the corner…”

Photo by Miksaliste. Lunch time in Miksaliste daily center.

New structures at the border with Hungary

Today we got info from the Timber Project team who just finished building a wifi and phone charging shelter for iHo in Kelebija refugee camp. On Monday, the learning centre and women’s space, which will be handed over to iHo to run and develod, should be finished too.

Photo by Timber project team.


Volunteers and human right lawyers — be alert

More arrestes in Bulgaria. This time, 15 foreigner withouth identity documents were arrested near the town of Tsarevo, on the border with Turkey. Apparently, refugees were found in a car which police stopped for inspection on a road linking Tsarevo with the village of Lozenets on Friday. All of the people who were arrested claimed to be Iraqi citizens. The 23-year old Bulgarian driver of the vehicle was detained, too and police have launched criminal proceedings over people smuggling against him.

Frontex at the border

At the same time, Frontex announced they will strengthen its activities at Bulgaria’s borders with Turkey and Serbia. This decision came after Bulgarian government asked for help.

“In the coming weeks, Frontex will deploy border surveillance officers, patrol cars, thermo-vision vans and dog teams to the land border with Turkey,” Berndt Koerner, deputy executive director of the European border management agency said. “At the same time, border surveillance will also be reinforced at the Bulgarian-Serbian border.”

Fronted will also strengthen its presence at the border crossing points.


Cruelly ironic situation

The situation with refugees in Hungary or at the border with Serbia is not getting any better. The Migszol organization issued an update on the general asylum situation between 4th July — 4th August 2016.

“The 8km law, that we wrote about earlier, took effect on the 5th of July. According to the legislation, anyone who is caught within 8m on the Hungarian side of the border fence may be “escorted” back to the Serbian side of the fence. This legalizes the pushback of people to the Serbian side and severely restricts people’s right to seek asylum. In practice, those caught and pushed back are not given a chance to ask for asylum, which is contrary to international law. We find it cruelly ironic that at the same time the Fidesz government claims that the border fence is working, the Hungarian authorities are cutting holes to this fence in order to push people back to the Serbian side. The results of the law have been catastrophic: the number of people waiting at the transit zone to apply for asylum at the border has doubled. There is no legal help available, civilian volunteers and activists have limited access, and the living conditions are abysmal.”

For more, please visit their website.


Joint police action against human smuggling

In a coordinated operation, police in Italy, Hungary and Slovenia arrested four people who they believe could be connected with the smuggling of people into Italy from the Balkans. Two people were arrested in northern Italy, one in Budapest and one in Maribor. All four are charged with criminal conspiracy and aiding and abetting clandestine migration.

NoBorder radio

Radio NoBorder is at Como where about 400 people are stuck on their way to Swiss. They established a post for cellular recharge. They will soon start to broadcast. Follow them online at radionoborder.net

Photo by NoBorder.


Generous gift from Xavi

And today, we finish with a sport. The former Barcelona football player Xavi donated his yacht to the Proactivia Open Arms (POA), a non-governmental organization helping refugees. Xavi, who now plays for Qatari club Al Sadd SC, works with POA who is helping to people trying to reach Europe by sea. The yacht will be auctioned and all the money will go to POA’s work in the Mediterranean.

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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