AYS Daily Digest 09/07/17: Afghan refugee deported from Austria, will not receive financial support

What will become of the refugees from Mosul? / An urgent call for help from a makeshift camp in Lebanon / Sea rescue operation working in Greece reports harassment, impossible demands from authorities / Another refugee was beaten senseless by Croatian police / Porte de la Chapelle refugees relocated, newcomers take their place / Gay Ukrainian refugee on hunger strike goes silent / New report on hotspots in Greece and Italy / And more news…

Ahmad Shamsi’s future remains unclear.


Ahmad Shamsi is an Afghan man who found himself deported from Austria on July 5. Ahmad’s story is unfortunately all too common — refugees from Afghanistan find themselves in a particularly precarious position in the EU. After making the long journey spanning thousands of kilometers, hoping to escape the bloodshed and the trauma of living in a country that has been embroiled in a non-stop state of war for nearly four decades, they find that they are looked upon with great suspicion. Afghanistan continues to be classified as a “safe country” by the EU, meaning that authorities are comfortable rejecting the second largest refugee group in Europe with impunity. Following May’s deadly Kabul attack which left over 150 dead and several hundred more casualties, countries such as Germany, faced with a blow to their narrative of the safe country, temporarily paused deportations, while reaffirming its commitment to the policy as a whole.


As Mosul is liberated from ISIS’ grip, refugees’ future is uncertain

Mosul has officially been liberated. The ISIS presence has been purged from the city, and the Iraqi prime minister has set foot into the city to signal to the world that Iraq is ready to return to normalcy. But over this joyful occasion hangs an uncomfortable question, namely, what is to happen to the refugees from the region? According to the IOM, a total of 821,838 people were displaced over the course of the 9 month long battle to retake the city. Presumably, these people would like to return home, but where exactly are their homes? For many, what had once been their home is now reduced to rubble, as the battle for Mosul took a very heavy toll on the city’s infrastructure. Only time will tell what lies in store for the locals, but one thing is certain: rebuilding efforts will span for many years to come.


Urgent call for assistance at a makeshift camp in Lebanon!

Those with experience and connections encouraged to help. Recently, several volunteer groups were contacted regarding the plight of an unofficial camp of refugees in Lebanon. According to the post, around 250 families are in the area and are in urgent need of clothing, food, water, and other basic amenities. Included are some photos of the location.


Hunger strike on Lesvos continues

The hunger strike in Moria camp on Lesvos continues today for the 11th day. Arash Hampay as always has posted an update on the situation.

The report of a participant in the strike

“Refugee Rescue” releases press release accusing Greek authorities, Frontex, of harassment

In a press release published yesterday, Refugee Rescue, an organization performing sea rescue operations, accused Greek authorities and Frontex of stifling their work, a practice which threatens the lives of refugees stranded at sea. The organization is fined for sending their boat to perform a rescue operation, because they are somehow expected to release a report 24 hours ahead of time making their intentions clear. Given that the very nature of search and rescue operations is very unpredictable, and a help call may come in at any minute, this amounts in all intents and purposes on a prohibition to perform the operations. The report goes as far as to allege that members of the organization have at one point been threatened with a firearm.

Smuggling operations increasingly turn to teenagers as drivers

Ekathemerini reported today that smuggling operations bringing refugees from Turkey to Greece are increasingly relying on minors to perform the deed. Over the last two months, there have been at least four arrests of minor drivers bringing refugees to Greece. According to police sources, this practice increases the risks associated with smuggling, as younger people are more likely to be inexperienced drivers.


Police senselessly beat refugee, push him back to Serbia

Team Rigardu sent us another report about police violence at the border between Croatia and Serbia.


Gay asylum seeker on hunger strike goes silent

LGBT Asylum Support has voiced concerns about the health of a gay asylum seeker from Ukraine who has been in hunger strike for seven days now, after not having had contact with him since Friday. The asylum seeker, Ilya Kordi, is detained in the Immigration Detention Center in Soesterberg and is only allowed contact his lawyer and LGBT Asylum Support for five minutes per day.


Belgian Kitchen in need of volunteers!

Belgian Kitchen is an organization which regularly feeds over 400 refugees living on the streets of Brussels. However, their team is currently stretched very thin, and they would greatly appreciate help from anybody who is available. If you are able to work with the organization for at least five days, please email clare@care4calais.org for further information.


Refugees at Porte de la Chapelle in Paris relocated, people once again gather anew

Since Friday, refugees currently living on the streets of Porte de la Chapelle are being relocated to French reception centers. While many French reception centers responsible for housing refugees from Calais have had a very bad track record and many complaints were made, one can only hope that this latest batch of refugees will find that the conditions have been improved.


Sea-Watch opens fundraiser to repair ship


Report provides an update on the situation in hotspots in Greece and Italy

Updated reports on the situation in Italy and Greece have been released by The Dutch Council for Refugees in partnership with ECRE, the Italian Council for Refugees (CIR), the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) and Pro Asyl. 181.000 people including a large number of unaccompanied children have been moved to hotspots in Sicily and the overall number of people moved to hotspots have increased by 33% between January and April 2017, including a significant number of unaccompanied minors. A New law aiming at improving conditions of unaccompanied minors; including a ban on border rejections and returns, establishing a list of legal guardians and extending health care was approved in March 2017.

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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