AYS Daily News Digest 18/12/18: Lifeline ship captain Claus-Peter Reisch again faces trial in Malta

Human Rights Watch files report on border violence in Evros// Paris protest against handling of refugees and unaccompanied minors//Centre for Peace Studies files complaint over illegal pushbacks//

Photo by Mission Lifeline

Claus-Peter Reisch was again on trial on charges of using the Lifeline boat in Maltese waters without proper registration or license and of entering Malta illegaly after the rescue of 234 refugees. Reisch was finally able to defend himself on Tuesday, stating that he checked the ships certificate which explains that Lifeline owns the vessel, and is marked with a Dutch flag registered in Amsterdam as the home port.

Reisch further explained that he asked for a port of safety: “This could not be in Libya because there is no port of safety”.

After the permission to disembark in Mata “we were given a berth & the Maltese doctors came onboard. Nobody from the disembarkation came to check our documents. We just did a very ordinary check-in procedure (…) the Maltese authorities ordered me to enter the Maltese port. They organised a berth and prepared it all before. My only intention was to find a port of safety. It’s not up to me to chose and I have to follow the instructions without choice”.

Boat arrives to Samos

Photo provided by City Plaza

Aegean Boat report says a boat with 44 people was picked up outside Samos by Frontex. The Samos hotspot is now at 4,000 people, six times above its capacity according to Refugee Support Aegean.

Activist receives 17-month suspended sentence

20minutos reports the Spanish activist and trade unionist Lola Gutiérrez was sentenced on Tuesday in Athens to a suspended sentence of 17 months, for attempted smuggling of persons and use of improper documentation, after trying to help a refugee minor leave the country in 2016. Her lawyer Panayiotis Papayeoryiu said “it’s a very low penalty, just our target. The judge has accepted the humanitarian motives that led Lola to act like this”. A solidarity gathering took place in front of the court that same day.

Photo by City Plaza

Border violence in Evros

Human Rights Watch says Greek law enforcement officers at the land border with Turkey in the northeastern Evros region routinely summarily return asylum seekers and migrants. The officers in some cases use violence and often confiscate and destroy the migrants’ belongings. HRW interviewed 26 refugees. Of those, twelve said police or unidentified forces accompanying the police stripped them of their possessions. Seven said police or unidentified forces took their clothes or shoes and forced them back to Turkey in their underwear, sometimes at night in freezing temperatures.

International day of migrants in Paris

A rally took place on Tuesday for the international day of migrants in Paris, to protest against rising nationalism and in memory of all those who died while trying to reach Europe. Banners were also installed in front of the Red Cross, where minors are being evaluated and often rejected, forcing them to continue living in the streets.

Photo by Accceuil de Merde
Photo by SAJE.

Food and hygiene item distributions continue everyday for minors waiting near the Croix Rouge. You can help these distributions by contributing here.

Protest agains living conditions in detention centre

Photo by Susane Schwicker

A demonstration took place in front of the UN, asking for human rights to be respected in deportations centers. It specifically asked for the closure of the Sjaelsmark deportation center and worries about the well-being of children and young people in particular, given the lack of edible food, the exposure to the sound of gunfire from the military base nearby, the unhyiegnic conditions and the freezing temperatures. This demonstration is a follow-up on the demostrations in front of parliament, the immigration office and the Red Cross that took place of the last 45 days.

Centre for Peace Studies files complaint over illegal pushbacks

The Centre for Peace Studies filed a complaint to the State Attorney, urging them to examine the evidence in the recently documented and widely published case of mass expulsion by the Croatian police. Border Violence Monitoring had published more than 130 recordings, showing illegal and often violent pushbacks by Croatian police into Bosnian territory. Asja Korbar from Are You Syrious was a guest at the regional TV station N1, speaking about the recent expulsions. Korbar notes that organisations have warned of illegal and increasingly violent return of refugees from the Croatian territory since 2016 and criticises that the refugees’ cases are not assessed individually, but that they are collectively returned to the territory of another state.

Photo by Border Violence Monitoring

Dunja Mijatovic, Council for Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, says:

“I cannot but reiterate my recommendation to the authorities to treat migrants entering the country in line with international standards and to ensure that those wishing to enter the country can do so safely”

UNHCR Croatia stated:

“UNHCR takes allegations of excessive use of force by the police very seriously. We have shared our concerns with the Croatian authorities and have urged them to investigate all reported cases, and to refrain from the use of force”

Temperatures continue to drop

In Croatia, the highest daily temperatures will be from 0 to 11 degrees while the lowest temperatures will be from -12 to -4 in BiH. In Serbia, gog is expected in some parts of the country, while the lowest temperatures will reach from -10 to -3.

We strive to echo correct news from the ground through collaboration and fairness.

Every effort has been made to credit organizations and individuals with regard to the supply of information, video, and photo material (in cases where the source wanted to be accredited). Please notify us regarding corrections.

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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