AYS Daily News Digest 28/10: Political ping-pong comes at a high cost to the most vulnerable

A year after the Aegean tragedy, NATO expanding its mission in the Aegean sea / AI investigation proves Greece forced illegal returns of Syrians to Turkey / Röszke11 Ahmad H. trial a symbol of absurd extent of criminalizing refugees / Calais evacuation plan reveals itself as a failure and danger for the youngest refugees / France and the UK continue dispute over the responsibility for the Jungle minors / Croatia continues receiving “Dublin” deportations from EU countries

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A young Calais resident during the Jungle evacuation (Photo credit: Art Against)

SEA

In spite of a general, deliberate lack of action — still saving lives accross the Mediterranean, one year later

Even though this is a tough day for all of us, I look back at the bravery of so many individuals and I am proud to know them all and want to offer our thanks for them putting their lives on hold to be here and to answer the plea for help. Our thoughts are with all those lost and our hearts are with their families and loved ones. Sadly the sea has claimed 3930 people since January 2016, this is the human cost of #FortressEurope.
We and others remain here and will continue to help suffering human beings forced to make the treacherous and sometimes fatal journey to a safer life.

Proactiva Open Arms team remembering October 28 2015 when 4 of their team members went to the Aegean sea around Lesvos in an attempt to save as many lives. Too many were lost that day. They claim they could multiply the official numbers of that day at least by 6 and still they might do wrong to the number of the victims. It has been a year and the same is happening all along the Mediterranean. It is not right. There is no justice in such deliberate lack of action. — We thank the Proactiva Open Arms team and all other brave women and men who took matters into their own hands and those seeking a refuge into their boats, leading people in the Mediterranean to safety for more than a year now ….

NATO expanding its mission in Aegean

GREECE

Greece forced illegal returns to Turkey

We reported about these cases, which have now drawn the attention of major organizations: the UNHCR expressed “serious concern” over the handling and whereabouts of the people. Amnesty International has also seen official documents recording the intention to apply for asylum for eight members of this group and is investigating two additional cases of individuals returned on the same flight.

This is at best incompetence, and at worst a cynical attempt by authorities, under ever-growing pressure from the European Union, to remove Syrian refugees from the country at any cost.

— John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International

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Cold days arriving, camp Katsikas (Photo: Muhammad Ali)

Calls for volunteers

“ Calling all credentialed teachers, art therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, musicians, social work professionals, 1:1 educational aids , translators, sports coaches and basic volunteers with experience with children! We are a mobile schoolhouse and art and play center that delivers all services through a lens of trauma informed care.”
Exceptions to minimum time requirements can be made if you are available during this window. Please visit their Facebook page or website for more information and write schoolboxvolunteers@gmail.com with interest.

Samos: Samos Volunteers needs help to run multiple English classes in the camp at various levels, ranging from beginners all the way to advanced and they are growing everyday. Consider coming to help them keep up with the great demand for English lessons by submitting your application on their website.

Please check out the GreeceVol website to find all updates on volunteering needs and opportunities in Greece!

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Red Noses International mission in Greece has ended (Photo: Red Noses International)

HUNGARY

Unprecedented treatment by the authorities — international support and media attention needed

In the meantime, activists and many supporters are determined to use this time to raise awareness and protest against the unjust treatment of Ahmad, one of the 11 people arrested among the several thousands who protested the closed borders in September of last year. For more information on the case, follow the Migszol group.

Hungary’s vilification of refugees continues

FRANCE

PARIS

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Tents and sleeping places around the Stalingrad Metro station in Paris on the night from Thursday to Friday (Photo: Remy Buisine)

This Friday morning, the area was raided by the police, who were checking IDs and asylum papers of people who have been staying in tents in the cold streets. Afterwards, the people tried to set up their tents on the same messy and inhospitable ground again.

According to our sources, some refugees who seek asylum in France have been staying in such provisional camps in the city for six weeks now, but have been told there is not enough places to accommodate them in reception centres of the city. The city authorities claim the state has the responsibility to take care of these people, not the city of Paris. Reuters reports that Paris has plans to open two migrant centers that would host up to 1,000 people.

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The morning of Friday, October 28, in Paris (Photo: Rose Lecat)
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This Friday morning in Paris, an area that has a large number of women staying in the refugee tents (Photo: Rose Lecat)

CALAIS

Jungle evacuation — a systematic failure

“It’s disappointing to see this being reported as a ‘success’ when so many vulnerable children have been left behind and so many more have run away. We may never know where they’ve gone,” the Save the Children team warns.

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Calais Jungle demolition, day 4 (Photo: Abdul Afzali)

We knew when they told us it would take three days that this was far-fetched.
But we were given so many assurances that children would be prioritized, and we had to believe this and try to help the process work.
(…) Now, on Friday, I am left feeling confused. Why force a 5 day job into 3 days? Why not make sure children were out before bringing in the digger? Why put so many children in danger?
continue reading the reaction in a blog post by J. Willis of the RYS

Everything about this operation has put children in danger

Volunteers are calling on the UK and French government to urgently find a solution for hundreds of vulnerable children, sleeping on the street, next to the destroyed Jungle, for the 4th night in a row.

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Photo: Help Refugees

Dispersion of responsibility issue continues

We’ve done Britain’s work in tending to the adults. The least they can do is take care of the isolated minors (…).

— The head of Ofpra, France’s refugee agency

According to The Guardian, lawyers representing some of the children who are eligible to travel to the UK have expressed concern about their inability to contact children currently in the camp area. They warn that a few of these children have either left what remains of the camp to try their luck elsewhere in France, or have been dispersed by the French authorities even though their names are on a list to come to England.

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Photo: Legal Shelter — La Cabane Juridique

UK

British councils call on the Home Office to provide finances and help

Eight London councils (Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham and Redbridge) have reportedly written to the home secretary, Amber Rudd, calling on the Home Office to provide more financial and casework support to ensure they can properly care for unaccompanied refugee children arriving from France. Brent Council currently has 150 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in its care — one the highest number in London.

Despite the ongoing cuts to local government funding, we hope that other local authorities will follow the example set in Brent and make further provision to support these unaccompanied children. I am extremely proud that here in Brent we are continuing to play our part, providing support for those most in need. Our borough — the most culturally diverse in the country — has always welcomed people from across the world. — Brent Council’s cabinet member for children and young people

SERBIA

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Photo: Refugee Aid Miksalište

CROATIA

The daily movement of people in Croatia occurs in both directions: many people are still trying to travel through the country to reach other parts of Europe, while others have been sent back to Croatia from countries like Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, in accordance with the Dublin regulations. However, NGOs in Croatia are hoping that the recent case of suspended deportation from Austria could set a precedent that will prevent other deportation decisions from being carried out.

ITALY

“Fears cannot be fed by lies. Welcoming is a duty”

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Rome’s Baobab volunteers team and their refugee friends together on a guided tour of the historic city centre of Rome (Photo: Baobab Experience)

SYRIA

Nobody is keen on taking credits for deaths

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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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