AYS DIGEST 09/12: Hungary treats refugees even more inhumanely

The Hungarian government is moving refugees from shelters to freezing cold tents. The EU wants to tighten Turkey deal. Italy threatens to block EU budget. Greece winterizes camps on the mainland but facing more arrivals on the islands. IOM resettled 20 000 refugees from Turkey. Paris in dire need of support. Milano municipality is looking for families to host homeless people.

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Welcome to your new shelter. Credits: Migszol

Feature

Hungary did a lot in 2015 and 2016 to discourage refugees from entering the country. There has been a raise of border fences, tighter crossing restrictions and hunts on human beings, just to name a few things. While the temperatures are dropping below zero, authorities reportedly started to move protection seekers to tent camps. “No food, all the immigration officers had to tell us was that they know the conditions are not good […] that we are free to go to the Austrian border, which is not far from here,” Open Borders cites from a message.

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Goodbye Bicske. Credits: Migszol

Migszol confirmed reports, that refugees have been moved from Bicske reception centers to a tent camp. While it was known, that the camp will close until the end of the year, the clearing was surprising and unannounced. One group of 23 people was transferred to Körmend camp, 20 to Kiskunhalas and 20 to Balassagyarmat. “ In some cases, people were asked to sign a document that they agreed to be transferred to another camp but no translation was provided” the report reads. In the Körmend people were given wood to start a fire and get at least some warmth.

GENERAL

EU wants to tighten Turkey agreement

Yesterday the European Commission’s recommendation to come back to Dublin deportations to Greece made big waves. What has been nearly unseen, Pro Asyl stressed today: In it’s recommendation the Commission also wants to tighten the Turkey agreement. “ Refugees with family members in Europe and vulnerable groups (children, pregnant women, etc.) will be threatened by deportation to Turkey. Brussels has prompted Greece to tighten existing legislation in this sense. According to Greek law these especially vulnerable refugee groups on the Greek islands are not subject to the so-called admissibility procedure and thus not in danger of being sent back to Turkey,” Pro Asyl says. They also state, that the suggested Dublin deportations to Greece would be against European law and the Convention of Human Right, as European courts ruled in 2011.

New numbers from IOM

According to IOM data by 9th December there have been 352 471 arrivals by sea in 2016 (Greece and Italy). 4 733 were officially dead or missing.

Italy threatens to block EU budget

Seeing that eastern European countries like Poland, Hungary or Slovakia refuse to take any muslim refugees, Italy threatend to block further EU budget talks, the Greek newspaper Kathimerini reports. Usually these countries receive millions of Euros from EU funds for example to improve their infrastructure. “It is very important that there is a common agreement, which is what we still don’t have now,” said the Slovak minister, Robert Kalinak, at the last meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels. Slovakia has the presidency of the bloc at the moment.

Greece

In the camp Alexandria 25 containers have been delivered as the camp authorities are preparing the arrival of more than 100 new residents. The organization Refugee Support Greece is additionally going to donate an upgrade with welcome packages including kettles, washing up bowls, blankets and other crucial items.

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Credits: Refugee Support Greece

Also in Lagadikia authorities are winterizing the camp. Tents have been replaced by containers. UNHCR says it’s working on eight sites to remove the tents and set up containers (Nea Kavala, Alexandria, Diavata, Filipiada, Lagkadikia, Katsikas, Stylida and Schisto). Some 1 000 prefab houses have been set up and 2 600 people accomodated. Another 15 sites will receive improved infrastructure. But there are far more camps, where people still have to face the cold without sufficient protection. By now AYS didn’t get any reports of improvements in the camps around Thessaloniki like Softex, Vasilika or Oreokastro.

The Refugee.Info Team has published information about refugees on Greek islands having to apply for asylum there, but not allowed to move to the mainland on their own. “The Greek Asylum Service will have to tell the police. The police will detain you and take you back to the island.” If you know residents of the islands, please inform them not to try. The whole asylum application process will be handled on the island. News that Moves also published a new document with current rumors.

Meanwhile on the islands there have been no new registrations today (7.30 am). But there were new arrivals. While media reported, some 200 refugees, mostly from North Africa, arrived on Lesvos within three hours, volunteers counted 142 on four boats. On Chios 65 new arrivals were counted. Greek Minister of Migration suggested to move African refugees from islands to mainland and detain them.

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Amygdaleza detention center. Credits: Chios Refugees InfoPoint

On Samos the funeral of a man took place, who died after a heart attack earlier this week. He was laid to rest in a graveyard here in Samos island.

Switzerland

Switzerland will accept 2000 Syrian refugees in the next two years, swissinfo.ch reports. Authorities want to focus on vulnerable people who fled to neighbouring countries but are not allowed to stay there. Additionally to the 6 000 CHF per person 12 000 CHF (11 800 Euro) will provided for the integration. Back in spring 2015 the government agreed to take some 3 000 refugees under UNHCR’s resettlement programme and the European Union’s relocation scheme.
On the other hand Switzerland wants to tighten its measures against unfounded asylum requests. With only two percent (less than 30 000) asylum applications made all over Europe the country saw the lowest quota since 20 years.

Turkey

IOM Turkey moved some 20 000 people from Turkey so far this year. For the resettlement program Turkey is the third largest country after Lebanon and Jordan.

France

According to a report refugees in Reception and Orientation Centres (CAO) are facing increased pressure to apply for asylum. In Cazères, between Toulouse and the Spanish border, and Nimes, where mostly women live, threats were being made to evict them from the center or to deport them to their home country.

The situation in Paris is once more worsening,

there have been several crackdowns. But the number of refugees sleeping in the rough streets is increasing again. If you are able to support them with tents, sleeping bags, emergency blankets or winter clothes/supplies, please get in touch with Care4Calais. As volunteers on the ground in Paris don’t have capacity to store items, Care4Calais is sending them aid regularily.

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Credits: Care4Calais

Missing persons in France

During the eviction of the Calais jungle Amad Ibrahim SAHIT, a 16 year old Afghan boy, got seperated from his mother. She is still searching him, by now without any results. Also the two young brothers of 9 and 11 years old, Sharbat KHAN SHINWARI and Babor KHAN SHINWARI, from Afghanistan, are still missing their brother. If you have any information about these minors please contact the +33 1 44 43 12 63, Monday to Friday (except bank holidays) from 9:00am to 12:00pm and 2:00pm to 6:00pm (contact of the tracing family members service of the French Red Cross).

Austria

An Algerian refugee was severely injured Wednesday night on the train tracks near Salzburg, Austria. Probably he was walking along the tracks when he was hit by a passing train. The refugee did not have legal status in Austria. An increasing number of refugees is found in and around freight trains in Austria. Monday night, six Africans were discovered in Wörgl, Tyrol. Two had to be hospitalized due to hypothermia. Two nights ago 11 persons were arrested in Tyrol who entered Austria irregularly on cargo trains.

Germany

Germany launched an aid program of 150 million Euros to support rejected asylum seekers starting a new life in their home countries. “For the next three years, we will put aside €50 million a year for this return programme”, federal minister Gerd Müller told Augsburger Allgemeine, a German daily. But the programme will be only provided to Iraqis, Afghans and refugees from the balkan countries.

Germany deported more than 19 000 refugees until September 2016, most of them from/to the Balkan countries, 3 500 based on Dublin regulations. Almost 50 000 asylum seekers have left Germany voluntarily. Only 27 Afghans have been deported. Their current protection rate is 52%. 281 North African refugees have been deported. Their acceptance rate as refugees is rather low (around 6%). Last year, 13 000 refugees from these countries came to Germany. North African refugees have been controversially discussed in the media after the incidents of sexual harassment at New Year’s Eve in Cologne. They tend to have a rather higher crime rate compared to other refugee groups. Reasons for non-deportations are missing papers, countries of origin won’t take them back, sickness or marriage with Germans. From January to November, 723 027 new applications for asylum were submitted overall (+70% — though many of these persons entered Germany in the previous year and it took so long for them to get able to officially submit their application). 305 000 first registrations of refugees have been recorded into the EASY system in Germany. 615 527 cases were decided during the current year, while 491 000 are still pending. The overall protection rate of asylum seekers in Germany has raised to 63%.

The German state of Bavaria has passed a controversial law. While it includes some extra funding for refugees in schools and language courses for immigrants, it also forces the refugees to respect the “dominant” local culture that “all of Bavaria is shaped by homegrown customs, traditions and practices”. The new law was passed by 95 votes to 47 after a record 16-hour debate. It only affects Bavaria, not the other 15 federal states.

Italy

Tonight, 11 people slept on the sidewalk of Tiburtina Station, wrapped in tens of blankets and sleeping bags, anyway in the freezing and humid weather. The cold turns them sick: fever, cold, sore throat.
Notwithstanding the efforts by the Operational Room, no places have been found, there is none, while the arrivals keep up increasing. A lot of people came yesterday, men and adolescents. We need to face this issue, landings keep going.
In this condition, it has become difficult for us to receive them. We need to set up a first receiving point close to Tiburtina Station immediately, endowed with social, health and legal assistance; working with the prefecture and the police headquarters to provide asylum seeking procedures to be activated for all the people who want to do it. Waiting for more structured measures, this is the least to be done now.

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Credits: Baobab Experience

Milan Municipality is looking for families available to host homeless people.

Its website just published an official ad active up to 9th January, targeting families residing or currently settled in Milan, able to provide a free room for the guest, along with the use of the bathroom or a dedicated one. The family would receive a total reimbursement for food and hosting, equals to 350 euro per month. If more than one person is hosted, the reimbursement would not go beyond 400 euro per family. The hosting duration would be of at least 6 months, possibly to be prolonged according to each situation. The project will start next January, after the successful experience with five people with international protection, in order to support any person in a severe homeless situation, out of job and with family members in other countries. In this way, the guest would regain gradually personal autonomy. The municipality will supervise the whole process, the families will be followed. This is based on the previous experiment, started in January 2016. Five families hosted migrants, with resulting improved relationships, individual growth and social inclusion.

13 740 migrants arrived in Italy in November 2016,

most of them from Nigeria and Guinea. This is what Frontex reports, observing the score is half of the arrivals in October 2016, but also four times the ones arrived in November 2015. The total of migrants undertook the Mediterranean migration route during the first 11 months of 2016 is now 173 thousand, about one fifth more than the same period in 2015.

According to this newspaper article, 60 refugees (mainly from Eritrea) tried to jump on freight trains Wed/Thu night at Brenner (border between Italy and Austria). Most of them were held up by the railway police, though some managed to get on the train. 4 refugees already have died during the last days trying to get further North by jumping on freight trains.

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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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