AYS DIGEST DOUBLE FEATURE 09–10/10 — America condemns the brutal attack that killed at least 140 in Yemen, but let’s not forget who supplies the weapons.

Today 1500 children enrolled in afternoon school programs in Greece, but over 18,000 still await placement/ New routes from Turkey emerging / Schedule change for those who have appointments on 12th of December / With the cold and rain here again, donations needed in Greece, France and Hungary / Kelebija community center coming along / France mkes a list of children living in the Jungle — which Britain has previously called upon them to do as a condition of accepting them into the UK / 100 people rescued off the coast of Spain on Saturday

The aftermath of Saturday’s attack. Photo Credit; AFP

Feature: Yemen

The Saudi coalition’s intervention in Yemen began on March 26 after Houthi rebels rose up against the internationally-backed Hadi government. While the Saudis are the driving force behind the attacks, the coalition also includes the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, and Sudan. The US and Britain, although not members of the coalition, back its efforts, and have provided personnel in the control room to aid the coalition in its guiding of airstrikes. But perhaps more importantly, the two countries are the main suppliers of weapons which enable these atrocities to go on.

The US has condemned the attack and has warned that its cooperation with the coalition is ‘is not a blank check.’ What does this mean in practice? As recently as August, the US agreed to sell the Saudis over 1 billion dollars worth of weapons. The action passed through Congress in September largely unopposed. This latest deal starts is only a drop in the bucket, though, given that the US has authorized over 22 billion dollars’ worth of weapons sales to the Saudis since March 2015. Officials within the State Department themselves admit that the coalition’s airstrikes are largely indiscriminate and account for massive loss of life. So why then does the aid continue to flow?

The UK is no better. In the aftermath of the attack, the Conservative government has said that it will not halt its weapon flow into Saudi Arabia, and that it will continue to support the coalition and its relationship with Saudi Arabia. The country has sold 4 billion dollars' worth of weapons to the Saudis since the bloody intervention.

Rarely a week passes without news of a new atrocity coming out of Yemen. Saturday’s attack has caused the most damage thus far, but it’s hardly unique. Horrific reports of egregious offenses have surfaced since the very beginnings of the campaign. The Guardian reported on September 15 that the coalition is responsible for 8,600 air strikes since the beginning of the intervention, of which at least 3,158 hit non-military sites, including schools, hospitals, markets, and mosques. Some particularly notorious attackeds include the targetting of a market in Mastaba in March 2016 and a wedding in Al-Wahijah in September 2015, which killed at least 97 and 131 people respectively.

There are fears within the US government that its stout backing of Saudi efforts may constitute a war crime, and open up routes of legal action against it. Although US government lawyers have stopped short of reaching such a conclusion, the writing on the wall is clear. Reuters reports that one email references the results of the 2013 war crime ruling against Liberian president Charles Taylor. It does not need to be proven that the defendant participated in a particular crime to be deemed liable for war crimes. Simply, “practical assistance, encouragement, or moral support,” is sufficient.

Children in Lavirio camp going to school. Photo: Earth refugee

Feature: Greece

Regarding local resistance to refugee children attending schools, we do not have concrete information about how widespread these concerns are throughout Greece. According to reports, it does seem confined to small municipalities and villages in the north of the country. For example, in one of the villages in this region, police had to escort refugee children to the entrance. Parents protested outside the schools, shouted insults and horrible lies about their children being in danger of rape or diseases from those coming from the Middle East and Africa. Official government statements assure people of Greece that no child will be enrolled before it is vaccinated.

In comments to the state television network ERT on Sunday, Education Minister Nikos Filis said, “Greek society is ready to embrace the children of refugees,” describing opposition by parents at some schools across the country as “isolated cases.” As for those that managed to get enrolled, Kathimerini reports that the Greek chapter of the International Organization for Migration commissioned 12 buses to transport refugee children from reception centers to local schools.

In order to not paint an overly dark picture of the current situation, we bring you footage from one of Greek schools where teachers and students wholeheartedly welcomed their new schoolmates. Beware, such lovely solidarity can bring a bit of a tear in your eye.

Children and teachers welcome their new students and schoolmates organization Together for Better Days report: “Today was a big day for the children of Elpida — their 1st day at Greek school! They arrived to children and teachers clapping and wishing them a warm welcome. The local kids drew pictures for them. While there is still so much to be done for the thousands of refugee children living in terrible conditions around Europe, this is a moment of light in the darkness. Well done Greece! Thank you for taking care of these kids in a beautiful way. The feedback was overall very positive and they are excited to go back tomorrow.”
“We should all love each other!” says the heart
“⁠⁠⁠Can I have a pencil please?” says one child
“Yes, why not, here you go!” says the other
“Welcome to our country. “

As the organization Together for Better Days reports: “Today was a big day for the children of Elpida — their 1st day at Greek school! They arrived to children and teachers clapping and wishing them a warm welcome. The local kids drew pictures for them. While there is still so much to be done for the thousands of refugee children living in terrible conditions around Europe, this is a moment of light in the darkness. Well done Greece! Thank you for taking care of these kids in a beautiful way. The feedback was overall very positive and they are excited to go back tomorrow.”

Syria

Russia vetoed Security Council resolution to end flights over Aleppo, offers its own alternative.

Turkey

WARNING: Refugees in Istanbul are being targeted by burglars!

“FOR YOUR SAFETY, SYRIANS ETC. IN ISTANBUL PLEASE SHARE:

Burglaries in Istanbul: there seems to be a rise in burglaries and robberies, and it seems that these burglars and robbers are also targeting Syrians and especially non-Turkish speakers.

Definitely Syrians should stay away in or be very careful in: Aksaray, Taksim, Tarlabaşı, and Dolapdere.

The offenders know there is little to no help provided for non Turkish or non- Turkish speaking people.

PLEASE SHARE AND KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR BELONGINGS.
THIS INFO COMES FROM AN INFORMED RELIABLE SOURCE. TAKE IT SERIOUSLY PLEASE.”

Greece

Refugee woman who landed in Lesvos calls her loved ones to let them know that she safely made the crossing. Photo Credit: Giorgos Kosmopoulos

New routes from Turkey emerging

160 new arrivals today

In the week of October 3–8, 678 people arrived on the islands, a daily average of 93. The daily average for the month of September was 98.3 arrivals daily, showing a slight decrease. The specific totals for this week’s arrivals are as follows:

Lesvos: 104
Chios: 378
Samos: 325
Leros: 4
Kos: 9
Kalymnos: 17

Refugees stranded in Greece celebrate a wedding. Photo Credit: Abdulaziz Dukhan

Important: schedule change for appointments on the 12th of December

Cold and rain coming again.

Please donate if you are able to.

Softex
Softex

Serbia

Kelebija community center

Kelebija cultural community center
Kelebijy cultural community center

Info Park is forced to evacuate the park following permit cancellation.

Needless to say, this is an extremely cruel decision. Itremains unclear what will become of the refugees currently in Belgrade.

Hungary

Donations needed on the border

“With the help of SOS Children’s Villages Hungary, clothes and other donations were delivered to the people waiting in front of the Tompa Transit Zone, which were gladly accepted by the refugees. The circumstances at Tompa are still bad, and the situation is further worsened by the difficult accessibility of the camp and the ever colder weather. We could fulfill most needs and requests so far from the supplies of MigSzol Szeged and our cooperating partners, such as SOS Children’s Villages, but different Serbian civilian and governmental organizations (such as MSF, UNHCR Serbia, Serbian Red Cross, the Serbian Government’s Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, along with other local and international associations) also provide a lot of help.”

France

No country for children — France made a list, Britain to act on it

Jungle, February this year

As the stories of Jungle demolition increase, France has urged Britain to take up its responsibilities and relocate unaccompanied minors with family ties in the U.K. There are estimated 1,000 unaccompanied children in the Jungle with 178 whose proven family connections in thr U.K. make them directly eligible for relocation. As per usual, however, action is slow, with both Britain and France accusing the other of not doing enough.

In a move to speed up the process, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve stated today that the French government has prepared a list of children for relocation, a list that Britain has previously claimed France was slow to make. British home secretary Amber Rudd said today, “The UK government has made clear its commitment to resettle vulnerable children under the Immigration Act and ensure that those with links to the UK are brought here using the Dublin regulation.” Rudd also indicated that the Red Cross would be involved in resettlement operations.

We will wait to see if this list ever reached the home secretary’s hands and whether children will be relocated in due time. We can only hope that all these words will lead to decisive action on behalf of these innocent children.

The Jungle still exists, and needs volunteers and donations

A man and a woman die trying to reach U.K.

Troubles in Dunkirk

U.K.

Collect at your local garage and send it out into the world — call for donations from U.K.

“There are containers of aid leaving from across the nation that desperately need your support. We don’t have enough aid. Help fill containers by running a small local collection. It is an easy way to contribute. You don’t need a warehouse. If you can run a collection we can place the aid — you will not be sat with it for long. A van network is happy to collect goods (not just a couple of bags) but a room or Garage full. Winter is coming and refugees are more vulnerable this year than ever before. Think snow and sub zero temperatures. Children shoes and boots — all sizes — high quality — Box by size, tie with strong elastic band. Adult winter shoes and boots — all sizes — high quality — Box by size, tie with strong elastic band. Children clothes kits — underwear, trousers, vests, T-shirts, jumpers — by age i.e. 2–3 3–4 through to Teenage. Warm adults winter clothing — same as children. Kits preferred but not essential. Sized as S/M/L/XL. Hats, gloves, scarves. Sleeping bags, blankets, duvets, mattresses. Rugs, camping mats…”

Spain

Spanish route still active — 100 people rescued on Saturday

For a video of the rescue follow this link.

Daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store