AYS DAILY DIGEST 21.5.2016

Turkey is sending away poor and sick refugees but keeping well educated ones; children are being forced to work in factories. Refugee families evicted from their homes in Istanbul ahead of World Humanitarian Summit. Translators and law experts still urgently needed on Chios. Asylum seekers disappearing from Bulgaria and Macedonia in huge numbers. Refugees dying in desperate attempts to reach UK. After getting the asylum in England, 80% of them end up being homeless.

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Morad (11) and Hassan (14), both from Aleppo, forced to work in Turkish factories to support their refugee families; PHOTO: Cigdem Yuksel for de Volkskrant

TURKEY

Child labour rampant among Syrian refugees

Human Rights Watch has confirmed that child labour is ‘rampant’ among Syrian refugees, but there are no exact figures.

Almost all Syrians that I spoke to either had their own children working or knew of underage family members doing the same — said Stephanie Gee, a refugee program fellow at Human Rights Watch, for de Volkskrant

In all seven factories in the textile and shoe industry visited by de Volkskrant in the east Turkish city of Gaziantep last week, children were at work. Families in Gaziantep say that they need the extra income from their children, if only because the rents in the city keep rising with the influx of refugees: this city, with a population of 1.5 million, has seen half a million Syrians arrive over the past few years. According to UNICEF, before the war 99 per cent of Syrian children finished primary education and 80 per cent of them received some form of secondary education. Child labour was not at all common in Syria.

Refugee families evicted from Istanbul city centre ahead of World Humanitarian Summit

Istranbul press conference recording (Turkish only); VIDEO: Sınırsız Atölye

We have often witnessed refugees being taken from the city centers against their will to be placed in refugee camps. It is remarkable that these efforts of “sterilising” poor refugees from city centres and “cleaning the city image” coincide with the World Humanitarian Summit that will be held in Istanbul on the 23rd and 24th of May — says the statement sighed by 16 Turkish volunteer initiatives and NGO’s

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Eviction of Syrian families from Tarlabaşı neighbourhood on 10th of May: PHOTO: Ülkücü Medya

One such incident occured on 10th of May, Tuesday at 6.00 in the morning, when police and city police raided the homes of four Syrian families in Tarlabaşı (a neighbourhood in the Beyoğlu district in Istanbul), taking families with children and babies in microbuses with tinted windows. One day later, volunteers learned that they were sent to a camp in Osmaniye.

Ankara banning highly-skilled refugees from going to EU, sends away uneducated people

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Presenting the EU-Turkey deal two months ago: Did they really think it was going to work? PHOTO: New Europe

This all happens under the controversial EU-Turkey deal which is condemned by many individuals and NGO’s, including AYS, for being profoundly inhumane and degrading to the refugees, but also ineffective in tackling the crisis. This time we also want to condemn EU response to Turkish selective approach to their ping-pong deal. Saving lives of underpriviledged people seems to be of less interest then attracting highly educated refugees for both sides, and this debate is just exposing their hypocrisy.

GREECE

Translators, lawyers urgently needed on Chios

Little refugees of Lesvos learning to swim, equipment needed for swimming lessons

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Kids learning how to swim with Lifeguard Hellas Save & Rescue Team; PHOTO: Bikof Mania-Maria

Lifeguard Hellas Save & Rescue Team is running the “Swim safe — love the sea” project in Kara Tepe for the 300 kids that stay there. They need children’s swimming suits and props, but also volunteers who would support them in their learning process. You don’t have to be a lifeguard, but you need to be a good swimmer and good with kids, having in mind they have experienced severe trauma recently. Accommodation and logistics is provided by the team.

Heavy rain bringing more misery to the North

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Idomeni is covered in mud once again after heavy rain that pored since yesterday; PHOTO: Refugees.tv

BULGARIA

Refugees disappearing in huge numbers

MACEDONIA

Only 300 refugees still left in camps

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Children watching cartoons in a makeshift cinema in Tabanovce camp; PHOTO: Legis

ITALY

Only one Sicilian hotspot working properly, fears of mafia infiltration rising

Hotspots must remain centers of identification and not turn into detention centers. Otherwise we won’t be able to absorb the flow of migrants which is expected to increase in the coming months — said Federico Gelli of Democratic party after visiting Trapani today

The delegation also warned about the possibility of mafia infiltration in the hotspots, which could lead to further endangering refugees.

FRANCE

Refugees dying in attempts to reach UK

They said ‘look how we are living here, we are like animals. They all know someone who has been able to reach the UK so they still have hope. They know it’s tough but it’s possible. It’s nothing compared to what they have already been through — said Jihane Ben Farhat of MSF to Independent

FRANCE/UK

Refugees evicted from state accommodation after getting the asylum, end up homeless

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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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