AYS Digest 24/8: Could this be the last chance to speed up the processes…?

Turkey-backed Syrian rebels entered IS held territory. Greece and Italy trying to speed up the relocation with the EU member states. Arson at the refugee squat in Athens. While some European countries encourage the relocation process, others indifferently allow violence towards the refugees. So far the largest number of refugees staying in Calais, Paris consistently raiding refugee makeshift camps

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Large number of refugee children are suffering from the injuries caused by mosquito bites at the camps (Photo: Through Refugee Eyes)

New arrivals



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Notara squat after its first floor was destroyed in the fire (Photo: Marina Liaki)

After a number of pleas and demands by the refugees and volunteers in Greek camps and squats for family reunification and relocation processes to speed up, even the Greek Minister for Migration Policy Yiannis Mouzalas said on Tuesday that the EU countries must proceed quickly with the relocation, in line with last year’s agreement.

At the moment we have 7,000 people ready to be relocated but we have yet to receive a response from the member-states.

EU governments committed to relocate 160,000 individuals from Greece and Italy by September 2017. So far fewer than 4,000 people have been resettled.

Part of the answer to the slowness of the procedure lies in the number of people dealing with the applications. An interesting fact was mentioned by the European Commission’s spokesperson for Migration, Natasha Bertaud:

EASO has sent 54 experts on asylum, 48 interpreters and 16 additional people of its staff.

These figures naturally do not fully meet the needs expressed by the Greek government. Bertaud said she expects member-states to enhance their support in manpower.

Instead of speeding up with those processes that will finally enable families to come together, put children in normal circumstances for learning and growing, and let people move on with their lives after having spent months in unbearable circumstances, Spiegel confirms recent news that there are plans to renovate and rearrange the camps, thereby separating refugees from the rest of the society even more. The plans include building provisional schools, despite previous announcements that refugee children would start school with their Greek friends in September.

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Many refugees are back in the parks of Thessaloniki, hoping to find a refuge for their children and themselves soon enough. Last night the park was once again evicted, leaving the refugees to either sleep on the pavements or to move to remote parks far from the train station (Photo: Arye Wachsmuth)

Although a considerable number of refugees are known to have crossed the Greek border illegally, given the incredibly long and often dangerous period of waiting in military camps, Mouzalas rebuffed rumors that hundreds of people have been illegally crossing Greece’s northern border on a daily basis.


Star Hostel Belgrade urgently needs employees. Local volunteers interested in forming a permanent team would be ideal, but long-term volunteers would be of great help as well.


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A much needed message at the Manu Chao concert on Tuesday in Varaždin, Croatia (Photo: Emir Omanović/AYS)

JRS Croatia is recruiting new staff, and they are particularly in need of an office manager. The main responsibility of the office manager in Croatia is to create, coordinate, develop, support, and help implement JRS programmes and lead the JRS team. Read their ad for more information.


Italy, the main entry point for Africans but rarely their planned destination, is struggling to house migrants turned back from neighboring countries, Switzerland and France.

A Europe that bases itself in egoism, like the one we see in the example of the Visegrad countries when it comes to the topic of refugees, cannot function — Manfred Weber of the European People’s Party



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Paris refugee provisional homes (Photo: Rando Walter)


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Care4Calais team (Photo: Care4Calais)

The Irish Refugee Council is calling on the Irish government to honour its commitment to relocate asylum seekers from Greece and Italy as quickly as possible. To date, no people have been relocated from Italy, and only 38 people have been relocated from Greece.

“The EU relocation programme was established as an emergency response to an urgent humanitarian crisis and should be utilised as such. These people have fled war and persecution. We are aware that the relocation procedure will become more operational in the coming months but the urgency of the situation in Greece cannot be emphasised enough.

We must act in solidarity with Greece by increasing the scale of the Irish response and effectively relocating asylum seekers to Ireland in a swift manner.“

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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