AYS News Digest: 6.06.2022 Tensions rise between Greece and Turkey
Life lost in Libya // Rights for Long Stayers in Germany // Sea Watch 3 and Mare Jonio rescue vessels work together
Tensions rise between Greece and Turkey
Greece is on “full alert” as events and tensions in Turkey may cause more people to attempt the crossing from Turkey to the Greek islands. People fleeing war and persecution have often been used as weapons when the two neighbouring countries have faced heightened tensions.
Last month, 600 people were prevented from landing in Greece in what was termed a “mass-migration” attempt. This has led Turkey to accuse Greece of illegal pushbacks and the Turkish authorities to call for the demilitarisation of some islands.
Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis has responded by stating that Greek border controls and policy remain strong, and that it is Turkey that is in violation of previous agreements. To further strengthen border defences, Greece is planning an extension to the border wall along the land border, and is seeking European Union funding to extend it from 40 to 120 km. However, funding doesn’t seem likely as the EU doesn’t currently fund border structures in this way.
Relations between Turkey and Greece have changed over the years, with Greek officials keen to show how Turkey has sought to spread its influence over the Aegean Islands. Maps have been shared with embassies abroad detailing how Turkey has attempted to increase influence in the area since 1972.
Life lost in Libya
A man took his own life in Libya. 19 year old Mohamed commited suicide in the Ainzara Detention Centre. The young man had previously escaped another detention centre and spent 100 days protesting outside the UNHCR office, attempting to get his and the voices of others heard by local and national authorities.
WARNING this link contains a distressing photo — Refugees In Libya share his story and call for others who are arbitrarily detained to be released.
UNHCR has shared knowledge of people claiming to work for them, attempting to exploit people. Their services remain free to users.
This sad news comes as Sea Eye shares the figures of those urgently requiring assistance in Libyan waters.
From January to the end of May 2022, the organization AlarmPhone has already received 339 distress calls from people in acute danger of life at sea. In the same period in 2021, there were 286 distress calls. In 2020, there were 225. (Via Sea Eye)
Farmers are short of workers in Italy, according to the Farmers’ Association Coldiretti. There is a shortfall of 100,000 workers to harvest fruit and vegetables this year, and more workers are needed from non-EU countries in order to ensure a successful summer season. Authorisation for short-term workers to cross the border is in progress. This is the same problem faced every year by Spain — this article looks at this in more detail.
In an update to the situation the group reported about in the previous Digest, contact was lost with the group trapped on an islet on the Evros River and no further news was available of their condition.
Whilst refugees from the Middle East face treacherous journeys, here’s a good news story of ten Ukrainian orphans arriving safely to Greece.
Rights for Long Stayers in Germany
Efforts to give rights to those residing in Germany for more than five years have been proposed. The Interior Minister has shared a plan to provide documentation for those residents in order that they could stay permanently. Starting as a one year residents’ permit, the applicant will need to prove German skills and be able to financially support themself in order to stay beyond that time. This would benefit people who have been threatened with deportation but have never been removed from the country. This comes alongside proposals to treat those with a criminal record or those who have given false information more strictly.
A woman from Afghanistan, with a Belgian husband and children, was detained in the Holsbeek detention centre for more than a month. The woman, identified just by her initials, was detained on return from Pakistan. The rules for staying in Belgium require her to have documentation and apply for a visa in Islamabad, Pakistan. Obtaining documentation from Taliban controlled Afghanistan is difficult and expensive. She has since been reunited with her family.
Paddington Bear meets the Queen
This weekend saw nationwide celebrations of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Part of the celebrations of the 96 year old monarch’s 70 year reign included her having tea with Paddington Bear. However, the irony of the UK’s Rwanda deal means that, should Paddington have arrived as a refugee today, he would be sent to the African country.
SEA — SAR
Sea Watch 3 and Mare Jonio rescue vessels work together
29 people were rescued from a wooden boat in the Mediterranean on Sunday. In a joint effort between SEA WATCH 3 and MARE JONIO of Mediterranea Saving Humans, the group, including minors, was taken to safety despite the presence of a Libyan craft. After this rescue, SEA WATCH 3 went on to assist approximately 49 people off the coast of Lampedusa, leaving the tired team with a total of 356 people onboard. MARE JONIO went on to rescue 63 more people who were in distress on a wooden boat.
Whilst Ukraine grabs all the headlines, this article highlights the most neglected crises in the world, including the DR Congo which has featured on the list six times.
“Seldom has the selectivity been more striking. In response to the tragic crisis in Ukraine, we have witnessed an outpouring of humanity and solidarity.” Norwegian Refugee Council
The terminology used by organisations providing support or information for and about refugees and asylum seekers is challenged in this report by Asia Pacific Network of Refugees.
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