AYS Daily Digest 06/08/17: Seenotrettung is NOT a crime!

SeaWatch in solidarity with the Jugend Rettet crew

Feature

Apart from the restrictions imposed on Iuventa, the Jugend Rettet boat that has been restrained by the Italian coast guard for allegedly cooperating with human traffickers in the Mediterranean, today MSF boat Prudence was denied access to the port in Sicily today and that the Italian coast guard took the 127 refugees they rescued and brought them to Lampedusa. It is suspected that the reason might be to exert pressure because MSF has not signed the code of conduct, continuing the pressure by the authorities on the NGOs saving people at sea. MSF itself issued a statement from their office in Vienna saying that they have not been informed by Sicilian prosecutors in Trapani about alleged accusations against the organization. Current media reports are similar to rumors which came up a couple of months ago but MSF have conducted their rescue mission in full cooperation with all relevant Italian authorities, and there were no indication from officials that MSF might be operating in any wrong way, nor was it requested to change the mode of operation.

It’s troubling to read in the media about alleged accusations against us.

MSF respect all Italian laws and is fully cooperative in informing authorities about our search and rescue missions. We emphasize once again that the rescue missions are completely transparent and in compliance with international maritime law and in strict coordination with local authorities — precisely with MRRC in Rome (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre).

As one of the biggest humanitarian NGOs with missions in about 70 countries we are proud of our rescue mission in the Mediterranean. Our only goal is to save lives in acute danger.

MSF has supported more than 18,000 persons in distress at sea this year. All rescue missions were coordinated by the Italien coast guard.

A petition was launched to demand the release of Iuventa boat so that its crew can go back to the sea to do what they do best.. save the lives of desperate people!

Sea

Even with all the trouble imposed on the NGOs, today it was another busy day at sea and several people was rescued. As referred before, 127 refugees were rescued by the MSF boat Prudence and then transferred to a Italian coast guard boat that took them to Lampedusa. SOS MEDITERRANEE FR has also reported that the coast guard rescued 100 refugees from the sea.

Photo by Daily Sabah

“What? Us let in racists here? Never!”

The North African Collective also issued a statement against their actions. Born as a group of Tunisians and Europeans who wanted to do something against the c-star, it spread all over North Africa with the precious help of comrades and companions from France, Greece and Cyprus. Now they are turning the slogan of the “Defend Europe” operation around:

Greece

Continuing the tendency seen in the last few days, there was a high number of arrivals today in the Greek islands. According to volunteers, 82 refugees arrived to Lesvos between Saturday and Sunday and 47 arrived in Samos. Other reports from the Portuguese maritime rescue team, part of Frontex, say that 44 refugees were rescued close to the island of Kastellorizo including 19 children, 15 women and 10 men. 27 are from Iraq and 17 from Syria. They were lately transferred to Rhodes.

Athens

The first groups of refugees have received European Qualifications Passports after successfully passing an evaluation process to verify their higher education credentials. Fifty-four refugees, mostly from Syria, living in refugee camps in Attica have received the documentation through the first two rounds of the Council of Europe’s “Recognition of Qualifications held by Refugees” pilot program. The document gives information on their education qualifications and presents information on the refugee’s work experience and language proficiency and aims to provide refugees with an authorised assessment of their credentials that they can carry from one country to another. The scheme was specifically developed for refugees who do not have original documents proving their education qualification. Students begin by filling out a self-assessment questionnaire. Then, any documentary evidence they may have including transcripts, photos of coursework or photos of them studying from social media is assessed and finally, students undergo an interview with a professional credential evaluator in English or their native language.

Volunteers and donations needed

Refugee Rescue / ‘Mo Chara’ is looking for crucial spotters in the coming weeks. As a spotter volunteers make sure that we loose no incoming boat out of sight. Spotters are key to ensure that search and rescue missions are launched in time.

Photo by DocMobile — Medical Help e.V.
Photo by DocMobile — Medical Help e.V.

Serbia

A racist assault took place on 02.08.2017 against a refugee in Sombor, a Transit centre. A young men got badly injured by a group of young local men armed with knifes and a metal punch. Reportedly the refugee got hit with a knife close to his eye. At the moment he is in ambulant treatment. Doctors affirm that he will convalesce.
The incident happened when around seven drunken Serbians went on the Sombor Transit center‘s ground (camp’s area is surrounded by a knee-high fence) where outside of the camp’s building at the edge of the terrain some single men are sleeping in big tents.
The camp’s director answered the people who announced the incident to the center’s administration that he is responsible for accommodation and food in the camp but nothing else. There were already some racist incidents happening to people sleeping outside of the camp‘s terrain like damage of tents, theft of valuables or other assaults by apparently mostly drunken locals.

Germany

German media reported today that for the first time in 6 years, ministries of both countries (Greece and Germany) have confirmed that Germany can send refugees back to their first point of entry within the European Union (based on the Dublin agreement). This applies to refugees that have gained entry from spring of this year onwards. In 2011 Germany paused this procedure due to shortcomings within the Greek asylum system. The Greek migration minister confirms that Greece has accepted the first return of asylum seekers from Germany and other European countries ‘as a sign of good will’ but there has been clearly pressure from these EU countries in the past months who wanted to show their population that they are addressing the situation of asylum seekers.

Denmark

Italy

Progetto20k reports that yesterday a transfer of women and families was implemented from the church of the Gianchette to the Red Cross campus of Ventimiglia.
This episode represents the first step in the will to close the church of Sant’Antonio.
Alarmed and frightened by the decision taken by the Prefecture, some families decided to voluntarily leave the church and move to the streets trying to avoid the transfer to the CRI camp.

Photo by Progetto20k
Photo by Progetto20k

France

Phones and power banks and needed urgently in Paris and the north of France. In the next couple of weeks a team will be going to Paris and Dunkirk. Phones and external batteries (power packs) are desperately needed in both places. It’s hard to express how important a phone is for a refugees safety and morale so if you have any you can spare, please get in touch here. It’s better if they were unlocked but if not it can be sorted also.

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Are You Syrious?

Are You Syrious?

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