AYS daily digest 24/02 — repeated Hungarian police brutality

New cases of police beatings on the Hungarian border / More lives lost in Libya due to smuggling / Basic humane living conditions — new toilet facilities in Belgrade / Free clothes shop opened in Athens and more

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Belgrade “Bus Station” — Young 14 year old refugee arrives back in Belgrade barracks after being beaten by Hungarian border police in one more try to cross the border. A total of 75 tried “the game” in the same night and all were brutally attacked, including some that after losing consciousness were bitten by dogs used by police to try to wake them up. They were accompanied by volunteers and other refugees to Belgrade Hospital, photo/text by Nuno Felicio

LIBYA

More lives lost trying to reach safety in Europe

Earlier this week when the bodies of 74 migrants were found on the shore near Zawiya, the local coast guard said smugglers had removed the engine from their boat, wrote Reuters.

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Photo by Libyan Red Crescent

TRT World published an investigation into Libya’s human trafficking mafia. They spoke to multiple sources about the leading role Al Bija (the new commander of the coast guard in Zawiya) and Al Qasseb (head of the security department of Zawiya’s refinery) play in the human smuggling business in Libya.

Al Bija’s stranglehold over human trafficking here is an open secret that international actors are almost certainly aware of, multiple sources confirm. “The Europeans should have all these details since for months they have been gathering information at sea as part of Operation Sophia,” the man explains, referring to EUNAVFOR Med’s training programme for the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy. Launched in 2015, EUNAVFOR Med was initially designed to dismantle the smuggling network in the central Mediterranean, but soon included search and rescue activities (SAR) for refugees at sea too. It is being run in coordination with Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj, who heads the UN-backed government in Tripoli.

SERBIA

A source from Belgrade writes about a victim of yesterday’s incident:

He is one of the guys that helps most volunteers as a translator. He spent last night in hospital helping volunteers and the 75 refugees that got back from the border and had wounds caused by the Hungarian police. It was one of the worst nights and he was there. Tonight he is one of the 10 refugees resting in our apartment. He has a remarkable life history. He is not sure about his age; he thinks he’s 24. His first memories are of working in his home town in Afghanistan, very young. He has always been a handy man and before working for the western forces he worked with glass. He worked for the US and NATO, including Hungary, the same country where the police beat him up and call him Taliban when he tries to cross the border. He worked for the US for six years, got many medals and recommendations and helped many victims of ambushes, but the US denies him asylum. He has marks on his back because the Taliban considered him an enemy since he had helped the West. His life was in danger, so he left for Europe. On the way, in Bulgaria, the police broke his arm and deported him back to Turkey without any aid, but not without beating him up again when they left him by the border. His arm is in the state seen on the pictures from 7 months ago. The Croatian police also broke his nose. Now he waits in Belgrade for the next opportunity to enter the EU, maybe to go to Italy or Spain. To work hard and bring over his family, including his baby daughter. Until then he helps his friends and volunteers. When they are telling me their stories, I have to ask them many times to make a pause for me to process everything, think a little and swear a lot.

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Photos by Nuno Felicio

New toilet facilities in Belgrade

The people living at the location have had zero sanitation facilities in freezing conditions until now. They are living in conditions not fit for any human being. These toilets are just the first step towards making their living conditions humane, HR write.

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Photos by Help Refugees

GREECE

Athens

OPENING HOURS are 11:00–15:00 every day. Closed on Sundays.

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photo credit Hope Cafe. Refugee Soul Food.

Alexandria

Having stripped out the space, we are now ready for the lovely guys at The Timber Project to build us a shopping arcade with 5 fully fitted shops (mini-market, men’s boutique, women’s boutique, kids boutique, shoe-tique) sorting area, storage area and a cafe. Each of the shops will have a wooden floor, a pitched roof and a window. In the summer we will also look into installing air conditioning.

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photo credit Refugee Support Greece

Chios

We didn’t have the time for posts because the refugees stayed for hours and hours waiting for the bus and we are the only team that stayed with them covering their needs and trying to play with children and involve them in activities to help them pass the time. CESRT volunteers worked so hard to provide everything plus they had to watch the unfair system of the buses. People needed to pay for the transportation to Vial (registration area). We want to thank Zaporeak proactiva for their support. They cooked food and prepared tea for them.

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Pothiti Kitromilidi

There were 35 new registrations: 20 on Chios, 15 on Kos.

“Can’t park human beings”

Claiming a collective, solidary approach and shared responsibility was needed, Abouyoub said:

“It is not acceptable to park human beings. I don’t give lessons to Europe but the security response (to migrant flows) is not suitable and has not produced results”.

ITALY

Ventimiglia

SWEDEN

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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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