AYS Daily Digest 07/06/17; Upcoming evictions from three squats in Athens

Upcoming eviction of City Plaza and two other squats in Athens — activists are organizing themselves in solidarity / The problems with EU’s “common” asylum system continues at several levels / Illegal collective deportations from Greece to Turkey / Relocation from Germany is too slow / Updates from France, Italy, Slovenia, Bosnia / and more news…

Photo by Nasim Lomani.

Feature

Refugee Accomodation and Solidarity City Plaza has been holding an emergency meeting to coordinate and discuss the rumors about an upcoming eviction of three squats in Athens. They will also organize their resistence if these rumors would become reality.

As they write:

#SolidarityBeyondBorders will win!

Photo: Refugee Accommodation and Solidarity Space City Plaza

Open Borders and Enough is Enough will also continue to support the people affected of the eviction and show their support. They will also organize protests.

Durig this evening the meeting has continued, follow the latest updates on Twitter.

Photo: Refugee Accommodation and Solidarity Space City Plaza

The three squats that are affected of this are City Plaza, Papoutsadiko and Zoodouchou Pigis. They are all taken over by refugees, activists and migrants and have been so for a longer period of time. At City Plaza is the place where 400 people are living for over one year.

The lack of housing and low standard in formal camps are some of the reasons to the overtaking of these buildings. Now the owners of the buildings have filed official reports about this where they demands court orders to evict the people staying here.

The charachter of the spaces are different, City Plaza used to be a hotel and Papoutsadiko is an old building without many activities. The Zoodochou Pigis squat has been occupied since the 21st of June 2016.

The consequenses for the people that now might be evicted are to early to foresee in detail, but it is not that hard to come to the conclusion that they won’t be offered any high quality accomodation. The illegal act in this is more a protest against a not functioning system rather that something morally declinable. As Enoughisenough writes, the lack of solidarity and functioning politics are the cause of those actions. They demand, among other things:

Hands off from City Plaza and all other refugee squats!

Stop Deportations!

No Borders!

Equal rights for all!

AYS joins in these demands and in solidarity with all the refugee squats.

Why the owners of the buildings have decided to file these reports now aren’t clear. Maybe they will start activities or business there, but it is more likely that the buildings more or less will get evicted and then just remain empty. Useless for everyone including their current residents that have found shelter there.

We’ll continue following these events and the development in the coming days.


General

Syrian refugee families will soon lack cash assistance, UN warns

Up to 60,000 Syrian refugee families in Jordan and Lebanon are risking to be without financial support as soon as in July. One of the reasons is that the UNHCR are seriously underfunded in this response. Contributions are needed in order to be able to cover all of this peoples needs and future well being. Refugees interviewed are clearly worried, saying that the cash assistance provided by the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees is their way not to lose their dignity and to have food and shelter throughout the months they are being forcibly dicplaced. At this point, more than four million Syrian refugees are living in the neighbouring countries.

What is important to take in consideration given this information, is that the families that remain in Lebanon and Jordan often does so since they lack financial possibilities to reach Europe. They are therefore in huge need of support. Fot one in three refugee families in Jordan tha cash assistance from the UN is their biggest income. Why the UN have so much problem with money, when there previously have been reports about that money isn’t really the problem, at least not in the Greek context, the report doesn’t say. The UNHCR currently lacks 116 million US Dllars for their response in Lebanon, and 71 million US Dollars for their actions in Jordan. The money will be distributed both as cash assistance and as humanitarian aid.


EU

A system on breaking point

The similarities between the European Asylum system’s functions, such as the Dublin regulation, and playing ping pong with humans are way to many. Numerous of people are more or less floating around in an EU-limbo right now. Member states within the union has different asylum systems and also different statistics about how many people from different nationalities that gets to stay.

Of course everyone wants go where they have the best shot. But, in the strong wish of doing so they instead remains stuck in this game.

AYS volunteers have at several occasions met people that are on their way to their desired destinations for the second time. Some that have been deported all the way back to their countries of origin, and taken the dangerous and also yet so expensive journey to Europe again, but also those who have been sent back to EU-member states such as Bulgaria. A country with low acceptance rate, growing and extreme right wing populism and a lot of internal problems. In this not well-functioning system, people becomes exactly as shown below.

This has today been acknowledged by the European Parliaments President Antonio Tajani. Previously today he called for a common agreement from all the member states in the European Union. The statement and the goal with this common agreement shall be to prevent refugees from travelling from one country to another “shopping for asylum status”. According to Tajani the current rules aren’t properly coordinated and harmonized. He continues to say that the rules must be the same in all of the member states in order to prevent this current situation with migrants and refugees jumping from one country to the other one.

Since global injustice have been existing since like forever, it is hard to see how it will get a quick stop. People are just people, and they will most likely continue migrating to be able to create the best life possible for themselves and their close ones. But, to take the injustice in consideration and put it back on the agenda is something we welcome. The current system with different chances of getting asylum in different states, but still with the Dublin regulation as an injust and controlling older brother that can send people back to Bulgaria or some other state with less fortunate chances — is more contradictory than fair. There are also other problems in this current system. Latvia, for example, welcomed 380 refugees under the EU relocation program, but 313 of them have already continued their way from there. Most of them to countries such as Germany and Sweden, that are known for better standards and more opportunities to get employments. The credibility and function of the system are at stage in more than one way right now.


Turkey

The Chair of Amnesty International, Taner Kiliç, was arrested by Turkish authorities on the 6 June 2017. He has been outspoken about refugees rights and Turkeys questionable treatment of the people seeken refuge within the country. This arrest shows, yet again, that Turkey isn’t a safe place for people with opinions that aren’t in line with the regimes.


Greece

Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, is concerned over the reports of collective deportations of refugees and migrants from Greece to Turkey. He puts pressure on Athens to cease these illegal events. In a statement on his facebook page, picked up by Ekathimerini today, he says that it is Greece obligation to make sure that those arriving on their shores in an effective way can seek asylum. Denying someone the right of doing so is not only not solidarity, but also against international law. Including the UN Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The huge pressure the Greek Asylum Service have been under during the last couple of years aren’t an excuse to violate human rights. Muiznieks are also the European Unions failure in supporting the Greek authorities during this crisis, but he does not suggest any supportive measures that could be done by the EU at this point.


Important update about renewing expiering resident permits

Information from the Greek Asylum Service:
International protection beneficiaries whose residence permits expire on 
DECEMBER 2017 are invited from June 6 2017 until July 10th 2017 to 
submit ELECTRONICALLY: 
1) Α RESIDENCE PERMIT RENEWAL APPLICATION and 
2) ONE RECENT PASSPORT PHOTO in DIGITAL FORM that will be attached to the application

Follow this link for more information in several languages.


Mainland

Update about the aftermath of Eliniko eviction

The eviction of Elliniko has had some impacts in numbers of residents in other camps, including the newly formed Thiva camp, that according to official numbers has 334 people living there. Malakasa camp increased from 680 to 764 residents, and some people might have been moved there. The Malakasa camp is just as the Elliniko camp was and Afghan camp so it is very likely that some people ended up there, but the lack of official information makes it hard to know for sure what the sudden increase of residents there could be an impact of. The numbers in Kavala has during the last days also increased. From 188 to 244, but this is more unlikely to be connected to the Ellinico eviction. The Derveni camp is still a bit of a mystery where there are rumors about that 140 people could have been taken. It is supposed to be west of Athens by the sea, but there are very limited information available about this. If someone knows more, we’re happy to receive more information.

A the same time as the numbers are rising in some camps, and that Greek are suffering from the accusations about illegal deportations and refusing people the right to claim asylum there are coming reports about the between 20 and 25 thousand of refugees will remain in Greece even though the relocation and family reunification would speed up to the pace it should. In Greece, the Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas says, there currently are 10 000 people that has the right to relocation and between 6–7000 people that are eligible for family reunification. But the other people, that are more than the ones that actually have the right and possibility to enter the EU in an legal way, are even more. This of course, is a big problem that should be taken in consideration urgently. Otherwise there is nothing but signal politics. Because, what should happen to all the 20 to 25 thousands that will be left in Greece without legal ways to safety? No one seem to know that at this point.


Islands

Lesvos

This message came from dedicated long term volunteers on Lesvos today, about an incident on the island with racists trying to intervene and sabotage life saving missions and threathen those coming to help out.

Two tourist that came to help to spot refugee boats were threatened on the Eftalou watch today, here in the north of Lesvos. They were told to get out, we went up and were also threatened and told to get out of Greece and that he would come and damage us, and he did not want tourist here plus a lot of other things he tried to get the camera from Philippa on two occasions, this is not the first time people that help save lives have been threatened by racist here, we have a 16 minute video which will go to the police in the morning, when will people learn that threatening tourist in a tourist area only destroys tourism, also we have just been informed that another lookout spot has just had sheep, intestines spread all over it, we are here to save lives and this hate toward foreigners​ is wrong.
Photo and comment from: Eric Kempson

Also on Lesvos this morning, Boat Report — Lesvos updated about new arrivals to the island. One boat with 27 men, 27 women and 3 children. They were of mixed origin, but most of the people on board was from Congo. According to sources on the island all of them now are in the already overcrowded and not at all human friendly Moria detention center.

Since arrivals happen every day and will continue doing so, Refugee Rescue needs volunteers on Lesvos to help keeping watch in the Northern shore:

  • You will scan the sea looking for coming refugees boats at the Turkish/greek border
  • You must have a good level of English and understand the crucial role of spotting for refugee response, good eye vision and driving skills/licence
Photo: Refugee Rescue

Chios

Souda camp remains overcrowded. The situation is detorating and a new informal tent camp is poping up on the outside. If meassures aren’t taken soon there is no sign of that the situation will change, since people will continue fleeing as long as there are persecution, violence and war going on in their home countries. Chios remains one of the places with worst conditions for it’s residents, and new arrivals every day.


Bosnia

We have gotten information about that the border police in Bosnia arrested 2 persons of Indian origin while trying to cross the border illegally in Doljani, Capljina area, south Herzegovina. The path through Bosnia hasn’t been that trafficked, since it isn’t the most desirable way and not a part of the EU, but with border closures people and smugglers only will get even more creative.


Slovenia

Two sisters from Iraq, age 9 and 11, went missing from Ljubljana, Slovenia. They came to Slovenia as asylum seekers with their mother, but as their mother is not able to take care of them due to illness they live in a foster family, who launched a police search after them, suspecting they went to Germany.

Slovenian NGO Ključ emphasizes that out of 200 minor refugees that came to Slovenia last year, only 20 are stll in the country. They are afraid these children are in the hands of human traffickers, as most of them wanted to go to western Europe but did not have money to pay the trip.

This is a terrible incident and we hope the girls will be found and in safety soon. If anyone knows anything, please contact Cecile UR or Ambroz Matija Gubec.


Italy

Tunisian smugglers caught

A Tunisian smuggler ring has been busted, Reuters reports. The Tunisian smugglers have been taking much higher prices for reaching Italy than the more common Libyan ones, according to the article. The Libyan smugglers usually charges prices between 800–1300 US Dollars in comparision with the Tunisians that are taking 3,379 US Dollars.

There are 15 suspected smugglers that will be prosecuted in Palermo and most of them are Italian citiziens but with Tunisian origin. Regardless of origin of the smugglers and the refugees this business model is dreadful. The last 3,5 years an approximately 12,500 people have died on the route to Italy in the hope to gain safety and a decent life, just as everyone wants. The Italian Police has documented five crossings, in wich each smuggler earned around 40,000 euros.


Violence and neglect in Italy

Besides the smuggler ring, we have recieved several reports about violence in Italy. In Pordenone there has come reports about that asylum seekers are being treated as trash, first being told one thing and after that another one. Completely without respect for the individuals.

In Gorizia, northern Italy, a similar incidents are ongoing. People are in the system for a while — before being out on the streets again. There are also cases of abuse and bad conditions reported.


France

News from Dunkirk and Calais

Early yesterday morning there was yet another eviction in France, Dunkirk. The horrible storm conditions didn’t stop the police to force people to move. The Care4Calais team responded instantly and went out in the bad weather to provide those evicted with their thickest blankets and other neccessities. Among the evicted people there was both men, women and children. Everyone kind, thankful but vulnerable. When this game of violating people and harrassing them will stop no one knows, but it is an terrible act by the police to continue to force people, expelled and left out of the European so celled wellfare system, to move. And to continue doing so time after time.

Photo: Care4Calais

And in nearby Calais, food distribution by Auberge de migrants now needs to adhere to a fixed time window from 6–8 pm. Authorities don’t want to call it interdiction, just “time frame”. — The association has been distributing at noon at in the evening. Police also weighted their truck, and found it to be overweight. They had to empty a container of water and pay a fine of 90 Euro.

More news from France is a potential illegal detention center at the French-Italian border. The purpose seems t be to detain refugees entering illegaly from Italy to easier be able to return them back. NGOs did not get permission to enter the structure. Some refugees are also being detained in the old building of the nearby station. The authorities are calling the structure “provisory retention zone for non-admittable persons” — as it seems, there is no legal base for this.


Germany

Relocation is as most people, especially those it concerns the most, still slow. Germany is, along with almost every other single state in EU, very much behind with receiving the promised quotas. In 2017, 2423 refugees from Greece have been transferred to Germany, though Germany is supposed receive 28,000 until end of september this year. Also family reunification is taking a slow path: of 5,000 applications in 2016 and Q1 2017, 739 families were allowed to reunify in 2016 and 837 in Q1 2017.

A spokesperson of the green party said it’s a shame how Germany ignores its obligation concerning the redistribution of refugees, despite the situation in Greece is still precarious, and Germany is still is trying to send back refugees to Greece via the Dublin rules. The contradictions are obvious, but unfortunately not surprising.

But, one good news from Germany is that a court has ruled that a refugee from Irak cannot be deported to Hungary through Dublin procedure, since the asylum process in Hungary has systematic deficits and a transfer to Hungary would violate his basic human rights according to the European Human Rights Convention/Basic Rights.


UK

An updated version of a guide that was first released in 2013 about children and young peoples rights to asylum in UK has been released. If you are affected of this or know someone that is, it could be found very useful to be able to easier navigate in the complicated system of rules. It also goes through the differences between having one parent from UK, being borned in the country and different kinds of protection statuses and what they mean.


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