AYS Daily Digest 07/06/2019: Small victory — Italian ports open to 62 people saved by merchant ship!
Hundreds remain at sea // More details on horrible conditions in Libya // Illegal pushback to Turkey // Suspiciously timed eviction in Lille, statement // Controversial law in Germany affects labor and deportation // more…
After being adrift for two days and two nights at sea, 62 people trapped aboard a dingy were rescued by the Asso 25. At first, many were concerned that the Asso 25, a merchant vessel, would not be allowed to land in Italy, as Salvini has been repeatedly “closing” ports for a year now. However, the boat landed in Pozzallo yesterday. People aboard reported that they were detained for several months in facilities maintained by smugglers in Libya. We hope that this arrival in Europe brings the harrowing part of their journey to a close.
This is also an excellent time to point out that although these 62 people are safe, there are over 500 more people who are currently adrift at sea, with NGO SAR vessels unable to reach them.
For those who keep banging on about SAR rescue and “pull factors” Matteo Villa highlights the following:
“Between 1 May and 6 June, #Libia at least 3,092 people were left. With NGOs offshore, 76 departures per day. Without NGOs, 85 departures.”
Additionally, 21 people landed in Lampedusa yesterday, escorted by the Italian coast guard.
We are reminded that in addition to those hundreds who are currently at sea, the EU has enabled the Libyan Coast Guard to intercept 300 people in this week alone, dragging those people back to the horrific conditions in Libya.
Channel Four released a distressing documentary on the horrible conditions in Zintan. Activists, journalists, and human rights advocates have spoken out about the horrible conditions which have resulted in the death of around 22 people that we know of.
Sally Hayden, in touch with many of those in detention, published a list of the names and photos of those who have died. A sobering reminder of the unwillingness of those in power to effect any real change for those in dire circumstances.
Arrivals continuing to Greece
On Kos, spaces in the reception centre have now been reserved for those awaiting deportation to Turkey under the EU-Turkey deal. People have had to build shelters for themselves on the island, as the capacity is too small.
Additionally, a respected author in Greece has detailed the unlawful refoulement of Turkish citizens fleeing Erdogan’s government, who were pushed back across Evros. They are now in prison in Turkey. This case is a serious breach of international law as these individuals were specifically escaping persecution from the Turkish government.
Follow the link for the whole thread.
In the aftermath of the fight that broke out in Miral camp, a few volunteers are laying low in order to keep things calm, however food and NFI distribution will resume in the next few days.
Additionally, a horrible video has emerged from Bihac, showing police violence against a boy. It is important to bear witness to the stress, terror and constant state of anxiety that those on the move are subjected to, imposed upon them by the State.
Three days ago, in the early hours of the morning, police evicted the so-called “Five Star” squat in Lille, France. The timing of this eviction came only two days before a lawsuit was closed, which granted a stay of evictions for the following three years. Seems too convenient!
A group of organizations and supporters released the following statement regarding the eviction:
Préfet Michel Lalande must now explain himself publicly
The worst happened to the inhabitants of 15 rue Jean Jaurès in Lille.
Tuesday, June 4, a large police operation within the squat said “5 stars” took place at 6 o’clock in the morning. After having loaded the cord of the hundreds of non-violent demonstrators and randomly taken 16 of them into custody for 36 hours, the police evacuated the premises.
Without waiting for the hearing of Thursday, June 6 of the District Court which will finally give reason to the inhabitants of the site, about 200 people were expelled from their place of life. Many minors were also taken away for several months or years by the Department’s failure concerning its public mission of sheltering and schooling.
Hundreds of citizens from Lille and the surrounding area have tried to make up for this lack of the state by solidarity and mutual aid.
And yet, a few months ago, a reception ceremony and accommodation of refugees from Aquarius through a citizen network was organized by the Mayor of Lille a few months ago, it is to be congratulated . At the same time, however, these “5-star” squat residents were asking for the same support. The response of the town hall was to send vigils instead of solutions, and Tuesday the Prefecture has proceeded to the expulsion of the place by a disproportionate use of violence. Violence of the police force and the 16 police guards, violence of the destruction of the social bond patiently woven around these people, violence of broken lives and disappointed hopes.
We, associations, movements, trade unions, political parties and, in general, citizens of the Lille Metropolis, strongly denounce the methods employed by the State and the Prefecture, and demand appropriate accommodation solutions for all. the inhabitants of the squat, the respect of their rights inscribed in the law as well as the protection of the vulnerable persons.
The group goes on to continue to hold Prefet Lalande to account, demanding that he explain why the eviction was executed a mere 48 hours before it would have become illegal. Fewer vigils, more support.
For the full statement, in French, go here.
Germany has voted in favour of new immigration and labor laws. These laws were hotly contested as they also contained stricter measures for how individuals who have seen their asylum cases rejected are monitored and prepared for deportation.
The new Immigration law does open up a few more opportunities for ‘high-skilled’ people from third countries, removing the requirement for employers to see if there is another highly skilled German or EU national before hiring a person coming to Germany. But again, people’s humanity should not be placed dependent upon their economic value, which is the ultimate message of this legislation.
Regarding the new labor law, it has peculiar requirements put upon those who have seen their asylum applications closed. The German Minister of the Interior made extremely distressing comments in reference to how ‘silently’ this law passed.
““Probably silently, because it’s complicated, it doesn’t cause attract so much. I made the experience in the last 15 months: One needs to make laws complicated. Then it’s not that so outstanding. We don’t do anything illegal, we do the necessary. But also necessary is often being inadmissibly questioned.”
Perhaps by “complicated” he means controversial.
According to the new labor law, asylum seekers must wait between three to twelve months after their application is rejected, to see if their deportation could be appealed, before being eligible to attempt work, training or certification. For legislation that is ostensibly aiming towards helping people integrate into the German workforce, it seems like more of a contradiction to force someone to wait before enrolling in a program wherein they could gain skills that would strengthen their case to be allowed to stay.
Furthermore, those awaiting deportation will not be sent to detention facilities but instead to normal prison, further reinforcing the criminalization of someone simply for being rejected. It is unclear if those who have merely seen that their cases have been rejected and are in the mandatory waiting period would be subject to this inhumanity, but regardless, people pending deportation are already in distress and this should not be acceptable in any possible way.
In 2009, the Administrative Members at University SOAS were complicit in the deportation of members of their cleaning team.
SOAS Justice for Workers is holding a commemoration of this event and a call for justice on Wednesday. Please go and support them, if you can.
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