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AYS Daily Digest 1/7/19: Reports of rapid deterioration of the rights of refugees in Europe

EU Fundamental Rights Agency in their recent report documented alarming changes in the rights of migrants and refugees in several EU countries / The judge in Agrigento postponed the decision on the validation of Captain Carola Rackete’s arrest; support demos organized across Europe / In France, urgent need for volunteers who have experience working in paediatrics/ & more news

“When the law violates the rights, it is a right to violate the law” (Photo:


The situation concerning the rights of refugees, stateless persons and asylum seekers within the EU has deteriorated rapidly in the first quarter of this year:

We have reported about the changes in the legal framework, procedures and, most of all, the general atmosphere in society which has changed drastically. However, in their recent report, even the EU Fundamental Rights Agency has documented alarming changes in the rights of migrants and refugees in several EU countries and the unfavourable prospects of social and labour market integration for many individuals. The increasing restrictions during the first quarter of 2019 are manifested mostly in access to housing, healthcare and other critical areas for integration.

As a reminder: in Greece, The Ministry of Migration Policy decided to exclude individuals who were recognised as refugees before 31 July 2017 from receiving housing assistance under the ESTIA programme (except for those belonging to vulnerable groups). Following these decisions is an increase of homelessness negatively affecting access to services, social benefits and continued access to education for children. According to UNHCR, educational opportunities are slim for the 2,700 children between five and 17 years old who live in the hotspots on the islands. Most have missed between one and four years of school.

There have been reports of cases where severely ill individuals did not receive necessary healthcare in Germany, and where access to healthcare was made dependent on the outcome of asylum procedures. The Federal Working Group of Psycho-Social Support Centres for Refugees and Victims of Torture also reported an increasing tendency for dismissal of asylum seekers’ applications for psychotherapy. On average, asylum seekers waited 7.3 months for access to psychotherapy.

As we reported earlier, the Parliament of Denmark passed a bill envisaging that all residence permits for refugees and their family members would be temporary, although it would still be possible to apply for permanent residence after some years. The bill will also make it possible to limit the number of residence permits for family reunification if the number of asylum applications in Denmark ‘increases significantly over a short period’.

Authorities in Poland continued to classify as ‘confidential’ several files concerning residence permits and asylum. This allows authorities to deny applicants and their legal representatives access to these documents both in the administrative and judicial review phases of their asylum or residence permit applications, as has happened previously in Croatia, in the cases blocked by the infamous Article 41 of the Security Intelligence Agency.

The Austrian Ministry of the Interior has made numerous proposals in the area of asylum, including accommodation in departure centres during the admission procedure and imposition of curfews. There are also other persistent problems regarding the rights of migrants and refugees that stem from the inertness of the system, unwillingness of the countries’ systems to follow up on their duties as member states, or other instances.

In Croatia, along with the lenghtly process of waiting for an answer, for those within the loosely filled Recepetion Centre Porin in Zagreb, the housing process following the granting of international protection keeps many within the Reception Centre for months after they have received asylum. Also, children trying to realize their rights to education have encountered insurmountable bureaucracy issues and multiple cases of classic Croatian dispersion of responsibility and lack of professionalism in many speheres, causing the children to lose a valuable year or in some cases even more, waiting for the person in charge to realize that they are the person in charge. These are only a few of the many failures of the Croatian “system”.


Demolition of settlements in Arsal in Bekaa valley has started

A statement by Save the Children, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Oxfam, Danish Refugee Council (DRC), World Vision, Terre des hommes Foundation, and Action Against Hunger (ACF) following the demolition of refugees’ homes in Arsal:

“At 4:30 am on July 1st, military units moved into several camps in Arsal and demolished at least 20 homes. The presence of soldiers in those camps at dawn, and the demolition of homes with heavy machinery is a traumatizing event witnessed by families who had already lost everything. We fear that this is the start and more demolitions will take place tomorrow.

Depriving refugees of their already very basic shelter and leaving them out on the streets is not a solution. The demolitions in Arsal come in the context of deteriorating conditions for Syrian refugees, who in the past months have faced an increasingly coercive environment making their lives even harder. We call on the Lebanese authorities to continue to show compassion to refugees who depend on Lebanon for their safety and dignity.

If demolitions are to continue, at a bare minimum we appeal to the authorities to give alternatives to refugees, allow them to retain their personal belongings and give them more time to place their families in safety. Schools, health facilities, and water and sanitation structures must be protected. Arsal suffers from extreme weather, flooding and harsh winters, and forcing refugees into simple tents creates substantial health and safety risks. Arsal also has a high proportion of refugees with special needs. We call on Lebanon to follow through on its commitments made at the Brussels Conference and on donors to continue supporting the Lebanese government to host refugees with dignity.”

The growing profile of the foreign minister, Gebran Bassil, who has spearheaded a new campaign to send Syrians home, along with the growing economy insecurities have resulted once more in more anti-refugee or anti-Syrian sentiment to spread in the country.


Thousands of detained people, mostly apprehended by local forces funded by the European Union, suffer abuses at the hands of traffickers and are now still being caught up in the armed conflict. Those detained in western Libya said Monday they were caught in the crossfire between rival militias, as international agencies called for speeding up resettlement, but not much was done about it and people are still losing lives:

Libyan authorities & UN agencies take no part in informing families .

A detainee in Zawiya dc saying they’re not being given clean water to drink. Others are being exploited to survive:


Over the past two weeks, from 17 to 30 June, the Alarm Phone was alerted to seven distress situations in the Aegean region. Four boats reached Greece safely, and three were returned to Turkey.

Athens Volunteers Information and Co-ordination Group has issued this reminder:
“Please note that as of today (1 July) new bank charges apply if you use your Greek bank card to withdraw from another Greek bank or a bank in the Eurozone and for withdrawals outside the Eurozone. (Piraeus charges will apply from 22 July). ATM withdrawals from ATMs of your own bank are not affected.”


A total of 655 people were counted in parks and nearby streets in the Savamala area of Belgrade, Info Park reports.
Over the weekend, Hungarian authorities prevented 133 persons from entering the country irregularly, most of whom (109) were intercepted within Hungarian territory.
Four unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan who were forcefully pushed back to Serbia from Hungary were left to sleep rough in Belgrade, as there were no available places in Miksalište, they report.


Yesterday Fayez al-Serraj flew to Milan to meet minister Salvini. Salvini promised support training and equipment for the coast guard.
Serraj has also asked Italy for weapons, saying that Turkey was not given any sanction for defying the embargo on weapons.
According to some reports, Italy will once again support Libya, the country with currently some of the worst human rights abuses.

Support to Sea Watch continues

Many people have gathered in Ancona in front of the Prefecture, alongside the migrants who arrived in Lampedusa, in solidarity with the Sea Watch and to demand the immediate release of Carola Rackete.

“It is urgent to extend and push forward the bar of mobilization, because the attack on Carola is the same attack on the freedoms and rights of all”

On the 6th of July there will be demonstrations throughout the country for the rescue of people and against the criminalisation of helping! Here you can find all the information about the action day:

The judge in Agrigento postponed the decision on the validation of Captain Carola Rackete’s arrest for July 2. She remains in house arrest.

At the same time, another 25 people disembarked last night in Lampedusa from a small speedboat. This makes more than 400 in the 10 days when the island was “defended” by military trims in order not to let in the 40 of the Sea Watch:

Two thousand euros to convince migrants to return “home”: the Viminale project starts in Piedmont

Italy will provide from 2 to 5 thousand euros to foreigners who want to return to their own country. The migrants who want to participate in the program will have to present a project, feasible in their country of origin, which will be examined by a commission.

The assisted voluntary repatriation concerns resident foreigners, economic migrants, migrants awaiting the examination of the commission for the recognition of humanitarian protection, people housed in reception centers.

It is no coincidence that Piedmont and Friuli Venezia Giulia were selected for the project: two border regions, but also Northern League strongholds.

At the same time, in the border area with Slovenia, starting today, July 1st, the mixed patrols “mission” of the Slovenian and Italian police will start and will continue until at least September 30th.


There has been a rise in the number of families with children and babies recently, and there is an urgent need for volunteers who have experience working in paediatrics.

To find out more about how to get involved and how to donate, please see their website

Join the demo in support of the sea rescue and arrested Sea Watch captain, in Paris:


A total of 57 people were on board a vessel that Salvamento Maritimo encountered. They brought the people to the port of Alboran, according to the latest reports.

584 people lost their lives trying to reach security in Europe via the Mediterranean in he first six months of 2019.

Luxembourg foreign minister Jean Asselborn (LSAP) has also called for the release of Carola Rackete. In an open letter sent to his Italian counterpart Enzo Moavero Milanesi, Asselborn wrote that the capital had been “obliged to bring 40 migrants to Lampedusa.”

“Saving human lives is a duty and should never be a crime […] On the contrary, not saving someone is a crime,” he said.


Join the demo:


Together with Forschungsgesellschaft Flucht und Migration and the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, the Alarm Phone group in Berlin is hosting an event on Friday, 5th July at 6 pm in Aquarium/Südblock on ‘Between (Transit-) Migration and Democratic Uprising’ with activists of SudanUprising Germany and the WtM Alarm Phone in Oujda/Morocco.

Sea-Watch invites you to a press conference on the latest developments and background on the case of the Sea-Watch 3 and its captain:

02/07/2019, 11:00 AM
Karl-Marx-Allee 33 / 10178 Berlin

German foreign policy is also with the sea rescue teams and they demand the release of Carola Rackete:

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