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AYS Daily Digest 12/03/2021: Alarm Phone warns about suspected pushback in Evros region

Group of nine people missing // Low protection from Covid-19 in Greece // Police Violence in Morocco // Increase of people in Bosnian border region // CPT slams Malta

NNK sees an increasing number of people planning to attend the “game” again. Credits: NoNameKitchen

Greece

Alarm Phone reports a suspected pushback in the Evros region. After they had received an emergency call from a group of nine poeple stranded in the municipality of Soufli, the people got lost. Previously, they had called 112 and the police confirmed to Alarm Phone that they would bring the people to the police station. Afterwards, no one from the group was available any more and the police said they did not know where the people were. One of them was in criticial condition.

Meanwhile, Frontex officers witnessed Turkish soldiers shooting into the air in two incidents at the beginning of March, when they were patrolling in the region, according to several sources.

Moria White Helmets are working in the camp with a team of electricians. Yesterday, they provided a family whose old tent burnt down on Thursday with electricity for their new tent. “The big problem in camp is lack of power supply, the generators are not enough to cover all needs,” they point out.

Refugee Support Agean warns that many people on the move are not protected from Covid-19 risks in Greece. The team cites as an example the case of an elderly woman who had had no medical examination from the time of her arrival in November 2019 until January this year, despite the fact that she has diabetes. Moreover, in her vulnerability assessment it was recommended that she should be transferred to a facility with better reception conditions.

Although the RSA lawyers representing the applicant had officially informed the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) of Lesvos several times about her vulnerability and her need for proper reception conditions, the applicant was forced to weather the entire COVID-19 pandemic exclusively in wholly unsuitable conditions in camps whilst suffering from uncontrolled diabetes for over a year.

RSA submitted a request for interim measures at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), so today she is receiving proper medication. However, further necessary checks could be cancelled, as the Provisional Foreigner’s Insurance and Health Care Number (PAAYPA) has ceased to be active.

In another case, lawyer Ariel Ricker reported a rape in the new Moria camp. The victim was treated in hospital. Ricker further warns of NGOs misusing the case of the woman to collect donations.

ECHO is looking for a new Project Coordinator for the library, as the current one is leaving this summer.

The pregnant woman who set herself on fire in February has been released from custody. She is not allowed to leave the contry until further proceedings are over.

Morocco

Following police raids near the Spanish enclave of Melilla, people were forced to sleep rough, according to their own accounts. They told The Guardian that shelters in camps were burned down after some 150 people tried to cross the fence. Fifty-nine of them succeeded.

Malta

After a visit to Malta, the Torture Prevention Committee of the Council of Europe urged the Maltese authorities to “ensure that migrants deprived of their liberty are treated with both dignity and humanity”. They found a system struggling to cope with reception, with people being forgotten in poor detention conditions. The Maltese Refugee Council has also criticized the detention regime.

Balkans

The EU has negotiated five agreements with Balkan countries, according to Statewatch. Following Albania, now Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia are to follow: “These agreements make it possible for Frontex to undertake operations on those other states’ territories.” Further they are allowed to assist deportations from EU countries to the above-named countries.

Bosnia

As the temperatures rise, No Name Kitchen is seeing an increase of people arriving at the border areas in Bosnia. This means the number of people attempting the “game” will probably increase in the coming weeks. NNK estimates that around 1,000 people are already present in the area. Furthermore, Covid-19 is spreading in sites such as Borici camp, where eight cases have been confirmed.

Italy

Fifty inmates at Dozza prison in Bologna have started a fundraiser to support people stranded in Bosnia.

Germany

Pro Asyl and Jumen recall that there are still thousands of people who have been seperated from their families for more than five years due to restrictions on family reunions for people with subsidiary protection. This affects Syrians and Eritreans in particular. They point out that these people cannot go to court because the authorities accept only 1,000 applications per month — but a trial is only possible after rejection. This goes along with waiting times of up to 18 months and struggles with requirements, which are not laid down by law. Hence, both organisations demand that the law be abolished.

Frankfurter Rundschau reports about an incident in Kassel, where a medic beat up a man. The police did not intervene or report it.

The Media Service integration has published a FAQ about deporations and “voluntary departures” in Germany.

UK

In Durham, the first detention centre in seven years is about to be opened. It is said to have space for some 80 people. Avid is concerned:

This proposal represents a shocking U-turn on the government’s commitments to detention reform, and if it goes ahead, will reverse a trend which had seen several closures and a reduction in the number of people detained by around 60% between 2013 and 2019.

Further listening: Immigration update podcast, episode 86

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Are You Syrious?

News digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and people on the move, but also for journalists, decision makers and other parties.