AYS Daily Digest 15/01/20: Greece Reintroduces Migration Ministry
Belgium restricts accommodation for asylum seekers / Germany: How to criminalize people / South Africa restricts political activities of refugees / UNHCR demands more funds for support in Sudan / Protests in Denmark
FEATURED: Greek Migration Ministry reintroduced
Six months after closing the Migration Ministry, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis decided to set up the old structures with deputy ministers in other institutions like the ministries of foreign affairs and defense, several Greek media report. Kyriakos appointed Notis Mitarakis as the new minister; he was deputy Labour Minister before and had visited Chios recently to discuss the new hotspots — and earned harsh critics even from party fellows. It is said, that this choice was not a “lucky hand”.
Government sources say that “the change was deemed necessary because roles were confused and it was considered that better coordination was needed as many ministries were involved in the issue.” Former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras blamed the new government for having created a “cripple” in the “refugee issue” and now understood it. Currently, more than 40,000 people are stuck on the Aegean islands, most of them on Lesvos, Chios and Samos. Today, 156 people arrived on the Aegean islands, writes Aegean Boat Report.
More on Bihać in a lecture at the CEU
Complicating the current picture in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the cumbersome political structure of the country, the role of international humanitarian organizations and loosely organized foreign volunteers, and media reports that condemn Bosnia-Herzegovina without acknowledging the root causes of either migration or roadblocks to asylum or work migration put up by the EU’s often violent border policies.
If you are in Budapest, please join a report and informal discussion on the situation led by Elissa Helms, Associate Professor in the Department of Gender Studies who is spending the current year in Bihać doing ethnographic research on these dynamics: January 17th!
Aid to Refugees and Migrants Stuck outside the EU: A Field Report from Bihać, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Background: Since late 2017, Bosnia-Herzegovina has been on one of the main trajectories of the Balkan Route of…
The Belgian government wants to tighten access to accommodation centers for some asylum seekers. As Minister for Asylum and Migration, Maggie de Block, announced on Saturday, people who have asylum status in another country and people who have been in the Dublin procedure and apply in Belgium after the end of the six-month-period will no longer receive unconditional access to accommodation. “ I am afraid that with this measure we will receive even more people in need”, said Mehdi Kassou from the Citizen’s Platform for Refugee Support to InfoMigrants, criticizing this approach.
Deporting ‘criminals’ — crime: not having a passport
Among the deportees from Munich to Afghanistan was one man, who was labeled as criminal due to a fault of the authorities, reports the Bavarian Refugee Council. His “crime” was to stay in Germany without having a passport. For this, he was sentenced to four months detention on probation, which prevented him from getting a work or education permit. However, he had the Tazkira — the Afghan birth certificate and a valid identification document — with him, when he entered Germany. When he gave it to the authorities as required, they somehow lost it. After his asylum request was rejected, he was urged to get a passport. But to ask for this at the Afghan Embassy, he needed his Tazkira; which was not there anymore. Still, the foreigners sued him for not having a passport and now labeled him as deportee who was a criminal. Authorities in Bavaria are justifying deportations to Afghanistan with mainly sending criminals away to protect the (federal) state.
On Tuesday, 254 Syrians were transferred from Turkey to Germany for Humanitarian protection, Welt reports. The plane landed in Hanover, 27 of the people will stay in the federal state of Lower Saxony. Germany agreed to accept up to 500 Syrians per month in the frame of the EU-Turkey deal. Since April 2016, some 9,000 people were transferred which is far below the limit of so far more than 20,000 people.
Also regarding Syrians, the government revealed that the information Syrian asylum seekers gave in the first three quarters of 2019 was accurate in 99.6 percent of the cases. More than 45,000 cases had been checked. Further, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, BAMF, announced that in 2019 only 3.3% of the asylum decision have been revoked. There were around 170,000 decisions overall, Zeit reports.
120 cities in Germany who joined the “safe harbor” campaign demand to host more refugees, according to a ZDF report. They say, places are free and available, some have been for almost two years now. However, the Ministry of Interior did not allow such relocation programs on a local level. They might be able to have a talk about it with the ministry by the end of the month.
The government of South Africa decided that authorities can withdraw the refugees’ status for any kind of political activities related to their countries of origin. NGOs already announced that they will challenge the law in front of the court, according to the LA Times. The government justifies this step with protection foreign affairs and said, people need permission for political activities like others need one to start a public protests.
UNHCR demands more support for Sudan. For more than 900,000 people in need and almost 250,000 hosts in the country, the agency asks the international community to raise $477 million. “About 70 per cent live outside of camps in villages, towns and settlements. The majority of refugees and asylum-seekers in Sudan face high levels of poverty, limited access to livelihood opportunities, and are hosted in some of the poorest regions of the country, where host communities are also struggling,” UNHCR announced. In 2019, its Sudan mission was one of the most underfunded with only 32 percent availability of the requested $269 million.
Several hundred people gathered today in front of the Danish parliament to protest against the conditions in the Ellebæk deportation center. Before, the European Council’s Torture Committee has released a new report.
Lord Alf Dubs continues his campaign to reunite unaccompanied children with their families, despite pressure from three Home Office ministers to stop pushing for a key amendment to the EU withdrawal agreement bill, writes the Guardian. It would be a “betrayal of Britain’s humanitarian position”, Dubs is quoted as saying.
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