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AYS Daily Digest 15/7/19: Silenced deaths in the ‘city of light’

New government presented a plan with six priorities for the situation of migration in Greece / Suffering in France’s capital hidden by authorities / suffering and indifference continues in Bosnia and Herzegovina / Human Rights Watch sends open letter to the Croatian president / &more news

“Moving away some meters, we came across this chalk graffiti, a call for help: “We are young we can not get out, we need help, ‘help !” When was it written? A few hours before? And by whom? By the victim? Or by the next one?!!” — Paris, Photo: Solidarité migrants Wilson

21 people were placed in “administrative detention”, after the brief occupation of the Pantheon in Paris on Friday by people who came to claim regularization of their status in the country. These 21 people were put under 24-hour administrative detention, presumably for the purpose of verification of their right to stay.

In addition, a protester was arrested and placed in custody for “willful acts of violence against a person in charge of public authority”.

Twenty people gathered at midday in front of the police station of the 5tth arrondissement of Paris, where the arrested people were taken. The protesters were holding placards proclaiming “Release the black vests” and “racist police”.

Dead people accumulate at the Porte de la Chapelle, Solidarité migrants Wilson reports.

Three weeks ago, faced with the gravity of the situation, the volunteers and activists of Solidarité migrants Wilson, along with other supporters, requested protection for exiles by the City of Paris. They listed a series of simple measures that can ensure the protection of people.

This new death is atrocious but so expected! and that’s why our anger is at least as great as our immense sadness!

On Saturday, refugees across the city warned that one of them would hang himself. After the people were allowed to reach the square, it was closed, but they witnessed the body’s removal by the funeral services.

It is so that those who do not die before our eyes, we do not know about, there is no proof, no trace, but we know that they exist and that they are numerous …

There is for the moment no trace of the dead because, they say, they know no names, but they are trying to trace these incidents and protect those who might still be in danger.

In trying to find witnesses and clarifications, the group interviewed young people:

Have you heard of something, of a dead person? They said yes, we were “happy”, we could learn more. After a few seconds, we realized that the dead person they were talking about was another one…. A young Afghan who was run over by a car. His younger brother is there in a tent in Porte d’Aubervilliers , he does not speak French or English, he does not know what to do with his brother’s body … Then a few hours later, another young man told us that his best friend threw himself into the canal, he had just learned of the refusal of OFPRA to grant him asylum …

European discordance continues

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) demanded that the European Union Foreign Affairs Council that took place on Monday 15th July call on the Libyan authorities to close all detention centers in the country.

At the same time, the European foreign ministers cannot find any common ground on handling the situation in the Mediterranean. Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi proposed that the EU should set up offices in peaceful countries in conflict areas where people can make their application for asylum. If they are granted asylum they should be brought into the EU by plane and therefore not need to take the deadly route over the Mediterranean.

The German Foreign Office rejected this plan. Instead, the Foreign Minister Heiko Maas proposed an “alliance of countries willing to help” that should provide a quota system for the people saved from distress in the Mediterranean. Austrian Ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, in contrast, rejected the German proposal. He stated that this proposal had already failed in 2015 and that people being saved from distress at sea should be brought back to their home countries.

In the meantime…

50 people, reportedly of Guinean and Senegalese origin, were arrested in Tazaghine (65 kms west of Nador), among them four women.
The people are still locked up by the Gendarmerie of Dar Kebdani, waiting for their refoulement, Association Marocaine des Droits Humains — Section Nador reported.

The Sea-Watch 3 is still blocked in the port of Licata, while people are trying to flee torture and death, risking their lives in the Mediterranean to escape war in Libya.

Saved from distress, accused of smuggling

Not only European sea rescue organizations are criminalized. Hundreds of migrants seeking protection in Europe are immediately arrested after their arrival by boat on the Greek Islands. They are accused of human smuggling. In order to curb any future attempts, regardless of whether that was the case in the given situation, the people accused are reportedly usually given an average sentence ofabout 44 years in prison that is to be served for about 19 years. The average fines imposed are over 370.000 Euros.

Weather warning

Storms, rainfall, strong winds and hail are forecast in a weather warning issued by the Greek national Meteorological Service on Monday. The bad weather front is moving to Greece from Italy and will initially strike the west of the country.

Meteorological Service EMY warns of strong rainfall and storms temporarily accompanied by hail and powerful winds.

The new government’s priorities

The new Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met on Monday with the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and later chaired a meeting with government ministers concerned with migration issues. He presented a plan with six priorities for the situation of migration in Greece. Point one is the immediate improvement of the living condition of refugees and migrants in Greece, especially of vulnerable persons and minors. Point two aims at more effective border enforcement. By the end of 2019, a new asylum system should be implemented, making the process more effective and faster (point 3). In order to relieve the Greek islands, point four asks for better implementation of the EU-Turkey deal. Point five aims at the improvement of the conditions in Samos identification center and point six is directed at new security policies.

As for now, it is not to clear what the underlying motivation is.
It remains to be seen what effects these new policies will have on the lives of refugees in Greece.

Summer heat comes with life-threatening issues — Why no water?

A shortage of water for more than 2,000 residents of Vial Camp is having a devastating effect on the population’s wellbeing.
This exacerbates the problem on an island where tap water isn’t safe to drink, and the camp is located kilometres from the main town and access to general facilities.
Throughout this week, Action for Education has been sharing testimonials from those living in the camp, and asking the authorities this question: #WhyNoWater?

The coordinator of a small Bosnian humanitarian association reported that some of the boys who were visiting her in order to receive aid, in spite of having all the documents to prove they are residents of the Bira camp in Bihać, were instead forcibly taken to the infamous Vučjak ‘camp’, where authorities are still keeping many people in dire conditions, with no official plans to provide a better solution for them in the near future.

Croatia should immediately stop summarily returning migrants and asylum seekers to Bosnia and Herzegovina, in some cases with force, Human Rights Watch said today in an open letter to President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic

Since the beginning of the year, more than 11,000 people have arrived in Spain by sea and 203 others have died trying to cross to the Spanish coast, according to the UN official figures.

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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.