AYS Daily Digest 19/01/2021—Debate on Humanitarian Situation at Borders in EU Parliament

Awful Conditions in Arsal, Lebanon// Crackdown on NGOs in Cyprus// Turkey Will Not Accept Deportations from Greece// & More

Are You Syrious?
Jan 20 · 9 min read
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Image source: The Left in the European Parliament

FEATURE

EU Parliament debate on humanitarian situation at external borders

Today was the second day of the European Parliament’s January plenary session. On the agenda was a debate on the “humanitarian situation of refugees and migrants at the EU’s external borders.”

LEBANON

Awful conditions in Arsal

Over 15,000 displaced people from Syria are living in the border town of Arsal in Lebanon, with no protection from the cold. In 2019, the government ordered them to dismantle their shelters and since then, they have not had access to other housing. The pandemic has also impacted peoples’ ability to make a living, made harder by the curfews, which are often put in place by the authorities as a tactic of discrimination against Syrians.

CYPRUS

Crackdown on NGOs working in solidarity with people on the move

The Cypriot Minister of Interior Affairs has de-registered many civil society organizations, including KISA, on the grounds of minor errors in paperwork. However, the decision is transparently a political one. Since his appointment, the minister has publicly defamed organizations working with people on the move by accusing them of collaborating with Turkey, and of money laundering. In this press release, KISA outlines the escalation against NGOs, stating firmly that they will fight this decision.

SEA

Tunisians biggest group in arrivals to Italy

“Tunisians: the first nationality of people on the move on the Central Mediterranean route towards Italy. 38% of arrivals since Nov. 30th. The number of Tunisians crossing the Mediterranean is growing, exceeding the departures from the Libyan coast.”

GREECE

Turkey will not accept people deported from Greece

Last week, Greece announced that it expects Turkey to accept 1,450 people who have had their asylum claims rejected in Greece. However, a source for the EU Observer said that Turkey will not accept these deportations and will not reevaluate until the pandemic is under control.

Lesvos Updates

One man has died of the cold on the coast of Lesvos after crossing the sea in a boat with 27 others.

Solidarity roundup

On Samos, the We Are One Center is hosting vulnerable women, including those who are pregnant or have young babies, as conditions outdoors are freezing. Current weather conditions in Samos are harsh and there are thousands of people living in the camp and the informal settlement known as The Jungle, away from even the most basic shelter provided in the camp.

ROMANIA

Action organized to feed people on the move in Timișoara

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Timișoara, Romania 17 January 2021. Photo and post via Art Against

BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA

Human rights violations in Lipa

People are still living in bad conditions across Bosnia & Herzegovina. In Lipa camp, there is no hot water. Although millions of euros have been allocated by the EU to “help” people on the move in Bosnia & Herzegovina (most via the IOM), most people on the move in BiH do not have adequate housing.

SLOVENIA

Awful Conditions in Postojna Center

People on the move in the Postojna center are living in awful conditions. They are subject to police violence, such as the harassment of an eighteen-year-old in a bathroom without cameras, solitary confinement, injuries, and more. People are calling for the camp’s closure due to the unthinkable conditions.

ITALY

Hunger strike against pushbacks

A relay hunger strike promoted by a number of organizers, including the Italian activist network Diritti accoglienza solidarietà internazionale DASI, will happen during January and February. Their goal is to “stigmatize” chain pushbacks from Italy into the Balkans and ask for a reallocation program for people stuck in Bosnia. Italian Catholic organizations also denounced the conditions in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

SPAIN

Illegal detentions on Canary Islands

People in the military camp Barranco Seco have now been detained for over 15 days, even though the law says that people can only be kept in these camps for 72 hours.

AUSTRIA

President Calls for More International Cooperation

In his New Year’s address, Federal President Alexander Van Der Bellen said that the international community needs to cooperate more on climate policy and asylum policy. He said that the conditions in Greece and Bosnia & Herzegovina “deeply shame him,” and that asylum politics should follow the Geneva Convention on Refugees.

GERMANY

Police Crackdown on Smuggling Ring

The German police raided a human trafficking ring that has allegedly smuggled 140 people into Germany since 2019. Around 400 officers were part of the operation to arrest the suspects.

UK

Napier barracks on lockdown after COVID-19 outbreak

Today we have more information on the COVID-19 outbreak in the barracks near Kent that are used to house people on the move. Police officers are enforcing the isolation order. Although the Home Office has not released official numbers, residents said that their independent tallies show that about 100 positive cases of coronavirus have been returned. Although the private contractor managing the site, Clearsprings, said that people who tested positive would be isolated, people on the ground have said that this is not the case and people are still using communal dining facilities and sleeping in blocks that host up to 28 men.

EU

Statewatch wins fight for greater transparency

Following Statewatch’s complaints to the European Ombudsman in December of 2019, Frontex and Europol have committed to ensuring greater transparency of their documents. They must now establish a public register listing all documents they possess. While Europol had an existing register that was simply inadequate, Frontex never had one, even though the agency was established a decade and a half ago.

WORTH READING

This article (from December) about Norway’s strict COVID-19 border measures that have separated families. Especially interesting is the fact that over the summer Norway reopened for European tourism before it allowed relatives from countries not in the EU to visit their loved ones.

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Are You Syrious?

Written by

Daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.

Are You Syrious?

Daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.

Are You Syrious?

Written by

Daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.

Are You Syrious?

Daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.

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