AYS Daily Digest 20/07/2018: Bodies of Woman and Child Abandoned at Sea by Libyan Coast Guard to be disembarked in Mallorca
69 people arrested in Morocco// The Libyan Government rejects proposal to build migrant centres in Libya// Italian Coast Guard uneasy about closure of ports// Salvamento Maritimo has rescued 450 persons at sea// SOS Mediterranee is preparing for new mission and changed conditions in the Mediterranean//News from Greece// Bosnia// Italy// France and more…
While UNHCR commends EU states France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Spain and Portugal for finally reaching an agreement to share the processing of 450 refugees who have been stranded on the Mediterranean, Proactiva Open Arms prepares to disembark the single survivor and corpses of the deceased women and child who were abandoned at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard earlier this week.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, stated:
“We hope the arrangements will now be quickly and effectively implemented. As well as ending an ordeal for these individuals, this sets a positive example of how, by working together, countries can uphold sea rescue and manage borders while simultaneously meeting international asylum obligations.”
Meanwhile, with ports closed and ever increasing criminalisation and restrictions on SAR vessels from rescuing boats in distress, grave concerns exist for increased reliance on the Libyan Coast Guard for future rescue operations.
Only a few days ago, Proactiva Open Arms accused the Libyan Coastguard of abandoning three persons after intercepting a boat heading to Europe. A woman and child were killed in the incident, while a man named Josefa, 40 years old, from Cameron was saved after being held for 48 hours among the remains of a raft. It is reported that he will attempt to denounce the governments of Italy and Libya for the tragedy.
The Founder of Proactiva Open Arms, Oscar Camps, reports:
“It was not an easy debreifing for mission 47. After all the hard work and effort, we have to deal with false accusations while transporting a survivor and two corpses.”
Jeff Crisps highlights the silence of the UN who is yet to release any comment on this deplorable incident.
Since the start of the year 51,782 persons have arrived in Europe by sea. 1490 are dead/missing.
69 persons have been arrested in Morocco along with their driver
The Libyan Government strongly opposes the proposal to accomodate rejected asylum seekers in Libya
According to Libyan Prime Minister Fayes Al-Sarraj, Libya absolutely opposes the European Union’s plan to establish migrant centres in the country. He has furthermore stated that the decision will not be swayed by financial inducements. This plan was proposed last month by Italy.
The Italian Coast Guard expresses unease at the Government’s closure of ports to those rescued at sea.
The decision which entered into force in June to close Italy’s ports to migrants rescued at sea is causing discomfort within the Italian Coast Guard. Members of the coastguard have begun to speak out against the new policy, which has forced them to transfer all calls for help and reports of boats in distress to the Libyan Coast Guard. Before this new policy the Italian coastguard played an important role in rescue missions.
Giovanni Pettorino, the Commander of the Coast Guard, has released two important statements:
“ There is an unwritten principle that resides in the soul of every sailor: that of heping anyone who risks losing their life at sea.”
“We are Italian sailors, we have 2,000 years of civility behind us”
Salvamento Maritimo has rescued 450 persons from 20 boats today from the waters of El Estrecho and Mar de Alboran.
The commercial Tunisian Boat Sarost5 is still waiting to dismbark 40 rescued persons.
Italy, France and Malta have refused to allow the boat to disembark. It is fast running out of supplies.
Turkish Coast Guard intercept boat on route to Chios
The Aegean Boat Report has reported that 41 people were on board the vessel: six children, 10 women and 25 men.
Three SAR ships remain docked in Malta, prohibited from saving lives at sea
A total of 51 persons rescued from the waters of El Estrecho to be dismbarked at Algeciras:
They are expected to arrive at the port at 18.40 according to SALVAGEverified.
Moroccan use of the Central Mediterranean route is failing as Spanish authorities intercept boats
SOS Mediterranee is preparing for new mission and changed conditions in the Mediterranean
The Aquarius SAR Vessel is set to leave at the end of July from Marseilles. More food will be stored on the ship due to longer periods at sea. Another addition will be the use of a drone to help locate boats in distress.
The organisation has stated that the “The context in the Mediterranean has completely changed.”
On June 9 Italy enforced a policy which saw it close its ports to persons rescued at sea.
Rescue ships are no longer informed about the relief efforts in progress and we do not know why, the result is that the NGOs at sea can make sightings only for ten miles around the ship.”
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
# of arrivals in Europe through Italy, Greece, Spain and Bulgaria between January and June 2018
(UNHCR, 10 July 2018)
Estimated # of children among all arrivals in 2018
(UNHCR, 10 July 2018)
# of child asylum-seekers in Europe between January and June 2018
(Eurostat, 7 July 2018)
# of estimated stranded children in Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia in 2018
(UNICEF, 30 June 2018)
Close to half of all child arrivals (5,001) were registered in Greece, where the proportion of children remains significantly higher than on other migration routes (37 per cent compared to 17 and 16 per cent in Italy and Spain respectively). Most children arriving in Greece come from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, and are typically below 12 years old, with infants and small children (0 to 4 years old) making up the largest age group. In Italy 2,600 unaccompanied adolescent children arrived by June 2018, adding to over 13,000 unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) in the Italian reception system. Based on Eurostat figures, more than 31,000 UASC claimed asylum in Europe in 2017.
European Commission to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice for non-compliance with EU law over asylum procedures
On Thursday the EC decided “to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for non-compliance of its asylum and return legislation with EU law.” Hungary has had the EC’s eyes on them since 2015, when an infringement procedure was started with respect to the country’s asylum laws, and in December 2017 the EC sent a reasoned opinion, as nothing had changed in the desired direction. Hungary was previously notified.
The latest developments come after Hungary’s latest decision to make the tough laws even tougher, as humanitarian organisations and individuals helping migrants and refugees can be seen as criminals.
According to Aegean Boat Report, five boats have so far arrived on the Greek islands this morning, carrying a total of 152 people.
Two boats on Lesvos, 55 people:
The first boat landed in Eftalou, Lesvos north, at 06.39. MoChara and Lithuanian Frontex on scene. One pregnant woman transported to hospital.
The second boat was a drop off in Tsonia, Lesvos north east, found at 08.00.
Two boats Chios, 92 people:
The first boat arrived in Chios port at 05.15.
Supported on arrival by SMH and CERST.
The second boat landed on Mavra Beach, Chios south, at 08.00. SMH and CERST supported after landing.
An additional five people were dropped off with a speed boat on Samos.
Greece to change the way it handles migration:
The Greek government is planning to centralise the management of the refugee crisis, both on an administrative and budgetary level, by the ministry.
It has been told that three new reception facilities are to be built on the mainland to allow for relocation of refugees from the overcrowded islands.
The ministry is also said to create a new department whose focus will be on hastening the process of transfers from the islands to the mainland.
English Classes for women resumed in OCC centre Polykastro
This week we started again with English classes for women and it seems they are being a success! Every day from 10 to 11 am in OCC Polykastro.
Mozaic house in need of a new volunteer coordinator to join their team
Mozaic house is a centre for refugee women and children in the centre of Athens.
The tasks will be:
Supervision during the shifts
Organising the program for the week
Communication with volunteers through WhatsApp
Welcoming of new volunteers, making their contracts and explaining them their duties and the framework of the shelter.
Hours and days of work are flexible, but once arranged they must be fixed.
Certification will be provided.
Long term volunteers (3 months +) preferred.
You can contact us through email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Khora Legal Support Team Update:
Whilst the Khora Community Centre searches for a new building we are operating from The Jafra Foundation (Kallidromiou 49, Athina 106 81) every TUESDAY AND THURSDAY 12PM-5PM.
We predominantly assist with:
- Legal assessments
- Accompaniments to GAS Facilities
- Advocacy related to housing, cash cards and access to health care.
If you require help and assistance, would like to volunteer with us or find out more about what we do you can send us a message here or email email@example.com
Mobile Info Team reports on two groups of refugees forcibly returned form Greece to Turkey by Police
Over the past ten days, we have been in touch with two groups of refugees from Syria, Iraq and Yemen who have been forcibly returned to Turkey from Greece by the police. They were not given the chance to claim asylum.
“I was desperate to escape the misery of war and put the Turkish camps behind me. On the 5th of July 2018 we were a group of fourteen people ready to cross the river Evros to Greece after 10 hours of being on the road. It was nearly dawn but still dark when we arrived at a small Greek border village.
Hungry and covered in mud, we were forced to stay at abandoned toilets hiding from the police for five hours before the police found us and we were taken to a different area, where we were held for more than six hours. The police took our passports, money, phones, and shoes. At sundown, they transported us to a small island in the river and then the Turkish police came and arrested us. We were never given our money, passports or phones back,” our contact informed us.
The organisation states that the groups are now back in Turkey. They have reported the incidents to the UNHCR and the Greek Ombudsman and are attempting to challenge this very sad violation of people’s right to claim asylum.
On Thursday, the Bosnian police discovered five people from Iraq in the town of Zvornik, near the border with Serbia. In this small border town, 307 people have been registered this year. Since February this year, thousands of people have found their way from Serbia to Bosnia, hoping to continue their journey toward the EU.
Red Cross warns of deteriorating conditions in Bosnia as well as increased use of violence against persons trying to cross into Croatia and Slovenia
With over 8,000 people having arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the beginning of 2018, the country is struggling to cope with the influx, eight times greater than in 2017. In the past four weeks alone, 3,000 people have arrived in the country.
In addition, the organisation reports that dozens of people are being treated every day for injuries sustained while attempting to cross into Croatia and Slovenia. The police are increasingly using violence to protect borders and halt migration. In Bihac, medical teams are treating anywhere up to 70 people per day.
The IFRC spokesperson in Bihac, Nicole Robicheau, said: “The conditions close to the border are grossly inadequate and we’re concerned for people’s safety. Families are sleeping on the ground without any proper shelter, without bedding or blankets — people don’t want to stay here but they are effectively stranded. Each day, people try to move onwards to Croatia but many return with injuries.”
“We are extremely concerned about reports of violence against people trying to make their way into Croatia,” said IFRC’s Regional Director for Europe, Simon Missiri. “Governments have the right to set and enforce migration policies, but they also have the obligation to ensure that all people, regardless of immigration status, are treated with dignity and respect.
UNHCR reports that in the last two weeks 3,357 people have arrived in Serbia
Fence being built in Ventimiglia to prevent people even from sleeping under the bridge
Solidarité migrants Wilson need more volunteers to help keep up with demand
Too few people on schedule as we serve 700 people right now. Need backup for a more serene distribution given the current situation.
Please read and sign this petition by Care4Calais to stop preventable deaths on the Mediterranean
This is Camara. He drowned in Europe’s moat, the Mediterranean Sea. He was 25 years old and he is just one of hundreds of people to have lost their lives after humanitarian rescue was effectively outlawed at a recent EU summit.
He was an IT student from Gambia, and had worked for his father. When work dried up, he moved to Libya to find work, but was soon caught up in the vicious network of brutality in Libya today.
Life didn’t work out for Camara. It was never meant to. Instead of finding work, the political vacuum that has been created in Libya swallowed him whole. Camara spent three and a half years in Libya, in a state of perpetual waiting.
He liked football and played in goal. He liked to sing. He had normal dreams. He didn’t want to claim benefits. He just wanted to work, have a family and live in peace. Those simple desires, however, are too much for some.
May he, and all of the thousands of people like him, who have perished making this journey to Europe, rest in peace.
May this deliberate slaughter be brought to an end, and its perpetrators be brought to justice. Please sign and share now to end this
A demonstration against the criminalisation of sea rescue to be held today n Bonn
The demonstration is organised by Jugend Rettet e.V. Nordrhein-Westfalen
Come many, be orange, stand with us for safe escape routes and against criminalising rescue in the Mediterranean!
To find out more please follow this link.
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