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AYS Daily Digest 21/1/19: In the first 21 days of 2019, 200 people died in the Mediterranean

New HRW report on Libya // Disturbing distress calls to Alarmphone //Possible deportation flight from Vienna to Afghanistan // Volunteers needed in Greece and in the Balkans // and more…

Photo from Qasr Bin Gashir detention centre in Libya. Photo provided by Sally Hayden.

With not even a month into 2019, 200 PEOPLE ARE DEAD BECAUSE OF THE EU.

Open Arm’s Twitter Page

IOM also stipulates that in the first 16 days of 2019 the number of sea arrivals reached 4,216 people, compared to 2,365 people in the same period of 2018.

The urgent need for Sea rescue is only growing. Humanitarian groups need EU support, not smear campaigns and refusal for accommodation.


Human Rights Watch released a new report on Monday 21st January with the information they received in interviews with detainees in Libya from 4 July to 12 July 2018. They were only allowed access to four immigration detention centers in Ain Zara, Tajoura, Zuwara and Misrata, yet all interviews were conducted without guards present.

Their first key recommendation from their findings: Libyan authorities must end arbitrary immigration detention.

“Neither the complexities of international migration nor the myriad challenges facing Libya today excuse the brutality visited in Libya upon migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees.”


From Sunday morning to Monday evening, Alarmphone tweeted a disturbing thread on the latest from a distress call from at least 100 people on one boat trying to reach Italy from Libya, only to be returned by the Libyan Coast Guard. They were also in contact with a group of 150 people on the cargo ship LadySham who were terrified of returning and threatening to commit suicide.

The last reporting stipulated that from the first case, 106 people were disembarked in Al-Khums on Monday and that the 150 people are still on LadySham.

Alarmphone also reported on two distress calls in the Aegean over the weekend, where one man died. 53 people (including seven women and 10 children) landed on Farmakonisi islands and the Greek Coast Guard found one deceased man. Later, 25 people (including nine women and five children) called in distress as water started entering their boat. They were also picked up by the Greek Coast Guard.

1,200 people arrived to Spain last week from Morocco.


New Arrivals from Aegean Boat Report:

Chios- the first boat had 49 people (four children, 14 women, and 31 men) and the second boat had 16 people (six children, five women, and five men)

Samos- 37 people (no breakdown)

The Dirty Girls on Lesvos are in need of volunteers to this summer to come help clean debris on the North East shore of the island. You would be helping to clean in the morning, so you’d also have the possibility of volunteering elsewhere later in the day. Find out more here.

Asylum Seekers Information Services Team (ASIST) on Chios is looking to fill several key volunteer positions: Volunteer Adviser (qualified lawyers only), Volunteer Interpreter (Arabic-English and French-English), and a Volunteer Office Administrator. Find out more here.

Lifting Hands International is in need of volunteers to help in their community center in Serres, Greece. They have five distinct programs: female-friendly space, children-friendly space, education, aid-distribution/warehouse, and community garden. Find out more here.


On Friday, a report from the Interior Ministry stated that Bulgaria repatriated 894 people in 2018. This is less than half of the people sent back in 2017, standing at 1,903. The largest percentage of people repatriated in 2018 was from Iraq at 36.1%. The report also stipulates that out of the 2,535 foreigners who applied for protection in 2018, only 317 received refugee status and 413 received humanitarian status.


Predominantly overcast with rain. In the south, showers and in the mountains occasional sleet or snow. In the south and center, heavier precipitation. Wind moderate, coming mostly from the south. Low temperatures from -2 to 8 C° and highs from 0 to 12 C°.


Cloudy with rain, sleet, snow, and/or frost at some places. In the south, rain. Moderate wind from the west, strong during the afternoon, from the east and southeast. Low temperatures from -2 to 1 C° and highs from 0 to 5 C°.


Cloudy with rain and snow. Heavy precipitation in northern and eastern Bosnia, as well as in the southwest. In the rest of the country, less precipitation of moderate intensity. New snow accumulation from 2 to 10 cm, locally from 15 do 25 cm. Wind weak to moderate from the north and northeast. Low temperatures from -5 to 8 C° and highs from -3 to 9 C°.


Mostly cloudy with occasional precipitation; inland snow and mostly rain along the coast. In Dalmatia showers and thunder, possibly of heavy. During the second part of the day, rain transitioning to snow on the northern part of the coast. Inland wind will be mostly light, along the coast, strong from the west and south. Low temperatures from -5 to 8 C° and highs from -2 to 10 C°.


In UNHCR’s weekly snapshot of Italy for 20 January: the total arrivals from 1 to 20 January 2019 included 156 people, while the same time period in 2018 included 2,778 people.

The dead and missing in the Central Mediterranean during the same time period: 129 in 2019 and 185 in 2018.

Arrivals have significantly decreased, yet deaths not as much.


Refugee Protest Camp Vienna is sending out a warning that there might be a charter deportation flight to Afghanistan on 27 January. Spread the word and BE SAFE.


In an Interior Ministry report it was unveiled that more asylum seekers were deported from Germany to other EU states than ever before last year. 8,658 people were required to leave Germany from January to November 2018, while in 2017, only 7,102 were required to leave. Germany was following the Dublin III rule, which states that the first EU country a refugee enters is responsible for their asylum application. Almost 1/3 of the people deported in 2018 were sent back to Italy. Read more here.


Evictions took place in Calais on Monday morning from under a bridge. Most were young people from Eritrea and Ethiopia. Their blankets and other belongings were thrown away.

In a post from Refugee Info Bus (including a video):

“ How people fathom the strength to endure such continual, exhausting, destruction of their possessions and brutal treatment is astonishing.”

In Refugee Community Kitchen’s Calais update, they state that it averages 4 degrees during the day, while the local authorities are constantly evicting people and taking their possessions. They are working to serve 1200 meals to people every day who have to endure the brutality coming simultaneously from the police and weather.

We also publish weekly summaries of some of the most important news reported during the past week in our Daily News Digest: here are the Arabic and Persian for the Week of January 14–20. Please, share the information with your Arabic and Persian speaking contacts.

We strive to echo correct news from the ground through collaboration and fairness.

Every effort has been made to credit organizations and individuals with regard to the supply of information, video, and photo material (in cases where the source wanted to be accredited). Please notify us regarding corrections.

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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.