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AYS Daily Digest 25/03/21 — EU countries to further collaborate with Libya on migration management

More unsafe and risky attempts to cross the Mediterranean in order to reach Spain, Italy, and Greece // Police violence in Greece // Criticisms towards inhumane new immigration policies in the UK…

FRANCE: Occupation of Place de la République in Paris. More than 300 women, men and children are sleeping in tents in the central square to demand immediate, stable and decent shelter for all. Photo By Utopia 56

EU

Foreign ministers of France, Italy, and Germany announce their collaboration with Libya to “manage” irregular migratory flow.

“We are ready to further intensify our efforts, starting with the launch of training activities in favor of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy provided for by the mandate of the (European Irini) mission in which France and Germany also participate,” and which provides a contribution to the ceasefire with the control of the arms embargo, assured Italian foreign minister Luigi Di Maio. “Where requested by the Libyan authorities and in close collaboration with the United Nations “— added Di Maio — “we are also in favor of a European involvement in the monitoring mechanism of the UN ceasefire, currently being defined”.

Italy is also cooperating with the Egyptian regime to train its police force.

On 1 December 2019, the Ministry of the Interior of Egypt announces the signing in Rome of a protocol that extends the joint training and training activities between the Egyptian and Italian police until the end of 2021. The agreement was signed by the head of the Cairo Police Academy and a close collaborator of the dictator al-Sisi, gen. Ahmed Ibrahim and the head of the Central Directorate of Immigration and Border Police of the Ministry of the Interior, Massimo Bontempi. On the indigestible partnership with the Egyptian law enforcement agencies, responsible for unprecedented crimes against humanity — not least the kidnapping and murder of Giulio Regeni — the Interior Ministry has so far preferred to maintain an embarrassed silence.

FRONTEX

Frontex is set to receive more funding, equipment, and skills, Matthias Monroy reports. Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri will allegedly receive 3 deputies, one of whom will be responsible for overseeing the new armed border force and should possess a “strong awareness of strategically and politically sensitive issues.”

Following the ongoing scandal of EU pushbacks, recently published internal letters shed light on Frontex’s fundamental recruitment failures.

The correspondence, shared with the group by Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, shed new light on the dispute between the Commission and Frontex over the agency’s controversial attempts to recruit new staff for its Fundamental Rights Office.

SPAIN

The Workers Commission of the Canary Islands has denounced “overcrowding” and “insecurity” of the reception center for migrant minors in Fuerteventura, which has redounded onto the workers as well.

Local officials and human rights groups on the Canary Islands, where thousands who made hazardous sea crossings from Africa, say that the migrants are stuck in inadequate camps. More than 23,000 people from Morocco and West Africa arrived on the resort archipelago in the past year as authorities cracked down on previously popular routes on the Mediterranean. Spain has sought to keep what it sees as economic migrants, mainly from Morocco and Senegal, from continuing their journeys to the mainland by stopping them from boarding planes and ferries, while allowing through potential asylum seekers and the most vulnerable.

Yet, unsafe sea travel towards coastal areas in Spain keep occurring. Only yesterday, a boat reached land on a beach in Ibiza, with 11 people of Maghrebi origin intercepted by Spanish authorities. In a port near Lanzarote, 26 people were rescued, having departed from Dajla and Tarfaya days before. Nine boats carrying 83 Algerian migrants were intercepted into Murcia between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

These routes are incredibly unsafe. It has been calculated that more than 1,700 people have died trying to reach Spain in 2020, the highest number to date.

This interesting report discusses what is missing at Spain’s southern border: a practical immigration system. Read more here.

SEA

Fear keeps mounting as the fate of 22 people in distress in the Atlantic, who alerted Alarm Phone yesterday after leaving Boujdour, Morocco, remains uncertain. On Tuesday afternoon, they called relatives asking for help. Since then, there is no news. The search and rescue operation Salvamento Maritimo searched without success and has ended the search for today. This means the travellers will spend another night at sea. We are very worried as the wind is already high and will only increase during the night.

Meanwhile, 54 people seem to be stranded at sea off the coast of Alboran, (Spain) adrift without a functioning engine.

The government’s management of search and rescue operations has come under criticism in Spain, as Salvamento Maritimo rebukes the approval of 19 million euro spending on new technology, while vital support to the underfunded rescue agency is withdrawn. Much of the personnel involved in SAR operations has criticised the government’s decision.

SOS Mediterranee has this initiative:

The women we rescue will find safety on our rescue ship for the first time in a long time. Those who rescued our crew in January expressed their relief with this ‘call and response’ song. Enable emergency medical care and psychological first aid by a nurse and midwife on board! Until April 4., 2021, every donation to the care of women will be matched!

Find out more here.

GREECE

Aegean Boat Report

New arrivals from the sea are also occurring in Greece.

53 people have arrived in the north of Lesvos yesterday morning from Turkey, and their transfer to quarantine in Megala Therma was confirmed. People hid in the area until first light, they then moved towards Tsonia to make their presence known to the locals.

Police arrived and have so far gathered 51 people; if this number represent the entire group, it is still too early to determine. 47 people were taken to Megala Therma and 4 to hospital due to pregnancies and minor injuries.

While border crossing (especially at sea) is particularly dangerous, permanence on the islands — often forced and for very long periods of time in difficult conditions — is risky as well.

Yesterday an asylum seeker died inside the closed camp of Kos after having been denied medical treatment. The ambulance only came 2 hours after his death. Maki deserves an investigation about the causes of his death!

A man, possibly of Moroccan origin and around 50 years old, was found dead near Nea Vyssa in Evros, Greece. He is thought to have crossed the river and taken shelter near a water drilling site. Details of the report are as yet unconfirmed.

A federal police investigation into an asylum seeker who attempted suicide in protest on Lesvos has been termed as an “ordinary cooking accident”. This conclusion is very problematic, Der Spiegel reports.

We also want to show our solidarity to the squat Sxoleio in Thessaloniki. It was attacked today by fascists under police protection and at least one person was injured.

News organization The Press Project writes: “The last few days in Greece have witnessed an immense outbreak of police violence with scenes of unimaginable police brutality, which the government completely covers up with outrageous excuses. Police have attacked families in various neighborhoods of Athens, but the media are primarily concerned with the injury of a police officer, which occasioned a speech by the prime minister.”

The Press Project is looking for contributors to strengthen its English edition “in order to ensure that the international public has access to independent and reliable information from Greece.”

UK

Record crossings into the UK this month amid the Home Office’s latest crackdown on migrants, with 183 people reaching the UK from France in one day, the highest number this year so far.

The migrants arrived in the UK just a day before Home Secretary Priti Patel launched a new immigration plan with a “tough new stance.”

If the plan goes ahead, it would mean that those who cross the Channel and thus enter Britain illegally, often by paying a people smuggler, would either be sent back to France or Belgium to seek asylum there, or would, at best, receive temporary leave to remain, if their claim for asylum was found to have substance.

New data and graphs recently released by the Home Office show incomplete information obstructing the massive drop in asylum applications since its record peak in 2002. Home Office is keen on presenting the number as rising, to feed the environment of fear and “emergency” created around the question of migration.

JCWI has a new program to waive visa application fees for those applying on the basis of human rights.

The impact of the new immigration plan has been called into question.

One thing that is new is the proposal that many of those who enter the UK without authorisation will be treated differently from other asylum seekers. They will not be entitled to the status of refugee, only being eligible some other lesser form of humanitarian temporary protection under which they may be (i) permanently liable for removal, (ii) have fewer rights to family reunion and (iii) are not entitled to access public funds unless destitute.

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

In northwestern Bosnia, dozens of migrants and refugees at two reception centers have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to local authorities. Meanwhile, Catholic charity Caritas denounced an alleged outbreak at the Lipa migrant camp.

One of the most sinister consequences of the border policy and practises ruling the European Union (besides the fact that people are dying while seeking a safe life) is the families who get forcibly separated. Children forced to be far from their mothers and fathers, from their siblings, with no real legal option to be reunited. Also the violence that children are facing and experiencing.

Here is the latest case we have learned about, thanks to NoNameKitchen:

“As I finally lie in my own warm bed after a long day with NNK, I can’t get the tired eyes of the people out of my head. What kind of childhood is it when the longing for one’s own mother, who has already reached Zagreb, cannot be satisfied and even the children’s shoes are destroyed during the pushback and there is not even a single toy to spend time with (apart from the hygienic and health conditions)? A ten-year-old girl has been in Bosnia, on the border with Croatia, with her little three-year-old sister, her father and her uncle for months.”

SYRIA

Alaa, a 23-year-old displaced Iraqi, was found dead with gunshot wounds in the al-Hawl camp in Hasaka, as part of an unprecedented spike in related killings in this camp in 2021.

GENERAL — WORTH READING

“Debt plays a central role in women’s migratory paths. It forces them to leave their homes and conditions their jobs in the countries of emigration.” Find out more on this interesting study here.

A new series of articles explores how migrants in Africa decide whether to migrate and where, considering their access to information. All articles are available here.

Find daily updates and special reports on our Medium page.

If you wish to contribute, either by writing a report or a story, or by joining the info gathering team, please let us know.

We strive to echo correct news from the ground through collaboration and fairness. Every effort has been made to credit organisations 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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