AYS Daily Digest 26/06/2018: Inactivity and irresponsiblity

The EU’s irresponsible policy continues / Lifeline still waiting to sail to a safe harbor / Aquarius heading to Marseille / Deportation warning from Germany and Sweden / 45,000 people flee Daraa due to new fights / Two people died by car accident in Macedonia / and much more…

The Lifeline is still waiting to disembark the people at a safe harbor. Credits: Mission Lifeline

Feature: Inactivity and irresponsiblity

Even though the case of the rescue ship Lifeline has been in the media for days now, no significant progress have been made. During the day, it seemed like there could be a solution for the rescued people and Malta will let them disembark on its harbor: Several countries (or cities), including Italy, Malta, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal and Germany said, they would take the around 230 people.

However, Lifeline’s latest update stated, that at 6pm Malta still refused them to enter territorial waters. “We can therefore not confirm what is spread in media so far.”

This case shows once again the cruelty of European policy, this time even more than with the Aquarius, when Spain quickly offered a safe port. The EU member states did not manage to find a fair share of providing a safe space to people in need. They did not, when more than one million people entered European soil in 2015. And apparently they do even not, if it’s about 230 people. Meanwhile, SOS Mediterranee confirmed, that the Aquarius is now sailing towards Marseille, as Malta refused their port-call. This means, that they will be out of the search and rescue area for several days. Last time, when they had to sail towards Valencia, more than 200 people died in the Mediterranean.

Indeed, it is a good sign, that single countries and cities want to offer their support. But often, like with Berlin and Schleswig-Holstein, the federal states in Germany do not have the permission to decide it, as it is up to the government to make these decisions. And even if a country would finally allow the people to come there, it is still up to Malta or Italy, to provide a close port of safety. Further more the experience of the relocation scheme from Italy and Greece showed, that the EU bureaucracy often slows down the processes itself.

It is even more sad, that after three years, the EU did not even try to work on a humane solution for people seeking safety and a better life in Europe. It has not learned, that sometimes action is needed. The so-called crisis is still a self-made one in several ways. The EU’s inactivity in helping people in distress and need abroad its borders was one of the core reasons to cause people trying to make their way to it by themselves. At the same time, EU member states were actively involved in clashes such as Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran — to just name a few (not to forget the African countries and the EU’s negative economic impact). But still, the EU is trying to keep these people away from its borders, denying any responsibility.

On the other side of the sea, the so-called Libyan Coast Guard seems to intensify its controls these days. During the last one and a half weeks alone, more than 2000 people are reported to have been pulled-back, Tagesschau reports. The conditions in the camps there are still inhumane. Since November, 15,000 people have been deported from there. MSF doubts, that this has happened voluntarily all the time. There are also reports, that authorities are cooperating with human traffickers — or are smuggling by themselves.


Afghanistan


Syria

More than 45,000 have been forced to leave their homes the last week, according to the UN (via Zeit). In Daraa, Southern Syria close to the border to Isreal, the fights are intensifying at the moment. It is said, that it is one of the last stronghold of the rebel groups. Hence, the government is trying to recapture the city. Most of the people on the run are moving towards Jordan. But as the border is closed and there is no alternative route, another humanitarian disaster is threatened.


Turkey


Greece

Between 18th and 24th June, the UNHCR registered 298 arrivals on Samos. Compared to 2017, this number is six times higher. 87 people were allowed to leave the island and go to the mainland. At the moment, 2200 people are being accomodated on the island. More than 50 percent of them are women and children. Samos Volunteers are looking for reinforcement this summer. “ The number of people arriving to Samos so far this year has surpassed the number at this time last year,” they write. But the past showed, that most of the people probably will arrive between August and October. If you consider to volunteer with them, check their homepage and get in touch.

But people should wait the next days, before trying to make the way from Turkey to Greece as there is a severe wather warning all over the country. Also people on the mainland should be aware and take care.


Macedonia

Two people died and 13 people were injured on a car accident between Radovish and Shtip yesterday, Legis reports. The driver escaped. Together with the local community, they will try to organise the funeral. A team of the group visited the injured people in the hospital today to provide them with basic supplies. “At the moment they are out of life threatening and they are recovering”, Legis informs.


Bosnia

Students from the local technical faculty in Bihac visited a place today, where over 600 people live. It is a half-ruined building without windows or doors, bathrooms or any space for privacy. Among those who live there are many families, too. Since recently, high presence of special police forces is visible. According to the latest official data, over 7000 people entered Bosnia since February this year. The government did not provide sufficient accommodation capacities and people are forced to stay in inhumain places, sleep in the streets and parks. Food is often provided by locals and international volunteers, while at some places, like this one in Bihac, the Red Cross is in charge of the entire “camp”.

IOM and UNHCR are aware and present but are doing not enough to improve living conditions or make government do more. Or at least their efforts are hardly visible. The pressure is rather coming from the public, so far. Meanwhile, the part of the local media, those closely affiliated with the local political parties, are spreading hate speech against the people on the move, and the so far welcoming atmosphere could easily change. Hopefully, it will not happen since, at the same time, more and more locals are getting involved in providing help. Groups of people are organizing among themselves all over the country, providing help to people who are arriving every day. It is not unusual to see groups of people walking down the streets or sleeping in public places.

In Bihac, the program was organized for kids living in this appalling conditions and they all got presents. The Red Cross gives over 700 meals today at that place. After the lunch, which they serve once a day, the Red Cross distributed clothes and shoes donated by citizens.


Austria

The right-wing government of Austria today gave another example, who the EU member states are failing to respond the situation appropiately: More than 500 police officers and 220 soldiers performed an excercise in Spielfeld at the border to Slovenia. The border was one of the main entrance points, before the burders were closed. Even two black hawk helicopters were used, media reports say. The newly formed unit to protect the border is said to be called “Puma”. All the countries committed to a non-refoulment policy, offering every protection seeker the right to ask for asylum — a right guaranteed by international law.

It is only cynical, that the police used the hastag #proboders for its tweets, showing the current trends — not only in Austria. The term is said to have been started by the identitarian movement.


Italy

Six employees of a reception center in Latina have been arrested for leaving the 800 residents in horrible conditions, Latina Quotidiano reports. While receiving 35 per day per person, they only spend one to two Euros a day to provide them food and other needs. When the residents started protesting against the living conditions, they threatened them to kick them out of the already overcrowded facility. On the accounts of the managers, authorities found 700,000 Euros and seized one luxury car. Apparently, the situation was ongoing since 2015 and no one controlled the center until now.

22 people from Syria and Palestine arrived in Rome today in the frame of the humanitarian corridor. Don’t forget, there are still more than 230 people stranded in the Mediterranean, waiting to be provided a safe passage.

https://www.facebook.com/252231521632595/videos/860087500846991/

Campagne in Lotta encouraged volunteers in Foggia to support people being exploitet on field work. They demand self-organized assemblies in the camps, a legal office against exploitation, investigative work on the agro-industrial chain and the mobility government and Italian classes. This years summer intervention will last from July to September. If you want to join the team, contact campagneinlotta@gmail.com or find more information on www.campagneinlotta.org.

Caritas in Ventimiglia assisted more than 24,000 people in 2017 and distributed 2300 alone in June this year. To continue its activities, the NGO is in need of can food, oil, rice, pasta, eggs, fruit and vegetables, plastic containers (plates, forks, spoons, glasses…), napkins as well as Clean men clothes and shoes, size S/M.


Spain

Spanish Foreign Ministers Josep Borrell, Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska and Justice Dolores Delgado will travel to Morocco on Thursday to meet with the Moroccan authorities with whom they want to discuss migration. Sources of the executive confirmed to the Efe agency that this will be the first visit of the holders of these folders to the Maghreb country, which has been the first overseas move of the head of government, after taking office.


France

The police in Paris tried today to evict the around 170 people at Paris 8 violently from the university, several activists confirmed. The last available info is, that the people went into gyms. But it is not known where. The building has been occupied on 30 January. More than 20 people have been arrested.

A bus waiting in front of the university. Credits: Les Exilé.e.s Occupent P8

In other areas of Paris, people are still forced to sleep rough. The police still does not allow them to set up tents. Hence, they have to sleep on the ground only with a blanket on a cardboard or a tarpaulin, Faces Before Numbers reports. “ In the past few days, a lot of new people arrived, amongst which minors — both girls & boys.” As the city is not cleaning the spots and no bins are available, the volunteers together with the homeless people teamed up to clean it.

Tous Migrants is asking for donations. Besides hygiene products they especially reqest fruits and vegetables, tea and coffee.


Germany

Another deportation flight from Bavaria to Afghanistan is scheduled for next Monday or Tuesday, Refugee struggle for freedom warns. More than 100 people are said to be deported. People who received a deportation order should not stay in the camps, as there is a high risk of being arrested these days.


Sweden

Another deportation from Malmö to Afghanistan seems to be scheduled just four days, before the so-called high school law comes into force, Ola Mattsson, chief of Save the Children’s mission in Sweden, notes. The law has been expanded recently, protecting pupils from deportation during their studies. People can apply for this program only from 1st July until 30th September. There are also public protests against the deportation.


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