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AYS Daily Digest 4/4/19: The next Idomeni?

New Makeshift Camp in Northern Greece / Malta: Teenagers Imprisoned in Adult Section / Death in Macedonia / Eviction in Paris

People are gathering next to Diavata camp. Photo: Our house

A small Idomeni?

In Northern Greece, a so-called “Caravan of Hope” is formed next to the Diavata camp. Dozens of people have left the camps in Greece over the last couple of days and are sleeping in the field in camping tents now.

On Thursday evening, police in this area started preventing people from moving towards Diavata. On Friday morning, the entire region was under lockdown. At the moment we were finishing this Digest (Friday morning), no movement was allowed in or out of the camp Diavata.

AYS Info Team volunteers in the area are reporting about very visible presence of the police and palpable tensions.

Volunteers from Our House tried to get food to women and children, but they were refused by the police. Some of the people who are participating in this “Convoy of Hope,” as they call it, told AYS that no ambulance is present in the area, even though there are people who may need help.

During the day, several clashes between protesters and police were reported, as well as use of tear gas.

Apparently, over 1000 people are present in the area.

People who joined the Caravan arrived form different camps around Greece. Their aim is to walk toward Macedonia and farther, heading for the northern Balkans, and then into the EU, demanding safe passage and opening of the borders.

Preparations for this protest have been going on for weeks, and information was shared in mostly open FB groups. However, different police agencies in Greece and Europe are also on alert. Since last week, Greek police have attempted to prevent people from heading toward the location designated as the starting point at the beginning of March. Initially, it was the area of Ioninna, close to Albania border, only to be changed to Diavata area later on.

This protest is another way to draw attention to mass violations of basic human rights of people on the move, especially those who are in Greece. Over 70,000 are at the moment in Greece, many of whom are stuck on islands, often in conditions that are degrading for any human being.

However, we have to remember that similar attempts were made in the past, often ending in violence and disappointment as the borders remain closed.

Even now, there is little possibility that the borders will open. Furthermore, efforts are being made from both the EU and Balkan countries to tighten borders even more; we are receiving reports about violence from borders of the EU and from Bosnia, where most of the people are heading to.

Officially, many NGOs and groups present in Greece warned against paticipating in the Convoy, warning about possible consequences of losing status in Greece.

AYS Info Team will follow the situation and try to report accurately. We hope all the people who are participating will be safe, and that police will refrain from using violence against people who are desperately demanding that their basic human rights, including right to freedom of movement, are respected.

Libya

In a report, Alarme Phone Sahara described their activities in Niger, and how they repair cars stuck in the desert.

Greece

On Lesvos, two boats with a total of 58 people landed today, Aegean Boat Report writes.

With donations from two fundraising events, Renew and Raven ordered more than 40 strollers in Athens and shipped them to Leros. Families with children under the age of four years living in the hotspot at Pikpa or the Arsis accomodation received them. “The strollers will make the 3,5 km walk to town, the only place where shopping can be done, so much easier for the families,” volunteer Catharina Kahane stated.

Italy

The right-wing politics in Italy also shows results on a local level. According to Redattore Sociale, the abolition of humanitarian protection lead to an increase in demand for low-threshold services like showers, clothes, and food packagers. 4000 people are said to be in Rome, 900 in Palermo daily. In Trento a new reception needed to open.

Malta

Two underage teenagers, who were charged with “terrorist activity,” are arrested in Malta’s main prison in the adult’s section. The Times of Malta writes that this is in breach of the magistrate’s law.

Serbia

Hungary deploys 15 police offers between Serbia and North Macedonia, B92 reports. They will be equipped with off-road vehicles, night vision gear, and thermal cameras.

Bosnia

Another report about the violence in Velika Kladusa by the local police.

According to the report, four people were approached by the local police in the park in the city center, for no obvious reason. Police arrested all four and took them to the police station, where they were ordered to face against the wall. At that moment, police started beating up people. Apparently, 10 police officers were involved.

Additionally, they took all the money they found from people they beat up; one had 150 and the other 100 euro.

AYS Info Team has received similar reports about the violence from Doboj area, Mostar, Posušje, Bihać, while more and more reports are pointing to violente push backs from city of Goražde, close to Sarajevo, and Čajniče. After the push backs in this area, people are forced to walk back to Montenegro.

France

Around 400 people — who are sleeping in rough conditions at the moment — and supporters demonstrated outside the camp Porte de la Chapelle today after eviction today. Around 200 are said to have stayed.

Watizat published a new guide about how to apply for asylum in Paris. On their homepage it can be found in French, English and Arabic. Because of the dire conditions, several organisations are calling for a protest on Saturday, 7th April at Place de la Rotonde in Paris.

Plateforme citoyenne de soutien aux réfugiés Bruxelles is asking for donations, as their stock is running low. Their needs include t-shirts, shorts, leggings, hats, gloves, belts, shampoo, sleeping bags. As winter is ending and the weather gets better, people are believed to came back to the streets of cities like Calais and Paris. Hence, Utopia 56 is collecting tents, too.

Germany

Last week, Bavaria deported a Vietnamese writer and human rights activist and his wife to Hanoi, taz reports. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017 and 2019. He is also currently nominated for the Robert Kennedy Prize of Human Rights and for the Václav Havel Human Rights Award. In Vietnam, the well-known author is threatened massively.

Usually, asylum applications of Vietnamese citizens are not processed in Bavaria but in Berlin, Brandenburg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony where the authorities and administrative courts are qualified to decide on persecution grounds in Vietnam. It is not clear why the asylum application of this family exceptionally was processed in Bavaria and not referred to one of the other federal states.

The writer’s daughter said that her parents had been interrogated by the police for fourteen hours after arriving in Hanoi and then released. She does not know where her parents are now. She also critized the treatment of her parents during the deportation. Her father depends on medication after a stroke but didn’t have the medication with him during the deportation. A doctor was not available. The daughter herself could not be deported because she does not have a valid passport, however she fears that she might be deported soon, as well.

A lawsuit filed by the couple against the rejection of their asylum application is still pending.

The opposition and the Bavarian refugee council are condemning the deportation sharply and call for the readmission of the couple.

UK

Migrant Voice published a response to the statement of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, demanding reduced fees for a visa.

Apart from daily news in English, we also publish weekly summaries in Arabic and Persian. Click on those links to check out the ones about the week from the 25th to the 31st of March.
If you think you could contribute to the work of our info team, write us.

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.

If there’s anything you want to share or comment, contact us through Facebook, Twitter or write to: areyousyrious@gmail.com.

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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.