AYS Daily Digest 7/8/2019 — Migrant labourers’ exploitation kills again
Cyprus asks EU to relocate 5,000 people /// Violent pushback on the Bosnian-Croatian border /// Protest against deportation in Sweden reaches its 30th day /// Response from Frontex to allegation of human rights violations /// Denmark: open letter from families detained in Sjælsmark
FEATURE — Woman dies in fire at a slum for farm labourers in Southern Italy.
USB Agricultural Workers union yesterday denounced the death of another labourer in the Metaponto area, in southern Italy. A fire broke out in the morning in a makeshift camp erected in three warehouses of a former industrial area. A 28-year-old woman, Petty, died in the fire.
Tens of thousands of people are exploited in southern European farmlands, often living in inhumane conditions, working in slavery-like situations and ignored by policy-makers, who are too busy filling their mouths with words like legality, but have so far done nothing for the recognition of migrant workers’ rights. At Felandina, the area where the fire broke out, 500 people have been living without water or electricity. Institutions have shown total indifference. Their only intervention was an ordinance to clear the area, signed in May, which has been nothing but words on paper.
The Union reports that two documents were signed with local authorities in 2016 for finding decent housing for the labourers, improving transportation conditions and setting up health care facilities. Three years later, nothing has been done.
A few hours after the fire, media and police forces are attempting to make the problem an issue of public order, but no step has been taken to support those of the people living there who have lost everything they owned, papers included.
As ‘invisibles’ they live and work, invisible they must remain.
A man was found dead yesterday in Iraq. US immigration attorney Edward A. Bajoka confirmed that he had been deported from the US in June.
The likely cause of death was not being able to get his insulin. He is a diabetic. He was forcefully deported to Iraq a couple of months ago. He was born in Greece and had never been to Iraq. He knew no one there. He did not speak Arabic. He was a member of the Chaldean minority group. He was a paranoid schizophrenic. His mental health was the primary reason for the legal issues that led to his deportation.
Rest In Peace Jimmy. Your blood is on the hands of ICE and this administration.
Read more about the case and about the attempt of the US government to deport over 1,000 Iraq nationals HERE.
Talks between Rwanda and Libya to evacuate migrants.
Since 2017 Rwandan and Libyan government have started discussions regarding the evacuation of up to 30,000 African nationals from Libya to Rwanda. Talks started after the first revelations about modern day slavery auctions taking place in the North African country. The talks are supported by the EU, the AU and UNHCR. Yesterday, international media outlets reported that the Director General for Africa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Rwandan government, Diyana Gitera, stated that the country will soon be ready to host up to 500 people. No agreement was signed yet, though.
While the Open Arms is at its 7th days at sea with 121 people on board, the Ocean Viking was refused a fueling stop in Malta.
In a letter sent on Monday to Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and other EU members, Cyprus’ Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides is asking Bruxelles to relocate 5,000 people from the Mediterranean island, as media outlets report. The minister “described the gravity of the migration situation on the island and said that a lack of cooperation from nearby Turkey has made finding a solution more difficult”.
April 2019, migrant people on the Eastern Greek islands drop down to 14,000 people, with the government boasting and applauding its own efforts to de-congest the islands, promising to keep transferring people to the mainland.
In Moria alone, more than 7,200 people live under grim conditions. As Starfish foundation reminds us, 24% are women. “They are often vulnerable to gender-based violence, which particularly affects single or under age women. This abuse can be so extreme that many fear leaving their tents or using the bathroom.”
Starfish provide self-defence classes to vulnerable women living in Moria. Read more and support them HERE.
Today Wednesday, 7 August, the first solidarity demonstration and patrol against squat eviction took place at the Notara26 squat in Exarchia, Athens.
Information needed: Creative integration initiatives
A member of Action for Education, a non-profit working around Greece, is looking for suggestions from groups and individuals of effective and creative ideas for events and initiatives that have brought together asylum-seeking, refugee and local Greek populations in your areas.
If you can contribute to the discussion, do it HERE.
21 people— among them five minors — were intercepted in Basovizza (north-eastern Italy, near the Slovenian Border) by the border police. They were all transferred to a local police station for identity checks and registration, local media report.
BOSNIAN / CROATIA BORDER
Local media report (1, 2)of a violent pushback to Bosnia by Croatian border police which took place on Tuesday night. The 18-strong group, found by Bosnian police, claims to have been beaten up in Croatian territory and forcibly transported back to Bosnia. They also claim that Croatian police took their money and phones. The group was taken to the hospital in Velika Kladusa. Some had visible injuries to legs and six were ordered further exams due to the extent of their injuries.
Informigrants report that Carsten Linnemann, deputy chair of the Christian Democratic Party suggested that children who don’t speak German well enough should not be allowed to start school.
This comment from a high-ranking official of the current governing party provoked reactions from different groups and organisations, especially due to the new migration bill the could soon be passed in the country.
Several Afghan families, from different locations across the country, have been protesting for the last 30 days against deportation to Afghanistan. The protest has now moved to Mynttorget, just outside the parliament in Stockholm, in the hope of being more visible.
Many Swedish media have covered the protest but the government has shown no interest in modifying its brutal policy of forcibly deporting people to an extremely unsafe country.
The families encourage everyone to stop by and show their support!
And as a follow-up to the story from Denmark posted previously in the digest , an open letter from a majority of the families detained in the Sjælsmark deportation centre was published today. The families demand to be relocated to the promised new dedicated centre planned to be established elsewhere in Denmark.
As we previously reported, serious allegations have been made in the past few days against Frontex, claiming that the agency’s officials in Bulgaria, Hungary and Greece knew about and tolerated human rights violations and violence committed by national border guards and — in some cases, committed violations of human rights themselves.
Frontex has released a press statement which does not confront any of the specific accusations, but claims that the agency condemns any abuse of human rights, but does not have authority over national border police forces.
In a weird twisting of reality, Frontex reminds us that “Fundamental rights are at the core of all the agency’s activities”.
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