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AYS Digest 24.09.21 — UK: Eleven teenagers dead in last five years

EU ‘supporting’ Libyan Southern border / Deadly Canary route worsens / 24,420 people returned to Libya in 2021 / 20,000 children without education in Greece / German youth hostel opens to Afghanis and more…

(Photo Credit: The New European via @MassiveAttackUK)

Featured: Eleven teenagers dead in last five years

A London charity, Da’aro Youth Project, which supports young asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa, has conducted research into the deaths of 11 young people either in care or who were recent care leavers, all of whom died by suicide.

We are gravely concerned that this number is just the ‘tip of an iceberg’ as there is no requirement for coroners to record nationality or immigration status of deaths they deal with. While deaths of children in care are reported to the Department of Education by local authorities, deaths of care leavers do not have to be reported.

Da’aro Youth Project and 46 charities (including Mind, Refugee Council and the Children’s Society) have written to Nadine Dorries MP, Minister for Suicide Prevention, to ask for more to be done.

The mental health crisis facing young asylum-seekers and refugees is a consequence of the hostile asylum system and of brutal austerity cuts to children’s social care and mental health services. Preventing further deaths means first establishing an inquiry that considers the mental health crisis affecting child and young adult asylum-seekers, and secondly taking action by investing in children in care and care-leavers, investing in their mental health care and reforming the asylum system to end the re-traumatising hostility and inbuilt delays. Child refugees granted leave to remain in the UK must be allowed to reunite with their families — a right they cannot currently access. Without changes we fear more young people will lose hope.

Research clearly shows that children on the move can face serious impacts on their mental health. The various stressors they experience before, during and after displacement are associated with multiple types of mental health problems. Evidence suggests that 25% of children on the move suffer from loneliness, 24% report feeling depressed, 30.4% experience probable PTSD, 26.8 % feel generalized anxiety, and 21.4% have traumatic grief.


EU interest in Libyan southern border

According to Statewatch, the European Commission has laid out its intention “to step up border management support at Libya’s Southern border,” in a draft action plan on cooperation on migration with Niger. The work will be shared between Frontex and EU missions EUCAP Sahel Niger and EUBAM Libya, with the aim to “help the Governments of Niger and Libya shore up border management at their mutual land border.”


Deadly Canary route worsens

As of August 2021, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 785 people, including 177 women and 50 children, who are documented as having died or disappeared so far this year while heading for the Canaries. A total of 379 lives were lost in August alone. Even IOM are now clear that even this is likely to be a gross underrepresentation of the actual figures, as so many boats are never found.

In all of 2020, 850 migrant deaths were recorded on this route, the highest documented number of lives lost in a single year since IOM began collecting data in 2014.

24,420 people returned to Libya in 2021

A young man medically evacuated from SOS Mediterranee

The remaining survivors have now been given safe harbour in Sicily.


20,000 children without education

As we have said many times, the majority of children on the move in Greece are not in education. A new report from Save the Children states that fewer that 15% of children in camps were able to attend formal school. The Greek Government has received funding from the EU specifically to provide education. Surprisingly, they have declined to comment on the report. They were probably too busy spending the money.

150 people rescued off south coast

A total of 150 people were rescued by a cargo ship, a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker named Aristofanis, 70 nautical miles southwest of the islet of Schiza off the coast of the Peloponnese. During the transfer a pregnant woman fell into the water and drowned.

It is thought that pushbacks in the Aegean are forcing people to take the longer and more dangerous journey to Italy. This is always the result of a closed border approach. People will still travel but the routes they are left with are more deadly.

Detention on Kos

Amin, a man with Swedish nationality, is desperately trying to get his wife out of detention on Kos, an island many forget exists. There are limited legal services on the island and the camp itself is also isolated from the main town, making it even harder to access services for those who are allowed to leave the camp.



After a few days without recorded arrivals, people landed in both Sicily and Calabria.

300 people arrived on Thursday near Roccella Ionica, Calabria;
49 people landed near Siracusa, Sicily;
36 people landed in Lampedusa;
25 people were rescued by the Italian coast guard near Pozzallo, Sicily, with the help of Sos Mediterranee.


Support needed

Please support the project Energy For Everyone (EFE).
EFEs are solar and main powered energy banks, which are being built by refugee women trained by IMECE in the fields of electricity and solar energy. The goal is to build and send 500 of these packs to people on the move in Bosnia.


Life threatening situation continues at border

Multiple sources (1,2,3) report that people are still stranded at the border between Poland and Belarus without access to food, water or medical care despite the four recent deaths. Poland continues to blame Belarus and refuses to provide people with more that a cursory oral asylum assessment, which does not meet international standards, before pushing them back.


German youth hostels open up to people fleeing Afghanistan

On the 23rd of September, The German Youth Hostel Federation has made a series of its properties available to the German government and state authorities to help house those recently arrived in the country who fled Afghanistan towards the end of the summer.


Latest oral evidence session for Nationality and Borders Bill

Interestingly, Home Office and Border Force officials cancelled their session at the last minute without explanation, but NGO’s, charities and human rights groups were heard from. UNHCR stated that the bill “does not comply with our interventions under the Refugee Convention.” And the Refugee Council pointed out that “It just seems incomprehensible that you would treat someone differently based on their mode of arrival, not because of their protection needs.”



Frontex in Croatia

Several people accused of people smuggling have been arrested in Croatia after they were spotted by a Frontex plane, which filmed them picking people up in a van.

The Frontex aircrafts stream real-time video to the agency’s headquarters, which provide quick and targeted feedback to the national authorities.

There were twenty people in the van. There is no mention of their whereabouts or wellbeing.


“They will never settle in Australia”

Despite multiple reports of horrific conditions, and the fact that Australia is by definition a settler country whose first nation people were violently displaced, Australia and Nauru have renewed their agreement.

Nauru has been processing offshore claims for asylum seekers attempting to reach Australia since 2012. The centre was completely closed until October 2015. Though people can now leave, Australia has been heavily criticised by the UN and human rights groups for the use of offshore detention. Someone should remind Europe of the damaging and damning nature of this precedent…

The UN has said Australia’s system violates the convention against torture.

At least 12 people have died in the camps, including being murdered by guards, through medical neglect and by suicide. Psychiatrists sent to work in the camps have described the conditions as “inherently toxic” and akin to “torture”.

In 2016, the Nauru files, published by the Guardian, exposed the Nauru detention centre’s own internal reports of systemic violence, rape, sexual abuse, self-harm and child abuse in offshore detention. — Ben Doherty


Greece’s asylum policy has been getting stricter instead of simpler over the past year: Info Migrant’s overview of asylum policy changes in Greece.

The School of Stars, Lesvos: The story of two young girls who set up a school teaching English and Persian and continued to create classes even after the fire.

Destination UK: Channel crossings increase, despite British government’s anti-migration rhetoric: An overview from Info Migrants explaining the situation in the UK and including some interviews with people trapped in Calais.

ECRE weekly bulletin.

A new Sudani superhero wants to empower young girls in the Middle East: Kawkab is a new comic book in a series about a girl who overcomes bullying to pursue her dream of space travel


Above Borders online conference: Under the title ABOVE BORDERS, this second online assembly aims to draw attention to the boundary between reconnaissance and surveillance from the third dimension. In German.

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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.