AYS News Digest 10/1/22: Attacks and detention as the latest fruit of the EU’s deal with Libya
A case against Italy and Libya taken in front of the UN Committee / Violent pushbacks of Cubans from Greece to Turkey / Legal reports on Greece / Many Syrians face indefinite detention or returns to Syria from Denmark / Recommended reads & more news
The exacerbation of the horrible situation and state people are being pushed back to in Libya as a result of the futile arrangement between Libya and Italy/EU is leading to more tragic events. The raids of last October were not the end of Libyan torture for people on the move who are currently in the country. More than 600 people were attacked and detained by Libyan authorities in front of a former community development centre in Tripoli this Monday. The government and police forces were reportedly burning down tents and trying to move people to detention centres by force.
As the already weak trust in the UN agencies is disappearing due to the lack of consideration for the people’s concerns in the country, the question remains what the UNHCR’s purpose on the ground is, in the middle of the Libyan restrictions, the EU’s (well funded) wish to keep the people on the African continent, and the needs of the people whom the agency representatives simply refer to as “protesters”s they reportedly said that the only thing they can is organise evacuation flights (Niger, Rwanda), but that number has been rather low as well. The deal with Libya is obviously leading only to more victims and constant state of insecurity for the people on the move.
Suffice to say that less than a month ago Mohamed al-Khoja, a militia commander who previously ran Tripoli’s Tariq al-Sikka prison, where reports of rape, beatings and extortion were commonplace, was confirmed as the head of the Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM) which manages the detention centres.
In the meantime, as InfoMigrants reports, the UNHCR Community Day Center in Tripoli has closed its doors, leaving many stranded without humanitarian assitance. Aid organizations have raised concerns as migrants, refugees and asylum seekers camped outside the center have been met with violence and unlawful arrests.
On the other side, two Nigerians have taken a case against Italy and Libya to a UN Committee. The two women, with the help of a legal rights association in Italy, claim that Italy and Libya failed to protect their human rights as women and left them at risk of trafficking, exploitation and abuse. Find out more.
27 people have gone missing en route to Alborán as of Saturday 8 January, AlarmPhone reported. Another 52 people have been missing en route to the Canary Islands after embarking on the 5th of January.
The first issue of the Greek Asylum Case Law Report has been published as a joint initiative of the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), HIAS Greece and Refugee Support Aegean (RSA). It compiles extracts of decisions of Administrative Courts, the Independent Appeals Committees and the Asylum Service in the area international protection selected from the casework of the above organisations. You can download the report here.
Pushbacks continue, in spite a number of reports, documentation and denouncing the practice from many sides. Latest in line is the case of Cubans pushed back to Turkey. Their testimonies to the media reporting include accounts of forced undressing, beatings, detention without food or water, confiscation of passports, money and other personal belongings, refusal to register asylum claims, and forced water immersion prior to and during the expulsion process.
In the meantime, another tragic death was reported, on Kamares beach in Sifnos on Monday morning. There were no reports with more details available at the time of writing. However, there were comments;
Expulsions continue in the north of France:
At least 150 evictions have reportedly taken place by police in northern France since Christmas.
The first EU country to revoke the residency permits of Syrian refugees — a dangerous precedent
1200 is the estimated number of Syrians, out of the 35,000 who are living in Denmark, now affected by the new policy that aims for returns to Syria, as of November last year. The scheme is being challenged by lawyers of the people affected by the government’s decision.
Many people could also end up stuck in detention centres for years, since Denmark cannot deport anyone to Syria for the time being given there are no diplomatic ties between the two countries at the moment. People will either have to return to Damascus voluntarily or be placed in the so called return centres - indefinitely.
Sweden granted citizenship to over 27,000 Syrians in 2021 and “remains one of the most welcoming European nations for asylum seekers”. However, the country has also revoked some residence permits of Syrians, including some who are wanted by the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad.
The most recent HRW report stated that Syrian refugees who returned to Syria voluntarily between 2017 and 2021 from Lebanon and Jordan “have faced grave human rights abuses and persecution at the hands of the Syrian government and affiliated militias, including torture, extra-judicial killings and kidnappings.”
Read more on the diverged policies of Denmark and the potential consequences.
The only other country currently sending Syrians off to the conflict zones across their homeland claiming it’s safe is the UK. Along with many reports about poor living conditions in hotels where asylum seekers are placed, there are new reports documenting unsafe accommodation for asylum seekers in the UK, resulting in severe injury following multiple ceiling collapses.
While thousands were airlifted out of Afghanistan to safety in the UK when the Taliban took over, many others were forced to make the same hazardous journey across land and sea as those fleeing persecution in countries such as Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Syria, Yemen and Somalia.
- Interview with Gerhard Trabert who openly criticizes current inhumane refugee and migration policies:
Gerhard Trabert: Kandidat der Linken will auch bei SPD und Grünen punkten
Der Arzt Gerhard Trabert wird von den Linken als Bundespräsident vorgeschlagen. Das FR-Interview. Herr Trabert, Sie…
- “In all of this, how is it possible to be a normal person and not be sick and not have mental [health] problems?”
How sports help refugees survive harsh conditions in Greece
ATHENS and MYTILENE, Greece The sweet, herbal scent of flowers filled the hot afternoon air last June as the runners'…
- report on sea crossings and victims who tried to cross to Europe via Mediterranean:
4,400 Migrants Lost at Sea Bound for Spain in 2021, Double Previous Year
More than 4,400 migrants, including at least 205 children, were lost at sea trying to reach Spain in 2021, a monitoring…
- Relief Web report on high proportion of people on the move interviewed who are sleeping rough rather than in temporary accommodation centers in December 2021
Migrant Presence Outside Temporary Reception Centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina - Round 08, December…
The total number of migrants identified in the locations covered was 406 out of which 406 stated that they were not…
- HCIT & UNHCR report on Serbia with some useful figures:
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