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AYS News Digest 10/8/22: A five-year-old girl died on Evros, her family still remains there, helpless

New victims of shipwrecks, but also new SAR vessels in the continuous struggle to cross into what is perceived as safety / A police officer fired a machine gun six times at a 16-year old Senegalese in Germany / Recent reports pinpoint the lack of protection of migrants against the risks of exploitation, closely linked to the shortcomings of the British asylum system / More reports, news, updates and some really important and interesting propositions for reading

Evros (Photo: bio-e.org)

FEATURE

On the islet of Evros east of the village of Kissari, people are still stranded. Following the tragic death of the five-year-old girl came a shocking appeal for help sent by Baida A., a 28-year-old from Syria, to the media.

What will we become?

Maybe in the morning we will all be dead.

The island is full of snakes, scorpions, insects and I don’t know what else… I beg, I beg. We are living a hell on earth, I swear to you it is hell on earth and no one can help us

A scorpion bite is reportedly the direct cause of death of the little Maria, and it also stung a nine-year-old girl, Agia, who remained helpless on the island with fever and vomiting for the second day yesterday. According to what the people there report, Maria’s lifeless body remains unburied. “To preserve it as much as they can, the refugees have put it in the cold waters of the river, while her mother is grieving on the riverbank”, says the tragic report published in the Greek media.

The media report that “one Syrian refugee from the group died on the Greek bank of the Evros after a violent attempt by the Greek authorities, and two others tragically drowned when they fell into the river from the boat during their transport to the islet by the Greek authorities.”

According to the complaints, the people were detained in Turkey in a detention center. After a few days, the Turkish authorities forced them to cross the Greek-Turkish border again, otherwise they would be deported to Syria. They split them into two or more groups and scattered them in different parts of the region, where they had no possibility to turn back, as the Turkish authorities threatened to push them back to Syria, nor the possibility to reach the Greek shore, where they were waiting the murderous violence of the Greek authorities and the serious possibility that they will turn them back.

The geographical footprint available to “Ef.Syn.” depicted them last week on Greek soil east of the river. On Sunday, the refugees were again driven to the islet east of Kissari village, the same islet where their nightmarish adventure began three weeks ago, EFSYN reports.

“ECtHR ordered the Greek authorities to provide assistance to Syrian refugees stranded on the islet of Evros but instead they pushed them back to Turkey. This blatant violation of international law and disrespect for European courts illustrate the rule of law crisis in Greece”, said MEP Tineke Strik.

BVMN issued an update — “Despite the ECtHR indicating a Rule 39 measure mandating the Greek state to carry out search and rescue operations, as well as provide medical support, access to Greek territory and food and water, the group remains on the islet today in severely deteriorating conditions. Alarmingly, the transit group reported that a young five-year-old girl died in the early hours of 9 August 2022, and a nine-year-old girl is in urgent need of medical care. BVMN joins the Greek Council of Refugees and Human Rights 360 to urgently call upon the Greek authorities to carry out search and rescue and provide the transit group access to their fundamental rights. The briefing further makes recommendations to the European Commission to hold Greece accountable for such violations.”

SEARCH AND RESCUE AT SEA

Alarm Phone has updated the interactive map at http://aeg.bordercrimes.net documenting brutal attacks, pushbacks even from land after arrival & criminalisation of boat drivers.

New SAR boat at sea

Open Arms New ship ‘Open Arms Uno’ just started her mission from Barcelona:

At the same time, Open Arms’ Astral continues to intervene in international waters, this time assisting a small wooden boat with seven people on board.

..and some good news from the sea at the end of this section:

GREECE

Samos — “Some people are so severely affected by fear that they are unable to speak or walk”

Exacerbation of the already dreadful conditions people live in has been reported by a number of groups, reporters and teams. Among them is also that of the MSF, providing emergency medical aid and support to more than 570 people arriving on Samos.

“Now, in the summertime, we see a lot of patients suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration,” MSF reports.

Many of the new arrivals are women and children. One pregnant woman gave birth out in the open, without medical assistance, after reportedly spending more than two days hiding on Samos. Another pregnant woman was in labour when our medical team arrived on site.

Here is the entire report of the team in the field:

BELGIUM

New temporary reception center at a former army barracks in Berlaar, 24 km from Antwerp

Just as their neighbour, Netherlands, Belgium has been facing a housing crisis. Both in the regular housing system, and that of the migration and integration system, there doesn’t seem to be enough accommodation to house everyone in need.

The newly opened centre is so far housing only 20 people. It will be operated by the Flemish Red Cross and will initially only accommodate 100, but will eventually be able to provide places for 750 asylum seekers. Reportedly, the residents will mainly be single men.

GERMANY

A police officer fired a machine gun six times at a 16-year old

According to the police report and the public prosecutor’s office, the police officers first used tear gas and a taser, and finally a police officer fired six shots from a submachine gun at the young person. The 16-year old boy from Senegal was reportedly seen holding a knife in his hand which prompted the police to act this way. How exactly this escalated from a boy with a knife in his hand to six bullets in his body is yet unknown and, reportedly, the subject of an investigation.

According to TAZ, three people were killed in August by shots fired from a police gun in Germany within seven days — a 23-year-old homeless man, a 48-year-old street musician, and now this boy.

Afghanistan — thousands of desperate people left behind / ProAsyl campaign

“This is the bitter result of the German evacuation campaign from Afghanistan. These are family members of Afghans living in Germany, local staff from German institutions, many of whom were employed by subcontractors. People who have campaigned for democracy and human rights. Many of them have connections to Germany. Their names are known. These people must be brought to safety!”

Sign the petition here.

Action! Don’t forget Afghanistan

The network of the #DontForgetAfghanistan campaign is planning a protest camp and a large-scale demonstration that will mobilise people from all over Germany to Berlin:

Find out more

POLAND

A year after the start of the crisis at the border, the Helsińska Fundacja Praw Człowieka issued “The Lawless Zone”, a report covering monitoring activities at the border from autumn 2021 to June 2022.

.. Thanks to systematic monitoring and interviews, the study presents not only the consequences of the unlawful policy of deportations carried out by Polish armed forces towards people crossing the Polish-Belarusian border but also several recommendations for the Polish authorities and the European Union on how to resolve the crisis.

The authors of the report point out that the restriction of access to the border area for journalists and independent human rights and humanitarian aid organizations led to the creation of a zone that is, in a way, lawless.

On the uselessness of the Polish border Wall

“As part of my research work, I collect various materials and, of course, verify them thoroughly. More and more photos and videos from the border are appearing. A selection of a few from confirmed sources. The wall is not fulfilling the purpose for which it was built. This does not surprise me. I have written about this many times,” says researcher Maciek Duszczyk.

LATVIA

Latvian authorities should investigate human rights abuses at the border with Belarus

Commissioner Mijatović urges the Latvian authorities to ensure that an independent and thorough investigation be conducted as soon as possible, resulting in full accountability for any abuses that may have occurred.

In his reply, the Latvian minister stresses as the key element “ensuring the internal security of States is the establishment of border guarding systems, including border controls, which serve not only the national interests at the borders of which border controls are carried out, but also the interests of all States applying the provisions of the Schengen acquis relating to the abolition of border controls at the internal borders of the European Union”.

UK

In a report published in early August, the British branches of the Red Cross and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ( UNHCR) pinpoint the lack of protection of migrants against the risks of exploitation, closely linked to the shortcomings of the asylum system.

Poorly trained Home Office staff, inadequate accommodation, lack of follow-up and long-term financial support…

All these factors aggravate the vulnerability of asylum seekers to the phenomena of modern slavery. Find the entire report here.

FOR FURTHER READING

  • UK: Right to Remain has a lot of useful advice for people struggling to get international protection in the UK, latest in line is their set of DOs and DONTs when providing a Letter of Support:
  • “A year after the capture of Kabul by the Taliban, the resettlement of Afghans in the United Kingdom is far from satisfactory, according to several NGOs. Hundreds of teachers, translators or employees of British companies remain stranded in the country, despite their authorization to be admitted to English soil.”
  • Why the CJEU confirms Remedies for Family Reunification within the EU and what this implies
  • A Core Element of Policies Against Irregularised Mobility and Asylum
  • Report from the Sea:

Find daily updates and special reports on our Medium page.

If you wish to contribute, either by writing a report or a story, or by joining the Info Gathering team, please let us know!

We strive to echo correct news from the ground through collaboration and fairness. Every effort has been made to credit organisations 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?

Are You Syrious?

Daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.