AYS News Digest 17/01/2021: 25,000 people lost in Greek statistics
Coast Guard counts 29,000 rescues, government roughly 4000 arrivals // New tragedies in the Mediterranean and the Channel // Freezing temperatures in Bosnia and new evictions in Calais // UK plans resettlement deal with Rwanda and armed forces in the Channel
Jan 18 · 4 min read
Some 25,000 people are missing in the Greek arrival statistics. Credits: Twitter/Aegean Boat Report
Statistics in Greece raise questions over what’s happening there. While the government celebrated having no more than 9000 new arrivals in 2021 — the lowest number since 2015 — the Hellenic Coast Guard counted more than 29,000 rescued in the Mediterranean. While half of the official arrivals came by land, it remains unclear what happened with the approximately 25,000 people rescued by HCG. On one hand, this could be another indication for illegal pushbacks ordered by the Greek government. On the other hand, it is not known if the registered arrivals have been rescued by the HCG. The government did not answer requests by NZZ, who wrote first about this, nor did they respond to Infomigrants.
The Greek Minister of Migration & Asylum recently claimed that on Chios, the migration issues would be resolved after the closed camp model is implemented. At the same time, according to RSA, hundreds protested against the government plans.
Two people died off the coast of Morocco, according to news agencies. Ten people were rescued and brought back on land, 40 remain missing. The boat started on Sunday, from Tarfaya, Alarmphone tried to assist when it capsized. The organization accuses authorities of hesitating to react.
The body of a person who is thought to have been an unaccompanied minor was recovered on a beach in Valle de la Cueva. He was rescued by helicopter, after a strong storm hit Fuerteventura. In the Strait of Gibraltar, the Spanish Coast Guard rescued a dozen people from a dinghy. Salvamento Maritimo rescued 74 people off Maspalomas.
With temperatures as low as -6 degrees, wood becomes the most valuable good, No Name Kitchen writes. Also sleeping bags are needed, as people still need to sleep outside in the cold.
Police forces once again seized tents and tarps in several spots in Calais, Human Rights Observers report. People were not provided with accommodation nor other social assistance.
A report on the UK’s intention to send asylum seekers to Rwanda (and Nigeria) for resettlement and processing is raising concerns, according to The Guardian. Between 2014 and 2017 Israel had deported some 4000 people to Rwanda and Uganda under a “voluntary departure” scheme. However, almost all of the people left the countries afterwards with some attempting to get to Europe. Another deportee was found living on the streets. Also UNHCR criticized a scheme, that lacked transparency, making it hard to monitor. The suggestion of the British ministers further includes pushbacks by armed forces on the Channel to France.
Almost 200 people on seven boats have recently crossed the Channel, while French authorities stopped 95 more people on five boats. The UK meanwhile tightened the laws, making it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally. For facilitators a life sentence is to be introduced, according to BBC. This comes soon after the report of the first fatality in 2022. A man has drowned in the Channel last Friday, 30 people were rescued.
Belgium has resettled 964 people — mainly Syrians — in 2021 and therefore missed its target of more than 1400, the Brussels Times writes. This objective was delayed due to “the saturation of the Fedasil reception network and an increase in asylum applications in Belgium, the arrival of other refugees is delayed”, Fedasil stated.
In an interview with Brink News, Erin Sikorsky, Director of The Center for Climate and Security and the International Military Council on Climate and Security, warned about the consequences of the climate crisis forcing people to leave their homes. Up to 150 million people could be affected only in this decade and 216 million by 2050. Sikorsky reminds, that it’s not climate change alone: There’s other security risks or economic challenges in these countries. And when you add those climate shocks on top, it provides that extra push for even more people to move or move more quickly.”
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