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AYS News Digest 24/6/22: Deaths at the border with Spain

The situation of foreigners in guarded centres in the time of crisis on the border between Poland and Belarus / A briefing on pushbacks submitted to LIBE Committee / Urgent support needed in Afghanistan / a former RNLI lifeboat is prevented by the British coast guard from saving people in the Mediterranean / recommended reads, reports and personal accounts

Morroco — a photo by Association Marocaine des Droits Humains — Section Nador

Eighteen people who were among those arriving at the border at Melilla, along with reportedly five Morrocan officers (three army officers, one policeman and a member of the gendarmerie) have died during a surge of several hundreds (some reports say 700, while others mention over 1000 people) at the border and a clash with the border guards.
Some reports straight after the incident said that 45 people lost their lives, but now others report five people killed and 76 injured.

See the video of the aftermath by the Association Marocaine des Droits Humains — Section Nador.

“The Nador authorities confirm that the deceased were trapped in a trough while trying to force entry into Spain. At least 140 Moroccan police officers have been injured. About twenty people are in serious condition,” the Spanish media reported.

While most of the official media report that the arrival of the people at the border was organised and violent (people equipped with different “cold arms”), the Nador group reported on the state of those apprehended by the police later on:

At the same time, InfoMigrants write about families arrested in the middle of the night at their homes, thrown into buses and left to their fate in cities in the middle of the desert: several people from sub-Saharan Africa and living in Morocco have contacted their editorial staff since June 17, “worried about a particularly ferocious wave of arrests in Laâyoune, a city known to be a point of departure for candidates for immigration to the Canary Islands, in Spain.”
Read more:

It is important not to forget the seldomly reported situation in the African countries.

One of the countries people flee from is Sudan. In the period since international relief organisations ceased aid distribution in Foro Baranga camp, dozens of deaths from starvation have been reported, a harbinger of more severe food insecurity moving forward:

Read more on the personal stories of those crossing from Africa in the “worth reading” section, with a story from a Congolese.


Urgent support needed

The death toll has been raised to at least 1,000 from the earthquake in Spera District on the 21st of June. Humanitarian assistance has reportedly been dispatched to the affected areas.

Weather conditions hampered rescue efforts, as heavy rainfall occurred over the hit Provinces. On 22 June, the Copernicus Emergency Management Service was activated in rapid mapping mode (EMSR584) to support the damage assessment.

The official reports state that “urgent support is needed on trauma care and emergency shelter/non-food items, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and food services. 50% of the population of Paktika and 40% of the population of Khost were already facing high levels of food insecurity (IPC3 and above). UN Agencies and INGOs are on the ground, providing assistance.”

the UNHCR has reportedly provided 600 tents, 4,200 blankets, 1,200 jerry cans, 1,200 buckets, 1,200 plastic sheets, 600 kitchen sets and 1,200 solar lamps in the field.

Read more on the displacement and migration from Afghanistan in the “worth reading” section.


More signs of pushbacks by the Hellenic coast guard were reported in the Aegean, as the Alarm Phone tried to get hold of several vessels that entered Greek territory and were later reportedly pushed back to Turkey, which was also confirmed by the Turkish side.

More people also get stuck in the islands with no support:


A briefing on pushbacks submitted to the LIBE Committee

6 Greek civil society organisations, members of the Informal Forced Returns Recording Mechanism established by the Greek National Commission for Human Rights in response to systematic pushback allegations in the country, submitted a briefing to the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), covering systemic breaches of the rule of law and the EU acquis by Greek authorities.

These stem mainly from the continuation of routine unlawful removal of people seeking international protection from the national territory, contempt of court orders and discrediting of European and international bodies responsible for monitoring and safeguarding human rights.

The briefing comes ahead of the hearing of the Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum at the LIBE Committee on 27 June 2022.

The Committee has made crucial, consistent efforts to ensure scrutiny of Greek push back practices and respect for the rule of law, fundamental rights and the EU acquis over the past two years, including through hearings, letters, and over a dozen targeted written questions tabled by Members across different parliamentary groups, RSA reported. Download the entire briefing here.


The dying days of the French Presidency have seen some hyperactive diplomacy in an effort to get the 10 June provisional agreements on asylum and migration reform over the line. Following further decisions of the Member States meeting at ambassadorial level in COREPER this week, two of the approaches outlined by ECRE in its assessment of the prospects for the next two years — the “gradual approach” and the “Schengen approach” — are moving forward in parallel — at least on the Council side and at least for now, ECRE reports.

In the meantime, in Calais…

Utopia_56 reports that on June 23, four CRS trucks were mobilized to prevent any placement of provisional campsites by the people in the area, among them a family with three children.
“The violence of @prefpolice led by Didier Lallement and Gérald Darmanin is unbearable,” the team concludes.

Human Rights Observers reported on eviction, and noted that perimeters are being set wider and wider, which obstructs observation:

Also, the pressure on those assisting people on the move is constant and serious.


Report by the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture corroborates earlier field reports

Between 30 August 2021 and 29 April 2022, the representatives of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture paid 15 unannounced visits to guarded centers for foreigners in order to control the manner of treatment of detainees and the conditions prevailing there. The report entitled “Situation of foreigners in guarded centres for foreigners” was drafted on the basis of those visits.

The report entitled Situation of foreigners in guarded centers in the time of crisis on the border between Poland and Belarus was prepared on the basis of that report.

The report revealed numerous irregularities.


A former RNLI lifeboat prevented from saving people in the Mediterranean

Another one in the line of countries increasingly using red tape to prevent non-governmental boats from performing rescues in the Mediterranean is the UK.

Their Maritime and Coastguard Agency issued a prohibition notice to the UK charity forbidding the Aurora vessel from returning to the sea, claiming that it was operating “beyond the geographical limitations” of the UK’s Rescue Boat Code, under which it is accredited.

The Aurora saved 85 people, including several children, off the coast of north Africa on May 29 when their fibreglass skiff started to sink as they attempted to sail from Libya to Europe. The Aurora served the RNLI for 25 years before being sold to the British charity Search and Rescue Relief, media report.


  • Policy brief on the role of urban public spaces when managing displacement in Norway:
  • HRW Daiy brief — Stop Criminalizing Solidarity in Greece
  • “After being turned back for the first time by the Spanish authorities in northern Morocco, the 26-year-old young man turned to the Atlantic Ocean to reach Europe. It was from Laâyoune, in Western Sahara, that Serge took a boat for the Canary Islands in the middle of the night. After a few hours of navigation, the boat lost its engine, in the open sea. Testimony.”
  • weekly review of pushbacks of individuals from Pakistan to Afghanistan due to lack of paperwork or other reasons:
  • At least 673 Afghan nationals died attempting to migrate from Afghanistan in 2021, a number which is considered an underestimate but nonetheless substantially higher than in previous years:

Find daily updates and special reports on our Medium page.

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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.

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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.