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AYS News Digest 27–28/4/19: At least 16 people died trying to reach the port of departure in Morocco

A truck accident causes deaths and serious injuries in Morocco // Volunteers needed in Greece // Pressure builds up on Bosnian local communities, clear strategies and human approach not in sight // Dunkirk awaits for new surge of arrivals, with no drinking water and fears of evictions // Join the protest in the Mediterranean // & more news and updates

By Panos Zacharis, via ArtAgainst


Morocco — Crossing the Strait of Gibraltar or the western Mediterranean in unstable boats is something that comes at the end of a painful and traumatic journey that for many carries a number of abuses, exploitation from all sides and violent treatment, but also accidents. Many people don’t even make it to the ports of departure.

A tragic death happened on the road as a truck with about 50 people of Sub-Saharan origin on board, in the province of Berkane, crashed. According to Association Marocaine des Droits Humains — Section Nador, they were being transferred towards Nador, presumably by a smuggler, who fled the scene.

18people according to AMDH and at least 16 people, according to other sources, were announced dead. In two cases of serious injuries, the people were transferred to Oujda University Hospital. In total, 26 wounded are in Berkane hospital, the hospital reportedly informed.

Among the dead was reportedly a man whose two surviving children are now left without parents.

Photo: Association Marocaine des Droits Humains — Section Nador

According to a study by the International Organization for Migration, people on the move from Morocco who arrive to Spain suffer the most. Physical violence, kidnapping, forced labor, arranged marriage offers and jobs in which they weren’t paid what they were owed, are some of the worst things that reportedly almost half of those who arrived to Spain (Morocco’s ‘migration strategy’ partner country) experienced on the way.

This violence is usually related to kidnappings perpetrated by nomadic groups in desert areas, as well as beatings in larger cities aimed at stealing migrants’ belongings, and assaults by human traffickers in boarding areas in Algeria and in northern Morocco, IOM confirmed.

Bosnia and Herzegovina — In spite of constant calls for some sort of strategy or at least support in provisional solutions to the late surge of people on the move passing through Tuzla, there seem to be no plans or announcements that some official support might come any time soon. It seems that neither the regional government, nor the local politicians, and above all (most likely due to their own strategies) the international organisations, have done anything concrete, solid and sustainable to support the self organized locals in providing support to those in need. With the weather getting warmer, there are more and more people arriving and, especially during the weekends when the offices don’t work, people spend the nights outside, sometimes for several nights.

symbolic support of the local orthodox church on the occasion of their Easter celebrations

Locals are organised in terms of providing food, clothes, blankets and such but the absence of decent toilets (and showers) has become a growing problem that is difficult to address without the support of the officials.

Shoes and blankets are among the most needed items there — Photo by: S.C.

During Sunday, there have been several groups with dozens of people arriving. There were groups of 17, 30 and more people, including older and younger, male and female, all arriving while there are no officials to issue documents or give any sort of direction, information or support.
The local people coordinating everything have now arranged to rent a floor of one of the houses in order to have a place where people can deliver food donations and where they would take turns in preparing meals.

It is a matter of urgency to at least prolong the working hours of the office for foreigners and to create decent conditions for the people, firstly in regards to hygiene conditions and the reception site.

Forced to fight on front lines

“Refugees/migrants in five detention centres say they’ve been forced to assist or fight with GNA-aligned militias since April 4, but detainees in another centre told me they had to assist LNA-aligned militias during the last bad clashes”, reporter Sally Hayden wrote.

At the same time, of course, the involvement of detained people in the fights has been denied by officials.

MSF medical teams have confirmed previous claims of violence to which the detained people were exposed to and the recent move for some people has not done much for their safety:

Some statistics that speak of the situation in Libya can be seen from the UNHCR (promo) leaflet in response to the current situation in the country.

Protest in the Mediterranean

To keep witnesses to this practice away from the crime scene, sea rescue organizations like MISSION LIFELINE are criminalized. Their vessels are stopped, diverted, and even grounded.

We do not accept this cruel policy. It is our duty to oppose such atrocities!

That’s why they are planing a protest: The #YACHTFLEET, a demonstration with ships on the ocean, with the intent to leave a mark “exactly where politicians don’t want us to be — in the Mediterranean Sea. We will force the EU to pay attention.”
The possibility of discovering people in distress at sea during this demonstration cannot be ruled out. It is essential that all members involved are fully prepared for this situation. Therefore, there will be a training and a briefing session with all participants in advance, to be able to react appropriately in an emergency.

Here is the course of action:
By June 10, 2019- Preparation and individual training complete
June 10–11, 2019- Meeting of all participants
June 12–15, 2019 — Joint training
June 16–21, 2019 — #YACHTFLEET Demo in the central Mediterranean
By June 21, 2019- Return to port and debriefing
June 25, 2019 — Departure of all participants

Contact Lifeline if you want to participate:

The Salvamento Marítimo, short of staff, is more and more often instructed to await the Moroccan intervention, even when lives are in danger.

A reminder of the deal Italy has with Libya, now the MO has transferred to Spain and Morocco — the search and rescue teams were ready to head and find a missing boat with 53 people on it close to the Alboran, but they were told the Rabat official coordination team is in charge of the search and they had to stand down.

A boat with 15 people (6 minors among them) successfully landed to Spain, close to Murcia, while 54 people were brought safely to the coast of Malaga by the Salvamento Maritimo team.


Medical Volunteers International e.V. are urgently looking for volunteers to join them. If you can fill one of these gaps, please fill in the application form on their website:

Also, Drop in the Ocean is looking for volunteers to work on Samos!
They will help to establish an education programme for children aged 7–12. Find more information here.

Aegean Boat Report report on the increased number of arrivals to the Aegean islands, follow their page for more detailed information.

Bihać — Velika Kladuša

The government of the Una Sana canton has announced that this Monday and Tuesday a delegation will visit the centres in Bihać, Cazin and Velika Kladuša and will communicate their decisions on Tuesday morning, regarding the displacement of the people from the so called camps in Velika Kladuša (Miral) and Bihać (Bira).

Before the situation worsens, it is time we get out of our comfort zones and expert chairs that hold no responsibility, and to look at the real picture. Migrants, too, are peoplewith their flaws, virtues and differences between individuals, and the ones to blame for a dysfunctional system are among us. These are people chosen and paid to run crisis situations. They must bee the experts who can handle this situation, or — if they don’t — they should resign. Because they answer to us. — Mirnes Ćerimović

A mobile clinic started running this weekend in Velika Kladuša, and the doctor who previously already worked in the area, on the first day documented multiple cases of respiratory infections, scabies, otitis media, skin diseases and different wounds on the 74 people he checked.
The medical help is running alongside other volunteer activities in Kladuša, and setting up of washing machines is next in the plan, activists announce.

Ministry gaining the upper hand

The recently proposed bill on the establishment of a Federal Agency for Supervision and Support Services (BBU) is under a lot of criticism.
The Agency would be in charge of providing basic care, legal assistance, assistance for returns, monitoring deportations and providing interpreters and translators during the asylum procedure. In this way they intend “to increase the efficiency of the federal minimum guarantee (“Bundesbetreuung”), to provide asylum seekers with independent legal assistance and to promote voluntary returns through effective return counselling.”

Diakonie Austria raises serious concerns and criticises that the Agency is not institutionally independent as it falls under the direct responsibility of the Federal government and is influenced by the Ministry of Interior, which is also responsible for the Federal Office for Immigration and Asylum.
They warn that it will deteriorate the asylum procedure and create an inaccessible asylum system in which civil society organisations can no longer intervene.


Over 300 tents are now pitched outside the temporary emergency centre in Dunkirk, Mobile Refugee Support reports.
With numbers of displaced people increasing at the rate they are, those on the ground are anxious about what is to come regarding possible new evictions. On top of that, tap water in the Dunkirk area has been declared unsafe to drink over the past week.
The group invites potential volunteers to contact them and/or support their work on the ground through donations.

Photo: Mobile Refugee Support

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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.