Are You Syrious?
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Are You Syrious?

AYS Weekend Digest 17–18/10/2020: Further militarisation at the Evros border

6 people die in the Central Med while the whole of the civil fleet is blocked / Sans papiers march in Paris / Medicines du Monde support people on the move and homeless in Bordeaux

Featured: Further militarisation at the Evros border

‘How can we begin to understand the structure of a wall of deterrence that is equal parts human, animal, plant, object, geography, temperature, and unknown?’

6 people die while the whole of the civil fleet is blocked

To date, we didn’t receive any written confirmation of the postponement of the closure of PIKPA camp, neither of a new deadline. Are we faced with a threat of closure within a few days, weeks or months? We do not know.

At the same time, after the historical judgement in the Golden Dawn trial, we see the local far right in full action across Mytilene. A young woman was violently attacked at 8pm last night in the middle of the town centre by a known far-right local, who sits in the Municipality Council. Luckily there were witnesses and somebody intervened to prevent worse from happening. The case is with the police.

It is not a coincidence that the first song we played to celebrate the postponement of closure of PIKPA was “Siga min klapso”, the anthem by Pavlos Fyssas who was brutally murdered by Golden Dawn on 18 September 2013. Because despite the condemnation of Golden Dawn, we see the far right spreading all around us. And what is being done to stop them? The notorious far-right aggressor walked free last night.

The struggle continues. For solidarity and equality. Against hate, racism and fascism. SIGA MIN FOVITHO — I WON’T BE AFRAID.

Lesvos: One month later, Moria 2 is worse than ever

Evictions and propaganda in Roma

Caminando Fronteras to support families of people lost at sea

“There is a will not to see the dead and missing people. Because when you hide the victims, you hide the perpetrators. What is behind all these victims is hidden and how are the policies that cause death”. (Helena Maleno)

Campaigning against racism while implementing racist policies

BVMN — Balkan regional report on pushbacks and border violence, September 2020

In a month where the European Union released its controversial Pact on Migration and Asylum, the stories of 1548 people recorded by BVMN show how the existing border system is already underpinned by abuse.

Seen within the context of the devastating fire in Moria, and internal violence in cities like Patras, these pushbacks are situated in a wider climate of intensified bordering practices in Greece.

Last Tuesday, after our daily deliveries, we were approached by some people on the move who had just been pushed back by the Croatian police. One of them had an open head wound. They had no mobile phones with them, light clothes and came to ask for food, clothing, and bandages. Minimum temperatures dropped to 10°C last week and it has been raining since the weekend. — Information and pics By Mario and Katie.

“They were beating me from every side with everything,” the respondent said. “With the baton, they hit me with their fists, they kick me. On my back, on my head, on my legs, everywhere.”

The respondent estimated the men were beaten for about an hour. Afterwards they were forced to get up and undress to their boxer shorts and remove their shoes. Their clothes and belongings were put in a pile and set on fire. The respondent is an asthmatic, so he asked one of the policemen if he could keep and use his asthma spray; instead the officer took the spray out of his hand and threw it into the woods.

All the group members then had to line up in single file, holding their hands behind their heads. When the respondent did not immediately put his hands behind his head, one of the police officers threatened him with his gun, whispering to him, “Next time I will kill you.” The group was then forced to walk over the border into Bosnia accompanied by the six police officers. The people on the move were walking in single file with the officers flanking them on both sides. As all of the group members were seriously injured, they advanced very slowly, and the officers kept striking them to keep the group walking until they arrived. They walked for approximately ten minutes, and the police released the men at approximately 4:00 am in one of the forests surrounding Velika Kladusa.

The push-back resulted in serious injuries for all nine men: open wounds on their heads and legs, black eyes, welts and marks from the strokes, mainly on the upper body and extremities, and at least one sprained foot.

Solidarity march in Paris

Access to rights and healthcare in France

In 2019, our programs and actions took place in a difficult political, economic and social context which deteriorated and hardened. These findings illustrate the political refusal to act on genuinely effective levers and to implement the means up to the central challenges of public health and living together. In this degraded context, Médecins du Monde, like many other associations, wonders about the role that certain public actors seem to want to give it. We are not intended to become, by substitution, a “public service for the poor”. It is for the State and for it alone to guarantee the equality of all in terms of health.

Not only Paris: a focus on Bordeaux

98 to 99% of the people we follow are migrants … They are sick because they migrate, not the other way around. (Bernard Broustet, MDM regional secretary)

Dear Prime Minister,

We, the undersigned, are advocates, researchers, and experts by experience challenging the impact of modern slavery through our work.

This Anti Slavery Day, we write with urgency.

The UK’s emphasis on immigration control, at the expense of human dignity and safety, is threatening efforts to identify and support survivors of trafficking.

Modern slavery deprives people of their liberty, and often leaves victims with the life-long legacy of physical, mental or sexual abuse. Yet, too many victims who seek help from the authorities are subject to harmful immigration control measures rather than support.

1,256 potential trafficking victims were held in prison-like detention centres, last year alone, due to their immigration status. Many will go on to become ‘confirmed’ victims, with 42 already recognised as having been trafficked[i]. Conversely, the State only convicted 35 traffickers in the same period.

In practice, we hold more survivors, than perpetrators, behind bars.

Modern slavery is routinely referred to as a ‘hidden crime’ but, with no immigration protection in place for survivors, it is little wonder that victims of exploitation are so rarely counted. It is well documented by Non-Governmental Organisations that traffickers use the threat of detention and forced removal to ensure compliance from those they abuse. An exclusive focus on immigration control is playing into traffickers’ hands, making it harder for victims to come forward.

To ensure that victims report this crime, receive support, and pursue justice where it is right for them, the Government must provide at least 12 months’ support and immigration protection for survivors, as outlined in the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill. The Government must also introduce an absolute bar on the detention of confirmed and potential victims of slavery, and address the high numbers of vulnerable people deemed suitable for detention.

We are concerned that traffickers will also be emboldened by proposed policies to prejudge asylum claims on the basis of the time at which they are made, or the route by which the claimant arrived. Victims of trafficking often have no choice but to claim asylum months or years after first entering the country. This will impact many survivors, for whom the factors that made them vulnerable to traffickers in the first place will pose further threats upon removal. Worryingly, even under the current asylum process, many trafficked people already struggle to secure the international protection they need from a system notorious for disbelief.

Lastly, we must challenge the narrative that tougher borders stop human trafficking. On the contrary, trafficking is made profitable through a lack of safe and legal routes, and made sustainable through policies which deter victims from seeking help.

We ask for the UK Government to turn the tide.

This Anti Slavery Day, we call for a commitment to ensure that victims of trafficking do not face punitive immigration control measures if they come forward for support. Asylum applications must be considered on merit, in a framework that acknowledges that many who make asylum claims, including survivors of modern slavery, have no choice but to arrive spontaneously or claim asylum after having been in the UK for some time. First and foremost, any reform to our immigration system must seek to remedy, rather than entrench, the wrongs committed against survivors of modern slavery.

The UK has played a crucial role in sounding the alarm on this heinous crime, at home and on a global stage, with the passage of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. However, without action, traffickers will continue to benefit from hostile immigration policies.

I am a resident of Napier Barracks, and I felt very satisfied with everyone who came to welcome us. You broke the barrier of fear and anxiety that we had. You made us feel welcome in your beautiful town. Thank you all from the bottom of the heart



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

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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.