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This is an email from AYS Daily Newsletter , a newsletter by Are You Syrious?.

AYS Weekend Digest 30–31/10/21: Nothing to eat or drink. One country won’t let them in, the other won’t let them stay, and they cannot go back.

Almost 400 people managed to arrive to the Aegean islands // Calls for support from the north of France // News from the sea search and rescue teams // Personal stories from the court decisions in Denmark // in-depth reports in proposed texts for further reading and more news

Cartoon by Mahmoud Rifai


Just a daily reminder of the growing desperation at our borders.

A young Iraqi-Kurdish woman, who is a resident of Germany, received alarming video material from her family who is at the border between Poland and Belarus. They have nothing to eat or drink.
Poland won’t let them in, Belarus won’t let them stay, and they cannot go back to Iraq, an AYS volunteer reports. Read more about the particularities of the pushbacks taking place at the Polish-Belarusian border:

The Deadly Woods

Since August 2021, hundreds of people have attempted, and many have succeeded, to irregularly cross the border from…

Follow the thread for a video on one of the many stories from the border with Belarus:


Mission Lifeline’s search and rescue vessel has been operating in the area since Saturday night, the team reported:

Not an easy thing with the very critical weather conditions hours ago, but the situation has calmed down in the meantime. While the ship’s crew is working, none of us can simply sleep at home in Dresden. Our back office is available day and night in shifts. We follow the weather and position from here and are kept up to date by the bridge. This is nothing compared to what the ship’s crew does, of course, but it is important.

At least 141 people coming from Maghreb and Sub-Saharan Africa on board five boats were rescued off the Canary Islands, according to data provided by the Department of the Ministry of Development.

Without the support of trusted adults, these children and teenagers face particular and significant protection risks. They are easy prey for people smugglers, traffickers, abusers and exploiters. On their journeys they risk forced labour, extortion, arbitrary detention and physical violence, including sexual violence.

These young people embark on their journeys for a whole range of reasons. In many cases, they are fleeing war-torn countries, prosecutions, extreme poverty, human rights violations and limited access to education and health services. Many of those rescued on Geo Barents’ most recent mission come from Somalia, Eritrea, Mali and Cameroon.

Read MSF’s story on children on the move across the Med:

Children rescued from the Mediterranean Sea describe Libya as hell | MSF

“They are playing now, they smile and befriend each other, they seem like any other young people,” says Julie Melichar…


Lesvos and deportations

Mytilene has become the absolute hell for the people who continue to be deported illegally, despite the international outcry. No longer by port officials, but by men of Athens services dressed in politics, as residents of the island said to the local media outlet

“Since last July, we have seen men in civilian clothes, on motorcycles without license plates and often covered features. They sit in the area of ​​Sykamia on the dirt roads, so that if a boat comes out they can pick them up before they go out and take pictures. (…)

“The boats leave from Molyvos to Skala Sykamias. The refugees run out and hide in the olive groves. They are looking in the fields.
When they locate the refugees, they immobilize them, and tie their hands with tyrap that they have in a backpack they have on their back.”

Sights from Ritsona

New arrivals and the practice of pushbacks

In the afternoon the cargo ship with about 400 people was to arrive in Kos, where the people were supposed to be transferred to the Reception and Identification Center in Pyli. The majority of them are reportedly Afghans and Pakistanis.

This arrival was later confirmed. At the same time, much outrage comes after the UNHCR has congratulated (!) Greece for, basically, not pulling off a pushback once again.

The pushbacks and the policies of the current government are a tight subject at the moment, as some note. On the one hand, it wants to ensure its (far) right-wing voter pool that the “borders are shut” while it also must reassure bodies like LIBE and the EU that they are not really taking place, as @phesimeonid noted.

For those who haven’t read and seen the BVMN work on this topic, make sure you do:


Volunteers needed!

Solidarité migrants Wilson

Their fight is ours

Photo: Utopia 56

A priest and two activists in Calais are now on day 19 of a hunger strike in a desperate attempt to draw attention to the plight of refugees in Calais. Philippe Demeestère, Anaïs Vogel and Ludovic Holbein — all of whom work with people on the move — are staying in the St-Pierre de Calais church, refusing food to demand that the authorities:

- Stop evicting refugees and dismantling their camps during the winter

- Stop confiscating tents and belongings

- Open a dialogue with NGOs about distribution of essential aid

Sunday will be their 21st day of hunger strike. We continue to be with populations in distress, together, mobilized to ensure respect for human dignity, in the hope of a dignified society.


On the implications of Denmark’s non-renewal practice

In Denmark, Syrians from Damascus province with no individual risk are subject to cessation or non-renewal, on the basis of apparently improved security conditions. Forced returns are not carried out.

The Danish Refugee Appeals Board now met to consider the implications of the case for Denmark’s cessation practice, Nik Tan, a senior researcher for HumanRightsDK writes. The Board found that the case did not provide a basis for a change in its practice vis-à-vis Syrians, repeating its precautionary principle including with respect to risk upon entry into Syria.

In recent weeks, Denmark made international headlines with its refusal to extend residence permits for Syrian subsidiary protection holders in Denmark from the Damascus province. Denmark’s emergence as the first state in Europe to end the protection of Syrians on the basis of improved conditions in the wider Damascus area is the result of a self-described ‘paradigm shift’ in Danish refugee policy dating back to 2015. This contribution is a brief account of the emergence of Danish temporary protection and cessation practice with respect to Syrians and points to some outstanding human rights and refugee law questions raised by the Danish example.

Read more on the Danish cessation practice that could have more implications in the future. In the meantime, the country doesn’t refrain from violating the 1951 Convention, too:

A personal story of a Syrian family in Denmark

Mohamed and his big brother are welcome to stay in Denmark, because we know that they are at risk of military service in Syria.
But Mohamed’s mother and his two little sisters the Danish authorities wants to send home alone and rebuild Syria. Syria is safe for them, we believe in this country.

Mohamed’s mother is very seriously ill. She suffers from severe PTSD and trauma and can not cope with everyday life here in Denmark without the help of Mohamed and his brother.

This is what is happening in Denmark right now! Hundreds of Syrian families are divided and it is the sick, the weak, the single women with children and the elderly people we will send home to Assad’s hell on earth, Lene Kjær writes.

Applications are open for a third and final round of our popular Solutions Journalism for Migration Reporters course, run by The Local’s journalists and offered free for journalists and students in the EU.


  • Palestinians: “They told us: either Poland, or death here.” A story from the border —

Palestinians: „They told us: either Poland, or death here.” Yazidis: „We were wasting away in a…

Publikujemy angielską wersję tekstu, który ukazał się w Palestyńczycy: „Powiedzieli nam: albo Polska, albo…

  • In spite of what Denmark does, even the UN repeats that return to Syria means return to danger —

Syria: Not safe for refugees to return, UN expert

The war in Syria is still raging, making the country too unsafe for refugees to return, according to UN expert Paulo…

  • As another harsh winter for people on the move in Bosnia and Herzegovina unwinds, nothing much has changed..

Migrants brace for harsh winter in Bosnia

In Bosnia, close to the border with EU member Croatia, fears of cold, isolation, and evictions persist for asylum…

  • Why we should be careful when talking about “climate refugees”:

Why we should be careful about using the phrase ‘climate refugees’ — IMIX

The world is descending on Glasgow for COP26, the last-chance saloon to prevent climate change. Many people are…

Find daily updates and special reports on our Medium page.

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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?

Are You Syrious?

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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