ERCI Press Release against accusations

Via ERCI – With great concern we witness and observe the ongoing investigation regarding members of ERCI. We categorically deny the accusations while we are alarmed by seeing reports mentioning that the total amount of 30 individuals who are involved in the case belong to our organisation something that can’t be verified by the official case file. Οn the contrary, within the group of the 30 individuals, there are people of other NGOs or independent volunteers involved in the ongoing investigation.

Αs soon as they were called, the staff and volunteers of ERCI came before the authorities in Lesvos voluntarily and in accordance to the requests, to provide explanations and be questioned about the current investigation.

Continue reading ERCI Press Release against accusations

Greece arrests three people for allegedly assisting migrant entry

Via ECRE – Three nationals of Syria, Germany and Greece, have been arrested in Lesvos, after an investigation by the Greek authorities implicating 30 people in all in a criminal case of facilitating entry of third-country nationals. The three are associated with the organisation Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) that has issued a press statement denying the allegations.

Continue reading Greece arrests three people for allegedly assisting migrant entry

New Report: An Island in Despair

Refugee Rights Europe published a new report on the living conditions of refugees on the ‘prison’ island Lesvos after a research delegation travelled to the notorious island of Lesvos in Greece in June 2018, to document the human rights situation experienced by refugees and displaced people there.

Click here to read the continue to the full report

Click here to read Refugee Rights Europe’s Press Release: Lesvos at Breaking Point

The New Balkan Route

Along the new migration route through southeastern Europe, migrants are beaten, stranded, and neglected, while the EU looks the other way.

Via Jacobin Magazine – Bosnia and Herzegovina, a small country in the Balkans, is one of the poorest in Europe. Since February, it’s been dealing with an unprecedented wave of migration. The so-called Balkan Route, used by migrants to reach Western Europe from Turkey and Greece, has changed. Previously, this route went across Bulgaria or Macedonia, then Serbia and Hungary, before heading toward Germany or Austria, depending on where people were hoping to end up.

Continue reading The New Balkan Route

Turkey is selling a story about refugees, and the EU is buying it

Via Ahval News / Nurcan Baysal (from August 25)- Before the European Union and Turkey signed an agreement in 2016 to limit the number of Syrian refugees heading to Europe in return for aid to help those who had fled the war to Turkey, I was among a group of academics and activists who work on refugee issues in Turkey invited to Berlin to discuss the matter.

We sat with German and EU politicians in closed meetings to discuss the condition of refugee camps in Turkey. Issues on our agenda included Turkey’s potential to be a safe third country, as well as the management of camps run by Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, including their lack of transparency and oversight.

Continue reading Turkey is selling a story about refugees, and the EU is buying it

A Faithful Alliance Between the Civil Society and the State: Actors and Mechanisms of Accommodating Syrian Refugees in Istanbul

A new paper by Didem Danış and Dilara Nazlı on the mechanism and actors involved in accommodating Syrian refugees in Istanbuls district Sultanbeyli was published:

Reception, hospitality and integration are certainly the main challenges of the contemporary world, particularly for countries like Turkey which hosts more than 3 million refugees from Syria. The aim of this article is to analyze the reception practices of civil society organizations and the nature of these bodies’ relationship with state agencies by focusing on Sultanbeyli, a peripheral district of Istanbul. Based on a fieldwork conducted in this district, we present the functioning of various state and non‐state actors in order to uncover not only the role of NGOs, but also the nature of the relations between them and the state in terms of governance of refugee reception in Turkey. We thus argue that the reception of Syrian refugees is undertaken by a “faithful” alliance between the state and certain NGOs, a partnership where civil society assumes a supporting role to the state in refugee reception.

‘Hero’ Syrian swimmer arrested by Greek police for helping migrants reach Lesbos

Via The Telegraph – Greek police have charged a Syrian “hero” refugee, who was once hailed for saving people from a sinking boat in the Mediterranean, with helping migrants illegally enter the country.

Sara Mardini, 23, who has settled in Germany, was arrested last week in what police said was an operation to dismantle a “criminal network” involving 30 members of an NGO working on the island on Lesbos, where thousands of migrants are living in camps.

“For me, this is clearly a case of criminalising help given to refugees,” Haris Petsikos, her lawyer said, adding that she is being detained in a prison outside of Athens. He said Ms Mardini, who denies the charges, had been volunteering on the island for Emergency Response Centre International.

Yusra and Sara Mardini are seen on stage at the 2016 Bambi Awards.
Yusra and Sara Mardini are seen on stage at the 2016 Bambi Awards. Credit: dpa

Continue reading ‘Hero’ Syrian swimmer arrested by Greek police for helping migrants reach Lesbos

Lesvos prosecutor files against 30 NGO members facilitating migrants trafficking

Via Keep Talking Greece – Greek authorities have struck a blow to a NGO suspected to have been involved in facilitating the illegal arrivals of refugees and migrants to the islands of Lesvos and Samos. The NGO was mainly operating on the island of Lesvos and the hot spot of Moria. Investigation that has lasted several months has reportedly found out that the NGO was systematically active in the facilitation of the illegal entry of migrants and refugees to Greece.

Continue reading Lesvos prosecutor files against 30 NGO members facilitating migrants trafficking

Children ‘attempting suicide’ at Greek refugee camp

Via BBC – At Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, there is deadly violence, overcrowding, appalling sanitary conditions and now a charity says children as young as 10 are attempting suicide. The Victoria Derbyshire programme has been given rare access inside.

“We are always ready to escape, 24 hours a day we have our children ready,” says Sara Khan, originally from Afghanistan. “The violence means our little ones don’t get to sleep.”

Continue reading Children ‘attempting suicide’ at Greek refugee camp

Reporting on the Turkish-EU Border Regime