Via Deutsche Welle – Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become the first sitting Turkish president to visit Greece in 65 years. Could the EU-Turkey refugee deal be a sticking point during his landmark trip to Athens?
Erdogan is also expected to speak with his Greek hosts about the flow of refugees to Europe. Officially, Athens has signaled its satisfaction with the EU-Turkey Refugee Deal reached in March 2016. One point of the agreement stipulates that Turkey take back refugees that have illegally traveled from Turkish territory to reach Greece’s eastern Aegean islands. In Athens’ view, the agreement is working, as the number of new arrivals has gone down substantially since 2016. The fact that Turkey has only been able or willing to take back 1,400 people since then, however, has caused consternation.
Read the whole article at Deutsche Welle
Author: Valeria Hänsel
The Greek island of Lesvos is going through a period of strong protests. Across all political camps, the people on the island refuse to carry out the European policy measures which are transforming Lesvos into an open-air prison for refugees on the edge of Europe. Groups that are strongly divided by ideological convictions, including local left wing, moderate and right wing groups, refugees and international activists share one concern: They oppose the situation created by the EU-Turkey statement.
While right wing groups are driven by racist sentiments, the majority of protesters does not longer accept the dehumanizing living conditions in the European “Hotspot Camp” Moria. More than 6.000 people are forced to live in overcrowded containers or in small summer tents and are exposed to wind and weather without adequate protection. Some have been forced to live under these conditions for more than 18 months and six people have died in Moria during the last winter.
To make this situation visible and fight for freedom of movement, there have been several protests marches and refugees have occupied space on the central Sappho Square in Lesvos’ capital Mytilene for the whole of November. When the police evicted the square, they occupied the local office of the ruling party SYRIZA with the support of local antifascists.
Continue reading Lesvos Fights Against its Role as Europe’s “Open Air Prison”
Author: Valeria Hänsel
On Thursday, 23rd November 2017, the deportation of two migrants was stopped last minute. The two men from Iran and Afghanistan were held in detention on Lesvos Island. Shortly before they were transported to the harbour of Mytilene to be quietly deported to Turkey via ferry, lawyers and activists managed to intervene and stop the deportation of the two men. Eight other people from Haiti, Tunisia, Afghanistan and Pakistan were however deported and will be detained in Turkey, among them a family with a small child.
For the two cases that were stopped, there were serious doubts about the lawfulness of the deportation practice. Alireza Kamran from Iran is suffering from severe health problems while Tarik Chian from Afghanistan was prevented from exhausting his legal remedies in Greece. The names and cases of the other deportees were not known to the lawyers and activists monitoring the deportation. Therefore the legality of their deportation cannot be assessed but it is doubted that the persons concerned have received sufficient support to challenge second instance rejections.
Continue reading Dubious Deportations to Turkey Prevented!
Via Ekathimerini – Fresh tension broke out in the capital of Lesvos on Wednesday after a small group of Afghan asylum seekers attempted to set up camp on one of the island’s public squares in demand that they be transferred to the Greek mainland.
Via Ekathimerini – With winter fast approaching and migrant camps on the Greek islands reaching breaking point due to overcrowding, 20 human rights group have written a letter to the Greek government calling for immediate action.
Greece should act to end a “containment policy” that forces asylum seekers arriving on the Greek islands to remain in overcrowded and unsafe facilities, the human rights and aid groups said in the letter, 19 months after a similar open letter to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras urged the government to move migrants to the mainland, where better conditions and services are available. Continue reading Migrant rights groups ring alarm over approaching winter
Via Birgün (link in Turkish) – The EU who said to give 3 billion Euro to Turkey in the frame of the EU-Turkey day for refugees, has recently paid its 2.9 billion. 1.6 billion Euro of this amount were allocated for education, health, municipality infrastructure, socioeconomic programs and migration governance. 300 million Euro were given to the Ministry of National Education and another 300 million Euro of its was given to Ministry of Health. UNICEF claims that although a large amount of money was allocated for education, 390 billion school-age refugees are still not provided with educational opportunities. 2
Via Sea-Watch – BREAKING: Turkish Coast Guards attack refugees!
Via ECRE – The Administrative Court of Mytilene restricted automatic detention of asylum seekers on the Eastern Aegean islands with a view of their return to Turkey under the EU Turkey deal. In three decisions from October, the court found that the applicants’ detention was unlawful, on insufficiently justified grounds in two cases and on wrong grounds in a third case. Continue reading Greece: Court curtails detention in the context of the EU-Turkey deal