Via Keep Talking Greece – Authorities on the island of Lesvos stand before a mystery as the bodies at least two children were washed ashore in the less than 24 hours. A third body was discovered later on Saturday. No information about age or sex so far, as coast guard members were heading to the area as this post was written. Continue reading Bodies of two refugee children washed ashore on Lesvos island
Via Greek Reporter – Council and the European Commission must work urgently with Greece to prevent a humanitarian crisis this winter, according to the he Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) Group in the European Parliament.
The group called for a debate in the parliament’s plenary session next week in Strasbourg. “Thousands of people seeking asylum on the Greek islands still do not have adequate protection for the coming cold months,” said S&D Group President Gianni Pittella. Continue reading EU Parliamentarians Warn Refugees May Die on Greek Islands
Via The Guardian – A surge in refugee arrivals has led to soaring tensions on Greece’s outlying Aegean islands, with Lesbos’s mayor accusing the government in Athens of allowing it to become a giant prison camp.
Boycotting celebrations on Wednesday marking the 105th anniversary of Lesbos’s liberation from Ottoman Turkish rule, local officials gave the leftist-led coalition in Athens an ultimatum: either it took immediate action to decongest the island or risked mass protests from an increasingly unruly population. Continue reading Anger rises in Lesbos over crowded refugee camps
Via Greek Reporter – At least three people were killed when a boat carrying migrants and refugees to Greece from Turkey capsized in the early hours of Friday. The incident happened at Kalolimnos islet in the Dodecanese, just opposite the Turkish coast.
The Greek coastguard that rushed to the scene discovered the body of one woman. Later, two more bodies were recovered inside Turkey’s territorial waters by the Turkish coastguard. Continue reading Three Killed, Several Missing as Migrant Boat Sinks in Eastern Aegean
The Greek authorities are deporting migrants on the Greek islands to Turkey in an expedited process – raising concerns over potentially illegal and prejudiced practices, reports Matt Broomfield.
Via The New Arab – Refugees from so-called “undesirable” countries are being jailed upon arrival to the Greek islands, before being put through a summary fast-track asylum procedure and returned to detention in Turkey within a matter of weeks, it has emerged.
Individuals from North Africa and South Asia are being singled out upon arrival, due to a policy that has been described as racist and illegal.
Tents without electricity, huts, overcrowding, sick and abandoned people: Chios Solidarity publicizes audiovisual material describing the inhumane living conditions in the outdoor campsite-store of people outside the hotspot of the saturated VIAL and calls for immediate action.
Via Chios Solidarity
Since the EU-Turkey deal was implemented, arbitrary detention of asylum seekers on the Greek Hotspot Islands has been on the rise. On Lesvos Island the police detains – among others – people who they consider as “trouble makers” and asylum seekers who gave up their right to apply for a protection status and agreed to so-called “voluntary return” after months of forcibly staying in terrible living conditions behind barbed wire. Until recently, members of six nationalities were furthermore simply detained on basis of their national belonging. In September, this illegal detention practice has been expanded to 28 nationalities. Affected are nationalities with less than 25% acceptance rate who are sweepingly considered as “economic migrants”. Asylum seekers with the respective national belongings are detained in a pre-removal centre within Moria camp without adequate access to basic goods such as clothes or medical and legal support. Continue reading 28 “reasons” for arbitrary detention
Via Legal Centre Lesbos – In September, Mr. Maarten Verwey, EU coordinator for implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement, travelled to Lesvos and met with authorities in the camps, and the Mytilene mayor’s office. He did not, however, meet with any of the individuals best placed to brief him on the impact of the EU-Turkey Statement: the refugees and asylum seekers who know all too well how refugees are treated in Turkey, and as a consequence of the ‘deal’, have been trapped on Lesvos for months and years living in inhumane and degrading conditions in perpetual fear of deportation.
Their situation is constantly deteriorating: The European Commission increases pressure to return even asylum seekers who are classified as vulnerable and individuals applying for family reunification to Turkey. Furthermore, the Greek Council of State Plenary – Greece’s highest administrative court – ruled that Turkey is a safe country, setting dangerous precedent for forcible returns to Turkey under EU-Turkey deal, trampling roughshod over overwhelming evidence that basic human rights of returnees are systematically violated by Erdogan’s repressive authoritarian regime.
However, refugees and supporters on Lesvos keep up resistance. They go on protests marches, occupied the main Square in the town of Mytilene and demand freedom of movement.
Via Ekathimerini – A group of 234 refugees boarded a charter flight from Athens to Lyon, France on Wednesday as part of the European Union’s relocation program, while dozens more migrants, deemed to belong to vulnerable groups, were transferred by ferry from the islands of the Aegean to mainland Greece. Continue reading Refugees relocated, others go to mainland
Since the EU-Turkey statement came into force on March 20th 2016, thousands of refugees became trapped on the Greek islands. Some of them will soon experience their second winter on the islands, waiting for the examination of their asylum claims or for their deportation to Turkey.
Last winter, in the European hotspot camp Moria on Lesvos alone, six people died. No one took responsibility for their deaths. This winter, people seeking protection and a decent life will again be forced to sleep on the ground in thin summer tents and behind barbed wire. Given the circumstances, it seems likely that more deaths will follow.
Grassroots initiatives and small organizations from the Greek islands and mainland have joined forces, supported by international solidarity groups calling together to “Open the islands – No more dead from cold”. HarekAct joins this statement, in which we demand the European Union and the Greek government to put an end to the restriction of movement to the islands, and let people move on at last to find safety! Continue reading JOINT STATEMENT: Open the Greek islands – No more dead from cold