Tag Archives: Aegean Islands

Expert Views: The E.U.-Turkey Deal After Two Years

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Via Newsdeeply – On the second anniversary of the E.U.-Turkey deal that curbed refugee boats to Greece, experts from Turkey, Greece and Germany weigh in on the agreement’s impact on refugees and on Europe.

The E.U.-Turkey statement of March 20, 2016, was a turning point in Europe’s crisis over refugees.

Under the deal, Turkey would prevent boats leaving its shores for Greece, while Athens would return arriving migrants to Turkey. In exchange, the E.U. would increase funding and resettlement for refugees in Turkey, along with other political sweeteners.

Very little of the deal’s original provisions have been implemented, but the number of boats did drop drastically (while continuing to fluctuate, just as the journey continues to be deadly). Coming after 1 million people arrived in Europe in 2015, E.U. policymakers continue to defend the deal as a major success.

At the same time, human rights groups say many of their warnings about the agreement have been realized: Refugees are warehoused in dire conditions on the Greek islands while Turkey threatens a new surge in refugee boats to ward off criticism about its human rights situation.

On the second anniversary of its signing, we asked experts from Turkey, Greece and Germany weigh in on the agreement’s impact on refugees and on Europe.
Continue reading Expert Views: The E.U.-Turkey Deal After Two Years

Humiliating Reception Conditions as a Deterrent to Prevent Refugee Arrivals on the Aegean Islands

Via RSA In the framework of their campaign #StopTheToxicdeal RSA and PROASYL publish today the first topic that concerns reception conditions.

Two years after the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement (‘deal’), the very poor reception conditions in the hot spots of the Aegean coupled with the policy of geographical restriction are two of the most important deterrence factors for refugee flows from Turkey. Continue reading Humiliating Reception Conditions as a Deterrent to Prevent Refugee Arrivals on the Aegean Islands

Five Aegean islands seek to cancel “geographic restrictions for refugees and migrants”

Via Keep Talking Greece – The geographical restriction imposed on refugees and migrants who arrived in Greece after the EU-Turkey Statement on the islands of the northern Aegean, violates the principle of human dignity, the alleged need to apply it is not substantiated, representatives of the Bar Associations in Chios, Lesvos, Rhodes, Kos and Samos, as well as the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) said in a joint press conference on Tuesday.

The five Bar Associations and the GCR have submitted two cancellation requests against the State and the Asylum Service’s decision to keep refugees and migrants on the islands until their asylum requests have been examined, which were heard earlier today by the Council of State. It is not known when the court will issue its ruling.

Hara Katsigianni, from GCR’s legal department, said the specific decision violates the European Directive 33/2013, according to which such geographical restrictions should be imposed on grounds of public interest, public order or for the rapid processing and effective monitoring of the application for international protection. However, she explained, “the provision of Article 41 of Law No 4375/2016, on the basis of which the decision on a geographical restriction was adopted, does not specify any reason of public interest or public order and does not mention the speedy monitoring of the application”.

Grammatiki Alimonou, representing the Bar Associations of Chios, Rhodes, Kos and Samos, stressed that “as far as the obligation to remain on the islands is concerned, there is no clear condition in the EU-Turkey Joint Statement”. On the contrary, she explained, the EU or the migration policy ministry interprets the statement in a way that requires refugees and migrants to remain on the islands until it is decided if they qualify for asylum and return them to Turkey from there.

“We are here to defend our islands, to defend the rights of refugees and migrants, who cannot live in appalling conditions, but to support the right of island residents to exist, to live, to create without deteriorating their daily lives,” the president of Chios’ Bar Association, Anthippi Zannara said. 


This article was originally published by Keep Talking Greece 

“Only 16% of asylum seekers can be sent back to Turkey”: Maria Stavropoulou, former head of the Greek asylum service

Via Ekathimerini (from 11th Feb) – Just 16 percent of asylum seekers who undertook the journey to Greece can be returned to Turkey under Greek law and European directives, Maria Stavropoulou, the former head of the Greek asylum service, has told Kathimerini.

“Given what we know about Turkey, those who can be shipped back are mostly Syrians, who enjoy a high level of protection,” said Stavropoulou, adding that the agency has ruled that 2,200 Syrians can be returned from Greece to Turkey on safe third country grounds. Continue reading “Only 16% of asylum seekers can be sent back to Turkey”: Maria Stavropoulou, former head of the Greek asylum service

Majority of refugee children in the Aegean Islands Hot Spots are excluded from education

Via Refugee Support Aegean – Despite the Government announcements that it will ensure access to education for all refugee children living in Greece, the majority of the children living in the Aegean islands Hot Spots, has no access to formal education. These include amongst others children of families who have been trapped for many months in these camps and live in deplorable conditions. These children remain until today deprived from the right to education. Continue reading Majority of refugee children in the Aegean Islands Hot Spots are excluded from education

Tsipras speaks to Turkish PM amid increasing tension in Aegean

Via Ekathimerini – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke with his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim on Tuesday evening amid rising tension in the Aegean.

Tsipras reportedly told Yildirim that incidents such as the one on Monday night, when a Turkish coast guard boat rammed a Greek patrol vessel, undermine Turkey’s relations with Greece and the European Union and contravene international law.

The Greek leader called for Turkey to end its breaches of Greece’s air space and territorial waters and for there to be de-escalation in the region. Continue reading Tsipras speaks to Turkish PM amid increasing tension in Aegean

Turkish coast guard vessel rams Greek patrol boat off Imia

Via Ekathimerini – A Turkish patrol boat reportedly rammed a Greek coast guard vessel that was anchored off the island of Imia in the Aegean at around midnight on Monday.

The incident did not result in any no injuries but only minor damage to the stern of the Greek vessel, yet it serves to illustrate the heightened tension in the area where Greece and Turkey came on the brink of war 22 years ago. Continue reading Turkish coast guard vessel rams Greek patrol boat off Imia

Investigation: Coercive ‘voluntary’ deportations leave refugees trapped in jail

The New Arab published a story on February 2nd on IOM ‘voluntary return programme’: “A scheme to repatriate refugees whose asylum bids have been rejected amounts to bullying and bribing desperate people to return to desperate situations, reports Matt Broomfield.” Valeria Hänsel also wrote on that same issue for HarekAct two weeks back.

Via The New Arab  A “voluntary” returns programme being heavily marketed to refugees is leaving them stranded in inhumane conditions in Greek and Turkish jails for months at a time, and facing imprisonment and torture once they return to their home countries – if they are ever able to get there at all.

For many refugees arriving in Greece and Turkey, whose claims for asylum are rejected, the International Organisation for Migration‘s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme is effectively the only alternative to brutal jail systems. They are forced to give up their right to appeal their asylum decision in order to escape six or 12 months of confinement by accepting “voluntary” return. Continue reading Investigation: Coercive ‘voluntary’ deportations leave refugees trapped in jail