Musaferat – a collective active on Lesvos against the deportation practive – published an insightful summary of the events during the last month on Lesvos. From the unbearable living conditions in Moria, iltreatment of minor refugees, deportations and ‘voluntary returns’ and policy violence against protests.
Via Evrensel (Report in Turkish) – Amnesty International launched a campaign to end the refugee policy that holds refugees on the Greek islands. Because of the “Readmission Agreement” signed between the European Union and Turkey, the refugees who have been kept on Greek islands since 20 months and have not been given any permission to cross into mainland Greece, are trying to shelter in tents. They are exposed to the hardship when it comes to accessing basic needs such as clean water and health care services. Amnesty International Refugee Rights Coordinator Volkan Görendağ states that Amnesty International is launching a campaign to make the Greek government end its policy on the islands and allow asylum seekers to move to mainland Greece.
In the frame of a research project coordinated by the University of Utrecht on the impact of the EU-Turkey Statement for refugees in Turkey and Greece a new policy paper was published! This part focuses on the situation for refugees once returned to Turkey:
“This policy brief examines whether asylum seekers readmitted from Greece to Turkey after the EU-Turkey Statement as of April 2016 were able to access effective protection in Turkey thereafter. The EU has long collaborated with countries of origin and transit in the form of migration compacts, readmission agreements and Memoranda of Understanding. The EU-Turkey Statement is different from prior forms of agreements because of the use of the safe-third-country concept. As a result, Greece can reject asylum applications of people who passed through Turkey as being inadmissible and shift the responsibility of merit assessments to Turkey.”
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.
Via University of Oxford / Faculty of Law – Today, Turkey is host to approximately 3.4 million refugees and asylum seekers, including more than 3.2 million Syrians. Due to its strategic location, Turkey has been a transit country for migrants and refugees, a necessary stop on their way to Europe. In 2015, nearly one million people arrived irregularly in Europe by sea, with more than 856,723 refugees and migrants traveling to Greece by sea from Turkey. This explains why cooperation with the Turkish government has become an essential part of the European policy to manage migration.
Via University of Oxford – Turkey was regarded as a safe third country for the purposes of the EU-Turkey Statement and on September 22, 2017, the Greek Council of State approved decisions of earlier Appeals Committees, which declared Turkey a safe third country; thus paving the way for more returns. However, little is known about the reception conditions of the migrants and asylum seekers who have been readmitted to Turkey. To fill this knowledge gap and to achieve a better understanding of the impacts of the Statement, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Migration Law Section conducted research that was funded by the Dutch Council for Refugees.
The following article is a summary of a report by Orcun Ulusoy for Free University Berlin, which you can find here.
Orçun Ulusoy from Vrije Univeriseit Amsterdam published a research report on readmitted migrants from Greece to Turkey. While many reports and academic papers have been published on the conditions of migrants and refugees in Greece after the unfamous EU-Turkey Deal, little is known about the conditions of the migrants and refuges who were readmitted from Greece to Turkey after the EU-Turkey Statement, he states. With his research paper – which you can read and download under clicking here – he tries to fill this gap. Continue reading Situation of Readmitted Migrants and Refugees from Greece to Turkey under the EU-Turkey Statement
Amnesty International published a short report about deportations and forceful ‘voluntary returns’ to Syria:
Amnesty International is concerned that Turkey has become an even less safe space for refugees and asylum-seekers since the coup attempt on 15 July 2016. Safeguards against being sent to other countries where they face a risk of serious human rights violations have been drastically reduced as part of the measures adopted under the state of emergency in place following the failed coup. Continue reading Refugees at heightened risk of refoulement under Turkey’s state of emergency
Author: Valeria Hänsel
For 14 days, refugee activist Arash Hampay has refused food. On the Greek island of Lesvos, he sits on the central square of the town Mytilini surrounded by shops, cafés and tourists, presenting a sign stating “Refugees are not Criminals”.
He is exhausted but determined to continue his hunger strike until the end. His open statement leaves no doubt:
“We shall continue our hunger strike until the prisoners in Moria camp are released, regardless of the consequences for us. A life without freedom is worthless and meaningless for us. You must release the refugees or we shall end our lives in front of your eyes and the people’s eyes. We are waiting for you. The people are waiting for you. You must free us or else be responsible for our death. We will keep waiting until the last drop of life falls from our bodies.”
The UNHCR Greece published an updated overview on returns from Greece to Turkey on 21th June. Since April 2016 1.217 persons have been deported to Turkey, almost half of them from Pakistan. Other nationalities include Syrians, Algerians, Bangladeshis and Afghans.