Via euobserver – “I get depressed here. I want to go to a good school to study,” said a bright, 12-year-old girl from Afghanistan, who’s been stuck for six months in the grim Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. “If we don’t study we won’t have a future and we won’t become successful.” Continue reading Children losing out on education in EU migration deal
Via Infomigrants (1st August) – The migrant route from Turkey to Europe is rising in popularity. Some 14,470 people trying to use it have been stopped by the Turkish Coast Guard so far in 2018, a 60 percent increase on the previous year. Continue reading Migrant route from Turkey more popular
Reporting from the kritnet conference in Göttingen – Part 2
The HarekAct editorial board attended the 16th kritnet conference in Göttingen between 11-13th of May. It was a very good occasion to share and exchange knowledge, meet our friends, activists and colleagues again and discuss future projects and plans. We took part in the workshop titled “Post 2015 Border Regime – Re-Stabilization of the European Border Regime after the ‘Long Summer of Migration’”. We discussed the extension of borders into the cities following the example of Istanbul; the state of the border regime and public debate on migration in Turkey; and the impact and future of the EU-Turkey statement for both Greece and Turkey. Besides the individual inputs, we had a rich collective discussion with various perspectives, information and experiences brought by activists, researchers and professionals from Germany, Turkey, Greece and Kurdish region, and we are looking forward to keep building on the ideas we had as well as the connections we built there.
Although with a little bit of delay, now we would like to share our contributions to the workshop one by one. Enjoy the inputs presented by HarekAct editors in written and updated form in our blog. Keep posted!
by Lisa Groß
Disobedient Border Crossings…
Since the EU-Turkey Deal, the number of clandestine border crossings has dropped substantially, and the agreement is still deterring many migrants from crossing the Aegean Sea. But that’s not the whole picture: Since April 2016, more than 60.000 people made it across the Aegean, and boats are still landing on the islands on an almost daily basis, despite augmented border control. Recently, the number of migrants arriving on the Greek Aegean islands via the sea are increasing again. While around 3.200 people arrived between April and May 2017, the number almost doubled during the same period in 2018, with circa 6.000 migrants making it safely to Greece. This year up until mid-June, circa 13.000 migrants have crossed from Turkey to Greece, with most of the boats still arriving on Lesvos island (ca. 7.000) (see UNHCR).
In the following text, I will take a closer look at the changes and dynamics in the Aegean Sea following the EU-Turkey Deal. Although border patrol agents are increasing their capacities, we are still witnessing many disobedient border crossings and a civil society which continues to report about rights violations at sea. Continue reading Shedding Light on the Maritime Border between Turkey and Greece – Changes in the Border regime in the Aegean Sea since the EU-Turkey Deal
Via Doctors Without Borders – As refugees continue to arrive on the island of Lesbos, Greece, the situation in Moria refugee camp is descending into chaos. There are frequent clashes, riots, and incidents of sexual violence, and the conditions of the camp are harming refugees’ mental health.
There are now more than 8,000 people crammed into a space made for 3,000 in Moria camp. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has witnessed escalating daily violence in Moria over the past few months, and staff have treated many victims of sexual violence, which occurs in and around the camp. Continue reading Refugees further traumatized by conditions in Greece’s Moria camp
Via Refugee Support Aegean – On 16 March 2018, a refugee boat sank near the Greek island of Agathonisi. Sixteen persons perished and at least three are missing. The survivors and relatives’ testimonies along with text messages sent to the Greek coastguard point towards a significant delay from the side of the Greek authorities in launching a search and rescue operation.
>From the early days of the tragedy, Refugee Support Aegean provides legal and psychological support to the shipwreck survivors and relatives of those who lost their lives. In this detailed case file, you can see how this tragedy unfolded.
Developments on the Greek Islands
In mid-April, after a court decision, the news that the restriction of movement to the mainland for all migrants arriving on the Greek islands from then on had been lifted made the headlines. Hopes were high of these developments among refugees and their supporters. However, the Greek government quickly issued an administrative decision only a couple of days later, reinstating the former policy, known as the “containment policy” that is responsible for the terrible conditions many migrants face.
Meanwhile, in the four-day trial against the #Moria35 in April, 32 of the 35 defendants were collectively convicted of injuring police officers. The process was politically motivated from the very beginning with almost no proof against the defendants. They were collectively convicted to a 26 months suspended prison sentence, though this penalty is temporarily suspended, since their lawyers lodged an appeal against the decision. Valeria Hänsel, who contributes to HarekAct, drawing on her insights on the situation of refugees on Lesvos and focusing on their detention and deportations, wrote a report about the trial, that we published on HarekAct (in German). Continue reading HarekAct Newsletter V – April, May, and June 2018
The North Aegean regional governor announced the closure of Pikpa camp on the basis of a report by the health inspection which found shortcomings in the common kitchen handled by the residents, a broken net in the food distribution area and a leakage to a water tank for washing machines. For these reasons, it considers Pikpa dangerous to public health and the environment. Continue reading REACTION TO ANNOUNCEMENT TO CLOSE PIKPA CAMP
The EU-Turkey Statement and the Greek Hotspots – A Failed European Pilot Project in Refugee Policy
The Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament recently published a study focusing on the detrimental impact that the EU-Turkey Statement and the implementation of the “hotspot approach” in Greece is having on the rights of refugees and migrants arriving. The study finds that the current procedures and practices for processing asylum applications on the Greek islands under the EU-Turkey statement violate the applicants’ right to asylum and due process.
The study can be downloaded here.
Via Middle East Monitor – The European Commission has called for the continuation of the bilateral migrant readmission deal between Turkey and Greece.
“The commission’s position is that it should be continuously implemented in order to meet all remaining benchmarks under the visa liberalisation roadmap with Turkey,” the Commission’s spokesperson Natasha Bertaud told a press briefing Friday.
Her remarks came after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced Thursday that Ankara was suspending its bilateral migrant readmission deal with Greece.
Via Legal Centre Lesbos – In the months since our last update on rights violations and resistance in Lesvos, our advocacy and campaigning resources were almost exclusively focused on the two trials for the Moria 35 and Moria 10 that took place in Chios in late April and early May 2018.
The situation has predictably worsened in Lesvos. Continue reading New Monthly Report on Rights Violations and Resistance by Legal Centre Lesbos