Via Keep Talking Greece – The German Foreign Ministry has made it clear that it will not provide additional winter assistance to refugees on the Aegean islands. In a related question from German newspapers, the foreign ministry replied that “responsibility for accommodating and feeding refugees falls under the jurisdiction of each country.”
According to dpa, the Foreign Ministry recalled that Berlin recently funded the installation of 135 heated containers for a total of 800 people in two camps in the Thessaloniki region and that the EU has allocated up to now 1.4 billion euros to tackle the refugee crisis in Greece.
Continue reading German Foreign Ministry rejects additional winter aid for refugees on Greek islands
Via Greekreporter – Lesvos island decongestion plan is in full progress. 408 persons have left the island in the last 24 hours. 152 refugees and migrants left on Friday evening from the port of Piraeus while another 256 left with the ferry “Nissos Samos” on Saturday for the port of Heraklio, Crete. Continue reading Large Number of Migrants and Refugees Leave from Lesvos; Migration Ministry’s Decongestion Plan in Full Progress
Via No Border Kitchen Lesvos – Two brothers from Nigeria who made the deadly crossing from Turkey to Lesvos in a rubber dinghy were immediately detained in the pre-removal prison inside the so-called “Hotspot camp”, Moria. For almost three months they were isolated from society, adequate legal assistance or support structures. All refugees from countries with less than 33% acceptance rate (which are more than 28 countries including Syrian single men) can currently be detained immediately after their arrival on Lesvos, for the entire duration of their asylum procedure. While the two brothers were held in detention, their asylum application was rejected twice under the fast-track border procedure implemented on the Greek islands since the EU-Turkey statement of March 18th 2016. It has been repeatedly pointed out by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and lawyers such as those from the Legal Centre Lesbos that the fast-track procedure tramples roughshod over human rights. In practice, individuals are targeted because of their nationality and stripped of their legal right to a fair and proper asylum hearing.
Continue reading Nigerian man deported despite serious health condition on November 30th
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 – 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 Bianet – In its meeting of 2018 budget, the European Union (EU) has decided to cut 105 million Euros in funds to Turkey due to the “political developments in Turkey”. The European Parliament (EP), which advocates cut to Turkey, attended the meeting as well. Continue reading EU Decides to Cut Funds to Turkey