“On the 20 April, we are scheduled to attend trial in Chios after waiting nine months, trapped on Lesvos, while 30 of our brothers unjustly have waited in prison for this same time period. Our humanity has been denied since we stepped foot in Europe, the supposed cradle of democracy and human rights. . . We are treated like criminals, simply for crossing a border that Europeans can freely cross.” An excerpt from the Statement by 5 of the Moria 35 Defendants.
Today begins the trial of the Moria 35, which will determine the fate of 35 individuals arrested following a protest outside the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) in Moria Refugee Camp on 18 July 2017. The stakes are high in this inherently political trial. The 35 face criminal charges for which they may receive 10 years in prison and probable deportation if found guilty. Continue reading Op-Ed: Moria 35 – Trial at the Gates of Fortress Europe→
Via Keep Talking Greece – Hundreds of refugees and migrants have been flocking to Thessaloniki in Northern Greece, lately, seeking an opportunity for a temporary residence in an EU country. Majority of them have reportedly illegally entered Greece from Turkey through the Evros river. They sleep in parks and squares awaiting for a place in the Greek refugee accommodation camps.
IOM Turkey is training Turkish, Greek and Bulgarian police officers on how to examine travel documents and recognize fakes, in an obvious attempt to improve border controls and to stop increasing border crossings from Turkey in Greece and Bulgaria.
The IOM Integrated Border Management Team was held on the first day of training for police officers from Turkey # Bulgaria and # Greece last week. The training provided guidance on examining travel documents, profiling and commonly used forgery techniques. pic.twitter.com/EFMtHKpEKc
[UNHCR]: Returns from Greece to Turkey:The UNHCR’s recent short report reveals interesting results with respect to the refugee/asylum seeker* returns from Greece to Turkey as part of the EU-Turkey Statement:
The number of total returns amounts to 1583 within the last two years. (91%: Men, 5%: Children, 4%: Women)
Around 41 % of these returns are from Afghanistan followed by the Syrians with 17 percent.
“47 % did not express a will to apply for asylum or withdrew their will to apply for asylum or withdrew their asylum claims in Greece.” In other words, they wanted to stay in Turkey or lost their eagerness/hopes to be back in Greece and the EU. [Read the 1-page report]
*: The UNCHR seems to be deliberately avoiding the terms such as refugees, asylum seekers or migrants while mentioning these returned people in its document.
Via The Black Sea – Under an agreement in March 2016, the EU pledged six billion Euro to Turkey to effectively trap millions of refugees within its country and stop them from entering the European Union.
This is not the only cash from the EU. It also pays Turkey for military equipment which is used at its borders with Syria and Greece to halt those wishing to seek asylum in the 28-member bloc.
An investigation into EU contracts by Politiken and Danwatch (Denmark) in partnership with the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) reveals that EU has supplied Turkey with 83 million Euro in armoured military vehicles and surveillance equipment for what witnesses say is aggressive patrolling of the borders.
These deals also risk the EU being complicit in possible violations of the international rights of refugees.
Via Deutsche Welle – A clampdown on Europe’s eastern borders and the Aegean Sea has forced migrants to seek different — and more dangerous — routes to the continent. Hunters and fishermen find their bodies, reports Anthee Carassava.
Its endless swathes of sensational sand dunes, swamps and reed beds have made it an attractive crossing for destitute refugees. In fact, since the European Union and Turkey struck a deal that has helped plug the most popular migration route to the Continent — the Aegean Sea — the nearly 200-kilometer (124 mile) Evros River has seen refugee flows surge.
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.