Via Aljazeera – Closed borders, racism, xenophobic attacks, rejected asylum applications, poverty and lengthy waits. These experiences are what many refugees and migrants in Greece say defined 2017 for them. More than 60,000 refugees and migrants are trapped in Greece due to sealed borders across the so-called Balkan route and the March 2016 deal between Turkey and the European Union, which was sculpted to stem the flow of displaced people to Europe. Continue reading Refugees in Greece reflect on another year of waiting
Welcome2Europe updated their information on Turkey and added information for migrants who have been intercepted back to Turkey at sea or land and for those who have been readmitted/deported to Turkey from Greece.
For now the information are available in English. Arabic, Farsi and French will follow soon.
OpenTheIslands video on the unbearable situation in the EU-hotspot Moria on Lesvos. Winter is approaching and thousands of refugees are still trapped in the horrible conditions of Moria
OpenTheIslands Network – The situation for refugees in Lesvos remains critical. As weather conditions worsen and winter approaches, Moria camp still ‘houses’ three times more people than capacity allows. With a capacity of around 2300 people, Moria camp now has almost 7000 people inside. From the promised 5000 transfers to the mainland until December 15th only a few hundred actually happened so far. If and how it will be possible to transfer several thousand people in the next five days is a questions yet to be answered. Continue reading Unrealisable promises? #OpenTheIslands Lesvos Update (11.12.2017)
Via Ekathimerini – The mayor of the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos has filed suit against all responsible parties over the conditions at the Moria refugee and migrant processing center, claiming that the law is being broken at the government-run facility, which is supervised by the military.
His action comes two days after foreign media published videos shot covertly inside the camp and showing the squalor and cramped conditions to which thousands of refugees and migrants are being subjected. Continue reading Lesvos mayor files suit over conditions at Moria migrant camp
Via Ekathimerini – The Greek government is planning to amend a law governing the process of granting asylum to refugees next week! The aim is to accelerate the process of returning migrants to Turkey, which had been one of the goals of a deal that was struck last year between Ankara and the European Union but which is being inadequately enforced.
On Wednesday, Greece’s asylum service said its staff have processed 33,021 applications for asylum since March 2016, when the Turkey-EU deal was signed. The fact that rejected asylum claims are often appealed, and that reviews of those appeals take months, appears to be the main reason that thousands of applications remain pending, and thousands of migrants remain cooped up in state camps. Continue reading Greek gov’t aims to speed up migrant returns to Turkey
Via EurActiv – Greece will speed up the relocation of thousands of migrants from its overcrowded islands to the mainland before the onset of winter after reaching a deal with Turkey, a key ally in helping to tackle Europe’s migration crisis, government sources said yesterday (11 December).
Athens persuaded Ankara last week to accept migrant returns, including Syrian refugees, from the mainland and not just from the Aegean islands as previously agreed under a 2016 EU-Turkey pact, a government source told AFP. Continue reading Greece to speed up migrant transfer after Turkey deal
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 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
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.”