Via ECRE – The Administrative Court of Mytilene restricted automatic detention of asylum seekers on the Eastern Aegean islands with a view of their return to Turkey under the EU Turkey deal. In three decisions from October, the court found that the applicants’ detention was unlawful, on insufficiently justified grounds in two cases and on wrong grounds in a third case. Continue reading Greece: Court curtails detention in the context of the EU-Turkey deal
Via Refugee Rescue – This morning (10th November) at 3.47am, Refugee Rescue boat ‘Mo Chara’ received a request by the Hellenic coastguard to assist in transitioning 17 very distressed and hypothermic people to port.
Several arrivals reported that their dinghy – originally carrying 37 people – was intercepted by the Turkish coast guard in Greek waters. It is alleged that a Turkish official fired multiple gun shots into the air before retreating, and then returned to fire shots into the water close to the dinghy, while ramming the boat with their vessel on a number of occasions. Continue reading Pushback, Violence and Separation of Families in Greek Waters!
Via Bosphorus Migration Studies – Laura Batalla is the Secretary-General of the European Parliament Turkey Forum which is a group comprised of members of the European Parliament who have a keen interest in EU-Turkey relations. Mehmet Enes Beşer made an interview with Mrs. Batalla on the fragile EU-Turkey relations and the future prospects:
“I wouldn’t call it a dispute. However, it is true that we may have hit our lowest point in EU-Turkey relations since accession negotiations started in 2005.” Continue reading Fragile Nature of EU-Turkey Relations: Interview with Laura Batalla
Via Greek Reporter – Council and the European Commission must work urgently with Greece to prevent a humanitarian crisis this winter, according to the he Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) Group in the European Parliament.
The group called for a debate in the parliament’s plenary session next week in Strasbourg. “Thousands of people seeking asylum on the Greek islands still do not have adequate protection for the coming cold months,” said S&D Group President Gianni Pittella. Continue reading EU Parliamentarians Warn Refugees May Die on Greek Islands
Via The Guardian – A surge in refugee arrivals has led to soaring tensions on Greece’s outlying Aegean islands, with Lesbos’s mayor accusing the government in Athens of allowing it to become a giant prison camp.
Boycotting celebrations on Wednesday marking the 105th anniversary of Lesbos’s liberation from Ottoman Turkish rule, local officials gave the leftist-led coalition in Athens an ultimatum: either it took immediate action to decongest the island or risked mass protests from an increasingly unruly population. Continue reading Anger rises in Lesbos over crowded refugee camps
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.
The Greek authorities are deporting migrants on the Greek islands to Turkey in an expedited process – raising concerns over potentially illegal and prejudiced practices, reports Matt Broomfield.
Via The New Arab – Refugees from so-called “undesirable” countries are being jailed upon arrival to the Greek islands, before being put through a summary fast-track asylum procedure and returned to detention in Turkey within a matter of weeks, it has emerged.
Individuals from North Africa and South Asia are being singled out upon arrival, due to a policy that has been described as racist and illegal.
Since the EU-Turkey deal was implemented, arbitrary detention of asylum seekers on the Greek Hotspot Islands has been on the rise. On Lesvos Island the police detains – among others – people who they consider as “trouble makers” and asylum seekers who gave up their right to apply for a protection status and agreed to so-called “voluntary return” after months of forcibly staying in terrible living conditions behind barbed wire. Until recently, members of six nationalities were furthermore simply detained on basis of their national belonging. In September, this illegal detention practice has been expanded to 28 nationalities. Affected are nationalities with less than 25% acceptance rate who are sweepingly considered as “economic migrants”. Asylum seekers with the respective national belongings are detained in a pre-removal centre within Moria camp without adequate access to basic goods such as clothes or medical and legal support. Continue reading 28 “reasons” for arbitrary detention
Via Ekathimerini – A group of 234 refugees boarded a charter flight from Athens to Lyon, France on Wednesday as part of the European Union’s relocation program, while dozens more migrants, deemed to belong to vulnerable groups, were transferred by ferry from the islands of the Aegean to mainland Greece. Continue reading Refugees relocated, others go to mainland
Since the EU-Turkey statement came into force on March 20th 2016, thousands of refugees became trapped on the Greek islands. Some of them will soon experience their second winter on the islands, waiting for the examination of their asylum claims or for their deportation to Turkey.
Last winter, in the European hotspot camp Moria on Lesvos alone, six people died. No one took responsibility for their deaths. This winter, people seeking protection and a decent life will again be forced to sleep on the ground in thin summer tents and behind barbed wire. Given the circumstances, it seems likely that more deaths will follow.
Grassroots initiatives and small organizations from the Greek islands and mainland have joined forces, supported by international solidarity groups calling together to “Open the islands – No more dead from cold”. HarekAct joins this statement, in which we demand the European Union and the Greek government to put an end to the restriction of movement to the islands, and let people move on at last to find safety! Continue reading JOINT STATEMENT: Open the Greek islands – No more dead from cold