Via Hürriyet Daily News (30th April) – A delegation from the European Union will visit Turkey in mid-May to discuss a visa-free deal and the issue of refugees, EU sources told state-run Anadolu Agency on April 30.
A working plan for Turkish citizens to travel to Schengen countries visa-free, submitted by Turkey to Brussels in February, is currently being examined, said the source, who requested anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Continue reading EU delegation to visit Turkey mid-May over visa waiver issue
Via Greek Reporter – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN migration agency, is reporting that more than 10,000 migrants left voluntarily from Greece between June 2016 and April this year.
Among the returnees, almost 8,380 were men and 2,125 were women. The IOM says special assistance was provided to 77 unaccompanied migrant children, helping them to reunite with their families.
The voluntary returns saw people go back to their homes in 84 countries and territories over a 20-month period through a program funded by the EU and Greece.
Continue reading UN Agency Says 10,000 Refugees Left Greece Voluntarily From June 2016
Via The Guardian – Greece has rushed to reinforce its land border with Turkey as fears mount over a sharp rise in the number of refugees and migrants crossing the frontier.
Police patrols were augmented as local authorities said the increase in arrivals had become reminiscent of the influx of migrants on the Aegean islands close to the Turkish coast. About 2,900 people crossed the land border in April, by far surpassing the number who arrived by sea, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said. The figure represents half of the total number of crossings during the whole of 2017. Continue reading Greece reinforces land border with Turkey to stem flow of migrants
21 rights organizations condemn the government’s attempt to overturn the court decision ending the containment policy
Press release by 21 human rights and humanitarian organizations, 25.04.2018 – The Greek government’s move on April 20, 2018, overturning abinding court ruling ordering it to end its abusive policy of trapping asylum seekers on Greece’s islands raises rule of law concerns, 21 human rights and humanitarian organizations
Rather than carrying out the April 17 ruling by the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court, the government issued an administrative decision reinstating the policy, known as the “containment policy.” Continue reading Greek Government Reinstates Containment Policy That Keeps People Trapped on Islands – Defies Court on Asylum Seekers
Press release by Legal Center Lesbos, 28.04.2018 – While all 35 defendants should soon be released from detention, a gross miscarriage of justice took place today at the Mixed Jury Court in Chios, Greece where a ruling of guilty was declared against 32 of the 35 defendants. The 35 were arbitrarily and violently arrested in Moria camp in Lesvos on 18 July 2017 following what started as a peaceful protest outside of an EASO office. This inherently unsafe verdict, reached despite an overwhelming lack of evidence, follows a week long trial which continuously violated fundamental principles of a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights and brings into serious question the impartiality of both the Judges and Prosecutor in the case. Continue reading Moria 35 Trial Ends in Conviction of 32 – But After 9 Months of Unjust Detention, the 35 will Finally be Free!
Via Ekathimerini – Report (from 24th April) with more information on the racist attacks on refugees on Lesvos which took place last Sunday
Police forced dozens of migrants, most Afghan asylum-seekers, who had been camped out on the main square of Lesvos island’s capital since last week, onto buses and transported them to the Moria camp in the early hours of Monday after downtown Mytilini turned into a battleground on Sunday.
Continue reading Far-right hooligans attack migrants on Lesvos, turn town into battleground
Via ECRE – Op-ed by Carlos Orjuela and Lorraine Leete of Legal Centre Lesbos.
“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.
Continue reading Refugees sleep in squares & parks as hundreds flock to Thessaloniki
Via AlJazeera – A mob of far-right protesters have attacked refugees and migrants who had been holding a separate demonstration in the main square of Mytileni, the main town of the Greek island of Lesbos.
Via Ekathimerini – New refugee and migrant arrivals in Greece will soon be able to move around the country freely without being restricted to the islands of the eastern Aegean where they arrive from neighboring Turkey, according to a Council of State ruling that emerged on Tuesday and upends a 2016 decision by the Greek asylum service that forced them to remain in so-called hotspots until their asylum application was processed.
According to the leaked ruling by the country’s highest administrative court, there are no reasons of public interest or migration policy to justify their geographical restriction to the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros, Kos and Rhodes. Continue reading New refugees in Greece can move freely, says court