Via Ekathimerini – More than 1.800 migrants arrived on the Greeks islands in January, according to the European Border and Coast Agency Frontex on Tuesday. The number of arrivals in January, mostly Syrian and Iraqi nationals, represented a 43 percent drop compared to the previous month.
Via Ekathimerini – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke with his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim on Tuesday evening amid rising tension in the Aegean.
Tsipras reportedly told Yildirim that incidents such as the one on Monday night, when a Turkish coast guard boat rammed a Greek patrol vessel, undermine Turkey’s relations with Greece and the European Union and contravene international law.
The Greek leader called for Turkey to end its breaches of Greece’s air space and territorial waters and for there to be de-escalation in the region. Continue reading Tsipras speaks to Turkish PM amid increasing tension in Aegean
Via Ekathimerini – A Turkish patrol boat reportedly rammed a Greek coast guard vessel that was anchored off the island of Imia in the Aegean at around midnight on Monday.
The incident did not result in any no injuries but only minor damage to the stern of the Greek vessel, yet it serves to illustrate the heightened tension in the area where Greece and Turkey came on the brink of war 22 years ago. Continue reading Turkish coast guard vessel rams Greek patrol boat off Imia
The New Arab published a story on February 2nd on IOM ‘voluntary return programme’: “A scheme to repatriate refugees whose asylum bids have been rejected amounts to bullying and bribing desperate people to return to desperate situations, reports Matt Broomfield.” Valeria Hänsel also wrote on that same issue for HarekAct two weeks back.
Via The New Arab – A “voluntary” returns programme being heavily marketed to refugees is leaving them stranded in inhumane conditions in Greek and Turkish jails for months at a time, and facing imprisonment and torture once they return to their home countries – if they are ever able to get there at all.
For many refugees arriving in Greece and Turkey, whose claims for asylum are rejected, the International Organisation for Migration‘s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme is effectively the only alternative to brutal jail systems. They are forced to give up their right to appeal their asylum decision in order to escape six or 12 months of confinement by accepting “voluntary” return. Continue reading Investigation: Coercive ‘voluntary’ deportations leave refugees trapped in jail
The Legal Center Lesvos regularly publishes report on the current situation for migrants on Lesvos. Here is their latest report on January 2018:
VIOLATIONS OF RIGHTS EXPOSED AT EUROPE’S BORDERS
At the close of 2017 in the period since our last report, the inhumane treatment of migrants in Lesvos continues to be widely reported on and denounced by refugees and migrants, solidarity activists, the media, and human rights organizations. In response to this pressure, in November and December roughly 3000 asylum seekers were transferred from Lesvos to mainland Greece and Crete. However during the same time period approximately the same number of individuals arrived to Lesvos from Turkey. Continue reading January 2018 Report on Rights Violations and Resistance in Lesvos
Via Ekathimerini – Concerns are rising about conditions at reception centers for migrants on the islands of the eastern Aegean amid delays in much-needed infrastructure upgrades and increasingly cramped conditions, with reports of a spike in cases of mental health problems.
Last summer, authorities completed a feasibility study for an upgrade of the drainage and sewerage systems at Moria, the main reception center on Lesvos. But the plan appears to have become mired in bureaucracy. Originally designed to house 1,000 migrants, the camp at Moria is currently hosting nearly seven times that number.
Via AlJazeera – Images capture living conditions the Greek island’s largest camp, home to thousands of refugees and migrants
Musaferat – a collective active on Lesvos against the deportation practise – published an insightful summary of the events during the last month on Lesvos. From the unbearable living conditions in Moria, iltreatment of minor refugees, deportations and ‘voluntary returns’ and policy violence against protests.
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
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