Via No Border Kitchen Lesvos – Two brothers from Nigeria who made the deadly crossing from Turkey to Lesvos in a rubber dinghy were immediately detained in the pre-removal prison inside the so-called “Hotspot camp”, Moria. For almost three months they were isolated from society, adequate legal assistance or support structures. All refugees from countries with less than 33% acceptance rate (which are more than 28 countries including Syrian single men) can currently be detained immediately after their arrival on Lesvos, for the entire duration of their asylum procedure. While the two brothers were held in detention, their asylum application was rejected twice under the fast-track border procedure implemented on the Greek islands since the EU-Turkey statement of March 18th 2016. It has been repeatedly pointed out by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and lawyers such as those from the Legal Centre Lesbos that the fast-track procedure tramples roughshod over human rights. In practice, individuals are targeted because of their nationality and stripped of their legal right to a fair and proper asylum hearing.
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.”
Turkey’s state run news agency Anadolu Agency reports that the anti-migrant smuggling police freed 57 Pakistani migrants in Istanbul. They were being held chained in their hands and feet in a basement of a building in Istanbul’s Arnavutköy district, apparently bound for Europe. The police arrest three suspected smugglers, also nationals from Pakistan. According to Arab News, some of the migrants had been tortured.
According to the police, the migrants had paid a total of 10.000 € to the smugglers to be brought to Greece and Italy, but that didnt happen:
“They were then chained and forced to tell their families that they had arrived Europe in order to receive codes for an alternative “Hawala” two-factor verification payment system, Doğan News Agency reported.”
Now, after being ‘rescued‘ by the police, the 57 migrants – who escaped Pakistan, and were in Turkey to continue they were towards Europe – will be deported to Pakistan! So instead of offering safety after what they have been through, the state decides to deport them, probably into another situation of high insecurity.
The three suspected organizers will be referred to court following questioning at the police headquarters.
On Thursday, 23rd November 2017, the deportation of two migrants was stopped last minute. The two men from Iran and Afghanistan were held in detention on Lesvos Island. Shortly before they were transported to the harbour of Mytilene to be quietly deported to Turkey via ferry, lawyers and activists managed to intervene and stop the deportation of the two men. Eight other people from Haiti, Tunisia, Afghanistan and Pakistan were however deported and will be detained in Turkey, among them a family with a small child.
For the two cases that were stopped, there were serious doubts about the lawfulness of the deportation practice. Alireza Kamran from Iran is suffering from severe health problems while Tarik Chian from Afghanistan was prevented from exhausting his legal remedies in Greece. The names and cases of the other deportees were not known to the lawyers and activists monitoring the deportation. Therefore the legality of their deportation cannot be assessed but it is doubted that the persons concerned have received sufficient support to challenge second instance rejections.
Turkey’s state-run news agency ‘Anadolu Agency’ reports on Friday that more 258 migrants have been arrested during anti-trafficking operations in provinces of Aydin, Mugla, Edirne and Hatay when they either tried to reach Europe or attempted to enter Turkey using illegal routes. Continue reading AA: More than 250 undocumented migrants held in Turkey
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.
Turkeys state-run news agency Anadolu Agency reports that a total of 504 foreign nationals have been taken into custody in Turkey either for being illegally in the country or attempting to travel illegally to European countries. Continue reading AA: 504 refugees, migrants held in Turkey operations
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.
Via Legal Centre Lesbos – In September, Mr. Maarten Verwey, EU coordinator for implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement, travelled to Lesvos and met with authorities in the camps, and the Mytilene mayor’s office. He did not, however, meet with any of the individuals best placed to brief him on the impact of the EU-Turkey Statement: the refugees and asylum seekers who know all too well how refugees are treated in Turkey, and as a consequence of the ‘deal’, have been trapped on Lesvos for months and years living in inhumane and degrading conditions in perpetual fear of deportation.
Their situation is constantly deteriorating: The European Commission increases pressure to return even asylum seekers who are classified as vulnerable and individuals applying for family reunification to Turkey. Furthermore, the Greek Council of State Plenary – Greece’s highest administrative court – ruled that Turkey is a safe country, setting dangerous precedent for forcible returns to Turkey under EU-Turkey deal, trampling roughshod over overwhelming evidence that basic human rights of returnees are systematically violated by Erdogan’s repressive authoritarian regime.
However, refugees and supporters on Lesvos keep up resistance. They go on protests marches, occupied the main Square in the town of Mytilene and demand freedom of movement.
Via University of Oxford – Turkey was regarded as a safe third country for the purposes of the EU-Turkey Statement and on September 22, 2017, the Greek Council of State approved decisions of earlier Appeals Committees, which declared Turkey a safe third country; thus paving the way for more returns. However, little is known about the reception conditions of the migrants and asylum seekers who have been readmitted to Turkey. To fill this knowledge gap and to achieve a better understanding of the impacts of the Statement, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Migration Law Section conducted research that was funded by the Dutch Council for Refugees.
The following article is a summary of a report by Orcun Ulusoy for Free University Berlin, which you can find here.