EU: MED-CRISIS (25.8.15)
25 August 2015
LESVOS/Mytilene: A Good Samaritan in Greece: Papa Stratis needs oxygen pumped to his lungs but that's not stopping him from joining the ranks of Greeks helping refugees arriving in Europe
(UNHCR Tracks, link): "Papa Stratis, along with other local volunteers in the village of Kalloni, has been helping refugees since 2007 through the NGO ‘Agkalia‘. In all these years he reckons that he has helped some ten thousand people, including a few locals fallen on hard times. But never before has he seen so many refugees looking for help.... “Every day between one and two hundred people come to Kalloni,” the 57-year old Orthodox priest says. “The local people tell them to come to us for help. We give them food, water, milk for the babies, shoes, clothes. They can stay here too: we have blankets, mattresses on the floor.”... With local authorities overwhelmed by the 64,000 refugee arrivals to Greece since the beginning of the year, local activists like Papa Stratis and the network of volunteers “Village All Together”, are often taking on the sole responsibility of caring for the refugees on the Greek islands. “We have no external funding,” he explains with a smile. “We depend completely on the generosity of the local people.”"
Angela Merkel meets with François Hollande: Common asylum policy in the EU
(German Missions in the UK, link): "In Italy and Greece, reception centres are to be set up swiftly for refugees. There should be uniform EU standards for registration, accommodation and health care."
ITALY: Asylum-seekers protest over living conditions
(The Local.it, link)
French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Monday for a unified response to Europe’s biggest migrant crisis since World War II, as the German leader condemned “vile” protests against refugees
(France 24, link)
GREECE: MYTILENE: Refugees Welcome Party in Pikpa
(lesvos.w2eu, link): "Last night w2eu and JOG hosted a welcome party in the selforganized space PIKPA to welcome and exchange with the refugees staying there. Over the last three year this became a PIKPA – w2eu – JOG Tradition."
Historical Note: 2013: FRONTEX activities on Mytilene, Greece: Attempt to take over "open" PIPKA migrant centre, "closed" detention centre set up
GERMANY-EU: A ten-point plan for a European refugee policy response
(diplo.de, link) and: 10 Point Plan
GERMANY: Fire destroys another refugee home in Germany
(DW, link): "A refugee home has caught fire in Germany, raising concerns over anti-migrant attacks. Meanwhile Chancellor Merkel faces tough questions during her visit to a problematic immigrant neighborhood in the country's west."
AUSTRIA: Austria draws on army in migrant crisis
(The Local.at, link): "The Austrian army is to deploy more than 500 troops to help overstretched authorities deal with the large number of migrants arriving from Hungary and Italy, the defence minister said on Tuesday."
GREECE: Efforts continue to locate migrants from capsized boat
(ekathimerini.com, link): "Greek coast guard patrols and volunteer fishermen on Tuesday were continuing the search for a group of migrants believed missing after their boat capsized off the coast of the island of Lesvos on Monday, killing two of the passengers on board.... Reports on Monday suggested that there were four or five passengers still missing from the rubber dinghy that capsized in choppy waters between the coast of Turkey and the eastern Aegean island.... The Greek government has come under fire from its European Union partners and international organizations for failing to speed up the process of registering incoming migrants and identifying those with legitimate asylum claims."
Migrant crisis: “Let’s not pretend Europe’s response is working” – UN rights expert warns
(UNHR, link): "United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, today called on the European Union to establish a human rights-based, coherent and comprehensive migration policy* which makes mobility its central asset. “It is the only way in which the EU can reclaim its border, effectively combat smuggling and empower migrants,” he said. “Let’s not pretend that what the EU and its member states are doing is working. Migration is here to stay,” Mr. Crépeau stressed. “Building fences, using tear gas and other forms of violence against migrants and asylum seekers, detention, withholding access to basics such as shelter, food or water and using threatening language or hateful speech will not stop migrants from coming or trying to come to Europe.”"
Search and Rescue in Central Mediterranean Sea
(migreurop, link): "Report of an observation mission in Sicily carried out, between the 1st of February and the 8th of June 2015, by Sabine Llewellyn, volunteering for the network Migreurop within the NGO ARCI to support the activities of Watch the Med, in the frame of the programmes of Echanges et Partenariats."
and see: Report
(pdf) and: Report - French
Greece: Mytilene (Lesvos): Chaos and squalid conditions face record number of refugees on Lesvos
(AI, link): "Overloaded, under-resourced authorities are failing to cope with the dramatic increase in the number of people arriving on the island (33,000 since 1 August) and must rely on local volunteers, NGO activists, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and tourists to step into the massive breach. The vast majority are fleeing conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria - 90% of those arriving in 2015 according to UNHCR."
GREECE: Help Refugees Arriving in Mytilene, Greece This list is for: Eric & Philippa Kempson: Dispatch to: Eric Kempson, Eftalou
(Amazon, link): "All donations go directly to refugees arriving on the north coast of Mytilene. If you have other ideas (specific medical stuff, baby gear, toys, etc), feel free to add them to your shipment! People have access to food through other means, but other supplies for camping, long walks, general sun exposure all appreciated."
Destination Europe: Migrant Stories
GREECE: One dead, six missing after refugee boat capsizes off Lesvos
(ekathimerini.com, link) and see: 2 Refugee Boats Capsize Off Greece, Turkey; 5 Dead
Europe's migrant surge: How to cope with record numbers?
(France 24, link): "Europe's record wave of would-be asylum seekers and migrants continues unabated and the scramble is on to cope with the crisis" with Marie Martin, Migration and Asylum Officer, Euromed Rights and Nic Conner, Senior Research Fellow, The Bow Group."
The European Union’s migrant ‘emergency’ is entirely of its own making
(Guardian, link): "We could treat asylum and labour mobility as questions of justice or opportunity, as some European states did in the postwar era....The emergency is not inevitable: we could treat asylum and labour mobility as questions of justice or opportunity, as some European states did in the postwar era. The choice is political. We can keep militarising the borders or bank on mobility. We can opt for ferries, visas and aeroplane tickets instead of sinking rubber boats, squalid detention centres and makeshift camps."
Hungary’s migrant fence is simply a pointless PR exercise
(Guardian, link): "Short-term measures like walls and fences in Europe won’t solve a migration crisis of this size. People who have risked so much will just find another way."
UNHCR assists refugees at Greece-FYR Macedonia border, where calm is returning
(link): "The UN refugee agency has been helping refugees and migrants amid chaotic scenes in the past few days at the border between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as thousands of people tried to cross into FYR Macedonia. The situation was noticeably calmer and more orderly on Sunday, when almost 2,000 people crossed into FYR Macedonia, and Monday. The majority told UNHCR staff that they had fled the war in Syria, passed through Turkey and crossed by boat to Greece. Among them were many young families with small children."
The vital difference between human trafficking and migrant smuggling
(Open Democracy, link): "Human smuggling is a crime in as much as it constitutes an illegal border crossing. But it is not innately a crime against people or an abridgement of their human rights. This can never be said of human trafficking."
Germany and France want unified asylum response
(euobserver, link): "France and Germany are pushing for a more unified asylum system, as Berlin opens its doors to Syrians. Hollande said in a statement that “a unified system for the right to asylum” is needed."
and: Influx grows as Germany, France eye unified response
(ekathimerini.com): "According to police estimates, between 8,500 and 9,000 refugees on the island of Lesvos were Monday awaiting transfer to the Greek mainland. A ferry charted by the Greek government – the Eleftherios Venizelos – was expected to pick up another 2,500 Syrians from the island at 2.30 this morning and bring them to Athens. “The foreigners that leave the island every day are replaced by the same number of people arriving from the Turkish coast,” Lesvos Mayor Spyros Galinos told Kathimerini."
Germany challenges EU to agree on refugee plan
(The Local.se, link): "Never before have so many people fled political persecution and war as today, many of whom seek refuge here with us in Europe," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel wrote in an opinion piece, identify a 10 point plan for a European refugee policy response."
UK: Asylum seekers fight deportation to Afghanistan - Lawyers challenge Home Office’s proposed charter flight, thought to be departing Stansted on Tuesday, following court victory for Afghans last week
(Guardian, link): "Lord Justice Clarke rejected home secretary Theresa May’s application to overturn the order on the basis that a significant number of people due to board the flight could be affected by an ongoing case about the dangers of forcibly returning failed asylum seekers to Afghanistan."
Denmark considers citizenship rule changes
(The Local.dk, link): "The Danish government is considering changes to the nation’s citizenship laws that may make it harder to get citizenship in the future and pull the rug out from under 1,950 foreigners who have already satisfied the current requirements."
Germany suspends Dublin III transfers for Syrians
(freemovement.org.uk, link): "Germany has taken the extremely welcome step of suspending the transfer of Syrian asylum seekers under the Dublin III Regulation. As long ago as November 2013 UNHCR called for countries not to return Syrian nationals to their first point of entry in the EU. As the war has worsened and more people have fled, the situation has continued to deteriorate both for the people fleeing and in the countries on the periphery of Europe, such as the Balkan states and Greece and Italy, that are struggling to provide adequate reception conditions."