Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 26-27.11.16

 Greek refugee lawyer targeted by police (DW, link)


"A Greek lawyer standing up for the rights of vulnerable groups such as refugees has found herself at the receiving end of police hostility. Omaira Gill reports from Athens....

On the afternoon of Sept. 27, 2016, several Syrian refugees aged between 13 to 16 were on their way to a cultural center to take part in a theatrical performance about their lives in Syria, carrying plastic toy guns as part of their costumes....

An activist began to highlight what was happening on Facebook, and human rights lawyer Electra Koutra was invited to become involved by assisting the parents and children in their reporting of what happened.

According to a statement on her own Facebook page, she said that the children were ill-treated by the police, separated from the adults, humiliated and forced to strip. When the youngest, aged 13, objected in tears to removing his underwear, he was thrown against a wall. They were forbidden from contacting their family members to let them know what was happening.

Sitting at her dinner table strewn with legal documents, she recalls what happened next. "I was prevented repeatedly from properly representing my clients. One child, who has received therapy for witnessing the torture of family members in Syria, was interviewed from 1:30 am until 4:30 am, not allowed contact with his father and me, despite the complaints we raised. Being forced to wait in the hall for hours in front of a guarded closed door, knowing that the rights of the child were being violated and not being able to do anything about it was a traumatic experience for me," she told DW...."

 Are You Syrious (26.11.16, link)

Feature: Slight increase in number of new arrivals to Greece

"A number of refugees staying on Greek islands is growing every day. Today on Chios, 112 people arrived, which is a slight increase compared to numbers from previous weeks.

Officially, there are around 16.000 refugees on the islands at the moment. The real number could be much higher with many people sleeping in the streets and improvised shelters. But every camp on the islands has been full for weeks now. The solution for this situation is nowhere to be found yet.

At Mytilene, there are around 6000 people at the moment, while the capacity of the two main camps - Kara Tepe and Moria?—?is 3500. The situation is especially bad in Moria where twice as many people live as the camp has capacity. Sanitary conditions are awful, food is poor, there are not enough warm clothes for all the people who are stuck there against their will. The situation can get worse as more people are expected to come soon. Lifeguard Hellas Save and Rescue Volunteer team asks for more volunteers for the shifts of watching and scans the shore for boats."

Bulgaria: Forced expulsions announced in December

"The situation in Bulgaria is not settling. Local authorities are seriously ready to expel over 1,000 refugees who protested against restrictions on their freedom of movement. They are now moved to a former army barracks, but soon could be expelled, as Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said. People who are being threatened are by large from Afghanistan. Expulsion could happen in December, as Bulgarian media are reporting."

 Eric Kempson from Lesvos, Greece: Fascists Ruining Tourism! 24/11/2016 (video link) Fascists are not being prosecuted.... and the "big Greek heart" needs to be portrayed in the media.

 Are You Syrious (25.11.16, link):

Hundreds of protesters arrested, to be deported from Bulgaria

"In the aftermath of yesterday’s riots in Harmanli, the Bulgarian Prime Minister vows to detain and deport 1,000 people.. About 400 people have been detained after yesterday’s riots Bulgaria’s largest refugee camp in Harmanli in southern Bulgaria, which left more than 200 refugees and 29 policemen injured. According to the official government sources, a thousand refugees who clashed with police will be moved from Harmanli into former army barracks near the Turkish border before being expelled from the country. It seems Bulgarian authorities are following Hungary’s example by playing the terrorism card."

Notorious Bulgarian “refugee hunter” Dinko Valev also made an appearance in front of the camp today, surrounded by his thugs, threatening the already scared refugees in front of the cameras

"According to the Bulgarian police, about 2,000 refugees, most from Afghanistan, were involved in the riots. The conflict reportedly erupted over the camp being put under quarantine following the outbreak of infectious diseases...

Bordermonitoring Bulgaria says the closing of the camp had already been decided by the government as part of a larger plan to deal with the permanent ongoing protest by right-wing parties, neo-Nazis and their supporters. According to their info, police entered some buildings in the middle of the riot, and were physically violent, including towards people who were not involved in the riot."

Media hysteria, fence around the camp: pre-election stunt?

"The Bulgarian Helsinki Commitee notes that Bulgarian elections are pending, which may explain the heightened tensions at Harmanli and the government’s response. “Certain parties which bet only on anti-migrant, xenophobic and fascist rhetoric feel the need to accumulate self-confidence and an electorate,” the organization stated, adding: "What would be better than organising a controlled riot with a little blood-letting and lots of media hysterics?”

 EU-AFRICA: The small African region with more refugees than all of Europe - Hunger follows displaced people around north-east Nigeria, as Boko Haram and climate change drive millions from their homes (Guardian, link):

"About 40% more people have been displaced throughout Borno state (1.4 million) than reached Europe by boat in 2015 (1 million). Across the region, the war against Boko Haram has forced more people from their homes – 2.6 million – than there are Syrians in Turkey, the country that hosts more refugees than any other.

The comparisons mirror a wider trend across Africa. Of the world’s 17 million displaced Africans, 93.7% remain inside the continent, and just 3.3% have reached Europe, according to UN data supplied privately to the Guardian.

“No matter how many problems Europeans have, it’s nothing like this,” summarises Modu Amsami, the informal leader of Monguno’s nine camps for internally displaced people (IDP), as he strolls past Kawu’s newly erected hut. “Please, I’m appealing to Europeans to forget their minor problems. Let them come here and face our major problems.”

 The provoked riot in Harmanli’s refugee camp (Bordermonitoring Bulgaria, link):

"Today, after more than two days of quarantine, at noon a massive riot broke out in Harmanli’s refugee camp, which is located not far way from the Bulgarian-Turkish border. The revolting migrants protested against the closing of the camp and for freedom of movement. Hundreds did not understand why more than 3000 people have to stay inside the camp and are not allowed to go out, while not everybody is ill from deceases. The closing of the camp was already a longer plan of the authorities and an answer on the permanent ongoing protest of right wing parties, neo-nazis and their supporters."

 UK: Pawel Legomina was on his way to work when arrested in Hove accused of rough sleeping (The Argos, link):

"A POLISH man threatened with deportation for sleeping rough claims he has lived and worked in the UK for three years and never spent a night on the streets.

Pawel Legomina was one of ten Europeans arrested in Brighton and Hove by immigration officers last Tuesday.

The operation, which was supported by Sussex Police, resulted in them being detained for breaching their legal right to be in the UK by sleeping rough under rules introduced in May, a Home Office spokeswoman said. "


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