KOSOVO: TOO MANY ASYLUM SEEKERS = FAST TRACK

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Responding the increase in the number of asylum applications by citizens of Kosovo, Germany had decided to consider it as a safe country of origin. Following its lead Belgium has decided that the demands of the citizens of Kosovo would be processed in a fast track procedure. Two ways to handle expeditiously requests and reject them quickly and easily, and to use the asylum procedures to serve restrictive migration policies.

Article (in French) on Le Courrier des Balkans website :

http://balkans.courriers.info/article26787.html

 

 

TRACING MOVEMENTS – THE FILMS

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Tracing Movements is a collaborative project of audiovisual research, which documents the political resistance to European migration policies and border closure.

http://tracingmovements.tumblr.com/about

Seven documentaries were made, four of which are online:

http://tracingmovements.tumblr.com/

Two concern the Balkans. Patra dead endrefers to the situation and struggles of exiles in the Greek port of Patras, where they try to embark on ferries to Italy hidden in or under trucks:

https://vimeo.com/113134788

The other borders of Turkey with Bulgaria and Greece, gateways in the European Union, places of control and detention, and challenges of resistance struggles:

https://vimeo.com/113109728

 

KOSOVO: TOO MANY ASYLUM SEEKERS = SAFE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN

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As increasing numbers of people from Kosovo are heading to Germany, and many are seeking asylum. And when politicians feel that there are too many asylum seekers, suddenly by a miraculous operation, the country of origin of these people is safe and respectful of human rights. Some countries are not lucky, like Denmark, where a report commissioned by the authorities tried to make believe that there was not so many violations of human rights in Eritrea, what has mainly caused scandal.

Germany could take a chance with Kosovo, in any case the debate starts.

On Le Courrier des Balkans website (in French):

http://balkans.courriers.info/article26642.html

 

GREECE: TENSIONS AROUND THE DETENTION SYSTEM

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The death of three exiles in Amygdaleza detention center and in a police station seems to have put the Greek government in motion.

By a press release of 17 February, it announced:

– The immediate abolition of the ministerial decision to extend detention beyond 18 months (ie beyond the limit set by EU legislation);

The immediate release of vulnerable persons and asylum seekers held in detention centers, and their orientation towards open accommodation facilities;

The release of those in detention for more than six months, which becomes the maximum duration of detention;

– The review and implementation of alternatives to detention.

At the same time, abuse and the existence of a police group which would have tortured people in detention center of Amygdaleza are exposed by some media in the public arena.

Demonstrations continue for the closure of detention centers, that of Amygdaleza led to clashes with riot police when demonstrators managed to get into the detention center.

Short news (in English) on the website Clandestina:

https://clandestinenglish.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/shut-down-detention-centers-now/

https://clandestinenglish.wordpress.com/2015/02/22/classes-with-riot-police-in-amygdaleza/

Article (in French) on the website Okeanews:

http://www.okeanews.fr/20150218-les-conditions-de-detention-deplorables-du-camp-damygdaleza

Automatic translation of the press release of the Greek Ministry of the Interior:

http://www.astynomia.gr/index.php?option=ozo_content&lang=%27..%27&perform=view&id=50720&Itemid=1458&lang

« 02/17/2015: Press release of the Deputy Ministers of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction Mr. And Mrs. John Panousi Anastasia Christodoulopoulou on Detention Centers Reduce text Enlarge text Print E-mail

GREEK REPUBLIC
MINISTRY OF INTERIOR AND ADMINISTRATIVE RECONSTRUCTION
 

DEPUTY MINISTER Giannis PANOUSIS
DEPUTY MINISTER ANASTASIA CHRISTODOULOPOULOU
 

Athens, February 17, 2015 

PRESS RELEASE 

The recent tragic events (the two deaths of immigrants detained in the detention center Amygdaleza from pathological causes and due to suicide) underline the need for immediate intervention and change in the regime of indiscriminate and months-long detention of migrants and refugees in conditions which constitute inhuman and degrading treatment. 

At this time, hundreds of people detained in appalling conditions in detention centers in the country and many of them, despite the expiry of the ceiling of eighteen months in prison. 

The indefinite detention and deprivation of liberty of thousands of people, including persons in need of international or special protection and care (asylum seekers, families, children, unaccompanied minors, pregnant women, torture victims, patients, elderly), reservation them under these circumstances, for many years problematic functioning asylum system, lack of protection mechanism and first receiving refugees structures border trivialize institutions and denigrate the country internationally and blatantly offend any sense rule of law. 

At this time, it must be immediate action and routing procedures for the immediate lifting of the deprivation of liberty of people and the restoration of legality and for ensuring compliance with the legality onwards and the imposition of administrative detention as an exception and time and under conditions that would not infringe. 

In this context -and with a sense of urgency of the problem initiated procedures to restore the legitimacy and proper application, in principle the existing legal framework, namely the N.3907 / 2011, which regulates the administrative treatment of foreigners subject to return procedures, and legislation for the reception of the requested international protection and ensuring their requests examination procedures (Presidential Decree 220/2007, Presidential Decree 113/2013). 

These processes by decision of the Deputy Ministers of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction Mr. John Panousi and Ms. Anastasia Christodoulopoulou include: 

a) the immediate abolition of the ministerial decision which upheld the decision no. 44/2014 Opinion NSK and the immediate release of those detained for any period beyond 18 months. 

b) the immediate dismissal of vulnerable cases (families, children, unaccompanied minors, pregnant women, torture victims, patients, elderly) with the necessary reference in hospitality structures and the immediate dismissal of asylum seekers. 

c) the release of detainees in cases where detention has lasted over 6 months, maximum is set as rule by law-simultaneously with the decision six months deferral of removal under the provisions of n.3907 / 2011. 

d) examination, in each case, the application of alternatives to detention restrictive measures (reporting duties to the police station of the place of residence, declaration of domicile, etc.). The same rules can be applied for those / s occupied now be found in the country without legal documents. 

In any case, according to the provisions of Article of N.3907 / 2011 and the relevant decisions of E.D.D.A., a supplement immediate need radical changes in those detention facilities any retained for a short time and of course the operation of open hospitality structures. In this direction we helper Europe, both at the Council of Europe and European Union in the framework, no, its institutions will claim the division of responsibilities based on the principle of solidarity. 

Finally, the detention center Amygdaleza, by its location and the specificities of (police facilities) can not be converted into an open structure. 

Prepare then, because of the history that accompanies it, emblematic closure structure gradually evacuating the premises. 

Meantime taken all necessary measures (logistics, medicine, clothing, food, etc.) so you do not feel the prisoners, but remain in custody, that the state only words he says. 

We guarantee that the whole process will be completed in the shortest possible time and that due process and security for all will be our primary concern. »

SERBIA: DETERIORATION OF THE SITUATION OF EXILES

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As winter makes it difficult living conditions in the camps, either in Subotica, near the Hungarian border, or in the encampments where asylum seekers awaiting admission to shelters, repression continues to Subotica, made of racketeering and violence by police officers. Since late December, police conducts raids and brings the exiles arrested in localities where the reception of asylum seekers centers are located. On December 10, an exile in Belgrade died of poisoning by carbon monoxide in his shelter.

In English on the blog No Border Serbia:

https://noborderserbia.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/alarmantna-situacija-i-policijska-represija-u-subotici/

https://noborderserbia.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/this-border-regime-kills-granicni-rezim-ubija/

https://noborderserbia.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/new-tactics-same-violence-the-police-in-subotica-transfering-people-from-the-jungles-to-the-camps-for-asylum-seekers/

A press release of Médecins sans Fontières and photos:

http://www.msf.org/article/gallery-transit-denied-stranded-cold-serbia

http://www.msf.org/article/serbia-asylum-seekers-and-migrants-left-cold

« PRESS RELEASE – 19 February, 2015

Asylum seekers and migrants left in cold SerbiaMSF calls on Serbian authorities and EU member states to provide aid and protection to those in need

Asylum seekers, refugees and migrants who have risked their lives to reach Europe are being left stranded in forests and abandoned buildings in Serbia in harsh winter temperatures without sufficient food or shelter, according to international medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF). MSF teams are providing them with essential relief items and urgently needed medical care. At the same time, MSF is calling on the Serbian authorities and European Union member states to provide the asylum seekers with aid and protection.The Dublin regulation usually requires asylum seekers irregularly entering the EU to apply for asylum in their first country of entry, however migrants and asylum seekers are increasingly fleeing substandard conditions in Greece and Bulgaria, crossing the Balkan region on their way to northern Europe. According to the Serbian asylum office, about 16,500 asylum seekers – mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Sub-Saharan African countries – entered Serbia in 2014 in an attempt to find refuge and dignified living conditions within Northern Europe.

“The EU member states have to acknowledge the outrageous consequence of their policies and to improve the current asylum procedures, reception conditions, and lack of integration which are failing thousands of refugees and asylum seekers,” said Stuart Alexander Zimble, MSF’s coordinator in the Balkan region. “Greece, Bulgaria and the EU must improve access to asylum procedures and reception conditions for newly arrived asylum seekers.”

A still dysfunctional asylum system in Greece, which obliges people in need of protection to stay in appalling conditions, is forcing people to take further risks by using smuggling networks to leave Greece in search of better assistance and protection. “The situation is so bad in Greece, you cannot stay there as an asylum seeker,” says one Afghan refugee who spent 18 months in a detention centre in Greece and then went to Macedonia and Serbia.

On arrival in Serbia, many asylum seekers find their only option is to sleep out of doors, under plastic sheeting or in makeshift tents, despite winter temperatures that can reach 20 below zero. Every day in the village of Bogovadja, dozens of asylum seekers wait for their asylum applications to be registered. At this location, the asylum office processes only a handful of registrations per day, forcing people – sometimes including pregnant women and children – to wait in the forest surrounding the village. In the town of Subotica, near the Hungarian border, migrants shelter at night inside abandoned and ruined buildings. Some are sleeping outside, hidden in fields, to avoid running into the police.

MSF calls on EU member states, in particularly Hungary, to abstain from returning third-country nationals to Serbia. Serbia, with the support from UNHCR, should provide adequate assistance and international protection to asylum seekers, including increasing its capacity to register and accommodate every person who requests asylum at all asylum centre locations, in a safe, friendly, and efficient manner.

An MSF team has been conducting mobile clinics and distributing kits of essential relief items to vulnerable people in Bogovadja and Subotica since December. The most common health problems among migrants are colds, respiratory diseases, and skin diseases, mostly due to the cold weather and poor sanitary conditions.

“In general they are poorly clothed, living in unhygienic conditions, not able to bathe and very hungry,” says MSF medical coordinator Vasiliki Armeniakou. “Many have muscle and bone injuries, and severe body aches, cuts, bruises and frostbite as a result of days of walking or running through the forest.” »

 

GREECE: THE UNHCR RENEWS ITS RECOMMENDATION NOT TO RETURN ASYLUM SEEKERS

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The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reiterated its recommendation not to return to Greece asylum seekers under the Dublin III Regulation. If UNHCR notes the changes made by the Greek authorities, it nevertheless highlights the difficulties of access to the procedure, the lack of dignified reception conditions, with the risk of being out on the street and being a victim of racist attacks, arbitrary imprisonment of asylum seekers in detention centers, the risk of refoulement and the slow pace of the proceedings (37,000 applications are processing delay).

Will the new government change the situation? And in this case will removals start again under Dublin III?

The UNHCR release in English :

http://www.unhcr.org/54cb5f8b6.html

You can download here the UNHCR report (in English).

 

GREECE: A POLICY CHANGE ?

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Acquisition of Greek nationality by foreign children born in Greece or having lived most of their childhood, closure of detention centers and opening of open reception centers, end of Xenios Zeus operation and raids against foreigners, reception policy of asylum seekers and refugees, challenging the Dublin Regulation III, end of the refoulement at the border: barely to the government, SYRIZA reiterated its position on migration policy.

But its partner in government, ANEL nationalist right-wing party claims opposite positions. A kind of floating or standby position seemed to fall into place, giving priority to the discussions with the European institutions on the end of the austerity policy.

And on a sudden things seem to be accelerating. A prisoner died for lack of care at the center of retention Amygdaleza, two other suicide in the detention center of Amygdaleza and in Thessaloniki police station, recalling the dramatic reality of detention. In the process, the government announced the closure of Amygdaleza in 100 days and the opening of three open reception centers. Pagani however was closed in 2009, the closing of the most scandalous detention center does not mean a change in policy. Protests against detention centers are organized in Amygdaleza, Patras, Thessaloniki, Ioannina, Athens.

One article in English :

http://www.irinnews.org/report/101047/the-real-winners-of-greece-s-elections-refugees

and one in French :

http://www.okeanews.fr/20150215-la-grece-sengage-fermer-les-centres-de-detention-pour-migrants

Four short news in English :

https://clandestinenglish.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/third-immigrant-to-die-in-amygdaleza/

https://clandestinenglish.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/two-immigrants-suicides-revolt-in-amygdaleza/

https://clandestinenglish.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/greek-government-will-close-amygdaleza-in-100-days/

https://clandestinenglish.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/demonstrations-against-detention-centers-in-greece/

The point of view of a Greek activist (interview in English) :

http://audioblog.arteradio.com/post/3063546/berlin___la_grece_maintenant/

 

BULGARIA: AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT ABOUT HATE CRIMES

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In a new report, Amnesty International points to the inadequacy of the answers given by the Bulgarian authorities and justice face of increasing of hate crimes, that is to say crimes motivated by hatred of a particular group of people. Thus attacks against foreigners or members of ethnic, religious or sexual minorities.

Article in English on Novinite website :

http://www.novinite.com/articles/166466/Bulgaria%27s+Hate-Crime+Prosecution+Condemned+in+Amnesty+International+Report

and in French on Le Courrier des Balkans :

http://balkans.courriers.info/article26587.html

Amnesty International’s press release in English :

http://www.amnesty.org/en/for-media/press-releases/bulgaria-must-investigate-and-prosecute-hate-crimes-end-climate-fear-2015-0

and in French :

http://www.amnesty.org/fr/for-media/press-releases/bulgaria-must-investigate-and-prosecute-hate-crimes-end-climate-fear-2015-0

You can download the report (in English) here.

 

KOSOVO: DEPARTURES ACCELERATE

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The number of Kosovars leaving to the EU increases, the figures of 100,000 for 2014 and 50,000 since the beginning of 2015 are discussed, some projections suggest 300,000 starts in 2015. That’s a lot for Kosovo 1.8 million inhabitants. This is not for the European Union, 500 million people.

Yet Brussels is moved by, the Hungarian parliament debates, Frontex blames France for having removed the Kosovo of the list of safe countries of origin for asylum seekers, Serbia is in the middle, as there are returned Kosovars arrested by the Hungarian authorities, Kosovo is seen intimate to prevent its nationals to leave, Germany continues to expel Kosovars who fled the war in 1998-1999, even if their children were born in Germany and families have made their lives for fifteen years.

Nor an unemployment rate reaching 70% in young or growing poverty nor lack of opportunity have mobilized the European authorities in such a way.

Several articles (in French) on the blog Serbie droits humains:

http://serbie-droitshumains.blogspot.fr/

On the Courrier des Balkans website (in French):

http://balkans.courriers.info/article26575.html

On the site of InSerbia Network Foundation (in English):

http://inserbia.info/today/2015/02/at-least-100000-people-left-kosovo-thaci-blames-eu/

 

 

FROM TURKEY TO ITALY

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The instability in Libya and politics in Egypt now hostile to the Syrian refugees bring them to alternate routes. To avoid being blocked in Greece or Bulgaria, they go more directly from Turkey and the Middle East to Italy by boat.

On the blog Dormira Jamais, an article by Stefano Liberti (in French) on the Turkish port of Mersin, on the south coast, close to Syria https://goo.gl/maps/1cSWO :

http://dormirajamais.org/mersin/

 

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