Euro-Border Flashpoint News #27

Issue 27: Week 2nd – 8th May, 2016

A weekly bulletin, aiming to collate and simplify information from a variety of sources about the situation at Europe’s borders.

General News

There will be a “Defencing Festival” of music, actions and discussions at the Temporary Autonomous Zone for Freedom of Movement at the Slovenian-Croatian, 24-26th June, 2016.

There will be a No Border Camp in Thessaloniki, Greece, 15-24th July, 2016.

The Alarm Phone are appealing for donations, to help them save lives at sea.

Interzone Voices appealing for musical instruments and clothes, books, toiletries and essential items

EU states granted protection status to 333,350 asylum seekers in 2015, up by 72% from 2014. 88,300 unaccompanied minors came to Europe as refugees in 2015, four times more than 2014.

Much speculation about whether the Turkey deal will fall apart or succeed. Turkey currently meets 65 of the 72 conditions for EU visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens, a key point in the deal.

Calais / UK

Activists and donations needed in Calais. The ‘jungle’ is still there and growing despite threat of eviction. Around 30-40 new arrivals per day. Associations count nearly 5,000 people in North zone, including those in containers, Jules Ferry centre, and autonomous jungle. Many new camps springing up along coast and other places, plus new official 2,500 capacity camp in Dunkirk. Old jungles three times over normal capacity. Well over 10,000-15,000 people are camping in the Calais region, according to long-term volunteer. Conditions in new camps reportedly much worse than Calais or Dunkirk; support is scarce. 2 new camps evicted, including one of 150 near Dieppe.

2nd May – Eviction of over 1,600 people at camp in Place de Stalingrad, north-east Paris. People mostly sent to refugee centres in the region. It’s the third eviction of the area in 2 months.

7th May – Attempted suicide in Harmondsworth detention centre, UK, by an Iranian man who had been on hunger strike for 4 days. Fellow detainees now don’t know where he is. 190 detainees announce the beginning of a hunger strike and 50 occupy the yard to protest inhumane conditions.

 

Hungary

10,000 refugees have disappeared from Hungary since registering. Only 1,777 people present in open camps of the 12,000 registered asylum seekers. Austria passing new restrictive laws, allowing push-backs to Hungary. Authorities checking every car arriving from Hungary on certain crossings.

You can ask for asylum in Hungary at two legal “transit zones” on the border with Serbia: Rôszke-Horgos and Tompa-Kelebija. Rights for asylum seekers in Hungary.

5th May – Bulgaria and Turkey sign readmission agreement allowing Bulgaria to send people caught trying to irregularly cross the Bulgarian-Turkish border back to Turkey from 1st June, 2016.

8th May – Hungary opens 2 new camps near Austrian border and begins transfer of refugees there.

 

Turkey / Greece (East Med / Aegean)

54,000 people stuck in Greece, volunteers needed all round. Squatted Hotel Plaza in Athens still operating, run by Solidarity to Political and Economic Refugees initiative, currently home to 220 people, including unaccompanied minors and families. Moving Europe continue touring camps and detention centres in Greece, reporting on conditions. Greek media reports 10,000 people at Idomeni will be evicted by 30th May. Around 2,100 people still waiting at Piraeus port, Athens. To apply for family reunification, relocation, or asylum in Greece, you need to contact the official Skype service. There are different times for different languages and locations. Times change often; few people get through. Numbers of new arrivals on Greek islands down significantly. Around 100-200 mostly non-Syrian refugees daily try and fail to cross the border to Macedonia. Figures from Greek police show 1,694 people were deported or returned to country of origin from Greece in April.

3rd May – Refugees start a hunger strike in Vial camp, Chios. Some have sewn their mouths shut.

6th May – A Syrian couple somehow have a beautiful wedding in the rain and mud of Idomeni camp

7th May – Government statistics report a total of 53,652 refugees across Greece.

 

Libya / Italy (Central Med)

New volunteer boat ‘Aquarius’ has saved 917 lives in the Mediterranean within 2 months. It’s funded mostly through crowdfunding and plans to operate between Sicily and Libya over summer.

3rd May – 101 Syrian refugees become third group to arrive in Rome from Lebanon in a pilot project for people escaping war or in a “vulnerable condition” to legally and safely reach Italy.

4th May – Italian military navy re-start operation to recover human and material remains of the shipwreck that occurred on 18th April, 2016, in the Sicily Channel, with 700 people on board.

6th May – Migrants protest in the streets of Lampedusa island. They have been held for months; more than 70 people have been on hunger and thirst strike against identification and hotspot system.

7th May – Clashes between police and protesters at Brenner Pass at Italy-Austria border crossing.

 

Morocco / Spanish Border (West Med)

3rd May – Provincial Court of Malaga permanently shelves a documented case against Spanish Guardia Civil who beat a young Sub-saharan man unconscious and deported him back to Morocco after he scaled the fence into Spanish enclave Melilla. They say the violence was “proportionate”.