Lesvos and Chios: volunteers helping refugees arrested by police and Frontex, involvement of the International Rescue Committee

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fingers malone
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Mar 24 2016 17:48

Agreed

Mark.
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Mar 24 2016 18:55

Thanks!

For anyone who reads Spanish here's a report on the situation following the EU-Turkey deal from Hibai Arbide Aza, one of the better journalists reporting on the refugee crisis:

Atenas: nadie sabe cómo aplicar el pacto

Hibai on twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/Hibai_

Mark.
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Mar 24 2016 20:23

'Dear EU WTF?'

Mark.
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Mar 24 2016 21:13

Call to action from Soli Cafe

Quote:

Call to action from Soli Cafe

24 March 2016

The implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement, currently happening in Greece and Bulgaria, has gone ahead with scant regard for human rights and dignity. It breaches the Geneva convention for refugees, the European Convention on Human Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, according to human rights lawyers and charities.

Automatic deportations of immigrants are illegal. Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia director has stated that «Turkey is not a safe country for refugees and migrants, and any return process predicated on its being so will be flawed, illegal and immoral». Human Rights Watch’s executive director said the EU’s deal with Turkey represents «a disturbing disregard for international law covering the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants».

Many of us have already witnessed breaches of national and international law, committed against people moving across borders. We’ve been fighting against this for months and years. But now there is a whole new dimension of violations. Even the diplomatic and reticent UNHCR has noticed and partly withdrawn its cooperation with European states.

All of the groups supporting refugees on their flight, especially in Greece, have to decide how to react to these developments. We will do so most effectively by acting together. We have to find a way to keep supporting refugees and to apply pressure on the European governments to break the deal with Turkey and to improve the situation of all people searching for a safe future.

This is an appeal to all refugee-supporting groups, to all independent volunteers, to all media and to every European civilian, to no longer tolerate the breaking of laws and the maltreatment of migrants by European authorities.

Do not look away from what is going on. Fight against it, fight together and fight purposefully.

-Here’s a Facebook platform for volunteers, working with refugees on the ground, to find ways to fight for freedom of movement : https://www.facebook.com/groups/974732812562764/

-A mailing list and announcement page for radical action against borders: https://actionsagainstborders.wordpress.com/

Mark.
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Mar 24 2016 21:59
Principia Marsupia wrote:

Hablando con una mujer cuyos 4 hijos fueron degollados por ISIS. Ahora duerme sola sobre las vías del tren al norte de Grecia.

A las puertas de Europa hay miles de víctimas de ISIS. Volverán a pasar la noche en el barro.

Que haya gente tratando de enfrentar a las víctimas de ISIS en Bruselas y las víctimas de ISIS en Idomeni... Resulta repugnante.

Llevo 2 días entrevistando a familias q huyen de ISIS. Historias de hijas violadas, hermanos degollados... los horrores más absolutos

Ahora duermen en el barro junto a frontera. Que haya gente en Europa que se atreva a acusarles de terroristas es la humillación última.

"Somos una familia de ingenieros y abogados. Una mañana apareció ISIS y degolló a todos. Yo conseguí escapar. Ahora bloqueado en Grecia"

"He visto cómo secuestraban a amigas mías y luego las vendían a hombres mayores por 200 dólares"

Ha seguido lloviendo durante toda la mañana y esta noche sopla un viento helado. Un mes ya en el barro. Idomeni se transforma en un infierno

Todas las mañanas visito a algunas familias q conozco bien. Es terrible ver cómo van decayendo física y emocionalmente día a día

Como cuando visitas a alguien q está muy enfermo y de un día para otro percibes su degradación. Es terrible lo q está ocurriendo aquí

Gente q te cuenta cómo ISIS degolló a sus hermanos. Ellos consiguieron escapar. Pero ahora bloqueados sin poder seguir ni volver atrás.

Mark.
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Mar 24 2016 23:45
Kia Mistilis wrote:

Not even 1 week into EU-Turkey deal & flagrant abuse of rights occurring. In #Greece #Asylum seekers detained w/out access to lawyers 1/3

#Greece also denying #asylum seekers right to claim asylum; no electricity, hot water, or adequate food, beds, heating, toilets at camps 2/3

Volunteers (doing lion's share of humanitarian work) denied access to camps. Media also banned. Deportations 2 #Turkey under armed guard 3/3

Mark.
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Mar 24 2016 23:53
Teacher Dude wrote:

Greek govt squandering in days the good will Greece has garnered during the refugee crisis.

Greek people have been working in groups and/or individually to help #refugees whilst govt has been absent (cops excepted) for months

Do not judge the Greek people by the the shameful efforts of their govt to gain favour with EU over #refugees

The Greek govt's response to #refugees changing gear, was utterly indifferent, now changing to actively hostile

Greek SYRIZA govt selling out #refugees right in return for what exactly from #EU?Since Brussels rarely fulfills promises it doesn't like

For years I marched alongside #SYRIZA groups demanding better treatment for migrants/refugees now their govt violating its own basic values

Just how f**king stupid am I? Won't be fooled again by their rhetoric.

Mark.
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Mar 25 2016 00:18
Benjamin Julian wrote:
An interview some friends recorded yesterday with a refugee imprisoned in the Vial hotspot, Chios. He describes the conditions and needs of people inside. Just after recording the interview, they were registered and forbidden from speaking with the refugees there again.

Listen to the interview

Mark.
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Mar 25 2016 17:24

Inhuman detention conditions for refugees at Vial camp, Chios

Information given to Vial inmates today

Mark.
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Mar 25 2016 22:17

Benjamin Julian - refugees pay to go to prison

Mark.
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Mar 26 2016 18:18

Report from the Ritsona camp, north of Athens

Photos: protest in Mytilene today

Hope turns to despair as Lesvos camp becomes open air prison

Arrest at Moria demo

The paradox of the EU-Turkey refugee deal

Recent protests

Mark.
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Mar 26 2016 17:36

Idomeni today

Marianna Karakoulaki wrote:

Now: A woman is giving birth in the camp in #Idomeni.

#refugeesGR are trying to protect the woman who is giving birth from all TV crews that have gathered around her tent.

Activists are attacking journalists who try to document the newborn baby

The newborn is a girl #refugeesGR #Idomeni

Greek journalists ask doctor if the woman felt pain.. 101 Greek journalism #morons

A happy and sad event at the same time took place in #Idomeni today. Hopefully the baby and mother will be safe https://twitter.com/d_tosidis/status/713757807649165316

Fotomovimiento wrote:

Mujer pariendo ahora mismo en la tienda. Y la prensa no deja ni sitio. Un poco de respeto joder!

Y parir en una tienda. Dos médicos atendiendo sin ambulancia ni casi medios. Esto es una locura.

Enough is Enough! wrote:

Disgusting scenes from camera crew of German #ZDF tv as baby was born at #Idomeni camp earlier today. They have no respect for #RefugeesGR

#ZDF tv crew continued filming after family asked to stop filming birth of the baby several times.

Meanwhile at the tea tent...

Teacher Dude wrote:

Two reporters walked to head of our queue and tried grabbing tea, 'but we're Press' they cried when I stopped them #Idomeni

Mark.
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Mar 26 2016 17:58
Our friends from Vial wrote:
Dear friends, this page tells the story of the 1275 people who are at this moment detained in the Camp on Chios, named Vial. Listen and find out first hand what is actually happening inside a Greek detention centre.
Our friends from Vial wrote:

23 March at 16:04

Last night there was a protest in Vial. It was a protest against the bad conditions in the camp and the horrifying prospect of being deported to Turkey, a country deemed ''safe'' by the EU.

28st of Februari: Monira Jafari and her husbands were in Cesme, Turkey. They were hiding in the ''woods'' the place where everybody who is going to Chios, is awaiting the boat. There was a random police raid, which was unusual, since most of the time the police cooperates openly with the smugglers. Monira who was pregnant and her husband were severely beaten by the Turkish police and taken to a prison cell, were they ended up staying for 24 hours. Monira had severe abdominal pain whilst in detention. On 1st of March, as a direct result of the beating Monira and her husband lost their child.

They are just two of the 1500 people detained on Chios and awaiting their deportation back to Turkey...

Mark.
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Mar 27 2016 00:46

A Greek human rights lawyer on the limitations of the UNHCR's reaction to the EU-Turkey deal. This deserves more attention and looks like something of a token show of non-participation. The IRC's reaction looks similar (stopping running buses to Moria basically). Some other NGOs seem to be making more of a genuine effort to avoid being part of the new set up.

Electra Leda Koutra wrote:

UNHCR, which is fully aware of the fact that all these refugees cannot all at once have access to asylum in Greece, MUST INTERVENE URGENTLY and act CONSISTENTLY TO ITS MANDATE to characterize as PRIMA FACIE REFUGEES (refugees unless is proven otherwise) all those refugees currently stuck in Greece, to protect them from their IMMINENT DEPORTATION to Turkey.

Cancelling a bus service to Moria is NOT what the refugees expect from their legal representative. Not becoming an accomplice to the loss of their lives and dignity IS.

See also Ingvald Bertelsen's timeline for more questioning of the role of the UNHCR.

Ingvald Bertelsen wrote:

@owebb According to their spokespersons, UNHCR are still active inside. Just stopped transporting to/from

@owebb Yes, they are doing exactly the same as before, except for the transport. They presented this as a big change, and media bought it smile

@owebb But also, since these camps probably will hold people until they are are returned - this may be a change in UNHCR's policies >

@owebb > They have earlier abstained from being present in detention camps of the pre-removal category

Mark.
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Mar 27 2016 09:46

Refugees at Idomeni have marched to the border following rumours that it would open this morning. Follow Marianna Karakoulaki for updates.

Mark.
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Mar 27 2016 21:35

Video from Vial camp, Chios

Mark.
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Mar 28 2016 11:31

Syriza to offer residence permits to refugees who can invest €250,000

Mark.
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Mar 28 2016 17:26

Idomeni - disputes between volunteers and activists?

Video from Idomeni protests yesterday

Live Ticker Eidomeni wrote:

Saturday was reigned by the rumours that on Sunday the border to Macedonia/FYROM will be opened.

On Sunday morning several hundred refugees gathered to eventually cross into Macedonia/FYROM. Protest were also reported in Cherso camp. Tensions grew in Idomeni during the morning hours when Greek police increased its presence massively and made clear that there is no border opening to be expected. Meanwhile the police blocked a solidarity aid convoy on the highway. Apparently they were afraid of a possible disturbance into the permanently existing chaos at the camp.

Once again the authorities’ reaction to self-organized protest was to blame activists and volunteers for inciting and instrumentalising protests. In doing so, they denied political subjectivity to refugees and forget that the situation in Idomeni and Greece in general is reason enough to organize protest and to embrace every chance to leave.
....

Greek media coverage of the protests yesterday morning. ERT is the state TV station closed by the previous government and reopened under Syriza:

Teacher Dude wrote:

On Greek state @ErtSocial journos trying to blame NGOs as a smoke screen to avoid talking about govt policy of returning #refugees to Turkey

Greek TV reporters now coming up with extreme conspiracy theories about role of NGOs in Greece, no evidence given, of course @ErtSocial

Reality is that Greek state has failed to provide even basic services for #refugees for over a year, NGOs and volunteer groups doing hard work

It's obvious 4 hacks on @ErtSocial TV programme have the faintest clue what's going on in places like Moria and #Idomeni,

One particular noxious hack even suggesting that Macedonian NGOs behind unrest at #Idomeni, talking about them as if they were enemy agents

@teacherdude Except for that - they are not blaming anyone in particular on the Greek side?

@ingbertelsen Basically, creating a negative climate for NGOs and volunteer groups in general, but failing to back up claims with proof

@teacherdude Good you are updating on this,. I see now this Proto Thema claims "major concerns have been raised" for four of 15 NGOs

@ingbertelsen But no evidence on what exactly they are supposed to have done, this is character assassination posing as journalism
....
Shameless appeals to viewers baser instincts by Greek hacks on panel show on #ERT1 TV now.

A**holes are just mindlessly repeating whatever conspiracy theory they've heard recently,not shred of evidence presented to back up anything

TV show is Akirvos at 10 (At 10 Exactly) on state run #ERT1 Shameless example of gutter journalism at expense of groups helping #refugees

Strong backlash in some sectors of Greek media against #refugees and those helping them, often openly racist in tone

Some hacks trying to curry favour with govt pols by attacking NGOs as way of drawing attention away from mass deportation of #refugees
....
Classic example of far right conspiracy theories propagated by Greek press. Note no concrete evidence at all in this https://twitter.com/eprotothema/status/713990742688006145

It talks about maps (no pics), it talks about "suspect" NGOs (no names given, or reason for suspicion given) - typical far right BS

So basically @protothema is spreading unfounded rumours, exactly the same charge it's levelling at NGOs/volunteer groups

Mark.
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Mar 28 2016 23:52

Video: Syriza alternate public order minister Nikos Toskas visits Vial

NPR broadcast: Lesvos after the EU-Turkey deal

Protest at Moria today

Classes at occupied school building in Exarchia (also here and here)

Greek language classes for refugees at Notara squat, Exarchia

cf. refugee reception run by the Greek army and UNHCR rather than anarchists: food distribution at Koutsochero camp, Larissa

Mark.
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Mar 28 2016 21:40
Teacher Dude wrote:

Large sections of Greek media still attacking NGOs/Volunteer groups helping #Refugees as way of deflecting criticism from govt

Reality is that many Greek journalists attacking those helping #refugees in order to curry favour with politicians in govt and opposition

Few institutions more corrupt & so easily bought in Greece as mainstream media. For decades hacks have been political systems's hired guns.

There has been a swing door between Greek media and political parties, often reporters work in multiple positions in both media and parties

But don't worry Greek MSM has the same kind of future as VCR manufacturers and typewriter repair schools - Good riddance

Rare to see any Greek under 40 reading a newspaper and young people no longer watching TV except on certain occasions.

Mark.
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Mar 28 2016 22:03

In Spanish

Hibai Arbide Aza on solidarity from ordinary Greek people

Principia Marsupia wrote:

Tras un mes esperando, esta noche hay muchísima tensión en Idomeni.

La policía ha intentado sacar a la fuerza a los refugiados de la vía y se ha empezado a liar. Noche cerrada en Idomeni. Mucha tensión.

Los voluntarios nos cuentan q han detenido a varios de sus compañeros. Llegan más antidisturbios. Cada vez más tensión en Idomeni

La situación se ha calmado bastante. Un grupo de refugiados forman cadena para evitar roces con policía

Situación mucho más calmada ya. Antidisturbios han intentado desalojar vías tren y ha habido minutos de tensión. Ahora todo más tranquilo

Mark.
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Mar 28 2016 23:33

In French

A Athènes, le quartier rebelle d’Exarchia solidaire des réfugiés

Mark.
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Mar 29 2016 10:21

It looks like the number of refugees making it across is rising again after a few days of bad weather and aggressive policing on the Turkish side. If this continues conditions may get very bad in the island camps.

Michael Räber wrote:
Hellenic coastguard brings in 500 detained #refugeesGr to port #Mytilini #Lesvos t/d. More ppl being rescued and detained on sea right now.
Proactiva wrote:
Llegaron 40 personas costa Norte,150 costa Sur y 500 interceptadas por HCG-Frontex. Seguiremos asegurando el Egeo

Numbers of arrivals over the last week

Mark.
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Mar 29 2016 10:33

ERT news broadcasts in Arabic

Mark.
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Mar 29 2016 12:39

Eric Kempson's video blogs - Mytilene on Sunday

Part 1

Part 2

Mark.
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Apr 6 2016 11:05

British Navy on Lesvos? (I'm not sure the identity is confirmed)

Edit: ^This in fact seems to be the UK Border Force which comes under the Home Office and I think is technically a police rather than naval or military unit. They are acting as part of Frontex and are reportedly one of the most abusive units involved. The patrol vessel off Lesvos is the HMC Protector.

Lesvos: waiting for the containers

European border crackdown kickstarts migrant smuggling business

Asteris Masouras wrote:
Another move against refugee solidarity in Lesvos. No longer useful to EU now that hotspots turned into gulags https://twitter.com/noborderkitchen/status/714878208320151556
Filio Kontrafouri wrote:

Tmrw #Greece will pass legislation pertaining to refugee crisis, will designate what a 'safe country' is but will NOT name #Turkey as one

@filiopk and that will suffice?

@YanniKouts Absolutely not. Only makes this EU-Turkey deal more complex bc deal is nothing but tiny band-aid hastily put on a bleeding wound

Turkey as a safe third country?

Turkish deportations to Iraq

Pleiades report on living conditions at refugee camps

Mark.
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Mar 30 2016 20:16

Amid their own crisis Greeks stand by refugees (article on Platanos)

Open borders protest, Athens --- also here and here

No Border Kitchen Lesvos under threat of police raid and eviction

Drone footage, refugee camp at port of Piraeus

Baseball stadium from the 2004 Olympics

Mark.
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Mar 30 2016 20:15
Samos Refugees wrote:

MSF Start Working Again

MSF have re-started their beach rescue service where they will again offer immediate medical and material support (clothes, tents, shoes, water, and food) to refugees arriving on the beaches of Samos. At this moment in time they are running 2 nightly teams including a doctor, translator, nurse and welfare worker who will patrol the north and south coasts of the island between 10pm and 6am.

Given MSF's opposition to the recent EU/Turkey pact on the grounds of its inhumanity, MSF will not collude with the authorities by transporting refugees from their landing places to the locked Detention Centre ( the Camp). Neither will they work directly with the police. So unlike past practice MSF will no longer take calls from the authorities asking them to go to landing places to help and transport the newly arriving refugees. It will be up to MSF and its supporters to find the refugees and hope that they will arrive before the police so some basic humanitarian aid can be provided before the police come to take the refugees to the camp.

MSF have provided the following telephone number 6971963987 to call either in Greek or English if you see refugees arriving. They will then respond.

Although it is still not clear how and if the new pact will operate in practice one thing is already obvious. It is now much harder to be close to the refugees on Samos and to show our solidarity and support. Their immediate landings are one of the few opportunities to embrace and care for the new arrivals.

So keep your eyes open and take a note of this number
6971963987

Updates

Around 8 boats of refugees have arrived since the pact came into force on March 20th. We have contact with some of the young Pakistani refugees locked in the camp and they continue to despair at the absence of any information and fearful that they are soon to be deported from Samos back to Turkey.

It would appear that some refugees have succeeded in keeping out of the camp.

Refugee flows here have always been unpredictable and it is too early to read anything into the fact that some boats have been arriving since the Pact. Not the least we have just had a period of very stormy seas which always reduces arrivals.

Refugees rarely have much choice in the precise routes they take into Europe once they place themselves in the hands of the smugglers. How this agreement affects the smugglers will certainly be a key influence in whether the routes through the Greek islands will continue to be busy.

There is talk on the island that deportations will start from Samos at the beginning of April. We will see.

Mark.
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Mar 30 2016 23:08

Idomeni: interview with Cars of Hope

Mark.
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Mar 31 2016 09:56

More arrivals on Lesvos