Other recommended News Digests
Table of Contents
- Italy – detention centre protests
- Italy – Migrants allowed to do harvest work
- Italy – Refugees rescued by AitaMari and AlanKurdi still on new Quarantine Ship
- Malta’s „pirate fleet“ push-backs to Libya in exchange for EU money
- Malta wants 15 Million Euros from EU for Libyan anti-migrant force
- New push-backs from Greece mainland to Turkey?
- Charters ready to evacuate migrants from Greece
- Greek relocation scheme faces residents’ opposition
- Migrants’ open air quarantine finished
- Greek Government negligence endangers human lives
- 300 Protest Hunger in Moria
- 100 children in Corona-infested Greek camp
- Refugee mothers locked down at corona focus
- Greece to harshen asylum laws
- No arrivals to Greece within weeks due to push-backs
- Bosnian Government aims to deport all migrants
- Bosnia – Soap is not a luxury
- Germany tests herd immunity at Ellwangen
- 116 refugees Quarantined in Potsdam shelter
- Germany – Migrants allowed to do harvest work
- Threat of humanitarian disaster for Roma across Europe
“Protests in Ponte Galeria, Rome and in Gradisca D’Isonzo detention centres
LasciteCIEntrare published a report of the protest within the detention centre. Despite appeals and denounces, no CPR has closed for Covid-19. In Ponte Galeria there are 30 detainees. In Caltanissetta, which had to be shut down in the past months, there are 2.
“On Friday, first day of Ramadan, a protest started due to the lack of food. Police intervened immediately, beating two of the protestors. One has to go back to the medical post of the CPR because of the pain caused by the beating. […] “We demand the closure of all CPRs. We demand papers for everybody.”
L’Altra voce report on another revolt, which happened at the CPR in Gradisca d’Isonzo (northeastern Italy): Around 9 pm on Friday night the alarm sounded that made the police and the Fire Brigade arrive at the Centre. Some of the detainees started a fire by setting mattresses alight. Nobody was injured or intoxicated. Detainees protested about the conditions in which they have to live and to have information about the 4 people who tested positive to the new virus.”
Migrants allowed to harvest in Italy, Portugal and Germany
Italy and Portugal have decided to legalize harvest helpers, and care and household aids are also under discussion. Full legalization, a permanent stay, access to health insurance are now essential in order to prevent slave-like exploitation through Mafia, as is common in Italian harvest labour.
As to Express legalization, Portugal is leading the way. All foreigners living there receive full residence rights until at least July 1 – including health insurance.
Italy – Malta
Finally, Safety for refugees rescued by AitaMari and AlanKurdi?
After 6 days of waiting to be accepted by a European port, the Aita Mari brought 34 rescued to safety on a ship off Palermo’s shore on April 19th. after week-long delays, the quarantine vessel was provided by Italy also for refugees on AlanKurdi, while only few survivors were allowed to disembark for urgent medical treatment.
With only a minimum crew on board the ship rescued them after Malta and Italy did not launch a rescue operation during the whole Easter weekend.
The 180 people rescued in the #Mediterranean by AlanKurdi and AitaMari all tested negative for COVID19. Italy must let them disembark without further excuses.
Malta plans to pay EU millions to Libya while secretly sending ships with migrants there
Malta is illegally pushing back migrants to Libya with a secret „pirate fleet“ in exchange for lucrative deals, often secret or labelled as humanitarian aid.
In addition to that, there is a deliberate plan to obtain 100mln € from the EU and have Libya declared a „safe port“. And obviously, that’s not the only murky deal involved.
Also for the most recent illegal return to Libya, Malta used one of these fisher boats. The flagless ghost boat had belonged to an enemy of journalist Daphne Galizia, a famous journalist murdered in broad daylight. Over easter, 63 people had not been rescued although in Maltese waters, five are dead, 7 are missing. After being pushed back, they had to wait for a break between the bombs in order to be disembarked straight to torture camps. When will the EU commission investigate these crimes against humanity?
“A ghost fleet of Libyan ships manoeuvred by Malta to push migrants back.
This time, the confirmation comes straight from Valletta (…), after facing NGOs’ complaints and the Avvenire’s enquiries taken up by the Maltese press, and after the open investigation against PM Robert Abela for the death of 12 migrants(…). This cooperation has been active for months and had never been revealed before.
The focus is on the motor fishing boat without name or international code used to rescue 56 survivors, who had been left at sea for 5 days. 5 of them reached Tripoli as dead bodies; 7 more are lost at sea. “They could have been saved”, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees stated in the past few days(…).
Frontex had alerted the centres for naval rescue operations in Rome, Valletta, and Tripoli. <<According to international law – it is written – they, rather than Frontex, are the only bodies responsible for coordinating the Search and Rescue operations.>> (declaration by Frontex, who had watched the boats with dying people from their helicopters for days…)
The Maltese government has not clarified how it plans to repay the private ships to which it asks for cumbersome changes of route to push migrants back to Libya. In the past few days, when the Maltese Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo asked Europe 100 million euros to pay to Libya, a Maltese ship sent by the government arrived in Tripoli. It transported 30 tonnes of food and water “as part of humanitarian aids for migrants”. Those migrants have meanwhile gone back to the abuses of Libyan camps, thanks to European countries’ <<rescue>> and their bouncing back of responsibilities.”*
Malta: Deal for Smuggling Oil against Migrants
There may be more behind Malta’s and Libya’s cooperation than just the official EU payments and military trainings for anti-boat-migrant patrols.
In 2019, Malta authorities were thought to have negotiated a secret deal***** with Libya militias allowing smuggled Oil to circulate in the #EU markets in exchange for migrants to be detained by the smugglers themselves.**
From corrupt issuance of EU visas to Libyans in exchange for bribes to Maltese staff, to complicity in illicit sea transfers of Libyan oil and fuel that defraud the Libyan people, to the newly-exposed migrants deal, the Government of Malta has been exploiting the chaos of Libya.
Besides exposing the secret migrants deal between #Malta and the foreign-installed, Islamist-led Tripoli PC/GNA in Libya, TheTimesofMalta also revealed the involvement of PM Muscat’s corrupt Islamist backer Gafà.
“The Times of Malta, disclosed a controversial deal between the Maltese Armed Forces and the Libyan Coast Guard to intercept migrants heading towards Europe and return them back to Libya. The newspaper also revealed that Neville Gafà, who faces serious allegations for his role in the Libyan medical visa scandal, was the intermediary responsible for brokering the agreement between Malta and Libya.”***
Making misery pay: Libya militias take EU funds for migrants
Malta wants 15 Million Euros from EU for Libyan anti-migrant force
EU is paying Libya’s coast guard almost 100 million euros to keep its refugees at bay. Now three NGOs want to stop the program with a complaint. The Spiegel has the complaint – it allows to trace Europe’s complicity in the lucrative push-back deal.
„Wie zynisch die europäische Migrationspolitik ist, zeigte sich zuletzt an Ostern. Die maltesische Marine weigerte sich, ein Flüchtlingsboot zu retten, obwohl die Migrantinnen und Migranten es in die maltesische Rettungszone geschafft hatten. Die Position war lange bekannt. Ein Frontex-Flugzeug hatte das Boot lokalisiert. Fünf Menschen starben, sieben weitere werden vermisst.
51 Überlebende wurden offenbar von einem Fischerboot eines Maltesers nach Tripolis zurückgeschleppt. Vom Hafen wurden die Menschen in ein libysches Haftlager geschafft. Auch gegen Maltas Regierungschef und den Kommandanten der Küstenwache wird nun ermittelt.
Als Reaktion auf das Schiffsunglück fordert Malta, die Zahlungen an die libysche Regierung zu erhöhen. Die EU-Außenminister haben bereits über den Vorschlag beraten. Spekuliert wird über 15 Millionen Euro an Steuergeld, die zusätzlich an die libysche Küstenwache gehen könnten.“
New push-backs from Greece mainland to Turkey?
“WHERE ARE THEY TAKING THEM? Police raid in Diavata camp near Thessaloniki
At around 08:00 this morning Greek officers dressed in riot gear entered the refugee camp in Diavata close to Thessaloniki and seized a large number of people inside. Officers loaded over 30 people into vans with barred windows and removed them to an unknown location. The group’s targeted were those camping in tents and improvised shelters in the grounds of the centre.
This is a repeat of several other incidents reported in the month of April where large numbers of people were removed from the camp by police only to then be pushed back into Turkey. Concerns must now be raised that this current group are now also at severe risk of being pushed back.
Eye witnesses inside the camp report the use of violence to arrest the people. Many others in the camp fled fearing capture and possible removal. Volunteers spoke to one man who alleges his friend was taken and had still not heard from him.
Within the context of COVID-19 and the closure of the asylum office until May, much of the transit population in Greece are now placed in limbo. Capitalising on this precarious situation, the police have ramped up efforts to capture, detain and pushback People, sometimes irrespective of their documents.”
Enough money for Migrant Relocation to Germany
Mission Lifeline has collected enough money for chartering 2 flights with 150 migrants from Lesvos.
Now it is up to the States of Germany and Greece to agree and select 150 vulnerable people of roughly 25.000 in Moria Camp. 18293 is Moria’s official population (as of April 23rd).
2380 of those most threatened by the virus had been selected to be relocated on the mainland „as soon as Easter is over“, but until end of April, this hasn’t happened.
Migrant relocation scheme faces residents’ opposition
“Plans to relocate some 2,000 elderly and ailing asylum seekers from overcrowded migrant reception centers on the Aegean islands to facilities on the mainland could face obstacles as some residents and local authority officials oppose the move.”
Migrants admitted to mass camp after one month of quarantine under open sky
Finally after a month in West Lesvos the South Lesvos authorities accepted and admitted 127 refugees that arrived in March to Moria camp. They stayed on a beach, all the time under very bad conditions. Some of them had tents but were not allowed to put them up on the beach. Their asylum process can only now begin formally, but this begs a question — what must someone’s reality be when a move to the infamous Moria is a step forward….?
“Government negligence endangers human lives” (Human Rights Watch report*****)
Greek Migrant Ministry Infringes Protocol in Refugee Reception – Boosting Corona Infections
Characteristic of the authorities‘ negligence in complying with the official protection protocols is the way in which it keeps crowding refugees***, under lack of care and supplies.
“One aid worker said: As outrageous as it sounds, the approach of the authorities when they suspect there might be a virus case in a camp is simply to lock up everyone in the camp, potentially thousands of people, some very vulnerable, and throw away the key, without taking the proper measures to contact trace and isolate the specific affected individuals.”*****
„Despite the constant meetings and announcements by government officials, no measures are being taken to protect vulnerable groups, neither in Kranidi with the 150 cases of corona disease, nor for the transfers from the KYT (Reception and Identification Centers) of the islands of the Eastern Aegean.
No substantive protection measures have been implemented until last night, not even for the refugees living in the hotel in Kranidi, and even for those who belong to the high risk category. According to secure information from Ef.Syn., It has not been possible to separate those who may be older than 60 or those who have chronic diseases in order to be isolated or removed from the structure for their protection(…).
After the intense criticism from SYRIZA, KIN.ALL. and KKE of the government negligence in the protection of refugees and immigrants, yesterday an extraordinary meeting was held at the Ministry of Health(…).
From what became known both from the Ministry of Health and from the statements of Mr. Mitarakis, the existing policies were confirmed at the meeting. That is, those that have led to the 150 cases at the hotel in Kranidi**** and that guarantee anything but the protection of vulnerable refugees living in the structures, where it is almost impossible to impose quarantine due to the minimal living space available and where there are shortages in daily, necessary means of protection and living(…).
The recent decision to transfer 2,380 vulnerable refugees from the Reception and Identification Centers of the islands „was not included in the ministry’s original plans and was announced with a characteristic delay, following pressure from European Commissioner Ilva Johansson and a storm of international reactions. In fact, it is far behind the agreement announced by Ms. Johansson for the transfer of all the vulnerable and not only the 2,380 that the ministry has decided (…).
The Ministry of Immigration and Asylum confirmed it a few days later, noting that the transfer would begin after Easter.**
If nothing else, the news of yesterday’s meeting at the Ministry of Health is that the transfer has not started and that the anguish of the refugees and the danger of their stay in the desperate conditions of overcrowding of the structures are prolonged(…).
The report by Human Rights Watch with the eloquent title (in rough translation) is typical: „Greek islands are unprepared for the virus: Government negligence endangers human lives.“ The organization spoke with 11 refugee refugees in mid-April and nine humanitarian aid workers, and analyzed visual material from the structures. The conclusion: „It is clear that Greece does not comply with the minimum measures of prevention and protection against coronavirus in the structures of the islands,“ said the organization’s researcher, Belkis Ville.”*
The report says: “Residents of the Lesbos and Chios camps said they do not have consistent access to water to wash or adequate drinking water (…). Samos and Leros residents said they don’t have enough soap. All of the migrants and aid workers said that since the outbreak of the virus, the government temporarily stopped transferring funds onto their cash cards in an effort to stop people from shopping outside the camps, so they had been unable to buy soap or other goods including food even from stores inside the camp, which also increased the length of the food lines. None of those interviewed have seen any disinfecting in the camps (…).
A Lesbos resident said that there is only 1 clinic in the camp serving 20,000 people(…). Aid workers confirmed this. On Samos, 2 residents said that they usually wait for up to 3 days to see a doctor(…). The Chios resident said he had to sneak out to buy vitamins and medications for his pregnant wife because local police refused to grant him permission to leave the camp.”*****
Protests: Hunger and No Chance to Avoid Infection in Greek Refugee Camps
‚We are hungry!‘ 300 refugees shouted at a demonstration at the „hell“ of Moria, Apr 22, 2020. Police hinders refugees of fleeing burning camp, and stops NGOs from helping those affected.
„With the limitations of movement outside the camp and the racist policies of supermarkets around Moria which are now prohibiting camp residents from going in, people can only shop in the one supermarket inside the camp, with waiting times of up to three days.“* There is also not enough water for drinking and washing hands at Moria, and no chance of social distancing in the Greek camps.
100 children in Corona-infested Greek camp
100 minor refugees crowded in Amygdaleza Camp, where Corona is confirmed, under unsanitary conditions with shared beds, damaged toilets and water outlets 27.4.2020: www.efsyn.gr/ellada/dikaiomata/240837_arsis-exeytelistikes-synthikes-kratisis-100-anilikon-stin-amygdaleza
Refugee mothers locked down at corona focus Malakasa
The mothers express:
- disappointment on being treated as „intruders“
- inform some migrants are doctors willing to help
- denounce inhumane conditions inside the camp: Lack of water and functioning toilets, sufficient food, medical services, medicine and germ protection, access to ATMs, no adequate shelter apart from flimsy tents for approx. 250 of a total of roughly 1600 people (among them many kids)
- vague info on how they could apply for #asylum worries them*
Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) and PRO ASYL released a report on Malakasa camp and the government’s lack of a response to COVID-19
Greece plans further abolishment of asylum laws
The government of GR intends to abolish the possibility of re-examination, for humanitarian reasons, of internationally rejected applications for protection, which has been in place since 1999.
In April, it’ s been weeks with no arrivals to Greece acc. to ABoatReport: 6 boats left from Turkey, but were intercepted. Meanwhile testimonies of brutal tactics by the HCoastGuard & Frontex increase, where one former officer from Germany was just exposed of having ties to a fascist network.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnian Government aims to deport all migrants
“Local media has published a further update on the Bosnian Government’s aim to deport all people on the move. They wish to compile a list of 9000–10,000 people to be deported and are once again framing this as a security crisis rather than a humanitarian one. They have also made it clear that they are struggling to identify the people currently in Bosnian territory meaning that they can not have gone through a proper asylum process. As we know, everybody has the right to claim asylum regardless of where they come from or the recognition rate of their country.
Meanwhile, as usual it is local people and grass roots groups, not the government, who are actually supporting people on the move.”
Soap is not a luxury – Reminder for IOM
A group of activists who started Transbalkanska solidarnost invite people to join their protest against International Organization for Migration’s “non-action” in Bosnia and Herzegovina, by calling people to actively reach out to them during 48 hours, starting on 27 April.
“Conditions in the camps run by IOM in BiH during the COVID-19 pandemic resemble those in concentration camps:
_violence against people in the camps is on the rise, _food is constantly insufficient and not nutritious enough while even more reduced and worse in quality, _hygienic conditions are concerning, _healthcare remains at a bare minimum, _people are denied the freedom to move and leave the camps for an indefinite period.”
Decision from Leipzig: mass accommodation not safe in times of Corona
Leipzig Administrative Court decides for relocation from reception facility, since it is not safe in times of Corona. According to a decision by the court, the rules for containing the corona virus must also be followed in refugee accommodations.
The court granted a corresponding urgent request from a resident of the mass accommodation on Wednesday, April 22, 2020.
The Saxon Refugee Council comments: „This decision means nothing other than that the country must immediately dissolve the mass accommodations!“
Protection against Sars-CoV-2 also applies to refugees! It is a violation of the law to hold people in mass accommodations with shared sanitary facilities, bedrooms and dining rooms, and also to put them under curfew.
Germany tests herd immunity at Reception center Ellwangen
7 out of 560 residents were infected with Corona last Thursday, on Monday there were already more than 250 refugees and 22 employees infected. The numbers have since risen rapidly.
All over Europe, entire migrant camps are being quarantined, in which the residents keep infecting each other completely without any protection. Infection rates explode compared to those outside the camps. They are held at the source of the infection by use of police and military force.
„Wir befürchten, dass die Verantwortlichen die Menschen im Lager Ellwangen zu einem Durchseuchungsexperiment missbrauchen und (sich gegen) eine monatelange Schließung des Lagers durch die Bundeswehr absichern wollen.“
Ein Experiment in Echtzeit, unter brutalsten Entrechtungsbedingungen, mit Info- und Ausgangssperre, Militär und Angst.
Die Bewohner*innen fordern u.a.: „die Evakuierung des Lagers. Als erstes müssen die Risikogruppen (Menschen mit Vorerkrankungen und Ältere) und die besonders Schutzbedürftige aus dem Lager geholt werden.
Angesichts der Corona-Pandemie fordern wir dringender denn je die Auflösung aller Lager. Die Fortsetzung des Lagerregimes kostet den gleichen Schutz für alle Menschen.
Leider müssen wir es immer wieder sagen: Auch wir Geflüchteten sind Menschen. Menschenrechte gelten auch für uns.“
There’s nothing left to say! It is time to act!
116 Refugees Quarantined in Potsdam Shelter
Migrants allowed to do harvest work
Germany has decided that asylum seekers and third country nationals may work as harvest helpers till end of Oct. 2020
Threat of humanitarian disaster for Roma
Europe must now open its eyes and help (press release from the Hessian State Association of German Sinti and Roma, 04/02/2020 )