/2017

  • China : Police DNA Database Threatens Privacy
    https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/05/15/china-police-dna-database-threatens-privacy

    40 Million Profiled Includes Dissidents, Migrants, Muslim Uyghurs China’s police are collecting DNA from individuals for a nationally searchable database without oversight, transparency, or privacy protections, Human Rights Watch said today. Evidence suggests that the regional government in Xinjiang, an ethnic minority region with a history of government repression, intends to accelerate the collection and indexing of DNA. In many parts of the country, police officers are compelling (...)

    #algorithme #biométrie #activisme #migration #Islam #surveillance #HumanRightsWatch

  • A Step in the Right Direction on Menstrual Stigma in Nepal

    Her death was yet another from chaupadi, a Nepali practice banishing menstruating women and girls from their homes, stigmatizing and isolating them, pushing them out of education, and sometimes costing their lives.


    https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/08/10/step-right-direction-menstrual-stigma-nepal
    #stigmatisation #menstruations #femmes #genre #Népal

  • Saudi Arabia : New Counterterrorism Law Enables Abuse | Human Rights Watch
    https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/11/23/saudi-arabia-new-counterterrorism-law-enables-abuse

    Tant qu’à faire,

    “Instead of improving abusive legislation, Saudi authorities are doubling down with the ludicrous proposition that criticism of the crown prince is an act of terrorism.”

    #arabie_saoudite #MBS #révolutionnaire

  • Overcrowded Greek refugee camps ill-prepared for winter: UNHCR

    Greece must speed up winter preparations at refugee camps on islands in the Aegean Sea where there has been a sharp rise in arrivals, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday.


    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-greece/overcrowded-greek-refugee-camps-ill-prepared-for-winter-unhcr-idUSKBN1CB19F

    #Grèce #hiver (again!) #asile #migrations #réfugiés #îles #camps_de_réfugiés

  • Comment by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights #Zeid_Ra'ad_Al_Hussein on the situation in Catalonia, Spain

    I am very disturbed by the violence in Catalonia on Sunday. With hundreds of people reported injured, I urge the Spanish authorities to ensure thorough, independent and impartial investigations into all acts of #violence. Police responses must at all times be proportionate and necessary.

    I firmly believe that the current situation should be resolved through political dialogue, with full respect for democratic freedoms.

    I call on the Government of Spain to accept without delay the requests by relevant UN human rights experts to visit.

    http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22192&LangID=E
    #catalogne #référendum #Catalogne #Espagne #violences_policières #enquête

  • Progress Slows in Ending Child Labor

    Between 2000 and 2012, governments made impressive strides in reducing child labor. During that period, child labor rates dropped by one-third – to 168 million from 250 million. This meant that 70 million fewer children were toiling at young ages or in hazardous work.

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/19/progress-slows-ending-child-labor
    #statistiques #chiffres #enfants #travail #exploitation #child_labor #mineurs #esclavage_moderne
    cc @reka

  • Police Cells Are No Place for Migrant Kids

    Is it ever acceptable for children to be detained in dark and dirty police cells, without access to the most basic services? Of course not. But when it comes to unaccompanied migrant children, Greek authorities appear to think the answer is yes.

    According to the government’s latest figures, published in early September, at least 113 children were detained in so-called protective custody at police stations or police-run detention facilities, waiting to be transferred to a shelter. The number was higher in August, when 142 children were kept in those cells. Human Rights Watch research has documented the detention of unaccompanied migrant children in police cells and other detention centres in Greece, in violation of international and Greek law.


    https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/19/police-cells-are-no-place-migrant-kids
    #stations_de_police #Grèce #MNA #mineurs_non_accompagnés #rétention #détention_administrative #enfants #enfance #migrations #réfugiés #asile

  • Israeli Law and Banking in West Bank Settlements | Human Rights Watch
    https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/12/israeli-law-and-banking-west-bank-settlements

    When faced with such concerns over their banking activities in and with Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Israeli banks have said that they are required by Israeli law to provide those services.

    However, Human Rights Watch can find no Israeli domestic law that requires Israeli banks to provide many such settlement-related activities. In other words, Israeli banks could stop many of their settlement-related activities – notably financing new construction, providing mortgages, and operating service points — branches and ATMs – without necessarily incurring adverse domestic legal consequences.

    Even if that were not the case, Israeli banks would have a responsibility in all circumstances to seek ways to honor the principles of internationally recognized human rights.

    #Israël #hors_la_loi #impunité #complicité

  • Burma: Satellite Images Show Urban Destruction
    450 Buildings Burned in Rohingya Neighborhoods

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/09/burma-satellite-images-show-urban-destruction

    New satellite images show hundreds of buildings destroyed in primarily Rohingya Muslim urban areas in Burma’s Rakhine State, Human Rights Watch said today. Satellite photos taken on September 2, 2017, show 450 buildings destroyed by fire in the town of Maungdaw, the administrative capital of Maungdaw township. Satellite-based heat sensing technology indicated active fires in this area on August 28.

    “The widespread destruction of urban areas in Maungdaw town suggests that Burmese security forces are not just attacking Rohingya Muslims in isolated villages,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The Burmese government has an obligation to protect everyone in the country, but if safety cannot even be found in area capitals, then no place may be safe.”

  • Israel : Jerusalem Palestinians Stripped of Status

    (Jerusalem) – Israel’s revocations of the residency status of thousands of Palestinians from East Jerusalem over the years illustrates the two-tiered system Israel maintains in the city, Human Rights Watch said today. The residency system imposes onerous requirements on Palestinians to maintain their status, with significant consequences for those who don’t.


    https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/08/08/israel-jerusalem-palestinians-stripped-status
    #Israël #Palestine #Jérusalem #résidence #permis_de_résidence

  • “Like Living in Hell”
    Police Abuses Against Child and Adult Migrants in Calais

    https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/07/25/living-hell/police-abuses-against-child-and-adult-migrants-calais

    En french https://www.hrw.org/fr/news/2017/07/26/france-la-police-sen-prend-aux-migrants-calais

    Nine months after French authorities closed the large migrant camp known as the “Jungle,” on the edge of Calais, between 400 and 500 asylum seekers and other migrants are living on the streets and in wooded areas in and around the northern French city.

    Based on interviews with more than 60 asylum seekers and migrants in and around Calais and Dunkerque, and with two dozen aid workers working in the area, this report documents police abuse of asylum seekers and migrants, their disruption of humanitarian assistance, and their harassment of aid workers—behavior that appears to be at least partly driven by a desire to keep down migrant numbers.

    Human Rights Watch finds that police in Calais, particularly the riot police (Compagnies républicaines de sécurité, CRS), routinely use pepper spray on child and adult migrants while they are sleeping or in other circumstances in which they pose no threat; regularly spray or confiscate sleeping bags, blankets, and clothing; and sometimes use pepper spray on migrants’ food and water. Police also disrupt the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Police abuses have a negative impact on access to child services and migrants’ desire and ability to apply for asylum.

    Such police conduct in and around Calais is an abuse of power, violating the prohibition on inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment as well as an unjustifiable interference with the migrants’ rights to food and water. International standards provide that police should only use force when it is unavoidable, and then only with restraint, in proportion to the circumstances, and for a legitimate law enforcement purpose.

    France: Police Attacking Migrants in Calais
    https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/07/25/france-police-attacking-migrants-calais

    • Not Without Dignity: Views of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon on Displacement, Conditions of Return, and Coexistence

      Discussions about a future return of refugees and coexistence among groups currently at war in Syria must begin now, even in the face of ongoing violence and displacement. This report, based on interviews with refugees, makes it clear that the restoration of dignity will be important to creating the necessary conditions for return and peaceful coexistence — and building a stable post-war Syria one day.


      https://www.ictj.org/publication/syria-refugees-lebanon-displacement-return-coexistence
      #rapport

    • New ICTJ Study: Syrian Refugees in Lebanon See Security, Restoration of Dignity as Key Conditions for Return

      A new report from the International Center for Transitional Justice argues that discussions about a future return of refugees and coexistence among groups currently at war in Syria must begin now, even in the face of ongoing violence and displacement. The report makes it clear that the restoration of refugees’ sense of dignity will be important to creating the necessary conditions for return and peaceful coexistence — and building a stable post-war Syria one day.

      https://www.ictj.org/news/study-syrian-refugees-lebanon-conditions-return

    • We Must Start the Conversation About Return of Syrian Refugees Now

      If millions of displaced Syrians are to go home one day, we need to understand refugees’ conditions for returning, attitudes to justice and the possibility of coexistence, say the authors of an International Center for Transitional Justice study of refugees in Lebanon.

      https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/community/2017/06/21/we-must-start-the-conversation-about-return-of-syrian-refugees-now

    • Nowhere Left to Run: Refugee Evictions in Lebanon in Shadow of Return

      Lebanon wants to evict 12,000 refugees who live near an air base where foreign military assistance is delivered. The evictions, which began in spring and recently resumed after a short respite, have left refugees more vulnerable amid rising demands they return to Syria.


      https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/articles/2017/09/28/nowhere-left-to-run-refugee-evictions-in-lebanon-in-shadow-of-return
      #Liban

    • Syrian Refugees Return From Lebanon Only to Flee War Yet Again

      Refugees who returned to Syria from Lebanon under cease-fire deals this summer have been displaced again by fighting. Those who stayed behind are pressing for international guarantees of safety on return, as Lebanese officials explore ways to get more refugees to leave.


      https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/articles/2017/10/11/syrian-refugees-return-from-lebanon-only-to-flee-war-yet-again

    • Dangerous Exit: Who Controls How Syrians in Lebanon Go Home

      AS HALIMA clambered into a truck leaving Lebanon in late June, she resolved that if the men driving the vehicle were arrested at the Syrian border, she would get out and walk back to her village on her own. The 66-year-old grandmother had not seen the son and daughter she left behind in Syria for five years. Wearing an embroidered black dress and a traditional headdress, her crinkled eyes shone with determination. “I’m coming back to my land,” she said.

      Having begged her not to leave, Halima’s two daughters staying in Lebanon wept on her shoulders. “We’re afraid she won’t come back,” 42-year-old Sherifa said, as her voice cracked. Sherifa cannot follow her mother to Syria; her eldest son, who has single-handedly kept the family afloat with odd jobs because of his father’s disability, would be sent to war.

      Huddled in groups at the checkpoint in northeast Lebanon, other families also said their goodbyes. A teenage girl knelt on the dirt road, refusing to let go of her 19-year-old brother’s legs. Their mother, Nawal, held her as he left for a truck to the border. “I don’t know how he will live on his own in Syria. Only God knows what will happen to him,” Nawal said. “I didn’t think he would actually leave. It all happened very fast.”

      A few months earlier, 3,000 Syrians in the Lebanese border town of Arsal had registered their names with Syrian and Lebanese intelligence agencies to return to their villages just over the mountains in Syria’s Qalamoun region. When the first group of several hundred people was approved to leave on June 28, many families were separated, as some members either decided not to register or were not approved by Syrian authorities.

      “We need a political solution for these people to go back, but the politics doesn’t start here in Lebanon,” a Lebanese intelligence agent said, as a scuffle broke out that scorching June morning. A Syrian man lunged at Khaled Abdel Aziz, a real estate businessman who had been put in charge of signing up fellow refugees to return. Abdel Aziz sweated in his suit as he dashed between television interviews, repeating that Syrians had a country of their own to go back to. “You’re protecting the army, not protecting yourself,” the man yelled, before being pulled away.

      The TV cameras rolled as dozens of trucks and tractors piled high with timber, water tanks and chicken coops were checked off a list by Lebanese intelligence agents and headed with an army escort to the Syrian border. A line of TV reporters announced to their Lebanese viewers that these refugees were going home.

      The next day, on the other side of Arsal, a small group of refugees held a sit-in, to much less fanfare. “We’re asking for return with dignity,” one banner read, “with guarantees from the international community and the U.N.”

      “We’re not against the return, but we want conditions, guarantees,” said Khaled Raad, one of the organizers. His refugee committee has been petitioning the U.N. and sympathetic Lebanese politicians for international protection for returning Syrians for a year. “I mean, this is not like taking a cup of tea or coffee to say, after seven years, go ahead and return to your houses. It’s not an easy thing.”

      “WE NEED A POLITICAL SOLUTION FOR THESE PEOPLE TO GO BACK, BUT THE POLITICS DOESN’T START HERE IN LEBANON.”

      By then, Halima had arrived back in Syria. Apart from some tractors breaking down en route, they had no problem crossing the border. Halima went to stay with her son while she waited to hear about the situation in her hometown, the mountaintop village of Fleeta. Her granddaughters had grown up quickly while she was in Lebanon, and she loved spending time with them in the neighboring town.

      But as more of their friends and relatives returned to Fleeta, with subsequent groups departing Arsal in July, word came to the family of empty homes and little power, water or work in the Syrian village. Sherifa received messages from relatives who had returned to Fleeta but now wanted to escape again. With no easy way to come back to Lebanon legally, they planned to smuggle themselves back across the border.

      Without her mother, and with bad news from Fleeta making it less likely she would ever return to Syria, Sherifa became increasingly desperate. Her husband, who is unable to work for health reasons, sunk into depression. “By God, dying is better than living,” Sherifa said. “I seek refuge in God from this return.”

      LONGING FOR HOME, AFRAID TO RETURN
      RETURNING TO SYRIA during this eighth year of conflict is both an excruciating personal decision and a political calculation: by refugees, the government in Syria, and other nations with a stake in the war. As the government recaptures more territory from opposition groups, and fighting quells in certain areas, some refugees are considering returning, while others are terrified of the increasing pressure to go back. After Lebanon began organizing small group returns this year, including from Arsal, these dilemmas became more urgent.

      To return is to take a political gamble: Refugees must weigh the risks of staying against the risks of going. They try to figure out who can be trusted to tell them the truth. They gather snippets of information from their cities, towns and villages about what happens to people who return. They struggle to decipher the intentions of the mercurial and multi-layered Syrian authorities and their foreign allies.

      Some of the broader dangers are well-known: an estimated half a million people killed in Syria’s war, including thousands dead this year; some one million people forced to leave their homes this year alone; a third of all houses and half of all schools and hospitals damaged or destroyed; in government-controlled areas, mandatory conscription into battle for men under 43, fear of arrest and torture, and the difficulties of reintegrating into a society and economy fractured by war.

      Until now, few refugees have considered this a risk worth taking. In 2017, the U.N. said 77,300 refugees went back independently to Syria, out of 5.6 million who had fled the country. The vast majority of Syrian refugees have consistently told U.N. and independent surveys they hoped to return home one day, but do not yet feel safe to do so.

      There are also risks to staying. More than 80 percent of Syrian refugees remain in three neighboring countries: Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. There, they face soaring poverty, years out of work or school, lack of official documents, risk of arrest and, above all, an increasing public clamoring for Syrians to be sent back.

      In Lebanon, where at least 1.5 million Syrians have sought refuge – increasing the country’s population by a quarter – the pressure to leave is the most intense. Few Syrians have legal status, even fewer can work. Many towns have imposed curfews or carried out mass evictions. At the U.N. General Assembly last year, Lebanon’s president Michel Aoun insisted Syrians must return, voluntarily or not. “The claim that they will not be safe should they return to their country is an unacceptable pretext,” he told world leaders.

      https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/articles/2018/08/08/dangerous-exit-who-controls-how-syrians-in-lebanon-go-home
      #Liban

    • Turkish minister: 255,300 Syrian refugees have returned home

      Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Sunday that 255,300 Syrian refugees have returned home over the past two years, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

      “Some 160,000 of them returned to the Euphrates Shield region after Turkey brought peace there,” added Soylu, speaking to reporters in the southern province of Hatay bordering Syria.

      Turkey carried out Operation Euphrates Shield between August 2016 and March 2017 to eliminate the terrorist threat along the border in the northern Syrian regions of Jarabulus, Al-Rai, Al-Bab and Azaz with the help of the Free Syrian Army.

      Expressing concern about a possible operation in the Idlib region of Syria by regime forces, the minister underlined that Turkey would not be responsible for a wave of migration in the event of an offensive.

      Soylu also noted that an average of 6,800 irregular migrants a day used to enter Greece from western Turkey in 2015 and that now it has been reduced to 79.

      https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/09/09/turkish-minister-255300-syrian-refugees-have-returned-home

    • The fate of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Between forced displacement and forced return

      Recent news reports have surfaced on a possible United States-Russia deal to arrange for the return of refugees to Syria—reports that coincided both with the announcement that thousands of Syrians have died in regime prisons, and with one of the worst massacres in the conflict, perpetrated by ISIS in the city of Swaida. The US-Russia deal has been welcomed by Lebanese politicians, particularly those who have been scheming to repatriate Syrians for years now. But, unsurprisingly, the absence of a clear and coherent strategy for repatriation by the Lebanese government puts Syrian refugees at grave risk.

      In June, UNHCR interviewed Syrian refugees in Arsal who had expressed their willingness to go back to Syria in order to verify that they had the documentation needed for return and to ensure they were fully aware of the conditions in their home country. In response, caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil accused the agency of impeding refugees’ free return and ordered a freeze on the renewal of agency staff residency permits.

      This tug of war raises two main questions: What are the conditions in Lebanon that are pushing refugees toward returning to Syria while the conflict is ongoing and dangers persist? And what are the obstacles preventing some Syrians from returning freely to their homes?

      Conditions for Syrians in Lebanon

      Syrians began fleeing to Lebanon as early as 2011, but the Lebanese government failed to produce a single policy response until 2014, leading to ad-hoc practices by donors and host communities.

      By the end of 2014, the government began introducing policies to “reduce the number of displaced Syrians,” including closing the borders and requiring Syrians to either register with UNHCR and pledge not to work, or to secure a Lebanese sponsor to remain legally in the country and pay a $200 residency permit fee every six months. In May 2015, the government directed UNHCR to stop registering refugees. These conditions put many Syrians in a precarious position: without documentation, vulnerable to arrest and detention, and with limited mobility. Municipalities have been impeding freedom of movement as well, by imposing curfews on Syrians and even expelling them from their towns.

      In addition to the difficulties imposed by the state, Syrians face discrimination and violence on a day-to-day basis. Refugee settlements have been set on fire, Syrians have been beaten in the streets, and camps are regularly raided by the Lebanese army. All the while, Lebanese politicians foster and fuel the hatred of Syrians, blaming them for the country’s miseries and painting them as existential and security threats.

      Despite the polarization among Lebanese politicians regarding the situation in Syria, there is a consensus that the Syrian refugees are a burden that Lebanon cannot bear. Politicians across the board have been advocating for the immediate repatriation of refugees, and state officials are beginning to take action. President Michel Aoun made a statement in May declaring that Lebanon would seek a solution regarding the refugee crisis without taking into account the preferences of the UN or the European Union. This was followed by Bassil’s move, to freeze the residency permits of UNHCR staff, the leading agency (despite its many shortcomings) providing services for, and protecting the interests of, Syrian refugees. While UNHCR maintains that there are no safe zones in Syria as of yet, Lebanon’s General Security has begun facilitating the return of hundreds of refugees from Arsal and nearby towns. This process has been monitored by UNHCR to ensure that the returns are voluntary. Hezbollah has also established centers to organize the return of Syrians to their homes in collaboration with the Syrian regime.

      Syrian regime obstructing refugees’ free return

      As the situation for Syrian refugees in Lebanon becomes more and more unbearable, conditions for them back home remain troubling. Since 2012, the Syrian regime has been taking deliberate measures that would effectively make the situation for returning Syrians extremely difficult and dangerous.

      Conscription

      Syrian males aged 18 to 42 must serve in the Syrian Armed Forces. While exemptions were allowed in the past, a decree issued in 2017 bans exemptions from military service. Refusing to serve in the Syrian army results in imprisonment or an $8,000 fine, which most Syrians are unable to pay, thus risking having their assets seized by the regime.

      Property as a weapon of war

      Law No. 66 (2012) allowed for the creation of development zones in specified areas across the country. Under the pretense of redeveloping areas currently hosting informal settlements or unauthorized housing, the law is actually being used to expropriate land from residents in areas identified in the decree, which are mostly former opposition strongholds such as Daraya and Ghouta.

      Law No. 10 (2018), passed in April, speeds up the above process. This law stipulates the designation of development or reconstruction zones, requiring local authorities to request a list of property owners from public real estate authorities. Those whose have property within these zones but are not registered on the list are notified by local authorities and must present proof of property within 30 days. If they are successful in providing proof, they get shares of the redevelopment project; otherwise, ownership reverts to the local authority in the province, town, or city where the property is located. Human Rights Watch has published a detailed Q&A that explains the law and its implications.

      These laws, coupled with systematic destruction of land registries by local authorities, fully equip the regime to dispossess hundreds of thousands of Syrian families. Reports indicate that the regime has already begun reconstruction in areas south of Damascus.

      Statements by Syrian officials

      Syrian officials have made several public statements that reveal their hostility toward refugees. On August 20, 2017, at the opening ceremony of a conference held by Syria’s foreign ministry, President Bashar al-Assad gave a speech in which he said: “It’s true that we lost the best of our young men as well as our infrastructure, but in return we gained a healthier, more homogeneous society.” On another occasion, Assad stated his belief that some refugees are terrorists.

      In September 2017, a video of Issam Zahreddine, a commander in the Syrian Armed Forces, went viral. In the video, Zahreddine threatens refugees against returning, saying: “To everyone who fled Syria to other countries, please do not return. If the government forgives you, we will not. I advise you not to come back.” Zahreddine later clarified that his remarks were meant for rebels and ISIS followers, but that clarification should be taken with a grain of salt given his bloody track record in the war up until his death in October 2017. Along similar lines, leaked information from a meeting of top-ranking army officers just last month reported the following statement by the head of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence administration, General Jamil Al-Hassan: “A Syria with 10 million trustworthy people obedient to the leadership is better than a Syria with 30 million vandals.”

      Unknown fate

      Considering the unwelcoming policies in Lebanon and the treacherous conditions in Syria, what is the fate of Syrian refugees, specifically those who oppose the Assad regime? Until now, the return championed by Lebanese politicians implies return to a fascist regime that has caused the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War and unapologetically committed countless war crimes. While Lebanese politicians continue to focus on repatriation, they are failing to acknowledge the major barriers preventing Syrians from returning home: the Assad regime and ongoing mass violence.

      We cannot speak of safe, dignified, and sustainable returns without demanding justice and accountability. Regime change and trials for those who committed war crimes over the span of the last seven years are a long way off, and all evidence currently points toward the Assad regime retaining power. Any strategy must therefore prioritize the safety of Syrians who are likely to be detained, tortured, and killed for their political views upon return, or simply denied entry to Syria altogether. Lebanese policy makers must take into account that Syrians residing in Lebanon are not a homogenous entity, and some may never be able to return to their homes. Those Syrians should not be forced to choose between a brutal regime that will persecute them and a country that strips away their rights and dignity. It is time for Lebanon to adopt clear policies on asylum, resettlement, and return that ensure the right of all Syrians to lead a safe and dignified life.

      http://www.executive-magazine.com/economics-policy/the-fate-of-syrian-refugees-in-lebanon

    • Le retour des réfugiés en Syrie commence à préoccuper la communauté internationale

      Lors d’une conférence sur la Syrie à Bruxelles, le retour des réfugiés syriens dans leur pays a été évoqué. Démarrée en 2011, la guerre en Syrie touche à sa fin

      La situation en Syrie est loin d’être stabilisée. Les besoins de financement, de nourriture de matériel sont même en constante augmentation. Selon un haut fonctionnaire de l’ONU, un éventuel assaut contre la dernière enclave rebelle pourrait entraîner une « catastrophe humanitaire ». Pourtant, alors que 12 millions de Syriens, soit près de la moitié de la population syrienne avant la guerre, a fui le pays ou a été déplacée à l’intérieur, la question du retour, étape indispensable à la reconstruction, commence à se poser.

      C’est le principal message ressorti de la conférence « Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region » , qui vient de se tenir à Bruxelles. Les diplomates européens ont mis l’accent sur les difficultés de l’Europe à isoler le Président Bashar al-Assad, vainqueur de la guerre, soutenu par la Russie et l’Iran, pendant que les États-Unis retirent leurs troupes.

      L’UE a rappelé qu’un soutien à la reconstruction à long terme dépendrait du processus de paix de l’ONU pour mettre fin à une guerre responsable de la mort de centaines de milliers de personnes.

      Les Européens sont toutefois divisés sur la question de la reconstruction du pays, dans la mesure où le processus de paix de l’ONU est bloqué, que l’intervention militaire russe de 2015 s’avère décisive et que les pays arabes voisins envisagent de rétablir des liens diplomatiques.

      « Les États-Unis se retirent et les Russes n’ont pas l’argent. Voilà le contexte », a expliqué un haut fonctionnaire de l’UE, cité par Reuters. L’Allemagne, la France et les Pays-Bas défendent ouvertement l’idée de libérer les fonds de reconstruction uniquement quand le pays aura démarré sa transition politique et que Bashar-al-Assad ne sera plus au pouvoir. Aucun représentant officiel de la Syrie n’a été invité à la conférence. L’Italie, l’Autriche et la Hongrie, grands détracteurs de la politique migratoire européenne, plaident en revanche pour une négociation avec les autorités syriennes pour que les millions de réfugiés puissent rentrer chez eux.

      Mogherini craint le « ni guerre ni paix »

      La cheffe de la diplomatie européenne, Federica Mogherini, a déclaré qu’il y avait un risque que le pays se retrouve coincé dans une situation de « ni guerre ni paix ». Le Haut Commissaire des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés, Filippo Grandi, a déclaré qu’il était prévisible que 2019 soit la première année depuis le début de la guerre « où il y aura plus de Syriens (réfugiés et déplacés internes) qui rentreront chez eux que de nouveaux déplacés. S’étant rendu en Syrie la semaine dernière, le Haut Commissaire a déclaré avoir été « marqué et touché » par la résilience du peuple syrien.

      « C’est dans un contexte de grandes destructions, avec des zones encore dangereuses et un manque de produits de première nécessité (nourriture, médicaments, eau) et d’emplois que de nombreux Syriens rentrent chez eux. Les agences humanitaires font ce qu’elles peuvent, mais un très grand nombre de déplacés internes et quelques réfugiés prennent la décision difficile de rentrer chez eux, et les besoins en produits de première nécessité ne font qu’augmenter », a-t-il expliqué, ajoutant que la plupart des réfugiés voyaient leur avenir dans leur pays natal et que « nous savons que 56 000 Syriens sont rentrés chez eux via des mouvements organisés l’année dernière, mais ce chiffre est certainement plus élevé ».

      Engagements financiers

      « Je suis heureux de vous annoncer que nous collaborons notamment avec le gouvernement syrien. Et j’aimerais particulièrement remercier la Fédération de Russie pour sa coopération face aux problèmes que le retour des réfugiés syriens implique pour eux », a ajouté Filippo Grandi. Dans le cadre de l’appel de l’ONU, 3,3 milliards de dollars seraient nécessaires pour venir en aide aux déplacés internes et 5,5 milliards de dollars pour les réfugiés et les communautés d’accueil dans les pays voisins.

      Le Secrétaire général adjoint aux affaires humanitaires, Marc Lowcock, a déclaré à la presse que les engagements financiers s’élevaient « au moins à 6,5 milliards de dollars » et peut-être même à près de 7 milliards de dollars. « C’est un très bon résultat, et si nous y parvenons vraiment en fin de compte, nous serons très heureux », a-t-il déclaré. Federica Mogherini a déclaré que l’UE contribuerait à hauteur de 560 millions d’euros pour venir en aide au peuple syrien durant l’année 2019 et que le même montant serait libéré les années suivantes.

      Filippo Grandi a également exprimé son inquiétude quant à la situation en déclin de la ville d’Idlib, près de la frontière turque. Près de 90 personnes y ont été tuées par des obus et des frappes aériennes, et la moitié d’entre elles étaient des enfants.

      « La pire des catastrophes humanitaires »

      « Permettez-moi de répéter ce que nous avons déjà dit à maintes reprises. Une attaque militaire d’envergure sur la ville d’Idlib occasionnerait la pire catastrophe humanitaire du 21ème siècle. Ce serait tout simplement inacceptable », a déclaré Filippo Grandi.

      Avec l’aide d’avions russes, l’armée syrienne a attaqué des villes au mains des forces rebelles dans la région d’Idlib, dernier bastion rebelle du pays. Ce bombardement a été le plus important depuis des mois. Les forces rebelles qui se sont battues depuis 8 ans pour faire tomber le Président al-Assad sont désormais confinées dans une enclave du nord est du pays, près de la frontière turque. Près de 4 millions de Syriens y vivent aujourd’hui, dont des centaines de milliers d’opposants au régime qui ont fui d’autres régions du pays.

      La Turquie, qui a commencé à patrouiller dans la zone tampon vendredi, a condamné ce qu’elle a qualifié de provocations croissantes pour mettre fin à la trêve et a averti qu’une offensive des forces russes et syriennes causerait une crise humanitaire majeure. De nombreux résidents sont exaspérés de l’incapacité des forces turques à répondre aux bombardements. L’armée syrienne a appelé au retrait des forces turques.

      L’enclave est protégée par une zone de « désescalade », un accord négocié l’an dernier par les pays qui soutiennent Bashar al-Assad, la Russie, l’Iran ainsi que la Turquie, qui avait auparavant soutenu les forces rebelles et envoyé des troupes pour surveiller la trêve. Le ministre turc des Affaires étrangères, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, a déclaré que 320 000 Syriens avaient pu rentrer chez eux grâce aux « opérations anti-terrorisme » menées par la Turquie et la Syrie.

      https://www.euractiv.fr/section/migrations/news/return-of-refugees-to-syria-timidly-comes-on-the-agenda

    • Assad asks Syrian refugees to come home — then locks them up and interrogates them

      Guarantees offered by the government as part of a ’reconciliation’ process are often hollow, with returnees harassed or extorted.

      Hundreds of Syrian refugees have been arrested after returning home as the war they fled winds down — then interrogated, forced to inform on close family members and in some cases tortured, say returnees and human rights monitors.

      Many more who weathered the conflict in rebel-held territory now retaken by government forces are meeting a similar fate as President Bashar al-Assad’s regime deepens its longtime dependence on informers and surveillance.

      For Syrian refugees, going home usually requires permission from the government and a willingness to provide a full accounting of any involvement they had with the political opposition. But in many cases the guarantees offered by the government as part of this “reconciliation” process turn out to be hollow, with returnees subjected to harassment or extortion by security agencies or detention and torture to extract information about the refugees’ activities while they were away, according to the returnees and monitoring groups.

      Almost 2,000 people have been detained after returning to Syria during the past two years, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, while hundreds more in areas once controlled by the rebels have also been arrested.

      “If I knew then what I know now, I would never have gone back,” said a young man who returned to a government-controlled area outside Damascus. He said he has been harassed for months by members of security forces who repeatedly turn up at his home and stop him at checkpoints to search his phone.

      “People are still being taken by the secret police, and communities are living between suspicion and fear,” he said. “When they come to your door, you cannot say no. You just have to go with them.”

      Returnees interviewed for this report spoke on the condition of anonymity or on the understanding that their family names would be withheld, because of security threats.

      Since the war erupted in 2011, more than 5 million people have fled Syria and 6 million others have been displaced to another part of the country, according to the United Nations – together representing slightly more than half the Syrian population.

      In the past two years, as Assad’s forces have largely routed the rebels and recaptured much of the country, refugees have begun to trickle back. The United Nations says that at least 164,000 refugees have returned to the country since 2016. But citing a lack of access, the United Nations has not been able to document whether they have come back to government- or opposition-held areas.

      Assad has called for more homecomings, encouraging returnees in a televised address in February to “carry out their national duties.” He said forgiveness would be afforded to returnees “when they are honest.”

      According to our data, you are the exception if nothing happens to you

      A recent survey of Syrians who returned to government-held areas found that about 75 percent had been harassed at checkpoints, in government registry offices or in the street, conscripted into the military despite promises they would be exempted, or arrested.

      “According to our data, you are the exception if nothing happens to you,” said Nader Othman, a trustee with the Syrian Association for Citizens’ Dignity, which said it had interviewed 350 returnees across Syria. “One of our most important takeaways is that most of those people who came back had thought that they were cleared by the regime. They thought their lack of opposition would protect them.”

      The Syrian government did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the treatment of returnees and other Syrians now back under government control.

      Outside Syria, many refugees say they were already apprehensive about going home, with fears over a lack of personal security only growing with reports that the government is reneging on its guarantees. Aid groups say there are few signs that a large-scale return will begin anytime soon.

      And in conversations with UN representatives, senior Syrian officials have made it clear that not all returnees are equally welcome. According to two European officials who recounted the conversations, individuals with links to opposition groups, media activism or humanitarian work will be least well received.

      But pressure on the refugees to return is rising across the Middle East, with Syria’s neighbours tightening restrictions on them in part to get them to leave.

      Homs

      Hassan, 30, left his home in the western province of Homs in 2013. Before returning at the end of last year, he secured what he believed were guarantees for his safety after paying a large bribe to a high-ranking security official.

      But officers from the state security directorate met him at the airport and took him for interrogation. “They knew everything – what I’d done abroad, which cafes I’d sat in, even the time I had sat with opposition supporters during football matches,” he recalled.

      A week later, he was arrested during a visit to a government registry office and taken to a nearby police station. In a dingy room, officers took turns beating and questioning him, he said, accusing him of ferrying ammunition for an armed opposition group inside Syria in 2014.

      “I kept telling them that they knew I wasn’t in the country then,” he said. “All they did was ask me for money and tell me that it was the way to my freedom.”

      At one point, he said, the guards dragged in a young woman he had never met. “They beat her with a water pipe until she screamed, (then) told me they would do the same if I didn’t cooperate,” Hassan said.

      He said he was released at the end of January after relatives paid another bribe, this time $7,000.

      Syrians returning from abroad, like Hassan, often have to gain security approval just to re-enter the country, in some cases signing loyalty pledges and providing extensive accounts of any political activities, according to documents listing questions to be asked and statements to be signed.

      https://nationalpost.com/news/world/assad-asks-syrian-refugees-to-come-home-then-locks-them-up-and-interro

    • Weighed down by economic woes, Syrian refugees head home from Jordan

      Rahaf* and Qassem lay out their plans to return to Syria as their five-year-old daughter plays with her toys in their small apartment in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

      It is early October, six years after they fled their home in Damascus, and the couple have decided it’s time to give up trying to make a life for themselves in Jordan.

      Last year, 51-year-old Qassem lost his job at a cleaning supplies factory when the facility shut down, and Rahaf’s home business as a beautician is slow.

      For months, the couple have resorted to borrowing money from friends to cover their 200 Jordanian dinar ($282) monthly rent. They are three months overdue. “There’s nobody else for us to borrow money from,” explains Rahaf.

      Weeks later, Qassem crossed the border and headed back to their old neighbourhood, joining an increasing tide of Syrian refugees who are going home, despite the dangers and a multitude of unknowns.

      According to the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, 34,000 registered Syrian refugees have returned from Jordan since October 2018, when a key border crossing was reopened after years of closure. It’s a fraction of the 650,000 registered Syrian refugees remaining in Jordan, but a dramatic jump from previous years, when annual returns hovered at around 7,000.

      Syrian refugees from the other main host countries – Turkey and Lebanon – are making the trip too. UNHCR has monitored more than 209,000 voluntary refugee returns to Syria since 2016, but the actual figure is likely to be significantly higher.

      Some Syrian refugees face political pressure to return and anti-refugee rhetoric, but that hasn’t taken hold in Jordan.

      Here, many refugees say they are simply fed up with years spent in a dead-end job market with a bleak economic future. The uptick appears to be driven more by the fact that Syrians who wish to go home can now – for the first time in three years – board a bus or a shared taxi from the border, which is about an hour and a half’s drive north of Amman.

      People like Rahaf and Qassem are pinning their hopes on picking up what is left of the lives they led before the war. Their Damascus house, which was damaged in the conflict, is near Qassem’s old shop, where he used to sell basic groceries and cleaning supplies.

      Qassem is staying with relatives for now. But the family had a plan: if and when he gave the green light, Rahaf and their children would join him back in Damascus.

      While she waited for his signal, Rahaf sold off what little furniture and other possessions they acquired in Jordan. “Honestly, we’ve gotten tired of this life, and we’ve lost hope,” she said.
      Money problems

      Before he lost his job, Qassem endured years of verbal abuse in the workplace, and few clients made the trip to Rahaf’s home.

      When she tried to set up a salon elsewhere, their refugee status created bureaucratic hurdles the couple couldn’t overcome. “I did go ask about paying rent for one shop, and they immediately told me no,” Qassem said. “[The owners] wanted a Jordanian renter.”

      Their story echoes those of many other refugees who say they have found peace but little opportunity in Jordan.

      Syrian refugees need a permit to work in Jordan – over 153,000 have been issued so far – but they are limited to working in a few industries in designated economic zones. Many others end up in low-paying jobs, and have long faced harsh economic conditions in Jordan.

      Thousands of urban refugees earn a meagre living either on farms or construction sites, or find informal work as day labourers.

      Abu Omran, who returned to Syria three months ago, fled Damascus with his family in 2013, and for a while was able to find occasional car mechanic jobs in Amman. Work eventually dried up, and he struggled to find ways to make money that did not require hard manual labour.

      “He spent the past three years just sitting at home, with no job,” recalled Abu Omran’s wife, Umm Omran.

      Speaking to The New Humanitarian in her Amman living room several months after her husband’s departure, she was soon joined for coffee and cigarettes by her youngest son, 19-year-old Badr. Newly married, he wore a ring on one finger.

      Times were so hard for the family that Abu Omran left Jordan before he had a chance to attend the wedding, and Badr has also been contemplating a return to Syria – the country he left as a young teenager.

      Badr works in a factory near Amman that produces cleaning products, but the pay is low. And although his older brother brings in a small salary from a pastry shop, it’s getting harder and harder for the family to pull together their rent each month.

      “I’m not returning because I think the situation in Syria is good. But you don’t enter into a difficult situation unless the one you’re currently in is even worse.”

      Entering a void

      While return may seem the best option for some, there are still more unknowns than knowns across the border in Syria.

      President Bashar al-Assad’s government forces control most of the country, but there are still airstrikes in the rebel-held northwest, and the recent Turkish invasion of the northeast has raised new questions about the country’s future.

      “I’m not returning because I think the situation in Syria is good,” said Farah, a mother of three who spoke to TNH in September – about a month before she packed up her things to leave. “But you don’t enter into a difficult situation unless the one you’re currently in is even worse.”

      In 2012, Farah and her husband left their home in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus for Jordan, where she gave birth to her three children.

      Her husband suffers from kidney stones, and the manual labour he has managed to pick up is just enough for them to pay for the rent of a shared house – crammed in with two other refugee families.

      The vast majority of Syrian refugees in Jordan – including Farah and Abu Omran’s families – live in urban areas like Amman, rather than in the country’s three refugee camps. They are still eligible for aid, but Farah had decided by October that she was “no longer able to bear” the poverty in Amman, even though UN food vouchers had covered some of her expenses.

      She took her three young children and crossed the border into Syria to stay with her mother, who lives in a southeastern suburb of Damascus. TNH has not been able to contact her since.

      Farah’s husband stayed behind in Jordan, fearing arrest or forced military conscription by Syrian government authorities.

      This has happened to other people who have gone back to Syria from Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, or other host countries. Despite promises to the contrary from the government, hundreds – and possibly thousands – of returnees have reportedly been detained.

      “There are issues with what information is made available to refugees… about what is going to happen to them on the other side, in Syria.”

      Lebanese authorities have also forcibly deported thousands of Syrian refugees, and Human Rights Watch says at least three of them were detained by Syrian authorities when they got back. It isn’t clear if any Syrians have faced the same fate returning from Jordan.

      Sara Kayyali, a researcher for Human Rights Watch based in Jordan, told TNH she has yet to verify reports of disappearance, conscription, and detainment of returnees from Jordan.

      “There are issues with what information is made available to refugees… about what is going to happen to them on the other side, in Syria,” said Kayyali. “Partially because people inside are too scared to talk about the conditions in government-held areas, and partially because the restrictions applied and the behaviour of the Syrian security forces is so arbitrary that it’s difficult to predict.”

      Kayyali pointed to the 30 Jordanian citizens detained in Syria since the border opened a year ago – Amman said they entered for tourism and were arrested without reason – as a sign of what could be to come for Syrians.

      “[If those threats] apply to Jordanians, then they’re most certainly going to be applied to Syrians, potentially on an even larger scale,” said Kayyali.

      There are other obstacles to return, or challenges for people who manage to get back, including destroyed homes and lost jobs. Healthcare and water provision is scattershot in certain parts of the country, while violence and war is ongoing in others.

      Francesco Bert, a UNHCR spokesperson in Jordan, said the agency “does not facilitate returns, but offers support to refugees if they voluntarily decide to go home”.

      Asked whether it is safe for refugees to go back to Syria, Bert said the agency “considers refugees’ decisions as the main guideposts”, but gives refugees considering or planning to return “information that might inform their decision-making”, to help ensure it is truly voluntary.
      The waiting game

      Despite the obstacles, more and more people are making the trip. But families often can’t travel back together.

      For Rahaf, that meant packing her things and waiting, before finally joining her husband last weekend.

      For Umm Omran, however, that means wondering if and when she will ever see her husband again.

      The family had hoped that Abu Omran could find a job repairing cars again in Damascus, and if that didn’t work out at least he could live rent-free with his sister’s family.

      But plans for his wife and sons to join him someday, once he had found his footing, now look increasingly unlikely.

      “He hasn’t said yet if he regrets going back home,” said Umm Omran, who communicates regularly via WhatsApp with her husband and other family members who never left Syria. They live in government-controlled Damascus and don’t give away much in their chats for fear of retaliation by security forces, who they worry could be monitoring their communications.

      What Umm Omran has managed to piece together isn’t promising.

      Her husband has yet to find a job in Damascus, and is beginning to feel like a burden at his sister’s home. Their own house, where he and Umm Omran raised their sons, is bombed-out and needs extensive repairs before anyone can move back in.

      For the time-being, Umm Omran has ruled out her own potential return to Syria, fearing her two sons would insist on joining her and end up being conscripted into the armed forces. So, for now, the family remains split in two.

      “When I ask him how things are going, he just says, ‘Thank God’. He says little else,” said Umm Omran, scrolling through chats on her mobile phone. “I think he’s upset about leaving us.”

      https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news-feature/2019/11/19/Syrian-refugees-return-Jordan
      #Amman #Jordanie

  • EU-Turkey deal ’driving suicide and self-harm’ among refugees trapped in Greek camps

    A deal struck by the European Union to slow refugee boat crossings to Greece is driving rising rates of suicide and self-harm in squalid camps, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned.

    Asylum seekers detained on islands in the Aegean Sea have described people setting themselves on fire, hanging themselves or cutting their wrists, with a third of those on Chios witnessing a suicide.

    New research by HRW found children were among those being driven to desperation in conditions increasing the trauma already suffered in the countries they have fled.

    “The mental impact of years of conflict, exacerbated by harsh conditions on the Greek islands and the uncertainty of inhumane policies, may not be as visible as physical wounds, but is no less life-threatening,” said Emina Ćerimović, a disability rights researcher for the group.

    “The EU and Greece should take immediate action to address this silent crisis and prevent further harm.”

    Dozens of asylum seekers, including children, reported rising anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental illnesses as they wait months on end in “horrific conditions” to see whether they will be taken to the Greek mainland or deported to Turkey.

    A 26-year-old Syrian man, who has been detained on Lesbos for more than three months pending deportation, said he has attempted to kill himself.

    Bilal said he was held in a police station for two months, attempting suicide in a cell, before being taken to the notorious Moria camp.

    “All this time [at the police station] I had seen no doctor,” he said. “Then I hurt myself in the police station, and then they brought me here.”

    The camp, now used as a detention centre for asylum seekers to be transferred to Turkey, has seen deadly fires break out and had to be evacuated after tents froze in the winter.

    Migrants being held there told HRW how they were being tormented by the wait to hear their fate, with anxiety compounded by delayed and changed meetings with authorities and a lack of information and interpreters.

    Ahmad, a 20-year-old Syrian, was moved to Lesbos from Chios in May and does not know whether he will be sent back or onwards to Turkey.

    “I’m in a nervous situation,” he said. “Yesterday, an Algerian guy hurt himself [by cutting] … my feelings are dead.”

    Families are among those detained in Moria, including a Kurdish woman from Syria with four children.

    “My hope is dead since they brought me here,” Rabiha Hadji told HRW. “We saw all the terrible miseries in Syria but me and my children haven’t seen a jail [until coming to Greece].”

    Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which provides medical care on Lesbos and the island of Samos, has reported a high prevalence of depression, anxiety and psychosis, and a significant increase in suicide attempts and self-harm this year.

    A representative said poor conditions in camps were a particular risk to former prisoners and torture victims, adding: “For people who have experienced extreme violence in detention back in their countries of origin, a place surrounded by barbed wire, the presence of police, and violent clashes clearly cannot be a proper place for them.”

    Amir, a 26-year-old Iranian asylum seeker who has been detained on Lesbos since April, said conditions in Moria constantly reminded him of prison in Iran.

    “I see the fences and I remember my past,” he said.

    “During the first week I was here, I couldn’t sleep all week … I had nightmares of the torture I’ve been through in the military prison.”

    Almost 13,000 asylum seekers are currently being held on Greek islands, where 9,500 more have arrived so far this year despite the threat of deportation.

    In December, the EU and Greek authorities ended exemptions for vulnerable groups including unaccompanied children, pregnant women, disabled people and torture victims that previously protected them from detention in island camps, despite an appeal from 13 major NGOs.

    The EU is now pressuring Greece to speed up asylum decisions and deportations to Turkey, where 1,200 people had been returned between the EU-Turkey deal coming into force in March 2016 and June.

    HRW warned that while lengthy procedures were worsening refugees’ distress, “length of asylum procedures should not be reduced at the expense of the quality of the process”.

    It has documented cases with a lack of capable interpreters during vital asylum interviews, “serious gaps” in access to information and legal help and authorities prioritising migrants according to nationality.

    The practice most commonly sees Syrians fast-tracked over Afghans, Iraqis, Bangladeshis and countries with low application success rates, fuelling tensions within camps that sometimes spill over into violence.

    “Greek authorities, with EU support, should ensure asylum seekers have meaningful access to a fair and efficient asylum procedure based on individual claims, not nationality,” a spokesperson for HRW said, urging Greece to end the policy of containment on its islands and transfer asylum seekers to the mainland, where children can be enrolled in school and adults can work.

    “The EU and the Greek government should work to restore the dignity and humanity of people seeking protection, not foster conditions that cause psychological harm,” Ms Ćerimović said.

    The report is the latest damning verdict of the EU-Turkey deal, which has seen the main refugee route to Europe switch from the comparatively shorter and safer Aegean Sea to the treacherous passage between Libya and Italy.

    The agreement committed Turkey to accept the return of most asylum seekers who travelled through its territory to Greek islands, in exchange for billions of euros in aid, visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens, and revived negotiations for Turkish accession to the EU.

    Talks have since broken down over a series of rows over European nations banning Turkish referendum rallies, support for Kurdish groups in Syria and concerns over the crackdown following an attempted coup against Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Research by Save the Children previously found the deal had dramatically reduced the number of refugees journeying over the Aegean Sea to Greece but had given people smugglers “a firmer grip on a hugely profitable business”.

    A study by Harvard University found girls as young as four had been raped in an Athens refugee camp, while asylum seekers elsewhere in the country were selling sex to raise money to be smuggled out.

    But Europol hailed “success” against people smuggling after setting up the European Migrant Smuggling Centre, identifying 17,500 suspected smugglers in 2016, intercepting messages, seizing documents and destroying boats.

    More than 100,000 migrants have arrived in Europe so far this year by sea, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, Bangladesh and Syria, with 2,300 dying in the attempt.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/refugee-crisis-latest-asylum-seekers-greece-camps-lesbos-suicide-self

    #suicide #accord_UE-Turquie #réfugiés #asile #migrations #Grèce #camps_de_réfugiés #piège #îles #Chios #PTSD #santé_mentale #Lesbos #Lesvos #prostitution #enfants #viols #mineurs #Moria #hotspots
    cc @i_s_

    • EU/Greece: Asylum Seekers’ Silent Mental Health Crisis

      In research conducted in May and June 2017 on the island of Lesbos, Human Rights Watch documented the deteriorating mental health of asylum seekers and migrants – including incidents of self-harm, suicide attempts, aggression, anxiety, and depression – caused by the Greek policy of “containing” them on islands, often in horrifying conditions, to facilitate speedy processing and return to Turkey.

      https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/07/12/eu/greece-asylum-seekers-silent-mental-health-crisis

    • Greece : A dramatic deterioration for asylum seekers on Lesbos

      The report, A dramatic deterioration for asylum seekers on Lesbos – based on MSF medical data and the testimonies of patients – describes the recent drastic cuts in providing health care on the island, along with reductions in legal aid, and the closure of shelters and other essential services.

      http://www.msf.org/en/article/greece-dramatic-deterioration-asylum-seekers-lesbos
      #santé #rapport #santé_mentale #statistiques #chiffres #vulnérabilité

      Dans le rapport :


      http://www.msf.org/sites/msf.org/files/msf_lesbos_vulnerability_report1.pdf

    • Moria, il laboratorio della brutale intolleranza anti-migrante

      L’estate, si sa, le retate si accelerano, la repressione va avanti in silenzio. Ma Moria, sull’isola di Lesbo, costituisce forse un punto di non ritorno: il palesamento della brutalità anti-profughi, cristallizzata da mesi negli hotspot, nei campi e sui confini, ora dilagante e impunita. Calais, Ventimiglia, Moria. Non è nuovo che il campo greco dove sono intrappolati, persino da più di un anno, richiedenti asilo, vada in fiamme per la giusta ribellione di persone parcheggiate in container, tra sterpaglie, senza cure né accesso ai legali. A queste persone in fuga, l’Europa riserva, infatti, detenzione infinita e sistematica in attesa del rimpatrio in Turchia, in base all’accordo UE-Turchia, o verso i rispettivi Paesi di origine.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.it/amp/flore-murardyovanovitch/lisola-di-moria-e-il-laboratorio-della-brutale-intolleranza-an_a_2305

    • Lesvos: urla dal silenzio. Detenzione arbitraria e respingimenti illegali. Gli accordi con gli stati di transito cancellano il diritto alla vita.

      I sistemi di controllo delle frontiere si sono dimostrati in tensione sempre più forte con i doveri di soccorso e assistenza, come è apparso più evidente nelle isole greche di fronte alla costa turca e nelle acque antistanti la Tripolitania. Nell’opinione pubblica, soprattutto per effetto della campagna diffamatoria nei confronti delle ONG, portata avanti dagli organi di informazione più seguiti, si è quasi annullata la distinzione tra scafisti, intermediari, trafficanti ed organizzazioni non governative indipendenti (o presunte tali) che praticano attività di soccorso in mare e di assistenza a terra. Attività che andrebbero tutelate, e non attaccate, per difendere i diritti fondamentali della persona, a partire dal diritto alla vita.

      http://www.a-dif.org/2017/08/01/lesvos-urla-dal-silenzio-detenzione-arbitraria-e-respingimenti-illegali-gli-a

    • Trapped. Asylum Seekers in Greece

      Emina Ćerimović and photographer Zalmaï investigate the mental health crisis facing asylum seekers on the island of Lesbos.

      The psychological impact of conflict, exacerbated by harsh conditions, uncertainty and inhumane policies, is not as visible as physical injury. But it’s just as life-threatening.

      https://www.hrw.org/video-photos/interactive/2017/12/21/trapped

    • Les femmes et les enfants réfugiés sont davantage exposés aux agressions sexuelles dans le climat de tensions et de surpopulation régnant dans les centres d’accueil des îles grecques

      Le HCR, l’Agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés, est très préoccupé par les déclarations de certains demandeurs d’asile dénonçant harcèlement et violences sexuels dans les centres d’accueil situés sur les îles grecques qui ne respectent pas les normes d’accueil requises. Le HCR se félicite toutefois des mesures prises par le gouvernement en vue de régler la question de la surpopulation et des conditions de vie désastreuses dans ces centres.

      En 2017, le HCR a reçu des informations émanant de 622 survivants de violences sexuelles et de genre sur les îles grecques de la mer Egée, dont 28% ont été subies après leur arrivée en Grèce. Les formes les plus courantes de violences dénoncées par les femmes concernaient des comportements incorrects, du harcèlement sexuel et des tentatives d’agression sexuelle.

      La situation est particulièrement inquiétante dans les centres d’accueil et d’identification de Moria (#Lesbos) et de #Vathy (#Samos) où des milliers de réfugiés continuent d’être abrités dans des hébergements inadéquats sans sécurité suffisante. Quelque 5 500 personnes séjournent dans ces centres, soit le double de la capacité prévue. Les informations faisant état de harcèlement sexuel sont particulièrement nombreuses à #Moria.

      http://www.unhcr.org/fr/news/briefing/2018/2/5a81a898a/femmes-enfants-refugies-davantage-exposes-agressions-sexuelles-climat-tension

    • Exclusive: Violence breaks out between residents of refugee camp and police on Greek island of #Samos

      Police clashed with residents from a refugee camp on the Greek island of Samos on Saturday morning, an NGO has told Euronews.

      The refugees and asylum seekers were staging a protest march about living conditions in the camp but had their route blocked by police at around 7.30 am local time, a member of the NGO said.

      “There were no more than 60 to 70 people there, they were one-on-one with police,” they added.

      Police fired warning shots and used tear gas and “beat up” some of those demonstrating, according to the NGO.

      One refugee sent an image to Euronews that showed his back with two marks across it (pictured in the main image of this article).

      “Things in Samos aren’t working well, that’s why we went on the march,” he said.

      “I saw police charge at the protesters,” Jerome Fourcade, an independent photo journalist based in Samos, told Euronews.

      Around 10 NGO workers were taken in by police at the scene of the clashes at 8.30am and held for a number of hours: “They said they were verifying our ID cards,” one said.

      Fourcade was also detained by police when he tried to photograph those demonstrating.

      Authorities asked to look at his photographs, but he refused arguing that he had not been arrested so they did not have the right.

      He was released around 10.30 am once all the residents had returned to the refugee camp.

      Overcrowding is a serious issue in the Samos camp, which is designed to host a maximum of around 650 people, while there are roughly 4,000 people living there and in the “jungle” surrounding it.

      Most people have no direct access to sanitation and live in flimsy tents or shelters they built themselves, the NGO worker said.

      “They are surrounded by pests — barely a day goes by when I’m not sent a photo of someone who has found a snake in their tent or been bitten by a scorpion or a rat,” they added.

      “The camp is overflowing with garbage, it’s 26 degrees today, so it’s festering ... these are extremely inhumane conditions.”

      Police clashed with residents from a refugee camp on the Greek island of Samos on Saturday morning, an NGO has told Euronews.

      The refugees and asylum seekers were staging a protest march about living conditions in the camp but had their route blocked by police at around 7.30 am local time, a member of the NGO said.

      “There were no more than 60 to 70 people there, they were one-on-one with police,” they added.
      Police stand in front of refugees and asylum seekers from Samos camp

      Police fired warning shots and used tear gas and “beat up” some of those demonstrating, according to the NGO.

      One refugee sent an image to Euronews that showed his back with two marks across it (pictured in the main image of this article).

      “Things in Samos aren’t working well, that’s why we went on the march,” he said.

      “I saw police charge at the protesters,” Jerome Fourcade, an independent photo journalist based in Samos, told Euronews.

      Around 10 NGO workers were taken in by police at the scene of the clashes at 8.30am and held for a number of hours: “They said they were verifying our ID cards,” one said.

      Fourcade was also detained by police when he tried to photograph those demonstrating.

      Authorities asked to look at his photographs, but he refused arguing that he had not been arrested so they did not have the right.

      He was released around 10.30 am once all the residents had returned to the refugee camp.
      Police stand in front of refugees and asylum seekers from Samos camp

      Overcrowding is a serious issue in the Samos camp, which is designed to host a maximum of around 650 people, while there are roughly 4,000 people living there and in the “jungle” surrounding it.

      READ MORE: Refugees on Samos live in “a huge camp of lost souls”

      Most people have no direct access to sanitation and live in flimsy tents or shelters they built themselves, the NGO worker said.

      “They are surrounded by pests — barely a day goes by when I’m not sent a photo of someone who has found a snake in their tent or been bitten by a scorpion or a rat,” they added.

      “The camp is overflowing with garbage, it’s 26 degrees today, so it’s festering ... these are extremely inhumane conditions.”
      Valerie Gauriat
      Inside Samos refugee campValerie Gauriat
      Valerie Gauriat
      Inside Samos refugee campValerie Gauriat

      This is not the first time the inhabitants of the camp have demonstrated, with three peaceful protests taking place in January along with another that turned violent, although “nothing as bad as this,” according to the NGO.

      Saturday marked the first time police used tear gas on the asylum seekers and refugees, it said.

      A police spokesman for the North Aegean islands told Euronews that a group of 100 migrants attempted to march into the city to protest about living conditions in and around the camp.

      “They were stopped by the police and there was some tension,” he added. The spokesperson is based in Lesbos and said he did not know anything about the use of tear gas or the police detentions.

      The clashes came a day before Greeks were set to vote in both the European Parliamentary elections and the first round of the municipal elections, when mayors and regional governors are appointed.

      https://www.euronews.com/2019/05/25/exclusive-violence-breaks-out-between-residents-of-refugee-camp-and-police

    • MSF: 3 migrant children attempted suicide, 17 had injured themselves

      Children are the real victims of the Migration policy, many of them are not in position to comply with the harsh realities. According to a press release by Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Greece, in the summer months of July and August, three children attempted suicide and 17 had injured themselves. Ten of a total of 73 children referred to MSF were under the age of six, the youngest being just two.

      Vulnerable people trapped in islands pay for inhumane policies of EU-Turkey Agreement. About 24,000 men, women and children seeking protection in Europe are trapped in tragic living conditions on Greek islands, while Greek and Greek European authorities have deliberately abandoned them, the MSF said in the press release:

      The devastating crisis that affects the health of thousands of vulnerable people is the result of a problematic reception system, lack of protection mechanisms and inadequate service provision. This shows that the European Union’s policy of restricting and deterring migration management has failed.

      For over four years, Doctors Without Borders has been working in several Greek islands, but today humanitarian and medical intervention is largely a matter for voluntary organizations that replace state responsibilities. Today, Doctors Without Borders has once again been forced to scale up its activities: hundreds of medical sessions are held daily in Lesvos, Samos and Chios, while in coordination with other voluntary and non-governmental organizations Doctors Without Borders is increasing for the immigrant population and distribute basic essentials on a regular basis.

      “The situation in the Greek islands is not new. The overcrowding in refugee camps is a crisis caused by European policies and has had a huge negative impact on men, women and children for years, ”says Vassilis Stravaridis, Director General of Médecins Sans Frontières. “More than 3 years have passed since the EU-Turkey Agreement and should we consider that the Greek and European authorities are using this embarrassing failure to host refugees as a means of deterring new arrivals to Europe?”

      As arrivals from the sea have reached their highest point since 2016, Doctors Without Borders pediatric mental health teams in Lesbos have seen child referrals double in July compared to previous months. In July and August, 73 children were referred to our teams: three had attempted suicide and 17 had committed suicide. Ten of the 73 children were under the age of six, the youngest being just two.

      “More and more of these kids stop playing, see nightmares, are afraid to get out of their tent and start retiring from life,” says Kathryn Bruback, a mental health officer in Lesvos. “Some of them just stop talking. With overcrowding, violence and lack of security in the camp increasing, the situation for children is getting worse day by day. In order to prevent permanent damage, these children must leave the Moria camp immediately. “

      At the Doctors Without Borders pediatric clinic we have nearly 100 children with complex or chronic health problems, including young children with severe heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy and war injuries. They are all waiting to move to the mainland to access the specialized care they need.

      In the camp in Vathi, Samos, the situation is unbearable, according to Doctors Without Borders, where 5,000 people crowd into a place designed for 650. Most live in the “jungle”, an area outside the camp. The lack of protection and basic services raises the risk of people being subjected to new psychological trauma, with reports of incidents of harassment, sexual assault and other forms of violence increasing.

      The Greek government recently transferred nearly 1,500 vulnerable people from Lesvos. However, Doctors Without Borders believes that moving people to scenes in the mainland is not a safe or effective solution to the chronic overcrowding and its effects on human health. At least 2,500 people who are officially identified as vulnerable remain in Lesvos despite being entitled to move to a safe place for specialized care. This number does not include thousands of possibly others who have not yet been identified as vulnerable.

      Doctors Without Borders appeals to the Greek Government, the European Union and the Member States to assume their responsibilities and put an end to this unacceptable and devastating crisis, and in particular demand:

      Immediately remove children and vulnerable people from the islands and transport them to safe and appropriate accommodation in mainland Greece and / or other European countries.
      Immediately increase the number of medical staff in reception centers so that people can receive physical and mental health care.

      https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2019/09/13/msf-migrants-children-suicides

  • How Iran Recruited Afghan Refugees to Fight Assad’s War

    BAMIAN, Afghanistan — War and poverty have scattered Afghans across the globe like pieces of shrapnel. Millions of Afghans came of age in refugee camps in Pakistan and Iran or as workers in the Persian Gulf nations. The migration continues. The past few years have added a new lethal geography to the Afghan diaspora: the battlefields of President Bashar al-Assad’s Syria.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/30/opinion/sunday/iran-afghanistan-refugees-assad-syria.html?smid=tw-share
    #iran #guerre #syrie #conflit #réfugiés #réfugiés_afghans #Afghanistan

  • China: Don’t Return 5 Refugees to North Korea

    (Seoul) – China should immediately release five North Korean refugees held in Chinese detention and agree not to return them to North Korea, where they would face grave danger, Human Rights Watch said today. China should protect the five refugees and let them travel to safety in a third country, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/24/china-dont-return-5-refugees-north-korea

    #Chine #Corée_du_nord #asile #migrations #réfugiés #réfugiés_nord_coréens #push-back #refoulement

  • Iraq/Syria : Danger From US White Phosphorus

    (Washington, DC) – The use of artillery-delivered white phosphorus by the United States-led coalition fighting Islamic State (also known as ISIS) forces in Syria and Iraq raises serious questions about the protection of civilians, Human Rights Watch said today. This multipurpose munition should never be used as an incendiary weapon to attack personnel or materiel in populated areas, even when delivered from the ground.


    https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/14/iraq/syria-danger-us-white-phosphorus
    #Irak #armes #conflit #guerre #Syrie #phosphore #phosphore_blanc (?) #white_Phosphorus #armes_chimiques