#evros

  • Crossing a Red Line: How EU Countries Undermine the Right to Liberty by Expanding the Use of Detention of Asylum Seekers upon Entry

    This week the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, in conjunction with ECRE and a number of European project partners, launched their report “Crossing a Red Line: How EU Countries Undermine the Right to Liberty by Expanding the Use of Detention of Asylum Seekers upon Entry.” By examining four case studies; Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary and Italy, this research explores how asylum seekers’ rights to liberty are undermined upon entry, with a specific focus on de facto detention.

    “Crossing a Red Line” explains that while there has been a significant decrease in asylum applications in Bulgaria, Hungary and Italy, the use of detention upon entry has been increasing since 2015 and continues to do so. Practises of de facto detention- which indicates the deprivation of an individual’s liberty without the requirement of a detention order- are widespread and specific to country context. Hot spots, transit zones, pre- removal centres, border zones at which migrants have been ‘pushed- back’ and boats- including search and rescue vessels- have all become spaces in which people can be detained. In other cases “protective detention” results in unaccompanied children having their freedom of movement restricted.

    With no procedural guarantees and no opportunity to seek judicial review, the only possibility for release from de facto detention is to leave to another country.

    The Hungarian Helsinki Committee argue that the increasing trend of using of detention measures for asylum seekers upon entry “is motivated by a range of different practical, political, and legal considerations”. In some cases it has been advocated as a mechanism to deal with unprecedented pressure on processing systems, in others it has become an important means to gain political support for governments that frames migration as a security issue. In the case of Greece and Italy, the increased rate of detention of asylum seekers at the border has also been the product of EU- level policy, namely the need to meet the requirements of the EU-Turkey statement and Dublin system.

    The report further questions these motivations; “Why do Member States prefer to use de facto detention despite the existence of a dedicated legal framework? Is it for the purpose of administrative convenience? In order to avoid procedural safeguards? In order to satisfy public appeal and communication needs?

    The report states that there is no evidence that the use of detention reduces the rate of arrivals to the countries in question, rather it serves as a deterrent only so far as pressure is moved from one entry point to the next. In the example of Hungary, the traumatic experience of being detained in ‘transit zones’ contributes to the fact that beneficiaries of international protection frequently leave the country within a few days of their release, to apply for asylum again in another EU country. The use of de facto detention therefore contributes to secondary movements across Europe and is inevitably is counter- productive to refugee integration.

    As ECRE’s previous policy note, “Taking liberties: detention and asylum law reform” found; “The damage caused by detention adds to an already heavy process of adjustment and takes significant time and effort to remedy” (https://www.ecre.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Policy-Note-14.pdf).

    Le rapport en pdf:
    https://www.helsinki.hu/wp-content/uploads/crossing_a_red_line.pdf

    #frontières_extérieures #UE #EU #asile #migrations #détention #rétention #camps #Bulgarie #Grèce #Italie #Hongrie #Fylakio #Evros #base_de_données #database #statistiques #chiffres


  • #Giles_Duley, survivre pour mieux photographier les victimes de la guerre

    Invité par le Centre international de déminage humanitaire à l’occasion d’une conférence sur les mines à l’ONU, à Genève, le photographe britannique, triple amputé, a survécu par miracle à un engin explosif improvisé en Afghanistan. Ce tragique épisode a décuplé son empathie pour les sujets qu’il photographie et renforcé une vocation

    « Tu es un dur, tu vas vivre, buddy. » Le 7 février 2011, au cœur de l’Afghanistan. Dans l’hélicoptère qui l’emmène d’urgence à l’Hôpital des Nations unies à Kandahar, des soldats américains s’évertuent à maintenir Giles Duley en vie. Incorporé dans la 101e Division aéroportée de l’armée américaine pour photographier l’impact humanitaire de la guerre sur les civils, il vient de sauter sur une mine improvisée. Deux jambes et un bras arrachés. Transféré à Birmingham en Angleterre, il passe 46 jours aux soins intensifs. Il survit. Un miracle. Il subit 37 opérations en un an avant de pouvoir quitter l’hôpital.
    Façonner ma vie future

    Invité par le Centre international de déminage humanitaire (GICHD) à Genève à l’occasion de la 22e Conférence internationale de Mine Action réunissant plus de 300 responsables nationaux et onusiens au Palais des Nations jusqu’à vendredi, ce Britannique de 47 ans n’est pas du genre à s’apitoyer sur son sort. A l’ONU, mardi matin, équipé de ses deux prothèses, il lâchera devant un parterre plutôt rangé : « Si je n’avais plus été capable de faire de la photo, j’aurais préféré mourir en Afghanistan. »

    « J’ai d’emblée perdu mes ressources financières, ma maison, ma fiancée, poursuit Giles Duley. J’ai vécu dans une petite chambre où même ma chaise roulante ne rentrait pas. Tout le monde voulait façonner ma vie future. A moi qui avais été un sportif (boxe et athlétisme), on m’avait dit, un an après l’Afghanistan, que j’allais pouvoir désormais m’intéresser aux Jeux paralympiques de Londres de 2012. » Une remarque offensante pour lui qui voit le handicap comme l’incapacité de faire ce que l’on veut faire.

    « Or aujourd’hui, je fais ce que j’aime. Je suis un meilleur photographe qu’avant. » Dans son appartement de Hastings faisant face à la mer, ce Londonien s’en fait un point d’honneur : son appartement n’est pas aménagé spécialement pour lui. Il rappelle qu’il y a quelque temps, il posait vêtu de noir, avec les amputations visibles, sur un tronc blanc pour un autoportrait, prouvant qu’il acceptait son nouveau physique. « Au British Museum, explique-t-il, il y a bien des statues en partie abîmées qu’on continue de trouver belles. »

    Pour la seule année 2018, Giles Duley, exemple de résilience, a voyagé dans 14 pays. Avec la photo comme raison d’être, de vivre. Pour documenter les horreurs réelles de la guerre : « Je ne suis pas un reporter de guerre. Je suis anti-guerre. Je ne photographie jamais des soldats au combat. » Son empathie pour les sujets qu’il photographie est décuplée. En 2015, le Haut-Commissariat de l’ONU pour les réfugiés (HCR) lui confie un mandat pour raconter la crise des migrants de Syrie en lui donnant pour seule directive : « Suis ton cœur. » Une manière de bien cerner le personnage.

    A Lesbos, l’arrivée de migrants épuisés le touche profondément. Il le confesse au Temps : « Je n’ai pas que des blessures. Mes souffrances physiques et émotionnelles sont quotidiennes. Mais c’est précisément cela qui me connecte aux gens. » Giles Duley n’a plus la même palette de possibilités qu’auparavant. Mais il s’en accommode : « Les limites que je peux éprouver me forcent à davantage de créativité. » D’ailleurs, ajoute-t-il, « les meilleures photos ne sont pas celles qu’on prend, mais celles qu’on nous donne ».
    Une vérité, pas la vérité

    Quand, en 2014, il rencontre Khouloud dans un camp de réfugiés dans la vallée de la Bekaa au Liban, il est touché par cette Syrienne, atteinte par un sniper à la colonne vertébrale et alitée dans une tente de fortune depuis plusieurs mois. Un cliché la montre en compagnie de son mari, « une scène d’amour » davantage qu’une scène dramatique dans un camp de réfugiés, relève-t-il. Deux ans après sa première rencontre, il constate que Khouloud est toujours dans la même tente. La situation l’insupporte. Il lance une campagne de financement participatif pour lui venir en aide. Un jour, il recevra de Khouloud, médicalement traitée aux Pays-Bas, un message disant « Vous m’avez redonné ma vie. »

    Giles Duley reste honnête. Ses photos ne représentent pas la réalité, mais une réalité qu’il a choisie. Préférant le noir et blanc, il aime utiliser un drap blanc comme seul arrière-fond pour effacer tout contexte : « Si je photographie une personne dans un camp de réfugiés, on va se limiter à la voir comme une réfugiée. Or elle est bien autre chose. Elle n’est pas née réfugiée. »
    La puissance de l’esprit

    Aujourd’hui directeur de sa fondation Legacy of War, Giles Duley estime être « l’homme le plus chanceux du monde » à voir les milliers de mutilés qui croupissent dans des conditions de vie inacceptables. Dans une interview avec Giles Duley, Melissa Fleming, directrice de la communication au HCR, le relève : « Au cours de toute ma vie, je n’ai jamais rencontré une personne aussi forte, ayant été si proche de la mort et capable de recourir à la puissance de son esprit et de sa volonté pour surmonter » l’adversité.

    La vocation de Giles n’était toutefois pas une évidence. Des cinq frère et sœurs, il est le plus « difficile ». Les études ne le branchent pas, au contraire du sport. Il décroche une bourse d’études aux Etats-Unis pour la boxe, mais un accident de voiture met fin à ses espoirs. Il se lance dans la photo de groupes de rock (Oasis, Marilyn Manson, Lenny Kravitz, etc.) et de mode. Mais un jour, face à une jeune actrice en pleurs dans un hôtel londonien, il réalise que la photo de mode ne le rend plus heureux. Il abandonne, travaille dans un bar, cédant brièvement à la dépression et à l’alcool.
    A 30 ans, une nouvelle vocation

    Mais comme une bouée de sauvetage, il se souvient d’un cadeau laissé par son parrain à peine décédé quand il avait 18 ans : un appareil photo Olympus et Unreasonable Behaviour, l’ouvrage autobiographique de la légende de la photo Don McCullin. Les images du Vietnam et du Biafra le bouleversent. A 30 ans, il identifie sa nouvelle vocation : raconter par l’image l’histoire personnelle des victimes oubliées du cynisme humain à travers la planète. Pour leur donner la chance d’une nouvelle vie. Malgré les douleurs qui ne le lâchent jamais. Ou peut-être à cause d’elles.

    https://www.letemps.ch/monde/giles-duley-survivre-mieux-photographier-victimes-guerre
    #photographie #victimes_de_guerre #handicap #autonomie
    ping @albertocampiphoto @philippe_de_jonckheere



  • 08/07: 19 travellers at Turkish-Greek landborder, pushed-back to Turkey

    Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 8th of July 2018

    Case name: 2018_07_08-AEG406
    Situation: 19 travellers at Turkish-Greek landborder, pushed-back to Turkey
    Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded

    Place of Incident: Aegean Sea

    Summary of the Case:

    On Sunday, 8th of July, at 11:14pm CEST, we were alerted to a group of travellers stuck near #Tichero, Greece, close to the Turkish landborder. The group consisted of 19 people, among them a 1-year-old child, a pregnant lady and a man that had a broken leg. At 12:11pm we managed to establish contact to the travellers. They were afraid of being pushed-back to Turkey by the police and asked for medical aid and the possibility to seek asylum in Greece. We asked them for a list of their names and birth dates in order to alert UNHCR. At 1:02am we received the list. We couldn’t get back in contact until 1:47am. The group decided not to move further and to wait until the morning for the UNHCR office to open so they could call there.
    At 8:30am we called UNHCR and asked for assistance. At 8:45am we also called the local police station but the operator refused to speak to us in English. We told the group to call 112 themselves for assistance. Until 9:30am we couldn’t reach any local police station. At 9:50am we sent an email to the local authorities and UNHCR to inform them about the people. Afterwards we continuously tried again to get in touch with the authorities and the group, but couldn’t establish a connection any more. At 2pm we reached the police in Alexandropolis. They informed us that they were searching since one hour but hadn’t found the travellers. During the afternoon, we couldn’t get any news and didn’t reach the travellers anymore. At 6:53pm the police informed us that they had not found the group yet. The next day at 11:02am we were informed by a contact person that the group had been found and that they had been allegedly violently pushed-back to Turkey. At 12:45am we managed to reach the group itself. They told us that the police had found them at 5:00pm the day before and put them in „a prison“. At 10:00pm the police had told the group that they were being moved to a camp to apply for international protection. However, the police instead brought them back to the river and handed them to officers discribed as „military“, who forced them onto a boat and across Evros border river back to Turkey. The police officers before had confiscated personal belongings of the refugees, including mobile phones, money, passports and the food for the baby.

    http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/943

    #Evros #Grèce #frontières #Turquie #push-back #refoulement #asile #migrations #réfugiés

    • WSJ: Turks fleeing Erdogan fuel new influx of refugees to Greece

      Thousands of Turks flee Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against the Kurds and the Gülen Group in the wake of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
      Around 14,000 people crossed the Evros frontier from January through September of this year, more than double the number for the whole of last year, according to the Greek police. Around half of them were Turkish citizens, according to estimates from Frontex, the European Union’s border agency. Many are judges, military personnel, civil servants or business people who have fallen under Turkish authorities’ suspicion, had their passports canceled and chosen an illegal route out.
      Nearly 4,000 Turks have applied for asylum in Greece so far this year. But most Turkish arrivals don’t register their presence in Greece, planning instead to head deeper into Europe and further from Turkey.

      About 30 Turks have been arriving on a daily basis since the failed coup, according to Kathimerini, there were zero arrivals from Turkey in 2015. However, thousands of Turkish citizens have started claiming asylum in Greece since “Erdogan stepped up his crackdown against his opponents since the failed coup attempt.”

      The Wall Street Journal interviewed some of the purge-victim families in Greece:

      “In the dead of night, Yunuz Cagar and his wife Cansu gave their baby some herbal tea to help her sleep, donned backpacks and followed smugglers on a muddy path along the Evros river, evading fences and border guards until they reached Greece.

      Mr. Cagar, a 29-year-old court clerk, was living a quiet life with his family in a provincial town near Istanbul until Turkey’s crackdown after a failed military coup in 2016 turned their world upside down. Judges, colleagues and friends were arrested. He lost his job and had to move the family into his parents’ attic. Mr. Cagar was arrested and spent four months in prison. His crime, he says, was downloading a messaging app, an act he says the state treated as evidence of supporting terrorism.
      The flow of asylum seekers crossing the Greek-Turkish border along the Evros river is rising for the first time since the peak of Europe’s migration crisis in 2015. This time, though, the increase is mainly due to Turks fleeing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his dragnet against real or imagined followers of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turkey accuses Mr. Gulen, an ex-ally turned enemy of Mr. Erdogan, of orchestrating the coup attempt.

      “We didn’t say goodbye to anyone before leaving,” said Mr. Cagar, who is now in Athens trying to find some way to get to Germany. His wife and child already made it there with the help of smugglers who have demanded a hefty price. “We began our journey with €13,000 ($14,700) and I have €1,500 left,” he said.

      Ahmed, a 30-year-old former F-16 pilot in the Turkish air force, spends his days talking to smugglers and trying to find a way out. “My dream is Canada, but the reality is Omonoia,” he said, referring to the gritty square in downtown Athens where migrants and smugglers mingle.

      A few months after the coup attempt, Ahmed said, he was dismissed, accused of Gulenist links, arrested and beaten, after another officer denounced him. He said he has no connections with Mr. Gulen’s network. He was released pending trial, but decided to flee when a prison term appeared unavoidable.

      Yilmaz Bilir, his wife Ozlem and their four children were on vacation when the coup attempt happened. Mr. Bilir, who worked at the information-technology department of Turkey’s foreign ministry, found out months later that he was suspected of Gulenist links, which he denies. The family went into hiding, staying with relatives and friends. Mr. Bilir was arrested when he briefly visited his own home and neighbors called the police. When he was released pending trial, the family decided to leave Turkey.

      Mr. Bilir made it to Germany using a forged passport and has applied for asylum there. His wife and children have applied to join him.

      Mrs. Bilir, stuck for now in Athens, remembers how happy the family was when they crossed the river Evros one summer night. “It was an endless walk, but we were happy, because we were away together,” she said. “I was so stressed in Turkey that I couldn’t sleep well for months, but that first night in detention in Greece, I finally slept.”

      After the coup, Meral Budak was suspended from her job as a teacher. Her husband was a journalist at Zaman, a major Turkish newspaper linked to Mr. Gulen’s movement. He had a valid U.S. visa and was able to travel to Canada, where he now works as an Uber driver. His 18-year-old son joined him a few months later.

      Mrs. Budak and the couple’s 15-year-old son Ali remained in Turkey and soon had their passports revoked. They went into hiding for a year. “The most traumatic memory was when I burned hundreds of books,” she said. “Even my children’s school books could be considered evidence, since the publishing companies were funded by Gulen.”
      On Jan. 1 of this year, Mrs. Budak and Ali undertook the long walk across the Evros and into Greece, where they now wait to join the rest of the family in Canada.

      “When I was walking through Greek villages, I realized my life was never going to be the same,” Mrs. Budak said. “I was walking into the unknown.”
      Read the full report on: https://www.wsj.com/articles/turks-fleeing-erdogan-fuel-new-influx-of-refugees-to-greece-1543672801

      https://turkeypurge.com/wsj-turks-fleeing-erdogan-fuel-new-influx-of-refugees-to-greece
      #réfugiés_turcs

    • Fourth migrant found dead near border, Greek ’pushback’ suspected

      Bodies of migrants keep piling up on Turkey’s border with Greece, while Greece denies it is involved in illegal “pushback” practices. Villagers in Adasarhanlı, where the body of another migrant was found earlier this week, alerted authorities after they discovered a body in a rice field, a short distance from the Turkish-Greek border, late Wednesday. The man is believed to be an illegal migrant forced to walk back to Turkey in freezing temperatures by Greek police as part of their controversial pushback practice.

      An initial investigation shows the man froze to death three days ago, and there were lesions on his body stemming from prolonged exposure to water.

      İbrahim Dalkıran, the leader of the village, said they have seen a large number of migrants recently in the area, and many took shelter, in wet clothes or half naked, in Adasarhanlı. “This is a humanitarian situation. Greece sends back migrants almost every three or four days. Some arrive injured, and we call a doctor. It is sad to see them in such a state,” Dalkıran told reporters.

      Olga Gerovasili, Greece’s minister for citizen protection whose ministry oversees border security, has denied previous allegations of pushback and told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Greece is not involved in such incidents. Yet, figures provided to AA by Turkish security sources show many illegal migrants were forced to go back to Turkey by Greek officials, with some 2,490 migrants being pushed back in November alone. The agency reports that some 300 of them were subjected to mistreatment by Greek security forces, ranging from beatings to being forced to go back half naked to the Turkish side of the border.

      Three bodies, believed to be Afghan or Pakistani migrants, were found in three villages in Edirne, the Turkish province that borders Greece. More than 70,000 illegal migrants were intercepted in Edirne between January and November, a high number compared to the 47,731 stopped last year as they tried to cross into Greece despite an increase in pushback reports.

      Under international laws and conventions, Greece is obliged to register any illegal migrants entering its territory; yet, this is not the case for some migrants. Security sources say that accounts of migrants interviewed by Turkish migration authority staff and social workers show that they are forced to return to Turkey, where they arrived from their homelands with the hope of reaching Europe.

      Pırıl Erçoban, a coordinator for the Association for Solidarity with Refugees (Mülteci-Der), says pushback constitutes a serious crime. She said it was “sad and unacceptable” that three migrants died, the number of deaths illustrates a serious problem. “It sheds light on the fact that pushback is being applied. It is still a crime to send those people back, even if they can make it back to Turkey alive,” Erçoban told AA. She says pushback was also taking place on migrant sea journeys, but has stopped, although the practice has continued on land. “Both Greece and Bulgaria are involved in this practice. Our figures show some 11,000 [illegal migrants] entered Turkey from Greece and Bulgaria, though not all of them were forced; we believe a substantial portion of returns are the result of pushback,” she said, adding returns were mostly via Greece. Erçoban said taking legal action to help migrants forced to return was difficult, as they could not reach the victims. “There should be administrative and criminal sanctions, and the culprits should be found. Turkey should take steps against pushback if [Greece] adopted it as a state policy. We hear that they are being beaten with iron bars and sent back without their clothes. This is a crime,” she added.

      Every year, hundreds of thousands of migrants flee civil conflict or economic hardship in their home countries in hope of reaching Europe. Edirne is a primary migration route. Turkish Directorate General of Migration Management data reveals that most of the migrants come from Pakistan, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The numbers increase in late summer and autumn before dropping in the winter months.

      Temperatures hover near minus zero degrees Celsius in Edirne and other provinces at the border, which also saw heavy rainfall last week. Migrants usually take boats on the Meriç River, while some try to swim across to the other side. Early yesterday, police stopped 17 Pakistani migrants who were walking on train tracks near the border.

      https://www.dailysabah.com/investigations/2018/12/07/fourth-migrant-found-dead-near-border-greek-pushback-suspected/amp?__twitter_impression=true
      #mourir_aux_frontières #décès #morts

    • Greece accused of migrant ’pushbacks’ at Turkey border

      Hundreds of migrants including children and families have been illegally returned from Greece to Turkey despite Greek authorities being repeatedly warned about the practice, three non-governmental organizations said Wednesday.

      Migrants being forced back over the border, in violation of international law, has become the “new normality” at the border crossing with Turkey in Greece’s northeast Evros region, the three Greek organizations said.

      The testimonies of 39 people who attempted to cross the border to Europe, collected in detention centers near the border since the spring, were published in a report by the Greek Council for Refugees, ARSIS and HumanRights360.

      In their testimonies, the migrants describe being intercepted and detained by people wearing police or military uniforms, sometimes with a hood covering their face, who then forced them onto a boat to cross the Evros River back to Turkey.

      Some migrants described being physically abused or robbed by the individuals, who mostly spoke Greek.

      The report “constitutes evidence of the practice of pushbacks being used extensively and not decreasing, regardless of the silence and denial by the responsible public bodies and authorities,” the NGOs said.

      The “particularly wide-spread practice” leaves the “state exposed and posing a threat for the rule of law in the country,” they added.

      The Greek office of the U.N. refugee agency also said it had recorded a “significant number of testimonies on informal forced returns” through the Evros border.

      “On many occasions, we have addressed those concerns to the Greek authorities requesting the investigation of incidents,” the UNHCR office said.

      “The state’s response so far to these practices has not produced the results required for an effective access to asylum.”

      Greek authorities have denied involvement in the migrant returns and have announced investigations into potential militia action, without result so far.

      The flow of migrants across the Greek-Turkish land border has almost tripled this year, according to Greece’s migration ministry, with 14,000 people intercepted so far compared to 5,400 in 2017.


      http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2018/Dec-12/471620-greece-accused-of-migrant-pushbacks-at-turkey-border.ashx

    • Greece: Violent Pushbacks at Turkey Border

      Greek law enforcement officers at the land border with Turkey in the northeastern Evros region routinely summarily return asylum seekers and migrants, Human Rights Watch said today. The officers in some cases use violence and often confiscate and destroy the migrants’ belongings.

      “People who have not committed a crime are detained, beaten, and thrown out of Greece without any consideration for their rights or safety,” said Todor Gardos, Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Greek authorities should immediately investigate the repeated allegations of illegal pushbacks.”

      Human Rights Watch interviewed 26 asylum seekers and other migrants in Greece in May, and in October and November in Turkey. They are from Afghanistan, Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen, and include families traveling with children. They described 24 incidents of pushbacks across the Evros River from Greece to Turkey.

      Most incidents took place between April and November. All of those interviewed reported hostile or violent behavior by Greek police and unidentified forces wearing uniforms and masks without recognizable insignia. Twelve said police or these unidentified forces accompanying the police stripped them of their possessions, including their money and personal identification, which were often destroyed. Seven said police or unidentified forces took their clothes or shoes and forced them back to Turkey in their underwear, sometimes at night in freezing temperatures.

      Abuse included beatings with hands and batons, kicking, and, in one case, the use of what appeared to be a stun gun. In another case, a Moroccan man said a masked man dragged him by his hair, forced him to kneel on the ground, held a knife to his throat, and subjected him to a mock execution. Others pushed back include a pregnant 19-year-old woman from Afrin, Syria, and a woman from Afghanistan who said Greek authorities took away her two young children’s shoes.

      Increasing numbers of migrants, including asylum seekers, have attempted to cross the Evros River, which forms a natural border between Greece and Turkey, since April. By the end of September, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) had registered 13,784 arrivals by land, a nearly fourfold increase over the same period last year.

      In early June, Turkey unilaterally suspended all returns under a bilateral readmission agreement, stopping coordinated returns over the land border. In a July letter to Human Rights Watch, Hellenic Police Director Georgios Kossioris acknowledged an “acute problem” related to new arrivals and migrants arrested in the region, causing the overcrowding in some facilities, and inhumane conditions in police stations and registration and identification centers Human Rights Watch had documented.

      Accounts gathered by Human Rights Watch are consistent with the findings of other nongovernmental groups, intergovernmental agencies, and media reports. UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, has raised similar concerns. In a June report, the Council of Europe’s (CoE) Committee for the Prevention of Torture said it has received “several consistent and credible allegations of pushbacks by boat from Greece to Turkey at the Evros River border by masked Greek police and border guards or (para-)military commandos.” In November, the CoE human rights commissioner called on Greece to investigate allegations, in light of information pointing to “an established practice.”

      Human Rights Watch wrote to the head of border protection of the Hellenic Police on December 6, 2018, informing them of its findings. In his reply, Police Director Kossioris categorically denied that Hellenic Police carry out forced summary returns. He said all procedures for the detention and identification of migrants entering Greece were carried out in line with relevant legislation, and that they “thoroughly investigate” any incidents of misconduct or violation of migrants’ and asylum seekers’ rights. Greek authorities have consistently denied pushback practices, including a high-ranking Greek police official in a June meeting with Human Rights Watch. For a decade, Human Rights Watch has documented systematic pushbacks by Greek law enforcement officials at its land border with Turkey.

      Greek authorities should promptly investigate in a transparent, thorough, and impartial manner repeated allegations that Greek police and border guards are involved in collective and extrajudicial expulsions at the Evros region. Authorities should investigate allegations of violence and excessive use of force. Any officer engaged in such illegal acts, as well as their commanding officers, should be subject to disciplinary sanction and, as appropriate, criminal prosecution. Anyone seeking international protection should have the opportunity to apply for asylum, and returns should follow a procedure that provides access to effective remedies and safeguards against refoulement – return to a country where they are likely to face persecution, and ill-treatment.

      The European Commission, which provides financial support to the Greek government for migration control, including in the Evros region, should urge Greece to end all summary returns of asylum seekers to Turkey, press the authorities to investigate allegations of violence, and open legal proceedings against Greece for violating European Union laws.

      “Despite government denials, it appears that Greece is intentionally, and with complete impunity, closing the door on many people who seek to reach the European Union through the Evros border,” Gardos said. “Greece should cease forced summary returns immediately and treat everyone with dignity and respect for their basic rights.”

      For detailed accounts from asylum seekers and migrants, please see below. Please note that all names have been changed.

      Human Rights Watch interviewed 26 people from Afghanistan, Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen, including seven women, two of whom were pregnant at the time they were summarily returned to Turkey across the Evros River. In seven cases, families were pushed back, including children.

      In Greece, Human Rights Watch interviewed people who managed to re-enter Greek territory following a pushback, in the Fylakio pre-removal detention center and in the Fylakio reception and identification center, as well as in the Diavata camp for asylum seekers in Thessaloniki. In Turkey, those interviewed were in the Edirne removal center and in urban locations in Istanbul.

      All names of interviewees have been changed to protect their privacy and security. Interviews were carried out privately and confidentially, in the interviewees’ first language, or a language they spoke fluently, through interpreters. Interviewees shared their accounts voluntarily, and without remuneration, and have consented to Human Rights Watch collecting and publishing their accounts.

      Pushbacks in Evros

      The 24 incidents described demonstrate a pattern that points to an established and well-coordinated practice of pushbacks. Most of the incidents share three key features: initial capture by local police patrols, detention in police stations or informal locations close to the border with Turkey, and handover from identifiable law enforcement bodies to unidentifiable paramilitaries who would carry out the pushback to Turkey across the Evros River, at times violently. In nine cases, migrants said uniformed police physically mistreated them before or during the pushback.

      The accounts suggest close and consistent coordination between police with unidentified, often masked, men who may or may not be law enforcement officers. In a May interview with Human Rights Watch, Second Lieutenant Sofia Lazopoulou at the border police station of Neo Cheimonio said that police officers wearing dark blue uniforms were in charge of services at the police station and that those who wear military camouflage uniforms were patrolling officers, in charge of prevention and deterrence of irregular migrants crossing into Greece.

      Interviewees said that people who looked like police officers or soldiers, as well as some of the unidentified masked men, carried equipment such as handguns, handcuffs, radios, spray cans, and batons, while others carried tactical gear such as armored gloves, binoculars, and knives and military grade weapons, such as rifles.

      The repeated nature of the pushbacks and the fact that those officers who conduct them were clearly on official duty, indicates that commanding officers knew, or ought to have known, what was happening.

      Ferhat G., a Syrian Kurdish man in his forties, said two police officers detained him, his wife, and three children, ages 12, 15, and 19, at an abandoned train station on September 19. They were held in a large caged area in the backyard of a police station with dozens of other people for five hours. Ferhat could not say where the train station or police station were:

      We were all put in a van, 60 to 70 people. Commandos all in black, wearing face masks, drove us back to the river. We were very afraid… I saw other people there, mainly youths with just shorts, no other clothes. Our blood froze out of fear. When they opened the van, we started going out. “Stand in one line, one-by-one,” they said and hit someone. Ten by 10, they put us in a small boat, driven by a Greek soldier. I cried because of the humiliation.

      The modus operandi was largely replicated, with some variations, in the other cases Human Rights Watch documented.

      Capture

      Twenty-one of those interviewed said local police patrols detained them in towns and villages near the border or in open farmland. Two said that the police took them off a bus or a train shortly after its departure. Three said they could not identify the men who detained them and took them directly back to the border. People said they were then transported in police cars, pick-up trucks, white vans without windows or signs, or larger trucks painted in green or camouflage that appeared to be military trucks.

      Karim L., 25, from Morocco, said that police officers removed him from a train to Alexandropouli on November 8. Shortly after its scheduled departure from Orestiada, at 12:37 p.m., police officers began asking passengers who looked foreign to show their passports and took Karim and five or six others off the train. The police took him to a nearby police station and kept him there for two nights. Then four men wearing police uniforms and black masks took him to the border in a van. He said they subjected him to physical violence and a mock execution, then pushed him back to Turkey. He was not photographed, fingerprinted, or given any paper to read or sign, or otherwise informed of the reasons for his arrest. He said that other people, including families with children, were also detained in the station’s three cells.

      Mahsa N., an Afghan woman, said uniformed police officers removed her, her husband, their three children, ages 5, 9, and 11, and two unrelated Afghan men from a bus 15 minutes after it left Alexandropouli in mid-September, during their third attempt to enter Greece. They were pushed back to Turkey the same day, with the police who had detained them taking them all the way to the Evros River, where others were already being held so they could be returned on a boat.

      Dila E., a 25-year-old Syrian woman, described her experience shortly after crossing the Evros River in late April. She said she was with seven other people, including four children, when masked men she could not identify pushed them back to Turkey as they were walking in a small town near the border:

      They came with a car and took us. They put us in a white van. You couldn’t see anything from the inside. They took us directly to the river and made us cross the river with a rubber boat. They took everyone’s mobile phones, set of clothes, and even the money from some.

      Malik N., a 26-year-old Moroccan man, said uniformed police stopped him along with three other men on November 13 near a gas station in Didymoteicho, a town two kilometers from the border. He said that one of the policemen made a phone call, and a white van arrived 15 minutes later. Two men he could not identify took him and two of his group to a location that he described as barracks: “They put us in the car, which was very well made, dark inside, and without seats. There were no signs on it. … There was a terrible smell [in the barracks], and officials had their masks on… There were 30 people there.”

      Masked men took him to the border the next evening:

      After the masked people came, they started to shout at us, and hit us one by one with batons at the door. There were around eight people outside the barracks, each with a thick plastic baton. They would hit you as you walked to the car. They would shout “Fuck Islam.” They put 30 of us in the van. [There were] no chairs. I felt like I was suffocating, there was no air. When we arrived at the river, they ordered people to strip to shorts only. They took my phones, my money, €1,500, and my glasses, and broke them.

      Sardar T., 18, from Afghanistan, said that uniformed police caught him and the group of people he was traveling with at the Didymoteicho bus station on April 23. He said the police came with a white van but later brought a big car, similar to a military truck with green camouflage. Human Rights Watch researchers saw a vehicle matching Sardar’s description parked in the yard of the border police station of Neo Cheimonio, as well as numerous white vans, without police signs. Sardar said that the officers who pushed them back to Turkey were wearing police uniforms and that masks concealed their faces except for their eyes.

      Detention

      Thirteen of those interviewed reported that they were detained in formal and informal locations close to the border, for periods ranging from a few hours to five days. Five said they were taken to a police station, while eight described buildings on the outskirts of nearby villages and towns, or on farmland that they said were used as drop-off points for detained migrants. None of the interviewees, even those held at police stations, were duly identified and registered, and their detention appears to have been arbitrary and incommunicado.

      A few dozen to one hundred people were detained at a time, without food, water, and sanitation, and then taken to the Evros River and returned to Turkey. Interviewees described the rooms in the unidentified buildings as “prison-like” and “like a storage room,” with a few mattresses and a single, filthy toilet. They said women and families with children were either held together with unrelated men, or sometimes in adjacent rooms.

      Mahsa, the Afghan woman who was summarily returned to Turkey three times, said she and her family were kept for five days, along with unrelated men who were also detained, in a dark room with no beds or heat before the second pushback, in late August. They were not given any food. Their belongings, including winter coats for her young children, and a cherished backpack and doll, were never returned. Up to 10 guards, wearing belts with what appeared to be handguns, batons, and pepper spray, would check on people and lock the door but not provide any information. She saw guards beating men staying in the same room: “They had a blue uniform with writing on it in Greek on the back, with big letters. They called us dirt.”

      Azadeh B., a 22-year-old Afghan woman traveling with her husband and two children, ages 2 and 4, said they were pushed back twice from Greece – and had spent five days in detention before being returned the second time, in early October. She said they were taken to a room in a structure located in the middle of farmland:

      We could not see or hear anything. We were not asked to sign anything or told anything. The guards closed the door and locked it. When families asked for water, they filled dirty bottles and threw them inside the room through the door. They took everything from us, even the Quran. We asked them to give back our kids’ shoes, but they didn’t. They do this because they don’t want us to come back. If it’s something of value, they keep it, something they don’t like, they put it in the bin.

      She said only the children were given some biscuits while detained in a room that was about 40 square meters and shared by about 80 people whom she believed were also all migrants.

      Hassan I., a Tunisian man in his thirties, said that before being violently pushed back along with four friends in early August, they spent a day in detention. He said the location resembled a military base because they saw military vehicles, including trucks and tanks, parked near the room in which they were held. It was a 15-minute drive from the town of Orestiada, where they had been stopped and picked up in the morning by two police officers in blue uniforms in a civilian car.

      The policemen drove them to the location, where guards violently pushed them against a wall, searched them, and hit them. “First, they asked for phones, then for money,” Hassan said. They were shouting ‘malaka’ [a Greek insult meaning ‘asshole’]. I was shocked. I felt humiliated. When we tried to ask for anything, like our sim cards, memory cards, they hit us immediately.” Hassan and his friends were put in a room that looked like a storage room. In an adjacent room, they could hear the voices of families with children. Hassan estimated that by 9 p.m., when they were taken to the border in trucks, about 80 men were in his room of about 24 square meters, in which there were only a few chairs, a toilet, and a water tap.

      Zara Z., 19 and four-months pregnant, from Afrin, Syria, said that in mid-May, men wearing camouflage uniforms stopped her and her husband and detained them overnight in a room without bedding or furniture, together with other migrant families, and without any food or water. The next day they were transferred in a van to the Evros River, put on a boat, and pushed back to Turkey.

      Pushbacks across the Evros River

      All those interviewed said they were transported to the border with Turkey in groups of 60 to 80, in military trucks or unmarked vans. In all but three cases, the agents wore face masks, black pants, or camouflage, making it impossible to recognize or identify them. In the three other cases, interviewees said police in regular blue and camouflage uniforms transported them to the river. Ten out of 26 interviewees said they were physically abused or witnessed others being ill-treated during the pushback operation.

      Karim, a 25-year-old Moroccan man, said Greek police handed him over to masked men wearing police uniforms after they caught him in Greece on November 10 and that he was violently pushed back to Turkey. After ordering him to take off his clothes and shoes, two of the masked officers kicked him to the ground and hit him with a baton, then one of them subjected him to a mock execution. They dragged him by his hair and forced him to kneel on the ground, while the masked officer held a knife to his throat and said in broken English, “Whoever returns to Greece, they will die.” Karim said he could not sleep at night and was experiencing recurrent nightmares.

      Hassan, the Tunisian who was pushed back with his four friends on August 10 or 11, said that masked men wearing black clothes ill-treated them after taking them to the border in a truck. One of the men used a stun gun on Hassan’s lower back, causing burns that were still visible over two months later. He provided video footage of the group’s injuries, which he said was recorded the day after the incident and was first posted on social media on August 12, showing several bruises he said resulted from blows to their upper and lower backs and limbs. “Next time I will see you,” one of the masked men told him in English, “I will kill you.” At the time of the interview, Hassan had been sleeping in parks in Istanbul, after all his belongings were confiscated in Greece.

      Amir B., a Tunisian man in his twenties, was pushed back to Turkey at the end of September after entering Greece and hiding for six days. He said he was returned from near Alexandropouli to the border in one of two military trucks, which together took around 80 people to the border, including about 30 women and a few children. Amir said masked men pushed people around as they got off the trucks, and then pushed them toward the river, ordering them to remain silent. The agents then split the group into smaller groups of 10 and ordered them to take off their shoes. Women had to give up their coats, while some men had to strip to underwear. Amir’s jeans, where he also kept his money, were set on fire. When a black pick-up truck arrived with a small boat, the guards checked the other side of the river with binoculars, and then used the small boat to take the groups of 10 in turn across the water.

      https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/12/18/greece-violent-pushbacks-turkey-border

      #vidéo:
      Greek Authorities Beat, Push Back Migrants into Turkey
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2olpuc_tqA


  • Soutien aux réfugiés en #Grèce : octroi d’une #aide_d'urgence de 180 millions d’euros

    La Commission européenne a annoncé aujourd’hui l’octroi d’un nouveau #financement de 180 millions d’euros pour des projets d’aide en Grèce, visant notamment à étendre le programme phare d’« #aide_d'urgence_à_l'intégration_à_l'hébergement » (#ESTIA) destiné à aider les réfugiés à trouver un #logement en zone urbaine et à l’extérieur des camps ainsi qu’à leur fournir une aide régulière en espèces.

    Ce financement intervient alors que le commissaire chargé de l’aide humanitaire et de la gestion des crises, Christos Stylianides, rencontrait aujourd’hui le Premier ministre grec, Alexis Tsipras, à Athènes.

    Le programme ESTIA, lancé en juillet 2017 avec le Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés (HCR), est la plus grande opération d’aide menée par l’UE dans le pays, en cohérence avec la politique du gouvernement grec visant à sortir les réfugiés des camps. Jusqu’à présent, il a permis de créer plus de 23 000 places d’hébergement urbain et de mettre en place un système d’assistance pécuniaire en espèces pour plus de 41 000 réfugiés et demandeurs d’asile.

    « Les programmes humanitaires que nous avons déployés en Grèce en faveur des réfugiés témoignent clairement de la solidarité européenne. Nous restons fermement déterminés à aider les réfugiés en Grèce à mener une vie plus sûre, plus normale et plus digne ainsi qu’à faciliter leur intégration dans l’économie locale et dans la société. Grâce à notre programme ESTIA, nous parvenons à améliorer concrètement la vie des gens. Je souhaite tout particulièrement rendre hommage aux citoyens et aux maires grecs qui ont accueilli des réfugiés dans leur municipalité en leur manifestant une grande attention et de l’empathie » a déclaré M. Christos Stylianides, commissaire chargé de l’aide humanitaire et de la gestion des crises.

    Six autres contrats ont été signés avec le Conseil danois pour les réfugiés, l’Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund, Médecins du Monde, la Croix-Rouge espagnole ainsi que les ONG grecques METAdrasi et Smile of the Child, pour répondre aux besoins humanitaires urgents en Grèce, notamment en matière d’abris, de soins de santé primaires, d’aide psychosociale, d’amélioration des conditions d’hygiène, d’éducation informelle et de services d’interprétation pour les soins de santé et la protection.

    Constituée de divers financements, l’aide globale mise à la disposition de la Grèce par la Commission européenne pour l’aider à gérer la situation humanitaire, la migration et les frontières extérieures dépasse 1,5 milliard d’euros.

    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-2604_fr.htm
    #Europe #UE #EU #aide #hébergement #aide_financière

    • Migration : Commission steps up emergency assistance to Spain and Greece

      The European Commission has awarded an additional €45.6 million in emergency assistance to support Spain and Greece respond to the migratory challenges they face.

      In view of increased arrivals, Spain will receive €25.6 million to improve the reception capacity for arrivals at its southern coast and in Ceuta and Melilla as well as to help increase returns. Another €20 million has been awarded to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to improve reception conditions in Greece, notably on the island of Lesvos.

      Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship said: “The Commission continues to deliver on its commitment to support Member States under pressure. Spain has seen arrival figures increase during the past year and we need to step up our support to help manage the numbers and return those who have no right to stay. And while the EU-Turkey Statement has greatly contributed to lowering the number of arrivals in Greece, the country is still facing significant migratory pressure, in particular on the islands. Over €1 billion has now been awarded in emergency assistance to help Member States manage migration.”

      With the new funding decisions an important milestone has been reached: In total, the Commission has now mobilised over €1 billion in emergency assistance to help manage migration under the current financial framework (2014-2020) – support that has gone to the Member States most affected such as Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Sweden and now also Spain.

      Spain

      €24.8 million has been awarded to the Ministry of Employment and Social Security and the Spanish Red Cross for a project aimed at providing healthcare, food, and shelter to migrants arriving on the southern coast of Spain and in Ceuta and Melilla.
      A further €720,000 has been awarded to the Ministry of Interior to help improve the quality of return facilities and infrastructure for return transfers.

      The emergency funding awarded to Spain comes on top of €692 million allocated to Spain for migration, border and security management under national programmes for the period 2014-2020.

      Greece

      The additional €20 million awarded to the UNHCR will be used to help manage the reception facilities in the island of Lesvos, support local community projects and provide further emergency accommodation on the islands.
      It will also go towards stepping up measures for the protection of children, non-formal education and to prevent sexual and gender-based violence.

      This funding decision comes on top of more than €1.6 billion of funding support awarded by the Commission since 2015 to address migration challenges in Greece.

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-4342_en.htm
      #Espagne

    • Migration: Commission increases emergency assistance for Spain to €30 million [Updated on 3/8/2018 at 13:01]

      Yesterday, the Commission awarded an additional €3 million in emergency assistance under the #Internal_Security_Fund (#ISF) to support Spain in responding to the recent migratory pressure. The assistance will mainly support the costs linked to the deployment of extra staff from the Guardia Civil to the southern borders of Spain. This support brings to €30 million the emergency funding awarded to Spain since July to help the country address migratory challenges. This financial assistance comes on top of €691.7 million allocated to Spain under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF) national programme 2014-2020. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Katarzyna Kolanko – Tel.: +32 299 63444)

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEX-18-4834_en.htm

    • Avramopoulos in Spain to announce further EU support to tackle migration

      As Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos headed to Madrid, the European Commission announced Friday (3 August) a further €3 million in emergency aid to support Spanish border guards in curbing irregular migration.

      The new cash comes from the Internal Security Fund and aims to help cover the costs linked to the deployment of extra staff in the southern borders of Spain.

      In July this year, the EU executive awarded €24.8 million to the Ministry of Employment and Social Security and the Spanish Red Cross to enhance reception capabilities, health assistance, food and shelter for migrants arriving through the Western Mediterranean route.

      A further €720,000 went to the Ministry of Interior to help improve the quality of return and transfer facilities in the south of Spain, Ceuta and Melilla.

      This financial assistance comes on top of €691.7 million allocated to Spain under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund since 2014.

      https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/avramopoulos-in-spain-to-announce-further-eu-support-to-tackle-migration/?_ga=2.232982942.1049233813.1533558974-1514184901.1489527159

    • Migration : Commission provides €24.1 million to the International Organisation for Migration to provide support, help and education for migrant children in Greece

      The European Commission has awarded €24.1 million in emergency assistance under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) to support Greece in responding to migratory challenges. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) will receive the funding to help ensure that migrant children can be immediately placed in a protective environment and receive education. It will notably support child-adequate accommodation, medical and psychological support, interpretation and cultural mediation as well as food provision for up to 1,200 unaccompanied minors in the Greek islands and in the mainland and facilitate formal education by providing transport and school kits. In addition, the funding will help assist migrants registered for assisted voluntary return and reintegration programmes. Today’s funding decision comes on top of more than €1.6 billion of funding support awarded by the Commission since 2015 to address migration challenges in Greece. Under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF), Greece has now been awarded €482.2 million in emergency funding, in addition to €561 million already awarded under these funds for the Greek national programme 2014-2020.

      v. aussi :


      https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/european-agenda-migration/20181010_managing-migration-eu-financial-support-to-greece_en.pdf

    • EC provides 43.7 million euros to increase migrant reception capacity in mainland Greece

      The European Commission has awarded an additional 43.7 million euros in emergency assistance to the International Organization for Migration (#IOM) to support Greece in responding to migratory challenges, the EU’s executive body said Wednesday.

      The grant, which comes from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, is designed to support the provision of emergency shelter for up to 6,000 asylum seekers and refugees by rapidly establishing places in temporary accommodation facilities, the Commission said.

      “The funding aims to provide dignified accommodation as well as basic assistance and protection services to the most vulnerable migrants in Greece, especially in view of the upcoming winter months and the need to decongest reception facilities on the Greek islands,” it said.

      The Commission has awarded more than 1.6 billion euros in funding since 2015 to address migratory challenges in Greece.

      http://www.ekathimerini.com/234665/article/ekathimerini/news/ec-provides-437-million-euros-to-increase-migrant-reception-capacity-i
      #OIM

    • Migration et #frontières : la Commission octroie 305 millions d’euros supplémentaires aux États membres sous pression

      Cette semaine, la Commission européenne a débloqué une enveloppe supplémentaire de 305 millions d’euros d’aide d’urgence afin de soutenir la #Grèce, l’#Italie, #Chypre et la #Croatie dans le domaine de la gestion des migrations et des frontières.

      Ces moyens financiers soutiendront les efforts déployés pour accroître les capacités d’#accueil, protéger les victimes de la traite des êtres humains et renforcer les capacités de surveillance et de #gestion_des_frontières.

      M. Dimitris Avramopoulos, commissaire pour la migration, les affaires intérieures et la citoyenneté, a déclaré à cette occasion : « La Commission est résolue à continuer de soutenir les États membres soumis à une #pression_migratoire. Les 305 millions d’euros supplémentaires attribués cette semaine à plusieurs pays permettront de répondre à des besoins urgents, en faisant en sorte que les nouveaux migrants arrivés dans ces pays soient hébergés convenablement et reçoivent de la #nourriture et de l’#eau, que la #sûreté et la #sécurité des personnes les plus vulnérables soient garanties et que les #contrôles_aux_frontières soient renforcés, si nécessaire. »

      Ce #financement_d'urgence, qui sera accordé au titre du Fonds « Asile, migration et intégration » (#AMIF) et du #Fonds_pour_la_sécurité_intérieure (#FSI) de la Commission, constitue une partie des 10,8 milliards d’euros déjà mobilisés par la Commission en faveur de la gestion des migrations et des frontières et de la sécurité intérieure pour la période 2014-2020.

      Grèce

      La Commission débloque 289 millions d’euros pour soutenir la gestion des migrations en Grèce. Cette enveloppe sera répartie comme suit :

      Hébergements locatifs et allocations : 190 millions d’euros seront versés au Haut-Commissariat des Nations unies pour les réfugiés (#HCR) pour permettre la poursuite du programme #ESTIA (#aide_d'urgence_à_l'intégration_et_à_l'hébergement). Ce programme fournit des #logements en location permettant d’accueillir jusqu’à 25 000 demandeurs d’asile et réfugiés et distribue des #allocations mensuelles en espèces pour un maximum de 70 000 personnes. Le HCR recevra également un autre montant de 5 millions d’euros afin d’augmenter encore la capacité d’#accueil dans les nouveaux #centres_d'accueil ouverts en Grèce continentale, en mettant à disposition et en distribuant 400 conteneurs préfabriqués.
      Conditions d’accueil : 61 millions d’euros iront à l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (#OIM) et au Fonds international de secours à l’enfance des Nations unies (#UNICEF), pour permettre la poursuite des programmes d’appui sur le terrain dans les centres d’accueil en Grèce continentale. Ces programmes englobent l’#accès_aux_soins de santé et à l’#éducation non formelle, la création de zones de sécurité spécifiques pour les #mineurs_non_accompagnés, ainsi que des formations destinées au personnel opérationnel.
      Recherche et sauvetage : 33 millions d’euros destinés aux garde-côtes grecs permettront de couvrir une partie des frais de fonctionnement afférents aux activités de connaissance de la situation maritime en mer Égée et contribueront à assurer des débarquements sûrs et une prise en charge efficiente des migrants à la suite d’opérations de recherche et sauvetage.
      Adaptation aux conditions hivernales : l’OIM recevra, pour soutenir ses préparatifs, 357 000 euros supplémentaires afin de fournir des couvertures, des vestes d’hiver et des kits d’hivernage dans les infrastructures d’accueil sur les îles grecques et dans la région de l’Évros.

      La Commission a mis plus de 2 milliards d’euros à la disposition de la Grèce pour la gestion des migrations, dont près de 1,5 milliard d’euros à titre d’aide financière d’urgence (voir la fiche d’information pour en savoir plus).

      Italie

      La Commission octroie 5,3 millions d’euros d’aide financière d’urgence aux autorités italiennes pour contribuer à protéger les victimes de la traite des êtres humains dans le contexte migratoire. Dans le cadre d’un projet pilote mené dans des centres d’hébergement de demandeurs d’asile dans la région du Piémont, le financement servira à identifier les victimes de la traite des êtres humains et à les encourager à recourir aux possibilités d’assistance à leur disposition.

      Depuis le début de la crise migratoire, la Commission a mis à disposition près de 950 millions d’euros pour soutenir la gestion des migrations et des frontières en Italie. Ce financement comprend un montant de plus de 225 millions d’euros d’aide d’urgence et 724 millions d’euros déjà alloués à l’Italie au titre de ses programmes nationaux relevant du Fonds « Asile, migration et intégration » et du Fonds pour la sécurité intérieure 2014-2020 (voir la fiche d’information pour en savoir plus).

      Chypre

      La Commission accorde 3,1 millions d’euros à Chypre pour que ce pays renforce sa capacité d’accueil et transforme le centre d’urgence temporaire « #Pournaras » en un centre de premier accueil à part entière. Grâce à ce financement, le centre deviendra un centre de formalités universel pouvant fonctionner 24 heures sur 24 et 7 jours sur 7. Les services assurés sur place comprendront l’examen médical, l’#enregistrement, le relevé des #empreintes_digitales, le #filtrage, la fourniture d’informations et la possibilité de présenter une demande d’asile.

      L’aide d’urgence s’inscrit dans le cadre des efforts déployés par la Commission pour renforcer l’appui à la gestion des migrations en faveur de Chypre, après l’augmentation considérable du nombre d’arrivées que ce pays a connue au cours de l’année 2018. Ce nouveau financement vient s’ajouter à près de 40 millions d’euros alloués à la gestion des migrations pour la période 2014-2020, et à près de 1 million d’euros d’aide d’urgence alloué en 2014 pour les questions migratoires. Le Bureau européen d’appui en matière d’asile déploie actuellement 29 agents chargés de dossiers afin d’aider Chypre à résorber l’arriéré de demandes d’asile consécutif à l’augmentation des arrivées au cours des dernières années.

      Croatie

      La Commission accorde 6,8 millions d’euros à la Croatie pour aider ce pays à renforcer la gestion des frontières extérieures de l’UE, dans le strict respect des règles de l’UE. Cette enveloppe permettra de renforcer la surveillance des frontières et les capacités des services répressifs, en couvrant les coûts opérationnels (indemnités journalières, compensation des heures supplémentaires et équipements) de dix postes de police des frontières. Un mécanisme de suivi sera mis en place afin de faire en sorte que toutes les mesures appliquées aux frontières extérieures de l’UE soient proportionnées et respectent pleinement les droits fondamentaux et la législation de l’Union en matière d’asile.

      Le montant octroyé aujourd’hui porte l’aide d’urgence totale en faveur de la gestion des migrations et des frontières allouée à la Croatie par la Commission à près de 23,2 millions d’euros. Cette somme s’ajoute à près de 108 millions d’euros alloués à la Croatie au titre des programmes nationaux relevant du Fonds « Asile, migration et intégration » et du Fonds pour la sécurité intérieure 2014-2020.

      Contexte

      Le soutien opérationnel et financier de l’Union joue un rôle déterminant pour aider les États membres à relever les défis migratoires depuis 2015.

      Le soutien de l’UE a également pris la forme d’une aide financière sans précédent accordée au titre du budget de l’UE à des partenaires – non seulement des autorités nationales, mais aussi des organisations internationales et des organisations non gouvernementales. En plus des dotations initiales pour la période 2014-2020 s’élevant à 6,9 milliards d’euros pour le Fonds « Asile, migration et intégration » (AMIF) et le Fonds pour la sécurité intérieure (#FSI_frontières_et_police), un montant supplémentaire de 3,9 milliards d’euros a été mobilisé en faveur de la gestion des migrations et des frontières et de la sécurité intérieure, pour atteindre 10,8 milliards d’euros.

      En outre, tirant les leçons de l’expérience, et compte tenu du fait que la gestion des migrations et des frontières demeurera un défi à l’avenir, la Commission a également proposé d’augmenter fortement les financements en la matière au titre du prochain budget de l’UE pour la période 2021-2027.

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-6884_fr.htm
      #traite_d'êtres_humains #surveillance_des_frontières #santé #MNA #IOM #Evros #Fonds_Asile_migration_et_intégration #tri #catégorisation


  • On the edge of the EU, refugee flows flood the Evros River

    A clampdown on Europe’s eastern borders and the Aegean Sea has forced migrants to seek different — and more dangerous — routes to the continent. Hunters and fishermen find their bodies, reports Anthee Carassava.

    http://www.dw.com/en/on-the-edge-of-the-eu-refugee-flows-flood-the-evros-river/a-43068842?maca=en-Twitter-sharing
    #Evros #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Grèce #frontières #Pavlos_Pavlidis #mourir_aux_frontières #morts #décès

    • Si jamais, pour mémoire, j’avais écrit cet article en 2012, paru dans @lacite et repris par @visionscarto :
      Dans la région de l’Evros, un mur inutile sur la frontière greco-turque

      L’Europe se déchire sur la « crise des migrants », et la Hongrie vient d’annoncer la fermeture de la frontière et l’édification d’une clôture de barbelés de 4 mètres de haut sur les 175 kilomètres de tracé frontalier avec la Serbie. Mais que se passe-t-il vraiment le long des frontières européennes ? Voyage en plusieurs étapes avec Alberto Campi et Cristina Del Biaggio, qui arpentent ces marges depuis 2012.

      Aujourd’hui, le mur d’Evros, sur la frontière greco-turque. Considérée comme une passoire, les autorités grecques ont cherché à la « verrouiller » en construisant un « mur » sur un peu plus de 12 kilomètres, symbole du durcissement de la politique de surveillance et de restriction des flux migratoires vers l’Europe.


      https://visionscarto.net/evros-mur-inutile

    • Erdogan crackdown, Syria war seen fueling migrant flows to Greece

      Over the previous week, a record 1,500 migrants and asylum-seekers crossed the Evros River border, most of them Kurds from Syria and Iraq, as well as self-professed critics of the Erdogan regime. Most turn themselves into Greek authorities, waiting to be formally identified and transferred to reception centers.

      Greek officials are concerned that arrivals via Evros will rise as dry weather has resulted in lower water levels in the river.

      Another key factor, military and police sources have told Kathimerini, is that Turkish authorities appear less willing than before to stem inflows. They say that the ease with which traffickers and migrants are able to reach the Turkish side of the border – despite Erdogan’s decision to reinforce Turkey’s land border with thousands of pro-government military border guards – suggests that the authorities have either been ordered to turn a blind eye to widespread trespassing or are susceptible to bribes. Additionally, analysts say that the fact that the vast majority of migrants are Kurds from war-torn Afrin in Syria and from Iraq, whose presence in Turkey would be a headache for Erdogan, amplifies skepticism over the true motives of Turkish authorities.

      “The Turks are doing in Evros what we did in Idomeni in the beginning [of the crisis],” a source said in reference to the now-defunct border camp on Greece’s frontier with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. “We simply facilitated the refugee flows so that they could move on to Europe through Skopje.”

      Meanwhile, sources say that the channels of communication between Greek and Turkish border guards, which in the past facilitated the arrest of migrants and smugglers before the attempted crossing, have been clogged amid deteriorating bilateral ties. The arrest of two Greek soldiers in early March after they accidentally crossed into Turkish territory has made Greek patrols more restrained in their operations.

      Greece plans to reinforce its border force with an additional 150 guards as of May 1.

      http://www.ekathimerini.com/227933/article/ekathimerini/news/erdogan-crackdown-syria-war-seen-fueling-migrant-flows-to-greece

      Greece plans to reinforce its border force with an additional 150 guards as of May 1

      –-> #militarisation_des_frontières

    • Concern as rising numbers cross from Turkey to Greece via Evros

      Over a thousand people have crossed the Evros river, marking the land border between Turkey and Greece, since March this year. Last week over one hundred people arrived each day and 340 people arrived on Tuesday alone. This has led to concerns from authorities and NGOs that an emergency situation is unfolding.

      Many of the people crossing the border have ended up sleeping in the parks and squares of the city of Thessaloniki, waiting for a place in a camp. There are also reports of hundreds of people waiting outside police stations, to get arrested in order to gain temporary residence. The municipality has expressed concerns that the city may experience similar circumstance as the events of 2015, where thousands of people slept on the streets across Greece. Local and national migration authorities have scheduled a meeting for Saturday to discuss the situation. The Migration Policy Minister Dimitris Vitsas expressed his concerns about the increase of arrivals and announced his ministry has developed two plans to deal with the situation, which he will share privately with party leaders.

      Arrivals have also been increasing on the Aegean islands, with arrivals on Lesvos almost four times the amount of last year. Minister Vitsas said “I’m not scared about the islands because we know what we have to do. What is really worrisome is the huge increase through Evros.” A concern also raised by the Head of the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) in Greece, Ruben Cano: “This is not the route most people take to reach Greece – it’s a worrying development. The summer will see river levels drop which could also lead to a further rise in people braving the journey.”

      The situation for refugees in Greece has been increasingly tense after incidents on Sunday, where a group of asylum seekers who had been occupying the central square in Mytillene, Lesvos to protest reception conditions and long asylum processing times, were attacked by over a hundred far right extremists. The attackers threw projectiles, including bricks and flares. The Mayor of Lesvos, Spyros Galinos, wrote to Minister Vitsas and the Citizen’s Protection Minister Nikos Toskas, saying, “Lack of action and poor management has resulted in nearly 10,000 asylum seekers being trapped in miserable conditions around a town of 27,000 residents and has created intense fear in the local community; a community that has lost its sense of security and after last night’s events its cohesion too.”

      The state of affairs in Turkey following the failed coup-attempt of 2016, the humanitarian impact of the war in Syria and deteriorating diplomatic ties between Greece and Turkey are cited as reasons for the increase of crossings of mainly people of Kurdish descent from Syria and Iraq and Turkish nationals.


      https://www.ecre.org/concern-as-rising-numbers-cross-from-turkey-to-greece-via-evros

    • Grèce : de plus en plus de réfugiés arrivent par voie terrestre

      La situation devient « intenable » dans la région de l’Evros, au nord-est de la Grèce. Selon le HCR, 2900 personnes ont pénétré dans le pays en avril par la frontière terrestre, 1650 en mars. Les autorités grecques s’inquiètent de cette hausse d’autant que de nombreux camps ont été fermés dans le nord du pays et que les capacités d’accueil y sont restreintes.


      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/les-refugies-sont-de-plus-en-plus-nombreux-a-arriver-par-voie-ter

    • ’Grieken die migranten terugsturen is duistere, illegale praktijk’

      In de nacht, buiten het zicht, langs de afgelegen rivieroever van de Evros gebeurt het: migranten die voet op Griekse bodem hebben gezet, worden weer in een bootje geladen en teruggevaren naar Turkije. Pushbacks. De grensrivier tussen Turkije en Griekenland is het middelpunt van een goed georganiseerd, illegaal gesleep met migranten.

      https://nos.nl/artikel/2230095-grieken-die-migranten-terugsturen-is-duistere-illegale-praktijk.html
      #refoulement #push-back

    • Le HCR demande à la Grèce d’améliorer la situation à Evros

      Le HCR, l’Agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés, demande au gouvernement grec d’améliorer de toute urgence les conditions de vie et les capacités d’accueil des réfugiés dans la région d’Evros, à la suite d’une récente augmentation des arrivées via la frontière terrestre avec la Turquie. Des centaines de personnes sont actuellement maintenues dans des centres de détention de la police.

      Environ 2 900 personnes sont arrivées à Evros ce mois-ci, principalement des familles syriennes ou iraquiennes. Cela représente près de la moitié des arrivées enregistrées pour l’ensemble de l’année 2017. Selon les données recueillies par le HCR, les arrivées par voie terrestre ont dépassé le nombre d’arrivées par la mer au mois d’avril. Au moins huit personnes sont mortes depuis le début de l’année en tentant de traverser le fleuve Evros.

      Cette augmentation des nouvelles arrivées met à rude épreuve l’unique centre d’accueil et d’identification d’Evros, situé à Fylakio. Ce centre a dépassé sa capacité maximale d’accueil de 240 personnes, dont 120 enfants non accompagnés ou séparés de leur famille.

      Etant donné que le centre d’accueil et d’identification est submergé et qu’il peine à procéder à l’enregistrement et à l’identification des réfugiés, à fournir des services d’ordre médicaux, psychosociaux ou d’interprétation, les autorités ont placé des personnes, dont de nombreux enfants, dans des centres de détention de la police éparpillés dans la région et inadaptés à la situation, dans l’attente que des places se libèrent.

      Certaines personnes sont maintenues depuis plus de trois mois dans des centres de détention de la police. Les conditions de vie y sont désastreuses et les services y sont limités au strict minimum. Lors d’une visite sur place, les équipes du HCR ont découvert des familles qui dormaient à même le sol dans les couloirs à côté des cellules. Dans un autre établissement, on comptait à peine un médecin et quatre infirmières pour plus de 500 personnes. Parmi les centaines de personnes maintenues dans ces conditions, on dénombre des femmes enceintes, de très jeunes enfants et des personnes qui ont besoin de soins médicaux ou d’une aide psycho-sociale.

      Nous nous réjouissons de la décision qui a permis de libérer plus de 2 500 personnes détenues par les autorités mais nous sommes préoccupés par les conditions dans lesquelles ces libérations ont été réalisées, à savoir sans vérifier la vulnérabilité des personnes concernées et sans leur fournir suffisamment d’informations au sujet de l’asile ou de leurs autres options. Leur situation doit être examinée de toute urgence afin de leur permettre l’accès à des soins et aux procédures d’asile.

      Nous saluons les efforts menés par la police et par le centre d’accueil et d’identification de Fylakio en vue de relever les défis auxquels ils sont confrontés mais, face à des ressources de plus en plus limitées, la situation est devenue intenable.

      Le HCR suggère plusieurs mesures :

      Accroître d’urgence la capacité d’accueil du centre de réception et d’identification, en y augmentant le nombre de places disponibles et en y améliorant les conditions de vie et les services ;
      Identifier des lieux de transit ouverts, vers lesquels pourront être dirigées les personnes qui arrivent d’Evros et où l’enregistrement et l’identification pourront être réalisés ;
      Mettre en place des équipes mobiles d’enregistrement et d’identification ;
      Transférer immédiatement les familles en détention vers des abris sûrs et les guider vers les services dont elles ont besoin ;
      Améliorer les conditions de vie dans les centres de la police, y compris pour des périodes de courte durée, en y assurant l’accès à des espaces communs et à des services élémentaires, notamment et en priorité des soins de santé ;
      Augmenter les capacités d’enregistrement des autorités grecques compétentes afin de garantir l’accès aux procédures d’asile et l’enregistrement des demandes en temps opportun ;
      Transférer rapidement les enfants non accompagnés vers des lieux sûrs et procéder rapidement à une évaluation de leur situation et des liens familiaux.

      Le HCR continue de fournir son appui en matière de protection au centre d’accueil et d’identification de Fylakio, et reste en contact étroit et régulier avec le gouvernement grec afin de faire face à cette situation exceptionnelle. Le HCR continuera d’aider les autorités grecques en fournissant un soutien technique et matériel, notamment des couvertures, des vêtements, des articles d’hygiène, des lampes à énergie solaire et d’autres articles non alimentaires.


      http://www.unhcr.org/fr/news/briefing/2018/4/5ae734a4a/hcr-demande-grece-dameliorer-situation-evros.html

    • La rivière Evros, point de passage des clandestins entre la Turquie à la Grèce

      Les migrants multiplient les tentatives pour passer le fleuve qui marque la frontière, en dépit de la pression exercée par les polices turque et grecque.

      Rivière tumultueuse qui marque la frontière entre la Turquie et la Grèce, à 75 kilomètres de la ville d’Edirne, en Thrace orientale, l’Evros est l’une des portes d’entrée des migrants en Europe. Si les candidats au départ prennent moins souvent les bateaux pour rejoindre l’Union européenne via les îles grecques, ils optent toujours pour la traversée de la rivière Evros, réputée – à tort, car il existe des cas de noyades – moins dangereuse que celle de la mer Egée.

      Ces passages de migrants redoublent après la décrue printanière du fleuve, comme en témoignent les sacs plastique, les vêtements abandonnés et les canots pneumatiques dégonflés qui jonchent ses berges. Ces tout derniers mois, le rythme s’est encore accéléré. Les autorités grecques faisaient état d’une moyenne de 44 arrivées par jour dans la zone en 2017. Elles sont passées à 62 en janvier et février 2018, puis à 200 les mois suivants. « En avril, nous avons enregistré 2 700 arrivées pour la région d’Evros », a déploré Dimitris Vitsas, le ministre de la politique migratoire, lors d’un débat parlementaire sur les réfugiés, mardi 24 avril.

      « Chaque jour, je vois des réfugiés. Je les croise quotidiennement dans mes champs ou le long des sentiers qui mènent au village », confirme Erdogan Adali, le chef de l’administration du village d’#Akcadam, situé à 3 kilomètres du fleuve. « Ça me fend le cœur. Ils sont dans un état pitoyable, hagards, pieds nus, affamés. Je leur donnerais volontiers le gîte et le couvert, mais c’est un délit, je ne peux pas. Dès que je les vois, je suis obligé d’alerter les gendarmes qui viennent les chercher pour les ramener au centre de rétention d’Edirne », raconte l’agriculteur au visage buriné, dont les rizières et les champs de blé jouxtent le village.

      Le reste... #paywall
      https://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2018/06/05/la-riviere-evros-point-de-passage-des-clandestins-entre-la-turquie-a-la-grec

    • Greece: Asylum-Seeking Women Detained with Men. Urgently End Dangerous Detention Conditions

      Greek authorities are routinely confining asylum-seeking women with unrelated men in the northern Evros region, at the land-border with Turkey, putting them at grave risk of sexual violence and harassment. Authorities should immediately stop holding asylum-seeking women and girls in closed facilities with unrelated men.

      Human Rights Watch research in Northern Greece in late May 2018 found women and girls housed with unrelated men in sites for reception and/or detention of asylum seekers. Twelve women and two girls interviewed said they had been locked in cells or enclosures for weeks, and in one case for nearly five months, with men and boys they did not know. Four said they were the sole females confined with dozens of men, in some cases with at least one male partner or relative.

      “Women and girls should not be confined with men who are complete strangers, even for a day,” said Hillary Margolis, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “These women and girls came to Greece seeking security and protection, and instead they are living in fear.”

      Five women said they had severe psychological distress as a result, including two who had suicidal thoughts. Other women and girls said they experienced sleeplessness, anxiety, and other emotional and psychological distress, in part due to fear of confinement with unrelated men.

      The Greek government has not provided authorities in northern Greece with sufficient resources to respond to a surge in arrivals over the land border with Turkey in April. Officials who met with Human Rights Watch acknowledged that the increase led to a slowdown in reception and identification procedures, including registration of asylum claims, as well as overcrowding of and lengthier stays in reception and immigration detention facilities.

      Pending completion of reception and identification procedures, newly-arrived irregular migrants and those seeking international protection are held in border police stations in the Evros region, in the Fylakio pre-removal detention center, run by the Hellenic Police, and/or in the Fylakio reception and identification center (RIC), run by the Ministry for Migration Policy. The Ministry and the Hellenic police granted Human Rights Watch access to these sites, and authorities at the pre-removal detention center and RIC helped identify female migrants in the facilities so that Human Rights Watch could approach them for interviews.

      Eight women and one of the girls said they had been held in cells with unrelated men in Fylakio pre-removal detention center, including six women who were held with unrelated men at the time of the interviews. Five women and the two girls were housed with unrelated men in pre-fabricated containers and locked, fenced-off “sections” in the Fylakio RIC at the time of the interviews. Some said they were held with unrelated men in multiple facilities.

      Two of the women said they had been at the pre-removal center in cells with their male partners and many unknown men for at least two weeks. “Maha,” a 38-year-old woman from Iraq, was visibly shaking as she described being the sole woman in a cell with about 60 men for over two weeks. Maha said she avoided drinking water due to fear of using the shared toilet inside the cell. She said that she was living almost exclusively inside an enclosure she and her partner created by hanging blankets around their bunkbed.

      “I haven’t moved my legs for 23 days,” she said in tears, demonstrating how she cowered with her knees hugged to her chest all day. “If I had a way to kill myself, I would have.”

      According to a police registry given to Human Rights Watch researchers, at the time of the interview she and her partner were held in a cell with 32 unrelated men. Maha was released days after her interview, but her partner remained in detention.

      Some women and girls said they were housed with unrelated men at the RIC for weeks or months. “Suraya,” a woman in her twenties (nationality withheld) in the RIC with her four-year-old nephew while awaiting confirmation of their family links, spent nearly five months in a section she said housed only men and unaccompanied boys. She said a fellow asylum seeker sexually assaulted her. “He started touching me while I was sleeping,” Suraya said, adding that he left when she screamed, and she reported it to authorities. “I have asked [them] to take me to a safer place here, or to another camp, but nothing has happened,” she said.

      Authorities at the pre-removal detention center said there is a separate designated cell for women traveling alone, but they also put families in that cell “if necessary,” such as during periods of overcrowding. The facility was under capacity when Human Rights Watch visited, but two single women said they were in a cell with unrelated families. Authorities in both the pre-removal detention center and the RIC acknowledged gaps in response at the facilities, which they attribute largely to a dearth of resources.

      National and European law as well as international standards require that men and women be held separately in detention, including reception and immigration detention facilities, unless they are members of the same family and consent to being held together. They also call for separating unaccompanied children from adults, and separate accommodation for families. A 2016 order issued by the Headquarters of the Hellenic Police instructs police to separate women and children from unrelated men in closed facilities.

      Greek authorities should ensure the safety and security of all asylum seekers, including by providing single women, single men, families, and unaccompanied children with separate accommodation, toilets and bathing facilities in all immigration detention sites and other closed facilities. Authorities should urgently fit all rooms, bathrooms, and containers in RICs with locking doors to facilitate security and privacy.

      When necessary, authorities should urgently transfer single women, unaccompanied and separated children, and families including couples in immigration detention to accommodation or facilities that meet these standards. Authorities should also ensure that asylum seekers have a safe and confidential means to report sexual harassment or assault, and that such reports are promptly investigated, those responsible are appropriately punished, and immediate measures are taken to ensure victims’ safety and well-being.

      “Women and girls in these sites are overcome by fear from being locked up with men who are complete strangers,” Margolis said. “Greek authorities need to put an urgent stop to this, and grant them the security, privacy and dignity they deserve.”

      Accounts from asylum seekers in Fylakio pre-removal detention center and the reception and identification center (RIC) in Fylakio, Greece:

      Fatima (all names have been changed), 24, from Algeria, who had been at the pre-removal center with her husband for 20 days: “For 20 days I have been the only woman [in our cell]. The others are all single men. I had difficulty at the beginning. I sleep at night covered in a blanket. One night a man [in the cell] came and lifted the blanket and was looking at me. When I go to take a bath, the men come and try to look over the wall…. I am very stressed…. I feel like I have reached the bottom. I feel like I am broken.”

      Suha, 20, from Morocco, who had been in the Fylakio pre-removal detention center with her husband for two weeks. At the time of the interview, they were in a cell alone, but they had previously been in the same center for two weeks in a cell with mostly men: “There were two other girls and 60 to 70 men [in the cell] … I was fighting for myself every day … The worst time was when I would go to the toilet. All of them would follow me with their eyes, say things. Some men, when they see a woman they act like animals. They would call out to me, ‘Stand up, stop here, let us look at you, you’re beautiful.’ The toilets are mixed [for men and women.] The bath is the same. There is no lock on the door. If you sit, they can’t see you [over the wall]. But if you stand they can see you from the chest up. Imagine being a woman in those conditions.”

      Samira, 18, from Syria, who had been in the RIC with her 15-year-old sister for three weeks: “Since I’ve been here I’m unable to eat. I’m very stressed. I can’t leave my sister, I have to take care of her…. I’m constantly afraid that someone will enter our container. I don’t sleep at night – I stay awake during the day and sleep in the morning… I only shower once every two weeks because I feel like people are watching me [in the bathroom] … I wake up every morning at 3 a.m. feeling scared and nervous.”

      Nada, 16, from Syria, who had been in the RIC with her older brother and sister for nearly two months: “We’re the only family in our section, it’s all single men. The only women are me and my sister. Everyone is afraid here. There are more than 20 men [or unaccompanied boys] living in our section…. At first, we were 20 people in the [same] container, but they have all left. It was mixed men and women. We didn’t feel safe and couldn’t sleep. We stayed up all night…. We shared the toilet with strangers. I used to take my sister with me and ask her to wait at the door.”

      Nadir, 21, from Syria, who had been in the RIC for 20 days with his 6-year-old niece, Abra, whose mother became separated from them during the crossing from Turkey to Greece: “We are in the same container with two families…. The doors don’t lock…. The families staying with us are Iraqi Kurds. We can’t communicate with them – how can we feel safe? It is not a question of nationality, it is just that they are strangers. I can’t leave [Abra] alone. If she wants to go outside, I go outside; if she wants to go to the toilet, I go with her. There are single men [or unaccompanied boys]. If you come at night around 10 p.m. you will hear the noises they make [yelling] and understand why we don’t feel safe.”

      Abbas, 35, from Iran, who had arrived at the Fylakio pre-removal detention center with his wife, 36 the previous day: “When we reached here, [the police] said, ‘You have to be separated [from your wife].’ I said, ‘No, we can’t be separated, we are a couple.’ Then the police said, ‘If you don’t separate, you’ll both have to go to the room with all the men.’ My wife was shocked and started crying. She was really scared. I said, ‘Okay, let’s separate.’ I kissed her, said goodbye, and they put her in another room and me in the room with all the men.” Eventually, he said, the police brought his wife to a cell opposite his and then put them together in that cell, along with unrelated families.

      Additional Information on Combined Detention of Women and Men

      In interviews with twelve women and two girls from May 19 to 24, eight women and one girl said they had been held in cells with unrelated men in Fylakio pre-removal detention center, including six women who were held with unrelated men at the time of the interviews.

      Women at the pre-removal center said that combined toilet and bathing stalls in cells they shared with men did not have floor-to-ceiling walls, and they were harassed by male cellmates while using them. One 24-year-old woman, in a cell with her husband and 20 single men, said men attempted to watch her over the wall while she used the toilet.

      Six women and two girls told Human Rights Watch they were also housed with unrelated men at the RIC, sometimes for weeks or months, in pre-fabricated containers and “sections,” which are fenced-in, locked enclosures containing a courtyard and multiple containers housing migrants and asylum seekers. Five women and two girls were being held with unrelated men and/or boys at the time of their interviews at the Fylakio RIC.

      Assignment to sections is based primarily on nationality. Awaiting confirmation of age, placement in designated accommodation, or establishment of family links to other asylum seekers can result in lengthy stays for unaccompanied or separated children and their non-immediate family members.

      Two unrelated girls, ages 15 and 16, each said they had been in these sections in the RIC with unrelated adult men and/or boys for over three weeks; one said she and her 30-year-old sister had been the only females in a section with 20 men and/or boys for about 45 days. One 19-year-old pregnant woman who was there with her husband and in-laws said her container housed multiple unrelated families in one shared room.

      Some women and girls, as well as a man with his 6-year-old niece, said they and their family members live in rooms inside containers shared with unrelated families including men or boys. In all cases, they said they share toilets and bathing facilities with men and/or boys, and that no containers or bedrooms have locking doors.

      Detention of Migrants and Asylum Seekers in Greece

      Under Greek law, authorities may restrict the movement of new arrivals for up to 25 days at a reception and identification center (RIC) and up to a total of six months in immigration detention, including at pre-removal centers. Unaccompanied and separated children may be held longer pending resolution of their cases and reunification with family members, particularly when age or family links are in question, or pending available space in designated sites with protected areas or shelters.

      Upon arrival in the Evros region in northern Greece, where the land-border with Turkey is located, irregular migrants and those seeking international protection are held in border police stations, a pre-removal detention center, and/or a RIC, pending completion of reception and identification procedures. Following these procedures, new arrivals may be detained for processing or assessment of their asylum claim, or for deportation.

      While the increase in arrivals in April temporarily strained asylum identification, registration, and accommodation services in Northern Greece and the Evros region, authorities are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of asylum seekers throughout registration and identification processes. Increased arrivals do not justify the Greek government’s failure to protect women and girls, or to allow dangerous conditions to persist even after arrivals have decreased.

      During Human Rights Watch visits to sites in the Thessaloniki area and in Evros, authorities said that arrivals had returned to a normal range over the previous two weeks. On May 19, authorities at Fylakio pre-removal detention center said the site has a capacity of 374 and was housing only 172 people. On May 21, authorities at the RIC, which has a capacity of 240, said it was housing 196. Nevertheless, Human Rights Watch found women and girls being held with unrelated men and boys.

      On June 1, following an April ad hoc visit to Greece, the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment reported the detention of men, women, and children together in a single cell at the Fylakio pre-removal center, consistent with the Human Rights Watch findings in May.

      Authorities said they give priority to members of “vulnerable” groups for registration, processing, and transfer to appropriate accommodation. Under Greek law this includes unaccompanied or separated children, people with disabilities, pregnant women and new mothers, single parents with minor children, and victims of sexual violence, torture or other severe psychological or physical trauma. The authorities acknowledged that unaccompanied or separated children – and sometimes their family members – may be accommodated for lengthy periods in the RIC due to limited spaces in designated “safe” facilities and lengthy processes for verifying family links.

      The Greek government’s failure to accommodate men, women, and children separately in immigration detention is a longstanding problem, including in Evros. The European Court of Human Rights and multiple other international human rights bodies have criticized inhumane and degrading conditions in Greek immigration detention facilities, including failure to separate women and children from unrelated men. Human Rights Watch has previously documented violence, insecurity, sexual harassment, and unhygienic and unsanitary conditions in facilities for registration, identification, and processing of asylum seekers on the Greek islands, or “hotspots.” Human Rights Watch has also found women traveling alone housed with unrelated men in island hotspots.


      https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/06/07/greece-asylum-seeking-women-detained-men

      #Fylakio #femmes #violences_sexuelles #harcèlement_sexuel

    • Greek Authorities’ Struggle to Identify Dead Evros Migrants

      The worsening humanitarian situation on Greece’s land border with Turkey, is drawing international media attention.

      As the local authorities also face the challenge of identifying the bodies they recover from the frontier river, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has already called on the Greek government to urgently improve conditions and expand reception capacity in the north east.

      This follows a recent rise in arrivals in the Evros area across the land border with Turkey.

      In one report, Britain’s BBC investigates how people fleeing from Iraq and Syria as well as other countries like Iran and Afghanistan, put themselves at risk while trying to cross the dangerous waters of the Evros.

      The BBC dispatch covers the work of local people like Professor Pavlos Pavlidis of the Alexandroupoli State Hospital. A forensic surgeon, he has built up a huge database of photos, personal items and DNA samples taken from unidentified people who have perished while crossing into Greece.

      Sometimes, his work allows for a victim to be identified: “It gives an answer, even if it is a sad answer,” he says.

      http://greece.greekreporter.com/2018/05/01/greek-authorities-struggle-to-identify-dead-evros-migrants
      #cadavres #morts #identification #corps #décès #mourir_aux_frontières

    • Unprepared and overwhelmed: Greece’s resurgent river border with Turkey. When an old migration route became new again, the Evros region was caught on the back foot.

      Locals in Evros are used to new faces. People have been quietly slipping across the river that forms a natural barrier for all but 12 kilometres of the tense, militarised border between Greece and Turkey since Greece joined the European Union in 1981.

      But everyone on the Evros River was puzzled when a crush of hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers began crossing their sleepy riverine border every day in March. Six months later, arrivals have slowed but worries persist that the region is still poorly prepared for any new influx.

      At the rush’s height in April, more than 3,600 crossed the river in one month, surpassing the total number of people arriving in Greece by sea for the first time since 2012. They came across the Evros on plastic dinghies, and once on Greek soil they were picked up by smugglers in cars or continued the journey by foot. The banks of the river were littered with discarded clothes, water bottles, food and medicine packages, and flotation devices, which remain there today.

      Despite its history of migration, Evros, one of Greece’s poorest regions, was caught off guard. Hundreds of new arrivals were crammed into police stations, waiting for months to lodge their asylum claims. There were no NGOs to help out. Conditions were dismal, and services limited.

      “We are all surprised with the rise in arrivals in Evros, and the lack of Greek preparation,” said Georgia Spyropoulou, an advocacy officer with the Hellenic League for Human Rights, from her office in Athens.

      Greek officials say they were caught unawares too, with a local police commissioner telling the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, in June that “it is necessary to be prepared in case there is an increase in arrivals again.” Still, local police insisted they were doing the best they could with the resources available to them.

      No one is quite sure what prompted the flood of people in the first place. And plenty of of people are still making their way to Evros – 9,480 by the end of July, taking a gamble on a border that looks safe but can be deadly – 29 people have died this year during the crossing or shortly after.
      Border police and barn doors

      Before 2012, and before millions of people began landing on Europe’s beaches and drowning in the Mediterranean, Evros (known as the Meriç River in Turkish) was the main crossing point for those hoping to make it into Europe through Greece.

      Amidst mounting pressure from other EU countries to further seal its borders (Austria’s interior minister famously said Greece was “open like a barn door”), Athens launched Operation Aspida (“Shield”) in 2012, deploying 1,800 more police officers and erecting a fence on the land portion of the border, adding to a 175-strong rapid border intervention team known as RABIT – set up in 2010 with the help of Frontex, the EU border agency.

      Those who made it alive to the Greek banks of the Evros this year found a system wholly unprepared for their arrival.

      The new measures worked, and by November 2012 migrant arrivals had dwindled to none – a remarkable decrease from 6,500 in August that year.

      Athens denies reports of pushbacks of asylum seekers, but human rights watchdogs have documented collective expulsions in which people are forced back into Turkey after already crossing the river, and the UN has also raised concerns.

      Despite the crackdown, the numbers began to creep up again slowly this March. And then the spring rush came.
      Understaffed and unprepared

      Those who made it alive to the Greek banks of the Evros this year found a system wholly unprepared for their arrival.

      The procedure is supposed to be simple: new arrivals are brought to “pre-removal detention centres” run by the Hellenic police, where they wait for no more than seven days to be fingerprinted and have their asylum claims registered at the region’s one official Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) in the small village of Fylakio.

      But it proved to be anything but.

      The RIC was understaffed and overwhelmed by the numbers, causing the sorts of major delays in processing that have plagued the reception system on the Greek islands.

      In a scathing review of Evros in the springtime, UNHCR criticised the detention of new arrivals in sub-standard police facilities. Human Rights Watch also found troubling conditions in May: women and girls were being held with unrelated men. One woman told the watchdog she was sexually assaulted by a fellow asylum seeker; her requests to be transferred to another location were ignored.

      After asylum seekers’ claims are processed, they are moved to the RIC itself, which has a 240-person capacity.

      Unlike on the Greek islands and its controversial policy of containment, people in Evros are allowed to move about the country. After applying for asylum, most head to other government- or UN-run camps elsewhere in the country. Still, even the RIC facility quickly became overrun as unaccompanied minors and those likely to have their asylum claims rejected had to stay on.
      Improvements

      When IRIN visited Fylakio in July, it found the RIC camp no longer overcrowded, and newly arrived asylum seekers expressed relief at being out of the pre-removal detention centre. “That was a very bad place,” one Turkish arrival said, declining to elaborate.

      IRIN was not granted access to the nearby pre-removal detention centre. But despite Greek police releasing many migrants from police detention, a HRW report from July said conditions in Fylakio remained “inhumane”, describing “dark, dank cells, with overpowering odours in the corridors”, a lack of toilets and locked doors, and insufficient healthcare.

      There have been some improvements for those out of their first detention, and NGOs have arrived to help: ARISIS, a Greek non-governmental organisation that provides social support for minors, had recently set up a makeshift office, and Médecins Sans Frontières has now established a permanent outpost in Fylakio.

      But one RIC employee said they remain understaffed. “We have the experience and motivation to manage the situation,” but not the manpower, the employee said, asking to remain anonymous because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

      Staff work in two shifts. When IRIN visited, the centre’s director was on sick leave, and there were still no doctors on staff, and only three nurses.

      In one crowded container at the RIC centre, an Iraqi family was living alongside the body of a dog that had died the previous week – its body still hadn’t been removed, and the stench lingered. The mother was concerned for the health of her infant, who was in hospital. Because members of the family, including the mother, are minors, they are currently stuck in limbo, waiting at the RIC.

      Communication remains a constant issue. There are no official, permanent translators and the overwhelming majority of the centre’s staff only speaks English or Greek.

      “There are asylum seekers who are interpreting for other asylum seekers… [which is] completely inappropriate,” Eva Cosse, Western Europe researcher for HRW, told IRIN.
      What’s next?

      Months after the springtime surge at Evros, there is still confusion about what caused it – and if there’s any way to predict if the same thing might happen again. Everyone, it seems, has a theory.

      “The waves of migration increase in populations when there are serious issues in the country of origin,” Nikolaos Menexidis, the barrel-chested police major general of Western Thrace, told IRIN from his headquarters in the town of Kommini. “When Turkey created the latest issues in Afrin, we saw a rise in numbers.”

      It’s true that following Turkey’s assault on the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin – militias supported by Ankara took control in March – the majority of those recorded crossing in the spring were Syrian Kurds and Iraqis.

      But that doesn’t explain the drop in other nationalities who have long used the river crossing, like asylum seekers from Pakistan, countered Dimitros Koros, a lawyer with the Greek Council of Refugees.

      Some people may be driven by politics – Turks who had fled and made it to the RIC in Fylakio said they had been wrongly accused of terrorist activity at home or suspected of ties to the Gulen movement, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for the 2016 attempted coup in his country. Others may have just heard there was a chance to make it to Europe at the river.

      Whatever the reason for the surge, migrants and asylum seekers people will likely continue to take their chances on the way to Greece. And Koros, the lawyer with the Greek Council for Refugees, worries that new arrivals will continue to struggle, as they move away from the squalid conditions at the border itself and into a wider region unequipped to help.

      “Evros is not just the border,” he said. “Evros is here in Thessaloniki. They are here, homeless, without any provision of service.”

      http://www.irinnews.org/news-feature/2018/09/27/unprepared-and-overwhelmed-greece-s-resurgent-river-border-turkey

    • An open secret: Refugee pushbacks across the Turkey-Greece border

      On an eastern frontier of the European Union, people are whisked back to Turkey before they can claim asylum in Greece.

      Linda, a 19-year-old Syrian and registered refugee, had just crossed from Turkey into Greece at the Evros River when men carrying guns appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. She wasn’t sure if they were police officers or soldiers, but they emerged from behind trees and wore dark uniforms that helped them blend into the night.

      It was mid-May, and several hours earlier Linda had boarded a mini-bus in Istanbul with around 35 other people, including children and a pregnant woman, eager to enter European Union territory. The trip had been organised by smugglers, and the passengers ended up in a remote area close to the northwestern Turkish city of Edirne. At around three in the morning they boarded small boats that ferried them across the river.

      Linda’s plan was to get into Greece, then make her way to Denmark, where her fiancé lives. Her crossing was part of a sharp uptick in traffic into the EU via the Evros (known as the Meriç in Turkish) this spring; 3,600 people are known to have crossed in April alone, compared to just over 1,000 in all of 2013.

      But she didn’t make it more than a few steps into EU territory before she was stopped.

      The men demanded that everyone in the group hand over their mobile phones. “Then they beat the men who were with us, put us in a boat, and sent us back to the Turkish side of the border,” Linda recalled when she spoke to IRIN recently in Istanbul.

      Pushbacks like the one Linda experienced have been going on for years, documented by both human rights watchdogs and the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR. They are also illegal under European and international law.

      “The right to claim and enjoy asylum is a fundamental human right," Leo Dobbs, a UNHCR spokesman in Greece, told IRIN. Pushbacks at the Evros border, he added, are a “serious issue.”

      According to a report released by the Greek Council for Refugees in February, before the spring rush, pushbacks have increased to the point of being “systematic” as the number of people crossing the Evros has grown slowly in the past two years.

      The Evros River border between Turkey and Greece is one of the easternmost frontiers of the European Union. Until a fence went up on all but 12 kilometres of the Evros in 2012, it was the easiest and safest path for asylum seekers from the Middle East and elsewhere to reach Europe, and nearly 55,000 people crossed the border irregularly in 2011.

      A controversial 2016 EU-Turkey deal that paved the way for asylum seekers to be returned from the Greek Islands to Turkey (which it deems safe under the terms of that agreement), does not apply to the Evros border. Instead, there is a separate, largely ineffective bilateral readmission agreement dating from 2002 that was suspended earlier this year.

      Even under the terms of that agreement, pushbacks like the one Linda experienced violate European and international laws on refugee protection, which require states to allow asylum seekers to file for protection and prohibit sending them back to countries where they may face danger. While countries are allowed to protect their borders, they cannot legally return people who have already crossed without first evaluating their claims.

      Pushbacks may be illegal, but they are an open secret. “It’s something that everybody knows,” said Dimitris Koros, a lawyer with the Greek Council for Refugees. Now, when an asylum seeker enters Greece from the land border, “the first thing you encounter is the possibility of being pushed back,” he added.

      The Greek Ministry for Migration Policy did not respond to IRIN’s requests for comment, but the Greek government has repeatedly denied it is engaged in systematic pushbacks.

      Human rights organisations say they have raised the issue of responsibility with the Greek government multiple times without receiving a response. “It’s a difficult thing… to say that the government instructs or gives orders to the policemen to do it,” Konstantinos Tsitselikis, a human rights law professor and former director of the Hellenic League for Human Rights said, “but they have the knowledge and they tolerate it at least.”

      It’s unclear just how many people have been pushed back or who is responsible, because the area around the border is a closed military zone and there aren’t many NGOs working in the region.

      Meanwhile on the Turkish side of the river, security forces regularly apprehend people attempting to cross and transfer them to government-run detention centres. But amidst a pervasive atmosphere of fear and silence, the treatment of asylum seekers and migrants after they are pushed back and detained largely remains a mystery.
      A longstanding practice

      According to Tsitselikis, pushbacks have been happening for decades.

      “I used to do my military service in 1996-97 in the Evros border area,” he told IRIN. “Even then the Greek authorities were doing pushbacks every day.”

      Although the border is technically a military zone, these days border police patrol the frontier as well as personnel from the EU border control agency, Frontex.

      People who have been pushed back, including Linda, describe being met by security forces wearing different types of uniforms, but it’s tough to assign responsibility.

      “Since it takes place outside of the public eye, we don’t really understand who is responsible,” Koros, from the Greek Council for Refugees, said.

      When asked about the practice by IRIN, Nikolaos Menexidis, police major general of Western Thrace, the Greek region that borders Turkey, said Hellenic police always follow the proper procedures when dealing with migrants.

      Menexidis said his forces have been working with Turkish police for the past six years on what he calls “technical issues.” They primarily exchange information on stopping smugglers on both sides of the border, he said.

      After pushback

      Linda’s ordeal did not end when she was pushed back into Turkey. The smugglers who brought her group to the border were gone and so was the bus. Without phones to call for help, the group was stuck. After waiting several hours, they tried to cross again.

      This time they made it further, walking for five or six hours in Greek territory before they were stopped, taken to a detention centre, and placed in a room with people from many different countries.

      After being held for several more hours, they were driven back to the border, the men were beaten again, and they were all forced back to the Turkish side of the river. By that point, the group was exhausted and thirsty. “For two days we didn’t drink water. When we saw the river we drank from it,” Linda said. “There were people who got sick because the water was dirty.”

      A group of Turkish soldiers found them in the woods and brought them food, water, and milk for the children and pointed them in the direction of Edirne, where they arranged for taxis to bring them back to Istanbul.

      In a way, Linda was lucky. Last December, the Greek Council for Refugees documented the case of a Pakistani man who died of hypothermia after being forcibly returned to Turkey. He had fallen into the cold water on the way back.

      While the Evros is no more than a few metres wide, its current is deceptively strong and, according to records in Greece, at least 29 people this year have died while trying to cross the water or shortly after.

      Some who are forced back to Turkey face serious punishment. Since a failed military coup in 2016, the Turkish government has jailed tens of thousands of opponents, leading to an increase in the number of Turks fleeing to Greece to seek asylum – nearly 2,000 in 2017 compared to just 180 the year before. The Hellenic League for Human Rights has documented two cases of Turks being pushed back from Greece at the Evros and later being imprisoned in Turkey, including journalist Murat Çapan, who is now serving a 22.5 year sentence for “participating in a terrorist organization and attempting to overthrow the constitution”.

      Despite documentation, human rights advocates say they have struggled to bring attention to the issue of pushbacks, as EU and international policymakers focus on stemming Mediterranean crossings. There is little appetite in Europe at the moment for monitoring or changing policies that are keeping asylum seekers and migrants from entering the EU.

      “Both the European Union and the Greek government... prefer not to open this discussion, especially in this political environment,” Tsitselikis said, referring to the rise of right-wing, anti-migration politics in Europe that is shaking the foundations of the EU.
      Fear and silence

      In early June, about a 10-minute drive from Edirne, hundreds of people in the parking lot of what the Turkish government calls a “migrant removal centre” huddled under tin pavilions that offered shade from the afternoon sun. This is where those caught on the Turkish side of the river are brought.

      IRIN visited three times over the course of a week to try to gain access, but never received a response to our requests.

      The centre is surrounded by a low wall topped with a chain-link fence and spools of razor wire. Each time IRIN visited, there were hundreds of people – mostly men, but also women and small children – in the parking lot and white vans passed in and out of the metal gate depositing more people. Two large charter buses idled in the parking lot with their doors open, seemingly waiting for people to board.

      In close to a week spent at the border, there was no concrete evidence of what was happening inside the centre. There were hints and rumours, but no one wanted to speak on record – including Turkish organisations that work with asylum seekers – because of the sensitivity of the issue.

      It is simply not clear how long people are kept in the centre, or what happens to them when they are removed. The Turkish Directorate General of Migration Management responded to IRIN’s requests for comment with links to online statistics and Turkish law on removals.

      Several Syrian and Afghan asylum seekers that IRIN spoke to shared stories of being held in such centres for a period of time before being released inside Turkey and permitted to stay. Most of the people IRIN spoke to reported good treatment while inside.

      But in 2015 and 2016, Amnesty International documented cases of Syrians detained while trying to migrate to Europe and being deported to Syria, according to Anna Shea, an Amnesty researcher working on refugee and migrant rights.

      Amnesty has also recently documented a case of a Syrian asylum seeker stopped in Edirne being deported to Idlib, the rebel-held province in northwestern Syria where a ceasefire is so far holding off a government offensive but humanitarians warn conditions are still dire. It is unclear if the case is part of a larger trend.

      In recent months, Turkey has deported large numbers of Afghans and Syrians, stopped after crossing Turkey’s southern and eastern borders, back to their respective countries.

      But it is difficult to know if this practice has been extended to people who have tried to travel to Greece, given that the organisations working on migrant and refugee rights were unwilling to speak on the record, and the government declined to comment on the issue or allow access to detained migrants.

      “The total stonewalling and lack of information and complete lack of transparency is cause for concern in and of itself,” said Shea, the Amnesty researcher. “I mean, what do they have to hide?”

      Hidden practice

      At a small village outside of Edirne, a man herding goats pointed to places where people crossed the nearby river, but there was no sign of anyone during the day. Crossings happened only at night, he said. And the Turkish army prohibited people from approaching the river after 7 pm.

      The road leading from the village followed the winding course of the Evros, which was often blocked from view by thick stands of trees. The surrounding area was full of corn fields, rice paddies, and thick vegetation. Small dirt roads that shot off in the direction of the river were marked with red signs carrying a stencilled soldier – a warning that entry beyond that point was prohibited.

      Not far away, in the city centre, everyone seemed shocked to learn that so many people had crossed the border this year. It was a problem that most locals assumed was already in the past, given that most of the frontier had been lined with barbed wire and cameras for the past six years.

      But those who have tried and failed to cross the Evros know that the rural quiet harbours dangers the eye can’t see.

      Linda has given up on seeing her fiancé anytime soon – a visa is likely to take years – and she isn’t planning on trying to cross the border again. “I started being afraid because of the things I saw,” she said.


      https://www.irinnews.org/special-report/2018/10/08/refugee-pushbacks-across-turkey-greece-border-Evros
      #push-back #refoulement

    • Grèce : le mystère des trois migrantes retrouvées égorgées

      Les corps des trois femmes avaient été découverts le 10 octobre par un agriculteur dans un champ près du fleuve Evros.

      Trois migrantes retrouvées mortes début octobre près du fleuve Evros à la frontière gréco-turque au nord de la Grèce ont été identifiées. Selon la police, il s’agit d’une mère et ses deux filles. Elles ont été égorgées après avoir été entravées.

      Le mode d’exécution pose questions aux enquêteurs, qui privilégient la piste criminelle depuis la découverte des corps en octobre dernier. « Des femmes contraintes à s’agenouiller avant d’être égorgées, pourrait évoquer une action de type djihadiste, mais dans l’immédiat, la police n’exclut ni ne privilégie aucune piste », explique une source policière.

      L’hypothèse d’une « punition » infligée par un réseau de passeurs a aussi été avancée par les médias grecs. L’affaire « est sans précédent dans les annales du pays, c’est un mystère », a relevé la même source policière.


      http://www.leparisien.fr/faits-divers/grece-le-mystere-des-trois-migrantes-retrouvees-egorgees-26-10-2018-79291

    • Le fleuve Évros, cimetière des migrants anonymes

      Ce fleuve boueux, aux courants dangereux et à la profondeur traîtresse, tue et recrache régulièrement des corps quasi impossibles à identifier.

      Bloqué en Turquie, Mustafa a d’abord tenté d’atteindre la Bulgarie par la voie terrestre avec un groupe de migrants afghans. Mais une fois la frontière passée, la police bulgare les a interceptés avant de les renvoyer en Turquie, où ils ont été emprisonnés dans le centre de détention d’Edirne pendant trois mois. Quelques semaines après sa libération, au milieu de l’été 2014, Mustafa a demandé à sa famille restée en Afghanistan, d’envoyer de l’argent à un passeur qui avait promis de l’emmener en Bulgarie – mais cette fois-ci en passant par la Grèce.

      Les cinq jeunes hommes de son nouveau groupe ont alors dû se cotiser pour financer le bateau gonflable qui leur servirait à franchir à deux reprises l’Évros, un fleuve de 480 kilomètres de long qui marque la frontière greco-turque, mais aussi une partie de la frontière entre la Grèce et la Bulgarie.

      La route migratoire qui consiste à traverser l’Évros, fréquemment empruntée depuis les années 1990, est redevenue populaire après l’accord UE-Turquie signé en 2016 visant à limiter les arrivées de migrants dans les îles Grecques via la mer Méditerranée. Cette route a longtemps semblé préférable à emprunter la Méditerranée pour atteindre la Grèce. Mais ce fleuve boueux, aux courants dangereux et à la profondeur traîtresse, car variable, tue et recrache régulièrement des corps quasi impossibles à identifier.

      C’est dans la région grecque de l’Évros que l’on trouve le plus grand nombre de corps de migrants non identifiés en Grèce. À cela s’ajoutent les corps retrouvés du côté turc de l’Évros, et aussi en Bulgarie. À Évros, les employés de la morgue de l’hôpital d’Alexandroúpoli, aidés par le Comité International de la Croix Rouge, tentent d’identifier les corps pour aider les familles qui recherchent un proche disparu.

      Mais tout ça, Mustafa ne le sait pas. Le passeur a acheté un bateau « pour les petits bébés » et « à peine plus grand qu’un lit », se rappelle aujourd’hui Mustafa. En pleine nuit, le groupe trouve un coin où la végétation est assez dense pour les dissimuler. Puis, le passeur et les six Afghans gonflent et s’entassent sur la petite embarcation.

      « Les courants étaient trop rapides pour nager, » explique Mustafa à VICE News. « On a eu peur de mourir [...], que le bateau coule et que des poissons, comme des piranhas, nous mangent. » Le groupe traverse finalement la frontière entre la Turquie et la Grèce, en 20 minutes. « On a ensuite récupéré le bateau, car le passeur a dit qu’on en aurait encore besoin, » raconte Mustafa, sa voix douce, mais anxieuse en harmonie avec son visage triste et enfantin.

      En effet, après avoir marché environ deux jours, Mustafa se retrouve face à la même rivière, qu’il doit traverser pour atteindre la Bulgarie. Il fait noir et les branches sous l’eau percent l’embarcation de fortune. Rapidement, Mustafa se débarrasse de son sac à dos pour pouvoir nager. Il s’accroche à des branches, parvient à sortir de l’eau et retrouve le passeur et trois autres camarades. Mais deux des migrants, des jeunes qui n’avaient pas plus de 20 ans, ne sont pas là.

      Objets retrouvés avec les corps de migrants et réfugiés à Évros. Morgue de l’hôpital général de l’université d’Alexandroúpolis, Grèce. Juillet 2017. (Photo de Stylianos Papardelas)

      « Le bateau a coulé, on n’a pas vu ce qu’il s’est passé, mais ensuite, ils avaient disparu, » raconte doucement Mustafa. « On ne les a pas retrouvés. » Après trois jours de marche et une semaine passée au camp de Hamanli, Mustafa est emprisonné dans le centre de détention de Busmantsi près de Sofia. Puis, après encore des semaines de voyage, il atteindra Paris, où il n’a toujours pas réussi à obtenir l’asile et espère faire venir sa femme et ses trois enfants.

      Les deux camarades de voyage de Mustafa ont sans doute rejoint les centaines de victimes de l’Évros, dont les corps, retenus au fond du fleuve par la boue et les branches, sont souvent retrouvés des mois, voire des années, après leur disparition.

      Poppi Lazaridou, assistante à la morgue de l’hôpital général de l’université d’Alexandroúpolis, raconte l’histoire tragique d’une famille afghane. Grèce. Juillet 2017. (Vidéo produite par Christopher Nicholas/Fragkiska Megaloudi/CICR)

      Selon les données communiquées par le CICR, 352 corps ont été découverts entre 2000 et 2017 dans la région de l’Évros, qui borde le fleuve du côté grec. Seuls 105 ont été identifiés. Entre janvier et mai 2017, 841 personnes ont été arrêtées à Évros en essayant de traverser la frontière (contre 1 638 pour la même période en 2016).

      « Mais peut-être qu’il y a plus de corps que nous n’avons pas encore trouvés, » dit le docteur Pavlos Pavlidis, médecin légiste à l’hôpital général de l’université d’Alexandroúpoli (Grèce). De plus, ces chiffres n’incluent pas les corps retrouvés en Turquie et en Bulgarie. « Je pense que les chiffres [pour la Turquie] sont à peu près les mêmes que du côté grec, » ajoute-t-il, lors d’une interview réalisée par le CICR.

      D’après Pavlidis, la première cause de décès des migrants dans la région, ce sont les noyades. Jusqu’en 2008, la deuxième cause de décès, c’était les mines, disséminées le long de la frontière et retirées cette année-là. Après les opérations de déminage, l’hypothermie a pris la seconde place sur la liste.

      « Quand tu sors de la rivière et que tu es mouillé, tu t’assois dans tes habits trempés, et tu commences à te sentir endormi, et tu meurs d’hypothermie, » explique Pavlidis. « Ils sombrent en fait dans un sommeil profond, ils ne souffrent pas... Ils ne se réveillent jamais. »

      Les passeurs ne laissent pas les migrants emporter leurs sacs sur les embarcations. Ils portent donc beaucoup de couches de vêtements sur eux, explique Pavlidis. Quand le bateau chavire, le poids attire les personnes vers le fond. « Il est impossible de survivre, mais en plus les corps restent sous l’eau et on ne peut pas les récupérer, » dit-il. « Nous avions un cas où la personne a été retrouvée portant quatre pantalons et sept chemises. »

      Il y a quelques années, la plupart des victimes étaient principalement des hommes seuls fuyant l’Afghanistan, le Pakistan ou le Bangladesh, d’après les observations de Pavlidis. Mais depuis la guerre en Syrie, les familles syriennes ont rejoint le groupe. « Maintenant, on va avoir des enfants, des femmes, des grands-pères. » (Selon le CICR, le nombre de familles a récemment recommencé à diminuer.)

      Les corps sont retrouvés par Frontex, la police, l’armée ou par des chasseurs et des pêcheurs, explique Pavlidis. Ils sont souvent dans un état de décomposition avancée, ou mangés par les poissons. Lorsqu’on lui ramène un corps, le médecin enregistre les habits et effets personnels. Ces objets, qu’il collecte depuis environ 15 ans, sont essentiels à la reconnaissance des corps.

      Le docteur Pavlos Pavlidis, médecin légiste et pathologiste, montre et parle des objets retrouvés avec les corps de migrants et réfugiés, à la morgue de l’hôpital général de l’université d’Alexandroúpolis, Grèce. Juillet 2017. (Vidéo produite par Christopher Nicholas/Fragkiska Megaloudi/CICR)

      Puis son équipe procède à une autopsie. Ils prélèvent ensuite un échantillon ADN et l’envoient au laboratoire de la police à Athènes. Si l’échantillon correspond à un profil existant, ils collaborent avec la Croix Rouge Internationale. Et, si quelqu’un recherche un proche qui a traversé l’Évros à cette période, ils poursuivent le processus d’identification.

      Si aucune recherche n’est entamée, les corps quittent la morgue après trois à quatre mois, et sont enterrés dans l’un des trois cimetières musulmans des alentours. La position et le numéro de leur tombe sont archivés afin qu’ils puissent être retrouvés par des proches dans le futur.

      « Nous avons plusieurs recherches fructueuses, mais pas tant que ça, car c’est un procédé très complexe et long, » explique Jan Bikker à VICE News. En tant que médecin légiste du CICR à Athènes, son travail consiste en partie à tenter de retrouver les familles des défunts si le gouvernement grec n’a pas réussi à le faire.

      « Ce n’est pas toujours aussi simple que ça en a l’air : on retrouve des papiers d’identité, mais nous ne sommes jamais sûrs que ce soit la bonne personne, » dit-il. « En effet, les papiers peuvent être faux ou une personne peut être enregistrée sous différents noms, ou porter les papiers de quelqu’un d’autre.

      L’équipe de Bikker aide aussi les familles ayant contacté le CICR à retrouver le corps de leurs proches et à produire un échantillon d’ADN pour procéder à l’identification. Cet échantillon est nécessaire à identifier un corps en trop mauvais état.

      Ce travail est difficile pour plusieurs raisons : les familles peuvent vivre dans des zones de conflits ; être des personnes déplacées ; résider illégalement dans un pays ; ou risquer l’emprisonnement si leur gouvernent apprend que leur proche a quitté le pays.

      « Normalement, nous collectons les informations descriptives qui pourraient nous donner une première piste. Une fois que nous avons une idée et une correspondance possible avec un corps, nous tentons de travailler avec [les proches des disparus] et les autorités pour obtenir l’ADN. »

      Une fois le corps identifié, les familles décident, en fonction de leurs moyens, si elles souhaitent rapatrier le corps dans leur pays d’origine.

      « Nous espérons qu’un cadre légal sera mis en place en Grèce [...] pour la centralisation des informations descriptives dans une base de données centrale avec toutes les informations sur les personnes disparues et les corps non identifiés, » explique Bikker.

      Comme l’explique Fragkiska Megaloudi, chargée de communication au CICR à Athènes, l’identification des morts est de la responsabilité de l’État grec. Le CICR est la seule association aidant l’État grec pour le médico-légal et prend le relais pour les identifications difficiles.

      L’association se charge aussi d’instruire les gardes côtiers grecs sur la manière de gérer dignement les corps, fournit du matériel à l’équipe du docteur Pavlidis, et améliore les cimetières accueillant les migrants et réfugiés.

      « Nous aidons à améliorer et à marquer les tombes, comme ça, si nous trouvons la famille, ils peuvent revenir et trouver la tombe de la personne. Sinon ils ne peuvent pas tourner la page, » dit-elle.

      « Nous reconstruisons de petites histoires autour de ces personnes, mais nous ne savons jamais qui elles étaient, leurs noms, ce qu’elles pensaient, leurs espoirs, leurs rêves... Et elles sont juste mortes ici » dit Megaloudi, émue. « C’est le côté le plus tragique de la crise migratoire. »

      Des agriculteurs d’Évros racontent leurs rencontres avec des migrants et réfugiés de passage à Évros. Grèce. Juillet 2017.

      https://www.vice.com/fr/article/d3qxbw/le-fleuve-vros-cimetire-des-migrants-anonymes-grece-turquie


  • Migrants: over 5,000 apprehended in Turkey in 7 days

    Turkish authorities have apprehended over the past week a total of 5,371 migrants and refugees who were trying to illegally cross the borders with the European Union or to enter the country, the Turkish interior ministry has said. They included 389 who were intercepted at sea, it said.

    The ministry also said that 136 suspected human traffickers were arrested.

    Since a deal between the EU and Turkey two years ago, the number of migrants and refugees reaching EU countries, mainly Greece, from Turkey has sharply declined by a few thousands for a daily average of just a few dozens. (ANSAmed).

    http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/sections/generalnews/2018/03/12/migrants-over-5000-apprehended-in-turkey-in-7-days_b658086f-7528-453c-9653
    #arrivées #statistiques #chiffres #accord_UE-Turquie #Turquie #Grèce

    cc @isskein @i_s_


  • Reçu via la mailing-list Migreurop, message de Vicky Skoumbi

    Les refoulements illégaux à #Evros (frontière gréco-turque) non seulement continuent mais leur nombre ne cesse d’augmenter.

    Selon le nouveau rapport du Conseil grec pour les Réfugiés, cette pratique de refoulement à la frontière nord-est de la Grèce est sur le point de devenir systématique. Personne n’y échappe : mineurs, femmes enceintes, demandeurs d’asile dont la demande est en cours de traitement et même des syriens ayant obtenu le statut des réfugiés peuvent à tout moment se retrouver embarqués sur un zodiaque en route vers la côte turque du fleuve qui sépare les deux pays. Le Conseil Grec pour les réfugiés a recueilli des nouveaux témoignages de 18 réfugiés qui ont été victimes de plusieurs violations de leur droits ,allant des injures et de coups de matraques jusqu’à la soustraction des documents administratifs et des téléphones portables, l’enlèvement et la détention arbitraire en vue d’un refoulement vers la Turquie, le tout perpétré par la police grecque en étroite collaboration avec de groupes armés cagoulés. Ces dénonciations viennent confirmer de rapports similaires antérieurs d’Amnesty International et de l’ONG allemande ProAsyl ; ils campent un décor cauchemardesque d’anomie la plus complète à laquelle seraient soumis les demandeurs d’asile à la frontière d’Evros. Dans le collimateur de ces opérations secrètes de la police grecque se trouve tout étranger avec ou sans papiers qui croise le chemin des forces de l’ordre. Un Syrien dont la demande d’asile est en cours de traitement a été arrêté au moment où il se rendrait à son travail, tandis qu’une femme algérienne, enceinte de huit mois, a été refoulé de force vers la Turquie, manquant ainsi son rendez-vous fixé avec l’office grec d’asile. Source Efimerida tôn Syntaktôn

    Ce #rapport est d’autant plus inquiétant qu’il est publié juste une dizaine de jours après la noyade de plusieurs personnes de nationalité turque, dont deux garçons de 3 et 5 ans dans les eaux glacées d’Evros. Il s’agissait d’une famille d’enseignants licenciés et poursuivis par le régime d’Erdogan.

    La police grecque enlève et refoule nuitamment à la frontière, les réfugiés se noient et l’Europe est saine et sauve...

    http://www.ekathimerini.com/226012/article/ekathimerini/news/greek-council-for-refugees-warns-of-rise-in-pushbacks-in-evros

    Greek Council for Refugees warns of rise in pushbacks in Evros

    The Greek Council for Refugees has issued a 14-page report containing refugee testimonies of “systematic pushbacks” by Greek police in the country’s northeastern border with Turkey in the Evros region.

    In a series of interviews, the victims – including families with children, pregnant women, and minors – describe beatings and inhuman treatment in the hands of the police in breach of international humanitarian law.

    The organization warns of a rise in the number of pushbacks and urged Greek authorities to investigate the claims.

    #Grèce #Turquie #frontières #refoulements #push-back #asile #migrations #réfugiés

    Ici le lien vers le rapport, en grec :
    http://gcr.gr/index.php/el/news/press-releases-announcements/item/790-anafores-gia-systimatikes-epanaproothiseis-ston-evro-apo-eksypiretoymenous-t

    • Rapport qui date de 2013... mais qui montre une continuité de la pratique des push-backs :
      #Frontex entre Grèce et Turquie : la Frontière du déni

      Dernier #rapport en anglais et en grec du Conseil Grec pour les Réfugié-e-s publiant un certain nombre de témoignages attestant de refoulements à la frontière gréco-turque en particulier au niveau de la rivière #Evros.

      Des refoulement ont également eu lieu de personnes en possession de documentations les autorisant á séjourner en UE, par ex. un réfugié en Allemagne souhaitant entrer en Grèce pour y accueillir son épouse et entamer avec elle les démarches de regroupement selon Dublin III.
      Les détails sordides faisant état de traitements inhumains et dégradants, de la violence physique à l’intimidations, abondent, que ce soit envers des hommes, des femmes ou des enfants.

      Ces témoignages attestent d’une tendance à l’arrestation par des personnes en noir, cagoulées, qui ne portent pas d’uniforme officiel de police. Les personnes interceptées sont transportées de force en bus vers des lieux de détention insalubres puis abandonnées à la frontière. Il est malheureusement évident que les entraves à la demande d’asile sont nombreuses.

      Ces pratiques ne sont pas nouvelles. Elles font notamment écho à de nombreux rapports publiés depuis 2011/2012, notamment le rapport de la campagne Frontexit sur la frontière gréco-turque en 2014 (disponible en EN/FR/Turc et grec)

      http://www.frontexit.org/index.php/fr/docs/58-rapport-frontex-greceturquie-frontiere-deni/file

      #Poséidon #opération_Poséidon #Mer_Egée #cartographie et #visualisation (mais la version mise sur le site a des cartes en très mauvaise résolution) #identification #screening #frontières #Turquie #Lesbos #Corinthe

      cc @i_s_


  • Greek police continues to illegally hand over Turkish asylum seekers to Turkey

    On 2 June at 9am, a family of six, including an infant, and three men who wished to apply for international protection in Greece because of persecution in Turkey were handed over by Greek police to a group of masked gunmen. The refoulement was witnessed and the HLHR has in its disposal the license plate numbers of the Greek police van that transferred the asylum seekers. The new refoulement took place in #Evros by boat, near Didymoteicho, and involved Mustafa Can, his wife and their four children, as well as Yılmaz Erdoğan, Fethullah Çatal, and one more man, whose name is still not known.

    https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/migrants-rights/greek-police-continues-to-illegally-hand-over-turkish-asylum-seekers

    #push-back #refoulement #Turquie #Grèce #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Didimoticho
    cc @i_s_




  • The Purge Begins In Turkey

    On Saturday, Turkish soldiers and police—those who had remained loyal to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during the uncertain hours of the previous day—were rounding up their enemies across the security services, reportedly arresting thousands. There will be thousands more. In the high-stakes world of Turkish politics—nominally democratic but played with authoritarian ferocity—justice for the losers will be swift and brutal.

    http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-purge-begins-in-turkey
    #Turquie #répression #coup2016 #purge