• Grèce : 50 premiers réfugiés mineurs relocalisés en France en juillet

    La relocalisation en France des migrants mineurs non accompagnés de Grèce a pris du retard à cause de la pandémie de coronavirus, et les 50 premiers jeunes réfugiés partiront début juillet, a annoncé lundi le gouvernement grec.

    La relocalisation en France des migrants mineurs non accompagnés de Grèce a pris du retard à cause de la pandémie de coronavirus, et les 50 premiers jeunes réfugiés partiront début juillet, a annoncé lundi le gouvernement grec.

    « Les procédures de relocalisation qui s’étaient arrêtées temporairement en raison de la crise sanitaire vont démarrer de nouveau au plus vite », a souligné le ministre délégué grec à la Politique migratoire et à l’asile, Georges Koumoutsakos, dans un communiqué.

    En janvier dernier, la Grèce et la France s’étaient mis d’accord sur la relocalisation de 400 demandeurs d’asile se trouvant dans les camps surpeuplés des îles grecques face à la Turquie.

    Outre ces 400 demandeurs d’asile, le communiqué du ministère aux migrations grec évoque également la relocalisation de 350 mineurs non accompagnés.

    « La crise du coronavirus a perturbé les relocalisations programmées mais la France reste cependant attachée à ses promesses envers la Grèce », a déclaré l’ambassadeur de France à Athènes, Patrick Maisonnave, après une rencontre lundi avec le ministre grec.

    Le nombre total des enfants non accompagnés en Grèce s’élève à environ 5.200, selon les autorités grecques. Une grande majorité vit dans des conditions insalubres dans des logements non adaptés aux enfants.

    Face à cette situation, plusieurs pays européens, l’Allemagne, la Belgique, la Bulgarie, la Croatie, la Finlande, la France, l’Irlande, la Lituanie, la Serbie, la Suisse, ont décidé de participer à un programme européen volontaire de relocalisation de 1.600 enfants non accompagnés depuis la Grèce.


    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Relocalisation #Mineursnonaccompagnés #France

  • Greece: Move Migrant Children to Safety
    276 Unaccompanied Children Behind Bars

    (Athens) – Greek authorities should free the 276 unaccompanied migrant children currently detained in police cells and detention centers in Greece, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Releasing the children is all the more urgent amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
    “The prime minister should act on his pledge to protect unaccompanied children and make sure that hundreds of vulnerable children are freed from dirty, crowded cells, sometimes alongside adults, where they are exposed to the risks of Covid-19 infection,” said Eva Cossé, Greece researcher at Human Rights Watch. “There is no excuse for failing to give these children the care and protection they need.”
    According to the National Center for Social Solidarity, a government body, as of April 30, 2020, an estimated 276 children were in police custody awaiting transfer to a shelter. That is 19 more children behind bars than when Mitsotakis announced, in November 2019, the No Child Alone plan to protect unaccompanied children.
    Human Rights Watch research has documented the arbitrary and prolonged detention of unaccompanied migrant children [cf. https://www.hrw.org/report/2016/09/08/why-are-you-keeping-me-here/unaccompanied-children-detained-greece ]in police cells and other detention centers, in violation of international and Greek law. Under Greek law, unaccompanied children should be transferred to safe accommodation, but Greece has a chronic shortage of space in suitable facilities.
    While they wait for placement in a shelter, unaccompanied children can be held for weeks or months in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, sometimes with unrelated adults, in small police station cells and detention centers where following social distancing guidelines is impossible. They often have little access to basic health care and other services, hygiene supplies, or even natural light. In many cases, they do not receive information about their rights or about how to go about seeking asylum, and many experience psychological distress.
    The recent decrease in the time that an unaccompanied child can be held in protective custody, from 45 days to 25, is a step in the right direction. But international human rights standards hold that immigration-related detention, including so-called “protective custody,” is never in the best interest of the child and should be prohibited due the harm it causes, Human Rights Watch said.
    The detention of children for immigration reasons is prohibited under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. A 2019 UN global study on children deprived of liberty [cf. https://undocs.org/A/74/136 ] reported that even if detention conditions are good, detaining children exacerbates existing health conditions and causes new ones to arise, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and suicidal thoughts.
    The study highlighted that governments have found non-custodial solutions for unaccompanied children, such as open and child-friendly accommodation, periodic reporting, and foster families. There are always options available other than detention of children for migration-related reasons, the UN study said, and detaining children for their “protection,” even if alternative care is lacking, “can never be a justification.”
    The UN children’s agency UNICEF has said that all governments should release children from detention, specifically including immigration detention, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
    On April 14, Human Rights Watch opened a campaign to #FreeTheKids [cf. https://www.hrw.org/FreeTheKids ], urging people to press Prime Minister Mitsotakis to immediately release unaccompanied migrant children from detention and transfer them to safe, child-friendly facilities. Transitional options could include hotels, foster care, and apartments under a Supported Independent Living program for unaccompanied children ages 16 to 18.
    The European Commission should financially support Greece to create additional long-term care placement places for unaccompanied children. Other European Union members should speed up family reunification for children with relatives in other EU countries and should offer to relocate unaccompanied asylum-seeking children – even if they lack family ties.
    According to the latest government data, since April 30, only 1,477 out of the 5,099 unaccompanied children in Greece were housed in suitable, long-term facilities. The rest are left to fend for themselves in overcrowded island camps or on the streets or are confined in police cells and detention centers on Greece’s mainland.


    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Mineursnonaccompagnés #Enfants #Camp #Centrededétention #Cellule #Postedepolice

  • Two children transferred out of Malakasa, protection still denied to many

    Following two requests for interim measures before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), two unaccompanied children from Syria aged 12 and 13 are finally transferred to a shelter for minors after over two months of confinement in unsafe conditions.

    In March 2020, the two Syrian boys arrived in Greece unaccompanied. They were arrested and automatically placed in detention despite being recognised as minors. They were issued with detention and deportation orders and were detained among adults in degrading conditions pursuant to an emergency decree adopted on 2 March 2020 by the Greek government, which suspended access to asylum for one month and foresaw immediate deportation for those entering the Greek territory, without registration to their countries of origin or to Turkey. As a result of the decree, people arriving in Greece in March, including the two minors, were arbitrarily denied the right to make an asylum application and to benefit from the rights and entitlements conferred on asylum seekers by domestic and European Union law.

    On 27 March 2020 RSA appealed before ECtHR, requesting the Court to indicate interim measures under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court for the protection of the two unaccompanied children and their transfer to suitable reception facilities.

    Meanwhile, the two boys received on 7 April 2020 police referral notes informing them that they had been released from detention, although until the end of April no one was permitted to exit the facility.

    Following correspondence between the Court and the government, on 15 April 2020 the ECtHR decided not to grant interim measures, on the ground that the government had already made commitments to ensure that the applicants would receive treatment in accordance with Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Yet, the applicants had submitted information indicating that no change in their situation had taken place.

    RSA lodged a fresh request for interim measures on 23 April 2020, following which the Court adjourned its decision and requested again the government to indicate “what concrete measures have been taken for the applicants’ transfer, as well as for the appointment of a guardian”.

    The children were ultimately transferred to an accommodation place on 7 and 8 May respectively, that is over two months after their arrival in Greece.

    While welcoming the applicants’ recent transfer to a shelter for minors, RSA regrettably notes that demanding litigation procedures and recourse before the Strasbourg Court for interim relief have become necessary to secure the consideration and protection of even the most basic rights of children. Recourse to the ECtHR is not accessible in every case of children at risk and cannot substitute a reliable and well-functioning child protection system, which remains a pressing need for Greece.

    In April 2020, in a different case concerning a homeless unaccompanied boy living in destitution in a Greek city, the ECtHR again refused to grant interim measures requested under Rule 39 including the placement of the child in a shelter for minors. Until today the child still sleeps rough in the streets and the government has taken no measures for the child’s protection.

    The predicament of the two boys leaving Malakasa this week illustrates the chronic gaps in the protection of unaccompanied children and the absence of an effective guardianship system in Greece. It is also testament to an increasing disregard on the part of the authorities of obligations enshrined in national, European and international law, and a failure to follow through on guarantees provided to the ECtHR.

    RSA and PRO ASYL continue to defend the rights of the most vulnerable and will assist the children in their family reunification procedure with relatives in Germany.


    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Camp #Malakasa #Mineursnonaccompagnés #Enfants #Transfert

  • AYS Daily Digest 30/04/20


    Finland has agreed to accept one hundred unaccompanied refugee children from camps in Greece and another 30 adult asylum seekersunder the framework of family reunification. A Wednesday telephone conversation between Deputy Minister of Migration Giorgos Koumoutsakos and Finnish Interior Minister Olly-Poika Parviainen sealed the deal.
    Finland is the latest of a number of EU countries who have offered their assistance to Greece. Germany and Luxembourg accepted 47 and 12 unaccompanied children last week, respectively.
    Whilst this move by Finland is clearly welcome, it fails to systemically address the suffering of the tens of thousands of people being forced to live in squalor and inhumane conditions in the overcrowded refugee camps of Greece.


    Aegean Boat Report has broken the news that a boat carrying approximately 30 people landed on north-west Samos on Thursday morning. The NGO reports that the boat’s occupants managed to walk to a nearby village and asked the residents to call the police to let them know they had arrived. A number of village residents witnessed the arriving asylum seekers, but after the port police arrived and transported the people out of the area, there has been no further knowledge of their whereabouts.
    When port police in Karlovasi were confronted with questions about these new arrivals, they stated that there had been no arrivals on Samos in the area of Drakaioi.
    Aegean Boat Report on Facebook Watch
    Tuesday morning a boat landed on Samos north west, the boat was carrying approximately 30 people. They managed to walk…

    An open letter to the European Commission has been published by a collection of NGOs, asking the commission to “urgently assist Greece in evacuating the 38,700 people living in the camps of the Aegean Islands.”
    The letter:
    “Severe overcrowding and a lack of adequate accommodation and services have led to incidents of violence before. This is the second time in less than a year that a large area of the camp has burned down. On 14 October 2019, the tents and belongings of more than 700 people were lost. We voiced our outrage, and yet, little has been done to decongest the camp. This week, these same factors, combined with tension due to restrictive measures against COVID-19, resulted in the fires….
    “These fires are not unique to Samos. Regrettably, there have been similar incidents since September 2019 on both Chios and Lesvos, in which three people have lost their lives…These incidents and fatalities are the direct consequence of deficient European solidarity. The EU must move beyond the “hotspot approach” and revise the EU-Turkey Statement, which has proven itself to be not only inefficient but also inhumane.”


    The European Commission announced today that it is making €4.5 million accessible to Bosnia and Herzegovina to help provide immediate humanitarian assistance to vulnerable refugees and migrants. This money shall be used to access comprehensive health and protection assistance. This will bring the amount of humanitarian assistance provided by to Bosnia and Herzegovina to €10.3 million since 2018.
    President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said: “We have a special responsibility to assist in this pandemic our partners in the Western Balkans, as their future clearly lies in European Union. The EU is mobilising a substantial financial package, confirming the strong solidarity. Together we will overcome this crisis and recover. And beyond that, we will continue to support the region, including with the reforms needed on their EU path, as the recovery will only work effectively if the countries keep delivering on their commitments.”
    Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, said: “The EU continues to support the most vulnerable refugees and migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We announce today €4.5 million to help meet the humanitarian needs that are especially high now due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. We will not leave our neighbours in the Western Balkans alone.”
    This massive support package provided by the EU was announced just as the security minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina announced their plans to forcibly deport migrants out of the country in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak. The initiative follows a decision on April 16 by the Council of Ministers of BiH on the Restriction of Movement and Stay of Foreigners.

    The European Council on Refugee and Exiles shared an interview with Femke de Vries, a policy officer for Asylum Dutch Council for Refugees, who is currently campaigning to ensure that the Dutch government joins the efforts of 11 other European countries in relocating unaccompanied children from the Greek island camps. Currently, Femke de Vries’s campaign has resulted in a published manifesto in a prominent newspaper with more than 100 sound signatories; among these are prominent former politicians — including from the political parties CDA (Christian democrats) and VVD (liberals), which voted against the relocation.
    To read the interview and hear more about their work, please follow the link below.


    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Grèce #Finlande #transfert #mineursnonaccompagnés #Camp #Samos #Arrivées #Ilesgrecques #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Pays-Bas

  • AYS Daily Digest 29/04/2020

    Moria Residents Protest Conditions in Camp
    Early Wednesday morning, a group of Moria residents protested in front of the gates of the camp. The protest is part of a series of weekly demonstrations against the conditions in the camps, which have always been unsanitary but now become even more potentially deadly in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic. The organizers and participants are international — last week the demonstration was made up mostly of Afghan residents, while this week it was mostly residents from Africa who turned out.

    People are protesting against unsanitary conditions in the camp and overcrowding that could easily be solved if the rest of the European Union did its duty and accepted asylum seekers.

    The Greek government is claiming that 400 asylum seekers will be relocated from Moria to the mainland next Sunday, at a ceremony that will even be attended by Notis Mitarakis, the Minister for Asylum and Immigration. Residents and media are not trusting this announcement, because last weekend a different planned transport for 1500 people was cancelled. Even if several hundred “lucky” people are allowed to leave Moria, the camp will still be thousands over capacity and the conditions for those who remain will still be terrible.
    Instead of improving conditions in the camps or addressing the concerns of residents when they rightfully pointed out how deadly an outbreak would be, Mitarakis said on Wednesday that there are no cases so far in island hotspots and implied that the government’s response should be praised because … they carry out daily checks. Never mind that most residents of island camps don’t have access to running water, basic hygienic supplies, or enough space to social distance properly! 130 people who were detained on beach camps in the North of Lesvos and were finally transferred to Moria recently don’t even have any kind of shelter within the camp. In an interview with Mission Lifeline, a mother stuck in Moria talks about the dangerous, unhygienic conditions her and her children are forced to live in.
    There are many examples of International organizations and NGOs are trying to help, such as by donating medical equipment to the hospital on Lesvos, but it is not enough.

    Even if the Greek government is ignoring the protests of people in Moria, we must not! Something must be done to fix the situation in island camps.

    Government Uses COVID-19 As an Excuse to Deport, Another Crack Down on People on the Move
    Following yesterday’s report by AYS of a potential illegal pushback from Diavata camp, Greek news broke the story that another group of 30 people “disappeared” from Samos. Witnesses from the village of Drakakia saw a group of people land on the island’s shore. The group later came in the village and as is customary, asked residents to notify the police. A vehicle arrived to pick them up but their arrival was never registered and the police are denying the incident occurred.

    Aegean Boat Report published video footage of another incident where a boat was captured by the Turkish Coast Guard. However, the Greek Coast Guard was at the ready to push back the boat if it crossed into Greek waters, showing that despite the pandemic, the government is continuing its illegal border violence campaign. Either people are pushed back in the sea and left to drown or if they are able to reach land, they are pushed back without being registered or allowed to apply for asylum.
    In the same statement where he talked about coronavirus, Minister Mitarakis claimed that there have been no arrivals in April. This is clearly untrue — people are still arriving in Greece, the Greek government is just pushing them back, breaking international law by refusing to register them, and lying to the media.
    Journalists, NGOs, and people on the move have already exposed the Greek government’s illegal pushbacks, which are often done in unsafe liferafts that have a high risk of capsizing at sea. To deport people during a pandemic, when international travel is mostly banned and most countries have stopped repatriations, is even more dangerous and immoral.
    In addition to illegal deportations, the Greek government is using emergency coronavirus response measures as an excuse to target the most vulnerable, including people on the move. Mitarakis said the government might deny asylum to people found violating coronavirus emergency measures. While a Greek citizen flouting government regulations will only have to pay a fine, a non-citizen could lose their entire future and be deported to an unsafe country for the same violation. It’s also much harder for asylum seekers living in crowded camps to follow government regulations about social distancing in the first place. In addition to penalties being harsher for people on the move than for Greeks, police are targeting the most vulnerable with tickets and fines. 81 homeless asylum seekers in Thessaloniki reported being fined for leaving their home — which they don’t even have. The police specifically target the homeless by waiting outside a camp people use to shower and distributing tickets. If the government actually cared about stopping the spread, they would find homes or at least temporary housing for these people. The only outcome of their current actions is abuse of power.

    Slovenia To Accept Unaccompanied Minors
    Slovenia has finally agreed to step up and accept unaccompanied minors from Greece — but they will only accept four children. They also said that the children must be younger than ten — because eleven-year-olds are dangerous and do not deserve a safe home. The children are expected to arrive at the end of May.
    While Slovenia is a small country, to accept less than five children and to publicize that fact is absurd. Luxembourg, which has about a quarter of Slovenia’s population, has taken three times as many children (which is still low, considering the thousands that are held in Greek camps).


    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Grèce #Moria #Lesbos #Protestation #Manifestation #Transfert #Camp #Diavata #Samos #Drakakia #Slovénie #Mineursnonaccompagnés

  • AYS Daily Digest 23/4/20

    Lesvos — While some get shot at, others fear going for food
    The two people who had been shot while the recent peaceful protest was on, were reportedly shot about seven kilometers away from Moria, with a hunting rifle. They claimed they had been “going for a walk,” unrelated to the events at the camp.
    As InfoMigrants stated, “although the motive for this attack has not been clarified, dpa also reported that in March anti-migrant extremists had been known to attack migrants and humanitarian workers on the island.
    They also said that theft had increased around the Moria camp in recent years and is often reported. Again though, there is no clear link to what the migrants may, or may not, have been doing when they were shot at.”
    Reaching food presents a daily fear and a problem for thousands in Moria. Many people reportedly choose to cook themselves if they can get supplies of food, while others fear to queue for food in the camp due to the risk of Covid-19 infection.
    In the Malakasa camp, quarantine continues. At the same time in Corinth and Grevena, camps run by the IOM, apparently there are no doctors available, thus no healthcare provided for the people held inside the camps under the internationally agreed standards, whose minimums define the number of health workers available, and define health care as one of the basics available to the people. As we heard this information from a number of different sources, we hope for some clear scrutiny and reporting on such practices that are present in different places not only in Greece, but along the Balkan route, namely in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well.

    Forcing deportations, regardless of what others think
    The minister of security of Bosnia and Herzegovina announced at the press conference that the plan to deport migrants currently in Bosnia and Herzegovina is ongoing. He stated that “many of those people are terrorists sleepers and that almost everyone hides their real identity”. Therefore, Bosnia and Herzegovina intends to deport all of them, and he said that, instead of providing funds for keeping the people inside the country, he wishes the EU would help them send those people back. He is aware that “some countries in the EU might not be in favour” of his idea, but that is the official plan. He also stated that the Pakistani ambassador will be named persona non grata because he seems to be against the idea. The Bosnian “diplomacy” is yet to receive any real criticism from the international community, and it will be interesting to see which country or organisation will feel blameless enough to point their finger first… The situation for people on the move across Bosnia and Herzegovina has only been worsening, if that is still possible, and we hope that the support for the opening of the Lipa camp in the middle of nowhere will not be considered the maximum the international community can do and the optimal solution for all those people stuck in the area.

    Refusing to take in unaccompanied minors
    The Netherlands has refused to take in any of the children, despite repeated appeals, and the willingness of 43 separate local authorities to house them.
    Over 100 politicians, celebrities and local authorities have urged the Dutch government to take in some of the 2,500 children who are living in squalid refugee camps on Greek islands without parents or guardians, Dutch media report.


    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Grèce #Pays-Bas #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Mineursnonaccompagnés #Transfert #Expulsion #Malakasa #Corinth #Grevena #Camp #Lesbos #Moria

  • Grèce : Campagne #FreeTheKids

    En Grèce, les enfants migrants non accompagnés vivant dans des centres de détention insalubres sont exposés à des risques accrus face au Covid-19, comme le souligne Eva Cossé (HRW). La campagne #FreeTheKids appelle à leur transfert vers des lieux sûrs. >> www.hrw.org/fr/FreeTheKids


    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Grèce #Camp #Enfant #Mineursnonaccompagnés

  • AYS Daily Digest 20/04/20:

    While Luxemburg and Germany are praising themselves for having taken in about 60 unaccompanied minors from the overcrowded camps on the islands, approximately 331 children are currently in protective custody in police stations.

    In November 2019, Greece was ordered to release two children from protective custody and transfer them to suitable accommodation by the European Court of Human Rights.
    “The two children, represented by Refugee Support Aegean (RSA), were detained in the cell of a police station in Attica for more than ten days without access to outdoor spaces and to their belongings. Detention conditions in Greek police stations are widely acknowledged as inhuman and degrading, including by the ECtHR’s rulings in H.A. and Sh.D. earlier this year.“

    Restrictions of free movement for residents of Reception and Identification Centres and Hosting Structures will be extended until May 10th, the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum announced on Facebook.
    A woman from Somalia that is six months pregnant has tested positive for Coronavirus. She lives in an IOM run reception facility in Kranidi, Peloponnese, which is installed in a hotel. Allegedly, she is asymptomatic and in quarantine.


    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Camp #Transfert #Mineursnonaccompagnés #Stationdepolice #Détention #Kranidi #Hôtel #Peloponnese

  • AYS Daily Digest 17/04/20

    An article has been published in the German newspaper DER SPIEGEL that gives insight into the Greek government’s plans to handle an outbreak of COVID-19 in the camps on the mainland and the islands. The plan is called Agnodike and comprises three levels:
    1. Preventive measures: Lockdown and partial curfew, controlled by police. A special area will be assigned in which new arrivals can be tested and cases of infection can be isolated.
    2. First cases inside the camp: complete curfew. NGOs are only allowed in with special permission. Health stations will be erected with space for 30 people.
    3. The virus spreads, evacuation: complete separation of healthy and infected people. The smaller of the two groups will be evacuated and accommodated in hotels, ships or gyms.

    A total of 2,300 most vulnerable people will be transferred from the islands to the mainland. These people are above 60 years of age or have chronic diseases. They will be transferred together with their families. The transfers are supposed to take place after the Orthodox Easter celebrations on April 19th. The people will be housed in camps, apartments, and hotels.

    The Moria Corona Awarness Team and the Moria White Helmets, two volunteer refugee groups, wrote a dramatic appeal to the European Union.
    “While Corona spread in Greece and here in Lesvos, we expected the worst, because this virus in the camp would be like a death sentence for old, sick and other vulnerable individuals”

    Three groups of people are still camping rough on the northern coast of Lesvos, without any substantial aid or support. They have been there for some 25 days now. The people told Mare Liberum: “different people tell us different things, and that changes day by day”. Apparently it is clear now that they will stay on the island and will eventually be able to apply for asylum. The local authorities are apparently fighting about who should take care of them. According to a new law, the communes in which the people are should take care of them, but they seem to be lacking the political will.

    IOM is proud to present a video of the distribution of food baskets and hygiene kits in the Malakasa camp in central Greece. The camp is run by IOM and hosts 1,600 people, including 620 children. The camp has been under quarantine since April 5th. If people have been without hygiene kits since that time, there is nothing to be proud of. “Immediate response” to a contagious disease for people who are not allowed to leave a facility and take care for themselves should not take almost two weeks.

    The journalist Mortaza Behboudi, who is an indispensable source on the ground who covers the living conditions in Moria for the French /German TV channel ARTE, has been attacked and exposed to threats of physical violence on Twitter by the Greek right wing politician Thanos Tzimeros. Reporters without borders is concerned about Mortaza’s security and calls on the politician to refrain from smearing journalists.

    Movement on the Ground donated 8,000 pieces of essential soap to the Vathy camp management on Samos. About 6,900 people live in and around the camp. The soap was distributed to all of them during the week.

    Recognized refugees in Greece face big challenges after their asylum process is completed. The UNHCR ESTIA program (Emergency Support to Integration and Accomodation) is not designed for recognized refugees. Since it is very difficult for them to find a job or receive state benefits, many of them become homeless. This is especially problematic for families, as homeless shelters do not accept them at all.

    The US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt announced that US will support Greece with 500,000 $ to support COVID-19 response efforts for migrants and refugees.
    This February 2020 Factsheet from UNHR gives a good overview on what UNHCR is doing in Greece.

    About 50 minors who are being transferred to Germany from the Greek islands will arrive in Germany today, on April 18th. We falsely reported that they had already arrived yesterday.

    Violent push-backs from Croatia to Bosnia continue in the time of the pandemic, as No Name Kitchen reports:
    “Over the last several weeks, we have continued to receive reports and news updates of the violent push-back of people-on-the-move by Croatian authorities to the borderlands surrounding Velika Kladusa, Bosnia (the men in the pictures above experienced this brutality within the last week). These testimonies of violence include stories of individuals being beaten with batons, thrown into cold rivers, and having their clothing stolen.”

    The Red Cross in Bihac and the Civil Protection Headquarters of Bosnia’s Federation have set up a new camp, consisting of 50 tents with 200 beds in total. The camp is supposed to accommodate the people on the move who are currently in the northwestern Una-Sana Canton.
    About 7,000 people are currently stranded in the Bihac region. About 3,300 are accommodated in closed camps, the rest live in abandoned buildings and shelters. During the corona pandemic resentment against the people is rising; at the same time their life is getting even harder, as they are not allowed to use public transport, cannot be seen in groups, some shops won’t let them in to buy groceries and the police gets more violent towards them every day.

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Croatie #Confinement #Isolation #Couvrefeu #Transfert #Grècecontinentale #Hotel #Bateau #Gymnase #Lesbos #Malakasa #Quarantaine #Allemagne #mineursnonaccompagnés #Enfants #Bihac #Unasanacanton


  • AYS Daily Digest 16/04/20

    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Exposing the harsh realities of the conditions that migrants and refugees are forced to endure, a video has been shared highlighting how 4 young boys are made to shelter in a shack next to an open rubbish dump.
    The Council of Ministers have acted on a proposal from the Ministry of Security and have approved new measures to restrict the movement and stay of foreign nationals without valid identification documents, can demonstrate that they are legally staying in BiH or have applied for asylum.
    These restrictions will prohibit the movement and stay outside the centres in which these foreign nationals are housed. Anyone found breaching these rules, in accordance with the Law on Aliens will be transferred to the nearest temporary reception centre. These restrictions are implemented on a provisional basis until the Council of Ministers decide that the reason for prescribing these measures has ceased.

    Aegean Boat report claim that there have been no new arrivals on the Greek islands in the last week. If true, this will be the first time since 2015. Unfortunately, we know that this absence of new arrivals is not because safe and legal migrant routes have been opened but because the Greek coast guards have been ordered to prevent migrants from entering Greek waters using the pretext of COVID-19 to justify their actions.
    Aegean Boat report has also shared a report into the experience of 131 people who have been abandoned at the point of arrival in Lesvos. These people have been living outside for 25 days without any support from the authorities and with minimal assistance from UNHCR.
    Human Right Watch has urged the Greek government to release hundreds of unaccompanied children currently locked up in police cells.
    HRW affirms that “kids should be in safe, child-friendly housing with the freedom to learn, play and thrive. Yet, hundreds of migrant children in Greece without a parent or relative are sitting behind bars in police jails and immigration detention. Their conditions create a heightened risk for contracting COVID-19”
    The organisation believes that there are at least 331 children currently in police custody waiting for transfer to a shelter. In addition to the psychological stress and the increased risk of contracting COVID-19, HRW has documented instances of ill-treatment by the police that these children have had to ensure.

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Lesbos #Camp #Postedepolice #Détention #Enfants #Mineursnonaccompagnés


  • AYS Daily Digest 15/04/20


    Luxembourg welcomed 12 children from Greece camps on Wednesday.
    Nine of the children were from Lesvos, two from Chios, and one from Samos who was transferred to the Grand Duchy. Fifty other children are expected to fly from Athens to Germany on Saturday the 18th, in an effort to move the 1,600 people EU countries have promised to relocate from Greece’s camps. France, Portugal, Finland, Lithuania, Croatia and Ireland have also said that they will participate.

    As Sea-Watch reminds us, the number of children who have been evacuated so far still only represents about 0.1% of the people trapped on the Greek islands.

    Almost 1000 vulnerable people will be transferred to hotels in Greece.
    This is in an effort to ease the camps, Ylva Johansson, the EU commissioner for home affairs, announced on Tuesday. AYS will continue to follow closely.

    Authorities in Greece are very worried that potentially 2,000 people are entering coastal Turkish towns and are going to try and cross over to the islands. During the quarantine, the Turkish government closed the camps along the northern Greek border and transferred a lot of people to coastal cities like Izmir. Many were transferred beyond their control. L

    Katie Emm provides a comprehensive Lesvos update:
    1) People are generally respecting the movement restrictions…and some transfers have been made.
    2) According to data released yesterday, there have been no new confirmed cases for two weeks on Lesvos. This is a major milestone, as it suggests that there are no new infections here and Lesvos has contained COVID-19. Of course, there are still possibilities of infection emerging, and we still have to remain vigilant, but it sure feels nice to have hit this point. According to public data, there have been eight cases, and one death. In Greece overall, there are approximately 100 deaths, and about 2200 cases (as of today). There have been no confirmed cases in Moria, Kara Tepe, or Pikpa.
    3) No new fascist attacks — there have so far been no recent reports of attacks on NGO workers or refugees or locals.

    1) There are reports of Turkey planning to send refugees en masse to the Aegean Islands. This falls somewhere on the spectrum between propaganda and something legitimate. There’s no way to know what will happen, but it does raise some major questions, notably: Where will people go if they reach the shores, especially with a mandatory 14-day quarantine? Will there be a repeat of what happened the last time Turkey sent people en masse? Will rights be respected? Will lives be put in (further) danger?
    2) Greece voted to extend the lock down. While originally things were going to open back up on 6 April (maybe), the government extended the restriction of movement until at least 27 April. (Perspective: that is less than two weeks away, and we’ve already successfully navigated this for three weeks).
    3) Most NGOs remain working with a bare-bones team, as they are unable to get new volunteers to the island. (This is also likely a major reason why Lesvos has been able to keep numbers of infections down though, so while difficult, there is definitely an upside to this!)”


    In an update from No Name Kitchen on their current food services in Velika Kladuša:
    “No Name Kitchen continues to be present daily in Velika Kladuša. Our main objectives are to give people food and clean clothes….In order to meet the needs of many people with the few available hands, we have been working on a new plan that is already paying off.
    We started last week, associating NNK to a bakery. Money is given to this bakery and people who live in the abandoned houses are given vouchers. Each of these squats has a representative and is also connected, thanks to social networks, to an international volunteer who has previously been in Velika Kladuša. Twelve volunteers are currently involved in this task, being the ones who send the vouchers to the squats. On those vouchers, there is a code that is also registered at the bakery so that the workers know how many breads and bureks they have to give. This also allows us to have a better view of the situation and the needs to be covered.
    One day a week, the representative of each squat must go to the bakery to collect food for everyone. This project covers, from Monday to Saturday, 70 people with a large piece of bread and a burek (typical Bosnian food with meat or cheese). This project is more expensive than what we did before when we used to only give food for people to cook (something that also continues), but evaluating the options with the local volunteers, we found that this solution is the most convenient. We are working on getting more financial support so that each person can receive this meal twice a week.”

    Transbalkan Solidarity Group provide this update on the Balkan route and need for solidarity:
    “Tens of thousands of refugees and other migrants in the Balkans are only partially accommodated in official collective centers, while a large number of people fall outside the system, surviving through the help of the local population. With the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the already difficult situation is becoming detrimental and demands urgent action of local and international actors — and solidarity from all of us.
    The state of emergency now in force in many countries of the region reinforces social inequalities…
    We, therefore, call for an end to all official and unofficial discriminatory and dehumanizing practices, for the legalization of everyone’s existence, for the closure of all forms of detention and collective centers that restrict freedom of movement and fail to secure humane and hygienic conditions…
    More, we demand of the member governments of the European Union, the states of the region, and all relevant institutions and international organizations…that all people be equally afforded critical information on pandemic and unrestricted access to the health care system, that refugees and migrants are treated without discrimination, and that concrete measures for their protection are made part of all measures for the protection of the population as a whole.”


    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Camp #Velikakladusa #Chios #Samos #Lesbos #Transfert #Mineursnonaccompagnés #Enfant #Luxembourg #Hôtel

  • Greece: 1000 Vulnerable People Evacuated, Relocation of Children Started, Asylum Procedures Suspended, Renewed Tensions at Turkish Border

    EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson has announced the temporary evacuation of 1000 vulnerable refugees from the Greek island camps to hotels on the islands and on the mainland due to the COVID-19 crisis. UN agencies welcome the relocation of the first twelve unaccompanied children from the Greek island camps to Luxembourg with Germany set to receive 58 over the weekend. The Greek government has announced that asylum services are suspended until 15 May, and has placed its forces under high alert due to alleged gathering of people at the Greek Turkish border.

    Commissioner Ylva Johansson defined the temporary evacuation of 1000 vulnerable refugees from the overcrowded Aegean island camps as “EU values in practice, even in such trying times”. The Commissioner further established that it had been possible “thanks to combined efforts” of the European Commission, the UN Agencies UNHCR and IOM as well as the Greek government. The camps with a maximum capacity of 6-7000 people are currently hosting close to 40,000 under harsh conditions and exposed to increasing health risks due to the COVID-19 crisis. Two camps on the mainland have already been quarantined as a result of Corona outbreaks. The group is transferred to vacant hotels on the islands and the mainland.

    The UN agencies the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on 15 March welcomed the relocation of twelve unaccompanied asylum-seeking children from Greece to Luxembourg. Germany is set to be the next of ten European countries to deliver on promises to accept a total of 1600 unaccompanied children from camps on the Greek islands. Ms. Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia and Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Response in Europe expressed hope that the successful relocation to Luxembourg will inspire other EU member states to follow up on their pledges and stated: “This action is critical, because children identified for relocation are the most vulnerable and most in need of protection. It is also a tangible way to support the ongoing efforts of Greek authorities to look after the thousands of refugee and migrant children who will remain under their care.” Germany is set to receive 58 over the weekend and the German Interior Ministry has announced that it will receive a total of at least 350 children.

    According to the UN agencies: “As of early April, there were more than 5,200 unaccompanied and separated children in Greece in urgent need of durable solutions, including expedited registration, family reunification and relocation. Among them, over 1,600 are exposed to severe risks, including exploitation and violence, and facing precarious conditions in over-crowded reception and identification centers on the Aegean islands”.

    The controversial suspension of the Greek asylum procedure in March due to increased arrivals from Turkey was replaced by a suspension due to the COVID-19 crisis and the Greek government has announced that the current freeze of activities by the Greek asylum service will continue until May 15.

    In a Guidance on the implementation of relevant EU provisions in the area of asylum and return procedures and on resettlement released this week, the EU commission recalls the fundamental principles that must continue to apply, so that access to the asylum procedure continues to the greatest extent possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    According to Greek defense minister, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, Greece is in high alert due to gathering of people on the Turkish side of the border, with security forces under orders “to prevent the entry of people who want to come into the country illegally” and Greek navy ships sent to reinforce the coast guard in the eastern Aegean. While recognizing that the situation is dynamic and can change any minute the IOM stated on March 13 that they had no indication of people gathering along the Turkish coastline opposite the islands of the eastern Aegean.

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Camp #Ilesgrecques #Mineursnonaccompagnés #Enfant #Transfert #Hotel #Allemagne #Luxembourg #Suspensionasile

  • L’accueil au compte-gouttes des mineurs réfugiés des îles grecques

    Cinquante-trois enfants et adolescents étaient attendus en Allemagne, samedi 18 avril. La France s’est engagée à en accueillir 350.

    Par Thomas Wieder, Julia Pascual et Anne-Françoise Hivert

    Il aura fallu attendre un peu plus d’un mois pour commencer à passer des promesses aux actes. Six semaines après que dix pays membres de l’Union européenne et la Suisse se furent engagés à accueillir quelque 1 600 mineurs réfugiés sur les îles grecques, cinquante-trois d’entre eux étaient attendus en Allemagne, samedi 18 avril, trois jours après l’arrivée d’un premier groupe de douze au Luxembourg.

    Agés de 5 à 17 ans, ces enfants et adolescents sont originaires de Syrie et d’Afghanistan, à l’exception de deux Erythréens et de deux Irakiens, dont les mères sont déjà en Allemagne. Comme c’est désormais la règle pour toute personne arrivant sur le sol allemand après plusieurs jours à l’étranger, les cinquante-trois mineurs qui devaient atterrir à Hanovre depuis Athènes, samedi, seront soumis à une quarantaine de deux semaines afin de vérifier qu’ils n’ont pas contracté le Covid-19.

    Début avril, l’annonce de l’arrivée de ce premier groupe avait été accueillie avec un certain malaise en Allemagne, certains accusant le gouvernement de se donner bonne conscience à peu de frais. Un sentiment notamment exprimé par le Spiegel, qui, le 8 avril, écrivait de façon cinglante : « C’est comme si Jeff Bezos [le patron d’Amazon], l’homme le plus riche au monde, décidait de dépenser un dollar pour lutter contre la faim dans le monde, et se faisait passer, avec cela, pour un philanthrope. »

    « Coalition des volontaires »
    Tiraillée entre impératif moral et souci de ne pas raviver un débat qui lui a coûté très cher après la crise des réfugiés de 2015, la « grande coalition » d’Angela Merkel a décidé de traiter avec prudence la question des mineurs bloqués dans les îles grecques. En mars, le principe même de leur prise en charge avait été âprement discuté au sein de la majorité. Désormais, le gouvernement entend les accueillir par petits groupes, avec pour objectif d’en faire venir entre 350 et 500 « dans les prochaines semaines », a-t-il annoncé, le 8 avril.

    Les autres pays membres de cette « coalition des volontaires » suivront-ils le mouvement ? La Finlande, qui s’est dite prête à accueillir 175 mineurs, assure qu’elle va bientôt commencer à passer aux actes. En France, en revanche, les choses sont plus compliquées. Jusqu’à présent, le gouvernement refusait de prendre en charge des mineurs isolés étrangers, sous prétexte qu’ils relèvent non pas de l’Office français de protection des réfugiés et des apatrides (Ofpra), mais de l’aide sociale à l’enfance, donc des départements.

    Au vu de la situation dramatique dans les îles grecques, la France s’était finalement engagée à accueillir 350 mineurs. « Il a fallu sortir l’Etat de ses habitudes et un travail interministériel s’était engagé », observe un diplomate à Paris. Mais, dans le contexte de la crise du Covid-19, « tout est gelé, poursuit-il. L’engagement sera tenu mais, politiquement, expliquer aujourd’hui aux départements qu’ils doivent accueillir des mineurs paraît chaud. »

    Le refus norvégien
    Alors que la Belgique, la Bulgarie, la Croatie, l’Irlande, la Lituanie et le Portugal se sont eux aussi portés volontaires, « la Commission européenne pousse très fort » pour que ces Etats tiennent leurs engagements, explique un fonctionnaire européen, qui évoque « des réunions de coordination sur le sujet deux ou trois fois par semaine ».

    Depuis un mois, le sort des enfants et des adolescents bloqués sur les îles grecques a enfin beaucoup mobilisé la Norvège. Malgré le confinement, 7 499 paires de chaussures ont ainsi été déposées symboliquement sur le front de mer d’Oslo, fin mars, une pour chaque mineur de Lesbos, avant la remise au gouvernement, le 6 avril, d’une pétition signée par 44 000 personnes. Malgré les pressions de ses alliés libéraux et chrétiens-démocrates, la première ministre conservatrice, Erna Solberg, a opposé une fin de non-recevoir, arguant que la Norvège avait déjà un accord avec l’ONU pour accueillir un quota annuel de réfugiés.


    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Camp #Ilesgrecques #Mineursnonaccompagnés #Enfant #Allemagne #France #Transfert #Suisse #Luxembourg #Hanovre #Athènes #Quarantaine #Belgique #Bulgarie #Croatie #Irlande #Lituanie #Portugal #Norvège

  • Forty-seven unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors were relocated from Greece to Germany Saturday.

    Germany’s interior minister, Horst Seehofer, said the evacuation was “the result of months of preparation and intense talks with our European partners" and expressed hope that other countries would also begin taking in refugee children soon.
    The children come from Afghanistan, Syria and Eritrea. Four are girls and there are several siblings among the group.
    “The Greek government has been trying to sensitize other EU countries to (the plight) of the young children, which have fled war and persecution, to find new families and start a new life. I’m glad this program is finally being implemented,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotsakis told reporters at the Athens airport, where he met the departing children, alongside Germany’s Ambassador to Greece, Ernst Reichel.
    Mitsotakis added that he hopes that over 1,500 minors will be relocated over the next months.
    “Greece will continue to treat all persecuted people that arrive in our country with great sensitivity. But, at the same time, it has the obligation to guard and protect its borders. We have proven, as a country, that we can do both,” Mitsotakis said.
    This was the second flight taking unaccompanied minor refugees to another European country. On Wednesday, 12 children travelled to Luxembourg.
    According to the United Nations Secretary-General’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, there were over 5,200 unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors in Greece in early April “in urgent need of durable solutions, including expedited registration, family reunification and relocation” Dujarric said earlier this week.
    Eight EU countries have agreed to take up 1,600 of those children, ages 5-16, who now live in migrant camps on the islands of Chios, Lesvos and Samos. Germany pledged last month to take in at least 350 children, but the plan has stalled in some countries due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Camp #Ilesgrecques #Transfert #Mineursnonaccompagnés #Enfant #Chios #Lesbos #Samos #Allemagne

  • Amnesty remet une pétition à la Première ministre pour la protection des migrants en Grèce

    Amnesty International a remis vendredi à la Première ministre, Sophie Wilmès, et au Premier ministre grec, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, une pétition de 20.421 signatures appelant la Belgique, en tant qu’État membre de l’Union européenne (UE), à coopérer avec la Grèce pour protéger les migrants et demandeurs d’asile contre le Covid-19.

    L’organisation demande notamment que les migrants et demandeurs d’asile se trouvant sur les îles grecques soient évacués vers des logements adéquats sur le continent. Amnesty appelle par ailleurs au transfert d’urgence des personnes vulnérables vers les États membres de l’UE, dont la Belgique, en les soumettant si nécessaire aux mêmes mesures de quarantaine prévues pour les individus revenant de l’étranger.

    L’ONG réclame également une aide financière et humanitaire pour la Grèce afin de protéger les migrants contre le coronavirus. « Ils vivent dans des conditions misérables et sont dans l’impossibilité de maintenir des distances de sécurité. Un manque cruel de soins de santé et d’installations sanitaires se fait par ailleurs ressentir. Dans ces conditions, le Covid-19 peut avoir des conséquences terribles », souligne le directeur de la section belge francophone d’Amnesty International, Philippe Hensmans. Selon lui, un premier pas positif pour la Belgique serait d’accueillir une proportion importante de mineurs non accompagnés. « Actuellement, 1.600 d’entre eux sont évacués vers le continent. Les premiers arriveront au Luxembourg et en Allemagne cette semaine. Le Portugal, la Croatie, la Finlande, la Lituanie, l’Irlande et la France préparent également leur relocalisation. La Belgique, elle, n’a encore pris aucun engagement », conclut-il.

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Camp #Ilesgrecques #Transfert #Belgique #Portugal #Croatie #Finlande #Lituanie #Irlande #France # Belgique #relocalisation #Enfant #mineursnonaccompagnés

  • Greece Transfers First Group of Young Refugees to EU Countries
    By Reuters
    April 15, 2020

    ATHENS — Greece transferred a dozen unaccompanied children from overcrowded migrant camps to Luxembourg on Wednesday, the first of more than 1,000 relocations that are being expedited amid concerns over the impact of coronavirus on vulnerable groups.

    Another group of 50 children is expected to fly from Athens to Germany on Saturday, and 20 more will head to Switzerland at a later date. Greece hopes to relocate some 1,600 unaccompanied minors in the coming months.

    The children relocated on Wednesday were aged between 11 and 15. Ten were from Afghanistan and two from Syria.

    At least 5,200 migrant children from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and African countries currently live in Greece, many of them under harsh conditions in camps on islands in the Aegean.

    Deputy migration minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos said that although the number of children was small, it sent a strong message for others to follow the example set by Luxembourg.

    Greece, he said, is having to bear a disproportionate share of the refugee burden.

    “Greece faces a crisis within a crisis; migration and the pandemic together,” he told state broadcaster ERT. “The combination makes an already difficult situation even more so, and more complex.”

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    Having imposed a lockdown early on, Greece has weathered the coronavirus pandemic relatively well compared to many other European countries, with 2,170 confirmed cases and 101 deaths to date.

    But its economy, which had been emerging from a decade-long recession following a debt crisis, is expected to suffer badly from a collapse in tourism bookings.

    Human Rights Watch, an advocacy group, called on Greece this week to release all unaccompanied minors, saying their detention in overcrowded camps or in police cells heightened the risk of them contracting COVID-19.

    “The importance of this crucial initiative is amplified now due to the challenges we are all facing from COVID-19,” said Ola Henrikson, Regional Director for the International Organisation of Migration (IOM).

    Hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees fleeing conflicts and poverty in their countries used Greece as a springboard towards other European countries in 2015 and 2016, when an EU-brokered accord with Turkey all but halted the flow.

    Turkey now hosts about 3.4 million refugees and migrants, while Greece has about 120,000 who are waiting for asylum applications to be processed. Many of them are in overcrowded camps on five islands in the Aegean Sea, where aid groups say living conditions are dire.

    (Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Gareth Jones)


    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Camp #Ilesgrecques #Transfert #Luxembourg #Allemagne #Athènes #Enfant #mineursnonaccompagnés

  • Grèce : Remettre en liberté les enfants migrants non accompagnés

    14 avril 2020 12:00AM EDT

    Dans le contexte du COVID-19, une nouvelle campagne appelle à héberger ces enfants au lieu de les maintenir en détention

    (Athènes) – Le Premier ministre Kyriakos Mitsotakis devrait faire libérer les centaines d’enfants migrants non accompagnés qui sont détenus dans des cellules de postes de police et des centres de détention insalubres en Grèce, a déclaré Human Rights Watch aujourd’hui. Libérés de leurs conditions de détention abusives, ils seraient mieux protégés de l’infection dans le contexte de la pandémie de coronavirus.

    La campagne #FreeTheKids, qui débute le 14 avril 2020, incite le public à faire pression sur le Premier ministre Mitsotakis afin qu’il ordonne la libération immédiate des enfants migrants non accompagnés qui sont en détention et leur transfert vers des lieux d’hébergement sûrs et adaptés aux enfants. Human Rights Watch lance cette campagne après des années de recherche et de plaidoyer portant sur la pratique de la Grèce consistant à enfermer, dans des cellules de postes de police et des centres de détention, les enfants qui se trouvent en Grèce sans un parent ou un proche. L’organisation a déjà exhorté les gouvernements successifs de mettre fin à ces graves atteintes aux droits humains.

    « Garder des enfants enfermés dans les cellules crasseuses des postes de police a toujours été une erreur, mais désormais cela les expose de surcroît au risque d’infection par le COVID-19 », a déclaré Eva Cossé, chercheuse sur la Grèce à Human Rights Watch. « Le gouvernement grec a le devoir de faire cesser cette pratique abusive et de veiller à ce que ces enfants vulnérables reçoivent les soins et la protection dont ils ont besoin. »

    D’après le Centre national pour la solidarité sociale, une instance gouvernementale, à la date du 31 mars, 331 enfants étaient détenus par la police en attente d’un transfert vers un refuge, ce qui représente une forte hausse par rapport à janvier, où 180 enfants non accompagnés étaient derrière les barreaux.

    Les maladies infectieuses telles que le COVID-19 représentent un risque élevé pour les populations vivant dans des institutions fermées comme les prisons et les centres de détention migratoire. Or il a souvent été constaté que ces institutions fournissaient des soins médicaux inadéquats, même dans des circonstances normales. Dans de nombreux centres de détention, les salles d’eau communes et l’hygiène défaillante font qu’il est quasiment impossible de mettre en place les mesures basiques de prévention d’une épidémie de COVID-19.

    Les autorités grecques décrivent la détention des enfants non accompagnés comme un « régime de garde préventive » et prétendent qu’il s’agit d’une mesure temporaire de protection prise dans le meilleur intérêt de l’enfant. En pratique, pourtant, cette détention est tout sauf une protection. En vertu de la loi grecque, les enfants non accompagnés devraient être transférés vers un hébergement sûr, mais la Grèce connaît une pénurie chronique de places dans les lieux de vie adaptés, comme les refuges pour enfants non accompagnés.

    En conséquence de quoi, ont montré les recherches de Human Rights Watch, les enfants subissent des détentions arbitraires et prolongées ainsi que des traitements abusifs dans des conditions insalubres et dégradantes, y compris le fait d’être détenus avec des adultes et des mauvais traitements aux mains de la police. Souvent ils n’ont pas accès aux soins médicaux, au soutien psychologique ou à l’aide juridique, et peu d’entre eux connaissent les raisons de leur détention ou le temps qu’ils passeront derrière les barreaux. La détention a de graves répercussions à long terme sur le développement et la santé mentale des enfants, avec notamment une prévalence plus élevée de l’anxiété, de la dépression et du trouble de stress post-traumatique.

    En 2019, la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme s’est prononcée à deux reprises contre la pratique de la Grèce consistant à détenir les enfants non accompagnés, jugeant que leur détention violait leur droit à la liberté et que leurs conditions de vie les exposaient à des traitements dégradants.

    Le 24 novembre 2019, le Premier ministre grec a annoncé un plan nommé No Child Alone (« aucun enfant seul ») visant à protéger les enfants non accompagnés, notamment en créant davantage de refuges. Mais ce plan ne met pas fin au régime de « garde préventive » et n’élimine pas le risque, pour les enfants, de subir une détention dommageable.

    Afin d’honorer ses obligations envers ces enfants durant la pandémie de COVID-19, la Grèce devrait créer, à destination de ceux qui sont actuellement détenus, davantage de places dans des lieux d’hébergement adaptés aux enfants, comme des hôtels et des familles d’accueil, ainsi que des appartements pour les enfants non accompagnés âgés de 16 à 18 ans, dans le cadre d’un programme d’aide à la vie autonome.

    La Grèce devrait également œuvrer à augmenter sa capacité d’hébergement à long terme et à mettre en place un système général de familles d’accueil qui bénéficierait aussi aux enfants grecs. Les lois et les pratiques grecques devraient être adaptées pour se conformer aux normes et règles internationales, en établissant que la détention d’enfants pour des raisons liées à leur statut migratoire constitue une violation de leurs droits et qu’elle n’est jamais dans le meilleur intérêt de l’enfant, même dans le cas des enfants non accompagnés.


    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Camp #Enfant #Mineursnonaccompagnés #Transfert

  • Patel refuses to take children from Greek camps threatened by Covid-19


    The home secretary has ignored pleas from charities, as refugees already accepted to join family in the UK are trapped in travel chaos

    Priti Patel has refused pleas to accept more unaccompanied children from the notoriously overcrowded refugee camps on the Greek islands amid dire warnings of an impending humanitarian catastrophe.

    The charity Médecins Sans Frontières wrote to the home secretary on 13 March asking her to “significantly increase” the number of child refugees transferred to the UK as well as “facilitate the urgent evacuation” of those with chronic and complex health conditions.

    Patel did not respond. Instead the Foreign Office replied on 31 March, saying the UK would continue to support the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal, which for the past four years has aimed to prevent asylum seekers from travelling to Europe.

    Vickie Hawkins, executive director of MSF UK, described the response as “shameful”, arguing that the deal was ostensibly a containment policy and an abandonment of the EU’s responsibilities towards refugees. “This cynical deal traps thousands of people – many of them children or deeply vulnerable – in squalid conditions on the Greek islands,” she said.

    “The UK government must stop sacrificing basic refugee rights for the sake of its migration agenda.”

    Holding facilities on all five Aegean isles, including Moria, the squalid refugee camp on Lesbos, opposite the Turkish coast, are currently six times over capacity. Humanitarian organisations have warned that a coronavirus outbreak in the camps, where social distancing is impossible for many, could prompt a public health emergency.

    The European parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee recently urged the evacuation of 42,000 people on the islands as “an urgent preventive” measure.

    A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are continuing to process Dublin cases, including children, as far as the current restrictions in place across Europe permit.

    “It is widely known that arrangements to complete a transfer are the responsibility of the sending state.

    “This is a fast-changing situation and we, along with EU member states, will be subject to wider decisions from respective governments, including travel restrictions related to coronavirus.”

    ’Coronavirus doesn’t respect barbed wire’: concern mounts for Greek camps
    Read more
    It has also emerged that charities recently asked EU countries to help “decongest” the Greek island camps ahead of a possible Covid-19 outbreak. Again, the UK government is understood to have refused to offer assistance, with MSF saying that a number of EU countries including Germany, France, Luxembourg, Finland, Belgium and Bulgaria had volunteered to help transfer 2,000 children from the islands.

    Aurélie Ponthieu, MSF’s forced migration team coordinator, said: “The UK has so far not volunteered to help the children. These measures are symbolic; if these camps get the virus it’s going to be a disaster. Access to healthcare is very limited.”

    The legal charity Safe Passage last week sent the Home Office a list of unaccompanied children and vulnerable adult refugees who have been legally accepted for transfer to join family in the UK, but who are now trapped on the Greek islands because of the coronavirus travel chaos.

    Beth Gardiner-Smith, chief executive of Safe Passage International, said: “The government cannot now sit on its hands. We have a small window of opportunity to evacuate all those unaccompanied children and vulnerable adults who have families here in the UK waiting to receive them now at grave risk in overcrowded and unsanitary camps and settlements.

    “We know children will be leaving on charter flights to the EU next week, why not to the UK too?” she added.

    • This article was amended on 13 April 2020 to include a comment from the Home Office.

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Camp #Royaume-Uni #mineursnonaccompagnés #transferts

  • Are You Syrious (AYS)
    AYS Daily Digest 07/04/20


    AYS Daily Digest 07/04/20

    FEATURE Luxembourg and Germany are finally going to take in some children suffering in Greece’s island camps.
    Germany is going to take in 50 and Luxembourg will take in…12. There are at least 5,500 unaccompanied minors currently in Greece. A group of countries decided last week to collectively bring in 1,600 of these unaccompanied children, but COVID-19 has slowed this process.
    Luxembourg is the first country escort any these children; their 12 being on Lesvos and Chios currently. Their relocation will happen sometime next week. At least 5,488 unaccompanied children will remain living in horrid conditions afterwards.

    #Covid-19 #Migration #Migrant #Balkans #Grèce #Camp #Luxembourg #Allemagne #Enfant #mineursnonaccompagnés #Lesbos #Chios #transfert


    3rd day of hunger strike in Moria Prison
    On April 5th, the prisoners in Moria’s pre-removal detention centre went on strike for their immediate removal. No Border Kitchen Lesvos explains:
    “These days governments across the world have been releasing people with short sentences from prison, while the Greek state continues to insist that no migrant detainees will be released. The men here in the prison are held in administrative detention and have committed no crime. They are detained only because of their status. Some because of their nationality, some because their asylum claim was rejected, some because they tried to leave the islands, some even because they signed up for supposed “voluntary return”. Many of those with rejected claims haven’t even had the opportunity to apply for asylum, because of recent legal changes discriminating against people who don’t speak the colonialist language of the country they fled from. They are awaiting deportation to Turkey, despite there being no deportations scheduled for the foreseeable future.”

    #Moria #Camp #Expulsion #Turquie #Grèvedelafaim #Asile #Retourvolontaire


    Migration Minister’s page says medical staff is recruited for detention centres:

    “today began(…) recruitment of emergency staff(…), lasting three (3) months to meet the extraordinary needs of the Reception and Identification Centers and Temporary Supply and Supply Structures for Hosting Services. A total of 150 people will be hired at the KYT of #Lesvos, #Chios, #Samos, #Leros and #Kos, as well as at the Structures of #Malakassa and #Sintiki” and #Evros #prison #outpost.
    “new arrivals from March 1 have not been taken to the Reception and Identification Centers of the Islands but in separate quarantine areas, however there are difficulties to do so(…). So far, the Ministry has not received a positive response from the municipalities for hotel rentals for the removal of vulnerable groups from the KYT to the islands. “The European Commission has offered to cover hotels for the most vulnerable for a short time now due to the crisis, we have a written response from the local municipality that it refuses to use hotels to get the most vulnerable out of #Moria. What some are calling for a mass decongestion of Moria, that is, for 15,000 people to come from Moria to mainland Greece amid the crisis of the corona (…).there are no 15,000 vacancies in the hinterland and if there were they would be in structures like Ritsona. And in the end, it is not a given which place is safer “, the Minister stressed.


    #Ritsona #camp has been in lock down for 5 days now
    …no asylum seeker in or out since at least 23 out of 2,700 people living in the camp have tested positive for COVID-19.
    The 23 people who tested positive for the virus continue to live with their families, who most likely will contact it soon, and none of them show any symptoms of the virus as of yet. Therefore, they are said to feel discriminated by the tests and are refusing to move to the camp’s designated quarantine areas.
    All 23 persons are from African nations, which is unfortunately increasing acts of #racism in the camp. One of the residents said that the other refugees are avoiding African nationals.
    Testing has stalled in the camp because the medical professionals can only go in to conduct the tests with police, but fewer police are willing to enter now.