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  • Brune Bušića 42, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
  • areyousyrious@gmail.com
  • Brune Bušića 42, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
  • areyousyrious@gmail.com

AYS Daily Digest 13/06/17: Shocking treatment of people in the Hungarian tranzit zone

Hungary consistently tortures people in the ‘tranzit zones’ / Syrian doctors to be employed in Syrian refugee camps in Turkey / Police violence and mistreatment continues on the Serbian-Croatian border / Volunteers urge the French state to take up responsibility in hosting refugees

Photo by: Haider Ali, Source and Copyrights of: Index.hu


“The transit zone operates as a no man’s land, as if the laws of the Hungarian state would not be entirely valid in that area”, Hungarian media speaks of the most infamous place holding refugees as prisoners.

Until now nobody knew what was going on behind these bars, as no public access is allowed in. A family that managed to escape from this place and go back to Serbia claims that they’ve been treated very bad, in prision-like conditions, and with children being constantly malnurished due to lack of food. They were spending time in small areas (10×10) of the five blocks that were separated with tall fences and barbed wire, with parents crying when their children could not see them. They were not given more than 2 diapers a day, no fruits or vitamins were provided to anyone, not even to the pregnant women who were, until recently, brought to the doctor’s in handcuffs.
Hungarian volunteers who spoke to us said that “at least they no longer handcuff pregnant women”.
Unlike the police officers’ containers that have air condition, the containers — each one having 2 families living inside — heat up horribly under the sun and it is extremely difficult to be either inside or outside them.

4 spoons of baby food per day

In spite of the obvious need for more food, the families didn’t manage to explain the situation and ultimately, after one of the children kept crying all night long, they were provided with 2 extra spoons and told not to ask for anything until the noon of the next day.
Several officers escort a person to the doctor’s appointment (who is about 20m away), where no real help is given, only first aid.

The questionings were severe, lasted for about 4 hours, during which no water, food or tolilet use was at disposal. Their documentation that proves the reasons for their running away were not considered and no lawyers were present at the questioning.

As the asylum process can take up to a year, it is indefinite how much longer these people could be held captives of the horrific prison they call the “tranzit zone”, how much longer the children will be behind bars in the heart of Europe and how much longer the rest of the EU will turn a blind eye to such disrespect of basic human rights.

According to the Hungarian Bureau of Immigration, none of it is true, the journalists write.


The “safe” country’s displacement stats

126,594 individuals fled their homes due to conflict, in the time period from 1 January 2017 to 4 June 2017.
29 out of 34 provinces had recorded some level of forced displacement.
Inadequate shelter, food insecurity, insufficient access to sanitation and health facilities, as well as a lack of protection, often result in precarious living conditions that jeopardizes the people’s well-being and dignity, UN’s report as of June 11 states.

58percent of the internally displaced people are children.

See the entire infographic with so far available information here.


Food poisoning in a refugee camp

The Iraqi Ministry of Health said a woman and a girl died while at least 300 people remain in critical condition from food poisoning at the Khazir camp, caused by something in the meal of iftar that was served to them, although local media put the death toll at one. This refugee camp near Mosul is a home to thousands who fled their homes in Mosul after the military offensive to dislodge the IS from the city. Reportedly, hundreds more are being treated from the poisoning.


73,189 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 11 June, with almost 85 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain, IOM states in their report.

Source: IOM

The largest number of people arrive from Nigeria (9,286 men, women and children), with Bangladeshis (7,106) in second place. The next eight countries were: Guinea (5,960), Cote d’Ivoire (5,657), the Gambia (4,011), Senegal (3,935), Morocco (3,327), Mali (3,150), Eritrea (2,344) and Sudan (2,327).

The Missing Migrants Project reports there have been 2,524 fatalities through 11 June with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths — over 70 per cent of the global total.


Syrian doctors and medical personnel to be employed at health centers for Syrian refugees

“Syrian doctors and health care staff will be working in those centers.
We have seen that they have had good training in general,” Turkey’s Health Minister said during a meeting on health services in Istanbul.
He also said the new system, which would allow Syrian doctors to serve Syrians refugees in Turkey, is being developed and that there are 27 health centers for refugees and work is being done to improve them.

Education in emergencies funds for refugee schooling

Cash transfers are now given to families whose children attend classes regularly — as part of a programme to help 230,000 refugees into school.

Turkey has more than 2.9 million Syrian refugees — 1.3 million of them are children. Almost 500,000 refugee children are in state schools and temporary education centres but another 370,000 are not getting an education.
The families of 56,000 children have started to receive money from the European Union’s biggest humanitarian programme for education in emergencies. These cash transfers are given every two months to refugee families whose children regularly attend school.



According to the locals engaged in helping the refugees, two boats were picked up in the early hours this morning by the Greek Coast Guard, one off south east coast of Lesvos with 57 people on board, and the second boat off the north coast with 47 people on board: 7 children, 11 women and 29 men.

A total of 457 arrivals has officially been registered in Greece during June so far, making a total of 7,731 people who arrived there since the beginning of the year. Detailed estimations and statistics as of June 11 can be found here.

“Nothing is more destabilizing than uncertainty”

“Refugee children at the Souda refugee camp on Chios are toxically stressed,” a psychotherapist from non-profit organization that promotes mental health for women around the world said at the Concordia Europe Summit. is so unsettling that the children suffer from psychosis. Not knowing how long will they stay, or whether they will be sent back to Turkey is dangerously unsettling, she said.

The volunteers of the Open Cultural Center — OCC have been providing refugees in the north of Greece constant support and informal educational activities since a year ago. Now, they continue accompanying refugee children and adults in the urban areas where they have been resettled through the programmes in their two culture centres. They’ve just started with the outdoor activities in Polykastro (Photo: Open Cultural Center — OCC)


87 demands for asylum for 97 individuals have been claimed this year in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Until now, 38 asylum requests were ended, for 42 people in total, due to the fact that the people in question had left the Asylum seekers’ centres in the meantime.


A lot of the centres in Serbia are still overcrowded, as the people are still accommodated in temporary emergency shelters of rub halls or tents. The frustrations among refugees regarding the long waiting time as well as management (not seldomly, a trade in swapping places) of the so called “waiting lists” for admission to Hungary still remain.

In their latest report, the UNHCR mention they are “grateful to the governments of Sweden and Australia, for having accepted refugees from Serbia for resettlement, thus allowing five refugees to depart to Sweden and two to Australia.”

Although facilitating orderly legal pathways for refugees to access effective protection should definitely be possible everywhere and, in the given circumstances, should be sped up, the few relocated people come to us as a surprise and we hope to learn more about the process’ implementation.

Another bad experience with the Serbian police

This story reached us and dates from today, June 13.

200 m behind the distribution spot where groups distribute aid, in the woods, the group of 6 were at their campsite. 4 police arrived, 3 in uniform and 1 in plain clothes. They told everyone to stand up and the group were handcuffed together in pairs. In a line they were taken to the main distribution spot where a police van was waiting to escort them to the police station. One man slipped free from his handcuff partner and ran. The police punched the remaining man in the head 3 times, asking why the man had run and that he must get him back. The remaining 5 people are escorted to station. Upon arrival, all the men’s fingerprints are taken and then they are sent individually to the judge — a service which incurs a fee of 50euro each person. One man explains to the judge that he was in Sid camp which closed, he was then transferred to adasevci and due to his absence from camp because of game, his card was almost taken from him by comisariat, he was forced to leave and live in the jungle area with friends. The judge said he should go to another camp, the man said this was not possible. After the judge, each man was returned to the police for a search and they found considerable amounts of money (500, 200, 80 and 50 euro). The police confiscated the money and then claimed that the money was never in their possession. There is no record that the police took the money, only a record for the expenses of the judge. One man from the group of 5 had no extra money and is being held in custody for an estimated 10–15 days. The other 4 were released and came across the same police officers who had arrested and detained them. One man from the group accused the police of stealing his money and the policeman replied that if he sees him in Sid again he will be arrested again. On the police report given to each man there is no mention of extra money confiscation nor that the men possessed any camp documents, but in fact all the men in this incident had documents with them at the time, as they were previously residents of either Šid or Adaševci camp.


Police brutality

New accounts of violence committed by the Croatian police forces have come to us, including detailed descriptions of the locations, the men involved and exact time frame of the happenings.
AYS will make further legal steps demanding justice, fair treatment and respect of the human dignity of each person that steps on the Croatian soil.
We hope the institutions in charge will do their job, as with the previous charges that we raised against the members of the Croatian police.
Our team is confused by the apparent lack of information of the highest ranking police officials and disappointed by the lack of their engagement in investigating the claims that, apart from us and the CMS, a number of foreign organizations present on the ground and countless refugee individuals have stated. According to the UNHCR, they have received reports of 78 collective expulsions from Croatia, with many alleging to have been denied access to asylum procedures in Croatia.

They spent about ten minutes on each man and boy, beating us and hurting us so badly, even the kids. They used me like a football. Fists, booted feet, all over my body. They hit my face with a police baton and I couldn’t see in my eye. They beat everyone like this. After each man had been beaten they made us run away back to the jungle.

About 4.30 am I found some of my friends. We went to the hospital.. I was very worried about my eye and in lots of pain but they wouldn’t help or give me any medicine at all. It still hurts now. — from the statement by a young Afghan who got badly beaten in Croatia 2 weeks ago


Hungary targets its NGOs

Hungary’s parliament passed the government’s new controversial legislation on NGOs on Tuesday.

The law forces civil society groups that receive foreign funding to register separately, risk closure if they refuse, and be labelled “foreign-funded” in every public appearance.

This treatment was met with criticism by the NGOs and the civil society in Hungary.


Faux pas in the legal procedure might bring back a refugee to Austria?

A case of the Afghan refugee who was deported from Austria to Kabul is circling through social media. After 2 courts rejected his application, and after his deportation, the highest court decided that the deportation was not legal, since there were some errors in the the procedure: the refugee was not formally interviewed and heard by any judge. In the meantime, he has agaon fled Afghanistan, this time to Iran, and now a decision is expected to be made if the State Austria is obliged to organize for his return to Austria or not.

Vienna Law Clinics has published a site with multilingual FAQ on the asylum procedure in Austria. It can be accessed here.


Political asylum provided to a person holding an asylum in Greece

In the first case of its kind, an African refugee has been granted asylum by Belgium despite already having asylum status in Greece.

Mamadou Ba, who is from Guinea, was targeted by the far-right group Golden Dawn. He was first physical attacked and that was followed by a campaign of harassment.

“Once during a routine check of my passport the police handcuffed me and took me to a station. I spent four hours there. They stripped me, took pictures of me, filmed me…. After all that had happened they asked me one question. ‘Would I speak to the media again?’”, Ba said.

“The Belgian decision does not explain whether Greece is just unable to protect him from Golden Dawn, or whether Greek authorities should be considered to be as responsible as Golden Dawn,” the man’s lawyer said.


IOM info chart


Locals have called the police because of refugees who are sleeping in the parks as they have nowhere else to go and they’re waiting on a response to enter the hub. 23 of them were checked and sent away as the anti-bivouac decree foresees. About 50 people were disoriented, tired and confused as they were woken up and interrogated once again in the middle of the night, with nowhere else to go while waiting to enter a reception centre.

Another death in Ventimiglia

A 16 years old boy from Sudan drowned while trying to catch a shoe he lost on the riverside. Intersos denounces the fact that 250 people are living at the border with France with no services or assistance from the State which is turning its eyes away from this emergency. One third of the migrants is underage.


Mayor Raggi wrote a letter to the Prefect and says that given the continuos flow of migrants in the city, it is impossible and dangerous (!) to find other accommodation and reception centres for them. She suggests a moratorium on the number of new arrivals of migrants in town.

Via Vannina on Tuesday morning, photo by Rome volunteers


‘If the State doesn’t react, the people might start dying of hunger on the streets ‘

Despite letters written to the president, the premier minister and the mayor of Paris, the authorities ignore the fact that there is an urgency to create a better scheme and organization in order to provide help to the people who might be arriving in larger numbers, volunteer organizations claim.
Solidarité migrants Wilson claim they urgently need better public support this summer, considering the number of refugees living on the streets on the rise and volunteers are expected to be smaller numbers.
A month ago, the Camp at la Chapelle was evacuated. Today, Solidarité migrants Wilson are again distributing 200 meals per day, sometimes even 500 to 700. Their experience shows that with warmer temperatures these numbers are going to increase. The group demands that the officials provide structures for human reception, the abolishment of the Dublin procedure, since it’s in fact deprives people of the asylum right there, as well as a better protection of minors.
People would have died on the streets in winter if volunteers hadn’t helped. With estimated costs of 20.000 Euro per month, the volunteers pay their own costs of helping, therefore filling the gaps the State ignores. In the past 15 days, about 1000 new arrivals have been counted. They are exhausted, and some will part to well deserved vacations soon, so they are asking for public support from the city of Paris, because otherwise people might die on the streets soon.


Notice: There is no MSF Mobile clinic this week because it is in Calais.

Needed: instant coffee, cups & printing paper in bulk
The Solidarithé team of volunteers needs donations of these items in order to keep working on the ground, so help if you can.


An internal audit at the Germany authority for migration and refugees (BAMF) found, that the average training status of asylum case workers is only 21.6% (they’ve done only 21% of their training curriculum that they are supposed to have). The BAMF has implemented a new training program, but this will start only in September. With the large numbers of refugees in 2015, the BAMF has hired thousands of new employees to speed up the asylum process, separating interview and from decision (the deciding case worker was not part of the interview). The processing time was not shorted through this measure, it has increased from 1.6 months to 1.9 months during the last year. The quality of the decisions has been criticized a lot by ProAsyl and other NGOs.


The European Commission announced on Tuesday that it would launch infringement procedures against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland over their refusal to take in asylum seekers. The three EU states have opposed a legally-binding scheme to relocate people from Italy and Greece.

EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said “relocation is a legal obligation, not a choice.”

Slovakia is the only one of the Višegrad group of countries that won’t face sanctions at this point, since they are the only one of them that has been taking in people in the last 12 months.