C-Star ship saved by NGOs rescue ship // Hundreds died in US attack on Raqqa // More people arrived in Greece // Italian government continues to prosecute people who are saving lives // Protest in Sweeden continues with more people joining
Life is really funny sometimes, so funny that it is hard to believe. Fascist boar C-Star was in distress on the coast of Libya, having engine problems, and the closest one to help were people from an NGO rescue ship.
Sea-Eye rescue crew, the group that is among those who are accused of “colluding” with smugglers by the C-Star crews, was on their way to help. Michael Buschheuer, the chairman of Sea-Eye, issued a statement saying that to help a ship in distress is “the duty of anyone at sea, without regard for their origin, race, religion or beliefs”. Apparently, C-Star ship refused help, but we do not have confirmation for this.
Defending Europe group, that is in charge for C-Star, let crowdfunding campaign claiming that their ship will target “criminal NGOs…that are nothing less than part of the international human trafficking ring”. They claim that refugees who are coming to Europe are “invading” the continent they look like, consider belong to them only.
The ship was stopped several times over the last several weeks by anti-fascist groups in different countries, but they continued their journey. They were also stopped in the Suez Canal for security checks before journeying to northern Cyrus, where crew members were arrested over people smuggling allegations after the group of people from Sri Lanka were found on board. Later on, they claimed that Sri Lankan crew members on board were “apprentice sailors” who were supposed to disembark in Egypt.
While sailing, C-star crew — that is already becoming ridiculous — were shouting at humanitarian ships through megaphones ordering them to leave the search and rescue zone.
However, while we laugh at them, we have to remember that they have enough people around Europe who were ready to give them money and support them on their mission. At the same time, while those who are saving lives are prosecuted, this crew that is openly fascists is permitted to sail. And that is the world we are living in.
The war in Syria is still raging. This time media are reporting about hundreds number of victims after the US led strikes in the region of Raqqa. The reports, as The Guardian writes, are not definitively confirmed “but are considered reliable by UN officials”.
The official explanation for the attack is to clean the city of the ISIS members, even though it looks like no more than 500 of them are in Raqqa. However, airstrikes targeted the residential area where a huge number of civilians are living.
UN Migration Agency, reports that 117,795 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 9 August. Most of the people arrived in Italy.
Another organization signed the Code of Conduct that the Italian government came up with. This time it is SOS MEDITERRANEE whose members met in Rome with Mario Morcone, Head of Civil Liberties and Immigration at the Ministry of Interior.
Apparently, the Code they signed is amended and now it acknowledges that the Code is not legally binding and existing national and international laws and regulations prevail: that it does not mention the carrying of any form of weapon, and there fore SOS MEDITERRANEE does not commit itself to receive any armed persons aboard its ship.
The increase of people arriving in Greece is still very noticeable. Today volunteers informed us about one refugee boat that arrived on the South coast of Lesvos in the morning with 8 men, 6 women and 9 children on board. Almost at the same time, one refugee boat carrying 54 people arrived at Chios this morning, including 20 children. People on the boat were from Syria, Yemen, Kuwait, Morocco, Iraq. With the latest arrivals, it makes the total of 208 new arrivals only to Chios this week.
Meanwhile, the situation at Chios remains desperate, like in other islands. Cam Souda is almost closed, but camp Vial is full of people and the entrance for volunteers is becoming harder.
How difficult situation for people at the islands is, we found proof in a hard to believe information about a person who tried to swim from Chios to the unknown destination. He was located on the rocky islet Venetiko, in the south of the island, by a sailing boat who rescued him and took to the port of Chios.
He is identified as 35 years old man from Afghanistan who arrived on the island on August 7th together with 74 other people and was at Vial camp.
Yesterday, August 10th, the Hellenic Police and the European Border Guard and Coastguard — Frontex, returned three people to Turkey, and in according to the EU-Turkey deal. One person was from Iran, one from Turkey and one from Pakistan. While two of them entered by sea, one entered via the Evros Border Station,
The latest report by the Legal Center Lesvos reminds about the 35 individuals who were arrested on 18th July in Moria, in raids following clashes with riot police.
All those arrested have been charged with serious crimes, including arson, damage to property, and rioting, and are facing lengthy prison sentences, and could signify exclusion from international protection.
However, the Center claims that there is enough evidence that all 35 were arbitrarily arrested on the basis of their race, nationality, and presence in the camp at the time of police raids.
The Legal Centre Lesbos, supported by Lesvos Solidarity, provided representation to all 35 in their preliminary hearings and is now working with a larger coordinated group of organizations and criminal defense lawyers to ensure they receive adequate representation.
Again about the prosecution of those who are saving lives. Italian authorities are investigating an Eritrean human rights activist Don Mossie Zerai, who was the candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015. He is investigated for “facilitating clandestine immigration” by the Trapani public prosecutor.
Zerai founded the Habashia, a blog he describes as “life jacket for migrants,” and where he provides last-minute and lifesaving information to people trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.
Zerai released the statement saying: “I can confirm with all conscience that I have nothing to hide and that I have always acted me full legality. Apart from the Trapani initiative…, I have not been called to any other venue to justify or in any way respond to my work in favor of refugees and migrants.”
The charge against him is linked to an investigation against German NGO Jugend Rettet, also accused of facilitating clandestine migration through its Iuventa rescue ship.
Pierre Henry, DG of France asylum, visited on Thursday the Vallée Valley and Cédric Herrou, and he wrote about Cédric and his farm, saying that despite ridiculous court decision, he plans to continue helping people.
“He has plans to build a few wooden huts on his ground to help people from another continent to brave winter and because now, with his friends, he has no choice! We can’t punish him for that. It is up to the EU to allow here in the region, as elsewhere in France, in Italy, to establish a dignified system, which identifies, guides, supports, accepts or refuses protection. Ciotti opposes it. The State plays an absurd part. Herrou is not a problem, it is part of the solution if at least the idea is to find one!”
Help is needed in Dunkirk. People in Motion group are near the warehouse in Dunkirk, supporting refugees living near the old camp that burned down earlier in the year.
They delivered tents and pots and pans since people are able to cook their food. However, there is the need for help and they need more tents, sleeping bags, blankets, pots, and pans, comfortable trousers for women (not jeans).
“The process is in its infancy, but it’s supposed to develop like [the refugee deal with] Turkey once did,” she said to journalists after meeting with senior officials from the IOM and the UNHCR.
This will be achieved, Markel claims, by strengthening Libya’s government and improving conditions in detention centers across the country.
Previously, French President Macron proposed setting up of“hotspots” as a solution for Libya, the idea which according to the IOM is “excellent on paper,” but has some “insurmountable problems” such as the lack of a legal framework.
The EU leaders remain ignorant about the reports by various human rights organizations and the media about the situation in Libya. The latest is done by Oxfam and claims that most African migrants suffer “abuse, torture and rape” while crossing lawless Libya. Many people are detained in Libya, and face abuse, by different armed groups, criminal gangs, and smugglers. Those who were interviewed by Oxfam researchers spoke about how they were kept in cells full of dead bodies, forced to call their families to demand ransom money, and beaten and starved for months on end. A conclusion is that people in Libya face the hell.
“The EU should provide safe routes for people to come to Europe and have access to a fair and transparent process for claiming asylum,” the report claims.
Volunteers continue to organize food distribution in the front of the Office des Étrangers (Foreigners Office) in the heart of Europe.
“People queue up quietly to receive their meal. The police also visited us … Francken’s word about migrants “in transit” is in their minds: Since they don’t want to stay, they better go somewhere else! Just that reality is a lot more complex. On the ground, you can find papers with the information the Office distributes in order to motivate the migrants to go back to their countries “voluntarily”. Their only contact with the authorities is for twisted information, propaganda to dissuade. The Office and Francken also propagate the threats of Dublin regulation (direct return to Italy) (which in fact, they don’t effectuate at all). We support the demands of Medicines du Monde and Ciré: Creation of a reception center where migrants are informed correctly about their true rights, so they can apply for asylum in Belgium if they wish. Many of them would do this under these conditions!”
Protest in Stockholm, at the Mynttorget square, is still going on, and more and more people are joining. So far, even protesters called them, none of the political parties — including left — came to support them. But citizens are with them, and that is the most important.
People who initiated protests are young Afghans, most of them unaccompanied minors, who demand that Mikael Ribbenvik, head of the Migration Agency, come there to talk with them and that the government stop the deportations back to the war-torn country. Many of them are still awaiting the decisions regarding their asylum claims.
The government strongly advises its citizens not to visit Afghanistan considering it too dangerous, while at the same time they are deporting young people there.
AYS is in Stockholm with protesters, and we will keep reporting about it.
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