New report on the situation of returnees to Kabul / 223.000 people internally displaced in Afghanistan only in 2017 / Sea arrivals to Europe drop but in comparison remain high in Greece / First asylum granted in Serbia in 2017 / Evacuations in Italy / Several calls for volunteers
Young Afghan men, especially the ones who arrive as unaccompanied minors in Europe, are facing a difficult situation when turning 18 years old. The forms of protection they receive as minors are not valid anymore and they have to start their procedure as regular asylum seekers. But the recognition rate for Afghans in first instance was only 47% in the first quarter 2017 (Eurostat), what means, that every second Afghan does not receive a protection status in the European Union. (The recognation rates vary among the member countries).
For these young men the new procedure means, that they can lose their legal status and be denied further protection. Due to the estimated security situation of their are of origin, authorities can deny their application and order them to leave the host country — back to Afghanistan. Regardless how long they stayed in the host country or how well they are integrated. Some spent their youth abroad of Afghanistan.
Asylos, a global network of volunteers, released a detailed report about the situation for these returnees back in Afghanistan. In their documentation they not only cover forced, but also voluntary returns from Europe to Kabul and provide in-depth information, that can be useful especially for legal representatives, practitioners working with these young Afghan males.
Talking to the Asylos researchers, Abdul Ghafoor, the director of the Afghanistan Migrants Advice and Support Organisation (AMASO) in Kabul reveals: “Here is no any immigration person in the airport and nothing happens. There are not even proper medical facilities that to check if you are fit enough to come to Afghanistan, what problems you have. There is nothing like that.” He further describes, that for returnees without a place to go, there is an accomodation offer for only two weeks. After this two weeks period, the people have to leave, even though this means they are homeless.
But even if the returnees find relatives, it can be hard for them to reintegrate into the society and family. Ghafoor later explains: “For someone who has been in Europe for 5 or 6 years and he has been away from religious issues, so it is very difficult to reintegrate into the family and society. Yes, there have been case that returnees were marginalized by the family because they are too westernized and they can create problems for their brother, their sister and parents, so they tell them don’t come to the area and stay away from us.”
During the past months, several NGOs stressed, that there are almost no safe zones in Afghanistan and hardly can be defined longer than temporarily. Conflicts and conflict zones are not static, war areas move with the clashes. According to a new UNHCR report, only in the last week more than 11.000 people have been displaced internally, raising to total number to 223.000 for 2017. Since the US started withdrawing their troops from Afghanistan in 2015, the Taliban is on the rise again. Nowadays in almost all regions of the country fights already broke out or there is at least a risk of assaults.
The number of have people arriving in Europe through the central mediterranean route remains lower than in the previous months. According to IOM, last week lass than 5000 people arrived. As of 3rd September almost 100.000 have arrived in Italy and more than 15.000 in Greece.
The number of people stuck on the Eastern Aegean islands is constantly dropping due to transfers to the mainland. Nevertheless numerous protection seekers still have to sleep rough on Samos. The reception center only has an official capacity of 700, but more than 2400 are being accomodated there. This situation forces them to look for other, inhumane shelters.
Meanwhile Greek authorities registered 173 new arrivals on Monday: 108 on Lesbos, 46 on Samos and 19 on Chios. Today volunteers reported 83 arrivals on Samos, 58 on Lesbos and 103 have been rescued at sea off Crete.
The Feox rescue team on Chios is calling for volunteers, to join their activities. They include distributions as well as warehouse work, community work in the camp and assistance for boat landings. Interested volunteers can contact them on Facebook or write a Mail to email@example.com.
On the mainland, residents of countryside camps are struggling with the living conditions. Volunteers report from Lavrio, close to Athens, that 86 people are abandoned from assistance. They receive cash cards, but have to walk some 30 minutes to the next market. The keep the support for these people going, volunteers and donations are needed.
Cash card is the right keyword, to highlight some changes for the program in the region of Athens. As the International Rescue Committee starts managing the program, the procedure will change, what is most important: Instead of being visited by the staff, people now have to visit the cash office of IRC in Athens to get the certificate to be still eligible for the program.
The Elliniko warehouse will have new opening times from 11th September on: Tuesday-Thursday from 11.00–17.00.
For the first time this year, asylum was allowed to a refugee in Serbia. It is a person from Syria who filed his asylum request one year ago.
He came to Serbia in 2011, and asked asylum in 2015. First he got subsidiary protection which lasted one year, and then, after the appeal, he was granted asylum. According to the Center for protection and assistance for asylum seekers, since the beggining of 2017, 158 people applied for asylum, but only one person granted with any kind of protection which is garanteed by the existing law in Serbia.
According to volunteers, in Piazza Madonna di Loreto the police today once again evacuated the place. Reportedly they not only took blankets and matresses, but also personal belongings.
In Milano a former elementary school Colombo in via Pizzigoni has been evacuated at dawn this morning. 90 migrants were living there, they were mainly from Senegal, Gambia and Morocco; together with them other destitute people. Around 100 members of police forces were present. The former elementary school has been occupied for 6 months. Among the people evacuated lots without legal papers who have been taken to Questura, while those who applied for asylum have been monitored and inspections are carried out to collocate them in specific centres. Occupied buildings are under strict controls because the local administration wants to avoid concentrating migrants in demeaning conditions for security reasons after terrorist threats and also to avoid clashes with locals.
Care4Calais is asking for volunteers and donations. The NGO is supporting people in Northern France aswell as in Paris and Brussels.