•   
  •   
  •   

World Plans for a refugee camp on Lesbos is too isolating, critics say

01:20  07 april  2021
01:20  07 april  2021 Source:   pri.org

Syria: Anti-EI operation in the Al-Hol camp, dozens of arrests

 Syria: Anti-EI operation in the Al-Hol camp, dozens of arrests © Delil Souleiman / AFP located in the north-east of Syria, the Al-Hol camp houses 62,000 people , including 93% of women and children, according to the UN. The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (OSDH) reports that the Kurdish forces in Syria has launched this Sunday a security operation in the camp of displaced Al-Hol, recently shaken by mass murders. Dozens of people suspected of belonging to the Islamic State (EI) group were arrested. The intervention was triggered at dawn.

To reach the area where a new refugee camp on Lesbos is expected to be built, it means driving through unmarked dirt roads and over deep puddles — so long as you have a vehicle that can make the journey.

a group of people on a rocky beach: The new migrant facility on Lesbos will be built next to an active landfill, according to a map published by local media in the fall. © Lydia Emmanouilidou/The World

The new migrant facility on Lesbos will be built next to an active landfill, according to a map published by local media in the fall.

The site, about 20 miles north of the port city of Mytilene, is noted on a map that Greek officials shared with local media in the fall. On this part of the island, bounded by untouched forest and a landfill, seagulls feed on the trash, and the stench is overwhelming.

Greece: After charges of migrant rewindings, the country wants to end the "Ternir attempts" on its image

 Greece: After charges of migrant rewindings, the country wants to end the according to several NGOs, migrants present in the Greek territory or in the Greek waters in the Aegean sea were forced.

Work on the camp is expected to begin in the summer, according to Greek officials, and the goal is to have it done by the end of the year.

Related: Activists protest migrant facility plan in Greece: ‘Greek islands will not be turned to prisons’

Officials say the new facility will improve conditions for migrants and locals on the island. But some migrants and other observers say that the remote locale, so far away from any services and businesses, would make it even harder for refugees to find help — and stability.

That’s something that worries Morteza, a 16-year-old Afghan asylum-seeker who asked to only use his first name out of fear that it might affect his family’s asylum application.

“I don’t want to be in a prison. This island is a prison. Just let us go to another country.”

Jason Sudeikis Knew His Awards Show Hoodies Would Go Viral: It Was '100% Intentional'

  Jason Sudeikis Knew His Awards Show Hoodies Would Go Viral: It Was '100% Intentional' The Ted Lasso star also said he hasn't started planning his SAG Awards outfit yet and teased that it will be another "last-minute decision"Last month, the actor, 45, went viral when he accepted his Golden Globe award in a rainbow tie-dye sweatshirt promoting his sister's dance and movement wellness studio, Forward_Space. Seemingly in on the joke, Sudeikis donned another hoodie at the Critics' Choice Awards one week later, this time representing Crockett High, the fictional school portrayed in his ex Olivia Wilde's directorial debut, Booksmart.

Morteza, Afghan asylum-seeker

“I don’t want to be in a prison. This island is a prison. Just let us go to another country,” he said. “I just want to be free.”

diagram, map: A map published by local media in the fall marks the location of the new migrant reception center in yellow. A map published by local media in the fall marks the location of the new migrant reception center in yellow.

Too remote?

Talk of building a closed reception facility for asylum-seekers who arrive on the island picked up last year after Moria camp, the main refugee camp on the island, was destroyed by fire.

Related: Greek police roll out new ‘smart’ devices that recognize faces and fingerprints

Migrants who were living in Moria were moved to a temporary tent facility on the island. Approximately 7,000 asylum-seekers and refugees live in tents at Mavrovouni camp, often called “Moria 2.0” because of conditions resembling the previous camp.

a tent with people in the desert: Approximately 7,000 asylum-seekers and refugees live in the temporary Mavrovouni camp on Lesbos. Lydia Emmanouilidou/The World © Lydia Emmanouilidou/The World Approximately 7,000 asylum-seekers and refugees live in the temporary Mavrovouni camp on Lesbos. Lydia Emmanouilidou/The World

During a visit to the island last week, the European Union’s top immigration official announced 155 billion euros or more than $180 billion in funding for new migrant reception facilities on Lesbos and another island.

Death threats, hate speech turn Rohingya activist's Malaysia home into a prison

  Death threats, hate speech turn Rohingya activist's Malaysia home into a prison Death threats, hate speech turn Rohingya activist's Malaysia home into a prisonKUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani, a Rohingya Muslim refugee and activist who fled persecution and ethnic strife in Myanmar, has called Malaysia home for nearly three decades.

The new facilities would be equipped with containers, rather than tents, as well as electricity and facilities such as showers and toilets.

“It’s of the utmost importance that we don’t leave people in tents for another winter.”

Ylva Johnasson, EU Home Affairs commissioner

“It’s of the utmost importance that we don’t leave people in tents for another winter,” said EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johnasson during her visit to the island last week.

Related: Greece ‘finally’ has its #MeToo moment

Sitting alongside Johansson at a press conference, Greek migration minister Notis Mitarakis said the new site for the camp was chosen because of its remote location.

“The goal of the creation of the new structures was to not be in urban centers. Not to be in the main towns, as is Mavrovouni camp [on Lesbos] today … A location was chosen that has a substantial distance from large settlements [heavily populated areas],” Mitarakis said.

“It’s in the middle of nowhere,” said Violeta Maria Dimitrakopoulou, an activist and researcher with Disinfaux Collective who’s lived on Lesbos for nearly a decade.

Ramadan rules, Flags of Hope, zoo overnights: News from around our 50 states

  Ramadan rules, Flags of Hope, zoo overnights: News from around our 50 states How the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every stateStart the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

Life for asylum-seekers and refugees would be “very, very hard” if they’re moved to a remote part of the island, she said, because they would be isolated and unable to reach crucial services and activities.

Officials have said camp residents will be allowed to exit and reenter the camp, with some restrictions.

Dimitrakopoulou said a controlled entry and exit system may not be enough.

“But where [will] people go? In the forest? And do what?” Dimitrakopoulou pondered.

The camp that refugees and asylum-seekers are currently in is close to Mitylene, and people can walk to nearby markets, nongovernmental organization offices, doctors’ appointments and other services.

Related: In Greece, a clergyman’s death reignites communion spoon debate

“Of course, we want people to be close to services,” said Georgia Mitsika, who manages Lesbos operations for the International Rescue Committee, a nongovernmental organization on the island.

“We want them to be able to reach services anywhere. But we will support them when they need us, even if they are transferred.”

Georgia Mitsika, International Rescue Committee

“We want them to be able to reach services anywhere. But we will support them when they need us, even if they are transferred,” Mitsika said.

The Greek Ministry for Migration and Asylum did not respond to a request for comment on concerns about the camp’s location.

Darfur's return to war would spell disaster for Sudan

  Darfur's return to war would spell disaster for Sudan At least 125 people were killed this month when Arab and Masalit tribesmen fought running street battles in the Sudanese city of El Geneina. Norwegian Refugee Council Secretary-General Jan Egeland warns this new violence must be addressed.At least 125 people were brutally killed this month, according to the Western Darfur State Doctors Committee, when Arab and Masalit tribesmen fought running street battles in the Sudanese city of El Geneina. Rocket-propelled grenades hit a hospital and UN compound, according to a UN report, and families who were already forced to flee their homes because of past fighting were pushed out of camps.

a group of people walking down a street: Locals on Lesbos protest the creation of a new migrant facility on the island. Lydia Emmanouilidou/The World © Lydia Emmanouilidou/The World Locals on Lesbos protest the creation of a new migrant facility on the island. Lydia Emmanouilidou/The World

A ‘golden prison’

Plans for a new migrant facility have also drawn backlash from the local community and from activists who say a camp is not the answer.

“What I'm afraid of the most is that they want to create a facility that seems to be more human,” said Clotilde Scolamiero with INTERSOS, a humanitarian organization that has provided emergency support to refugees on the island and is now offering mental health services.

That normalizes detention, she said, because “It seems much more humane. And you cannot say anymore that people are suffering … But it allows the idea that people … can stay for months or even years [and] end in a prison.”

She likened the camp with upgraded facilities such as showers to a “golden prison.” She and her organization are against refugee camps altogether.

“We believe that the European Union should manage immigration in a completely different way, toward integration, not toward confinement,” Scolamiero said.

Biden backtracks on admitting more refugees, keeping Trump's lowest cap ever in place .
President Joe Biden is backtracking on promises to admit more refugees, leaving the historically low Trump-era limit in place. Instead, he will keep the Trump-era cap in place at 15,000 people for the current fiscal year, which lasts until the end of September, according to a senior Biden administration official.

usr: 1
This is interesting!