Lesbos Greeks, refugees demonstrate against Europe-Turkey anti-refugee deal

This video says about itself:

Greece: Protesters rally against EU-Turkey refugee deal in Lesbos

26 March 2016

Protesters rallied in Mytilene port on the island of Lesbos on Saturday against the agreement between the EU and Turkey for the return of refugees.

Refugees, local residents and volunteers from NGOs marched in solidarity with refugees and to denounce the EU’s refugee policies and NATO’s involvement in tackling the refugee crisis.

Starting from the port, protesters marched through the city to stop by a Greek Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy building, where police were deployed to prevent any violent incidents. The protesters then marched back to the port.

UN Urges Greece To Stop Detaining Migrant And Refugee Children: here.

What It Took To Rescue 26 Refugees From The Middle Of The Sea. The Huffington Post joined an EU rescue mission off the coast of Lesbos, Greece: here.

Tourism on Lesbos suffers from the refugee crisis, still the Greeks do not become anti-refugee. Hospitality is self-evident for Greeks; ‘We used to be refugees from Turkey”: here.

44 thoughts on “Lesbos Greeks, refugees demonstrate against Europe-Turkey anti-refugee deal

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  7. Saturday 9th
    posted by Morning Star in World

    by Our Foreign Desk

    ACTIVISTS dived into the sea yesterday in an effort to stop the deportation of 124 refugees from the Greek island of Lesbos to Turkey.

    Before the first ferry carrying 45 refugees left the island, the four jumped into the water, swam to the front of the chartered ferry and grabbed the anchor chain. They were detained by the coastguard.

    The second ship made the journey to the nearby Turkish port of Dikili without incident.

    The deportations are part of the much-criticised European Union-Turkey deal under which those who do not qualify for asylum will be sent to Turkey, while an equal number of exclusively Syrian refugees will be flown to other EU countries.

    Until yesterday, the expulsions had been suspended for four days after it emerged that most of the refugees stranded in squalid camps on the islands of Lesbos and Chios had applied for asylum.

    An anonymous Turkish official said those deported were mainly Afghans and Pakistanis, but there were also four Iraqis, an Egyptian, a Moroccan, a Bangladeshi and a Palestinian among them.

    He added that 1,000 doctors, migration officials and police were deployed in Dikili ready to receive far higher numbers of deportees.

    Amnesty International, which spoke to dozens of detainees on Chios and Lesbos, said people were being held “arbitrarily in appalling conditions.”

    “A set-up that is so flawed, rushed and ill-prepared is ripe for mistakes, trampling the rights and wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable people,” said Amnesty deputy Europe director Gauri van Gulik.



  8. Friday 8th April 2016

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    by Felicity Arbuthnot

    ON MARCH 18 the 28 European Union leaders reached “an agreement that has an irreversible momentum,” according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    From last Monday, some refugees and all economic migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey since March 20 will be returned to Turkey.

    In exchange for this disgraceful human-beings-as-chattels deal, Turkey, which already hosts three million fleeing refugees, would see the EU speed the transfer of €3 billion in financial assistance, with a further €3bn by 2018.

    As a sweetener for the deal, Turkish nationals will have visa-free entry to all EU countries by June, dependent on Turkey meeting an astonishing 72 long-outstanding EU criteria, according to Reuters.

    However, as groups of desperate souls who have risked the unimaginable to arrive in the EU are being forcibly returned to Turkey with the casualness of shipping commercial cargo, the EU intends to take a refugee from a refugee camp in Turkey for each person returned from Greece.

    Amnesty called the agreement “flawed, immoral and illegal” and a “historic blow to human rights.”

    Greece, having been fiscally hung out to dry by the EU, trying to somehow host and register countless thousands, is to be belatedly assisted in establishing “a taskforce of some 4,000 staff, including judges, interpreters, border guards and others to manage each case individually.” Who will foot the bill as the country reels under EU-inflicted penury seems unclear.

    Moreover, the EU seems not to have done its homework — or perhaps it just doesn’t care. Amnesty reports: “large-scale forced returns of refugees from Turkey to war-ravaged Syria,” exposing “fatal flaws in a refugee deal signed between Turkey and the European Union.”

    Research by Amnesty International in Turkey’s southern border provinces suggests groups of Syrians have been rounded up and returned to Syria since mid-January.

    All forced returns to Syria are illegal under Turkish, EU and international law.

    “In their desperation to seal their borders, EU leaders have wilfully ignored the simplest of facts: Turkey is not a safe country for Syrian refugees and is getting less safe by the day,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s director for Europe and Central Asia.

    “It seems highly likely that Turkey has returned several thousand refugees to Syria in the last seven to nine weeks. If the agreement proceeds as planned, there is a very real risk that some of those the EU sends back to Turkey will suffer the same fate,” states Dalhuisen.

    In the course of their research Amnesty found three young children deported back to Syria without their parents and the forced return of a woman who was eight months pregnant.

    Turkey with a per-capita income (GDP) of under £7,800 (Britain’s is £29,658; the US’s is £ 37,616) has, however, been taking in Syrians fleeing the Western-generated terrors since early 2011.

    Further, until early this year (according to Amnesty), Syrian residents with passports had been able to cross freely at border points and those who entered irregularly, “the vast majority,” were also able to register with Turkish authorities.

    “Over the last few months though, Turkey has introduced visa requirements for Syrians arriving by air [and] sealed its land border with Syria for all but those in need of emergency medical care,” according to Dalhuisen.

    Shamefully, it has long been forgotten that Syria was a haven for Iraqis fleeing the US-British onslaught of 2003.

    By 2007 1.2 million Iraqis had fled Western-imposed “liberation, freedom and democracy” to be welcomed by Syria — a country of just 18m.

    Iraqi children were assimilated in the free education system leading to the need for many more schools, as well as hospitals and clinics. By comparison, Britain (population 64.1m) under Prime Minister David Cameron has finally condescended to take in a meagre 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020 — many whose plight his government’s plotting and bombing has helped create.

    Jordan, with a population of just 6.5m, has taken in 1.4m Syrians and has been hosting Iraqis since the 1991 blitz and subsequent 12 years of US-British bombings, then the 2003 invasion and subsequent ongoing bloodshed.

    Lebanon, with a population of 4.5m, hosts over a million Syrians seeking safety.

    According to Europa.eu, “the EU covers over 4 million km2 and has 503 million inhabitants, the world’s third-largest population after China and India.” Yet with very honourable exceptions, the majority of EU countries have turned their backs on a human tragedy of enormity.

    Greece of course, is carrying the can: “We are expecting violence. People in despair tend to be violent,” the government’s migration spokesman, Giorgos Kyritsis, told the Observer. “The whole philosophy of the deal is to deter human trafficking from the Turkish coast, but it is going to be difficult and we are trying to use a soft approach. These are people who have fled war. They are not criminals.”

    An example of the desperation manifested in a comment by Mustafa, a Syrian living with his wife and children: “If they make me go back to Turkey I’ll throw myself and my family into the sea. We went from hell to hell.”

    By Sunday night it emerged that Frontex, the EU border agency, had not even dispatched the appropriate personnel to oversee the operation.

    “Eight Frontex boats will transport men, women and children … back across the Aegean following fast-track asylum hearings. But of the 2,300 officials the EU has promised to send Greece, only 200 have so far arrived,” Kyritsis said.

    “We are still waiting for the legal experts and translators they said they would send,” he added.

    Moreover, “humanitarian aid also earmarked for Greece had similarly been held up, with the result that the bankrupt country was managing the crisis — and continued refugee flows — on very limited funds from the state budget.”

    Peter Sutherland, the UN secretary general’s special representative for international migration and development, is scathing: “Collective deportations without having regard to the individual rights of those who claim to be refugees are illegal … There have to be adequate assurances they can’t be sent back from Turkey to Syria.”

    The founding principles of the European Union include “the values of respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.”

    It seems when it comes to Greece both the country and the refugees they have hosted against insuperable odds have been thrown to the sharks.



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