‘Turkey unsafe for refugees’, Greek authorities decide


Syrian refugee on Chios island in Greece and his child, AFP photo

This photo shows a Syrian refugee on Chios island in Greece and his child, expressing despair at the perspective of the European Union-Turkish anti-refugee deal of being sent back to dangerous Turkey.

Refugees from Syria and other countries have known for a long time that their lives are not safe in Turkey. Many Turkish citizens have found out that their lives are not safe under the present Turkish government. The United States government has decided that Turkey is unsafe for United States citizens.

Now, after all European Union politicians’ talk about Erdogan’s Turkey supposedly being ‘safe’ for refugees, authorities in EU member state Greece have decided more realistically.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Syrian does not have to return to Turkey: not safe enough

Today, 19:42

The Appeals Court of the Greek asylum service has stopped the expulsion of a Syrian refugee to Turkey. The man had appealed against the rejection of his application for asylum. The tribunal ruled today that Turkey for him “is not a safe country.”

The ruling by the three-member appeals tribunal could potentially have major implications. This applies both to the bureaucratic processing of Syrian asylum applications and to the deal which the EU concluded with Turkey on the return of Syrian refugees.

It is unknown to who this refugees is, and why it would be unsafe for him in Turkey. The man in any case may remain in Greece until his application has been dealt with finally. That may take months.

Rights

The Guardian claims to have seen documents of the committee. They conclude, according to the newspaper: “The committee judges that the temporary protection that Turkey can offer to the applicant, being a Syrian citizen, does not give him the rights he might have under the Geneva Convention.”

According to The Guardian, the committee literally quoted several EU directives in support of its judgment.

Vulnerable groups

This refugee was one of the first Syrians who were put on a list to be returned to Turkey in accordance with the agreement between the EU and Ankara. So far 441 people according to that deal have been put by Greece on boats to Turkey. But none of them were Syrians.

Today it was announced that of the 174 Syrians on Lesbos who had appealed against their deportation in a hundred cases they have been granted the appeal. These refugees have been forwarded to the Greek mainland. Earlier, the Greek government declared it would not return all Syrians, especially those of vulnerable groups such as children or people with disabilities.

On Wednesday evening Greek police used tear gas and stun grenades against refugees protesting the intolerable conditions prevailing in the makeshift refugee camp near Idomeni. Many women and children were victims of the brutal onslaught: here.

Innocent boy refugee, journalist arrested as ‘terrorists’


These video from Scotland says about itself:

Tribute to Refugees Drowned in the Mediterranean – Art Installation

1 April 2016

Art installation at the Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, by Brian Carey. Designed to commemorate the lives of those who died crossing the Mediterranean Sea, fleeing conflict in the Middle East.

Work consisted of 4,390 pairs of disposable gloves to represent the number of deaths attributed to all of 2015 up until the 31st of March, 2016.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Arrested refugee turns out to be no jihad warrior

Today, 08:47

A Syrian refugee who was arrested in Zaandam last year because he was supposedly a terrorist turns out to be innocent. The 18-year-old Mohanned B. is said to have told fellow refugees tall stories to survive.

Behavioural scientists have determined that there is no evidence that Mohanned B. is a member of any terrorist group, the Algemeen Dagblad daily reports. The newspaper knows reports by these experts. His lawyer next week at a hearing will request provisional release of B. …

His arrest according to some politicians was supposedly evidence that supposedly there were terrorists among the thousands of refugees.

Two brothers of Mohanned B. were killed by a bomb attack in the war in Syria. He then fled. He was mentally disturbed by his family’s ordeal, and then started telling nonsense stories about being a member of ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Also translated from NOS TV:

Wrong ‘man with hat’: ‘I was the perfect culprit’

Today, 08:27

Fayçal Cheffou, the man who after the attacks in Brussels was considered for days to be “the man with the hat,” spoke yesterday in the Flemish VRT program Terzake for the first time in public after his wrongful arrest. “I was just the perfect culprit for the police,” he said.

On March 24, two days after the attacks, the journalist was arrested on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activities. …

“My bad luck was that I was at the time of these pictures wearing a cap because it was cold. And my glasses also unfortunately look like those of that man with the hat.”

After four days he was released because of telephone calls showed that he had an alibi. The time in the cell was terrible for him. “The police beat me up and put me in jail while being naked,” Cheffou said. “I had injuries all over and I was not even allowed to drink water. People even give water to an animal.”

During Cheffou’s stay in the cell, the Flemish Minister of Migration [Theo Francken] on Twitter posted a picture of Cheffou, who was working as a coordinator of a refugee camp in Brussels. In it, the politician called Cheffou an “extremist jihad creep”. …

Cheffou still has little understanding for the tweet by the politician. “It is inappropriate to attack someone like that, just to get one’s name into the media. I find it very sad that elected politicians behave like judges while they do not have access to the file.”

More than two weeks after the attack, the Brussels police arrested Mohamed Abrini in the Anderlecht district. He confessed soon being “the man with the hat.”

Ku Klux Klan anti-refugee march in Germany


This 2015 video is called Ku Klux Klan | America’s Oldest Terrorist Group.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Mars in Ku Klux Klan style in refugee camp in Germany

Today, 16:46

Eight unknown people have in Germany held a brief march on the grounds of a refugee camp, dressed in Ku Klux Klan outfits. That happened in a camp in Löcknitz, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, not far from the border with Poland.

An employee of the shelter has today reported the incident on the night of Thursday to Friday. Around midnight the eight people marched without saying anything for about ten minutes on the site. When refugees came out, the eight left.

The white supremacist terror movement KKK resisted in the USA the abolition of slavery and equal rights for black people. It also opposed with intimidation and violence immigration, Jews, homosexuals and communists. That happened in long white robes, with white pointed hats on ….

In the region Löcknitz Mecklenburg-Vorpommern live many Poles, which already a couple of times triggered anti-Polish incidents.

German neonazis’ anti-refugee violence


This video from Germany says about itself:

Germany: Clashes erupt as far-right ‘Thugida’ march on Hitler’s birthday

20 April 2016

Clashes erupted as thousands of antifa descended on a far-right ‘Thugida’ march in Jena, Wednesday, as the nationalist group gathered on Adolf Hitler’s birthday.

Some 150 Thugida protesters, Pegida’s Thuringia affiliate, were met by around 4,000 anti-racist demonstrators, with a heavy police presence in place to prevent altercations. Despite strong policing, antifa threw bottles at Thugida activists, many bearing Nazi-inspired tattoos and German national flags used during the Third Reich.

Later police stormed the protest as tensions grew, using pepper spray and detaining some 25 far-right demonstrators. Police water cannons, road-blocks, surveillance helicopters, and horses were brought out for the rally.

Permission for the Thugida demonstration was at first rejected by Jena’s local police, with officials calling for the organisers to schedule the demo on another day that did not coincide with Hitler’s birthday.

By Elisabeth Zimmermann in Germany:

Drastic increase in far-right crimes in Germany

9 May 2016

The official report from Germany’s Federal Police Agency (BKA) for the first quarter of 2016 confirms a drastic increase in far-right motivated attacks on asylum seekers, refugees and their supporters.

According to the report, in the first three months of the year, there were 347 such attacks on asylum accommodation, including three attempted homicides, 37 arson attacks and 23 bodily injuries. Of the 347 attacks on refugee shelters, the BKA regards 319 as acts of right-wing violence.

In its report, the BKA warns for the first time that as well as physical attacks on refugees, “In addition to injury, homicides must be reckoned with in individual cases.” The BKA lists other potential targets of right-wing violence as refugee volunteers, politicians and journalists.

In addition to the attacks on refugee homes, the report lists a further 73 violent right-wing crimes against refugees. There were also 386 right-wing offences (propaganda offences, criminal damage and incitement) against refugees, 88 against politicians and 33 against volunteers, including two personal injuries.

The BKA report also warns about terrorist and criminal groups in the far-right spectrum. As evidence for this, it cites the build-up of offences in certain regions, the availability of explosives as well as the number of those the security authorities deem to be potential offenders on the far right.

Overall, the number of crimes with a right-wing extremist background rose from 10,541 (2014) to 13,846 (2015). This represents an increase of more than 30 percent.

Throughout 2015, there were 1,031 officially registered attacks on asylum seeker accommodation. Adding in the attacks that have occurred over the first three months of this year to the rest of 2015, there has been an increase of 25 percent.

In particular, there were many right-wing attacks on refugees and their accommodation in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. There were 92 since the beginning of this year, and 214 last year.

These high numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. As the WSWS has reported in previous articles on this subject, the official statistics only record crimes that are classified as being motivated by right-wing extremist sentiments. Countless attacks on refugee shelters or on political opponents are not registered because the police authorities conceal the extreme-right motivation.

In addition, only a fraction of these crimes are investigated and even fewer offenders are prosecuted and convicted. Investigations of the far-right terrorist group National Socialist Underground (NSU) have revealed that extreme-right offenders who work as undercover informants for the intelligence services or police have often had their crimes covered. The boundaries between the obstruction of justice and the immediate financial and logistical support of such right-wing groups are very fluid. The police and intelligence services are closely linked to the right-wing extremist scene via this network of undercover informants and agents.

The rise of extreme-right and xenophobic violence is a direct result of the brutal refugee policy of the German government, which aims only at sealing off borders and deterrence. …

The government has repeatedly tightened up the asylum laws in the past few months. With the support of the Green Party, the Bundesrat (second chamber of parliament) has declared all the Balkan states to be safe countries of origin, resulting in the deportation of thousands of people who have lived in Germany for many years. A hideous competition between the various state administrations can be witnessed as to who can be the “most effective” and most ruthless when it comes to deportations.

As a result of the European Union’s dirty deal with Turkey, which the German government largely negotiated, and the closure of the Balkan route, only a few refugees now manage to travel to Germany, where their treatment and accommodation breaches fundamental democratic rights. Hundreds of thousands of people are denied decent housing and proper treatment. This is meant to discourage others from coming to Germany, and at the same time is grist to the mill of the far-right parties and fanatics.

Iraq war 2003-2016, new film


This film trailer video from Belgium says about itself:

…WHOSE PEACE WILL IT BE?

18 December 2015

Exploring a future for Iraq and the Middle East, we interviewed all kinds of people. We let people speak for themselves in their true colors. Fiction meets reality in poetry of the image and in esteem of the human kind! – a production of The BRussells Tribunal with the support of theWizard.

You can watch the film here.

From the filmmakers:

…WHOSE PEACE WILL IT BE?

A documentary by Luc Pien

ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY

War is intensifying in Syria and Iraq … with the support of our governements. Life has become unbearable in both countries. Hundreds of thousands of refugees seek safe haven in Europe. Many drown attempting to cross the Mediterranean. Others make it across only to discover that there is no place for them in Hotel Europa. A peaceful life seems a distant dream …

Drawing on voices other than those we hear, see and read daily in the media, “… Whose peace will it be?” traces the origins and causes of the present disaster. The documentary weaves memories of the past through experiences of the present to create a mosaic within which the pathway to peace might be discerned. It provides an impetus to think differently about the future and act accordingly. But, above all, the film seeks to chart a pathway to peace.

Iraqi academics in the diaspora muse about the need for freedom, education and humanity in the Arab world. Refugees from Iraq and neighboring countries highlight the horror of the catastrophe. Artists discuss other ways of social thinking and acting. United Nations officials recount what has gone wrong in recent decades. European philosophers and experts explain how knowledge of, and respect for, other cultures has gotten lost.

In what sense are we, “the West,” complicit in—perhaps even responsible for—the disaster that has struck Iraq and Syria? What political action should the UN take? What’s stopping the supposedly enlightened nations from entering into genuine dialogue, with respect for the identity of all concerned?

What means do we have at our disposal to restore the human and cultural riches of Iraq and Syria? How can we show solidarity with the desire of people to decide their own fate? What can we do to make sure Iraq and the entire region become, once again, a secure and decent place to live? Can so much suffering be forged into hope? Whose peace will it be once the war is over?

All these questions have led to a movie full of options and possibilities for the future. We do not show the atrocities of war: we know them all too well. Nor do we show the unbearable and self-destructive side of human behavior. We let people speak for themselves, in all their uniqueness and sincerity. Utopia and reality meet in the poetry of the narration, and respect for everyday people.

This video from London, England says about itself:

At the invitation of Lord Maginnis of Drumglass and Lord Clarke of Hampstead, a conference was held at the House of Commons on 10 June 2014 “11 Years After the Occupation of Iraq” to discuss the major concerns in Iraq including the situation of human rights, the lack of security, absence of social developments and Iraq’s international obligations.

Participants in the conference included Mr Sabah Al Mukhtar, official of Arab Lawyers and Legal Consultant in UK, Dr Isam Al Chalabi, Former Iraqi Oil Minister, Prof. Saad Naji Jawad, Professor of Political Science and visiting professor at LSE, Dr Subhi Toma, Expert on Minorities and Immigrants, His Excellency Sid Ahmed Al Ghozali, former Prime Minister of Algeria, and Messrs Denis Halliday and Hanz von Sponeck, former Assistant Secretary Generals at the UN.

Australian government, stop imprisoning refugees, Papua New Guinea court decides


This video says about itself:

Guantánamo of the Pacific”: Australian Asylum Seekers Wage Hunger Strike at Offshore Detention Site

22 January 2015

A massive hunger strike is underway at what some are calling “the Guantánamo Bay of the Pacific.” The Manus Island detention center is paid for by the Australian government and run by an Australian contractor, Transfield Services, but located offshore on Papua New Guinea’s soil. The inmates are not accused of any crimes — they are asylum seekers from war-ravaged countries who are waiting indefinitely for their refugee status determinations.

They are asking the United Nations to intervene against the Australian federal government’s plan to resettle them in Papua New Guinea, where they say they could face persecution. Some have barricaded themselves behind the detention center’s high wire fences; others have resorted to increasingly drastic measures such as drinking washing detergent, swallowing razor blades, and even sewing their mouths shut to protest their confinement. We speak with Australian human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson and Alex Kelly, a social justice filmmaker who organized a New York City vigil in solidarity with the Manus Island detainees.

From the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia:

Papua New Guinea court finds Australia’s detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island is illegal

April 26, 2016 – 11:02PM

Nicole Hasham, Michael Gordon

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says about 900 men being held at the Manus Island detention centre will not be brought to Australia after Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court ruled their detention was illegal.

The decision strikes one of the central pillars of the Turnbull government’s border protection regime, just weeks out from an election campaign during which the government is expected to heavily spruik its asylum seeker record. …

The court ruled the detention breached the constitutional right of asylum seekers to personal liberty. It ordered the Australian and PNG governments to immediately cease the “unconstitutional and illegal detention of asylum seekers” at Manus Island, and stop the breach of their human rights. …

The vast majority of men in the detention centre have been found to be refugees. The court ruling said they were seeking asylum in Australia but were “forcefully brought into PNG” and locked in an Australian-funded centre “enclosed with razor wire“. …

Australian Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs said the unanimous ruling by five judges was “further confirmation that Australia’s detention policies are increasingly out of step with international norms”.

Professor Triggs said the future of men on Manus Island remained “profoundly uncertain”, citing UNHCR concerns that the sustainable integration of refugees into the PNG community “will raise formidable challenges and protection concerns”.

Greens immigration spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said the reported court ruling showed Australia “has been illegally detaining refugees on Manus Island for years”.

“The [Turnbull] government has got to shut the Manus Island detention camp and bring these people here… so that they can have their claims assessed and be integrated into the community,” she said.

“These people have been through enough. It’s time they were given the safety and care that they deserve.”

Australian Lawyers Alliance spokesman Greg Barns said the decision was consistent with international law which stated that indefinite detention was unlawful.

The ruling also meant asylum seekers could likely make successful claims for damages for false imprisonment, and strengthened claims that Australia had breached its duty of care to asylum seekers.

“If Australia ignores the decision then it is contradicting its oft-stated claim that Manus Island detention is a matter for PNG jurisdiction,” he said.

Human Rights Watch Australia director Elaine Pearson said the ruling was a “massive victory for asylum seekers and refugees” who had been detained for almost three years.

“PNG’s Supreme Court has recognised that detaining people who have committed no crime is wrong. For these men, their only ‘mistake’ was to try to seek sanctuary in Australia – that doesn’t deserve years in limbo locked up in a remote island prison,” Ms Pearson said in a statement.

“It’s time for the Manus detention centre to be closed once and for all.”

She said the detention centre had caused “severe mental health impacts. These refugees have suffered enough, it’s time for them to finally move on and rebuild their lives in safety and dignity”.

In March, PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said the Manus Island detention centre must eventually close, and was a “problem” that had done more damage to his nation’s reputation than any other factor.

PNG Prime Minister Says Manus Island Detention Centre Will Close: here.

In what amounts to an indictment of the Australian political establishment, the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that the imprisonment of refugees in an Australian-controlled detention facility on PNG’s remote Manus Island was unconstitutional: here.