Croatian police anti-refugee violence


This video says about itself:

Refugees enraged at inhumane treatment in Croatia

18 September 2015

Many of the people hoping to travel through Croatia have instead been taken to camps, on buses provided by the Croatian authorities. And as Mohammed Jamjoom reports from Beli Manastir, for some it has been a frustrating journey.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Refugees meet Croatian police: ‘Sticks, fists and kicks’

Today, 19:14

“They hit us with black sticks. On my back, my legs and above my eye, they brought us back to the border.”

Aziz, 23, is sitting on his bed in a Serbian reception center, near the Croatian border. He is from Afghanistan and traveled to Serbia through Turkey and Bulgaria. Here he has been for eight months. Aziz thinks about that morning about a month ago. It was the second time he tried to cross the border to Croatia illegally.

Usually, the violence is against the mobile phones which … refugees use to find their way to the border. Police officers kick or hit the phones to destroy them. But every now and then they are unlucky, says Aziz. Then the people will be maltreated too.

“They said they were private police. They drove in black cars and did not wear uniforms.” Above the eye, the wound has now become a scar. He had a headache for a few days. But after a week he felt better and was again in the woods at the border. …

Almost everyone has a story about the Croatian police. Many have already been maltreated by the Hungarian police when they tried to cross the border. A man shows a deep wound on his lower leg, caused by a stick. Another one had a broken finger and lost a tooth by a fist on his face.

MSF [Doctors Without Borders] in Serbia, which reports regularly on violence against migrants on the Balkan route, has by now treated hundreds of people injured during their flight. “The majority of people who come to us declare that they met with police violence”, said Andrea Constante of MSF. He emphasizes that it is impossible to check the stories of migrants and refugees, but that the injuries they see speak for themselves. “We see blue spots and wounds caused by sticks, fists and kicks.”

Family tablet broken

Families with children who tried to cross have also been subjected to violence, according to a statement from an Afghan woman who wants to remain anonymous. Eight times she walked across with her husband and three young children. They slept in the jungle and walked for a couple of days. Each time they were sent back by the police to the Serbian border with the message: do not come back. This also happened after they said they wanted to apply for asylum in the EU country Croatia.

The last time, two months ago, it went wrong, she tells. “They hit my husband with a piece of wood, grabbed me by the arm and pushed my children.” Her husband could not walk well from the pain for a few days. On her upper arm were bruises. The tablet containing all family photos and important documents was thrown into the ground, breaking it.

She says she will try again soon. “We are desperate”, says the woman. “In Afghanistan, I was a teacher, now I’m in a small room all day long thinking about the future of my children. Three years we’re already on our way, what else can we do?” …

MSF goes further in criticizing Croatia: the country is said to be guilty of human rights violations, because in many cases no asylum application is heard. MSF spokesman Constante calls it worrying that people are denied that basic right. Other human rights organizations also hate this situation. …

Durdana Zazai, a 12-year-old girl from Afghanistan, was also sent back when she applied with family members for asylum in Croatia. Zazai has polio and can not walk anymore. Her nephew carried her back on his back through the woods. When she met the Croatian police, she was told they would be taken to Zagreb. Instead, the police returned them to the Serbian border, says cousin Younis.

Now Durdana is in a shelter in Serbia. She is not treated for polio there. Her parents are in Germany. “We have come to Europe for her treatment,” says Younis. “We are on a list to go to Germany legally, but we have been waiting for eight months. No one helps us.” …

Despite all the stories, new people come to the border every day. They take the train or walk all the way from Belgrade, says Bruno Alvarez Contreras, founder of the small Spanish aid organization No-Name Kitchen. He sees them going every day and getting back injured. “Police in an EU country should know better”, he says. “To abuse these people is incredible.”

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British government jails raped women refugees


This video from Britain says about itself:

2 March 2015

The treatment of detainees inside the notorious Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre is revealed in exclusive footage obtained by a Channel 4 News investigation.

Warning: this film contains offensive language from the start.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Vulnerable women seeking asylum still being locked up

Wednesday 1st November 2017

VULNERABLE women seeking asylum in Britain are still being locked up in detention centres where they suffer further trauma, a charity warns today.

In January 2016, an independent review recommended that survivors of sexual and gender-based violence should not be held in immigration detention centres but, despite changes in government policy, such women are still being locked up.

Women for Refugee Women spoke to 26 women who claimed asylum and were detained at the notorious Yarl’s Wood centre since September 2016, when the Adults at Risk policy came in, and found that 85 per cent were survivors of domestic violence, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, forced prostitution or trafficking.

Nearly 90 per cent said their mental health had deteriorated while being detained while about half said they had thought about killing themselves. Two women said they had attempted suicide multiple times.

Home Office policy states that anyone who is vulnerable or “at risk” of harm from detention should not be detained — including survivors of sexual or gender-based violence.

But there is no screening process to identify whether someone is vulnerable.

Although doctors in detention centres are required to complete reports when they have concerns that someone is a survivor of torture, a report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons in 2015 said that at Yarl’s Wood, some reports were “among the worst that we have seen, providing wholly inadequate protection for some of the most vulnerable detainees.”

One woman from West Africa, who had been forced into prostitution in her home country and had now been kept in detention for six months, said: “I wasn’t really sleeping or eating at all and I was having flashbacks about what had happened to me.

“Sometimes it felt like I was suffocating, as if the walls were closing in.”

The charity said the government must introduce a monitoring system on the policy’s use.

It also wants to see such women identified before being detained and an exclusion on the detention of pregnant women: currently there is a 72-hour time limit.

Founder of Women for Refugee Women Natasha Walter said: “We need to move away from detention and build a fair asylum process in which cases are heard and resolved while refugees are living in the community so that they are able to start rebuilding their lives.”

Further measures called for by the charity include a 28-day time limit on detention and an end to holding people while their asylum claims are in progress.

British government, stop jailing tortured refugees, court decides


This 30 July 2017 video is called Turkish Soldiers Appear to be Torturing Syrian Refugees.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Government policy on tortured asylum seekers declared unlawful by High Court

Vulnerable individuals wrongly locked up while asylum claims are processed despite doctors submitting evidence of torture and ill-treatment to the Home Office, court rules

May Bulman, Social Affairs Correspondent

Tuesday 10 October 2017 11:41 BST

The High Court has declared the Government’s policy on torture victims is unlawful, after being told asylum seekers fleeing persecution were being wrongly detained.

In a move that could help prevent thousands of vulnerable people from being incarcerated in the UK’s notorious detention centres, the judge ruled individuals had been wrongly locked up during their asylum claims despite doctors submitting evidence of torture and ill-treatment to the Home Office.

The case was bought by seven survivors of torture who had been detained in the UK, including victims of sexual and physical abuse, trafficking, sexual exploitation, homophobic attacks and a child abused by loan sharks.

One of the claimants, a young man kidnapped and beaten with knives, sticks and a gun by the Taliban because he refused to be groomed into joining them, was told by the Home Office that his case did not meet the new definition of torture.

Apparently, Theresa May’s government‘s new definition of torture is: ‘It’s only torture if it is done by a government which is at odds with BP, Shell, or another British multinational corporation‘ [sarcasm off].

Another claimant, a Nepalese man who was beaten, cut and shot at by a terrorist group in his home country, in an ordeal lasting 15 days, was also told that his experiences do not meet the new definition of torture.

The ruling comes up after campaigners accused the Government of adopting an unreasonably narrow definition of torture in policy changes made last September, in which it sought to apply a United Nations political document drafted to prevent the perpetration of torture worldwide to a purely medical assessment.

The Home Office subsequently advised medical practitioners assessing individuals’ vulnerability to harm in detention that torture inflicted by non-state actors must not be considered torture in their examinations.

Judge Ouseley told the Home Office unambiguously that their new policy was “unlawful and their actions upon it too were unlawful”, saying the new policy had “no rational or evidence base”.

Medical Justice, a charity that sent volunteer doctors to assist two of the claimants in detention, said the Government dismissed warnings from them that the policy was likely to increase the risk of harm and fundamentally weaken protections for vulnerable detainees.

The Home Office admitted it unlawfully detained the seven detainee claimants and applied the policy wrongly in 57 per cent of 340 cases in its initial 10 weeks of implementation, describing it as a “bedding in” issue.

It comes a month after systemic failures were highlighted in BBC Panorama undercover footage of detainees appearing to be abused, including a guard throttling a detainee whilst threatening to kill him and a nurse colluding in falsifying the detainee’s medical records. Since the documentary was broadcasted, three detainees have died in immigration detention.

A damning report by senior civil servant Stephen Shaw into the welfare in detention of vulnerable people in 2016 meanwhile found that “many practices and processes associated with detention are in urgent need of reform”.

The Government publicly accepted the “broad thrust” of the report, only to quietly remove safeguards for victims of torture a few months later with the new policy.

Judge Ouseley was clear in his finding that the distinction between state and non-state torture when assessing particular vulnerability to harm in detention “has no rational or evidence base,” adding: “There is no evidence that such a distinction relates to the relevant vulnerability. The evidence rather is that it does not.”

He went further to say that the policy “would require medical practitioners to reach conclusions on political issues which they cannot rationally be asked to reach.”

The High Court judge also noted that, by irrationally excluding victims of torture by non-state actors, the policy “falls short of meeting the statutory purpose which it is required to meet,” meaning that the Home Office failed to carry out the express will of Parliament.

One of the claimants, who is unnamed but who was unlawfully detained and suffered mental health deterioration while held in detention, said after the hearing: “I welcome the decision and I am happy that the Judge accepted that the Home Office’s policy to narrow the definition of torture was unlawful.

“The Home Office said that detention will not affect me because I am not a victim of torture. It is difficult to believe that the Home Office could happily detain me knowing that I was tortured. It affected me greatly to be subjected to this unlawful policy. It has left a scar in my life that will never be healed.

“Although I welcome the decision, it is still upsetting that the Home Office, who should protect people like me, rejected me and put me in detention which reminded me of the ordeal I suffered in my country of origin.

“I hope that the decision will benefit other survivors of torture held in immigration detention and it will prevent the Home Office from implementing a policy that will hurt vulnerable individuals in the future.”

Medical Justice doctors accused the Home Office of “sheer contempt” for narrowing the definition of torture, and urged that its “systematic healthcare failings” in detention settings had led to heightened mistreatment of detainees.

“Narrowing the definition of torture by the Home Office demonstrates its sheer contempt for vulnerable detainees whose lives it is responsible for. The Home Office should have welcomed our evidence of the policy’s harm suffered by torture victims, not dismissed it,” a spokesperson said.

“There is ample justification for immediately releasing all detained adults at risk so they can access the care and support they need in the community. We believe that The Home Office’s denials of systemic healthcare failings for over a decade has enabled mistreatment of detainees and that its inability to stop abuse means that the only solution is to close immigration removal centres.”

Lewis Kett, one of the solicitors leading the challenge on behalf of the Duncan Lewis claimants, said: “Today’s judgment means that those making decisions to detain should now be able to focus on the real question: whether the individual is particularly vulnerable to harm in detention.

“This was supposed to be the intention of the Adults at Risk policy following the Shaw Report’s damning critique, but the Home Office got it spectacularly wrong. Our clients have now finally been vindicated on this point.”

See also here.

‘Stop deporting Afghan refugees to death’


This video from Germany says about itself:

31 May 2017

Clashes between police and students broke out at vocational school at Berliner Platz in Nuremberg, Wednesday after students blocked one of their fellow pupils, a 20-year-old Afghan asylum seeker, from being deported.

The school students surrounded the police car containing the student due for deportation to block his departure. The demonstration turned violent with police using tear gas and batons against the students, some were arrested.

A deportation of Afghan asylum seekers from Germany was planned on the same day, spurring protests around the country, but was cancelled following the detonation of a car bomb in Kabul killing some 80 people and injuring hundreds.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

‘Unclear why the Netherlands thinks Afghans can go back safely

Today, 15:58

“Ever since I’m back in Kabul, I’m homeless. I lived for a while under bridges, in old cars and garages. I traveled throughout Afghanistan to find relatives, but I did not find them. There are days and nights that I do not eat or drink. My life is very hard. Every day there are fights, explosions and killings.”

18-year-old Hamid told this to Amnesty International. Hamid – not his real name – fled to the Netherlands when he was 15, but was expelled when he was 18. Now he is living in the Afghan capital Kabul in need.

It is one of the stories that Amnesty noted of Afghans refouled by European countries. The human rights organization says that Norway, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands have jeopardized thousands of Afghans by sending them back to their country of origin.

In Europe, many tens of thousands of Afghan refugees reside. Their return was often refused by the Afghan government until last year. That is why the European Union and Afghanistan concluded a deal: until 2020, the country will receive 1.3 billion euros annually if Afghanistan will take back asylum seekers and economic migrants.

That while not all EU countries think it is safe in Afghanistan. The Netherlands is one of the few member states thinking that asylum seekers can be returned.

A view that is not entirely consistent with reality, says NOS correspondent Joeri Boom. In 2016 more than 11,000 civilians were injured or killed …

Boom: “Abductions, attacks, firefights, torture. It goes on day after day, even in the Afghan capital Kabul, which is considered safe by the Netherlands. In addition, many people are bombed by the Afghan Air Force, which is badly trained.”

And by the air forces of the USA and other NATO countries which are supposedly better trained.

Boom does not understand how the Netherlands has come to the conclusion that Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan are safe. “At least, no Dutch researchers have come to the country because it’s too dangerous, and the embassy staff do not move freely through Kabul, while that city should be safe according to the Netherlands. That’s a bit strange, I’d think.” …

The European countries mentioned in the Amnesty report, including the Netherlands, are members of NATO. The alliance started a war against the Taliban in 2001 and promised to build a democratic and safe state in Afghanistan.

Because of that promise, many Afghan youths got jobs with Western organizations while they knew they were in danger. But now there is still war in Afghanistan, and we can conclude that the Western project has failed, says Boom.

Thus, the question arises whether European countries are responsible for these Afghan youths who are at risk of being killed or detained by Taliban fighters. That’s an important issue, says Boom. “Actually, it’s a moral question.” ..

They wonder why the European countries are deporting them now. “These Afghans do not understand … “We have not started this war”, they say, “we want to build our lives: accept us.””

In September, the participation of Dutch soldiers in the NATO mission in Afghanistan was extended until 2018. There are about 100 Dutch soldiers in the country. Next year, the Netherlands will also send a surgical team at the request of the NATO alliance.

Amnesty International urges governments to adjust their policies immediately. According to the organization, it is widely reported in the media that it is too dangerous in Afghanistan. The returning of expelled asylum seekers to an unsafe country is an infringement of international law, Amnesty states.

The Dutch immigration authority IND was not accessible for comment.

The Pentagon has suddenly ordered the withholding of key information on the state of Afghanistan’s security forces that have been published in quarterly reports for nearly a decade. The censoring of the data comes as the Trump administration has given the military brass free rein to escalate US imperialism’s longest war, now in its 17th year, sending thousands more troops to the South Asian country, while substantially increasing military spending: here.

Turkish government violating Syrian refugees’ rights


This video says about itself:

Stop shooting! Turkish border guards continue to shoot, beat and kill Syrian refugees – HRW

10 May 2016

Turkish border guards are continuing to shoot and abuse Syrian refugees who are crossing into the country, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW). The rights group, citing the deaths of several asylum seekers, has called on Ankara to investigate. “Firing at traumatized men, women, and children fleeing fighting and indiscriminate warfare is truly appalling,” said Human Rights Watch researcher Gerry Simpson.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Human rights violations in refugee camps in Turkey’

Today, 06:33

The situation for Syrian refugees in Turkish camps has not improved. According to researchers from the Free University [Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam in the Netherlands], human rights are still violated. The researchers wonder if returning refugees to Turkey [by the European Union] is legitimate. Amnesty International came to that conclusion before.

The researchers of the Vrije Universiteit investigated the circumstances in the camps, commissioned to do so by [refugee aid organisation] VluchtelingenWerk in the Netherlands. They spoke with lawyers representing the refugees.

According to the researchers, refugees often are not allowed to leave the camps, they are locked up in cells and hardly have any opportunities for contact with the outside world. Some camps are disguised detention centers, investigators say. …

Shocking

VluchtelingenWerk in The Netherlands responds alarmedly to the investigation. “I think it’s shocking to read that refugees in Turkey are barely getting access to asylum procedures and are locked into prisons“, said director Dorine Manson.

“Refugees are even forced to sign documents in a language they do not understand, declaring they ‘voluntarily’ want to return to their country of origin. It is therefore incomprehensible that the deal between the European Union and Turkey is depicted by the EU and its member states as a big success and is even seen as a blueprint for future deals with other countries.”

3 billion

In 2016, the European Union and Turkey concluded a treaty on the reception of mainly Syrian refugees. The agreement says that all refugees who enter Greece, and thus the EU, through Turkey will be returned.

… Turkey receives in return the 3 billion euros previously promised for the refugees’ reception sooner than planned.

Syrian refugee falsely accused of terrorism


As this video shows, hundreds of Syrian refugees in Arnhem city in the Netherlands have demonstrated against ISIS terrorism in Paris and in their homeland. They stated they wanted peace all over the world, not terrorism.

Their signs said things like: ‘I am Kurdish, I am against terrorism’ and pointed out that they fled Syria because of ISIS violence.

By Felicity Collier in Britain:

Apology demanded as Yahyah Farroukh freed without charge

Saturday 23rd September 2017

THE employer of a Syrian refugee wrongfully arrested for “terrorism” demanded an apology from the police yesterday.

Suleman Sarwar, who manages the Aladdins chicken shop in Hounslow, said there had been “abuse, threats, anger, and hatred,” since Yahyah Farroukh was arrested at his place of work last Saturday over the Parsons Green Tube train bombing.

When Mr Farroukh’s mother heard of his arrest, she suffered a heart attack and reportedly remains in a critical condition in a hospital in Egypt after collapsing from shock.

Mr Farroukh, 21, was released without charge on Thursday.

Mr Sarwar is asking for a “fully unreserved apology” from the Metropolitan Police, saying: “The investigation brought Yahyah, his friends, family, place of employment and the wider Muslim community under scrutiny and indignity.

“Once again, the community has received backlash and animosity from the public.”

A spokesperson for anti-Islamophobia campaign group Mend said: “There is no justification for attacking the shop or the owner.

“Mr Farroukh’s release shows that there is no evidence against him to bring charges, so any reactions are unwarranted.”

Mend figures show that Islamophobic hate crimes have increased by around 17 per cent since last year.

In 2016, there were 1,800 such crimes, while there have been 1,260 so far this year.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said the bomb on the District line train, which failed to properly detonate but still injured 30 people, had been “packed with shrapnel.”

Eighteen-year-old Ahmed Hassan

an Iraqi orphan, whose parents had been killed in the Iraq war as far as I know

was charged yesterday with attempted murder and possessing explosives over the attack.

Mr Hassan, of Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, also faces a charge of using a chemical compound known as TATP to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.

He was remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on October 13.

Police are continuing to question four people, including a 17-year-old boy arrested in Thornton Heath, south London.

A 48-year-old man arrested in Newport has been released without charge.