Refugee news, from Syria to Britain

This video says about itself:

Aylan Kurdi buried alongside brother and mother in Syria

4 September 2015

The funeral of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, his brother Galip Kurdi and their mother takes place in their hometown of Kobane in Syria.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Drowned three-year-old buried with family in Kobane

Saturday 5th September 2015

THREE-YEAR-OLD Aylan Kurdi, whose body found washed up on a Turkish beach became the most tragic image yet to emerge from the refugee crisis, was buried in Kobane yesterday alongside his five-year-old brother Galip and their mother.

The three were among 12 people who drowned when the rubber dinghy they were attempting to use to cross from Turkey to Greece capsized.

They had fled Syria to escape from the genocidal Islamic State terror group, which has come to dominate the Western-backed revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, but were returned to their home yesterday for burial.

Relatives said their father Abdullah, who survived the tragedy, would remain in Kobane. “He only wanted to go to Europe for the sake of his children,” his uncle Suleiman said.

“Now that they’re dead, he wants to stay in Kobane next to them.”

DAVID CAMERON’S massive climbdown that Britain would accept “thousands” more refugees received a cautious welcome in some quarters yesterday while others claimed it did not go far enough. Mr Cameron was forced into a U-turn over the refugee crisis under growing public pressure and claimed that Britain would take “thousands more” refugees from camps on the borders of war-torn Syria: here.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Saturday, 5 September 2015

‘People’s Convoy’ to rescue refugees! – 69,000 to march in London

REFUGEES stood their ground yesterday in Hungary, defied the police and refused to go to a ‘refugee camp’.

They said that they had purchased rail tickets for Germany and that was where they intended to go.

They added that on Saturday morning they would be marching to the border. Their train had left Budapest station on Thursday. Anger erupted when the train stopped at the town of Biscke and riot police surrounded it demanding that the migrants get off and be ‘registered’ in a camp.

As dawn broke on Friday morning, cries of ‘No camp, freedom!’ rang out as the riot police looked on.

On the side of the train, someone had written with shaving foam – ‘No camp. No Hungary. Freedom train’. All transport from Hungary to Germany has now been cancelled, while the Hungarian parliament is discussing further measures against the migrants.

Meanwhile, migrants left at Budapest station, their train tickets for Germany and Austria in their hands, are demanding to know why the Hungarian authorities are blocking their safe passage. Hundreds of desperate migrants left the station yesterday afternoon to march 150 miles to the border.

Meanwhile, under pressure, the Hungarian government has allowed refugees to travel to the Austrian border by bus today. They said, however, that after today the same old harsh anti-refugee policy would start again.

Hungary may deploy army on borders after Sept. 15 to keep out migrants: here.

On the road with the refugees: ‘Finally I’m getting out of Hungary’. After days of being blocked from boarding trains, people fleeing war and persecution endure a long wet night en route to Austria: here.

Guardian correspondent Emma Graham-Harrison is currently [5 September 2015, 10:57] at Budapest’s Keleti station. She’s been tweeting news and images from the scene. Another March to Austria has started, she says, with newly arrived refugees and those who missed the first march and buses: here.

Meanwhile more than 1,900 Germans and Austrians have formed a ‘People’s Convoy’ to get the migrants to Germany via Vienna. Facebook on Friday morning announced the ‘rail replacement operation for refugees’. The first convoy will depart from the Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna on Sunday morning and drive the 150 miles, across the border with Hungary, to pick up the refugees and take them back.

Back in Biscke, Ahmed Mahmoud, 60, who said he was a former Iraqi military officer who had lost both legs and was trying to join his daughter in Belgium, said: ‘We don’t know what’s going on. The police told us, get fingerprinted or face jail time. So we gave our fingerprints and they told us we can go. I just want to see my child in Belgium.’

• 69,000 people have already signed up to attend a demonstration through central London to welcome asylum seekers and refugees, and oppose the policy of the Tory government. Tory PM Cameron has now been forced to say that he will now accept a handful of migrants into Britain, but only from already established UN refugee camps bordering Syria.

He will not accept any migrants from among people who have already made the dangerous journey across the sea and made it to Europe. So far, the UK has legally welcomed a mere 216 Syrians in the last four years. Cameron would not commit to a figure that he would accept from the established UN camps. He said that the world will have to wait until next week for that announcement.

The demonstration through central London to welcome refugees and asylum seekers has been called by Ros Ereira. She said: ‘I’ve never organised anything like this before, and assumed that when I posted the event on Facebook that it might result in half a dozen friends joining me to wave placards in the rain. But the response has been simply staggering, with 69,000 people already signed up to say they will attend.

‘I hope that the demonstration can show our government that there are many people in the UK who would like to welcome more refugees into the country. We can’t watch as more people die in their attempt to reach Europe.’

The demonstration will start from Marble Arch in London on Saturday 12 September at midday.

Pro-refugee rally in Cambridge, England, photo by The Guardian

This photo shows a pro-refugee rally in Cambridge, England.

Kenyan monument for people tortured during British colonialism

Kenyan Mau Mau veterans picket the law courts in the Strand in London, England as a successful legal case is brought against the UK government

From daily News Line in Britain:

Friday, 4 September 2015

Memorial to Mau Mau freedom fighters

A MEMORIAL will be unveiled at 07:30am (GMT) on Saturday 12th September 2015, at Freedom Corner in Uhuru Park, Nairobi to remember the many thousands of Kenyans who suffered torture and abuse at the hands of British forces at the end of the colonial era (1952-1960).

In 2013, following a legal case brought against the UK government by law firm Leigh Day on behalf of 5,200 Kenyans, the then Foreign Secretary, William Hague, expressed ‘sincere regret’ that thousands of Kenyans had been subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment at the hands of the British colonial administration during the Kenya Emergency.

Attending Saturdays’ ceremony will be representatives of the Mau Mau War Veterans Association as well as representatives from Leigh Day, the British High Commissioner and UK government officials. Daniel Leader, a partner at law firm Leigh Day, who will be attending the ceremony on behalf of Leigh Day, said: ‘This memorial represents the first apology by the UK government for abuses by the British during colonial rule.

‘Crimes such as castration, rape and repeated violence of the worst kind were inflicted upon thousands of Kenyans by British colonial officials in detention camps. Many of those who suffered had little or nothing to do with the Mau Mau insurgency.

‘This memorial, along with the apology given in 2013, has gone a long way to lifting the cloud that has hung over those Kenyans tortured by the British for so long.’

British police training UAE torturers

This video says about itself:

Torturing in deportation jail in Abu Dhabi (English subtitles)

10 November 2013

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Questions raised as Met admits training notorious UAE force

Friday 4th September 2015

Legal action charity Reprieve has demanded urgent answers after British cops admitted yesterday to spending weeks training United Arab Emirates (UAE) police officers — notorious torturers and human rights abusers.

The Metropolitan Police revealed it recently hosted a delegation of the Security Support Department of the Abu Dhabi Police, who took part in “daily patrol field tasks and various training activities.”

In a statement, the Met lauded the officers as “on par with the best international experts in this field.”

Reprieve has demanded urgent answers from the Home Office over the exchange.

Police in UAE routinely use torture — including electrocution, beatings, solitary confinement and threats of rape — to extract “confessions.”

It demanded to know what human rights considerations were made by the British government before the exercise was agreed.

The joint training is understood to have included the use of “advanced equipment and devices to handle moderate and high-risk security incidents.”

The exercise also included “drills and methods for tactical firearm use and marksmanship, alongside implementing various security scenarios.”

Reprieve death penalty team director Maya Foa told the Star: “The Abu Dhabi police’s victims include Indian citizen Ezhur Gangadharan, whose bogus statements under torture led to a death sentence, while Brits such as Ahmad Zeidan, who remains unjustly locked up, have also been brutally tortured in the UAE.

“It’s alarming, therefore, to see British officers training alongside UAE police in vaguely drawn ‘security scenarios’ — apparently including ‘the use of weapons to apprehend suspects’.”

Reprieve has in the past represented a number of people challenging alleged UAE police brutality, including several Britons who say they were tortured into giving false confessions.

Met chief of operations Dave Moss expressed his admiration for the Abu Dhabi Police delegation’s “professionalism and sophistication in carrying out difficult and dangerous tasks.”

He also praised their “expertise, physical fitness, and their intellect; placing them among the most effective security members worldwide.”

Rare birds in Britain update

This video from Wales says about itself:

A flock of 50 waxwings arrived outside the BBC buildings in Bangor today, 31 October 2010, HALLOWEEN day. Here is a short film in HD of the birds and the twitchers.

From Rare Bird Alert in Britain:

Sunday 30th August 2015

New discoveries today included two juvenile Pallid Harriers together at Hillwell, Shetland, single Citrine Wagtails on North Ronaldsay, Orkney and at Black Hole Marsh, Devon and a Red-rumped Swallow at Dungeness RSPB, Kent.

Lingering rarities included the Black Storks in East Sussex and East Yorkshire, Red-footed Falcon in Lincolnshire, Lesser Scaup in Somerset (now at Chew Valley Lake) and two Bee-eaters in Cumbria.

Scarcity highlights were singles of Woodchat Shrike, Marsh Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Ortolan Bunting, Rose-coloured Starling, Dotterel, Buff-breasted Sandpiper and Red-necked Phalarope, two each of Bluethroat, Barred Warbler and Hoopoe, three White-winged Black Terns, at least six Honey Buzzards, seven Red-backed Shrikes and 21 Wrynecks. A flock of 23 Cattle Egrets in the Avon Valley in Dorset and Hampshire is almost certainly a British record.

– Will Soar, RBA