Tag Archives: EU-Turkey deal

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A short documentary, by Irish activist Caoimhe Butterly, filmed at the makeshift refugee camp in Idomeni last month – the camp which the Greek authorities began to evacuate yesterday.

The Border — الحدود is one of three short films directed and created by Ms Butterly.

Two more films, about the Piraeus port and Eko camp will be released soon.

Meanwhile, earlier today Taoiseach Enda Kenny fielded questions in the Dáil about his most recent European Council meetings.

The EU-Turkey deal and the humanitarian crisis regarding refugees were raised.

Readers may wish to note that a) there is video footage which seemingly shows the Turkish coastguard attempting to sink boats crossing the Aegean Sea; b) it’s generally understood that smugglers are not present on the vast majority of boats that arrive in Greece but would rather be found on the shores of Turkey; and c) concerns have been raised about the camps to which people who have been subsisting in Idomeni are being moved.

Mr Kenny said:

The real argument at the European Council was because of the endless flood of people coming from Turkey, in particular, due to its proximity to Greece. Be they from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria or elsewhere, these people have paid large amounts of money to get on inflatable rafts.

It is fine until one hears the Prime Minister saying that they are loaded onto these boats and as soon as they are out on the sea and the first ship appears, in many cases the inflatables are knifed and sunk so they end up in the water and have to be rescued. That is why there is a NATO operation under way off Turkey. It has been successful to an extent but not in the way it should be.

The reason for the European deal with Turkey in the first place was because they wanted to focus on dealing with people smugglers. One can deal with them in an effective way by patrolling offshore while being able to return people entering Europe illegally to where they came from, whereas others who have arrived in Turkey and are based in camps but who wish to be relocated to a European country have whatever the categorisation might be to say they want to be legitimately recognised as refugees or asylum seekers and they want to live and go to Europe.

Those who have paid money to people smugglers and are sent across the short distance to the Greek islands do not have the same intent, whether they are in a camp in Turkey or wherever.

In addition, Fine Gael TD David Stanton also spoke about the humanitarian crisis – after he was asked about the evacuation of the camp at Idomeni by Independents 4 Change TD Mick Wallace.

He said:

The Deputy [Mick Wallace] also referred to the closing of the refugee camp in Greece. It is my understanding that no official camp exists in Idomeni. Exploitative people smugglers have encouraged desperate asylum seekers to congregate on the Greek border with Macedonia by spreading misinformation to suggest the border crossing will soon re-open and allow them continue their journey to destination countries, including Germany and Sweden.

The Deputy pointed out that the conditions where many vulnerable women and children have gathered are unsanitary and unsafe. I understand from Greek authorities that their intention is to move asylum seekers to reception centres, where their needs, including food and medical care, may be adequately met.

Right so.

Yesterday: Meanwhile In Idomeni

Cannon Fodder

The Border – Idomeni (ROAR magazine)

Transcripts via Oireachtas.ie and Kildarestreet.com

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A video, by journalist Oscar Webb, shows how things have been unfolding at Camp Moria on Lesbos island since last Sunday.

Camp Moria, near Mytilene, was where refugees arriving on the island went to register before taking a ferry to Athens.

Now it is used as a detention centre, following the EU-Turkey deal last week. Any refugees who will arrive on the Greek islands, or who have arrived since Sunday, are supposed to be sent back to Turkey.

However, it’s still unclear how this will happen.

In addition, the MSF and the UNHCR have stopped its operations at the centres across the islands.

Patrick Kingsley, in The Guardian, writes:

A triple blow has been dealt to the integrity of the EU-Turkey migration deal after two leading aid groups refused to work with Brussels on its implementation, and a senior Greek official said nobody knew how the agreement was supposed to work.

The UN refugee agency said it was suspending most of its activities in refugee centres on the Greek islands because they were now being used as detention facilities for people due to be sent back to Turkey.

UNHCR was later joined by Médecins Sans Frontières, which said it did not want to be involved in the blanket expulsion of refugees because it contravened international law.

The UNHCR spokeswoman, Melissa Fleming, said: “UNHCR is not a party to the EU-Turkey deal, nor will we be involved in returns or detention. We will continue to assist the Greek authorities to develop an adequate reception capacity.”

In a separate and stronger statement, Marie Elisabeth Ingres, MSF’s head of mission in Greece, said: “We will not allow our assistance to be instrumentalised for a mass expulsion operation and we refuse to be part of a system that has no regard for the humanitarian or protection needs of asylum seekers and migrants.”

The deputy mayor of Lesbos, the island where most migrants land, said no Greek official knew exactly how the deportation process would work, nor what to do with the refugees while they waited.

When asked by the Guardian if he had received any concrete instructions about how refugees would be processed and returned to Turkey, Giorgos Kazanos said: “No, not yet.”

“Nobody knows. Every five minutes, the orders change. So who knows. Maybe God knows. If you have any communication with God, you can ask him.”

VIDEO: Refugees detained on Lesbos say they will jump in sea if deported (Oscar Webb, Middle East Eye)

Refugee crisis: key aid agencies refuse any role in ‘mass expulsion’ (Patrick Kingsley, The Guardian)