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Urgency for Actions, says the @UNHCR, while #EU barters humans to #TurkishBlackmail

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URGENT! Situation escalates warns the UNHCR

With increasing border restrictions across the Balkans, the UNHCR agency has early warned for the escalation of the situation into a humanitarian crisis similar to that on the Greek islands last autumn, and especially Lesvos .

Solving Europe’s refugees and migrants’ situation and preventing a new crisis in Greece (which has meanwhile occured, thoug, just in a few hours,  as soon as borders closed, after the 7th of March), requires a number of clear actions, Adrian Edwards,UNHCR spokesperson told a press briefing in Geneva.

 

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Emergency  Actions required

Among the most urgent of these actions when it comes to Greece is the need for

  • better contingency planning,
  • with increased accommodation capacity
  • and other support.

“The authorities are trying to respond now to prevent a further deterioration of conditions throughout Greece.

But, more resources and better coordination are critical for averting wider suffering and chaos,” Edwards stressed.

UNHCR is continuing to support the response operation and has set up field offices in eight locations and deployed additional staff including mobile emergency teams who quickly move to wherever the changing situation demands.

registration and asylum

UNHCR is urging the Greek authorities with the support of the European Asylum Support Office and EU Member States to strongly reinforce its capacity to register and process asylum seekers through the national asylum procedure, as well as through the European relocation scheme.

 safe pathways

In the overall management of the situation will also help, the UNHR has said,

  • Increased regular pathways for admission of refugees from countries neighbouring Syria
  • More resettlement and humanitarian admission,
  • family reunification,
  • private sponsorship, and
  • humanitarian and refugee student and work visas

UNHCR will convene an important conference on this topic in Geneva on 30 March and hopes for concrete offers in this regard.

All the above measures serve to reduce demand for people smuggling, onward movements, and dangerous boat journeys. They thus save lives.

UNHCR spokesman underlined.

relocation in question

” It should concern everyone that despite commitments to relocate 66,400 refugees from Greece, states have so far only pledged 1,539 spaces, and only 325 actual relocations have occurred,” UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards underlined.

Not a “Safe country ” is Turkey …

 

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The FIDH Worldwide Movement for Human Rights strongly condemned by an official Organization Press Release, the EU States’ and Governments’ decesion of March 7, along with the Trurkish Government, and called on the EU and its member States to stop trying to push migrants away at all costs, stop bartering migrants as goods, but create instead legal and safe channels including through increasing their unconditional resettlement capacities.

the cynical ‘migrant swap’

With the help of NATO, the EU will ‘return all new irregular migrants’ crossing the Aegean Sea to Turkey. Given that migrants reaching Europe are mostly Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis in need of international protection, FIDH is worried that these people will not have access to a fair and effective asylum process

According to the plan, the EU would resettle a Syrian from Turkey for every Syrian returned to Turkey

The mere idea that the EU could condition resettlement of Syrians on Turkish willingness to readmit other Syrians is repulsive., codemns FIDH President, Karim Lahidji

‘The announced ‘migrant swap’ shows once again the EU complete lack of consideration for migrants’ dignity and rights. Do we have to remind the EU and Turkish leaders that they are not bartering goods but dealing with human beings, some of them in urgent need of protection? The mere idea that the EU could condition resettlement of Syrians on Turkish willingness to readmit other Syrians is repulsive.’

Karim Lahidji, FIDH president

According to EU Heads of State and Government, for this plan to be ‘legal’, Europe must grant a ‘safe country’ status to Turkey.

‘Under no circumstances can Turkey be considered a ‘safe country’ for migrants. The EU’s decision to turn a blind eye to the deteriorating human rights situation and the lack of an adequate asylum system does not mean it is a safe country. Refugees may be at risk of deportation, in violation of the principle of non-refoulement. This decision only sadly shows that in order to outsource its responsibilities, the EU is caving in to Turkish blackmail using migrants as bargaining chips.’’

Geneviève Jacques, FIDH chargée de mission on migrants’ rights
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“We cannot afford #refugeescrisis Response in terms of #geopolitics only, said @tsipras_eu at @SupportSyrians conference

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The heavy burden that the refugee crisis has placed on cash-strapped Greece and especially the Greek islands

underlined Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the “Supporting Syria and the Region” conference in London, where the Greek PM met with top European officials including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu, and the UK Prime Minister David Cameron   

Athens insists that refugees be relocated directly to the European Union from Turkey, and not cross through Greece.

Greece is asking for full implementation of the and pushing strenuously for the implementation of a refugee relocation tool that is currently moving at negligible rates.

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Merkel: focus on hotspots

During the meeting of the Greek Prime Minister and Angela Merkel , government sources said that Merkel asked that the Greek hotspots be completed by February 18, in time for the European Council in Brussels.

The government has repeatedly said that it will have implemented its commitments by that date, they noted.

The Greek government has also underlined that, once the Italian prime minister lifts obstacles to financing, there must be immediate implementation of the agreements in the EU-Turkey joint action plan.

In the meeting, which was also attended by Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and European Council President Donald Tusk, Tsipras emphasized the huge efforts being made by Greek authorities to manage the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants and called for a more comprehensive European

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Tsipras –Cameron on refugees issue 

According to government sources, Cameron expressed his full support for Greece and an agreement was reached on setting up

  • a bilateral team with British experts with knowhow in the readmission of Pakistanis, who will soon be coming to Athens.

The UK also offered

  • assistance to the Greek coast guard in the form of personnel and on a technical level, they said.

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Tsipras addressing the conference

Addressing the  ‘Supporting Syria and the Region’ conference, Tsipras urged the international community to adopt a “long-term, strategic approach,” to the still-unfolding Syrian refugee crisis, focused on “effective and humane management of refugee flows.”
“The Syrian crisis has humanitarian consequences that will stay with us for decades. We cannot deal with them by building walls or pushing back people in the sea and risking deaths. We cannot push people from country to country, as if they are someone else’s responsibility,” he said, addressing the donors conference.

“I wonder what would have happened to millions of Syrians if Turkey, Jordan or Lebanon had decided to build walls or if all of Europe had said : ‘Refugees aren’t welcome here.

What happens in the Mediterranean is not our problem,'” he added, pointing out that the Syrian conflict was now in its sixth year “with no end in sight”.

“As the UN Secretary General said, the international community has a heavy responsibility for this crisis.”

We cannot afford to see the consequences of the crisis only in terms of geopolitics and public order,” Tsipras pointed out.

“Greece has experience first-hand the humanitarian consequences of this crisis, and we insist on dealing with this challenge with humanity and on the basis of international and European values. Since July we have faced flows of over 900,000 people, of which around 500,000 were Syrians.

“The cost of managing these flows and the burden on state capacities has been enormous. The coast guard has rescued more than 150,000 migrants, many of our islands have hosted more people daily than their population. And the people of Greece are doing all they can to support Syrian refugees.”

 

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Tsipras for assistance to neighboring Syria countries

Tsipras called for a long-term approach and a “response that focuses on cooperation with and assistance to countries that neighbour Syria, which carry an enormous burden of millions of refugees.”
He called for pledges that ensure the integration of refugees in these countries while stemming migration flows.

  • “We have discussed relevant projects on the basis of the EU-Turkey action plan and we must work harder for this plan to succeed. We must push for education programmes and brave economic initiatives that create employment opportunities in Jordan and Lebanon”
  • “We must work on a robust resettlement programme to Europe and other countries,” he said.”

“At the same time, we need to press and support UN talks for a political settlement to the Syrian conflict that will end all attacks against civilians and confront terrorism.

  • “A political settlement of the Syrian conflict that will create conditions for reconciliation and will return civilians to their homes.”

300.000 UN Pledge

The Greek Prime Minister announced that Greece pledges 300,000 euros to the UN for 2016.
“It is a symbolic sum, ” the Prime Minister said,

“but the daily struggle of the Greek people to support and host refugees is not symbolic it is priceless,” he said.

 

Tsipras  also met with European Parliament President Martin Schulz.

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@tsipras_eu visiting Turkey, where also #G20 meeting on #Migration is being planned

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Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is to visit Ankara on November 17 for talks that are expected to focus on the refugee crisis, as is already announced.

The decision for the visit came amid growing pressure on Greece to cooperate with neighboring Turkey. AlexisTsipras will conduct talks representing the EU, as Martin Schulz stated from Lesbos during his recent visit with the Greek Prime Minister, according to the local press reports. Turkey is the key transit country, Tsipras has repeatedly underlined, for refugees and migrants seeking a better life in Europe.

G20 request

Meanwhile, the European Union wants leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies to also help tackle a growing migration crisis when they meet in Turkey this month to discuss tax cooperation, trade and climate change.

EU Chairman Donald Tusk and European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker will push at the November 15-16 meeting for a global response to the challenge faced by Europe from the influx, Reuters reported.

In a letter by the two men to other EU leaders, they wrote: “Meeting in Turkey in the midst of a refugee crisis due to conflicts in Syria and elsewhere, the G20 must rise to the challenge and lead a coordinated and innovative response to the crisis that recognises its global nature and economic consequences and promotes greater international solidarity in protecting refugees.”

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Registration of refugees on the Turkish shores insists Greek govt

”Greece isn’t the point of entry” into the EU for refugees from Syria, the ”gate is Turkey, our neighbor”, Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras has stated on Wednesday Novembber 4th, at the ceremony for the reallocation of 30 refugees from Greece attended by European Parliament President Martin Schulz, EU Commissioner for migration and home affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos and Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn (rotating president of the EU Council)..

”The objective is to go from reallocations to resettlements”.

”The least dangerous solution” for refugees and ”the most effective” provides for a cooperation between the EU and Turkey ”so that the whole process of identification and reallocation begins along the Turkish coasts”.

The need to reach an agreement with Turkey that enables the creation of registration and identification points in the country for the resettlement of refugees in the European Union has been the definite thesis of Greece on the EU borders contro; issue, since the very first moment that the joint poatrols in Aegean scenario had been expressed.
“What happens in the Aegean is a crime that must be stopped,” the prime minister reiterated talking from Lesbos . “What is required is to come to an agreement with Turkey so as to reduce the flows by combating traffickers,” he added.

Go to our fully updated Hompage, #Empathy@Aegean

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