Through a barbed wire fence, 17-year-old Syrian refugee Asma attempted to tell us about her journey to Greece. We didn’t have much time to listen. Greek police officers were breathing down our necks, threatening to arrest us unless we left.
We learned that Asma traveled alone on a tiny rubber boat from Turkey, and broke her arm — still wrapped in a white bandage — when a building collapsed in her hometown of Daraa, the birthplace of the Syrian uprising. As she started to tell us about her hope for a fresh start in Germany, the policemen issued their final warning before escorting us off Moria camp’s fenced perimeter.… Seguir leyendo »
The European Union’s weakest link could become an open-air refugee camp if some European leaders get their way. Amid concerns that Greece is failing to protect Europe’s external frontier, calls have grown louder to quarantine it by helping Macedonia seal its southern border — which refugees must cross to continue their journeys north — and suspend Greece from the EU’s passport-free Schengen zone.
Such proposals would effectively ring-fence Greece from the rest of the EU, trapping tens of thousands of asylum-seekers in a politically and economically fragile country with neither the infrastructure nor funds to care for them. Most migrants know this.… Seguir leyendo »
The chaos of thousands of refugees arriving on the Greek islands daily may soon slow if the European Union and Turkey can implement a plan to keep them from coming to Europe.
The deal, which has been in the works for months, calls for the European Commission to give Turkey up to 3 billion euros to step up coast guard patrols, arrest more smugglers and build six additional reception centers along its southern border with Syria. In return, Turkey has asked for visa-free travel to Europe for its 75 million citizens and the reopening of its long-stalled EU accession talks.
Turkey hosts more refugees than any other country in the world.… Seguir leyendo »
Nine months after Fadi, a refugee from Homs, Syria, landed in Cyprus on a boat carrying some 340 smuggled refugees, he still had not applied for asylum. He chose instead to attempt to reach mainland Europe by any means possible.
Fadi’s reluctance to plant roots in Cyprus, the European Union country closest to Syria, stems from Cyprus’ policy preventing most of those granted asylum from bringing their family members to join them.
For Fadi, who made the journey to Cyprus without his wife and 3-year-old son, the “right to family reunification” was important enough that he continued via “illegal ways,” he said, to Sweden, where he was granted refugee status in August.… Seguir leyendo »