segunda-feira, 29 de agosto de 2016

Bavarian minister suggests sending refugees home / Sarkozy says Britain should manage asylum seekers on its own territory / Tensions rise between Greeks and refugees

Bavarian minister suggests sending refugees home

It’s impossible to integrate so many people with ‘completely different cultural background,’ he says.

Cynthia Kroet
8/27/16, 3:09 PM CET
Updated 8/27/16, 4:23 PM CET

Markus Söder, the finance and home affairs minister of Bavaria, on Saturday called for the return of “hundreds of thousands of refugees” in Germany to their country of origin.

Söder suggested the refugees should be sent back in the next three years. According to a report in Die Welt, Söder said, “the Germans do not want a multicultural society.”
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The integration process is bound to fail, he said. Many of more than a million refugees, who had arrived to Germany last year, have been settled in Bavaria.

“Even with the best intentions in the world, it will not work to integrate successfully that many people with a completely different cultural background,” Söder said.

The refugees also pose a security threat because in many cases, details on their background are unclear, he said.

Some areas in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq have been recognized as safe, he said, adding that, “The civil war in Syria will also end sometime.”

“According to legislation, people have to return home when the reason for fleeing is no longer valid,” the minister said.

In July, Söder criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to admit so many refugees in such a short time to Germany. He said: “It is a big mistake to open the borders without any checks.”


Cynthia Kroet

Sarkozy says Britain should manage asylum seekers on its own territory

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is attempting a political comeback before next year's election, said on Saturday that Britain should open an asylum center on its territory to deal with asylum seekers now camped in Calais.

World News | Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:01pm EDT

Migrants aiming to reach Britain have over the years gathered in camps called the "jungle" in the French port of Calais.

In the past two years, the population of the camps has swelled as warfare and economic upheaval in North Africa and the Middle East has driven thousands of migrants to try to reach Britain illegally through the Channel Tunnel.

"I'm demanding the opening of a center in Britain to deal with asylum seekers in Britain so that Britain can do the work that concerns them," Nicolas Sarkozy told a political rally in Touquet in northern France.

Sarkozy said Britain should manage the asylum process, accepting those it wants on British territory and organizing charters to remove those who are rejected.

"The jungle should not be in Calais or anywhere else, because this is a republic and those with no rights to be here should return to their country," Sarkozy said.

Sarkozy was speaking in Touquet, where in 2003, France signed a symbolic border treaty with Britain. Under Le Touquet accord, British officials can check passports in France and vice versa.

However, that has led to the migrants trying to reach British shores congregating at Calais. Images of hundreds of people trying to leap onto trucks bound for Britain has roused anti-immigration worries on both sides of the English Channel.

That was a key issue in Britain's vote to leave the European Union, and it has become a hot-button issue ahead of France's April 2017 election.

Sarkozy's conservative rival Alain Juppe, who opened his presidential bid on Saturday and is considered the frontrunner in the party's presidential primaries, has called on the Touquet accord to be renegotiated.

(Reporting by Bate Felix and Ingrid Melander, editing by Larry King)

Migrant children sleep on the beach at the port of Chios, where 2,500 asylum seekers are being held © AFP

Tensions rise between Greeks and refugees

Tempers boil over in the Chios ‘buffer zone’ camp for asylum seekers

28-8-2016 / FT
by: Alex Barker in Chios

The mutilated rabbit on the doorstep was the latest warning. A fortnight of menacing incidents, including a smash-and-grab break-in and glue in the locks, culminated this week with the dead animal left in front of the building. The message was clear: the refugee kitchen was not welcome in Chios.

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The Greek island of 50,000 has hosted about 2,500 asylum seekers since the EU in March signed its refugee deal with Turkey, and tempers are fraying. A tranquil place of mastic trees and secluded beaches, Chios has become a cauldron of frustration for locals and migrants alike.

None more so than in the village of Chalkios, home to the Basque-run refugee kitchen and minutes from the Vial asylum camp, set up in an old factory among olive groves.

“The intimidation is increasing day by day. A lot of people from the village hate us,” says Daniel Rivas of the Zaporeak-Sabores kitchen, run by Spanish volunteers and turning out 1,400 meals a day. “At the beginning the Greeks were helping. They’re not fascists or anything. But they’re not with the refugees like before. They’re against them now.”

The kitchen’s travails are a window into the mire of Greece’s migration crisis. The asylum-seekers on Chios, just 7km from Turkey, are trapped in squalid conditions and desperate to leave. The locals would like nothing more. But the way is blocked by a Kafkaesque snare of rules and go-slow procedures aimed at killing hope and achieving the overriding aim of Europe’s deal with Ankara: deterring new migrants from attempting the sea crossing to Greece.

“The EU does not want to give a solution to the islands. They want to show there’s no way out, there’s no escape,” says Giorgos Karamanis, Chios deputy mayor. “The island is like a big prison. We are the buffer zone.”

Even this strategy is proving less effective of late. While arrival numbers dropped sharply after the Turkey deal, the numbers are picking up. About 130 migrants a day were reaching the Greek islands last week. And although in principle most are meant to be returned to Turkey, just a few hundred of the more than 11,000 arrivals since March have actually been sent back.
A girl carries her brother near Chios port © AFP

Even if an asylum seeker reaches the end of the multi-stage application and appeals process and fails — which none have since the Turkey deal — Mr Karamanis says it is impossible to return them. Since Turkey’s failed coup in July, all Turkish police on Chios have been withdrawn. “We can’t even return migrants who commit crimes,” he says.

The EU does not want a solution. They want to show there’s no escape. The island is like a big prison. We are the buffer zone
Giorgos Karamanis, deputy mayor of Chios

In practice some migrants have left the island for Athens. According to official UN figures, the 2,500 asylum seekers on Chios make it the most overcrowded of the Greek islands relative to its 1,100 capacity. Privately, officials and aid workers say the population is probably smaller.

Smugglers charge €600 to bribe officials or steal migrants into lorries leaving for Athens. Some swim into the port at night to do it themselves. Ahmad al Muhammad, a 20-something from Syria who has been on Chios for three months, bought a ferry ticket and “dressing like a gentleman” tried to escape. “I looked good but it didn’t work,” he says.

After running out of money for hotels, Mr al Muhammad stays in a makeshift tent camp in Chios town centre, along the moat of its medieval castle. The desperation is palpable. His friend Nidal al Doghaim brandishes four ferry tickets worth €141 that got him nowhere. “I lost money but that’s nothing. I will keep trying until I reach Athens and walk to Austria.”

Frustration has boiled over in hunger strikes, suicide attempts, fights and arson. Most dramatic was April’s mass breakout from the Vial camp and occupation of Chios port. The week-long protest ended a shortlived attempt to turn Vial into a detention centre, and sapped what was left of local goodwill.

I wouldn’t have come if I’d known it was this hard. We really regret it. We should have stayed in Syria
Maha Abdi, Kurdish Syrian mother

Little makes sense in Chios. There are asylum seekers given papers to go to Athens who are unable to afford the ferry and are still stuck. A handful who made it to Athens returned to Chios because the conditions were better. Nobody seems to know what stage they are at in the asylum process, when they will get an answer, or what that answer may mean. Four asylum seekers were so frustrated they tried to swim back to Turkey, only to be stopped by the Greek coastguard.

“Only God knows how long I’ll wait,” says Hamid Hagadust, a Tajik from Afghanistan who had been on the island for six months. “My roommate has money but no papers. I have papers but no money,” he says, sitting in a metal container in Vial furnished with nothing but beds and a noisy air-conditioner. “I’ve reached the end. My kids call from Sweden saying ‘are you coming?’ I have to say ‘Daddy has no money’.”
A group of migrants and refugees on a dinghy bound for Chios from Cesme in Turkey © AFP

Iñigo Gutiérrez of SMH Rescue, a volunteer group that runs an ambulance service on Chios, recounts the story of a family with tuberculosis that refused hospital treatment in the hope they would become “dangerous” enough to evacuate from the island. “He said that seriously,” says Mr Gutiérrez. “This is a place where good men go crazy.”

Some rue ever making the journey. Maha Abdi, a Kurdish Syrian, arrived recently knowing nothing of the legal obstacles in Chios. With her husband and four children, she shares half a container with broken air-conditioning. “I wouldn’t have come if I’d known it was this hard,” she says, washing clothes at a shared tap. “We really regret it. We should have stayed in Syria.”

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