Austria

Idomeni refugees push to cross into Macedonia despite border closure

Hundreds of refugees at the Idomeni camp have been stopped by Macedonian troops after walking through mud and forging a river to cross the border. Idomeni has become the latest flashpoint in the refugee crisis.

Hundreds of desperate refugees on Monday marched out of the water-logged Idonemi camp in Greece, seeking an alternative route across the sealed border of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The mainly Syrian and Iraqi refugees, including children, trudged through mud carrying their belongings towards a river about 5 kilometers (3 miles) to the west of Idomeni, where some 12,000 refugees are stranded.

The refugees forded a swollen river that crosses into Macedonia, putting them closer to the sealed border as they searched for holes in a newly built barbed wire fence.

Highlighting the dangers, Macedonian state TV MRT on Monday reported three Afghans were found dead in the river, apparently having drowned the previous day as part of a group of more than 20 refugees trying to cross the swollen Suva Reka river.

Hours after setting out from the camp, several hundred refugees were able cross into Macedonia, where they were detained by border police and the army for illegally entering the country. Around 30 journalists following the refugees were also arrested.

Macedonia’s interior ministry said it was “taking steps” to return more than 700 illegal migrants back to Greece and would improve security where migrants crossed.

After Austria last month put caps on the number of migrants it would allow to cross its border, in a domino effect Balkan nations first restricted, then last week completely sealed border crossings to anybody without EU visas, effectively trapping more than 40,000 refugees and migrants in Greece.

After crossing the Aegean from Turkey to Greece, most migrants and refugees had moved to richer EU countries like Germany through the so-called Balkan route through Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is pushing a European solution to the refugee crisis and a controversial deal with Turkey, has come out against the border closures while recognizing they have helped reduce the influx of migrants into Germany.

“It is unquestionable that Germany benefits from [the route closure, but] we can see from pictures out of Greece that that is not a sustainable solution,” Merkel said Monday, a day after her party suffered in regional elections that were viewed as litmus test of her open-door refugee policy.

EU leaders and Turkey are set to meet on Thursday to hammer out a deal to stem the disorganized influx of migrants and refugees coming to Europe.

The border closures have raised concern that desperate and frustrated refugees will seek more dangerous ways to make their way north. So far, the closure of the Balkan route appears to have done little to stop migrants and refugees from crossing the Aegean.

According the UNHCR, more than 8,500 refugees and migrants crossed the Aegean last week, putting an even greater burden on Greece.

 

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Article from: http://www.dw.com/en/idomeni-refugees-push-to-cross-into-macedonia-despite-border-closure/a-19116022

Four Years Harvest- The Use of Cluster Ammunition


Published on Mar 31, 2015
Syrian Network for Human Rights
http://www.facebook.com/snhr
http://www.sn4hr.org

Syrian Refugees Walking on Slovenia Croatia Border

Bashar al-Assad: Syrian exodus is a “self-cleaning: provess of the State!

Refugees on Slovenia-Croatia border – drone video footage

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#AssadCrimes #PutinCrimes #barrelbombs #RussianAirstrikes #bombing #shelling #SyrianRefugees #RefugeesCrisis

Syrian Refugees Exodus

Published on Oct 24, 2015

Hundreds of thousands of refugees are making their way to Europe.

Although this number is smaller than the millions pouring into Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, it is a crisis dividing Europe.

Many Europeans are uneasy and concerned about what they feel is a lack of control and wonder who is coming and whether their societies can cope.

So what are the refugees seeking in Europe? And what do they have to say to Europeans who do not want them to come to their countries?

Why Syrians are fleeing to Europe


15 Syrian refugees, including 18 months old baby, rescued by Turkish fishermen in the Aegean Files. Published on Oct 23, 2015

Why are so many more refugees undertaking the long journey to Europe? UNHCR’s Melissa Fleming explains

1. The war in Syria shows no signs of ending. People continue to flee, and refugees in neighbouring countries are now losing hope that they can return

Inside Syria, the situation has continued to worsen, with fighting intensifying in all regions and the economy and services in a state of general collapse. This is driving yet more people to leave, but is also having a profound impact on those who have already escaped to neighbouring countries.

When people flee from war, they usually do so hoping to return soon. So they move nearby, perhaps to family or friends in a nearby town, or just across the border, where they can keep an eye on their homes and livelihoods. But after more than five years of conflict, many Syrians have now abandoned that hope. Their homes have been devastated, their families torn apart, and there is little prospect for peace. With nothing left, and their places of exile under increasing strain, hundreds of thousands of people are now ready to travel much further to find the security they so desperately need.

2. Living as a refugee in neighbouring countries is untenable for many refugees, who are not permitted to work and are sliding deeper into poverty

For millions of Syrians, their first place of safety was a neighbouring country – like Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq. But few refugees can continue to pay rents at all, even on tiny and crowded rooms. Many refugees face eviction from their places of shelter.

In most countries, refugees are not allowed to enter the labour market formally and face sanctions if caught. In Jordan, for example, they risk being returned to the camps; in Lebanon, they are forced to sign a pledge not to work if they wish to renew their residency status.

Without income, people are forced, first, to spend their savings, and then to take on debt. Even worse options may then lie in store. After years of gruelling costs, many are simply no longer able to pay for rent, food or basic items.

3. There is not enough international aid to help refugees in the region

Normally, refugees might turn to aid agencies like UNHCR, which are running many programmes to help them survive. But the scale of the problem is so large, and it has been going on for so long, that donors are struggling to find the money to pay for these schemes. When the numbers of Syrian refugees arriving in Europe surged last month, UNHCR began to receive new donor pledges to increase aid in neighbouring countries. Even so, this year’s international appeal for Syrian refugees is just over half funded. Recently, World Food Programme vouchers were cut for thousands of refugees, forcing many into “negative coping strategies”, including begging and child labour.

In Jordan, many refugees have also lost free access to healthcare. Almost 60% of adults with chronic conditions are now forced to survive without medicine – up from 23% in 2014. Refugees in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt say cuts like these are the last straw, leaving them little choice but to leave.

4. Children are going too long without an education

Syrians prize education highly. But in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey there are simply not enough opportunities for Syrian children to be educated. In Jordan, 90,000 Syrian children are going without a formal education, and 20% of refugee children have abandoned school in order to work. Many girls are losing out after being forced into early marriage, another survival mechanism. Even in Lebanon, where education is free for Syrian children, transportation costs are prohibitive and many have to miss classes in order to support their families; 200,000 will be out of school this year, and young people looking for a university education have almost no options at all. If they are to get the skills to live a productive life, to go back home and rebuild after the war, parents of Syria’s refugee children arriving in Europe say education is crucial.

5. Countries in the region hosting four million refugees, without commensurate international support, have imposed new restrictions

Neighbouring countries have not been compensated for welcoming huge refugee populations, which has put an enormous strain on their infrastructures. In tiny Lebanon, host to well over one million Syrian refugees, the government has resorted to imposing new regulations making it harder for Syrian refugees to gain asylum. Most people fleeing Syria can only enter Lebanon if they show border guards an air or ferry ticket to Turkey. Refugees already in Lebanon must pay the equivalent of £130 per year to stay, as well as pledging not to work. In Jordan, the government requires all Syrians living outside of camps to get new identity documents to access services, but their cost (£27) is simply too high for many to afford.

6. The portrayal of a welcoming Europe on television and social media

Syrians inside and outside the country avidly follow the news. News stories of difficult journeys across the Mediterranean and through the Balkans end in Austria and Germany with scenes of refugees greeted with applause, flowers and teddy bears. For Syrians, the idea that they could seek asylum in a country offering the combination of safety, work prospects and education was worth the steep smugglers’ fees and the danger of getting there. Many also fear the gates will close soon and the only time to travel is now.

So what is the solution? Obviously, all countries with influence must step up efforts to end to the Syrian war. But until there is peace, the countries hosting four million refugees must receive the infrastructure and development support they need while fully funding UNHCR and partner organisations to provide for the basic needs for refugees. We continue to advocate for employment schemes to allow refugees to earn and contribute to local labour markets.

At the same time, refugees must be offered more legal avenues to reach safety in the world’s richer countries through increased resettlement quotas, more flexible family reunification schemes and humanitarian and student visas. Syrian refugees would certainly then think twice before leaving their region and risking their lives on a journey to Europe.

For more information:
http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php

Just stop the war, we do not want to go to Europe

Kinan Masalemehi, a 13-year-old Syrian refugee, gives his heartfelt message about the crisis and asks for help! Just stop the war, we don’t want to go to Europe! Just stop the war, just that!

Published on Sep 2, 2015

Syria: The World’s Largest Refugee Crisis


Published on Jan 21, 2015
Great Decisions in Foreign Policy : Syria: The World’s Largest Refugee Crisis