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Italy's Homeless Refugees

A video showing how African refugees are treated in the capital of Italy... (guardian.co.uk)

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A Visit with Migrants at Hungary’s Southern Border

A Visit with Migrants at Hungary’s Southern Border

Hungary's Parliament passed a series of laws on September 7 to control the flow of refugees into Hungary, giving police more authority and setting out strict punishments, including prison terms for illegal border crossing. The law also declares Serbia a “safe country,” in theory making it impossible for refugees who arrive from Serbia to get asylum in Hungary.

Committing a criminal offense (for example, crossing the border illegally) also will be a reason to refuse any asylum claims. Potential effects of these changes are currently unclear.

According to the new laws, those who enter the country illegally from September 15 will be held in pretrial detention and quickly expelled. Government representatives stated recently that they are preparing for mass riot scenes in the coming weeks, hoping for "relative tranquility by Christmas."

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán repeatedly said that a "new time" will come in the handling of the migrant crisis , though potential effects of the changes are currently unclear.

Watch our video from the southern border of Hungary to find out what happens on the ground for the tens of thousands fleeing their homeland for a better life.

Video by Noemi Hatala


Lost to the Deep

Lost to the Deep

This short film that details the plight of migrants making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea from the Middle East and North Africa. Amnesty gained access to Italian Navy frigate, Virginio Fasan as its crew rescued people from the dangerous boats used by unscrupulous human smugglers.

S.O.S. Europe is Amnesty International’s campaign for the human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in Europe and at its borders. People move to Europe for different reasons. Some flee persecution or war. Others leave because of chronic poverty. They hope to find a safer, better future in Europe. But too often they find a different reality.

The Italian Search and Rescue operation - Mare Nostrum - which has been in existence since October 2013 - is likely to cease at the end of 2014, mainly due to costs. It has saved over 130,000 people. In the first nine months of 2014 more than 2500 people have drowned trying to reach Europe.

Amnesty International is calling for a properly resourced and mandated search and rescue operation to be mounted by all the EU countries and not Italy alone. It is also is demanding that safe and legal routes to Europe are opened for refugees and asuylum-seekers and that EU leaders honour their shared responsibility to protect life and stop people drowning at sea.

http://bit.ly/FortressEurope

Three Million Syrian Refugees

Three Million Syrian Refugees

Syria’s intensifying refugee crisis will today surpass a record three million people, amid reports of increasingly horrifying conditions inside the country. Iman and her family were displaced four times inside Syria, fleeing from village to village to escape deadly attacks, before finally seeking refuge in Lebanon.

"No-one can forget their country. We were raised in Syria, lived there. How can we not love it? It's our country no matter what. Who wouldn't miss their country, their home, the ground they walked on?"

A UNHCR video

Bulgaria's Guardian Angel

Bulgaria's Guardian Angel

Angela Zhekova, 88, and her husband Vangel, 98, live in the small village of Golyam Dervent, Bulgaria. The village of 50 inhabitants is at Bulgaria's border with Turkey. Thousands of refugees, mainly from war-torn Syria, have tried to cross this border, seeking safety and sanctuary. Bulgaria's response however has been to build a 30 kilometre wide and 3 metre high fence, to the sum of an estimated 4 million Euro, to try to keep them out of Fortress Europe. Angela on the other hand is doing what she can to help. Here she describes why and how she and Vangel try to care for the refugees who pass their house.

This film was produced for Amnesty International by Giorgos Moutafis, Giuseppe Chiantera and Andrey Getov.

http://www.whenyoudontexist.eu/

Humans of the Year

Humans of the Year

The refugees and "Friends of the Refugees" were awarded with the distinction “Human of the year” 2013 in the annual Bulgarian Helsinki Committee awards for the contribution to and protection of human rights. “Give” them their award by signing the petition here: http://www.bghelsinki.org/en/dejstvaj/ne-narushavaite-pravata-na-bezhancite/

On November 14, 2013 the Bulgarian Council of Ministers adopted the draft amendments to the Law on Asylum and Refugees (LAR). The amendments introduce the detention of asylum seekers in closed-type facilities, bail measures and denial of prompt access to their registration card.

The proposed amendments violate the rights of the most vulnerable group – children seeking asylum. Between January and December 2013 the children seeking asylum in Bulgaria are 2135. Some are unaccompanied by relatives or family. 

Why is the detention of children in closed-type centers dangerous?

The deprivation of liberty damages a child’s normal development. It is unconditionally prohibited by the Bulgarian Child Protection Act.

Bail is a measure of deterrence and is only applied against persons accused of having committed a crime. Detention in closed-type centers is a compulsory administrative measure for irregular migrants, who are to be deported from the country. Thus, under the proposed LAR amendments, children seeking asylum will be treated as criminals and irregular migrants to be deported. A child seeking asylum cannot be deemed irregular migrant before a procedure of granting or refusing of international asylum has taken place.

The children seeking asylum in Bulgaria are not criminals. They are not irregular migrants either. The children seeking asylum are vulnerable. Let us protect them, not prosecute them.

Watch the video to learn how you can help the children seeking asylum.

A Bulgarian Helsinki Committee production. 

Iraq: Syrian Refugees Cross The Border By Barge

Iraq: Syrian Refugees Cross The Border By Barge

The Simelka-Peshkhabour border crossing between Syria and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq reopened earlier this week, allowing 4,000 Syrian refugees to cross by barge to northern Iraq. The crossing had been closed since mid-September in the wake of an exodus of some 60,000 Syrians beginning in mid-August 2013.

At present there are 13 refugee Syrian camps or transit sites located in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and Al Obeidy camp in western Anbar Province. Iraq hosts 210,000 registered Syrian refugees.

Read about the crossings: 
http://rfg.ee/swPNX 

A Syrian child's wish as the number of refugees tops the million mark

A Syrian child's wish as the number of refugees tops the million mark

The number of children who have fled the conflict in Syria has now topped the one million mark.

That according to the United Nations is half the total of those fleeing Syria while about three-quarters of those children are under the age of 11. The country is in danger of losing a generation believes Antonio Guterres the UN HIgh Commissioner for Refugees.

One nine-year-old refugee voiced the desperate hopes of many when he said: "I want to return to Syria to live in peace and to go back to school. I want to be able to play with my old friends again, just like before. I want our country to be safe, safe enough to live in and for it to be prosperous again." 

Euronews

Every Four Seconds: Animation of 2012 Refugees Statistics

Every Four Seconds: Animation of 2012 Refugees Statistics

Four-year-old Shahad was forced to flee her home to escape a conflict that killed two of her siblings. She and her parents are among the 1.1 million people who fled across international borders and became refugees in 2012 -- the most in 13 years. A further 6.5 million were displaced within their own country. 

Follow Shahad's story, and discover some startling refugee trends and statistics. Please watch and share to spread the word.

Take 1 minute to support a family forced to flee at http://unhcr.org/1family

Thousands of Syrians forgotten and stuck on the border

Thousands of Syrians forgotten and stuck on the border

Since August-September 2012, when the Turkish government closed its borders to Syrian refugees, tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing the war are stuck in sprawling makeshift camps along the border. 

Close to six million Syrians have been displaced by the conflict in their country, which continues to cause more death and destruction every day. The vast majority -- 4.25 million -- of those forced from their homes are stuck in Syria. These internally displaced people (IDPs) are extremely vulnerable. Many IDPs are trapped in areas under the control of opposition forces, which are being relentlessly bombarded by government forces, and receive little or no international aid.

Amnesty International

Greece: Abusive Crackdown on Migrants

Greece: Abusive Crackdown on Migrants

Athens police are conducting abusive stops and searches and have detained tens of thousands of people in a crackdown on irregular migration, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 51-page report, "Unwelcome Guests: Greek Police Abuses of Migrants in Athens," documents frequent stops of people who appear to be foreigners, unjustified searches of their belongings, insults, and, in some cases, physical abuse. Many are detained for hours in police stations pending verification of their legal status.

For more information: 
http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/06/12/gr...

Escape to Freedom

Escape to Freedom

There are more than 15 million refugees all around the world. They flee  from war, violence and oppression. Pregnant women, children and sick people are many among them.  

Annually Bulgaria is addressed with less than 1000 refugee applications. Notwithstanding, conditions for registration, admission and accommodation of asylum seekers in Bulgaria are completely inadequate. Instead of being accommodated in reception centers, refugees are confined in detention centers for illegal immigrants with Ministry of Interior.  

Bulgarian law does not provide any deadline when they have to be released.

A Bulgarian Helsinki Committee production

Italy Sends Kids Back to Bad Conditions in Greece

Italy Sends Kids Back to Bad Conditions in Greece

taly is summarily returning unaccompanied migrant children and adult asylum seekers to Greece, where they face a dysfunctional asylum system and abusive detention conditions, Human Rights Watch said in a report published on Jan 21, 2013. Stowaways on ferries from Greece, including children as young as 13, are sent back by Italian authorities within hours without adequate consideration of their particular needs as children or their desire to apply for asylum.

Xenophobic Violence in Greece

Xenophobic Violence in Greece

In a country suffering a deep economic crisis, and after years of mismanaged migration and asylum policies, gangs of Greeks attack migrants and asylum seekers in central Athens and elsewhere in the country with frightening regularity. Human Rights Watch documented the failure of the police and the judiciary to prevent and punish rising attacks on migrants. Authorities have yet to develop a preventive policing strategy, while victims are discouraged from filing official complaints. Greek courts have yet to convict anyone under the country's 2008 hate crime statute. Special Feature: http://www.hrw.org/features/greece-hate-on-the-streets

Syrian Refugees Overwhelm Jordanian Border

Syrian Refugees Overwhelm Jordanian Border

Some 140,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Jordan, escaping the Shabbiha -- gunmen loyal to President Assad. They are currently housed in two compounds in a border town, and the Jordanian government is considering opening more holding centres. There are now so many refugees that they're overwhelming the border towns. But the government is reluctant to build proper camps. Politicians here are worried that the Syrian government would consider that a hostile act. Al Jazeera's Nisreen El-Shamayleh reports from Ramtha, Jordan.

When You Don't Exist

When You Don't Exist

When you don't exist is Amnesty International's campaign for the human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in Europe and at its borders. People move to Europe for different reasons. Some flee persecution or war. Others leave because of chronic poverty. They hope to find a safer, better future in Europe. But too often they find a different reality. Europe is failing migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers. Negative attitudes to asylum-seekers and migrants are widespread. European countries are stepping up measures to control migration. This can cause serious human rights violations. People on the move have their rights violated, often out of the public eye. They are effectively made invisible. To learn more about Amnesty International's campaign, please visit: http://www.whenyoudontexist.eu/