The Greek Islands’ Forgotten Emergency | hrw.org

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With national elections coming up in less than a week in Greece, the widespread public debate about the country’s economy and future is not surprising. Unfortunately, other important issues are not getting the same attention.

This was brought home to me last week on a visit to Lesbos, the Greek island where thousands of asylum seekers are trapped due to an EU-backed policy that prevents them from travelling to the mainland where services are better.

In 2015, the world’s attention was focused on this issue, and it was a top priority for the Greek government. Now that attention has faded, but the problems remain.

 

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Seven drown in migrant boat sinking off coast of Lesvos | ekathimerini.com

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Seven asylum seekers have reportedly drowned while trying to reach the Greek island of Lesvos from Turkey’s shores after their boat sank while carrying more than 60 people.

According to reports, Greece’s coast guard was alerted at around 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning to a boat in distress off the island’s coast and arrived in time to save 57 passengers.

Seven people had already drowned before help could reach them, however, with reports saying that two of the victims were children.

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Greeks remain passionate about solidarity for migrants | infomigrants.net

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Greeks are mostly empathetic towards migrants and refugees. But a survey of attitudes towards national identity, immigration, and refugees in Greece has also found that many people are worried about the impact of migrants on overstretched public resources.

The research project, carried out by non-profit organization More In Common, is part of a global initiative aimed at tackling the growing threats to open and inclusive societies. For the Greece report, 2,000 people aged 18 to 64 were surveyed.
While deep frustrations remain among locals in Greece, which has taken in many people fleeing war-torn countries in the Middle East and Africa, Greeks are “more likely to express empathy towards refugees than to blame them for their circumstances,” according to the research findings. Many respondents saw them as “working hard and having good intentions for a better life.”

 

 

Hundreds of Europeans ‘criminalised’ for helping migrants | opendemocracy.net

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Elderly women, priests and firefighters among those arrested, charged or ‘harassed’ by police for supporting migrants, with numbers soaring in the past 18 months.

Five months ago, at 10 o’clock in the morning, German police arrived at the home and parish of Christian Hartung, a pastor in Rhineland-Palatinate. At the same time, they descended on the residences of four other Protestant pastors, seizing some of their cell phones, correspondence with lawyers and church records.

It was an “attempt at intimidation,” Hartung told openDemocracy. The pastors have been under police investigation since 2018, after allowing Sudanese refugees to sleep in church buildings in rural, western Germany. It’s a region where the far-right AfD party is aiming for record votes in this week’s hotly-contested European Parliament elections.

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