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Greece: As Winter Nears, Asylum Seekers Stuck in Tents on Islands

Groups Press Greek Officials, EU States for Mainland Transfers, Improved Conditions

(Athens, November 22, 2017) – The Greek government, with the support of EU member states, should act now to end Greece’s “containment policy,” 20 human rights and aid groups said today. The policy forces asylum seekers arriving on the Greek islands to remain in overcrowded, unsafe facilities, an urgent concern with winter approaching.

Conditions on the Greek islands have continued to deteriorate in the month since 19 nongovernmental groups wrote an open letter to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, calling on him to move asylum seekers to the mainland, where better conditions and services are available.

Joint letter to the Greek Prime Minister Mr. Alexis Tsipras

Athens, October 23, 2017

Dear Prime Minister Tsipras,

We, undersigned human rights and humanitarian non-governmental organisations, are writing to express our deep concern at the deteriorating conditions for thousands of women, men and children, seeking asylum and trapped on the Aegean islands as winter sets in.

We urge you to put an end to the ongoing “containment policy” of trapping asylum seekers on the islands if they arrived after the entry into force of the EU-Turkey Statement of March 18, 2016, and to immediately transfer asylum seekers to the mainland and meet their protection needs, including by providing them with adequate and dignified protection, accommodation and access to services.

We acknowledge the efforts of the Greek Government and the solidarity of the Greek people towards asylum seekers and migrants in the past years. Many of our organisations have repeatedly called on the European Union and its member states to demonstrate genuine collective action and share fairly the responsibility towards asylum seekers and migrants arriving in Greece since 2015 in a way that is humane and respects their human rights. However, the disappointing lack of real solidarity and commitment to responsibility sharing by many EU member states is no justification for the current state of asylum seekers on the Greek islands.

Award Organisation of the 2017 for the Protection of Children

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The Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth (MSWY) (respectively the State Agency for the Protection of Children’s Rights, SAPCR)  and UNICEF- Albania on 31st of May in Tirana officially selected “the Organisation of the year 2017 for the Protection of Children”.
 
Τhis year, the team of ARSIS – Albania Branch was selected as the winning organisation for its commitment and outstanding achievements in  protection of children in Albania.
 
As per this award, a specialist of ARSIS will attend a set of regional training in a pool of child protection specialists.
The Chairperson of SAPCR Mrs. Ina Verzivolli and the Mayor of Tirana Mr. Erion Veliaj delivered this award to Mr. Zini Kore,  Country Representative of ARSIS – Albania Branch. 
 

PRESS RELEASE: Intercultural Adolescent Meeting in Edessa

The Youth Support Centre of ARSIS NGO visits today (27/4) the city of Edessa for an intercultural meeting of adolescents, in order to promote the collaboration and solidarity between people without discriminations.

More specifically, this year, 28 students from the 1st High School of Edessa, 21 students from the Insitut Can Puig of Sant Perede Ribes of Catalonia and 8 students from the Özel Gökçeada Rum Ortaokulve Lisesi of Imvros are implementing an innovative project on the eTwinning online learning platform entitled “Contemporary Odysseus”. The aim of the project is the students from Greece, Spain and Turkey to investigate, raise and answer questions regarding the immigration phenomenon and the refugee crisis in Europe. As part of this program, the Youth Support Centre sets up a Park with wooden toys and constructions in the city’s Environmental Park, aiming at the interaction and acquaintance of the teenagers participating in the “Contemporary Odysseys” project with the teenagers hosted in Shelters for Unaccompanied Minors of ARSIS. The event involves 70 teenagers from Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Greece, Turkey and Spain, who dedicate four hours of playing in order to prove that communication is much more than a common language.