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  1. #1
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    Default Refugees and Asylum Seekers

    Helpless Iraqi Refugees Turn to Sex

    CAIRO — In a country ill-equipped to meet the needs of the growing influx, many Iraqi woman refuges - willingly or otherwise - turn to prostitution to make ends meet.
    "From what I’ve seen, 70 percent to 80 percent of the girls working this business in Damascus today are Iraqis," Abeer, a 23-year-old Baghdadi working in a Damascus nightclub, told The New York Times on Tuesday, May 29.

    "The rents here in Syria are too expensive for their families. If they go back to Iraq they’ll be slaughtered, and this is the only work available."

    A 2006 UN report showed that the deterioration economic situation of Iraqi refugees have forced many teens and women to sell their bodies in secret or even with the support of family members.

    The fact that many Iraqi women in Syria are the breadwinner of their families has increased the number of prostitutes.

    "So many of the Iraqi women arriving now are living on their own with their children because the men in their families were killed or kidnapped," said Sister Marie-Claude Naddaf, a nun at the Good Shepherd convent in Damascus, which helps refugees.

    "I met three sisters-in-law recently who were living together and all prostituting themselves," she added.

    "They would go out on alternate nights — each woman took her turn — and then divide the money to feed all the children."

    For more than three years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, Iraqi prostitution in Syria was a forbidden topic.

    Now the Syrian government is acknowledging the problem and working with the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

    The UNHCR estimates that about 1.2 million Iraqi refugees now live in Syria, though Damascus puts the figure even higher.

    No Honor
    Seeking work outside the home for the first time and in a country with high unemployment, many Iraqi women and girls find that their only marketable asset is their bodies.

    "We Iraqis used to be a proud people," said Umm Hiba, who fled Baghdad with her 16-year-old daughter last year after threats from militias.

    Hiba, once a brilliant hijab-clad schoolgirl who never missed the dawn prayers, now works as a dancer at a nightclub along a highway known for prostitution in Damascus.

    Wearing a pink silk dress with spaghetti straps, her frail shoulders bathed in colored light, she dances among about two dozen other girls on the stage for drunken clients.

    "We make sure that each girl has a minimum of 500 lira [$10] at the end of each night, no matter how bad business is," said the club manager.

    "We are sympathetic to the situation of the Iraqi people. And we try to give some extra help to the girls whose families are in special difficulties."

    Umm Hiba shook her head.

    "During the war we lost everything. We even lost our honor."

    Zafer, a waiter, said most of the women and girls at the club sell sexual favors.

    "They have an hourly rate," he said. "And they have regular customers."

    Mouna Asaad, a Syrian women’s rights lawyer, said the fact that some Iraqi refugees are selling sex or working in sex clubs was not uncommon.

    "Sometimes you see whole families living this way, the girls pimped by the mother or aunt."

  2. #2
    umkemesic
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    I've heard of this also when I was deployed some of the guys we were escorting (the Iraq man had went their for his birthday) told us of certain places were women could "do anything we dreamed" for a few dollars.

    Women who are already disgraced (raped) also go on to this lifestyle as no man would marry them now anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by umkemesic
    I've heard of this also when I was deployed some of the guys we were escorting (the Iraq man had went their for his birthday) told us of certain places were women could "do anything we dreamed" for a few dollars.

    Women who are already disgraced (raped) also go on to this lifestyle as no man would marry them now anyway.
    They are forced into this way of life, if you read the statements. most of their men are killed and they having no means to support themselves, are forced into go this way or die of starvation. Like they said, they were dishonored the day war started. This is the result of an illegal war waged for oil based on faulty intelligence and the greed that keeps bush in Iraq till he establishes a US friendly puppet regime.

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    May Allah grant dignity and honour once again to our brothers and sisters in Iraq. This story brings tears to my eyes ... I heard a story about a week ago on a local radio station about a young Iraqi sister,aged 19, who has an ill mother and three younger brothers. She has no form of income as her father has passed away. As the sole breadwinner of the family, she also has taken this path of selling her body for a few dollars in order to buy medication for her mother and to feed her younger brothers. Her mother knows about this but her brothers think that she is working at a restaurant.

    She, like so many others, dreamt of marrying one day, but these hopes have now been trampled upon just as the entire country has been trampled upon.
    A pirate was captured & brought before Alexander the Great. Alexander asked the pirate: 'How dare you molest the people?' The pirate replied:'And how dare you molest the entire world? I am called a thief because I do it with a little ship only. You do it with a great navy & you are called an Emperor!'
    Under this scenario, powerless people doing trivial acts are the major terrorists of the world whilst major powers perpetrating terrorism in many parts of the world are the civilised barbarians.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yumna

    She, like so many others, dreamt of marrying one day, but these hopes have now been trampled upon just as the entire country has been trampled upon.
    Sadly true. May Allah ease their burden, free them from this form of life and help them in this ordeal, may He punish the occupiers and bring justice soon.

    ameen.

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    Default '50,000 Iraqi refugees' forced into prostitution

    Assalamualaikum Dear Brothers & Sisters,


    IRAQI Refugee girls in Syria are forced to prostitute themselves just so they can eat. Please sign our petition to help them – 1 Million Signatures needed as soon as possible.. They are someone’s sister, mother, wife, or daughter, who, out of sheer desperation and hunger, resort to prostitution. We came across a news report of a Muslim, hijab-wearing mother who said that so far only her deen has stopped her from turning to prostitution – that’s how bad it is ! PLEASE SIGN What do we hope to achieve? We want to present our concerns to world leaders so they can mobilise large organisations like the UN Refugee Council who have the money and resources to help these vulnerable people, InshaAllah. We need 1 Million signatures. Please forward to your friends and encourage them to sign on the dotted line – Its free. Details are on our website : MercyMankind.org



    Jazakallahukhayr



    Mercy Mankind – A British non-profit working for the poor.


    Iraqi Refugees in Syria Turning to the Unknown - http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/S...rs%2FMAELayout

    '50,000 Iraqi refugees' forced into prostitution - http://news.independent.co.uk/world/...cle2701324.ece

    ALSO PASS ONTO OTHERS!

  7. #7
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    Default Stories of Iraqi refugee families

    Stories of Iraqi refugee families

    This below shows us a glimpse of how these poor refugees are being "helped" after having their homes and lives destroyed.
    Asalaam alaikum,

    I hope you include this video in your email list. www.iqranewspaper.com/iraqirefuees.html


    This video is one of many to come about stories of Iraqi refugee families. They are from all walks of lives and sects. They came to the USA thinking they would receive a lot of support and a better life. Unfortunately they were all placed in some of the worst ghettos of Houston, in apartment complexes with drug dealers, gun shots, and crime activities around them ( They lost their country, children , women and innocent people abused... Tried to leave the country with the hope that they would get help and now they are caught up in this situation...)

    In Sr. Maryam's case, she was told that she was on a plane to Denmark where she would be reunited with her brother. She arrived to the U.S.A thinking she was in Denmark. These family were given $450 per month (for 4 months) to pay for run down apartments with rents at $750 per month. Many of them do not speak English nor can they adapt to the American culture and lifestyle. They do not have food, clothing, telephones, televisions ...

    This dear sister witnessed the murder of one her close relative in Iraq. She is afraid, depressed and in need of a ticket to go to Washington so that she can get a visit to go to Jordan to be with her family. She and her daughter also needs a ticket for her travels to Jordan.

    A group of Muslims in the community have started a grassroots campaign to help these refugees. They are not getting they type of help from the Masajid or Islamic organizations they need to survive. The volunteers are donating on their own, visiting the refugees, sending food etc.....

    We decided to film their stories on our own through Deen Media (Iqra's parent company).

    Please donate to the sister. If you are sending a check, please make it payable to "Maryam Ali"

    Maryarm Ali
    14210 Blue Falls Dr.
    Sugarland, Texas 77478
    (note, she does not live at this address)


    I also ask that you donate to Deen Media, because Deen Media is in great need of

    1) A light kit
    2) Additional lavalier mike
    3) Capable system for editing. We are not able to edit properly because of the limitations of their current system and limited hard drive space.

    Here is a link to the video

    This interview is in Arabic and English
    http://www.iqranewspaper.com/Iraqirefugees.html

    We will be working on an full Arab version. Time permitting.

    Also don't forget to support Iqra Newspaper

    Our paypal account is mail@iqranewspaper.com

    All donations large or small are welcomed. If anybody wants to donate through western Union, please contact us at mail@iqranewspaper.com. We will find the necessary information required for sending the money.

    Jazekallar Khair for your anticipated support.
    If you unable to support the refugees through donations, please make a lot of Du'a and also forward t his email to as many people you know (email list)

    P.S.

    As you are aware, Houston has a refugee crisis. Please see the video we produced about one family's crisis. These families were brought here with a lot of hope but were placed in substandard housing - in other words, the ghetto. Sources are telling us that the organizations that brought them here are doing very little to help.

    Very little help is received from Muslim organizations that we are aware of. Most of the efforts are coming from a grassroots effort. We will investigate more on this later.

    Please watch the video and we ask you to follow up with these organizations. If more of us call them, they know that someone is watching etc....
    Also follow up with local masajid and ask them what are they doing for the refugees.

    http://www.iqranewspaper.com/Iraqirefugees.html

    Try this google video link if you do not have quick time installed in your computer

    http://video.google.com/videosearch?...on&sitesearch=

    TXLIRS06: REFUGEE SERVICES OF TEXAS, INC
    HOUSTON, TX 77054
    Phone: 713-644-6224

    TXUSCC07: CATHOLIC CHARITIES
    HOUSTON, TX 77266
    Phone: 713 874-6527

    TXUSCC11: CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES CC OF THE DIOCESE OF GALVESTON-
    HOUSTON
    HOUSTON, TX 77006
    Phone: 713-874-6587

    TXCWS 01: INTERFAITH MINISTRIES FOR GREATER HOUSTON
    HOUSTON, TX 77006
    Phone: 713-533-4990

    TXDFMS01: INTERFAITH MINISTRIES OF GREATER HOUSTON
    HOUSTON, TX 77006-3980
    Phone: 713-533-4900

    TXHIAS02: JEWISH FAMILY SERVICE OF HOUSTON
    HOUSTON, TX 77225
    Phone: 713-667-9336

    TXIRSA01: YMCA INTERNATIONAL SERVICES
    HOUSTON, TX 77057-7220
    Phone: 713-339-9015

    TXECDC01: ALLIANCE FOR MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITY SERVICES
    HOUSTON, TX 77081
    Phone: 713-776-4700

  8. #8
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    Default Helpless Iraqis Sell Their Organs

    Helpless Iraqis Sell Their Organs

    By Afif Sarhan - Oct. 15, 2009

    BAGHDAD – Raad Bader al-Muhssin, 41, worked as a gardener for more than 20 years, during which he used to make no more than $4 dollars per day.

    After the 2003 US invasion and the ensuing violence, life became harder as the number of clients requesting his services nosedived.

    Adding insult to the injury was the recent discovery that his wife had cancer.

    Thus, when he was offered $12,000 dollars for one of his kidney he did not hesitate or have second thoughts.

    "I never had more than $100 dollars in my pocket at the end of the month, even if I didn’t spend one cent from my salary," Muhssin told IslamOnline.net.

    "I lived my whole life a poor man and was afraid my children were going to have the same fate and my wife would die because we do not have money to help her," he added.

    Five months ago when he was cleaning a garden in Baghdad, the owner started to speak with Muhssin about kidney transplantations and a friend who arranges them.

    "I never imagined I would become a donor but when my wife’s condition got worse, I went to his house and asked for a way to find his friend who would guide me to the similar fate."

    Muhssin called the friend who told him he had to take a blood test to check if he had any health problems.

    "I borrowed some money and made it in a private lab. When I took the test results, the guy checked in a list he had in his pocket and came with the news that he had four patients with the same blood type and that they would pay good money for it."

    Experts say organs donations, which are not illegal, have impressively increased in the past 18 months.

    "It is a very complicated issue, especially because there isn’t any law that prevent donations," Abdel Haythem Abdel-Kareem, a health expert and member of the transplantation chamber, told IOL.

    "Of course there are many cases of free donation but the majority are looking for money and even travelling to Jordan where prices are higher with patients coming from different countries willing to pay for it."

    There isn’t an official number of how many transplantations are carried out in Iraq every year but local NGOs helping patients looking for organs donations say that one in 500 persons accept to donate without financial interest.

    Better Life!!

    Al-Muhssin made the donation, got his money and opened a small shop to sell gums, cigarettes, cereals and beans.

    "It is one chance in life," he suggested.

    "I still have a healthy kidney and with the money I got I will never be humiliated again," he added.

    "My sons returned to school and our life changed. If I was going to wait for the government to help my family, I would have died before getting it."

    Salwa Ahmed (not her real name), is another victim of poverty in Iraq.

    After her husband died in a car bomb attack in Diyala four years ago, she moved to Baghdad with her four kids to find a better job and better living conditions.

    "I was already living as displaced, my kids were hungry all day because I couldn’t afford more than one meal," she said.

    "When a woman in the camp said that there was someone who constantly pays them visits asking for kidney donation, I got excited and was prepared to sell one and give my children a better living condition," Ahmed added.

    "At first he wanted to pay only US $3,000 but after two weeks of negotiations and my lab test, which should I had a rare blood type, the price went up to US $8,000," she said, noting that the sum equals 15 years of hard work.

    "Today I feel healthy, my children have enough food and new clothes and I was able to get a job as seller in a clothes shop."

    Ahmed has no regrets.

    "I know it might look wrong but when a mother sees her children suffering from hunger, you realise that a kidney is nothing.

    "I hope I will never have kidney problems but even if this happens I will be happy to know that at least I have saved the life of my loved ones and of a person who was in a dire need of an important organ that God blessed me with having two healthy ones."

    Mafia
    Muhammad al-A’ani, an aid employee working with patients requesting organs transplantations, says some people are so desperate for the money they are willing to do anything.

    "Recently we received a man who couldn’t donate his kidney because he had some renal problems," he noted.

    "But he was asking of someone who would be interested in buying one of his corneas.

    "I got surprised and tried to help him so that he would not fall prey to any gang in Iraq," said al-A’ani.

    "I kept looking for information about him and two months ago I heard from a colleague that he did it for nearly US $20,000. We couldn’t find where or how but we will keep investigating it because it is too serious to leave behind."

    He lamented that body transportations became like an industry controlled by a mafia.

    "Unfortunately there are dozens of corrupted nurses, doctors and government employees who allow such disgusting situations to take place in exchange for money."

    The Health Ministry says it is too complicated to find out who is donating for free and who is selling his body organs.

    But in some cases donations, whether free or paid, are not done voluntarily.

    Many children and youngsters have been reportedly kidnapped by gangs that sell their body parts for huge prices.

    A 17-years-old victim, who requested anonymity, said he was drugged and abducted.

    He woke up two days later in a dirty room with signs of a surgery. They gave him US $20 and drove him to the outskirts of Baghdad.

    He later started to have health problems as a result of an infection he got during the procedure.

    "It is unfair and I might die now because of the criminals who wanted to make money from selling my body," he cried.

    "I don’t have a rich family and my father is now selling the house to raise money and find someone who is willing to sell his kidney and save my life.

    "I was once a healthy person with two kidneys but now I’m a victim who wants to buy an organ that was stolen from me. Is not that ironic?"



    Comments:

    This is what happens when a terrorist regime illegally invades a nation and occupies it for a decade, forcing millions out as refuges and over 50,000 women into prostitution just to feed their families (Iraq refugees in Syria), body part selling, kidnapping, unjust detention and rape of innocents by invading terrorist and all this is just the tip of the ice berg!

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    Default Camerawoman filmed tripping up and kicking refugees

    Camerawoman filmed tripping up and kicking refugees

    while filming the events of 8 September at a registration camp in Roszke, László “kicked a young man in the shin with a swift kick of the sole of her right foot, and also kicked young girl around the knee with her right foot.

    video: http://viewpure.com/AROEkUr3kIY?start=0&end=0

    A camerawoman who was filmed tripping up a refugee as he ran from police carrying his young son has been charged with breaching the peace.\n\nPetra László said her life was “ruined” by the footage, which also showed her kicking a small girl as hundreds of asylum seekers broke through police lines near the Hungarian border to make their way towards Budapest.\n\nLászló was fired from right-wing online television channel N1TV with immediate effect when the footage emerged and now faces a prison sentence if convicted.\n\nZsolt Kopasz, the chief prosecutor of Csongrad County, said an investigation had determined there was no “reasonable chance” for Laszlo\'s actions “to cause injury.”\n\n“No data emerged which would have indicated that the conduct of the accused were motivated by ethnic considerations or by the migrant status of the victims,” he added, ruling out possible charges of racially-motivated hate crime

  10. #10
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    Camerawoman filmed 'tripping up and kicking refugees' faces jail

    A camerawoman who was filmed tripping up a refugee as he ran from police carrying his young son has been charged with breaching the peace.

    Petra László said her life was “ruined” by the footage, which also showed her kicking a small girl as hundreds of asylum seekers broke through police lines near the Hungarian border to make their way towards Budapest.


    László was fired from right-wing online television channel N1TV with immediate effect when the footage emerged and now faces a prison sentence if convicted.

    Zsolt Kopasz, the chief prosecutor of Csongrad County, said an investigation had determined there was no “reasonable chance” for Laszlo's actions “to cause injury.”

    “No data emerged which would have indicated that the conduct of the accused were motivated by ethnic considerations or by the migrant status of the victims,” he added, ruling out possible charges of racially-motivated hate crime.

    Prosecutors said that while filming the events of 8 September at a registration camp in Roszke, László “kicked a young man in the shin with a swift kick of the sole of her right foot, and also kicked young girl around the knee with her right foot“.

    Her trial will be held in the southern city of Szeged later this year. Breach of the peace carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison under Hungarian law.

    The man she appeared to trip up, sending him and his son crashing to the ground, has since moved to Spain and been hired as a football coach in Madrid.

    Osama Abdul Mohsen, also known as Osama al-Ghadab, and his family lived in the eastern Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor but fled in 2013 when fighting intensified in the region.

    He said he joined peaceful demonstrations against Bashar al-Assad’s government during the 2011 Arab Spring and then had to resign from his position with the regime’s sport federation.

    During the backlash sparked by László’s case, critics accused him of supporting al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra rebel group but Mr Mohsen denied the allegations, which appeared to stem from a Facebook picture incorrectly thought to display the group’s flag.

    “I just want a better life,” he told the New York Times in an interview last year. “I just want to live peacefully with my family and my friends.”

    In a letter to right-wing newspaper Magyar Nemzet days after the incident, László said she “sincerely regretted what happened” and had been frightened.

    “Something snapped in me,” she wrote. “With the camera in my hand I didn't see who was actually running towards me.

    “I just felt I was being attacked and I had to protect myself.”

    In a subsequent interview with the Izvestia newspaper, László said her life and career had been “ruined” by the controversy and threatened to sue Facebook over threats and defamatory comments.

    Mr Mohsen and his son were among almost 400,000 refugees and migrants who passed through Hungary last year before the government constructed razor wire fences along the borders with Serbia and Croatia.

    Prime Minister Viktor Orban also introduced controversial measures allowing police to ”escort“ unregistered migrants found within five miles of the border back to Serbia, and has promised an even “more massive fence” to stop any increase in numbers if the EU-Turkey deal falls through.

    Austria has threatened to take Hungary to the EU's highest court over its refusal to accept migrants turned back by the neighbouring country.

    Wolfgang Sobotka, the Austrian interior minister, gave the warning on Wednesday as the government moved closer to passing a law that would shut the border to asylum seeker if the number reaches 37,500 this year.

    Government statistics show nearly 29,000 people had applied for asylum in Austria this year by the end of July.

    The United Nations and humanitarian organisations have raised concern about the restrictions in place in Hungary, Austria and elsewhere as thousands of refugees remain trapped in Greece or detained under the EU-Turkey deal.

    A series of boat disasters in the Central Mediterranean has made the crossing between Libya and Italy the deadliest in the world, with more than 3,100 asylum seekers drowning so far this year.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...-a7230281.html

  11. #11
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    Hungarian parliament approves law allowing all asylum seekers to be detained

    Prime Minister claims country ‘under siege’ from refugees and must be protected

    3.2017

    The Hungarian parliament has approved a law enabling all asylum seekers in the country to be detained and forced back into neighbouring Serbia.


    Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister, claimed migrants were keeping his country “under siege”. Speaking at a swearing-in ceremony for a group of specialist guards known as “border hunters”, he said that Hungary could only count on itself for protection.


    Mr Orban, leader of the right-wing populist Fidesz party and a supporter of Donald Trump, has already ordered the reinforcement of fences along Hungary’s southern border and claimed refugees are a threat to Europe’s Christian identity and culture.


    The new legislation will see refugees locked in border camps made of shipping containers while their cases are decided.


    Applications will be declared inadmissible for anyone who entered Hungary from Serbia or a “safe third country”, while the appeal period will be cut to just three days and migrants may have to cover the costs of their own imprisonment.

    The new bill also allows authorities to detain all adult asylum seekers and summarily return those refused to the Serbian border as part of “crisis” measures in place until September.

    The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said it was “deeply concerned” by the measure, which combines with other policies to make it “nearly impossible for asylum-seekers to enter the country, apply for asylum and receive international protection”.

    “This new law violates Hungary’s obligations under international and EU laws, and will have a terrible physical and psychological impact on women, children and men who have already greatly suffered,” spokesperson Cécile Pouilly told reporters in Geneva.

    “Under international and EU laws, the detention of refugees and asylum seekers can only be justified on a limited number of grounds, and only where it is necessary, reasonable and proportionate … children should never be detained under any conditions.”

    Humanitarian organisations had appealed to the European Commission to intervene to block the draft bill, saying it was “at odds with EU, human rights and refugee law” in a letter last month.

    The law “on the amendment of certain acts related to increasing the strictness of procedures carried out in the areas of border management”, allows adult asylum seekers including families with children and unaccompanied minors above the age of 14 to be jailed.

    It reinstates Hungary’s previous practice of detaining asylum applicants, which was suspended in 2013 under pressure from the European Union, the UNHCR and the European Court of Human Rights.

    The provision to allow authorities to round up migrants and forcibly return them over the Serbian border expands a previous law permitting the push-backs within five miles of the boundary.

    The law was approved by 138 votes to six against and 22 abstentions, amid continuing reports of abuse by border police, with migrants claiming to have been beaten, filmed and photographed in “selfies” with officers.

    Lydia Gall, a Balkans and Eastern Europe researcher for Human Rights Watch, said it was expected to come into effect with the President’s signature within eight days.

    “It makes a mockery of the right to seek asylum,” she told The Independent.

    “Of course Hungary has a right to protect its borders and separate asylum seekers from others whose claims do not have merit, but this is not the practice at the border.

    “They beat people en masse and push them back over the other side of the fence. That is not allowed under EU law or any other law.”

    An estimated 7,000 asylum seekers are currently stranded in dire humanitarian conditions in Serbia while waiting to cross the border, with only a handful allowed through two designated transit zones a day.

    Hundreds of thousands of refugees have crossed into Hungary on their way from the shores of Greece to western Europe but the right-wing government has spared no expense to stop their journeys.

    The crackdown is intensifying despite a dramatic fall in the number of refugees journeying to Hungary after the EU-Turkey deal was implemented a year ago to prevent boat crossings to Greece.

    Thousands of guards have been deployed to patrol the country’s 100-mile southern border with Serbia, where soldiers and prison inmates are expanding a barbed wire fence into an electrified 13ft barrier.

    A spokesperson for the European Commission told The Independent: “We will be analysing the bill when we have been notified by Hungarian authorities but we do not have any further comment to make at this time.”

    The Hungarian government has dismissed allegations of mistreatment and abuse, saying authorities were “carrying out their duties lawfully, professionally and proportionately”.

    “They place special emphasis on treating migrants humanely and with respect for their human dignity,” a spokesperson added.

    “Hungary was one of the first member states to enforce EU rules, and has been protecting the EU’s Schengen borders, stopping, registering and separating out genuine refugees from economic migrants.

    “Hungarian police officers and soldiers are protecting the EU’s Schengen borders lawfully and in compliance with EU and Hungarian regulations.”


    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...-a7615486.html

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    Refugee Crisis & Syria War Fueled By Competing Gas Pipelines



    Don’t let anyone fool you: Sectarian strife in Syria has been engineered to provide cover for a war for access to oil and gas, and the power and money that come along with it.

    MINNEAPOLIS — Images of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian – Kurdish boy who washed up dead on Mediterranean shores in his family’s attempt to flee war-torn Syria, have grabbed the attention of people around the world, sparking outrage about the true costs of war.


    The heart-wrenching refugee crisis unfolding across the Middle East and at European borders has ignited a much needed conversation on the ongoing strife and instability that’s driving people from their homes in countries like Syria, Libya and Iraq. It’s brought international attention to the inhumane treatment these refugees are receiving if — and it is a major “if” — they arrive at Europe’s door.


    In Syria, for example, foreign powers have sunk the nation into a nightmare combination of civil war, foreign invasion and terrorism. Syrians are in the impossible position of having to choose between living in a warzone, being targeted by groups like ISIS and the Syrian government’s brutal crackdown, or faring dangerous waters with minimal safety equipment only to be denied food, water and safety by European governments if they reach shore.


    Other Syrians fleeing the chaos at home have turned to neighboring Arab Muslim countries. Jordan alone has absorbed over half a million Syrian refugees; Lebanon has accepted nearly 1.5 million; and Iraq and Egypt have taken in several hundred thousand.


    Although it’s not an Arab nation or even part of the Middle East, Iran sent 150 tons of humanitarian goods, including “3,000 tents and 10,000 blankets, to the Red Crescents of Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon” via land routes to be distributed among the Syrian refugees residing in the three countries last year.


    Turkey has taken in nearly 2 million refugees to date. Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan made international headlines for opening his nation’s arms to migrants, positioning himself as a kind of savior in the process.


    Meanwhile, Gulf Arab nations like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have provided refuge to zero Syrian refugees.


    While there’s certainly a conversation taking place about refugees — who they are, where they’re going, who’s helping them, and who isn’t — what’s absent is a discussion on how to prevent these wars from starting in the first place. Media outlets and political talking heads have found many opportunities to point fingers in the blame game, but not one media organization has accurately broken down what’s driving the chaos: control over gas, oil and resources.


    Indeed, it’s worth asking: How did demonstrations held by “hundreds” of protesters demanding economic change in Syria four years ago devolve into a deadly sectarian civil war, fanning the flames of extremism haunting the world today and creating the world’s second largest refugee crisis?


    While the media points its finger to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s barrel bombs and political analysts call for more airstrikes against ISIS and harsher sanctions against Syria, we’re four years into the crisis and most people have no idea how this war even got started.

    This “civil war” is not about religion

    Citing a lack of access on the ground, the United Nations stopped regularly updating its numbers of casualties in the Syrian civil war in January 2014. Estimates put the death toll between 140,200 and 330,380, with as many as 6 million Syrians displaced, according to the U.N.


    While there is no question that the Syrian government is responsible for many of the casualties resulting from its brutal crackdown, this is not just a Syrian problem.


    Foreign meddling in Syria began several years before the Syrian revolt erupted. Wikleaks released leaked US State Department cables from 2006 revealing U.S. plans to overthrow the Syrian government through instigating civil strife, and receiving these very orders straight from Tel Aviv. The leaks reveal the United State’s partnership with nations like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and even Egypt to use sectarianism to divide Syria through the Sunni and Shiite divide to destabilize the nation to weaken Iran and Hezbolla. Israel is also revealed to attempt to use this crisis to expand its occupation of the Golan Heights for additional oil exploration, according to Wikileaks editor Julian Assange.


    According to major media outlets like the BBC and the Associated Press, the demonstrations that supposedly swept Syria were comprised of only hundreds of people, but additional Wikileaks cables reveal CIA involvement on the ground in Syria to instigate these very demonstrations as early as March 2011.

    Just a few months into the demonstrations which now consisted of hundreds of armed protesters with CIA ties, demonstrations grew larger, armed non-Syrian rebel groups swarmed into Syria, and a severe government crackdown swept through the country to deter this foreign meddling. It became evident that the United States, United Kingdom, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey would be jumping on the opportunity to organize, arm and finance rebels to form the Free Syrian Army as outlined in the State Department plans to destabilize Syria. (Just a few months ago, WikiLeaks confirmed this when it released Saudi intelligence that revealed Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia had been working hand in hand to arm and finance rebels to overthrow the Syrian government since 2012.)


    These foreign nations created a pact in 2012 called “The Group of Friends of the Syrian People,” a name that couldn’t be further from the truth. Their agenda was to divide and conquer in order to wreak havoc across Syria in view of overthrowing Syrian President Bashar Assad.


    The true agenda to hijack Syria’s revolt quickly became evident, with talking heads inserting Syria’s alliance with Iran as a threat to the security and interests of the United States and its allies in the region. It’s no secret that Syria’s government is a major arms, oil and gas, and weapons ally of Iran and Lebanon’s resistance political group Hezbollah.


    But it’s important to note the timing: This coalition and meddling in Syria came about immediately on the heels of discussions of an Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline that was to be built between 2014 and 2016 from Iran’s giant South Pars field through Iraq and Syria. With a possible extension to Lebanon, it would eventually reach Europe, the target export market.


    Perhaps the most accurate description of the current crisis over gas, oil and pipelines that is raging in Syria has been described by Dmitry Minin, writing for the Strategic Cultural Foundation in May 2013:
    “A battle is raging over whether pipelines will go toward Europe from east to west, from Iran and Iraq to the Mediterranean coast of Syria, or take a more northbound route from Qatar and Saudi Arabia via Syria and Turkey. Having realized that the stalled Nabucco pipeline, and indeed the entire Southern Corridor, are backed up only by Azerbaijan’s reserves and can never equal Russian supplies to Europe or thwart the construction of the South Stream, the West is in a hurry to replace them with resources from the Persian Gulf. Syria ends up being a key link in this chain, and it leans in favor of Iran and Russia; thus it was decided in the Western capitals that its regime needs to change.
    It’s the oil, gas and pipelines, stupid!

    Indeed, tensions were building between Russia, the U.S. and the European Union amid concerns that the European gas market would be held hostage to Russian gas giant Gazprom. The proposed Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline would be essential to diversifying Europe’s energy supplies away from Russia.


    Turkey is Gazprom’s second-largest customer. The entire Turkish energy security structure relies on gas from Russia and Iran. Plus, Turkey was harboring Ottoman-like ambitions of becoming a strategic crossroads for the export of Russian, Caspian-Central Asian, Iraqi and Iranian oil and even gas to Europe, assesses journalist Pepe Escobar writing for Al Jazeera.
    The Guardian reported in August 2013:
    “Assad refused to sign a proposed agreement with Qatar and Turkey that would run a pipeline from the latter’s North field, contiguous with Iran’s South Pars field, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey, with a view to supply European markets – albeit crucially bypassing Russia. Assad’s rationale was ‘to protect the interests of [his] Russian ally, which is Europe’s top supplier of natural gas.’”




    Knowing Syria was a critical piece in its energy strategy, Turkey attempted to persuade Syrian President Bashar Assad to reform this Iranian pipeline and to work with the proposed Qatar-Turkey pipeline, which would ultimately satisfy Turkey and the Gulf Arab nations’ quest for dominance over gas supplies, who are the United State’s allies. But after Assad refused Turkey’s proposal, Turkey and its allies became the major architects of Syria’s “civil war.”


    Much of the strategy currently at play was described back in a 2008 U.S. Army-funded RAND report, “Unfolding the Future of the Long War”:
    “The geographic area of proven oil reserves coincides with the power base of much of the Salafi-jihadist network. This creates a linkage between oil supplies and the long war that is not easily broken or simply characterized. … For the foreseeable future, world oil production growth and total output will be dominated by Persian Gulf resources. … The region will therefore remain a strategic priority, and this priority will interact strongly with that of prosecuting the long war.”
    In this context, the report identifies the divide and conquer strategy while exploiting the Sunni-Shiite divide to protect Gulf oil and gas supplies while maintaining a Gulf Arab state dominance over oil markets.
    “Divide and Rule focuses on exploiting fault lines between the various Salafi-jihadist groups to turn them against each other and dissipate their energy on internal conflicts. This strategy relies heavily on covert action, information operations (IO), unconventional warfare, and support to indigenous security forces. … the United States and its local allies could use the nationalist jihadists to launch proxy IO campaigns to discredit the transnational jihadists in the eyes of the local populace. … U.S. leaders could also choose to capitalize on the ‘Sustained Shia-Sunni Conflict’ trajectory by taking the side of the conservative Sunni regimes against Shiite empowerment movements in the Muslim world…. possibly supporting authoritative Sunni governments against a continuingly hostile Iran.”
    The report notes that another option would be “to take sides in the conflict, possibly supporting authoritative Sunni governments against a continuingly hostile Iran.”


    This framework crafted an interesting axis: Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.S., Britain and France vs. Syria, Iran and Russia.

    Divide and conquer: A path to regime change

    With the U.S., France, Britain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — aka, the new “Friends of Syria” coalition — publicly calling for the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar Assad between 2011 and 2012 after Assad’s refusal to sign onto the gas pipeline, the funds and arms flowing into Syria to feed the so-called “moderate” rebels were pushing Syria into a humanitarian crisis. Rebel groups were being organized left and right, many of which featured foreign fighters and many of which had allied with al-Qaida.


    The Syrian government responded with a heavy hand, targeting rebel held areas and killing civilians in the process.


    Since Syria is religiously diverse, the so-called “Friends of Syria” pushed sectarianism as their official “divide and conquer” strategy to oust Assad.

    Claiming that Alawites ruled over a majority Sunni nation, the call by the “moderate” U.S.-backed rebels became one about Sunni liberation.


    Although the war is being sold to the public as a Sunni-Shiite conflict, so-called Sunni groups like ISIS, the Syrian al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (the Nusra Front) and even the “moderate” Free Syrian Army have indiscriminately targeted Syria’s Sunnis, Shiites, Christians and Jews.

    At the same time, these same foreign nations supported and even armed the Bahraini government, which claims to be Sunni, in its violent crackdown on the majority Shiite pro-democracy demonstrations that swept the nation.


    The Syrian government army itself is of over 80 percent Sunnis, which indicates that the true agenda has been politically — not religiously — motivated.


    In addition to this, the Assad family is Alawite, an Islamic sect that the media has clumped in with Shiites, though most Shiites would agree that the two are unrelated. Further, the Assad family is described as secular and running a secular nation. Counting Alawites as Shiites was simply another way to push a sectarian framework for the conflict: It allowed for the premise that the Syria-Iran alliance was based on religion, when, in fact, it was an economic relationship.


    This framework carefully crafted the Syrian conflict as a Sunni revolution to liberate itself from Shiite influence that Iran was supposedly spreading to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.


    But the truth is, Syria’s Sunni community is divided, and many defected to join groups like the Free Syrian Army, ISIS and al-Qaida. And as mentioned earlier, over 80 percent of Assad’s military is Sunni.


    As early as 2012, additional rebels armed and financed by Arab Gulf nations and Turkey like al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood, declared all-out war against Shiites. They even threatened to attack Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iraq’s government after they had overthrown the Assad government.


    Soon after, the majority of the Muslim Brotherhood rebels became part of al-Qaida-affiliated groups. Together, they announced that they would destroy all shrines — not just those ones which hold particular importance to Shiites.


    Hezbollah entered the scene in 2012 and allied itself with the Syrian government to fight al-Nusra and ISIS, which were officially being armed and financed by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. And all the arms were actively being sold to these nations by the United States. Thus, US arms were falling into the hands of the same terror group the US claims to be fighting in its broader War on Terror.


    According to reports, Hezbollah was and has been been active in preventing rebel penetration from Syria to Lebanon, “being one of the most active forces in the Syrian civil war spillover in Lebanon.” Despite this, the U.S. sanctioned both the Syrian government and Hezbollah in 2012.
    Also that year, Russia and Iran sent military advisers to assist the Syrian government in quelling the terror groups, but Iranian troops were not on the ground fighting during this time.


    What was once a secular, diverse and peaceful nation, was looking more like it was on its way to becoming the next Afghanistan; its people living under Taliban-style rule as jihadists took over more land and conquered more cities.

    Effects of foreign meddling outweigh self-determination

    If you think that was hard to follow, you’re certainly not alone.


    Most sectarian civil wars are purposely crafted to pit sides against one another to allow for a “divide and conquer” approach that breaks larger concentrations of power into smaller factions that have more difficulty linking up. It’s a colonial doctrine that the British Empire famously used, and what we see taking place in Syria is no different.


    So, let’s get one thing straight: This is not about religion. It might be convenient to say that Arabs or Muslims kill each other, and it’s easy to frame these conflicts as sectarian to paint the region and its people as barbaric. But this Orientalist, overly simplistic view of conflict in the Middle East dehumanizes the victims of these wars to justify direct and indirect military action.


    If the truth was presented to the public from the perspective that these wars are about economic interests, most people would not support any covert funding and arming of rebels or direct intervention. In fact, the majority of the public would protest against war. But when something is presented to the public as a matter of good versus evil, we are naturally inclined to side with the “good” and justify war to fight off the supposed “evil.”


    The political rhetoric has been carefully crafted to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable. Ultimately, no matter the agendas, the alliances or instability brought on by foreign meddling, the calls for freedom, democracy and equality that erupted in 2011 were real then and they’re real today. And let’s not forget that the lack of freedom, democracy and equality have been brought on more by foreign meddling to prop up brutal dictators and arm terror groups than by self-determination.


    The people in the Middle East once stood united and strong together against foreign meddling, exploitation and colonialism no matter their religious or cultural background. But today, the Middle East is being torn to shreds by manipulative plans to gain oil and gas access by pitting people against one another based on religion. The ensuing chaos provides ample cover to install a new regime that’s more amenable to opening up oil pipelines and ensuring favorable routes for the highest bidders.


    And in this push for energy, it’s the people who suffer most. In Syria, they are fleeing en masse. They’re waking up, putting sneakers on their little boys and girls, and hopping on boats without life jackets, hoping just to make it to another shore. They’re risking their lives, knowing full well that they may never reach that other shore, because the hope of somewhere else is better than the reality at home.


    http://www.mintpressnews.com/migrant...elines/209294/

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    Hungarian parliament approves law allowing all asylum seekers to be detained


    Prime Minister claims country ‘under siege’ from refugees and must be protected





    The Hungarian parliament has approved a law enabling all asylum seekers in the country to be detained and forced back into neighbouring Serbia.


    Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister, claimed migrants were keeping his country “under siege”. Speaking at a swearing-in ceremony for a group of specialist guards known as “border hunters”, he said that Hungary could only count on itself for protection.


    Mr Orban, leader of the right-wing populist Fidesz party and a supporter of Donald Trump, has already ordered the reinforcement of fences along Hungary’s southern border and claimed refugees are a threat to Europe’s Christian identity and culture.

    he new legislation will see refugees locked in border camps made of shipping containers while their cases are decided.


    Applications will be declared inadmissible for anyone who entered Hungary from Serbia or a “safe third country”, while the appeal period will be cut to just three days and migrants may have to cover the costs of their own imprisonment.


    The new bill also allows authorities to detain all adult asylum seekers and summarily return those refused to the Serbian border as part of “crisis” measures in place until September.


    The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said it was “deeply concerned” by the measure, which combines with other policies to make it “nearly impossible for asylum-seekers to enter the country, apply for asylum and receive international protection”.


    “This new law violates Hungary’s obligations under international and EU laws, and will have a terrible physical and psychological impact on women, children and men who have already greatly suffered,” spokesperson Cécile Pouilly told reporters in Geneva.


    “Under international and EU laws, the detention of refugees and asylum seekers can only be justified on a limited number of grounds, and only where it is necessary, reasonable and proportionate … children should never be detained under any conditions.”


    Humanitarian organisations had appealed to the European Commission to intervene to block the draft bill, saying it was “at odds with EU, human rights and refugee law” in a letter last month.


    The law “on the amendment of certain acts related to increasing the strictness of procedures carried out in the areas of border management”, allows adult asylum seekers including families with children and unaccompanied minors above the age of 14 to be jailed.


    It reinstates Hungary’s previous practice of detaining asylum applicants, which was suspended in 2013 under pressure from the European Union, the UNHCR and the European Court of Human Rights.


    The provision to allow authorities to round up migrants and forcibly return them over the Serbian border expands a previous law permitting the push-backs within five miles of the boundary.

    The law was approved by 138 votes to six against and 22 abstentions, amid continuing reports of abuse by border police, with migrants claiming to have been beaten, filmed and photographed in “selfies” with officers.

    Lydia Gall, a Balkans and Eastern Europe researcher for Human Rights Watch, said it was expected to come into effect with the President’s signature within eight days.

    “It makes a mockery of the right to seek asylum,” she told The Independent.

    “Of course Hungary has a right to protect its borders and separate asylum seekers from others whose claims do not have merit, but this is not the practice at the border.

    “They beat people en masse and push them back over the other side of the fence. That is not allowed under EU law or any other law.”

    An estimated 7,000 asylum seekers are currently stranded in dire humanitarian conditions in Serbia while waiting to cross the border, with only a handful allowed through two designated transit zones a day.

    Hundreds of thousands of refugees have crossed into Hungary on their way from the shores of Greece to western Europe but the right-wing government has spared no expense to stop their journeys.

    The crackdown is intensifying despite a dramatic fall in the number of refugees journeying to Hungary after the EU-Turkey deal was implemented a year ago to prevent boat crossings to Greece.

    Thousands of guards have been deployed to patrol the country’s 100-mile southern border with Serbia, where soldiers and prison inmates are expanding a barbed wire fence into an electrified 13ft barrier.

    A spokesperson for the European Commission told The Independent: “We will be analysing the bill when we have been notified by Hungarian authorities but we do not have any further comment to make at this time.”

    The Hungarian government has dismissed allegations of mistreatment and abuse, saying authorities were “carrying out their duties lawfully, professionally and proportionately”.

    “They place special emphasis on treating migrants humanely and with respect for their human dignity,” a spokesperson added.

    “Hungary was one of the first member states to enforce EU rules, and has been protecting the EU’s Schengen borders, stopping, registering and separating out genuine refugees from economic migrants.

    “Hungarian police officers and soldiers are protecting the EU’s Schengen borders lawfully and in compliance with EU and Hungarian regulations.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...-a7615486.html

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    Hungary builds border fence able to electrocute refugees


    2017

    Hungary is building a large new barrier capable of delivering electric shocks to unwanted refugees and migrants and armed with heat sensors, cameras, and loudspeakers that blare in several languages, along its southern border.

    The country was a main crossing point for hundreds of thousands of people trekking into Europe at the height of the migrant crisis in 2015.

    “Attention, attention. I’m warning you that you are at the Hungarian border,” the loudspeakers say in English, Arabic and Farsi.

    “If you damage the fence, cross illegally, or attempt to cross, it’s counted to be a crime in Hungary. I’m warning you to hold back from committing this crime. You can submit your asylum application at the transit zone.”

    The “transit zones” are two border posts where a total of just 10 migrants per day are allowed in legally. Rights groups say they are wholly inadequate and, by creating such a tight bottleneck, may be illegal.

    The new floodlit fence of wire reinforced with steel will give anyone who touches it an electric shock that well-informed sources say is mild.

    Only 10 kilometres of the new structure has been completed but officials say the remaining 140 kilometres (along the border with Serbia will be finished in just two months, built largely by 700 prison inmates.

    Hungary’s populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban has called mass immigration from the Middle East and Africa an existential threat to the European way of life.

    The government has earmarked 38 billion forints ($0.13 billion) for the new fence. Orban’s chief of staff Janos Lazar said on Thursday the total cost of the border effort, including patrols and transit zones, was nearing €1 billion ($1.05 billion).


    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20...cute-refugees/

  15. #15
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    Refugee children in Sweden are falling into coma-like states on learning their families will be deported


    Resignation syndrome, or uppgivenhetssyndrom, has been diagnosed in 60 children this year



    Authorities in Sweden are attempting to solve a problem that appears unique to its child refugees - uppgivenhetssyndrom or "resignation syndrome".

    The condition causes healthy youngsters to deteriorate into a comatose-like state after learning of their impending deportation,It is believed to only exist among the refugee population in the Scandinavian country, where it has been prevalent since the early part of this century.

    In 2016, 60 children were diagnosed with the syndrome, which sees patients are rendered “totally passive, immobile, lacks tonus, withdrawn, mute, unable to eat and drink, incontinent and not reacting to physical stimuli or pain,” according to medical journal Acta Pædiatrica.

    The children are left bedridden or have to be moved in wheelchairs and feeding must be done through a tube.

    Tests which gained a response from people in comas did not work on the afflicted children, but other exercises showed they suffered no brain damage.

    It was described by some doctors as “willed dying” and often occurred after families were denied asylum status and thrown into uncertainty.

    A similar phenomenon was observed in Nazi concentration camps, the New Yorker reported, in prisoners who had effectively lost all hope and given up.

    Doctors saw the condition as the manifestation of fear of being returned to their old countries, where they could be unsafe, and of adjusting to a new society after having become used to Sweden.

    Many of those afflicted with uppgivenhetssyndrom are not victims of the current crisis, but from former Soviet states. Many are from minority groups, such as Roma gypsies.

    Among those to suffer from the syndrome are a young boy called Georgi, was from North Ossetia, Russia.

    He told the New Yorker magazine that during his months in bed he had felt as if he were in a glass box with fragile walls, deep in the ocean.

    Moving or speaking was cause the glass to shatter and the "water would pour in and kill me,” he said.

    The main ‘cure’ for the condition is for refugee families to be awarded residency permits – something even recognised by the Swedish Board of Health and Welfare.

    Improvements in the children’s condition usually occur several months after a family has been granted leave to remain.

    But this does not guarantee families of children with uppgivenhetssyndrom will be allowed to stay, particularly since Sweden has tightened rules on refugees in recent years.

    There have been reports of deported children still in comatose-like states months after they have been returned to their family’s country of origin.

    The idea that the condition can be treated by awarding families a residency permit has also been questioned, as critics say it prevents a proper medical approach.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...-a7662126.html

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    Teenage Asylum Seeker Brutally Attacked in Croydon

    4/1/2017

    A young asylum seeker is in a serious but stable condition after a "frenzied attack" by a gang, which police are treating as a hate crime.

    The 17-year-old Kurdish Iranian was waiting at a bus stop with two friends in Croydon, south London, when he was set upon by about eight youths [adults].

    They asked him where he was from before chasing him down the road and repeatedly kicking him on the ground.

    The Met Police said the boy sustained serious head injuries.

    His two friends escaped with minor injuries.

    The attack happened in Shrublands Avenue at 23:40 BST on Friday. No arrests have been made.
    'Chased and attacked'

    Croydon's Metropolitan Police Borough Commander, Ch Supt Jeff Boothe, said the boy was the victim of "a frenzied attack by a large number of people".

    He said the victim was kicked repeatedly while on the floor and "by all accounts with members of the public asking them [his attackers] to stop".

    Ch Supt Boothe added it was only the sound of police sirens which stopped "this horrendous and frenzied attack".

    Earlier Det Sgt Kris Blamires said: "At this early stage it is believed that about eight suspects approached the victim as he waited at a bus stop with two friends outside The Goat public house in the Shrublands.

    "It is understood that the suspects asked the victim where he was from, and when they established that he was an asylum seeker they chased him and launched a brutal attack.

    "He has sustained critical head and facial injuries as a result of this attack, which included repeated blows to the head by a large group of attackers."

    A number of people came to the aid of the victim as he lay unconscious and injured following the assault, the Met said.

    The police are urging those who helped the boy and anyone who witnessed the attack to get in touch

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-39466502

    Croydon Asylum Boy Assault: Up to 20 People Watched Attack

    4/2/2017

    A group of up to 20 people looked on as a gang punched and kicked a teenage asylum seeker at a bus stop in south London, neighbours have said.

    Eight people are being questioned by police on suspicion of the attempted murder of the Kurdish Iranian victim following Friday's attack in Shrublands Avenue, Croydon.

    Those involved in the attack have been labelled "scum" by the local MP. London Mayor Sadiq Khan also condemned the attack.

    Detectives made three further arrests on Sunday - two men aged 23 and 26 and a 17-year-old girl.

    Five others who were arrested on Saturday - four men and one woman, all aged 20 or 24 - remain in custody. A 20-year-old woman arrested on Saturday has been released with no further action, the Metropolitan Police said.

    One resident of Shrublands Avenue said: "There was a massive group coming up from The Goat pub.

    "You couldn't see who was hitting who. There was one person, the one who ended up in hospital, he was getting absolutely beaten up.

    "There was a group of roughly 10 people kicking and punching him and the rest, another 10 or 20, were all just around watching."

    "People that were there, witnesses, because they couldn't do anything against a group of 30 people, they had to wait until they moved off and that's when they managed to help him.

    "That's eventually when the ambulance and police (arrived), and that was it."

    The victim was waiting with two friends at the bus stop when he was set upon at about 23:40 BST.

    It is believed the attackers asked him where he was from before they chased him down the road and repeatedly kicked him as he lay on the ground.

    His friends suffered minor injuries in the attack, but the teenager is reported to have sustained a fractured skull and a blood clot on his brain.

    He was taken to a south London hospital where he remains in a "serious but stable" condition.

    Officers are in the process of informing next of kin.

    "We are appealing to all decent people from whatever background they come from to help us identify the individuals that are involved in this isolated attack."

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-39470487

    Croydon 'hate crime': Six arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after attack on refugee boy

    Kurdish-Iranian teen in serious but stable condition in hospital after suffering fractured skull

    by Jon Sharman - 4/1/2017
    Six people have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a boy was assaulted and knocked unconscious in Croydon in a “brutal” suspected hate crime.

    Four men and two women were arrested late on Saturday, the Metropolitan Police said, on suspicion of attempted murder and violent disorder.

    Three 20-year-old men, a 20-year-old woman, a 24-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman have been arrested.

    The Met is treating the attack as a suspected hate crime, and is appealing for witnesses.

    Anyone with information should call Croydon CID on 020 3276 2234 or 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...-a7662516.html

    comments:

    It's not the refugees who are a threat, but these people. The poor refugees aren't safe from these people here or in their own country.

  17. #17
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    Child refugees forced to sell their bodies for $16

    April 19, 2017



    A new report by Dr. Vasileia Digidiki and Professor Jacqeline Bhabha of Harvard University reveals that unaccompanied child refugees in Greece trying to reach northern Europe are being forced to sell their bodies to pay smugglers to help them with their journeys.

    The price of a sexual transaction with a child rarely exceeds €15 ($16), a fraction of the cost to pay a smuggler to take them on the journey, leaving the children open to repeated abuse.

    Of the approximately 1.2 mn migrants passing through Greece since 2015, almost 480,000 have been children. Around 21,300 of these are stranded in Greece, 2,300 unaccompanied. These children do not have access to specialised camps and centres which would help keep them safe and so are at risk of exploitation and violence.
    It is imperative that national, regional and international bodies address this serious child protection emergency by rethinking their approach to one of the most vulnerable populations of migrants, and by immediately allocating adequate human and financial resources to reverse the current situation,
    says co-author Bhabha.

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20...bodies-for-16/





    Four-year-old girl among refugees raped in Greece as thousands of asylum seekers trapped in camps

    Children resorting to selling 'survival sex' in desperation for shelter and money to escape








    “I told myself, ‘Look at yourself – you came to Europe, what was your aim?’ I am not doing this because I like it but I don’t have the money, I don’t have a choice.”


    Those are the words of one of many refugee children forced into selling sex to survive in Greece, where a four-year-old girl is among those raped in camps that were supposed to afford them protection.


    A study by Harvard University is warning of a “growing epidemic” of sexual exploitation and abuse in the country, which houses 62,000 asylum seekers stranded by the EU-Turkey deal and border closures through Europe.


    “We had a case of a four-year-old girl who was raped,” a psychologist at a camp in Athens told researchers. “The mother did whatever was possible to report it.”


    But aid workers and officials say there is often nowhere to turn, with victims trapped in camps with their abusers too frightened to go to police or authorities, who frequently lack interpreters and specialists.


    The absence of arrests can lead asylum seekers to take violent retribution. In one Greek camp, a man who had already married one child raped another underage girl, and was badly beaten by other migrants.


    Aid workers told the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights of criminal gangs “thriving” in squalid camps, where many refugees have been living for more than a year, and terrorising victims into silence.


    “Having endured the risks of sexual violence or having experienced sexual violence during their journey, migrant children suffer from the fear of sexual abuse in a place that should have guaranteed them safety and protection,” the report said.


    It found that “weak or non-existent” structures leave children at heightened danger, with reports of sexual assault rising while gangs blackmail minors and threaten to send humiliating photos to their families.


    “A man from one of the ‘mafia’ groups asked a couple’s seven-year-old daughter into their tent to play games on his phone and then zipped up the tent,” a doctor told researchers.


    “She came back with marks on her arms and neck. Later, the girl described how she was sexually abused.”


    Rape and sexual assault is feared to be significantly underreported because of the fear of retribution and stigma, while administrative backlogs can cause long delays before victims can be moved away from their abusers.


    The EU-Turkey deal has left thousands of children detained among 13,000 migrants in overcrowded island camps, despite concerns from the UN over unsafe conditions seeing several refugees die of hypothermia and killed in fires over the winter.


    Charities previously warned of rising self-harm and attempted suicide in detention centres and elsewhere in Greece, where at least one asylum seeker has killed himself this year amid rising desperation to escape.


    Smugglers in Greece, Italy and elsewhere in Europe are known to force refugees including children into prostitution to pay “debts”, while migrants are also resorting to “survival sex” for food and shelter, or to raise money to leave Greece.


    Eleni Kotsoni, a psychologist at a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) clinic in Athens, told The Independent that an increasing number of asylum seekers were coming forward about the phenomenon.


    “It’s not something they talk about easily,” she said. “They are basically doing it to be safe, to be sheltered, to have a roof over their head, to have food in the winter.


    “This can be children who are unaccompanied, or it can be women who come here without a husband or person to protect them.”


    Refugee women can make “deals” with men from their home countries in exchange for safety inside detention camps, where overcrowding, outbreaks of violence and a lack of security and facilities leave them vulnerable.


    In Athens, Thessaloniki and other cities, refugees tend to live in open camps or informal settlements, where adolescents may be preyed on by older men.

    Children desperate to raise money or find shelter also seek to sell sex themselves, particularly in notorious parks in Athens where they wait to be approached by paedophiles.


    The Harvard study found that the purchasers of migrant child sex were mainly men over 35, while children engaging in “survival sex” are mainly teenage boys, particularly from Afghanistan.


    “Elderly men offer food and shelter to children,” an informant told researchers.


    “They are willing to satisfy the children’s basic needs in exchange for sexual services, but the children want money.”


    Some purchasers demand children to accompany them to their homes or meet at a hotel, the report said, while others insist on having sex in a park such as the notorious Pedion tou Areos (Field of Ares) in Athens.


    The report found prices “rarely exceed €15 (£13) per exchange”. With smugglers hiking fees as borders and fences have gone up across Europe, prospects of escaping Greece are fading.


    One child said he had “given up the hope of finding a way out of Greece, but other boys are still trying to collect the money to leave”, while another told journalists: “I never thought I’d have to do something like this.


    “When the money ran out, I had to learn to do this…it was the first time I did this, I had no experience.”


    Aid workers expect the situation to worsen as refugees remain trapped in Greece for ever-lengthening periods and relocation programmes including a British scheme are scrapped.


    Within the first 10 months of 2016, more than 10,400 children applied for asylum in Greece, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and other Middle Eastern and north African nations, creating huge backlogs in an unprepared system.


    But by the end of the year only 2,413 migrant children – 11 per cent of those stranded in the country – had been successfully relocated to other European countries despite 160,000 slots being promised.


    ​Marleen Korthals Altes, a senior child protection adviser at Save the Children, said the closure of borders through the Balkans route had increased the risk of sexual violence and exploitation.


    “People are remaining either in camps that are generally lacking security and law enforcement on the mainland…accommodation is poor and people are living in limbo,” she told The Independent.


    “They came with a certain amount of money to survive but they got stuck and it has run out, and now they are desperate.”


    Ms Korthals Altes said that although child protection is heavily legislated in Greece, laws are “inconsistently applied” by overwhelmed authorities, adding: “The policies and the practices are different.”


    The Harvard report identified six major risk factors needing to be urgently addressed – the lack of children’s facilities, risky living conditions inside camps, unsupervised mixing of migrant adults and children, under-resourced child protection systems, a lack of coordination among authorities and a “radically inadequate” relocation scheme.


    Its authors, Vasileia Digidiki and Jacqueline Bhabha, concluded that EU policies were exacerbating risks by forcing the youngest and most vulnerable refugees to turn to smugglers and take desperate measure to meet their extortionate fees.


    While more migrants are dying in treacherous attempts to reach Europe than ever before, political will to help survivors is waning, they noted, adding: “National and international stakeholders should come together to ensure adequate prevention measures, as well as to create safe and legal paths to migration for migrant children in acute need of protection.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...=facebook-post



    239 unaccompanied refugee children disappeared from UK care in 2015


    There are fears some of the children are being taken into 'a life of slavery and exploitation'


    4.2016


    At least 239 unaccompanied refugee children permanently disappeared from care facilities in the UK in 2015.


    It represents a 75 per cent rise in the number of lone asylum-seeking children going missing from care, according to a joint investigation by BBC 5 Live and Buzzfeed News.


    Freedom of information requests to 140 local authorities across England and Wales have revealed the significant increase – with 51 children disappearing from care in October 2015 alone.


    There are fears some of the children are being taken into “a life of slavery and exploitation”, in the words of the report, suggesting that cannabis farms, the sex industry or sweatshops are likely destinations.

    Other findings include that the Home Office is “releasing children into unchecked accommodation” despite concerns they would be trafficked; the missing children are being treated as “low” or “medium” risk; and councils “struggling” to provide enough safe accommodation for children. It found the number of Vietnamese children going missing from care tripled in the last year.

    Libby Freeman, founder of refugee charity Calais Action, demanded the government launch a “full and proper” investigation.

    Ms Freeman told The Independent: “Unlike in Calais, where they are refusing to take responsibility, they can’t sidestep it here.

    “Austerity and the cuts are partly to blame for this. The social care system has been damaged and more and more people are falling through the net.”

    According to the EU police agency Europol, more than 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees have disappeared in Europe in the last two years.

    Anne Longfield, who is tasked with protecting the rights of children in England, wrote to French authorities earlier this month to ask them to accelerate the asylum claims of unaccompanied children living in the Calais "Jungle" refugee camp.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...-a6988336.html




    10,000 unaccompanied refugee children 'are missing in Europe'


    Europol has evidence child refugees are being sexually exploited, as UK refuses calls to resettle unaccompanied children already inside the EU








    At least 10,000 child refugees have gone missing since arriving in Europe.


    Around 5,000 have vanished in Italy alone, with a further 1,000 unaccounted for in Sweden, Europol’s chief of staff Brian Donald has said.


    It is feared many have become victims of exploitation by criminal organisations, particularly as gangs established in human trafficking are now known by Europol to be engaging refugees in sex work and slavery.


    “An entire [criminal] infrastructure has developed over the past 18 months around exploiting the migrant flow”, Mr Donald told the Observer.


    Ninety per cent of refugees have paid a criminal gang to reach Europe, making last year one of the most profitable to date for human traffickers, Europol recently told The Independent on Sunday.


    At least 340 children are known to have disappeared in the UK since registering as asylum seekers between January and September 2015, with double the number disappearing in 2015 than in 2014.


    “It’s not unreasonable to say that we’re looking at 10,000-plus children” who are unaccounted for in Europe, said Mr Donald.


    “Not all of them will be criminally exploited; some might have been passed on to family members. We just don’t know where they are, what they’re doing or whom they are with.”


    Europol estimates 270,000 child refugees arrived in Europe last year, more than a quarter of the 1.1 million refugees who arrived in total. According to Save the Children, 26,000 of these children were unaccompanied.


    The intelligence agency has evidence child refugees have been sexually exploited in Europe.


    “These kids are in the community - if they’re being abused it’s in the community. They’re not being spirited away and held in the middle of forests, though I suspect some might be. They’re in the community – they’re visible. As a population we need to be alert to this," Mr Donald said.


    The figures come as David Cameron refused calls to resettle 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees living unaccompanied in Europe.


    The Home Office has confirmed it will bring more unaccompanied children to the UK from Syria and other conflict zones, but will not accept children who have already arrived in Europe.


    Doing so would encourage more children “to make the difficult, potentially lethal, journey to Europe”, Cameron told Sky News.


    Immigration minister James Brokenshire said the “vast majority” of refugees were “better served staying in the region so they can be reunited with surviving family members”.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...-a6845081.html






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    Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in record 2017 as charities attacked for conducting Mediterranean rescues


    ‘NGOs are being blamed for our presence, when authorities should be blamed for their absence’







    More than 1,000 refugees have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea so far this year, as charities battling to stem the record number of deaths increasingly come under attack.


    The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has recorded at least 1,073 people dead or missing on the treacherous passage between Libya and Italy – a grim benchmark that was not reached until the end of May last year.


    At least 150 are children, Unicef said, while warning that the real figure is likely to be far higher because unaccompanied minors’ deaths frequently go unreported.



    Such is the danger of death that asylum seekers embarking on flimsy dinghies have been known to write phone numbers in marker pen on life jackets, so loved ones can be notified if their body is recovered.


    More than 8,300 migrants were rescued over the Easter weekend alone, with some of those taken to safety telling aid workers around 100 of their fellow passengers had died during the voyage.


    Many dinghies have capsized, seeing up to 170 people crammed on board drown, while others have been found dead in boats after being suffocated, dying of hypothermia or starving while drifting at sea.


    Smugglers are pushing more and more boats into the Mediterranean as the weather improves and amid rumours of a crackdown by the Libyan coastguard, which is being bolstered by Italian funding and equipment.


    The unprecedented crisis has sparked intervention by several non-governmental organisations (NGOs), who have launched their own rescue ships equipped with medical staff and supplies to bolster efforts by the EU’s Operation Sophia.


    Initially welcomed by European authorities, their growing role in the Mediterranean has been met with increasing suspicion by right-wing politicians and groups now accusing them of “colluding” with smugglers.


    Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), whose staff work on two rescue ships, dismissed the claims as “baseless”.


    Stefano Argenziano, the group’s operations manager for migration, said it rejects any accusation of cooperation with ruthless Libyan smugglers, who have turned a humanitarian crisis into a lucrative business helping fuel the country’s ongoing war.


    “It’s a ludicrous accusation that’s diverting attention from the real problem,” he told The Independent.


    “The real problem is that people are dying. There’s a gap in assistance and we’re starting to wonder whether this is part of a deliberate plan to step the migration flow…a deadly deterrent.”


    Mr Argenziano said interventions by EU assets, excepting the Italian coastguard, were often “very little and very late” and condemned the continent’s refusal to provide other routes to safety.


    “Search and rescue is not the problem, but it is not the solution either,” he added.


    “It is a necessity to save lives unless politicians can produce a safe and legal alternative.”


    Following the closure of the refugee route over the Aegean Sea using the controversial EU-Turkey deal last year, cooperation has been ramping up with the fragile Libyan Government of National Accord.


    Italy signed an agreement backed by the EU to reduce boat crossings over the Central Mediterranean in February but it was later suspended by the justice ministry in Tripoli and remains in limbo.


    Rome agreed to supply the country’s coastguard, which is itself accused of killing and abusing migrants, with 10 new boats alongside millions of euros in funding for migration initiatives.


    International organisations believe the ultimate aim – transferring responsibility for rescues to Libya and holding migrants in detention centres there – is not viable amid the ongoing conflict and the widespread enslavement, capture, torture and extortion of asylum seekers.


    Rob MacGillivray, the director of Save the Children’s search and rescue programme, said pushing boats back to shore from international waters would be illegal.


    “It’s not going to stop crossings and even if it did, all that would happen and the routes would shift to Algeria, Tunisia or Egypt for example,” he added, rejecting accusations of NGOs colluding with smugglers.


    “Safety is not the smugglers’ first priority and they will use whatever floats to send people across the Mediterranean.


    “If search and rescue providers were to finish work tomorrow, would the people smugglers just fade into the background?”


    In 2015, operations were mainly undertaken by Italian law-enforcement, EUNAVFOR Med or Frontex vessels. NGO vessels were involved in less than 5 per cent of incidents.


    But they are now deployed to respond to around half of missions by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Rome, which also draws on military, coastguard and commercial ships.


    A cursory internet search reveals countless blogs accusing NGOs of colluding in illegal people smuggling, while numerous conspiracy theories have arisen over what far-right commentators label the “invasion of Europe”.


    The latest politician to push for the Central Mediterranean route to be closed is Wolfgang Sobotka, the Austrian interior minister.


    “A rescue in the open sea cannot be a ticket to Europe, because it hands organised traffickers every argument to persuade people to escape for economic reasons,” he told Germany’s DPA news agency.


    “[Stopping crossings] is the only way to end the tragic and senseless deaths in the Mediterranean.”


    Mr Sobotoka, from the right-wing Austrian People’s Party, claimed his country could put up borders in the event of any influx, saying the numbers seen in 2015 “must not be repeated”.


    The government in Vienna is one of several to have implemented a limit on asylum seekers, with calls to halve the current annual cap of 17,000.


    In Italy, the chief prosecutor in the Sicilian city of Catania has formed a task force on claims of links between NGOs and smugglers.


    Carmelo Zuccaro admitted he had no proof and the public prosecutor decided not to investigate, but a fact finding mission was launched by the Italian parliament.


    Frontex, the EU border agency, has also raised concern over smugglers’ alleged use of rescue vessels.


    A confidential report leaked in December claimed migrants were given “clear indications before departure on the precise direction to be followed in order to reach the NGOs’ boats” and accused charities of warning rescued asylum seekers not to cooperate with Italian authorities.


    Another report released by Frontex in February claimed search and rescue operations near the Libyan coast “unintentionally help criminals achieve their objectives at minimum cost, strengthen their business model by increasing the chances of success”.


    It recognised that rescues were needed to comply with international legal obligations and said safe and legal routes were needed for refugees, but alleged sailing close to Libyan territorial waters acted as a “pull factor”.


    The Malta-based charity Moas (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) pointed out that boat crossings increased even when Italy stopped its Mare Nostrum operation, while a recent Oxford University study found rescues have “little or no effect on the number of arrivals”.

    A representative said migrants were being “increasingly used by politicians in Europe to fuel the rise of nationalism”, adding: “The migration phenomenon is not going away, and focusing only on patrolling the EU's borders is definitely not the solution.”

    With almost 37,000 asylum seekers arriving in Italy so far this year, mainly from Guinea, Nigeria and other African nations, the crisis shows no sign of slowing.

    Sophie Beau, the co-founder of rescue charity SOS Mediterranee, said NGOs were being forced to act by the “failure of European states”, who should be increasing capacity themselves.

    “NGOs are being blamed for our presence, when authorities should be blamed for their absence,” she added.

    “There’s a humanitarian tragedy unfolding in front of our eyes at the door of Europe and we cannot just remain blind.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...=facebook-post

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    Syrian Refugees Are Selling Their Organs to Survive


    The illegal trade in human organs has become widespread in Syria and neighboring countries, medical officials and victims say, with cross-border networks exploiting thousands of desperate Syrians.

    These networks purchase transplantable organs such as kidneys and corneas from Syrians and ship them to neighboring countries, where they disappear into the murky world of the international organ trade, they say. There are also allegations that organs have been stolen from prisoners.

    Yasser (not his real name) is one of those who sold one of his own kidneys, which he calls the “worst decision of my life.” The 29-year-old fled the fighting in his home city of Homs, in western Syria, around 100 miles north of the capital Damascus, after the start of the war. He made his way to Cairo, but like many other Syrian refugees he had trouble getting work and found himself with no money to survive.

    He heard through acquaintances that some people would pay for one of his kidneys. “I was new to Egypt. I did not have any money, and I couldn’t find a job, so my only choice was to sell my left kidney,” he said.

    A broker invited him to his home and a date was set for medical tests and the operation. “I sold it for $3,000 to someone I knew nothing about. We met for no more than 15 minutes before we closed the deal,” he said.

    After the operation, Yasser moved to Istanbul, where he now shares a crowded apartment with several other young refugee men and works in an auto shop. The operation has left him permanently marked—both physically and emotionally—and he felt uncomfortable sharing further details of the procedure.

    “I will never forgive myself for what I did,” said Yasser, who has had pain in his remaining right kidney and had a doctor tell him he could die if he is not very careful.

    There are no reliable statistics on how widespread the practice may be.

    However, Hussein Nofal, head of the department of forensic medicine at Damascus University and chief of the newly formed General Authority for Forensic Medicine, has been compiling evidence of the organ trade and estimates 18,000 Syrians have had organs removed for sale over the past four years of war.

    He said the trade is particularly active in border areas outside the control of the Assad regime and inside Turkey and Lebanon’s camps for Syrian refugees.

    Nofal said organ prices vary across the region. In Turkey, someone can purchase a kidney for $10,000, while in Iraq the price may be as low as $1,000. In Lebanon and Syria, the cost hovers around $3,000.

    He was also quoted last year in the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir, which is reportedly close to Bashar al-Assad's regime, as saying that gangs working with Syrian doctors sell corneas for $7,500 each to foreign clients and falsify their country of origin.

    Even war-torn countries have laws; the laws surrounding the organ trade in Syria are opaque, though, and with the raging conflict, difficult to enforce or take as far as prosecution.

    All across Damascus, for instance, there are hundreds of posters requesting organ “donation,” especially next to hospitals and pharmacies. A typical one reads: “A sick person is in urgent need of a kidney. Blood type needed: O+. Tissue analysis to be done. For those interested in donating, please contact the number below.”

    Authorities can do little about such advertisements, since under Syrian law organ donations to relatives and strangers are legal. To further skirt the law, the organ “donors” who answer these fliers go to their local court and attest that they are donating and not selling their organ.

    Nevertheless, at least 20 complaints related to the organ trade made their way to the Damascus courts between March 2011 and September 2015. No such cases were seen before the fighting broke out, according to the attorney general of rural Damascus, Ahmad al-Sayyed.

    These complaints, which name alleged criminals, as well as doctors and hospitals, have largely been filed by relatives of those who have died. They are considered difficult if not impossible to prosecute since those involved are hard to track down amid the conflict.

    However, al-Sayyed estimates that there have been at least 20,000 cases of illegal organ sales across the whole country since the start of the war, especially in border areas where there are no longer any courts or police officers to enforce the laws.

    A judicial source at the Syrian Ministry of Justice who asked to not be named said police do not have the resources to follow up on individual cases to ensure the person receiving the organ has not paid the “donor.”

    One oncologist, Dr. Mohammed Awram (not his real name), said the trade is widespread in the northern rural areas of Aleppo and Idlib.

    “A dermatologist asked me to sell the organs of pro-government detainees in rural Idlib, since, as he put it, they were going to be executed anyway,” said the doctor, who specializes in surgical oncology and traveled to Syria recently to treat patients in the rural areas around Idlib.

    The dermatologist explained to him that there were many buyers who were willing to pay, and that the money would be used to buy much-needed medical equipment and to support the armed opposition groups.

    Awram refused on ethical grounds. He was also worried that such operations might lead to innocent people being arrested in order to harvest their organs. His refusal resulted in his being accused of working for the Syrian government.

    The Islamic State militant group (ISIS), he said, tried to kill him several times when he attempted to start manufacturing medicines, so he moved to rural Aleppo when Idlib was overrun with the Islamic extremists.

    “The area I moved to was [also] controlled by [ISIS], and we saw many cases of corpses with missing internal organs, mostly the liver and left kidney. However, I saw one case of a missing bladder,” he said.

    Murhaf al-Muallem, director of the Consultative Center for Studies and Human Rights, said his organization has documented dozens of cases of Syrian organs being sold inside and outside Syria.

    “The center blames Syria’s neighboring countries for the situation, since they are not providing Syrian refugees with protection or job opportunities, which has led many of them to sell their own organs in order to provide for their families. Their poverty made them easy victims for the organ trade mafias,” he said.

    http://www.newsweek.com/syrian-refug...survive-459745

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    Italian forces ignored a sinking ship full of Syrian refugees and let more than 250 drown, says leaked audio




    Almost four years ago, 268 Syrian refugees — including 60 children — lost their lives in a shipwreck about 60 miles south of Lampedusa, a small Italian island that sits between Sicily and Tunisia. It was considered one of the worst tragedies of the European refugee crisis, but a leaked audiotape published Monday by the magazine L’Espresso suggested that Italian authorities let the Syrians drown despite being alerted several hours earlier that the refugees’ ship was in danger.

    On the evening of Oct. 10, 2013, a ship carrying at least 480 people left Zuwarah, in northwestern Libya, headed for Lampedusa. Most of the passengers were Syrians who had left their country for Libya when conflict erupted at home in 2011, and were then forced to flee Libya when fighting broke out there as well.

    Their ship sailed until 5 p.m. the next day, when it capsized 61 nautical miles south of Lampedusa. While some of the passengers were rescued by Italian and Maltese ships, the majority died before rescuers arrived. The incident caused a media uproar that contributed to the creation of “Mare Nostrum,” the now-defunct Italian navy search-and-rescue operation (that program was replaced in late 2014 by a smaller-scale E.U. program called “Triton”).

    But, until Monday, the public did not know that the refugees had alerted Italian authorities that they were in distress as early as five hours before their ship sank. Even though the refugees’ ship called the Italian coast guard and warned that it was floating adrift, taking on water and had wounded children aboard, Italian authorities refused to intervene for several hours.

    L’Espresso published five recordings of separate telephone conversations from the day of the incident. In the first, at 12:39 p.m., passenger Mohanned Jammo, a doctor who survived the shipwreck and who had a smartphone with him, calls the headquarters of the Italian coast guard in Rome asking for help. “The boat is going down” and “water is coming into it,” he says. A woman can be heard asking for his position, which he gives.

    At 1:17 p.m., Jammo calls again, asking if the coast guard has sent anyone. He is answered by a man who tells him to call Malta instead. “You are near Malta,” the man claims. In truth, the ship was 61 nautical miles from Lampedusa — but 118 nautical miles from Malta.

    In a third conversation, at 1:48 p.m., Jammo again calls the coast guard, saying he called Maltese authorities and was told he is closer to Lampedusa. “Lampedusa is Italy?” he asks. “We are dying, please.”

    Although the ship was closer to Italian soil, it was in an area of international waters where Malta holds responsibility for search-and-rescue missions under European agreements. But, at the time, Italy had a military vessel about 20 nautical miles from the refugees’ ship, while Malta’s closest ship was 70 nautical miles away. Fabrizio Gatti, the investigative reporter who obtained the recordings, said in a telephone conversation with The Washington Post that the Italian ship, as the closest ship able to help, was obligated to rescue the refugees under international maritime law.

    Gatti said he obtained the recordings from “sources in Malta,” who leaked the tapes on the condition of anonymity. He verified the tapes by comparing them with other recordings in possession of Italy’s judicial authorities, who are leading an investigation into the incident. Gatti argued that the tapes show that Italian authorities usually delayed in trying to rescue ships rather than moving immediately.

    Gatti refused to speculate about the political implications of the tapes, but the leak comes at a time when anti-refugee sentiment is running high in Italy and nongovernmental organizations that help rescue migrants at sea have been accused of encouraging illegal immigration.

    A fourth tape shows that Maltese authorities were willing to take command of the rescue mission but asked their Italian counterparts to send their nearby ship. The Italians refused.

    In a gut-wrenching conversation at 4:44 p.m., an Italian coast guard officer tells the Maltese navy that Italy would not move the ship because it “represents an important asset in order to spot new targets” — and because that would put Italy “in charge of transfer to the nearest coast.”

    At that point, Malta sent a surveillance plane to check on the refugees. At 5:07 p.m., the Maltese called the Italians, telling them that the refugees’ ship had capsized. They urged the Italians to send their ship because their own would not arrive in time to save the Syrians. Only then did Italy agree to send its ship.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.4d60c8d382a2


 

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