My first destination was the Piraeus seaport, 20 minutes by train on the Green Line from Monastiraki station in Athens city centre. A restaurant with signs in Greek and Arabic is located at the entrance close to the E2 Gate.
At Pireaus, I met Mohamad, a man in his late twenties, clutching his four-month-old baby girl Fatima.
I asked Mohamad if the smugglers were Turkish, he confirmed this but said they were also working with Syrians, Iraqis and others.
Two young Syrian men joined us in the conversation and expressed their doubt about the relocation scheme.
Back to Athens I arranged to meet with Yonous Mohammadi, the Director of the Greek Refugee Forum and his colleagues from the migrant led sector with a colleague from PICUM (Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants). Yonous told me that the Forum’s member organisations are currently prioritising and focusing on helping with interpreting and cultural mediation.
Yonous was keen to mention the positive developments as well as the difficulties facing migrants and refugees. It felt to me then that the deal between Europe and Turkey is already being implemented before being officially finalised, approved and signed. The UN relocation process is not properly functioning yet as many European countries are not cooperating, and many migrants do not want to go to certain countries. My final evening was to be spent with Dina Vardaramatou from Praksis who brought to life the trauma and the daily experiences of the Greek NGOs working with refugees. As the EU-Turkey deal comes into effect there are many unanswered questions, but most importantly: What will happen to the human beings at the centre of all this. The controversial EU-Turkey refugee one for one deal began in the early hours of Monday 4th of April.
The EU –Turkey deal stipulates that the EU will receive one Syrian refugee for every Syrian refugee deported from Greece.
However, reports from Turkish authorities have stated that no Syrians have been sent to Turkey as of yet. Greek authorities have also stated that there are no Syrians amongst the 202 refugees being loaded onto the boats, the majority were either from central Asia or North Africans; with Turkish officials declaring that all non-Syrian refugees will be deported. According to Associated Press, Frontex, the EU border agency has been overwhelmed by the deal and understaffed with only 10% of the staff available to carry out procedures. The deal has come under heavy criticism from many charities, head of Amnesty International in Greece, Giorgos Kosmopoulos, speaking to the Associated Press, said, "This is the first day of a very difficult time for refugee rights.
The research by the MEDMIG project launched in March 2016 has helped us to understand the reasons that in 2015 made over 1 million cross the Mediterranean in search of a more secure and promising life. One of the key areas of the study was the investigation of the journeys and routes taken as the situation rapidly unfolded last year. The study found significant differences in the numbers and identity of those who take the different routes to Europe. Whereas it is predominantly individuals who travel through the Central Mediterranean route, the number of people travelling with their children is significantly higher on the Eastern Mediterranean route.
The researchers also found that the migrants and refugees arriving in Greece are better educated than the ones who choose the Italy route. In terms of age, gender and whether people are travelling with their children the study also found differences in each of the case study countries. 84% of sea arrivals in Europe in 2015 came from the world's top 10 refuge producing countries, with Syrian nationals representing just over 50% of these. The study finds that the migration across the Mediterranean in 2015 is not one coherent flow, contrary to how it has typically been perceived. The study highlights the policy implications of this greater and more complex knowledge of migration flows. Comparing to other countries in Europe, British newspapers are the most negative when talking about the migrant and refugee crisis, a study from the Cardiff University’s Journalism School has shown. In most countries surveyed, both right and left wing newspapers tended to report using the same sources, themes and explanations for the crisis.
Looking at the study, we can see a UK press which is comparatively more polarised and more negative on migration than in other EU countries. The study also analysed and has found some controversy regarding the use of the words: migrant, refugee and illegal immigrant. The study highlights how important and necessary it is for the press to commit to factual, critical, nuances reporting, doing more investigative journalism and listening to all parties involved, not only one side of the story in order to contribute to a more inclusive and fair society, It is crucial that the readers get the real facts and understand why people keep moving from one place to another. April events range from a Lenny Henry talk on The Web of Our Life: Shakespeare and Migration to a play, Stowaway, in which a man from India falls out of a plane near Heathhrow and finds himself adrift from everything he knows. She speaks five different languages, has lived in 6 different countries, is a professional potter and chef while occasionally trying her hand at dj-ing in clubs.
A second-generation migrant, Beatriz was born in London but moved to Italy at the age of 6, where she went to the local primary school. While she does not see herself as a migrant, she can relate to that sense of cultural in-betweenness often expressed by migrants. Both her parents fled political persecution as children, and were forced to move countries. She fell in love with it when she had her first try on a potter’s wheel at an art fair. She spent 8 months studying ceramics in Japan and South Korea when she left Kensington and Chelsea College.
She explains that when she looks back her love for pottery has always been present since she was a kid. Although Beatriz has adopted pottery as her profession, she also works as a head chef at The Almeida to financially support herself. Regardless of the fact that the right wing has gained victory in three state elections, the Government under Angela Merkel is not backing down in terms of their immigration policy.
Although the election results depict a huge win for the Afd party, they still remain a minority. Nonetheless, the elections are bound to put pressure on the chancellor, who is currently in the midst of pushing another deal with Turkey to limit the number of migrants entering Western Europe. The support is especially high amongst people aged 18-25 with 90% in New Zealand and 80% in Australia. The author of the report and director of policy and research at the Royal Commonwealth Society, Tim Hewish justified this by saying, “Collectively we possess a unique bond which needs protecting.
On the other hand, the president of the Society supported the poll results by advocating for it. Yet, in reality the number of people living and working in the UK from the commonwealth countries have fallen. Staring from 6 April, migrants, from outside the EU, who have been living in the UK for less than 10 years are required to earn £35,000 annually in order to qualify for a Tier 2 visa.
Assumptions of class and wealth and identity immediately shoot to the surface, usually buttressed by prejudice and stereotyping. In this case, you cannot help but wonder about how to deal with the frustration of those who fought for freedom in the anti-apartheid struggle (or in Zimbabwe, or against dictatorship in, say, Uganda) but now feel neglected and a sense of injustice that others have reaped the benefits. Mongiwekhaya’s play also made me think about migration in general, and whether maintaining a language from the place of origin does or should matter. This week, countries along the Balkan route, a commonly used migration route for refugees and migrants to get to northern Europe, have closed their borders. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that this closure is not going to resolve the issue at all. The EU and Turkey are in the midst of negotiating a deal that would return all new irregular migrants arriving to Greece without documents to Turkey.


Contrary to popular belief, England has become a more tolerant and multicultural society over the past five years.
Their report found that despite what it may seem from the media climate, the English public’s overall attitude towards race, immigration and migrants is entirely more positive than what it was five years ago. The study lends a brief summary of the opinion of England on migrants, immigration and multiculturalism and shows promise for future open-mindedness and acceptance. A parliamentary debate will be held on the 7th of March to discuss the Home Office introduction of the new £35k income threshold for non-EU citizens settling in the UK.
Under the new rules, non-EU workers who have lived in the UK for longer than five years will have to prove they have a salary of £35,000 or face deportation. An open discussion has been set up on the Parliament Facebook page for those wishing to discuss and share their views ahead of the debate.
The policy will affect non-EEA national skilled workers with a Tier 2 visa who have come to the UK on or before the April 2011. Those unable to meet the threshold will not be allowed to remain in the UK after their Tier 2 visa expires and cannot re-apply for another Tier 2 visa until they have been living outside the UK for at least 12 months.
According to a Home office Impact Assessment carried out in 2012, almost 16% of Tier 2 migrants will not meet the requirements of the new threshold. According to Care4Calais’s British volunteer, Clare Moseley, authorities arrived in the early hours of the morning and gave refugees and migrants one hour to leave or risk being arrested. Riot police vans equipped with water cannons lined the outskirts of the camps as bulldozers began disassembling the uninhabited tents. Government officials have stated that the evicted migrants and refugees, can either go to the purpose built container camps or to other refugee centres dispersed around France.
However, the numbers being evicted and the number of places available have come under scrutiny. A thin and orderly row of tents lines up on the pavement leading to the main gathering area where the Red Cross and other NGOs are present.
She was born in Turkey, he tells me, while showing me around one of the main big halls at the port, housing over three hundred refugees. The main problem is the lack of warm water to wash or bathe, but an NGO was trying to solve this issue and the refugees were told to except hot water in the next couple of days.
They crossed to Turkey where Fatima was born, and spent a whole month trekking up and down the western Turkish coast until they succeeded in getting on a small boat and making their way to the Greek Island of Kos 3 days ago. I asked him if the small boat they took from Turkey was a rubber one and he said no, it was a normal wooden small boat, which is designed to carry no more than twenty people.
His wife threw her life jacket shortly after she got on the boat as there was no room due to the large number of people cramped on the boat. He said that there is a lot of fear and mistrust among the refugees towards authorities and official bodies. The latter group are not in employment and live in dire situations, especially those who have been in Greece for 10-15 years and still haven’t had an answer on their asylum applications.
At the time of my visit, only up to 700 refugees were relocated, and only 1300 pledges were available from EU countries but these have conditions attached such as health checks.
To put me in the picture, she told me the story of a Syrian family with a 3-5-day old baby. There was nothing they could do to stop the family from moving on in order to help the sick baby. Presenting at the Epim (European Platform for Integration and Migration) meeting I was attending with colleagues from the UK and a number of European countries, the MSF colleagues explained that babies who have died during the journey are left behind. Those to be deported are asylum seekers and refugees who have either been refused or have not applied for asylum or those who entered the region illegally. Who are the migrants and refugees that arrive through the Central and Eastern Mediterranean; why did they use those routes and what motived them to leave their homes?
While there has been little change in the numbers of people moving to Italy and Malta, there was a dramatic increase in the numbers of people taking the Eastern Mediterranean route. Just over two thirds (65%) of those interviewed were aged 18-29 but the proportion was higher in Italy (76%) than in Greece (55%), reflecting the fact that those arriving in Greece were more likely to be older and travelling in family groups.
It found that changes to migration policies and increased border controls have led to protracted and fragmented journeys and make it increasingly difficult for people to safely and legally access protection and employment. While in the EU press, the journalist may challenge negative commentary on refugees and migrants or balance it with other sources, British right-wing press continuously reinforce anti-refugee and migrant themes through the angles taken in stories, editorials and comment pieces.
It seems (parts of) the British press miss the chance for an open a discussion about the contribution of a multicultural society and also about the country's humanitarian responsibility. Additionally most papers did not focus on the root causes of the crisis, but rather on its symptoms such as search-and-rescue operations or attacking smugglers. Years later, after finishing high school in the UK, she again left London for two years to work and study in Italy, France and Brazil, returning to study Anthropology and Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Her father, born in the USA to British Communists, was deported to the UK at the age of 14. When he got to the UK he was badly bullied for his American accent and parent’s Socialist sympathies and had no choice but to quickly adopt a British accent.
The first was her mentor Akiko Hirai, who taught her pottery at the Kensington and Chelsea College, where she enrolled for a year after quitting her job. She works in her studio during evenings and weekends and whenever she finds the extra time.
It is also worth noting that the Green Party also experienced a victory during the elections, who are in support for Merkel’s policy. It was discovered that in the poor eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt, although her party Christian Democrats (CDU) lost votes they managed to retain the number one position followed by the Afd. This is, however, contrary to the new immigration policies which will be introduced in the UK shortly.
This is owing to the strict policy laws that have been introduced regarding immigration from outside the EU. While Australians and New Zealanders, living in the UK for 6 months and longer are now required to pay a Health surcharge of £200 every year, whereas, previously they were exempt from this. Those in favour of the amendment stated that at present workers are more likely to stay in an abusive and exploitative job because they fear deportation if they leave their employer. This began with Austria’s announcement that they would be limiting the amount of migrants crossing their border. This is due to the ever-growing optimism about the economy, which outweighs the feelings about the continuing record net migration inflow.
This means that while they celebrate diversity and support making minorities feel comfortable and welcome here, they oppose altering laws to accommodate the minority communities. Twenty-four percent of English people still strongly oppose immigration and even more have economic concerns about new immigration and concerns about integration and assimilation. The parliamentary debate will be held as a result of an online petition receiving 102,732 signatures.
The report also acknowledged that nurses, IT and software professionals will be most affected by the new policy. The majority of them are women and children crouching around their small overcrowded tents, their home for the time being. They were among the new arrivals brought to Piraeus from there on a large ship by the Greek authorities. I asked them to get in touch and let me know about their journey and their new life once they reached their final destination. This is why their role is important; there is a great knowledge in the community of how to deal with the situation faced by the refugees and more trust than of the authorities. A further 360 Moroccan and Algerian nationals were taken from detention centres and were also deported to Turkey.


Pakistanis, Moroccans and Algerians are detained immediately, while Eritreans, Sudanese and Somalis are still covered under the refugee category.
Many do not say their real age and claim to be older, and the Greek authorities are also turning a blind eye. He also acknowledged that the Greek language, the lack of support and the financial crisis are among the reasons why refugees do not want to stay in Greece. The family was referred to her from one of the reception centres for medical assessment and hospital referral.
Dina wrote a few words in German on a sheet of paper explaining that the baby is very ill and needed urgent hospital treatment.
Their parents feel they have no choice but to move on in order to save the rest of the family. It does nothing to address the root causes and or offer legal routes for people to take instead. Media coverage described it as one of the biggest immigration crises in the continent, with few people questioning the real reasons that make people risk their life in the sea. The nationality of those travelling has also changed, in particular the number of Syrians travelling to Italy went from  24% of arrivals in 2014 to just 5% in 2015 whereas in Greece, Syrians make up 56% of all sea arrivals. For those arriving in Greece the level rose to 78%, a third of who have a university education. It also found that refugees and migrants have only partial information about migration policies in particular countries and decisions about where to go are usually made ad hoc, along the route. The study also found that many migrants and refugees have complex journeys – including having been previously displaced and having migrated for long periods of time.
The right-wing press consistently endorsed a hardline anti-refugee and migrant, Fortress Europe approach. It is missing a better coverage about what is happening in Syria and reports explaining the reason for people are fleeing from other places where Human Rights are not respected, such as Afghanistan, Eritrea, Sudan and Iraq. Her mother is originally from Brazil, but grew up in Cuba as a political refugee, only finally returning in her early 20s.
Similarly, my mum grew up in Cuba from age 8 where she was perceived as a Brazilian, when she returned to Brazil she was a Cuban, and she has now been in London longer than anywhere else in the world but no one will ever say that she is English. Originally she started out with enrolling herself for a degree in Anthropology and Politics at SOAS when her future plans did not include clays and glazes. The second was, Kato Hiroshige XII, Beatriz’s mentor in Japan, whose techniques she still follows. The trip inspired her so much that much of what she learnt from Japanese and Korean pottery masters is reflected in how she produces tableware today.
However, in Baden-Württemberg they suffered a loss paving way for the Green party to come first. I wonder if writer Mongiwekhaya would be surprised at what individual members of the audience take away with them. The new amendment would allow workers to escape these situations without the negative consequence of deportation. Followed by Slovenia who on Tuesday announced that they would solely allow migrants who planned to seek asylum there or those with urgent humanitarian needs to enter their country.
The study found that about 33 percent of people now have a very positive attitude towards the growing multicultural society while the percentage of those who have a hostile attitude towards immigration has declined from 13 percent to 8 percent. Following concerns raised by the healthcare sector, nurses are currently not affected by the new rules as the profession has been placed on the shortage occupation list. The refugees at the Piraeus reception centre are brought there by ships from the five Greek islands they have arrived at by sea from Turkey: Lesvos, Kos, Chios, Samos and Leros.
Mohamad’s wife Hanna joins us having given up queuing for food after waiting for almost half an hour. Many of the passengers were Syrians, but there were also Afghanis, Iraqis and other nationalities. The mother had given birth to the baby four days earlier and hours before getting on a rubber boat to make the perilous journey from Turkey to one of the Greek islands.
This was to help the baby access the urgent healthcare she needed, if she made it alive, when her parents arrived to their final destination, Germany.
Sometimes they leave one family member behind as the legal process of identifying the cause of death takes its course. Nearly three quarters (72%) of people were in employment before making the journey to Europe, though the proportion is significantly higher among those arriving in Greece (87%) than those arriving in Italy (60%)”.
And the UK right-wing press tends to publish more articles describing refugees and migrants as a threat to the United Kingdom's welfare and benefits system.
Shortly after, Serbia and Croatia also declared similar restrictions while Macedonia has shut its’ border completely.
One said that he is going to join friends in Luxemburg and the other said that he did not mind as long as it is a good country.
The family spent a day or two on the Island before been assessed and transported on a ferry to the mainland by the Greek authorities.
Dina’s colleagues informed her later that the baby was still alive when the family crossed the border from Greece. On the other hand in Rhineland-Palatinate the CDU came second and the Afd took the fourth position.
This has left approximately 14,000 in squalid conditions in a tent camp along the Idomeni crossing between Greece and Macedonia. He, like many other volunteers were worried about the risks the refugees are taking and were very keen to pass on the right information to the new arrivals to stop them risking their lives. There is a climate of solidarity as opposed to earlier hate speech, which was used by both the government and the media, explains Yonous.
They have spent a couple of days at Idomeni but could not stay there or cope with the dire conditions after Macedonia closed its border. When she arrived at Dina’s centre, the baby was very ill with a high temperature and needed to be hospitalised.
The father who was carrying his baby looked at Dina in despair and told her that the family has to keep moving and they cannot send the baby to hospital. The two young men told me they will wait until the Macedonian border opens or explore another route.
Greek celebrities are coming out to support refugees and the Greek people are showing great solidarity with the refugees. There is still some hostility, but this is too small compared with the level of solidarity shown by the public. The father said that he had paid all his money to the smuggler who was expecting him to move on today or he would lose everything. The big concern is the long-term impact if there is no solution or cooperation between EU countries. He also said that one of the people on board, a young Algerian man, would sail us through to Greece”. Mohamad discovered that the smugglers had trained the Algerian man to sail the boat in return for a free ride.



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