“We ran as if we were ants fleeing out of the nest. I moved to three different cities in Syria to try to be away from the conflict, but there was no safe place left in my country so we decided to move out.”
A sit-in protest by Syrian refugees on Syntagma Square opposite the Greek parliament in the heart of Athens has turned into a demonstration of the stalemate faced by both Greek as well as European immigration policy.
Staring at the floor, Hassan, a 21-year-old Syrian refugee from Idlib in northwestern Syria, holds a set of identification papers in his hands. He picks out a small pink piece of paper with a few words on it stating that he must obtain a work contract, otherwise his residency visa will not be renewed.
"Going back home? That would be suicide. The Islamists would cut our throats straight away," says Khalil Hafif Ismam. The fear of this Mandaean refugee sums up that of one of the oldest yet most decimated communities in Mesopotamia.
His journey started four years ago in Conakry, Guinea. Now that Mamoudou* has finally reached Italy, he hopes this will be his final stop.
Early on the morning of Oct. 1, Tapia* left her home in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, took the subway into Manhattan and headed to the federal courthouse on Varick Street.
Once more, Swiss voters have lashed out against asylum seekers, further tightening the country's already strict asylum law. The government has meanwhile announced a radical restructuring of the asylum procedure.
For asylum seekers, Estonia is the least attractive country in the European Union, so the numbers say. According to Eurostat only 75 people last year asked for protection in this country that borders Russia and Finland. Local human rights activists suspect that many of those in need for help are turned down at the border without getting a chance to ask for asylum.
Struggling to accommodate all its asylum seekers, Swiss authorities have turned to unused army quarters. Some of these lie on mountain passes, far away from inhabited areas.
Canada’s major Israel lobby organisation is running into conflict with critics who say it is betraying the historical liberal legacy of this country’s 380,000-member Jewish community.
Papua New Guinean opposition leader Belden Namah has launched legal proceedings against an Australian detention centre for asylum seekers in Manus province of this South Pacific island nation.