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EU failing to rescue refugees from Greece -DocEng

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After the closure of the Balkan corridor in March, Greece has become host to over 53,000 migrants and refugees desperate for a way out. Many have applied to an EU scheme that planned to relocate refugees from Greece to other parts of Europe, but deep flaws in the system are leaving families in limbo. Syrian civil engineer Rafed Al Kassmi, his Iraqi wife and his son have been ‘suspended’ in Athens for four months after Poland refused to relocate them. Yemeni student Waleed Al-Saidani is even more unlucky, he was also rejected by Poland and then his country was taken off the relocation list altogether. He is now thinking to return to war-torn Yemen. The head of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Greece has called on EU states to urgently accept more refugees.

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Produced by Andrew Connelly, Francesca Tosarelli
Directed by Francesca Tosarelli
Video Language en
Produced Apr 19, 2016
Published Apr 19, 2016

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STORYLINE:
Escaping the war to Europe is a luxury few Yemenis can afford, but 20-year old student Waleed Al-Saidani put all of his hopes and money on continuing his studies in another country. After arriving to find the borders of Europe closed, he lived for weeks in Greek camps before being recommended the relocation programme. Waleed was not only rejected by Poland, but Yemeni nationals were suddenly forbidden from applying, with no warning or explanation.
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From an initial agreement in October to relocate 66,400 refugees from Greece to other member states, only 646 have been moved. As a consequence, over 53,000 remain stranded across Greece, including thousands living in tents with little sanitary facilities at Athens' port of Piraeus. On Pope Francis’ recent visit to Greece, he returned to the Vatican with 12 Syrian refugees on his plane, and thus taking more than 18 EU countries have in 5 months.
The head of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Greece, Daniel Esdras, has called on EU member states to urgently increase the amount of pledges to relocate refugees, compared to the current low numbers.
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Rafed Al Kassmi lived with his Iraqi artist wife Ghada and student son AbdulRahman in Baghdad until they escaped the 2003 invasion. After settling in Homs, Syria, they were again driven out by war and fled to Europe. After being recommended the relocation plan by the UNHCR in Greece when they arrived on inflatable boat from Turkey, they were eventually interviewed by the Polish embassy. After initially being accepted, the stridently anti-refugee country then quit the programme, leaving Rafed and family entering their fourth month marooned in Athens, wondering if they will ever be relocated to Europe.
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Asylum options in Greece are bleak, with no housing of financial support given, and so Waleed is starting to think about returning to Yemen. Having spent the last of his money travelling to, and living in Greece, he has only a piece of jewellery left which he needs to sell, before he is broke.

 

DOPESHEET

0.02.21 - 01.03.11 English SOT Waleed Al-Shaidani, Yemeni refugee “I can’t stay there. I told my family, I told my...I need to leave. I can’t stay here. They killed many people and they killed many of my friends, my best friends, and they killed them. They need us to go back to our countries, because they told us: make asylum here - and you have nothing. They don’t care about us, if we’re going to die there in our countries. They don’t care. I can stay here for a month, for a few months, one or two or three, after that, where I can stay? In the streets? I can’t get a job here. It’s difficult. I asked, I asked about that...I’m here from November, from December, like from December, I asked, I know Athens, I know everything, I asked to many people about that, I asked them, I asked them about to give me a job, and they said me ‘no’.

 

01.07.11 - 01.30.02  English SOT Daniel Esdras, Head of IOM Greece: “Relocation we are still in low numbers compared to what in reality should be. I am hoping that the member states will start giving more pledges now that the..the closing of the border so that Syrians and other refugee nationalities can use the relocation scheme could be going in big numbers to the member states.

 

01.34.16 - 01.55.07  English SOT Rafed al Kassmi, civil engeneer, Syrian refugee “In media they are against refugees. We know this. In spite of this, we accept, really. Poland is not our choice but we accept it. We need only peace and safety. But they refused us. We are worried...we are suspended. We don’t know what will happen with us.”

 

01.57.03 - 02.06.09 English SOT Waleed Al-Shaidani, Yemeni refugee “I don’t want to be on relocation. Because they lied to me, they told me you have just to wait two months and you will travel.”

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