In Greece, you can go to prison for trying to save a life. It happened to Sarah Mardini and Seán Binder when, as trained rescuers, they volunteered for a search-and-rescue organisation in Lesvos.
No government should ever make criminals of people helping refugees, instead of doing more to protect a refugee’s right to find a safe place to live. When people need to escape conflict, torture or other abuses in their countries, they often have no option but to make highly dangerous journeys to reach safety.‘
What’s scary, is not that it has put me in jail without trial, or that I still face 25 years in prison, it’s that this can happen to anyone because states don’t adhere to existing laws that protect humanitarianism.’ Seán Binder
‘Humanitarian work isn’t criminal, nor is it heroic… Helping others should be absolutely normal.’ Seán Binder
Please ensure that all charges against Sarah Mardini and Seán Binder are immediately dropped and acknowledge the legitimacy of humanitarian actions and the activities carried out by people acting in defense of refugee and migrant rights.
Applications for French passports among Britons more than trebled to 1,300 in 2016, then more than doubled in 2017.
The latest ranking was compiled by the Henley Passport Index, which takes global mobility into account and is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The Henley Passport Index warned that Britain’s ranking could get even worse in the years to come.
“Throughout most of the index’s history, the UK has held one of the top five places in the ranking,” it said.
“However, with its exit from the EU now imminent, the UK’s once-strong position looks increasingly uncertain.
“The Brexit process has not yet had a direct impact on the UK’s ranking, but new research using exclusive historical data from the Henley Passport Index indicates that this could change, with consequences that extend beyond a decline in passport power.”
Dr Christian H Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners and the creator of the passport index concept, said: “This latest research appears to confirm something that many of us already knew intuitively: that increased visa-openness benefits the entire global community, and not just the strongest countries.”
The Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) announced on Friday Turkey had granted access to 30 suspected burial sites in military areas in the north without any time constraints.
The committee said in an announcement it was formally notified that Turkey had granted access for CMP excavation teams to 30 suspected burial sites in military areas in the north of Cyprus.
“No time constraint is attached to this decision and the excavation planning will be decided by CMP,” the announcement said.
Cyprus serial killer victim found in suitcase ‘is eight-year-old girl who was killed along with her mum’ by crazed Army officer
Cyprus serial killer victim found in suitcase ‘is eight-year-old girl who was killed along with her mum’ by crazed Army officer Credit: The Sun newspaper
The CMP members said they welcomed the decision which would accelerate the Committee’s humanitarian work.
The move comes after years of efforts by the CMP and the Cypriot government to get Turkey to grant access to such areas, but also a call by the Council of Europe.
In March, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe had urged Turkish authorities to assist the CMP in any way it could. During a meeting in Strasbourg, the body issued a decision in which it “deeply deplored the decision of Turkey not to participate in the discussions and urged the Turkish authorities to resume cooperation with the Committee.”
The Committee reiterated that “due to the passage of time, it remains urgent for the Turkish authorities to provide the CMP with all necessary assistance for it to continue to achieve tangible results as quickly as possible.”
It called upon the Turkish authorities to ensure that the CMP has “unhindered access to all areas of interest, including military zones, located in the northern part of Cyprus and to provide the CMP proprio motu [on its own initiative] with any information from the relevant archives, including military archives, in their possession on burial sites and places of possible relocation of remains.”
The Committee also said that despite its past pledges, Turkey refuses to open its military archives. The archives are believed to contain information on mass graves, as well as on the collection of bodies from battlefields in the summer of 1974, particularly around Kyrenia in the northern coast of Cyprus.
In its latest report on the annual progress report on Turkey’s EU accession process, the European Commission too said Ankara granting the CMP full access to all relevant archives and military areas had seen welcome developments, “but needs to be further expedited”.
Suspects wanted in connection with two murders on both sides of the divide were exchanged on Thursday between the south and north of the island with the help of Unficyp.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, four people wanted for the murder of Ernest Leonides by the Greek Cypriot side who were arrested in the north, were exchanged with one man suspected of the murder of Turkish Cypriot artist Hasan Isik Ozgocmen. That suspect was arrested in the government-controlled areas. The exchange was facilitated by Unficyp, CNA reported citing a government source.
There was no direct contact or cooperation between the authorities of the Republic and the breakaway regime, the source said.
The four suspects, all of them from Georgia, are believed to be involved in Leonides’ murder in February 2018 in Limassol were arrested last August following a raid in a tourist housing estate in Akanthou in the north.
Ozgocmen was killed in September 2018 in Trikomo in the north. His suspected murderer, a Pakistani national, was said to have fled to the government-controlled areas.
The source told CNA that there was mutual understanding between the two sides that “crimes should not go unpunished even in such an abnormal situation.”
“The partition of the island and the presence of the occupation regime must not be taken advantage by criminals,” the source said.
Image copyrightREUTERSImage captionMembers of the Filipino community in Cyprus attended a vigil for the victims on 26 April
The exchange of suspects between the two sides, it said, is a standard practice followed after consultations and intervention by the UN through the technical committees so that criminal don’t go unpunished.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in January this year unanimously held Turkey responsible for failing to cooperate with Cyprus in a murder case which dated back to 2005 where three members of a Turkish Cypriot family were murdered in the Republic.
Although initially in its Chamber judgment of April 4, 2017 the Court had ruled that Nicosia was also responsible in the case of Güzelyurtlu and Others v. Cyprus and Turkey, in its final judgment the Grand Chamber judges said with 15 votes to 2 that Cyprus did all that could be reasonably expected to bring to justice the killers, who had fled the Republic’s jurisdiction.
According to the Court, Turkey had not made the minimum effort required in the circumstances of the case and “had ignored Cyprus extradition requests, returning them without reply, contrary to their obligation under Article 2.
The case concerned the murder of Elmas Güzelyurtlu, his wife Zerrin, and their daughter Eylül, who in January 2005 were shot dead on the Nicosia-Larnaca highway. After the incident, their killers fled back to the north.
CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|Attackers on a motorcycle threw a hand grenade at the Russian consulate in Athens early on Friday, causing no injuries and slight damage, police said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the early morning attack on the consulate in the Athens suburb of Chalandri. The area has been cordoned off by police and there has not been any further details from the authorities.