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Illegal Lebanese migration to Cyprus

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Illegal Lebanese migration to Cyprus

Postby Londonrake » Sun Oct 04, 2020 1:47 pm

I’m no sure whether this is a fully viewable article. If it isn’t and anyone’s interested I can post all:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/1 ... migration/

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Re: Illegal Lebanese migration to Cyprus

Postby repulsewarrior » Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:32 pm

...just fior yourinfo i cannot access the article.
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Re: Illegal Lebanese migration to Cyprus

Postby Cap » Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:51 pm

Londonrake wrote:I’m no sure whether this is a fully viewable article. If it isn’t and anyone’s interested I can post all:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/1 ... migration/

.



It's true, and it's heartbreaking.
We simply can't deal with the influx. Lebanese or Syrian
So we send them back.


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Re: Illegal Lebanese migration to Cyprus

Postby Londonrake » Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:54 pm

'You can die at sea or you can die here': Lebanese in Tripoli join illegal migration to Cyprus
Increasing numbers of Lebanese economic migrants are risking their lives for the chance to work illegally in Cyprus


Every Friday for the last month, the men of Lebanon’s Tripoli have buried relatives who died at sea trying to reach Cyprus.

This week, they buried Shadi Ramadan, whose body washed ashore in south Lebanon on Thursday night, nearly a month after the overloaded boat he was in set sail in hopes of escaping the country’s crushing economic collapse.

At noon an emotional procession carried his casket through Tripoli’s Qoubbeh neigbhourhood, where the heat and sound of gunshots reverberated off the crumbling facades of Ottoman-era buildings, as tattooed men in vests fired in the air to honour their “martyr”.

After the funeral, Ramadan’s friends and relatives gathered to recount why the residents of Tripoli, one of Lebanon’s poorest cities, are increasingly risking their lives at sea.

“Even to be in Cyprus illegally is better than being here,” said Ziad Al Bira, a relative of Ramadan’s widow, who acts as family spokesman. “Europe respects animals better than how Lebanon treats people.”

For years, boats filled with Syrian and Palestinian asylum-seekers have attempted the 100 mile journey from Lebanon to the Mediterranean island, a minor side-branch of the migrant trail to Europe that promised a “back door” entry into the European Union.

But a series of crises has shaken Lebanon over the past year - civil unrest and a banking sector collapse, followed by coronavirus and a devastating explosion in Beirut - and today increasing numbers of Lebanese economic migrants believe that risking their lives in a boat for the chance to work illegally in Cyprus would be preferable to remaining.

While total numbers are unavailable, the United Nations Refugee Agency tracked 21 boats leaving Lebanon between July and September 14, compared to 17 in all of last year.

With additional migrants arriving in Cyprus via the breakaway Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, the Republic of Cyprus now has the most asylum applications per capita in the EU, something that concerns its government. “We can no longer afford to receive additional numbers of economic migrants,” said Interior Minister Nicos Nouris, in remarks reported by the Cyprus Mail.

Cypriot authorities said they turned back about 230 Lebanese and Syrians in boats without allowing any to lodge asylum claims in early September, which Human Rights Watch says was a violation of international and European law.

Other vessels - like the one Ramadan was aboard alongside nearly 50 men, women and children - never made it that far. It encountered mechanical difficulties after departing on September 7 and drifted for days.

By the time the boat was rescued a week later by a UN peacekeeping ship, two young children and two adults onboard had died, and about 10 young men had jumped in the water in a desperate attempt to swim for help, Ramadan among them.

A 30-something Syrian with two young children and a Lebanese wife, Ramadan had been unable to pay rent for the past nine months, said Mr Bira, and after working odd jobs for years, “could no longer even afford food.”

“Every morning though, Shadi would still get up early and go out to try and find work,” said Ibrahim Mostafa, a friend of Ramadan.

With so many other people in the same situation, Mr Bira expected more people from the neighbourhood to try the boats again. “When even President Michel Aoun says Lebanon is going to hell, what else do you expect?”

Mr Aoun’s warning came on September 21, when he urged the country’s leaders to act quickly to form a new government. Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government had resigned in the wake of the catastrophic August 4 explosion at Beirut port that damaged large parts of the Lebanese capital and deeply shook a country that ordinarily prides itself on being unflappable.

Though Mr Aoun’s comment angered many, few dispute the characterisation. “We are going directly to hell, do not pass go,” said Assad Al Hariri, the president of the North Lebanon Traders Association.

“In one year, everything has changed,” said Mr Hariri, who said his business producing and selling linen and towels has declined by 80 per cent.

Since last October, the country’s banking sector has collapsed, following decades of unsustainably high interest rates and increasing debt levels. The Lebanese pound, for decades pegged at 1,500 to the dollar, has lost most of its value and today trades at over 8,000 to the greenback.

For ordinary families in Tripoli, monthly salaries once were worth $450 are now worth $80, while bills are soaring amid hyperinflation. “How can you live like that?” Mr Hariri asked. “And that’s if you have a job. Most people now do not.”

He continued: “So you have two choices, you can die at sea or you can die slowly here. I’m predicting a huge explosion of social unrest in the near future.”

Across Tripoli, the mood is bleak like this.

On Horreya Street, where Hossam Chrateh has worked in the same location fixing car tyres and changing motor oil for the past 30 years, his was the only business open on Friday afternoon.

“Everyone else is just working two or three hours a day,” the wiry 50-year-old said. “For me, my shelves are bare because I can’t afford to buy new stock.”

Even during the darkest days of Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war, “people had hope,” said Mr Chrateh. The pound remained stable and businesses stayed open.

“We don’t want another war necessarily,” he said. “But maybe if there was another war business would improve and the pound would increase.”

But Mr Chrateh was dismissive of those who have taken boats to flee. “They’re just going to die,” he said. “Lebanon’s politicians want us to leave Lebanon but we can’t leave this place to them.”
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