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Greece: Khora Community Centre offers Refugees Hope in Athen’s Exarchia

One of the most distinctive attributes of this community is its free restaurant system which draws refugees to it

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Greece, November 3, 2016: The mass exodus of people from the middle eastern countries such as Syria Somalia and Iraq to Europe has the European Union (EU) leaders in a state of panic. With millions of refugees seeking shelter in Europe, each country is trying to fend for itself and many in response have closed their respective land borders restricting migration.

EU has also brokered the EU-Turkey refugee deal in an attempt to curb the growing number of refugees. In this depressing turn of events, the Khora community is trying to improve the standard of living of the refugees.

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Khora community is run by volunteers from different backgrounds ranging from International development to building and teaching in Exarchia, Athens. It is an anarchic place and has such a history of feuds with the government that even the police avoid wandering into the place.

The Khora is run in a five-story building with amenities ranging from dentists to human rights lawyers. It is a legally run organisation that provides a safe haven for the refugees, at least for a short while. Ali shokri, a christian individual who fled Iran due to religious persecution says”Most people want to come here as they need everything from food to education”.

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One of the most distinctive attributes of this community is its free restaurant system which draws refugees to it. A Syrian cook named Hasan Mansur works here and even tries to make staple Syrian and Lebanese food for the refugees .It is also undergoing some work to provide an improved centre.

Another volunteer Lisa Bernte was found saying”The reality is that the borders are closed and politics is not going to change all over Europe. The people are stuck here for a very, very long time”. Additionally, with the legal procedure of migration in Europe painstakingly slow, there does not seem to be any respite for the refugees in the near future. So the community is also trying to prepare the refugees for a long haul by teaching them Greek. Moreover, the closing of the Macedonian border depicts a bleak picture.

People were also found taking self-defense weekly with every age group pitching in, not surprising with the firebombing of near shelter housing refugees.

– by Gulshan kumar Alok of NewsGram. Twitter: @Alokgulshan

 

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US Senate Approves Funds to Address Humanitarian Crisis along US-Mexico Border

Inaction is simply not an option for those who care about alleviating the suffering of desperate children

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U.S. Border Patrol agents keep watch on a large group of migrants who they say were attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, in El Paso, Texas, May 29, 2019. VOA

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved bipartisan legislation to address the humanitarian crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border with more than $4 billion in supplemental funds and new requirements for the care of detained migrants, especially children.

The 84-8 vote came amid renewed scrutiny of the Trump administration’s treatment of minors in its custody and amid widespread revulsion over the deaths of a father and daughter from El Salvador who perished trying to cross the Rio Grande River into the United States.

“There is no longer any question that the situation along our southern border is a full-blown humanitarian and security crisis,” Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama said, adding that there was “no excuse” for delay in addressing the situation.

“Inaction is simply not an option for those who care about alleviating the suffering of desperate children and families seeking refuge in the United States,” Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy said.

US, Funds, Humanitarian Crisis
The U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved bipartisan legislation to address the humanitarian crisis. Pixabay

The Republican-led Senate approved the bill after voting down a House version that also boosted funds for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other federal agencies stretched to the breaking point by border arrivals totaling more than 100,000 a month, the highest numbers recorded in more than a decade.

Although broadly similar, the Senate version is less extensive in regulating the care of detained children. Unlike the House version, it provides $145 million for the Pentagon to assist in border operations.

To reach President Donald Trump’s desk, the Senate bill would need to pass the House. Hpwever, majority-Democrats in the House have signaled they want changes to the bill. As a result, a bicameral committee is expected to be formed to try to hammer out a version that can pass both chambers. Time for swift action is growing short, as Congress will be in recess next week for America’s Independence Day holiday.

Speaking with reporters before departing the White House, Trump hailed legislative movement on border funding.

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“I believe the House is going to be getting together with the Senate. Hopefully, they can get something done,” Trump said.

Earlier in the day, the president once again blamed Democrats for the border crisis, tweeting: “The Democrats should change the Loopholes and Asylum Laws so lives will be saved at our Southern Border. They said it was not a crisis at the Border, that it was all just manufactured.’ Now they admit that I was right – But they must do something about it. Fix the Laws NOW!”

On the Senate floor, Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer fired back.

“We can do something about this [crisis] if the president would stop playing the political game of blame, blame, blame,” Schumer said. “Mr. President, you are the president of the United States. You are head of the executive branch. You control what’s happening at the border.”

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The 84-8 vote came amid renewed scrutiny of the Trump administration’s treatment of minors in its custody. Pixabay

Schumer spoke alongside a blown-up photo, widely distributed by news organizations, of the drowned Salvadoran father and daughter, as reaction poured in across Capitol Hill and beyond.

“I don’t want to see another picture like that on the U.S. border,” Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said. “I hope that picture alone will catalyze this Congress, this Senate … to do something.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has faced renewed criticism on Capitol Hill after news reports emerged earlier this week of squalid living conditions at a CBP facility in Texas that houses detained migrant children.

A Senate panel on Wednesday pressed administration officials on the subject.

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“What are you doing to actually make sure that children are getting the care and the sanitary conditions and the food that they need?” New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan asked.

The Border Patrol’s chief of law enforcement operations, Brian Hastings, responded that detention facilities are being upgraded with shower facilities and increased medical care. He added that more funds are being devoted to basic supplies, such as diapers and baby formula. (VOA)