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Statewatch Observatory
The refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: a humanitarian emergency

This Observatory covers the arrival of refugees and migrants, the reactions and failures within the EU (both governmental and within communities).

Edited by Tony Bunyan. See: "We are ashamed": Statement on Mediterranean: "The EU is behaving shamefully"

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August 2017


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21-31.8.17) including: IOM to support Libyan "rescues" at sea; Italy reportedly pays for anti-migrant militias in Libya
: International Organisation for Migration to help Libyan authorties take migrants back to "hell"

The International Organisation for Migration, which since July 2016 has been the UN's migration agency, has met with authorities in Libya "to discuss an initial workplan and the establishment of a coordination body to facilitate rescues at sea," having already "provided computer literacy classes and lifesaving equipment to Libyan authorities as part of a wider intervention to strengthen the Government’s humanitarian capacity."

Backed by Italy, Libya enlists militias to stop migrants (Washington Post, link):

"Under a deal backed by Italy, Libya’s struggling government in Tripoli has paid militias implicated in trafficking to now prevent migrants from crossing the Mediterranean to Europe, one reason for a dramatic drop in the traffic, militia and security officials told The Associated Press.

The policy has raised an outcry among some in the Libyan security forces and activists dealing with migrants, who warn that it enriches militias, enabling them to buy more weapons and become more powerful. In the country’s chaos, the militias can at any time go back to trafficking or turn against the government, they say.

The deal further cements the real power of militias, which since the fall of dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 have undermined Libya’s successive governments, including the current one of Fayez Serraj, which is internationally recognized but weak."

See also: Italy accused of bribing Libyan militias to stop migrants reaching Europe (Middle East Eye, link): "Rome refuses to comment on claims that millions of dollars have changed hands, as migrant arrivals in Italy plummet"

EU and Africa leaders in migrant talks (euobserver, link):

"A mini-summit on Africa is being hosted in Paris on Monday (28 August) to stem economic migration.

Heads of state and government from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, along with the EU's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, will meet with their counterparts from Chad, Niger, and Libya.

The European Commission in a statement last week said that the summit will reaffirm the EU's support for Chad, Niger and Libya in their efforts to manage migratory flows."

Italian PM holds talks on migration after mass protest over Rome eviction (Guardian, link):

"Thousands of Italians have marched through Rome in support of the rights of refugees after clashes between migrants and police exposed rising hostility towards recent arrivals in the country.

Italy is bearing the brunt of the European migration crisis, having seen almost 100,000 people arrive between January and June. Authorities are struggling to cope and efforts to promote integration have become strained.

The prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, is due to meet the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and counterparts from Spain and Germany, as well as leaders from Chad, Niger and Libya, on Monday for talks aimed at cutting illegal migration from Africa to Europe."

See also: Police Clear Migrants From Rome Piazza With Water Cannons (In Homeland Security, link) and: Macron wants asylum claims to start in Africa (EUobserver, link)

EU: Opinion: Europe is paying for African migrant deterrence (Deutsche Welle, link):

"Macron is taking a fast, focused and skillful approach in his implementation of a new European refugee and migration policy. He wants to present himself to the French people as a man of action and this could help boost his poor approval rating. The other guests share his goal of closing the Mediterranean route to migrants and keeping as many people in Africa as possible. European and African leaders want to make clear that before potential migrants embark on a dangerous journey to Europe, they must understand that they have very little chance of obtaining asylum or the right to live in Europe legally.

The European Union is becoming all the more ruthless in this regard and has put aside any concerns about conditions in Libya or the humanitarian situation in North Africa as a whole. Italy does not want to receive any more people who will not be distributed throughout Europe. Spain, on the other hand, does not want to become an alternative route for migrants. German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to prevent the flow of migrants from Italy to Germany via the Alps at all costs. She wants to win re-election in a vote scheduled less than four weeks from now."

GREECE: EU states begin returning refugees to Greece (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"European Union member states like Germany, UK and others to send asylum seekers back to where they first sought refuge, despite the continued economic strife in Greece.

European countries are poised to begin the process of returning refugees to Greece, as migrants seeking reunification with their family members – mostly in Germany – step up protests in Athens.

In a move decried by human rights groups, EU states will send back asylum seekers who first sought refuge in Greece, despite the nation being enmeshed in its worst economic crisis in modern times.

Germany has made nearly 400 resettlement requests, according to officials in Berlin and sources in Athens’ leftist-led government. The UK, France, the Netherlands and Norway have also asked that asylum seekers be returned to Greece....

In the last couple of days, more than 1,100 new refugees and migrants arrived on the islands of the Eastern Aegean Sea. Local authorities watch with sudden increase of new arrivals with concern, wondering whether the phenomenon has to do with the improved weather conditions or with President Erdogan letting the EU – Turkey deal go burst due to his feud with Germany."

UK: Samim Bigzad: UK Government's attempt to deport Afghan asylum seeker fails after pilot refuses to take off (Independent, link):

"The deportation of a young Afghan man refused asylum by the Government has been dramatically stayed after the pilot of the plane he was supposed to be removed on refused to take off.

Samim Bigzad’s friends and family feared their efforts to prevent him being forced back to Kabul had failed when he was detained and booked on commercial flight to Afghanistan via Istanbul.

The 22-year-old’s cousin previously told The Independent he feared he would be killed in the city he fled two years ago after being threatened with beheading by the Taliban.

More than 3,000 people had signed a petition appealing for the deportation to be delayed so Mr Bigzad’s asylum claim could be reviewed."

Mauritania: Police experts of the G5 Sahel countries boost cooperation (Medafrica, link):

"During last week gathering, sponsored by the GIZ (German Cooperation Agency), 32 senior police officers from the G5 countries exchanged views “on cooperation between police officers at the borders, security of border areas, and cross-border crime”. They also discussed compliance with human rights standards in the context of border controls, and the creation of a platform for exchanges on community policing, the official document of the workshop detailed.

According to the organizers, the Nouakchott phase emerged as an approach aimed at identifying operational planning for cooperation actions between the G5 Sahel police forces in order to counter the cross-border crime in the region.

The regional task force, which is expected to consist of around 5,000 troops, is scheduled to be operational by October.

It will need significant financial backing to fund a first-year budget of €423 million.

The five member states have so far contributed a total of €108 million, including the European Union’s €50 million contribution announced in June."

GERMANY: 25 years after Rostock-Lichtenhagen: 'Don't dwell on the past, learn from it' (Deutsche Welle, link):

""It never had to reach that point," says Frau Kosfelder, clutching her shopping bag on the way to the supermarket. "The politicians failed us that summer."

The 77-year-old pensioner was among the German residents of the so-called "Sunflower house" apartment block who witnessed the escalation of right-wing violence between August 22 and 26, 1992

The apartments were subjected to the worst right-wing violence in Germany since the Second World War. Alongside the German residents lived Vietnamese contract workers, who had been hired by former East Germany, as well as refugees at an asylum seeker reception center.

On August 22, 1992, around 2,000 people gathered in from the apartment blocks and began throwing stones. The violence escalated on the second day, however, when hundreds of well-known right-wing extremists traveled from across Germany to support the rioters.

The building was attacked with fire bombs as bystanders looked on, many of them chanting right-wing slogans such as "Germany for the Germans! Foreigners out!""

C-Star : FIDH calls on Mongolia to withdraw its flag of convenience from racist boat (FIDH, link):

"Paris, August 23, 2017 – Chartered by European identitarian and xenophobic groups, the C-Star (“racist” in reverse) and its crew claimed this summer to hinder the efforts of NGOs to rescue Mediterranean boat-people. The boat completed an eventful first mission, still flying a flag of convenience granted by Mongolia. FIDH is sending a letter today to the Mongolian Minister of Transports, asking for the boat’s deregistration, as the Defend Europe collective’s objectives are contrary to both the Mongolian Constitution and international maritime law."

Poland sticking to its ‘zero-refugee’ policy (euractiv, link):

"While migrant relocations reached record levels this year (peaking in June with over 3,000) Poland and Hungary remained steadfast in their refusal to participate in EU-mandated resettlement efforts. EURACTIV Poland reports.

Despite the fact that the European Commission has initiated an infringement procedure against Poland – along with the Czech Republic and Hungary – for “non-compliance with their legal obligations on relocation”, Poland is maintaining its stance – as, the Minister of the Interior and Administration, Mariusz Blaszczak, said in a letter to the European Commission on Wednesday (23 August).

In the same letter, Blaszczak informed the Commission that Poland has applied for cancellation of the infringement procedure."

Iceland Not to Receive Asylum-Seekers from Georgia (Georgia Today, link):

"Georgia’s Special and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Denmark and Iceland, Gigi Gigiadze, has stated that Iceland will no longer accept Georgian citizens’ applications on asylum and will proceed to deport applicants for such.

“Iceland’s decision once again emphasizes the positive environment, political stability and economic development in terms of human rights and security in Georgia, clearly recognized by our partners,” Gigiadze said, adding that if Georgians address Iceland regarding asylum, they will be deported and sanctions will be imposed on them in Georgia."

Italian police use water cannon against refugees occupying Rome square (Guardian, link):

"Police in riot gear clash with refugees near main train station after about 800 were evicted from office building on Saturday"

Malta 'denies' Defend Europe anti-migrant boat (aljazeera.com,link):

"Aid groups applaud Maltese government, saying snub sends 'a clear message against the politics of hate and extremism'"

 


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17-20.8.17)
UK: Home Office used charity data map to deport rough sleepers - Emails show that deal with Greater London Authority helped it target homeless EU nationals for removal (Observer, link):

"The Home Office secretly acquired sensitive data, showing the nationality of people sleeping rough on the streets, in order to remove them from Britain, the Observer can reveal.

A chain of emails sent by senior Home Office immigration officials show how they used information that was designed to protect rough sleepers to target vulnerable individuals for deportation. The internal correspondence shows the Home Office repeatedly requesting and finally gaining access to a map created by the Greater London Authority (GLA) that identified and categorised rough sleepers by nationality."

Are  You Syrious (18.8.17, link):

Feature

"The boats affiliated with “Defend Europe” a far-right xenophobic organization, have drawn quite a bit of attention in the last few months. The group, whose stated mission was to keep boats from reaching Europe, has announced that their mission is coming to a close. Even as they frame their exit as having completed their goals, the truth of the matter is that the mission was a failure from the get-go, and has been marred by controversies and mishaps from the very beginning.

Their boat was detained several times, first in Egypt and later on Cyprus, their fundraising mediums were taken offline, and they became embroiled in a people smuggling controversy...."

Syrian refugees and their children jailed

"After their asylum application was rejected, a Syrian refugee family living on Chios has been detained and jailed pending their deportation to Turkey. The family was arrested around noon on Thursday. With them are their young children, aged 7, 5, and 2-year-old.

To quote the Chios Solidarity group, “we are asking for the immediate release of the children and their parents and we call for the intervention of every competent body, local and nationwide, in this and in all the other relevant cases we are afraid we will see in the future, due to the ‘application’ of the inhuman agreement of the EU with Turkey.”

Numbers

"A total of 1,421 refugees and migrants crossed the islands of the northern Aegean from August 1 until today, Thursday, August 17, morning. Of these, 394 passed to Lesvos, 458 to Chios and 569 to Samos.

It is worth mentioning that, according to Turkish Coast Guard information published on its official website, during the same period, they intervened in 32 incidents and returned to the Turkish coasts 1,265 people heading to the Greek islands."

Libya; Refugee sheds light on collaboration between Libyan coast guard and smugglers

"As AYS reported last week, the loyalties of the Libyan coast guard are questionable, with the country embroiled in a long-standing civil war in which several governments are vying for power. The western-backed “Unity government” is quite weak and often relies on the help of local militias to maintain any semblance of control. Many in the Libyan coast guard currently being trained by the EU to cap the refugee flow across the Mediterranean are themselves militias who are affiliated with very dark practices, namely keeping “rescued” refugees in makeshift camps that are simply not suitable for living.

One recent refugee, Ghanim from Sudan, told representatives of SOS Méditerranée that the camp in which he was being held was being administered by a high-ranking official in the military who would decide when departures would take place. If this is true, it speaks to an unimaginable level of corruption and a massive failure on the EU’s part. In effect, this constitutes the EU funding people linked to smugglers as part of their project to crack down on smugglers."

UNHCR checking asylum program as influx continues (ekathimerini.com, link):

"As the influx of undocumented migrants into Greece continues unabated, exacerbating the overcrowding problems at reception centers, the United Nations refugee agency has dispatched an official to assess the situation.

The UNHCR’s representative to Greece, Philip Leclerc, was on Crete Friday and is expected to stay until Monday to evaluate the progress of a state-backed program to accommodate refugees whose asylum applications have been accepted.

The slow progress in the processing of asylum claims is a key reason for the overcrowding of reception centers, particularly on the islands of the eastern Aegean, which dozens of migrants continue to reach daily on smuggling boats from neighboring Turkey."

EU: Commission rolls out migration action plan despite heavy criticism (euractiv, link):

"The EU is pressing on with controversial plans to tackle the migration crisis in the face of mounting criticism from NGOs and UN experts. EURACTIV France reports.

After protests from several NGOs, two experts from the UN’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday (August) added their voices to criticism of the EU’s management of the refugee crisis.

“The EU’s proposed new action plan, including a code of conduct for organisations operating rescue boats, threatens life and breaches international standards by condemning people to face further human rights violations in Libya,” said the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Felipe González Morales, and the Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer."

Repoliticization Through Search and Rescue? Humanitarian NGOs and Migration Management in the Central Mediterranean (Taylor & Francis Online, link):

"This article analyses the search and rescue (SAR) activities carried out by three NGOs (MOAS, MSF and Sea-Watch) in the Central Mediterranean, and asks whether and in how far non-governmental SAR contributes to the repoliticization of the EU maritime border.

The article first introduces the concept of depoliticization/repoliticization, as well as that of humanitarianization. Two sections summarize the development of the SAR regime and the governmentalization of international waters in the Strait of Sicily from the Cap Anamur case to 2016, and from late 2016 to recent days. Against this backdrop, the article analyses the different political positions taken by MOAS, MSF and Sea-Watch, their operational activities, as well as their cooperation and relations with the other actors involved in SAR. "

See: Article (pdf)

Migration: Bulgaria may send troops to Turkey border (DW, link)

"Bulgaria plans to station 600 troops on its border with Turkey to quell any potential flow of migrants. Bulgaria's defense minister said the EU's failure to stop migrants crossing the Mediterranean justified the move."

. Migration trends shifting across Mediterranean region (ekathimerini.com, link)::

"At the height of Europe’s recent migration crisis, more than 7,000 people landed every day at the Greek islands that face Turkey. Orange life vests covered the beaches of northern Lesvos while multiplying numbers of new arrivals slept in fields and at the island’s main port.

That was the fall of 2015.

Now, with international efforts underway to block smugglers and their human cargo on one of the Mediterranean Sea routes to Europe, smugglers are finding alternatives. As a result, Spain is set to overtake Greece this year as a key entry point for migrants, although Italy far and away outpaces the two other countries....."

GREECE: Protest at reception center as migrant influx continues (ekathimerini.com, link):

"As tensions continue to run high at overcrowded reception centers across the country, a group of migrants Thursday staged a sit-in at a state-run camp in Diavata, northern Greece, protesting plans to bring more migrants to the facility.

The situation is worse on the islands of the eastern Aegean, where many reception centers are at twice their capacity as hundreds of migrants and refugees await the outcome of asylum applications or deportation orders while dozens more arrive daily from neighboring Turkey. There are currently more than 14,500 migrants living on camps on Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros."

Life in the Hungarian transit zones (Hungarian Spectrum, link)

"The other day I happened upon an opinion piece in Magyar Idok written by Georg Spöttle, one of the many somewhat mysterious national security experts attracted to the Orbán government. He is allegedly a retired German army officer who has permanently settled in Hungary. His background is murky, as one can see from an interview he gave to Magyar Nemzet in 2002."

Spain lacks capacity to handle migration surge, says UN refugee agency (Guardian, link)

"UNHCR warning comes as Spanish coastguard intercepts nearly 600 people in a day trying to reach country from Morocco."

Migrant rescue NGO accuses the EU of ‘hiding the dirt’ under the Mediterranean (euractiv, link)

"Speaking about the refugee crisis and the Lybian and Syrian conflicts, Óscar Camps, director of the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, accused the EU of “hiding the dirt under the carpet” of international waters in the Mediterranean sea."

The War on Migrants Continues - NGOs harassed in the Mediterranean (Migreurop,link):

"Since this PR has been written, the situation in the Mediterranean is much more worse:

- Libya established a SAR zone up to 100 miles of its coast, forbidden to foreign vessels, particularly those of the NGOs.

- Facing threats from the Libyan coast-guards, several NGOs (as of Aug. 16, 2017 Médecins sans frontières, Save the Children and Sea Eye) decided to interrupt their SAR missions.

- General Haftar asks the EU for 20 billions €, for the «safety» of Libya Southern border, and nearly 1000 migrants have been intercepted at sea by the Libyan coast-guards to be sent back to the hell of the Libyan gaols."

The 10 Best Articles on Refugees and Migration (Open MIgration, link):

"The controversy on the code of conduct for NGOs – which has been dubbed the “code of mass distraction” has kept the public’s attention away from the real issue: Libya. From the suspension of rescue missions to the hell of Libya’s prison, here are some things we really need to talk about."

Lesvos, Greece: Eric Kempson report (link):

"On the 14th we had one boat arrived on Samos with 57 people on board,. Yesterday we had one boat arrived on lesvos 37 people on board, also one boat arrived on Samos the morning with 45 people on board. There are reports of a boat Arriving on Zakinthos with 150 people on board."

Migrants still attempting to enter Europe through Greece (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Even as a steady influx of undocumented migrants continues to arrive on Greek islands in the eastern Aegean from neighboring Turkey, in western Greece hundreds have been intercepted while attempting to continue their journeys further into Europe.

In the first seven months of this year, authorities intercepted more than 400 undocumented migrants trying to reach Italy aboard ferries from the Peloponnese and the Ionian island of Zakynthos."

Austria sends 70 soldiers to guard Brenner Pass (ansa, link):

"Austria has deployed 70 soldiers to help police conduct checks at its border with Italy, near the Brenner Pass, territorial military commander Herbert Bauer announced on Wednesday.

"This does not mean," local police chief Helmut Tomac said, "that Panzers will be deployed there as well." Austria has threatened in the past to shut the Brenner Pass if Italy were to give migrants humanitarian visas to travel across Europe, a possibility Rome has aired but since ruled out."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15-16.8.17)
EU-AFRICA: Three EU Countries Deport 29 Nigerians, Togolese in Leg Chains (This Day, link):

"Three European nations – Sweden, Norway and Spain – in the wee hours of Tuesday deported 29 Nigerians and two Togolese male nationals to the country in dehumanising leg chains.

The flight, which landed at the Murtala Muhammad Airport, Lagos, at 6.45 a.m., was operated by Privilege Style aircraft with registration number EC-IZO.

The passengers onboard the flight included 27 Nigerian males, two females and two Togolese males who were deposited in Nigeria, just as the flight took off at 8.30 a.m. to Ghana from Nigeria."

Italy-EU search and rescue code could increase Mediterranean deaths, UN expert warns (UN Human Rights):

"“Through this new code of conduct, Italy and the European Commission are imposing procedures that could reduce the ability of NGOs to carry out life-saving activities. This could lead to more deaths at sea, and the resulting loss of lives, being foreseeable and preventable, would constitute a violation of Italy’s human rights obligations,” the expert [Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard] said.

“This code of conduct and the overall action plan suggest that Italy, the European Commission and EU Member States deem the risks and reality of deaths at sea a price worth paying in order to deter migrants and refugees.”

The European Commission is also seeking enhanced cooperation with Libya, investing 46 million euro in support of the Libyan border- and coast guards, including their search and rescue operations.

Ms. Callamard warned that, given the situation in Libya, this funding to retrieve refugees and migrants from the Mediterranean and return them to Libya could mean they were subjected to further “appalling violence”."

EU: Ongoing deaths at the French-Swiss-Italian borders

"After travelling to Ventimiglia where 12 border deaths were recorded in just a few months, we head back to Como where migrants keep trying to cross the inaccessible border with Switzerland, injuring themselves, or losing their lives on trains, and where both attempts and refoulements have reached substantial numbers."

See: The border crossing deaths in Como (Open Migration, link) by Andrea Quadroni and Michelle Luppi

And: The border crossing deaths in Ventimiglia (link): "Only a few months have passed since the closure of the French border at Ventimiglia, but the decision has already caused 12 fatal accidents. Drowned, run over, fallen, and electrocuted, migrants keep dying in their attempts to cross the border or get lost and hurt themselves in dangerous places. This is the first of three reportages by Michele Luppi and Andrea Quadroni about border deaths and includes an interactive map of the places where they have been killed."

SPAIN: Madrid Offers Alternatives to the Detention of Migrants (Liberties, link):

"The Madrid City Council has drawn up a road map to prevent the deprivation of liberty of migrants in an irregular administrative situation in the Identification and Expulsion Center (CIE) of the city.

The working paper in which the road map is included, entitled "Madrid and Human Rights: The responsibility of cities regarding migrant detention centers," contains the conclusions of a working group in which various institutions and civil society organizations have participated, including Rights International Spain."

Spain: Migrants Held in Poor Conditions (Human Rights Watch, link):

"Asylum seekers and other migrants arriving by sea to Spanish shores are held in poor conditions and face obstacles in applying for asylum. They are held for days in dark, dank cells in police stations and almost certainly will then automatically be placed in longer-term immigration detention facilities pending deportation that may never happen.

“Dark, cage-like police cells are no place to hold asylum seekers and migrants who reach Spain,” said Judith Sunderland, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Spain is violating migrants’ rights, and there is no evidence it serves as a deterrent to others.”"

Are You Syrious (14.8.17, link)

Lybia / Sea: Rescue workers fear many lives will be lost after their missions in the Mediterranean are suspended

"Following a recent announcement by the Libyan authorities, who have decided to expand their search and rescue (SAR) area, thereby restricting access to all foreign vessels, including humanitarian vessels, more rescue boats are being docked quoting “safety concerns” in the Mediterranean. Only hours after MSF and Sea Eye said they were pulling out of Lybian waters, Save The Children also announced the docking of their ship Vos Hestia.

It has been reported that the Libyan authorities have now increased their SAR zone from 12NM to 70NM from their shoreline, a distance many would argue is international waters...."

114 new arrivals in two boats have been reported on Chios today

"According to long-term volunteers on the island, most tents have been cleared from Souda camp. Around 380 refugees from Souda, as well as the new arrivals, are being directed towards the already packed Vial hotspot that currently hosts at least 1000 people. As authorities are discouraging distribution of food and other necessities to refugees in Vial, volunteers are distributing donations illicitly, outside the camp premises."

69 people, including 15 children and 2 pregnant women, have been dropped off to Zakynthos Island in Greece by smugglers who reportedly told them they had arrived in Italy, according to the local press. They have been transferred to safety, where they were given first aid, food and clothing, while many locals were still fighting wildfires in the area.

75 people (approximately) have arrived on Lesvos today in two boats, while one boat with broken engine and 49 people on board was found by Frontex and ERCI south of Lesvos this morning.

57 refugees, including 20 children, arrived safely on Samos. This day has marked an obvious increase from the average of 91 daily arrivals in Greece, as counted by UNHCR in August."

France: Over thousand refugees sleeping rough in Paris

"The number of refugees sleeping rough on the streets of Paris is well over a thousand, and local volunteers say their living conditions are getting worse every day. Again, many tents can be seen by the road. Paris Refugee Ground Support will now be setting up again to cover the winter and they will be ready to start receiving donations in a week."

What is the current status of migrant rescues in the Mediterranean? (DW, link):

"Thousands of migrants have been embarking on a perilous journey to the Mediterranean - their fate is determined by refugee rescue ships and government policy in Europe. Who are the major players involved?"

The Jungle Goes Underground (Refugees Deeply, link)

"As people trickle back to Calais after the demolition of the Jungle camp, authorities are doing all they can to prevent another camp from forming. In this photo essay, Julien Pitinome meets some of the refugees hiding out in forests and running from authorities."

Jordan Issues New Work Permits to Syrian Refugees (Voice of America, link):

"Jordan on Wednesday became the first Arab country to issue Syrian refugees with a new type of work permit that opens up the growing construction sector, the U.N. labor agency said.

The International Labor Organization said work permits for refugees used to be tied to specific employers, who applied on behalf of workers to fill specific positions. Now, refugees can apply themselves, then take available roles in the industry."

 


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13-14.8.17)
LIBYA: Torture, rape and slavery in Libya: why migrants must be able to leave this hell (Oxfam, link):

"Rape, torture and slave labour are among the horrendous daily realities for people stuck in Libya who are desperately trying to escape war, persecution and poverty in African countries, according to a new report by Oxfam and Italian partners MEDU and Borderline Sicilia.

The report features harrowing testimonies, gathered by Oxfam and its partners, from women and men who arrived in Sicily having made the dangerous crossing from Libya. Some revealed how gangs imprisoned them in underground cells, before calling their families to demand a ransom for their release. A teenager from Senegal told how he was kept in a cell which was full of dead bodies, before managing to escape. Others spoke of being regularly beaten and starved for months on end.

Oxfam and its partners are calling on Italy and other European member states to stop pursuing migration policies that prevent people leaving Libya and the abuse they are suffering."

See: 'You aren't human any more': Migrants expose the harrowing situation in Libya and the impact of European policies (pdf) and: Refugees face kidnap, torture, rape and slavery in Libyan ‘living hell', Oxfam report says (Independent, link)

EU-LIBYA: More NGOs follow MSF in suspending Mediterranean migrant rescues (Reuters, link):

"Two more aid groups have suspended migrant rescues in the Mediterranean, joining Doctors Without Borders, because they felt threatened by the Libyan coastguard.

Save the Children and Germany's Sea Eye said on Sunday their crews could no longer work safely because of the hostile stance of the Libyan authorities. Doctors Without Borders - or Medecins sans Frontieres - cited the same concern when it said on Saturday it would halt Mediterranean operations.

"We leave a deadly gap in the Mediterranean," Sea Eye's founder Michael Busch Heuer warned on Facebook, adding that Libya had issued an "explicit threat" against non-government organisations operating in the area around its coast."

See: Hindrance of humanitarian assistance will create a deadly gap in the Mediterranean Sea (MSF, link): "On 11 August 2017, the Libyan authorities publicly announced the establishment of a search and rescue (SAR) zone and restricted the access to humanitarian vessels into the international waters off the Libyan coasts." And: After MSF, two other NGOs suspend work off Libyan coast citing “Libyan ban” (Libyan Express, link)

Greece: Europe’s laboratory. An idea for Europe (pdf) Excellent and timely report:

""Greece: Europe's laboratory. An idea for Europe" written after a field research made by legal operators and lawyers from ASGI (Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione - Association for Juridical Studies on Migration) conducted in march 2017.

The research aims to analyze the juridical effects that the Eu-Turkey deal had on the Greek asylum system after one year from its approval. Through this observation and the contemporary study on the European ongoing reforms of the European asylum system we can say that Greece can be considered as a laboratory for the newest European immigration governmental policies which clearly focuses on stopping the fluxes also despite the respect of fundamental principles of the European rule of law."

SOLIDARITY IS NOT A CRIME

Solidarity must not be considered a law-breaking offence. It is not a crime, but a humanitarian obligation

"
DECLARATION BY
Barbara Spinelli (MEP - group GUE-NGL)
Marie-Christine Vergiat (MEP - group GUE-NGL)
Pascal Durand (MEP - group Greens/European Free Alliance)
Ana Gomes MEP (S&D group)

Brussels, August 11, 2017

The recent proliferation of prosecutions in Italy and France towards people who showed solidarity with the refugees is a disturbing attempt to create division among NGOs active in Search and Rescue operations, and to isolate common European citizens who are concerned with the safety of the forced exiles who embarked in perilous journeys from Eritrea, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and many other distressed countries. For years, they risk death on land and sea on a daily basis – in a sort of Darwinian selection – and the European Union, where only a part of them arrive, is closing more and more its doors and externalizing its asylum policies.

The vast majority of migrants and refugees (80%) find shelter in developing, mostly African countries. The extraordinary activity of NGOs in the Mediterranean is due to the absence of proactive public Search and Rescue operations carried out by the Union and its Member States, since the end of "Mare Nostrum"".

EU: Children on the move in Italy and Greece (pdf, emphasis in original):

"REACH, in the framework of a partnership with UNICEF, conducted an assessment on the profiles and experiences of children who arrived in Italy and Greece in 2016 and 2017, why they left home, the risks children encountered on their journey and their life once in Europe.

The assessment found that refugee and migrant children in Italy and Greece come from conflict-ridden countries and areas with poverty; all leave behind a situation where they feel they have no access to their basic rights as a child and do not see any prospects for themselves in the foreseeable future. For many children who have arrived in Italy or Greece, the journey is not yet over, as they aim to join family elsewhere. Others would like to stay in Italy or Greece to continue their education and build a life in the country.

All face challenges in realising their objectives, as access to documentation, including asylum and residence permits, takes longer than they had anticipated and legal pathways are inherently slow. In the meantime, children lose out on education. Often, children do not understand how procedures work and why they need to wait. As a result, children lose their trust in the child reception system and attempt to reach their goals through irregular means, relying on smugglers and putting themselves at risk of abuse and exploitation."

Hafter says southern migrant border closure will cost $20 billion (Libya Herald, link):

"To block Libya’s southern border and so stem the flow of migrants would cost some $20 billion over the next 20 to 25 years, armed forces commander-in-chief Khalifa Hafter has said.

“I have the elements, but I lack the resources,” he told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

Hafter said the migrant problem cannot be solved on the Libyan coast, adding that if Libya stops the flow of migrants to Europe then Libya has to keep them. That, he said, is not possible. He thinks shoring up the 4,000 kilometre-long southern border is the best way to block the flow of sub-Saharan migrants.

He said wants to establish mobile camps spanning the southern border, each a maximum of 100 kilometres apart and each manned by 150 border guards.....

Hafter said he is preparing a list for him. It will include an array of military assistance from training border guards to weapons and ammunitions, armoured vehicles, drones, mine detectors, night vision binoculars and helicopters."

Greece: Tensions rising at migrant centers as influx continues (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Tensions are building at reception centers on the islands of the eastern Aegean as the influx of migrants arriving from neighboring Turkey continues unabated while departures are moving at a significantly slower rate.

An average of between 80 and 90 migrants reach the islands daily, according to official figures. The numbers are a fraction of the thousands that were landing daily at the peak of the refugee crisis two years ago but they are increasing the pressure on already overcrowded reception centers....."

UK: Nigerian gay rights activist wins UK asylum claim after 13-year battle (The Guardian, link):

"The Home Office has granted refugee status to a prominent Nigerian LGBT activist, ending a 13-year battle over her right to remain in the UK.

Aderonke Apata, 50, says she knew she was gay from the age of 16 and was persecuted in Nigeria. She has been recognised internationally for her human rights work, and recently received Attitude magazine’s Pride award.

Apate arrived in the UK in 2004 but did not immediately claim asylum on the grounds of her sexuality. Until 2010, lesbian, gay and bisexual asylum seekers were often forcibly removed to their home countries if it was deemed safe for them to “live discreetly”."

 


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6-12.8.17)
August Report on Rights Violations and Resistance in Lesvos (Lesvos Legal Centre, link): Including:

"Moria 35 Update

35 individuals were arrested on Tuesday 18th July 2017 in Moria Refugee Camp, Lesvos, in raids following clashes with riot police using teargas and violence. The individuals arrested have been charged with serious crimes including arson, damage to property, and rioting, which carry lengthy prison sentences and could signify exclusion from international protection.

There is mounting evidence that individuals were arbitrarily arrested on the basis of their race, nationality and presence in the camp at the time of police raids. There is also considerable evidence that police used excessive force during and after the arrest of these individuals. Amnesty International Greece has urged authorities to investigate police violence possibly amounting to torture. See our previous report for further details."

Greece: Hellenic Police: Returns statement

• Based on the bilateral Readmission Protocol between Greece and Turkey in 2016: 1183 - in 2017: 14, a total of 1,197 foreign nationals, third country nationals

• Based on the EU Readmission Agreement - Turkey, in 2016: 54 -2017: 11, a total of 65 Turkish nationals

• On the basis of the EU-Turkey Joint Declaration, in 2016: 801 -2017: 504, a total of 1,305 foreign nationals of different nationalities (of whom 202 from Syria)

In addition, 1494 foreign nationals from third countries who had entered our country by sea from Turkey were returned to their countries of origin voluntarily via the International Organization of Military and Migration, since the implementation of the EU-Turkey Joint Declaration." [emphasis added]

Are You Syrious (11.8.17, link)

FEATURE: C-Star boat saved by NGO rescue ship

"The Sea-Eye rescue crew, a group that is among those accused of “colluding” with smugglers by the C-Star crews, was on their way to help. Michael Buschheuer, the chairman of Sea-Eye, issued a statement saying that to help a ship in distress is “the duty of anyone at sea, without regard for their origin, race, religion or beliefs”. Apparently, the C-Star ship refused help, but we do not have confirmation of this....

The ship was stopped several times over the last several weeks by anti-fascist groups in different countries, but they continued their journey. They were also stopped in the Suez Canal for security checks before journeying to northern Cyrus, where crew members were arrested over people smuggling allegations after a group of people from Sri Lanka were found on board. Later on, they claimed that the Sri Lankan crew members on board were “apprentice sailors” who were supposed to disembark in Egypt.

While at sea, the C-star crew - which is already becoming ridiculous - were shouting at humanitarian ships through megaphones, ordering them to leave the search and rescue zone."

MED - "Code of onduct"

Another organization signed the Code of Conduct that the Italian government came up with. This time it is SOS MEDITERRANEAN, whose members met in Rome with Mario Morcone, Head of Civil Liberties and Immigration at the Ministry of Interior.

Apparently, the Code they signed has been amended and now it acknowledges that the Code is not legally binding and existing national and international laws and regulations prevail; it does not mention the carrying of any form of weapon, and therefore SOS MEDITERRANEE does not commit itself to receiving any armed persons aboard its ship."

ITALY

"Once again, news about the prosecution of those who are saving lives. The Italian authorities are investigating an Eritrean human rights activist, Don Mossie Zerai, who was a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015. He is being investigated by the Trapani public prosecutor for “facilitating clandestine immigration”.

Zerai founded the Habashia, a blog he describes as a “life jacket for migrants,” where he provides last-minute and lifesaving information to people trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

Zerai has released a statement saying: “I can confirm with all conscience that I have nothing to hide and that I have always acted with full legality. Apart from the Trapani initiative…, I have not been called to any other venue to justify or in any way respond to my work in favor of refugees and migrants.”"

GERMANY

"Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel announced her intention to cooperate more closely with Libya to decrease the number of people crossing the sea and entering the EU.

“The process is in its infancy, but it is supposed to develop like [the refugee deal with] Turkey once did,” she said to journalists after meeting with senior officials from the IOM and the UNHCR.

This will be achieved, Markel claims, by strengthening Libya’s government and improving conditions in detention centers across the country."

Demonstration: Info Links on Refugees Protest Against Dublin Deportation 19.08. - Support needed! Who is coming to Munich? (The Voice, link)

Priest who saves migrants’ lives when he calls Malta RCC is hauled to Trapani court (Malta Today, link)

"Eritrean humanitarian Fr Moussa Zerai is being charged with aiding illegal immigration by a Sicilian prosecutor targeting a migrant rescue NGO."

Afghan asylum seekers in Sweden attacked by right-wing extremists (Daily Sabah, link):

"A number of refugees demonstrating against Sweden's deportation policy were reportedly racially attacked by right wing extremist network Nordisk ungdom (Nordic Youth). Stockholm Police reported that young asylum seekers attending at a sit-down protest had flammable items thrown at them, and three of them were slightly injured. Police stated that they tightened up security after the violent attack."

Refugee rescue ship sails to aid of anti-migrant activists stranded in Med (Guardian, link):

"German NGO says its rescue vessel is sailing to help a group of far-right activists after their ship got into trouble off the coast of Libya...

Michael Busch Heuer, the founder of the Regensburg-based aid organisation, which operates two rescue vessels active in the Mediterranean since early 2016, said it was the duty of anyone at sea “to help those in distress, irrespective of their origin, colour, religion or beliefs.”

And see: Migrant rescue ship rushes to aid anti-migrant boat in the Med (France 24, link): "

"The Sea-Eye charity's founder Michael Buschheuer said the Italian coastguard had asked his ship to set course for the C-Star, but that the “Nazi boat” had refused assistance. "We had radio contact. They said they don't need or want our help," Buschheuer told Reuters news agency."

Beachgoers watch migrant boat land on Spanish shore (Guardian, link):

"Group of as many as 20 people flee into countryside in Zahara de los Atunes after crossing Strait of Gibraltar."

Migrants: Church leaders criticize Italy for tightening its grip on NGOs (CRUX, link):

"Church leaders have spoken up in defense of NGOs operating search and rescue missions for migrants in the Mediterranean, calling for the creation of safe channels for refugees who wish to come to Italy and criticizing some of the provisions within the 'code of conduct' that the state asked NGOs to sign in order to continue their work at sea."

Europe records biggest rise in slavery due to vulnerable migrants (ekathimerini.com, link)

"The European Union recorded the largest increase in slavery of any world region in 2017, with the arrival of more than 100,000 migrants, many of them extremely vulnerable to exploitation, analysts said on Thursday.

The risk of slave labor in farming, construction and other sectors rose across the region, with 20 of the EU's 28 member states scoring worse than in 2016 in an annual global slavery index by British analytics company Verisk Maplecroft."

EU needs a lasting solution to the refugee crisis (euobserver, link):

"Heads of state and government met on an almost monthly basis to discuss the issue. However, as soon as the stories began disappearing from the front pages so did the political will to do something.

Despite the receding media coverage, the issue has not gone way.

While the numbers arriving in Greece have declined since the middle of 2015, the numbers arriving across the Mediterranean to Italy have increased markedly in the last two to three years.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants that have been rescued by the Italian navy and are now waiting in reception centres or being housed by local authorities, many of which are stretched to their limits. Despite warnings from the Italian government, most EU member state continue to ignore the situation. "

Germany to restart sending migrants back to Greece (euobserver link):

"Germany is to send back asylum seekers to Greece, ending a five-year suspension of the EU’s asylum rules on transfers because of poor reception conditions.

Greek migration minister Yiannis Mouzalas, speaking to the German public television channel ARD, in a program due to air on Tuesday (8 August), has confirmed that Greek authorities received 392 requests.

Mouzalas said Athens approved the return of a "small number" of asylum seekers from Germany and other EU countries. The move would end a five-year suspension of the so-called Dublin regulations, the EU’s asylum rules.

The transfers to Greece will only affect asylum seekers who arrived in Germany and other EU countries from mid-March this year, in line with a recommendation issued by the European Commission last December."

French activist farmer who aided refugees given suspended jail sentence (Daily Sabah, link):

"A French activist farmer, who helped around 60 African refugees cross the French-Italian border in 2016, received a four-month suspended jail sentence Tuesday.

The Court of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence convicted Cedric Herrou, 37, of assisting the entrance of illegal migrants and housing them, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail.

The public prosecutor requested an eight-month suspended jail sentence during a hearing on June 19. Herrou was fined €3,000 ($3,200) last February by the Criminal Court of Nice.

University researcher Pierre-Alain Mannoni was acquitted of similar charges by the same court on January."

GREECE: July migrant repatriations bring yearly total over 11,000 (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Greek authorities oversaw the voluntary return of 1,645 people to their homelands in July, according to data published Monday. The repatriations were made via a voluntary scheme run by the International Organization for Migration, as well as through returns carried out by the Greek police.

Just over half of the migrants (872) were returned to Albania. This was followed by 297 returns to Pakistan and 98 to Algeria. A total of 11,083 migrants have been repatriated via these methods since the start of the year."

Statewatch comment: For years the highest number of returns have been from Greece to Albania. And see: Ministry refugee arrivals 18.7.17 (pdf):Just 487 returns to Turkey.

Greece: Ministry: Arrivals (8.8.17, link) A total of 247 in past 24 hours: 128 on Chious, 117 on Samos and 2 on other islands.

UNHCR: 117,907 arrivals in the EU in 2017: 96,758 in Italy, 11,919 in Greece, 8,710 in Spain. 2,398 dead/missing (7.8.17)

Are You Syrious (7.7.17, link)

A rise in arrivals to Greece

"A growing number of people have been landing to the Greek shores recently. Over the weekend, 228 people were officially registered on the Greek Aegean islands that have seen the arrival of more than 430 people in the first week of August alone. The number of newly arrived people has been growing on Samos, especially in the previous weeks, and in the past month more than 210 registrations were marked there. Only today, 60 people arrived on a boat to Samos, including 27 children on board that vessel. A number of 128 people were registered by the local organizations arriving on Chios island today: 74 people in total on the first vessel (33 men,15 women and 26 children) and 54 people on the second vessel (30 men, 13 women and 11 children). The people came from Etiopia, Libanon, Iran, Iraq and Syria."

TURKEY

"Media report that the Turkish Land Forces intercepted 975 people who tried to cross into Turkey on Monday. “The Turkish Armed Forces said in a statement that 926 people from Syria, 28 from Bulgaria, 18 from Greece and three people from Iraq, as well as 50 people trying to enter Syria from Turkish land, were captured.”

GREECE

"Samos Volunteers are looking for help - they need more volunteers, especially those willing to join them in September and october. If you are thinking about volunteering in Greece, consider aiding Samos volunteers by joing the team for at least a month or longer, if you can. Contact the group for more info."

Migrant crisis: Spain arrivals triple compared with 2016 (BBC News, link):

"Three times as many migrants have arrived in Spain so far this year compared to the same period in 2016, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says.

It means the number of sea arrivals in Spain - at 8,385 - could overtake Greece, which has had 11,713 people.

The shift may be because migrants are finding the Spanish route safer.

Earlier this week, footage showed migrants arriving by dinghy on a beach in Cádiz to the surprise of beachgoers.

The IOM say 11,849 people have arrived in Spain so far this year, compared with 13,246 in all of last year."

And see: Entry of Migrants to Spain Frustrated (Prensa Latina, link):

"According to journalistic sources, the rapid police performance of both countries prevented nearly thousand sub-Saharan migrants from penetrating the neighboring fence six meters high, which separates the metropolis of the Moroccan territory.

The agents of Rabat managed to contain most of the African citizens, while approximately 300 that managed to come up to the wire fence, were repelled by members of the Civil Guard of the European country."

Note: the Spanish government has closed one of the border crossings in Ceuta (that which is used for crossings by traders and businesses) so that more officers can be deployed in surveillance of the border.

Spain turns its back on migrant children's rights (euobserver, link):

"At this very moment, some children in Spain are being held in adult immigration detention centres, pending return to their home countries.

Other migrant children are living on the streets in Madrid and other Spanish cities, suffering from serious illnesses, or are prevented from applying for asylum. This is happening because they are not Spanish nationals and the authorities have not recognised them as children, but consider them to be adults.

During the International Commission of Jurists' (ICJ's) capacity and coalition building activities with lawyers and civil society organisations to better defend migrant children's rights in various European countries, our Spanish partner, Fundacion Raices, raised attention to the dire situation of migrant children in Spain."

Greece: Mobile phone ban on refugees amendment lifted (ekathimerini.com, link):

"An amendment submitted to Parliament that would have seen refugees and migrants who don’t have valid passports banned from owning cell phones in Greece was withdrawn on Saturday after an outcry and the intervention of Migration Policy Ministry officials.

The amendment stipulated that refugees and migrants would have to possess a valid passport in order to be granted the right to have a cell phone. This would have made it next to impossible for them to get a phone because hardly any of them have a valid passport."

And see: Greek coast guard rescue 128 migrants (link)

No more separations of families! (Pro Asyl, link):

"Refugees in Greece are waiting for indefinite periods for their family reunification to Germany. PRO ASYL and Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) are calling for an end to be put to the suffering of more than two thousand refugees who are stuck in Greece while waiting to be reunited with their family members in Germany."

Are You Syrious (5.8.17, link)

MED Sea: We stand with Jugend Rettet e.V and MSF!!!

"United Rescue Aid team remind us one more that that sea rescue is not a crime, but the mandatory duty for all those at the sea."

Greece

"Today, 106 people arrived in Greece, according to volunteer teams on islands: 33 arrived in North Maytlini; 26 to South Maytlini; and 47 to Samos. At this point, probably nobody knows how they will be treated and what rights they will be granted.....

What will happen with those who are still arriving is not clear to anybody. Or with people who are living in squats and do not receive any kind of help from the UN or EU, but only from small self-organized groups."

Hungary

"Refugee.Info team posted data about the chances for people seeking asylum in Hungary stressing that it is amongst the lowest in Europe....

According to the official data, since the start of this year, only 321 people have been granted protection in Hungary, while 2,417 people have been rejected. Only 10 people are allowed to enter every day. They are forced to live in prison like facilities, where they are treated in most degrading way. And that is the norm in the EU."

France

"According to the media, one person - migrant whose nationality is not yet established - died when hit by a car on the A16 motorway near Calais. This is the second death of a migrant in Calais and its surroundings in 2017.

In 2015 and 2016, 33 people died in this area, according to an Official statement.

Currently, there are around 600 people in Calais. So far, they are living with minimum, provided manly by volunteers. By the court decision, the local authorities are obliged to install showers and toilets, the first elements of the aid scheme before the end of next week."

See also: Conditions for migrants in Calais: Reception conditions in Calais: the Conseil d'État has rejected the appeals of the Minister of the Interior and the municipality of Calais Statewatch translation from: Conditions d’accueil des migrants à Calais (Link)

 


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (31.7.17-5.8.17)
Number of unaccompanied minors detained with unrelated adult males rises (ekathimerini.com, link):

"More unaccompanied young refugees and migrants are ending up detained in unsafe conditions, according to the National Center for Social Solidarity (EKKA), which found 117 detained at police centers. EKKA says the number stood at just two in November 2016.

“Rather than being protected, dozens of vulnerable children are being locked up in dirty, crowded cells with unrelated adult males,” said Eva Cosse, Greece researcher at Human Rights Watch."

Lesvos, Greece: After Moria Hunger Strike: The Struggle Continues! (Enough is Enough, link):

"The imprisoned refugees Bahrooz Arash and Kozhin Hussein stopped their hunger strike a few days ago. But that doesn’t mean the struggle for their release is over. Tomorrow, Saturday the fifth of August there will be protests in front of the Moria prison camp. People will meet on Sappho square in Mytilini (Lesvos, Greece) at 05:30pm to take a bus to Moria. The protest will start at 06:30pm in front of the Moria prison camp.

The hunger strikers have been detained without trial for months now and although they stopped their hunger strike, they are still in a critical condition. Bahrooz Arash and Kozhin Hussein stopped their hunger strike because they lost 30% of their body weight and authorities denied them access to basic medical care."

Conditions for migrants in Calais: Reception conditions in Calais: the Conseil d'État has rejected the appeals of the Minister of the Interior and the municipality of Calais

Statewatch translation from: Conditions d’accueil des migrants à Calais (Link)

"In 2016 the migrant reception centre in Calais was closed. Many migrants were distributed across the country to ensure appropriate care was received. By the beginning of 2017, hundreds of migrants had been found in Calais.

At the request of migrants and NGOs, the interim judge of the Administrative Court of Lille, with a reference to freedom of expression, ordered the Prefect of the Pas-de-Calais and the municipality of Calais to create several measures addressing migrants needs. These include: access to drinking water and water for washing clothes, as well as toilets and access to showers. In addition, the Prefect is instructed to organise departures from Calais to open reception centres in France, where places are available.

The Conseil d'État has rejected the appeals of the Minister of the Interior and the municipality of Calais against this order..."

GREECE: Asylum seekers being blocked out of job market and health system, say NGOs (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Thousands of asylum seekers trapped in Greece by slow bureaucracy are facing problems in being issued a social security number and tax identification code that would allow them to look for work and have access to public healthcare as they wait for the applications to be processed.

The issue was brought to the forefront in a written complaint on Thursday signed by 25 nongovernmental organizations and addressed to the ministries of Migration, Interior, Health, Administrative Reform, Labor, Economy and Finance."

UNHCR Libya Operation Update, 24 July - 1 August 2017 (Reliefweb, link):

"As of 31 July 2017, 42,346 refugees and asylum seekers are registered with UNHCR in Libya. Over 5,400 individuals were registered since UNHCR resumed registration in 2016, and 376 registered during the month of July alone."

EU "Implementation Plan" on Central Mediterranean will exacerbate "abuse, mislead and expel" process in Italy's hotspots

The EU's plans to limit the number of people travelling across the Mediterranean to Italy are set out in a detailed internal "Implementation Plan" (pdf) believed to be drawn up by the Council that is silent on the right to claim asylum in the EU - aside from ensuring that Italy "speed up examination of asylum applications" and ensure that it can "issue return decisions together with final negative asylum decisions," which is likely to exacerbate existing problems with access to the asylum procedure in Italy's "hotspots".

See: The Central Mediterranean - Alleviating the pressure: Implementation Plan (pdf)

EU: FRONTEX: Frontex Annual Activity Report 2016 (pdf):

"Frontex Annual Activity Report 2016 including the Declaration of Assurance and the Analysis and Assessment by Frontex' Management Board."

Greece: Alarm raised over detention of unaccompanied minor refugees (ekathimerini.com, link):

"An investigation conducted by the Greek Ombudsman from July 17 to 19 has revealed what it describes as “blatant violations of the rights of unaccompanied, underage refugees and migrants.”

The independent authority referred to prolonged detention in unsafe and inappropriate conditions at police stations and refugee centers across northern Greece as the main violations.

One example cited in the investigation is that of 17 minors who were found held in a single 25-square meter cell at a detention center for illegal migrants.

The Ombudsman said these violations of their rights put them in danger, and demanded immediate action to build more specialized accommodation centers for unaccompanied minors."

And see: Greece: Huge Rise in Detention of Migrant Children - Move Unaccompanied Kids from Cells to Open Facilities (HRW, link)

Aid groups split over Italy’s new rules for migrant rescues (euractiv, link):

"Five aid groups that operate migrant rescue ships in the Mediterranean refused to sign up to the Italian government’s code of conduct on Monday (31 July), the Interior Ministry said, but three others backed the new rules."

And: NGOs divided by Italy's new rescue code (euobserver, link)

"Five aid groups have refused to sign Italy’s code of conduct for organisations that run migrant rescue ships in the Mediterranean, the Italian interior ministry said on Monday (31 July). "

And see: MSF committed to saving lives on Mediterranean but will not sign the Italian “Code of Conduct” (link):

"Médecins Sans Frontières formally informed the Italian Ministry of the Interior today that it would not be signing the Code of Conduct for NGOs operating rescue ships on the Mediterranean.

“Although we are unable to sign this code of conduct in its current form, MSF already respects several provisions that are not within the remit of our core concerns, including financial transparency,” said Annemarie Loof, operations manager.

“MSF will continue to operate its search and rescue activities under the coordination of the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome and in accordance with all relevant international and maritime laws.”

EU: How McKinsey quietly shaped Europe’s response to the refugee crisis (Washington Post, link):

"It was October 2015. With winter approaching and no end in sight to the flow of migrants seeking refuge from the Syrian civil war, Germany needed a solution — fast.

Processing centers for refugees had exceeded capacity. Asylum claims were backlogged. Temporary tent cities would not survive the punishing winter months.

So Germany did what governments increasingly do when facing apparently unmanageable problems. It called in multinational management consulting firms, including New York-based giant McKinsey & Co., to streamline its asylum procedures.

Germany has paid McKinsey 29.3 million euros, the equivalent of nearly $34 million, for work with the federal migration office that began in October 2015 and continues to this day. The office also brought in two Europe-based firms, Roland Berger and Ernst & Young."

EU: Parliament's foreign affairs committee advises caution over biometrics in the Schengen Information System

The European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs has issued two opinions on proposed new rules for the Schengen Information System, dealing with the use of the system for border checks and the the "return of illegally-staying third country nationals", including a proposal for a "strict analysis" to be carried out before registering biometric data in the system. Specific safeguards for children are also proposed, along with a suggestion for a recital that would warn against Member States using coercion to obtain individuals' fingerprints.

Everything That's Happened Since A Bunch Of YouTubers Got A Ship To Stop Refugees Getting To Europe (BuzzFeed, link):

"The ship was supposed to pick them up in Italy. But on Wednesday, the captain and the crew of the ship were detained in Cyprus. Here's everything we do know, so far."


The refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: a humanitarian emergency

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