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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"
- 2017: January, February, March, April, May, June, July August, September
- 2016: Oct-Dec | Jul-Sep | Apr-Jun,| Mar | Feb, Jan
- 2015: Oct-Dec, Jan-Sep
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Returned and Lost: What Happens After Readmission to Turkey? (link):
"Turkey was regarded as a safe (third) country for asylum seekers and refugees for the purposes of the EU-Turkey Statement. This designation was an outcome of a political decision rather than a policy based on evidence from the field. Existing structural problems in Turkey where the asylum and migration systems are still in their infancy and the absence of effective safeguards against the violation of human rights, partly as a result of alarming developments in the legal framework, should remind us that political will - such as in the EU-Turkey Statement - alone does not make a country a safe place for migrants and asylum seekers."
Solidarity under attack (Open Democracy, link):
"These measures [against NGO search and rescue operations] can be interpreted as an attack against solidarity and as an acceleration of the measures that criminalize pro-migrant solidarity in Italy and the EU. In this regard, we argue that there is a very close relationship between: approval of the new immigration bill and the implementation of the so-called Code of Conduct for NGOs doing rescue operations in the Mediterranean. At the same time, the frequent and often violent evictions of migrant squats, buildings and encampments we are witnessing taking place in major cities such as Rome, Milan, Bologna, and the rising number of trials against pro-migrant activists facing persecution for their activities, reveal a concerted attempt on the part of the authorities in Italy and Europe to undermine forms of solidarity with and for migrants in civil society."
See: Solidarity is not a crime: the Observatory of the Milan Charter is born (Statewatch News)
CoE: Report: The situation of migrants and refugees in Serbia and transit zones in Hungary (link):
"Thousands of migrants and refugees who travelled along the Western Balkans migration route in 2015 and 2016 are now stranded in Serbia in a precarious legal situation.
That is the verdict of the Secretary Generals Special Representative on migration and refugees Ambassador Tomá Bocek in a report published today."
Making profits in Irelands asylum market (IRR News, link):
"In the second of a series, campaigner John Grayson examines the asylum markets for private companies involved in providing services under the Direct Provision (DP) system for asylum seekers in Ireland."
EU: Juncker: Member states contributed too little to Africa Fund (euractiv, link):
"Speaking to the press after the first round of talks at the EU summit on Thursday (19 October), Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned that EU action was reaching its limits due to insufficient financing.
We are reaching our limits when it comes to this Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, Juncker said.
We started by saying that we would take 1.8bn in our hands in order to be helpful to Africa, then we increased this to 2.5, then to 2.9, then to 3.1bn, money the Commission was providing by restructuring the existing budget. Member states have so far committed 175m, this is clearly not enough, he stated."
Greece: Reporting on a Catastrophe: Mental Health Crisis of Refugees on Samos and Lesvos (Samos Chronicles, link):
"Medicin Sans Frontieres (MSF) at least on Samos has sometimes been disappointing. In particular it was too often silent and should have used its influence and been more outspoken about the in-competencies of so many who are paid to care for the refugees. So it is refreshing to see their latest report on the mental health emergency engulfing the refugees on Lesvos and Samos. These are 2 of the islands where MSF are especially active and have had a lengthy presence.
Without pulling punches MSF lays clear that refugees are being damaged and suffering unacceptable levels of stress by the way they are being treated and cared for on the islands. It is a system that is driving people mad."
See: MSF report (pdf)
MEPs: EU migrant quotas do have a future (euobserver, link):
"Asylum seekers arriving in Europe would likely end up in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia under the latest proposal put forward by the European Parliament.
MEPs on the civil liberties committee on Thursday (19 October) overwhelmingly backed a proposal that is likely to pivot the parliament against a small group of migrant-hostile EU states, led by Hungary.
The proposal seeks to impose mandatory migrant quotas and strip non-complying member states of EU funding in an effort to revamp a key EU asylum law."
Arrivals surge on Greek islands despite EU-Turkey deal (euractiv, link):
"With Turkey being one of the items on the agenda of the EU summit starting on Thursday (19 October), AFP is reporting that migrants are still coming to Greek islands despite the EU-Turkey deal to stem the arrival of refugees from Turkish territory. (...)
According to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), 5,000 migrants arrived at Greek islands in September, an increase of 35% from the same period a year earlier, according to AFP calculations."
Developments in the Central Mediterranean over the past two years (Alarmphone, link):
"Most sea crossings by refugees trying to reach Europe take place on the route between Libya and Italy. Refugees are forced to board overcrowded boats that are not suitable for use at sea, making this route the deadliest. Without the NGO search and rescue boats (SAR-NGOs), the number of deaths would be far higher, because the capacities of the official coast guards are insufficient.
Until recently, the Italian coast guard deliberately stayed away from the Libyan coast and EU forces of Frontex and the military operation EUNAVFOR Med focus their efforts exclusively on reducing the number of crossings by fighting smugglers.There is no unified Libyan coast guard, only multiple, autonomous formations, of which some even operate as smugglers."
Greece: Refugees relocated, others go to mainland (ekathimerini.com, link):
"A group of 234 refugees boarded a charter flight from Athens to Lyon, France on Wednesday as part of the European Unions relocation program, while dozens more migrants, deemed to belong to vulnerable groups, were transferred by ferry from the islands of the Aegean to mainland Greece.
The group relocated to Lyon comprised 132 adults and 102 minors, 190 of them Syrian nationals and the remainder from Iraq and the Palestinian territories.(...)
Mouzalas took a swipe at the countries which fail to honor their obligations to participate in the EU relocation program, claiming that some even refuse to take in unaccompanied minors."
Tusk: EU migrant quotas have 'no future' (euobserver, link):
EU Council head Donald Tusk has said obligatory migrant quotas "have no future" amid efforts to mend fences with eastern European states.
"I don't see any special future for this project, but it's important to find an understanding that does not separate Poland and other Visegrad group countries from the rest of Europe," Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, told the Polish press agency, Pap, in the margins of a meeting on social affairs in Brussels on Wednesday (...)
Tusk said Poland had to decide whether to "jointly solve the problems related to migration, which means securing borders, but also helping those countries who have too many refugees" or to opt for a "firm break from European solidarity"."
IRELAND: EXCLUSIVE: Athlone asylum-seekers very critical of care at direct provision centre (shannonside, link):
"Up to 175 asylum-seekers from the direct provision centre in Athlone have strongly complained about the care theyre receiving.
Theyve told the Department of Justice that sometimes people get sick, suffer diarrhoea or need hospital care because of the quality of food at the facility."
CoE: Parliamentary Assembly: Ahead of meeting with EU counterparts, rapporteur underlines suffering of migrants separated from their families (link):
"PACEs rapporteur on family reunification for migrants and refugees, speaking ahead of a meeting with EU officials, has underlined the suffering that migrants can experience if they are separated from their families.
Ulla Sandbæk (Denmark, UEL), who begins a two-day meeting with officials of the EU Council, Commission and Parliament in Brussels tomorrow, said she would emphasise to them that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects the right to family life for everybody, including migrants."
EU: European Council: "roadmap" implementation paper highlights migration, internal security, military efforts
"The Bratislava Roadmap emerged from the Leaders' debate in September 2016. In March 2017, the Rome Declaration broadened the scope and set additional priorities for the longer term.
One year on, the EU has made significant progress and can demonstrate tangible results. The Bratislava method is working. The attached table shows that many tasks have been completed, and many others are on track. Some tasks however have progressed slower than expected, and a few require a fresh push, including at the highest level."
Switzerland should reinforce its human rights protection framework and better respond to the needs of vulnerable migrants (Council of Europe, link):
"Reinforcing the institutional and legal framework for safeguarding and promoting human rights and enhancing the protection of migrants and asylum seekers are the key recommendations addressed to the Swiss authorities by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muinieks, in a report published today following his visit to the country in May 2017.
The Commissioner welcomes the new law on asylum, which should result in faster and higher quality procedures for determining refugee status, in particular through the provision of free legal assistance from the outset. Noting that there are plans to revise the rules on temporary admission, which apply amongst others to Syrians who have fled the conflict, the Commissioner calls on the authorities to establish an international subsidiary protection status guaranteeing the same rights as are granted to persons holding official refugee status."
Council of Europe: CPT publishes report on Turkey (link)
"The Council of Europes Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published today the report on its ad hoc visit to Turkey, which took place from 16 to 23 June 2015, together with the response of the Turkish Government. Both documents have been made public at the request of the Turkish authorities.
The visit focused on the situation of foreign nationals detained under aliens legislation, and the report contains the CPTs findings and recommendations relating to various removal centres, as well as the holding facilities in the transit zone of Istanbul Atatürk Airport."
See: Report (pdf)
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12-16.10.17)
GREECE: Open The Islands - no more dead from the cold! Solidarity groups and organisations call for urgent action as winter is coming for refugees in Greece
Over 40 solidarity groups and organisations are calling for urgent action from the Greek local and national authorities to prevent more refugees from dying in the cold as winter sets in once again. They expect more groups and organisations to join them over the next days and weeks.
ITALY: Solidarity is not a crime: the Observatory of the Milan Charter is born
On 30 September 2017 around thirty activists, journalists, jurists, citizens acting in solidarity, members of NGOs and associations met in Milan to set up the Observatory which the 'Milan Charter: solidarity is not a crime' proposed in its document launched on 20 May 2017 during the demonstration 'Together without any walls', to safeguard the honour, freedom and rights of civil society in all its humanitarian expressions: when it saves lives at sea; when it protects and rescues people experiencing hardships at the borders; when it monitors respect for the principles of legality and equality; when it reports the failure to respect fundamental rights in procedures for administrative detention and forced removals; when it complies with the binding duty of solidarity which is a foundation of the Italian Constitution.
SPAIN: Human rights groups denounce "racist" focus of G6 summit in Seville
The interior ministers of Spain, France, Germany, the UK, Italy and Poland, the so-called G6, and high representatives of Morocco and the European Union are meeting today (16 October) in Seville to analyse "the fight against jihadist terrorism and illegal immigration." The focus of the summit has led to protests from activists and NGOs who consider it "racist" and have said that it "turns migrants and racialised citizens into a threat."
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 12-13 October: all the documentation including background documents
Updated 16.10.17: On the agenda: European Public Prosecutors' Office, freezing and confiscation orders, the European Criminal Records Information System for third-country nationals, implementing data protection legislation, criminal justice in cyberspace, Schengen Borders Code, counter-terrorism resettlement and the reform of the Common European Asylum System.
Council of the European Union: Reception Directive and European Electronic Communications Code
UK-FRANCE: Calais Research: mapping the deals and decision-makers (link):
"The calaisresearch website is a collaborative project to gather and analyse information about the Calais border. Formed by members of Calais Migrant Solidarity, Corporate Watch, and Passeurs dHospitalités, its first publication in 2016 was a list of 40 companies profiting from the jungle eviction and other border violence. The sites aim is to help those fighting for freedom of movement in Calais develop effective strategies.
To do that we need to understand what were up against: the decision-makers and deals that create the Calais Border Regime. Most obviously, the orders come from the UK and French governments. But there also other important players, including the business interests which govern cross-border trade. The latest section of the calaisresearch site maps these key decision-makers, with another new page cataloging the security funding deals announced since 2009."
TURKEY-ROMANIA: Old route, new dangers: Migrant smugglers revive Black Sea route to Europe (IRIN, link):
"Advertised as a "tourist yacht" to Europe, spacious and loaded with food and water, it was in fact a stripped-down, rusty blue fishing boat lacking any supplies for two stormy days at sea. Almost 160 men, women, and children were crammed on board, sick and fearful as the boat rocked violently from side to side, its leaky hold taking on water.
For Iraqi asylum-seeker Ahmed* and his family, transported to the vessel in the middle of the night and initially kept in the dark about their true destination Romania the experience was terrifying. When I saw [the boat], I said, Oh my god! recalled the former army sniper from Kirkuk, explaining that he refused to board until a smuggler with a handgun threatened to kill his family.
Over the last few months, reports of migrant boats being intercepted in the Black Sea have proliferated, along with tales of the tragedies that occur when the vessels capsize in its rough waters. This route from Turkey to Romania is not entirely new it was used in Soviet times to ply illicit goods but it appears smugglers are now attempting to revive it."
GREECE: Three young men arrested for racist attack against Pakistanis in Aspropyrgos (Keep Talking Greece, link):
"hree young men were arrested on Thursday for the attack against two Pakistani nationals on Saturday in Aspropyrgos. Two of the arrestees are 17 years old and one 18.
According to police, the three are supporters of the extreme right but no evidence was found officially linking them to far-right Golden Dawn or any other extreme right group. In their houses police found clubs and other objects. The suspects are known to police for their participation in a series of incidents.
The three were detained in last April and June for attacking police and throwing molotov cocktail bombs during an anti-racist protest in Aspropyrgos."
EU: Better protection and durable solution for refugees (European Parliament, press release, link):
By 37 MEPs to 20 and 2 abstentions on 12 October, the European Parliaments civil liberties committee (LIBE) adopted its negotiating position for the permanent EU mechanism for resettlement refugees. It called on the EU to accept 240,000 refugees:
"EU member states host 8% of the worlds refugees. In 2015, 22 EU countries resettled 13 000 people; the US resettled almost 70 000 refugees. MEPs therefore call on member states to increase both resettlement efforts and the number of resettlement places in order to shoulder a fair share of global responsibility. They want the EU to take on at least 20% of the annual projected global resettlement needs. In 2017, this would amount to around 250 000 people."
GREECE: Island mayors raise alarm bell over congestion at hotspots (ekathimerini.com, link):
"In a series of letters to the Greek government, mayors and the Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDE) have raised the alarm bell over the congestion at hotspots hosting asylum seekers in the islands of the northeastern Aegean. (...)
Migrant flows have picked up recently with more than 100 people arriving daily on the Greek islands, while on Thursday alone another 245 people arrived. Since the beginning of the month until Thursday, a total of 1,535 migrants and refugees arrived on the Greek islands."
EU: Border controls extended without justification (euobserver, link):
"EU member states must demonstrate a serious threat to public order and internal security to impose temporary border controls.
But government documents suggest member states are broadly allowed to deny people the right of free movement even when their own available statistics suggest that there is no major problem.(...)
EUobserver has obtained letters from each of the member states, where they explain their reasons for upholding the border controls. Some admit there is no problem, while others offer scant data to support their arguments."
And see: Germany extends border controls, citing terrorism and migration (DW, link): "Germany extended temporary passport controls on its border with Austria and for flights departing from Greece for an additional six months due to the prospect of irregular migration and terrorism, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on Thursday."
CoE: Commissioner seeks clarifications over Italys maritime operations in Libyan territorial waters (link):
"addressed to Mr Marco Minniti, Minister of Interior of Italy, published today, the Commissioner requests information with regard to Italys maritime operations in Libyan territorial waters aimed at managing migration flows.
Expressing appreciation for Italys efforts in saving lives at sea and in receiving migrants arriving at its shores in the last years, the Commissioner underscores that, even when a state faces difficulties in coping with the influx of migrants, it still has the duty to protect and safeguard their human rights.
The case law of the European Court of Human Rights is clear about this duty and I think it bears relevance for Italys operations in Libyan territorial waters, writes the Commissioner."
See: Letter to Italy (pdf)
European Council draft Conclusions on migration
The European Council (19 October 2017) - Draft conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 11572-17, pdf) say on migration:
"To consolidate and deepen this approach on all migration routes, the European Council further calls for:
- continued full commitment to our cooperation with Turkey on migration as well as - support to the Western Balkans;
- reducing the attractiveness of illegal migration through enhanced returns, effective readmission agreements and arrangements and by making full use of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, which should be further strengthened....."
MSF report: Greece: Confronting the mental health emergency on Samos and Lesvos: Why the containment of asylum seekers on the Greek islands must end (pdf):
"Asylum seekers held on Greeces islands are in the midst of a mental health emergency. Many have lived through extreme violence and traumatic events. But it is the conditions they face in Greece, including the continued violence and the lack of appropriate services, which are pushing them into hopelessness and are greatly compounding their mental health suffering."
Listicle: Germanys new ground rules for migration (info migrants, link):
"The ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) and their sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) have agreed to put a limit on the number of refugees Germany would accept on humanitarian grounds each year. They also laid out further steps to regulate migration in a regulatory framework. What are the key points of the plan?"
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (9-11.10.17)
GREECE: Syrian girl, 5, dies at Moria hotspot (ekathimerini.com, link):
"A 5-year-girl from Syria has died at Moria hotspot, on the island of Lesvos, one of the main entry points for migrants and asylum-seekers.
The girl, whose family landed on Lesvos last Tuesday, was suffering from serious health problems. An ambulance transferred the girl to a nearby hospital on Sunday where doctors could only confirm her death. Its parents said they were traveling to Europe to seek treatment."
EU: Reforming the 'Common European Asylum System': progress report
The Presidency of the Council of the EU has published a useful note outlining the state of play with seven legislative proposals that were published by the Commission in 2016. These proposals are aimed at reforming the 'Common European Asylum System' (CEAS) and the EU's system for resettling refugees from non-EU countries.
The proposals in question are: "the recast of the Dublin Regulation and of the Eurodac Regulation, a proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA), a proposal for a Regulation establishing a common [asylum] procedure in the EU, a proposal for a Qualification Regulation, the recast of the Reception Conditions Directive and a proposal for a Regulation establishing a Union Resettlement Framework."
EU: Oxfam exposes great abuse in EUs approach to migration
"Oxfams Brussels office has published a report saying that the European Unions migration policy needs an urgent shift in direction in order to respect the EUs founding values of human rights, in a lobbying effort ahead of the 19-20 October EU summit."
Dangerous Borderlands: Human Rights for Displaced People on the French-Italian Border (Border Criminologies, link):
"While hot-spots in Greece and Italy and the squalid make-shift camps in Northern France have received periods of international attention, the migratory transit point in the small Italian town of Ventimiglia on the French-Italian border seems to have been largely overlooked by media agencies and human rights groups, with the exception of a few noteworthy examples (see for example news coverage by Al-Jazeera, a blog post on Are You Syrious?, and a research study conducted by UNICEF and the REACH Initiative). Recent research by Refugee Rights Data Project (RRDP) highlights detrimental living conditions coupled with police violence and dangerous border crossings, creating a situation for displaced people characterised by chronic insecurity and extensive mental and physical health concerns. This post is a summary of findings of a study conducted from 21 to 24 August 2017, based on interviews with 150 refugees and displaced people in Ventimiglia through a semi-structured survey, conducted in Amharic, Arabic, English, Persian and Tirgrinya. The survey findings were corroborated through RRDPs field observations and informal interviews with INGOs, NGOs and local charities and volunteers."
See: Refugee Rights Data Project: In dangerous transit: filling information gaps relating to refugees and displaced people in Ventimiglia, Italy (link to pdf)
FRANCE-AFRICA: In Niger, Chad: France to open asylum centres (Pulse, link):
"France will open offices in Niger and Chad in the coming weeks to identify people who could be granted asylum, President Emmanuel Macron announced Monday.
The offices would also "warn people in Niger and Chad better about the situation in order to avoid an influx of economic migrants" who would only be sent back from France, Macron said.
The French president had made a similar proposal for migrant registration centres in Libya in July.
But the idea was axed due to chronic insecurity in the North African country, a launchpad for hundreds of thousands of migrants setting sail for Europe across the Mediterranean.
In Chad and Niger, candidates for asylum would come from lists provided by the United Nations refugee agency, Macron said after talks in Paris with the UNHCR's chief Filippo Grandi.
The presidency said the first mission in Niger, operated by France's refugee protection office Ofpra, would start work at the end of October."
EU-AFRICA: Paris summit on migration (28 August 2017): English translations of statements
English translations of the statements produced following the EU-African summit on migration held in Paris on 28 August 2017. The translations were produced by the German state.
The Italy-Libya Memorandum of Understanding: The baseline of a policy approach aimed at closing all doors to Europe? (EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy, link) by Anja Palm:
"On 2 February 2017 a Memorandum of Understanding (English Version**) on development cooperation, illegal immigration, human trafficking, fuel smuggling and reinforcement of border security (hereafter memorandum or MoU), was signed between the Italian Prime Minister Gentiloni and Fayez al-Serraj, Head of the UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord.
Increasing crossings through the Central Mediterranean, which represent the final step for Sub-Saharan migratory flows transiting primarily through Niger and Libya, have led to the emergence of a policy approach aimed at reducing crossings from Libya to Italy at any cost, dictated by the need to give quick answers to the mounting uneasiness in the public opinion. If the memorandum represents its baseline, such policy has been expanded as to include dialogues with numerous Libyan actors ranging from institutional players to local tribes, mayors, entrepreneurs and even contending actors. This approach has further been reinforced by both multilateral and bilateral dialogues with other countries situated along the main migratory routes such as Tunisia and Niger.
European institutions and key Member States have repeatedly praised Italy for its proactive role in Africa, most recently in occasion of the Paris summit held on 28 August 2017. As explained elsewhere, this policy, if not counterbalanced with the opening of legal access channels for persons in need of international protection, challenges international and European law, a reality which the funders and outsourcers of those actions cannot easily ignore."
See: English translation of: Memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the fields of development, the fight againstillegal immigration, human trafficking and fuel smuggling and on reinforcing the security of borders between the State of Libya and the Italian Republic (pdf) translated by the Odysseus Network (link).
EU: Left in limbo: UNHCR study on the implementation of the Dublin Regulation
"The objective of this study was to examine how the Dublin III Regulation is applied and to assess the extent to which the procedures, safeguards and guarantees under the Dublin III Regulation are implemented and deliver on the aims of determining swiftly the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection in accordance with the criteria under the Regulation."
EU: Migrant smuggling tops EU crime priorities - restricted document shows extent of police operations
"Preventing the arrival of immigrants with no legal rights to the EU is more important, in terms of EU policy priorities among member states, than fighting terrorism and online child pornography.
Erkki Koort, who chairs an internal security group at the European Council, representing member states, told MEPs on Tuesday (10 October) that fighting "the facilitation of illegal migration" involves more EU states than any other crime."
EU: Eurojust meeting on illegal immigrant smuggling, Eurojust, The Hague, 15 June 2017 - outcome report (pdf):
"The participants included practitioners from the Member States, Norway and the USA, as well as representatives of the European Commission, the European External Action Service, EUNAVFOR MED, Europol, and FRONTEX.
The principal aim and focus of the meeting was to strengthen the fight against illegal immigrant smuggling (IIS), promote the judicial dimension at an early stage of the smuggling scam, and enhance judicial cooperation at EU level. The concept of the meeting was to provide a judicial perspective, reflecting the smuggling route from countries of origin and transit towards destination countries. The first plenary session was devoted to the work of key EU partners in fighting IIS beyond EU borders and the challenges faced. The second plenary session focused on specific problems at the external borders and on the collection of data/evidence. The third plenary session underlined obstacles and solutions in relation to judicial cooperation, with emphasis on the specific challenges faced at national level. The fourth plenary session highlighted the work of Eurojust in the fight against IIS."
ITALY: Appeals lodged before the entry into force of new Asylum Law have automatic suspensive effect
On 27 July 2017, the Italian Court of Cassation ruled that the expulsion of an asylum seeker, pending the second instance appeal proceedings against the rejection of the asylum claim, is unlawful.
EU: Offshore processing of asylum claims and legal responsibility in "scenarios of extraterritorial complicity"
Two recent posts on the blog of the European Journal of International Law discuss the ongoing moves towards the "offshore processing" of asylum claims by the EU, its Member States, non-EU countries such as Chad and Niger and international organisations such as the IOM and UNHCR; and the question of legal responsibility in such "scenarios of extraterritorial complicity".
Europe's new migrant policy comes at a moral price (euobserver, link):
"The European Union has sought to absolve itself of addressing what many of its leaders have described as the "migrant crisis" with a quick-and-easy-fix that will haveand already has hadsevere consequences.
Its new containment policy deflects its own legal obligation to migrants onto the gatekeepers of popular migration routes like Libya, which is already struggling from a myriad of its own issues. "
Setting A Cap On Refugees - Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling Christian Democracts and their Bavarian sister party respond to election losses (link):
"The ruling Christian Democratic party (CDU) of Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday reached an agreement with its sister Christian Social Union (CSU) in the state of Bavaria to push for a limit on the number of refugees Germany will accept. After several hours of talks on Sunday between the CSU leadership and the CDU, a compromise was reached setting a limit of 200,000 refugees a year."
EU: Taking Stock of Assisted Voluntary Return from Europe: Decision Making, Reintegration and Sustainable Return Time for a paradigm shift (link to pdf) by Katie Kuschminder:
"Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) is a central component of European Union (EU) member states migration management policies and has grown in popularity over the past two decades. At present, all EU member states have active AVR programmes, however, despite the growing prevalence of these programmes there has been a dearth of research and evaluation on AVR. In addition, a common goal of these AVR programmes is to achieve a sustainable return, but this term lacks a commonly used definition, making sustainable return an ambiguous policy objective. This paper takes stock of the most recent research on AVR focusing on decision making in the uptake of AVR, reintegration, and sustainable return. It is argued that it is time for a fundamental shift in our underlying assumptions regarding sustainable return in the field of AVR policy and practice. The working paper addresses key research gaps in the field and poses recommendations on how to move the agenda forward on AVR."
INTERPOL General Assembly adopts data processing policy on refugees (Interpol press release, pdf):
"BEIJING, China To avoid refugee status being abused by criminals and terrorists, INTERPOLs General Assembly has officially adopted a policy on the processing of data on refugees.
The resolution, which was overwhelmingly endorsed by delegates, outlines a range of measures which should be taken by member countries during the asylum application process. These include:
- systematically checking INTERPOLs databases
- use of INTERPOLs Information System to exchange information
- establishing the relevant protocols to enable regular communication between the authorities in charge of reviewing asylum applications and the relevant INTERPOL National Central Bureau/s
- expanding to all relevant authorities, including border control and authorities in charge of reviewing asylum applications, access to the INTERPOL Information System
In accordance with their national laws and confidentiality requirements, the policy also encourages member countries to inform INTERPOLs General Secretariat headquarters, or the Commission for the Control of INTERPOLs Files, if an individual has been granted refugee status and on the outcome of an asylum application review."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (5-8.10.17)
Vanessa Redgrave: This film will open minds to Europes criminal ways (The Observer, link)
"Spurred by the death of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, Vanessa Redgrave joins her son, Carlo Nero, to bring the plight of refugees to the big screen."
Thousands of stranded migrants found in Libya (DW, link):
"A Libyan militia has discovered several large groups of migrants after pushing a rival faction out of the port city of Sabratha. The fighting was reportedly triggered by Italy pledging support to one of the groups.
The militia, known as Anti-ISIS Operation Room, wrestled control of the Sabratha from the al-Ammu armed group after about two weeks of heavy fighting. On Sunday, the victorious faction reported finding over 4,000 migrants in various locations across the city, where they have been reportedly trapped by clashes."
Are You Syrious (7.10.17, link)
"8.1 million euros will be invested in five new hotspots to be built on Chios, Lesvos, Samos, Leros and Kos according to local media. The Ministry of Migration Policy apparently wants to create 8,500 hospitality places in the Eastern Aegean islands. Local people are concerned that this will lead to people being trapped long-term on the islands and would prefer a quick transfer process to the mainland. The funds have been pledged up to 31 December 2022. Yet the additional spaces they will offer would be filled instantly if they were to house all of the people currently in the over-capacity camps."
Mainland Greece: Fascist attack on agricultural laborers
"KEERFA has published a condemnation of todays murderous assault by five members of neo-Nazi group Goritsa Aspropyrgos on farm laborers Safak Mahmud and Vakas Hussein while the two men were at work. The attackers screamed racist abuse during the assault and have been seen by local groups attacking people at anti-fascist events. Yet, the attackers have still not been prosecuted.
We call on the unions, the left, the municipal movements, the solidarity movements to condemn the pogroms of the fascists and demand that the police refuse to tolerate their action and their presence."
ECRE:: Greek Council of State dismisses all complaints on fast track border procedure and declares Turkey safe third country based on doubtful documentation (link):
"On 22 September 2017, the Greek Council of State, the highest administrative court of the country, delivered two long-awaited judgments (2347/2017 and 2348/2017) regarding two Syrian nationals whose claims were rejected as inadmissible. The rulings will have important consequences on all main elements of the Greek asylum procedure and further deemed Turkey as a safe third country in their case, based on selective and limited documentation.(...)
The dissenting judgment from one judges sharply criticises the credibility of the sources and evidence supporting the notion of Turkey as a safe third country: It is a fact known to all that in the past years and particularly in 2016 in Turkey, both before and after the failed coup of 15 July 2016, prevails a regime, in which fundamental rights and liberties are openly violated, judicial independence has been dismantled, where freedom of speech and press are not applied and guarantees of rule of law are not applied to those opposing the regime; The assurances of the diplomatic authorities of this country, forming part of the hierarchy of said regime, have no credibility. This is valid when both the Directive and Greek law do not refer to any protection status, but require the highest possible protection status (in accordance with the Geneva Convention) to be guaranteed, as seen below; What matters is not the protective legislation of a country, but whether and how that is implemented in practice (para 60)."
Are You Syrious (6.10.17, link):
MORIA Overcrowding: Feature
"Overcrowding on the hotspots of the Aegean islands has been an ongoing issue for quite some time, one that Greek authorities seem either unable or unwilling to fix. The problem is worst in Moria on Lesvos. The camp, which was created to host 2,000 people, is currently housing 5,000, two and a half times above its capacity. According to Human Rights Watch, this has led to widespread abuses and difficulties, such as a shortage of water for children and abuse against women. The HRW representatives who spoke to the Greek parliament also stated that there are no shower facilities for people with limited mobility.
This severe level of overcrowding is preceded by the largest movement of refugees from Turkey to Greece in a very long time, numbering nearly 5000 people in the month of September. Even with a limited flow of people into the country, the Greek bureaucracy was failing to process applications and organize timely relocation for refugees whose status as asylum seekers had been confirmed. There is no lack of housing on the mainland, this is, simply speaking, a result of foot-dragging by the Greek authorities. With winter on the horizon, it is difficult to imagine the troubles that will take hold on the islands. UNHCR has brought attention to the fact that the facilities on the islands are woefully underprepared for winter, with 1,500 in Moria alone living in makeshift tents without so much as proper flooring or insulation."
Austria: Mass deportation to take place on October 10
There is to be a charter flight deporting refugees from Austria and Sweden to Afghanistan. The flight is scheduled to depart on October 10, and this will certainly be a mass deportation. Deportations from Austria are currently very frequent, the most recent case having taken place on September 30. However, the recent cases have been deportations of individuals accompanied by two or three police officers. The number of Afghan refugees taken to deportation centers continues to increase. The police is making a concerted effort to capture people whose asylum claims have not been approved, and there are reports of racial profiling of pedestrians in public places. It is important that people organize to protest these actions, and to all those who are at risk of deportation, we send our solidarity and wish them luck."
Italy: Report highlights the vast number of areas outside of the formal reception system
"An Italian language report commissioned by MSF has created a map of the non reception areas in Italy, underlining those regions and provinces where migrants are forced to sleep on the streets and are outside the formal reception system. As you can see, in Friuli Venezia Giulia (where Gorizia and Pordenone are located) migrants sleeping on the streets or outside the reception system is a common phenomenon in every province."
UNHCR: Overcrowded Greek refugee camps ill-prepared for winter (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Greece must speed up winter preparations at refugee camps on islands in the Aegean Sea where there has been a sharp rise in arrivals, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday.
Nearly 5,000 refugees, mostly Syrian or Iraqi families, crossed from Turkey in September a quarter of all arrivals this year, UNHCR data shows.(...)
In the Moria camp on the island of Lesvos, one of the main entry points, more than 1,500 people are in makeshift shelters or tents without insulation, flooring or heating, UNHCR said.
They include pregnant women, people with disabilities, and very young children."
Amnesty condemns forced returns of Afghan asylum seekers (euractiv, link):
"A surge of failed Afghan asylum seekers forcibly returned from Europe are at risk of torture, kidnapping and death in war-torn Afghanistan, Amnesty International said today (5 October).
Almost 9,500 Afghans went back to their homeland in 2016 after their applications for asylum in Europe were rejected, compared with nearly 3,300 a year earlier, the human rights group said.(...)
European governments are forcing increasing numbers of asylum seekers back to the dangers from which they fled, in brazen violation of international law, Amnesty said in a report, Forced Back to Danger"
See: Forced back to danger: Asylum-seekers returned from Europe to Afghanistan (AI, pdf)
Are You Syrious (4.10.17, link):
FEATURE: Situation deteriorating in the north of Italy
"The situation is dire in the north of Italy. Arrivals to the Gorizia area continue, at least 5 to 15 a day at the local gallery, volunteers say. The local officials place a certain amount of people in various structures. There are always between roughly 20 to 50 refugees sleeping in the photographed area. There is another group sleeping in another similar place."
CROATIA: EC met with AYS and CMS over latest Report
"AYS and CMS have met the representatives of DG Migration and Home Affairs today in Zagreb. The meeting was initiated by the Commission after reading our report on the unlawful practices by the Croatian Ministry of Interior and Security Intelligence Agency (SOA), who issued minimum 44 negative decisions to asylum seekers mainly from Syria and Iraq, including very young children.
These decisions are based on the unexplained opinion by SOA that claims the existence of security obstacles in these cases and invokes the article 41 of the National Security Vetting Act that, according to their interpretation, envisages that SOA does not need to provide the reasons for this claims. Since the files are classified as RESTRICTED (...) "
"The 106-year old Bibihal Uzbeki, also called the worlds oldest refugee was today granted a temporary residence permit after her appeal in the migration court in Gothenburg. As AYS have mentioned before, she came to Sweden in 2015 together with her son and other close relatives where she applied for asylum. Earlier this year she got her first negative answer from the Migration Agency, who claimed that she could return safely to Afghanistan together with her relatives. Age isnt a good enough reason for the Swedish authorities to grant someone protection and some peace at the final stage of life. Obviously negatively impacted by the answer, Uzbeki suffered from a stroke and stopped communicating completely, which hadnt been the case before.
The permit she now was granted is valid for 13 months, which is the new standard in Sweden since last year, when the authorities decided to change their rules to the EU-standards."
EU: European University Institute (EUI): Taking Stock of Assisted Voluntary Return from Europe: Decision Making, Reintegration and Sustainable Return Time for a paradigm shift (link):
"It is argued that it is time for a fundamental shift in our underlying assumptions regarding sustainable return in the field of AVR policy and practice. The working paper addresses key research gaps in the field and poses recommendations on how to move the agenda forward on AVR."
MSF: Serbia: Games of Vilolence: Unaccpompanied children and young people repeatedly abused by EU Member State Border authorities (pdf):
"Whilst providing primary and mental health care to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, Médecins Sans Frontières medical teams based in Belgrade continue to treat the injuries, both psychological and physical, of those crossing towards the Schengen Zone. Whether they are living in unsafe and precarious conditions at Serbias borders with Hungary and Croatia, or recently arrived from Bulgaria, the injured and distressed are mostly young men and boys aged between 15 and 25 years of age."
The plight of migrant children in Italy (New Europe, link):
"Human rights groups in Italy have warned that thousands of unaccompanied migrant children are at risk of falling back into the hands of smugglers or being exploited to work long hours for little pay, despite legislation aimed at protecting them.
They [the children] are the most vulnerable elements of this big phenomenon called migration, said Kostas Moschochoritis, head of humanitarian group Intersos, which operates the shelter for unaccompanied minors in Rome."
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1-4.10.17)
Mediterranean: Italy marks anniversary of Lampedusa tragedy following weekend rescues of over 1000 people
A march was held on the Italian island of Lampedusa on Tuesday in memory of the 368 people who died following the 3 October 2013 shipwreck off the coast of the island. The events come after a weekend in which over 1000 people were rescued at sea and three people are reported to have died off the coast of Libya. A further 226 people were "intercepted" and taken to a detention centre in Libya.
No Border Kitchen Lesvos: 28 REASONS FOR ARBITRARY DETENTION
"The Greek government have recently introduced a way to abitrarily detain even more people in Moria. They will expand their practice of detaining people with citizenships of countries with low asylum acceptance rates, undermining the already barely existent right to a fair asylum procedure even more than before."
SPAIN-MELLILA: The immediate return to Morocco of sub-Saharan migrants who were attempting to enter Spanish territory in Melilla amounted to a collective expulsion of foreign nationals, in breach of the Convention (Press release, pdf):
"the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
- a violation of Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 (prohibition of collective expulsions of aliens) to the European Convention on Human Rights, and
- a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) taken together with Article 4 of Protocol
The case concerned the immediate return to Morocco of sub-Saharan migrants who had attempted on 13 August 2014 to enter Spanish territory illegally by scaling the barriers which surround the Melilla enclave on the North-African coast."
Judgment: Affaire N.D. et N.T. c. Espagne (French, pdf)
Italy's deal to stem flow of people from Libya in danger of collapse (Guardian, link)
"Number of people crossing Mediterranean rises again amid power struggle between rival factions in Libyan human-trafficking port. A key pillar of the Italian governments effort to stem the politically toxic issue of people crossing the Mediterranean from Libya to southern Italy is in danger of collapse as a result of a bloody power struggle in the key Libyan port of Sabratha, the epicentre of human trafficking to Italy."
And see: EU mission struggling in Libya, internal report says (euobserver, link) Also Restricted document highlights plans for ongoing EU interventions in Libya (Statewatch News)
EU: Expansion of the Frontex agency
"In 2015, Frontex employed 320 people, but now it employs 460. Nearly 170 people are involved in operations, 150 work as analysts, and 80 work on operational logistics. By 2020, the number of staff is expected to increase to 1,000.
The Frontex offices now occupy the 6th to 13th floor of the building and the lower levels are occupied by a bank. "Maybe we will have to take their space?" said a Frontex officer.
The budget of the agency will grow from 143 million in 2015 to 322 million in 2020. Frontex is currently running 12 operations in cooperation with EU states. The largest of them are sea operations "Triton," off the coast of Italy and Malta (with more than 400 officers and 14 ships), and "Poseidon," in Greece and the Aegean Sea (with nearly 900 border guards and 14 ships). Maritime operations are the most expensive part of the agency's budget.
The agency also helps Bulgarian, Hungarian and Croatian guards in patrolling the borders with Serbia, and the Bulgarian authorities in monitoring the Turkish border Frontex has 270 border guards deployed at these crossing points"
See: Frontex puts down roots in Poland (EUobserver, link)
Refugees' health problems in Greece mostly unmet, medical charity says (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Refugees and migrants in Greece receive little or no medical care for most health problems they face and fewer than half of those pregnant had access to maternal care, aid group Doctors of the World said on Tuesday.
About 60,000 migrants and refugees are stranded in Greece, most in overcrowded camps with unsanitary conditions. More than half of this years 20,000 arrivals were women and children, United Nations data shows."
And see: Refugees' health problems in Greece mostly unmet: medical charity (Reuters, link)
Are You Syrious (2.10.17, link)
How the EU-Turkey deal destroys dreams
"At the island of Samos AYS spoke with one of the two people whose case was rejected at the Supreme Court and they are at risk of being forcibly returned to Turkey. Like all of us, he has dreams and hopes, but unlike many, he still believes that the EU is the Promised Land where human rights are priority (...)
This is the story of one of the two Syrians who are at risk of being forcibly returned to Turkey after Greeces highest administrative court rejected their final appeals against earlier rulings declaring their asylum claims inadmissible.
The decision issued by the court in Greece is putting not only life or these two people who are directly concerned by the court decision in danger but represents a very problematic precedent for future for all asylum-seekers. The latest decision permits to Greek authorities to send back to Turkey thousands of people who arrived in this country after the EU-Turkey deal. Some of them are in detention, some are waiting for the decision since they arrived, mostly stranded on one of the overcrowded islands."
"the head of the Lybian National Army - who is visiting Rome - told to Italian media that they can stop migrants and refugees traveling to Europe if they have needed military equipment.
For the control of borders in South, I can provide manpower, but Europeans must send aid: drones, helicopters, night vision goggles, vehicles, he said in an interview with Italian national daily Corriere della Sera."
The refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: a humanitarian emergency
- 2017: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September
- 2016: Oct-Dec | Jul-Sep | Apr-Jun,| Mar | Feb, Jan
- 2015: Oct-Dec, Jan-Sep
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