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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
20-21.4.17
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Keep in touch: Statewatch Observatory: Refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: Daily news (updated through the day), commentaries and official documents
Biometric data exchange with the US military: Europol seconds liaison officer for Operation Gallant Phoenix (link):

"Police forces in the EU member states could be able to use fingerprints and DNA traces collected by the US military in Syria and Iraq in the near future. Intelligence services would also be granted access....

Alongside Operation Gallant Phoenix, the US Government has offered to set up a database on “foreign fighters” for a number of EU member states and to compare this information with the biometric data of incoming refugees. According to another paper by the current Presidency of the Council of the European Union, this is “battlefield data from Syria and Iraq and other conflict zones”.

See: Outcome of the EU – US Justice and Home Affairs Senior Officials Meeting, Valletta, 1-2 March 2017 (LIMITE doc no: 7163-17, pdf) and Security checks in case of irregular immigration - mapping exercise (LIMITE doc no 6717-17, pdf)

Danish anti-immigration politics hurting national economy, Denmark’s Finance Ministry data shows (Daily Sabah, link):

"The Finance Ministry of Denmark, a country which has displayed a xenophobic attitude towards migrants in the past, has made calculations which show that immigration is indeed beneficial for the country and that Denmark's economy needs refugees and immigrants."

Are You Syrious (20.4.17, link)

Feature: Racist attacks on Chios

"Today a group of local radical right winged militants, reportedly Golden Dawn, attacked refugees whilst they held a protest against Salvamento Marítimo Humanitario, a Spanish NGO that has been helping refugees on Chios. The NGO is in the process of opening a new clinic on the island and was targeted today by a group of fascists that started protesting at in the morning and physically attacked some refugees outside the Chios Labor Center before they proceeded later in the evening to surround Souda camp and throw stones at the compound......"

Mediterranean Sea: Two NGOs have got together and managed to get and start using a plane to help in their rescue missions at sea

"Sea-Watch together with the Humanitarian Pilots Initiative - HPI deployed a small airplane in the area of the Mediterranean where most shipwrecks happen in order to patrol the Mediterranean graveyard as well from the air. “The “moonbird” will be operating the whole summer to help coordinate rescue missions, to reinforce the pressure on the EU which is letting people die in the Mediterranean and to prevent more shipwrecks from happening, as happened during this Eastern weekend...."

Greece: There was another busy day for the teams on the islands as boats keep arriving

"Today one boat landed on Samos in the morning with 27 people on board, 19 men, 3 women and 5 children from Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Dominican Republic and Iraq.

On Chios on boat arrived last night with 12 people on board, 4 men, 3 women and 5 children, all in good health."

Italy

"In another report of abuse of power, Baobab Experience told us how the police in Rome took 60 refugees to the station while their belongings were put in the trash."

Refugees stranded for 30 hours before rescue in Mediterranean - Maritime log passed to the Guardian reveals rising panic of 100 people during agonising wait on dinghy (Guardian, link):

"A hundred refugees and migrants crammed into a small dinghy that started taking in water in the Mediterranean endured an agonising 30-hour wait before they were rescued, a maritime log passed to the Guardian has revealed.

The incident happened over the Easter weekend, the unofficial start of the “sailing season”, which sees increased numbers of people attempting the crossing from Africa to Europe as the weather improves. Twenty children and 10 women, one of them pregnant, were among the passengers on the overcrowded dinghy. NGO rescues off Libya encourage traffickers, says EU borders chief...

The log was passed to the Guardian by Watch The Med’s Alarmphone network, an NGO which passes distress calls from migrant boats to the Italian coastguard so that a rescue can be coordinated."

Council of the European Union: Relocations, Eurodac & Skilled migrants

Implementation of Relocation Commitments (LIMITE doc no:, 8168-17, pdf):

The Note asks: "How many applicants for international protection will you be relocating from Greece and Italy over the coming five months (May-September) and how many will you be relocating per month?"

The latest 11th Report on relocation by the Commission says that: "Right now, Malta and Finland are the only two Member States so far on track to meet their obligations in time for both Italy and Greece."

And records that since September 2015 only 11,339 refugees have been relocated out of 63,302 from Greece (just 18%) and 5,001 of 34,953 from Italy (just 14%)

Eurodac Regulation: Inclusion of colour copies of passport or ID documents in Eurodac (LIMITE doc no: 8221-17, pdf):

"Where available, a scanned colour copy of an identity or travel document, and if not available, of any other document which could facilitate the identification of the third-country national or stateless person for return purposes.... Most Member States indicated that while the document should be scanned and uploaded in Eurodac immediately, establishing the authenticity of the documents should be done at a later stage."

Proposal for a Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly skilled employment (LIMITE doc no: 8280-17, 76 pages, pdf): Latest Council negotiating position with 152 Member State positions in Footnotes.

Inside Europe: A helping hand for refugees in Greece (DW, video, link)

"The Greek government has been trying to close refugee camps and rehouse about 10,000 migrants and refugees in the coutnry. Some have already been moved to apartments or hotel rooms in cities and are waiting for their asylum and relocation requests to be approved. In Thessaloniki Greece's second largest city the majority of local people have welcomed their new neighbours. Alexia Kalaitzi reports."

Greece: Two far-right bullies arrested for attacking refugees in Souda hot spot, Chios (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Two people belonging to the far-right political spectrum have been arrested and taken to the prosecutor. They are accused of attacking refugees in the surrounding area of ?? the hot spot of Souda on the island of Chios.

The two were identified by their victims, while one of them was being transferred to hospital to receive first aid for injuries."

Greece: Over 830 arrivals on the islands (News That Moves, link):

"Around 40 people per day are continuing to arrive on the Greek islands, data from the Greek government shows.

More than 830 people arrived on the islands between April 1st and April 20th. In March, 1,600 crossed from Turkey to the Greek islands, with 50 arrivals daily on average. In February, some 1,000 people arrived on Greek islands."

SPAIN: Report denounces the radicalisation of policies that violate fundamental rights at Spain's southern border

Press release published by the Andalucian Association for Human Rights (Associación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía, APDHA) on 29 March 2017. Emphasis in original.

APDHA denounces the radicalisation of policies that violate fundamental rights at the southern border - During 2016 deaths increased 34% at European coasts and 125% at Spanish coasts.

GREECE: MEDECINS DU MONDE - DELEGATION HELLENIQUE: Submission to the UN Human Rights Committee on the follow-up to the concluding observations on Greece (pdf):

"MdM Greece has, since the first moment, been present and active in the refugee-migrant crisis, reinforcing its ongoing and already existing structures and programs to respond to the increasing and pressing needs of the high numbers of refugees arriving daily and residing for longer periods in Greece. At the same time, MdM Greece has undertaken new initiatives intervening in those places where third-country nationals concentrate, such as the usual entry and exit points for refugees in Greece."

Abandoned refugees will eventually leave Greece, legally or illegally (The New Arab, link):

"According to official sources, 62,156 refugees are at the moment living in Greece, with 14,268 accommodated in official facilities on the Aegean islands, prohibited from travelling to the mainland until their asylum applications are processed.

These refugees have been stranded since March 2016, in formal and makeshift camps around the country.

On the first anniversary of the EU-Turkey refugee deal in March, thousands of refugees, along with their supporters, gathered in central Athens.

"We are humans. We demand our rights," they shouted in the streets of the Greek capital. "Open the borders."

Return of the Fast Track? (Detention Action, link):

"ustice Secretary, Liz Truss, announced proposals to introduce a fast track system to process the deportation of detained asylum-seekers and ex-offenders who have completed prison sentences in the UK. The new proposals will be considered by the Tribunal Procedure Committee (TPC), a non-departmental body, responsible for making rules that govern the practice and procedure in the First-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal. Last year, the TPC refused to set rules for a new fast track system."

See also: Government publishes plans for revamped express deportation system (Statewatch)

PORTUGAL: How to support refugees – European experiences of volunteer work for and with refugees (EUalter, link):

"Refugees are one of the most vulnerable populations, and therefore need safe and professional care and support. Volunteers’ contribution can be an important part of it as it is the collective work of people all around the world that will eventually make a difference."

Greece: Survey shows divided opinions on refugees (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Only 5 percent of refugees currently living in Athens want to remain in Greece, with the rest all keen to continue their journeys toward western and northern Europe, particularly Germany, according to survey carried out by Public Issue on behalf of Athens City Hall’s observatory for refugees and made public on Wednesday.

The same research showed that most Greeks want authorities to show solidarity to refugees and provide them with schooling and healthcare, but do not want them to stay in the country permanently."

Hungary will cease providing Kiskunhalas asylum-seekers with food by end of April (Budapest Beacon, link):

"Asylum-seekers at the camp were first told last week that the funds they receive from the Hungarian state for purchasing food will be withdrawn, a source inside the camp told the Budapest Beacon. At the same time, refugees were told that the camp will not offer them food provisions directly either.

According to the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, individuals currently in their first asylum procedure and those with protection status will be taken Thursday to Vámosszabadi refugee camp, near the border with Slovakia. An estimated eight to ten people, including a pregnant woman, will remain in Kiskunhalas but will not be provided with any food or medical services after April 28."

Attacks on migrant homes double in Austria (The Local.at, link):

" Austria recorded a sharp rise in attacks against migrant shelters last year, with 49 cases that mostly went unsolved compared to 25 in 2015, authorities said Friday.

The incidents, revealed in a response by the interior ministry to a parliamentary enquiry, ranged from racist graffiti to arson, stones being thrown through windows and gas pipes being slashed.

According to opposition lawmaker Albert Steinhauser who made the enquiry, 44 of the incidents that were clearly motivated by hatred.

Steinhauser told the Austria Press Agency (APA) that in 77 percent of the cases, police had not managed to track down the culprits."

Are You Syrious (19.4.17, link)

GERMANY

"The German State of Hesse plans mandatory residence for refugees. Political parties plan to dictate the place of residency for refugees in order to prevent the formation of ghettos in major cities, to ensure that no one can receive their social welfare more than once (by only paying it out at the mandatory place of residence), and to fight rural depopulation. As such, the entities behind the plan view it as a “win-win.” German integration law allows the States to issue such directives."

FRANCE

"Sursaut Citoyen has launched an interactive web map of relief and support efforts for refugees in France. It has a phonebook in order to help put everyone in touch with one another and speed communication and coordination. Check it out here.

In a report by Europe 1, information about the informal and formal camps around Paris was published."

MEDITERRANEAN SEA

"Horror and grief on the sea again as MSF Sea reported that a woman had a miscarriage after watching her husband drown as they attempted to cross the sea. Additionally, a boat with the bodies of 28 people was found floating off of Libya, highlighting that the dangers at sea are not only in the water.

Commercial ships continue to pick up the slack for EU as Opielok Offshore Carriers picked up a total of nine boats on the sea, rescuing a total of over one thousand people. Much thanks and support to the commercial ships who are saving lives around the clock.

Additionally, two boats carrying 199 people were intercepted by the Turkish coast guard on the 19th of April."

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