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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
30.11.17-4,12.17
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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
Lesvos, Greece:The Memories of the Dead will not be erased with Black Paint (w2eu, link):

"In the night of the 24th of November 2017, by the harbour of Thermi on Lesvos Island, unidentified persons vandalised the memorial that we had erected there in 2013. It carries the names of those who had drowned on their journeys to Europe. Two wooden paddles hold the plaque with the names of the dead and the memorial looks out to the sea, dedicated to those of all ages and backgrounds, whose lives ended at sea."

GREECE: The number of refugees on the Greek islands as at 30.11.17 was 15,486: Lesvos: 8,398, Chios: 2,649, Samos 2,247. Leros: 1004, Kos: 1,044, Other islands: 144 (Hellenic MInistry).

Are You Syrious (2.12.17, link)

Feature: When injustice becomes law… Resistance becomes a duty

"The European commission is currently in the process of pushing through a proposal which will replace the Asylum Procedures Directive of 2013. The new proposal will expand the concept of a ‘safe third-party country’ and the consequence of this is that applications could now be rejected lawfully based solely on the grounds of ‘inadmissibility.’ This has the potential to extend way farther than the current EU-Turkey deal and the effects are going to be catastrophic for asylum seekers.

We need to act now before this legislation is passed."

Sea

"Seven boats were rescued on the Spanish coast today by SALVAMENTO MARITIMO. The total number of those rescued today came to 164 persons.

Maydayterraneo - Proyecto AitaMari is asking for people to join their team and become rescuers. In 8 rescue operations, they have rescued 580 lives thanks to team work. They want to highlight that donations also help to save lives: 50 euros can provide 200 people rescued at sea with warm blankets. To learn more visit this link."

Greece

"Currently the islands of the Aegean are ‘housing’ approximately 15,500 refugees. Hotspots such as Moria, Vathi and Vial are three times over capacity yet still the travel ban is not being lifted which would allow refugees to be transferred to accommodations on the mainland, many of which remain unfilled.

A rally has been organised for Tuesday by the municipalities of the three islands in an attempt to bring the current situation on the islands to the attention of the media. Protesters will congregate outside the Immigration Policy Ministry and demand the immediate transfer of refugees from the Eastern Aegean islands to the mainland."

Are You Syrious (1.12.17, link)

Feature: Winter

"Some parts of Europe are already covered with snow. In others, it is rainy and very cold. In these conditions, thousands of people are on the move, trying to reach a place where they will feel safe.

Unfortunately, too many of them are forced to stay out in the open, using makeshift shelters, while almost the only help they get comes from volunteers and locals. For all of these groups, help is needed to continue helping people who are abandoned by the institutions and big NGOs, and left in the streets of European cities.

The situation is not good in Greece, but also in Serbia, Italy, Spain, France, Croatia (...)"

EU

"The slave auctions in Libya that have provoked international outrage are partly a result of policies put in place by the EU, the director of France’s Doctors Without Borders wrote Thursday in an op-ed for Le Monde, and Politico translated it into English.

Refugee Accommodation and Solidarity Space City Plaza is organizing an action day across Europe: Stop Europe Funding Slavery in Libya - Stop Wars Against Migrants on December 18.

If you want to participate, get in touch with them: solidarity2refugees@gmail.com"

Encampment and migrants wandering the streets of Paris (Paris, the new border-city?) (migreurop, link):

"Public administrations or specialised agencies are not the only ones producing data : not for profit organisations and collectives supporting migrants also collect information that helps capture – in a very precise manner – what exiles endure.

Since 2014, thousands of exiles have been living on the streets of Paris. Most if not all of them gather, forming makeshift camps and squats to resist hunger, thirst or fear. The city police and the riot police force dismantle these camps using their boots, guard dogs and tear gas. Tents, sleeping bags, carboard boxes and sometimes even ID documents are thrown into garbage trucks owned by the city of Paris, while fences, blocks of stone and urban furniture are set up to prevent any further informal settlement.

This map illustrates two distinct processes : the first one displays the era of a non-welcoming policy through the example of street camps established between 2010 and 2016. The second process, which started on 22 July 2016, identifies the elements of ever-stronger repression where “evacuation and shelter” operations were replaced with mass arrests and deportations flights. The so-called “transit” city centre opened by the city of Paris in September 2016 at “Porte de la Chapelle” in the 18th arrondissement should probably have acted as a wake-up call. If Paris is not a border-city, why was a transit camp open there?"

And see: Calais : 20 ans d’(in)hospitalité (migreurop, link): "Calais: 20 years of (in)hospitality

For 20 years, exiles transiting through the city of Calais and its vicinity have been confronted with police operations forcing them into areas with often inhuman and degrading living conditions. When these sites become too visible, they are systematically dismantled. This was the case with the Sangatte camp in December 2002, for a large part of the jungle in 2009, when squats and scattered settlements in Calais were closed in the winter of 2015, or when the slums surrounding the Jules Ferry centre were eradicated in October 2016. The British and French governments have persistently deceived public opinion into believing that such police operations may solve the migration situation. Yet in fact, precarious living areas will keep reappearing if appropriate solutions are not provided. "

UK: Marcin was crying, begging for help’: crisis of EU migrants detained in the UK (The Observer, link):

"The death of a Pole was one of three suicides in detention centres in a month, and relatives claim the Home Office is covering up cell deaths."

Islanders to descend on Athens over refugee crisis (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Protesters will converge outside the Immigration Policy Ministry on Tuesday to demand immediate relief for the eastern Aegean islands of Samos, Lesvos and Chios, where facilities for migrants and refugees are overflowing with thousands of stranded asylum seekers.

The rally is being organized by the municipalities of the three islands and aims to publicize the plight of asylum seekers who have been trapped there for more than a year, testing local communities."

ECRE head: Asylum management needs compliance, not new laws (euractiv, link):

"Some European countries are trying to enact restrictive policies and create a hostile atmosphere to discourage migrants and asylum seekers, blatantly ignoring EU and international law, Catherine Woollard told EURACTIV Slovakia."

Why German airport checks target Greeks (New Europe, link):

"Schengen took a wrong turn during a recent flight from Greece to Germany. Berlin decided to block free travel within the Schengen zone in response to Europe’s refugee crisis and Islamic terror."

UNHCR: Arrivals in the Med 2017: 166,250: Italy 121,916, Greece: 27,245, Spain: 21,304, Cyprus 1,062.

And see: UNHCR Europe monthly report (pdf):

"Between 1 January 2017 and 31 October 2017, 157,400 refugees and migrants arrived by sea and land to Europe (Greece, Italy, Spain and Cyprus only, including arrivals to the Canary Islands and by land to Spain). As a result of the reduced numbers of refugees and migrants crossing from Libya, the 5,800 sea arrivals in October was 79% lower than arrivals in October 2016. This October, sea arrivals from Tunisia comprised approximately 46% of sea arrivals in Italy and for the third successive month more refugees and migrants arrived in Greece by sea than those who crossed from Libya.(...)

In Greece, the conditions on the islands have deteriorated further as a result of the increased arrivals since August 2017 and the limited reception capacity. The situation is most dire on Lesvos and Samos. On Lesvos, nearly 5,200 people are staying in a site with capacity for 1,400 at the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) and the olive grove next to Moria (at 31 October) while on Samos there are 1,584 people at the Vathy RIC site with capacity for 700.(...)

Europe (CoE) Commissioner for Human Rights published a letter sent to the Italian Minister of Interior requesting information on Italy’s maritime operations in Libyan territorial waters, urging the Italian government to clarify the kind of support they expect to provide to the Libyan authorities and what safeguards Italy has put in place to ensure that people intercepted or rescued by Italian Italian vessels in Libyan territorial waters do not subsequently face a situation contrary to Article 3 ECHR (prohibition of torture). The Commissioner also requested information on the measures ensuring that search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, including those by NGOs, can continue to be carried out effectively and safely."

EU-AFRICA: Joint Statement on the Migrant Situation in Libya (pdf):

"African and European leaders, gathered in Abidjan for the 5th AU/EU Summit, discussed the terrible media reports on inhuman treatment of African migrants and refugees by criminal groups. They condemned in the strongest terms any such criminal acts and expressed their firm resolve to work together for an immediate end of these criminal practices and to ensure the wellbeing of the migrants and refugees.(...)

They stressed the imperative need to improve the conditions of migrants and refugees in Libya and to undertake all necessary action to provide them with the appropriate assistance and to facilitate their voluntary repatriation to their countries of origin as well as durable solutions for refugees."

And see: Civil Society barred from speaking at the Africa-Europe Summit (Concord, link):

"The AU EU Summit should have been a great opportunity for young people from Africa and the EU to exchange and listen to each other’s views. Scheduled to speak, and with speeches prepared, as part of the peace, security, and governance section of the Summit today, instead their contribution was ruled out on the grounds of “rules of procedure” after the objections of a number of delegations. Civil Society Organisations in a statement reacted angrily to the situation."

EU-Africa join forces against slave trade (euractiv, link):

"During an emergency meeting on the situation in Libya, nine African countries and European member states decided to launch a joint intelligence operation to dismantle the human trafficking networks.

The tragic situation of migrants being trafficked in Libya has taken space on the agenda of the 5th summit between the European Union and the African Union in Abidjan.

On the sidelines of the summit, the African Union, the EU and the Secretary General of the United Nations, as well as nine countries present at the summit (Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Chad, Niger, Libya, Congo, Morocco), held an emergency meeting to decide on actions to stop human trafficking in Libya. (...)

To fight these networks more effectively, the countries agreed to pool their intelligence services to create an operational “task force”. This would be tasked with “challenging and dismantling the networks of traffickers, as well as their financers”, said Macron."

See:  Documents: Operation Sophia anti-migrant smuggling mission to host "crime information cell" pilot project

European University Institute (EUI): Human Rights Violations by Design: EU-Turkey Statement Prioritises Returns from Greece Over Access to Asylum (pdf);

"The EU-Turkey-Statement proposes to reduce arrival rates and deaths in the sea by subjecting individuals who arrive on Greek islands after 20 March 2016 to fast-track asylum procedures and, in the case of negative decisions, to returns to Turkey.(...)

the Greek government should stop the systematic detention of individuals from certain nationality groups upon arrival and ensure that migration related detention is in all cases based on an individual assessment of proportionality and necessity."

And: Post-deportation risks under the EU-Turkey Statement: What happens after readmission to Turkey? (EUI, pdf)

EU: FIDH: The externalization of migration policies: a scourge for human rights (pdf):

"FIDH is concerned about the outsourcing of migration policies and increase in their repressive character, particularly through the externalization of borders from countries of destination to the countries of transit and departure."

Saving Lives at Sea - A two-week rescue mission with SOS MEDITERRANEE (HRW, link):

"The Aquarius, chartered by the nongovernmental organization SOS MEDITERRANEE to rescue migrants while heading for Europe, had motored to the oilfield to collect 36 people -mainly Syrians and Egyptians - picked up earlier by an oil company supply ship. From the bridge of the Aquarius, a spotlight revealed the tiny wooden boat, tethered to the stern of the supply ship, bobbing like a toy in the black water.

This spectacular backdrop exposes a cruel reality. The Mediterranean is the deadliest migration route in the world, with over 15,000 deaths recorded since 2014. So far this year almost 3,000 have gone missing or died, including 26 Nigerian girls in one tragic incident."

Estonia aims to resuscitate EU refugee quotas (euractiv, link):

"Estonia on Wednesday (29 November) presented a compromise proposal on the relocation of refugees, which it said would be “fair” to all EU member states, deeply divided over how to deal with asylum seekers arriving in Europe.".

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