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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
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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
Greece: Snow leaves refugees and government exposed (, link):
"Government officials were trying Monday to find an emergency solution that would allow them to temporarily move some 1,000 refugees out of the Moria camp on the island of Lesvos to protect them from the snow and freezing weather.

Authorities met Monday with representatives of the local hoteliers’ association but were unable to reach an agreement as the union held an emergency general assembly three months ago, when members decided that hotel rooms should not be made available for refugees.

“We understand that there is an emergency but for the decision to be reversed there needs to be another [union] general assembly,” the president of the Lesvos Hoteliers’ Association, Pericles Antoniou, told Kathimerini."

Greece: Refugees are no longer living in the cold, says migration minister (ANA-MPA, link):

"05/ 01/ 2017: The government has successfully completed the procedure of overwintering in camps and refugee centers around the country and there are no more refugees or migrants living in the cold, Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas told journalists on Thursday. “There are no refugees or migrants living in the cold anymore. We successfully completed the procedures for overwintering,

EU Commission: “untenable” situation in Greece’s refugee camps (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said the commission “is aware that the situation is currently untenable, but we also have to be clear” that conditions in reception centers are the responsibility of Greek authorities."

Migration minister makes second failed attempt to reach Lesvos (, link):

"Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas was prevented for a second time on Tuesday from reaching the island of Lesvos, where he hopes to inspect a migrant camp amid criticism of conditions from aid workers and European authorities.

Mouzalas tried to reach the eastern Aegean island by helicopter at noon after an airplane from Athens was turned back because of low clouds and snow earlier in the day, but this second attempt also failed due to weather conditions....

Mouzalas on Monday admitted that the situation on the islands due to the sub-zero temperatures is not acceptable but suggested that the main reason for this is that locals have obstructed plans to expand reception facilities so migrants can be moved out of the hotspots." [emphasis added]

Greece: Moria Community Leaders Demand Respect for Refugee Rights in Lesvos (Lesvos Legal Centre, link):

"In the face of months of horrible conditions and delayed procedures in Moria Refugee Camp, refugee community leaders have come together to defend their rights and dignity, despite the many obstacles they face. Copied below is the letter with recommendations that was sent by representatives of refugee communities in Moria Camp to the Coordinator of the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement. Please share, and call on your European Commission representatives to respond."

Are You Syrious (9.1.17, link)

“No person seeking protection, fleeing war, torture and extreme violence should be left out in the cold” Clement Perrin, MSF

"All along the Balkan route, temperatures have dropped so low that the situation in the official and makeshift camps has become unbearable and is putting lives in danger. From the frozen tents in Lesvos to the freezing, abandoned buildings in Belgrade, people are being treated by the authorities as if they are not living beings. As Stefano Argenziano, MSF’s operations coordinator on migration, points out, “the EU has decided to turn the entire region into its own gatekeeper,” and this gatekeeper has no means and in most cases, will, to create a system that would protect these people from the most basic of threats — freezing temperatures."

Serbia Why we need independent organizations in the field

"Representatives from Fresh Response have posted this message describing the current situation in Northern Serbia, as well as in other parts of the country, stressing the importance of independent networks in providing necessary aid and assistance."

France: French police steal blankets in an effort to make those living in the streets disappear

"In an effort not unlike that of the Serbian authorities, French authorities are trying to make refugees leave the streets of Paris by denying them the bare essentials they need to survive these cold days. It has been reported both by media and activists on the ground that police are taking blankets from people sleeping in the streets in order to push them away and/or make them invisible. As MSF points out, these people are on the streets due to overcrowding of reception centers. These actions heighten the “systematic police violence” aimed at these people."

Croatia: Ostojic: We have no other choice but to send migrants on to Schengen area (, link):

"Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said at the Opatovac reception centre, eastern Croatia on Monday that Croatia had no other choice but to send refugees and migrants arriving from Serbia on to Slovenia and the Schengen area, reiterating that the key to the refugee crisis was in Greece, which should be the first to control the influx of refugees and migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

“If someone wants to decide that Croatia should be a wall, no problem, but such a decision should be made at the EU level. In that case we would admit that Greece is not fit to be a member of the Schengen area nor is it able to comply with EU rules,” Ostojic told a press conference, adding that this had also been demanded by Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic."

Expulsion of seriously ill migrants: a new ECtHR ruling reshapes ECHR and EU law (EU Law Analysis, link):

"In what is possibly one of the most important judgments of 2016, Paposhvili v. Belgium, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has memorably reshaped its case law on when Article 3 ECHR (which bans torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment) applies to the expulsion of seriously ill migrants. In a unanimous judgment, the Court leaves behind the restrictive application of the high Article 3 threshold set in N. v. the United Kingdom and pushes for a more rigorous assessment of the risk of ill-treatment in these cases.

For us at the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University, it was a thrill to intervene as a third party in such an important case. In our third party intervention we submitted that Paposhvili offered a unique opportunity to depart from the excessively restrictive approach adopted in N. We are delighted that the Grand Chamber has seized the opportunity to re-draw the standards in this area of its case law in a way that does fuller justice to the spirit of Article 3."

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