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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
7.3.17
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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
ECJ ruling continues absurd asylum impasse (euractiv, link):

"The European Court of Justice ruling this morning (7 March) that countries have full discretion to refuse humanitarian visas will have serious consequences for the EU’s ability to manage migration and for the lives and safety of thousands of people, writes Thomas Huddleston."

See: Judgment (pdf) and Press release (pdf): "Member States are not required, under EU law, to grant a humanitarian visa to persons who wish to enter their territory with a view to applying for asylum, but they remain free to do so on the basis of their national law."

Pushed back into Serbia, refugees describe brutal beatings by Hungarian police (Budapest Beacon, link):

"Most of the barracks’ residents have already attempted to cross the border into Hungary, many several times. All of them have been pushed back, and describe brutal beatings by Hungarian police personnel.

In a small medical tent, a young female medic was tending to an Afghan refugee. He showed her his deeply swollen leg—a Hungarian policeman beat him with a baton."

Greece: MInistry figures for number of refugees - 7.3.17 (pdf): The total number of refugees in Greece is 62,385.

Hungary decides to detain asylum-seekers in ‘container camps’ (euractiv, link):

"Hungary’s parliament today (7 March) approved the automatic detention of all asylum-seekers in container camps at its borders, sparking “deep concern” at the UN’s refugee agency.

The legislation, approved by a large majority of lawmakers, is in response to recent terror attacks in Europe carried out by migrants, according to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán."

Are You Sryious (6.3.17, link):

Islands

"Months ago the Greek government announced plans to move thousands of people from the overcrowded islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos to new facilities on Crete. As Ekathimerini recently reported, this plan is now in its final stages. The mayor of Rethymno, Giorgos Marinakis, said that the island would be able to “absorb” the new people, employing them in villages. However, he complained about the timing. “We had agreed to certain things last fall,” he said. “Now we’re at the beginning of the tourist season again,” he said to Ekathimerini.

As of this morning, on the Eastern Aegean islands a total of 61 new arrivals had been registered: 3 on Lesvos, 31 on Chios and 27 on Samos. According to official figures there are still more than 14,000 people stuck on the islands."

Hungary

"Over the last few days international media as well as Human Rights Watch have issued a series of reports about police violence in Hungary. The reports describe police practices, described by refugees, which include beating, kicking and forcing refugees to return to Serbia through the border fence. Doctors in both Belgrade and the transit area are treating the returnees. They have documented several injuries but of course can’t say who the perpetrator was. The abuses have been reported for a couple of months now."

Italy

"The Facebook group Italy-Refugee Crisis Database compared the number of arrivals to Italy over the last few years, relying on information from the interior ministry. They documented a massive increase in 2017 compared to the previous two years. While in 2015 and 2016 some 9,100 people had arrived in Italy by March 6th, this year more than 15,800 have already been counted. That’s an increase of more than 57 percent. The main nationalities of the new arrivals are: Guinea, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Bangladesh, Senegal, Morocco, Mali, Sierra Leone and Cameroon."

Top German and Austrian politicians: Block migration (News That Moves, link):

"From Bild am Sonntag: Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and German Deputy Finance Minister Jens Spahn offered their views on migration in a joint interview.

Both top politicians said migrants should be stopped before reaching the European Union and hosted in refugee centres located outside the EU.

Kurz said, “We need refugee centres outside the EU, [that] could be located in countries such as Egypt, Georgia or a country in Western Balkans.” Kurz added, “People should not be let in at all. It is easier to stop them and send them back at the EU’s external borders than when they are already living in an apartment in Vienna or Berlin."

Great Inside Story: What went wrong with the Refugee Crisis in Greece (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"What went wrong with the Refugee Crisis in Greece? Two journalists, Daniel Howden (UK) and Apostolis Fotiadis (GR) investigated the issue and published their article under the title “The Refugee Archipelago: The Inside Story of What Went Wrong in Greece” in Refugees Deeply, an independent digital media project dedicated to covering the Refugee crisis.

The authors spoke with several of the 60,000 refugees stuck in Greece about their journey from a war-ridden country to Europe but also about their journeys inside Greece: from their arrival on the islands of the eastern Aegean Sea to the north of the country and the several camps."

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