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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
15.5.17
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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
SPAIN: 388 people die on the Spanish coasts in one year including 122 children

Between September 2015 and December 2016, 388 people died in their attempt to arrive in Spain by boat. 31.4% of them were children and 7.9% of them women, according to an extensive report by the NGO Caminando Fronteras. The organisation documents that, behind these deaths, beyond the risk implicit in the sea crossing, are deficiencies in the rescue efforts at the southern border that "give precedence to migration control over saving lives."

Migrants in Libya forced by smugglers to kill sick or injured friends - by burying them alive (The Telegraph, link):

"Migrants in Libya have been forced by smugglers to bury alive fellow migrants who are too sick or injured to board boats setting off across the Mediterranean towards Italy, it was revealed on Tuesday.

Migrants often spend months in Libya, held captive in squalid compounds or trying to earn enough money for their passage, and suffer knife and gunshot wounds at the hands of Libyan militia or ruthless gangs of traffickers.

They are even sold as cheap labour in modern-day slave markets, humanitarian organisations say. If they are too badly injured to walk to the beaches from where the rubber dinghies set out or if they are perceived as being too much trouble because of illness, then they are killed, said Flavio Di Giacomo, spokesman for the International Organisation for Migration."

EU: Council pushes to "increase the feed and use of biometric data" in draft conclusions on security checks and irregular migration

"The effectiveness of cross-checking both regular and irregular migrants against security databases depends to a large extent on the availability of biometrics. Illegal border-crossings are often undocumented, which means that it is impossible to run a check against any security database unless biometrics are utilised."

ECHR: Danish chairmanship of the Council of Europe to weaken the European Convention on Human Rights (ECRE, link):

"Denmark, once a proud Scandinavian front runner in the global work to strengthen human rights, might have surprised some observers when it was announced in November 2016 that the government had formed a task force of civil servants that were going to lobby the other 46 governments in the Council of Europe in order to change the “dynamic interpretation” of the ECHR. Those closely acquainted with developments in Denmark, however, would have noticed a series of very restrictive legislative measures following the arrivals of asylum seekers in Europe in the autumn of 2015.

While the 1951 UN Refugee Convention does not contain a right to family reunification the ECHR’s Article 8 on the right to private and family life is a vital legal instrument for the protection of this right. When undermining the “dynamic interpretation” of the ECHR, practiced by the European Court on Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg, Denmark is in fact targeting the right to family reunification."

Italy, Germany call for EU mission on Libya-Niger border (EurActiv, link):

"The German and Italian interior ministers have called for an EU mission to be installed on the border between Libya and Niger to stem migrant crossings to Europe.

In a letter to the European Commission dated 11 May, of which AFP obtained a copy on Sunday (14 May), ministers Thomas de Maizière and Marco Minniti said they “are convinced that we all must do more” to “prevent that hundreds of thousands of people once again risk their lives in Libya and on the Mediterranean Sea in the hands of smugglers”.

Italy had already registered nearly 42,500 migrants coming by sea by mid-April this year and 97% of them arrived from Libya, the letter said.

It called for the setting up of “an EU Mission at the border between Libya and Niger as soon as possible”."

See also: Germany and Italy want EU to halt migrants in Libya (EUobserver, link)

Dead and missing at sea: Information guide for families and their supporters (Boats 4 People, link):

"Today, Boats 4 People published an information guide for the families of migrants –and their supporters- who died or went missing while crossing Central Mediterranean sea on their way to Italy.

This guide will be presented at a public conference held in Syracuse during the Sabir Festival, organized by the Italian association ARCI (Associazione Ricreativa Culturale Italiana).

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) since 2014, more than 12 000 people lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea during their migration to Europe, 5 022 of them in the year 2016 alone. Most of them remain “non-identified”.

These intolerable tragedies are the consequence of European migration policies, which, in their attempts to prevent migrants from coming to Europe, force them to take increasingly dangerous routes."

TURKEY: Torture & Tyranny in Europe’s ‘Safe Third Country’ (Right to Remain, link):

"The recent referendum in Turkey will significantly alter its political landscape and it is vital that torture does not play a part in shaping that landscape. Last summer’s attempted coup was a shocking reminder of the fragility of Turkey’s democracy and it highlighted to the world President Erdogan’s acceptance of torture as a form of retribution against the thousands of people who have been caught up in the subsequent crackdown.

Sadly, for the people we support at Freedom from Torture this is a story they know too well. The attempted coup shone a spotlight on Turkey’s human rights abuses but they are not new. Our new report examines the cases of 60 people who faced often repeated, detention and brutal torture at the hands of Turkish state forces."

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