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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
18-22.1.18
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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
European Court of Human Rights finds insufficent evidence of degrading treatment of three Afghans in detention in Chios, Greece

The ECHR : Detention of three Afghan nationals in Vial migrant centre in Greece (Press release, pdf) found that only one of four complaints could be upheld - Article 5 § 2 (right to be informed promptly of the reasons for arrest). It did not uphold the complaint of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment).

The “Human Cost” of the EU’s Response to the Refugee Crisis (Frontline, link):

"By the time the first week of 2018 had ended, the Mediterranean Sea had already taken a deadly toll. A rubber dinghy sank off the coast of Libya while carrying 150 migrants and refugees from across Africa. Just eight bodies, all women, were recovered. Another 56 went missing, disappearing beneath the waves. The remaining survivors were pulled from the water and brought to Italy.

It was an ominous start to the new year. Rickety boats and rubber dinghies sinking into the Mediterranean have become a distressingly common sight throughout the ongoing migration crisis. Less than a month into 2018, more than 200 people have already died or gone missing at sea, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

As the crisis enters its third year, Europe continues to struggle with how to respond to an influx that has seen more than one-and-a-half million refugees and migrants come to its shores — and nearly 12,000 perish or go missing attempting the journey."

Rise in migrant arrivals to Italy raises fears over Libyan lawlessness (Guardian,link)

"Possibility of elections in Libya this autumn is increasing tensions between military leader in east and UN-recognised government in Tripoli.

There was a 15% year-on-year rise in the number of people reaching Italy from Libya in the first three weeks of January, piling more pressure on the UN to try to end the political stalemate in the north African country."

Majority of refugees stranded on Aegean islands to stay in Greece (ekathimerini.com, link):

"The majority of migrants and refugees who have landed on the Aegean islands since the March 2016 deal signed between the European Union and Ankara will remain in Greece as conditions for their return to Turkey are considered “not safe,” according to data from the country’s Asylum Service.

According to the data, authorities have processed 25,814 applications for asylum submitted by individuals stuck at island screening centers, or hotspots.

Authorities have rejected 5,437 of those claims and, under the terms of the deal, the applicants should be returned to Turkey. However, only around 1,400 of that number have been returned so far."

Minister on MIgrants "Croatia wull decide who to allow into its territory" (total croatia news, link)

UK gets more EU migrant cash than any other member state (euobserver, link):

"The EU has given Britain more money from a migration management fund than any other member state, most of which it then used to eject failed asylum seekers.

Despite Italy and Greece having received the vast majority of arrivals over the years, with Germany settling some one million plus asylum-seekers, the UK still managed to secure a far bigger chunk from the EU purse.

The money, or just over €3 billion, comes from the EU's asylum, migration and integration fund (Amif) and covers a period from 2014 to 2020.

Out of the total, some €2.39 billion is used to finance member state national programmes. Of that, the UK obtained 16.3 percent, followed by Italy (13.6), France (11.6) and Greece (11.3). Germany got around 9 percent.

The UK then poured almost 60 percent of the EU funding into returns, more than twice as much as most other member states, according to a joint-report by the UN Refugee Agency and the Brussels-based European Council on Refugees and Exiles (Ecre)."

Bulgaria set to delay EU talks on refugee quotas (euobserver, link):

"The EU presidency under Bulgaria appears likely to wait until the very end of negotiations before broaching the controversial refugee quota issue in a key EU asylum reform bill.

The six-month presidency is mandated to find a political consensus by the end of June on the 'Dublin' regulation, which determines who is responsible for processing asylum claims."

EU: Countdown begins for tough EU asylum reform by June (euractiv, link):

"Bulgaria today (25 January) launches the first of several meetings aimed at bridging an east-west split over reforming Europe’s asylum rules by June, when Sofia’s EU presidency ends and the migration crisis could flare anew.

The European Commission aims to insist all member countries accept controversial refugee quotas at the talks in Sofia with the 28-nation bloc’s interior ministers.

Current asylum rules “literally split Europe”, said Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, whose country holds the six-month rotating EU presidency."

MEDITERRANEAN: Human smugglers operate as ‘independent traders’, study finds (University of Cambridge, link):

"First study to model the organisation behind trade in illegal border crossings shows no “Mafia-like” monopoly of routes from Africa into Europe via Mediterranean. Instead, myriad independent smugglers compete in open markets that have emerged at every stage of the journey.(...)

Dr Paolo Campana from Cambridge University’s Institute of Criminology conducted the research using evidence from the 18-month investigation by Italian prosecutors that followed the Lampedusa shipwreck, in which 366 people lost their lives.

The work included data from wiretapped telephone conversations between smugglers at all stages, testimonies collected from migrants, interviews with police task force members, and background information on offenders.

“The smuggling ring moving migrants from the Horn of Africa to Northern Europe via Libya does not appear to have the thread of any single organisation running through it,” said Campana, whose findings are published today in the European Journal of Criminology."

GREECE-EU: Monika Gattinger: How can Europe be more traumatising than Mosul? (British Medical Journal Opinion, link):

"The people living in Moria, a refugee camp in Greece, have been abandoned by Europe and treated like criminals for nothing more than wanting to be safe (...)

Perhaps the only positive aspect of Moria, if I am forced to find one, is that because it is so crowded, those attempting suicide have no place or privacy to do it. People are stopped from harming themselves by others walking by or by those who sleep next to them. For example, there was a young Syrian man* who tried to hang himself outside the container he slept in. He was brought to the MSF mental health clinic by an older Somali man who stopped him. Now they come to all of his appointments together and he ensures that the young Syrian takes his medicine."

UK-FRANCE: 'Sandhurst Treaty' on border control cooperation: full-text, plus other documents agreed at UK-France summit

""French President Emmanuel Macron met Theresa May, UK Prime Minister, during a French-UK Summit at Sandhurst on 18 January 2018, where they signed a new protocol on migration control.

The “Sandhurst Treaty” is an addition to the Touquet Agreement, which is a bilateral treaty dating back to 2003 and signed between France and the UK that has allowed for juxtaposed border controls. The agreement has been criticized as imbalanced in making France responsible for all asylum seekers refused entry into the UK."

EU: Council of the European Union: International Protection: latest version of the proposed Dublin Regulation, chapters I-III

DUBLIN: Proposal for a Regulation establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person (recast) (LIMITE doc no: 15991-17, pdf) and see COR 1 (pdf)

"Delegations will find below the revised texts of chapters I to III of the Dublin Regulation. The suggested modifications are based on the outcome of multilateral and bilateral discussions held under the Slovak, Maltese and Estonian Presidencies, and on the on oral and written comments made by Member States in the Asylum Working Party during the first examination (...)

It is understood that all delegations have general scrutiny reservations on the whole proposal. The following delegations have indicated previously that they also have parliamentary scrutiny reservations: CZ, ES, HR, HU, LT, LV, PL, SI, UK."

UK: Home Office: Report on review of cash allowance paid to asylum seekers: 2017 (January 2018, pdf):

"After careful consideration and for the reasons the report goes on to explain, we have decided that the standard allowance provided in respect to each supported person (asylum seeker or dependant) should rise from £36.95 per week to £37.75 per week. The change is being implemented through an amendment to the Asylum Support Regulations and will take effect from 5 February 2018."

And: "We do not consider travel and communication are essential needs in themselves, but accept that they may be necessary in limited circumstances to enable other needs to be met, including those related to maintaining interpersonal relationships and a minimum level of participation in social, cultural and religious life."

EU: 'Follow the money' - new report examines spending of EU's €3.1bn Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund

"In 2018, the European Commission (EC) is to carry out a mid-term review of the AMIF, taking into account interim evaluation reports prepared by MS on the implementation of their National Programmes. The EC's interim evaluation report is to be submitted to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions by 30 June 2018.

This report presents a critical analysis of the design, the programming and to the extent possible, the implementation of the AMIF via AMIF national programmes."

EU migration control: easier access to satellite intelligence (Matthias Monroy, link):

"Earth observation is playing an increasingly important role in European security and defence policy. Greater synergies are to be achieved between civil and military capabilities in future. This is being trialled in the field of migration control: satellites are providing information about refugees’ “hiding places”, among other things. The border agency Frontex is one of the organisations using this information."

Spain transfers migrants from jail after suicide (Yahoo! News, link):

"Spanish authorities said Wednesday they had transferred migrants being controversially accommodated at a jail just two weeks after an Algerian man was found hanging in his cell in an apparent suicide contested by his brother.

The lawyer for the victim's family said some of the migrants held in the prison in Archidona near Malaga in southern Spain had been transferred to other centres around the country, while others were deported.

Amanda Romero added that among those evacuated were potential witnesses to the circumstances surrounding the death of Mohamed Bouderbala, 36, who was found hanging on December 29."

ISRAEL: ‘I won’t fly refugees to their deaths’: The El Al pilots resisting deportation (Eritrea Hub, link):

"At least three pilots for Israel’s flag carrier publish declarations publicly refusing to take part in the forced deportation of asylum seekers should they be asked to. The Israeli government is giving tens of thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers a stark choice: deportation or indefinite imprisonment. (...)

In recent weeks the Israeli government approved the deportation of refugees to third countries. According to the plan, the Holot desert detention facility, where many asylum seekers are held, will shut down and those who refuse to leave “voluntarily” to Rwanda and Uganda (and perhaps other countries) will be imprisoned indefinitely. According to numerous reports, which Rwanda and Uganda have denied, Israel will pay those countries $5,000 for each refugee they take in from Israel. Additionally, Israel will pay $3,500 to each asylum seeker who agrees to leave, although that sum will get smaller over time, thereby incentivizing them to leave sooner than later."

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