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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
8.7.18
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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
Are You Syrious (7.7.18, link);

Feature - "Human Life is Inviolable” Article 1 of the EU Charter

"Numbers of missing and dead people continue to rise in the Mediterranean while EU governments sit back, watch, close their ports and lock their doors. Since 2015 over 20,600 people have died at sea while attempting to travel from Northern Africa and Southern Europe. This June, since Salvini became Interior Minister of Italy and other EU states decided to follow his brutal lead, has been the month with the highest death toll since IOM began their records.(...)

These are crimes against humanity, illegal under the laws of the sea, the 1951 Refugee Convention, the Human Rights Act and of our collective conscience. When will an EU member state finally stand up and say enough is enough? When will a critical mass of citizens and civil society finally refuse to comply with these policies and through this simple tool end the murderous route that EU leaders are trying to force us down?"

EU position on the Global Compact on Migration advocates some of the worst features of its policies and actions

The Council of the European Union is negotiating its position on: HLWG/CONUN discussion of 15 June 2018 on the negotiations of the Global Compact on Migration - Chairs’ Summary (LIMITE doc no: 10636-18, pdf) includes "search and rescue" when current EU policies in the Med are colluding in the death of refugees by refusing to allow NGO boats to pick them out of the sea.

EU-MED: Witnesses not welcome: Civil search aircraft blocked from operation (Seawatch, link):

"The political offensive against civil sea rescue continues: Now the civil reconnaissance aircraft Moonbird was blocked from operations as well. The aircraft is operated by Sea-Watch and the Swiss Humanitarian Pilots Initiative (HPI) and is supported by the Protestant Church of Germany (EKD). The Maltese authorities do not allow any kind of search and rescue operations. From now on no search flights in the search area north of the Libyan coast are possible anymore. Since operations started, Moonbird was involved in the rescue of 20 000 people and more than 1000 would have drowned, if the Moonbird Crew would not have found their sinking boats in the last minute."

Institute of Race Relations: Who we are is what we do (link):

"Jenny Bourne, IRR veteran, writes on what the memorial event for A. Sivanandan held on 23 June at Conway Hall, meant for her (...)

"This was a looking back only as a way of celebrating and honing a particular perspective and political practice. In the light of current moves – towards elevating identity politics, emphasising ‘unconscious bias’ and changing just attitudes and representation – the meeting was constantly recalling the aptness of Siva’s practice reflected in down-to-earth aphorisms: ‘who we are is what we do’, ‘the racism that kills not the racism that discriminates’, ‘thinking in order to do not thinking in order to think’; his method of ‘lived theory’ and the urgency to build ‘communities of resistance'."

UPDATED: UNHCR: Lesvos, Greece: Weekly Snapshot (pdf): "Some 8,000 refugees and migrants reside on Lesvos". Statewatxh adds: Greece Ministry of the Interior figures for 4 July 2018 show: 9,486 refugees on Lesvos with a total if 17,773 on the islands.

And: Islands: An update on the new arrivals to Greece (Are You Syrious, link):

"Aegan Boat Report has concluded that UNHCR’s figures on the new arrivals on the islands for the month of June are not correct, stating this week, that “Arrivals on Lesvos was 257, not 316. [As UNHCR stated]. The week before was 153, not 96. How hard can it be to put out correct information.”

It is somewhat shocking that UNHCR is not even able to put together reliable statistics for the number of people arriving on the Aegean Islands. The UNHCR has long failed to provide for the basic needs and rights of refugees on the islands, yet they have always prioritized putting out their glossy data sheets. Now it seems they cannot even do this properly."

EU: Calls by Orban, Seehofer for more migrant returns (ekathimerini.com, link)

"Amid a widening rift in the European Union over how to manage the bloc’s refugee problem, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer on Thursday separately called for more migrant returns to Greece and Italy.

During a tense press conference in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Orban called for undocumented migrants to be returned to Greece, noting that it is the first country of arrival even if all migrants are not registered there."

Right of asylum: Austria’s unsettling proposals to member states (euractiv, link):

"According to an article by French daily Le Monde, Austria, which currently holds the six-month rotating presidency of the EU, sent troubling proposals to EU member states to reform the right of asylum. EURACTIV.fr reports.

In a document given to member states and seen by Le Monde, Austria believes that “the EU and the political elites have lost control of the situation” on migration (...)

In a controversial move, the document also suggests a reform of asylum policy “which would allow for asylum procedures not to be processed on European soil”.

UPDATED: European Parliament: Refugee crisis and humanitarian help: Discussion and vote today: MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION further to Question for Oral Answer B8-0034/2018 pursuant to Rule 128(5) of the Rules of Procedure on guidelines for Member States to prevent humanitarian assistance from being criminalised (2018/2769(RSP)) Claude Moraes on behalf of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (pdf) and see Agenda (link) and Press release (link)

Domino effect of German border closure awaits crucial Vienna talks (euractiv, link):

"The Austrian government remains cautious but warned there will be consequences if the German border is closed, ahead of a meeting with Interior Minister Horst Seehofer on Thursday (5 July) in Vienna.

The decision of the German government to close the border with Austria and establish centres on the border to process asylum requests “came by surprise”, Austrian Foreign Affairs Minister Karin Kneissl told reporters in the nation’s capital."

EU funds the sacking of rescue ships in the Mediterranean (link)

"The European Union has mandated Italy to set up several maritime control centres in Libya. The Coast Guard and Maritime Police will be linked to European surveillance systems, the authorities will communicate directly with Frontex. The project costs 46 million euros and starts in July. But the Libyan Coast Guard has since long been connected to Italian counterparts."

Macron warning over EU's Africa migrant centre plans (BBC News, link):

"French President Emmanuel Macron has told the BBC that EU plans to create migrant processing centres in North Africa will not work unless the process is led by those countries."

Europe is using smartphone data as a weapon to deport refugees (Wired, link):

"Smartphones have helped tens of thousands of migrants travel to Europe. A phone means you can stay in touch with your family – or with people smugglers. On the road, you can check Facebook groups that warn of border closures, policy changes or scams to watch out for. Advice on how to avoid border police spreads via WhatsApp.

Now, governments are using migrants' smartphones to deport them.

Across the continent, migrants are being confronted by a booming mobile forensics industry that specialises in extracting a smartphone’s messages, location history, and even WhatsApp data. That information can potentially be turned against the phone owners themselves. "

Children are separated from parents in the UK just like in Trump’s America (Metro, link)

"The desperate cries of children torn from their parents by US officials on the US-Mexico border have rightly provoked outrage and revulsion worldwide. Less well-known is that the UK government also separates parents from their children for the purpose of immigration control by sending the parent into immigration detention.

Every day, my charity Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) works with detained parents separated from their children to try and secure their release from detention.

For a child who has left for school in the morning thinking that their dad or mum will be there in the evening to come home and find that they have been taken away and detained is absolutely devastating. The long-term psychological impact of such trauma on children is well documented. The “lucky” ones are those who have another parent to take care of them. In some extreme cases, children left behind can be taken into care."

Italy to give Libya extra boats to deal with migrant crossings (The Local, link)

"The Italian government will give Libya 12 boats to help them "fight human trafficking" and curb the flow of migrants into Europe, Rome announced on Monday.

The announcement comes as several EU nations are pressuring Libya to take charge of migrant rescues in the Mediterranean, with the bloc debating how to handle the influx of migrants to the continent.

The measure, adopted during a cabinet meeting, "aims to strengthen the operational capacity of the Libyan coastguard" to ensure the "proper management" of the migrant situation in the Mediterranean, a government statement said.

The measure "prioritizes the need to fight human trafficking, to protect human life at sea and to curb migratory pressure," the statement added. The Italian government will also take responsibility for the maintenance of the 12 boats until the end of the year and offer training to the Libyan coastguard and naval authorities."

UN sets conditions for EU 'disembarkation platforms' - full-text of the letter from the IOM and UNHCR

"UN agencies are imposing conditions before agreeing to any new EU plans to prevent boats leaving from north Africa to Italy and Spain (...)

Donald Tusk, the European Council president, wants the platforms outside Europe with the cooperation of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM).

But a joint confidential letter [pdf] sent by heads of the UNHCR and IOM says any such country, as in north Africa, must first set up reception centres that provide "adequate, safe and dignified reception conditions."

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