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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
10.6.18
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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
Lesvos, Greece: Persecuted Kurdish People in Lesvos Release Statement to Authorities (link);

"The Kurdish individuals who are temporarily living in Pikpa Camp in Lesvos have released a statement demanding that Greek and European authorities protect their rights. These individuals fled war and persecution in Syria and Turkey and on 25 May 2018 they faced further violence in Moria Camp. The extreme violence they have fled and that they continue to face in Lesvos, Greece has left several injured and traumatized. Their trauma has not ended however, as Moria camp administration have this week threatened them with deportation to Turkey if they do not return to Moria Camp, which would subject them to collective expulsion and persecution in Turkey, in violation of human rights and refugee law.

Their statement and demands are here in Greek and English."

Danish PM proposes asylum camps outside the EU (infomigrants.net, link):

"The Danish Prime Minister has proposed camps for processing asylum seekers to be set up outside EU borders. The idea reportedly has support from several European countries - including Austria.

The Danish government's latest policy move to tighten immigration came during a speech this week marking Denmark's Constitution Day: Prime Minister Rasmussen said he wanted to set up centers for the reception of migrants and camps for rejected asylum seekers in a European country outside the EU. He said that Germany, the Netherlands and Austria had been included in discussions about the project, which could get underway within months." [emphasis added]

Turkey suspends ‘migrant readmission’ deal with Greece (hurriyetdailynews.com, link):

"Turkey has suspended its bilateral migrant readmission deal with Greece in response to a decision by a Greek court to release eight former Turkish soldiers who fled the country a day after the July 2016 coup attempt, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu said on June 6.

“We have a migrant deal with the EU. It is being implemented. We have a bilateral readmission deal with Greece. We have now suspended this agreement. The process is not fully over but our works towards Greece will continue,” Çavusoglu told reporters in Antalya."

See: EU Council of the European Union: Council Decision of 23 March 2016 establishing the position to be taken on behalf of the European Union within the Joint Readmission Committee on a Decision of the Joint Readmission Committee on implementing arrangements for the application of Articles 4 and 6 of the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Turkey on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation from 1 June 2016 (pdf)

This Decision brings forward the starting date on the main Agreement adopted in 2014: AGREEMENT between the European Union and the Republic of Turkey on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation (pdf) (Statewatch database)

See: Migrant deal with Turkey not having much effect anyway (ekathimerini.com, link) and Turkey's suspension of migrant deal with Greece doesn't affect EU, says Germany (ekathimerini.com, link).

Are You Syrious (7.6.8, link);

Feature

"The Italian justice has definitely dimissed the case against Proactiva Open Arms, that led to the seizure of their boat. It confirms Proactiva acted in accordance with international law. The investigation started after Proactiva rescuers refused to hand over people they had rescued to a Libyan coast guard unit in international waters, despite instructions from the Italian maritime rescue coordination center to do so. Despite these good news, the future of rescue organisations remains uncertain, as Italian Interior Minister Salvini recently called rescue organisations “smugglers” and said no rescue boat should be able to dock in Italian ports."

Sweden votes law for new unaccompanied minors

"Dagens Nyheter reports the Swedish Parliament has voted in favor of a new law that allows thousands of refugees, mostly Afghan minors that have already been rejected, to get a new chance of staying in Sweden. The law gives the opportunity for those who meet very specific criteria and study at a high school level to finish their education and get a job, and then apply for permanent recidency. Not everyone will be able to apply. Hundreds of activists in Sweden have been holding demonstrations, meetings with lawmakers and raising their voice to give the young boys a new chance."

EU asylum agency chief resigns amid bullying allegations - José Carreira had been accused of bullying and using ‘psychological violence’ as a management tool (Politico, link):

"The executive director of the EU’s asylum agency stepped down Wednesday amid allegations of staff harassment, including “psychological violence” and an investigation by the bloc’s anti-fraud office."

Greece: Asylum-Seeking Women Detained with Men - Urgently End Dangerous Detention Conditions (HRW, link):

"Greek authorities are routinely confining asylum-seeking women with unrelated men in the northern Evros region, at the land-border with Turkey, putting them at grave risk of sexual violence and harassment. Authorities should immediately stop holding asylum-seeking women and girls in closed facilities with unrelated men.

Human Rights Watch research in Northern Greece in late May 2018 found women and girls housed with unrelated men in sites for reception and/or detention of asylum seekers. Twelve women and two girls interviewed said they had been locked in cells or enclosures for weeks, and in one case for nearly five months, with men and boys they did not know. Four said they were the sole females confined with dozens of men, in some cases with at least one male partner or relative.

“Women and girls should not be confined with men who are complete strangers, even for a day,” said Hillary Margolis, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “These women and girls came to Greece seeking security and protection, and instead they are living in fear.”"

Refugee numbers surge to 1% of the world’s population (New Europe, link):

"According to the 2018 Global Peace Index approximately 1% of the world’s population – or 65,6 million people – were refugees at the end of 2016.

The number of refugees is comparable to the population of France or the UK.

More than half of the world’s refugees (55%) are from Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan. The flow of refugees is not likely to subside as conflict remains at its highest level in a decade.

The surge in refugee flows has also become a major political theme with anti-migrant parties gaining ground across Europe."

Libya: Understanding the impact of EU migration measures on refugees and migrants (REACH, link):

"Despite the political instability which ensued the two civil wars in Libya in 2011 and 2014 persists, more than 700,000 refugees and migrants are in Libya today. They are among the most vulnerable population groups in the country with grave protection concerns reported both in detention and in urban areas. Some of these include arbitrary detention, systematic exploitation and kidnapping by militia groups. In this context, and in the backdrop of a rise in arrivals from Libya through the Central Mediterranean Sea route to Italy since 2016, the European Union and its member states have put in place a number of measures with the United Nations backed Government of National Accord in Libya in order to stem the flow of refugees and migrants towards Italy.

As a result of these measures, the number of refugees and migrants reaching Italy from Libya has drastically decreased. Yet, it is not clear how these measures impacted refugees’ and migrants’ lives in Libya. REACH conducted this study, in partnership with UNHCR, to provide an understanding of the impact of migration measures implemented in Libya since early 2017 on mixed migration routes, smuggling hubs, and the lives of refugees and migrants in the country. It is based on 75 in-depth semi structured individual interviews with refugees and migrants in urban areas across the country and 32 key informant interviews with smugglers, law enforcement officials and civil society activists, conducted from 21st March to 2nd of April 2018.

The assessment finds that migration routes to and within Libya have diversified since early 2017. It finds an increase in arrivals from Algeria and Chad and a multiplication of smuggling hubs along the eastern coast of the country. In the face of increased coastguard controls along the Libyan coast, the numbers of refugees and migrants held for long periods of time with limited freedom of movement in warehouses and unsafe accommodations along the coast have increased."

Spain: Ombudsman calls for access to asylum in detention (AIDA, link):

"The Spanish Ombudsman has recently urged the authorities to set up a system of immediate registration of asylum applications in Detention Centres for Foreigners (CIE). As the adoption of an Implementing Regulation for the Asylum Act has been pending since 2009, Spain has no rules in place to instruct CIE on the handling of claims made in detention.

At the CIE of Madrid, persons seeking protection are instructed to put their written intention to apply for asylum in a mailbox and to wait until the mailbox has been opened for the asylum procedure to start. According to the Ombudsman, this has resulted in a number of asylum seekers being deported before the authorities have opened the mailbox to find their applications."

Libya signs borders control agreement with southern neighboring countries (The Libya Observer, link):

"Libya’s Foreign Ministry announced that Libya had signed an agreement with its southern neighboring countries Niger, Chad and Sudan to secure the joint borders against human trafficking and weapons smuggling.

The Foreign Minister Mohammed Sayala signed on Thursday in the capital of Chad N'Djamena the agreement which will help jointly secure the borders, according to the ministry’s statement.

“Libya is working on supporting joint relations between the four countries and is keen to support all efforts to combat terrorism, transnational organized crime, smuggling of all kinds, illegal migration, mercenaries, arms smuggling, and smuggling of all kinds of subsidized commodities and petroleum derivatives." Sayala said, according to the statement."

EU: Abolish Dublin Regulation for a humane asylum system built on solidarity (EurActiv, link) by Cornelia Ernst MEP:

"The European Parliament and the Council will soon negotiate a revision of the Dublin regulation, concerning the EU’s asylum system. This is an opportunity for the EU to develop a more humane system based on objective criteria, and for every member state to take its share of responsibility, writes Cornelia Ernst."

German Cabinet approves new refugee family reunification law (Deutsche Welle, link)

"Beginning August 1, the new migrant family reunification law will:

- Expand the right to family reunification to refugees living in Germany with lower-level "subsidiary" protection, a status that falls short of full asylum and doesn't grant indefinite stay.
- Grant an additional 1,000 refugees per month the right to settle in Germany, provided they have relatives with subsidiary status already living in the country.
- Allow only refugees' spouses, unmarried minors and the parents of minors already in Germany qualify for the scheme.
- Give priority to humanitarian cases, such as those affecting young children, the seriously ill or people facing political persecution.
- Carry over unfulfilled quotas from one month to the next, although only for the first five months.
- Under exceptional circumstances, even allow migrants in Germany flagged as potential Islamists to apply for family reunification, provided they can prove to authorities that neither they nor their relatives will pose a threat.
"

New report by ECRE and AIDA: Access to asylum and detention at France's borders (link to pdf):

"The confinement of asylum seekers arriving at the borders in France in order to decide on their right to enter the territory for the purpose of examining their asylum application has been an integral and controversial part of France’s asylum system. The European Court of Human Rights held already in the 1996 landmark judgment of Amuur v. France that the placement of individuals in hotel accommodation near Orly airport constituted deprivation of liberty and therefore needed to comply with the safeguards set out in Article 5 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).

At the same time, the creation of waiting zones is not limited to the country’s airports or ports. More recently, informal zones have emerged as spaces allowing the de facto detention without any formal decision of migrants and asylum seekers arriving from Italy. Parallel to counter-terrorism measures, culminating in the permanent anti-terrorism legislation adopted in October 2017,1 the French government has stepped up controls at its internal Schengen borders, as well as the use of asylum and immigration detention, thereby suggesting a policy link between migration and counter-terrorism, without such a connection being substantiated by evidence on the ground."

EU: Europe and nationalism: A country-by-country guide (BBC News, link):

"Across Europe, nationalist and far-right parties have made significant electoral gains.

Some have taken office, others have become the main opposition voice, and even those yet to gain a political foothold have forced centrist leaders to adapt.

In part, this can be seen as a backlash against the political establishment in the wake of the financial and migrant crises, but the wave of discontent also taps into long-standing fears about globalisation and a dilution of national identity.

Although the parties involved span a broad political spectrum, there are some common themes, such as hostility to immigration, anti-Islamic rhetoric and Euroscepticism.

So where does this leave Europe's political landscape?"

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council 4-5 June, Luxembourg: Ministers will discuss: Migration: state of play (LIMITE doc no: 9286-REV-1-18, pdf): Includes: "the Commission services and the Greek authorities agreed on a Financial Plan 2018. This plan ensures adequate support to reception facilities and related services for up to a total of 47 500 reception places."

Czech PM rejects Merkel’s European border guard proposal (New Europe, link):

"The Czech Republic rejected on Monday a proposal by Angela Merkel for a pan-European border police force.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis has opposed the policy for the distribution of asylum seekers, in line with the common position of the Visegrad group: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic. In this context, the German proposal of pooling EU-wide resources undermines the fundamental position of the group that migration policy is the preserve of the nation-state."

EU ministers to debate compromise plan to break asylum impasse (euractiv, link): "EU interior ministers meet today (5 June) to try to break a two-year deadlock over reforming asylum rules with a deadline looming and pressure from Italy’s new populist leaders. The ministers will hear Bulgaria’s new compromise proposals on how to close an east-west rift over the reforms before a 28-29 June summit in Brussels."

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