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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
3-9.5.18
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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
EU: 87 European organisations call on Hungary to withdraw proposed laws targeting groups working with migrants and refugees (pdf):

"The new Hungarian parliament which will first assemble on 8 May is set to vote on draconian and regressive legislation which could arbitrarily restrict fundamental rights and freedoms of civil society. The proposed laws would further undermine and stigmatise organisations working to defend the human rights of migrants and refugees.

The treatment of our Hungarian members and partners and the laws being introduced to stifle civil society are deeply concerning. These will significantly limit their ability to carry out work independently, could ultimately lead to their closure and be damaging to the human rights of migrants and refugees. Such measures that penalise solidarity and support to migrants including asylum seekers and refugees should not be tolerated."

Mare Clausum: The Sea Watch vs Libyan Coast Guard Case: 6 November 2017 (Forensic Architecture, link):

"On 6 November 2017, the rescue NGO Sea Watch (SW) and a patrol vessel of the Libyan Coast Guard (LYCG) simultaneously directed themselves towards a migrants’ boat in distress in international waters. The boat, which had departed from Tripoli a few hours earlier, carried between 130 and 150 passengers. A confrontational rescue operation ensued, and while SW was eventually able to rescue and bring to safety in Italy 59 passengers, at least 20 people died before or during these events, while 47 passengers were ultimately pulled back to Libya, where several faced grave human rights violations – including being detained, beaten, and sold to an other captor who tortured them to extract ransom from their families. The unfolding of this incident has been reconstructed in a video by Forensic Oceanography in collaboration with Forensic Architecture.

To reconstruct the circumstances of this particular incident, however, Forensic Oceanography has produced a detailed written report which argues it is also necessary to understand the policies that shaped the behaviour of the actors involved, and the patterns of practices of which this event was only a particular instantiation."

See the report: Forensic Oceanography: Mare Clausum: Italy and the EU's undeclared operation to stem migration across the Mediterranean (link to pdf) and: Legal action against Italy over its coordination of Libyan Coast Guard pull-backs resulting in migrant deaths and abuse

GERMANY-LIBYA: Exclusive: Internal diplomatic report on "concentration camp-like" conditions in Libyan refugee camps (FragDenStaat, link):

"The EU is cooperating ever more closely with Libyan militias to prevent people from fleeing to Europe. A wire report published by the German Federal Foreign Office after our Freedom of Information request shows the conditions under which refugees have to live in Libya.

Seven years after the death of dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi, Libya is once again an important partner of the European Union. Although the country continues to be marked by internal power struggles, the EU's cooperation with the North African state is becoming ever closer. Italy, for example, recently decided to connect Libya to the Italian Navy's communication system.

Apparently, the European Union's asylum policy leads to refugees being deported to Libya in violation of international law. The German TV magazine Monitor, for example, states that "Libyan militias apparently have no inhibitions whatsoever to sacrifice human lives when it comes only to enforcing the European policy of isolation"."

See: NER-Migrationsknotenpunkt Agadez - Rückkehr aus der Hölle [Migration Hub Agadez - Return from Hell] (pdf) and: Libyan trafficking camps are hell for refugees, diplomats say (DW, link)

GERMANY: Security guard violence in the AEO Bamberg – state-sanctioned criminalisation and persecution of refugees (Culture of Deportation, link):

"The AEO Bamberg, a large reception and deportation camp in the state of Upper Franconia, Bavaria, is Germany’s flagship for refugee isolation. It faces now a scandal of systematic violence by private security guards against asylum seekers. We demand a thorough investigation to all the incidents.

We were alerted to these in the course of the ongoing support campaign for Kumba and Dia. The two Senegalese asylum seekers were criminalised after having witnessed an attack by the guards on a third West African asylum seeker in the AEO in early September 2017. A number of former security employees and numerous inhabitants informed us that this is not the sole case: The scale of security guard violence against refugees in the AEO has been systematic since the summer of 2017. According to the inhabitants, the violence has somewhat gone down since the fall of 2017, but continues. The latest incident was on May 7 as a Nigerian couple were badly abused by the guards."

GREECE: Moria 35 Update - 26 of the 35 remain detained - 7 face imminent deportation

Seven of the #Moria35 face deportation on Thursday 10 May 2018. In a process fraught with procedural violations, they have had their applications for asylum rejected. After over a year of dehumanizing treatment, from Moria Camp, to the vicious attack by the police, followed by nine months of unjust imprisonment, they now face being sent to Turkish prison, and likely deportation to the countries they fled.

EU: Legal action against Italy over its coordination of Libyan Coast Guard pull-backs resulting in migrant deaths and abuse

Seventeen survivors of a fatal incident in which a boat carrying migrants found itself in distress off the coast of Libya filed an application against Italy today with the European Court of Human Rights. The applicants included the surviving parents of two children who died in the incident.

GREECE: Rescuers from Denmark and Spain cleared of human trafficking by Greek court (The Local, link):

" A Greek court on Monday cleared three Spaniards and two Danes of trying to help illegal migrants enter Greece through the island of Lesbos while taking part in Aegean rescue missions.

"The accusation has not been proven," the judge said after the trial in the Lesbos capital Mytilene.

The firefighters from Spain and volunteers from Denmark, who faced up to 10 years in prison according to Amnesty International, enjoyed massive support from aid groups, with many sympathisers on hand for the verdict.

"A great victory for humanitarian aid," Spanish group Proem-AID tweeted after the ruling."

HUNGARY: Desperate times call for new measures (Migszol, link):

"Ever since Migszol began in 2012, we have based our work on information from the ground, on the situation at the borders, and testimonies of people from different camps. This has always provided the basis and the legitimacy to our activism.

But over the years things changed radically. Gradually the detention of practically all asylum seekers was implemented, while at the same time the space for civil society and independent media has become extremely narrow.

In the current situation, we find that we, unfortunately, cannot function the way we used to. We have no way of being in touch with detained asylum seekers, and even if we did, we would risk becoming targets of state-sponsored hate campaigns, also we would risk their personal safety during the asylum procedure."

EU-AFRICA: 5th Ministerial Conference of Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development Wraps up in Marrakech (MAP, link):

"The fifth Ministerial Conference of the Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development ended Wednesday in Marrakech, with the adoption of the Marrakech Declaration and Plan of Action.

The Marrakech Declaration "constitutes a new brick in the edifice that we have been building together for twelve years and which has enabled Euro-African migration to be taken off the list of problems to be resolved and placed in the register of the main themes of our dialogue and cooperation", said minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita, in his closing remarks."

See: Rabat Process: Marrakesh Political Declaration and Action Plan (pdf) based on five "domains": Development benefits of migration and addressing root causes of irregular migration and the phenomenon of displaced persons; Legal migration and mobility; Protection and asylum; Domain 4: Prevention of and fight against irregular migration, migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings; Return, readmission and reintegration.

The Displaced; Migrant Brothers; Lights in the Distance – reviews (The Guardian, link):

"Three powerful, conscience-stirring books [The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives Edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen; Migrant Brothers: A Poet’s Declaration of Human Dignity by Patrick Chamoiseau; Lights in the Distance: Exile and Refuge at the Borders of Europe by Daniel Trilling] use personal testimony to help us see the refugee crisis through the eyes of its victims"

Libyan coastguard prevents NGO boat from rescuing migrants (AFP, link):

"The Libyan coastguard on Sunday prevented a rescue ship belonging to two NGOs from approaching a boat in distress carrying migrants, an AFP photographer witnessed.

The Aquarius, chartered by SOS-Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF), was informed by the Italian coastguard of the presence of an overloaded boat off the coast of Tripoli, reported the photographer on board the NGO boat.

But Rome also alerted the Libyan coastguard which took charge of coordinating the rescue operation and banned the NGO ship from approaching, also ordering it to move away when migrants jumped into the water to avoid being picked up by the Libyans.

The Libyan navy later announced it had rescued more than 300 migrants in three separate operations, reporting one dead and three missing.

The two victims were with 114 other migrants including 21 women and four children, said a Libyan navy spokesman, General Ayoub Kacem, although he declined to say whether they had been aboard the boat seen by the Aquarius.

And he warned that tensions between the Libyan coastguard and the NGO boats could worsen over coming days if they continued to approach stricken boats."

Greece: Overcrowded, dangerous and insufficient access to healthcare in Moria (MSF, link):

"As the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, visits Lesvos, Greece for a regional conference, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warns that the situation on Lesvos is, once again, reaching breaking point. As a result of the Greek government’s continued policy of containing migrants and refugees on the Greek islands at any cost, thousands of men, women and children in Lesvos are living in squalid, overcrowded conditions, with insufficient access to health care. With around 500 new people reaching Lesvos every week, the overcrowding, as well as increased demand for healthcare and other services, are pushing the camp to breaking point. MSF is calling on the Greek authorities to immediately transfer people from Lesvos to the mainland, and in addition, immediately scale up the provision of healthcare on the island.

In the government-run camp of Moria there are currently more than 7,000 people in a camp that was built for a maximum of 2,500 people. The living conditions and the reduction in the provision of medical care represent a high risk to the health and lives of the people trapped on the island."

Council of the European Union: ECRIS-TCN: Proposal for a Regulation establishing a centralised system for the identification of Member States holding conviction information on third country nationals and stateless persons (TCN) to supplement and support the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS-TCN system) and amending Regulation (EU No 1077/2011 - Updated four column table (LIMITE doc no: 8258-18, pdf):

"Please find attached an updated four column table as it results from the third trilogue on 24 April and technical meetings on 24 and 26 April 2018."

CROATIA: Statement by: Are You Syrious and CMS (Centar za Mirovne Studje (pdf)

"Organizations Centre for Peace Studies (CPS) and Are You Syrious (AYS) are hereby informing you about a series of pressures of the police and the Ministry of Interior on our work regarding human rights protection of refugees and migrants in the Republic of Croatia.(...)

In the last several weeks, we have noticed and experienced extremely dubious and illogical actions of the police towards our associations and attorneys with whom we are cooperating related to the case of the Hussiny family whose 6 year-old daughter died on 21 November 2017 from the hit of a train on the railway between Tovarnik and Šid, immediately after the illegal expulsion of the family from the Republic of Croatia, according to the family."

Cycle of exploitation proves relentless for African migrant workers in Sicily (Guardian, link)

"Foreigners who work long hours for negligible pay in the Sicilian countryside are having their settlements razed, exposing them to even worse treatment."

Scores of refugees attack German police cars over deportation case (DW, link):

"About 150 asylum seekers have confronted police officers in a small German town to prevent the deportation of a Togolese man. Authorities said, due to exceptional circumstances, they had no option but to release the man."

European Commission wants 10,000 border guards (euobserver, link):

"Some six years after Greece erected a 10km barb wired border fence along a stretch of the Evros river it shares with Turkey, the European Commission has announced plans to create a standing corps of 10,000 border guards.

On Wednesday (2 May), the EU executive proposed the idea as part of its aim to overhaul the EU budget for the years 2021-27."

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