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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
3-9.12.19

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Statewatch Observatory: The refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: a humanitarian emergency

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LIBYA: Accountability for Serious Crimes under International Law in Libya: An Assessment of the Criminal Justice System (International Commission of Jurists, pdf):

"The upsurge in hostilities in Libya since April 2019 has highlighted the devastating impact that impunity for crimes under international law committed by State actors and armed groups has engendered.

Civilians taking no part in hostilities are being displaced en masse, unlawfully killed and subject to other violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and gross human rights violations, including indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian objects, arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment, enforced disappearance, enslavement, and rape and other acts of sexual violence.

...despite the scale and magnitude of the violations and abuses committed by State and non-State actors, only a handful of investigations and prosecutions of such violations have been undertaken, resulting in a situation of near total impunity.

...The present report provides concrete law, policy and practical recommendations with a view to initiating such a process [to establish the rule of law] and enhancing the ability of the Libyan criminal justice system to deliver genuine accountability."

Croatia Is Abusing Migrants While the EU Turns a Blind Eye (Foreign Policy, link):

"BIHAC, Bosnia and Herzegovina—Cocooned in a mud-spattered blanket, thousands of euros in debt, and with a body battered and bruised, Faisal Abas has reached the end of the line, geographically and spiritually. A year after leaving Pakistan to seek greener pastures in Europe, his dreams have died in a rain-sodden landfill site in northern Bosnia. His latest violent expulsion from Croatia was the final straw.

(...)

Near the Vucjak landfill, the medical charity Doctors Without Borders runs a small clinic opposite a church where sick and wounded migrants line up every day. Such is the sheer number and pattern of the reports that the project coordinator, Miroslav Ilic, believes the violence to be systemic and contends that the EU is complicit in a policy designed to render migrants physically incapable of crossing the border."

See also: Croatia: violence at the border no barrier to Schengen accession

Germany sets out plan for automatic relocation of asylum seekers (Politico, link):

"Germany has proposed an automatic relocation scheme for asylum seekers in which their applications would be examined at the EU's external borders.

A four-page document, seen by POLITICO, was distributed to member countries by Berlin last week in an effort to make progress on asylum reform ahead of the German presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of next year. European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen, a former German defense minister, is expected to put forward her migration proposals in February.

The German proposal is presented as a so-called non-paper, which means that it's meant merely for discussion — as is made clear in the title, which contains the words “food for thought.”"

See the document: FOOD FOR THOUGHT (13 November 2019) Outline for reorienting the Common European Asylum System (pdf)

Afghan refugee dies in container fire in Lesvos (ekathimerini.com, link):

"A 27-year-old refugee from Afghanistan died in a fire that started in the makeshift Kara Tepe migrant camp on Lesvos, state-run news agency ANA-MPA reported.

The incident happened at dawn on Thursday when a fire broke out inside the container where the woman lived with her 28-year-old husband and their three children aged 5, 2 and an infant.

The 28-year-old man managed to save the three children before he passed out from the smoke. He was transferred to Mytilene’s hospital where he is being treated for breathing problems."

Grenade thrown at migrant children's centre in Madrid (Guardian, link):

"Property in Hortaleza had previously been singled out for criticism by far-right Vox part.

Bomb squad officers in Madrid have carried out a controlled explosion after a practice hand grenade was thrown over the wall of a centre for unaccompanied foreign minors in the north-east of the Spanish capital.

A spokeswoman at the Madrid headquarters of the national police force said the grenade carried a small amount of explosive. There were no reported injuries."

Greece: Camp Conditions Endanger Women, Girls - Asylum Seekers Lack Safe Access to Food, Water, Health Care (HRW, link):

"Women and girls face relentless insecurity in Greece’s overcrowded Moria “hotspot” for asylum seekers and migrants on Lesbos island, Human Rights Watch said today, releasing a video that shows the dire conditions. The Greek government should take immediate action to ensure safe, humane conditions for women and girls in line with their international human rights obligations and standards for humanitarian emergencies.

As of December 2, 2019, the Moria Reception and Identification Center was holding nearly 16,800 people in a facility with capacity for fewer than 3,000. Overcrowding has led authorities, as well as some asylum seekers and migrants themselves, to erect shelters outside Moria’s fenced boundaries, first in the adjacent area called the Olive Grove and now in a second olive grove, which has no water and sanitation facilities. In all areas."

58 dead as migrant boat capsizes off Mauritanian coast - Mauritanian officials rescued the Gambian migrants from the shore (ibtimes.sg, link):

"A vessel carrying 150 migrants from the Gambia capsized off Mauritania Coast on Wednesday killing at least 58 in the incident said the UN Migration Agency. This route has been used for the movement of migrants from the West African countries to Europe for a very long time. The sinking is being seen as one of the deadliest incidents to happen to migrants who were relocating."

EU-NIGERIA: Europe wants to send migrants home—but what happens when they get there? (Prospect, link):

"A huge experiment is underway in reversing migration and thousands of Nigerians represent the vanguard. But what are "Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration" programmes—and what are the human consequences?

...Calling for the removal of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers and migrants used to be the preserve of nativist politicians such as Italy’s Matteo Salvini. But there is less than there used to be between the far-right and an EU leadership that makes no secret of its intention to ramp up returns."

Report on illegal pushbacks at the Greek-Turkish border

On 15th of November Mobile Info Team published its first report about illegal pushbacks at the Greek-Turkish border. In several newsletters we have already informed you about our efforts to document and collect human rights violations at the Greek border, especially about so called pushbacks to Turkey. These pushbacks are very problematic on a lot of different levels: asylum seekers are denied their human right to apply for asylum, as well as the possibility to receive protection in Europe.

Holidaymakers in Gran Canaria help 24 migrants after boat lands on beach (El Pais, link):

"The bathers were enjoying the warm weather when they saw the small vessel approach the rocky coast with three babies and three children on board."

GAMM UPDATE (Limite doc no: 13452-19, pdf) 6 November 2019: 63 pages:

"This document provides an updated overview of the main external migration dialogues and processes implemented in the framework of the EU Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM). The document is compiled for the information of the EU High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration by the responsible European Commission services, in association with the EEAS."

See also: Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM) update report (Statewatch News)

Commissioner seeks information from the Greek government on its plans to set-up closed reception centres on the Aegean islands (CoE, link):

"Today the Commissioner published an exchange of letters with the Minister of Citizen Protection of Greece, Michalis Chrysochoidis, and the Alternate Minister for Migration Policy of Greece, Giorgos Koumoutsakos, concerning the plans to transfer migrants from the Aegean islands to the mainland and set up closed reception centres on those islands, as announced by the Government a few days ago."

See: Letter from CoE to Greek government (link) and its Reply (link)

EU commissioners to visit Greece and Turkey for migration policy overhaul (ekathimerini.com, link):

"he European Union’s new commissioners responsible for issues related to migration and the refugee crisis will be visiting Greece and Turkey this week.

Commissioners for Promoting the European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas and for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson will be in Athens on Thursday, before traveling to Ankara the following day, Schinas said following a meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on Monday."

GREECE: Samos Refugees: A reluctant update on enduring cruelties (Samos Chronicles, link):

"On Samos, as with the other frontier islands, it has now become widely seen as a ‘bad thing’ for refugees to be detained for so long on the islands. But on Samos at least the reality is more paradoxical. Today increasing numbers of refugees on Samos would prefer to stay here rather than be moved to the mainland. Many know that camps such as Nea Kavala in northern Greece – an isolated former airfield- are far worse than Samos."

Aegean Boat Report: 25 November - 1 December (pdf):

"A total of 74 boats started their trip towards the Greek Islands, carrying a total of 2873 people. However, 47 boats were stopped by TCG/police, and 1032 people arrived on the Greek Islands."

La France renonce à la livraison de bateaux à la Libye : une victoire qui doit marquer un tournant dans la coopération sur la politique migratoire! (Migreurop, link):

"In the context of the appeal brought by our associations before the Paris Administrative Court of Appeal, the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, has just announced that she is renouncing the delivery of six boats to the Libyan coastguard, a delivery that we were challenging. We welcome the abandonment of this initiative, which would have made France the official accomplice to the crimes committed against migrants and refugees in Libya."

Africa relations are ‘not equal’, leaders warn EU (euractiv, link):

"As the field of competitors for investing in Africa becomes more crowded, the EU will have to quickly improve its offer. The challenge for Ursula von der Leyen’s new European Commission will be to turn the so-called ‘partnership of equals’ promised by her predecessor into something concrete."

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