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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
22-28.10.19

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

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UK-EU: Migrant deaths: Britain faces exclusion from elite EU policing unit (The Guardian, link):

"The UK faces being excluded from Europe’s anti-trafficking unit after Brexit, senior MPs and experts warned last night. The unit is coordinating international investigations into the deaths of 39 people whose bodies were found in the back of a lorry in Essex last week.

...The anti-trafficking unit involved in the case, the European Migrant Smuggling Centre, is part of the EU’s law enforcement agency, Europol, and has been at the heart of a global inquiry into the tragedy. A Europol source said investigators at the centre were “working around the clock trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle”."

EU migration agenda highlights its shortcomings

"This can mean the application of more broad policy leverage. In this respect, the revised EU Visa Code, in force from February 2020, will be one important additional tool, providing the EU the possibility to adopt restrictive visa measures for third countries which do not cooperate sufficiently on readmission."

EU centrists ally with far right on migrant rescues (euobserver, link):

"Centre-right and liberal MEPs joined forces with the far right to weaken European Parliament's political pressure on member states when it comes to NGO search and rescue at sea.

The move is part of a larger resolution to be voted on Thursday (24 October) and comes amid internal efforts to kill off a progressive-led draft agreed earlier this week by the European Parliament's civil liberty committee (Libe)."

GREECE: The asylum draft bill violates international, EU and national law and exposes thousands of asylum seekers and refugees, the majority of whom are women and children, in high risk (Greek Council for Refugees, press release, link):

"Athens, October 23, 2019 - On the evening of October 21, and mere hours after the just 5 day-long public consultations were concluded, the draft bill “on International Protection” was submitted to Parliament through the urgency procedure.

The Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) underlines that the proposed draft bill leads to the blatant undermining of fundamental guarantees and rights of refugees and asylum seekers, in violation of international, EU and national law, as well as the principle of non-refoulement."

See: GCR’s comments onthe draft bill “On International Protection” (pdf)

UN refugee agency expresses concern at Greek asylum plans (ekathimerini.com, link):

"The United Nations refugees agency UNHCR expressed concern on Thursday about Greek proposals to overhaul laws affecting asylum seekers, saying they could weaken the protection of refugees.

Greece has adopted a tougher stance on migration since the conservative government led by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis came to power in July. The country is currently struggling with the biggest resurgence in refugee arrivals since 2015, when more than a million people crossed into Europe.

Greece is proposing to streamline a lengthy asylum process and deport rejected asylum seekers."

‘It’s the jungle’: Bosnian migrant camp in crisis (euractiv, link):

"No running water, putrid portable toilets and surrounding woods littered with land mines – these are the bleak conditions of a camp where hundreds of migrants brace for winter in Bosnia.

“It’s the jungle,” says Mohammad Nawaz, a 30-year-old Pakistani living in the tent-city built on a former garbage landfill in the northwest village of Vucjak."

France: Conviction of man who offered tea and warm clothes to asylum seekers must be reversed (AI, link):

"Ahead of the appeal hearing tomorrow of Pierre Mumber, a mountain guide who offered hot tea and warm clothes to four West African asylum seekers in the Alps and was then convicted of “facilitating irregular entry”, Amnesty International is calling for the conviction to be overturned."

Vulnerable child and women refugees refused evacuation from Libya (Al Jazeera, link):

"Asylum seekers awaiting evacuation from war-torn Libya say the United Nations has turned down scores of refugee relocation requests, including from women and children previously held in Libyan government-run detention centres where they were allegedly subject to abuse.

The rejected asylum seekers, who are among more than 900 people the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) is hosting at a transit centre in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, say they have been asked to leave the facility.

More than 40 people staged a protest at the UNHCR's Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) on Thursday denouncing the move, according to photos provided by sources at the centre."

And see: Closure of detention centre exposes migrants and refugees to even worse conditions (MSF, link)

UNHCR probes Libya-Malta interception in migrant rescue (AP, link):

"The U.N. refugee agency is investigating why Malta last week allegedly asked the Libyan coast guard to intercept a migrant boat in a zone of the Mediterranean under Maltese responsibility, in possible violation of maritime law, a U.N. official said Tuesday.

Vincent Cochetel, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees’ special envoy for the central Mediterranean, told reporters in Rome that “there’s some evidence that Malta requested assistance (from) the Libyan coast guard to intervene” in its own search and rescue region on Oct. 18."

Return: voluntary, safe, dignified and durable? (Forced Migration Review, link):

"Voluntary return in safety and with dignity has long been a core tenet of the international refugee regime. In the 23 articles on ‘Return’ in this issue of FMR, authors explore various obstacles to achieving sustainable return, discuss the need to guard against premature or forced return, and debate the assumptions and perceptions that influence policy and practice. This issue also includes a mini-feature on ‘Towards understanding and addressing the root causes of displacement’."

Almost 7,500 people forcibly returned to Libya in 2019 (euobserver, link):

"he partly EU-financed and trained Libyan Coast Guard has intercepted 7,404 refugees and migrants at sea and returned them to the war-torn country so far this year, according to figures from the UN's International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Many are then sent to notorious Libyan detention centres amid an ongoing backlash from human-rights organisations."

Bosnia Should Immediately Close Inhumane Migrant Camp - Relocate Migrants to Decent Accommodation Elsewhere (HRW, link):

"Over a year after Human Rights Watch first criticized Bosnia’s failure to protect the basic rights of migrants and asylum seekers, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is warning of a fast-developing humanitarian emergency in a makeshift camp near the border with Croatia. Over 20,000 migrants and asylum seekers have arrived in Bosnia since January 2019, but violent and unlawful pushbacks from Croatia have created a bottleneck on the border, leaving many stranded in unsafe conditions."

Aegean Boat Report (link): Latest update 21.10.2019. Total number of refugees on the islands: 34,279.

Hal Far riot sparked by row between migrant and security Incident was sparked by a row between a resident and security (Times of Malta, link):

"Eyewitnesses said up to sixty people were involved in the riot that began at about 10pm on Sunday night but Mr Farrugia later said there were more than 300 people rioted.

Several fires were started and there were reports of stones being thrown at staff who manage the so-called 'Tent Village'. Five cars and a container that housed the administration facility were burnt out and confidential documents were strewn around. A police spokesman confirmed a police car was also damaged."

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