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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
2-8.9.19

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

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Britain and France to strengthen joint action against small boats (gov.uk, link):

"The Home Secretary and her French counterpart have agreed to intensify joint action to tackle small boat crossings in the Channel.

Priti Patel met French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner in Paris yesterday evening to discuss what more can be done to deter migrants making the perilous journey across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world."

See also: Action plan on small boats crossing the Channel published: more information-sharing, €3.6 million for new security equipment, joint return operations (Statewatch News)

Turkey's Erdogan threatens to 'open the gates' for migrants to Europe (euronews.com, link):

" Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey will "open the gates" for migrants to Europe if international support for a refugee safe zone in northern Syria fails to materialise.

Turkey's president said on Thursday (September 5) he plans to resettle one million refugees in northern Syria."

GREECE: One dead as 13 migrants rescued off Samos (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Samos coast guard officials on Friday rescued 13 migrants near the seaside village of Kokkari along the northeastern coast of the eastern Aegean island.

Officials also discovered the body of a 65-year-old woman who, fellow occupants said, died during the crossing from Turkey. Officials said the woman appeared to have died of natural causes."

EU countries extend welcome to Eleonore migrants without Italy (DW, link):

"Five EU member states have said they agree to receive the 104 migrants aboard the German charity rescue boat. The EU will schedule a special meeting in autumn to discuss possible migrant distribution mechanisms."

France: Immigrant Children Being Denied Protection - Flawed Procedures in Alps Region Mirror Those in Paris, Elsewhere (HRW, link):

"Unaccompanied children arriving in France’s Alpine region undergo flawed age assessment procedures that deny many access to needed protection, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

The 80-page report, “Subject to Whim: The Treatment of Unaccompanied Migrant Children in the French Hautes-Alpes,” found that examiners whose job is to certify a child’s status as a minor – that is, under age 18 – do not comply with international standards."

Neither fair nor realistic? How the EU deals with Afghan asylum seekers (Oxford Monitor of Forced Migration, link):

"Over the past ten years, almost 580,000 Afghan nationals have applied for asylum in the European Union. Afghanistan was the second most important country of origin among asylum seekers in the EU, after Syria. The way the EU Member States deal with them is subject to much controversy. Despite a worsening security situation in their country of origin, on average more than half of all asylum claims by Afghans are rejected. They are also confronted with severe injustices as their recognition rates vary greatly, depending on where in the EU their claims are examined. Among the many who are rejected, a majority risk ending up in protracted legal and social limbo situations as they are required to leave the EU, but are in reality rarely returned to their country of origin."

PRESS RELEASE: Legal Centre Lesvos denounces the Greek governments proposed changes to the Asylum procedure .(pressenza.com, link):

"On Saturday 31st August, the Spokesperson for the Greek Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence announced that a meeting had taken place with the Prime Minister and that seven measures of immediate action would be implemented in order to address the increasing number of people arriving on the Greek Islands.

We express serious concern that one of the measures announced is the intention of the Greek government to abolish the appeal stage of the asylum procedure, so that if an asylum application is rejected, they will proceed immediately with the return of the applicant to their country of origin."

Ankara rejects EU claim of increasing migration from Turkey to Greece (ekathimerini.com, link):

"urkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu has refuted recent claims by EU officials that there has been an increasing migrant flow from Turkey to Greece, the country’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported Wednesday.

The Greek government recently announced emergency measures to tackle the arrival of “huge waves of refugees” on its islands, who it claimed to have come from Turkey. The EU has voiced “deep concern” over recent developments."

Statewatch Analysis: Spain-Morocco: "Migration control, not rescue": squeezing search and rescue in the Mediterranean

As the EU's member states continue to discuss half-hearted plans for search and rescue and the disembarkation of migrants, they are also putting in place measures to prevent their own maritime safety authorities from carrying out rescues. At the same time, they are pressuring under-resourced and unwilling non-EU states to take on rescue tasks. As reports from Spain show, the results are deadly.

Europe’s Complicity in Turkey’s Syrian-Refugee Crackdown (The Atlantic, link):

"UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, and the European Commission have not said whether they believe Turkey is deporting Syrians. But one senior EU official, who asked for anonymity to discuss the issue, estimated that about 2,200 people were sent to the Syrian province of Idlib, though he said it was unclear whether they were forcibly deported or chose to return. The official added that, were Turkey forcibly deporting Syrians, this would be in explicit violation of the principle of non-refoulement, on which the EU-Turkey deal is conditioned."

USA: DHS to store tens of thousands of refugee biometric records from UNHCR (Biometric Update, link):

"The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) began sharing records including fingerprints, iris scans, and facial biometrics of refugees it is recommending for resettlement consideration in the U.S. with the country’s Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), Nextgov reports.

The UNHCR sends tens of thousands of profiles to federal agencies each year, according to the report, and the Department of Homeland Services (DHS) is retaining the data for all of them, including those who do not actually come to the U.S." (emphasis added)

 Croatian police uses electroshock torture on a migrant minor (h-alter.org, link):

"In another one in a series of cases of mistreatments and beatings of migrants that are being pushed back from the border, officials of the Croatian border police brutally attacked K.S., a minor from Afghanistan, according to the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia. The boy, who survived severe physical and psychological torture, was first separated from a group of 16 migrants and beaten up at the border. After that he was detained in a dark room where he was beaten by four border police officers and subjected to electroshock torture.

According to the Commissariat, the police seized the boy's phone and money and physically injured him. After they caught him at the border, he was locked in a dark room, where the officials questioned him. They forced him to take his clothes off, made him get into water, where they The Commissariat expressed concern and outrage over these practices, and warned representatives of the international community about the enormous use of violence by the Croatian border police, as well as flagrant human rights violationsreleased electricity through a shocker, which led to him losing consciousness.

In this horrific "incident", the 16-year old boy suffered a rib fracture and internal bleeding, a hematoma of the head and lost a lot of blood, it is explained in the statement of the Commissariat published by N1 Serbia."

NGOs statement: LESS THAN 48H FOR AN ILLEGAL DEPORTATION, BUT STILL NO RETURN ORDERED THREE WEEKS AFTER COURT DECISION (pdf):

"After a German court questions legality of controversial “Seehofer Deal” betweenGreece and Germany,the undersigning organisationsdemand the immediate implementation of the judicial order."

Turkish sailors save refugees off Canary Islands (hurriyetdailynews.com, link):

"A Turkish ship has rescued 24 African refugees stranded on a boat off the Canary Islands.

The crew members of the ship Ekmen Trans spotted a boat carrying refugees some 60 miles off Spanish island Gran Canaria.

The refugees, including three children, a pregnant woman and 20 other adults, were taken up to the ship."

UK: U-turn over plan to end freedom of movement on 31 October (Guardian, link):

"Legal experts warned against Priti Patel’s decision to change law immediately after Brexit deadline."

Greece moves hundreds of asylum-seekers from crowded island camp (in-cyprus.com, link):

"Some 635 people, mostly families, boarded a passenger ship on Monday for facilities in northern Greece, and more were due to leave later in the day."

EXARCHIA area under police attack by the new right government in Greece (voidnetwork.gr, link):

"The famous rebel and solidarity district of Athens is completely surrounded by huge police forces: many riot police buses (MAT), anti-Terrorism Police (OPKE), motor bike policemen (Dias), members of the secret police as well as a helicopter and several drones.

Unique place in Europe for its high concentration of squats and other self-managed spaces, but also for its resistance against repression and solidarity with the precarious and migrants, Exarchia has been in major focus of the right government since its election on July 7th."

Italy: Salvini is out, but migrants still endure his policies (DW, link)

"The outgoing interior minister closed Italy's refugee camps and its ports. But even with Matteo Salvini out of government, asylum-seekers are still trapped in a cycle of homelessness, harassment and frustration (...)

We have to be careful — we've been hindered by the police a dozen times," says Marlene Micheloni. She explains that while they can't arrest volunteers for handing out food, they have tried their best to intimidate them out of doing so."

Home Office planning to end family reunion for children after Brexit - Exclusive: Current system for asylum-seeking minors set to end the day after UK leaves EU (Guardian, link):

"The Home Office is preparing to end the current system of family reunification for asylum-seeking children if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the Guardian has learned.

The government has privately briefed the UN refugee agency UNHCR and other NGOs that open cases may be able to progress, but a no-deal Brexit would mean no new applications after 1 November from asylum-seeking children to be reunited with relatives living in the UK."

Refugee Lessons: Let us Free Like the Birds ! (Samos Chronicles, link):

"My life has been turned upside down amd inside out. My brain has never had to work so hard to make sense, to survive and to live. For some of my hardest years, the system saw me and treated me as illegal. That is a big experience. I learnt much. But above all I thought about being human and being free. Syria: Now 24 years old I was born in Aleppo in northern Syria (...)

And: For Whom Do You Fly ? Zeppelin over Samos (link):

"The Zeppelin was launched six weeks ago with much fanfare about protecting and hardening European borders. The Samos authorities were so proud to be the first EU country to deploy an airship for this purpose. BUT since taking to the skies on the end of its 1000 metre tether, the flow of refugees here has increased significantly! It is wonderful to see as their arrivals torpedoes the stupidity of deterrence."

ABR: Aegean Boat Report (link):

"Aegean Boat Report is an independent Norwegian NGO, volunteer-run media site, determined to provide neutral, detailed and correct information on boats and arrivals in the Aegean Sea.

Aegean Boat Report has proven to be the most detailed source of information, used by organizations, volunteers and journalists, in search of a better understanding of the ongoing refugee crisis." Donate (link)

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