Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
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Statewatch Observatory: The refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: a humanitarian emergency
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Statewatch Analysis: Italy renews Memorandum with Libya, as evidence of a secret Malta-Libya deal surfaces (pdf) by Yasha Maccanico:
The 2017 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Italy and Libya was tacitly renewed without amendments on 2 February 2020, amid widespread criticism over its legality and effects since October 2019. This article outlines the parliamentary debate that accompanied the interior minister's declared intention to renew the MoU in November 2019.
Statewatch Analysis: Anti-migration cooperation between the EU, Italy and Libya: some truths (pdf) by Yasha Maccanico:
Apart from a regression in human rights standards that immigration policy is producing within the EU's borders by promoting racism in politics and institutional discrimination in pursuit of its strategic objectives, the effects of EU migration policy's externalisation to third countries are also harmful.
EU-ERITREA: European Commission: We will fight forced labour in Eritrea by financing projects that use it
"...The EU-funded project only finances the procurement and supply of material and equipment the EU does not pay for labour..."
Samos Refugees: We see a Darkness (Samos, Chronicles, link):
"For the refugees, coronavirus is a fused bomb. When, rather than if it blows it will be devastating. The appalling conditions in which refugees are held which blatantly contradict all the governments instructions on hygiene and overcrowding make the camps and detention facilities exceptionally vulnerable to the virus. The police describe the island camps as health bombs.
The police associations from Samos, Lesvos, Chios and the North and South Dodecanese are now demanding urgent action. The timing of their intervention is driven by the extremely cruel and unhealthy conditions for the 1,414 refugees who arrived on the islands after March 1st 2020. Following the Act passed on March 2 2020 all new arrivals are denied the right to apply for asylum. This is a major breach of international law, but more of that later. There is no registration or identification procedures for these new arrivals who are kept away from the pre March deadline refugees and detained, as the police noted in their letter to the government (14/3/2020);
Stacked like animals in temporary and inadequate infrastructure acting as ticking health bombs. On Samos there are 93 foreigners in a room of the Port Authority without a toilet or water supply.
Erdogan in talks with European leaders over refugee cash for Turkey (The Guardian, link):
"Turkey has pressed European leaders to make fresh cash pledges to prevent tens of thousands of refugees from leaving the country and trying to reach Europe amid a Russian-Syrian offensive in north-west Syria.
After intense bombardment in Idlib province last month, Turkeys president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, encouraged thousands of refugees in the country to move on towards the Greek islands and the Baltics, in a repeat of the surge to Europe in 2015.
That push ended when the EU gave Turkey 6bn to house the refugees in Turkey. Nearly 4.7bn has been contractually awarded, but only about 3.2bn paid out.
In a phone call on Tuesday between the French president, Emmanuel Macron, the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and Erdogan, the leaders discussed the possibility of a new refugee deal, ways to combat the continued Russian threat in Idlib, and the fear that coronavirus could sweep through the refugee camps bordering Syria in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan."
Open access book: Europe and the Refugee Response: A Crisis of Values? (Routledge, link):
"This book explores how the rising numbers of refugees entering Europe from 2015 onwards played into fears of cultural, religious, and ethnic differences across the continent. The migrant, or refugee crisis, prompted fierce debate about European norms and values, with some commentators questioning whether mostly Muslim refugees would be able to adhere to these values, and be able to integrate into a predominantly Christian European society. In this volume, philosophers, legal scholars, anthropologists and sociologists, analyze some of these debates and discuss practical strategies to reconcile the values that underpin the European project with multiculturalism and religious pluralism, whilst at the same time safeguarding the rights of refugees to seek asylum.
Country case studies in the book are drawn from France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom; representing states with long histories of immigration, countries with a more recent refugee arrivals, and countries that want to keep refugees at bay and refuse to admit even the smallest number of asylum seekers. Contributors in the book explore the roles which national and local governments, civil society, and community leaders play in these debates and practices, and ask what strategies are being used to educate refugees about European values, and to facilitate their integration."
Over 400 migrants returned to Libya over weekend (InfoMigrants, link):
"Over 400 migrants have been picked up by the Libyan coast guard and returned to Libya over the weekend. Thats according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which called the action unacceptable.
The UN organization for migration decried the fact that this weekend, over 400 Europe-bound migrants were returned to Libya by the Libyan coast guard in several operations. The IOM counted 301 people who were intercepted and taken back to Tripoli on Saturday, March 14 and a further 105 on two different boats on Sunday, March 15.
The IOM communications officer Safa Msehli said: "It is unacceptable for this to continue despite repeated calls to put an end to the return of vulnerable people to detention and abuse.""
And see: 49 asylum seekers in Maltese waters taken back to Libya and beaten - NGO (Times of Malta, link)
COVID-19: No one is safe until All are protected! (Transbalkan Solidarity Group, link):
"Currently there are tens of thousands of refugees and other migrants in the Balkans. Some of them are accommodated in official collective centers, while a large number of people fall outside the system, surviving through the help of the local population and support provided to them by volunteers throughout the region. Yet with the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the already difficult situation in which they find themselves is becoming even more challenging and demands urgent action of those in charge local and international actors and solidarity from all of us.
The State of Emergency now in force in many countries of the region is a basis for the continuation and reinforcement of social inequalities and unfortunately is already serving as a rationale for the further stigmatization and repression of the most unprotected among us. But this exceptional situation must not become an excuse for continued policies of exclusion, restriction and expulsion, suffering and distress."
And see: Us versus them? Covid-19 and its effects (MPC, link): "We now see that every one of us can suddenly can become vulnerable. As humans, we have much more in common, than what divides us: our fears, our anxieties, and how we react in difficult situations. Our humanity is also our strength, being able to put ourselves into the shoes of others, now more than ever."
UNHCR: Key Legal Considerations on access to territory for persons in need of international protection in the context of the COVID-19 response (pdf):
"This paper sets out key legal considerations, based on international refugee and human rights law, on access to territory for persons seeking international protection in the context of measures taken by States to restrict the entry of non-nationals for the protection of public health in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It reconfirms that while States may put in place measures which may include a health screening or testing of persons seeking international protection upon entry and/or putting them in quarantine, such measures may not result in denying them an effective opportunity to seek asylum or result in refoulement."
And see: EU border restrictions will hit transfers of child refugees - UN official (Thomson Reuters Foundation, link)
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