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

This Observatory covers the arrival of refugees and migrants, the reactions and failures within the EU (both governmental and within communities).

Edited by Tony Bunyan. See: "We are ashamed": Statement on Mediterranean: "The EU is behaving shamefully"

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Archives: August 2018

EU: Council Presidency: Informal Ministers meeting on defence: Austrian non-paper: Synergies and military support for civil institutions (Council Presidency, link):

"The Austrian non-paper sets out ideas for temporary military support of civil authorities working in external border protection. This support should be provided to handle peak periods and exceptional situations. It should be deployed as an intermediary solution. The aim is to reinforce the synergies of civil-military cooperation.(...)

Military forces are not generally foreseen to act as “first responders” in border protection situations. Instead, their main task should be to support the (civil) forces foreseen for this specific purpose by the individual member states.

Military tasks for the support of civil authorities

Executive tasks

- reaction forces for crowd and riot control
- creation of a secure environment
- personal searches
- surveillance and reconnaissance of the environment
." (emphasis added)

Italy's call for France and Spain to open ports to migrants is rejected (Guardian, link):

"EU high representative refuses to give backing despite threat to pull plug on rescue mission.

A call by Italy for France and Spain to offer up their ports for the disembarkation of migrants rescued in the Mediterranean has failed to garner the backing of EU member states, despite Rome’s threat to pull the plug on the EU’s Operation Sophia rescue mission.

Hijacking a meeting of defence ministers in Vienna, the Italian representative, Elisabetta Trenta, called the ports where rescue ships dock to be rotated to lift the burden on her country."

Orbán calls for deportation of migrants, calls Salvini his ‘hero’ (Budapest Business Journal, link):

"At a press conference held after their meeting, Orbán said Salvini has taken on the “historic mission” to stop migration at sea, an endeavor he said no other country has undertaken. Europe’s security depends on Salvini’s success, he added, and therefore the Italian politician cannot back down.

“This courage inspires respect in us,” Orbán said, adding that Hungary will provide every assistance to Italy’s border protection efforts.

Orbán proposed that those who have come to Europe must be taken back to where they came from. Brussels takes the view that this is not possible, but then again - he observed - they said the same about the protection of borders."

Italy to push EU for reform of ‘Operation Sophia’ (euractiv, link):

"Rome will today (30 August) ask the European Union to rotate the ports where migrants rescued at sea disembark, Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta said, with France and Spain expected to top the list."

Spain defends hard line on North African border immigration (euractiv, link):

"Spain will not tolerate violent attempts to enter the country, the government said on Wednesday (August 29), in response to criticism of its swift return of 116 illegal migrants to Morocco after they stormed the fence bordering one of its North African enclaves."

Facebook Fueled Anti-Refugee Attacks in Germany, New Research Suggests (NYT, link):

"Karsten Müller and Carlo Schwarz, researchers at the University of Warwick, scrutinized every anti-refugee attack in Germany, 3,335 in all, over a two-year span. In each, they analyzed the local community by any variable that seemed relevant. Wealth. Demographics. Support for far-right politics. Newspaper sales. Number of refugees. History of hate crime. Number of protests.

One thing stuck out. Towns where Facebook use was higher than average, like Altena, reliably experienced more attacks on refugees. That held true in virtually any sort of community — big city or small town; affluent or struggling; liberal haven or far-right stronghold — suggesting that the link applies universally."

Activists held in Greece for illegally aiding migrants (euractiv, link):

"Police in Greece said on Tuesday (28 August) they had arrested three members of a Greek NGO on suspicion of helping migrants illegally enter the country.

The members of Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI) were detained on the Greek island of Lesbos, where thousands of migrants are housed in squalid conditions in cramped camps.

“The activities of an organised criminal network that systematically facilitated the illegal entry of foreigners were fully exposed,” a police statement said.

Members of the group were in contact with migrants on social media groups and “actively assisted” their illegal entry into Greece from 2015 onwards, according to the statement.

To keep tabs on migrant flows, the accused also illegally monitored Greek coastguard and EU border agency Frontex radio traffic, authorities said. Any information gathered was not shared with Greek authorities, the police said.

Overall, six Greeks and 24 foreign nationals were implicated in the case, they added."

Netherlands: One in five vulnerable Syrian refugees are rejected by NL because of their views (dutchnews.nl, link):

"Some of the most vulnerable refugees living in camps in Turkey have been rejected by the Netherlands because they have extremist sympathies or are too conservative, the Volkskrant reported on Wednesday. The Netherlands has agreed to take its ‘fair share’ of refugees under a special scheme worked out with Turkey, but around 20% don’t get final approval, the paper said."

Salvini and Orbán launch anti-immigration manifesto ahead of EU elections (euractiv, link):

"Hungary’s illiberal Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Italy’s hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini launched Tuesday (28 August) an anti-migration manifesto aiming at next year’s European parliament elections, targeting a common enemy."

 


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28.8.18)
Moria, Lesvos, Greece: Children 'attempting suicide' at Greek refugee camp (BBC News, link):

"At Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, there is deadly violence, overcrowding, appalling sanitary conditions and now a charity says children as young as 10 are attempting suicide. The Victoria Derbyshire programme has been given rare access inside.

"We are always ready to escape, 24 hours a day we have our children ready," says Sara Khan, originally from Afghanistan. (...)

The place smells of raw sewage, and there are around 70 people per toilet, according to medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).(...)

Back at the MSF tent, Luca Fontana, who has worked all over the world in conflict zones, says the camp is the worst place he has seen in his life.

He worked during the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa but says, "I've never seen the level of suffering we are witnessing here every day".

"Even those affected by Ebola still have the hope to survive or they have the support of their family, their society, their village, their relatives.

"Here, the hope is taken away by the system.""

Austria rejects Afghan’s asylum request over appearance (New Europe, link):

"Austria rejected the asylum application of an 18-year-old Afghan gay man as authorities believe he did not “act” or “dress” like a homosexual, the Falter weekly newspaper reports.

Homosexuality is illegal in Afghanistan and is punishable by death. At the very least, homosexuals face social exclusion."

EU: European External Action Service: Strategic Review on EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia, EUBAM Libya & EU Liaison and Planning Cell

The European External Action Service has produced a: Strategic Review on EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia, EUBAM Libya & EU Liaison and Planning Cell (LIMITE doc no: 11471-18, 98 pages, pdf) for discussion in the Political and Security Committee:

"the existing mandates of EUNAVFOR Med Op Sophia (Op Sophia) and EUBAM Libya will expire on 31 December 2018. A decision on their mandates and on the future of the EU Liaison and Planning Cell (EULPC) needs to be taken in light of the findings of this review and the broader political and security situation in Libya, the Central Mediterranean and the surrounding region."

ITALY: ‘EU is filth’, Salvini lashes out as tensions between Rome and Brussels grow (euractiv, link):

"Although the 150 migrants stranded on the Diciotti rescue ship were able to disembark on Sunday (26 August), Italy’s firebrand Interior Minister Matteo Salvini engaged in another vilification of the EU, calling it “filth” and reiterating threats to stop EU funding.

“Europe has demonstrated once again to be unprecedented filth that doesn’t deserve our money,” the leader of the far-right Lega told supporters on Sunday in the small town of Pinzolo in the northern Italian Alps."

Greece: Fresh calls for migrants to be moved from Aegean islands (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Authorities on the eastern Aegean islands have renewed calls on the central government to relocate hundreds of migrants to the mainland as their population on Lesvos, Chios and Samos has risen to 16,334 from 10,349 this time last year. "

Matteo Salvini formally investigated over migrant ship standoff (The Observer, link): "Italian deputy PM allows migrants on the Ubaldo Diciotti to disembark, after he was placed under investigation over their detention."

EU commission rejects Italy budget threat on migrants (euobserver, link):

"The European Commission said on Friday (24 August) it would not bow to threats by the Italian government after deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio said Italy would withhold EU funds if other countries did not take migrants from a coast guard ship in Sicily. "

Are You Syrious (23.8.18, link):

FEATURE

"In protesting the “death of human rights in Malta” crew members of MV Lifeline and Sea-Watch 3 carried a coffin from Castille Square to the court building in Valletta on Thursday. The coffin was draped in a EU flag. Their Captain Claus-Peter Reisch has charges against him for improper ship registration. It is registered as a pleasure craft in the Netherlands and therefore, the claim is made, it cannot serve on a rescue mission " (...)

LIBYA

"The 25 people returned by the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) on Wednesday were immediately detained, reports IOM. Among the 25 were a mother and her child.

More testimonies are coming out about the darkness of Libyan detention centers. A 17 year old states he did not see any light for seven months. An MSF psychologist reports that one of the children who disembarked from the Diciotti ship in Catania is having sight problems after living in darkness for a whole year.

The EU is funding the LCG to literally keep people in the dark."

Italy to suspend EU funding unless others take in migrants (euractiv, link):

"The European Commission has called a meeting today (25 August) after Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said his party would vote to suspend funding to the EU unless other member states agreed to take in migrants being held on a coastguard ship in Sicily.

Three days after Italy’s Diciotti coastguard vessel docked in Catania, 150 adult migrants remained on deck. After seeing hundreds of thousands of sea arrivals in recent years, Italy wants other EU countries to accept them.(...)

“If tomorrow nothing comes out of a European Commission meeting on redistributing migrants from the Diciotti ship, the 5-Star and I will not be willing to give €20 billion each year to the EU,” Di Maio said in a video posted on Facebook."

Migrants who stormed Morocco-Spain border sent back (euractiv, link):

"Spain on Thursday (23 August) sent back to Morocco 116 migrants who had forced their way into the Spanish territory of Ceuta, in a mass expulsion condemned by human rights activists.

“The 116 sub-Saharan migrants who entered Spain via the Ceuta border illegally yesterday (Wednesday) have been sent back to Morocco,” the Ceuta prefecture said in a statement."

Hungary: Asylum Seekers Denied Food - Cease Inhumane Treatment, Resume Distribution Immediately (HRW, link):

" Hungarian authorities have stopped food distribution since early August 2018 to some rejected asylum seekers held in transit zones on the Hungarian-Serbian border, Human Rights Watch said today. They should immediately ensure that all asylum seekers in custody are provided sufficient and appropriate food in line with the government’s legal obligations."

Migrants cross border to Spanish enclave in north Africa (euobserver, link):

"More than 100 African migrants managed to force their way into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta from Morocco on Wednesday, when hundreds tried to storm the highly fortified border fence."

Lesvos, Greece: The numbers of refugees on the island rose to 10,192 according to official figures on 22 August

Spain: European Commission: Schengen evaluation on returns

The European Commission has published: Proposal for a Council Implementing Decision on setting out a recommendation on addressing the deficiencies identified in the 2017 evaluation of Spain on the application of the Schengen acquis in the field of return (LIMITE, COM 2018/300, pdf)

Italy: Standoff in Italy as Salvini refuses to let in refugees after coastguard ship docks (Guardian, link): "Interior minister wants EU states to agree to take 177 refugees and migrants onboard."

Germany and Greece reach agreement to repatriate refugees (euractiv, link):

"Berlin has reached an agreement with Athens to send back refugees to Greece if they have already applied for asylum there. The move follows a similar agreement with Spain earlier this month while a deal with Italy is also soon to follow.

“The conclusion is imminent,” German Interior Ministry spokeswoman Eleonore Petermann said on Friday (17 August) in Berlin, pointing out that it only lacks an exchange of agreement letters between the two capitals for the deal to be formally signed.

She said she was not able to reveal any details before that.

She added Germany was negotiating a similar deal with the Italian government, qualifying the planned migration agreement between the two countries as “very advanced”."

Italy threatens to return migrants to Libya (DW, link): "The threat comes amid a standoff with Malta over the fate of 177 migrants rescued by Italy in Maltese waters. Returning migrants to an "unsafe" Libya could pose legal troubles for Rome."

Germany - Asylum granted legally in over 99 percent of cases, review finds (The Local.de, link):

"Despite high profile scandals in the past year, the number of refugees who have been unlawfully granted asylum is far lower than feared, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on Monday.

A review of 43,000 successful claims from the first half of 2018 found that asylum had been wrongfully granted in only 0.7 percent of cases, according to figures provided by the Interior Ministry.

The review led to just 307 successful claimants having their asylum status withdrawn, reported the Sueddeutsche Zeitung."

Are You Serious (17.8.18, link):

Feature: Asylum-seekers denied food in transit zones

"The Hungarian Helsinki Committee says that the Hungarian Immigration and Asylum Office refuses to provide food to people in “alien policing procedures” in the transit zones, with the aim of dissuading them from pursuing court appeals and to make them abandon their asylum applications by returning to Serbia.

The inadmissibility decisions are based on a new provision, according to which people are inadmissible if “the applicant arrived through a country where he/she was not exposed to persecution or to serious harm, or if an adequate level of protection was available in the country through which the applicant had arrived to Hungary”."

And see: Asylum-seekers with Inadmissible Claims are Denied Food in Transit Zones at Border (Hungarian Helsinki Committee, pdf)

Are You Syrious (16.8.18, link)

FEATURE: Praise and despair after Aquarius docs in Malta

"In the UNHCR press release from 15 August, when the Aquarius was finally granted permission to disembark 141 asylum seekers and migrants in Malta after more than five days at sea, High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi harshly criticised the delay in disembarkation:

“But the situation should never have come to this in the first place. It is wrong, dangerous and immoral to keep rescue ships wandering the Mediterranean while governments compete on who can take the least responsibility.”

We cannot agree more with Mr Grandi, but have to remind him of UNHCR responsibility, too.

The UNHCR press release appealed to shipmasters not to stop efforts towards rescues at sea, presumably in a bid to prevent the delays in providing a port of safety becoming a deterrent to those who wish to save lives at sea."

Migrant rescue ship arrives in Malta, ending standoff (euractiv, link):

"The Mediterranean rescue ship Aquarius arrived at Valletta harbour in Malta on Wednesday (15 August) to allow 141 migrants to get off, ending a five-day tug-of-war among EU countries which had seen the vessel banned from docking in several ports.

The ship, run by the Franco-German charity SOS Mediterranée and Doctors Without Borders (MSF), was allowed in after France, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain agreed on Tuesday to take in the migrants, who were rescued off the coast of Libya."

Spain to take in 60 of the 141 Aquarius migrants: PM Sanchez (The Local, link):

"Spain and Portugal on Tuesday offered to take in most of the 141 migrants on board the Aquarius after it was given permission to dock in Malta, resolving a new standoff over the rescue ship

Madrid said it would accept 60 people, while Portugal offered to welcome 30, with the remainder distributed between France, Germany and Luxembourg, government sources in Malta and Spain said."

Turkish Coast Guard Command: Irregular migration statistics (link): Shows that the recorded number of refugees was 10,583 in 2017 on comparable dates and 15,497 in 2018.


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10.8.18)
Humanitarian ship seeks European port for rescued migrants (euractiv, link):

"Human rights groups called on European governments on Sunday to tell a charity ship where it can dock and let more than 140 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean disembark in safety.

The Aquarius, run by Franco-German charity SOS Mediterranee and Doctors without Borders (MSF), rescued 141 people in two separate operations off the Libyan coast last week."

What you need to know: The German-Spanish migrant deal (DW, link):

"Berlin and Madrid are demonstrating unity with a joint agreement on returning migrants from Germany to Spain. Now Germany wants to seal similar deals with other countries. But what exactly does it involve?"

Are You Syrious (12.8.18, link)

Morocco

"Earlier this week, AYS reported on the violent attacks and mass evictions of refugee encampments in Nador carried out by auxiliary forces. The violent evictions are ongoing this week, and the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) published a story today from an eviction that occurred on Saturday. The police were destroying shelters in the “Lakhmis Akdim” camp when they were confronted by a woman with a very sick infant. They refused to give her any assistance, and carried on to destroy her shelter, leaving her alone in an isolated area without any way to reach a hospital."

Feature

"MSF and SOS Mediterannee, which jointly operate the Aquarius rescue ship, are urgently calling on European authorities to assign a port of safety to the ship, which is currently carrying 114 refugees. The people onboard were all rescued on Friday, and have been waiting at sea since then. During both rescues the Aquarius informed all relevant authorities of its activities, including Italian, Maltese, and Tunisian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres, and the Libyan Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC). Despite their outreach to all these coordinating centers, no RCC has yet offered a port of landing." (...)

What Salvini teaches us about Operation Sophia (euobserver, link):

"In his political rampage since becoming Italy's minister of the interior, Matteo Salvini has recently begun targeting European crisis management missions such as Operation Sophia.

This mission, currently led by an Italian admiral and specifically pushed for back in 2015 by the then-Italian government, aroused his displeasure because of its rescue efforts for migrants in the Mediterranean." (...)

Divisive Aquarius ship resumes migrant rescues off Libya: NGOs (The Local, link):

"Two French groups operating the rescue ship Aquarius said Saturday it was back in Libyan coastal waters for the first time since triggering a diplomatic row over migration in June.

The Aquarius picked up 141 people on Friday in two separate operations, SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders said on Twitter.

The Aquarius "remains in the search and rescue zone, and on the lookout for any other craft in distress"."

Migrants Malta Does Not Want Are Powering Its Economy (Refugees Deeply, link):

"African migrants are moving from Italy to Malta to work, but find themselves undocumented and unprotected. Leanne Tory-Murphy reports that Malta’s economy is desperate for workers but the country is in political denial over migration."

Germany seals deal with Spain to return registered asylum seekers (euractiv, link):

"Berlin and Madrid finalised an agreement on Monday (6 August) that will see asylum seekers that reach Germany via Spain returned to the Iberian nation.

Interior ministers of both countries signed the declaration and it will enter into force next Saturday (11 August) after Angela Merkel and Pedro Sánchez first settled on an agreement during the June EU Council summit.

German authorities will be able to send migrants back to Spain within 48 hours and will take care of the cost of the transfer. Spain will then proceed with their asylum applications. Non-accompanied minors are excluded from the agreement and will remain in Germany."

Migrant rescue ship docks in Spain again after Italy refusal (The Local, link):

"An NGO ship which saved 87 migrants in distress off Libya docked in Spain on Thursday after roaming the Mediterranean for days, the third such vessel to be allowed in the country in two months after Italy refused to take them in.

The white ship belonging to Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms arrived in the southern port of San Roque, just over the bay from Gibraltar, at 9:20am (0720 GMT)."

Charities in Calais claim police harass British and other volunteers (The Local.fr, link):

"In a new report, UK and French migrant charities in Calais say their volunteers are being systematically bullied by the police.

The UK charity Help Refugees and other NGOs helping migrants in Calais have published a report claiming that their volunteers are systematically harassed and intimidated by the police.

The publication co-authored by UK charity Help Refugees and French NGOs Auberge des Migrants, Utopia56 and Refugee Info Bus lists no less than 646 incidents relating to police intimidation over the past eight months leading up to July."

Migrants marooned in Bosnia – in pictures (Guardian, link):

"Migrants live in hard conditions in makeshift camps in Bihac, Bosnia-Herzegovina, near the border with Croatia as they wait to pass to other European countries. Thousands are seeking out alternative passage to the EU after the western Balkan route was closed by European leaders in 2016. Bosnia is experiencing an economic meltdown after years of war that left tens of thousands dead and hundreds of thousands internally displaced. The country applied to join the EU in 2016, but has been told that membership remains some distance in the future"

Are You Syrious (6.8.18, link):

Libya

"The Italian Parliament decided yesterday to gift the Libyan Coast guard 12 new patrol boats. They boats will be run by EU trained personnel from Libya. Proactiva Open Arms, as well as other sea rescue missions and human rights NGOs, have said this is a horrible decision to fund Libya and their modern slavery.

Libya continues to be the main transit country for people to try and reach Europe, according to the latest UNHCR figures. As of the July 31st 2018, the Libyan Coast Guard intercepted 12,633 people along the Libyan Coast. They brought back 2,167 persons in July, 3,453 in June, and 1,756 in May. 97 bodies have been found in all of 2018."

Sea

"The Aquarius has made it clear that moving forward, they will not wait for orders from Libya or any other coastguards; if they see people in distress they won’t let them die at Sea. They are starting to patrol 25–30 miles from the Libyan coast, which is still in the rescue area but not in Libyan territorial waters. They also refuse to take people back to Libya, as it cannot be considered a safe country."

Spain

"Around 300 Lawyers in Málaga work in rotations to provide legal services for people arriving by boats and rescue missions. The system set in place is working better at addressing the needs of Spain’s doubled new arrivals in 2018. The Cádiz Bar Association intends to replicate their organization, which is based on two pillars: first, de-institutionalized operation allowing for more flexibility and second, adequately training lawyers to help in identify human trafficking victims."

The Hope Project, Lesvos (link):

"“Since early 2015 we have been rescuing providing aid to refugees. They estimate that in 2015/2016 we brought in 600.000 people on the north shore, Although the numbers of arrivals have dropped boats are still arriving and we continue to help.”

Greek migrant camps at breaking point as arrivals continue (Channel 4 News, link)

"The migration crisis is shaping politics and influencing elections across Europe, and although the number of people seeking a new life on the continent has slowed, people are still coming by the boatload. One of the countries under the biggest strain is Greece. They've had over 500 new arrivals on their islands since Friday. We went to Greece, along with a group who know all too well the plight of escaping persecution - Jewish people brought over as children on the Kindertransport rescue effort during the Nazi era. We visited the island of Lesbos, which is host to more than 10,000 people stuck in camps, both official and unofficial, and had over 250 new arrivals just today."

Germany’s Seehofer pushes migrant take-back deal with Italy, Greece (euractiv, link):

"German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer on Sunday (5 August) said he hoped for a breakthrough this week in talks with Italy and Greece on taking back asylum-seekers already registered in those countries, as Berlin toughens its migration policies."

Are You Syrious (4.8.18, link):

Feature: The EU is sending children to death

"It is shocking even to report that some governments are deciding to deport children. Even more when the child is deported to one of the most dangerous countries in the world— Afghanistan.

However, this was recently the case in The Netherlands, where a vulnerable Afghan family with a minor have been deported to Afghanistan. (...)

The UN Security Council has listed Afghanistan as a ´country at war´. People who are deported from mostly EU member countries, are arriving in overcrowded Afghan camps where children are starving due to the inhuman conditions and freezing winters."

Greece

"According to the Aegean Boat Report, on Saturday morning, 22 people were dropped off on the shores of northern Lesvos, all from Afghanistan. During the night, at around 3am, a dinghy landed near Molyvos with 41 people on board. In both cases, volunteers were there to help and greet people. In July alone 1294 people arrived on Lesvos."

France

"Solidarité migrants Wilson reports about the raids over the last couple of days at the Chapel. The area was left empty of people after the raids. It is still not clear where the people were moved to. If you have any information about where these refugees were taken, contact Solidarite migrnats Wilson.

Faces Before Numbers report about the new asylum and immigration bill that was adopted last week. As they write, the new bill is “hugely and dangerously jeopardising the right to claim asylum and the rights of the people claiming asylum”"

Bahaa al Saaor : We will never forget you (Samos Chronicles, link):

"“It is Wednesday August 1st 2018.

What words can describe our feelings as we wait on the border between Syria and Turkey. We were all dreaming about freedom and hoping to be safe and to continue our life without fear.

The time is 12:00 in the night. This is the time when we start our travel.

The smuggler shouted ” come on, come on ” Our group is 9 men and one woman with her child.

We get to the top of the mountain then we waited to get an order to move again." (...)

And see: Fundamentally Flawed: The realities of the Mental Health Crisis for Refugees on Samos (Samos Chronicles, link); "They remind us that services and interventions which are not appropriate are worse than useless. They remind us that a total reliance on wholly western psychological /social work practices and theories are also worse than useless and can deepen problems. They remind us that amongst the refugees there are many talents and human resources which are brought to bear both to understand what they face and to find ways of coping with daily life in and around the Camp." (...)

Spain’s right whips up fear as migration surge hits Andalucian shores (The Observer, link):

"New rightwing party leaders are convinced that immigration will be a vote-winner, but on the front line in Algeciras there is more frustration than alarm (...)

In a country that has traditionally been pro-immigration and devoid of a significant far-right party since its return to democracy, their words have raised eyebrows and concerns. “The first thing we need to be clear about is that there’s a bit of unwarranted alarm over the arrivals we’ve seen over the past month,” said Villahoz, president of Algeciras Acoge, the local branch of an Andalucian NGO that works to protect, educate and integrate migrants and refugees."

UNHCR: Med arrivals in 2018 (3.8.18): Total arrivals: 62,304, dead/missing: 1,511. Cyprus: 73, Greece: 16,142, Italy: 18,475 and Spain: 27,614.


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (3.8.18)
Are You Syrious (2.8.18, link):

Feature

"700 people have died on the Central Mediterranean route in the past 6 weeks, MSF has reported .

700 men, women, and children.

700 people who could have been saved if the EU could create an effective sea rescue mission.

700 people on Italy’s conscience, Austria’s conscience, Sweden’s conscience, Belgium’s conscience, Greece’s conscience, Croatia’s conscience, Portugal’s conscience, Switzerland’s conscience, Serbia’s conscience, Germany’s conscience, Bulgaria’s conscience, Norway’s conscience, Hungary’s conscience, the UK’s conscience, and all other 36 countries’ consciences on the European continent." (...)

Libya

"The Libyan Coast Guard (LBC) is saying that it intercepted a staggering 547 people on Monday in the Mediterranean. There were 3 separate groups with a total of 388 men, 66 women and 19 children. It has been reported that they were given aid, but handed over to the anti-immigration authorities in Tajoura and Tripoli.

While the LBC is praising this as a rescue mission, Aloys Vimard, MSF project coordinator on board the Aquarius, reiterates that Libya cannot be considered a safe third country to due gross human rights violations. As AYS has reported before, these include modern slavery and sexual violence."

Migration will shift political landscape, says Czech PM Babis (Prague Monitor, link): "Babis said the problems in the bloc's border-free Schengen zone were more urgent than those in the eurozone currency group."

Greece-Turkey: MSF alarm as Evros crossings surge (ekathimerini.com, link):

"More than 10,000 migrants and refugees entered the country over land in the first half of 2018 by traversing the Evros River separating Greece from Turkey, against an estimated 7,500 crossings the year before, an international aid group said Thursday."

Unlike Salvini, Italians Still Believe in Welcoming Strangers (Refugees Deeply, link):

"A new survey of Italian attitudes to migration and refugees finds more ideological diversity than commonly assumed. Economist and researcher Tim Dixon unpacks findings that show more nuances than the populism dominating headlines.(...)

Far more Italians believe in the principle of welcoming the stranger and showing compassion, but they also reject a vision of open borders. They believe the net effects of immigration, like globalization, have been negative. Many are deeply worried about the job prospects for young Italians."

Gimme Shelter! Mass Removals of Asylum Seekers from Europe (Part I: Afghanistan) (one smll window, link):

"The current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, now both beyond their fifteen year, are the enduring conflicts of the twenty first century. The latest UN figures for civilian casualties in Afghanistan in the first half of 2018 listed 5122: 1692 deaths and 3430 injured. “More civilians were killed in the first six months of 2018 than in any year since 2009 when UNAMA started systematic monitoring”, with Kabul, Helmand and Kandahar among the most dangerous provinces." (...)

And see: Gimme Shelter! Mass Removals of Asylum Seekers from Europe (Part II: Iraq):

"Many of the problems faced by Afghans being deported are also faced by Iraqis asylum seekers in Europe. They are often sent to a country they barely know, if at all, fearful for their safety and sometimes to regions where the local language and culture is not their own. In addition, they may find themselves displaced more than once in Iraq and facing destitution in spite of the financial aid they may receive under an assisted voluntary return (AVR) or assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) scheme."

Opinion: Anchor centers are shipwrecks of EU migration policy (DW, link)

"Their names sound nice: "Anchor centers" and "disembarkation platforms." But these camps for asylum-seekers that the EU wants to set up are supposed to deter migration — though they won't work, says DW's Bernd Riegert.

Anchor, disembarkation, landing and controlled centers. The melodious names cloaking the European Union's dead-end asylum policies can do little more than mask the real problems at hand. There is certainly no lack of theoretical concepts regarding the internment, deterrence and deportation of those denied asylum or migrants with no chance of being granted residency."

France adopts controversial asylum and immigration law (euobserver, link):

"France’s parliament signed into law a controversial asylum and immigration bill on Wednesday (1 August), despite opposition on the left which decried an effort to limit arrivals while the far right saw the measure as not going far enough.

The bill is designed to accelerate asylum procedures by cutting the maximum processing time to 90 days after entering France from 120 currently."

UK: Home Office misled court about treatment of child refugees from Calais, judges find - Appeal court rules not giving reasons for refusal to join families in UK was unlawful (Guardian, link):

"The government “materially misled” the high court about its treatment of child refugees who applied for safe passage to the UK from Calais, giving incomplete evidence that was “a serious breach of the duty of candour and cooperation”, the court of appeal ruled on Tuesday.

Judges said the process used to assess about 2,000 children before and after the clearance of the makeshift refugee camp in 2016 was “unfair and unlawful”."

See: Judgment (pdf)

Germany lifts ban on reunions for refugees, rekindles integration debate (euractiv, link):

"Germany on Wednesday (1 August) resumed family reunifications for some refugees, drawing ire from leftist groups who said a cap of 1,000 people a month was too low and a far-right party opposed to immigration altogether.

In 2016, the government suspended the right to bring in immediate family members for asylum seekers granted limited protection in a bid to ease the burden on social workers handling a record influx of a million migrants.

The ban did not apply to asylum applicants granted full refugee status as they have a constitutional right to invite their families to join them."

Migrants' return to Libya by Italian boat could breach international law – UN - Vessel may have broken international law by returning 108 people rescued from Mediterranean to Tripoli (Guardian, link):

"An operation in which an Italian towboat rescued more than 100 people in the Mediterranean and returned them to Libya may have been in breach of international law, the United Nations has said.

According to the Spanish charity Proactiva Open Arms, the Asso 28, an oil rig support vessel, rescued 108 people from international waters on Monday and took them to Libya, their country of departure.

If confirmed, this would constitute a breach of international law, under which migrants rescued in international waters cannot be returned to a place where their lives are put in danger. Both the United Nations and European Union have acknowledged that Libya is not safe."

EU Commission: Libya unfit for migrant disembarkation (euobserver, link):

"The European Commission says Libya fails to meet basic international standards for disembarking rescued migrants, after an Italian ship reportedly unloaded some 100 people at a port near Tripoli.

Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud on Tuesday (31 July) said a person's life must not be threatened and that housing, food, and medical needs must be met before disembarkation can take place."


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

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