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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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July 2019


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6-25.7.19)


EU coalition of the willing agrees new migrant ‘solidarity mechanism’ (euractiv, link):

"Fourteen member countries of the European Union have agreed to a new “solidarity mechanism” proposed by Germany and France to allocate migrants across the bloc, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday (22 July).

in addition to France and Germany, Finland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Lithuania, Croatia and Ireland had also signalled a clear intention to move forward with a new system. (...)

Italy’s Interior minister Matteo Salvini, whose country is at the forefront of the migrant influx in Europe, did not take part in the meeting."

See: Full-text: Réunion informelle sur les migrations en Méditerranée (Paris, 22 juillet 2019): Chair’s summary (pdf)

TURKEY: EU Commission reacts to Cavusoglu comments on migration deal (ekathimerini.com, link):

"The European Commission on Wednesday reacted to comments by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who earlier this week suggested that Ankara will cancel a migrant readmission agreement with the European Union should the bloc fail to deliver on its promise of visa-free travel for Turkish citizens."

And see: Readmission agreement with EU suspended, Turkish FM says (turkishminute.com, link):

"Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavusoglu has announced that Turkey’s readmission agreement with the European Union has been suspended, the Evrensel newspaper reported on Monday."

EU: Disembarkation scheme - Member States asked to agree to allow landings by "private rescue vessels in the closest safe harbour"

A draft Note on: Commitments by Member States for predictable temporary disembarkation scheme (pdf) agrees to set up:

"a more predictable and efficient temporary mechanism in order to ensure swift and dignified disembarkation of migrants rescued at sea by private vessels in closest safe harbour."

This is a France-Germany proposal which is not supported by Italy

Libya: Europe-bound migrants sent to bombed detention centre (aljazeera.com, link):

"Coastguard spokesperson says 38 migrants were sent to the Tajoura detention centre that was bombed last month.

Libya's coastguard has intercepted a Europe-bound boat off its Mediterranean coast and taken all migrants on board to a detention centre that was bombed earlier this month."

Italy's government wins confidence vote on decree targeting migrant rescue ships (Reuters, link):

"The Italian government won a parliamentary confidence vote on Wednesday on a security and immigration decree, in a victory for Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who heads the far-right League party.

The government, which has been riven by internal strife in recent weeks, won the vote by 325 to 248."

Italy receives more asylum seekers from Germany than from Libya - Why Rome is the winner of the EU’s Dublin regulation (Politico, link):

"in reality, in part because of the government’s hard-line approach, the number of people arriving by sea has plummeted, from over 180,000 at its peak in 2016 to a little over 3,000 so far this year.

Instead, the greatest influx of people seeking asylum is now coming from the north — from other European countries, who are sending migrants back to Italy in accordance with the EU’s so-called Dublin regulation."

Spain’s model for saving lives at sea should be emulated in the EU (The Conversation, link):

"Clearly, we are witnessing the transfer of search-and-rescue responsibilities to the military.

But if the EU and its member states really want to address their responsibilities, the military is not the answer. Neither are NGOs. Instead, they must carefully consider Spain’s previous approach — a professional, safe and cost-efficient way of saving lives at sea."

Cruise ship rescues 111 migrants off Greece (DW, link):

"The Marella Discovery picked up 111 migrants, including 33 children, near Greece's Peloponnese peninsula. Despite a large fall in migrants crossing the Mediterranean, six people die each day making the journey."

Are You Syrious (19.7.19, link):

NIGER TO LIBYA

"Sudanese minors who had been at the UNHCR refugee camp in Agadez/Niger have left the refugee camp yesterday, 18th of July, and are presently marching towards Libya. The are now on their way through the desert, Alarme PHONE Sahara reports. Their criticism is that their asylum procedures are not advancing and the UNHCR representative so far has not kept her promises to provide solutions. Meanwhile, some of them have been brought to hospital.(...)

Sudanese minors are part of the numerous refugees and migrants who are presently blocked in Niger as a result of European policies to close down borders to force people to stay on African soil at any cost."

Frontex operation along Albania-Greece border deemed a success (infomigrants.net, link):

"Germany’s government says the EU’s Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, has helped Albania prevent cross-border crime, among other things. The operation with 66 border guards from 12 member states was launched two months ago. It's the first time that Frontex exercises its powers in a non-EU member state.(...)

Andrej Hunko, who represents Die Linke party in Germany’s parliament, criticized the Frontex operations as being an expression of an “expansion of the fortress Europe.”"

Complaint by Croatian police officers who are being urged to act unlawfully (borderviolence.eu, link):

"After the Croatian president Grabar-Kitarovic confirmed a couple of days ago that Croatian authorities are involved in illegal pushback of migrants to Bosnia & Herzegovina (“a little bit of force is needed”), another complicit voice speaks up: Croatian Ombudswoman presents an anonymous complaint by police officers that were ordered to “return everyone without papers, no traces, take money, break mobile phones or take for ourselves, and forcefully return refugees to Bosnia.” Read the whole letter and a rough English translation (thanks to Centre for peace studies Zagreb."

MSF to resume Mediterranean migrant rescue operations - NGO had suspended operations in December (Politico, link):

"The SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) charities have relaunched migrant rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea, seven months after they suspended efforts using their ship Aquarius citing "sustained attacks on search and rescue by European states."

"We view the return to search and rescue as a duty, fueled by the humanitarian need to prevent people from drowning while they seek safety from Libya," the organizations said Sunday in a press release. "The new ship Ocean Viking will sail to the Central Mediterranean Sea at the end of the month."

The theatre of Lampedusa - 19 Luglio 2019: From the spectacularisation of NGO disembarkations to the silence on the day-to-day management of arrivals by sea (ASGI, link):

"Last weeks events have brought the island of Lampedusa back into the centre of the media debate on sea arrivals. The events around the SeaWatch 3, the courageous choice of its Captain and the recent and equally courageous docking of the sailing ship Alex by Mediterranea Saving Humans, have been an opportunity to reflect on the use of political power by the current government, on the relationship between the different sources of law and, above all, on the possibility of opposing and resisting political decisions and normative acts perceived as illegitimate and seriously unjust.

In the aftermath of these events, it is necessary to propose some additional elements to the public debate: what happens following the disembarkation of people rescued after these events which are so much under public attention? Are the mediatised disembarkations the only ones that characterise the island at the moment? How is the daily flow of migrants managed at this stage? Which kind of institutional reception is provided to foreign citizens in Lampedusa?"

Human Rights Watch letter to Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (HRW, link):

"I am writing on behalf of Human Rights Watch to ask you to order both an investigation into unlawful pushbacks of migrants by Croatian border officials and a halt to such actions.

In an interview with Swiss television SRF on July 9, you acknowledged unlawful pushbacks of migrants by Croatian border officials to Bosnia Herzegovina and admitted that in some instances force is used. This contradicts previous denials by Croatian officials, but is consistent with the findings of Human Rights Watch, the UN Refugee Agency, and other organizations."

Greece: labor minister criticized for 'racist' refugees move (Ansa,link)

"Newly-appointed official revokes National Health Insurance law.

Greece's newly-appointed Labor Minister Yiannis Vroutsis has been labelled "heartless and inhumane" after he revoked a recent law passed by the previous Syriza-lead leftist government which granted National Health Care services to all foreigners from non-EU countries, refugees included, without exceptions.

Just three days into his new role Vroutsis revoked the circular, which had been voted on and published on June 20.

It provided additional guidelines that AMKA numbers (Greece's national insurance program) could be given to foreign nationals of third world countries, and meant that refugees would be treated the same as those residing in the country, as the Constitution states.".

EU interior ministers fail to find compromise on Mediterranean refugee rescue (DW, link):

"Interior ministers from across the European Union have failed to agree on temporary measures to manage increased migration across the Mediterranean. Officials have told DW that the future of the bloc is at stake."

Sea-Watch captain Rackete urges EU action on migrant rescues (France 24, link):

"A German humanitarian ship captain who eluded an Italian effort to block her from docking at an Italian port with migrants onboard has called for the European Commission to do its best to avoid new political standoffs.

Carola Rackete, captain of the Dutch-flagged Sea-Watch 3, was questioned by Italian prosecutors in the Sicilian city of Agrigento on Thursday for allegedly aiding illegal immigration."

Spain will give Morocco €30 million to curb irregular immigration (El Paus, link):

"The funding is on top of the €140 million the EU has pledged to provide the North African country."

UN expert describes Hungarian migrant camps as places of detention and deterrence (link):

"A United Nations human rights expert has expressed concerns about the detention conditions of migrants in Hungarian transit zones, urging authorities to move families and children to other centres with better health and sanitary facilities.

UN expert Felipe González Morales spent eight days in Hungary to monitor the human rights situation of migrants. According to him, migrants in Hungary are being instrumentalised for political purposes.

“Migrants are portrayed as dangerous enemies in both official and public discourses in this country,” Morales said, calling on Hungarian authorities to end their “crisis” approach."

Green New Deal – panacea or problem? (IRR News, link):

"As the notion of a Green New Deal rapidly spreads as an answer to capitalism in US and UK media and political circles, our lead article in July 2019 asks if Green capitalism can propose a real solution to the ecological crisis and the human crises of poverty, austerity, immigration and racism.

Green capitalism and the large scale investment in environmental technologies ‘neither breaks with neoliberalism, nor can potentially reverse environmental disaster’, argues Jerry Harris, an authority on global capitalism, in his lead article on ‘The future of globalisation’."

How the streets of Barcelona have become a refuge for unaccompanied migrants (El Pais, link):

"Rising numbers of minors and young adults who are homeless and in some cases are committing crimes have left the local authorities overwhelmed."

Are You Syrious (16.7.19, link):

GREECE: The new government’s priorities

"The new Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met on Monday with the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and later chaired a meeting with government ministers concerned with migration issues. He presented a plan with six priorities for the situation of migration in Greece (...)"

Saved from distress, accused of smuggling

"Not only European sea rescue organizations are criminalized. Hundreds of migrants seeking protection in Europe are immediately arrested after their arrival by boat on the Greek Islands. They are accused of human smuggling. In order to curb any future attempts, regardless of whether that was the case in the given situation, the people accused are reportedly usually given an average sentence ofabout 44 years in prison that is to be served for about 19 years. The average fines imposed are over 370.000 Euros."

Greece

"people were placed in “administrative detention”, after the brief occupation of the Pantheon in Paris on Friday by people who came to claim regularization of their status in the country. These 21 people were put under 24-hour administrative detention, presumably for the purpose of verification of their right to stay.

In addition, a protester was arrested and placed in custody for “willful acts of violence against a person in charge of public authority”.(...)

Greek Hotspots: Deaths Not to Be Forgotten (Pro Asyl, link):

"In an extensive policy paper, the team of Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) in Greece has observed that in numerous cases of refugee deaths at the hotspots on Greek islands, the Greek authorities have undertaken little or no investigation, turning the hotspots into an institutional gray zone."

Documenting Migration: From A Lampedusa Outpost To A National Level

"MotM seeks partners in growing its migration story archive from the humanitarian perspective.

Join Migrants of the Mediterranean (MotM)) in partnership to document the migration flow in the Central Mediterranean through the framework of humanitarian storytelling. With it, MotM captures the intimacy and urgency of each migrant’s experience on the ground, and now aims to do it on a larger scale, to help inform policy and popular understanding."

Greek Council for Refugees: To the Supreme Court Prosecutor: Complaint on Push-Back Incidents in the Region of Evros during the months of April - June 2019 (pdf):

"Complaints during the past two years

For the past two years, complaints on push-backs from the region of Evros have continuously been brought to our attention. We are aware that, at least, three such complaints have come to the prosecuting authorities’ knowledge
(...)

Incidents against Turkish citizens during the past 2 months:

Lately, however, and at least from 27-4-2019 and onwards, GCR has received continuous complaints on push-backs perpetrated against primarily Turkish nationals, cited."

ASGI: The "Emergency Transit Mechanism" program and the resettlement from the Niger. Legal analysis, current and future concerns (pdf):

"This document was drafted as a result of a survey carried out at Niamey, in Niger, from 15th to 20th
November 2018, attended by ten legal experts (lawyers and university professors). The survey focused primarily on the mechanism of resettlement for the people who submit the application for asylum in Niger."

Croatia: President Admits Unlawful Migrant Pushbacks - Halt Abusive Operations; Justice Needed (HRW, link):

" Croatia should immediately stop summarily returning migrants and asylum seekers to Bosnia and Herzegovina, in some cases with force, Human Rights Watch said today in an open letter to President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. The president’s recent admission during an interview on Swiss television that Croatian officials are engaged in these pushbacks triggers a responsibility by Croatian authorities to investigate and to hold those responsible for any unlawful action to account."

and see: In Croatia, EU border guards use 'a little bit of force' (DW, link): "Croatia has consistently denied illegally deporting refugees to neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina. But in a recent TV interview, the Croatian president admitted border guards were forcing migrants back over the border."

EUROMED RIGHTS: Executive summary (pdf) and EU-Egypt migration cooperation: At the expense of human rights (pdf):

"This study aims to provide a mapping of the cooperation between Egypt and the EU/Member States in migration and border management and its impact on the rights of migrants and refugees in Egypt in order to provide concrete recommendations for action to the EU and its Member States."

ECHR: The Court decides not to indicate an interim measure requiring that the applicants be authorised to disembark in Italy from the ship Sea-Watch 3 (pdf):

"The European Court of Human Rights has today decided not to indicate to the Italian Government the interim measure requested by the applicants in the case of Rackete and Others v. Italy (application no. 32969/19), which would have required that they be allowed to disembark in Italy from the ship Sea-Watch 3.

The Court also indicated to the Italian Government that it is relying on the Italian authorities to continue to provide all necessary assistance to those persons on board Sea-Watch 3 who are in a vulnerable situation on account of their age or state of health."

PUSH BACK MAP: “Bridges not Fences!”: (link):

"“This map documents and denounces systematic push-backs. They are a daily reality at the many borders of Europe and worldwide. Returning people across borders against their will is a violent state practice that has to end."

Restart Mediterranean migrant rescue missions, UN bodies tell Europe (DW, link):

"UN agencies have appealed to European countries to restart government rescue operations for migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. More needs to be done to improve inhumane conditions for displaced people in Libya as well."

FRONTEX: Migratory situation in June – Arrivals in Europe rise slightly (link):

"The Eastern Mediterranean remained the busiest migratory route into Europe with nearly 4 000 detections in June 2019*.

Italy's Matteo Salvini shuts what was Europe's biggest migrant center (DW, link):

"The Italian interior minister toured the Sicilian center with politicians and reporters, calling it a haven for drugs, prostitution and violence. Salvini has said he wants to deploy military ships to keep migrants away."

Europe puts its good Samaritans on trial (Politico, link):

"Authorities across the Continent are cracking down on volunteers working with migrants and refugees.(...)

Italian, Maltese and Greek authorities have used anti-smuggling laws to prosecute volunteers."

Rescue boat captain: Don't let my case distract from refugee crisis (DW, link):

"Sea-Watch 3 captain Carola Rackete has pleaded with authorities not to be distracted from the humanitarian crisis off the coast of Libya. She said the EU needs to stop cooperating with the Libyan coast guard."

Libyan lawyers: EU is complicit in torture (euobserver, link):

"The European Union has for years adopted a policy of containment, training the Libyan Coast Guard to intercept people at sea.

Those intercepted are then brought back to Libya and placed in detention centres that are run by DCIM under the GNA's Ministry of Interior.

There has been no shortage of reports that recount the violence and torture refugees and migrants face in these centres.

Yet, unfazed, EU policy continued to support the Libyan coastguard, turning a blind eye to what happens after those intercepted are returned to Libya."

European Commission: Remarks by Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos on the solution found with regards to the disembarkation of NGO vessels and progress under the European Agenda on Migration (Press release, pdf):

"I would also like to commend the Member States that agreed to receive the migrants disembarked in Malta. Germany, France, Portugal, Malta, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Italy, Romania, and Ireland have shown European solidarity (..)

The European Border and Coast Guard will support Member States to organise the swift return of those that have no right to stay."

The press release make mention of EU complicity in the running of appalling detention centres in Libya.

Germany’s rescue drone will not fly in the Mediterranean (link):

"Unmanned systems could help to rescue shipwrecked boats in the Mediterranean. However, a new German sea rescue drone is only used in the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

Under the name „LARUS“, the German Government develops drones for the rescue of ships in distress. The abbreviation of the drone stands for „Situation support during sea rescue operations by unmanned aeronautical systems“. The system is financed from civil security research funds, for which the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is paying 2.8 million euros."

Sea-Eye rescues 44 migrants off Libya's coast (DW, link):

"A German rescue boat has picked up 44 people that were stranded off the Libyan coast. The rescue comes a day after the same boat handed over 65 migrants to Malta."

‘Saving lives is no crime’: migrants rescuer facing jail would do it again - A Spaniard who went to sea to save refugees could go to prison in Italy for 20 years. He talks about why humanity must come before politics (Guardian, link):

"Despite trying to navigate Italy’s legal territory, Roldán and his six other crew members are now facing up to 20 years’ imprisonment after being accused by authorities of aiding illegal immigration and assisting human traffickers. Italian police seized the Iuventa in August 2017 using anti-mafia laws, with a judge ordering an investigation that could result in a trial later this year."

German minister calls on EU to launch migrant rescue missions (Politico, link):

"Development minister Gerd Müller urged action both in the Mediterranean and in Libya.

Germany's development minister has urged the EU to launch missions to rescue migrants both in the Mediterranean and "on Libyan soil."

Malta to relocate 65 migrants after rescue ships defy Italy ban (euractiv, link):

"Malta’s prime minister said Sunday (7 July) his country would relocate to other EU nations 65 migrants from the Alan Kurdi rescue ship, after two other boats defied efforts to stop them landing in neighbouring Italy.

All 65 were transferred to a Maltese navy ship on Sunday evening, the German charity Sea-Eye which operates the boat said in a statement, adding that its vessel had been refused entry to Valetta port.

Premier Joseph Muscat tweeted earlier that “following discussions with the EU Commission and the German government”, the 65 people would be transferred from the Alan Kurdi to a Maltese military “asset which will then enter a Maltese port”.

“All rescued persons on board will be immediately relocated to other EU member states,” he added".

Libya: EU first sends migrants back, then deplores deaths (euobserver, link):

"The European Commission was on Wednesday (3 July) mute on how an EU-trained Libyan coast guard returns people rescued at sea to Libya - while at the same time condemning an attack that killed at least 40 at a detention centre in Tripoli."

Rescued refugees land in Sicily as another ship defies Salvini - Charity vessel carrying 41 docks in Lampedusa after two days stranded at sea (Guardian, link):

"Forty-one refugees and migrants disembarked overnight at the port of Lampedusa after a charity vessel that rescued them off Libya defied an attempt by Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, to close ports to NGO boats.

The Italian-flagged Alex, run by the NGO Mediterranea, was escorted by the Italian coastguard and on Saturday the ship was seized by police, the captain was put under investigation for allegedly aiding illegal immigration, and the rescuees eventually disembarked. Mediterranea was fined €16.000 (£14,300)."

Starved, tortured, bombed: the fate of refugees trapped in Libya (standardmedia.co.ke, link):

"Acute malnutrition, forced labour, torture: NGOs have sharpened their tone against the shocking conditions endured by refugees and migrants in Libya, where over 40 people were killed in an air strike on a detention centre."

Death at sea or under the bombs : is there no other alternative for the thousands of migrants trapped in the hell of Libya? (migreurop, link):

"An air strike on the Tajoura migrants’ detention centre, in the eastern suburbs of the Libyan capital city, was reported on 2 July evening. Two days later, the death toll keeps increasing with so far at least 66 dead and over 80 wounded. Late April 2019 already, many migrants died in the attack of Gasr Bin Gashir by armed groups about 30km away south of Tripoli."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25.6-5.7.19)


Sink Without Trace: migrant deaths in the Mediterranean (IRR News, link):

"An exhibition that bears witness to migrant deaths in the Mediterranean challenges us to confront the UK’s complicity in Europe’s war on asylum."

UN calls for inquiry into Libya detention centre bombing (Guardian, link):

"Attack widely blamed on warlord Khalifa Haftar, which left at least 44 dead, labelled ‘war crime’

The United Nations has called for an independent inquiry into the bombing of a Libyan migrant detention centre that left at least 44 dead and more than 130 severely injured, describing the attack as “a war crime and odious bloody carnage”.

The detention centre east of Tripoli was housing more than 610 people when it was hit by two airstrikes. Libya’s UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Italian interior minister, Matteo Salvini, blamed the bombing on the air force of Khalifa Haftar."

Spain threatens migrant rescue NGO with €900k fine (Catalan News, link):

"Proactiva Open Arms risks huge penalties if it defies ban on saving refugees in Mediterranean.

The Spanish authorities have threatened Catalan NGO, Proactiva Open Arms, with fines between 300,000 and to 900,000 euros for defying orders confining its migrant rescue ship to port in order to save refugees stranded in the Mediterranean.

In a letter published by the eldiario.es, the head of Spain's Merhcant Marine, Benito Núñez Quintanilla, warns the NGO that it "must not carry out search and rescue operations" without permission from the authorities."

Italian judge says German migrant rescue captain free to go (euractiv, link):

"An Italian judge said Tuesday (2 July) that Sea-Watch 3 captain Carola Rackete was free to go, three days after her arrest for docking with 40 migrants aboard her rescue ship in defiance of an Italian ban.

Rackete was arrested after hitting a police speedboat while entering the port of the southern island of Lampedusa on Saturday in her vessel, which had been banned from docking by Italian authorities.

The move ended a two-week stand-off at sea."

Sink Without Trace presents work by eighteen artists on the subject of migrant deaths at sea. The exhibition includes artists from Denmark, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraqi Kurdistan, Israel, Italy, Slovakia, South Africa, Sudan and the UK- currently living in France, Germany, Italy and the UK.

European activists fight back against ‘criminalisation’ of aid for migrants and refugees (The New Humanitarian, link):

"More and more people are being arrested across Europe for helping migrants and refugees. Now, civil society groups are fighting back against the 17-year-old EU policy they say lies at the root of what activists and NGOs have dubbed the “criminalisation of solidarity”.

The 2002 policy directive and framework, known as the the “Facilitators’ Package”, establishes the parameters of European policy when it comes to tackling illegal immigration.

The package leaves it up to individual member states to decide whether people providing humanitarian assistance should be exempt from prosecution for helping undocumented migrants enter or cross through EU states. It does not include a requirement that profit be a motive for a charge of human smuggling, nor is there an automatic exemption for humanitarians."

EU-Morocco Association Council prioritses cooperation on migration: Joint declaration by the European Union and Morocco for the fourteenth meeting of the Association Council (pdf)

"The two key fields in which specific operational measures will also be carried out are:

• Cooperation on protection of the environment and the fight against climate change...

Enhanced consultation and balanced cooperation on mobility and migration. This consultation will be based on the 2013 Mobility Partnership, in compliance with national powers and the full implementation of Morocco's national strategy on migration and asylum. The management of migration requires joint and sustained efforts by Morocco, the European Union and its Member States in the framework of an approach that is comprehensive, humane and respectful of human rights, and envisages concerted action to deal with the root causes of irregular migration. The prevention of and fight against irregular migration, against trafficking in human beings and in migrants, and their protection, including through communication and by raising awareness of the risks tied to irregular migration, stepping up the management of the sea and land borders, mobility, in particular improving the mobility of professionals, legal migration, return, readmission and reintegration, visa facilitation and the development of mutually beneficial human exchanges, in particular for students, young workers and young volunteers, will form part of the objectives pursued." (emphasis added)

Italian judge says German migrant rescue captain free to go (EurActiv, link):

"An Italian judge said Tuesday (2 July) that Sea-Watch 3 captain Carola Rackete was free to go, three days after her arrest for docking with 40 migrants aboard her rescue ship in defiance of an Italian ban.

Rackete was arrested after hitting a police speedboat while entering the port of the southern island of Lampedusa on Saturday in her vessel, which had been banned from docking by Italian authorities.

The move ended a two-week stand-off at sea.

The judge said an Italian security decree was “not applicable in the case of rescues” in the ruling."

On the decree, see: Statewatch Analysis: Italy's redefinition of sea rescue as a crime draws on EU policy for inspiration (pdf)

Spain threatens migrant rescue NGO with €900k fine (Catalan News, link):

"The Spanish authorities have threatened Catalan NGO, Proactiva Open Arms, with fines amounting to 901,000 euros for defying orders confining its migrant rescue ship to port in order to save refugees stranded in the Mediterranean.

In a letter published by the eldiario.es, the head of Spain's Merhcant Marine, Benito Núñez Quintanilla, warns the NGO that it "must not carry out search and rescue operations" without permission from the authorities."

See: El Gobierno amenaza al Open Arms con multas de hasta 901.000 euros si rescata en el Mediterráneo (eldiario.es, link) and background: Spain blocks migrant rescue boat from setting sail (InfoMigrants, link)

EU: Report: Decrease in Applications and Negative Public Attitudes in Visegrád Four (ECRE, link):

"A report from the project, Visegrád Countries National Integration Evaluation Mechanism (V4/NIEM) reveals a stagnating number of beneficiaries of international protection (BIPs) in Visegrad 4 countries, and a significant drop in applications in Hungary and Poland since 2016. Further, the report confirms that negative public attitudes towards foreigners prevail.

The Visegrad 4 countries have seen a stagnation or decrease of granted international protection statuses and in 2018 the modest numbers were: Slovakia (5 excluding Subsidiary protection), Czech Republic (165), Poland (404) and Hungary (349). Further, the number of new applications in Hungary and Poland continue to drop significantly – in Hungary from 29,432 in 2016 to 671 in 2018 and in Poland from 12,350 in 2016 to 4141 in 2018."

UN urges resettlement of nearly 1.5 million refugees (DW, link):

"From Turkey to the Horn of Africa, refugees are in dire need of permanent resettlement. The UNHCR said "there "simply has to be more equitable sharing of responsibility for global crises."

Lack of data on missing migrant children leads to gaps in protection (University of Bristol, link):

"A new report highlights the need for better data on migrant deaths and disappearances, particularly those of missing migrant children.

This year's Fatal Journeys 4 report, by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and co-edited by University of Bristol academic Ann Singleton, focuses on missing migrant children, giving the growing number embarking on dangerous migrant journeys.

According to IOM data, nearly 1,600 children have been reported dead or missing since 2014, though many more go unrecorded."

'Inhumane conditions' at Bosnian refugee camp in Vucjak (DW, link):

"Within eyeshot of the Bosnian-Croatian border, thousands of refugees are camping in squalor on a former garbage site. Their supplies are scarce. Photographer Dirk Planert was among them.

Forced removals

It's estimated that 8,000 refugees live in Bihac. The camps are overcrowded and every day there is talk of burglaries. There was a stabbing in front of the kindergarten. Next to Camp Bira, there were about 500 people not registered with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In mid-June police picked them up and drove them to a site called Vucjak."

The Effect of Anti-Discrimination Policies on Middle Eastern and North African Immigrants in 24 European Countries (mipex.eu, link):

"The Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) is a unique tool which measures policies to integrate migrants in all EU Member States, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and the USA."

Italy migrant boat: Captain says she disobeyed orders due to suicide fears (BBC News, link):

"The German captain of a charity ship said she disobeyed orders not to dock in Italy because she feared for the lives of the rescued migrants on board.

Sea-Watch 3 captain Carola Rackete apologised to the crew of a patrol boat her vessel trapped against a quayside.

She denied Interior Minister Matteo Salvini's accusation that she had tried to ram the boat in an "act of war"."

CoE: Parliamentary:Putting an end to policies of pushbacks and expulsion of migrants (link):

"PACE today expressed concern at pushback policies and practice, which are in clear violation of the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees, including the right to asylum and the right to protection against refoulement. Parliamentarians are also concerned about “reports and evidences of inhuman and degrading treatment of member States and their agencies in the framework of those pushbacks”, through intimidation, taking or destroying goods of migrants, the use of violence and depriving them of food and basic services."

See: Adopted resolution: Pushback policies and practice in Council of Europe member State (pdf)

Berlin, Paris fume at Italy over Sea Watch case (euractiv, link):

"Row over Sea Watch 3. High-ranking politicians in Germany and France have strongly criticised the Italian government for arresting Carola Rakete, the captain of the ship Sea-Watch 3 who rescued migrants at risk of drowning in the Mediterranean."

June 2019

Italy holds Netherlands, EU ‘responsible’ for migrant boat (euractiv, link):

"Italy’s hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said he would hold the Netherlands and the European Union “responsible” for the fate of 42 migrants that Rome has blocked from disembarking at Italian ports for over a week.

The Dutch-flagged rescue boat Sea-Watch 3 has been stuck in the Mediterranean since rescuing 53 migrants drifting in an inflatable raft off the coast of Libya on June 12."

ECHR: Applicant’s detention in an immigration centre violated the Convention after it became clear that no safe third country would admit him (pdf):

"The case concerned a man who was held in detention pending possible deportation for extended periods while the authorities sought a safe third country to remove him to. This case concerned his detention from July 2012."

Meet Every Migrant - Now, In Italian - Read the stories of individual migrant journeys in a newly-expanded Italian language section.

ROME, ITALY 25 June 2019 - Migrants of the Mediterranean (MotM) introduces thee newly expanded section of its story archive in Italian, accessible here.


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

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