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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"

October 2016

EU: Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA): Monthly data collection: October 2016: Report covers period 1-30 September 2016 (link) and Monthly data (link)

Lesvos, Greece: Moria camp damaged in riots as rumors fly (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Migrants on Monday attacked the premises of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) inside the Moria hot spot on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, completely destroying four container office units and damaging another two during a protest that was contained by riot police....

Pressure on Greece’s eastern Aegean islands continues to mount as migrants and asylum seekers continue to cross the sea from neighboring Turkey. A total of 370 arrivals were recorded in the past three days, raising the official number of those stranded on the islands to 15,635....

In a related development, Samos Mayor Michalis Angelopoulos on Monday sent a letter to Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas protesting the government’s failure to meet pledges to cut migrant numbers on the island. “[Migrant] flows have intensified and departures are moving at a very slow pace,” he said, adding that problems were escalating. Angelopoulos said 665 individuals had arrived on Samos in the past two weeks, while only 128 had left."

North Lesvos, Greece: Eric Kempson: Stranded On A Reef! (3 linked video,s link): "Well done to all the teams and locals who helped in this rescue it was truly international help, amazing!!"

Italy: Anti-refugee demo continues near Ferrara - 11 women resettled after Gorino residents erect barricades (ANSA, link);

"Eleven female refugees, including a pregnant woman, on Tuesday were temporarily relocated to the northern city of Ferrara and the towns of Comacchio and Fiscaglia after protesters the previous night erected barricades around the nearby town of Gorino where a hostel was originally designated to host them.

The decision to host the women in different locations was taken by local authorities after mediation talks between the Mayor of Ferrara Tiziano Tagliani, police and the demonstrators.

Protesters last night erected barricades in three different points of entry to Gorino, a town on the Po Delta where the hostel Amore-Natura had been designated to host the asylum seekers."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24.10.16)
FRANCE: History repeating itself: demolition of Calais refugee camps underway

"An operation to clear the Calais refugee camp has begun, as the first of 60 French government buses left the northern port town, transporting refuges and migrants to accommodation centres elsewhere in the country."

Refugees and terrorism must not be conflated, says UN Special Rapporteur

A new report by the UN's Special Rapporteur on terrorism and human rights calls for an end to the conflation of migrants and refugees with acts of terrorism: "in the clear majority of cases, refugees and migrants do not pose a risk, but are in fact at risk, fleeing the regions where terrorist groups are the most active," says the report, which was presented to the UN General Assembly in New York on Friday 21 October.

Child refugees in Turkey making UK clothes (BBC News, link):

"Syrian refugee children have been making clothes for British shoppers, an undercover BBC investigation has found.

Panorama investigated factories in Turkey and found children had been working on clothes for Marks and Spencer and the online retailer Asos.

Refugees were also found working illegally on Zara and Mango jeans.

All the brands say they carefully monitor their supply chains and do not tolerate the exploitation of refugees or children."

Migrants set fire in riot at Lesvos reception center (Ekathimerini, link):

"Hundreds of migrants were involved in an uprising on Monday at the Moria reception center on Lesvos where protesters set fires to express frustration at their continued detention.

According to local reports, most of the protesters were migrants from Pakistan. Many of them have been at the center for months awaiting the outcome of asylum applications or for deportation.

Local reports said that asylum service workers left the center after protesters set fires in the area.

The local fire service was dispatched to the center to douse the blaze while riot police attempted to restore calm."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22-23.10.16)
UNHCR: (22.10.16): 319,826 arrivals in the Med in 2016: 168,873 in Greece, 145,982 in Italy. 3,654 dead/missing.

Greek Ministry statistics: 21.10.16 number of refugees/"guests" in camps and their capacity (pdf): Greek islands: 15,378 refugees/"guests* and capacity 8,030. Voluntary" returns in 2016: 5,010 and Departures to Turkey 2016: 724.

Greece in 2016: Vulnerable People Left Behind (MSF, link):

"The unwillingness or the inability of the Greek government to take the lead and to ensure proper cooperation with the other actors involved is having a serious impact on the quality and speed of the response.

Likewise, the deliberate negligence of the EU and its member states in providing an efficient relocation system for those seeking safety and protection is prolonging and intensifying the suffering. MSF urges the EU and the Greek authorities to immediately address the needs of the most vulnerable and to facilitate legal and safe ways for those who are entitled to enter into the relocation scheme to be quickly welcomed elsewhere in Europe."

Are You Syrious (22.10.16, link)


"11 people, including 7 adults and 4 children, drowned during the rescue this morning according to MSF. 250 refugees were saved by SeaWatch2 vessel alone in the past 24 hours. At 8am a small wooden boat carrying a single family was located and all passengers were brought on board the Dignity1 rescue boat. At 8:30am another rubber boat arrived carrying many men & two bodies. With the deck full Dignity1 could only hand out life jackets. The Aquarius has brought 261 people on board this morning, including some rescued last night and some from a tiny wooden boat this morning."


"194 new refugees have been officially registered in Greece, including 96 on Lesvos, 78 on Samos and 20 on Kalymnos. According to volunteer sources, one boat carrying 20 refugees arrived to Skala Sikaminia north of the Lesvos island this morning (Oct 22)."

Research reveals systematic mistreatment of pregnant women and mothers with newborns in Greek camps

"The reproductive rights of refugees are firmly rooted in international law, but they are often neglected, if not completely disregarded on the ground. In Greece, many refugee women are forced to undergo C-section, even if they are perfectly capable of delivering their babies naturally. They are quickly stitched up and sent back to filthy camps with wounds on their bellies and crying babies in their hands. The volunteer community needs to put pressure on the authorities to provide better support to refugee mothers and their kids and we can’t do it without international support. This is why our friends from Pleiades law group led by Electra Leda Koutra have conducted an important field research about reproductive rights of refugee women in Greece, in cooperation with Human Rights in Childbirth and with tje humble support of AYS." [see below]

Greece: HELLENIC ACTION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS - Pleiades: PLEIADES REPORT ON REFUGEE MOTHERS – Preliminary findings on antenatal, perinatal and postnatal care of refugees in Greece (link)

'Libyan coastguard' speedboat attacked migrant dinghy, says NGO (Guardian, link):

"Sea-Watch says at least four people died after crew of vessel with coastguard insignia attacked rubber boat carrying about 150 people off Libyan coast."

Travelling in hope - The flow of Africans from Libya to Italy is now Europe’s worst migration crisis (THe Economist, link):

"BEFORE dawn the Dignity 1 has completed her first rescue, scooping 114 migrants without lifejackets from a rubber dinghy adrift in the Mediterranean. The crew, who include a doctor and two nurses from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the charity that operates the boat, check the arrivals to see who needs immediate care. No sooner have they finished than the ship is called to assist the Samuel Beckett, an Irish military vessel also engaged in search-and-rescue. Several migrants she has picked up need urgent medical help: they have chemical burns from fuel leaking in their sinking boat. In the evening the Italian coastguard brings 196 more people on board. By midnight the Dignity 1 is carrying 417 migrants."

Greece, Lesvos: Customs Authorities seize several cars operated by NGOs (Keep Talking Greece, link): "Several vehicles operated by international non-governmental organizations on the island of Lesvos have been seized by the Greek customs authorities. According to Athens News Agency, the vehicles had been violating Greek and European laws, according to which license plates should be changed if a vehicle operates for more than six months in a different country than the one that issued the plates. The vehicles had plates of several EU countries and were operated by persons that had no private or labor relation with the owners who were “unknown EU citizens.”"

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21.10.16)
FRANCE-UK: Major problems highlighted in report on refugee camps in Calais and Grande-Synthe

On 12 October the results of a Council of Europe fact-finding mission to the formal and informal camps for migrants and refugees in Calais and Grande-Synthe were published. The mission was undertaken by Tomáš Bocek, Special Representative of the Secretary General on migration and refugees, who recorded numerous issues of concern.

European Council offers approval for migration deals with African states

"European Union leaders agreed on Thursday to step up their efforts to curb illegal migration from African countries with the aim of replicating their success in halting inflows from Turkey over the past year...

To curb flows along the so-called central Mediterranean route, where thousands of migrants drown every year as they make the dangerous journey, the EU is offering trade deals and investment to African countries."

 See: European Council conclusions on migration, 20 October 2016 (pdf) plus earlier Draft conclusions (11226/16, LIMITE, pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20.10.16)
EU-TURKEY: If visa-free travel not granted by end of 2016, refugee deal will have 'reached its natural death': EU minister (Daily Sabah, link):

"The European Union should implement visa-free travel for Turks by the end of the year and stop insisting that Turkey change its anti-terrorism laws, or Ankara may cancel its side of a deal to stop illegal migration, European Union Minister and Chief Negotiator Ömer Çelik told Reuters."

Chios: Refugees protest slow asylum procedures, EASO staff on 24h strike (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Dozens of refugees and migrants blocked the two entrances to the hot spot of VIAL on the island of Chios to protest extremely slow procedures in processing asylum.

According to protesters, “the Asylum service checks only five asylum applications per day and this increases the risk that they will be struck there for many months.”"

Refugees face ‘appalling conditions’ in Greece says aid group (ekathimerini.com, link):

"The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says refugees at camps in Greece are still living in mostly "appalling conditions" with poor access to health care and a lack of provisions to identify the most vulnerable.

In the report issued Thursday, the agency commonly known by its French name, Medecins sans Frontiers, argued that the European Union and Greece had "collectively failed to establish humane and dignified reception conditions.""

Italy: Plans for a uniform reception system through SPRAR expansion (AIDA, link):

"A plan to reform the Italian reception system was announced at the annual meeting of the Ministry of Interior and the National Association of Italian Municipalities (Anci) held on 14 October 2016 in Bari.

As detailed in the AIDA report on Italy, the reception system is in theory distinguished between first-line and second-line reception. Newly arriving asylum seekers and migrants are placed in Regional Hubs, including emergency reception centres (CAS), managed by the Ministry of Interior and Prefectures. Subsequently, second-line reception is provided through the system for the protection of asylum seekers and refugees (SPRAR), managed by local municipalities."

See Overview (pdf)

Greece: New asylum reform transposing the recast Reception Conditions Directive (AIDA, link):

"The Greek Ministry of Interior has submitted a bill for public consultation from 11 to 21 October 2016, concerning the transposition of the recast Reception Conditions Directive into national legislation."

Information about the Serbian-Hungarian border (migszol.com, link)

EU buries migration dispute for now (euobserver, link):

"They will call for "a swift adoption" of a revision of the Schengen borders code to enforce systematic controls, and will ask the European Commission to come up with a proposal on an entry/exit system before the end of the year, according to draft conclusions seen by EUobserver...

Leaders will also discuss the so-called compacts set up with five African countries - Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Ethiopia - to manage the flows of migrants, increase returns and try to solve the "root causes" of migration.

The commission presented a first assessment on Tuesday but leaders will wait until December to decide if the plan works and whether to extend it to other countries."

Afghanistan Agony for Returning Refugees - Thousands Pushed Into ‘Voluntary Returns’ Face Fresh Dangers at Home (HRW, link):

"At Kabul airport on Tuesday, I met a group of Afghans – three women and 10 men – who had just arrived from Turkey. It was not a joyous homecoming. They had joined the waves of several hundred thousand Afghans whose bid for safer lives abroad in the face of worsening insecurity at home ended in limbo in Turkey, blocked from claiming refugee status or continuing onward to Europe."

EU sounds out Egypt on possible refugee deal (euractiv, link):

"Libya is not the only North African country hosting a large number of refugees: Egypt finds itself in a similar position. Cairo has indicated its interest in brokering some form of agreement akin to the EU’s deal with Turkey."

17,000 refugees sue Germany over status - and most win (The Local.de, link):

"So far this year more than 17,000 refugees have sued German authorities for not giving them full refugee status, with the vast majority winning their cases, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports."

Austria: Up to 90 percent of failed asylum seekers 'not deported' (The Local.at, link):

"Up to 90 percent of failed asylum seekers are not being deported from Austria because their countries of origin will not agree to readmit them, according to Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil (SPÖ). "

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19.10.16)
EU: Europe Wishes to Inform You that the Refugee Crisis Is Over (Foreign Policy, link):

An extensive overview of the evolution and development of the European response to the refugee crisis over the last two years. Amongst the author's interviewees is European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, who considers Member States' disregard for their commitments to "relocating" refugees from Italy and Greece to be "morally wrong". Meanwhile the Dutch permanent representative to the Council of the EU is keen to note that there is "a grip on the flow" but the "worry now is slippage" - that is, people leaving the squalid camps of Greece and travelling elsewhere in the continent.

The author concludes:

"Europe is bound to become less white, less Christian, and less homogeneous. Americans know that a pluralistic society can send fresh blood coursing through a nation’s veins; but even many Americans are turning against immigrants and refugees. It’s all too easy to cater to those fears, as political leaders in the United Kingdom discovered during the Brexit debate. It’s so much harder to say, as Merkel did, that honoring the obligation to accept refugees will “occupy and change” a country in the years to come. Political leaders must find a language that will acknowledge citizens’ legitimate fears without exploiting them. If they fail, Europe could fall into the hands of leaders who stir up primeval passions once thought extinct. We may be a few generations removed, but the carnage of that hatred and fear still smolders. It’s not just the EU’s arcane rules that are at stake, or even the EU’s capacity for collective action. It is the very idea of Europe."

IRELAND: Discovery of five people in shipping container highlights the dire need for safe and legal avenues to safety (Irish Refugee Council, link):

"News broke yesterday about the discovery of four adults and a three year old child who were found in a shipping container in a haulage yard in Wexford on Sunday evening. It is believed that they reached Ireland on a ferry and as of yet it is unclear where their journey to Ireland began.

Caroline Reid, Communications Officer for the Irish Refugee Council said: “We have heard about and borne witness to the perilous journeys that people are making as a course of last resort. As routes shut down and fences and walls go up, people are finding new ways and methods to reach places of safety.”

“Until we see more proactive responses and solutions which open up safe and legal ways for people to escape persecution we will continue to see people making these types of journeys. No person should find themselves in a situation where they feel that their only choice is to pay smugglers to transport them on dangerous and arduous journeys with no guarantees for their safety or how or where their journey might end.”"

See: Wexford: Girl, three, and four others found in shipping container (BBC News, link)

UK: Home Office rules out 'unethical' dental checks for Calais refugees (The Guardian, link):

"The Home Office has ruled out calls for dental X-ray checks to verify the age of Calais refugees arriving in Britain criticising them as “inaccurate, inappropriate and unethical”.

The official rejection of the demand from Conservative backbenchers was welcomed by the British Dental Association, which had earlier condemned the proposal as inappropriate and inaccurate.

“We do not use dental X-rays to confirm the ages of those seeking asylum in the UK,” said a Home Office spokesperson."

And: Calais camp: Charity pressures government over migrant children (BBC News, link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18.10.16)
EU: European Commission: Report back on so-called "Partnership Frameworks" with African countries - who have agree to the return and readmission of refugees or suffer "the consequences" for aid and trade deals:

- Managing migration effectively: Commission reports on progress in the implementation of the Partnership Framework with third countries (Press release, pdf)

- First Progress Report on the Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on Migration (COM 700-16, pdf)

- Annex 1 (pdf)

- Annex 2 (pdf)

- Annex 3 (pdf)

See original policy decision (7 June 2016): Communication: on establishing a new Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on Migration (COM 385-16, pdf) and related documentation: New proposals on migration: "partnerships" with third countries, Blue Card reform, integration plan (Statewatch News Online, 7 June 2016)

European Commission presents today reports on progress in the implementation of the Partnership Framework with third countries (link)

Cities demand access to EU migration funds (euobserver, link):;

"Around 30 Syrians are now at the centre, known as Welcommom, a project largely financed by the EU via the UN refugee agency (UNHCR). Most of them are children. The project is described as a prototype on finding new ways to house refugees unlike the overcrowded and often dangerous facilities on the Greek islands.

"It's a new model for hosting refugees," Chrysogelos told visiting municipal representatives from across Europe, who had gathered in Athens for the launch of a new "Solidarity cities" initiative.

Solidarity cities is a project conceived by Athen's mayor Georgios Kaminis. The aim, he says, is to get cities to work better together in addressing a wide range of practical issues faced by refugees. "

Calais Research Network: 40+ companies profiting from the Jungle eviction and border violence (link):

"The eviction of the Calais jungle is about to begin, but who does this act of brutality serve? On the one hand, cynical politicians looking to the French presidential election next year, desperately trying to cling onto power with a show of toughness. But also, it will boost the profits of a host of private companies who supply the rubber bullets and barbed wire, bulldozers and deportation buses."

60% Hungarian electorate ignores the racist referendum, but situation at the border remains catastrophic (MIGZOL, link):

"The Röszke Trials against people criminalized for having tried to find refuge in a democratic country, accused of terrorism for having protested against police abuse, presently detained without access to proper legal defense and a fair trial, are more than just an accident. The trials are a symptom of a systematic effort to transform dissent into crime. We are asking to start connecting the dots between unfair trials in a court of justice, the closing of dissenting media channels and the diffuse but slowly tightening presence of militarized control of the unwanted.

As Amnesty declares, the rule of law is not simply undermined by acts of random disregard or violence, but by a systematic rule of fear, enforced at times by unchecked vigilante groups, at other times by the abusive power of some state institutions and the destruction of other institutions."

Greece: Tensions flare at camps after migrants hit and killed by car (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Tension among migrants and refugees at accommodation facilities in Thessaloniki was palpable Monday after a woman and her 9-year-old son were killed by a car on Sunday outside a camp in the area of Oraiokastro, northern Greece.

Migrants are demanding the exemplary punishment of the driver and an improvement of their living conditions.

The accident, which also injured a 12-year- old girl, triggered a riot by migrants, who claimed the ambulance was late to arrive on the scene, while their pleas to police for a patrol car to rush the 32-year-old Syrian woman and her son to hospital were refused. According to local reports, the car, driven by a 75-year-old pensioner, rammed into a group of migrants at high speed."

Killing of Migrant Forces France to Confront Treatment of Chinese (New York Times, link):

"AUBERVILLIERS, France — A Chinese tailor, Zhang Chaolin, emigrated to France with his wife and two sons in 2006 in search of a better life. They settled in Aubervilliers, a working-class suburb of Paris, where a decade of striving finally put that life within reach....

Shouting racist slurs, the youths took a small bag from one of the men, and savagely beat them, leaving Mr. Zhang and his friends crumpled and bloodied on the sidewalk. The bag contained only candy and cigarettes. Mr. Zhang died five days later."

Sweden requests EU permission to continue border controls (euobserver, link):

"Sweden's southern borders need continued controls, according to a report from the government seen by Swedish public broadcaster, Ekot. The report will be sent to the European Commission on Tuesday with a request to continue the controls after 11 November, because the EU has not "lived up to commitments,""

UK: First group of refugee children arrives in Britain from Calais (Guardian, link): "Resettlement programme commences as 14 minors from war-torn countries are reunited briefly with UK-based relatives."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17.10.16)
EU-Africa talks pose questions on aid and security (euobserver, link):

"Later this week in Brussels, EU leaders will be discussing forthcoming deals with a handful of African states.

With repressive regimes like Sudan demanding that the EU finance border controls, leaders appear increasingly willing to do almost anything to stop people from crossing the Mediterranean to reach Italy. Last November, Sudan’s foreign minister Ibrahim Ghandoursaid the EU should help pay to keep migrants from crossing its borders into Libya and Egypt.

A few months later, it sent the EU commission a wish list of demands. Sudan requested the EU pay for "computers, cameras, scanners, servers, cars, aircraft" at 17 crossing points along its borders under a programme that is part financed by the European Development Fund. "In principle yes but aircraft unlikely," responded the commission, in a document that can be found on the commission's website.

"The EU is in essence providing these repressive regimes with a cloak of international legitimacy at a time when more scrutiny on their domestic policies is needed," wrote Kloe Tricot O'Farrell, the NGO's EU advocacy officer."

See also: The EU Emergency Trust Fund for Stability and addressing the root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa: Action Fiche for the implementation of the Horn of Africa Window (pdf)

Migrants riot in Greece after car kills woman, her child (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Greek police say migrants living in a camp outside the northern city of Thessaloniki have rioted after a woman and her son were struck and killed by a car.

The riot started Sunday night after an ambulance was late to arrive. Camp residents claimed that they asked police to take the 35-year-old Kurdish Syrian woman and her 10-year-old son to a hospital in a patrol car and they refused.

Migrants blocked the road outside the camp, threw rocks at the police and set fire to two patrol cars. Police responded with tear gas and stun grenades. Migrants also set fire to trash cans as a defense against tear gas. Calm has returned to the camp, which hosts about 1,300 migrants."

Greece: Another 58 Returned To Turkey (News That Moves, link):

"Personnel from Frontex, the EU agency for the management of border controls, and the Greek police returned another 58 irregular migrants from Greece to Turkey on October 13.

This followed 65 deportations on October 5 and 6.

Most of those returned on October 13 were citizens of Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran and Pakistan.

The returns were carried out partly under the EU-Turkey deal of March 2016, partly under the Greece-Turkey Readmission Protocol of 2002, and under the EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement of 2014."

Are You Syrious (16.10.16, link):

France: Clashes between Calais residents and the police, volunteers prevented from approaching the site

"Another violent clash between the riot police and the refugees happened in Calais, where refugees are preparing to leave the site they got to call home over the last months. On Saturday, workers started erecting a controversial wall along the motorway leading to the ferry terminal. A crane was deployed to the site to lift four-meter-high cement panels to prevent the refugees from blocking traffic and jumping onto trucks. This action, along with the increased police presence and the uncertainty about the days to come, ignited the clash in which police used water canons and other means of oppression in the attempt to “pacify” desperate camps residents."

Greece: At least two dead in front of Oreokastro camp, in a tragedy that ignited righteous anger and riots

"We are deeply saddened by the tragedy that happened in front of Oreokastro camp tonight. According to numerous witnesses on site, a refugee family was walking across the road in front of the camp when a car hit them, leaving two people dead and one in critical condition. First reports, including the info from Team Humanity, say the mother and the son died on the spot, while the daughter was rushed to the hospital in Thessaloniki. According to Greek press, three victims were residents at the Fessas camp in Oreokastro. They were hit by the 76-year-old driver outside camp, who was held by the police. Associated Press identified the victims as the 35-year-old Kurdish Syrian woman and her 10-year-old son. The extent of the injuries of the third child is still unconfirmed, but it seems to be out of the life-threatening danger."

EU: The Foreign Affairs Council (link) on 17 October recorded that:

"Ministers took stock of recent developments related to the external aspects of migration. The High Representative reported on the first results of the partnership framework approach and on the work on country specific compacts with the five priority countries, namely Mali, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria and Ethiopia, with the aim to better manage migration together."

Comment: Or rather working together to ensure refugees do go or not continue northwards towards the Med.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15-16.10.16)
Greece: East Aegean islands reception capacity and "guest" numbers

Ministry figures show that that at 7.30 on 14 October 2016 there were:

- 15,318 "Guests" and only capacity for
-   8,008 in detention centres - includes 89 refugees who arrived early that morning

Greece: More than Six Months Stranded – What Now? A Joint Policy Brief on the Situation for Displaced Persons in Greece (pdf):

"This briefing paper is the result of a joint effort by 12 national and international organizations operating in Greece. The aim is to explain the current situation for those stranded in Greece for over six months since the closure of the northern border and introduction of the European Union (EU) – Turkey deal....

To date, however, some EU Member States have established policies that proactively undermine the concept of responsibility sharing, continue to place the burden on Greece, and ultimately push people underground, into the hands of smugglers and those seeking to exploit their desperation—a reality that organizations in Greece see evidence of daily....

Those that arrived before the EU-Turkey deal - currently an estimated 47,000 people - are living on the mainland in formal “open temporary reception structures” (sites) including warehouses or informal sites such as abandoned buildings in urban areas. Those arriving after introduction of the EU-Turkey deal are confined to closed facilities (formerly called “hotspots”4) or sites on the Greek islands bordering Turkey with restricted movement - 13,171 people as of 13 September 2016.5 Reception and asylum procedures are applied inconsistently across islands and differ from those on the mainland, based on each individual’s arrival date and nationality." 

Seven migrants killed when their boat, reportedly fleeing, collides with Greek coast guard vessel (Japan Times, link)

"LESBOS, GREECE – A wooden boat carrying dozens of migrants from Turkey to Europe sank Thursday near the island of Lesbos after colliding with a Greek coast guard vessel, leaving at least seven people dead, including four children, rescuers said.

The boat sank within minutes of the crash with a 30-meter (100-foot) patrol vessel on Thursday morning, in circumstances that were being investigated.

The first bodies to be retrieved were those of a woman, two young girls and a baby, the coast guard said.

Three other victims, “a woman, a man and a minor,” were found later, the coast guard said as Greek rescuers backed by a Portuguese ship and an EU border agency Frontex helicopter combed the waters for the missing.

The 31 survivors who were brought to safety had reported a total of eight people missing.

An AFP photographer who witnessed the crash from the shores of Lesbos said the boat went down just two or three minutes after the collision, which took place some 2 km (1.2 miles) from land."

UK volunteers with donations for Calais denied entry to France - Volunteers driving cars full of clothes and food for refugees are turned away at Folkestone, told they pose threat to public order (Guardian, link)

"Some British volunteers driving cars full of donations for refugees in Calais have been turned away at the French border in Folkestone, and told that they were being denied entry because they posed a threat to public order, as French officials finalise plans for the camp’s demolition."

Greece: SNAFU and its Consequences for Refugees on Samos (Samos Chronicles, link):

"It is now the middle of October and the weather is still holding fine. But the first heavy rains of the autumn are likely at any time. What then for the hundreds of refugees who are living in the tents inside the Hotspot/Camp? From what we can determine no provision has or is being planned for the coming winter.

The past week has seen the biggest daily arrivals since before the EU/Turkey pact of March 2016, with over 500 this week. Most are from Syria. For some reason the Greek media is giving little publicity to this significant increase."

Are You Syrious (15.10.16, link)

Lack of accommodation proves to be a chronic problem for refugee families who arrive to Athens

"A large group of volunteers gathered at Humanitarian Bridges Initiative to feed and give blankets to homeless refugees around Omonia Square in Athens last night. They have encountered two Kurdish families with 16 members who’d arrived from Kalamata near the Peloponnese. They’d attempted to take a boat from Turkey to Italy but something went awry and they ended up in Greece after being at sea for 3 days! They were exhausted and sleeping on the ground. Volunteers have tried to find the accommodation for them, but have encountered the same problem we have reported in the previous digests: a chronic lack of space in hotels, hostels and squats in the city. Thanks to the joint volunteer efforts, the family was taken care of and managed to get some rest, but many families and single refugees are still left to sleep on the streets as the official humanitarian response in Greece continues to fail them."

Athena Centre for Women needs urgent support!

"Athena Centre for Women led by Gabrielle Tan on Chios remains one of the few safe spots dedicated to supporting refugee women, many of whom have endured severe trauma and violence on their way to safety. Athena’s daily work includes protecting women and children exposed to stabbings, suicides, attempted sexual assaults and rape. However, they won’t be able to continue their valuable work if they don’t secure a steady flow of funds for their activities. At the moment they are in an urgent need of support, so please follow this link for more info and consider donating."

Landmines: a lethal threat for refugees who might attempt travelling through Bosnia and Herzegovina

"Ever since the borders have officially closed, refugees managed to find a way to travel via Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. Every now and then, we hear about alleged attempts to travel through Bosnia and Herzegovina. If there are any refugees considering that route at the moment, we’d like to warn them about a lethal risk of the landmines that are left scattered around since the ex-Yugoslavian war in the 1990’s. We’re attaching the map of known minefields in a hope no one will have to use it in order to reach their preferred destination country. Hi-res map can be found here."

State Of Emergency Extended In FYROM (New That Moves, link):

"On October 13, the FYROM Parliament voted in favour of extending the state of emergency on the southern border with Greece until July 30, 2017..."

Are You Syrious (14.10.16, link)


"The newest date for the begining of the evacuation of the Calais Jungle is Monday, October 24, according to some sources. Despite increasing information from the field, the French state still insists on withholding any official confirmation of the date and details of the evacuation. Nevertheless, media and public sources claim that dozens of so-called Welcome and Orientation Centres (CAO) in all parts of France are preparing will provide around 7000 places to lodge those currently staying in Calais. The whole process is supposedly organized so that the people, although in fact free to move, are supervised and accompanied at all times. Around 3000 police officers will take part in the operation."

GREECE: Arrivals

"Three boats carrying 70 people landed on the north-east coast of Lesvos Friday. Among them there were 18 women, one pregnant woman and 19 children. Everyone was safe, thanks to the excellent work of the rescue teams.

According to the official registration, there were 89 newly registered arrivals in Greece: 10 on Lesvos and 79 on Samos. 58 people were deported, with 16 voluntary departures. Since the Turkey-EU deal in March, there has been 701 deportation officially registered by the Government, with 39 voluntary departures reported this month.!

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14.10.16)
After the publication of: Shoot First: Coast Guard Fired at Migrant Boats, European Border Agency Documents Show (The Intercept, link) and full file: Serious Incident Reports (190 pages, pdf) 42 Members of the European Parliament wrote to Frontex: Letter to Mr Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of Frontex concerning "Shoot First" policy (pdf).

The Director of Frontex has now responded to the MEPs' Letter: Response to Letter from MEPs on: Recurrent use of weapons by coast guards within Frontex operations (pdf):

Frontex Executive Director, Fabrice Leggeri replies that in; "half of the incidents reported, the weapons were shot into the air, with no possible harm to anyone and thus in full respect of the principles of necessity and proportionality."

He seems to be unaware of how frightening it is for shot to be fired "in the air" or towards a boat of refugees.

In the remaining cases (that is half): "shots were fired upon attempts by facilitators to violently ram the patrol vessel.. officers are entitled to the right of self-defence."

When it comes down to specific cases they come under each EU Member States's law - Frontex is not responsible.

EU: Council of the European Union: REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the establishment of a European travel document for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals, and repealing the Council Recommendation of 30 November 1994 (pdf):

Replaces the 1994 Resolution adopted under the Maastricht Treaty. This will only be effective if states (eg: in Africa) agree to returns and readmission decided by EU Member States:

The national authorities of the Member States experience difficulties in returning illegally staying third-country nationals who possess no valid travel documents.

Improving cooperation on return and readmission with the main countries of origin and transit of illegally staying third-country nationals is essential for increasing rates of return, which are unsatisfactory. An improved European travel document for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals is relevant in that regard.

The current standard travel document for the return of third-country nationals, established by the Council Recommendation of 30 November 19942, is not widely accepted by authorities of third countries, for reasons including its inadequate security standards."
[emphasis added]

Comment: The primary reason why an EU document is not accepted is not "security" but because third countries are not prepared to accept an unlimited number of "returns" to their state of those from and "transiting" through that state. Moreover, there is a quite understandable reluctance of refugees to "return" to countries from which they have fled due to war, persecution and poverty.

Are You Syrious (13.10.16)

“EU-Turkey Deal 2.0” with African states? A no-go: Feature

"In the midst of German Prime Minister’s Angela Merkel historic trip to North Africa to address the problem of Mediterranean crossings, the Interior Ministers of EU countries are gathering in Luxembourg to discuss the flow of refugees from Africa to Europe, namely to Italy. Merkel has offered military and financial aid (read: bribes) to Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal in exchange for halting immigration, while the German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizere has called for a new solution to the problem; those who are rescued at sea ought to be taken to centers in North Africa while their case for asylum is studied." See also: EU-Afghanistan returns plan: Another "dodgy" deal

Greece: Refugees are increasingly resorting to making a land crossing from Turkey to Greece

"As fall and winter weather approaches, police say the number of refugees and migrants trying to get across Greece’s northern land border with Turkey is growing. Hundreds of asylum seekers have continued attempting to cross the frontier during the past several weeks despite authorities recently breaking up a smuggling ring on the Greek side and arresting 70 people. Much less dangerous than the sea-crossing from Turkey to Greece’s eastern Aegean islands, many asylum seekers have been apprehended after walking across the shallows of the Hebrus River, which marks the Greek-Turkish border."

Greece: Numbers

"A total of 160 refugees have arrived on the islands today. 72 of them on Lesvos, 43 on Chios, and 45 on Samos. Additionally, 4 volunteered to be returned, bringing the monthly total to 23. There have been no deportations to Turkey this month."

Migrant arrivals to Italy top concern now (New Europe, link):

"Greece is no longer the main point of entry for migrants arriving to the European Union by sea. It’s Italy, according to the latest figures released by the United Nations refugee agency UNCHR.

The data show that more than 144,000 migrants have reached Italy so far this year, compared to the nearly 154,000 arrivals in the whole of 2015. Arrivals to Greece fell sharply after the EU struck a deal with Turkey to prevent departures from its shores."

Lone children at risk in Calais camp demolition (euobserver, link):

"There are several schools in the Jungle, and a yellow, double-decker school bus where children's drawings adorn walls and windows. A British baroness is giving classes in English and French. There are playgrounds, hills to climb, a kids’ cafe for children only.

But it is still hard to imagine a worse place for a child to live than the Jungle, as the slum in the French port-town of Calais is often called. More than a thousand of them do and almost all came here without their parents. "

Schengen zone suspended beyond Nov. 15 (New Europe, link): "Border checks will remain in place for Germany, Austria, and Sweden beyond November, which undermines the Schengen zone."

See also Re-establishing Border Controls in Europe Could Cost Up to €3 Billion a Year (RAND Study, link)

EU states to undergo border stress tests (euobserver, link): "If the EU state fails to plug the gap assessed by the agency, then the Council of the EU, representing member states, could reintroduce internal border controls for up to six months."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13.10.16)
EU: €67 million for maritime surveillance drones

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) wants drones, and lots of them. The agency has made more €67 million available for unmanned aircraft that will fulfil "the various maritime surveillance needs in general, including fisheries, illegal immigration, anti drug trafficking, etc." as well as "other public purposes on an emergency basis."

In documents published at the end of July, EMSA says it is looking for a company or companies to provide three different types of drone to monitor "the different operational domains": medium-size, long-endurance drones; "larger size RPAS services with 'long endurance' and with a comprehensive set of sensor capabilities"; and drones with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) abilities.

EU-TUNISIA RETURNS DEAL? The EU and Tunisia start negotiations on visa facilitation and readmission (Press release, pdf):

"The Commission and Tunisia today began parallel negotiations in Tunis on an agreement to facilitate the process of issuing short-stay visas and an agreement to establish procedures for the readmission of irregular migrants....

the agreement on the readmission of irregular migrants should lay down the procedures to be followed by both sides in order to clarify, simplify and speed up cooperation in this area...."

See: Communications from Commission and EEAS (JOIN 46-16):Renforcer le soutien de l'UE à la Tunisie (pdf)

No quick return to Schengen (DW, link):

"Germany, Austria and Denmark have called for an extension of "temporary" Schengen border restrictions as a new report warns such measures will be expensive.

The European Commission's hope to restore the Schengen system's border-free internal travel by the end of the year is looking bleak. As interior ministers met in Luxembourg Thursday, the overriding view was that it's not feasible to drop the emergency measures by mid-November when they are scheduled to end."

Cut funds to states that turn away refugees, Italy urges EU (euractiv, link):

"Eastern states that continue to refuse to take in refugees to help frontline countries in Europe’s migration crisis should have their EU funding cut, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Wednesday ..

Italy is the main destination for the waves of migrants fleeing violence and poverty in Africa. It is housing 160,000 asylum seekers out of more than 460,000 refugees who have reached its shores from North Africa since the start of 2014, Ministry of the Interior data shows.

Of 39,600 refugees due to be relocated from Italy under an EU quota plan, so far only 1,300 have been moved, according to the European Commission."

GREECE: Hotspots on Aegean islands overcrowding growing

Overall the number of refugees ("Guests") on the Greek islands at 12 October was 15,192 and the capacity in detention/hotspots was 7,450. There were 162 arrivals that day

Latest Greek government figures: 5,895 "guests" are being held on Lesvos, where there is capacity for 3,500 people. On Chios, 4,190 "guests" are being held in a camp intended to hold 1,100; on Samos there are 2,089 people in centres designed to hold 850; and on Kos 1,889 in a 1,000-person centre. Leros is the only island not suffering from overcrowding, with 724 "guests" being held in a space able to accommodate 1,000. Rises in all centres except Leros.

See: Summary statement of refugee flows at 12-10-16 (pdf)

Are You Syrious (12.10.16, link)

Greece: 515 people have arrived on Samos since the beginning of October

"162 people were registered up to 7:30am this morning —22 in Lesvos, 38 in Chios and 102 in Samos. Samos is now at 245% of its capacity with 2,089 guests and is quickly becoming one of the busiest islands in terms of arrivals, with 515 people arriving since the beginning of October, compared to 436 in Chios and 127 in Lesvos. One sixth of this year’s total arrivals in Samos took place this month alone.

According to volunteers, one boat with 42 people reached Chios and one boat with 38 people reached northern Lesvos today."

Germany: 579.000 asylum applications still pending

"FAZ reports that in the first three quarters of 2016, 213.000 asylum seekers came to Germany compared to 890.000 in 2015.

More than 660.000 applied for asylum in 2016 until the end of September, 117% more than during the same period last year?—?the majority of those applying for asylum this year came to Germany in 2015.

The process is still very slow and by the end of September there were still 579.000 pending applications?—?100.000 more than during the summer. However, in the first nine months of 2016, 462.314 applications have been processed, 165% more than during the same period last year, and the last September week was the first one with more closed than new applications."

Over 1,000 refugees sleep in the streets of Belgrade

"IOM says some 4,992 migrants were stranded in Serbia as of the 5th of October, while UNHCR counted 5,800, including over 1,000 people sleeping in the streets of Belgrade.

The number of people sleeping rough in Belgrade could be much higher than official UNHCR numbers, as the Miksalište centre, which provides food, clothing, medical and psychological help for refugee families, says that today alone, 26 adults and 382 children used their services."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12.10.16)
Refugee crisis: Council admits the EU has failed to respond on key areas

- "Frontex and Europol... report fatigue among Member States in responding to calls for experts"

- Some 'nationalities' are unable to register their asylum applications. Lodging of asylum applications is done according to nationality, giving priority to Syrians, Pakistanis and North Africans, while Iraqi and Afghani requests are not being dealt with."

Over a year ago the Council and the European Commission- belatedly - started to respond to the refugee crisis. Now a year on the Council, in a secret report to COREPER, recognises some of the failures and urges - for the umpteenth time - Member States to "do more":

See: Migration - Implementation (LIMITE doc no: 12730-16, pdf)

EU: Council of the European Union: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 13-14 October 2016, Luxembourg: Background Note (pdf) Including: "Finding solutions to migratory pressures" (link) and document above.

Greece: More than 11,200 migrants stranded on Aegean islands (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Authorities say 162 migrants and refugees have arrived on Greece’s Aegean islands in the past 24 hours, raising the total number to 11,215.

Authorities say 38 arrivals were reported on Samos, 38 on Chios and 22 on Lesvos. The number of individuals sheltered on Samos has increased by about 40 percent over the past 10 days, officials say."

Are You Syrious (11.10.16, link)

What the life in Calais camp looks like with demolitions and evictions on the horizon

"We still have no final confirmation of when the eviction will take place but many fear it could begin as soon as Monday — and still there is no plan for how refugees will be taken care of.

The organisation Help Refugees expresses a special concern for the camp’s most vulnerable refugees, namely, the unaccompanied minors, families, women and, especially, pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions, people needing special medical treatment, people suffering from severe mental health issues resulting from trauma and, finally, the elderly...."

Push-backs of refugees from Serbia to Macedonia

"Systematic push-backs of people from Presevo camp has been confirmed by both Serbian and Macedonian volunteers. Refugees who have been locked up for months in Presevo are allegedly being returned to Macedonia without a legal procedure, in groups of 30–40 people per day, most probably over the green border. Refugees who are still in Presevo say they are very afraid because they don’t have any information if they too will be pushed back to Macedonia."

For the first time there are now more than 15,000 refugees on the islands (official capacity is 7903)

"New arrivals: Samos: 88, Kos: 6, Kalymnos: 26, Megisti: 23, Chios: 39 and Lesvos: 22. Voluntary returns: 1"

EU: Meijers Committee: Statement on behalf of the Meijers Committee During the Public Hearing on ‘The reform of the Dublin System and Crisis Relocation’ of 10 October 2016 By Ms. Nejra Kalkan, Executive Secretary (pdf):

"With regard to this proposal one may wonder:

Should we not establish a system that works with the interests of asylum-seekers and Member States which are in the frontlines – instead of coercing unwilling Member States and asylum seekers into cooperation? As long as the system is deemed to be unfair by the key players in Dublin and does not serve their interests, Dublin may be bound to fail, regardless of how much coercion is put into the system. That coercion is moreover problematic from the perspective of human rights.

Would we not call a builder of a house irresponsible if he or she would build more floors to a house whose foundations are, to say the least, shaky?"

See: Note on the proposed reforms of the Dublin Regulation (COM (2016) 197), the Eurodac recast proposal (COM (2016) 272 final), and the proposal for an EU Asylum Agency (COM(2016)271 final) (pdf)

Viewpoint: Why Afghan refugees are facing a humanitarian catastrophe (BBC News, link);

"Hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees in Europe, Pakistan and Iran are being forced to return home to Afghanistan by the European Union, UN agencies and governments in the region.

An unprecedented humanitarian crisis is likely to be the result as the refugees - many of them destitute - return to what is effectively a countrywide war zone, with the Taliban attacking half a dozen provinces.

Moreover, the country's severe winter months are approaching, when essential supplies are even harder to obtain. The government in Kabul does not have the resources to help these refugees or resettle them as it focuses on the war, defending major cities and paying for the army's upkeep. .

The EU is likely to accept many Syrian refugees because it considers Syria a war zone, but the EU does not consider Afghanistan as a war zone even though the country is torn apart by war.

Previous definitions by the EU that Kabul and provincial capitals are safe havens no longer hold true with half a dozen provincial capitals under siege by the Taliban....

Similarly, Pakistan plans to repatriate 1.6 million registered and another one million unregistered Afghan refugees - many of whom have been living in Pakistan since the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. .."

African nations must halt migration, says Merkel (euobserver, link):

"Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel has called on African leaders to stop migration to Europe and fight back against Islamic extremism.

She vowed to help with development aid and military equipment to ensure peace and prosperity in Africa....

Some EU leaders, including Merkel, have indicated they would like to strike Turkey-style deals with African nations, whereby they would agree to take back migrants in exchange for money and other favours, such as visa-free travel. " [emphasis added]

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10-11.10.16)
Greece: FORGOTTEN: Administratively detained irregular migrants and asylum seekers (pdf) and Summary (pdf):

"In the Hellenic Police Departments there are serious long-standing systemic problems:

• Lack of an individualized approach based on the characteristics, the situation and the needs of foreign nationals who are under arrest
• Lack of use of alternatives to detention
• Systematic, unjustified detention of dubious legitimacy on the grounds of public order
• Detention of individuals whose removal violates the principle of non-refoulement
• Detention for a period longer than six months..."
(and more)

EU: ESI [European Stability Initiative]: Fire in the Aegean – Scenario of failure – How to succeed (pdf):

"ESI published an update on the state of implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement on refugees in the Aegean: what has worked, what has failed, and what is to be done: Pangloss in Brussels How (not) to implement the Aegean Agreement."

See also: On solid ground? Eleven facts about the EU-Turkey Agreement (pdf)

Are You Syrious (10.10.16, link):

New routes from Turkey emerging

"It seems that new refugee routes are emerging. For the first time since EU/Turkey deal, people have landed on the island of Milos. According to official government reports, as of 8 o’clock in the morning 111 people have landed on the island, which had not seen a large influx of refugees before. Coupled with reports from Saturday that 131 people were rescued of the coast of the south Peloponnese, it seems that boats are now trying to reach the coast of Italy directly from Turkey, which is a long and dangerous journey."

160 new arrivals today

"As for today, 160 people in total arrived to the Greek islands from Turkish shores: 1 to Lesvos and 48 to Chios, in addition to aforementioned 111 to Milos. The total number of refugees in Greece is much the same as it was last week, with slight changes from Friday. In the camps, #Cherso has seen thr number of people dropping by 300, with 1567 people accounted for on Friday and only 1267 on Monday. #NeaKavala had the same net decrease of 300 people, from 1775 people on Friday to

1475 on Monday. The number of self-settled people increased from 7600 on Friday to 8450 on Monday, a net increase 850 people.

In the week of October 3–8, 678 people arrived on the islands, a daily average of 93. The daily average for the month of September was 98.3 arrivals daily, showing a slight decrease. The specific totals for this week’s arrivals are as follows:

Lesvos: 104, Chios: 378, Samos: 325, Leros: 4, Kos: 9, Kalymnos: 17."

Spain: Spanish route still active? 100 people rescued on Saturday

We rarely report from Spain’s borders, but that does not mean that this long-standing migrant route is any less lively than the more well known ones. As reported by The Local Es, more than 100 African migrants were saved from the Mediterranean off the coast of Spain on Saturday after attempting the perilous crossing to Europe on a rickety boat. Rescuers transported 56 people from Sub-Saharan Africa to Malaga, a spokeswoman said, while 32 other Africans, including 17 women, were taken to the port of Motril, 100 kilometers (60 miles) further east. Sixteen other migrants, originally from North Africa, were taken to Cartagena, 400 kilometers northeast of Malaga.

For a video of the rescue follow this link."

Greek police stop 18 Syrian refugees trying to enter Albania (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Police in northern Greece say they have arrested two Greek women suspected of trying to smuggle a group of Syrian refugees over the rugged border with Albania.

The suspects were discovered early Tuesday, driving two cars carrying a total of 18 Syrians, including six children, to the border in the northern Kastoria region.

Police said the refugees had been planning to continue their journey from Albania toward an unspecified northern European country.

About 60,000 refugees and other migrants have been trapped in Greece following a series of Balkan border closures earlier this year. All entered from Turkey, and had initially planned to transit the financially struggling country on their way to Europe’s prosperous heartland."

Luxembourg PM proposes EU border lock-down (euobserver, link):

"Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel has said EU states should lock down Schengen borders for 24 hours to show people the benefits of EU membership. "Shutting the frontiers for a day would show people what it means to wait two hours to get into Italy or Spain", he said Monday, "

Calais crisis: Migrant killed in accident with UK driver (BBC News, link):

"An Eritrean migrant died and his wife was injured in an accident involving a British car driver on a motorway near the French port of Calais.

The pair were knocked down on an interchange where dozens of migrants were reportedly trying to climb on to lorries."

Hungarian constitution to ban relocation of migrants (euractiv, link):

"Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán yesterday (10 October) proposed constitutional changes aimed at banning the mass relocation of migrants, after voters backed his rejection of an EU refugee quota plan in a recent referendum."

Merkel announces Niger aid package to stem migrant flow during Africa trip (euractiv, link):

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday (10 October) announced a €27 million aid package for Niger, her second stop in a three-nation Africa tour aimed at fighting terrorism and stemming the migrant influx to Europe.

The German leader said the army of the arid west African country, one of the world’s poorest, would receive €10 million worth of equipment next year.

Germany will also build a military base to back up the UN mission in neighbouring Mali, the first country she had visited on the whirlwind African tour."

Report: Cricket on Samos (link)

"Since the beginning of August 2016 there have been regular cricket matches between a team drawn from Kashmiri refugees and a team of Pakistani refugees. They play two limited over matches (12 overs per innings) on the astro turf (football pitch) at the Vathi Stadium on Tuesday and Friday mornings starting at 9.30am and finishing at 1pm.....

"So many of our conversations with these refugees are identical to those we have with many Greek friends who along with other 200,000 young people have left Greece over the past four years in search of a life not possible in this now stricken society. It is also worth noting that in a recent survey of those leaving Greece 40% gave corruption as a major factor in their decision, which is much the same as we hear from those who come from Pakistan, Morocco and Algeria. However that is where the similarities stop. Giannis and Maria can travel like human beings in search of their futures, but Fatima and Mohammed travel with no dignity and often in danger to end up in places like the Samos Camp. Of course they ask why? But do those born in the right places ever ask why too?"

Greece: Refugee children start lessons at schools across the country (.ekathimerini.com, link):

"Some 1,500 child refugees are to start lessons at Greek schools on Monday afternoon.

The lessons are to be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 20 schools with another 20,000 refugee children to be inducted into classes at other schools in due course."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (8-9.10.16)
Austria: Taxi drivers who transported refugees ‘not people smugglers (The Local.at, link):

"Taxi drivers and members of the public who picked up refugees who had made it across the Austrian border last summer and drove them to their destination cannot be prosecuted as people smugglers, Austria’s high court (OGH) has ruled....

The OGH decided that "the mere transport of strangers who have already illegally crossed Austria’s border” is not a criminal offence punishable by law.

The ruling could have implications for many cases, including that of a 32-year-old Syrian taxi driver who was based at Vienna airport. He has a minivan with eight seats and last summer he was asked to make three trips to the Austrian border town of Nickelsdorf, by an acquaintance who worked for a people smuggling organization."

Greece: Chios refugee center burned in riot (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Authorities on the eastern Aegean island of Chios were working on Saturday to repair the damage wreaked to a refugee reception center after frustrated youths set fire to mattresses, causing a blaze that destroyed eight prefabricated homes.

Two Syrians were detained in connection with the blaze, which broke out following a dispute between migrants from different ethnic groups. The exact cause of the argument was unclear but tensions often bubble to the surface in refugee camps where migrants wait for months for asylum applications to be processed."

Britain ‘ignored plea by France’ to aid stranded Calais child refugees (THe Observer, link): "Home Office delayed action on French requests to accept 400 eligible lone children, says Red Cross."

Greek fisherman nominated for Nobel Prize (DW, link):

"When boats brimming with refugees teetered across the Mediterranean, Stratis Valiamos and his fellow fishermen came to the rescue. Now he has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. DW spent some time getting to know the fisherman."

Scrubbing away hate: one Berliner's cleaning campaign against far-right graffiti (DW, link):

"Irmela Mensah-Schramm removes Nazi and other far-right symbols from public spaces in German cities. But the 70-year-old Berlin resident is in trouble after a court charged her with damaging public property."

UK: Charity takes legal action against Home Office over child refugees (Guardian, link)

"Help Refugees says ministers have breached duties to unaccompanied children, exposing them to ‘serious risks’...

Lawyers for a leading refugee charity have begun legal proceedings against the Home Office, arguing that ministers have failed in obligations to give sanctuary to some of the thousands of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Europe.

Help Refugees says the home secretary, Amber Rudd, has breached her relocation duties to some unaccompanied children in Europe, by misconstruing or misapplying the May Immigration Act under which the government was obliged to take some children into the UK.

The legal papers state that because of this failure it “is incontestable that the unaccompanied children” whom the legislation is intended to assist “are exposed to serious risks of abuse and exploitation”.

UK: Lists, lists of foreigners, lists of foreign born people (Michael Rosen, link):

Lists of foreigners
Lists of foreign born people living and working alongside those not on lists
Lists of children sitting alongside children not on lists
Lists to be sent in to government departments
Lists of names, addresses that can pass from official to official from department to department so that what starts out as 'information' drifts into ways of saying to those on the lists that they should have less they should have no guarantees of the right to work or live alongside or amongst those not on the lists..
[and more]

See: Proposals on lists of foreign workers cause outcry - Economists see little to link migration and unemployment (FT, link) and: LSE foreign academics told they will not be asked to advise UK on Brexit - Experts question legality under anti-discrimination laws as senior politicians criticise move as ‘baffling’ (Guardian, link)

Mhairi Black: We must learn lessons from history and speak out against the Tories' ugly xenophobia (The National, link):

"IN my year and a half of being a politician I can truly say that I have never been more horrified or afraid of the rhetoric coming from the Conservative Government as I have this past week. To read the headlines of the major British newspapers felt like I had awoken in some dystopian, V for Vendetta-esque society. The Conservative Party’s mask as ‘a party of the common people’ has slipped to reveal the xenophobic, often racist, nationalist, ugly face beneath....

So let me finish with a poem by Martin Niemoller:

First they came for the Jews.
But I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists.
But I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists.
But I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics.
But I did not speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me.
And by that time there was no one left to speak out for me."

Italy: Council of State suspends transfers to Hungary and Bulgaria (AIDA, link):

"The Italian Council of State has delivered its first judgments suspending transfers of asylum seekers to Hungary and Bulgaria under the Dublin Regulation, to prevent violations of fundamental rights....

In the case of Hungary, they concluded that: “On the basis of deficiencies in the asylum procedure and reception conditions, the Court found that the transfer of the asylum seeker to Hungary would violate Article 4 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.”" and the same for Bulgaria.

Are You Syrious (8.10.16, link):

Greece: New arrivals are officially registered in Greece

"Lesvos: 32
Samos: 158
Leros: 4
Chios: 46
Total: 240

Some people also left Greece. Officially, 11 returned to Turkey, on their own will hopefully. A number of residents in Cherso dropped from 1667 to 1567, and in Nea Kavala from 1875 to 1775."


"The situation in Bulgaria remains tense but kept far away from the eyes of people in the rest of the EU. Some of the volunteers we contacted in this country told us that they do not feel to talk about conditions in camps or issues they are facing daily. Hate crimes are on the rise all over the country. This Friday, the movement Natsionalna Sportiva (National Resistance) called for a protest march “against migrants who have taken over the streets of the capital”. The plan was that the protest will pass the places where migrants have been placed."

UNHCR: 313,872 arrivals in Europe in 2016: 167,600 in Greece, 142,468 in Italy. 3,604 dead/missing.

UNHCR: Weekly report (7 October 2016)

Trends of Sea Arrivals

"Between 26 September to 02 October, 668 refugees and migrants crossed the sea to Greece, a slight increase from the 597 that crossed the previous week.
There was a total of 3,080 sea arrivals during September, a slight decrease from the 3,447 who arrived in August this year. During the first nine months of 2016,
166,824 persons have arrived to Greece by sea, in comparison to 385,069 who crossed during the same period in 2015. As of 2 October, the main countries of origin of those who arrived in Greece remain the Syrian Arab Republic (48%), Afghanistan (25%) and Iraq (15%); children comprised 38% of arrivals with men making up 41% and women 21%.

Between 26 September to 02 October, 406 refugees and migrants arrived to Italy, of which 161 (40%) were unaccompanied and separated children (UASC). In comparison, 1,021 arrived the previous week. Between 01 January and 02 October 2016, 131,915 persons arrived by sea, compared to 132,071 persons that disembarked at the end of September 2015. According to Italian authorities, in total 18,564 UASC have arrived to Italy by sea as of 15 September, compared to 12,360 in 2015 and 13,026 in 2014. Overall, sea arrival trends in 2016 remain on par with 2014 and 2015. The top countries of origin among arrivals include Nigeria, Eritrea, Gambia, and Sudan."

Arrivals in Greece

"With an average of 104 daily arrivals to the Aegean islands during the month of September, Reception and Identification Centres (RICs) continue to face serious challenges with capacity and shelter allocation for new arrivals. The maximum capacity on the five islands remains 7,450 while the total presence on the islands was 14,331 as of 02 October according to Greek authorities."

Update on Relocation

From Italy, 62 asylum-seekers were relocated to Finland. Since the adoption of the relocation scheme, a total of 1,258 persons (3.2% of the 39,600 target) have been relocated from Italy. So far 3,809 pledges were received from adhering states (latest EC data, 27 September).

From Greece, there were 525 asylum-seekers relocated during the reporting period. Thus far, a total of 4,468 (6.7%) asylum-seekers against the targeted 66,400, have been relocated from Greece to other EU countries since the beginning of the relocation programme in November 2015. A total of 9,596 pledges have been made by EU Member States, including those made by Malta which pledged 28 places during the reporting period."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (7.10.16)
European Parliament Briefing: Growing impact of EU migration policy on development cooperation (pdf):

"Along with the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) active in this field, the European Parliament opposes aid conditionality dependent on partner countries cooperating on readmission and return, as laid out in the migration compacts. Addressing the current migration challenge without jeopardising development policy achievements and objectives will be one of the key issues of the ongoing revision of the European consensus on development."

Exiled from Pakistan, destitute Afghans return to a country at war - Hundreds of thousands of Afghans, banished from Pakistan, find destruction, violence and hardship in their homeland (Guardian, link)

Sixty-five Returned To Turkey (News That Moves, link):

"The pace of returns of people under the EU-Turkey deal is apparently increasing.

Ten Syrians were returned to Turkey from Greece on October 6 under the deal. According to information from the Hellenic government (link in Greek only), eight out of the 10 had withdrawn their asylum claims in Greece and the other two had not asked for international protection. They were returned by plane from the Mytilene airport on Lesvos, to Adana, Turkey.....

Altogether, 643 people to date have been returned to Turkey from Greece under the EU-Turkey deal."

Council of Europe: UK urged to improve protection of child victims of human trafficking (link):

"The Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) has urged the United Kingdom to improve the identification and protection of child victims of trafficking, expressing particular concern about children going missing from local authority care.

“Despite many positive developments in recent years, estimates suggest that up 60% of children who have potentially been trafficked are still going missing from local authority care in the UK, usually within 48 hours of being placed in care and before being formally recognised as victims.

“Children who go missing in one part of the UK can also end up being trafficked and exploited in another part of the country, without any connection being made” said GRETA President Nicolas Le Coz.

GRETA’s second report on the UK’s implementation of the Council of Europe convention on human trafficking says that progress has been made in a number of areas since 2012, notably including the adoption of dedicated, comprehensive legislation on human trafficking/modern slavery."

Are You Syrious (6.10.16, link)

Greek government numbers record only 2 arrivals

"Two boats arrived On Lesvos during the day, with 52 people on board. 160 arrived on Samos. 55 refugees were deported to Turkey on Wednesday, 37 of whom had their asylum application rejected twice."

1000 CRS mobilized to depopulate Calais camp.

"The Calais camp is in the midst of its final few days. The police has received its “mission order” for the evacuation of Calais, giving them 10 days to clear the camp. The operation will commence on the 17th and will last until the 27th of October. The date raises questions as housing plans for unaccompanied minors, who by law have to be separated from the general refugee population, have not yet been fully implemented. Some of the CRS will be responsible for the dismantlement, others will filter the access to the camp during the operations, others will secure the hosting centers. Half of all CRS will be there to prevent the reinstallation of refugees in the camp. Around 1,000 people will be mobilized during the operation."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6.10.16)
EU Border Guard Agency: Securing Europe's external borders: Launch of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Press release, pdf):

"Under the new mandate, the Agency's role and activities have been significantly expanded. The Agency's permanent staff will be more than doubled and the Agency will be able to purchase its own equipment and deploy them in border operations at short notice. A rapid reserve pool of at least 1,500 border guards and a technical equipment pool will be put at the disposal of the Agency - meaning there will no longer be shortages of staff or equipment for Agency operations. The European Border and Coast Guard will now ensure the implementation of Union standards of border management through periodic risk analysis and mandatory vulnerability assessments."

And see new: REGULATION (EU) 2016/1624 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 14 September 2016 on the European Border and Coast Guard and amending Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Regulation (EC) No 863/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council, Council Regulation (EC) No 2007/2004 and Council Decision 2005/267/EC (pdf)

See: Shooting revelations clouds EU border guard launch (euobserver, link):

"The EU inaugurated the launch of the new border and coastguard agency on Thursday (6 October), amid revelations that border forces routinely used firearms against migrants off Greece in 2014 and 2015.

The new agency, called the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, replaces Frontex, and is a precipitous policy response to last year's large inflow of refugees and broader security issues. ... On 23 September, EU ombudsman Emily O'Reilly and Nils Muiznieks from the human rights watchdog Council of Europe were cc'd in a letter to Frontex that demanded answers over the shooting incidents. The letter, signed by 42 MEPs, asks if the new agency will continue to use firearms against boats carrying refugees.".

See: European Parliament: From 42 MEPs: Letter to Mr Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of Frontex concerning "Shoot First" policy (pdf): and Shoot First: Coast Guard Fired at Migrant Boats, European Border Agency Documents Show (The Intercept, link) and full file: Serious Incident Reports (190 pages, pdf) also Frontex rules: Serious Incident Reporting (pdf).

Are You Syrious (5.10.16)

The migration “problem” is too big for Greece

"As situation in Greece becomes more and more absurd with the EU packing people inside this country, Deputy Defense Minister Dimitris Vitsas, who heads a task force on migrants, urged the EU and the United Nations to help his country accommodate refugees coming from the Middle East in an interview with AP: “The migration problem… is too big, it’s not only in Syria, it’s in Africa, it’s in Asia. It’s a problem that the United Nations must consider,” Vitsas said. “We need to move from words to actions.” Vitsas urged Eastern European countries, such as Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland, which have been reluctant to accept refugees, not to shut their doors on migrants, Khathimerini news reports.".

First man to be deported by EU-Turkey deal

"To add insult to injury, Amnesty international published the story of Noori. Noori is a young man from Syria who is to become the first one to be deported by the EU to Turkey under EU- Turkey deal. Amnesty international warns that this is a dangerous historic precedent. By deporting Noori to Turkey, Greece (on behalf of the EU) would be taking an ominous step in history. They would deliberately turn away a refugee without first examining the substance of his asylum claim under this cruel and dodgy deal with Turkey. To European leaders, Noori says that he - and other refugees - simply want to be somewhere safe: “You are safe, please open your eyes and see why we came here.” Read Noori’s story and do not forget this moment when a 21 year old young man’s destiny became a historical turning point."

11,000 people rescued in the Mediterranean in just three days

"As we’ve been reporting since Monday, staggering numbers of people have arrived, amounting to 11,000 people who were rescued from the Mediterranean sea in just three days. The total death toll for Monday and Tuesday is up to 50. Wednesday saw a sharp decline in rescues with only 368. The latest surge in new arrivals means at least 142,000 migrants have reached Italy since the start of the year and around 3,100 have died making the perilous trip."

EU could order return of refugee crisis funding (ekathimerini.com, link):

"European officials have indicated that Greece may be obliged to return more than 500 million euros in funding disbursed by the European Union to help authorities tackle the refugee crisis due to the slow pace at which those funds are being absorbed, Kathimerini understands.

It is not the first time that Brussels has urged Athens to accelerate the absorption of funds and the processing of asylum claims. But the latest warning, a European Commission official told Kathimerini, comes amid a climate of increasing frustration with the Greek government. “There is an increasing sense of a country that cannot bring about results either in the refugee crisis or in the economy,” the official said. There is also a growing frustration with the slow pace of the Greek asylum service, with applications being processed at a snail’s pace, European officials say.

Sources said Athens has been informed about the danger of 509 million euros being revoked and that Commission officials are on hand to help the government overcome the current obstacles."

UK: Against Borders for Children: ABC Day of Action: Contact your local MP and councillors! (link):

"Today, Thursday 6th October is School Census day in England. Academies and local authority schools will be electronically submitting school census data to the Department of Education.

Against Borders for Children is calling today a Day of Action to protect immigrant children in England. For the first time ever, the school census includes immigration data, i.e. country of birth and nationality of pupils in Primary and Secondary Education and young people in sixth forms attached to a secondary school.

Schools are asking parents to send this data in but parents have a right to refuse providing this information. However some schools are not making this right clear to parents."

Greece: Migrant transfers will be gradual, ministry sources say (ekathimerini.com, link):

"The relocation of migrants from overcrowded camps on the eastern Aegean islands to the mainland will be carried out in phases with the transfer of a small number of people initially, sources at the Migration Policy Ministry have said in response to pressure – from European authorities and residents of the islands – for their immediate transfer....

The return of small groups of migrants to Turkey, however, is continuing. On Wednesday, 55 people were returned to Turkey: 20 Algerians, 20 Pakistanis, four Afghans, five Moroccans, three Bangladeshis, one Iranian, one Palestinian and one Sri Lankan. Of the 55 migrants sent back, 37 had had their asylum applications rejected a second time, after appealing the first rejection. The others had not appealed.

Meanwhile new migrants continue to arrive, both via the Aegean and the Greek-Turkish land border. On Wednesday morning, Greek authorities said 90 migrants had arrived on islands of the eastern Aegean in the previous 24 hours, with another 214 entering Greece via the land border with Turkey."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (5.10.16)
EU-AFGHANISTAN: Second "dodgy deal" agreed: Joint Way Forward on migration issues between Afghanistan and the EU (18 pages, pdf)

See: EU mulls 'migrant' terminal at Kabul airport (euobserver, link):

"The EU and Afghanistan are looking into creating a new terminal at Kabul's airport designed specifically for migrants rejected by EU states.

The plan is part of a broader deal on stepping up the returns of rejected asylum seekers from the EU to Afghanistan signed over the weekend....

the return agreement appears to contradict an internal document from the European Council, representing member states, which earlier this year said security is actually getting worse in Afghanistan.

"Due to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, as well as pressure on Afghans in Pakistan and Iran, there is a high risk of further migratory flows to Europe," noted the internal document."

See also: Jjoint "non-paper" from the European Commission and the European Action Service (EEAS) in March 2016: Joint Commission-EEAS non-paper on enhancing cooperation on migration, mobility and readmission with Afghanistan (Restricted do no: 6738-16, pdf)

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:

"Under the dodgy EU-Turkey deal we have two Letters and a Statement now for the Afghanistan deal there is a "Agreement" - yet again by-passing formal law-making and parliamentary scrutiny. Yet again the Council demonstrates its contempt for the rule of law. There is no way Afghanistan, even in Kabul, is a safe country to return refugees to."

Sweden threatens to sue Hungary over asylum refusals (euobserver, link):

"Sweden's minister of justice Morgan Johansson said Sweden will challenge Hungary in court unless it starts taking back asylum seekers from other EU countries.

The European Commission is sending a fact-finding delegation to Hungary to examine reasons for the row.

Earlier this month, ministers from the Nordic countries - Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, in addition to Sweden - wrote to the EU executive to complain that Hungary is not abiding by EU Dublin rules, which say refugees should in principle seek asylum in the first EU country they enter.

Greece: More refugees arrive on Chios (ekathimerini.com, link):

"A total of 88 migrants and refugees arrived on Greece’s Aegean island of Chios in the past 24 hours, authorities said Wednesday."

European Parliament: Calais: MEPs demand solutions for migrants, truck drivers and local people (Press release, pdf):

"The situation in and around the port town of Calais is untenable for everyone: migrants and asylum seekers living in the informal camps, truck drivers crossing to the British Isles and the local population, said MEPs in a plenary debate on
Tuesday. Most urged the EU Commission, France and the UK to work together to find a long-term solution.

Many speakers pointed to the terrible conditions in the camp known as “the jungle” and showed special concern about the high number of unaccompanied minors in the area and the risks they face."

The Bratislava Declaration on migration: European irresponsibility instead of solidarity (EASFJ, link):

"At first look, this seems logical and even advisable. Since 2015, the EU has been unable to respond effectively to the ‘refugee crisis’. It is only the fragile ‘deal’ with Turkey that brought the illusion of a solution by externalising asylum provision to a third country. The EU remains profoundly divided about possible internal solutions.

A European East-West divide has appeared, in addition to the well-known North-South division about the principles evoked in the Bratislava Declaration. Member States in the South have been complaining for years about the lack of solidarity measures, while many Member States in the Northwest have castigated them about their inability to implement their responsibilities.

More recently, Member States in the Central/Eastern part of the EU (more precisely the Visegrad group consisting of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland) are refusing, ostensibly in the name of responsibility, to engage in the type of solidarity requested by no longer only the Member States in the South, but also those in the Northwest."

EU’s Relocation Farce: From 160,000 asylum seekers only 5,821 moved from Greece & Italy to other member states (Keep Talking Greece, link):

“On the one-year anniversary of the EU plan to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy, the first countries of arrival, the scheme must be judged a farce, ” Human Rights Watch Advocacy Director Philippe Dam writes in his review about the failure of the European Commission sponsored Relocation scheme."

Hungary: Orban would ban mass resettlement in constitution (euobserver, link):

"Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban is to propose constitutional amendments banning the mass resettlement of migrants by the EU without parliament's approval.

"In Hungary 3.3 million voters decided they will not let others decide for them on resettlement of migrants," he told journalists on Tuesday (4 October), after a referendum on Sunday saw 98 percent of voters who cast a valid ballot rejecting EU competence over migration quotas.

The referendum was however invalid according to Hungary's national election committee, as it failed to bring out more than half of Hungary's 8 million eligible voters.

Orban has nevertheless vowed to make constitutional changes, saying the referendum result "cannot remain without consequences in politics, if there is still democracy in Hungary""

Italy leads mass migrant rescue (New Europe, link):

"The rescue of more than 5,600 migrants off Libya was coordinated by Italy on October 3 – three years to the day after 366 people died in a sinking that first alerted the world to the Mediterranean migrant crisis.

As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), the October 3 rescue is a poignant reminder of the ongoing drama being played out on Europe’s southern shores. At least nine bodies were recovered from a total of 39 distressed vessels, the bulk of them overcrowded rubber dinghies but also including five converted fishing boats.

Almost 200 children were among those saved, according to NGO SOS Mediterranee. Most of them were unaccompanied and nine were under five years old. At least 10 of the 191 women on board were pregnant."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (4.10.16)
EU steps up efforts to repatriate Afghans (euobserver, link)

"The EU is seeking to send migrants back to war-torn Afghanistan as a part of a broader policy to return rejected asylum seekers and others who refuse to be deported voluntarily.

On Tuesday (4 October) senior officials from both sides are set to meet to launch the so-called EU-Afghanistan Joint Way Forward agreement that they signed over the weekend.

EU states will be able to charter an unlimited number of flights to Kabul, reports The Guardian newspaper, which has seen a copy of the yet-to-be made public agreement."

The documents referred to are here: EU-Afghanistan returns plan: Another "dodgy" deal See: Dated 22 September 2016: Draft Joint Way Forward on migration issues between Afghanistan and the EU - Adoption (LIMITE doc no: 12191-16, 2016, pdf). And a joint "non-paper" from the European Commission and the European Action Service (EEAS) in March 2016: Joint Commission-EEAS non-paper on enhancing cooperation on migration, mobility and readmission with Afghanistan (Restricted do no: 6738-16, pdf)

Are You Syrious (3.10.16, link)

What Afghan children are running away from?

"Security in Afghanistan is worse than ever. According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, civilian casualties in the country hit a record-high 11,000 in 2015. More than 3,500 civilians died, including an unprecedented number of children?—?one in four casualties over the past year was a child.

Amidst such violence and death, the EU has somehow come to a decision that Afghanistan is a safe country to which asylum seekers will be returned. As European governments and international decision-makers gather for the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan on October 5th, we wish to make a special news report on Afghan refugees and answer why they are really here.

Afghans make up the second largest group of migrants arriving in Europe, with 196,170 applying for asylum last year..

Politicians claim that Afghans coming to Europe are job-seekers looking for a better life. The reality is much more complex. Afghanistan is still one of the poorest and most dangerous countries in the world. As long as Afghanistan lacks the systems in place to guarantee protection, people should not be sent back there. The EU’s obligation to protect and promote human rights does not stop at its borders.."

Refugee flows in Greece, October 03, 2016

New arrivals: 71: Lesvos 17, Samos 25 and Chios 29.

Serbian president warns the EU, announces possible border closure

"Serbian president Tomislav Nikolic announced today that Serbia will close its borders if EU countries continue to reject the refugees. “We need to close the border to migrants, because they didn’t want to stay here in the first place. Europe needs to solve this problem. If other countries close their borders, we need to do the same in order to avoid having so many people stranded in our country. Since the EU is not angered by Hungarian actions, I’m sure they will have no problem with Serbia in case of the border closure”, he told journalists. He added that he does not understand how Serbia is the first country along the Balkan Route to register refugees, as if “they fell from the sky.”

According to him, Serbia cannot take more than 5,000 to 6,000 refugees, and that the government is currently in negotiations with Brussels to resolve the matter."

Czech president Zeman: economic migrants to be deported to “uninhabited Greek islands” (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Czech president Milos Zeman has proposed that economic migrants should be deported from Europe to “uninhabited Greek islands” or to “empty places” in North Africa."

Refugees stuck in Serbia begin marching towards Hungarian border (Guardian, link):

"Belgrade says it will not erect wire border fence but will deploy army to seal off borders with Macedonia and Bulgaria.

.Hundreds of refugees stranded in Serbia have begun walking from Belgrade towards the border with Hungary to protest against its closure for most people trying to reach the European Union.

More than 6,000 people remain stuck in Serbia following Hungary’s introduction this summer of strict limits on the number of refugees allowed to cross into the EU-member country and reinforced a razorwire border fence with heavy patrols."

Italian coastguard in mass migrant rescue (BBC News, libk):

"The Italian coastguard has co-ordinated the rescue of more than 5,600 migrants, in one of the biggest operations in a single day.

The migrants had set off from the Libyan coast in nearly 40 boats.

One migrant is reported to have died and several others were airlifted for medical treatment. According to the International Organization for Migration, some 132,000 migrants have arrived in Italy this year. "

Relocation farce brings shame on Europe (euobserver, link):

"On the one-year anniversary of the EU plan to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy, the first countries of arrival, the scheme must be judged a farce.

First, the EU cut the number by a third. Then, in the year since the plan was approved, it moved just 5,821 people to other member states.

While the relocation requirement is legally binding on EU member states, some countries are flouting EU decision-making rules and shirking their responsibilities.

Some have contributed fairly but others, it would seem, are either actively bucking the programme or passively offering little or nothing in the hope the issue will to go away or that the asylum seekers will end up elsewhere.

Despite an European Commission press statement touting “significant progress” in relocating asylum seekers from Italy and Greece, prime minister Robert Fico of Slovakia said just a few days ago that the idea of migration quotas was “politically finished”. "

Rich countries shirking responsibility in refugee crisis: Amnesty (DW, link)

"Human rights body Amnesty International says poorer nations are doing far more than their fair share in hosting refugees. It slammed what it called the "self-interest" of wealthier countries."

Greece: Filis: Refugee rights not up for debate (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Education Minister Nikos Filis on Monday brushed aside reactions from local communities in several parts of Greece to refugee children attending public schools, while putting off any debate on planned changes to religious classes in schools until after the end of the academic year.

“The state will not put rights issues up for discussion,” Filis told state broadcaster ERT on Monday."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (3.10.16)
Germany wants migrants sent back to Greece and Turkey (euractiv, link):

"Germany called yesterday (2 October) for asylum seekers who entered the European Union via Greece to be forced to return there, while also urging Athens to send more migrants back to Turkey.

In an interview with a Greek daily, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said he wants to reinstate EU rules which oblige asylum seekers to be sent back to Greece as the first EU country they reached.

“I would like the Dublin convention to be applied again… we will take up discussions on this in a meeting with (EU) interior ministers” later in October, he told the Greek daily Kathimerini."

EU: Service level agreement between European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and Frontex for the provision of surveillance tools and services in support of Frontex activities (pdf)

European Commission: Thursday 6 October: Launch of the European Border and Coast Guard (Press release, pdf):

"The European Commission in December proposed to establish a new Agency – designed to meet the new challenges and political realities faced by the EU, both as regards migration and internal security. The European Border and Coast Guard was agreed by the European Parliament and Council in a record time of just 9 months and will become operational as of 6 October 2016 at the Bulgarian external border with Turkey.

The new Agency will ensure Union standards for border management are implemented at all external borders; carry out periodic risk analyses and mandatory vulnerability assessments to identify and address weak spots; be able to draw on a rapid reserve pool of at least 1,500 border guards and a technical equipment pool; play an enhanced role in return operations."
[emphasis added]

LEAD NGOs denounce Italy's «Nazi-style» migrant repatriations to Sudan By Alvise Armellini, dpa (europeonline-magazine.eu, link):

" Italy has started a "Nazi-style" policy of mass migrant repatriations to Sudan based on a secret police cooperation deal, in flagrant breach of international law, human rights groups said on Tuesday.

Last month, Italian police stopped about 50 irregular migrants from Sudan at Ventimiglia, a town on the border with France. They were put in a European Union-funded hotspot detention centre and 48 of them were flown back to Khartoum within a matter of days.

"We are returning people to genocidal governments," the director of Amnesty International‘s Italian branch, Gianni Rufini, said in Rome. "It‘s bit like having about 50 German Jews in 1943 and sending them back to Germany," he added.

Rufini spoke at a press conference in the Italian Senate in Rome organized by Tavolo Nazionale Asilo, a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that deal with migration issues and criticize restrictive border policies.

Filippo Miraglia from ARCI, another speaker at the event, qualified Italian authorities‘ actions as "Nazi-style."

Irish Refugee Council welcomes and echoes Children’s Ombudsman’s call that children in Direct Provision have access to his office (link):

"The IRC welcomes Children’s Ombudsman Dr Niall Mudoon’s continued commitment and desire to ensure that all children in Ireland have equal access to his Office before the end of 2016.

Caroline Reid, Communications Officer with the IRC said, “If we want to be a society that values the equal treatment of children, we should move away from discriminatory practices that fail to fully protect young people and effectively deny them access to independent oversight and complaints mechanisms, in situations where they believe that they are being adversely affected by an action of the State.”

As Dr Muldoon rightly points out in the Children’s Ombudsman Report for 2015, “1,400 children are spending the formative years of their lives in direct provision, in circumstances that inhibit their potential to thrive & curtail their full enjoyment of basic rights.”"

Hungary PM claims EU migrant quota referendum victory (BBC News, link):

"Hungarian PM Viktor Orban has declared victory in a referendum on mandatory EU migrant quotas, despite a low turnout that appeared to render it invalid.

Nearly 98% of those who took part supported the government's call to reject the EU plan. But only 43% of the electorate voted, short of the 50% required to be valid. A government spokesman said the outcome was binding "politically and legally" but the opposition said the government did not have the support it needed.

Mr Orban urged EU decision makers to take note of the result and said he would change Hungary's constitution to make the decision binding."

UK immigration faces 140 years’ worth of visa applications post-Brexit (workpermit.com, link):

"According to a study carried out by Oxford University’s Migration Observatory, UK immigration faces 140 years’ worth of visa applications if all European nationals, currently in Britain, applied for residency in the aftermath of Brexit. Experts say that the Home Office would struggle to cope with a deluge of permanent residency filings.

Currently, UK immigration officials process approximately 25,500 permanent residency applications from EU nationals, and their dependents, annually. However, the Migration Observatory calculated that if the estimated 3.5 million EU citizens, presently residing in the UK, applied for permanent residence it would be the equivalent of processing 140 years’ worth of visa forms in just 12 months. "

Are you Syrious (2.10.16, link)Greece

Greece: Numbers

"According to the official numbers, 3 new persons are registered on Lesvos, 98 on Chios, and 19 at Megisti. With the recent arrivals, the total number of arrivals since the Turkey deal hit 20.000. More than 14.000 of them are still stuck on the islands.

Comparison 5/9–30/9

Lesvos: From 5388 to 5942 (+554)
Chios: From 3316 to 3678 (+362)
Samos: From 1351 to 1582 (+231)
Kos: From 1531 to 1863 (+332)
Total: From 12.515 to 14.053 (+1538)"

RefuComm communication and information for refugees: RELOCATION IMPORTANT CHANGES: Greece, Italy: Main change:

"The countries that were eligible for relocation before this report were: Syria, Eritrea, Central African Republic, Seychelles, Dominica, Bahrain, Laos, and Saudi Arabia. According to the latest quarterly report (Quarter 2 2016) published by Eurostat on 22 September, the nationalities eligible for relocation as from now are Syria, Eritrea, Burundi, Mozambique, Bahrain, Bhutan, Qatar, and Yemen.

The nationalities, which met the 75% eligibility threshold according to the Eurostat data from quarter 1 of 2016, that do not meet this threshold anymore, are Central African Republic, Seychelles, Dominica, Laos and Saudi Arabia.

Although Iraqis are no longer eligible for relocation, this does not affect those Iraqis already identified as persons in possible need for international protection (thus, those preregistered can still be relocated). This would also apply to applicants belonging to the other nationalities that are no longer eligible for relocation."

People at Samos needs your help

During September, over 400 new arrivals were registered in Samos. Volunteers are expecting that the number could increase during October. Among new arrivals, are many children, as well as disabled people. If you can help, please consider donating to Samos Volunteers Gofundme.

No Border Kitchen Lesvos is back, up and running again. After being evicted from Tsamakia Beach it took some time to reorganize but now they have a new place. Unfortunately, due to the eviction volunteers and equipment have been lost. Therefore No Borders Kitchen Lesvos urgently needs new volunteers and also financial support.

Refugee crisis: 600 children have died crossing Mediterranean in 2016 (Independent, link)

"Figures not normally broken down by age, but new Save The Children analysis shows scale of crisis for young people fleeing conflict

At least 600 children have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean sea in a bid to escape war, poverty and persecution, Save the Children has said.

Data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and newly-analysed by the charity, highlights two children a day on average have died or disappeared between January 1 and September 26 2016.

The figures have been released by Save the Children to coincide with the third anniversary of a shipwreck off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy, in which more than 300 people were killed trying to reach Europe's shores."

Greece: Reports that police harassed refugee kids to be probed (ekathimerini.com, link):

"A prosecutor has ordered a preliminary investigation into reports that five refugee children were harassed by officers at a police station in Omonia Square in the center of Athens last Tuesday.

According to reports, the five minors, aged between 9 and 14, were stopped in the street by officers and taken to the local precinct because they were carrying bags containing plastic guns and costumes for a theatrical show."

Vulnerable refugees to be moved from 'squalid' camps on Greek islands (Guardian, link):

"Unaccompanied minors, the elderly and infirm will be moved to mainland Greece, says government, in response to concerns about worsening conditions."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1-2.10.16)
USING THE ISLANDS AS HOLDING CENTRES: Greece: Minister admits gov't struggling to tackle migration (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Greek authorities face a range of problems in dealing with the refugee crisis, Immigration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas admitted in comments to Parliament on Friday while calling on opposition parties to back the government’s efforts to tackle the crisis.

“It is true that we overburdened certain municipalities,” Mouzalas said, conceding that northern Greece has borne a large share of the burden.... “Islanders are struggling to deal with overpopulation,” he said, referring to thousands of migrants in crowded camps.

Responding to the calls of mayors on the islands for migrants to be transferred to the mainland, Mouzalas said only unaccompanied minors and people who are protected from deportation will be transferred to the mainland.

Transferring all migrants to the mainland could undermine a deal between the European Union and Turkey to curb human smuggling in the Aegean."

Are You Syrious (1.10.16, link)

Arrivals of boat refugees to Greece continues

Lesvos: 21, Chios: 103, Samos: 29: Total: 153 and 3 voluntary returns

Reports that police harassed refugee kids in Athens to be probed

"A prosecutor has ordered a preliminary investigation into reports that five refugee children were harassed by officers at a police station in Omonia Square in the center of Athens last Tuesday.

According to reports, the five minors, aged between 9 and 14, were stopped in the street by officers and taken to the local precinct because they were carrying bags containing plastic guns and costumes for a theatrical show.

They were detained for seven hours, during which time the children said they were subjected to sexual innuendos, racist comments and other humiliating treatment. The minors also said that during their detention they shared a cell with drug addicts and other criminals, and did not have access to drinking water."

Calais closure confirmed, volunteers and refugees protest the demolitions, only to be met by police violence

"The Calais camp in France is home to 9,000 of the Europe’s most vulenrable refugees. A week ago, French President Francois Hollande has confirmed plans to close this camp, with but a fleeting idea of where these people will go after the camp closes....

Police was allowed to prevent volunteers from coming to Calais as protesting about anything concerning the refugees was forbidden on Thursday by the prefect, thus denying volunteers and refugees two important human rights: to move and to protest.... The demonstrators were met by police water cannons, flash balls, pepper spray and teargas. The police blocked the demonstration and repeat the well used refrain “Go back to the jungle”; the jungle the Europe itself created."

See also: French police fire tear gas at pro-migrant protesters in Calais (Daily Sabah, link)

Italian police clear out Via Cupa migrant camp in Rome (DW, link):

"Activists have criticized Rome's city council for not providing alternative housing for migrants displaced after police cleared a camp in the Italian capital. Italy is on the front line for irregular migration to the EU."

FRANCE: In Calais, a rising wall reinforces fears of fortress Europe (DW, link):

"A planned wall near the French port of Calais aims to deter migrants from ambushing trucks bound for Britain, but many see the construction as a darker symbol of Europe's rising barriers against asylum seekers. "

GERMANY-GREECE: De Maiziere urges Athens to implement Dublin rules (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Germany Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has repeated his call for Greece to implement the so-called Dublin regulations, which state that migrants must seek asylum in the European Union member-state they first arrived in.

Due to deficiencies in Greece’s asylum processing system and the large number of migrants and refugees arriving in the country, Berlin has suspended deportations back to Greece since 2011....

“That is why I would like to see the Dublin Convention implemented again,” he said."

Are You Syrious (30.9.16):

CROATIA: Increase of returns from Austria according to Dublin, no one mentions new accommodation facilities

"Forced returns of refugees from the other EU countries, mainly from Austria, are undergoing according to Dublin regulations. Groups of refugees are being returned on daily basis now, many without the opportunity to pack and bring their belongings with them, leaving them feeling even more humiliated and afraid. Both Porin centre in Zagreb and the refugee centre in Kutina have reached their capacities, but the government is still not mentioning the opening of any additional facilities to accommodate returning refugees. This need to be addressed because the current facilities can barely accommodate few hundreds of returning refugees, and Croatia has already received requests to receive around 3,500 returning refugees according to Dublin."

ITALY: Refugees, volunteers evicted from Baobab centre

"Today, police has sent away all Baobab Experience volunteers from via Cupa in Rome and entered the Civico 1 building, which was abandoned and squatted since December. The reason given by the commissioner Tronca for the closure of the old Baobab centre is that the authorities want to give back the property to the legal owner. The refugees are now left on the streets. According to volunteer sources, some have been taken to the police headquarters for questioning. Police was taking down donated tents and food today. There’s still no alternative location to host ex residents of via Cupa, so our friends from Baobab are inviting all of the available people to join them in via Cupa and help protesting and stopping the eviction."

Protests, public appeals following arrests and mistreatment of refugee children in Athens

"A protest was held in Athens today, in the wake of appalling mistreatment of the children’s theatre group from Jasmine school, who were arrested, stripped down, humiliated and detained for 7 hours after being intercepted on their way to a theatre play, wearing military costumes and toy guns. The incident occurred three days ago, on Tuesday 27 September. The children were stopped and searched by four police officers on motorbikes, who called more officers for support, before being taken to Omonoia police station. Following the arrest, 5 children aged between 12 and 14, and two young refugees aged 20 and 22, were reportedly forced to strip off their clothes and walk around the small room in circles, and those who refused to remove their underwear were beaten and verbally assaulted by the police officers."

See also: Greece: Syrian refugee children detained for carrying toy guns allegedly ill-treated by police (AI, link)

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

Archives: 2016: Apr-Jun, Mar, Feb, Jan | 2015: Oct-Dec, Jan-Sep

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