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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"

August 2016


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30.8.16)
6,500 migrants rescued off coast of Libya in one day (euractiv, link):

"Around 6,500 migrants were rescued off the coast of Libya on Monday (30 August), the Italian coastguard said, in one of its busiest days of life-saving in recent years....

“The command centre coordinated 40 rescue operations” that included vessels from Italy, humanitarian organisations as well as the EU’s border agency Frontex, saving 6,500 migrants, the coastguard wrote on Twitter."

See also: Dramatic photos show refugees fleeing Libya being rescued at sea (Guardian, link)

Mediterranean Missing: Understanding Needs of Families and Obligations of Authorities (mediterraneanmissing.eu, link):

"Project findings are all available here through public reports, covering legal analysis, and empirical work with families of missing migrants, and in the contexts of Lesbos, Greece, and Sicily, Italy."

See: Missing migrants and managing dead bodies in the Mediterranean A briefing note (link)

And: Fatal Journeys Volume 2: Identification and tracing of dead and missing migrants (GMDAC, link)

Turkish FM warns migrant pact will collapse unless EU meets committments (ekathimerini.com. link):

"In an interview with Kathimerini published on Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has warned the EU that if it doesn’t grant Turkish citizens via-free travel to Europe by October “at the latest,” then Ankara will not continue implementing a deal struck in March with Brussels to stem the flow of migrants to Europe.

“Despite the fact that irregular migration in the Aegean is now under control, we do not see the EU keen on delivering its promises,” he said, insisting that Turkey cannot continue on its own to stop irregular migration toward the EU while the latter does not assume its obligations."

See: Full interview (link)

Greece: 462 refugees arrive in last 24 hours, as Turkey insists: No visa liberation, no EU Deal (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Slowly but gradually the number of refugees and migrants arriving from the Turkish coast started to rise again and the flow is on daily basis. In the last 24 hours alone, a total of 462 refugees and migrants arrived on the Greek islands of the eastern Aegean Sea in the last 24 hours, that is from morning of August 29th until morning of August 30th 2016.

According to Migration Ministry data, 176 people arrived on the island of Lesvos, 88 on Chios, 124 on Kos and 70 on Rhodes.

At the same time, Turkey insists on trading visa-free for its citizens in order to keep implementing the EU Turkey Deal."

Greece: New inflows stretching migrant, refugee centers on islands (ekathimerini.com. link):

"As the number of refugees and migrants trapped on Greece’s islands officially rose to nearly 12,000 Monday, concern is mounting regarding overcrowding at camps.

At the country’s main island of entry from Turkey, Lesvos, official figures put the number of people at the hot spot in Moria and at an open facility at Kara Tepe at 5,059, which is twice the facilities’ capacity. Another 124 migrants who landed on the island Monday were allowed to camp at the port after staff at Moria – an official camp set up in cooperation with European authorities to process all new arrivals – said they could not take in anymore arrivals."

More than 300 refugees, migrants arrive on Greek islands (ekathimerini.com, link)

"More than 300 refugees and migrants reportedly crossed from Turkey to Greece to reach the islands of Lesvos, Chios and Kos, early on Monday, according to Kathimerini sources.

According to reports, 176 refugee and migrants arrived on Lesvos, 89 on Chios, while 50 ended on Kos. The figures were confirmed by local authority officials on Monday."

Polish foreign minister criticises EU actions in refugee crisis (Daily Sabah, link):

"Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski on Monday criticised the European Commission's handling of last year's migrant crisis, saying that Brussels had exacerbated the problems rather than offering real solutions.

The EU took "hasty, irresponsible and not-fully thought through steps" in response to a massive influx of refugees from Iraq, Syria and other war-torn regions, Waszczykowski said at a news conference with his German and French counterparts."

Wasted Lives. Borders and the Right to Life of People Crossing Them (2017) (link) by Thomas Spijkerboer, Professor of Migration Law:

"States are obliged to protect the right to life by law. This paper analyses the way in which states do this in the field of aviation law, maritime law, and the law on migrant smuggling. A comparative description of these fields of law shows that states differentiate in protecting the right to life."


See:
Article (link)

Interior Minister: Czechs not to accept any migrants from Turkey (Prague Daily Monitor, link):

"The Czech Republic will not accept any migrants from Turkey due to the unclear situation after the coup there till the end of the year, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) told the public broadcaster Czech Television (CT) on Sunday.

The Czech Republic should start a tough diplomatic offensive in order to make Greece fulfil its duties over the displaced persons, Chovanec said."

News (30.8.16)

Home secretary stands firm as row over Calais border deal intensifies (Guardian, link): "Home secretary to visit Paris, with talks set to be dominated by border controls as Nicolas Sarkozy calls for the Jungle to be relocated to UK." and Britain maybe forced to “take back control” of its border, along with asylum processing (New Europe, link)


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27-29.8.16)
GLOBAL MIGRATION DATA ANALYSIS CENTRE: Data Briefing: Dangerous journeys – International migration increasingly unsafe in 2016 (link)

See: The deadliest route (IRIN, link)

"Until quite recently, no international agency tracked how many migrants died or went missing during journeys that often involve crossing deserts and oceans and relying on smugglers. Thanks to the International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrants Project, which launched in 2013, we now have a better idea of how many migrants die before they reach their destination. A report released by IOM this week, covering the first six months of 2016, shows a 28 percent increase in migrant deaths compared to the same period in 2015. Although part of the reason for the increase is probably better reporting, increasingly dangerous smuggling strategies in the Central Mediterranean are also to blame. A staggering one in 29 migrants died attempting the Central Mediterranean crossing between North Africa and Italy in the first six months of 2016. By comparison, the much shorter Eastern Mediterranean route between Turkey and Greece claimed the lives of one in 410 who attempted it."

LEGAL CHALLENGE TO EU-TURKEY REFUGEE DEAL:

Interesting Irish case dealing with the legality of the so-called EU-Turkey "deal" raised before an Irish Court on the 24th June 2016 and naming the European Council, the European Union, Ireland and the Attorney General as defendants. All the defendants have now entered conditional appearances (nominated their legal representatives). It has to be seen if the Irish Judge will refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for a decision on the legality of the European Council’s actions

See: McGarr Solicitors representing Syrian refugees (link)

Some 9,000 refugee children reported to have disappeared in Germany (DW, link):

"Germany's federal police says the number of missing refugee children has doubled since the start of the year. Most of the children are aged between 14 and 17-years-old."

Libyan navy admits confrontation with charity's rescue boat - Navy spokesman reportedly says its patrol fired warning shots to MSF refugee vessel, but aid group says attackers fired at boat (Guardian, link):

"The Libyan navy’s claims are inconsistent with MSF’s account. The aid group says the attackers fired at least 13 bullets directly at its boat, some of which hit the ship’s bridge, or control room. MSF also says the attackers boarded the boat for approximately 50 minutes.

Qassim’s claims are further complicated by the fact that the Bourbon Argos has been working openly in international waters off the Libyan coast for over a year, rescuing tens of thousands of asylum seekers. Its activities have long been known to Libyan authorities, it is clearly branded with MSF’s logo, and its identity is visible on the automatic identification system (AIS) to which all ships and naval authorities have access."

Sarkozy campaign targets Calais migrants (euobserver, link):

"French presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy has joined the chorus of French right-wing politicians that want migrants in Calais moved to the UK."

Migration pressure remains immense, says Frontex chief (euobserver, link)

"Migration pressure on Europe "remains immense", the head of the EU border agency Frontex has said. Fabrice Leggeri told Germany's Die Welt migration was being driven by poverty and conflicts, particularly with the Islamic State militant group in the Middle East and North Africa. He said he had "no hint" that Turkey was sending more refugees to the EU because of tensions between Turkish authorities and Europeans."

Are You Syrious (link):
AYS SPECIAL: Europe has no idea what happens in Greece

"Volunteers of the Mobile Info Team are present in Northern Greece since April this year after the eviction of Idomeni and other independent camps in this part of the country. Their mission started when they realized that refugees are seeking for information are as much as for food and today they are doing their best to provide answers to many questions that are left unanswered by the official organizations and big NGOs. However, they feel it is not enough and that life in uncertainty for refugees becomes unbearable"

And AYS (26.8.16)

Greeece 143 refugees arrive in Greece

"143 refugees arrived in Greece between 7:30 this morning and yesterday— 93 on Lesvos and 50 on Kos."

Bulgaria looks to secure its border as it fears end of EU-Turkey deal

"Speaking to the FAZ, Bulgarian PM Bojko Borissow calls on the EU to help the country secure its border with Turkey, saying the country currently feels ‘abandoned’ by the EU. He adds the failure of the refugee agreement with Turkey could be ‘fatal’ for Bulgaria and would see Europe ‘flooded’ with migrants. He asks for help from the EU to protect the border with Turkey as he fears that Erdogan could end the EU-Turkey deal.

During a joint press conference today between Borissov and his Turkish counterpart Yildirim, Yildirim insisted that unless the EU guaranteed visa-free travel by the end of October, Ankara could back out of the deal, saying “We want our European friends to understand that the time to take more responsibility on the migrant question has come”."

and AYS 28.8.16

DrawS attention to this news story: Greece can handle volume of migrant arrivals, minister says (ekathimerini/news, link):

Greek government promises and reality of refugees

"Deputy Defense Minister Dimitris Vitsas responded on criticism about conditions at refugee camps in Greece saying that they were “created in order to take in evacuees from a large makeshift camp that had been set up last year on the country’s border” (eg Idomeni) and that they would either be “shut down or rebuilt”.

He also said that the government plans to keep between 30 and 33 of the current 50 camps operating on the mainland, adding that new facilities will be made to hold a smaller number of people, while many will be relocated to apartments and hotels within the next few months. However, minister gives no details about these plans, even though the summer is almost over."

Distracting attention from real issues

"While people is camps are too afraid to walk around because of gangs that are present inside, smugglers are operating freely, the Europe is announcing that a team of 200 counterterrorism officers will be deployed to the Greek islands over the next few weeks “to track down jihadists”. The officers will be placed even in camps. And it does not look like there are any plans to open borders or improve life of people in camps."

Hungary: Hate atmosphere created by the government

"Despite public pressure, the Hungarian government is doing nothing to stop systematic abuse of refugees at the border. People are being beaten and tortured and bitten by police dogs. Most of these people are pushed back to Serbia. This has to be stopped.

Lydia Gall, a European researcher at Human Rights Watch, in her opinion piece for the EUobserver, describes the atmosphere of hate created by pro-government media."

“Border hunters” join soldiers and policemen at the Serbian-Hungarian border (Hungariam Spectrum, link):

"It was about a month and a half ago that I wrote two posts dealing with the abominable circumstances along the Serbian-Hungarian border where hundreds of refugees wait for admittance into Hungary but authorities process only fifteen people a day. The authorities could easily handle ten times that number, but they purposely slow the process to discourage those waiting on the other side of the fence. In addition, a new directive now allows Hungarian soldiers and policemen to catch and forcibly remove anyone who gets through the fence illegally and is found within eight kilometers of the border. This government order can easily lead to violence."

Bulgaria-EU: Borissov: ‘Absolute non-solidarity’ reigns in the EU (euractiv, link):

"Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov made use of anti-EU rhetoric ahead of a visit to Turkey tomorrow (26 August), describing Ankara as Sofia’s only ally in the context of the refugee crisis.

Speaking at a government session on 24 August, Borissov said he sees “no perspective” for a solution to the migration crisis.

“To the contrary, I see country after country in panic, individual solutions, and to point at a certain article in the EU treaties which gives them such right, because even the big countries in Europe are not only overwhelmed [by refugees], but their societies panic and fight back,” he said...

In this context, he blamed EU countries who want to return migrants to Bulgaria.

“Germany says – we will return 20,000 to Hungary. Hungary says – we will return them to the Balkans. And we from the Balkans, to whom shall we return them? We didn’t want them. We didn’t invite them. We cannot be blamed for the bombardments there [the 1999 NATO airstrikes against Yugoslavia]. Where can we return them? What kind of Union is that”, Borissov lamented.".

Pigs' heads and propaganda: Hungary's war on refugees (euobserver, link):

" Over the past two years, I have documented abysmal conditions in camps, detention of children, abusive legal changes designed to deny asylum seekers access to protection, and brutal pushbacks at the Hungary-Serbia border. The authorities are undoubtedly hoping the abuses will deter others.

Throughout this period, the Hungarian government has stirred up xenophobic sentiments against refugees and migrants and has gone to great lengths, and cost, to spew hateful messages nationwide.

Along with restrictive new laws making life difficult for asylum seekers and refugees, anti-migrant rhetoric by decision makers and high-ranking politicians is commonplace.

Asylum seekers and refugees are called “intruders,” and “potential terrorists,” bent on destroying Western civilisation and Christianity. Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban himself in July referred to migration as “poison.”"

Refugees Help Italian Town Hit Hard by Quake - These refugees wanted to come to the Italian town ravaged by the earthquake to help with relief efforts. So they did. (link)


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.8.16)
New routes to reach Spain lead to more deaths at sea

In the first half of 2016, more people have died at sea trying to reach Spain than during 2015 as a whole. The reinforcement of border security measures and raids against undocumented migrants by Moroccan gendarmes has led to the development of longer, more treacherous routes, with new ports of departure emerging near the Morocco-Algeria border and the sea route to the Canary Islands re-opening.

At least 208 people are thought to have died during the crossing to Spain in the first six months of 2016, although the true figure is almost certainly higher. In 2015, the total number of known deaths was 195.

Norway building fence on border with Russia to deter refugees

Norway has begun building a steel fence on its border with Russia due to the growing number of refugees arriving in the past year. The deision to build the wall has provoked protests by refugee rights groups and has revived fears that relations with its former Cold War rival are deteriorating.

The wall, 200 metres long and 3.5 metres high, has been installed along the length of the frontier in Storskog. The government has defended its decision, citing the need to increase security.

EU: Common list of safe countries of origin: Parliament concerns over Commission proposal

The Commission originally proposed adopting a European list made up initially of six "safe countries of origin": Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. The report by the civil liberties committee cites a number of concerns and significantly alters the Commission's proposal, including by refusing to include any specific countries before opinions from the European Asylum Support Office have been completed.

See: Explanatory statement (pdf) and full report (pdf) by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.

Via Migreurop (link): GREECE: Housing squat for refugees and immigrants at the center of Athens (Notara 26 at Exarchia) burned after attack with molotov cocktail; all the residents are safe but the building is seriously damaged and the provisions and personal belongings of 140 refugees destroyed.

GREECE: Migration Minister: Without EU-Turkey deal, another 180,000 refugees would be in Greece by now (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Greece’s Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas warned on Tuesday that another 180,000 refugees and migrants would have come to Greece in the last three months, if there was no EU – Turkey deal.

During a press conference, Mouzalas stressed that Greece would face an unprecedented wave of refugees and migrants, should the EU – Turkey deal collapse. However, he assured that Greece persists and will persist so that the agreement with Turkey would not collapse. He also denied scenarios about Berlin preparing a Plan B."

EU-TURKEY: The saga continues: Turkey threatens to scrap refugee deal, again (EUobserver, link): "Turkey said on Thursday (25 August) that EU accession remained its "strategic aim”, but threatened, once again, to scrap the migrant deal with the EU if it does not quickly get visa liberalisation.

The two-sided message came a day after EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn asked Ankara to respect the rule of law in its post-putsch crackdown if it wanted to join the bloc."

Refugees welcome map (link)

An interactive map displaying "initiatives and activities of higher education institutions and related networks and organisations in supporting refugee students, researchers and academic staff."

Changing mood in Europe a year after Austria refugee disaster (EurActiv, link): "The gruesome discovery of 71 dead migrants in a truck in Austria last August shocked Europe and led countries to open their borders to a massive influx of people fleeing war and poverty, mainly from the Middle East.

But a year on, the mood in Europe has changed.

Razor-wire fences have gone up, borders are firmly shut again, and the European Union has struck a controversial deal with Turkey to keep migrants from reaching Greece — the main entry point into the bloc, along with Italy.

While the measures have led to a sharp drop in arrivals, experts warn the crisis is far from over."

GREECE: Migrant pre-registration Completed in Greece (The Press Project, link): "During a press conference Mr. Mouzalas called the situation “manageable now that there is a clear view”. Along with Mr. Mouzalas were the director of the Asylum Service Maria Stavropoulou, the head of the UNCHR in Greece Phillip Leclerc and Dimitris Pagidas, spokesperson for EASO.

Mr. Leclerc noted that the procedure was extremely fast and he added that according to his experience in other parts of the world this was a “world record”.

The registered migrants will be provided a card which will allow them access to education and health services as well as some form of occupation since such a thing is not covered by the current laws of the land."

Asylum seekers in Italy donate to earthquake victims in country that took them in (Metro, link): "Following the quake that killed at least 120 people in Italy, asylum seekers taken in by the country have decided to donate what little they have to help victims.

Around 75 asylum seekers living in Gioiosa Ionica, south Italy, have pledged to give a portion of their weekly allowance to assist those affected."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25.8.16)
Syrians Alarmed by Bulgarian Media’s Anti-Refugee Rhetoric (Ballkan Insight, link):

"The Syrian community in Bulgaria wants the state authorities to investigate the growing number of xenophobic media articles that denigrate refugees and migrants. The Bulgaria-based Free Syria Association and the Association of Syrian Refugees warned at a press conference on Thursday that the country’s media was negatively distorting the image of refugees.

“We feel obliged to thank [Bulgarian society] for the tolerance and empathy it demonstrated so far, but also to note that propagating xenophobia and intolerance towards others… is a precondition for new conflicts and divisions,” the Syrian organisations said in a joint declaration.

Their reaction was provoked by an article, broadly shared on social networks, in which someone identified as a 16-year-old Syrian girl claimed that the majority of the Syrian refugees hate Christians and “only think about how to cut their throats”.

But Akram Nayuf from the Free Syria Association said this was completely incorrect."

UNHCR Weekly Report: Europe (24.8.16)

Update on Readmissions from Greece to Turkey

"The total number of readmissions to Turkey from Greece is 482 as of 21 August."

Update on Relocation

"From Italy, no transfers under the relocation programme took place during the week. The overall number of relocations from Italy remains at 961, corresponding to 2% of the target of 39,600 agreed upon in September 2015 to be relocated from Italy.

Thus far, a total of 3,016 asylum-seekers, 4.5% against the targeted 66,400, have been relocated from Greece to other EU countries since the beginning of the relocation programme in November 2015."

Situation in Serbia and at the Serbia-Hungary border

"The estimated total number of refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants in Serbia continued to grow to around 4,400 in comparison to 4,000 the previous week... The current admission rate to Hungary remains limited to 15 people per day per transit zone, with many asylum-seekers waiting a month or more as a result." 

Trends of Sea Arrivals

"Between 15 and 21 August, 923 refugees and migrants crossed the sea to Greece, a continuation of the steady increase in arrivals observed during the earlier part of the month."

From 15 to 21 August, 2,055 refugees and migrants arrived to Italy by sea as a result of 11 search and rescue operations (SAR), seven of which occurred over the weekend. Arrivals during the reporting period have seen a slight increase from 1,777 the previous week."

Situation in Greece

"With the slight increase of arrivals in the previous weeks, the capacity on the already strained accommodation spaces on the islands have exceeded their limit estimated by over 3,000 individuals. The maximum capacity on the islands rem ins 7,450 while the total presence on the islands was 11,343 until 21 August."

Hungary: Orbán hopes to trigger referendum tsunami across Europe (Budapest Beacon, link):

"victory in the anti-EU refugee quota referendum on October 2 will only happen if at least 4 million voters go to the polls and the majority of them vote “No”. It is wrong to assume that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán considers the voter turnout to be irrelevant, a source with insight into the ruling party’s communication campaign told....

Ruling party politicians, experts and jurists are making every possible case to encourage voters to reject the EU’s compulsory resettlement plan."

Denmark: New bill wants Danish Refugee Council out of the Refugee Appeals Board (refugees.dk, link)

"The government’s wish to cut down the Refugee Appeals Board from 5 to 3 members worries experts.

In a new bill put forward, the Danish government expresses a specific wish to exclude the Danish Refugee Council from appointing board members to the Refugee Appeals Board. The board was expanded in 2012 to enhance the expertise, and the members pointed out by the council represents some of the most respected experts in the country within this field. To maintain an uneven number of members, the person appointed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark will also have to go."

Are You Syrious (24.8.16, link)

Greece: New arrivals

"One boat was brought to safely to Skala, the north shore of Lesvos with 36 people on board. One boat with 10 people (5 men, 2 women, 3 children) landed between Skala Sikamineas and Eftalou. Proactiva took part in the rescue. Also, there is an ongoing search by several coast guard vessels for a boat believed to be carrying some 60 refugees and migrants off the coast of Rhodes. In the past week at least 581 arrivals were registered, coming from Turkey across the Aegean."

ITALY

"Italian minister of interior Alfano said an agreement to relocate refugees from Italy to Germany was reached between the two countries. Alfano also urged the other EU countries to fully participate in the relocation of refugees, Repubblica reports in detail. Italy, the main entry point for Africans but rarely their planned destination, is struggling to house migrants turned back from neighboring countries, Switzerland and France."

FRANCE: Paris

"Thousands of people, including infants, are sleeping on the pavements of Paris. Many of those people have family members in the UK, but can’t join them until their asylum case is completed. This can take up to one year. While they wait, they will be living on the streets of Paris or in Calais, the two refugee hubs of France. The local police frequently arrest and/or evacuate the refugees, explaining they would be brought to a shelter. In fact, some of them are just arrested and released and a lot of refugees return to the camps after a few days or weeks. The tents, however, are often destroyed. The goal is probably to prevent these camps from becoming permanent street lodging."

Calais

Although not as frequently talked about, Calais hosts the largest number of refugees so far, Liberation confirms. There are now more people crammed into 35% of the originally planned space. Meanwhile, police prevent wood from entering the camp because they do not want permanent shelters to be built. Only tents are authorized. NGOs say there are more than 9,000 people and approximately 10 more tents put up per day. Calais Kitchens are in need of more tea, while the Care4Calais team has conducted a survey among the refugees and are now asking for the items mostly requested by the Calais residents: joggers, hoodies, shirts, boxers, spray deodorants, shampoo and shower gel, socks, shaving kits, torches and lanterns, SIM cards etc. If you can help, contact them at: www.care4calais.org.

UNHCR chief to push for more migrant relocations (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Greece and the United Nations refugee agency on Wednesday agreed to strengthen cooperation in handling migration flows to Europe’s external frontier while urging the European Union to hasten the relocation of migrants and refugees elsewhere within the bloc.

“Challenges are very serious and we need to continue to address them together. Especially living conditions, security in refugee sites, overcrowding in islands,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said after meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens."

Germany: Record number of refugees ask Red Cross to find family members (DW, link): "The German Red Cross expects around 3,000 calls for help by the end of 2016 from refugees who have lost track of family members on their perilous journey. A large number of requests come from minors."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24.8.16)
Afghan migrant 'shot dead by hunting party' in Serbian woods (Telegraph, link):

"olice have arrested a member of a hunting party in Serbia after a young Afghan migrant was shot dead in the woods near the Bulgarian border.

Security forces in Pirot were patrolling the woods, in the southeast of Serbia, when they "heard a shot and then met six migrants, one of whom had been shot in the chest." They then came across four hunters at the scene and arrested one of them on suspicion of shooting the 20-year-old migrant.

A Serbian defence ministry spokesman said: "Upon the arrival of emergency services, doctors could only establish the death of a 20-year old male citizen of Afghanistan." It gave no further details"

Germany’s new problem border: Poland - The southern migratory route may be closed, but the eastern one is open (Politico, link):

"Angela Merkel thought she had regained control over Germany’s borders. Turns out the problem might have just shifted.

The German chancellor’s decision to open up the country to refugees led to wave after wave arriving through the so-called Western Balkans route into the south of Germany. That route’s now all-but closed but official statistics, and local law enforcement, suggest Merkel now needs to look east, to the border with Poland, where the number of illegal crossings has skyrocketed. That is putting pressure on the police and raising concerns about radical Islamists slipping through the cracks."

Germany to accept hundreds of migrants to boost EU program: Italy (Reuters, link):

"Germany has agreed to take in hundreds of migrants who are blocked in Italy in a move that might revive the European Union's failed relocation program, Italy's Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said on Tuesday.

As part of a deal to relieve pressure on Europe's frontline states in the migration crisis, the European Commission last year devised a plan aimed at moving thousands of new arrivals away from Italy and Greece towards other EU members.

Under the scheme, up to 40,000 migrants could be relocated from Italy over two years, but so far only a few hundred have been flown out with many EU allies apparently reluctant to welcome in asylum seekers and refugees."

European Court of Human Rights: General deterioration of security situation in Iraq entails a real risk for the applicants if returned to their country of origin (pdf):

"The case concerned three Iraqi nationals who had sought asylum in Sweden and whose deportation to Iraq had been ordered....

Against a background of a generally deteriorating security situation, marked by an increase in sectarian violence and attacks and advances by ISIS, large areas of the territory were outside the Iraqi Government’s effective control. In the light of the complex and volatile general security situation, the Court found that the Iraqi authorities’ capacity to protect citizens had to be regarded as diminished. Although the current level of protection might still be sufficient for the general public in Iraq, the situation was different for individuals belonging to a targeted group. The cumulative effect of the applicants’ personal circumstances and the Iraqi authorities’ diminished ability to protect them had to be considered to create a real risk of ill-treatment in the event of their return to Iraq."

Are You Syriuos (23.8.16, link)

Number of arrivals

Despite a deal between the EU and Ankara, the number of arrivals on Aegean islands continues to soar. A total of 1,138 migrants and refugees landed on Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros over the past 10 days, bringing the total number to 11,343. Greece has at least 41,000 refugees and migrants who are seeking asylum, mostly Syrians eligible to relocate within the EU, the migration minister said on Tuesday. Yiannis Mouzalas told a news conference that Greek and UN services had recorded 54,000 refugees and migrants on Greek territory between June and the end of July. Over 41,000 of them on the mainland have expressed interest in asylum, or have made formal requests. Another 2,000 have agreed to be returned home. At the same time, there are another 11,000 people currently being processed on Greek islands after landing there from neighboring Turkey. The migration minister admitted that there are additionally “around 4,000” people who are avoiding follow-up registration as they hope to cross the border with the help of smugglers. But denied reports that hundreds of people were being allowed to sneak across the border to the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria. New arrivals, total of 18 today all landed on Lesvos."

Volunteering opportunities in Athens

"If new to volunteering in Athens, please consider spending your first couple of days at the Ellinikon Warehouse helping with the sorting of donations. If you can only volunteer for 1 day or a few hours then the Warehouse is the best place to help. Please contact the project/team leaders directly to sort out your volunteering arrangements and more info can be found http://www.greecevol.info/

RefuComm team looking for volunteers

"In Athens the team have been setting up in squats, printing, flyering, translating information building up new teams for advice clinics to go into the squats. In Germany they have been getting ready to add new information on the Greek Islands, reunification and educational materials to the website and we have been improving ease of use for the website. Volunteers are needed in the following area: Media Management, Social Media, Fundraising, Researchers, Writers, Translators, Administration if you can help out, email refucomm@gmail.com "

Bad conditions in Samos camp

"The conditions in the camp are still very bad with very poor quality food, lack of drinking water and not enough capacity to house the many people there, some for over five months!

There are still unattended minors living there, You can help out by: mobile pay: +45 60 10 66 24 (DK), AL-bank: reg. nr. 5358, konto nr. 0244228. (DK) or International donations: IBAN nr. : DK4853580000244228 / SWIFT adr. : ALBADKKK "

Austria's refugee crisis: One year on (The Local.at, link):

" Crisis dissipates in Austria: The number of asylum applications fell dramatically in Austria in 2016 compared to the previous year. The solidarity movement has also become less conspicuous. Politicians who helped to care for and manage the movement of refugees last year are now preparing to implement some of Europe’s toughest asylum measures. How might the country react today if another group of 71 refugees was found in the back of a van having suffocated? No doubt with sadness, but it would be unlikely to elicit the same powerful solidarity movement. At the other end of the scale, the earlier rise in anti-Muslim extremist protests this year has also somewhat calmed in the summer. Is there less fire in the belly of the anti-refugee movement now the crisis is less acute? The far-right’s presidential candidate Norbert Hofer is tipped to win the presidential election re-run in October but the question remains whether he'll be able to secure the same support without a refugee crisis to talk about."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23.8.16)
FRONTEX: Shoot First: Coast Guard Fired at Migrant Boats, European Border Agency Documents Show (The Intercept, link):

"a Greek court ruled that the coast guard officers, including the one arrested, did nothing wrong; they were shooting to stop a suspected smuggler.

Yet a collection of incident reports from Frontex, the European Union’s border agency, obtained by The Intercept, reveals a broader Greek and European tactic of using weapons to stop boats driven by suspected smugglers — and injuring or killing refugees in the process. (In the Greek islands, Frontex operates alongside the coast guard, patrolling the sea border with Turkey. In many cases, the information in these documents was reported to Frontex by the Greek coast guard as part of their joint operations.)

The documents, which were meant to be redacted to shield operational details but were inadvertently released by Frontex in full, reveal multiple cases of firearms use against boats carrying refugees (The Intercept has elected to publish the unredacted versions to demonstrate how refugees’ lives were endangered during these incidents). The reports span a 20-month period from May 2014, two months after the Chios shooting, to December 2015. Each case of firearms use - even if it resulted in someone being wounded - was described as part of the standard rules of engagement for stopping boats at sea....

After the shooting, Rawan, Amjad, and Akil were taken to the general hospital in Chios to be treated, where they stayed for two weeks. Doctors’ reports from Germany and Sweden, where the three were eventually given asylum, as well as from the hospital in Chios, confirm that the injured refugees were released from the hospital in Chios with bullets still in their bodies. All three victims speculate that the hospital responded to pressure from the coast guard, who, they say,
didn’t want evidence of the shooting in Greece.""

See full file: Serious Incident Reports (190 pages, pdf) and see Frontex rules: Serious Incident Reporting (pdf)

EU Commission reiterates €250,000 fine per refugee for member states that deny relocation (New Europe, link):

"The €250,000 per applicant solidarity contribution to the member states responsible for asylum applications was put again on the table by the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos.

Avramopoulos suggests that the EU Commission’s proposal for a Dublin III Regulation recast that aims to complement the current system with a corrective allocation mechanism for situations where some member states turn a blind eye to refugees relocation.

“The new Regulation will be binding once adopted by the European Parliament and the Council for all Member States, except for the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark which have the right to decide themselves about their participation in accordance with the relevant Protocols,” adds the Commissioner answering at Greek MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament Dimitris Papadimoulis’ question, as only a 1% of the refugees in the EU Commission’s emergency relocation programme have actually been relocated, while the target figure remains at 160,000."

Urgent need for refugee relocation, says Irish Refugee Council (link):

The Irish Refugee Council is calling on the Irish government to honour its commitment of relocating asylum seekers from Greece and Italy as quickly as possible. To date no people have been relocated from Italy and only 38 people have been relocated from Greece. This is in stark contrast to the number of asylum seekers relocated from Greece to Member States such as France, the Netherlands and Portugal.

Maria Hennessy, Legal Officer at the Irish Refugee Council Independent Law Centre, has just returned from a fact finding mission in Greece where she witnessed first-hand the situation facing refugees in Athens and on the Islands of Lesvos and Chios.

“The situation in some camps for refugees is alarming, with people, including families with young children, living in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions where access to basic needs such as healthcare and nutritious food is extremely limited,” said Ms Hennessy."

Greece says at least 41,000 asylum seekers on its territory (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Yiannis Mouzalas told a news conference that Greek and UN services had recorded 54,000 refugees and migrants on Greek territory between June and the end of July.

Over 41,000 of them on the mainland have expressed interest in asylum, or have made formal requests. Another 2,000 have agreed to be returned home."

"Dangerous Journeys”: International Migration Increasingly Unsafe in 2016: IOM (link):

"As the number of migrant deaths worldwide continues to rise significantly, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 23 per cent more migrant deaths during the first half of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015.

The latest IOM GMDAC Data Briefing, “Dangerous Journeys,” released on Tuesday 23 August, was prepared by the International Organization for Migration’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) in Berlin. It takes an in-depth look at the available global figures for migrant deaths and disappearances during the first half of 2016.

The data collected by Missing Migrants Project indicate that the number of people who go missing or die in the process of migration has increased significantly since 2014, especially in the Mediterranean region. The increase can partly be attributed to improving data collection. However, it also speaks to the level of risk associated with attempting to migrate by irregular means across international borders in 2016, as well as the desperation that motivates people to take these migration journeys."

Are You Syrious (22.8.16, link)

Refugee flows to Hungary constantly on the rise despite the wire fence and border patrols

"According to a report from the Hungarian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, the number of irregular migrants apprehended by the Hungarian police has been constantly on the rise since the beginning of 2016, despite the construction of a fence on Hungary’s borders with Serbian and Croatian.

However, since the “8-kilometre rule” legalizing push-backs came into force on 5 July, the number of registered asylum applications has radically decreased. In July alone, 575 irregular migrants were apprehended, while 4,396 entries were blocked by border patrols. During the first six months of 2016, the majority of asylum-seekers (65%) in Hungary came from war-torn countries, including 16% from Syria, 37% from Afghanistan, 11% from Iraq and 1% from Somalia. Of all the applicants, 26% were children and 20% women."

Many children among the refugees arriving to Italy

"MSF, Proactiva and others who are tirelessly saving lives in the Mediterranean keep reporting the steady flow of refugees on one of the most dangerous refugee routes towards Europe. Almost half of the refugees crossing the sea from Libya to Italy in packed boats are minors, MSF warns."

Greece: Plans for new migrant centers as arrivals soar (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Greek authorities hope that the construction of a new migrant reception center in Thiva, central Greece, which is set to be completed in the coming days, will ease congestion in camps on the country’s eastern Aegean islands, while plans are also under way to open a refugee facility on Crete.

“The situation on the islands is only marginally under control,” a source inside the Public Order Ministry told Kathimerini on condition of anonymity on Monday.

Authorities are said to be drawing up plans to create so-called “closed-structure” detention camps on the islands to separate individuals who are scheduled to be repatriated – as well as troublemakers – from those who have passed a first screening in their claim for international protection."

News (23.8.16)

EU-LIBYA: EUNAVFOR Med Operation Sophia signs agreement to train Libyan Coast Guard and Navy (pdf) and see: Libyan parliament scuppers UN-backed unity government (DW, link) "Libya's internationally recognized parliament has voted no confidence in the fragile UN-backed unity government.".


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22.8.16)
Hungarian politician suggests hanging pigs' heads along border to deter Muslim refugees (The Telegraph, link):

"Severed pigs’ heads should be hung along Hungary’s border to deter Muslim refugees and migrants from entering the country, an MEP has suggested.

Gyorgy Schopflin, a member of the Right-wing government of Viktor Orban, the prime minister, sparked outrage and disbelief with the suggestion.

He made it during an ill-tempered exchange on Twitter with a human rights campaigner."

UK: Britain wants to save refugee children - so why is government shunning these helpless infants? (International Business Times, link): "It is now several months since the Immigration Act became law. It contained one crucial amendment, that the UK should take an unspecified number of unaccompanied child refugees from Europe. So far very little seems to have happened."

EU: Rumours and lies: 'The refugee crisis is an information crisis' (The Guardian, link): "“You need to puncture your raft before you arrive, or they’ll send you back.” “If you apply for the relocation programme, they send you to Venezuela.” “In Europe you won’t need money, everything is free.”

These are just three of the many confusing rumours that migrants and refugees might hear. Some of them are downright dangerous, like the one about the raft. Others cause people to make the wrong decisions or take risks.

In response, the Mediterranean Rumour Tracker project has been launched to better inform migrants of the facts. Fieldworkers who speak Arabic or Farsi engage with people in the Greek camps, collect the rumours that are circulating, and then verify or dispel them. This information is posted on a dedicated website and corresponding Facebook pages in English, Arabic, Farsi and Greek."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20-21.8.16)


Greece: Gov’t seeks alliances as arrivals in Evros rise (ekathimerini.com, link):

"With scores of people arriving on the islands of the eastern Aegean every day, state-run facilities are already filled beyond capacity and there are fears of tensions escalating as thousands of frustrated migrants wait for news of their fate.

According to sources, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is intent on forging a regional alliance to support Greece’s position on the migration crisis at a meeting of European socialist heads of state scheduled to take place in Paris on Thursday....

Meanwhile, as activity in the Aegean increases, sources have indicated that arrivals via the land border with Turkey have also risen."

Are You Syrious (20.8.16)

Shameful court case against Spanish lifeguards accused of human smuggling still pending

"Spanish firemen from PROEM-AID NGO have published a video to remind us about the shameful legal case that’s pending against them. They have rescued thousands while working as an emergency team on Lesvos, but their lifesaving actions were seen by the Greek government as human smuggling. The legislation which allowed Julio, Manuel and Enrique to be accused of smuggling is being revised by the European Commission, but they could still face a sentence of 10 years of imprisonment. Here’s their story. You can show your solidarity by signing the petition to support their cause.."

Thousands of refugees returning to Milan after being rejected from Austrian, French and Swiss borders

"Milan is becoming the new refugee bottleneck as thousands of refugees from Africa, many of them Eritreans, retreat to the city after being turned back at the borders to France, Austria and Switzerland. According to The Times, “church buildings, army barracks, gyms and even the Holocaust memorial have been converted into dormitories” for refugees. Refugees from Syria and Eritrea have been arriving in Milan since 2013, but their number has been sharply increasing in the past couple of days. Officials are worried that another 1,000 refugees massed at Ventimiglia, on the French border, and at Como on the Swiss border will give up and return to Milan."

Concerns rise amid migrant uptick, news of German plan to pressure Greece (ekathimerini.com, link):

"The steady increase in refugee and migrant arrivals from neighboring Turkey to the Aegean islands fueled concerns in the ranks of the government on Friday amid reports that German authorities have a contingency plan to apply pressure on Greece in the event of the collapse of a deal between Ankara and the European Union to curb migration....

Citing a non-paper issued by the German government, Der Spiegel reveals a contingency plan foreseeing the possible application of economic pressure on Greece to oblige it to cooperate more closely with the EU’s monitoring agency Frontex in policing the bloc’s external borders."

Are You Syrious (19.8.16, link)

331

"refugees have arrived to Greek islands between Thursday and Friday morning, according to government data. This is a jump compared to recent figures, which had ranged from a few dozen to a maximum of 150 new people daily, bringing the official count of refugees stranded (and registered) in Greece to just over 58,000. Today, volunteers on Lesvos have counted 146 new refugees on Lesvos alone."

More drownings off Lybian coast: how to call for help if you encounter distress at sea

"Proactiva Open Arms reported about yet another harrowing case occurring on August 18th, off the coast of Libya. Twenty people were rescued, while six have drowned and only four bodies have been recovered. While the institutional disregard for the lives of those embarking on the dangerous sea journey to refuge continues, we once more urge anyone who finds themselves in distress at sea to contact Watch The Med Alarm Phone, at +334 86 51 71 61. Please take note of the fact that this is an alarm number to support rescue operations, and NOT a rescue number. Alarm Phone’s aim is to help those in distress connect with the coast guard and attempt to monitor the rescue operation in order to avoid violations of human rights."

Sindos-Frakapor camp: unbearable stench, malaria and newborn babies in the middle of nowhere

"AYS voluneers have visited 550 refugees from Idomeni who are accomodated in Sindos-Frakapor in Northern Greece, where multiple cases of malaria were unofficially confirmed to us by independent medical professionals, but still not officialy acknowleged by the authorities.

Approaching the camp by abandoned road, one can feel the unbearable stench rising from nearby heaps of fertilizer. We were appalled to see at least 20 newborn babies in completely unacceptable living conditions in Sindos-Frakapor, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by swamp and piles of trash."

Greece: More Returns Under EU-Turkey Deal (News That Moves, link):

"On August 18, Greek authorities returned another group of people from the Greek islands to Turkey under the EU-Turkey deal. According to a press release from the Greek government, a total of “six irregular migrants” were returned to Turkey: four Pakistani nationals and two Algerians.

Frontex, the EU border management agency, returned the migrants on chartered boat from Lesbos to the Turkish port of Dikili."

and see: Eight refugees return to Turkey after implementation of EU-Turkey agreement (AMNA.gr, link):

"Eight Syrian refugees returned to Turkey after the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement. Eight of them left with a special flight of Astra Airlines chartered from Frontex with destination Adana, Turkey."

Serbia intercepts over 3,000 illegal migrants in a month (euractiv, link):

"Serbia detained over 3,000 migrants illegally entering into the country in one month, a military spokesman said, suggesting many were still trying to make their way along a Balkan corridor to the European Union despite border closures.....

With a steady trickle of migrants mainly from conflict- and poverty-wracked areas of Asia and the Middle East continuing, Serbia on 16 July decided to form joint police and army patrols to intercept them.".

News (20-21-8-16)

Children at risk in crowded camps as number of refugees arriving in Greece more than doubles (Save the Children, link): "The average number of refugees and migrants arriving daily in Greece is at its highest since May, causing serious congestion in the camps on the islands and putting children at risk, Save the Children said today. ... “We’re nearly back at square one. As the number of arrivals creeps up again, we’re starting to see scenes reminiscent of last summer. Except this time, most asylum seekers are unable to continue their journeys, and are trapped on the islands, in overcrowded facilities, and under the blazing sun,” said Katie Dimmer, Save the Children’s Director of Operations in Greece."

Italy: Show acceptance for migrants, beat terror says Mattarella - 'Don't let ourselves be overcome by fear' (ANSA, link): "Italy must show solidarity for migrants but make sure they respect the law, President Sergio Mattarella said at the annual meeting of the influential Catholic lay organisation Communion and Liberation Friday. "We must not allow ourselves to be defeated by fear," Mattarella said."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19.8.16)
AP witnesses rescue of migrants off Libya, 4 bodies found (AP, link): "A Spanish aid group rescued more than 100 migrants Thursday from three separate migrant boats off Libya's coast and recovered at least four bodies after one of the vessels sank. Relatives reported another two people drowned but rough seas hampered search efforts.

The Associated Press was aboard the Astral rescue ship of the group Proactiva Open Arms when a Libyan fisherman flagged the sunken migrant boat some 20 miles north of the western Libyan city of Sabratha."

EU: Thematic focus: Migrants with disabilities (Fundamental Rights Agency, link): "Persons with disabilities make up around 15 % of the global population, and comprise a significant minority of refugees and migrants. In addition to pre-existing physical, sensory, intellectual or psychosocial impairments, people may acquire or develop impairments during the migration process. When identified, these impairments place an obligation on Member States to provide specific support throughout the arrival, registration and asylum process.

There is little information available on the situation of migrants and refugees with disabilities recently arrived in the EU, resulting in anecdotal evidence and individual reports of particular challenges faced. This thematic focus explores practices in four areas crucial to persons with disabilities and victims of torture in the current migrant situation:

1. Identification of persons with disabilities in reception and detention centres
2. Reception conditions for persons with disabilities
3. Mental health determinants and support
4. Identification and rehabilitation of victims of torture
"

And see: Fundamental Rights Agency: Monthly data collection on the current migration situation in the EU: Thematic focus: Disability (pdf)

Covers 1-31 July 2016; contains the full text of the "thematic focus" report on disability and detailed information on the situation in Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Sweden, looking at:

FRANCE: New report on women living in Calais camps

"Since the publication of The Long Wait, we have processed and analysed additional data relating to women in Calais, which we are presenting in this report. Media coverage consistently tends to highlight that the majority of residents in the Calais camp are men and boys, while reports and news stories relating to women and girls in the settlement are few and far between.

This report hence aims to fill some of the information gaps relating to these women. It sheds light on the specific adversities they face, including gender-based violence, a lack of access to reproductive healthcare, and an absence of safety and security, amongst others."

See: Unsafe Borderlands: Filling the data gaps relating to women in the Calais camp (Refugee Rights, link)

Migration through Egypt: The Safe Alternative to Libya? (Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, link): "The Greek Coast Guard rescued 340 migrants off the coast of Crete after a boat carrying the migrants bound for Italy capsized in the Mediterranean Sea on June 3, 2016. Four migrants were less lucky: they drowned in the Mediterranean. The boat reportedly originated in Egypt and capsized in waters in Egypt’s exclusive economic area.

The Crete incident cast a spotlight on Egypt as a country of transit and its policies towards the mixed migration flows from the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. "

EU: 4 maps that will change how you see migration in Europe (World Economic Forum, link): "Did you know that Polish people represent the highest percentage of the foreign-born population in Norway? Or that the largest proportion of immigrants to the Republic of Ireland hail from the UK?

These four maps, created by Jakub Marian, a Czech linguist, mathematician and artist, are based on a 2015 study by the United Nations on international migration. They show European migration split into various numbers:

1. The percentage of the population of each country that is made up of foreign-born migrants

2. The most common country of origin for that number

3. Whether that number has gone up or down in the past five years

4. The immigrant populations that are expanding the most"

EU: Sharing responsibility for refugees in Europe: the logic of identity (openDemocracy, link): "Values such as ‘shared responsibility’ that define the EU on paper do not appear to be powerful in practice. But across Europe national identities are a different matter. "

Refugees find chance to flourish in German workforce (UNHCR, link): "Meet some of the refugees who are rolling up their sleeves in Germany, after finding work with a car maker, train operator and technology giant."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17-18.8.16)
Long Read: Minor Miracle or Historic Failure Ahead for U.N. Summit? (Refugees Deeply, link):

"In the lead-up to September’s U.N. summit on refugees and migrants, Jeff Crisp, associate fellow at Chatham House, warns that growing isolationism will prevent a successful initiative and further weaken refugee protection."

UNHCR Weekly Report (18.8.16): 265,985 arrivals by sea in 2016. 265,985 in Greece and 162,015 in Italy. 3,155 dead/missing

Update on Relocation

"No relocations took place from Italy last week. Thus far, 961 people, only 2.4 % of the targeted 39,600 for the period of September 2015 to September 2017, have been relocated from Italy.

On 12 August, 400 pledges for Greece were opened by France. As of 12 August, 2,986 have been relocated from Greece of the 66,400 targeted total up to September 2017, representing only 4.5%."

Hungary

"During the week, Hungarian police reported 74 apprehensions for irregular entry, while 453 people were pre-vented from irregularly crossing the border and another 445 people were intercepted inside Hungary and escorted back to the other side of the border fence. The Hungarian government decided on 10 August to deploy an additional 3,000 police personnel to the border in response to irregular migration."

GREECE: official figures of number of "guests" in detention centres (57,828 refugees) on the islands and the mainland: 18.8.16 (pdf): Lesvos, Chios and Samos have more "guests" than their capacity.

GREECE: Gov't seeking revision of Dublin Regulation returning migrants (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Intent on tackling the refugee crisis head on, the government aims to push for an overhaul of the so-called Dublin Regulation, which stipulates that migrants must apply for asylum in the first European Union country they enter, a provision that has put much of the burden on Greece....

Indications by Turkey that it might not honor a migrant deal with the EU have fueled concerns in Greece that a slowed migrant influx could pick up again. Greek officials insist that a slight uptick in migrant arrivals on the Greek islands remains manageable but in private they are concerned....

diplomatic sources have indicated that any such change is unlikely during Slovakia’s presidency of the EU, which finishes at the end of the year."

Asylum Applications In Greece Increase Over 264% (News That Moves, link)

"The Greek Asylum Service (GAS) released data on asylum applications filed in Greece in 2016. Between January and July, 21,833 asylum claims have been submitted in Greece, an increase of 264.8% compared with the same period in 2015.

Most asylum applications in 2016 have been filed in Athens (8,731),Thessaloniki (5,079) and Lesvos (2,393). In July alone, 2,543 men and 1,470 women applied for asylum in Greece.

Asylum applications in Greece started to increase in March 2016 after the closure of the Balkan Route and the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement."

Greece: 8 refugees sent back to Turkey - On Wednesday, Greek coast guards rescued 70 refugees and migrants (AA, link)

A special flight was chartered by Frontex and the eight refugees flew by Astra Airlines to Adana, southern Turkey, according to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA).

Meanwhile, refugees continue to enter the Greek waters from the Aegean sea.

On Wednesday, the Greek coast guards rescued 70 refugees and migrants in an inflatable dinghy in off the coast of the Kos island, reported the state new agency AMNA. The migrants, who came from Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan, were transferred to a reception center.

In the last 24 hours, a total of 44 refugees and migrants have arrived at the Lesvos island."

Greece plans new refugee facilities to cut overcrowding on islands (euractiv, link)

"Greece plans to reduce overcrowding at migrant camps on its islands, a government official said yesterday (17 August), to ease growing tensions and improve conditions that campaigners have called “disgraceful”."

New migrant center to open near Thiva as Cretan authorities protest plans for four local camps (ekathimerini.com, link)

"The government is planning to host around 1,000 migrants in a former cotton mill near the city of Thiva in central Greece, it emerged Tuesday, as authorities on Crete expressed objections to plans to accommodate another 2,000 migrants in four migrant centers on the island."

Aid and Attention Dwindling, Migrant Crisis Intensifies in Greece (NYT, link):

"NEA KAVALA, Greece — As her young children played near heaps of garbage, picking through burned corn cobs and crushed plastic bottles to fashion new toys, Shiraz Madran, a 28-year-old mother of four, turned with tear-rimmed eyes to survey the desolate encampment that has become her home.

This year, her family fled Syria, only to get stuck at Greece’s northern border with Macedonia in Idomeni, a town that had been the gateway to northern Europe for more than one million migrants from the Middle East and Africa seeking a haven from conflict. After Europe sealed the border in February to curb the unceasing stream, the Greek authorities relocated many of those massed in Idomeni to a camp on this wind-beaten agricultural plain in northern Greece, with promises to process their asylum bids quickly.

But weeks have turned into months..."

Turkey struggling to cope with refugees (euobserver, link):

"Host to the world’s largest refugee population, Turkey is struggling to meet its international obligations and secure dignified living conditions for the more than 3 million people that fled to the country.

In a report published on Wednesday (17 August), the Council of Europe’s special representative on migration and refugees, Tomas Bocek, praised Turkey for its efforts to help people displaced by conflicts in neighbouring states.

But the report by the Czech official, who visited Turkey in May and June on a fact-finding mission, raises doubts whether Turkey can cope with the challenge. "

See: Council of Europe: Turkey: Migrant children and refugees living precariously outside camps (link):

 Are You Syrious (17.8.16)

Thessaloniki

"Teams from multiple organizations, including AYS, report that police are evicting refugees from the park and treating volunteers with some hostility, blaming them for making the location habitable and therefore incentivizing more refugees to come and wait in the park.

The term “people hunting” seemed fitting today to describe what’s happening at Thessaloniki Park’s unofficial gathering. This morning, police came at 7 am without announcement and picked up refugees, taking them to other camps in northern Greece. There were around 400 people in the camp last night. Many kept trying to return throughout the day, but police stayed there during the whole day and through the evening, searching for people. Many of the camps in northern Greece are in a state of decay?—?the smell is so bad that people cannot breathe without covering their noses and mouths to keep from coughing...."

ITALY

"A man has been arrested for attempting to bring people into France. The man, a native of Nice, France, was apprehended by Italian police near the French-Italian border. The man was previously known to police due to his affiliation with no-border activist groups. "

Are You Syrious (16.8.16, link)

Slovenia reinforcing wire fence after reported increase of irregular border crossings

"Slovenian authorities have announced they will reinforce the wire fence along the border with Croatia, following the reported increase of irregular refugee arrivals. According to unnamed government official cited in local newspapers, several smuggling attempts and irregular border crossings have been detected recently. Some of the refugees who were caught were pushed back to Croatia, while others have asked for asylum in Slovenia."

Slovenian reception centres on standby in preparation for possible further increase of arrivals

"According to Slovenian police, last week there were 311 refugees in accommodation and detention centres, but more people are thought to have passed the country without being registered. Slovenian officials are getting ready for the possible scenario of re-opening the route if Turkey decides to abandon its deal with EU and start letting more refugees to proceed to their journey towards EU countries."

Italian municipalities propose a plan for equal redistribution of migrants in the country

The national association of Italian municipalities (ANCI) has proposed a plan to redistribute the presence of refugees in an equal way, considering the possibility to host an average of 2.5 refugees for each 1,000 inhabitants in municipalities throughout the country."

Swiss-Italian frontier becomes flashpoint in Europe’s migrant crisis (euractiv, link):

"Nine months pregnant and desperate to cross from Italy into Switzerland after fleeing Ethiopia, a young woman along with her husband are among hundreds stranded by a Swiss border clampdown that is drawing international scrutiny.

Swiss authorities reject accusations they are violating would-be refugees’ rights to seek asylum. But a growing throng of migrants waiting near Como in northern Italy and aid workers tell a different story: The Swiss border is effectively closed."

 Refugees create flag for their Olympic team as a 'symbol of solidarity' (Mashable UK, link):

"When the first ever Olympic team made up of refugees entered the opening ceremony last week, not much united them beyond their desires to compete and unwilling separations from their home countries. Now, a new organization wants to give them their own symbol.

The 10 athletes walked under the Olympic flag during the Parade of Nations and they continue to compete under those five rings, since their members come from four different countries. But a newly-formed organization, The Refugee Nation, has designed a flag it hopes will become part of the identity of the team and inspire goodwill for forcibly displaced people around the world."

CZECH REPUBLIC: People from Ukraine, Iraq, China, Cuba mostly seek asylum in 2016 (Prague Monitor, link): "Czech asylum was sought by 872 people from January to July, which is nearly the same number as in the first seven months of 2015 (884), and the highest number of asylum seekers were from Ukraine, Iraq, China, Cuba and Syria, according to the latest data released by the Interior Ministry. The largest group of asylum seekers continued to be Ukrainians (289), though their number considerably decreased compared to last year. Thanks to a resettlement project for Iraqi refugees, Czech authorities received 133 applications for asylum from citizens of Iraq this year. In the previous years, very few Iraqis applied for asylum in the country."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (16.8.16)
Migration: Cracks widen in “impossible” Italian asylum system (IRIN, link)

"Closed borders in the Balkans and the EU-Turkey deal have drastically reduced arrivals of migrants and refugees to Greece, but arrivals to Italy have continued at a similar rate to last year. The key difference is that fewer are able to move on to northern Europe, leaving Italy’s reception system buckling under the pressure and migrants paying the price.....

Yasha Maccanico, an Italian researcher for civil liberties monitoring organisation Statewatch, says Italy has been placed in an “impossible and unsustainable” position.

“Relocation was meant to be the justification for the hotspot system, but it simply has not happened,” he told IRIN. “And no matter what effort the state makes in providing adequate reception facilities, it will not be enough to match the numbers of migrants arriving.”"

Greece: Arrvials in Lesvos (UNHCR, 16.8.116) in the last week:

09/08/2016:  34
10/08/2016   31
11/08/2016:  44
12/08/2016:  80
13/08/2016:  22
14/08/2016:  13
15/08/2016:  51

Council of Europe: Turkey: Migrant children and refugees living precariously outside camps (link):

"Action needed to tackle child labour, encourage school attendance and improve the precarious living conditions of those outside refugee camps in Turkey.

“The Council of Europe should assist the Turkish authorities to develop effective policies to prevent refugee and migrant children working and to encourage their attendance at school”, says the Secretary General’s Special Representative on migration and refugees Ambassador Tomáš Bocek in a report published today. He also called for the Council of Europe to work with the Turkish authorities to help improve the precarious living conditions of the millions of refugees outside camps, in particular by making it easier for those of working-age to access the labour market."

Are You Syrious (15.8.16)

Dramatic increase in refugees on the streets of Thessaloniki

"In the past two days, the number of refugees living in the streets and parks of Thessaloniki has dramatically increased, reaching almost 500, up from 200 on Monday, with around 200 new people coming from Athens. Only a few volunteers are currently active and long-term volunteers are desperately needed. Police is coming everyday, asking for people to join the camps but they are unwilling to do so."

Volunteer kitchen ransacked in Chios

"Gabrielle Tan in Chios reports a volunteer kitchen was ransacked on Saturday night and describes the overall situation on the island: On Sunday morning when they went to open the kitchen, preparing to feed the refugees on Chios as usual, the volunteers from Zaporeak Proiektua had a nasty surprise. Their kitchen was raided and damaged. This morning, they found their locks glued.

The doors of the European Union remain shut and none of the prosperous nations are living up to their promises of help. Greece remains its whipping boy, holding 57,000 internationally displaced people in distressing limbo. Chios holds about 3000ish?—?and numbers increasing steadily when the weather is calm. Athens is scrambling to put an emergency plan together?—?which will probably take months."

Give us EU visa freedom in October or abandon migrant deal, Turkey says (euractiv, link):

"Turkey could walk away from its promise to stem the flow of illegal migrants to EU if the European Union fails to grant Turks visa-free travel to the bloc in October, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a German newspaper....

Asked whether hundreds of thousands of refugees in Turkey would head to Europe if the EU did not grant Turks visa freedom from October, Cavusoglu told Bild: “I don’t want to talk about the worst case scenario – talks with the EU are continuing but it’s clear that we either apply all treaties at the same time or we put them all aside.”

News (16.8.16)

Danish politicians face charges for housing migrants (The Local.dk, link): "An Aarhus City Councilwoman and a parliamentary hopeful were in court on Tuesday to face charges of violating Denmark’s immigration laws by housing two African refugees."

Inclusion Of Refugee Children In Schools In Athens (News That Moves, link): "The Greek Ministry of Education and the Municipality of Athens announced a new pilot program that will give refugee children access to local public schools in Athens in September."

Europol to send terror experts to Greek migrant camps (euobserver, link): "The EU joint police body, Europol, will deploy a team of anti-terror experts to Greece in an attempt to single out potential jihadis among the 60,000 people stuck in the country. The team of 30 European experts will land in Athens by 20 August and travel on to the refugee camps, France24 reports . "


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15.8.16)
Poland pushes back thousands of refugees, many fleeing crackdown in Tajikistan

"With the election of a right-wing government in Poland in late 2015 boasting an openly anti-migrant platform, things are looking increasingly bleak for Tajik refugees headed to Europe. While the Polish Border Guard insists that it is merely upholding Schengen regulations and “fighting illegal migration,” Polish NGOs and human rights organizations accuse the Polish authorities of engaging in illegal push-backs of Tajik asylum seekers in particular in the buffer zone between the Polish and Belarusian checkpoints, away from the eyes of UNHCR and other outside observers..."

FRANCE: Illegal shops in Calais 'jungle' cannot be destroyed, court rules, as charities say numbers surpass 9,000 (The Telegraph, link): "A French court has rejected a state request to tear down more than 70 "illegal shops" inside Calais' notorious "jungle" as associations say the numbers in the migrant camp have swollen to 9,000.

Lille's administrative court rejected the request by the state "prefecture" of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region on the grounds that while the informal shops and restaurants were undoubtedly illegal, they served an important purpose as "calm meeting places between migrants and volunteer workers".

In his ruling, judge Jean-François Molla said while local state authorities' concerns that the shops "benefit from no administrative authorisation" and some "don't respect the most basic of sanitary norms", they were were "understandable"."

More border fences in Bulgaria

"Meanwhile, a 30 kilometer long, 3.5 meter (12 foot) high fence has been erected along the Bulgarian border with Turkey. Now the fence is to be extended along the entire length of that border.

Officials want to secure the country's 484 kilometer southern border to Greece with a fence as well. This is because the Bulgarians have witnessed an increase in the numbers of refugees attempting to cross their border to get to the EU as a result of Macedonia having closed its border with Greece."

UN rights chief sees ‘worrying signs’ in Bulgaria’s detention regime for migrants (UN News Centre, link):

"United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein today expressed serious concern that virtually all people entering Bulgaria in an “irregular manner” are subjected to detention, and that they could be prosecuted and even jailed if they try to leave, “placing many of them in an invidious Catch-22 situation.”

“This means that people who do not qualify under the strict definition of a refugee, but still have legitimate reasons for being unable to return to their home country, have hardly any avenues open to them,” said High Commissioner Zeid, in a news release issued by his Office (OHCHR)."

CZECH REPUBLIC: MfD: Anti-migrant parties run in Czech regional polls (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "At least seven of the parties running in the Czech regional polls rely on an anti-immigration approach, present themselves as anti-Islamist, anti-refugee and nationalist and some have included anti-migrant slogans in their names, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) wrote on Monday.

Most of them are opposed to the Czech acceptance of any refugees, the paper writes.

These parties include well-known groupings such as lawmaker Tomio Okamura and his Party of Direct Democracy (SPD), the Dawn movement, the far-right Workers' Party of Social Justice (DSSS) and the Republicans, but also a completely new group named "No Illegal Migrants - Let Money Go to Our People.""

Sweden rebukes Hungary in row over asylum seekers (The Local, link): "Sweden has said it will summon Hungary's ambassador to Stockholm to protest against her country's refusal to take back asylum seekers who first registered in Hungary.

Swedish Migration Minister Morgan Johansson told news agency TT that Hungary had informed Sweden it would not apply the EU's Dublin Regulation, under which asylum seekers may be sent back to their first country of arrival in the EU to have their application processed there."

ITALY: EU agency: Number of migrants arriving in Italy rises 12% in July (EurActiv, link): "More than 25,000 migrants arrived in Italy in July, 12% more than in the same period last year, EU border agency Frontex said on Friday (12 August).

Most of the migrants who made the trip across the Mediterranean from North Africa were Nigerians and Eritreans, Frontex said. The number of migrants arriving in the January to July period was stable compared to last year at 95,000.

Frontex said the quality of the boats people smugglers were using to transport migrants was deteriorating."

And see: Number of migrants arriving in Italy up 12% in July (Frontex, link)

FRANCE: Escaping “the jungle” must be done in an orderly manner (UK Human Rights Blog, link)

Brief analysis of the Secretary of State for the Home Department v Zat and others case, an appeal by the UK Home Office regarding child asylum-seekers who were living in Calais but filed asylum applications in the UK and were granted permission to do so by the courts.

"Since the UT decision, systems have been put in place for the French and UK governments to improve the operation of the Dublin processes. But there is still concern that the French government is reactive and not proactive, which requires human rights organisations to locate and help unaccompanied minors before they fall to human traffickers or otherwise disappear.

But this judgment does not condemn asylum seekers to indeterminate delays in “the jungle”. It may be that applying under Dublin III will ensure a better chance of escaping intolerable conditions, even if there are delays. The right to an effective remedy under article 27 of Dublin III means that once an application is made, a lower threshold test is applied."

See the judgment: Secretary of State for the Home Department v Zat and others ([2016] EWCA Civ 810) (pdf)


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13-14.8.16)
French police confront migrants with pepper spray (Daily Sabah, link)

"Migrants attempting to reach France from Italy were stopped by French police, who confronted the migrants with pepper spray. More than 100 migrants broke through police barriers at the Italian border town of Ventimiglia and made their way into France last Friday, the local Italian police chief said....

A video posted on the website of Nice Matin newspaper showed a stream of people picking their way across rocks, followed by police in riot gear. A few started to walk into the sea."

Are You Syrious (12,8,16, link)

Deportations in Lesvos

"Last night a refugees summary deportation took place by Turkish coast guards in Greek waters, half a mile away from the maritime border between both countries. It is terrible that, following the EU-Turkey agreement, the Greek authorities may deport those fleeing their countries, but it is illegal, and so we denounce, for Turkish authorities entering European maritime territory to carry out hot deportations to Turkey. Not only the law in force is broken but also, and most serious, fundamental human rights"

See also: post by Proactiva Open Arms (link)

Arrivals today

"Todays new arrivals Chios 44, Samos 8, Kalymnos 49 and Rhodos 2; making a total of 147. Second boat today brought into Myitilni by coast guard, 43 people on board and all doing well."

New Plan to Relocate Refugees to New Centers on Crete

"Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas presented a plan to move some 2,000 people to four new centers on Crete by the end of the summer due to overcrowding of the migrant reception centers on the islands of the eastern Aegean as arrivals from neighboring Turkey increase. Four centers are to be set up on the island, one in each of its prefectures, where the migrants are to be accommodated in prefabricated homes, and will be provided with food, medical care and schooling for children. Efforts will be made to keep migrants of different ethnic groups separate as tensions relating to ethnicity have been occurring. He has also stated that the government has pledged to improve accommodation for migrants. The migrants the government is planning to move from the islands are those who have completed the first phase of their asylum applications. A total of 22 unaccompanied minors who had been staying at the Aliens Bureau on Petrou Ralli Street were moved to hostels for children in Volos and on Crete."

No Border Kitchen Lesvos Stands Its Ground

"After being threatened with a (repeated) eviction of the social center at Mytilinis beach for the past week, No Border Kitchen Lesvos decided to not give in so easily and stay put. So far the police did not come to make their threats true."

New Plan to Relocate Refugees to New Centers on Crete

"Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas presented a plan to move some 2,000 people to four new centers on Crete by the end of the summer due to overcrowding of the migrant reception centers on the islands of the eastern Aegean as arrivals from neighboring Turkey increase."

BULGARIA: Inspections of IDs and Detentions in Sofia

"More then 300 people’s documents have been inspected during the last 24 hours in Sofia, according to police sources who are claiming that the operation is still ongoing and that as many as 166 irregular migrants have been detained. Bulgaria’s treatment of migrants and refugees arriving in the country may be violating international law, the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights has warned."

Adrift: At Sea With a Search-and-Rescue Mission in the Mediterranean (Pacific Standard, link)

"Eritrea, a sliver of a nation wedged between Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Red Sea, is experiencing an exodus at a scale rivaled only by war-torn Syria. An estimated 200,000 Eritreans have left the country of six million since 2009."

News (13.8.16):

Turkey Offers Bulgaria Bilateral Mechanism on Migration (novinite.com, link): "Turkey and Bulgaria have agreed to set up a bilateral mechanism to address the issue of migrants, the Bulgarian National Radio says."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12.8.16)
GREECE: In bid to decongest migrant centers, gov't to move 2,000 people to Crete (Ekatimerini, link): "In a bid to decongest overcrowded migrant reception centers on the islands of the eastern Aegean as arrivals from neighboring Turkey increase, some 2,000 people are to be transferred to four new centers on Crete by the end of the summer, according to a plan presented by Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas on Thursday.

Four centers are to be set up on the island, one in each of its prefectures, where the migrants are to be accommodated in prefabricated homes, not tents, and will be provided with food, medical care and schooling for children, according to Mouzalas, who presented his proposals to regional and local authority officials."

HUNGARY-SERBIA: In the long crossing to Hungary refugee families get stuck in transition (New Internationalist, link): "‘The journey has been so difficult, especially for my child,’ Noor*, a 27-year-old woman from Afghanistan tells us. ‘I have had to watch her be scared every day, dry her tears every day.’

Noor is in Horgoš on the Serbian-Hungarian border, a tented pre-transit camp beside a high barbed-wire fence. Each morning she joins hundreds of others, crowding around anxiously to look at a list, to see where their name is and how much longer they have to wait. It is a document which directs the fate of hundreds of people – some of them months into their journey, some of them years. This is the waiting list for refugees and asylum seekers trying to move on to Hungary and the European Union.

Noor asks to speak to us away from children who have, she says, already seen and heard too much."

EU: In pictures: Where have all the migrants gone? (Politico, link): "While the migration crisis that has gripped Europe is far from over, hotspots that attracted thousands of refugees (and scores of photojournalists) in the last half of 2015 look very different a year on.

On the shores of the Greek island of Lesvos, the mountains of discarded orange life vests are gone — but so are the tourists. “It’s a catastrophe,” one hotel operator told the Financial Times. “Bookings for the high season are the worst we’ve seen in two decades of operating.”"

The changes noted in the article are due to the "closure" of the route from Turkey to Greece (although arrivals in Greece are rising again) and the closure of the "Balkan Route". The article does not mention the "Central Mediterranean Route", from northern Africa to Italy, where arrivals so far this year are broadly consistent with those of 2015.

According to the UNHCR weekly report on 28 July: "Between 18 and 24 July, 8,157 refugees and migrants arrived in Italy by sea which is a significant increase to the previous week’s arrivals of 2,148. However, overall sea arrivals to Italy remain consistent with those of 2015. As of 24 July, 88,009 persons arrived by sea to Italy in 2016, compared to 93,540 persons whom disembarked at the end of July 2015."

GERMANY: German proposals could see refugees' phones searched by police (The Guardian, link):

"Refugees moving to Germany may in future have to give police permission to search their social media accounts for suspicious posts, the interior minister has announced.

Presenting a raft of anti-terror measures at a press conference on Thursday, Thomas de Maizière announced that border police would pilot a scheme whereby refugees resettled in Germany under the deal between Turkey and the EU would have to hand over their smartphones for security checks if they did not have passports.

“If you want to come to Germany, we have to make safety checks on you. And to make safety checks, we will ask you to show us your Facebook contacts from the last few months, which are public in principle anyway,” he said. However, De Maizière admitted that it remained to be seen whether the time and cost would justify the effort."

And see: German intelligence warns of ISIL ‘hit squads’ among refugees (Politico, link)

LPHR and MAP launch Palestinian refugees from Syria protection initiative (Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights, link): "On the week of 65th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention, LPHR and Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) are today launching an initiative – outlined in a joint briefing here – that aims to ensure that the most vulnerable Palestinian refugees from Syria are given equal access to international protection by the UK government’s relevant resettlement schemes.

We have identified and received confirmation that Palestinian refugees from Syria are excluded from the UK government’s flagship Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. Furthermore, we have obtained information from the UK government which reveals that no Palestinian refugees from Syria have to date been resettled in the UK through the ‘Gateway’ resettlement programme that it operates with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)."

Mapping and Documenting Migratory Journeys and Experiences (Warwick University, link): "Migrant deaths en route to the European Union are by no means new. Yet the level and intensity of recent tragedies is unprecedented: More than 3770 deaths were recorded in 2015, demanding swift action on the part of EU Member States.

Dr Vicki Squire (PaIS, Warwick), together with an international and multidisciplinary team of Co-Investigators including Dr Dallal Stevens (Warwick Law School), Professor Nick Vaughan-Williams (PAIS, Warwick), Dr Angeliki Dimitriadi (ELIAMEP, Athens), and Dr Maria Pisani (Malta), have been awarded an ESRC Urgency Grant (150K) for the project entitled 'Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by boat: Mapping and documenting migratory journeys and experiences'."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (11.8.16)
Migrant children are living on their own in the streets of Sicily after risking their lives in the Mediterranean

The story of a group of at least 15 children, most of whom are Eritrean, struggling to survive in the station in Catania as they attempt to put together the 38 euros they need to travel to Rome, sometimes by washing cars as they hope to reach northern Europe. A recent UN report claims that Eritrea "systematically commits crimes against humanity".

The migrant camps of Chios: Greece's ongoing refugee crisis (OpenDemocracy, link):

"There are three refugee camps on the Greek island of Chios. Your quality of life depends a great deal on where you've been placed, and where you’ve been placed is mostly down to luck."

Greece considers migration ’emergency plan’ (euractiv, link):

"Athens is making “immediate and short-term” plans to cope with a possible increase of refugee flows, Greek media reported.Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras will interrupt his short vacation and hold next weekend meetings with ministers on the issue....

Tsipras is expected to warn EU leaders that Athens will not be able to cope with a large increase in refugee flows from Turkey as a result of the internal situation after the failed coup attempt."

EU envoy to sound out Ankara on migrant deal (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Following a barrage of statements by Turkish government officials effectively threatening to break a pact struck between the European Union and Ankara to curb migrant smuggling across the Aegean, European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos is planning a visit to Ankara in the first 10 days of September to gauge sentiment and determine whether the crucial deal remains on track, Kathimerini understands.

ITALY: Unaccompanied foreign minors between dispersal and criminalisation (by Fulvio Vassallo Paleologo, 20.5.2016)

This article notes that the media are increasingly reporting cases of unaccompanied foreign minors who are disappearing in Italy, linked to alarming phenomena including people trafficking, the trade in organs and exploitation. While traffickers exist and the trade organs does not appear to be especially relevant at the moment, the author argues that other important issues are not being spoken about or reported.


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10.8.16)
GREECE: official figures of number of "guests" in detention centres on the islands and the mainland: 9.8.16 (pdf): Lesvos, Chios and Samos have more "guests" than their capacity.

Are You Syrious (9.8.16)

A rumour on impossibility for relocation for post March 19th arrivals is false!

"Nothing has changed in the law which makes people who arrived after 19 March not eligible for relocation. The EU-Turkey deal says nothing about cancelling the eligibility for relocation of people who arrive after 19 March, and even if it did, it is not itself legislation so it cannot amend the Relocation Council Decision 2015." [See Chart, link)

2016 is set to be the deadliest year yet for refugees. Why is no one talking about it?

"At least 3,034 refugees have died in the Mediterranean since the start of this year?—?almost as many as the whole of 2015. According to figures revealed by the International Organization for Migration, there has been an alarming surge in the death rate on Europe’s shores. Last year, 3,771 people in total are known to have lost their lives in the Mediterranean. Only halfway through 2016, the current death toll is very close to surpassing this."

CHIOS, Greece: Today on Chios we spotted a boat that was filled with refugees, trying to make the dangerous crossing from Turkey (link)

We soon realised it was in difficulty and followed it for four hours nearly to the end of the land, throughout this time the authorities were repeatedly called and asked to pick it up. They did not, despite being aware it was adrift and in severe danger.

There were 9 children onboard this boat. Even worse, a team of rescuers were prevented from going to save them. After the boat was nearly away from land and completely out to sea, they eventually went to collect the people.

EU-Turkey Deal: Returns On Standby (News That Moves, link):

"UNHCR data suggests that only 468 people were returned from Greece to Turkey under the EU-Turkey agreement as of the end of July.

No returns have been carried out since June 16, a UNHCR spokesperson confirmed to News That Moves today." (10.8.16)

Bulgaria fears a tide of refugees (DW, link):

"Now that the western Balkan route is closed, refugees are increasingly trying to reach the EU via its eastern Bulgarian border. The government in Sofia wants to stop this and is planning to install more fences....

a 30 kilometer long, 3.5 meter (12 foot) high fence has been erected along the Bulgarian side of the Rezovo. Now the fence is to be extended along the entire length of Bulgaria's border with Turkey.

Officials want to secure the country's 484 kilometer southern border to Greece with a fence as well. This is because the Bulgarians have witnessed an increase in the numbers of refugees attempting to cross their border to get to the EU as a result of Macedonia having closed its border with Greece.".

News (10.8.16):

Majority of Germans against EU-Turkey refugee deal - Two thirds of Germans are in favour of halting aid to Turkey and more than half want to end refugee deal, survey says.(aljazeera.com, link): "the Emnid survey for German weekly Bild am Sonntag showed 52 percent were in favour of the migration deal being terminated, compared with 35 percent who wanted it to continue. More than two thirds of the 502 people surveyed on August 4 also wanted an immediate freeze of aid payments to Turkey, and 66 percent wanted the EU accession talks entirely broken off."

90 migrants and refugees arrived on the Greek islands in the last 24h (ANA-MPA, link): "57,098 identified refugees and migrants were on the Greek territory on Wednesday while 90 arrivals were reported in the last 24 hours.
According to the Refugee Crisis Management Coordination Body's figures, 21,777 of the refugees are in northern Greece, 9,881 are hosted in the region of Attica and 2,698 are hosted in facilities of central and southern Greece. 7,638 refugees and migrants are hosted in several facilities rented by the UNHCR, 2,756 in non-organised facilities 2,300 persons are living outside organised facilities. 10,042 refugees and migrants were recorded on the eastern Aegean islands."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (9.8.16)
Are You Syrious (9.8.16)

A rumour on impossibility for relocation for post March 19th arrivals is false!

"Nothing has changed in the law which makes people who arrived after 19 March not eligible for relocation. The EU-Turkey deal says nothing about cancelling the eligibility for relocation of people who arrive after 19 March, and even if it did, it is not itself legislation so it cannot amend the Relocation Council Decision 2015." [See Chart, link)

2016 is set to be the deadliest year yet for refugees. Why is no one talking about it?

"At least 3,034 refugees have died in the Mediterranean since the start of this year?—?almost as many as the whole of 2015. According to figures revealed by the International Organization for Migration, there has been an alarming surge in the death rate on Europe’s shores. Last year, 3,771 people in total are known to have lost their lives in the Mediterranean. Only halfway through 2016, the current death toll is very close to surpassing this."

Out of sight, out of mind: Externalisation of migration and refugee policies (Pro Asyl, link):

"Position paper by PRO ASYL, medico international and “Brot für die Welt” about european policy of externalisation of border controls that lead to massive violations of human rights."

UNHCR weekly Update (5.8.16): Update on Relocation

"Last week, Netherlands pledged an additional 100 places for relocation candidates from Greece in addition to the previous 450. A total of 6,961 places have been pledged by 22 countries for those in Greece. As of 28 July, a fast decreasing number of only 211 places, were left open for relocation candidates, in relation to those who have been referred for relocation. The number of actual relocations and scheduled departures remains low at 3,018 - only 4.5% of the 66,400 people who are supposed to be relocated from Greece by September 2017.." [emphasis added]

Germany's Steinmeier says no visa talks until Turkey meets criteria (DW, link):

"German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says visa-free travel for Turkish citizens in the EU isn't currently on the agenda. European leaders have balked at such concessions after Turkey's post-coup crackdown.

Lifting travel restrictions for Turks in the EU bloc would only be considered "when the associated conditions are met," Foreign Minister Steinmeier told Germany's mass circulation "Bild" newspaper on Tuesday. "This is currently not the case," he added."

Italy: ASGI: Unaccompanied foreign minors: the new temporary reception measures are discriminatory and unconstitutional (pdf):

"In a letter sent on 28 July 2016, ASGI’s president Lorenzo Trucco intervened in the ongoing debate on the approval of “Extraordinary reception measures for unaccompanied foreign minors” envisaged by article 1-ter of the bill to convert law decree no. 113 of 24 June 2016 into law which details urgent financial measures for the territorial bodies and the territory, approved by the Chamber of Representatives [the lower house of parliament] on 21 July 2016, which is currently being discussed in the Senate."

Greece: Arrivals rise as Lesvos officials monitor activists (ekathimerini.com, link):

"There was a notable rise Monday in the number of refugees reaching the Greek islands over the previous 24 hours, as local officials on the island of Lesvos attempted to convince a small group of “No Borders” activists to leave.

According to data provided by the Greek government, a total of 126 migrants and refugees crossed the Aegean between Sunday and Monday morning, which was higher than the average of around 80 on previous days. The majority of new arrivals landed 99 on Chios, while 27 reached Samos....

On Lesvos, local officials continued efforts to convince a group of 30 to 40 pro-immigration activists to abandon a self-administered camp they had set up in the island’s Epano Skala area. The activists moved to the open-air camp after being forced out of an abandoned building owned by Alpha Bank. They are making food for refugees at the new site but local officials argue that they have taken over public land without permission...."

EU-Turkey: Turkey won't reform terrorism law to conform with EU deal (euobserver, link)

"Turkey won't amend its anti-terrorism law, a blow which could upend the EU-Turkey migrant-swap deal signed off with Ankara in March. In an interview with the Financial Times on Monday (8 August), Turkey's EU minister Omer Celik said it would be "impossible" to overhaul the law in the immediate future.

EU imposed conditions require Turkey to narrow its definition of terrorism in the law, as part of a broader deal to free-up short term visas for Turkish nationals to travel in the European Union. But the initial plan to ease visa waivers following the migrant deal over the summer failed, Ankara unable to meet all 72 visa liberalisation benchmarks."

Note: The granting of a visa waiver scheme for Turkey requires the agreement of the European Parliament.

Are You Syrious (8.8.16, link)

Greece

"29 arrivals were registered in Greece since this morning, for a total of 57,047 refugees currently officially registered in the country."

ITALY: Instead of safety, women arriving into the hands of smugglers

"There has been an increase in the numbers of unaccompanied Nigerian women arriving in Italy on migrant boats from Libya. These women are regularly going missing from the reception centers as the traffickers are using migrant reception centers to collect and force women into prostitution across Europe. According to the Guardian, IOM’s anti-trafficking expert said that instead of being processed in reception centers, these women should be placed in specialist shelters where they can be given the advice and support needed to break the chain of sexual exploitation."

Greece: HELLENIC ACTION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS - Pleiades: Report on Vasilka refugee camp (link):

"The official NGOs allowed in the camp are: UNHCR, InterVolve, WAHA, MDM, Save The Children. All organizations report to UNHCR. Independent volunteers and journalists are not allowed. A number of organizations willing to provide additional medical assistance and services for the camp’s residents failed to obtain authorization and were unable to operate."

News (9.8.16)

Germany: migrant arrivals steady in July at around 16,000 (AP, link): "German authorities say the number of asylum-seekers arriving in the country remained steady in July, with some 16,000 new arrivals registered. The Interior Ministry said Monday that 16,160 people were registered as asylum-seekers in July. That's around the same as each of the previous three months and far below last autumn's levels."

Ethical Journalism Network: Worth a thousand words – how photos shape attitudes to refugees (link)


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (8.8.16)
SERBIA: Afghan Exodus: In transit through Serbia (Afghanistan Analysts Network, link): A detailed account of how changes in border regimes and policy in Serbia and, more widely, the Balkans, have affected refugees in Serbia and the civil society groups working to support them:

"The unprecedented flow of people through the Western Balkans in late 2015 and early 2016, and the opening of a humanitarian corridor, provided a brief and unique opportunity for people from war-torn countries to reach the European Union. When the corridor closed in March 2016 many people, including many Afghans, found themselves stranded and, again, at the mercy of smuggling networks. In this second dispatch of a three-part series, Jelena Bjelica and Martine van Bijlert discuss how the migration flows have impacted Serbia, a key transit country on the way to Europe, and how the situation for Afghans, and others, is becoming ever more precarious."

Migration Fact vs. Migration Fiction (Project Syndiate, link) by Peter Sutherland:

"Migration continues to dominate political debate in many countries. Rightly so: the issue affects economies and societies worldwide. But public opinion on this crucial topic tends to be shaped by emotions, rather than facts. The result is a lack of open and effective dialogue about migration’s risks – or its many benefits."

EU: Beyond the borders: overview of "external migration dialogues and processes"

An official overview of the EU's "external migration dialogues and processes" demonstrates the sprawling nature of the EU's efforts to manage and control migration and provides some details on the recent history of different processes, as well as forthcoming events.

It was presented to Member States' officials at a meeting of the Council of the EU's High-Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration in mid-June and was drawn up by the European Commission and the European External Action Services.

See: Annex to High-Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration on: 13 June 2016, Summary of discussions (10349/16, LIMITE, 22 June 2016, pdf)

Is Germany trying to set Migration “Plan B” Agenda using Greece? (Keep Talking Greece, link): "Greek Migration Ministry denied the report of German daily Bild that an alternative Plan B is needed should Turkey walk out of the EU-Turkey Migration Deal to stem flows to Europe.

“The minister denies Bild’s translation of his comments,” the immigration ministry said in a statement, publishing what it said were Mouzalas’s answers in Greek to Bild’s questions.

According to the statement, Mouzalas had actually said: “Greece is committed to the EU-Turkey deal, which depends on both the EU’s support and on Turkey’s duty to respect it.”

“Clearly we are concerned, but for now the number of people arriving on the Greek islands (since the deal was enforced in March) does not indicate that the deal is not being respected,” he said."

Child refugees: Vanessa Redgrave delivers urgent letter to Downing Street on lone child refugees in Calais (Citizens UK, link): "Vanessa Redgrave, Lord Alf Dubs and Aislin McGuckin today delivered a letter to Downing Street calling for an immediate amnesty for the unaccompanied minors in Calais identified by Citizens UK as having family in the UK. This action follows Wednesday’s Home Affairs Committee report, Migration Crisis, which called for the 157 unaccompanied minors in Calais identified by Citizens UK to be brought to the UK in a one-off amnesty."

See: the letter (pdf) and the Home Affairs Committee report: Migration Crisis (pdf)

EU: Press Release: EASO launches ‘EU Relocation Programme’ mobile app (EASO, link): "Today, the European Asylum Support Office launched its first mobile app for smartphones and tablets, allowing asylum seekers to quickly find information in English and various non-EU languages (English, Arabic, Sorani, Kumjani and Tigrinya) about the EU Relocation Programme, their rights and obligations when applying, contact points and more. The app is the latest initiative in the implementation of EASO’s integrated information and communication campaign on relocation. With the app, EASO aims to promote relocation as the only safe and legal way from Greece and Italy to other EU Member States. The EU Relocation Programme app can be downloaded from the AppStore and Google Play."

Relocation may be "safe and legal", but Member States have failed to meet their commitments under the scheme. Until they do so the EASO's attempts to promote the scheme seem doomed to fail. See: Refugee relocation scheme "has clearly failed", says Italy's immigration chief (Statewatch News Online, July 2016)

EU: Migration crisis: 74% of Europeans want EU to do more (European Parliament press release, link): "The EU has experienced an unprecedented influx of migrants over the last few years. 74% of Europeans want the EU to do more to manage the situation, according to the latest Eurobarometer poll commissioned by the European Parliament. In addition two thirds of respondents said EU action on migration was insufficient. Read on to discover what measures the European Parliament is working on."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6-7.8.16)
Greece: Official figures on refugee arrivals (pdf): Lesvos, Chios and Samos have more "guests" than capacity in camps/detention centres. A total of 57,015 refugees are in Greece.

MSF report on asylum seekers in Italy: an investigation on mental problems and access to territorial health services

The catastrophic consequences of the 8km law and violence at the Hungarian-Serbian border (migszol.com/blog, link):

This is a Migszol update on the general asylum situation in Hungary between 4th July - 4th August 2016. For information for people seeking asylum, please see the information provided by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee in here.

- The 8km law and violence on the border
- Escalating situation on the transit zone
- Continuous protests in the detention centers and emptying camps
- Propaganda and conspiracy theories

Are You Syrious (6.8.16)

Smile agains borders

"Contaminando Sonrisas, went on tour and visited several military camps, houses occupy and settlements not controlled by the state, where they met thousands of people who are hoping to find safe heaven. What they found is rather desperate picture of inhuman conditions people are left to live in. They were shocked by the conditions in the outskirts of Athens where up to 3.800 people are living in the streets. “No trees, just asphalt and barracks… this is horrible, heinous, inhuman.”

They also visited refugees living in the military field of Elefsina, more than 300 Afghans. They live in large rooms, and have no privacy, school, or any daily activities. On their short tour, they also encounter people living in ship by the road. To all of these places, they came with the smile and open heart, and they will continue touring."

Bulgaria: Volunteers and human right lawyers?— be alert

"More arrestes in Bulgaria. This time, 15 foreigner withouth identity documents were arrested near the town of Tsarevo, on the border with Turkey. Apparently, refugees were found in a car which police stopped for inspection on a road linking Tsarevo with the village of Lozenets on Friday. All of the people who were arrested claimed to be Iraqi citizens. The 23-year old Bulgarian driver of the vehicle was detained, too and police have launched criminal proceedings over people smuggling against him."

Frontex at the border: Bulgaria-Turkey

"At the same time, Frontex announced they will strengthen its activities at Bulgaria’s borders with Turkey and Serbia. This decision came after Bulgarian government asked for help.

In the coming weeks, Frontex will deploy border surveillance officers, patrol cars, thermo-vision vans and dog teams to the land border with Turkey,” Berndt Koerner, deputy executive director of the European border management agency said. “At the same time, border surveillance will also be reinforced at the Bulgarian-Serbian border.”

Female asylum seekers in Greece face sexual harassment, assault (Reuters, link):

"ATHENS (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Warda left her hometown of Idlib in Syria, she knew she had a long, difficult journey ahead, but it never crossed her mind that she would face increased danger as a young woman.

For the past four months, the 18-year-old has been living in a makeshift refugee camp by Pireaus harbour in Athens with her fiancé and six relatives, who also made the perilous journey to Greece via Turkey.

Forced to share a tent with her parents and use a mixed bathroom, the lack of privacy is stifling. The large numbers of young, single Syrian and Afghan men, many of whom sit in groups, commenting on the women they see, is also unnerving.

"It's hard for everyone here, but particularly for women," said Warda, who like many asylum seekers declined to give her full name."

Are You Syrious (link)

No Border Social Center in Lesvos notified by police to leave

"The No Border Social Center in Lesvos has been notified by the police to leave its place near Mytilene within several days, with police saying “we don’t need your help”. The situation in Moria remains desperate, as the camp is overcrowded and lacks basic amenities. The NoBorder Social Center provides food, drinks and activities and is situated in a factory hall near Mythilene, owned by Alpha Bank. The Bank has given NoBorder an eviction notice on the 22nd of July."

United Rescue Aid needs help for new alarm phone system

"United Rescue Aid, a group that has been providing assistance for refugees in distress at sea, still needs €3,000 to establish a new alarm phone system. The organisation tells us that they are currently using a Skype number as an alarm phone, but got blocked a couple of months back and fear that they will be blocked again if they keep logging on from more than 2 devices. It’s therefore a matter of “personal survival at this point” to get a new system, as it is impossible to cover 24h shifts with only two people. The new system will allow multiple caseworkers to use the same number across multiple locations."

Bulgaria: Frontex to assist Bulgaria at the Turkish border

"Frontex says in response to the request from Bulgarian authorities it will “significantly strengthen its ongoing activities at the country’s land borders”. Additional assistance will focus on the border with Turkey but surveillance of the border with Serbia will also be reinforced. Frontex Deputy Executive Director Berndt Koerner says Frontex will deploy “ border surveillance officers, patrol cars, thermo-vision vans and dog teams to the land border with Turkey”."

Italy: 250–300 migrants occupy area near French border

"Around 300 migrants left the Red Cross camp in Ventimiglia during the night because of bad conditions and arrived at the woods of Balzi Rossi around 3am. Police asked them to go back to the Red Cross centre, but they refused. According to No Border activists they demanded an end to forced relocations, freedom for one Sudanese man, condemned last Monday and now detained in a CIE in Brindisi, and a better management of the Red Cross centre. Two Italians and one French were arrested and volunteers were prevented from providing water and food by the police. During the evening, police closed in on the group, clearing the woods, while some migrants tried to swim to France. According to No Border, ten volunteers were arrested."

Germany: Kurdish asylum-seekers from Turkey on the rise

"Der Tagesspiegel says growing domestic tensions in Turkey are causing more Turks to look to Germany for refuge, with most of them appearing to come from Turkey’s conflict-ridden Kurdish regions. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees says 1,719 Turks applied for asylum in Germany between January and June, with 1,510 of Kurdish origin. In 2015, only 1,767 Turks applied for asylum. Only 5.2% of Kurdish Turks’ asylum requests were approved this semester."

Migrants break through Italian police barriers to enter France - Italian police said more than 100 migrants took forces by surprise at border town of Ventimiglia (Guardian, link)

"More than 100 migrants have broken through police barriers at the Italian border town of Ventimiglia and made their way into France, the local Italian police chief said.

They stopped on rocks near the port at the French Riviera town of Menton after breaking through on Friday afternoon and were still there in the evening under the surveillance of French police, said the Ventimiglia police commander, Giorgio Marenco.

A video posted on the website of Nice Matin newspaper showed a stream of people picking their way across rocks, followed by police in riot gear. A few started to walk into the sea."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (5.8.16)
SERBIA: Refugees mount hunger strike and march to protest closed borders (Waging Nonviolence, link): "A seven-day hunger strike organized by refugees along the Serbian-Hungarian border came to an end last Friday, when the strikers were disbanded by authorities. Many wore silver duct tape over their mouths, while holding signs that said “Fleeing war is no crime,” “Stop wars if you want to stop refugees,” and “Prove that humanity is still alive.” At least 12 required medical attention after refusing food, blankets and tents from humanitarian agencies.

The demonstration — which began on July 22 by mostly young men from Afghanistan and Pakistan — reached around 300 people at its height, but was down to 60 men by the end of the week. Specifically, the strikers were demanding that higher numbers of refugees be allowed to enter the European Union through Hungary, but they were also expressing a generalized outrage at the mistreatment and inhumane conditions they’ve experienced while trying to pass through the Balkan countries."

EU: The Nansen Passport – A Solution To The Legal Statuses Of Refugees (Social Europe, link): "More than 1.2 million migrants have come to Europe in the past year – most of them from Syria. One year after the ‘long summer of migration‘ in 2015, Europe is still facing two severe problems: first, the lists of safe countries of origin differ in many states of the EU and secondly, further large-scale deaths by drowning of migrants and asylum seekers in the Mediterranean. The reintroduction of the Nansen passport – a EU-wide ID card for refugees guaranteeing asylum – at the European level might be a useful and even necessary instrument to solve this legal uncertainty for refugees and to promote a common migration policy."

Welcome to Greece’s refugee squats (Washington Post, link): "Welcome to School Squat 2. This is one of seven major squats in the city where approximately 1,500 refugees have found an alternative to government camps that have rampant health and safety issues.

Many of the roughly 57,000 refugees now stuck in political and physical limbo in Greece never expected to spend more than a season here, but they found themselves still sweltering in tents at a makeshift camp at Piraeus Port this spring and summer. Camps were usually either full or host to a range of problems: scabies, knife fights, food poisoning, inadequate facilities, snakes and scorpions. In response, frustrated local activists and refugees started teaming up to house people in abandoned schools, hotels, apartment buildings and hospitals."

Evictions of a number of refugee squats in Greece have recently been undetaken by the authorities. See: “Solidarity is being criminalised”: Anger as Greek police raids refugee housing squats and camps (Ceasfire magazine, link)

When is a crisis not a crisis? When migration commentators go into battle with mainstream media (Migrants' Rights Network, link): "Migration experts are debating the extent to which the increased numbers of those seeking refuge across Europe can be considered a ‘crisis’. But rejecting the idea that there is a crisis and reducing the current migration situation to a ‘numbers game’ risks negating the real lived experience of migrant destitution. So how can the voluntary sector respond to such a crisis given its increasing reliance on government contracts? "

Man dies after push-back from Bulgaria (Border Monitoring Bulgaria, link): "Several Turkish speaking news sites (citing an article of a journalist from the Anadolou Agency) were reporting about a new victim of the European Border Regime. The 28 year old Iranian Reza Hassani was missing for about 18 days. He was found dead in the jungles of Karacadag. It was reported to Bordermonitoring Bulgaria (BMB) from another source that he was beaten up together with a friend and pushed back „by Bulgarians into Turkey“. After the push-back he was rarely able to move and got stuck in the middle of nowhere without a phone or food. The police showed a photo of Reza Hassani’s dead corpse to his friend and told him that they will transport the body to the forensics-center in Istanbul."

Number denied entry into Ireland rises as deportation orders fall (Irish Legal News, link): "The number of people refused entry into Ireland has risen sharply while the number of deportations ordered from the country has fallen, The Irish Times reports.

The number of “leave to land” refusals increased from 1,935 in 2013 to 3,450 in 2015, while the number of deportation orders signed has declined from 1,777 in 2013 to 765 in 2015.

However, human rights groups pointed out that only 209 deportation orders were enforced in 2013, while 286 have already been enforced in the first six months of 2016."

Juncker clashes with Austria over Turkey (New Europe, link): "European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in remarks published on Thursday that it would be counterproductive to freeze accession talks with Turkey, rejecting a push by Austria to halt membership talks.

On Wednesday, Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern said the EU should abandon talks with Turkey on its prospective membership in the EU, a “diplomatic fiction”, as he called them.

But Juncker told German public broadcaster ARD that Turkey is currently unfit to become a member of the European Union, in comments that could further strain relations between Ankara and the bloc it is seeking to join after a failed military coup."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (4.8.16)
United Nations High Commission for Refugees: The EU-Turkey Agreement is De-Facto On Hold (The Press Project, link)

"The UNHCR states that the agreement between Turkey and EU on a way to deal with the refugee crisis has, in reality, collapsed. At the same time it underlines the lack of deliberations between the two sides as well as the inability of the humanitarian organizations to operate in Turkey....

In a comment about the relocation mechanism, the head of the European UNHCR office, mentioned that it is operating at a slow pace since, out of 66.400 people who are to be relocated from Greece to other EU countries, only 2.681 have been relocated so far (according to data given by the Commission on July 27). Mr.Cochetel concluded that there are still problems in the registration of asylum requests in Greece while the other EU countries “even before the terrorist attacks, did not offer to accept refugees”."

UNHCR Weekly Report (28 July)

"Between 18 and 24 July, 8,157 refugees and migrants arrived in Italy by sea which is a significant increase to the previous week’s arrivals of 2,148. However, overall sea arrivals to Italy remain consistent with those of 2015. As of 24 July, 88,009 persons arrived by sea to Italy in 2016, compared to 93,540 persons whom disembarked at the end of July 2015. On three separate disembarkations this week the bodies of 39 individuals were discovered, bringing the total number of people dead or missing at sea to 2,990. Their cause of death is believed to be from inhaling engine exhaust fumes or suffocation. The top nationalities of origin among arrivals include Nigeria, Eritrea, Gambia, Cote D’Ivoire, and Sudan."

Are You Syrious (link):

France: Calais population on the rise

"Despite the partial eviction of the Calais camp, the population continues to increase, with Help Refugees believing the camp could reach 10,000 people by September. Help is therefore needed more than ever— the evacuation has not diminished the camp’s population, but has created the illusion that the problem has been solved, leading to a drop in donations."

Greece: Eric Kempson (link): "One boat with 70 people on board was picked up south east of Lesvos, 4 people were taken to Hospital and two were missing but later found due to search and rescue, well done to every one involved great job."

News (4.8.16)

Austrian chancellor wants EU to end accession talks with Turkey (euractiv, link): "Austria’s Chancellor Christian Kern on Wednesday called on the European Union to end membership talks with Turkey in the wake of a massive government crackdown following a failed coup..... “We have to face reality: the membership negotiations are currently no more than fiction,” Kern told Austrian media. “We know that Turkey’s democratic standards are far from sufficient to justify its accession.”"

EU, US reject UN plan to resettle refugees (euractiv, link): "The European Union and the United States among other heavy-weight countries have rejected a UN proposal to resettle 10% of the world’s refugees annually as part of a new global effort to tackle the worst refugee crisis since World War II. A document adopted late on Tuesday (2 August) failed to include the resettlement proposal from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that would have been the centerpiece of a UN summit on refugees in New York on 19 September".

Bulgarian Police Detain 65 Migrants in Sofia (novinite.com, link): "Police in Sofia have detained 65 migrants carrying no identity documents in less than 24 hours, the Bulgarian Ministry of the Interior announced on Wednesday. Eight migrants claiming to be of Afghan origin were detained on Tuesday night in an area of central Sofia

Thousands of migrants return home through IOM program (ekathimerini.com, link): "the International Organization for Migrants, the agency said on Wednesday. According to the organization, 3,691 migrants were repatriated from the beginning of the year until July 31."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (3.8.16)
Greece asks for EU-Turkey migration deal ‘Plan B’ (euractiv, link)

"Greece’s migration minister has warned that a back-up strategy – a Plan B – is needed in case the EU-Turkey refugee deal collapses amid escalating tensions between the bloc and Ankara.

In an interview with the German daily Bild, Yannis Mouzalas said, “We are very worried. We need a Plan B in any case”."

Amnesty International: Greece: address inhumane conditions for refugees now (link):

"As Europe drags its heels on providing solutions to move refugees and asylum-seekers on from Greece, thousands of men women and children are staying in filthy and unsafe old warehouses or tents, or simply sleeping rough and under the relentless summer heat. The Greek Government must act swiftly to improve their living conditions and well-being.

Elderly people, heavily pregnant women and new-born babies are sleeping on the floor. People with chronic illnesses and physical disabilities are stuck in unsuitable locations, far away from hospitals.

Thousands of children are out of school for yet another year."

UK court rules against decision to accept Calais migrants (euractiv, link):

"The British government on Tuesday (2 August) won its legal appeal against a decision to let four Syrian refugees living in France’s “Jungle” camp come to Britain, but they will not be deported. A British immigration tribunal in January ordered the interior ministry to allow the four to enter Britain while their asylum claims were considered.

However, three Court of Appeal judges on Tuesday upheld a challenge by the interior ministry, saying they were “not entirely persuaded” by the justifications used by the tribunal. The three teenagers and a 26-year old with mental health problems had been living in the sprawling Calais camp for over two months."

See: Judgment: Full-text (pdf)

UK: House of Common Select Committee on Home Affairs, Report: Migration Crisis (pdf):

Covers a wide range of issues like border security and terrorism. Observes that:

"The initial prompt for our inquiry was the issue of border security in relation to Calais and Dunkirk that arose in summer 2015. However, our concerns range much more widely that that. That there are unofficial migrant camps at the border of two of Europe’s wealthiest nations is a matter of serious regret and concern. A wide range of the evidence submitted to us by experts and volunteers confirms that the conditions in the camps are absolutely atrocious and are directly causing suffering and ill health for many residents....

It is clear that there are many people in these camps entitled to humanitarian protection or refugee status, including some who should have their claims processed in the UK....

Europol estimates that there are 85,000 unaccompanied minors amongst the migrant population in the EU. We were astonished to hear reports that large numbers of these children go missing from reception centres shortly after arrival and that they then face abuse, sexual assault and discrimination."

See also: UK unlikely to reach target of resettling 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020 -MPs condemn response to refugee crisis as a ‘Europe-wide failure’ in which ‘too little, too late’ was done (Guardian, link)

UNHCR (3.8.16) There have been 256,319 arrivals by sea in the EU in 2016: 160,232 in Greece, 93,611 in Italy. 3,116 dead/missing in the Med.

Are you Syrious (link)

Greece: Athens Mayor Calls on Gov’t to Empty Squats Used for Housing Migrants

"Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis sent a letter to Citizen Protection and Migration Policy Ministers Nikos Toskas and Yannis Mouzalas asking for the evacuation of squats used for migrant accommodation....In the letter, that was also forwarded to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the mayor complains about the growing phenomenon of so-called solidarity groups occupying vacant public and private buildings and house migrants and refugees. The mayor asks for the migrants to be taken out and transferred to official migrant hospitality structures."

Refugees in Nea Kavala clash with the UN forces for the latter’s lack of care and inefficiency

"Refugees attacked the UN caravans (cabins ) after the UN told them that no refugees will be allowed to get out of Greece within, at least, the next 2 years.

Refugees are threatening to burn tents and walk to the borders. One refugee injured himself severely while attacking the Praxis container. He was hospitalized."

Two boats with, overall, 55 refugees landed on Chios

"The first boat landed near Souada camp. The other one was picked up by Oinassus."

Two boats with, overall, 47 refugees landed on Lesvos

"One boat in Turkish waters heading to the south of Lesvos was pushed back to Turkey by Turkish Coast Guard. One boat with 16 people was brought into Skala Sikamineas harbor by Frontex. One boat with 31 people spotted north east of Korakas was picked up by Norwegian Frontex and brought into Mytilene harbor."

News (3.8.16)

Czech president warns of migrants' 'barbaric acts' - Czech President Milos Zeman has said migrants pose a security threat to his country. He also criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel's refugee policies (DW, link)


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2.8.16)
Hungary uses ‘excessive’ violence against migrants, says MSF (euractiv, link)

"The situation on the Balkan migration route is getting increasingly worrying, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF). The organisation blames Hungary for using “excessive” violence against migrants stranded in the area....

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) blamed EU leaders for the shortsightedness of their “closed-borders” policy, saying that the refugee problem was not solved and that thousands of vulnerable people were stranded in the Balkans."

Bar Human Rights Committee publishes report on police violence and access to justice in Calais migrant camps: Report: Camps at Calais and Grande-Synthe (France): Policing and Access to Justice (pdf):

" highlighting allegations of police violence, police failure to protect residents within the camps, and a lack of access to justice.

BHRC representatives visited the Jungle and Grande-Synthe camps in March 2016, meeting with residents and NGOs working within the camps, including Médicins San Frontières, the UN and Help Refugees UK.

The report highlights specific allegations of police violence documented by the Legal Advice Centre in Calais...

Speaking on behalf of BHRC, Chairwoman Kirsty Brimelow QC said:

“The lack of effective legal protections in the Jungle and Grand Synthe for vulnerable refugees, including women and children, should be of huge concern.

The UK and French governments must jointly ensure accountability for all human rights violations inflicted on camp residents. The treatment of refugees is one of the historic wrongs of our time. It is happening on the shores of Europe. Urgent action is required.”

Greece: Migrants on mainland Greece pre-registered (ekathimerini.com, link):

"The pre-registration of thousands of migrants stranded on the Greek mainland, a process that gives them access to the country’s asylum procedure, has been completed, authorities said Monday....

A total of 20,100 migrants registered between June 9, when the European Union-funded scheme was established, and July 9, according to official data. A 56 percent majority of them were men. The number includes 690 unaccompanied minors, most of them from Afghanistan....

A total of 57,115 migrants and asylum seekers are currently in Greece, according to fresh data provided by the government Monday. Of these, an estimated 9,399 are on the eastern Aegean islands."

Italy says 6,000 migrants saved and two drowned since Thursday (Middle East Eye, link):

"The Italian navy on Sunday said it had recovered the bodies of two people in an operation that, along with aid agencies, had helped pick up 6,000 people since Thursday.

Navy ships patrolling off Libya intervened to help four rubber dinghies and an overcrowded fishing boat, it said....

According to the latest figures from the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) - issued on 28 July before the latest migratory wave - 89,217 people, most from sub-Saharan Africa, have arrived in Italy by sea since the start of the year.

The tally is comparable with the total of 93,000 recorded for the January-July period last year."

Italy: AYS SPECIAL: Situation of refugees in northern Italy (link):

AYS team gathered information about situation of refugees in Italy, northern part. We looked into situation in Como and Milano. Help is needed in both areas and volunteers are urged to contact team in the field.

Are You Syrious (1.8.16, link):

Libya: 120 bodies found at the shores of Libya

"More than 120 bodies of people who were trying to cross the sea and reach freedom, were found in July at the shores of Sabratha city, western Libya. Bodies are found on a daily basis, and the victims are mainly sub-Saharan Africans. The bodies are buried in a cemetery for unidentified remains in Sabratha."

Water needed in Agios Andreas camp (Lesvos)

"We received the alarming call for help from the camp of Agios Andreas. According to volunteers, there is a possibility of waterborne diseases as several children fall ill. Refugees reported the change in taste and color of water that is available in this camp. The residents of the camp have no more drinking water.... Contact person on site is Fatima Hammeed."

Lesvos: Greece: Eric Kempson (link): "Second boat this morning picked up of north east coast of Lesvos 32 people on board". (2.8.16)

Greece: Lesvos: Aid workers accused of trying to convert Muslim refugees at Greek camp - Asylum seekers held at detention centre on Lesbos describe Christianity conversion forms seen by the Guardian as insensitive (Guardian, link): "Christians working in Greece’s most notorious asylum detention centre have tried to convert some of the Muslim detainees, who have been held under the terms of the EU-Turkey migration deal. On at least two occasions in recent months, aid workers have distributed conversion forms inside copies of Arabic versions of the St John’s gospel to people held at the Moria detention camp on Lesbos.

The forms, seen by the Guardian, invite asylum seekers to sign a statement declaring the following: “I know I’m a sinner ... I ask Jesus to forgive my sins and grant me eternal life. My desire is to love and obey his word.” Muslim asylum seekers who received the booklet said they found the aid workers’ intervention insensitive."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1.8.16)
EU-TURKEY: Turkey to back out of EU migrant deal if no visa-free travel (EurActiv, link):

"Turkey would have to back out of its agreement with the European Union to stem the flow of migrants into the bloc if the EU does not deliver visa-free travel for Turks, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.

Visa-free access to the EU – the main reward for Ankara’s collaboration in choking off an influx of migrants into Europe – has been subject to delays due to a dispute over Turkish anti-terrorism legislation and Ankara’s crackdown after a failed coup.

Cavusoglu told Germany’s daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, in an interview to be published today (1 August), the agreement on stemming the refugee flow had worked because of “very serious measures” taken by Ankara.

“But all that is dependent on the cancellation of the visa requirement for our citizens, which is also an item in the agreement of 18 March,” Cavusoglu said in a release in advance of comments to be published in the newspaper’s Monday edition."

SPAIN-MOROCCO: Presentation of the new Migreurop report: Ceuta and Melilla, open-air migrant sorting centres at the gates of Africa

On 25 July 2016, Migreurop published a joint report resulting from cooperation and missions conducted in 2015 in northern Morocco in the proximity of Nador and in the Spanish north African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. The missions were carried out by GADEM, La Cimade, Migreurop, and Migreurop Spain. These fact-finding missions included visits to detention centres and border fences in Ceuta and Melilla, as well as interviews with institutional actors, activists, members of associations and migrants themselves.

EU: Commission awards €11 million in emergency funding to Greece and Italy

"The European Commission has today awarded an extra €11 million in emergency funding to Greece and Italy under the Internal Security Fund (ISF) to strengthen the reception and registration capacity in Greece and support search and rescue activities by Italy at sea."

EU: No one knows how many children are dying in the Mediterranean (The Telegraph, link): "In the end, there was nothing more to do but tie lifejackets to the bodies to stop them sinking, in the hope they would be picked up by another boat.

As they went about their grim task, at the scene of a capsized wooden boat in the central Mediterranean, the volunteers spotted another body floating beneath the surface.

It was a baby, around one year old, with its little arms outstretched beneath the waves."

See also: In Potters' Fields (pdf): what happens to those who die in the Mediterranean?

July 2016



Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30-31.7.16)

Turkey-Greece: More Than 33,000 Apprehensions In Turkey (News That Moves, link):

"Since January until July 21, 33,396 people were apprehended or intercepted while trying to cross from Turkey to Greece.

According to data from the Turkish Coast Guard, Turkish Armed Forces and UNHCR, 79 per cent of interceptions and rescues occurred at sea, 21 per cent on land borders. Of the total, 68 per cent of people intercepted were Syrians and 20 per cent were from Afghanistan"

See: UNHCR report on interceptions and death/missing (pdf)

Lesvos, Greece (UNHCR) Arrival of refugees in last week:

22/07/2016: 108
23/07/2016:  114
24/07/2016:    51
25/07/2016:    60
26/07/2016:    43
27/07/2016:    35
28/07/2016:  104

And see: Islands appeal for measures to deal with influx of migrants (ekathimerini.com, link):

"As the influx of migrants from neighboring Turkey continues – with a slight but noticable increase – regional authorities and tourism professionals are calling for measures to support communities on the Aegean islands.

Over the past two weeks, following a failed coup in Turkey on July 15, the influx of migrants has increased, according to government figures. Overall, more than 1,000 migrants landed on the five so-called hot spots: Lesvos, Chios, Kos, Samos and Leros since the failed coup....

In a letter to Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas and Alternate Defense Minister Dimitris Vitsas, the governor of the northern Aegean region, Christiana Kalogirou, asked for immediate steps to decongest the islands.

“We are seeing a constant and apparently increasing flow of migrants and refugees toward the islands of the northern Aegean,” she wrote, noting that the maximum capacity of state reception centers has been exceeded on all the islands.""

Also: Refugee flows to Greece increase after Turkish Coup attempt, as Erdogan plays the Migration Card again (Keep Talking Greece, link)

Greece: Over 13,000 migrants have applied for asylum (ekathimerini.com, link):

"More than 13,000 migrants have lodged applications for asylum in Greece since the beginning of this year, according to government figures, but it could take months for the requests to be processed even as the Aegean islands are seeing hundreds of new arrivals every week.

According to the most updated available government figures, 13,583 migrants made asylum applications between January 1 and May 31.

Of those, 5,731 lodged their applications in Attica, 3,007 in Thessaloniki, 1,918 on Lesvos, 526 on Samos, 210 on Chios and 130 on Leros.

A total of 7,032 of the asylum applicants are from Syria, 1,248 from Iraq, 1,030 from Pakistan, 568 from Afghanistan, 544 from Albania, 518 from Iran, 372 from Bangladesh, 257 from Georgia, 212 from Morocco and 163 from the Palestinian Territories.

So far, just 588 decisions have been issued, 410 of which have been rejections."

Greece: The dangers of reporting on the refugee crisis: Mapping Media Freedom correspondent Christina Vasilaki looks at the treatment of journalists covering the refugee crisis in Greece (Index, link)

"As Greece tries to deal with around 50,000 stranded refugees on its soil after Austria and the western Balkan countries closed their borders, attention has turned to the living conditions inside the refugee camps. Throughout the crisis, the Greek and international press has faced major difficulties in covering the crisis.

“It’s clear that the government does not want the press to be present when a policeman assaults migrants,” Marios Lolos, press photographer and head of the Union of Press Photographers of Greece said in an interview with Index on Censorship. “When the police are forced to suppress a revolt of the migrants, they don’t want us to be there and take pictures.”"

Are You Syrious (29.7.16, link)

Italy: Flow of refugees into Italy remains constant, according to the UNHCR weekly report

"Between 18 and 24 July, 8,157 refugees and migrants arrived in Italy by sea which is a significant increase to the previous week’s arrivals of 2,148. However, overall sea arrivals to Italy remain consistent with those of 2015. As of 24 July, 88,009 persons arrived by sea to Italy in 2016, compared to 93,540 persons whom disembarked at the end of July 2015. On three separate disembarkations this week the bodies of 39 individuals were discovered, bringing the total number of people dead or missing at sea to 2,990. Their cause of death is believed to be from inhaling engine exhaust fumes or suffocation. The top nationalities of origin among arrivals include Nigeria, Eritrea, Gambia, Cote D’Ivoire, and Sudan."

Are You Syrious (30.7.16, link)

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention called for the closure of reception centers for refugees across Greece. Place refugees into local communities instead!

"This plea followed the organisation’s officials carrying out inspections on 16 centers in northern Greece and findingthe conditions there to pose a public health risk.

According to KEELPNO’s findings, which were forwarded to the ministries of Migration Policy, Defense and Health, the cramming of hundreds of refugees into disused military barracks and industrial sites present a series of health risks for both the migrants and the general public."

A refugee baby, Joy Aurora, born on a rescue ship

"This morning, a Congolese woman gave birth to a little girl Joy Aurora on Italian navy ship Bettica. Both mother and child are fine.

The health team on board supported the operation, from Foundation Francesca Rava, Red Cross and the Italian navy. This is the third birth on board of Bettica."

EU: Council of the European Union: Eurodac Regulation (revised text)

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of 'Eurodac' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of [Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person] , for identifying an illegally staying third-country national or stateless person and on requests for the comparison with Eurodac data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes (recast) (LIMITE doc no: 10531-16, 112 pges, pdf)

Council developing its negotiating position:

"The text of the proposal in Annex contains modifications suggested by the Presidency on the basis of these discussions. Other comments made by delegations appear in the footnotes.

All delegations have general scrutiny reservations on the proposal. New text to the Commission proposal is indicated by underlining the insertion and including it within Council tags, deleted text is indicated within underlined square brackets..".

See also: Compulsory fingerprinting of migrants (Statewatch database, link)

News (30-31.7.16)

Spain: Barcelona unveils digital 'shame counter’ to track refugee deaths - Mayor Ada Colau begins counter with 3,034 – the number of migrants and refugees killed trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in 2016 (Guardian, link): "Barcelona’s leftwing government has unveiled a large digital counter next to one of the city’s popular beaches that will track the number of refugees who die in the Mediterranean.“We are inaugurating this shame counter which will update all known victims who drowned in the Mediterranean in real time,” said mayor Ada Colau... The monument consists of a large metal rectangular pillar that comes decked out with a digital counter above the inscription “This isn’t just a number, these are people.”"

Refugees scapegoated after wave of attacks in Germany (Daily Sabah, link): "Since the influx of refugees in Germany, the country's atmosphere has been tense. The call by Chancellor Angela Merkel of "We can do this!" raised a bit of hope, but didn't quite stop the rise of extreme right wing parties, such as the Alternative for Germany (AfD)."



Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (29.7.16)

EU: Over 3,000 migrants dead or missing in 2016

The latest figures from the IOM show that 3,034 migrants have died or gone missing trying to reach Europe in 2016. The organisation has recorded 251,557 arrivals by sea this year so far. May was the deadliest month so far, with 1,138 people dying.

See: IOM: Mediterranean Update: Migration Flows Europe: Arrivals and Fatalities (29 July 2016, pdf)

EU: Policy cycle on serious and organised crime: "illegal immigration" report and other documentation

The EU's policy cycle on serious and organised crime is supposed to coordinate the actions of Europol and Member States' law enforcement priorities in order to deal with a series of cross-border "threats", identified by Europol and subsequently approved by the Council of the EU. Amongst the current priorities is "facilitated illegal immigration". A leaked Europol report gives an overview of work undertaken during 2016.

Turkish coup ‘increases’ migration flows to Greece (EurActiv, link): "Since the failed 15 July coup attempt, increased numbers of new arrivals have been recorded from across the Aegean Sea in the last ten days, according to Greek coastguard sources.

“It seems that the routes have re-opened, so the chasing game has started again,” sources said.

The island of Lesvos is currently hosting 3,495 migrants and refugees, Chios 2,509, and Samos 1,030.

Reports in Athens suggest that it is the first time since the EU-Turkey migrant deal that the number of refugees has exceeded 7,000 in the North Aegean Sea alone."

HUNGARY: Referendum on refugee relocation quotas: The quota system – what it actually is about? What Migszol thinks about the plans of the European Union (Migszol, link): "On the 2nd of October, 2016, the Hungarian people will be asked to vote on the following question: Do you want to allow the European Union to mandate the resettlement of non-Hungarian citizens to Hungary without the approval of the Parliament?

There is much to be said about the way the question is formulated, the bias it includes and the way in which it pre-empts the answer favoured by the government. Yet, we should not forget what lies beneath the workings of rhetoric and deception: What is the relocation scheme of the European Union actually about?"

See also: Hungary’s Orban says “every single migrant is a terror risk” (New Europe, link): "Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban said “every single migrant represents a public security and terror risk” and made clear his country refuses to accept the quota system that the EU Commission tries to impose."

And: Refugee relocation scheme "has clearly failed", says Italy's immigration chief (Statewatch News Online)

Turkey recalls officials from Greek islands (ekathimerini, link): "Turkish officials stationed on Greek islands overlooking the implementation of a migrant relocation deal between the European Union and Turkey were ordered to return to Turkey a week ago, sources said.

According to the sources, Turkish authorities informed their Greek counterparts that the officials were being recalled from eastern Aegean islands because their passports had expired, but that they were expected to return or be replaced."

GERMANY: Angela Merkel Sticks With Her Plan to Integrate Migrants (New York Times, link): "Chancellor Angela Merkel doubled down on Thursday on her pledge that Germany would achieve what she called the “historic” task of integrating hundreds of thousands of migrants, while defending freedom and democracy against the hate sown by terrorists.

“Today, as in the past, I am convinced that we can do it — to live up to our historic task, which is a historic test in the age of globalization,” she said, in an attempt to reassure the nation after three recent violent attacks, two of them linked to the Islamic State. “We can do this.”""

UK: People smugglers caught in sinking dinghy jailed for more than four years each (The Telegraph, link): "Two British people smugglers who were caught in a sinking dinghy off the Kent coast with 18 illegal immigrants have received lengthy prison sentences.

Mark Stribling, 35, and Robert Stilwell, 33, a former Judo champion from Dartford pleaded guilty to conspiring to assist unlawful immigration following their bungled smuggling operation in which they had to be rescued by lifeboat crews."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28.7.16)
Greece: Refugee flows remain a concern (ekathimerini.com, link):

"As the last of the refugees and migrants stranded at the port of Piraeus were bused on Wednesday to organized accommodation shelters of their choice around the country, authorities are reportedly concerned by the continued flow of asylum seekers to the islands.

According to the latest official data, there were 9,140 refugees and migrants on the islands of the eastern Aegean on Wednesday, while 100 more arrived throughout the day. This is a significant increase compared to the 8,475 on July 13, when arrivals began to pick up again at a daily rate of between 40 and 120 people.

The situation has been further compounded by the failed coup attempt in Turkey and its aftermath, which, authorities say, has practically “frozen” the return of refugees to the neighboring country."

Greece: Police Raids Refugee Squats in Thessaloniki, Greece (The Press Project, link):

"Early on Wednesday morning, police forces raided three occupied buildings in Thessaloniki, in Northern Greece, where refugees were hosted thanks to solidarity groups and citizens. Police is moving refugees to state camps while Greek nationals from squats face arrest..."

See also: SYRIZA vs SYRIZA: Ruling Party against Government for refugees’ evacuation from occupied buildings (News THat Moves, link):

"Greece’s ruling party SYRIZA condemned a decision of the SYRIZA-Indepenten Greeks government to have police raid and evacuate three buildings in Thessaloniki, northern Greece. The buildings were occupied by anti-authoritarians and members of Solidarity movement who had settled refugees and migrants there.

“Criminalizing solidarity projects is a method that has nothing to do with the principles and values of the Left. We are against the evacuation,” the press office of SYRIZA party said in a statement. "

Are You Syrious (link)

Bulgaria and Greece joining forces in fear of potential migration pressure

"Bulgaria and Greece have agreed to hold a joint exercise of their Special Forces at the common border „to demonstrate unity and strength in the face of a potential surge in migration pressure“, Bulgarian Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev has said."

The top 10 refugee-hosting countries may surprise you

"Misconceptions about the refugee crisis (and especially the position of the EU countries in welcoming those fleeing war and persecution) are many and, whether they come from lack of information, fear or other reasons, it is necessary to avoid drawing coclusions without the entire picture in mind. Check out the current official UNHCR infographics."

News (28.7.16)

Populism, racism and xenophobia have infected Europe (euractiv, link): "We have been infected. The virus of populism, racism, xenophobia has affected Europe. This virus in Europe is named Le Pen in France, Farage in Great Britain, Orban in Hungary, 5 Star Movement in Italy, Kaczynski in Poland, writes Gianni Pittella."



Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27.7.16)
Dispatches: Italy Illegally Returning Migrant Children to Greece - Children Held Arbitrarily in Degrading Conditions (HRW, link):

"“Akram,” a 17-year-old Kurdish boy from Iraq, hid under a truck on the ferry from Greece to Italy for 18 hours without food or water. When he arrived in Italy, the police locked him in a small room on the ferry and sent him right back to Greece.

“I showed my passport and that I’m under 18 but the Italian police told me to ‘go back, go back.’”

This unlawful practice is not new. In 2013, Human Rights Watch documented the failure of Italian border police to screen adequately for people in need of protection, including unaccompanied children, who stow away on ferries from Greece to Italy’s Adriatic ports. Placed in the custody of the captains of commercial ferries for the return journey to Greece, adults and children were sometimes subjected to abusive confinement and treatment. Back in Greece, unaccompanied children faced police abuse, degrading detention conditions, and xenophobic violence."

More than 57,000 migrants, refugees stranded in Greece (ekathimerini.com, link):

"A total of 57,182 migrants and asylum-seekers are currently in Greece according to fresh data provided by the government.

According to the data, 22,692 individuals are currently in northern Greece, 2,279 in central Greece, and 251 in southern Greece. An estimated 9,140 people are scattered around the eastern Aegean islands. The government said a total 85 arrivals were recorded in the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, up to 10,168 refugees are currently staying at official centres set up in Attica region, while the number of those camping out at makeshift facilities is 5,423.

On Tuesday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) called for the closure of reception centers for migrants across the country after its officials carried out inspections on 16 centers in northern Greece and found the conditions there to pose a public health risk.

Orbán says migration is Europe’s ‘poison’ (euractiv, link):

"Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Tuesday (26 July) described the arrival of asylum seekers in Europe as “a poison”, saying his country did not want or need “a single migrant”.

“Hungary does not need a single migrant for the economy to work, or the population to sustain itself, or for the country to have a future,” he told a joint press conference in Budapest with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern.

“This is why there is no need for a common European migration policy: whoever needs migrants can take them, but don’t force them on us, we don’t need them,” Orbán said. The populist strongman added that “every single migrant poses a public security and terror risk”."

Greece: Lesvos: Eric Kempson (Twitter) reports: (27.7.16): "One boat picked up on north Lesvos this morning 26 men 4 women 2 children. 1 needed medical assistance."

Are You Syriuous reports (26.7.16):

60 persons, mostly families, arrived by rubber boats two nights ago on Kos.

"Now there are about 800 persons seeking refuge at the small island."

Report from our friends at Action from Switzerland

"37 new arrivals on Chios, as is usual these days the mix of groups and nationalities was Libyan, Syrian, Moroccan, Algerian, and Western Saharan."

SERBIA: Detailed video reveals true conditions of Horgoš transit zoneat Serbian-Hungarian border

"Courtesy of noborder activists in Belgrade, we understand that the hunger strikers at Horgoš who arrived recently now number around 300. Twelve are in need of medical aid due to the toll taken on their bodies after the grueling march, and striking in the summer heat. Twenty-six more have set off from Belgrade to join their compatriots in Horgoš."

AUSTRIA: Court-certified interpreter reveals the complete lack of oversight and responsibility in providing adequate interpreters to refugees

"Read the following distressing news from a court-certified interpreter on the irresponsible behavior that is present not only in Austria, but across the route. This report was written by Border Crossing Spielfeld."

According to data released by UNHCR, 70% of those participating in pre-registration exercises in Greece in the last month were women and children

"22% were women and a staggering 48% children. 690 of the total number were unaccompanied minors. Reports across Europe thoroughly demonstrate how unaccompanied minors are specific targets of exploitation and abuse. It is crucial to treat these cases with care and to also take great precautions to preserve family groups and not inadvertently separate families."

News (27.7.16)

Turkish coup suspects in Greece win asylum case delay (hurriyetdailynews.com, link): "Eight Turkish military officers who fled the July 15 failed coup attempt in Turkey by traveling to Greece have been given more time to press their asylum claim, their lawyer said on July 27. Lawyer Vassilis Terzidis told Agence France-Presse that the men “fear for their lives” if they were to be returned to Turkey, where authorities have been waging a massive crackdown against suspects in the July 15 military coup bid."

Pay up on migrant deal, Turkey tells EU (euobserver, link): "Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told the EU to pay its dues if it wants to keep a migrant deal with Ankara intact. Speaking to German ARD television on Monday (25 July), Erdogan said the EU had promised €3 billion in aid to help improve living conditions of the some 3 million Syrian refugee it hosts. “Ask them [the EU]. Did you pay? But Turkey still hosts 3 million people. What would Europe do if we let these people go to Europe?”, he said."



Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.7.16)
Greece: GISTI report on Greek hotspots in Lesbos and Chios after the EU/Turkey deal

"On 25 July 2016, GISTI published a report on its fact-finding mission to the hotspots set up on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios and on the effects the EU/Turkey deal, entitled "Accord UE-Turquie: la grande imposture. Rapport de mission dans les hotspots grecs de Lesbos et Chios, juillet 2016....

The facts speak for themselves: in order to put an end to the serious violations of the rights of migrants detained in the Greek "hotspots" under threat of an expulsion to Turkey, it is indispensable for the EU and its member states to, at the very least:

Give up on the idea of implementing the 18 March 2016 Statement;

Conduct an in-depth review of the system for allocating responsibility to an EU member state (the "Dublin III" regulation) to evaluate an asylum application in order for the asylum application to be examined in the applicant's country of choice."

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Greece (link):

"Strasbourg, 26.07.2016 - A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out an ad hoc visit to Greece from 19 to 25 July 2016.

One of the primary purposes of the visit was to examine the situation in the “Reception and Identification Centres” (so-called “hotspots”) on the islands of Chios, Lesvos and Samos and to evaluate any developments since the Committee’s April 2016 visit. The delegation also visited a number of police stations and holding facilities for irregular migrants in Athens, Thessaloniki and on the Aegean islands. A further focus of the visit was to look into the treatment of criminal suspects held in police custody and the safeguards afforded to them."

EU: UK House of Lords, European Union Committee: Children in crisis: unaccompanied migrant children in the EU (94 pages, pdf):

"The current refugee crisis is the greatest humanitarian challenge to have faced the European Union since its foundation. Although the outcome of the referendum on 23 June 2016 was that the UK should leave the EU, the UK remains a full member of the EU, with all the responsibilities that entails, until the final withdrawal agreement is ratified. It is vital, both on moral grounds and in order to help maintain good relations with the other 27 Member States, that the UK Government should participate fully in EU action to resolve this humanitarian crisis.

It has become increasingly clear that children, many of them unaccompanied by a parent, relative or guardian, are in the forefront of the crisis. In 2015 88,245 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in the EU, including 3,045 in the UK. In May 2016 alone, 3,133 unaccompanied migrant children arrived in Italy. Many children do not even reach the EU’s shores: at least 137 children have drowned in the Mediterranean since the start of 2016."

See: Migrant children are being failed by UK, says Lords committee report - Government accused of dismissing its responsibility to care for unaccompanied minors as ‘somebody else’s problem’ (Guardian, link)

Passeurs d'hospitalités – English ~ Exiles in Calais and at the British border: Destruction of the northern part of the shantytown: statement of the Defender of Rights (link):

"While early July the pressure for the destruction of the northern part of Calais shantytown was increasing, the mayor of Calais had been to announce the imminence of it (and it is probably for respond to these pressures that the police operation against the restaurants and shops of the slum is conducted – see here, here, here and here), the Defender of Rights issued a statement reminding the conditions so that this destruction can be respectful of human rights. It also stresses the precariousness in which the risk of expulsion maintains people, and that previous destructions have only worsened their living conditions."

GREECE: Volunteers and Refugees on Samos (link):

"On Samos at least, the term ‘volunteer’ now has a specific meaning referring to those from outside the island who sign up to work with an NGO called Samos Volunteers. The term volunteer for example does not include the many local people who over the past 12 months did so much to support and sustain the thousands of refugees who landed here. Nor does it include the refugee activists who come to work on Samos but refuse to be bound by the rules and regulations of the authorities....

We all need to remember that we are not the story. We can never hope to get near to the experiences of the refugees but we can at least try and stand in their shoes and make that the starting point of our activity. It will not be enough but it might mean we can help in ways which shames and highlights the system’s inhumanity to our fellow human beings as well as demonstrating our solidarity and providing something however small which makes refugees stronger and not weaker."

News (26.7.16)

Libya: 87 refugee bodies wash up on beach (aljazeera.com, link): "Bodies began washing up on the city's beach west of Tripoli on Friday, but more have since been found, official says."

Report from Lesvos:Eric Kempson: 26.7.16: "A boat of 30 people landed in skala north coast Lesvos every one ok." and Coast Guard rescues 61 migrants off Kos (.ekathimerini.com, link): "A Coast Guard vessel was dispatched early in the morning after a smuggling boat was seen to be foundering a short distance from the shore. The vessel was found to have sprung a leak and was letting on water."



Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25.7.16)
Balkan Route: migrants march to Serbia-Hungary border

"Hundreds of refugees and migrants have set off marching from the Serbian capital to the Hungarian border in protest against closed borders and European Union restrictions on entry.

A group of several dozen refugees and migrants first arrived on Sunday in northern Serbia's Subotica, a town situated around 10km from the Hungarian border, after taking a train part of the way from Belgrade."

EU: Policing the internet: 91% of Europol's 11,000 requests for content removal succesful

"Since its launch one year ago, Europol’s European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) has assessed and processed for the purpose of referral towards concerned internet service providers over 11 000 messages across some 31 online platforms in 8 languages. The content had been put out by criminals to spread violent extremist online content materials.

91.4% of the total content has been successfully removed from the platforms by the social media and online service providers.

Additionally, EU IRU has expanded its open-source and internet monitoring activities in order to contribute to the disruption of illegal migrant smuggling networks. Content advertising smuggling services for migrants and refugees was referred for the purpose of removal." [emphasis added]

EU: Council pushes for big increases in EU migration and security budgets

With the Council and the Parliament moving towards negotiations on the EU's budget for 2017, the Council has agreed its position and is calling for "€5.2 billion in commitments for specific migration-related expenditure" and increases of millions of euros in both commitments and payments from the Internal Security Fund.

EU: Austria, Hungary and Europol dismantle migrant smuggling ring (Europol press release, pdf): "Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC) has supported the Austrian and Hungarian authorities to detect and dismantle an Austrian-based organised crime group involved in migrant smuggling.

On 21 July 2016, Europol deployed a Mobile Analysis Support Team to Austria and Hungary to support the local authorities in organising a joint action day against the network. Law enforcement officers arrested 7 individuals in Austria and one in Hungary.

The group was composed of 25 Russian nationals of Chechen origin residing in Austria. The Austrian-based key facilitator was recruiting drivers in Austria and deploying them to Hungary. He was in permanent contact with the recruiters who had been tasked to recruit migrants in refugee camps in Hungary."

News (25.7.16)

SPAIN: Algeciras abre la puerta a un nuevo CIE mientras las grandes ciudades plantean su cierre general [Algerciras opens the door to a new immigration detection centre as Spain's big cities plan for their general closure] (El Diario, link):

Following a local council vote in which only representatives of the Partido Popular voted in favour, Algeciras will use some 10,000 square metres of land ceded to the town by the Ministry of Interior to construct a new immigration detention centre (CIE, Centro de Internamiento de Extranjeros). The new centre will be located next to a prison, which campaigners have said will add to the stigmatisation suffered by people held in the CIE. The move to open a new centre comes as the administrations of cities such as Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia have shown their support for the closure of CIEs within their jurisdiction, although the power to do so remains with the Minstry of Interior.

GERMANY: Ansbach blast: Syrian asylum seeker kills himself and injures 12 in Germany (The Guardian, link): "A Syrian man has killed himself and injured 12 others after setting off an explosive device outside a music festival in the German town of Ansbach.

Authorities said the 27-year-old had been denied asylum a year ago and had a history of making attempts on his own life. Three of those injured are in a serious condition.

It is believed a device he was carrying exploded although it is not clear whether it was a suicide bombing or whether the man intended to plant it and harm others."



Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23-24.7.16)
Council of the European Union: New EU "returns" document & Turkey visa "benchmarks"

- EU Returns document: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on a European travel document for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals (first reading) - Confirmation of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 10638-16, pdf)

This draft Regulation replaces the Maastricht era Council Recommendation of 30 November 1994. The Council reached its negotiating position on 23 May 2016 and the European Parliament did the same on 30 May. At the trilogue meeting on 23 June a "compromise" text was agreed. The parliament will formally adopt the measure at its plenary session of 12-15 September.

The document will be valid for a single journey to the country of origin or transit for refugees and migrants who have been found to be "illegally staying" in the EU and is "essential for increasing rates of return, which are unsatisfactory."

The Regulation states that the 1994 Recommendation is not widely accepted by authorities of third countries, for reasons including its inadequate security standards - the unstated primary reason is that third countries do not accept the idea of the return by the EU of maybe thousands of its people who fled the country or who have transited through it - and there is an understandable fear that most refugees do not want to be returned to the country they have fled from. It does not apply to the UK or Ireland.

- TURKEY: Visa Working Party/Mixed Committee (EU/Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, Liechtenstein): Summary of discussions: (LIMITE doc no: 11065-16. pdf)

Minutes from a meeting held on 14 June 2016. For visa waivers with Turkey to be agreed:

"COM confirmed that there are still seven benchmarks to be fulfilled, and gave a brief update on the ongoing discussions. This file would be followed up at the next meeting, depending on the progress achieved." [emphasis added]

No doubt there will be a few more after the Turkish government's reaction to the coup.

Lesvos, Greece: Numbers arriving start to rise: In the last week UNHCR reports that in the last week (17-23 July) a total of 390 refugees arrived on the island.

Average daily arrivals during July 2016: 36 and Average daily arrivals during June 2016: 16.

Early Sunday morning (24.7.16):
Eric Kempson (link) reports: "2 boats one north east of Lesvos one in the south, 46 people in total every one OK."

Are You Syrious (link):

Refugee protest march from Belgrade to Hungary

"About 300 people took part in protest in Belgrade, while some of them started marching toward Hungary asking for border to be open. While the Europe is not ready to admit that the deal with Turkey was never really alive, more and more people are arriving to the continent every day, risking their lives and hoping to be safe. New route is created at the north of Italy."

100 new arrivals to Greece

"Two boats with approximately 100 people were intercepted today (22.7.16) in the south of Lesvos by Frontex and brought into Mytilene harbour."

Serbia / Hungary: Serious harm on the physical and mental health of refugees

"In their latest report, MSF warns that restrictive policies at the Serbia/Hungarian border having a serious impact on the physical and mental health of already vulnerable refugee communities

MSF teams at the ex so called Balkan route have seen an increase in the level of violence against migrants since the route was “closed”."

UNHCR Weekly Report: Euro/pe (20.7.16):

Trends of Sea Arrivals

"Between 11 and 17 July, 453 refugees and migrants crossed the sea to Greece, a slight increase from the 258 that crossed the previous week. Thus far in 2016, 158,937 have arrived to Greece by sea, contributing to a total of 241,263 arrivals that crossed the Mediterranean.The primary landing places of sea arrivals in Greece continues to be on the islands of Lesvos, Samos and Chios. However, during this reporting period there were spontaneous arrivals to Kos and Leros as well. Until 14 July, the countries of origin of those who arrived in Greece are mainly from the Syrian Arab Republic (48%), Afghanistan (25%) and Iraq (15%).

During the same period in Italy, 2,143 refugees and migrants reached the country by sea, which is a decrease in arrivals from the 6,437 who arrived the previous week. As of 17 July, 79,851 persons arrived by sea in Italy in 2016, compared to 93,540 persons whom disembarked at the end of July 2015. Overall, sea arrivals in 2016 are in line with 2014 and 2015 trends. The top nationalities of origin among arrivals include, Nigeria, Eritrea, Gambia, and Sudan."

Situation in Greece

"The pre-registration exercise conducted by the Greek Asylum Service, with support by UNHCR and EASO, continued smoothly. Since 8 June 2016, a total of 25,202 people have been pre-registered and 25,700 have been provided with a wristband to prepare for their pre-registration, seeing an increase from the previous week. In addition, a total of 571 unaccompanied children and 471 separated children were identified and directed to UNHCR along with other child protection partners."

Situation at the Serbia-Hungary border:

"On 15 July, UNHCR in Geneva issued a statement about its concern of the new Hungarian restrictive law, increased reports of violence, and the deterioration of the situation at Serbia-Hungary border. The number of refugees and migrants at the Serbia-Hungary border has reached over 1,400, including people waiting to enter the transit zones, as well as those at the Refugee Aid Point at Subotica, 42% of which were children, 35 % men and 23% women. The majority are Afghans (65%) and Syrians (21%), followed by Iranians (8%) and Iraqi (5%)."

Italy/Switzerland: New refugee route

"Italy is struggling to deal with the thousands of refugees who are rescued in the Mediterranean each week and brought to ports in Sicily and elsewhere in the south.

So far this year, around 84,000 have been intercepted in rubber dinghies and ex-fishing boats and brought to the safety of dry land. Many have later continued towards Switzerland. But Switzerland is now beefing up its border security, deploying border guards and a drone to fly over the region in an attempt to catch the migrants, Telegraph reports."

Thousands of refugee children alone in Germany

"According to the Federal Association for Unaccompanied Minor Refugees, at the end of January 2016 there were more than 60,000 children and adolescents in Germany who entered the country as a refugee without a parent or guardian."

News (23-24.7.16)

Greece Fears Wave of Political Asylum Seekers from Turkey (Greek Reporter, link): "The Greek army across the border with Turkey is on high alert after recent developments in the neighboring country, following the failed coup and the Turkish government’s punitive tendencies."

Serbia Braces For Rise in Refugee Numbers - Serbian authorities are expanding capacities in refugee camps following reports that the number of migrants and refugees could rise.(Balkan Insight, link): "The number of refugees in Serbia has been increasing steadily since Hungary tightened security on its border with Serbia early in July."

Refugees: Sharp increase in violence against migrants since border closures in the Balkans (ReiefWeb, link): "MSF consultations for violent trauma doubled since March."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22.7.16)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21.7.16)
Council of the European Union: From: Greek Delegation; Temporary entry/exit of persons into/from the Greek territory (LIMITE doc no: 10008-26, pdf):

"We kindly ask you to take note of the Joint Ministerial Decision dated 12.05.2016 and published on issue 1373/17.05.2016 of the Official Journal... on the temporary entry/exit of persons into/from the Greek territory via the sea ports of Kalymnos, Petra, Lesbos, Agia Marina/Leros and Karlovasi/Samos and the airports of Karpathos and Chios accordingly by the date of its entry into force (17.05.2016) until the 31st of October 2016.

We therefore wish to inform you that according to the aforementioned Decision, the relevant checks at the sea ports of Kalymnos, Petra, Lesbos, Agia Marina/Leros and Karlovasi/Samos will be conducted under the full responsibility of the Police Departments of Kalymnos, Kalloni, Leros and Karlovasi/Samos. With reference now to the airports of Karpathos and Chios, the relevant Police Department of Karpathos and the Security Subdivision of Chios aretasked to carry out those checks."
[emphasis added]

France: Passeurs d'hospitalités – Exiles in Calais and at the British border (link): Calais Jungle : July census:

"The census carried out in early July by the associations Help Refugees and Auberge des Migrants (see here and here) shows that increasing the number of migrants in Calais continues at the same pace despite Ramadan: 7037 people including the structures set up by the state (containers camp andwomen and children shelter at the center Jules Ferry), 5307 people in the Jungle alone. The main nationalities are Afghans (38%) and Sudaneses (32%). We can foresee 10,000 people in September.

The issue of children keeps all its acuteness: they are 761, including 608 unaccompanied. This shows yet again the derisory nature of the measures that the state and the county timidly begin to put in place under pressure (see here and here)."

Are You Syrious (link)

Xanthi and Paranthesti

"According to reports from Beyond Europe, two protests were organized at closed camps today?—?Xanthi and Paranthesti. Both protests were organized similarly, with delegations of lawyers and doctors requesting access in order to check on the conditions of the camp. In Xanthi, the delegation was refused and pushed back. The crowd pushed back, breaking through some of the walls, to which the police responded with batons and tear gas. At Paranthesti, the protests went much more smoothly as the delegation was given access, although journalists were barred."

Malakasa: Desperate situation reaches critical mass in Malakasa

"A volunteer delegation reports truly disturbing conditions at a camp in Malakasa. Nearly one thousand people, mostly Afghan, languish in what is basically captivity, slowly burning under the merciless Greek sun. Water supplies are limited, medical care even moreso, and this combination with limited waste facilities makes for a potentially disastrous situation. Refugees are pitted against one another as interpreters are given special privileges which are sometimes abused. The lack of any psychosocial care and any legal aid only further intensifies already desperate and at-risk minds. As a result, domestic violence is rampant."

CROATIA: Possibly 1,700 refugees may be imminently pushed back to Croatia

"Citing the re-establishment of the Dublin regulation, Croatian NGO The Welcome Initiative warns that up to 1700 refugees may be pushed back to Croatia from Austria. The group has released a comprehensive statement including that “These are refugees who came to Austria via the so-called Balkan refugee route. Although the information about their return to Croatia is two weeks old, Austrian organization Interkulturelles Zentrum and the Welcome Initiative stress that there has been no official reaction to the announcement of their arrival, let alone any plan how they will be accommodated, taken care of and integrated.” All that can be done is to watch and wait."

HUNGARY: New billboards repeat old talking points in campaign about Hungarian refugee referendum

"Hungarians will vote on October 2nd on the question: “Do you want the European Union to be entitled to prescribe the mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary without the consent of parliament?”"

Ireland: Report calls for 'immediate improvements' in asylum seeker supports (Utv Ireland, link)

"A new report by the Irish Refugee Council has called for immediate improvements in the supports given to asylum seekers...

The report highlighted the loneliness and frustration of many asylum seekers in Direct Provision centres and is recommending that settlement grants be introduced to help those who've been processed to help them to rebuild their lives.

It found many reception centres lack basic facilities, like self-catering kitchens, leaving many people to become insitutionalised and suffering mental health difficulties."

See report: Transition from Direct Provision to life in the community: The experiences of those who have been granted refugee status, subsidiary protection or leave to remain in Ireland (pdf, link)

News (21.7.16)

Greece moves Turks seeking asylum further inland (ekathimerini.com, link): "Authorities in northern Greece say eight Turkish military officers seeking asylum here after Turkey’s failed coup attempt have been moved to a different police detention site for security reasons. The officers flew to neighboring Greece in a military helicopter in the wake of Friday's deadly coup attempt, triggering demands for their return from Ankara.... The helicopter has already been returned to Turkey.".

Libya-Italy: MSF ship recovers 22 bodies in Mediterranean - Medical-aid association saves 209 asylum seeker (ANSA, link): "The Acquarius rescue ship run by medical-aid association Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) recovered 22 bodies after saving 209 asylum seekers in the southern Mediterranean near the Libyan coast, ANSA sources said Thursday. The ship rescued two boats that had run into difficulty and is expected to arrive in the Sicilian port of Trapani on Friday. The sources said that 21 of the victims were women."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20.7.16)
Greece Prepares For Long Term Accommodation Of Migrants (News That Moves, link):

"The Greek government appears to be preparing for long term accommodation of the migrant population currently in Greece.

Greek media reported this week that the Greek government plans to close 70 per cent of the country’s migrant reception centers by September, replacing them with small sites with better living conditions, more suitable for the longer term accommodation of the migrant population....

The Ministry of Defence is responsible for the construction of the new camps."

Electra (Facebook, link): Greece: Unaccompanied children:

"This is the camp where the Government intended to "host" the unaccompanied minors in the Sh.D. case. I refused to cooperate in something which I thought would violate these children's rights and was ultimately harassed by authorities for not "taking the children to them". I answered that they can contact the children themselves, if they wanted to take them there. The case has been communicated by the ECtHR to the Greek Government and amazing legal entities have intervened as 3rd parties, among which Statewatch and ECRE."

Günther Oettinger: No visa waiver for Turkey this year (politico, link)

‘Erdogan has to make concessions to us regarding the respect of the rule of law, and it doesn’t look like it is happening now,’ the digital commissioner told German media.

European Commissioner Günther Oettinger has ruled out visa-free travel to Europe for Turks this year, after Friday’s failed coup prompted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to launch a purge in the administration, the army, the police and the judiciary, German media report.

“Erdogan has to make concessions to us regarding the respect of the rule of law, and it doesn’t look like it is happening now,” Oettinger, the EU’s commissioner for the digital economy and society, told Funke Mediengruppe. “It is not possible to strip MPs of their immunity to bully them. It is not possible to intimidate journalists. And it is not possible to withdraw thousands of unwanted judges from service.”"

Are You Syrious (Link)

Who are the Mobile Info Team, what can they do for you and what you can do for them

"The Mobile Info Team are a group of volunteers dedicated to bringing refugees reliable information and up-to-date news on asylum. Based in Northern Greece, MIT makes weekly visits to 8 different camps in the Thessaloniki area, as well as taking on some specific cases they feel they can help with and bridging the gap between on-the-ground needs in camps and other groups who can meet them. Their aim is to give refugees enough verified info that they can make the informed decisions that best suit them....

If you can help them with either, please write to: https://www.facebook.com/mobileinfoteam/ or mobileinfoteam@gmail.com"

Serbia: Are deportations from Serbia to start soon?

"Last Friday, the AC Krnjaca started to be emptied. First to be kicked out were the refugees without valid documents. Thereafter, all the rest were moved to Sid, Adasevci and Principovac. These places now hold about 600 refugees, while there are less then 100 in Krnjaca. This is a really strong indication that these refugees may be transferred to Croatia."

Austria: Refugees started a hunger strike to protest inhumane conditions of the food they are given

"The food given to refugees is of sub-human condition. For example, a bottle of an expired juice and 200g of the worst quality mortadella makes a lunch for 3 children and 2 adults!"

France: Welcome to Our Jungle — Refugee Voices, a participatory photography project by the refugees of the Calais camp

Welcome to Our Jungle’ is a participatory photography project based in the refugee camp known as the ‘Jungle’ in Calais, giving a much needed platform for the voices of those directly affected by the crisis.

Participatory photography involves empowering participants by putting the cameras into their hands and giving them the skills to tell their own stories."

Greece must end migrant kids detention, says human rights group (ekathimerini.com. link):

"The rights group Human Rights Watch is calling on Greece to immediately end the holding of unaccompanied migrant children in police station cells, saying the country must find space for them in facilities where they can receive adequate care.

In a Tuesday announcement, HRW said a shortage of places in shelters had led to “arbitrary prolonged detention in places unfit for children.” The group said that according to Greece’s National Center for Social Solidarity, about 18 children were awaiting transfer in police stations, and hundreds were in detention centers."

See: Greece: Migrant Children in Police Cells: Dreadful Conditions; Transfer Them to Open Facilities (HRW, link):

"Greek authorities regularly detain asylum-seeking and other migrant children traveling on their own in small, crowded, and unsanitary police station cells, Human Rights Watch said today. They are held there for weeks and months, waiting for space in shelter facilities.

Greece should immediately end this practice and find space for unaccompanied children in open facilities with decent living conditions where they can receive care, counseling, legal aid, and other basic services."

News (20.7.16)

South Tyrol braces for outcome of Austrian election (The Local.at, link): "The migrant situation at the Brenner crossing point is not as intense as it was in 2015, Arno Kompatscher, the governor of South Tyrol said on Wednesday. But that could change if Austria’s right-wing Freedom Party claims victory in the country’s upcoming presidential election re-run."

More than 3,200 boat migrants rescued: Italian coast guard (The Local.it, link): "The latest arrivals take the number of migrants to have landed in Italy this year to more than 80,000."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18.7.16)
Greece: Most migrant centers to be replaced (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Three quarters of the country’s migrant reception centers are to close by September, according to government plans.

The second phase of a government scheme to deal with the fallout of the refugee crisis, which has left some 56,000 migrants stranded in Greece, foresees the closure of most facilities currently hosting migrants and their replacement with several small state facilities with better conditions. These facilities are to be modeled on a center in Elaionas, near downtown Athens, where migrants live in prefabricated homes with electricity and running water....

Ministry officials have already started assessing the country’s 42 reception facilities..."

Are You Syrious (link):

Serbia: Hundreds of people asking for help in Belgrade

"Situation in Serbia is not improving. More and more people are arriving every day and they are asking for help.... Last night in Belgrade, around 300 people slept in the open. Among them were many women and children, including babies."

Border are between Serbia and Hungary

"People lost shelter due to heavy rain - situation at the border, Kalebija, is not improving even though volunteers and human rights organizations are warning for days about how bad it is. IHO volunteers are still there helping in every possible way. Currently, over 400 people are stuck in this area.... Over the last three days, there have been heavy rain in the area, and many people lost their tents."

Greece: More migrants, refugees reach eastern Aegean islands (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Migrants and refugees arriving on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos last week came to 270 people, the Greek ANA-MPA news agency reported on Sunday. The figure represented those who reached the island from Tuesday to Sunday. On the island of Chios, arrivals reached 84 people, while only three arrived on the island of Samos, during the same period."

France: Recent Forced Evictions in France: the Calm before the Storm (ERRC, link):

"Budapest, Paris, 13 July 2016: A report released today by the European Roma Rights Centre and the Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, shows a marked decrease in the number of evictions taking place in France during the second quarter of this year, compared with previous quarters and years. These most recent figures are likely not all they seem however, and probably represent only a lull in the storm of relentless and uncompromising forced evictions which have plagued French Roma over the past few years."

See: Census of forced evictions in living areas occupied by Roma (or persons designated as such) in France (pdf, link)

The daily harassment of the refugees and migrants on Kos (Sofiane Ait Chalalet and Chris Jones, link):

"We came for a week but in those 7 days we yet again confronted the same cruelties we had seen before in Samos and in Athens. We saw police who were totally unsuited for working with vulnerable people, we saw agencies like UNCHR whose contributions were so limited and seemed incapable of offering what was needed. And we met refugees and migrants who despite all these humiliations struggled to stay sane and human and who showed us kindness and friendship which stood in the starkest contrast to the authorities. They knew they could expect little or nothing from the system and placed much hope in ordinary people who they thought could help if only they knew what was going on. Sadly, we are not so sure……."

UNHCR concerned Hungary pushing asylum seekers back to Serbia - Agency worried by reports of violence and worsening conditions at Hungarian-Serbian border (link):

"The UN Refugee Agency said today it was deeply concerned that asylum-seekers were reportedly being forced back across the border into Serbia under new Hungarian regulations and called for an investigation into reports that they were being subjected to violence and abuse.

UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler told a press briefing in Geneva the new restrictions contravened EU and international law. "We are deeply concerned about further restrictions by Hungary leading to push-backs of people seeking asylum and reports about the use of violence and abuse," Spindler said.

The number of refugees and migrants at the Serbian-Hungarian border had reached more than 1,400, the agency said. “These restrictions are at variance with EU and international law and reports of abuse need to be investigated,” he added."

News (18.7.16)

Italy says 675 migrants died in April 2015 shipwreck (Daily Sabah Europe, link): "The remains of up to 675 victims have been recovered from a 2015 migrant shipwreck, Italy's navy said on Thursday, as it concluded an operation to retrieve corpses from one of the worst disasters in the Mediterranean."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15.7.16)
Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting under the Slovakia Council Presidency, 7 July 2016 provide minimalist background documents:

- Schengen Borders fit for the future (pdf):

"Ministers will discuss the implementation of the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation as well as interaction of the new Agency with neighbouring countries....

The Presidency attaches great importance to the Smart Borders project and is committed to bringing it closer to reality. A proposal on the EU Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is expected to complete the picture in a not too distant future. Ministers will discuss how the system should look like."

- European Asylum Policy, addressing common challenges (pdf)

"The Commission’s legislative proposals, both those already adopted and those expected in the nearest future, aim at improving many aspects of the CEAS. One of the leading concepts of the proposals is solidarity."

Comment: There has not been much solidarity between Member States on the refugee crisis.

"Reforming the Common European Asylum System - the way ahead: The package of asylum proposals submitted by the Commission is one of the most important elements of the legislative work ahead."

UNHCR (15.7.26): 239,879 arrivals in 2016: 158.927 in Greece, 79,124 in Italy. 2.944 dead/missing

Migrant Detention in Bulgaria: Numbers and Graphs (Detained, link):

As part of the Who Gets Detained? project, over the course of 10 months starting in August 2016, the team of the Center of Legal Aid – Voice in Bulgaria collected statistics on the number and characteristics of the people who end up behind the walls of the closed centres for foreigners, and of those who are arrested and found to be “illegal” and are issued deportation and/or detention orders

See: Who gets detained? Increasing the transparency and accountability of Bulgaria’s detention practices of asylum seekers and migrants (pdf, link)

Unaccompanied Minors in Greece (Nrew That Moves, link):

"Almost half of people currently in camps in mainland Greece are under 18 years old, according to data made public by the Greek newspaper Kathimerini.

Since the operation to pre-register asylum applications began, 45% of the total of those pre-registered have been identified as being under 18 years old of age, according to Kathimerini.

According to UNCHR data, 524 unaccompanied children and 426 separated children have been identified during the pre-registration exercise."

A year on, no business as usual at Austrian border (euractiv, link):

"It’s holiday season at Nickelsdorf on Austria’s border with Hungary as families hit the highway. But although the huge numbers of refugees seen here a year ago have gone, things are far from normal.

Police officers in fluorescent jackets in the July sunshine stand at the border. They wave through the car with the bikes on the back, but the van with the tinted windows is pulled over and checked. Since 1 July, checks have even been stepped up, causing major traffic jams at this border — a frontier within Europe’s Schengen zone where until recently, goods and people could pass freely."

Italy the new Greece on migration frontline: Frontex - EU-Turkey migration deal has slowed migrant flows to Greece (politico, link):

"Italy has overtaken Greece to become the country on Europe’s migration frontline, with about 750 people arriving per day, the head of the EU border control agency Frontex said on Tuesday.

Around 50 migrants per day arrive in Greece, which used to be the main point of entry for migrants."

Are You Syrious (link)

SPAIN: Victory and solidarity for refugees and migrants as “migrants prison” is shut down!

"Subsequent to a protest movement, the Barcelona City Council has barred the re-opening of the local “Foreigners Prison,” on both technical and safety grounds. This humanitarian victory would have been impossible without the work of volunteers and activists!""

Around 1,200 refugees remain in Belgrade, putting local aid efforts under heavy strain.

"The asylum center Krnjaca is full to capacity; as a result the number of refugees who sleep outside every night is only increasing, averaging around 150–200 per night. Info Park, Refugee Aid Serbia, Covekoljublje, Caritas and Jesuit Refugee Service are all in collaboration to support aid initiatives in the park. The numbers in the park are almost equal to last year’s high point in August."

HUNGARY: 10,000-strong army to “manage” Hungarian border.

"Despite massive international criticism on the deplorable treatment of refugees by Hungarian authorities, Hungarian officials have moved forward on a massive military and police initiative to repel any refugees trying to enter from Serbia. Around 10,000 military and police are being mobilized.

Human Rights Watch researchers have decried the abuse of refugees, stating, “Hungary is breaking all the rules for asylum seekers transiting through Serbia, summarily dismissing claims and sending them back across the border.”"

Austria to deport rejected applicants by military plane.

"In an interview with Die Welt, Austrian interior minister, Wolfgang Sobotka says that the 37,500 asylum request limit will not be reached in 2016. Sobotka is firmly opposed to the harmonisation of asylum across Europe.

Austria is going to deport 14 rejected asylum applicants next week to Bulgaria, using a military C-130. Government plans to deport 50,000 rejected asylum applicants by the year 2019. One flight hour of the plane costs 11,800 Euro. Critics from the Green Party say that the money could be instead invested in integration programmes. The government argues that the flight hours are included in the yearly flight hours quota."

European Parliament: Migration: MEPs assess refugee camps in Calais (Press release, pdf):

"A delegation from the civil liberties committee went to Calais in northern France yesterday to assess the situation of people gathering there with the aim of crossing the Channel. The delegation, led by Portuguese S&D member Ana Gomes, visited facilities for migrants and refugees and met with representatives from local authorities,"

EPIC & EPIM: EPC Policy Update for the European Programme for Integration and Migration (pdf)

News (15.7.16)

Calais mayor says UK border deal must be part of Brexit talks (euobserver, link): "The mayor of the French port city Calais has demanded that a 2003 border deal between France and the UK allowing both sides to carry out immigration checks on each other's territory be renegotiated as part of Brexit talks. Natacha Bouchart told this website on Wednesday (13 July) that the UK's decision to leave the EU has created an opportunity to shift the burden of thousands of migrants living in a camp around Calais on to the British authorities."

Greece’s island refugee camps strain under EU-Turkey deal deadlock - Moria is a symbol of mounting frustration for asylum seekers (FT, link)


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14.7.16)
European Commission: Asylum, relocation, resettlement, legal channels - package

European Commission: Completing the reform of the Common European Asylum System: towards an efficient, fair and humane asylum policy (Press release, pdf)

"The Commission is proposing to replace the Asylum Procedures Directive with a Regulation establishing a fully harmonised common EU procedure for international protection to reduce differences in recognition rates from one Member State to the next, discourage secondary movements and ensure common effective procedural guarantees for asylum seekers."

- Proposal for a: Regulation on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection, for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection and for the content of the protection granted and amending Council Directive 2003/109/EC of 25 November 2003 concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents (COM 466, pdf)

- Proposal for a: Regulation establishing a common procedure for international protection in the Union and repealing Directive 2013/32/EU (COM 467, pdf)

- Reforming the Common European Asylum System: Frequently asked questions (pdf)

- The reform of the Dublin System (pdf)

- Proposal for a Directive: Laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (recast) (COM 465, pdf)

- Enhancing legal channels: Commission proposes to create common EU Resettlement Framework (Press release, pdf)

- Proposal for a Regulation: Establishing a Union Resettlement Framework and amending Regulation (EU) No516/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council (COM 468, pdf)

REACTIONS to above: EU officials finalise common asylum system to resettle refugees - Advocates say people can expect similar treatment wherever they settle, but critics say scheme is betrayal of refugee rights (Guardian, link):

"It is hoped that the proposed system would discourage the kind of country-hopping that saw hundreds of thousands of refugees settle in Germany last year having passed through other European countries such as Hungary and Greece....

Under the plan, refugees will only be formally resettled in Europe from third countries that agree to readmit migrants who arrived in Europe by informal means.

Additionally, the plans make it easier for refugees to be expelled from Europe in the first place. Brussels would be given greater say over which countries are deemed safe for refugees – overriding the wishes of independent appeals boards in nation states. In the current context, this would theoretically allow the EU to expel more people from Greece to Turkey, despite Greek officials deeming Turkey unsafe for some refugees....

Malin Björk, the European parliament’s rapporteur on the proposal, called it “disgraceful”. The Swedish politician said: “As the parliament’s rapporteur, I will do what I can to stop this distortion of the international right to asylum and the notion of global responsibility and solidarity.”

Last September, European leaders promised to relieve Greece and Italy of 160,000 refugees stranded on their territory. On Wednesday the EU admitted that member states had accepted just 3,056 – nearly 10 months after promising to help out."

 EU asylum rules: Retrograde proposals on rights and criteria for asylum seekers (Green/EFA Group, press release, link):

"The European Commission today presented further proposals for reforming the EU’s system of asylum rules, notably as regards the criteria under which asylum-seekers’ applications for international protection are judged in the EU, and the rights and treatment they should receive. Commenting on the proposals, Green asylum spokesperson Jean Lambert MEP said:

“The EU and its member states have justifiably come under fire for their response to the refugee crisis but today’s proposals from the Commission will do nothing to allay this. This latest step in the ongoing review of the EU’s asylum rules represents further retrograde steps in a number of areas of asylum policy, notably regarding the rights of asylum seekers and an obsession with punitive measures."

and Amnesty: EU’s asylum policy – a cynical attempt to strengthen fortress Europe (New Europe, link); "A package of new proposals published by the European Union on Wednesday risks rolling back basic protections for refugees and asylum seekers, said Amnesty International today in Brussels.

A proposed EU-wide resettlement framework would use resettlement as a tool for migration control rather than to provide assistance to vulnerable refugees. In addition, three proposed reforms of the EU asylum system would introduce measures intended to increase the number of refugees and asylum seekers returned to non-EU countries.

also: EU plans tougher asylum rules (euobserver, link): "The European Commission plans to toughen asylum rules to deter claimants from travelling from one EU country to another. The EU executive on Wednesday (13 July) proposed a set of new rules that would harmonise asylum procedures in the bloc in order to deal with the over 1.3 million asylum seekers who arrived to the continent in the last year.

"We set clear obligations and duties for asylum seekers to prevent secondary movements and abuse of procedures," the commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, told press. Asylum seekers who do not wait for their claims to be examined in the country where they first entered the EU or who do not cooperate with local authorities would have their claim automatically dropped, he said."

Hungary rejects claims of 'excessive force' (BBC News, link):

"The Hungarian government has rejected accusations by the UN refugee agency of using excessive force to expel migrants.

Around 600 people have been deported, while 10,000 police and soldiers have also been deployed along the country's southern border with Serbia. The toughening up of what were already strict controls are leading to a rise in the number of people stuck in makeshift camps." and

Hungary deploys army to push migrants back to Serbia (BBC News, link):

!A massive security operation, involving up to 10,000 police and soldiers, is under way along Hungary's southern border with Serbia, to keep out migrants and refugees.

The armed forces have been deployed to reinforce a 175km (110-mile) razor-wire fence erected last year on a border that is also a gateway to the European Union.

Until new regulations came into force on 5 July, an average of 130 people crossed the fence every day.

The new law allows the authorities to push back anyone caught inside Hungary within 8km of the fence, but in practice it seems to be applied to those caught far deeper into Hungary, as far as Budapest."

Aire Centre & ECRE: With Greece: Recommendations for refugee protection (pdf) 

"systemic challenges to access to asylum stemming from procedural barriers or gaps in the provision of information or legal assistance have been less reported on. Against this backdrop, the aim of the joint visit conducted by The AIRE Centre and ECRE between 28 May and 6 June 2016 was to cover issues which may not have received equal attention to date, as well as to conduct a needs assessment for NGOs and practitioners working in the field, which would enable effective and sustainable support to the Greek asylum system. This report contains observations and recommendations on the basis of findings from several meetings with key stakeholders present in Greece during the time of the joint visit."

News (14.7.16)

Greece: Bodies recovered off Lesvos belonged to Syrian family from Aleppo (ekathimerini.com, link): "The four bodies recovered off the coast of the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos on Wednesday belonged to a Syrian family from Aleppo, authorities announced on Thursday. The mother and father and their children, aged 4 and 6, drowned when their inflatable dinghy capsized. Six people were rescued by coast guard officers.

Dispatches: Italy Wakes Up to Xenophobia - Killing of Nigerian refugee shows growing concern over intolerance (HRW, link): !Emmanuel was a 36-year-old Nigerian who came to Italy last year with his wife after both their parents were killed when Boko Haram bombed their church. Emmanuel survived terrorism at home, violence in Libya, and the dangerous sea crossing to Italy. But last week he was beaten to death on the streets of Fermo, a mid-sized town in eastern Italy, in a fight that began when an Italian man called Emmanuel’s wife an “African monkey.”"

IOM highlights refugee drownings: "Drownings in the Mediterranean killed two-thirds of the 3,694 refugees who perished while trying to reach Europe since January. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says it's the deadliest route worldwide." (DW, link)


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13.7.16)
European Commission: 13 July 2016: Relocation and Resettlement, 13 July 2016

- Relocation and Resettlement: Positive trend continues, but more efforts needed (Press release, pdf)

"Relocation and Resettlement: Positive trend continues, but more efforts needed... During the reporting period from 14 June to 11 July, the number of relocations increased with an additional 776 persons being relocated,...

Although this constitutes positive progress and shows that Member States are stepping up their efforts, it still falls far short of the Commission's proposed target of relocating 6,000 people per month. Member States are not yet meeting the commitments they made under the Council Decisions on relocation.... relocation from Italy decreased and remained at a particularly low level compared to the continuously high number of potential applicants for relocation arriving in Italy....

Since 4 April 2016, a total of 802 Syrians have been resettled from Turkey to the EU, including 291 since the last report..."

- Communication: Fifth report on relocation and resettlement (COM 480, pdf):

"While relocation transfers from Greece increased during the reporting period (710 persons relocated compared to 594 during the previous reporting period), those from Italy decreased and remained particularly unsatisfactory (only 66 people relocated in the reporting period, compared to 186 in the previous reporting period)....

Greece is carrying out a mass, rapid pre-registration exercise that will accelerate the identification and full registration of applicants eligible for relocation. 34,000 applicants are expected to be eligible for relocation. Greece needs to continue increasing its processing capacity to avoid creating a bottleneck after the pre-registration is completed, so that applicants can fully lodge their applications as swiftly as possible, urgently establish the additional relocation centres and continue relocating those that are eligible."

- Annex 1: Greece (pdf)

- Annex 2: Italy (pdf)

- Annex 3: Resettlement (pdf)

- Factsheet: Relocation and Resettlement (pdf)

New migrant crisis in the making in the Balkans (New Europe, link):

!Hundreds of migrants arrive daily to Serbia’s border with Hungary, packing inside a makeshift tent settlement without toilets, showers and with only one tap of running water as Hungary introduced new measures meant to try to keep them out of the EU.

“This is the problem. There’s no toilets, no place to take a shower. It is very difficult for us,” Rajawi said. “They (the Hungarians) let each day only 15 people. If (they let) more, it gets better for us. Because, we are human, we need human rights here.”

In what appears to be another refugee crisis in the making in Europe, the numbers are surging at this camp and other ones on Serbia’s border with EU country Hungary. The numbers have been growing since last week, when Hungary introduced forced deportations of migrants caught within 8 kilometers (5 miles) of border fences.

Hungary has also restricted the number of people who can apply for asylum in the country to 15 a day."

Hungary: Migrants Abused at the Border - Ensure Asylum Access; Investigate Cruel, Violent Pushbacks (HRW, link):

" Migrants at Hungary’s border are being summarily forced back to Serbia, in some cases with cruel and violent treatment, without consideration of their claims for protection, Human Rights Watch said today.

New laws and procedures adopted in Hungary over the past year force all asylum seekers who wish to enter Hungary to do so through a transit zone on Hungarian territory, to which the government applies a legal fiction claiming that persons in the zone have not yet ‘entered’ Hungary
:..."

France, Grande-Synthe: Humanitarian camps are supposed to offer refugees shelter, not turn them away (msf.org, link):

"n Thursday 7 July, six Afghan men were refused entry to the migrant camp in Grande-Synthe. Set up in March 2016, the camp was constructed to offer shelter to all refugees needing safe lodging and basic services. The town council that manages the site in partnership with the French government and the camp manager, the AFEJI, now say that men travelling alone will not be allowed access to the camp. This decision comes amid growing pressure put on refugees by authorities in north France. MSF is extremely concerned by this decision and calls for it to be immediately overturned."

Are You Syrious: AYS Daily News Digest 12/7: Far-right racist terror surges in Europe (link)

"The anger and fear of locals takes barbaric form as they attack and threaten refugees; we invite more people to express their solidarity in these difficult moments. Let’s make Europe safe for human differences!"

News (13.7.16)

Austria will reach refugee limit by the fall: interior minister - Austria is 15,000 applications short of reaching government’s upper limit for 2016 (politico, link): "Austria’s self-imposed limit on the number of asylum applications it will accept — set at 37,500 a year — will be reached by the fall, the interior minister said Tuesday."

Italy is 'new front line' on migrant crisis (euobserver, link): "Fabrice Leggeri, the head of the EU’s Frontex border agency, said Tuesday on French radio that Italy is the “new front line” in the migration crisis. He said 750 people a day are coming to Italy, compared to 50 in Greece. He said there were 360,000 irregular crossings in the first six months of this year, a figure higher than last year, but that numbers were falling since April."

Germany content to return Afghan asylum seekers to ‘islands of safety’ (euractiv, link): "More than half of Afghan asylum-seekers have their applications rejected by German authorities and are returned to the Middle-Eastern country. EurActiv’s partner Der Tagesspiegel reports. In Kabul, more and more Afghans end up stranded, as they return from Germany or other European countries, having failed to secure asylum status. Around 3,500 have come back from Germany alone since last year. The returnees are left with little, even nothing, and have no social ties in the capital, said Omid Nouripour of the German Greens, who regularly travels to Afghanistan."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (11.7.16)

News (13.7.16)

Germany content to return Afghan asylum seekers to ‘islands of safety’ (euractiv, link): "More than half of Afghan asylum-seekers have their applications rejected by German authorities and are returned to the Middle-Eastern country. EurActiv’s partner Der Tagesspiegel reports. In Kabul, more and more Afghans end up stranded, as they return from Germany or other European countries, having failed to secure asylum status. Around 3,500 have come back from Germany alone since last year. The returnees are left with little, even nothing, and have no social ties in the capital, said Omid Nouripour of the German Greens, who regularly travels to Afghanistan."

GREECE: Violence and tension on Aegean islands

Volunteers leave Greek island after attacks on refugees (Al Jazeera, link): "Tensions have escalated in the Greek island of Leros following a series of attacks on refugees and migrants, while several international volunteers working in refugee camps have been evacuated from the island.

After locals attacked refugees on Saturday and threatened aid workers in the island's main refugee camp, many international volunteers and groups halted their operations and left Leros on Sunday.

"There have been tensions which targeted both refugees and members of the humanitarian community," said Katerina Kitidi, a Greece-based communications officer for the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR)."

And see: GREECE: Refugees in Greece's Chios fear violence from far-right (Al Jazeera, link)

EU: Legal response to migration continues: safe third country list and visa waivers

The European Parliament's civil liberties committee has approved texts on a common European list of "safe third countries" and the possibility of suspending visa-free travel for certain nationalities, with a view to reaching swift agreements with the Council. Plans to establish an EU-wide list of safe countries of origin were included in the May 2015 European Agenda on Migration, which also hinted at changes to visa waiver rules.

See: Asylum: EU list of safe countries of origin to replace national lists in 3 years (pdf)

HUNGARY: Latest amendments “legalise” extrajudicial push-back of asylum-seekers, in violation of EU and international law

The amendments to the Asylum Act and the Act on State Border that entered into force today allow the Hungarian police to automatically push back asylum-seekers who are apprehended within 8 km (5 miles) of either the Serbian-Hungarian or the Croatian-Hungarian border to the external side of the border fence. Legalising push-backs from deep within Hungarian territory denies asylum-seekers the right to seek international protection, in breach of relevant obligations emanating from international and EU law.

GREECE: Asylum policies and practices impairing the access to international protection in Greece (Greek Forum of Refugees, pdf): "As a result of regular interactions with refugee communities, GFR has continuously observed a number of obstacles preventing asylum seekers in the country from accessing the asylum procedures and receiving the international protection they are entitled to, according to international law.

Drawing on the implementation of the law and the practices adopted by the authorities, the present report mainly aims at pointing out the gap between the de jure situation, as it is defined by international law, and the de facto situation in Greece, as up to the EU-Turkey deal of 18 March 2016. In doing so, the privileged point of view and focus of research are represented by the series of testimonies provided by asylum seekers, refugees and communities and collected by GFR over 2015."

HUNGARY: Border trials: The hearing of Ahmed H (Migszol, link): "We arrive at the Szeged courthouse with cramps in our stomachs – we don’t have much experience in attending trials, plus we’re not even sure we’ll be allowed in, after all as we know today will be the continued hearing of an especially dangerous man, Ahmed H., charged with terrorist activity."

All the World’s Immigration Visualized in 1 Map (Metrocosm, link): "This map shows the estimated net immigration (inflows minus outflows) by origin and destination country between 2010 and 2015."

News (11.7.16)

AUSTRIA-HUNGARY: Border controls cause row between Austria and Hungary (New Europe, link): "Security checks have been given a big boost along the border between Austria and Hungary, causing a row between the two countries.

As reported by The Local, Hungarian authorities have come under fire from Austria’s Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka after they began checking people crossing the border from Austria into Hungary. But Hungary’s decision is a response to Austria recently strengthening controls on its side of the border."

MEDITERRANEAN: NATO Plan for Mediterranean Naval Mission Ruffles EU (Washington Post, link): "The European Union’s foreign policy chief raised concerns with President Barack Obama that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was duplicating the bloc’s naval mission in the central Mediterranean, according to U.S. and other Western officials, a sign of the complexities of managing increased cooperation between the two bodies.

NATO had planned to provide maritime surveillance planes to assist the EU’s mission off the coast of Libya—dubbed Operation Sophia—which was set up to fight human smuggling by arresting smugglers and destroying their boats after rescuing migrants. But at the summit in Warsaw, officials said the provision of ships as well as planes was under discussion."

SPAIN-MOROCCO: Denuncian la muerte de un inmigrante tras el intento de entrada del pasado viernes [Denunciations after immigrant died in an attempt to enter Spain last Friday] (El Faro Digital, link): Helena Maleno, an activist from the organisation Ca-minando, has confirmed that a Cameroonian migrant died last Friday as an attempt to enter Ceuta was halted by Moroccan police. The family of the dead man have already identified the body.

Hundreds of sub-Saharan Africans, some of them with injuries, were detained and removed to the south of Morocco after the attempted entry.

UK: The moment I felt at home: refugees tell their stories (Positive News, link): "There are around 120,000 refugees in the UK, and last year 32,414 applied for asylum. For most, life is not easy. Unemployment in refugee communities is above 50 per cent, and in 2015 the British Red Cross supported more than 9,000 who were destitute. Yet some successfully make new lives here. We meet seven people who, having ?ed their homelands, have found a new beginning in London. Photographing them in the place where they first felt safe or part of this country, we ask them about the moment the UK became home"


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (8.7.16)
EU: European Parliament: thumbs up for beefing up Frontex

On Wednesday 6 July the European Parliament approved a proposal to turn the EU border agency Frontex into a 'European Border and Coast Guard Agency', with new powers that have been heavily criticised by some of the Parliament's political groups as well as civil society organisations. The new agency is expected to start operations in the autumn.

The text of the new Regulation - which was agreed in secret trilogue meetings between Council, Parliament and Commission negotiators before being voted on by the full Parliament - was adopted with 483 votes in favour, 181 votes against and 48 abstentions.

See: the Final text approved by the Parliament (pdf)

UNHCR: Arrivals in Greece, July 2016

216 people have crossed the Mediterranean and Aegean to arrive in Greece so far in July, according to the UNHCR's figures, an average of 31 per day. During June an average of 50 people per day arrived. See: Greece data snapshot - 7 July 2016 (pdf)

See also: UNHCR Weekly Report: Europe (6 July, pdf) covering: Trends of sea arrivals - Situation in Greece - Situation at Serbia-Hungary border - Italian navy recovers ship in which up to 800 thought to have drowned - Update on relocations and returns - EU Developments

NATO to expand role in Mediterranean migration operations?

"Turning to the Middle East, the Secretary General said Alliance leaders will this week approve the deployment of NATO AWACS surveillance aircraft to support the Global Coalition to counter ISIL. He also said he expected NATO to agree on a new training and capacity building effort in Iraq and a role for NATO in the Central Mediterranean to complement the European Union’s Operation Sophia" (emphasis added). See: NATO Secretary General outlines Warsaw Summit agenda (NATO, link)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also noted during a press conference (link) that NATO expects to "build on our effective cooperation in the Aegean to cut lines of human trafficking."

EU: Law enforcement efforts against "migrant smuggling" stepped up with new international bureau in Vienna

"On 4 May 2016, the Austrian Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Sobotka opened the “Joint Operational Office against Human Smuggling Networks” (JOO) in Vienna. In a statement, the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior stated that the institution was an “international investigative bureau against human smuggling”. The centre has an initial complement of 38 staff members, Europol intends to second additional personnel. It is intended to be a point of contact for investigations of authorities also from the migrants’ countries of origin."

See: International investigative bureau in Vienna to combat “migrant smuggling” (Matthias Monroy, link)

News (8.7.16)

German states demand billions of euros to cover refugee costs (Deutsche Welle, link): "Germany's 16 states are demanding an additional 8 billion euros ($8.8 billion) over the next three years from the federal government in Berlin to cover the cost burden of integrating refugees, the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" reported on Wednesday.

Horst Seehofer, the premier of the state of Bavaria and leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), told the Munich-based newspaper that all 16 states were united on the 8 billion euro figure ahead of a government summit to discuss the issue at the Chancellery on Thursday.

The additional sum would be distributed in three lump sum payments of 1.5 billion euros this year, 2.5 billion euros next year and 4 billion euros in 2018."

Hungary to hold referendum on refugee quotas on 2 October (EurActiv, link): "Hungary will hold a referendum on 2 October on EU plans to relocate migrants among member states, a scheme fiercely opposed by right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the president said today (5 July).

“As president of the republic, I decree that the referendum will be held on 2 October,” President János Áder said in a statement."

Italy extracts 217 bodies from hull of sunken migrant ship (Al Arabiya, link): "Italian navy officials say they have recovered 217 bodies from the hull of a migrant ship that sank off Libya last year in a tragedy that sparked the EU to beef up Mediterranean rescue operations.

Italian authorities raised the ship from the seabed last week and have been working to remove and identify the bodies ever since. In a statement Thursday, the navy said 52 autopsies had been performed on the 217 bodies pulled out so far.

Some of the 28 survivors of the April 18, 2015 wreck had said as many as 700-800 people were aboard, leading officials to label it one of the worst known tragedies of the Mediterranean migrant crisis.

Around 200 bodies were initially recovered; after officials saw the ship’s dimensions, they suggested about 300 remained."

Italy migrants: Nigerian killed in Fermo race attack (BBC News, link): "A man has been arrested by Italian police investigating the killing of a Nigerian immigrant which the government has condemned as a racist attack.

Police say a row broke out at Fermo, a town on Italy's east coast, when racist abuse was hurled at the partner of Emmanuel Chidi Namdi, 36.

The violence escalated when a traffic pole was pulled from the ground. The victim later died in hospital.

A local man described as a well-known "ultra" football fan is being held."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6.7.16)

Why are Hungarian border guards practicing shooting to kill? (Migszol update from Hungary, 20 June - 4 July) (Migszol, link)

A detailed update on the current situation in Hungary as it relates to refugees, asylum policy and border controls:

"There main issues from the last two weeks which we would like to highlight include the political trials in Szeged in which people are accused of either terrorism or then of illegal crossing of the Hungarian border during a mass riot, the violent pushbacks on the Hungarian-Serbian border and the violence of informal gangs, the opening of a new open refugee camp has been opened in Kiskunhalas in Southern Hungary, and the border guard competition was held in eastern Hungary. Before we examine all these in detail, there are some other political and general updates we would like to share.

1. Political developments
2. Austrian-Hungarian cooperation
3. Movement and smugglers
4. Political show trials in Szeged
5. Violent pushbacks at the Serbian border
6. Border guards’ shooting practice
7. New open camp in Kiskunhalas
"

FRANCE: Number of children in detention doubles

The number of families with children locked up in detention in France doubled in 2015 compared to the previous year, finds a new report entitled 'Centres and Sites of Administrative Detention' by La Cimade and four other organisations

Last boat from Lesvos - Asylum seeker stowaways try to reach the Greek mainland (IRIN, link): "Until recently, only Syrians were being processed. As weeks have turned to months, increasing numbers of non-Syrians have turned to smuggling themselves on board the ferry to Athens. According to conversations with dozens of asylum seekers on Lesvos, they can choose from two options: pay smugglers hundreds of euros for boarding papers or hide in one of the shipping containers loaded onto the ferry."

IRELAND: Irish Refugee Council questions the real impact of the McMahon Report 12 months on (Irish Refugee Council, link): "Today [30 June 2016] marks one year since the publication of the Working Group to Report to Government on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision and Supports to Asylum Seekers, known as the McMahon Report. The Government reported on the 16 June 2016 that 91 recommendations have been fully implemented, 49 partially implemented or in progress, while the remaining 33 require further consideration. On paper this sounds like there is movement on the McMahon report, but the IRC questions whether this translates into practical changes and improvements for those who bear the brunt of failures within our asylum system. Despite claims about implementation, a haze of vagueness prevails over this entire document."

Refugees are an opportunity for our society, not just a challenge say S&Ds (Socialists & Democrats, link): "The European Parliament has today called on the EU to take action and ensure refugees are swiftly and fully integrated into the labour market and society.

In a resolution drafted by S&D Euro MP Brando Benifei, the Parliament set out recommendations for action at EU level, including an increase in resources for social policy in Europe via the European Social Fund (ESF) to facilitate the integration of refugees in European countries."

The resoluton: European Parliament resolution of 5 July 2016 on refugees: social inclusion and integration into the labour market (2015/2321(INI)) (pdf)

News (6.7.16)

Obama Recruits Goldman, Google to Resettle Refugees (Bloomberg, link): "At least 15 U.S. companies led by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Alphabet Inc. have pledged money to help the Obama administration resettle refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war and other international conflicts.

The White House is leaning on companies to commit money and other assistance to resettlement programs ahead of a Sept. 20 summit President Barack Obama will host at the United Nations. Other companies participating in the effort include MasterCard Inc., United Parcel Service Inc., HP Inc., and IBM, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg News."

Refugees who cannot pay people smugglers 'being sold for organs' (The Independent, link): "Migrants who are unable to pay people smugglers for their journey from Africa to Europe are killed for their organs, a former smuggler has said.

Nuredein Wehabrebi Atta, who has been sentenced to five years in prison for his involvement in moving migrants, told Italian police that migrants who couldn't pay for journeys across the Meditteranean “were sold for €15,000 to groups, particularly Egyptians, who are equipped for harvesting organs".

His testimony has helped break open a transnational network dedicated to migrant trafficking with Italian police confirming they have detained 38 people suspected of being involved - 25 Eritreans, 12 Ethiopians and one Italian."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (4.7.16)

Border Wars: The arms dealers profiting from Europe's refugee tragedy (Transnational Institute, link): "While tens of thousands of refugees have died fleeing terrible violence and hardship to get to Europe, not everyone has lost out. This report exposes the military and security companies that have profited from the tragedy, winning contracts to provide the equipment to border guards, the surveillance technology to monitor frontiers, and the IT infrastructure to track population movements."

Report: Border Wars (pdf) and: Executive summary (pdf)

European Council adopts Migration compact despite NGOs statement (ECRE, link): "The adopted proposal contains no safeguards to ensure that human rights, rule of law standards and protection mechanisms when the EU strikes deals with governments it deems useful for stopping migration to Europe. These governments include countries with a poor human rights record, such as Sudan and Eritrea, countries where a large share of refugees flee from. ECRE’s Aspasia Papadopoulou warned that this EU pressure could result in those countries increasing the use of detention or border enforcement. “Partner countries will be well aware that they have their own leverage in the form of would-be migrants and asylum seekers hoping to reach Europe. They’ll negotiate hard to get what they want out it,” Papadopoulou states."

"Have you seen this camp?" Softex camp in Northern Greece (ECRE & AIRE Centre, link): "We first heard about the conditions in Softex the day we arrived, when the Save the Children team in Polykastro explained us that many who were evacuated from Idomeni were brought there. The new official camps, quickly arranged to host thousands of people, are mostly abandoned warehouses. The official Softex camp used to be an old textile factory.

The camp is situated in the industrial outskirts of Thessaloniki, alongside a narrow and busy road. The back entrance to the camp is wide open, while the official entry at the other end is guarded by the Greek army. Opposite the camp is a Volvo garage with four huge dogs barking non-stop at passers-by."

Una caravana partirá a Grecia para reclamar el respeto a los derechos de los refugiados [A caravan will leave for Greece to reclaim the respect of refugees' rights] (Diagonal, link): On 16 July, 10 buses will leave from Barcelona and head for Thessaloniki in Greece, in order to call attention to the violations of thousands of asylum-seekers' human rights and to highlight the responsibility of the institutions of the EU and its Member States.



Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2-3.7.16)

Greece: PLEIADES - REPORT ON "ELLINIKO" REFUGEE CAMP (HELLENIC ACTION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS - Pleiades, link): A Report on Living Conditions: Based on information available on June 30, 2016.

Are You Syrious (link)

Gianluca D’Agostino, captain of the ship Diciotti (coastal guard), arrived to Catania with the bodies of 10 refugee women that drowned in the June 30th shipwreck. Here is the captain’s testimony.

"The dead women were brought along with the other 348 refugees, 108 of which were survivors of the same shipwreck. Meanwhile, the police mentioned that the two smugglers have been captured.

The captain said “My men risked their lives. If the dinghy hadn’t made it, my men would have sunk with the refugees. They found themselves surrounded by floating corpses, and they directed themselves towards the people they thought were still alive. For some, we found out they were already dead, despite the reanimation on board the Diciotti. We fought against the time and the dangerous sea, plus the dinghy’s floor crushed. However, the tragedy was contained, we saved as many lives as possible. The boys have been very courageous and I’m really proud of their performance and reactions”.

France: Calais kitchen in desperate need of donations

"This morning Calais Kitchens confirmed that, due to low stock and funds, they will be unable to distribute food packs next week...

In order to keep up their amazing work, Calais Kitchens must raise £7000 a week to cover costs. Please click here to send either a one-off or, better still, a monthly donation and share with your networks. Help them here".

EU set to spend €62 billion on Africa to tackle migration (euractiv, link):

"The EU has made significant funds available for a migration partnership with African countries, so that asylum seekers can be intercepted before they reach the bloc’s external borders....

Repatriation, irregular migrants, “before the end of the year”, have become part of Brussels’ everyday jargon since the shameful mess of the Balkans route began to unfold. This time, however, it appears they are going to be followed up with action. After its declaration, the EU has ceased its mere lip service to migration policy and has green lit a Commission paper that is set to open up a new era in tackling irregular migration.

So-called “migration pacts” are in the pipeline with selected African countries, in an attempt to stymie the number of migrants making their way from Africa. Countries such as Nigeria, Sudan and Mali will act as outer defence posts, charged with filtering migrants thousands of miles before they reach the EU’s external border."

News (2-3.7.16)

Greece: Film on Idomeni border wins award in Dublin - Caoimhe Butterly’s ‘The Border’ highlights plight of 12,000 people at Greek frontier (Irish Times, link): "The Grand Prize in Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) Human Rights Film Awards was won on Thursday by Caoimhe Butterly for her short documentary The Border – an examination of life at the Idomeni border crossing in Greece. It highlights the dislocation of the more than 12,000 women, men and children migrants who were stranded there earlier this year and the real impact of European border closures as expressed by those most directly affected. The ICCL Human Rights Film Awards are the only short film awards in Ireland dedicated to human rights and five such films were shortlisted for the Grand Prize this year.



Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
(1.7.16)

Hungary jails 10 migrants for up to three years (EUobserver, link): "A Hungarian court on Friday sentenced 10 migrants, mostly Syrians, to between one and three years in jail for illegally crossing the border during a riot in September 2015, after Hungary built a fence to seal its border with Serbia. This was the first case tried under a law passed a few days before the incident making illegal border crossing punishable by one to five years in prison."

Background: Refugee crisis: "show trials" for "violating the border fence" (Statewatch News Online, 30.6.16)

EU: Warning over new Frontex agency's data-gathering powers, lack of accountability and overseas deployments without oversight

With the full European Parliament due to vote on the proposed new Frontex Regulation on 6 July, the Frontexit campaign has called on MEPs to reject the text, warning that it provides new powers to gather and exchange personal data without the necessary safeguards; establishes a new complaint mechanism that does not meet the required standards of independence; and permits increased overseas deployments by the agency "away from any oversight by the European Parliament or national parliaments."

UNHCR: June arrivals in Greece

The total number of people arriving in Greece in June was 1,448, according to the UNHCR. Over the last week the numbers were:

Europe tries to buy its way out of the migration crisis (IRIN, link): "This week’s European Council meeting was dominated by reactions to Britain’s referendum result, but on Tuesday EU leaders took a decision that has far-reaching consequences for people forced or wishing to migrate from more than a dozen countries in Africa and Asia.

Under the Partnership Framework with third countries, which the council adopted, 16 countries of origin and transit for migrants will be pressured to cooperate with the EU’s goals on curbing migration. Their compliance is to be rewarded with various “incentives” including development aid and trade deals. Non-cooperation will be met with unspecified “negative incentives” – presumably the withholding of aid and trade.

Ahead of yesterday’s meeting, 124 NGOs issued a joint statement condemning the proposed policy and urging EU leaders to reject it in favour of more sustainable and long-term strategies for migration management and the delivery of development aid."

News (1.7.16)

Croatia puts up barrier at Serbia border (Politico, link): "Croatia installed a barrier on a bridge over the Danube river that forms part of its border with Serbia to prevent migrants from entering the country, a police statement said on Thursday.

Police said it was intended to stop “potential attempts by migrants to illegally enter” Croatia over the Batina crossing. Technical barriers have been installed at the crossing that “can be activated in case of an urgent need and in line with the security measures,” the statement said."

Denmark takes cash from migrants (New Europe, link): "Denmark has confiscated more than 10,000 kroner worth of cash, jewellery and other valuables from migrants arriving to the country under a controversial law that was passed in February.

According to the Agence France-Presse (AFP), Danish police announced on June 30 they confiscated cash worth nearly €11,000 from five migrants trying to enter the country with fake identity papers. The two men and three women between the ages of 26 and 35 with Iranian nationality were arrested at Copenhagen’s airport. All five have asked for asylum and their request is under review, according to the police."

Migrants die as dinghy sinks off Libya (BBC News, link): "At least 10 people drowned and more than 100 others were rescued when an inflatable boat carrying migrants capsized 32km (20 miles) off Libya.

Those who died were all women, Italian reports said.

The latest migrant tragedy came as the Italian navy raised to the surface a boat that sank with the loss of more than 700 lives.

The April 2015 sinking was the worst loss of human life since the influx of migrants began in 2013."


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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