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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
23.10.15


Czech Republic: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Zeid urges Czech Republic to stop detention of migrants and refugees (pdf)

"The High Commissioner expressed concerns that the authorities continue to practice this policy, even though those detainees who have been able to challenge the detention in court have been released. He noted that most detained migrants and refugees are not in a position to swiftly challenge their detention in court – as is their right -- because they do not receive information about free legal aid and because civil society organizations that work with refugees have reportedly been receiving very restricted access to detention facilities like Bìlá-Jezová (80 km north of Prague)." [emphasis added]

and: Czech ombudsman criticises conditions in refugee facility (pdf):

"The severe conditions which children and families with children have to endure in Belá-Jezová constitute a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Objectively speaking, children in the facility have worse living conditions than inmates in Czech prisons. Belá-Jezová is a former military facility where the living conditions are, in many ways, much worse than those in Czech prisons. Prison inmates are people who committed a crime and were convicted for it. On the other hand, the people in Belá have not been convicted of any crime and no sentence has been imposed on them. The fact that hundreds of children are detained in this facility goes against our notion of the Czech Republic as a civilised country." [emphasis added]

Full-text of Ombudsman report (pdf)

Also: UN: Czechs violate refugee rights to deter others (euobserver, link)

Greece Records Highest Weekly Migration Inflows in 2015 So Far (IOM, link):

" This week IOM Greece recorded the highest migration inflows since the beginning of 2015. Despite deteriorating weather conditions, approximately 48,000 refugees and migrants crossed from Turkey to the Greek islands – or about 9,600 migrants and refugees in each of the past five days.... The influx has left many local authorities unprepared. The island of Lesvos continues to receive the highest percentage of refugees and migrants. Some 27,276 reached the island during the period, while 9,750 arrived in Chios."

This year up to 22 October 139,518 refugees have arrived in Italy and 537.460 refugees arrived in Greece:

"Data for Greece are derived by the new and updated data collected by IOM Regional Staff in Greece and Greek authorities (1/1/2015 – 20/10/2015). Numbers are not the actual daily arrivals but the number of migrants who have officially been recorded by the Greek authorities after their arrival."

EU: Commission Issues Opinion on Temporary Reintroduction of Controls at Internal Borders: Germany and Austria acting in compliance with Schengen Borders Code (Press release, pdf): "The Commission has concluded that the initial reintroduction of controls at internal borders by Germany and Austria, as well as the subsequent prolongations, are in compliance with the Schengen Borders Code."

Frontex Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights: Second Annual Report: 2014 (pdf) and First Annual Report: 2013 (pdf)

News (23.10.15)

Fearing rough seas, refugees chance Bulgaria land route (UNHCR, link): "This family is among 13,000 asylum-seekers who have beaten a path through Bulgaria this year on a trek to find a safer route to Europe, a journey with many hazards of its own as land borders harden. Caught in their first attempt to reach Bulgaria, Faisal's family landed in jail. Their identity cards were confiscated before they were sent back to Turkey, where they tried again to cross a border that is tightening."

Austria's foreign minister says border fences work (euobserver, link): "Austrian foreign minister Sebastian Kurz warned the "surge [of migrants] into Europe" has become too big, and EU members have a responsibility to protect their borders. Saying that fences do not work "is quite honestly false... The question is, do we do it or not," "

Britain says Cyprus military base will not become migrant route (.ekathimerini.com, link): "A British military base in Cyprus will not become a new route into Britain for migrants, Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said on Friday following the arrival of more than 100 people earlier this week. Although the migrants arrived on what is considered British territory, officials have said an agreement is in place with Cyprus, which would assume responsibility for them."

Slovenia mulls border fence in refugee crisis (The Local.at, link): "Slovenia says it is considering building a border fence to help stem a record influx of migrants and refugees, as thousands more people arrived from Croatia on Friday."

Swedish parties reveal temporary asylum plan (The Local.se, link):": The Swedish government and four opposition parties have agreed to introduce temporary residence permits for a number of refugees arriving in the Nordic country."

Briefing: The EU refugee deal with Turkey (IRIN, link)

Sweden struggles to cope with migrant tide; Orban warns of threat (Reuters, link): "Sweden said on Thursday it expected up to 190,000 migrants this year, putting unprecedented strain on a country famous for welcoming refugees but planning to house many in tents this winter. At the opposite pole of the angry debate on the migration crisis, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban urged European leaders to change their immigration policies and consult voters, or face a threat to the democratic order."

Why Europe's tough migrant trail is still so busy (RTL.lu, link)

EU calls for more cooperation with Sudan on migration (Al Arabiya, link)

EU: Briefing: The EU refugee deal with Turkey (IRIN, link)

EU: Survey: Two out of every three Europeans want migrant crisis tackled at EU level (European Parliament, link)

German daily documents anti-migrant hate speech on Facebook (Yahoo! News, link)

GREECE: Athens Jewish Cemetery Vandalized by Neo-Nazi Group (Greek Reporter, link)

Greece's only refugee camp (Al Jazeera, link): "Eleonas camp in central Athens shelters mostly Afghans whose papers are processed slower than those of Syrians."

Greek Political Opposition Leader Calls for Creation of EU Coast Guard (Greek Reporter, link)

HUNGARY: Parliament authorizes mandatory medical checks for refugees at time of crisis (Politics.hu, link)

Lessons in refugee hospitality from the Horn of Africa (The Conversation, link)

Sweden: Doubling the number of refugees as centres burn (Al Jazeera, link)

Germany arrests suspected anti-refugee plotters (DW, link): "German officials have arrested three far-right extremists and seized explosive material that could be used in attacks on migrants. The authorities say right-wing groups plan to intensify their anti-refugee violence."

Juncker urges EU member states to respect migrant aid pledges (ekathimerini.com, link): "European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday chided EU member states for not respecting their pledges of humanitarian aid to tackle the migrant crisis, saying “urgency” was needed.... A dividing line is emerging between governments that see the crisis primarily as a security issue requiring stronger action to control the EUs borders, stem the flow of migrants, send back those not entitled to asylum and pay other states if necessary to keep them at bay, and those that see it above all as a humanitarian integration challenge."

Greece: Bad weather causes problems for migrants, authorities (ekathimerini.com, link): "A worsening of weather conditions has created additional problems for migrants and refugees trying to get to Greece by sea from neighboring Turkey and for authorities on the islands trying to accommodate them."

Juncker urges EU member states to respect migrant aid pledges (ekathimerini.com, link): "European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday chided EU member states for not respecting their pledges of humanitarian aid to tackle the migrant crisis, saying “urgency” was needed.... A dividing line is emerging between governments that see the crisis primarily as a security issue requiring stronger action to control the EUs borders, stem the flow of migrants, send back those not entitled to asylum and pay other states if necessary to keep them at bay, and those that see it above all as a humanitarian integration challenge."

Greece: Bad weather causes problems for migrants, authorities (ekathimerini.com, link): "A worsening of weather conditions has created additional problems for migrants and refugees trying to get to Greece by sea from neighboring Turkey and for authorities on the islands trying to accommodate them."

Greece: On Lesbos, today's refugees are met by the children of refugees from a century ago (PRI, link): "Constantina Mesisklis and her friends, women in their 80s and 90s, are a fixture on the bench in Skala Sykaminia, the tiny seaside village on the northern coast of Lesbos where 1000s of refugees have been arriving from the nearby Turkish coast every day for months on end. The population of Skala Sykaminia numbers about 150 and all of them are the children, grandchildren or great grandchildren of a another group of refugees — the Greeks who fled Turkey in 1922-23 after what is known in Greece as “The Asia Minor Catastrophe.” Thousands escaped in boats as the Turks routed the Greek army and set fire to Smyrna, today’s Izmir. Eventually a population of 1.5 million Greek Orthodox, Greek language speakers would be expelled from Turkey to Greece; likewise, 500,000 Muslims were forcibly resettled from Greece back to Turkey. Today more than half the population of Lesbos descends from the 1922 refugees."

Tusk and Orbán on collision course with Merkel over refugee crisis (euractiv, link): "EU Council President Donald Tusk and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán indirectly rebuked German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday (22 October), calling arguments over how to accommodate refugees "naïve" as long as Europe fails to stop them."

Member states lag behind on refugee pledges (euobserver, link): "EU member states made a commitment to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy but have made only 854 pledges to date"

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