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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
21.4.16
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Keep in touch: Statewatch Observatory: Refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: Daily news (updated through the day), commentaries and official documents
EU: Legal Analysis:
Migrants in Greece are denied the rights to international protection and family unity. The visit to the camps in Idomeni and government-run camps, and a legal analysis of the situation we observed. (pdf) prepared by ASGI, Italy

"A delegation of eight participants in the course of the “Advanced training school for legal operators specialised in international protection” organised by ASGI in Rome alongside legal operators from the ADL Zavidovici association, the K-Pax cooperative, the Idea Prisma 82 cooperative and the Alternata cooperative travelled to Greece within the framework of the #overthefortress caravan organised by Melting Pot and the Ambasciata dei Diritti delle Marche to observe the legal conditions of migrants in the camp in Idomeni and the government-run camps in the vicinity. The monitoring was also carried out with the help of mediators from the caravan.
On 26 and 27 March, we visited the Idomeni camp and interviewed the foreign citizens who were there, as well as some international organisations."

Translation by Statewatch. The original version (in Italian) of the report "Idomeni, un'analisi giuridica sui diritti negati ai migranti" is available on the ASGI website

Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: Daniel Mitov: ‘Migration is not a threat to our democracies, but intolerance and hatred are (Press release, link): "

“Governments and political leaders should refrain from using xenophobic rhetoric linking migrants to social problems or security risks, thereby making the integration of the few migrants staying in the country even more problematic”, said Daniel Mitov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, addressing the Assembly today.

“Migration is not a threat to our democracies, but intolerance and hatred do represent such a threat”, he added, highlighting the responsibility of the international community to improve the difficult humanitarian situation and to protect migrants’ human rights."

European Parliament Briefing: Regulation 604/2013 (Dublin Regulation) and asylum procedures in Europe (pdf)

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits “hotspots” in Greece (link)

"Strasbourg, 20.04.2016 - 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 13 to 18 April 2016.

The purpose of the visit was to examine the situation of foreign nationals deprived of their liberty in the recently established “Reception and Identification Centres” (so-called “hotspots”). Particular attention was paid to the treatment, conditions, regime, health-care services and legal safeguards offered to them. To this end, the delegation visited the Moria “hotspot” on Lesvos and the VIAL “hotspot” on Chios and spoke in private with foreign nationals (including families, unaccompanied children and other vulnerable groups) held in both centres. It also visited Mytilini police station on Lesvos and Chios police station and the coast guard detention facility on Chios."

UNHCR reports: 196 refugees arrived in Lesvos yesterday

"In Greece, 134 people arrived on average to the islands in April. There are currently 46,333 people located on the mainland and 7,645 on the islands. Of those on the islands, 5,844 have expressed intention to apply for asylum as of the 18 April. Of the 2,671 relocation requests, 860 transfers took place so far. A total of 3,288 pledges have been made available by EU Member States as of 19 April."  The latter figure of 3,288 is down 949 on the number of pledges as 1 April 2016.

On Tuesday, a UNHCR team interviewed survivors of what could be one of the worst tragedies involving refugees and migrants in the last 12 months. If confirmed, as
many as 500 people may have lost their lives when a large ship went down in the Mediterranean Sea at an unknown location between Libya and Italy. The 41 survivors (37 men, three women and a three-year-old child) were rescued by a merchant ship and taken to Kalamata, in the Peloponnese peninsula of Greece on 16 April. Those rescued include 23 Somalis, 11 Ethiopians, 6 Egyptians and a Sudanese."

Mediterranean migrant disaster gets muted response (euobserver, link):

"Up to 500 are feared to have drowned off the Libyan coast while trying to cross to Europe, the UN’s refugee agency said on Wednesday (20 April), but a muted response to the tragedy suggests empathy is dwindling across the continent.

UNHCR said the 41 survivors, 37 men, three women and a three-year-old child were rescued by merchant ships and taken to Kalamata, Greece on 16 April. The survivors included Somalis, Ethiopians, Egyptians and Sudanese."

Council of Europe condemns EU's refugee deal with Turkey (Guardian, link):

"Human rights body says agreement at worst breaks international law and progress on integrating refugees is ‘shamefully slow’...

The EU-Turkey agreement “at best strains and at worst exceeds the limits of what is permissible under European and international law”, states the report by the Dutch parliamentarian Tineke Strik. “Even on paper, it raises many serious questions of compatibility with basic norms on refugees’ and migrants’ rights. It has so far given every indication of being even more problematic in practice.”" [emphasis added]

And see Report: The situation of refugees and migrants under the EU-Turkey Agreement of 18 March 2016 (pdf): Report: Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons Rapporteur: Ms Tineke STRIK, Netherlands, Socialist Group and Press release (link)

News (21.4.16)

EU-Turkey refugee pact leads to fatal Libya crossings (New Europe, link): "As reported by Bloomberg, however, the EU-Turkey deal is forcing people smugglers to switch routes. This is based on the United Nations report that 500 migrants travelling between Libya and Italy may have drowned last week."

Migrant camp near Athens poses public health risk, say five mayors (ekathimerini.com, link): "Five mayors of Athens's coastal suburbs warned Wednesday of the "enormous" health risks posed by a nearby camp housing over 4,000 migrants and refugees. "The conditions are out of control and present enormous risks to the public health," the mayors complained in a letter to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, in reference to the camp at Elliniko, the site of Athens's old airport. A total of 4,153 people, including many families, have been held there for the last month in miserable conditions."

Ankara denies entry to German journalist (euractiv, link):

"Turkish authorities at Istanbul airport denied entry yesterday (20 April) to a German public television journalist who arrived from Cairo and planned to travel to the Turkey-Syria border, the ARD broadcaster said.

ARD journalist Volker Schwenck announced his detention on Twitter and posted a picture of an entry ban letter given to him by authorities with the headline in Turkish and English: “Inadmissible Passenger Notification Report.”"

Burying drowned migrants is part of a broader Greek problem (Ecomonist, link)

EU states grow wary as Turkey presses for action on visas pledge (FT, link)

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