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

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"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."

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