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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
27-29.8.16
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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
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)

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