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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
5.8.16
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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
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."

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