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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
An End of Year Letter from Samos (Samos Chronicles, link):

"From what we can see, there is now widespread agreement from the EU Commission downwards, that the conditions in the island hotspots on Samos, Lesbos, Chios and others are deplorable. They are not safe, they are not healthy, there is no adequate provision for vulnerable refugees, the food is inadequate……….. and so on and so on. There is absolutely no need for more reports to be published or inquiries to be launched. The library is full of reports all of which say pretty much the same. Naming and shaming has its part to play in exposing the system’s inhumanities but if the hotspots on the Greek frontier islands are anything to go by, it is a profound error to think that such exposures result in any positive change or action."

European Commission: In June 2016 the EU introduced new "Partnership" Frameworks - largely directed at African states - who are expected to sign up to "return" and readmission deals or suffer "the consequences" by losing trade and aid.

Commission reports on first deliverables under the Partnership Framework on migration with third countries (Press release, pdf):

"Concrete progress has been made under the Partnership Framework with third countries on migration, as presented in the second progress report today by the European Commission. The partnerships between the European Union and its Member States' and with the five priority countries, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal have been deepened and further developed."

Second Progress Report: First Deliverables on the Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on Migration (COM 360, pdf)

Annex 1: High level visits and achievements (pdf)

Annex 2: Progress in priority countries (pdf)

See also: June 2016: Communication on establishing a new Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on Migration (COM(2016) 385 final)

Refugees' lives in the balance (DW, link): "In 1992, six-year-old Denis Bosnic and his family fled Bosnia and sought asylum in the former Czechoslovakia. Today, Bosnic's images capture the lives of refugees around the world. Here he tells some of their stories."

What the Greek Authorities Should do to Prevent Hate Crimes Directed at Migrants - With rising tensions and attacks toward refugees in Greece, what can be done? (HRW, link)

Greece: Migrants Help Rescue 3 People in Drowning Car on Lesvos, 2 Minors Drown (Greek Reporter, link):

"Two teenagers drowned while another three people were rescued by migrants and fishermen, as their car plunged off a quay at the Mytilene Port on Lesvos, early on Monday.

The car swerved and fell off a quay at 3:30 am on Monday, witnesses told state news agency ANA-MPA. The 20-year-old driver and a 20-year-old in the front passenger seat were rescued. However, the driver’s 15-year-old brother and his girlfriend of the same age, both sitting in the back, drowned."

EU to reinforce Frontex presence in Greece, says German report (, link):

"The European Union border control agency Frontex was reinforcing its presence in Greece, a Spiegel Online report said on Tuesday.

According to the report, an increased Frontex presence pointed to the EU preparing the ground for a possible cancellation of a deal signed with Turkey regarding migrants. About 60 Frontex employees were expected to be deployed at the Greek-Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in January and February, said the report. "

Are You Syrious (13.12.16, link)


"Swedish authorities wanted to deport 12 Afghan refugees back to their country of origin. Volunteers and activists tried to block the deportations without much effort. Two of the persons sceduled to be deported last night, got the right to stay, at least temporarily. One of them was is a journalist. Tomorrow on Wednesday the 14.12. he will be transfered to Malmö to a “förvar”. He says that he doesn’t know what is going to happen now but is more than happy to stay. Anything is better than Afghanistan, he says. It was the activists work that made this possible. They cross-checked papers and went to the migration court (migrationsdomstolen) to postpone the decisions. This is reported by Uppsala Nya Tidning."


"Tonight 55 refugees and one minor slept in the rough streets of Como while the temperature was at 3°C.

A skipper has been found guilty of causing the wreckage of a refugee boat in which 700 migrants drowned and only 28 survived in April 2015. He was sentenced to 18 years in jail. The man was also convicted of manslaughter and human trafficking. A Syrian was handed a five-years sentence. Another man, accused of being a crew member, also convicted by the court and given five years in jail.

Melting Pot Europa reports, that a makeshift camp, called “Gran Ghetto” in Rignano Garganico is being rebuild by residents and activists. A lot of people lost their shelter after a fire last week. Around 800 people live there without electricity or drinkable water."

Greece: Forty-eight migrants arrive on Lesvos as weather deteriorates (, link):

"Among deteriorating weather conditions, a total of 48 migrants and refugees arrived at the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos Tuesday, authorities said.

No arrivals were recorded on the other islands, authorities said. The number of migrants and refugees stranded on Greece's islands was Tuesday estimated at 11,299."

Finland wants EU deals with Iraq and others on migrants (, link):

"Finland said on Wednesday it would push the European Union to step up efforts to curb illegal migration by negotiating agreements with Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.

European leaders are due at a summit on Thursday to discuss results from their recent migration compacts with five African countries - Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Senegal and Ethiopia. In exchange for financial support, the EU requires those countries to impose tighter border controls and to take back illegal migrants."

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