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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
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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
SPAIN: Amnesty slams treatment of migrants in Spain enclaves (The Local, link):

"Amnesty International on Tuesday denounced conditions for migrants arriving in Spain's overseas territories of Melilla and Ceuta, where they said asylum rights were not always respected.

After interviewing some 50 people in both north African enclaves that neighbour Morocco, the group said migrants who arrived there had at times experienced police abuse, and vulnerable people such as homosexuals or victims of domestic violence were not given adequate protection.

Spain's interior ministry did not comment on the report."

Full report (Spanish only): En tierra de nadie: La situación de las personas refugiadas y migrantes en Ceuta y Melilla (link to pdf)

European Council, 15 December 2016: EU-Turkey deal backed

EU-TURKEY: Fearing consequences, EU leaders show commitment to Turkey deal (Daily Sabah, link): "Despite the EU's heavy anti-Turkey stance and Austria's calls to freeze accession talks with Ankara, leaders in the European Union have expressed their commitment to the migration deal with Turkey while the European Parliament's calls to halt Turkey's negotiations did not find support among the leaders.

Speaking at her arrival to the EU Leaders Summit in Brussels yesterday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that her country stands by the EU-Turkey Agreement that was signed in March and that Germany intends to continue to support Greece with repatriation efforts."

See: on migration (including EU-Turkey), security, other issues: European Council meeting (15 December 2016) – Conclusions (EUCO 34/16, pdf)

Statewatch Briefing: Eurodac: Member States want wider police access to biometric database despite most having never made use of it (pdf):

A European Commission proposal to expand the Eurodac biometric database has provided the perfect opportunity for national interior ministries to demand that police forces be able to obtain asylum-seekers’ and irregular migrants’ data more easily, despite the fact that half of all Member States do “not yet have experience with law enforcement access” to the system, according to an official document obtained by Statewatch. Proposed amendments simplifying and broadening law enforcement access now form part of the Council’s mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on the proposed new Eurodac Regulation.

Statewatch Analysis: The EU’s military mission against Mediterranean migration: what “deterrent effect”? (pdf):

Operation Sophia, the EU's military mission targeting migrant smuggling in the Mediterranean, has a "deterrence effect" that "by its presence alone, enhances security in the Mediterranean," according to an internal report by the Italian naval officer in charge of the deployment. Yet as people continue crossing the central Mediterranean, and increasing numbers of them die whilst trying to do so, the only reasonable question to be asked is: what deterrent effect?

EU agencies and officials accuse NGOs of assisting people smugglers off Libyan coast

According to a report in the Financial Times (link), EU border agency Frontex has accused NGOs of colluding with people smugglers operating in the central Mediterranean, stating in a confidential report that it has logged the: "“First reported case where the criminal networks were smuggling migrants directly on an NGO vessel”.

Similarly, in an internal report (pdf) drafted by the head of Operation Sophia, the EU's military mission against smuggling in the Mediterranean, NGOs are accused of making migrant smugglers' work easier by operating closer to the Libyan shore than the EU's vessels.

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