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Landmark Judgment: Khlaifia and Others v. Italy: European Court of Human Rights (ECHR):
Holding of irregular migrants on Lampedusa and on ships in Palermo harbour (Press release, pdf):

"In today’s Grand Chamber judgment1 in the case of Khlaifia and Others v. Italy (application no. 16483/12) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights;
a violation of Article 5 § 2 (right to be informed promptly of the reasons for deprivation of liberty) of the Convention;
a violation of Article 5 § 4 (right to a speedy decision on the lawfulness of detention);
no violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) as regards the conditions in the Lampedusa reception centre);
no violation of Article 3 as regards the conditions on the ships in Palermo harbour; and
by sixteen votes to one, that there had been no violation of Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 to the Convention (prohibition of collective expulsion of aliens);
unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) taken together with Article 3;
by sixteen votes to one, that there had been no violation of Article 13 taken together with Article 4 of Protocol No. 4.

The case concerns the holding, in a reception centre on the island of Lampedusa then on ships in Palermo harbour (Sicily), of irregular migrants who arrived in Italy in 2011 following the “Arab Spring” events in their country, and their subsequent removal to Tunisia."

See: Full-text of judgment (pdf)

And see: Statewatch Analysis: ECtHR/Italy: Khlaifa judgment reveals illegal detention and collective expulsion practices in Italy’s treatment of Tunisians in 2011 (pdf) by Yasha Maccanico.

Are You Syrious (19.12.16, link)


"Frontex found 9 people on board a boat that reached the north coast of Lesvos this morning. Locals report that everyone is safe. 87 people were officially registered on Lesvos today. 26,000 people have been registered on the Greek islands since the EU-Turkey deal was signed."

Italy: Como demands a welcome

"Volunteers from the Italian organization Como senza frontiere and the local branch of Caritas have sent an open letter to the mayor demanding a change in the way new arrivals are treated. The letter explains that the number of people denied access to the Via Regina Teodolinda centre has been growing, even when free places are available. As a direct consequence, there are now more than 100 people sleeping rough on the streets and being held by police."

Greece: Breathing troubles due to ‘winterisation’ solutions

"The NGOs responsible for site management at Oraiokastro were “given a directive” by the Ministry that they should implement a plan for ‘winterisation.’ Refugees living in the camp are complaining about the poor solution that has been imposed. Many people are now unable to breathe properly due to the insulation material that has been installed on top of the tents in the cold, dark halls. NGO representatives claim that a lack of funds is preventing them from making good on their earlier promise to prepare the place for winter. NRC stated they can “carry out maintenance and repairs only.”"

Greece: Souda camp: An insight (News That Moves, link):

"News That Moves visited the Greek island of Chios recently to see the living conditions of the migrants and refugees hosted there.

The official data from Greek government show that almost 4,000 people are currently residing in official structures and other facilities on the island. One of them is the ‘open camp’ of Souda, with approximately 1,500 people living there.

Residents in Souda are hosted in prefab plastic shelters, housing mostly families or groups of single men. Prefab plastic shelters have a slightly raised floor but there is no insulation on hard plastic sheet walls. Others are hosted in large tents, even in winter."

Baker Arvanitakis receives EESC Prize for helping refugees & migrants on Kos (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Dionysis Arvanitakis, a 77-year-old baker from the island of Kos, is the second winner of the Civil Society Prize with which the EESC rewards the most outstanding examples of solidarity with migrants.

Dionysis Arvanitakis is a 77-year-old Greek baker who at the height of the refugee crisis was baking over 100 kg of bread for the desperate refugees who landed on the island of Kos, just off the coast of Turkey."

Migrants spooked by rumors of mass returns to Turkey (, link): "

"As the living conditions of migrants at camps on the eastern Aegean islands continue deteriorate due to overcrowding and cold weather, residents at hot spots on Chios and Kos were clamoring for answers on Monday after a rumor spread that there are plans afoot for mass returns to Turkey.

However, citing the European Union, the Citizens’ Protection Ministry said on Monday that migrants will not be leaving the islands even if conditions do become more difficult in order to discourage further migrants from making the perilous sea journey from Turkey....

According to the latest data from the European Statistical Agency (Eurostat), in the third quarter of 2016, a total of 358,310 refugees submitted asylum requests to EU countries. Of these, 25 percent (87,915) were from Syria, 17 percent (62,070) from Afghanistan, 10 percent (36,430) from Iraq and 27 percent from other countries. Greece has so far received 12,425 asylum requests."

Eric Kempson (north Lesvos, link)

"A busy morning again.
Boat intercepted by Frontex close to Eftarlou, 32 people taken on the Frontex boat to skala. Despite the cold everyone was in good spirits, 3 medical cases. Fantastic team work again!! Well done to all the amazing teams!"

5 die as refugee boat sinks off Turkish coast - 8 people were rescued when the boat sank near Maden Island. (MEM, link):

"Speaking to the Anadolu Agency, Namik Kemal Nazli, the governor of the Ayvalik district of Balikesir province in western Turkey, said eight people were rescued when the boat sank near Maden Island. Thirteen people were thought to be on the vessel. “Four children and a woman died and eight others were rescued. There is a three-year-old child among the rescued,” he said. He added that the child was in a critical condition at Ayvalik State Hospital."

European Parliament: ACP-EU :"Zero immigration has never existed and never will" (Press release, pdf):

Louis Michel (ALDE, BE), EU Co-President of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) said at the opening of its 32nd session, in Nairobi (Kenya) on Monday:

"We must manage migration flows in a human way, in line with our values. Fortress Europe is not working", said Louis Michel. "The history of humanity is the history of migrations. Zero immigration has never existed and never will (…) because no coercive, repressive or security measure will ever be able to prevent a human being from trying his luck wherever he thinks he will be able to give his destiny the basic dignity to which any human being has a right.”

No quotas in 'compromise' Swiss immigration bill (BBC News, link):

"Swiss MPs have backed a bill giving jobseekers already in the country priority over applicants from EU member states in times of high unemployment.

It follows a referendum in 2014 in which voters narrowly backed introducing quotas on workers from EU countries.

The measure makes no mention of quotas but sets out guidelines for employers. The new law was a compromise which sought not to antagonise the EU, says the BBC's Imogen Foulkes in Geneva.

Although Switzerland is not a member of the EU, it enjoys access to the free trade area. "

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