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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
22.12.16
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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
Locking down Africa (IRR News, link) by Frances Webber:

"In the second part of her examination of EU deals with third countries to stop migration, Frances Webber examines the closure of Africa’s borders against migration, demanded by the EU as the price for development, trade and aid."

See also Part 1: Europe can no longer pretend to respect human rights (link)

EU-GREECE: NGO letter to Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, President European Commission and Mr. Ioannis Mouzalas, Minister of Migration Policy, Greece: Letter to Commission: Joint Action Plan on EU-Turkey Statement and resumption of Dublin transfers to Greece (pdf). Signed by ECRE, Greek Council for Refugees, AITIMA and Solidarity Now. Includes Annex on: Observations and concerns on the Joint Action Plan on the implementation of certain aspects of the EU-Turkey Statement and the Recommendation on the resumption of returns to Greece under the Dublin III Regulation:

"In its fourth report on the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement, published on 8 December 2016, the European Commission has suggested a series of measures aiming at increasing the number of returns from Greece under this highly controversial and contested arrangement.

The undersigning organisations are particularly alarmed by the suggestions made in the Joint Action Plan elaborated by the EU Coordinator together with the Greek authorities on the implementation of certain aspects of the EU-Turkey Statement.

We believe that many of the proposed measures will result in depriving asylum seekers and migrants arriving on the islands from essential procedural safeguards to protect them from refoulement, from enjoying the right to family life and the right to asylum under Article 18 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and eventually undermine the rule of law."

Thousands of refugees left in cold, as UN and EU accused of mismanagement - United Nations refugee agency and EU’s Echo aid department accused of failing to properly ‘winterise’ camps (Guardian, link):

"The UN refugee agency and the EU’s aid department have been accused by other aid groups of mismanaging a multimillion-pound fund earmarked for the most vulnerable refugees in Europe, leaving thousands sleeping in freezing conditions in Greece.....

The EU aid department, known as Echo, has given UNHCR more than €14m since April to help prepare roughly 50 refugee camps for the winter in Greece, where an estimated 50,000 mainly Syrian refugees have been stranded since the adoption of new European migration policies in March. A further €24m has been given to UNHCR for other projects.

Both organisations stand accused by other aid groups of squandering this money, after failing to properly “winterise” or evacuate dozens of camps before snow fell in Greece earlier in December."

Greece: Controversy surrounds ‘racist’ driver of European official on Chios (ekathimerini.com, link): "A controversy has emerged on the eastern Aegean island of Chios in the wake of claims that a man hired as a driver for a European Commission official for migration is linked to racist attacks."

and see: Chios: Far-right extremist works as driver to EU “Commissioner” for Refugees (Keep Talking Greece, link)

Are You Syrious (21.12.16, link)

Greece: Protection of women’s health and rights remains an issue

A new report on the situation of refugee women in Greece says “inadequate protection and promotion of women’s health, safety, and rights has been a concerning feature of the crisis” and mentions gender-based violence, access to sexual and reproductive health services as well as women’s participation and empowerment in local communities as the most pressing issues..."

101 refugees arrive in Greece

"101 refugees arrived in Greece in the past 24 hours until 7:30AM according to official numbers, including 81 on Lesvos."

Bulgaria: 1,647 refugees have left Bulgarian refugee camps in November and close to 600 people left in the two first weeks of December, according to BalkanEu

"In recent weeks, the situation has deteriorated for refugees in Bulgaria, with police storming the Harmanli camp after riots, severely beating men and teenage boys. Bordermonitoring Bulgaria says all closed and open centres are still overcrowded, while the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee also reports on serious human rights violations by police as well as on pushbacks to Turkey."

Italy: 7 bodies recovered in the Mediterranean

"France 24 says seven bodies were recovered from or around stricken migrants boats in the Mediterranean on Wednesday, while 300 people were saved during rescue efforts for three rubber dinghies and a small wooden boat."

Report: Lack of EU coordination puts lone migrant children at serious risk (euractiv, link):

"Children who flee to Europe from war-torn regions without their parents have no clear way of escaping abusive or exploitative adults as there are no unified policies in place to protect them, a European Union agency said yesterday (21 December).

Conflicts and poverty in the Middle East and Africa has forced some 1.4 million people to head to Europe, fuelling the region’s largest migrant crisis since World War Two. According to the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF, nearly one in 200 children in the world is a refugee."

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