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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
2.2.16
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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
Statewatch Analysis: ECtHR/Italy: Khlaifa judgment reveals illegal detention and collective expulsion practices in Italy’s treatment of Tunisians in 2011: Commission’s plans for readmission agreements and summary returns contravene the ECHR (pdf) by Yasha Maccanico:

This judgment outlaws much of what is being planned and implemented in the context of the EU's migration plans and especially the so-called "hotspot" approach.

The court's decision that the deportation of Tunisians amounted to a violation of Art. 4 of the 4th protocol to the ECHR and has important repercussions on the Commission's plans because readmission agreements circumvent the need for individual examination of the positions of people from certain nationalities.

What the judgment has described as a "collective refoulement" lacking the necessary safeguards is the process which is being introduced in hotspots whereby nationality appears to be the key management principle for dealing with migrants.

Further, the idea appears to be that if an agreement is in place with a non-EU state there is no need for further formalities concerning nationals of a given country.

The recent deal between Italy and Gambia mentioned in the Italian hotspots Progress report is an example of this, and it states that operative protocols are preferable to either treaties or readmission agreements in relation to the principle of "effectiveness", which shows that there is increasing intolerance of any formal limits or regulatory frameworks to mass deportations.

PETITION: CRIMINALISING NGOs and volunteers: Petitioning Council of the European Union - Scrap plans to criminalise refugee rescue operations (change.org, link) based on: Statewatch News story: Refugee crisis: Council proposals on migrant smuggling would criminalise humanitarian assistance by civil society, local people and volunteers - Greece: NGOs and volunteers have to "register" with the police and be vetted

News (2.2.16)

Europe’s refugee story has hardly begun by Paul Mason (Guardian, link) "With a million new refugees expected in Europe this year, Greece faces a diplomatic onslaught and an existential crisis... roblems are sideshows compared with the big, existential issues that a second summer of uncontrolled migration into Greece would bring.... the next million refugees could only be stopped by a policy of pushback that would break all humanitarian law."

Greece: Nine migrants, including two babies, drown en route to Greece (ekathimerini.com, link): "The bodies of nine people, including two babies, were found drowned off the coast of western Turkey on Tuesday, after a boat carrying refugees and migrants to Greece partly capsized, the Turkish coast guard said in a statement."

Syria fund to help keep refugees in Macedonia and Serbia (euractiv, link): "The Syria trust fund, used to help Syrian refugees and overstretched host communities in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq, will also be used to help keep in place the migrants who made it to Macedonia and Serbia, an EU official said on Monday (1 February)."

German AfD party reviled over 'shoot refugees' comments (euobserver, link): "German anti-immigrant and eurosceptic party Alternative for Germany (AfD) has found itself cornered over comments on shooting refugees who try to cross the border illegally."

Germany set to house refugees in hotels long-term (euractiv, link): "Due to a lack of space, Berlin is looking at alternative means of housing refugees, with German media reporting that Angela Merkel’s government is negotiating a multi-year contract worth some €600 million with a hotel chain."

Safe countries of origin? (DW, link): "Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia will soon be declared as safe countries of origin. As a consequence, people from those countries will basically have no right to asylum in Germany anymore – a controversial decision."

Finnish PM drops promise to let refugees use his home (Guardian, link): "Juha Sipila, who vowed in September to open his second home to needy refugees, cites ‘heavy publicity’ and security concerns for reversal"

Austria introduces fast-track repatriation for immigrants (New Europe, link): "Austria’s Interior Minister, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, announced on Saturday a plan for the deportation of 50,000 asylum seekers over three years, bringing down the refugees in the country to 37,500, down from 90,000 in 2015,"

EU police issue warning on lost child refugees (euobserver, liknk): "More than 10,000 child refugees are missing in the EU, with authorities fearing criminal gangs may be exploiting a large number for sex work and slave labour. The EU's police agency Europol on Sunday (31 January) told British newspaper The Observer that thousands vanished after having been registered with state authorities."

Swedish police halt planned anti-migrant rampage (euobserver, link): "Sweden's uneasiness with the migrant crisis reached a new level over the weekend after dozens of men were stopped by the police Friday night (29 January) in Stockholm as they planned to attack young migrants.About 100 men dressed in black gathered on Sergels Torg, a square near the capital's main train station, and handed out leaflets inciting people to attack migrants."

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