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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
19.5.16
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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
How real is the new irregular migration threat from Libya and what do the figures exactly say? (New Europe link):

"Recent reports and data available paint a mixed, if not confusing picture.

According to a leaked document by the Dutch Presidency of the EU to the Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum of 3 May, during the first four months of 2016 there have been 27,810 arrivals from Libya, compared with approximately 26,000 in both 2014 and 2015 in the same period. In April 2016, there have been 9,116 arrivals, compared with 15,679 in April 2015 and 16,061 in April 2014."

Greeks rally to help as EU-Turkey deal leaves migrants locked up in limbo (The Conversation, link):

"After visiting refugee settlements in Lesbos and Piraeus and speaking to people helping the refugees, it is clear to me that the EU and Greek government are failing to provide even basic necessities to the thousands of people who have been used to deter further arrivals from Turkey.

The young refugees in Moria have been protesting against being imprisoned in a former military garrison for almost two months now, living in poor conditions but facing uncertainty about their future. There are 3,000 people living in facilities designed to accommodate a third of that number. I witnessed people fighting for food in queues."

Greece: Refugee “Hotspots” Unsafe, Unsanitary (HRW, link):

"(Athens) – Police are failing to protect people during frequent incidents of violence in closed centers on the Greek islands known as “hotspots,” Human Rights Watch said today. The centers were established for the reception, identification, and processing of asylum seekers and migrants. None of the three centers Human Rights Watch visited on Samos, Lesbos, and Chios in mid-May 2016, separate single women from unrelated adult men, and all three are unsanitary and severely overcrowded.

“In Europe’s version of refugee camps, women and children who fled war face daily violence and live in fear,” said Bill Frelick, refugee rights director at Human Rights Watch. “Lack of police protection, overcrowding, and unsanitary conditions create an atmosphere of chaos and insecurity in Greece’s razor wire-fenced island camps.”"

UNHCR: Daily report (18.5.16): 190,647 arrivals in the EU this year: 155,837 in Greece, 33,907 in Italy. 1,361 deaths/missing and:

"On 10 May, the Hungarian Parliament approved amendment package submitted by the Ministry of Interior last February. The legislative amendments will enter into force as of 1 June 2016. The amendments will, inter alia, terminate measures aiming to facilitate integration of beneficiaries, introduce mandatory and automatic revision of refugee status at least every three years; reduce the maximum period of stay in open reception centres after recognition from sixty to thirty days, and reduce the eligibility period for free of charge access to basic health care services following recognition from one year to six months."

"In Hungary, between 9 and 15 May, 255 people were admitted into the transit zones (122 in Röszke and 133 in Tompa). Further limits have been placed on the number of asylum-seekers admitted in each transit zone, reducing it from 30 people per day to 15 due to new procedures at the border including the activation of EURODAC checks, comprehensive interviews and national security screening conducted by the Constitution Protection Office (CPO). This has prolonged the waiting time for some 300 people awaiting admission without shelter, sanitation and hygiene facilities, exposed to protection and health risks. As of the beginning of May, for people previously registered though the EURODAC system the asylum procedure at the border is suspended until the European Union Member State responsible to process the asylum application claim is determined, as according to Dublin III regulation.

Europe helped Greece in its migration hour of need. Now Italy needs help (Politico, link):

"Record numbers of migrants are likely to arrive on Lampedusa. The EU can’t leave Rome to deal with problem on its own....

The Turkish model is not much help. Turkey is a NATO member and an EU candidate. In the best case scenario in Libya’s stabilization process it will take years for the internationally backed Fayez al-Sarraj government to be in control of its territory and to re-establish a functioning state to which migrants could be “returned.” The prospect of any immigration accord, let alone of a Turkish-like trade-off, with Libya is a medium-long term prospect at best.".

Turkey summons EU ambassador over refugee deal comment( (euractiv, link):

"Turkey summoned the top European Union envoy in the country on Tuesday (17 May) to complain about comments he made last week on the refugee deal between Ankara and the EU, Turkish foreign ministry sources said yesterday (18 May).....

But progress halted when Brussels insisted that Ankara must also reform its tough anti-terror laws for another part of the deal – further talks on EU membership for Turkey – to resume. Turkey said that was out of the question."

NATO summit to mull presence in central Mediterranean after Aegean ‘success’ (ekathimerini.com, link):

"The case for possible NATO cooperation with the European Union’s border managing agency Frontex to detect and stop human trafficking in the central Mediterranean will be discussed, among other pressing issues, at Thursday’s NATO summit of foreign ministers in Brussels."

News (19.5.16):

EU resettled fewer than 200 Syrians under Turkey deal (euobserver, link): "Only 177 Syrians have been resettled in EU states under a March deal with Turkey to stem the flow of people seeking international protection in Greece, according to figures presented on Wednesday (18 May) by the EU commission."

NGO workers denounce Italian hotspot system (DW, link): "Humanitarian groups are questioning Italy's ability to handle minors and victims of torture, as irregular migration from North African continues. Diego Cupolo reports from Pozzallo, Sicily."

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