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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
31,5.16
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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
Turkey starts building automatic shooting gun towers at Syrian border (yenisafak.com, link)

"As a part of measures to increase security on its border with Syria, Turkey begins building smart military towers that can warn and fire automatically.. Following the recent cross-border rocket attacks from the Daesh-held areas in northern Syria that killed dozens of civilians in Turkish border city of Kilis, Turkish security authority has hastened building security measures along the border line.

Turkish Defense Ministry said the establishment of a smart tower every 300 meters along the border with Syria to prevent illegal crossing was going at full speed.

Turkey has already sealed hundreds of kilometers of the border, either with concrete blocks or wire fencing. In the border city of Kilis, the construction of a concrete wall is nearly complete as the ministry started to build smart watch towers at 300-meter intervals.

The towers will be integrated with a computerized system that would feature a 3-language alarm system and automated firing systems."

EU Border Guard: European Parliament: Civil Liberties Committee backs new European Border and Coast Guard (Press release, pdf):

"Plans to set up an integrated EU border management system, with a flagship European Border and Coast Guard agency, bringing together Frontex and national border management authorities, were backed by the Civil Liberties Committee on Monday. They would enable extra border guard teams to be rapidly deployed to EU countries whose external borders are under pressure. National authorities would still manage their borders on a day-to-day basis, but could seek help from the new agency in a crisis. (....)

Specifically, they amended the original Commission proposal so that it is up to member states (in the Council) to decide on the intervention, by qualified majority, and not the Commission.

The draft regulation was approved by 40 votes to 10, with 5 abstentions."

Asylum- A Right Denied: NO to the EU’s lists of ‘safe countries’! (Euromed Rights, link):

"To label a country as a “safe country of origin” suggests that there is no general risk of persecution and that the state of law is respected.

A “safe” country can also be categorised as a “safe third country” where sylum-seekers who have transited through the said country may be returned there, because their asylum procedures is in line with international and European refugee law standards.

This notion of safety as an examination tool can therefore have dire consequences on asylum-seekers’ rights. That is why we at EuroMed Rights, the AEDH and the FIDH are fiercely opposed to the use of the notion of « safety""

Are you Syrious (30.5.16, link)

Millions more coming?—?deal with it, UN chief tells EU

"As the new number of arrivals from Libya show, it is more than obvious that we are to expect an even bigger influx through this dangerous route. Yesterday, Michael Moller, who heads the Geneva office of the UN, said that Europe should deal with the fact that millions are coming and will not be stopped since they are leaving their countries because they have no choice. Moller accused EU officials with “complacency and lack of leadership” who left Europe unprepared for the mass influx of migrants. “What we have been seeing is one of the biggest human migrations in history,” Moller, a Dane, said in an interview. “And it’s just going to accelerate.”"

97 new arrivals to Greece today

"Number of people stuck in Greece remains pretty much the same with 52, 871 people living in camps all around the country. There were 97 new arrivals today with 50 on Lesvos and 47 on Samos."

Hostility towards new arrivals by Maltesian Frontex. Volunteer report

"Platanos refugee solidarity team from Lesvos is reporting on new arrivals being held floating in the sea by Frontex. Here is their report in full: Last night we were informed of a boat approaching skala accompanied by Frontex and Proactiva. The dinghy carrying around 50 people was stopped by the maltesian frontex 200 m from the harbour. For more than 45 minutes they were kept drifting on the water, away from volunteer help and medical assistance, whilst ground frontex units arrived to the harbour to detain them. Despite the fact that many people were wet and travelling with young children, police deprived them of any form of support, even denying access to the UNHCR officer present. The maltesian frontex were notably hostile and aggressive towards the refugees, they put them in line and made them walk uphill 300 m to the coastguard bus, whist keeping all the volunteers at distance."

ITALY: Number of refugees in Italy on the rise - government urging for distribution of responsibility

"Due to large numbers of refugees arriving in Italy, both with a huge influx last week and existing numbers, an urgent message spread from the Italian government tries to manage the huge amount of migrants arrived in Italy during the last week. The government urges every province to receive and host 70 migrants each, so to avoid further burden upon regions and municipalities. This fair distribution involved also Friuli Venezia Giulia, a special-status region usually excluded from the migrants’ quotes. Italy is slowly filling up all of its capacities and is going to need more soon."

Electra (link) notes: "In the first 4 months of 2016, Greece declares it has deported 1.143 personsto Morocco, 585 persons to Pakistan, 249 persons to Iraq, 249 to Iran, 69 to Turkey, 198 to Algeria, 190 to Georgia, 442 to "other"... It is interesting to note that Greece continues deporting EU citizens too (65 to Bulgaria, in only 4 months...)"

Greece: Report by Pro Asyl: Vulnerable lives on hold: Refuges are hardly surviving the mass camps in the Athens region (pdf):

"A very high percentage of them are estimated to be admissible for family reunification or relocation.All these people are barely surviving the inhumane and devastating conditions in the reception centres, while at the same time the dirty deal agreed by Turkey and Europe turned the hot spots on the islands of the Aegean into detention - and deportation centres, keeping out those who were planning to follow."

From refugees to prisoners (Open Democracy, link):

"New data show that large swathes of the European public want their governments to show more solidarity with refugees, but instead the EU-Turkey deal has paved the way to mass detention...

Walls, fences and camps do not offer protection. They create vulnerability. All EU states and more importantly their populations know that on the other side of the wall are men, women, and children who crave safety. Now these people face an uncertain future in closed detention centres. In all likelihood they will eventually be returned to the places from which they fled. That’s how refugees become prisoners. We must resist this turn and press for alternatives to detention which respect the rights of refugees and migrants."

Italy plans a cemetery for refugees drowned at sea (aljazeera.com, link):

"A field beside a former fascist concentration camp could soon become the final resting place for hundreds of refugees.

Few refugees imagine ending up in a field in the toe of Italy's boot. But this rural slope between Tarsia, a hilltop town in the Calabria region, and the remains of the country's largest fascist concentration camp, may soon become the final resting place for those who lose their lives en route to Italian shores.

"Dedicating a part of our territory to the burial of these victims is simply an act of great humanity," says the town's mayor, Roberto Amerusa, who is spearheading a campaign to build the first cemetery for victims of the Mediterranean refugee crisis."

Council of Europe: Secretary General’s Special Representative on migration and refugees visits Turkey (link):

"The Secretary General’s Special Representative on migration and refugees, Ambassador Tomáš Bocek, is conducting a fact-finding mission to Turkey from 30 May to 4 June 2016 to assess the situation of refugees and migrants and identify areas where the Council of Europe could be of concrete assistance to Turkey, particularly in respect of children and unaccompanied minors."

News (31.5.16)

Turkey: No future for refugees (euractiv, link): "Despite official claims, Turkey cannot be considered a safe country – neither for migrants nor for its own citizens, writes Hakan Ataman..To sum up, there are no adequate national structures for the provision of services to refugees in Turkey. Local social programs and community-based organizations lack the capacity to meet refugees’ needs, while the support provided by United Nations agencies, other development and humanitarian partners and the private sector is also limited."

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