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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
27.10.16
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ITALY-SUDAN "COLLECTIVE" DEPORTATIONS: Letter from 25 MEPs to Italy (pdf):

"We are contacting you with reference to the forced return of 40 Sudanese asylum-seekers, which took place on the 24th of August 2016. They were arrested in and around Ventimiglia and then brought to the airport of Torino-Caselle where they were boarded on a charter flight to Khartoum.

This collective expulsion, whose legitimacy has been criticised by several NGOs and Members of the Italian Parliament, revealed the existence of a Memorandum of Understanding with Sudan, signed on the 3rd of August 2016 in Rome by the Head of the Italian State Police...

This agreement, which was kept secret for long time and has never been discusses or ratified by the Italian Parliament, provides for collaboration between the two Countries in the fight against crime and in particular the management of migratory effects and borders."

Turkey calls for end to NATO's migrant mission in Aegean (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Turkey is seeking an end to NATO’s counter-migration mission in the Aegean Sea, telling the US-led alliance that the sharp drop in refugees trying to get to Greece means there is no longer a need for warships to patrol its coast.

Turkey’s Defense Minister Fikri Isik told his NATO colleagues at a dinner on Wednesday that Ankara no longer saw a need for the mission to continue beyond the end of December, according to two people briefed on the exchanges."

NGOs censure EU countries for spending foreign aid on asylum costs (euractiv, link):

"European NGOs have rounded on EU governments over the growing use of foreign aid budgets to meet refugee costs at home, claiming that the strategy artificially inflates official figures for development assistance despite money never reaching the poor countries for which it was intended.

Germany was among the states criticised by Concord, a confederation of European NGOs, for including refugee costs as part of official development assistance (ODA), a “trick” that the organisation’s Aidwatch report said increased the country’s aid spending to 0.56% of gross national income."

See: Concord Aidwatch report 2016 (pdf)

  Human Rights Watch report: “Why Are You Keeping Me Here?” Unaccompanied Children Detained in Greece (link)

European External Action Service: EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia starts training of Libyan Navy Coast Guard and Libyan Navy (link)

How to monitor the EU's new border security strategy (euobserver, link):

"The European Council of 20-21 October has confirmed the EU’s undaunted resolve to outsource parts of its immigration control policy to third countries. The trend started initially with the EU-Turkey migration agreement earlier this year, and gained considerable momentum with the recent adoption of the Migration Partnership Framework.

The Framework entails the negotiation of several "migration compacts" with key countries of origin and transit (initially Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Mali and Ethiopia), backed by significant financial and technical assistance packages.

The aim is to help these countries prevent the illegal migration of their nationals and transit migrants toward the European Union, as well as to increase cooperation on the readmission of irregular migrants already based in the EU.

The outsourcing of key elements of the EU’s border security policy to third countries has generated considerable criticism from several NGOs and migration policy experts. "

Lesvos, Greece: The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is dismantling the Apanemo site - locally known as "Windy Ridge" - on the North East coast - whose construction and location was highly contentious.

UNHCR say: "173 persons of concern arrived last week (12-18 October) on Lesvos
Arrivals from 1-18 October totaled 303 persons of concern: 242 persons of concern arrived on the North (80%) and 61 persons of concern arrived on the South (20%)
A total of 94,844 persons of concern have arrived on Lesvos since January 2016
146 persons of concern departed from Lesvos to the mainland (12-18 October)
Arrivals in Lesvos in the last week constitute 57% of arrivals in Greece

Residual Population (as provided by the Hellenic Police): Moria: 4,321 persons of concern and Kara Tepe 979 persons of concern."

MIGREUROP: A Europe united against refugees (link):

" the promotion of a world of camps and walls is not just the project of the Hungarian leader. It is also the dominant feature of migration policy pursued by the EU and its member states for 20 years, and the consequences are now apparent."

And in French (link)

And see: Map of camps 2016 (French, pdf), English (pdf link) and Arabic (pdf, link)

Italian navy officers investigated over drowning of 300 asylum seekers in Maltese waters (Malta Today, link):

"Prosecutors in Rome are investigating Italian officers suspected of culpable homicide over their failure to provide assistance to a sinking boat..

Italian navy officers are facing prosecution over the drowning of some 300 asylum seekers after the officers failed to respond promptly to SOS calls in a rescue mission in the Maltese search and rescue region in 2013.

In a damning report published in 2014, Amnesty International had said that some 200 people presumed to have died in the Lampedusa shipwreck in October 2013 could have been saved if Italian and Maltese authorities had not dithered over rescue operations.

In a tragedy which shook the world, the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) rescued 147 people, Italian vessels picked up another 39, while the other passengers were never found.

Now, prosecutors in Rome are investigating Italian officers suspected of culpable homicide over their failure to provide assistance to a sinking boat, on which at least 268 people are believed to have died. "

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