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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
7-10.12.17
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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
Greece: Migrant arrivals offset decongestion efforts (ekathimerini.com, link):

"The effort to improve the living conditions of refugees and migrants stranded at overcrowded reception centers on the eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos, Chios and Samos by transferring some of them to the mainland will fail to yield the desired result as long as flows from Turkey continue.

In its latest report, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that 17,764 people were transferred from the islands to the mainland in the period from July 2016 to November 2017.

UNHCR sources clarified, however, that the number of those removed from the islands is significantly higher than the official figure."

Spanish migrant detention centers 'worse than prisons' (DW, link)

"Migrants who arrive in Spain from Africa often face detention in a Center for the Internment of Foreigners (CIE), where their fundamental human rights are not always respected. Santiago Saez reports from Madrid.

Are Yopu Syrious (9.12.17, link)

FEATURE

"We keep stressing, almost daily, the inhumane conditions in which asylum seekers are detained in Libya and it seems never to be enough.

On Thursday, MEDU - Medici per i Diritti Umani (an NGO that has been working with migrants for years, offering medical care and assistance, based in Rome), presented the results of last year’s research in the light of the work of their mobile clinic at Piazzale Maslax, in co-operation with Baobab Experience.

As reported, more than 80% of the patients survived torture and serious abuse in Libya, just to reach Italy and find no welcoming reception system.

From December 2016 until November 2017, the staff members of MEDU treated 868 people, completing 1,524 checks (including first checks and follow ups visits), during 124 night shifts in 3 different precarious “spots” in Rome: Piazzale Maslax, the Termini area and an occupied building in the Tor Cervara district.

As Melting Pot further reports, the majority of the patients were forced migrants (seekers of asylum relocation, refugees, forced migrants transiting to other EU countries). 93% of them were males, between 18 and 30 years old (68%) and, in the majority of the cases, they had reached Italy a few months or weeks before (44% less than a month before). (...)

GREECE

"According to the llaLatest statistics published by AYS, 3,800 people arrived in the Greek islands the past month, while 2,128 were transferred to the mainland in the same period."

SERBIA

"Rigardu e.V. will publish on Sunday the full report regarding systematic police violence against refugees and illegal push-backs occurring at the borders of the EU with Serbia. The entire report will be available on their website and on the AYS FB page.

In co-operation with other NGOs, Rigardu e.V. has collected visual proofs and reports of more than 110 cases in which Croatian and Hungarian police illegally deported migrants to Serbia, just in 2017. More than 850 people, including minors, have experienced violence and abuse and were deprived of their dignity. The incidents were mainly reported in the areas of Šid (Serbia-Croatia) and Subotica (Serbia-Hungary). The asylum seekers involved were mainly from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Maghreb."

Greece: Mouzalas says cannot rule out risk of deaths from cold at migrant camps (ekathimerini.com, link):

"As winter looms, and hundreds of migrants continue to live in tents outside overcrowded reception centers on the Aegean islands, Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas has conceded that he could not rule out the risk of people dying from hypothermia.(...)

Asked why Greece is not transferring larger numbers of migrants from cramped centers on the islands to the mainland, Mouzalas said authorities were doing all that they could within the framework of a deal between Ankara and the European Union aimed at cracking down on human smuggling across the Aegean."

CROATIA-SERBIA: 'They treated her like a dog': tragedy of the six-year-old killed at Croatian border (The Guardian, link):

"When the train hit six-year-old Madina Hussiny, her family stumbled to the watching Croatian border police begging for help, her body limp in their arms.

The same officers had ordered the exhausted Afghan family down railway tracks towards Serbia in the dark without warning them there might still be trains running, said Madina’s mother, Muslima Hussiny. But desperate and terrified, they had nowhere else to turn.

Madina was a casualty of a slow-burning crisis along Europe’s borders that aid groups and activists say is causing untold suffering."

UK: New Data Laws Declare Open Season On Migrant Rights - It Could Be You Next (Huffington Post, link):

"Data protection laws going through Parliament this week propose to exempt individuals' data privacy rights for the 'maintenance of effective immigration control' or 'the investigation or detection of activities that would interfere with effective immigration control'. What is meant by 'effective immigration control' and 'interference' are undefined and therefore open ended. (...)

The immigration exemptions going through Parliament will make data sharing regarding migrants more likely and frequent, whatever their immigration status. Liberty has raised that the data of those supporting undocumented migrants through charities, night shelters and food banks, could also fall under these exemptions given that Theresa May's 'hostile environment' is conceived, in her own words, of avoiding "a situation where people think that they can come here and overstay because they're able to access everything they need."

EU: Frontex training materials for Libyan Coast Guard come up short on human rights

"Respect and protection of human rights are a negligible part of the EU’s training to the Libyan Coast Guard, as revealed by the training materials the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) disclosed in response to an access to documents request. From a total of 20 documents – including a video – released, only 0,5% of the content is dedicated to ensuring the protection of human rights."

EU: Commission takes Orban's Hungary to court (EUobserver, link):

"The European Commission on Thursday (7 December) stepped up pressure on the Hungarian government of Viktor Orban over migrant quotas, NGOs and a school associated with US billionaire George Soros.

The EU executive said it was also taking Hungary, plus the Czech Republic and Poland, to court over their defiance to comply with an EU decision in 2015 to relocate refugees based on a quota.

In addition, the commission is also taking Hungary to court over amendments to its higher education law that targets the Budapest-based Central European University.

...The commission is also suing Hungary over another law, which obliged NGOs in Hungary that receive funding from outside the country of more than €24,000 annually to give details about their funding, and show in all their publications that they are "foreign-funded"."

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 7-8 December 2017: Conclusions and background documentation

Outcomes and documents discussed at the Justice and Home Affairs Council, 7-8 December 2017: eu-LISA, ECRIS-TCN, Freezing and confiscation, PNR Directive, CSDP operations and JHA Agencies, Asylum Package, CEAS: Common Procedures, Reception and Qualifications, Data Retention and EU accession to ECHR.

EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: "discrimination, intolerance and hatred across the EU" show failings in law and policy

A major new report from the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) shows that "immigrants, descendants of immigrants, and minority ethnic groups continue to face widespread discrimination across the EU and in all areas of life – most often when seeking employment." The findings of the report are based on a survey of 25,500 people of an immigrant or ethnic minority background in all 28 EU Member State.

NETHERLANDS: Seven things you need to understand about how refugees here feel (De Correspondent, link):

"Some 300 newcomers to the Netherlands have answered this month’s thirty questions asked by members of De Correspondent. It was the largest group interview ever conducted with refugees in this country. Today: the answers to a single question."

EIB: Agreement on extra €3.7 billion to address migration issues (European Investment Bank press release, 1 December 2017, pdf):

"The European Investment Bank will be able to increase its lending to projects outside the EU that address migration issues and can benefit from an EU guarantee.

An additional €3.7 billion will be earmarked for projects addressing the long-term economic needs of refugees, migrants and host and transit communities, and providing a strategic response to the root causes of migration.

On 1 December 2017, EU ambassadors endorsed, on behalf of the Council, an agreement with the European Parliament on a mid-term review of the EIB's external lending. The extra lending stems from that review.

In total, the financing limit under the EU guarantee will be increased by €5.3 billion."

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