EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe:19-22-12-17

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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
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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
European Parliament Study: Integration of Refugees in Greece, Hungary and Italy Comparative analysis (pdf):

"This study presents a comparative overview of recent policy developments in Greece, Hungary and Italy, which present some similarities as regards their position in the migration routes, but also very different approaches. The focus of the analysis is on progress achieved in the last three years in the adaptation of the reception and integration system for the high numbers of new arrivals and on the main challenges encountered, with a focus on labour market integration measures.

Further, special attention is given to changes in perceptions, public opinion and political discourse with respect to the asylum and integration of refugees and how this influenced policy strategies.(...)

These countries show higher and growing rejection rates compared to the EU average in first-instance decisions on asylum applications, ranging from 60.6 % in Italy, to 76.3 % in Greece, and more than 91.6 % in Hungary compared to 39.2 % in the EU28 on average." [emphasis added]

Are You Syrious (21.12.17, link):

FEATURE: Greek islands remain overcrowded

"One boat landed on Samos with 53 people. On Wednesday, 86 refugees were transferred from the islands to the mainland, including 22 from Lesvos and 42 from Kos.

Human Rights Watch again urged the Greek government to speed up transfers from the Aegean islands to the mainland, warning that overcrowded facilities on Lesvos, Chios, Leros, Samos, and Kos are ill-equipped to deal with the coming of winter. The hot spots on the islands still have almost 11,000 people in facilities with a total capacity of just 5,576."

GERMANY; Number of rejected asylum seekers returning to their home country drops

"DW reports that the number of failed asylum seekers willing to return to their home countries from Germany has almost halved this year, compared to 2016, despite moves by Berlin to raise the incentives for voluntary departures. Under a new scheme, families can receive up to €3,000 and individuals up to €1,000 if they voluntarily return home by the end of February. In a feature, InfoMigrants also writes about the different programs available to those who want to go back."

UK; Help Refugees appeals Dubs decision

"Help Refugees is appealing after losing a high court challenge against the government over the number of unaccompanied child refugees given sanctuary in the UK. Only 200 lone asylum-seeking children have been housed in the UK under the Dubs scheme, which campaigners had hoped would bring 3,000 minors there. Help Refugees adds, “Lone refugee children are living in horrendous conditions in Greece, France, and Italy; immediate steps must be taken by the UK government to honour its obligations under the Dubs Amendment. The government has failed these children. Our appeal intends to hold them to account for this shameful failure.”"

UK: Government reponse: Unaccompanied child migrants: Government Response to the Committee’s Thirteenth Report of Session (pdf) to Home Affairs Select Committee: Report (pdf)

Europe rebuked for removing Afghans to one of world's most dangerous countries (Guardian, link):

"Sweden and Germany at forefront of rise in refused asylum seekers being sent back since EU agreed aid package for country.

Britain and other European nations are under increasing pressure to explain why they are sending hundreds of desperate Afghans back to one of the world’s most dangerous countries.

MPs and MEPs have raised questions about whether the EU tied a 2016 aid package for Afghanistan to its willingness to take back refused asylum seekers.

Since the deal, forced repatriations have accelerated. The International Organisation for Migration says 500 Afghans have been forcibly removed back to Afghanistan this year, compared to 200 last year. More than 3,000 have returned voluntarily this year.

As of September 2017, Afghans accounted for the largest number of asylum applications in the EU, with 170,045 pending cases. But they lose more than 50% of asylum appeals – far more than Syrians do – because some parts of the country, such as the capital, Kabul, are now considered safe."

Are You Syrious (20.12.17, link):


"Over the course of the day, 4 boats arrived on Lesvos carrying 226 people."

Olive Grove, Lesvos

"The Olive Grove is a separate makeshift camp outside the gates of the Moria hotspot on Lesvos, where hundreds of people live without any security, electricity, showers, or running water. Dozens of families, single women and children were living in summer tents in the Olive Grove by early December 2017. Human Rights Watch writes about the mental health crisis facing asylum seekers on the island. Read the story here."


"Safe Passage UK have written a joint letter, alongside 5 Italian NGOs, calling on authorities to take urgent action to uphold the rights of child refugees in Ventimiglia."

Greece: Plans to expand Chios hot spot inch forward (, link):

"Plans to expand a refugee screening center, or hot spot, on the eastern Aegean island of Chios inched forward Thursday, as police on Lesvos said they had arrested six people in the wake of riots at the island’s infamous Moria facility.

Thursday, the Chios Court of First Instance rejected a request by the municipal authorities to stop work to install new prefabricated huts at the island’s Vial hot spot until a ruling is issued on an injunction against the Migration Ministry on January 16."

Greece: Lesvos:15 injured and tents burned down when clashes break out in Moria camp (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"At least fifteen people were injured and transported to hospital and several tents turned to ashes when violent clashes between different ethnic groups of refugees and migrants broke out in the hot spot of Moria on the island of Lesvos on Tuesday night."

And see: Unrealisable promises? LESVOS UPDATE 11 December 2017 (Open the islands, link)

Lesvos mayor files suit over conditions at Moria migrant camp (, link):

"The mayor of the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos has filed suit against all responsible parties over the conditions at the Moria refugee and migrant processing center.

Spyros Galinos filed his suit in Lesvos’s Court of Misdemeanors, claiming that the law is being broken at the government-run facility, which is supervised by the military. His action comes two days after foreign media published videos shot covertly inside the camp and showing the squalor and cramped conditions to which thousands of refugees and migrants are being subjected.

The mayor stressed that the facility, a former military base, should not be accommodating more than 1,800 people at a time if decent living standards are to be ensured. “Unfortunately, though, for the past two years and this year especially there is an extremely large number of third-country citizens and vulnerable groups (men, women – among which pregnant women – and children) indiscriminately trapped and cramped together, coming to more than 6,000 individuals,” Galinos said in his lawsuit."

GREECE: Photographs of Daily Life in an Overcrowded Refugee Camp(Vice, link):

"Around 6,000 people are spending the winter in the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. According to the United Nations, about 1,500 of them – including women and children – live in makeshift tents without insulation, flooring or heating. In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro this summer, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras didn't dwell on the horrid conditions: "We have received more than 60,000 refugees into mainland Greece, living in good conditions, with access to medical attention and education," he said. "I am proud of that – even though the situation remains difficult."

To see what it's really like in Moria, one refugee living there agreed to document his everyday life for a month – on the condition that he remains anonymous."

MOAS carries out first-ever aerial evacuation mission, 74 vulnerable refugees taken out of Libya (Malta Independent, link):

"Marking the launch of its first-ever aerial evacuation mission, on Thursday the Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) flew 74 vulnerable refugees out of Libya as part of a UNHCR evacuation scheme. The refugees, accompanied by MOAS staff, left Tripoli’s Mitiga Airport at 10pm local time, arriving in Niamey, the capital of Niger, in the early hours of Friday morning.

Vincent Cochetel, the UNHCR’s Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean Situation, said: “I am happy to report that a group of 51 children, 22 women and one man have been successfully evacuated from Libya and are now safe in Niger. Less than 24 hours ago they were still detained in Libya, but they can now hope anew.” He added: “This evacuation could not have happened without the support of the authorities and of our partners, including MOAS, in Libya.” "

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