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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
23-24.2.17
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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
EU Council of the European Union: HLWG: Migration and GAMM report & European Council Draft Conclusions

High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration (HLWG): Summary of discussions (LIMITE doc no: 5657-17, pdf): Includes: Detailed Global Approach to Migration and Mobility: GAMM UPDATE: 19 January 2017 (pages: 4-29):

"This document provides an updated overview of the main external migration dialogues and processes implemented in the framework of the EU Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM). The document is compiled for the information of the EU High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration by the responsible European Commission services, in association with the EEAS."

European Council (9 and 10 March 2017) - Draft guidelines for the conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 5575-17, pdf): Includes:

"MIGRATION: On the basis of the report of the Maltese Prime Minister (see above), the European Council will take stock of the follow up to the guidance provided at the informal meeting in Malta on 3 February 2017, with a focus on operational measures. It will also encourage further efforts by the Council to rapidly deliver on all aspects of the EU's comprehensive migration policy during the current Council Presidency."

GUE/NGL report: High Human Rights costs of EU-Sudanese cooperation on migration control and support of appeal against Italian returns to Sudan in front of ECtHR (ECRE, link) See Report (pdf)

New detention centres at the external EU borders (ECRE, link):

"Greece is building pre-removal detention facilities on the Aegean islands with the aim of accelerating the implementation of the EU-Turkey statement. These will be separate from the Reception and Identification Centres on the hotspots where newly arrived refugees and migrants are initially detained."

French-German proposal for CEAS and returns reduces protection to minimum standards (ECRE, link):

"A leaked joint policy note prepared by German and French governments strongly affirms the intention to further limit access to protection in Europe by curtailing procedural guarantees in the CEAS. The policy note lays out a plan for a “crisis mechanism”, to operate in times of “mass influx” of refugees."

The shame of asylum housing of child refugees in the UK (IRR News, link):

"John Grayson, a campaigner from South Yorkshire, examines the market in asylum housing in the UK."

Are You Syrious (23.2.1)

Mediterrenean: 2,500 refugees rescued off the coast of Libya

"Reuters reports that almost 2,500 refugees were rescued in the past three days, according to the Italian Coast Guard. Some 1,100 were plucked from nine flimsy vessels off the coast of Libya on Thursday after a total of 1,360 were picked up the two preceding days.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been more than 10,700 sea arrivals, the Interior Ministry said on Thursday, a third higher than the same period last year.

Proactiva Open Arms says its crew has had no respite since it entered the rescue zone, as it had to proceed to three rescues with only the support of a distant cargo ship.

“I prefer to die in the water than in Libya”, one woman has told MSF. She didn’t plan on going to Europe, but a rubber boat was the only way out of the horrors faced by refugees in Libya. In Libya itself, 13 refugees suffocated in a shipping container while being transported over four days between two Libyan towns according to the Red Crescent."

Registrations: Greece:

"145 people were registered in Chios until 7:30AM this morning. An additional 12 were registered in Kos and 8 on “other” islands. This is the second time in February that more than 100 people were registered on the islands?—?142 toal were registered on the 4th of February including 105 on Lesvos."

The kingpin of Libya’s human trafficking mafia (TRTWorld, link):

"Al Bija is the biggest player in the coast guard “mafia” that has established a stranglehold on the lucrative human trafficking business in Zawiya and the surrounding coastal region. Nancy Porsia has this exclusive investigation for TRT World....

"The Europeans should have all these details after they have been gathering for months information at sea as part of Operation Sophia," the man explains, referring to EUNAVFOR Med's training programme for the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy."

The articles note the training now being given to the Libyan coast Guard under the auspices of the EUNAVFOR MED operation, point out that:

"Although this is coordinated with Tripoli, not Al Bijaâ's rogue Zawiya coast guard, the nature of the growing EU-Libyan collaboration is nonetheless raising some eyebrows in Libya.

"This agreement between the European Union and the Libyan Coast Guard is ridiculous. They are calling for the smugglers themselves to stem the trafficking," TRT World's source says. "All smugglers [west of Tripoli] pay Al Bija his stake."

Smugglers who don't pay a cut of their earnings to Al Bija find their boats intercepted by his "coast guard," who either take their engines and leave the refugee-laden boats stranded at sea, or bring them back to the Al Nasser Detention Centre in Zawiya, which belongs to Al Bija's Abu Hamyra tribe."

See also: EU-Libya: Mission impossible? Secret EU report makes clear problems in rebuilding Libyan state (Statewatch)

UNHCR: Refugee situation:

EU: Seeking asylum: 884,461
Turkey: Registered refugees: 2,851,968
• Lebanon: Registred refugees: 1,011,366
Jordan: Registered refugees: 695,795 and Estimated: 1.3 million
Syria: Displaced: 6.3 million
Iraq: Registered: 223,224
Egypt: Registered: 116,013
North Africa: 29,275

USA: How US Intelligence Surveillance May Affect Immigrants (HRW, link): "Warrantless Monitoring Threatens Rights of Immigrants, Border Communities"

Greece okays asylum requests of 10,000 refugees (ekathimerini.com, link):

"At least 10,000 refugees, including around 2,000 minors, are expected to remain in Greece over the coming three years as their asylum applications have been approved.

The approved asylum claims account for about a sixth of more than 60,000 migrants who are currently stranded in Greece ...

According to the Greek Asylum Service, a total of 1,912 migrants lodged asylum applications in January of this year. Last year, when hundreds of thousands of migrants flooded through Greece toward other parts of Europe, a total of 51,091 people applied for asylum in Greece, compared to 13,195 in 2015, 9,432 in 2014 and 4,814 in 2013."

The migrant slave trade is booming in Libya. Why is the world ignoring it? by Ross Kemp (Guardian, link):

"I’ve seen the dangerous route to Europe through Libya, with thousands of people at the mercy of cruelty for profit. But our leaders prefer to keep them there."

3 migrants die as boat sinks on river marking Turkey-Greece border (Daily News link):

"Three migrants were killed when a boat carrying at least eight people sank on the Maritza River in northwestern Turkey early on Feb. 22, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Eight migrants of Pakistani origin were trying to cross the Maritza River that mostly marks the border between Turkey and Greece with a rubber dinghy when their boat capsized around the middle of the river near the Ipsala district of Edirne province.

Three of the migrants were killed when the boat overturned, while five others were rescued by Turkish security forces and fishermen. "

‘No one accepts responsibility’: thirteen refugees dead in Greece (IRR News, link):

"As refugees and migrants die in Greece’s ‘hotspots’, military camps and in transit, the EU, the UNHCR and Greek institutions must be held to account."

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