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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
7..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
The European travel document Yet another step to deport by all means (migreurop, link);

"Mid-way in the Valletta processes, and as African and European high officials are meeting in Malta on 8/9 February 2017, the European Union is crossing a step further in its attempts to limit mobility of migrants and imposes its rule on countries where most of migrants originate from through the use of the “European travel document”, a document adopted last October 2016 and almost unnoticed....

The European travel document (EUTD) marks yet another step in the EU’s strategy to externalise its migration policy for over twenty years. This travel document is issued exclusively by EU Member States and enables the deportation of a person without s/he has been identified by the “third” country h/she suspected of coming from, i.e. without the person being issued a consular travel document regardless of the person’s rights and of the principle of equality between sovereign states (guaranteed in the Vienna Convention).

Despite the strong opposition of African leaders against the European travel document as soon as November 2015, a position reasserted in early 2017 by civil society and the Malian government, the EUTD is already in use, irrespective of substantial shortcomings both in the format and in the content."

See also: Statement (pdf)

Are You Syrious (6.2.17, link)

Greece: 54 people came to Lesvos today

As is reported from the ground, “one boat was picked up of north coast Lesvos early hours the morning by coast guard, taken to Skala Sykaminia, 54 people on board all very wet and cold.” People were taken in and among them was one child.
Samos hunger strike continues

Meanwhile, in Samos, another refugee needs emergency care after not eating for 3 days in the camp’s hunger strike. The video below was taken while he was carried into the emergency room and vividly shows the condition this man is in."

Italy: Tragic death in La Dogana tunnel on the border between France and Italy

"On the morning of February 5th at around 7am, a refugee, whose identity has not been revealed yet, was hit by a train in the “La Dogana” tunnel on the Ventimiglia. He was just one kilometer away from the Italian-French border.

Even though rescuers acted quickly, it was not possible to save him. The death will be added to a long list of names of people who have tried to cross the border but have met their death along rail tracks, or the highway, hit by cars, trucks or trains. This is the second person in 3 months who has died in this way; the previous death occurred on December 23rd."

Some 1,500 migrants have been rescued in the Mediterranean this weekend

"This is an unusually high number for winter, when crossings tend to slow because of difficult sea conditions, the Italian coastguard said on Sunday. The number of people pulled to safety in the past two days brought the total saved since Wednesday to 4,500. For more details follow this link."

Lesvos, Greece: Fears and tensions at Moria (News That Moves, link):

"Despite recent improvements at the Moria ‘hotspot’ on Lesvos island, overall conditions for the more than 3,000 people residing at the facility remain difficult, the daily Ta Nea reported.

The newspaper claims that the entry of journalists is prohibited, while those working for humanitarian organisations at Moria must sign a confidentiality agreement and contravening it can mean dismissal and prosecution."

Athens: Ellinikon camp: Policeman punches refugee boy (video) (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Tension was high when Greek Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas visited the Ellinikon refugee camp in Athens on Monday morning. As the minister was struggling to enter the occupied area, a policeman punched a refugee boy that was among the crowd of protesters. Mouzalas. wanted to speak with the refugees and migrants who launched a hunger strike on Sunday in order to protest the living conditions in the camp.

The protesters did not allow the minister to enter the premises. Crowds of angry people surrounded him chanting Go Away!"

See also: Refugees Block Migration Min Mouzalas From Entering Elliniko Hotspot (Greek Reporter, link)

EU: Council: Schengen area: Council recommends prolongation of internal border controls (pdf):

"On 7 February 2017, the Council adopted an implementing decision setting out a recommendation to prolong temporary internal border controls in exceptional circumstances.

Starting from 11 February 2017, when the previous decision expires, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway should prolong proportionate temporary border controls for a maximum period of three months at the following internal borders:

Austria at the Austrian-Hungarian land border and Austrian-Slovenian land border
Germany at the German-Austrian land border
Denmark in the Danish ports with ferry connections to Germany and at the Danish-German land border
Sweden in the Swedish harbours in the Police Region South and West and at the Öresund bridge
Norway in the Norwegian ports with ferry connections to Denmark, Germany and Sweden."

EU: Court of Justice (CJEU): According to Advocate General Mengozzi, Members States must issue a visa on humanitarian grounds where substantial grounds have been shown for believing that a refusal would place persons seeking international protection at risk of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment (Press release, pdf):

"It is irrelevant whether or not there are ties between the person concerned and the requested Member State."

UNHCR: There have been 8,268 arrival in the Med in 2017: 8,268 in Italy and 1,663 in Greece. 255 dead/missing (link)

For the record: Arrivals in the Med:

2014: 276,000
2015: 1,015,078 (862,137 in Greece)
2016: 387,739 (181,436 in Italy, 176,906 in Greece. 5,082 dead/missing).

UK : Home Office and Danish Immigration Service report: Sudan: Situation of Persons from Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile in Khartoum (pdf):

"Sizeable populations from Darfur and the Two Areas reside in Khartoum. There are two main drivers behind the immigration of persons from these areas to Khartoum: the security situation in Khartoum and the socio-economic factors.

Persons with a political profile returning to Sudan may be questioned and/or arrested upon arrival at Khartoum International Airport (KIA) depending on the person’s profile. Seeking asylum abroad would not in itself cause persons from Darfur and the Two Areas problems with the authorities upon return except returnees from Israel. Neither would returnees face severe difficulties with the authorities because of staying abroad for a longer period or travelling with emergency papers. A person’s ethnicity would not generally affect the treatment, he or she would receive on arrival at KIA.

The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) acts with impunity. Persons from Darfur and the Two Areas with a political profile are at risk of being targeted by the NISS and its affiliated militias in Khartoum, particularly student activists and persons with an affiliation to rebel groups. The Darfuri and Two Areas communities in Khartoum are monitored by the NISS, principally to identify those with a political profile."

Syrian Refugees in Greece Are Moving Out of Camps, and Into a New Kind of Limbo (TIME, link):

"The Oreokastro refugee camp near Thessaloniki, in northern Greece, has been called many things by its residents since it was established in June: ‘Hell on earth’ and ‘Greece’s Shame,’ among them."

Germany: Foreign Minister Gabriel plays down Libya as safe place to return refugees (DW, link):

"At the EU foreign ministers meeting, Germany's Sigmar Gabriel played down proposals to return migrants to Libya. Ministers are pushing the Libyan government to do more to halt an influx of refugees to Europe."

German regions stop sending rejected asylum seekers back to Afghanistan (euractiv, link):

"More and more of Germany’s regions are halting the deportation of rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan, as the situation in the conflict-torn country worsens.

Six of Germany’s 16 Bundesländer have suspended deportations of failed asylum seekers to the Middle Eastern country, according to media reports.

An investigation by the Berliner Morgenpost revealed that authorities in Berlin, Schleswig-Holstein, Bremen, Lower Saxony, Thuringia and Rhineland-Palatinate have largely stopped sending people back to Afghanistan.

The newspaper cited a Senate of Bremen spokesperson who said that the body regards the situation in Afghanistan as unsafe. Accordingly, a total halt on repatriations is being considered at the moment."

Hungary submits plans to EU to detain all asylum seekers - Government spokesman says applicants would be held in ‘shelters’, and denies they would be ‘detention centres’ (Guardian, link):

"Hungary will submit proposals to the EU to protect Europe’s borders by automatically detaining any asylum seeker for the whole period of their asylum application, according to the government’s chief spokesman, Zoltán Kovács.

Kovács claimed Donald Trump’s election in the US was contributing to “a change of mood in Europe” that vindicated the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán’s tough position on migration, and said the recent EU summit in Malta marked a turning point in the EU’s attitude to migration in the Mediterranean.

At a briefing in London, he said anyone seeking asylum through Hungary would be kept in “shelters” for the whole period of their application, though they would be free to go back to their own country at any point."

Death and Despair in Lesbos - Freezing Winter Conditions Turn Deadly for Refugees in Greece (HRW, link):

"“[P]eople died in cold in the camp… an Iranian attempted suicide and an Egyptian hung himself. Yesterday, a Pakistani died, and last week, an [Egyptian] died in the bathroom. I attempted suicide by cutting my vein last week but I am still alive….” This is the heart-breaking text message Human Rights Watch received from Arash, a 30-year-old Iranian asylum seeker who’s been stuck on the Greek island of Lesbos since last October."

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