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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
18-20.7.17
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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
Statewatch Analysis: The EU goes to war with African “elite” (pdf): by Tony Bunyan

EU to target African governments, officials and others with the threat to refuse or delay visas to enforce its returns and readmission policies
EU starts setting out the “consequences” of non-cooperation by agreeing “Measures targeting the "elite" of third countries”

See: Council of the European Union: "Link between return/readmission and visa policies" (RESTRICTED, EU doc no: 9097-REV-1-17)

MED: Guidance on rescue operations in the Mediterranean: Know Your Rights (CILD, pdf):

"Is there a duty to rescue at sea?

Yes, there is. Maritime law and the Italian Constitution (Article 2) are based on cooperation which is a fundamental obligation. International law (the Montego Bay Treaty and others, see glossary) requires States to require any masters of ships flying their national flag to fulfil their duty to give assistance to anyone found to be in danger at sea, to inform the competent authorities, to provide initial medical assistance to the persons rescued, and to transfer the persons rescued to a place of safety (for a definition of ‘place of safety’, see question 8)."

Defend Europe boat tries to block migrant rescues - As Defend Europe sets sail in hope of turning refugees back, UK anti-racism monitor issues warning over migrant safety (aljazeera.com, link):

"Far-right activists have set sail in a boat with plans to prevent the arrival of Europe-bound boats carrying refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, sparking criticism from an anti-racism monitor.
Italy struggles to cope with refugee influx

Defend Europe, the group behind the journey which began Sunday, said on its fundraising page that its members would set sail in a 422-tonne vessel with a 25-member crew after receiving more than $115,000 in donations in recent weeks....

HOPE not hate said in a statement that Defend Europe threatens to "hinder the lifesaving work of search-and-rescue NGO ships in the Mediterranean".

"This confrontational and dangerous project is organised by far-right activists with a long track record of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant activism ... and while organised by Europeans, it is being supported, funded and promoted by the extreme far-right around the world," HOPE not hate said in a separate press briefing."

MEDITERRANEAN: Defend Europe/Identitarian Briefing (Hope Not Hate, pdf):

"Defend Europe is an attempt by far-right activists to confront and block humanitarian rescue ships operating in the Mediterranean.

It is being led by key members of the European 'Identitarian' movement, a collection of far-right activists operating in France, Germany, Austria and Italy.

They aim to disrupt and inhibit the vital efforts of NGOs saving the lives of migrants and refugees - many of whom are children - crossing the Mediterranean this summer.

More than 2,000 people have died on the Mediterranean already this year, and over 5,000 last year.

This confrontational and dangerous project is organised by far-right activists with a long track record of anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant activism and while organised by Europeans it is being supported, funded and promoted by the extreme far-right around the world.

So far the Identitarians have only launched one operation on a small boat, but they have now raised the funds to charter a sea-going vessel with space for a crew of 25."

FRANCE: Calais after the jungle: migrant dispersal and the expulsion of humanitarianism (OpenDemocracy, link):

"Eight months after their eviction from the Calais jungle, migrants are still a substantial presence in the city of Calais. What has happened to them over the course of those months, however, has been largely unexplored (by those in the UK at least). To gain a better sense of what has been happening on the ground, we set up the project “Mapping the dispersal of refugees evicted from Calais” at Swansea University with funding from cherish-de.uk. Our aim is to investigate how migrants’ lives – both on and off the move – are controlled and governed away from the ‘border spectacle’ and declared 'humanitarian emergencies' that receive so much attention in the press.

During his official visit to Calais in early June, the French minister of the interior Gerard Collomb announced that 150 additional policemen will be sent there, in order to avoid that “Calais and Dunkerque become places of fixation for the migrants and that other jungles could multiply” on the territory. His words suggest that informal migrant encampments are growing, or have the potential to do so, and that the French authorities are pursuing a strategy of dispersal and division to prevent such camps from coalescing into autonomous spaces like the Calais Jungle. The European context is characterised by a widespread criminalisation of migrant intra-European movements on the one hand, and refugee support activities on the other."

UK-JAMAICA: Inhumane deportation (The Gleaner, link) by Luke de Noronha:

"Just over a week ago, two reports were published in Britain that might interest the Jamaican readership. They both concerned mass-deportation charter flights from London to Kingston.

(...)

The first report was an annual review by the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) regarding several charter flights from Britain in 2016 - to Albania, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Jamaica. I have met a few people who were on that charter flight to Jamaica in September 2016, and the majority of them left children behind in Britain. Theirs were stories of banishment from home, rather than a return to home. People had been away so long that they had few memories of the island, and no close family members to turn to. This is a familiar story.

What was significant about the report was the use of waist-restraint belts on the flight. Far more than any other nationality, Jamaicans were restrained in these belts, which act like straitjackets to prevent people moving their arms - often for hours at a time. On other chartered flights, only a few deportees are restrained in this way; it's the exception rather than the rule.

(...)

The second report, conducted by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons, covered the last deportation flight from the UK to Jamaica in March 2017. Again, the independent inspectors found that force was used far too often."

See the reports: Annual Report of the Independent Monitoring Boards Charter Flight Monitoring Team for the calenday year 2016 (pdf) and: HM Chief Inspector of Prisons: Detainees under escort: Inspection of escort and removals to Jamaica (pdf)

Teenage refugees in Greece are being labelled 'adults' if they have wisdom teeth (International Business Times, link):

"Children as young as 14 arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos are being identified as over-18s and forced to live with unrelated adults, without access to education and protective services, a shocking new report has revealed.

Greek authorities are quick to register teenagers as adults, without conducting a proper assessment, according to the Human Rights Watch report 'Lone Migrant Children Left Unprotected' published today.

If an assessment is carried out, it is often during a hasty visit to a dentist where any children whose wisdom teeth have come through are registered as adults. This was how 17-year-old Akash from Bangladesh ended up in the adult section of Moria refugee camp, where more than 3,000 people are living in "inexcusable" and "inhumane" conditions."

And see: Greece: Lone Migrant Children Left Unprotected (Human Rights Watch, link): "Unaccompanied migrant children on the Greek island of Lesbos are being incorrectly identified as adults and housed with unrelated adults, leaving them vulnerable to abuse and unable to access the specific care they need, Human Rights Watch said today."

Police clash with migrants at Lesvos camp for second time in a week (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Police were dispatched to the Moria reception center on Lesvos on Tuesday afternoon following clashes between groups of migrants in the camp while the local fire service tried to put out blazes that broke out in nearby olive groves.

The upheaval came a week after riots at the same camp when migrants, frustrated by poor living conditions and delays in processing asylum applications, set fire to tents."

And see: Asylum seekers clash with police in Moria frustrated about living conditions and asylum delays (Keep Talking Greece, link)

Indefinite detention is dehumanising for refugees. This practice must end (Guardian, link): "With its tales of terrifying journeys and hopeless days, a storytelling project is putting flesh on the statistics. We should be all be outraged."

Italy mulls temporary humanitarian visas to aid Libyan migrants (Guardian, link): "Move would provoke immediate Austrian response including closure of border with Italy at Brenner Pass"

What's the EU's vision to address the refugee crisis? (aljazeera.com, link): "The European Union restricts exports of inflatable boats to stem the flow of refugees and migrants from North Africa."

EU curbs rubber dinghy, outboard motor sales to Libya to stop migrants (euractiv, link):

"The European Union yesterday (17 July) adopted limits on the export of inflatable boats and outboard motors to Libya in a bid to make it harder for smugglers to send migrants to Europe."

Greece: Ministry refugee arrivals 18.7.17 (pdf)

251 refugees arrived in the past 24 hours: Lesvos 94, Samos 55, Chios 55, other islands: 47. Total in Greece: 62,327

Italy's migrant 'nuclear option' plot unravels (euobserver, link):

"Italy will likely meet a legal blockade if the country pursues its reported plans to issue temporary travel visas for migrants.

The Times newspaper said on Saturday (15 July) that senior government officials want to use a so-called "nuclear option", to grant migrants stuck in Italy the right to move to other EU states.

But the proposal is based on an obscure EU directive that can only be activated by a qualified majority decision in the Council of the EU, representing member states, and based on a proposal by the European Commission."

And see: Austria readies for migrant border surge (euobserver, link): "Austria is ready to "protect" its borders amid reported Italian threats to issue provisional visas to thousands of migrants.Speaking to journalists in Brussels on Monday (17 July), Austria's foreign minister Sebastian Kurz said the country would not allow large numbers of people to pass from Italy should Rome issue the documents."

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