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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
25.7.17
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Security and migration amongst EU priorities for cooperation with "modern, democratic" Egypt

Joint priorities adopted today by the EU and Egypt for 2017 to 2020 include a commitment from the EU to "support the Egyptian government's efforts to strengthen its migration governance framework, including elements of legislative reform and strategies for migration management," and to "support Egypt’s efforts to prevent and combat irregular migration, trafficking and smuggling of human beings, including identifying and assisting victims of trafficking."

CAMPAIGN FOR FREE MOVEMENT OF PERSONS IN AFRICA

"The next summit of Heads of State of the African Union (AU) will have on its agenda the adoption of a protocol on the free movement of people on the continent. To finalize the protocol with a view to its adoption, the African Union initiated consultative meetings extended to all AU member countries. Some African states are still reluctant and would not want to see the protocol adopted in January. While, the African populations, sixty years after independence, dream more than ever of a united Africa where people can move freely."

See: Letter (pdf)

"Nonsensical", "Dishonest" !Illegal": the "Code of Conduct" (Sea Watch, link):

"Italy has drafted a Code of Conduct which it wants to impose on NGOs carrying out Search and Rescue (SAR) in the Mediterranean. Dr. Violeta Moreno-Lax, Senior Lecturer in law at Queen Mary University of London, explains why many of the clauses are “either redundant or simply illegal.”"

See full-text of: Code of Conduct for NGOs involved in migrant's rescue operation at sea (pdf)

Greece: Large Scale Police Operation at Moria – Hunger Strike Continues (Enough is Enough, link):

"This morning many cops came into the Moria prison to search for people who’s asylum application was rejected. Dozens of people were arrested. The hunger strike of Arash Hampay, Kozhin Hussein and Bahrooz Arash continues.....

At 06:30am several hundred cops entered the Moria prison and started to search and arrest dozens of people. The cops and military were cooperting with each other. Cops were especially looking for people who’s asylum application was rejected. According to several Tweets and Greek media reports the police operation was carried out to deport these people."

Greece: MSF: Dramatic deterioration for vulnerable asylum seekers on Lesvos (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has released a new report highlighting the drastic deterioration of the care and protection for vulnerable people in Lesbos, Greece, who have fled from violence and wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and suffer from post-war psychological trauma.

“Vulnerable people are falling through the cracks and are not been adequately identified and cared for,” says MSF head of mission Emilie Rouvroy."

See: Report (pdf)

Pain and Anxiety for Refugees Stuck on the Greek islands (Refugees International, link):

"While the Greek islands used to be places of transit where asylum-seekers and migrants spent only days on their way to other European countries, as a result of an EU agreement with Turkey, thousands are stranded on Greece’s Aegean islands. People categorized as vulnerable – including pregnant women, single mothers, and people with physical or mental disabilities – are exempt and can be transferred off the islands to the mainland where they have better access to care and services, but this can take weeks. Others await a decision on whether or not they will be returned to Turkey under the EU-Turkey statement, and many have been stuck on the islands for months and in some cases more than a year. In the meantime, they wait in limbo in untenable conditions and with growing anxiety, uncertain as to what their futures hold."

Greece: Chios at Breaking Point: New Research Finds Humanitarian Support Must Be Strengthened, Not Withdrawn (link):

"New research by Refugee Rights Data Project (RRDP) finds that the island of Chios, Greece is at breaking point. The continued arrival of refugees from conflict-ridden countries has led to chronic overcrowding, while charities and NGOs operating on the island are struggling to provide some of the most basic services required.....

In light of these research findings, the EU Commission’s decision to withdraw humanitarian aid from the Greek islands in July 2017 appears wholly misguided. It is likely to force vital service providers - many of which have been receiving EU funding to-date - to leave the islands, handing full responsibility to the already over-stretched Greek authorities. As such, the decision disregards the principles of human rights which the European Union is otherwise keen to safeguard around the world, and risks having a detrimental impact on displaced people seeking sanctuary at Europe’s shores.

Update: On 10 July 2017, the European Commission approved 6.48 million euros towards emergency funding on Chios and Lesvos. This is a welcome development but one which needs to be accompanied by a strengthened asylum system and accelerated transfers to mainland Greece."

EU: Council conclusions on Libya (17 July 2017) (11155/17, pdf)

Including: "The EU will support Libya to strengthen its capacities to control its borders, including in the south, in accordance with International Law, in addition to broader EU efforts to reinforce cooperation with countries of origin and transit to significantly reduce migratory pressure on Libya’s and other neighbouring countries’ land borders. The EU will continue to cooperate with G5 Sahel countries, including via contributions of CSDP missions and financial support to the G5 Sahel Joint Force. The EU will further engage and provide support to enhance both sea and land border management by Libyan Authorities.

Underlining the importance of both missions, the Council welcomes the renewal of the mandate of EUBAM Libya and will decide shortly on the renewal of Operation Sophia...

EUBAM Libya will continue to progressively engage with and assist the Libyan authorities on border management, including on the South of Libya, law enforcement and criminal justice and plan for a possible civilian CSDP mission in the field of security sector reform, co-operating closely with and contributing to UNSMIL efforts. It will continue working towards establishing a light presence in Tripoli provided that appropriate security arrangements are in place."

Anti-immigrant ship on its way to stop refugee boats in Mediterranean stopped in Suez Canal (The Independent, link):

"A ship chartered by activists to hamper the rescue of refugees in the Mediterranean has reportedly been “arrested” in the Suez Canal after the its captain failed to produce a satisfactory crew list.

The Defend Europe ship set sail from the east African nation of Djibouti where it was chartered last week.

Called the C-Star, it was predominantly funded with donations on a crowdfunding website.

The crew had intended to sail the ship through Egypt's Suez Canal before heading towards the Italian city of Cantania where many rescue boats run by charities and non government organisations (NGOs) are based."

UN Global Compact on Migration: Preventing torture of migrants should be at the core of the Compact (Association for the Prevention of Torture, pdf):

"On 19 September 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, a Resolution that sets in motion a complex process to elaborate by 2018 two instruments laying out States’ commitments regarding large movements of refugees and migrants. These instruments are the “Global Compact on Safe Orderly and Regular Migration” and the “Global Compact on Refugees” (not addressed in this paper).

This paper outlines seven key messages that the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) considers essential, from a torture prevention perspective, for the establishment of a Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (hereafter the “Global Compact on Migration”)."

Italy’s migrant crisis grows amid EU debate (New Europe, link):

"Tens of thousands of migrants continue to pour into Italy, setting up makeshift camps in cities across the country. While the huge number of arrivals has triggered European Union-wide debates, a solution has yet to be found.

As reported by Italy’s ANSA news agency, the country’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni rejected a request form Visegard group leaders to “close the ports” to asylum seekers.

“We have the right to demand solidarity from our neighbours, countries with whom we share the European project,” Gentiloni said in Turin. “We don’t accept lessons, nor threatening words. We limit ourselves to serenely saying that we do our duty and we demand that Europe does it without giving dubious lessons.”"

Czech government insists migration controls should precede relocation demands (EurActiv, link):

"It makes no sense to share a burden over which we have no control, the Czech government said in response to the criticism of its failure to comply with EU migrant relocation quotas. EURACTIV Czech Republic reports.

The Czech government disapproves of the European Commission’s criticism of its non-compliance with the EU’s refugee relocation quotas.

Prague claims that the scheme, designed to help Italy and Greece, does not work and that Europe should focus its efforts on other measures to tackle the migration crisis.

This argument was central to the Czech reply to the Commission’s letter of formal notice, sent in mid-June, after the EU executive launched infringement procedures with the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland."

EU: Member states fail to back Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (euractiv, link):

"The Emergency Trust Fund for Africa has stalled. The situation is frustrating the European Parliament and Commission, which have demanded that EU member states respect their commitments...

European countries have only provided a fraction of the funds they had promised for the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, set up to respond to development and security problems in the major countries of origin of migrants."

GREECE: PLEIADES' Press Release on militarisation of humanitarian response to refugees (link): This law is about to come into effect.

Italy hits back at neighbours' 'threats' on border security (The Local.it, link):

" Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has warned Rome will not accept either "lessons" or "threats" from neighbours on border security amid tension over Europe's migrant crisis. "We shall not accept lessons and still less threats such as those we have heard from our neighbours in recent days," said Gentiloni."

Divided Europe seeks a long-term answer to a refugee crisis that needs a solution now (The Observer, link):

"Europe is split down the middle. Poland and Hungary have refused to take anyone. The Czech Republic initially accepted 12 people but has since slammed the door. The European commission has begun legal action against all three. Italy and Greece, so-called “frontline states”, are at odds with their northern neighbours, notably France and Austria. Dashing hopes of a new approach, the new French president, Emmanuel Macron, is proving inflexible on the issue."

No One Is Counting Europe’s Missing Refugee Children (Refugees Deeply, link):

"Where are the 10,000 child migrants who went missing in Europe last year? Europol says it has no idea how many have actually disappeared as a result of Europe’s chaotic migrant calculations, Mario Vidal reports for porCausa and Vózpopuli."

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