EU Bookmark and Share  
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
19-20.6.17
Follow us: | | Tweet


Keep in touch: Statewatch Observatory: Refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: Daily news (updated through the day), commentaries and official documents
Commission report on relocation: Does it know how many refugees there in Greece?

Commission asks "the Greek authorities to clarify the total number of migrants present on the mainland and the islands."

A painful record (Ekathimerini, link) by Pantelis Boukalas:

"Tuesday marks World Refugee Day. Although a plethora of heartfelt statements will come from official lips about the plight of millions of people who have been displaced from their homes, very little will reach the ears of the actual protagonists of this drama.

In any case, the figures released on Monday by the United Nations are enough to make you gasp: About 65.6 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced from their homes due to conflict or persecution by the end of 2016.

This is a painful record, which leaves an indelible mark on the face of humanity, especially considering that half of the refugee population is composed of children.

(...)

Sixty-five point six million people. With no freedoms, no rights, no future. This Europe which so touts its respect of human rights does not even respect the right of families separated by violence to reunite. Officials always find a way to bypass the rules or to turn a blind eye to the plight of these people, while at the same time bragging about their official signature at the bottom of agreements and protocols."

World Refugee Day - Reports of three new shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea (UNHCR, link):

"UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency received information last night about three new shipwrecks in the Mediterranean. We fear that at least 130 people are dead or missing.

The first and largest of these incidents involved a rubber dinghy that left Libya on 15 June and began taking on water just hours into its journey. From the Italian coast guard, and the four survivors - Sudanese and Nigerian nationals – we understand the boat was carrying at least 133 people. 129 people are missing.

The second incident involved a boat carrying at least 85 people which broke in two and sank yesterday. People who witnessed the sinking say the boat was among three that left Libya on the evening of 15 June. There were many families with children aboard. The nationalities of those lost are Syrians and people from North African countries.

A third shipwreck is reported to have left seven more people dead or missing. Survivors were disembarked yesterday in Messina, Sicily. Their boat left Libya on 14 June. A pregnant woman from Cameroon lost her husband in the shipwreck.

Today is World Refugee Day. These incidents are a reminder of the grave dangers that people confront when forced to flee their countries because of war and persecution. Since the beginning of the year, over 77,000 people have tried to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. This is among the world’s most dangerous routes – a journey that no one takes lightly."

SPAIN: Thousands march for refugees, ask Madrid to honour commitment (Middle East Eye, link):

"Several thousand people marched in Madrid on Saturday to ask the Spanish government to honour its commitment to take in more than 17,000 refugees as part of Europe's relocation plan.

"No human being is illegal," the crowds chanted as they walked under scorching heat past clothing shops in central Madrid, holding banners that read "Bridges not walls" and "Enough with excuses, no more barriers".

The protest, organised by dozens of NGOs including Amnesty International, comes just a few days before World Refugee Day on Tuesday."

See also: Massive demonstration in Barcelona in support of migrants and refugees (Statewatch News Online, 20 February 2017) and: Milan like Barcelona. Together, without walls, against the racist criminalisation of migrants and the poor. For an international network of antiracist cities (27 May 2017)

   COE: European countries must lift obstacles to reunification of refugee families (link):

"reunification is a fundamental part of the right to family life, which is protected by international human rights law. This right is particularly important for refugees in Europe. Because of the dangers they face at home, their only option to enjoy their right to family life is to bring their families to Europe. Regrettably, many European countries are limiting refugees’ access to this right through restrictive measures which are unjust, unlawful and cause immense hardship for refugees and their families.

This has to change”, says today Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing a report which aims at helping Council of Europe member states adopt a more humane and human rights oriented policy on family reunification for refugees and beneficiaries of international protection."

See: Issue Paper (pdf) and Summary (pdf)

SWITZERLAND: Eritrean asylum seeker’s expulsion from Switzerland would not breach the European Convention (press release, pdf):

"The case M.O. v. Switzerland (application no. 41282/16) concerned the complaint brought by an Eritrean asylum seeker that he would be at risk of ill-treatment if deported from Switzerland to his country of origin. He essentially claimed before the Swiss authorities that he was a deserter from military service and, following a period of imprisonment, had escaped and left Eritrea illegally. The authorities found that his asylum claim was not credible and ordered his removal.

In today’s Chamber judgment in the case the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that:

there would be no violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights if the expulsion order against the applicant, Mr M.O, were implemented."

See: Judgment (pdf)

EU: Schengen Information System (SIS): Returns, Border checks and discrete checks

 SIS AND RETURNS: Draft Regulation on the use of the Schengen Information System for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals - Draft compromise text (LIMITE doc no: 9592-17, pdf): Council developing its negotiating position: Footnotes with Member State positions:

"General scrutiny reservations on this instrument are pending from AT, BE, BG, CZ, DE, DK, EL, FI, HU, IT, LT, NL, PL, PT, SE, SI, SK and UK. Parliamentary reservations are pending from DE, PL, SE and UK. Reservations on specific provisions are indicated in footnotes."

 SIS AND BORDER CHECKS: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council
on the establishment, operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of border checks... draft compromise text
(LIMITE doc no: 9593-17, pdf): Council developing its negotiating position: 73 Footnotes with Member State positions:

"General scrutiny reservations on this instrument are pending from AT, BG, CZ, DE, FI, HU, IT, LT, NL, PL, PT, SE, and SI. Parliamentary reservations are pending from DE and PL. Reservations on specific provisions are indicated in footnotes."

 SIS AND "DISCRETE" CHECKS: Regulation on the establishment, operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.... - draft compromise text regarding alerts on persons and objects for discreet checks, inquiry checks or specific checks (Articles 36 and 37) (LIMITE doc no: 9594-17, pdf): Council developing its negotiating position: 98 Footnotes with Member State positions:

"General scrutiny reservations on this instrument are pending from AT, BG, CZ, DE, FI, HU, IT, LT, NL, PL, PT, SE, SI and UK. Parliamentary reservations are pending from DE, PL and UK. Reservations on specific provisions are indicated in footnotes.....

Article 2: Scope

This Regulation establishes the conditions and procedures for the entry and processing in SIS of alerts in respect of third-country nationals, the exchange of supplementary information and additional data for the purpose of refusing entry into and stay on the territory of the Member States."
[emphasis added]

SERBIA: Thousands of refugees left stuck in limbo in Calais of the Balkans (The Herald, link):

"In recent months, Serbian authorities have tried to provide shelter, food and medical care to thousands of refugees from the Middle East, Asia and Africa camping within its borders.

But the newcomers do not want any of it. This country is quickly becoming the Calais of the Balkans, a reference to the northern French city where refugees live in limbo while awaiting either deportation, asylum or continuing their journeys in hope of landing in a more welcoming European country.

“I tried to leave Serbia 17 times,” said Jawad Afzali, 17, an Afghan who has lived for the past six months with 1,500 other Afghan, Iraqi and Pakistani migrants in abandoned warehouses and a tent village that sprung up behind the bus station."

HUNGARY: Asylum in Hungary: damanged beyond repair? ECRE's call for states to end transfers to Hungary under Dublin and bilateral arrangements

"A legal note published today provides a succinct analysis of the most problematic aspects of the Hungarian asylum system and legal framework, and the most egregious human rights violations asylum seekers currently face in the country, including at its external border with Serbia.

It concludes that Hungary’s legal framework, including alarming recent changes, puts rights at risk due to (1) the lack of access to asylum procedure (2) the application of “safe third country” concept to dublin returnees (3) the expansion of summary returns policy (4) inadequate reception conditions and automatic use of detention, and (5) increased risks of destitution.

Therefore, ECRE calls on all States not to transfer applicants for and beneficiaries of international protection to Hungary under the Dublin Regulation or any bilateral arrangements, and to assume responsibility themselves for the examination of these asylum claims."

See: Asylum in Hungary: damaged beyond repair? (link to pdf) and: SWITZERLAND: Court rules against sending asylum seekers to Hungary (Al Jazeera, link)

EU: Poland reacts to ‘non-compliance’ procedures (New Europe, link):

"In response to the European Commission launching procedures against Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic over “non-compliance with their obligations under the 2015 Council Decisions on relocation” of migrants, Beata Szydlo has denied his country is refusing to show solidarity with its EU partners.

The Polish PM said her country is not alone in failing to relocate migrants under a 2015 deal designed to alleviate the pressure on Greece and Italy which have seen the arrival of tens of thousands of migrants and refugees.

In an interview with Belgian daily Le Soire, Szydlo said migrants were not interested in staying in Poland, Hungary or the Czech Republic but wanted to head for richer countries."

See also: Orbán: No chance for single EU migration policy (EurActiv, link):

"Hungary’s populist prime minister said Monday (19 June) that he sees no chance for a single EU-wide migration policy, just days after the bloc launched legal action against Budapest for refusing refugees under a controversial solidarity plan."

And: Commission latest reports on the refugee crisis and "returns" to Turkey (Statewatch News Online, 14 June 2017)

IRELAND: Resettlement and relocation: Less than a third of promised 4,000 refugees settled here (Irish Times, link):

"Less than a third of the 4,000 refugees the Government promised to accept by the end of the 2017 have been resettled here, according to the most recent figures released ahead of World Refugee Day on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, charities have called for a reversal of parts of the International Protection Act 2015, which narrowed the definition of family and removed the possibility for refugees to apply for extended family members to joint them in Ireland.

(...)

Though we had promised to relocate refugees from Italy, none have yet been moved here. The Department of Justice said this was because Italian authorities have not allowed law enforcement agencies from other EU member states to conduct security assessments of candidates on its soil."

Are You Syrious (18.6.17, link)

Detention centres in Sweden are prisons

"Swedish Radio says the conditions in detention centres where people are placed before being deported have radically changed over the last couple of years, with these centres increasingly becoming like prisons. Staff members tell the radio that one of their main task and purpose was to talk, create relationships and prepare people in custody ahead of their deportation - now, they increasingly feel like prison guards. Clashes between staff and people who are about to be deported have increased and are now common events. The staff says the only training they have received in the last couple of years is on security and defense - nothing about how to treat vulnerable people......"

Greece: Arrivals

"52 people were rescued off Crete and transferred to Athens. Two boats arrived on Lesvos this morning, including one on the north coast with 55 people on board. Refugee Rescue, a sea rescue team, says people were forced to stay at the Stage 2 transit area yesterday night, as the Moria camp was apparently full."

Croatia: Police violence at the border

"A new case of police violence has been documented in Croatia. Five men including three minors crossed the border between Serbia and Croatia by train but were discovered at a train station near Zagreb. They then asked for asylum but were brought back to the border in a police van and beaten with batons. One of the minors was ill and beaten until he fell to the ground. The policemen then told them to “go back to Serbia” and not to come back, forcing the men to cross the border."

Italy:Situation in Gorizia

"Collettivo SPAM met with refugees in Gorizia, at the border with Slovenia, and says refugees living in governmental centres for accommodation of asylum seekers (CARA) and in the “jungle” are steadily increasing. Around 20 refugees are arriving each day in the jungle, with many kicked out of accommodation centres and others forced to live there after the eviction of the bunker, a basement that was managed by volunteers. The jungle is missing food and water and there is a constant danger coming from inundations and attacks by wild animals."

Support our work by making a one-off or regular donation to help us continue to monitor the state and civil liberties in Europe.
Search our database for more articles and information or subscribe to our mailing list for regular updates from Statewatch News Online.

We welcome contributions to News Online and comments on this website. E-mail us or send post to Statewatch c/o MayDay Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH.

Home | News Online | Journal | Observatories | Analyses | Database | SEMDOC | About Statewatch

© Statewatch ISSN 1756-851X. Personal usage as private individuals/"fair dealing" is allowed. We also welcome links to material on our site. Usage by those working for organisations is allowed only if the organisation holds an appropriate licence from the relevant reprographic rights organisation (eg: Copyright Licensing Agency in the UK) with such usage being subject to the terms and conditions of that licence and to local copyright law.