Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
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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
Greek police continues to illegally hand over Turkish asylum seekers to Turkey (FIDH, link):
"On 2 June at 9am, a family of six, including an infant, and three men who wished to apply for international protection in Greece because of persecution in Turkey were handed over by Greek police to a group of masked gunmen. The refoulement was witnessed and the HLHR has in its disposal the license plate numbers of the Greek police van that transferred the asylum seekers. The new refoulement took place in Evros by boat, near Didymoteicho, and involved Mustafa Can, his wife and their four children, as well as Yilmaz Erdogan, Fethullah Çatal, and one more man, whose name is still not known.
The informal and forced refoulement of any person is considered an act of violence and is a blatant violation of international law and the international obligations of our country."
EU: EP approves fingerprinting asylum seekers from age 6 (ANSAMed, link)
"The Civil Liberties Commission of the European Parliament on Tuesday [30 May 2017] approved fingerprinting asylum seekers as young as six in order to facilitate reunification with their parents. Under current EU law asylum seekers can be fingerprinted only from the age of 14. The measure was part of a package of amendments to an overhaul of the Eurodac fingerprint database, which were approved with 35 yes votes, 10 no votes and 8 abstentions. The MEPs also greenlighted the start of negotiations with the European Council in view of a definitive agreement. Under the changes, detention of minors should be prohibited. In addition, unaccompanied minors who disappear from reception facilities should be recorded in the Schengen Information System (SIS) and reported as missing persons. MEPs also voted to give the European police force Europol direct access to the Eurodac data base in order to prevent terrorist attacks and common crimes. In addition to fingerprints, the system should also allow the search and comparison of facial images and other personal data, such as name and identity document number when this information is available."
EP press release: Asylum: MEPs tighten internal security and improve safety for refugee children (pdf)
EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 8-9 June 2017: agendas and other documentation including draft conclusions heading for approval
Agendas and documentation in relation to the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on 8-9 June 2017.
EU: 2017 MEDAM Assessment Report on Asylum and Migration Policies in Europe (MEDAM, link)
"How can the responsibility for refugees be distributed more fairly globally and within the EU? And how can we curb irregular migration while expanding legal immigration to the benefit of all concerned? The large number of refugees and other migrants who have come to Europe over the last two years has caused the EU member states that received most of the asylum seekers, to reach their capacity limits. With a view to new arrivals and their long-term integration, it is now necessary to develop new and, above all, common strategies to address the migration flows to Europe.
The 2017 MEDAM Assessment Report focuses on two core Messages:
Distribute the responsibility for refugees more equitably
Extending legal immigration from non-EU Member States into EU member states"
EU: Relocation and its Numbers Which Role for the Courts? (EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy, link):
"In spite of the quote attributed to Einstein Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts, a large part of the current European debate on relocation is about numbers. Out of 387,739 people requiring international protection who arrived at the borders of the European Union (EU) in 2016, 362,376 travelled by sea through unseaworthy boats and 5,082 were reported dead or missing. This year alone, 58,944 migrants and asylum seekers arrived in Italy and 7,676 in Greece, with numbers rising by the day. 73,900 refugees are stranded in Greece and the Western Balkans. In stark contrast stand the 18,418 people relocated to the other 25 EU Member States following the European Commissions report of May 2017 on relocation, as opposed to the 160,000 relocations envisaged by the EU.
Even if the European Commission heralded the progress made, the underlying frustration with both the Commission and civil society is palpable. The Commission has already indicated that it will not hesitate to make use of its powers under the Treaties for those which have not complied with the Council decisions, noting that the legal obligation to relocate those eligible will not cease after September, hinting at its preparedness to start infringement proceedings under art. 258 Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU). Judges could play a role in enforcing the relocation numbers. After providing a brief background to the relocation decisions and the underlying principles, we remind the upcoming case on relocation filed by Hungary and Slovakia at the European Court of Justice and underline a case started by the NGO Lets bring them here in the Netherlands, both posing the question of what the numbers pledged actually count for."
EU: MORE FENCES: Lithuania starts erecting fence on border with Russia (The Washington Post, link):
"VILNIUS, Lithuania Lithuania has started building a fence on its border with the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad in an attempt to curb smuggling and illegal immigration and strengthen the EUs external border.
State border officials on Monday kicked off construction works of the first segment of the 130-kilometer (80-mile) -long metal fence at the Raminiskiu village in a ceremony attended by the Lithuanian Interior Minister Eimutis Misiunas.
The installation comes complete with electronic surveillance systems and drones. It will cost some 3.6 million euros ($3.9 million) in total and is to be completed by the end of this year."
EU-CROATIA-SLOVENIA: ECJ: Advocate General considers that EU border states cannot be responsible for all asylum applications in context of mass arrivals
"[The Advocate General] reiterates the unprecedented inflow of persons into the Western Balkans and the fact that no bespoke criterion was inserted into the Dublin III Regulation to cover that situation. In the Advocate Generals opinion, if border Member States, such as Croatia, are deemed to be responsible for accepting and processing exceptionally high numbers of asylum seekers, there is a real risk that they will simply be unable to cope with the situation. This in turn could place Member States in a position where they are unable to comply with their obligations under EU and international law."
EU: European Parliament analysis: European information systems in the area of justice and home affairs: an overview (pdf):
"The interconnections between border management, migration and internal security have become more apparent recently in the context of high inflows of refugees and irregular migrants and of increasing terrorist activities in the EU. To address these challenges, the EU has taken steps to revise and develop the European information systems in order to improve the collection, processing and sharing of data among Member States and relevant EU agencies. This publication provides an overview of the existing and proposed European information systems in the area of justice and home affairs. It discusses the legal basis, the purposes, the scope of data and access, the utilisation and the proposed changes for each information system, including issues of interoperability."
EU-AFRICA: Migration: EU money in exchange for border controls in Africa (Afronline, link):
"European funds in exchange for greater border controls. Easier repatriations. Quicker expulsions. In a word: border externalisation. By now this is the main point of the external aspect of immigration and asylum policies, both nationally and internationally. The objective is clear: to get the countries of origin and the transit countries more and more involved in controlling the flows towards the European Union. Which is what Italy and Europe have chosen to do. They are doing this independently and also in the name of the European Union. The fact that this perspective on immigration policies has been intensified can be seen from the funds that have been allocated."
GREECE: The European Court of Human Rights communicated the case of B.J. (v. Greece) and has addressed the Greek government with specific questions (Refugee Support Aegean, link):
"A Syrian refugee, a Christian of Armenian origin, who lived for about a year in Turkey under the precarious temporary protection regime without access to lawful work and housing and at risk of losing his temporary status and be deported to Syria has been under risk of readmission to Turkey in implementation of the EU-Turkey Joint statement. During his stay in Turkey, B.J. had to conceal his religious and ethnic identity for fear of being discriminated. The applicant entered Greece after the Implementation of the EU-Turkey Joint Statement and applied for international protection. In June 2016. The competent Greek authorities issued a final decision on his request ruling his application as inadmissible considering Turkey as a safe third country for him.
RSPAs Lawyers, members of Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) found the detainee in the Police station while at risk of readmission. RSA lawyers lodged all available domestic remedies against the rejection of his asylum claim as inadmissible as well as against the decision ordering his readmission to Turkey, requesting his release. They also requested to refer a question to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of the wording international protection according to the Geneva Convention.
B.J. and his lawyers also lodged an application before the European Court of Human Rights complaining for the violation of Article 3 and 13 of the ECHR (protection from inhuman or degrading treatment and deportation to a country where it may be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment or torture)."
GREECE: Hands off from #CityPlaza and all other Refugee Squats! (Enough is Enough, link):
"At June 7th, 2017 the news came out that a court ordered the eviction of City Plaza Refugee Accommodation and two other refugee squats in Athens.
Projects like City Plaza succeed in where the Greek goverment and other EU member states fail; a self-determined life, a life with dignity for those who travelled to a putative Europe under extrem hard conditions. A life where it doesnt matter which papers people have but instead a life where people can live together in a self-organised way.
Since the former City Plaza hotel was squatted more than a year ago, after the building was empty for several years, more than 1500 people lived in the building. 400 at any one time. Among them where many refugees and supporters from many countries. While EU member states closed their borders, sharpened their asylum laws, detaining and deporting more and more refugees, people in Athens have buildup self-organised projects like City Plaza together with refugees."
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