Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
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EU- AFRICA-LIBYA: Council of the European Union: EU targets Libyan refugees
Migration policy: implementation: - External aspects: contribution of Ministers of Interior = Discussion paper (LIMITE doc no: 7110-17, pdf): Following the 3 February 2017 Malta Declaration (pdf) the Council Presidency reports that "its implementation has now taken off." The aim is to cut or halt refugees arriving in the EU via Libya and the same for the neighbouring states to Libya. This includes:
"Supporting IOM in significantly stepping up assisted voluntary return activities...
"IOM would need to recruit more staff, post international staff in Tripoli (IOM office planned to be open by the end of March 2017) and more importantly, assist the country of origin's consuls in neighbouring countries to increase their capacity to issue travel documents. This is currently considered the main bottleneck in carrying out assisted voluntary returns from Libya." [emphasis added]
And: "Helping to reduce the pressure on Libya's land borders, keeping track of alternative routes and possible diversion of smugglers' activities as well as deepening dialogue and cooperation on migration with all countries neighbouring Libya."
Also from the Valletta Plan:
"enhancing adequate reception capacities and conditions in Libya and neighbouring countries for migrants;
- improving the socio-economic situation and resilience of host communities in Libya and neighbouring countries;
- enhancing border management capacity on Libya's land borders.." [emphasis added]
"Reception capacities" equals holding centres.
See also: Mission impossible? Secret EU report makes clear problems in rebuilding Libyan state (Statewatch): With the EU committed to halting cross-Mediterranean irregular migration, a recent classified report produced by the EU's Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) Libya makes clear the difficulties that lie ahead in attempting to establish functioning state institutions in the country, including those willing to comply with European demands for "integrated border management". See: EUBAM Libya Initial Mapping Report Executive Summary (25 January 2017, 5616/17, EU RESTRICTED, pdf)
European, North Africa ministers seek to curb Libya migrant flows (euractiv, link):
"Interior ministers mainly from the central Mediterranean region met in Rome yesterday (20 March) to ramp up efforts to curb migration from Libya amid a sharp rise in the number of people trying to cross to Europe.
One year after a controversial deal with Turkey to stop migrants setting out across the Aegean Sea for Greece, the European Union is seeking to reach a similar accord with conflict-hit Libya, despite fierce opposition from human rights campaigners."
Interior ministers from Algeria, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Libya, Malta, Slovenia, Switzerland and Tunisia took part in the meeting, along with European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos.
The group released a declaration of intent which limited itself to promising increased coordination and information-sharing in a bid to tackle the root causes of migration, as well as combat smuggling and strengthen borders."
See : Declaration of Intent (Italian, pdf) and see: Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos following the Ministerial Conference on the Central Mediterranean Migration Route in Rome (pdf)
Greek Ministry: Refugee statistics: 21.3.17 (pdf) Also states that in 2017: Voluntary returns: 1,308 and Departures to Turkey: 110.
Are You Syrious (20.3.17, link)
Feature: New deal, new humanitarian nightmare?
"This morning, around 9.30, 116 people, including 15 women and a 5 year old child, landed in Molo Favarolo, Lampedusa. By the end of the day, 560 people arrived. They are from Cameroon, Ghana, Côte dIvoire, Gambia, Nigeria, Senegal, Guinea Bissau.
Late this evening, 946 people were saved by Aquarius and on their way to Catania, Sicily.
Yesterday, March 19, 3,000 people were rescued. This increase is, according to some sources, due to the good weather. All of the new arrivals will try to continue their journey, once they rest. However, in Italy, the situation for migrants and refugees who are coming is not improving. There is hardly any accommodation for people, not enough volunteers, and the state is not in the capacity to take care of all the people who are arriving almost daily....."
"According to data gathered by the Bulgaria Border Monitoring, currently, there are three detention centers in this country: one in Busmantsi, one Lyubimets and one in Elhovo.
In February 2017, the current number of people who were living in closed-type centers was 984. Also, there are six refugee centers, three in Sofia and three in the rest of the country."
The government announced they will appeal the first-instance ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) finding the state for wrongly detaining and deporting two Bangladeshi asylum-seekers in 2015.
The Court ruled last week that by taking this measure, Hungary had violated the European Convention on Human Rights. The court ordered that Hungary has to pay to the petitioners 18,705 euros each in compensation and legal fees. This ruling could pave the way for every asylum seeker in Hungary to seek recourse in Strasbourg.
According to the official numbers, a total of 7,204 people had tried to enter Hungary so far this year. Out of this number, 4,472 were arrested and 2,740 pushed back. At the same time, 1,134 asylum applications were submitted, while 54 applicants have been granted international protection, 13 refugee status, 36 have been given subsidiary protection and 5 have been granted tolerated stay status."
Europe Migrant Crisis: German Officials To Use Speech Analysis Software To Screen Refugee (IBT, link):
"German officials plan to screen refugees using an automated software that analyzes dialects, according to German paper Die Welt via Deutsche Welle.
The speech analysis system would help officials in reviewing an applicant's sources of origin. Technology in the software is the same used by financial firms, such as banks and insurance companies, to verify people over the phone.
"The idea is to record a separate speech sample from asylum seekers and to carry out an automatic dialect analysis," Julian Detzel, from the BAMF told Die Welt ."
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