EU: Refugee Observatory 23-29-10-16

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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
Greece: Committees at odds with Council of State over refugees’ safety in Turkey (, link):

"Hundreds of Syrian refugees face more uncertainty – albeit of a more positive nature – following two separate recent decisions by asylum appeals committees ruling that Turkey cannot be deemed a safe third country.

The decisions contradict a September ruling by the Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, which found that refugees deported to Turkey under a deal with the European Union face no threat of torture, inhumane treatment or punishment. That ruling had been seen as paving the way for the deportation of at least 700 Syrians in Greece who had appealed the rejection of their requests for asylum in the EU."

Are You Syrious (28.10.17, link)


"As NBK reports, the protest in Sappho Square continues, despite national Oxi Day (refugees have been protesting for over a week now to demand the closure of the detention centres on the islands and voicing their will to be moved to the mainland as soon as possible). There was a huge deployment of police. As we reported yesterday, four refugees are on a hunger strike."


"Today marks the anniversary of the tragedy of 28 October 2015 when a boat carrying over 300 refugees capsized while trying to reach Lesvos, resulting in the deaths of dozens of people. Here are testimonies of how volunteers paid their respects to the victims of that day and symbolically to all those who have died and are still dying while trying to reach safe shores. The anger and disappointment towards the European policies that promote walls and divisions are more bitter than ever during these moments. A natural question arises: what has changed over these two years?"


"We, as AYS, have always spoken out against the dreadful living conditions of asylum seekers in Northern Italy. Especially over the last year, the situation has significantly worsened in a few cities in Friuli Venezia Giulia (the region on the border with Slovenia) and over the last months the calls for donations and help have intensified as have the inhumane and fascist policies of the local authorities.(...)"

Greece: Patras: Migrants swim to ferries in order to get on board and travel to Italy (video) (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"In Patras, Western Greece, migrants are seen to jump into the sea and are swimming towards departing ferries in an effort to leave Greece for Italy. They climb through the hanging ropes and try to get on board.

The desperate ‘escape’ has been observed in the old port of Patras in recent days.

According to local media, majority of ‘swimmers’ are Moroccans who cannot easily approach the new port as the Afghan migrant traffickers would not allow them.

The migrants jump into the sea and try to get on board of the anchored ships by the toe bands and anchor chains. "

French police ‘use beatings, tear gas and confiscation’ against Calais refugees (The Observer, link):

"Report from the Refugee Rights Data Project finds child refugees harassed and intimidated by police as well as local citizens.

Police violence towards refugees in Calais has intensified to “excessive and life-threatening” levels, according to a new report, and the overall situation for unaccompanied minors has deteriorated markedly, a year after the refugee camp there was razed.

The report by the Refugee Rights Data Project (RRDP) says French police tactics against the estimated 700 refugees at the port are alleged to have included driving unaccompanied girls to remote spots and abandoning them. Researchers used interpreters to interview 233 refugees, including 94 children as young as 12, and found repeated “disproportionate and indiscriminate” accounts of police brutality including beatings severe enough to break limbs."

EU-Africa: The fight against smuggling comes of age: from deaths at sea to those in the desert

Three questions: Barbara Spinelli MEP highlights the human cost of the fight against smugglers.

"Barbara Spinelli interevened during the EP's plenary session on the fight against illegal immigration and human trafficking in the Mediterranean, requested by the ENF group and submitted by Matteo Salvini, MEP for the Northern League."

Greece: Lesvos: From 11 to 17 October 2017 599 refugees arrived to Lesvos. And 18-24 October a further 418 arrived (UNHCR).1.012 in two weeks.

Greece: Mahaa and Zaman (Samos Chronicles, link):

"Saad met Mahaa and Zaman in Athens at meetings of LGBT refugees. Their stories below are based on taped conversations which have in places been edited. Their stories, as their lives, continue to unfold in the daily uncertainties facing all the refugees in Greece today. If you would like to contact them please do so through the blog and we will pass any messages on to them."

RABAT PROCESS: Common Position of the African Civil Society Organizations as presented at the Senior Officials Meeting of the Rabat Process in Accra on 24 October 2017. Rabat Process: Senior Officials’ Meeting – African CSOs Common Position (English) and in French (pdf)

"This statement follows the consultation launched by the West African Observatory on Migrations, prior to the Senior Officials Meeting of the Rabat Process, with associations, networks, unions and religious organizations working on migration in Central, West and North Africa. Its content responds to the positions and recommendations expressed by these organizations."

FRANCE: Migrants: Independent inquiry finds ‘likely’ use of excessive force by French police (EurActiv, link):

"The French police “likely” used excessive force against migrants after dismantling the camp in Calais a year ago, an independent inquiry has found. But the ministry of interior insists that the “most serious allegations” were rejected. EURACTIV’s partner Ouest-France reports.

An inquiry was set up after international NGO Human Rights Watch accused the police of using excessive force against migrants in Calais. In its report, published on Monday (23 October), it said the allegations of use of excessive force by the police were “likely”.

In a press release published shortly after the report, Interior Minister Gérard Collomb highlighted that “no element in the report sustains the most serious allegations made” by international NGO HRW in July, particularly the “routine” use of pepper spray. Its use was “highly unlikely” according to the report.

The authors claimed that “the high number of oral and written witness statements, although hard to prove with material evidence, point in the direction of likely faults in the police’s use of force.”"

See: Evaluation de l’action des forces de l’ordre à Calais et dans le Dunkerquois (General Inspectorates of the Police Nationale, of l'Administration and of the Gendarmerie Nationale)

IRELAND: Irish Refugee and Migrant Coalition launch new policy paper (NASC, link):

"The Irish Refugee and Migrant Coalition have released a new report entitled Pathways to Protection and Inclusion, Ireland’s role in global refugee protection and migration movements.

The report sets out some of the major changes in the area of migration and asylum since 2016 from an International, European and Irish perspective. It also outlines a range of clear and pragmatic recommendations in order to ensure Ireland can respond responsibly and display solidarity with the regions and persons most affected by on-going conflicts and mass displacement.

The Irish Refugee and Migrant Coalition, of which Nasc is a member, is comprised of 23 leading Irish organisations working locally, nationally and internationally on migration and asylum issues. It seeks to advance the rights and dignity of people on the move and those in need of international protection."

See the report: Pathways to Protection and Inclusion: Ireland's role in global refugee protection and migration movements(pdf)

Press release: UK based Last Rights Project will speak at 72nd Session of UN General Assembly side-event on unlawful death of refugees and migrants

At the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, on the 26th October, Dr. Agnes Callamard, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions will present her report, “Unlawful Death of Refugees and Migrants” to the General Assembly.

Orban declares migrant-free zone in Eastern Europe (euobserver, link):

"Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban has declared Central Europe the continent's last "migrant-free zone". Speaking in Budapest on Monday on the 61st anniversary of Hungary's 1956 anti-Soviet uprising, Orban said that unity among countries such as Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic could stop globalisation and mass migration."

Calais: one year after ‘the jungle’ (Exodus, link):

"The UK government let Calais children down by stopping the Dubs scheme before the children who should go to the UK were transferred. They took only 300. Many of the children who were in the ‘jungle’, at least 1000, are still in France, some have crossed ‘illegally’ and at least three have died trying. Many have disappeared and nobody knows where they are."

Greek islands bursting at the seams (, link):

"In the last week, 1,194 people arrived on Greece’s Aegean islands from the coast of Turkey, adding to the thousands of asylum seekers who have been trapped at camps for months and showing increasing signs of frustration, with protests and scuffles becoming all the more frequent. (...)

As winter approaches, asylum seekers on Lesvos, Samos and Chios are still living in tents designed for summer weather, while others are sleeping outside under blankets.

The fact that 40 percent of arrivals are children, 20 percent are women and a large number have health problems, makes matters even more ominous."

Captain diverts cruise ship to rescue 10 migrants clinging to wooden boat in the Mediterranean (MSN News, link):

"British cruise ship passengers on a luxury trip round the Mediterranean woke up to find themselves in the middle of a mission to save a group of stricken migrants lost at sea.

Holidaymakers on the P&O ship Britannia, were alerted by the "man overboard" siren early on Monday morning.

It is understood 10 men, of North African origin, were spotted clinging to a wooden boat 26 miles off the Spanish coast. "

Greece JOINT STATEMENT: Open The Islands – no more dead from cold!

Solidarity groups and organisations call for urgent action as winter is coming for refugees in Greece

This Joint Statement has now been signed by 109 groups from across the EU, including Statewatch.

The real wave of refugees is yet to come (euractiv, link):

"Climate change in Africa is going to be a much stronger driving force for mass migration than political turmoil, writes Tara Shirvani."

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