EU: Refugee Observatory 5-8-10-17

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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
Vanessa Redgrave: ‘This film will open minds to Europe’s criminal ways’ (The Observer, link)

"Spurred by the death of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, Vanessa Redgrave joins her son, Carlo Nero, to bring the plight of refugees to the big screen."

Thousands of stranded migrants found in Libya (DW, link):

"A Libyan militia has discovered several large groups of migrants after pushing a rival faction out of the port city of Sabratha. The fighting was reportedly triggered by Italy pledging support to one of the groups.

The militia, known as Anti-ISIS Operation Room, wrestled control of the Sabratha from the al-Ammu armed group after about two weeks of heavy fighting. On Sunday, the victorious faction reported finding over 4,000 migrants in various locations across the city, where they have been reportedly trapped by clashes."

Are You Syrious (7.10.17, link)

Greek islands

"8.1 million euros will be invested in five new hotspots to be built on Chios, Lesvos, Samos, Leros and Kos according to local media. The Ministry of Migration Policy apparently wants to create 8,500 “hospitality places” in the Eastern Aegean islands. Local people are concerned that this will lead to people being trapped long-term on the islands and would prefer a quick transfer process to the mainland. The funds have been pledged up to 31 December 2022. Yet the additional spaces they will offer would be filled instantly if they were to house all of the people currently in the over-capacity camps."

Mainland Greece: Fascist attack on agricultural laborers

"KEERFA has published a condemnation of today’s murderous assault by five members of neo-Nazi group Goritsa Aspropyrgos on farm laborers Safak Mahmud and Vakas Hussein while the two men were at work. The attackers screamed racist abuse during the assault and have been seen by local groups attacking people at anti-fascist events. Yet, the attackers have still not been prosecuted.

We call on the unions, the left, the municipal movements, the solidarity movements to condemn the pogroms of the fascists and demand that the police refuse to tolerate their action and their presence."

ECRE:: Greek Council of State dismisses all complaints on fast track border procedure and declares Turkey ‘safe third country’ based on doubtful documentation (link):

"On 22 September 2017, the Greek Council of State, the highest administrative court of the country, delivered two long-awaited judgments (2347/2017 and 2348/2017) regarding two Syrian nationals whose claims were rejected as inadmissible. The rulings will have important consequences on all main elements of the Greek asylum procedure and further deemed Turkey as a safe third country in their case, based on selective and limited documentation.(...)

The dissenting judgment from one judges sharply criticises the credibility of the sources and evidence supporting the notion of Turkey as a safe third country: “It is a fact known to all that in the past years and particularly in 2016 in Turkey, both before and after the failed coup of 15 July 2016, prevails a regime, in which fundamental rights and liberties are openly violated, judicial independence has been dismantled, where freedom of speech and press are not applied and guarantees of rule of law are not applied to those opposing the regime; The assurances of the diplomatic authorities of this country, forming part of the hierarchy of said regime, have no credibility. This is valid when both the Directive and Greek law do not refer to any protection status, but require the highest possible protection status (“in accordance with the Geneva Convention”) to be guaranteed, as seen below; What matters is not the protective legislation of a country, but whether and how that is implemented in practice…” (para 60)."

Are You Syrious (6.10.17, link):

MORIA Overcrowding: Feature

"Overcrowding on the hotspots of the Aegean islands has been an ongoing issue for quite some time, one that Greek authorities seem either unable or unwilling to fix. The problem is worst in Moria on Lesvos. The camp, which was created to host 2,000 people, is currently housing 5,000, two and a half times above its capacity. According to Human Rights Watch, this has led to widespread abuses and difficulties, such as a shortage of water for children and abuse against women. The HRW representatives who spoke to the Greek parliament also stated that there are no shower facilities for people with limited mobility.

This severe level of overcrowding is preceded by the largest movement of refugees from Turkey to Greece in a very long time, numbering nearly 5000 people in the month of September. Even with a limited flow of people into the country, the Greek bureaucracy was failing to process applications and organize timely relocation for refugees whose status as asylum seekers had been confirmed. There is no lack of housing on the mainland, this is, simply speaking, a result of foot-dragging by the Greek authorities. With winter on the horizon, it is difficult to imagine the troubles that will take hold on the islands. UNHCR has brought attention to the fact that the facilities on the islands are woefully underprepared for winter, with 1,500 in Moria alone living in makeshift tents without so much as proper flooring or insulation."

Austria: Mass deportation to take place on October 10

There is to be a charter flight deporting refugees from Austria and Sweden to Afghanistan. The flight is scheduled to depart on October 10, and this will certainly be a mass deportation. Deportations from Austria are currently very frequent, the most recent case having taken place on September 30. However, the recent cases have been deportations of individuals accompanied by two or three police officers. The number of Afghan refugees taken to deportation centers continues to increase. The police is making a concerted effort to capture people whose asylum claims have not been approved, and there are reports of racial profiling of pedestrians in public places. It is important that people organize to protest these actions, and to all those who are at risk of deportation, we send our solidarity and wish them luck."

Italy: Report highlights the vast number of areas outside of the formal reception system

"An Italian language report commissioned by MSF has created a map of the “non reception” areas in Italy, underlining those regions and provinces where migrants are forced to sleep on the streets and are outside the formal reception system. As you can see, in Friuli Venezia Giulia (where Gorizia and Pordenone are located) migrants sleeping on the streets or outside the reception system is a common phenomenon in every province."

UNHCR: Overcrowded Greek refugee camps ill-prepared for winter (, link):

"Greece must speed up winter preparations at refugee camps on islands in the Aegean Sea where there has been a sharp rise in arrivals, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday.

Nearly 5,000 refugees, mostly Syrian or Iraqi families, crossed from Turkey in September – a quarter of all arrivals this year, UNHCR data shows.(...)

In the Moria camp on the island of Lesvos, one of the main entry points, more than 1,500 people are in makeshift shelters or tents without insulation, flooring or heating, UNHCR said.

They include pregnant women, people with disabilities, and very young children."

Amnesty condemns forced returns of Afghan asylum seekers (euractiv, link):

"A surge of failed Afghan asylum seekers forcibly returned from Europe are at risk of torture, kidnapping and death in war-torn Afghanistan, Amnesty International said today (5 October).

Almost 9,500 Afghans went back to their homeland in 2016 after their applications for asylum in Europe were rejected, compared with nearly 3,300 a year earlier, the human rights group said.(...)

“European governments are forcing increasing numbers of asylum seekers back to the dangers from which they fled, in brazen violation of international law,” Amnesty said in a report, “Forced Back to Danger”"

See: Forced back to danger: Asylum-seekers returned from Europe to Afghanistan (AI, pdf)

Are You Syrious (4.10.17, link):

FEATURE: Situation deteriorating in the north of Italy

"The situation is dire in the north of Italy. Arrivals to the Gorizia area continue, at least 5 to 15 a day at the local gallery, volunteers say. The local officials place a certain amount of people in various structures. There are always between roughly 20 to 50 refugees sleeping in the photographed area. There is another group sleeping in another similar place."

CROATIA: EC met with AYS and CMS over latest Report

"AYS and CMS have met the representatives of DG Migration and Home Affairs today in Zagreb. The meeting was initiated by the Commission after reading our report on the unlawful practices by the Croatian Ministry of Interior and Security Intelligence Agency (SOA), who issued minimum 44 negative decisions to asylum seekers mainly from Syria and Iraq, including very young children.

These decisions are based on the unexplained opinion by SOA that claims the existence of security obstacles in these cases and invokes the article 41 of the National Security Vetting Act that, according to their interpretation, envisages that SOA does not need to provide the reasons for this claims. Since the files are classified as RESTRICTED (...) "


"The 106-year old Bibihal Uzbeki, also called “the world’s oldest refugee” was today granted a temporary residence permit after her appeal in the migration court in Gothenburg. As AYS have mentioned before, she came to Sweden in 2015 together with her son and other close relatives where she applied for asylum. Earlier this year she got her first negative answer from the Migration Agency, who claimed that she could return safely to Afghanistan together with her relatives. Age isn’t a good enough reason for the Swedish authorities to grant someone protection and some peace at the final stage of life. Obviously negatively impacted by the answer, Uzbeki suffered from a stroke and stopped communicating completely, which hadn’t been the case before.

The permit she now was granted is valid for 13 months, which is the new standard in Sweden since last year, when the authorities decided to change their rules to the EU-standards."

EU: European University Institute (EUI): Taking Stock of Assisted Voluntary Return from Europe: Decision Making, Reintegration and Sustainable Return – Time for a paradigm shift (link):

"It is argued that it is time for a fundamental shift in our underlying assumptions regarding sustainable return in the field of AVR policy and practice. The working paper addresses key research gaps in the field and poses recommendations on how to move the agenda forward on AVR."

MSF: Serbia: Games of Vilolence: Unaccpompanied children and young people repeatedly abused by EU Member State Border authorities (pdf):

"Whilst providing primary and mental health care to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, Médecins Sans Frontières medical teams based in Belgrade continue to treat the injuries, both psychological and physical, of those crossing towards the Schengen Zone. Whether they are living in unsafe and precarious conditions at Serbia’s borders with Hungary and Croatia, or recently arrived from Bulgaria, the injured and distressed are mostly young men and boys aged between 15 and 25 years of age."

The plight of migrant children in Italy (New Europe, link):

"Human rights groups in Italy have warned that thousands of unaccompanied migrant children are at risk of falling back into the hands of smugglers or being exploited to work long hours for little pay, despite legislation aimed at protecting them.

“They [the children] are the most vulnerable elements of this big phenomenon called migration,” said Kostas Moschochoritis, head of humanitarian group Intersos, which operates the shelter for unaccompanied minors in Rome."

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