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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
28-30.9.17
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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
Surge in migration to Greece fuels misery in refugee camps (Guardian, link):

"Reception centres vastly overstretched as more than 200 people arrive every day, 40% of them children .

Greece is experiencing a dramatic rise in the number of refugees and migrants entering the country, exacerbating already deplorable living conditions on island camps.

The number of people arriving, across land and sea borders, has more than doubled since the beginning of the summer. Authorities estimate arrivals are now at their highest level since March 2016, with over 200 men, women and children being registered every day.

“It is dramatic and it is the most vulnerable of the vulnerable coming in,” said Elias Pavlopoulos, who heads Médecins sans Frontières in Greece. “There are whole families fleeing war zones in Syria and Iraq. In the last few months our clinics have seen more people who have suffered violence, who are victims of rape, who have been tortured, than ever before.(...)

Over 1,500 unaccompanied minors are currently on waiting lists in Greece to be housed in child shelters.”

See also: Greece: More than 400 migrants have landed on Aegean islands since Monday (ekathimerini.com, link): "New arrivals to the eastern Aegean islands of Lesvos, Chios and Samos have raised the number of migrants landing in Greece from neighboring Turkey since Monday to 406, government figures showed on Friday.In the past five days, 207 migrants landed on Lesvos, 156 on Chios and 43 on Samos."

Frontex launches capacity building project for Africa during AFIC meeting (link);

"This week, Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, hosted the 21st meeting of the Africa-Frontex Intelligence Community (AFIC), gathering representatives of 21 African countries and a number of EU institutions.

During the gathering, Frontex launched a project to develop the capacity of AFIC countries to work on joint intelligence analysis of crime. This project will focus on training experts and setting up AFIC Risk Analysis Cells (RACs). It is funded by the European Commission."

See: Africa-Frontex 2016 Intelligence Community Joint Report (pdf)

Success of the European Agenda on Migration should not be judged by reduction of arrivals (ECRE, link):

"Ultimately, Europe remains in a risky situation until real alternatives are in place: reform of the CEAS including the crucial solidarity piece; safe and legal channels in addition to protection for all who need it; and global level solutions with Europe doing its fair share. A lot of this goes beyond the Agenda but while it remains a framework to follow, more emphasis and resources should be on its positive and not its restrictive elements."

European Commission: Commission presents next steps towards a stronger, more effective and fairer EU migration and asylum policy (Press release, pdf)

"A more effective EU policy on return: A more effective EU policy on return With return rates remaining unsatisfactory (around 36% in 2014-2015) and an estimated 1.5 million people to be returned from EU Member States in the near future, the Commission proposes to step up return efforts on all fronts." [emphasis added]

The Connission states (COM 558-17): "And yet, according to EUROSTAT data, out of the approximately 1 million third-country nationals found to be illegally present in the EU in 2016, only half received orders to leave the EU, and less than half of that figure (226,000) were effectively returned."

Statewatch comment: This quote is a bit misleading as third country nationals "illegaly present" includes visa overstayers thought to comprise about half of the overall figure.

The Commission, in the same report, states: "Based on the lessons learned in Greece and Italy, the Commission will present later in the autumn guidelines, including a template for standard operating procedures on how to set up and use hotspots in case of disproportionate migratory pressure at the external border of any Member State." This appears to refer not just to taking the "hotspot" approach in states with sea borders but at land borders inside the EU.

And see: Commission's latest proposals: three year internal border controls, swifter returns, ensure relocations

The Latest Greek Ministry figures: 26.9.17 show that there are 13,427 on the Greek islands.

Numbers and capacity: Lesvos 4,788 with capacity of 2,330, Samos 2,863 with capacity of 700, Kos 810 with capacity of 772.

"Premises managed by Greek Police: Pre-return detention centres": Lesvos 157 refugees with capacity of 210 in Section B Moira and Kos 150 held with capacity of 500.

Detention in police stations: Lesvos 4, Chios 18, Samos 29 (with capacity of 240) Leros 2, Kos: none,"Other islands": 49.

New arrivals on the islands 152.

Migration : After France, Belgium collaborates with the dictatorial regime of Sudan (AEDH, link):

"Théo Francken, Belgian Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, called on Sudanese agents to carry out identification checks in the Maximilian Park in Brussels, where many migrants found ‘refuge’. The European Association for the Defense of Human Rights (AEDH) strongly condemns the resort to Sudanese agents at the service of President Omar Hassan Ahmad el Bashir dictatorial regime, who is himself under two international arrest warrants for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The identification of Sudanese nationals and the following forced returns endanger the lives of these individuals and their families. This situation is not only worrying but unacceptable as it contradicts, among others, Article 19 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union."

Asylum system in Hungary dismantled as elections approach - Migszol update (link):

"What was before a more or less, albeit poorly, functioning asylum system, has been turned into a carefully constructed, but unsustainable, system of detention and transit zones. Systematic pushbacks to Serbia, and more recently to Romania, continue. The fence area has developed into a militarized zone of pushbacks and detention."

GREECE: Coast guard rescues more than 20 off Kastellorizo, 9-year-old girl dies (ekathimerini.com, link):

"More than 20 migrants or refugees were rescued and one child died Thursday on a Greek island after the boat they sailed from the Turkish coast overnight either capsized or sank, Greek authorities said.

Greece’s coast guard said a vessel from the European border agency Frontex initially picked up six people it spotted in the sea off the small southeastern island of Kastellorizo. One of the six, a 9-year-old girl, was taken to a hospital on the island but later died, the coast guard said. "

UNHCR Update: 512 refugees arrived in Lesvos, Greece between 20-26 September.

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