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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
3-10.12.18
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UK: Stansted 15: Activists who stopped deportation flight found guilty of 'endangering' airport (The Independent, link):

"A group of activists who stopped a deportation flight leaving Stansted Airport have been convicted of disrupting flights and “endangering an aerodrome”.

The defendants, who have become known as the Stansted 15, said they were “guilty of nothing more than intervening to prevent harm”.

But a judge at Chelmsford Crown Court had told the jury that their intentions were not a defence."

See: The Home Office is guilty of harm, not us: Stansted 15 respond to guilty verdict (End Deportations, link)

The rise of hipster colonialism (Al Jazeera, link) by Nanjala Nyabola:

"Last week, Germany's Africa Commissioner Gunter Nooke said that European countries should be allowed to lease land and to build and run cities in Africa as a means of stemming what he views as the unchecked expansion of migration from Africa to Europe. For Nooke, allowing the "free development" of these areas would stimulate African economies and create "growth and prosperity" and therefore, reduce the attractiveness of Europe as a destination for migration.

...The easiest way to get to the heart of what's wrong with this proposal is to go back to basics - what is colonialism and why is it bad? The dictionary defines colonialism as "a policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically". Ultimately, it's about exploiting a power differential in order to reorganise one society for the economic and social benefit of another: saying that one society's economic and social imperatives are more important than the other's.

So, Nooke's proposal is fundamentally hipster colonialism - attempting to reclaim colonialism by couching it in neoliberal trends or ideology while advocating for a return to an essentially exploitative system of social and economic organisation."

AFRICA: Appeal by African civil society organisations to their states: ‘’Let us move in our continent’’ (Statewatch translation, pdf):

"This is the heartfelt cry that we, organisations of African civil society, wish to raise at the margins of the week on migration in Marrakech that will witness a gathering of states, international organisations and civil society organisations from 4 to 11 December 2018. After the difficulties which have obstructed the acquisition of visas for Morocco for numerous African civil society organisations wishing to participate in this migration week, we cannot keep silent about the discrimination that Africans continue to suffer affecting their right to mobility in their own continent.(....)

EU to process "confidential security information" with Libyan Coast Guard (link)

"The EU Border Agency has massively strengthened its surveillance capabilities. To make better use of this information, it will now be passed to the Libyan Coast Guard. This is legally impossible, now Frontex is pressing for the relevant regulations to be renewed. The navy in Libya, however, is using a Gmail address."

Host migrants or pay, France and Germany propose (euractiv, link):

"European Union governments that refuse to host refugees could instead pay to be excused from the bloc’s system of sharing out migrants, France and Germany proposed on Thursday (6 December) as they sought to end a long-running EU feud over migration.

The move reflects impatience with progress on reforming EU asylum rules ahead of EU parliament elections in May, diplomats said."

Syrian aid worker who swam refugees to safety freed from Greek jail (Guardian, link):

"Sarah Mardini had been held since August on people-smuggling charges criticised by rights groups.

After 107 days of incarceration, Sarah Mardini – the Syrian human rights worker who saved 18 refugees in 2015 by swimming their waterlogged dinghy to the shores of Lesbos with her Olympian sister – has been freed from Greece’s toughest jail.

The 23-year-old was released late on Wednesday from the high-security Koryallos prison in Athens, where she was being held in pre-trial detention on charges of people-smuggling.

She was allowed to walk free after her lawyers posted €5,000 (£4,450) in bail."

Greece, EU: Move Asylum Seekers to Safety: End Containment Policy, Organize Transfers Now (HRW, link):

"The Greek government and its European Union partners should urgently ensure that all asylum seekers on the Aegean islands are transferred to suitable accommodation on the mainland or relocated to other EU countries as winter approaches, 20 human rights and other organizations said today."

Statewatch comment: The official Greek Ministry figures shows that as of 5 December there are 15,790 refugees on the Greek islands with 7,825 on Lesvos, 4,182 on Samos and 1,476 on Kos,.

UK: Country returns guide: Guidance on returning immigration offenders to their country of origin (gov.uk, link):

"Home Office guidance on the documents required and processes for returning immigration offenders to their country of origin."

EU: Accountability of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency: Recent developments, legal standards and existing mechanisms (Refugee Law Initiative, link to pdf):

"The paper assesses the political, administrative, professional and social accountability of Frontex, including parliamentary oversight and the newly introduced individual complaints mechanism.

The final part of the paper focuses on legal accountability, a strong, yet highly complex, form of accountability. There, we introduce the concept of systemic accountability and investigate possible courses of legal action against Frontex. In sum, Frontex is subject to moderately increased scrutiny under its renewed founding Regulation and to various EU accountability mechanisms of general application. But several procedural and practical hurdles could render legal accountability difficult to achieve in practice."

Malta says Spain will accept migrants rescued by fishing vessel near Libya (El País, link)

"Spain will accept at least 11 of the 12 migrants rescued several weeks ago by the Spanish fishing vessel Nuestra Madre Loreto off the coast of Libya, according to Maltese authorities. The migrants were rescued by the fishermen while fleeing the Libyan Coast Guard on a rubber dinghy. Three of them scrambled on board while another eight threw themselves into the water and were picked up by the ship.”

See: The humanitarian fleet #United4Med calls on Europe to open its ports to the people rescued by the fishing boat Nuestra Madre de Loreto and condemns the negotiations between Spain and Libya (Statewatch News, 28 November 2018)

European Parliament: Humanitarian visas would reduce refugees’ death toll (link):

"Asylum-seekers should be able to request humanitarian visas at EU embassies and consulates abroad, allowing them to access Europe safely, say Civil Liberties MEPs.

With 37 votes to 10 and 3 abstentions, the Civil Liberties Committee agreed on Monday to ask the European Commission to table, by 31 March 2019, a legislative proposal establishing a European Humanitarian Visa. Holders would be allowed into Europe - only to the member state issuing the visa - for the sole purpose of submitting an application for international protection."

EU: Council of the European Union: Justice & Home Affairs Council 6-7 December 2018: Background Note (pdf) includes:

"On Thursday, ministers will aim to reach a partial general approach on the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) proposal and a general approach on the proposed regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online. The Council is expected to approve a comprehensive and operational set of measures to fight against people smuggling networks."

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