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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
17.2.-18
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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
ITALY: ECHR asks Italy for clarification on minors held at hotspot (InfoMigrants, link):

"The European Court of Human Rights has asked the Italian government to provide clarification by May 14 following reports from an association that unaccompanied foreign minors had been held illegally in the migrant hotspot in the southern city of Taranto.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has declared admissible the appeals brought in July and August 2017 by 14 unaccompanied foreign minors from Bangladesh, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali and Senegal, and asked the Italian government to provide clarification concerning claims that they had been "held illegally" in the hotspot in Taranto, the association for legal studies on immigration (ASGI) has said."

And see: another case regarding Italy: ASGI and ARCI appeal against mass deportation to Sudan deemed admissible by the ECtHR (Statewatch News Online, 12 January 2018)

Far-right nationalists rally in Bulgarian capital (DW, link):

"Hundreds of Bulgarian nationalists have marched in Sofia in an annual celebration of World War II general Hristo Lukov, a Nazi collaborator. The city government was unsuccessful in its attempt to stop the demonstration."

ECRIS-TCN trilogue discussions: four-column document and Council position on EP amendments

Council of the European Union: ECRIS-TCN: Proposal for a Regulation establishing a centralised system for the identification of Member States holding conviction information on third country nationals and stateless persons (TCN) to supplement and support the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS-TCN system) and amending Regulation (EU No 1077/2011 - Four column table with Presidency suggestions/comments (LIMITE doc no: 5505-18,104 pages, pdf): Four column document setting out: Commission proposal, European Parliament amendments, Council general approach and "compromise" position."

And see: Questions concerning the EP amendments (LIMITE doc no: 5730-18, pdf):

"In view of the first trilogue, which is scheduled for Wednesday 7 March, the Presidency (PRES) would like to obtain a view of the positions of the Member States on the EP amendments. PRES would also very much appreciate Member States bringing forward arguments that could be used during the negotiations.(...)

Far-right parties re-register to access EU funds (euobserver, link):

"Two far-right European political parties are now officially registered, opening European parliament funding opportunities for 2019.

The far-right nationalist Alliance for Peace and Freedom (APF) was listed as registered at an independent oversight authority on Wednesday (14 February).

APF members include politicians from the Greek neo-nazi Golden Dawn party and Germany's NPD, another ultra-nationalist political party with a neo-nazi ideology."

Are You Syrious (15.2.18, link):

ITALY: Where else do the corridors lead to?

"In the past months, we have been hearing more and more about humanitarian corridors and other ways to thought possible to “regularly” enter Europe. UNHCR has recently posted the news that, since November 2017, it has moved more than 1,000 people out of Libya and is now looking to establish similar permanent solutions to allow people to reach safe countries without having to risk their lives. Note that flights and journeys are not necessarily directed towards Europe, but could be to ANY country deemed a “safe” third country."

UK: Refugee Rights Europe releases report on British hostile attitudes towards refugees

"The newly-released Refugee Rights Europe report highlights the hostile environment that many refugees in Britain encounter. The report is the result of, among other things, a number of interviews with refugees, the largest contingent of which comes from Sudan, followed by Kuwait, Eritrea, Iraq, and Morocco."

Greece: Refugee with Legal Status in Germany Pushed Back to Turkey (Enough is Enough, link):

"The 23 year old Syrian refugee K. went from Germany to Greece to meet his younger brother who were supposed to come from Turkey by the end of November 2016. When he looked for him in Didimoticho, Greece, showing a photo of the 11-year old brother, he was arrested. 14 months later, K. is back in Greece after being pushed back to Turkey with 50 other migrants on the 30th of November 2016."

and ARCI appeal against mass deportation to Sudan deemed admissible by the ECtHR (Statewatch News Online, 12 January 2018)

UK: Home Office delivery of Brexit: immigration (Home Affairs Committee report, pdf): Home Office is one of the key government departments involved in delivering Brexit. We are assessing the Home Office’s capacity to meet this challenge in a number of policy areas. We published a report on customs operations in November.1 We expect to report soon on post-Brexit policing and security cooperation. In this inquiry we have examined the challenges facing the Home Office in delivering immigration services once the UK leaves the European Union.

...the Home Office needs to plan for delivery of new arrangements, some of which are due to start later this year and some of which are due to be in place for March 2019. The Home Office has been allocated around £60 million for Brexit contingency planning in the current year, but it is unclear what it is being spent on.

Registration and administration arrangements need to change, new IT systems need to be developed, enforcement mechanisms need to adapt, and customs and border arrangements may have to change too. More than three million EU citizens living in the UK, and a further 230,000 EU citizens a year if current levels of immigration persist, may become subject to immigration control."

And see: MPs call for review into May's 'hostile environment' for migrants (poliitcs.co.uk, link): " MPs have today called for a review into the impact of the government's 'hostile environment' policies which are designed to make life as difficult as possible for undocumented migrants."

French woman faces charges for 'aiding' asylum seekers (Al Jazeera, link):

""I'm going to continue," Landry told Al Jazeera in a telephone interview from Menton, a town in southeastern France near the border with Italy.

"I know I'm within my rights and I want to assert my rights."

But Landry said those rights were put in question during an incident last July.

According to the activist, she was standing on the French side of the Menton-Vintimille border crossing between France and Italy when she witnessed Italian police forcibly return two young men to French territory. (...)

But Landry, who works with the French branch of Amnesty International and Anafe, a group that provides assistance to foreign nationals at French borders, now faces criminal charges for her actions."

Spain proposes EU-Morocco accord to Frontex (InfoMigrants, link):

"Madrid has proposed to the European Union an agreement with Morocco similar to the deal with Turkey to stem the flow of migrants entering the country illegally. In 2017, there was a 100 percent increase compared to the year before.

"Morocco is making an enormous effort to loyally ensure cooperation with Spain on immigration", Security Minister Jose Antonio Nieto was quoted as saying by newspaper ABC. The government of Mariano Rajoy "is constantly conveying to Frontex", the European border agency, ''the need to start a strategically organized policy to deal with migrant issue'', added Nieto.

The minister recalled that what he called a "very solid alliance" established with Turkey had given results as illegal arrivals in Greece went down 77 percent last year."

Hungary plans to paralyse NGOs dealing with migration (euobsserver, link):

"Hungary's government submitted a so-called "Stop Soros" legislation package to parliament late Tuesday (13 February), which would grant the interior minister powers to ban civil groups deemed to support migration.

The bill is part of prime minister Viktor Orban's anti-immigration drive that has recently targeted Hungarian-born US financier and philanthropist George Soros, who has been promoting liberal values through his foundation, Open Society. "

Can Immigrant Detainees Have a #MeToo Movement? Abuses Run Rampant in the Sprawling Network of Detention Centers (HRW, link);

"The #MeToo movement has reached Hollywood, the press, restauranteurs, the White House, and even the gambling industry. But can it bring change for sexual assault victims in immigration detention?

Laura Monterrosa is a lesbian asylum seeker from El Salvador who is being held in the privately run Hutto Detention Center in Texas. Last year, she told authorities that she was sexually assaulted repeatedly by a female guard. When Laura said she would report her, the guard allegedly said, “Do you think they’ll believe you or me?” In December, the FBI launched a civil rights investigation looking into her case."

Hungary and Austria agree on ways to tackle migrant crisis (abouthungary.hu, link):

"Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said that migration poses the greatest threat to Europe’s future, which should be protected.

The prime minister made the comment while meeting Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Vienna on Tuesday.

“There exists a Christian culture and a way of life, which we would like to protect,” PM Orbán said. He added that we should preserve Europe’s identity and Christian foundations."

Misery for Women and Girls in Greece’s Island Paradise - Government Downplays Sexual Violence Risks in Migrant Hotspots (HRW, link):

"“Refugee women and children face heightened risk of sexual violence amid tensions and overcrowding at reception facilities on Greek islands.”

This is the alarming title of the report published Friday by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), expressing grave concerns for the safety of women and children in the so-called refugee “hotspots” on Greece’s islands. The Greek government quickly responded – but not as you would hope."

Brussels must bite the bullet on a common EU migration policy (euractiv,link):

"The EU Commission is soon to re-enter the conflict over immigration. Whether it will do so timidly or in a blaze of political courage remains to be seen when it unveils ideas for a ‘European Labour Authority,” writes Giles Merritt.

Giles Merritt is the founder and chairman of Friends of Europe."

Frontex: Migratory flows in January: Arrivals in Spain and Greece down, rise in Italy (link):

"In January, 8 300 irregular border crossings were detected on the four main migratory routes into the EU, down 7% from a year ago.

The number of migrants arriving in Italy via the Central Mediterranean route in January rose to more than 4 800, double the figure from the previous month (...)

According to preliminary data, Eritreans were the largest group of migrants detected on this route, followed by nationals of Pakistan and Tunisia. In recent months, Frontex also noted an increase in the number of Libyans making their way across the Mediterranean."

European Commission: Border management: European Border and Coast Guard Agency strengthens operational cooperation with Albania (pdf):

"Once in force, the agreement will allow the Agency to provide assistance in the field of external border management and will enable European Border and Coast Guard Agency teams to be swiftly deployed on Albanian territory in case of a sudden shift in migratory flows.(...)

Today's draft agreement is the first negotiation to be concluded between the European Border and Coast Guard Agency and the EU's partners in the Western Balkans."

The Myth of Voluntary Deportations – “Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration” from Greece (link)

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