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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
23.12.17-1.1.18
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Greece: More than 170 migrants reach Lesvos, Samos early New Year's Day (ekathimerini.com, link):

"More than 170 undocumented migrants reached the shores of Lesvos and Samos in the early hours of New Year's Day, according to government figures."

Are You Syrious (31.12.17, link):

Intro

"The year of 2017 was much more difficult than we could even imagine during the previous year. More borders, more populism, more fascism, militarization, wars, police violence… Children are dying again before closed borders, but it seems like no one cares any more.

While part of the world population will celebrate the arrival of the new year, the other part, millions of people who have fled their homes due to wars, poverty or fear for their lives, will spend another night in tents, on the streets, in the forest, dreaming of reaching a country where they will have a chance for a better life and the possibility of choice. Now that borders closed, their chances in 2017 became smaller than ever.(...)"

Libya: “A government that couldn’t protect their own people will never be able to protect migrants.”

"Earlier this month the City Plaza and other local groups, organized a demonstration in Athens against EU involvement with the slave trade in Libya. It took place on 16 December, International Migrants Day, with many other solidarity demonstrations taking place in multiple European cities."

Macedonia

"The refugees in the Balkans are desperate. They have been stuck for too long en route, their rights denied, without papers or the option to be seen as equal. The European borders are closed and they receive no response to their asylum petitions. They are passing our country, silently - invisible to our eyes, but not to the police and criminals.

During 2017, we were dealing with push-backs, rejected claims, and too many other issues people had to fight. We cannot name all the inhumane acts they suffered from the states."

Serbia

"A year ago, AYS wished for Serbia’s government to start prioritizing the well being of refugees and migrants over bureaucracy. Many things have changed since then. But if we consider how 2017 kicked off, it seems that priorities haven’t changed much.

Between 1000 and 2000 refugees and migrants?—?including minors and kids?—?spent a harsh, freezing winter with temperatures of -15° C in a makeshift settlement behind Belgrade’s main train station. Hidden in plain sight, 500 meters away from the city center of a European capital, this became a city within a city."

Romania

"Romania has became an alternative route: the number of arrivals is increasing ever since the Hungarian and Croatian governments enforced their border defence. According to the Romanian border police, 1600 people arrived last year, which is 20 percent more than arrived during the previous year."

Croatia

"Croatia finishes the second calendar year with the shameful organised practice of violent push-backs of refugees, not only from the border, but also from deep inside the territory - for example, from Zagreb, including from in front of the UNHCR Croatia building (several cases)."

The Netherlands

"Last year I hoped for more solidarity and humanity, that we would build larger tables not higher fences. Thinking about it now I wonder why I have been disappointed.

Our new government’s view on refugees seems to be that too many refugees are coming to the Netherlands, which leads to unrest and endangers social cohesion. One solution to this problem could be to build bigger fences, bigger in the form of agreements intended to stop migrants from reaching Europe. Looking at the EU-Turkey deal however we can all agree that this did not stop people from reaching Europe, nor did it make things better, and the same can be said about the deal with Libya."

Seweden

"Last New Year’s, I wished for a couple of things in 2017. Among them that family reunification would speed up, unaccompanied minors would be treated better and for people to start questioning the concept of humanity and what it means to them. Unfortunately, while looking back at 2017, very few of those things came true.

Instead, the number of deportations increased. Sweden continued to apply the strictest asylum laws allowed in the EU. Nothing indicates a change anytime soon, even though there is opposition both within the government and among the public."

UK: Ministers pondering use of volunteers to guard UK borders (AoL, news, link):

"The Home Office confirmed that proposals for "Border Force Special Volunteers" at small air and sea ports were being discussed.

They would be used to bolster Border Force staffing levels, in a similar vein to police community support officers.

However an MP whose constituency covers one of Britain's largest ports warned against creating a "Dad's Army-type set-up", due to the complexities of border security."

EU asylum applications drop off drastically in 2017 (DW, link)

"The number of people applying for asylum in the European Union in 2017 dropped significantly for the first time since 2015. Germany still received the highest number of applications, but less than half were approved."

Are You Syrious (27.12.17, link):

FEATURE

"Local newspapers in Croatia are reporting on a teenage boy, (12 or 13 years old), who was found hanging onto the bottom of a bus was driving from Serbia to Croatia. The boy was found after passengers heard unusual sounds and demanded the driver to stop and check. Speaking to the local media, the driver said that the boy came out of the space in between the wheels, dirty and obviously in shock (...)".

UNHCR has published the monthly report containing information on sea arrivals between January and November 2017

"Here are the main figures:

-  171.300 people arrived by sea and land to Europe in 2017, with arrivals during November 2017 51% less than November 2016
-  An estimated 3.100 lost their lives or went missing
-  117.000 landed in Italy (32% less than the same period in 2016)
- 15.540 of those arriving in Italy were unaccompanied minors
- Eritreans were the main nationality to reach Italian shores in November (1.100 arrivals, over 700 of them had arrived on 2 boats)
- 25.900 migrants arrived in Spain during this period (+ 106% compared to the same time period in 2016)
- 27.300 people arrived in Greece during this period (84% compared to the same time period in 2016)
- More than 40% of the sea arrivals into Greece were children
- An estimated 5.100 people crossed the land border with Turkey in 2017, 700 just in November
- 4.400 migrants were present in Serbia up to November 2017, “just 13 of them have been granted asylum during first instance procedures”
- 32.043 asylum seekers have been relocated from Greece and Italy, according to the European Commission
- “In Greece, no person who has arrived after 20 March 2016 has been referred and submitted for relocation”
- 1.468 returns to Turkey"

Greece: Thousands of children in overcrowded Lesbos migrant camp, UNHCR wants to move the most vulnerable (infomigrants.net, link):

"A doctor from international aid group MSF says about forty percent of migrants sheltering in the Moria camp on Lesbos are children, and of those, nearly a quarter are unaccompanied minors. Meanwhile the UN refugee agency wants to step up evacuations of vunerable families to the mainland."

497 Arrivals in Levos over the Christmas period (UNHCR source):

20/12/2017:  201
21/12/2017:   53
22/12/2017:   36
23/12/2017:     0
24/12/2017:     0
25/12/2017: 177
26/12/2017:   30

EU 'solidarity' on migration focuses on Africa (euobserver, link):

"While unable to find a common ground on internal EU asylum policies, capitals have instead shifted the bulk of their attention on stopping immigrants from reaching EU shores in the first place.

"In a sense, this is also a kind of a cynical way out of the solidarity deadlock," said Kris Pollet, a senior policy officer at the Brussels-based European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE).(...)

"The EU is prioritising more the security sector, investing more on the military in this fight against counter-extremism but there are millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance," said Nafkote Dabi, an Oxfam policy expert.(...)

It entails a renewed push to get international aid organisations up and running in Libya as people, plucked from its territorial waters, are returned and sent to any number of notorious detention centres."

Climate Change Is Going to Drive Thousands of Refugees to Cooler Countries (Futuriism, link):

"By the end of the century, climate change may drive 660,000 additional asylum seekers per year toward Europe. Growing mass migration is only one of the social and environmental consequences of increasing temperatures."

UNHCR calls for migrant transfers, Greek authorities blamed for grim conditions (ekathimerini.com, link):

"As temperatures drop, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) once more urged Greek authorities to swiftly transfer thousands of refugees and migrants living in cramped and unsafe island camps to the mainland where better conditions and services are available.

“Tension in the reception centers and on the islands has been mounting since the summer when the number of arrivals began rising,” UNHCR spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told Voice of America."

Are You Syrious (22.12.17, link)

Feature: Spain condemned by UN for Archidona Prison facility

"Spain has been condemned by the United Nations for its treatment of refugees in Archidona Prison, where hundreds of migrants have been held since mid-November in the ‘unopened’ facility. They have been moved to the prison after entering Spain via the coasts of Almeria and Murcia due to alleged claims by the Government that refugee internment centres are full. Minors have been found within the prison facility."

Libya

"UNHCR reports that 162 exceptionally vulnerable African women and child refugees have been evacuated from Libyan detention by the UN and sent to Italy for the first time via an airplane on Friday. Detention centres in Libya have frequently been condemned by human rights groups as inhumane."

UNHCR: Situation on Greek islands still grim despite speeded transfers (link)

Bishops offer ‘room at the inn’ to refugees in Hungary (UNHCR, link): "In a country with a xenophobic streak and a government proud to call itself ‘illiberal’, religious leaders are speaking up."

December 2017

UK: Ministers pondering use of volunteers to guard UK borders (AoL, news, link):

"The Home Office confirmed that proposals for "Border Force Special Volunteers" at small air and sea ports were being discussed.

They would be used to bolster Border Force staffing levels, in a similar vein to police community support officers.

However an MP whose constituency covers one of Britain's largest ports warned against creating a "Dad's Army-type set-up", due to the complexities of border security."

EU asylum applications drop off drastically in 2017 (DW, link)

"The number of people applying for asylum in the European Union in 2017 dropped significantly for the first time since 2015. Germany still received the highest number of applications, but less than half were approved."

Are You Syrious (27.12.17, link):

FEATURE

"Local newspapers in Croatia are reporting on a teenage boy, (12 or 13 years old), who was found hanging onto the bottom of a bus was driving from Serbia to Croatia. The boy was found after passengers heard unusual sounds and demanded the driver to stop and check. Speaking to the local media, the driver said that the boy came out of the space in between the wheels, dirty and obviously in shock (...)".

UNHCR has published the monthly report containing information on sea arrivals between January and November 2017

"Here are the main figures:

-  171.300 people arrived by sea and land to Europe in 2017, with arrivals during November 2017 51% less than November 2016
-  An estimated 3.100 lost their lives or went missing
-  117.000 landed in Italy (32% less than the same period in 2016)
- 15.540 of those arriving in Italy were unaccompanied minors
- Eritreans were the main nationality to reach Italian shores in November (1.100 arrivals, over 700 of them had arrived on 2 boats)
- 25.900 migrants arrived in Spain during this period (+ 106% compared to the same time period in 2016)
- 27.300 people arrived in Greece during this period (84% compared to the same time period in 2016)
- More than 40% of the sea arrivals into Greece were children
- An estimated 5.100 people crossed the land border with Turkey in 2017, 700 just in November
- 4.400 migrants were present in Serbia up to November 2017, “just 13 of them have been granted asylum during first instance procedures”
- 32.043 asylum seekers have been relocated from Greece and Italy, according to the European Commission
- “In Greece, no person who has arrived after 20 March 2016 has been referred and submitted for relocation”
- 1.468 returns to Turkey"

Greece: Thousands of children in overcrowded Lesbos migrant camp, UNHCR wants to move the most vulnerable (infomigrants.net, link):

"A doctor from international aid group MSF says about forty percent of migrants sheltering in the Moria camp on Lesbos are children, and of those, nearly a quarter are unaccompanied minors. Meanwhile the UN refugee agency wants to step up evacuations of vunerable families to the mainland."

497 Arrivals in Levos over the Christmas period (UNHCR source):

20/12/2017:  201
21/12/2017:   53
22/12/2017:   36
23/12/2017:     0
24/12/2017:     0
25/12/2017: 177
26/12/2017:   30

EU 'solidarity' on migration focuses on Africa (euobserver, link):

"While unable to find a common ground on internal EU asylum policies, capitals have instead shifted the bulk of their attention on stopping immigrants from reaching EU shores in the first place.

"In a sense, this is also a kind of a cynical way out of the solidarity deadlock," said Kris Pollet, a senior policy officer at the Brussels-based European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE).(...)

"The EU is prioritising more the security sector, investing more on the military in this fight against counter-extremism but there are millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance," said Nafkote Dabi, an Oxfam policy expert.(...)

It entails a renewed push to get international aid organisations up and running in Libya as people, plucked from its territorial waters, are returned and sent to any number of notorious detention centres."

Climate Change Is Going to Drive Thousands of Refugees to Cooler Countries (Futuriism, link):

"By the end of the century, climate change may drive 660,000 additional asylum seekers per year toward Europe. Growing mass migration is only one of the social and environmental consequences of increasing temperatures."

UNHCR calls for migrant transfers, Greek authorities blamed for grim conditions (ekathimerini.com, link):

"As temperatures drop, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) once more urged Greek authorities to swiftly transfer thousands of refugees and migrants living in cramped and unsafe island camps to the mainland where better conditions and services are available.

“Tension in the reception centers and on the islands has been mounting since the summer when the number of arrivals began rising,” UNHCR spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told Voice of America."

Are You Syrious (22.12.17, link)

Feature: Spain condemned by UN for Archidona Prison facility

"Spain has been condemned by the United Nations for its treatment of refugees in Archidona Prison, where hundreds of migrants have been held since mid-November in the ‘unopened’ facility. They have been moved to the prison after entering Spain via the coasts of Almeria and Murcia due to alleged claims by the Government that refugee internment centres are full. Minors have been found within the prison facility."

Libya

"UNHCR reports that 162 exceptionally vulnerable African women and child refugees have been evacuated from Libyan detention by the UN and sent to Italy for the first time via an airplane on Friday. Detention centres in Libya have frequently been condemned by human rights groups as inhumane."

UNHCR: Situation on Greek islands still grim despite speeded transfers (link)

Bishops offer ‘room at the inn’ to refugees in Hungary (UNHCR, link): "In a country with a xenophobic streak and a government proud to call itself ‘illiberal’, religious leaders are speaking up."

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