EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15-21.5.18)

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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
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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
EU: Frontex condemned by its own fundamental rights body for failing to live up to obligations

Frontex, the EU's border agency, has been heavily criticised for failing to provide adequate staff and resources to its own Fundamental Rights Office, a problem that "seriously hinders the Agency's ability to deliver on its fundamental rights obligations."

Germany to roll out mass holding centres for asylum seekers(The Guardian, link):

"Mass holding centres that Germany’s interior ministry wants to roll out across the country will stoke social tension between locals and migrants and undermine the welcoming image the country has gained in the eyes of the world, aid organisations have said.

So-called anchor centres – an acronym for arrival, decision, return – are designed to speed up deportations of unsuccessful asylum seekers, by containing large groups of people and the authorities who rule on their claims inside the same holding facility.

Until now, Germany’s policy has been to embed new arrivals in communities across the country. But Angela Merkel’s government is seeking to reverse its strategy, as a populist backlash builds against the chancellor’s handling of the refugee crisis."

And see: German interior minister to keep migrants in asylum centers (Deutsche Welle, link): "Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is pressing ahead

PRESS RELEASE Last Rights Project announces the agreement and signing of the Mytilini Declaration (Lesvos, Greece, link) and:

"The Mytilini Declaration for the Dignified Treatment of all Missing and Deceased Persons and their Families as a Consequence of Migrant Journeys" (pdf):

"On the 11 May 2018, following two days of discussions between experts from across the world, the Mytilini Declaration was agreed. We believe this is a landmark in establishing the rights of and duties toward all those who experience suffering because of the death or disappearance of their loved ones as a result of migrant journeys and we now call upon all countries and international bodies to ensure that these rights are respected and that the standards contained in the Declaration are implemented as a matter of urgency."

The Greek language version can be found here.

Honouring Kamil: Disability and Migration - June 29th 2018 (poster, pdf):

Kamil Ahmad was a Disabled Kurdish man who came to Britain seeking sanctuary, having been imprisoned and tortured in Iraq.

He was murdered in Bristol on 7 July 2016.

Please join us at this event in Bristol, to honour Kamil, learn from Disabled asylum seekers and build a broader movement (evenbrite, link)

There is also a Crowd Funder page, to raise funds to cover costs of the event. Even if you can not attend, please consider sharing this message.

Refugees Deeply: When Refugees Lead: A Conversation With Wales’ Refugee Coalition Chair(link):

"As part of our series “When Refugees Lead,” we speak with Rocio Cifuentes, chair of the Welsh Refugee Coalition and director of the Ethnic Youth Support Team, whose family fled dictatorship in Chile when she was an infant."

EU: Court of Auditors says member states and Commission must improve integration policies: See Briefing (pdf)

Migrant unemployment declines in Sweden (New Europe, link):

"Sweden’s New Public Employment Service has revealed that migrant unemployment is falling, although it remains almost four times as high as the country’s average.

Unemployment among Swedish-born residents stands at 3.7%, whereas 20.5% of those born abroad remain without work. The drop was in part facilitated by subsidised employment programmes, funded by the public sector."

Italy's populists aim to challenge EU on debt and migrants (BBC News, link):

"Italy's two populist parties will try to reach a deal on forming a government after a leaked draft revealed plans to defy EU rules on migration and debt."

Some 2,500 children asked for asylum in Greece in 2017 (, link):

"Some 2,500 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum in Greece last year, around 8 percent of the total 31,400 child refugees who sought asylum in European Union countries in 2017.

Italy received a relatively large chunk of applications for asylum – more than 10,000, or 32 percent of the total – followed by Germany, with 9,100 applications (29 percent)."

EU: Immigration liaison officers network: Commission proposes EU-level coordination

The European Commission has proposed introducing EU-level coordination of the existing network of immigration liaison officers (ILOs), made up of some 500 national officials who work in non-EU countries to gather information and intelligence with the aim of "preventing and combating of illegal immigration, facilitating the return of illegal immigrants and managing legal migration."

EU: Commission: latest progress report on the European Agenda on Migration demands "vigilance and coordination across the board"

The Commission is today reporting on progress made under the European Agenda on Migration and the Commission's roadmap from December 2017, and is setting out further key actions to be taken.

UK: New research reveals the human impact of Home Office asylum failures

New research by Refugee Action reveals Home Office failings, including long delays and poor decision-making, are having a devastating effect on people seeking safety in Britain.

EU-AFRICA: The new European border between Niger and Libya (Open Migration, link):

"The game for controlling what Marco Minniti defined “the southern border of Europe” to “be sealed” is still open. However, last year’s experience shows that focusing solely on control, while leaving aside the safety and well-being of communities living in northern Niger, especially in Fezzan, might prove counter-productive. For the people living in Fezzan, beaten by the conflict, for migrants, facing increasing risks, and – perhaps – for Europe itself in its attempt to contain migrations.

“We rebelled against Gaddafi but we have obtained nothing,” Joseph Moussa concludes, tens of cigarettes later, in an Agadez falling more silent by the minute. “Migrants are our sole currency: only when we find a new one we will stop transporting them.”"

EU: Visa Information System: proposal will "enhance internal security and improve border management" through interoperability and extended data collection

The Commission is today proposing to upgrade the Visa Information System (VIS), the database containing information on persons applying for Schengen visas, in order to better respond to evolving security and migratory challenges and improve the EU's external border management.

Ireland Says Welcome statement on the referendum on the 8th amendment: the impact of unwanted pregnancies on refugee, asylum-seeking and undocumented women

Ireland Says Welcome, in solidarity with refugee, undocumented and asylum seeking women in Ireland, wishes to draw attention to the situation of this group, who are easily forgotten in the upcoming referendum.

Greece changes asylum rules to fight camp overcrowding (ekathimerini, link)

"Greece’s parliament approved legislation Tuesday that is designed to speed up the asylum process for migrants, ease the overcrowding at Greek island refugee camps and to deport more people back to Turkey.

Under the new law, staff will be added at the office that handles asylum requests, the appeals process for rejected applications will be shortened and travel restrictions can be imposed on asylum-seekers who are moved from the Greek islands to the mainland.

Currently, restrictions on asylum-seekers are mostly limited to five islands near the coast of Turkey, where strained refugee camps are trying to cope with up to three times more residents than planned. More than 16,000 people are stuck there.

A group of 13 Greek human rights organizations, however, has accused the government of ignoring refugee rights."

Tensions with Turkey increase migration across Greece’s land borders (euractiv, link):

"Refugee flows through Greece’s land borders have started rising again, causing frustration among EU and Greek authorities. According to UNHCR data, in April alone 2,900 people entered Greece via land passages at the borders of Evros River, mainly families from Syria and Iraq.

Press reports say that increased migratory flows across the Evros are the result of the latest tensions in the Greek-Turkish relations."

UK: Capita staff used ‘excessive’ restraint on asylum seekers (Guardian, link):

"Damning report says staff used unnecessary force on low-risk detainees during removal flight.

Private contractors used excessive restraint on low-risk asylum seekers on a removal flight out of the UK, inspectors have revealed in a damning report.

Escort staff were led to believe by dire warnings during a staff briefing that they were dealing with a high-risk group, when the majority of passengers had no history of being disruptive, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) said in a report."

The New EU Migration Fund Masks Deeper Questions over Policy Aims (MPI, link):

"The European Commission has proposed an 89.5 billion-euro fund to battle irregular migration by investing heavily in countries outside the European Union, but its plans raise deep questions about the bloc’s aims.

It is unclear what the extra money could achieve, and the ultimate aims of the policy remain obscure."

Refugees in Greece reflect on another year of waiting: More than 60,000 asylum seekers are stuck in Greece due to closed borders and the EU-Turkey accord on refugees. (, link)

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