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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
26.11-2.12.19

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Statewatch Observatory: The refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: a humanitarian emergency

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Med: Mounting Death Toll while NGOs Struggle to Keep up with Rescues (ECRE, link):

"Over the course of the last week at least 41 people have died in two separate shipwrecks, one off Lampedusa and one between Morocco and Spain. After disembarking a total of 353 people in Italian ports in the beginning of the week, NGO ships rescued another 213 people since Thursday.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) confirmed that at least 21 people lost their lives in a shipwreck off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy, on November 23. The boat, carrying 170 Europe-bound people, capsized 1.6km from the island as it was being escorted by the Italian coast guard. Efforts to Recover and identify the dead bodies are still on-going. 149 people were rescued.

Another 20 people are feared dead after a boat carrying 78 people got into difficulties while travelling from Morocco to Spain. After being alerted by an NGO, Spain’s maritime rescue service rescued 58 people, recovered four dead bodies and continued to search for those missing."

“How the hostile environment creates sites without rights": Evidence presented to the London Hearing of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on the violations with impunity on the rights of migrants and refugees (pdf)

"On 3-4 November 2018, a number of organisations, under the umbrella of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT, Basso Tribunal), came together to put the ‘hostile environment on trial’ at the London Hearing of the PPT on violations with impunity of the rights of migrant and refugee peoples...

The testimonies (oral and written) included evidence from Spain, Italy and Germany as well as the UK. We wanted to present all the evidence, and the rapporteurs’ contextualising reports, as fully as possible here, in an attempt to spread as widely as we can the knowledge contained in them, and to encourage groups around the country to organise local tribunals. During the PPT hearings we saw how the shameful hostile environment policy has legitimised racism and fostered a toxic social environment. We commend the courage of the witnesses and the commitment of the migrants’ organisations who participated. They are building a world that is better for everyone."

EU: Guarding the Fortress. Frontex role in the militarisation and securitisation of migratory flows in the European Union (Centre Delas, link):

"The new report “Guarding the Fortress: the role of Frontex in the militarization and securitization of migratory flows in the European Union” intends to study and analyze the context in which the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, is developed and implemented in the European Union, as well as its operation, mechanisms and main operations carried out. The research addresses the context that is built with respect to security policies in the EU, and specifically with regard to border and migration policy. As well as, the development of Frontex in this context.

The report analyzes the role that Frontex has in helping to build walls around the European Union, building what is called the “Europe Fortress”, through maritime, area and land operations that criminalize people who have to flee their homes for force, whether from war or economic inequality. It is in this context that migratory flows are approached as a threat, so that they are approached with the same instruments as border crimes."

European leaders: Stop punishing asylum seekers on the Greek islands (MSF, link):

"Dear European leaders

I have just come back from the Greek islands, and I was shocked by what I saw and by the accounts I heard from my colleagues on the ground.(...)

Dr Christos Christou, MSF International President “The situation is comparable with what we see in war zones in other parts of the world. It is outrageous to see these conditions in Europe and to know that they are the result of deliberate political choices.” (...)

Stop this deliberate collective punishment of people in search of safety in Europe. Urgently evacuate the most vulnerable people from these centres to safe accommodation in other European states. End the policy of containment."

Refugees being 'starved out' of UN facility in Tripoli (Guardian, link)

"Aid worker claims refugees are being denied food to motivate them to leave.

The UN has been accused of trying to starve out refugees and asylum seekers who are sheltering for safety inside a centre run by the UN refugee agency in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.(...)

Internal documents seen by the Guardian show that the UNHCR is also planning to withdraw food from 600 other refugees and migrants in the centre – who include survivors of bombings, torture, forced labour and other human rights abuses. The majority have already tried to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean, but were returned to Libya by the EU-backed Libyan coastguard."

UN refugees chief urges Greece to improve 'miserable' camp conditions (ekathimerini.com, link):

"plans to shut overcrowded refugee camps and replace them with detention centres to be used both as an ante-room for deporting failed asylum seekers and as a reception and processing centre for new arrivals. (...)

The government wants to move up to 20,000 people to the mainland by the end of the year and expects the new facilities to be ready by July 2020. State authorities believe that more than 80,000 migrants and refugees are currently in Greece."

Four dead, 10 missing from migrant boat found adrift near Melilla (El Pais, link):

"Rescue services took 55 survivors to the Spanish exclave city, where the holding center is over capacity."

GREECE: History repeating itself: Winter warnings for Europe’s largest refugee camp (The New Humanitarian, link):

"With winter approaching, aid workers and refugee advocates on Lesvos are worried: there doesn’t appear to be a plan in place to prepare Moria – Europe’s largest refugee camp – for the rain, cold weather, and potential snow that winter will bring.

The road leading to Moria runs along the shoreline on the Greek island of Lesvos, passing fish restaurants and a rocky beach. On sunny days, the water sparkles and dances in the 20-kilometer stretch of the Aegean Sea separating the island from the Turkish coast. But in the winter, the weather is often grey, a strong wind blows off the water, and the temperature in bitingly cold."

Frontex expands operations in EU neighbouring countries (link):

"After Albania and Montenegro, the EU Commission has concluded a Frontex status agreement with Serbia, to be followed by Northern Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. A first deployment of the EU border troops has meanwhile been increased."

Aid groups condemn Greece over 'prison' camps for migrants (Guardian, link):

"Greece is poised to create “prison” island camps, say aid groups amid growing criticism of government plans to overhaul refugee reception centres on Aegean outposts facing Turkey.

As the UN refugee agency’s top official, Filippo Grandi, prepared this week to fly to Lesbos, where almost 16,000 people are crammed into a single facility, Athens was criticised for adopting legislation in contravention of basic human rights.(...)

Greece is poised to create “prison” island camps, say aid groups amid growing criticism of government plans to overhaul refugee reception centres on Aegean outposts facing Turkey.

As the UN refugee agency’s top official, Filippo Grandi, prepared this week to fly to Lesbos, where almost 16,000 people are crammed into a single facility, Athens was criticised for adopting legislation in contravention of basic human rights."

Questions surround Greece's stricter course on refugees (DW, link):

"Athens has announced tougher action against migrants and refugees. New deportation camps are to be set up, while asylum applications are to be processed more quickly. But some doubt the efficacy of the planned measures."

Greece makes course change in its approach to the refugee crisis (new Europe, link):

"When Alkiviadis Stefanis was appointed as Deputy Defence Minister of Defence in the cabinet of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis some months ago it went relatively unnoticed. Stefanis, a 60-year-old ex-Chief of the Greek Army was not elected, but was placed in the Ministry of Defence as a “technocrat” due to the fact that he had good knowledge of military conduct. (...)

After weeks of deliberation and a slow adjustment to its migration management policy, the Greek government appointed military-man Stefanis as the coordinator for the management of the ongoing crisis."

Italy; At least 20 migrants feared dead after boat capsizes near Lampedusa (Guardian, link):

"Five reported dead and 149 rescued from vessel attempting to carry group from Libya to Europe.

At least 20 people were feared dead after a boat carrying hundreds of migrants to Europe capsized in stormy seas near the Italian island of Lampedusa, according to authorities.

Following the accident on Saturday, 149 migrants have been rescued, including 13 women and three children, but dozens were still missing, the Italian coastguard said in a statement."

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