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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
18-24.6.19
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Statewatch Observatory: The refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: a humanitarian emergency

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FRANCE: Amnesty claim victory after Stratford man is acquitted by French court (Stratford-upon-Avon Herald, link):

"STRATFORD man Tom Ciotkowski who was charged with contempt and assault after he recorded a French police officer reportedly pushing another volunteer has been acquitted by a French court.

Responding to the decision of a French court to acquit Tom Ciotkowski, a British man who documented police abuse against migrants, refugees and volunteers in Calais, Nicolas Krameyer, Amnesty International France’s Programme Manager, said:

“Today’s decision, delivered on World Refugee Day, is not only a victory for justice but also for common sense. Tom Ciotkowski is a compassionate young volunteer who did nothing wrong and was dragged through the courts on trumped up charges."

I Helped Save Thousands of Migrants from Drowning. Now I'm Facing 20 Years in Jail (Newsweek, link) by Pia Klemp:

"In today's Europe, people can be sentenced to prison for saving a migrant's life. In the summer of 2017, I was the captain of the rescue ship Iuventa. I steered our ship through international waters along the Libyan coastline, where thousands of migrants drifted in overcrowded, unseaworthy dinghies, having risked their lives in search of safety. The Iuventa crew rescued over 14,000 people. Today, I and nine other members of the crew face up to twenty years in prison for having rescued those people and brought them to Europe. We are not alone. The criminalization of solidarity across Europe, at sea and on land, has demonstrated the lengths to which the European Union will go to make migrants' lives expendable."

EU: Working Paper: Guidelines on temporary arrangements for disembarkation

"Given the voluntary nature of participation in the mechanism, determination of persons to be relocated will be based on the indications by the Member States of relocation of the profiles that these Member States are willing to accept (variable geometry)."

"Member States that relocate voluntarily (a lump sum of 6000 EUR per applicant)."

From Palermo and Barcelona to Naples: For the Right to Mobility and the Right to Rescue! June 22, 2019 - Joint Statement (link):

"Humanitarian rescue NGOs, civil society organisations, and activist groups, including Sea-Watch, Alarm Phone, Mediterranea, Seebrücke, Aita Mari, Jugend Rettet, Borderline Europe, Inura, Open Arms, and Welcome to Europe, as well as representatives of several European cities and municipalities, including Naples and Barcelona, have come together to work toward a collective European and Mediterranean initiative. Our movement was born in Palermo in 2018 and in the spirit of the Charter of Palermo, with its central demand for the right of mobility. Our slogan is: “From the Sea to the Cities!”"

Are You Syrious (19.6.19, link):

Chios

"Disinformation and misinformation about refugees feed xenophobic attitudes, reports Mare Liberum. On 3 June 2019, the recent municipal elections in Chios were won by ex-military Stamatis Karmantzis with about 52% of the vote. Karmantzis will become the new mayor of Chios."

Enforcing Belonging – racial violence and the far Right (IRR News, link) by Liz Fekete:

"On the third anniversary of the death of Jo Cox, the IRR reports on racist violence across Europe, highlighting also cases involving police officers and soldiers."

Samos Greece: The Power of Volunteers (pressenza.com, link):

"The environment provided by this NGO stands in stark contrast to the one of the Reception Centre, where many of these children live, either with their families or in a separate section for unaccompanied minors. The toilets these children have access too are often broken or dirty, the tents are not resilient to the elements and there are many stories of people being bitten by rats as they try to sleep. The camp is often dirty with rubbish surrounding the tents and stories of bed bugs and disease. In response to these conditions Still I Rise decided to push back, filing a law suit against the camp manager of the Reception Centre.

They are doing this to help to give a voice to the children that they educate on a daily basis and to demand that their rights are protected. In collaboration with a second organisation Help Refugees they have, according to the organisation, gathered evidence, written affidavits and built a class action ‘on behalf of all unaccompanied minors past and present who suffered abuse in the camp’."

Melting Pot Europa: Violence at Europe’s external and internal borders. The dehumanization of migrants in border-control operations and its effects on people and policies (pdf):

"The response to the growing migratory pressure has been characterized from the beginning by the militarization of both external and internal borders, accompanied by the conclusion of bilateral agreements with the main countries of origin and transit, aimed to block the migration haemorrhage outside the doors of Europe. It is in this context that have been signed the political agreements between Italy and Libya, in 2017 and in 2018, and the agreement between the EU and Turkey, in 2016."

EU: ReSOMA Final Synthetic Report: Crackdown on NGOs and volunteers helping refugees and other migrants* (pdf):

"This report synthesises previous ReSOMA briefs concerning the crackdown on NGOs and volunteers helping refugees and other migrants. Section 1 captures the main issues and controversies in the debate on the policing of humanitarianism and the potential impacts of EU and national anti-migrant smuggling policies on civil society actors."

And see: Open Democracy: Hundreds of Europeans ‘criminalised’ for helping migrants – as far right aims to win big in European elections (link)

Sophia in limbo: political games limit sea rescues (euobserver, link):

"There are only few weeks left until the mandate of the EU's naval mission in the Mediterranean, EUNAVFOR Med [Operation Sophia], will expire on 31 March.

Nevertheless, Germany already decided in January to stop contributing vessels to the mission: its frigate Augsburg left in February."

Four human traffickers jailed for life over migrant truck deaths (DW, link):

"Four years ago, the bodies of 71 migrants were found inside an abandoned truck in Austria. The main suspects had already been sentenced, but now an appeal court in Hungary has delivered the final ruling on the case.

A court in Hungary on Thursday sentenced an Afghan ring leader and three Bulgarian accomplices to life in prison over the deaths of 71 migrants four years ago.

The men were found guilty of human trafficking and manslaughter. Judge Erik Mezolaki ruled Thursday that three of the traffickers would have no possibility of parole, whilethe fourth would serve a minimum 30 years."

CoE: Doris Fiala urges parliaments to lead the debate on humane refugee policy (link):

"The Chair of PACE’s Migration Committee has urged national parliaments to lead the political debate on devising humane refugee policies, reminding states that “it is a legal and moral obligation to treat with humanity everyone seeking refuge in Europe”.

Speaking on World Refugee Day, Doris Fiala (Switzerland, ALDE) said this was all the more important at a time when racism, xenophobia and nationalism were challenging the Council of Europe’s common values and legal standards on refugees."

Germany: Death threats sent to pro-refugee politicians (DW, link)

"As the investigation into the murder of Walter Lübcke intensifies, Cologne's mayor and several other German politicians have had their lives threatened. Police say the threats likely also stem from right-wing extremists."

EU must rethink migration policy that empowers "unaccountable militias and regimes", say rights groups

A coalition of civil society organisations working for democracy and human rights in Africa have accused the EU and its member states of empowering "unaccountable militias and regimes" and "undermining rule of law, good governance, respect for human rights and the role of civil society" through activities undertaken as part of the EU-driven 'Khartoum Process' and the EU Trust Fund for Africa.

Norway: 'Callous decision' to deport family to Afghanistan must be reversed (Amnesty, link):

"The Norwegian government must immediately halt the dangerous deportation of Taibeh Abbasi and her family back to Afghanistan, Amnesty International said today.

Taibeh (20) and her brothers Eshan (16) and Yasin (22) were flown from Norway to Istanbul on Saturday together with their mother. Due to a health condition, their mother is expected to be returned to Norway, but the children are at imminent risk of being flown to Kabul.

Ten Norwegian immigration police in Istanbul are reportedly escorting the siblings to Kabul. The Norwegian government has justified the family’s deportation by claiming that Afghanistan is safe for returns. This claim is contradicted by the record-high levels of violence documented across Afghanistan."

New ECtHR Judgment: Greece violates Articles 3 & 5 ECHR (Deighton Pierce Glynn, link):

"The ECtHR has ruled on the plight of migrant children trapped in degrading conditions of detention in Greece caused in part by the closure of the Balkans corridor into the rest of Europe. Our client, Statewatch, submitted a third party intervention on this important case.

DPG Partner Zubier Yazdani instructed Garden Court barristers Shu Shin Luh and Ronan Toal to draft a third party intervention for our client Statewatch.

In a judgment issued on 13/06/2019 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Greece had violated its obligations under Articles 3 & 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights which prohibits cruel inhumane and degrading treatment (Art 3) and arbitrary detention (Art 5). The case was brought by several applicants against Greece, Austria, Croatia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia."

See: ECHR press release (pdf) and: Written Submission on behalf of Statewatch as Third Party Intervener (pdf)

Council of Europe member states must assume more responsibility for rescuing migrants at sea and protecting their rights (CoE ,link):

"“European states’ approach to migration in the Mediterranean Sea has become much too focused on preventing refugees and migrants from reaching European shores, and too little on the humanitarian and human rights aspects. This approach is having tragic consequences”, said Dunja Mijatovic, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing a Recommendation today which identifies the deficiencies of this approach, and aims at helping member states to reframe their response according to human rights standards."

See: Lives saved. Rights protected.Bridging the protection gap for refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean (pdf)

Germany mulls requests to host Sea-Watch migrants (DW, link):

"Dozens of cities, including Berlin and Rottenburg, have offered to take in migrants rescued in the Mediterranean. But German authorities have said resettling 53 migrants rescued by Sea-Watch would require EU support."

EU summit must give effective answer on migration (euobserver, link):

"Three years on from the peak of arrivals, the inability of European leaders to put in place an effective system is both failing the most vulnerable and threatening the EU's credibility with its citizens - leaving populist and far right parties to reap the rewards in the European elections."

STRUCTURAL FAILURE: Why Greece’s reception system failed to provide sustainable solutions (Refugee Support Aegean, link):

"On June 6th 2019, there were 16,108 refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants stranded on the Greek islands of Samos, Chios, Lesvos, Leros and Kos. Out of those, 12,628 lived in the hot-spots while the capacity of these centres was for 6,438. The number of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants staying in the Evros RIC was 366 while its capacity is for 318 people. Meanwhile, an estimated 16,457 refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants were living in 25 refugee camps in Greece’s mainland.(...)

Refugee Support Aegean (RSA) and PRO ASYL have studied and analyzed three key elements of the reception system in order to produce a narrative on why state interventions, co-planned and subsidized by the EU, have not managed to produce long term sustainable solutions."

EUROPE’S MIGRATION CHALLENGE - From integration to inclusion (link):

"As Europe prepares for the arrival of new Members of the European Parliament, a new European Commission and a new President of the European Council, it’s time to take a fresh look at Europe’s conventional thinking on migration. "

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