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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
4.6.-10.6.19
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Statewatch Observatory: The refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: a humanitarian emergency

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Statewatch Analysis: The Commission and Italy tie themselves up in knots over Libya (pdf): by Yasha Maccanico.

At the end of March, the European Commission and the Italian interior minister appeared to undermine one another both respectively and collectively through a sequence of messages that emerged as part of their efforts to assert the existence of a Libyan search and rescue (SAR) zone.

The entire incident demonstrates how Italy and the European Commission are trying to assert the fiction of a Libyan SAR zone – financing it, providing resources and managing it – in order to neutralise concerns over both the north African country’s status as an unsafe place and their own humanitarian obligations.

EU restricts visas for non-cooperation on migration (DW, link)

"Citizens from third countries that do not take back rejected asylum-seekers may find it more difficult to obtain visas for the EU. Conversely, full cooperation could reap extra rewards."

Refugees in Greece concerned about state of EU (DW, link):

"Thousands of refugees and migrants make a new start in the EU every year. After the recent European elections, Marianna Karakoulaki spoke to some of those who have made Greece their home about the problems they see."

EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 6-7 June: Returns, Migration challenges, data retention, e-evidence, visas & 5G

Background Note (pdf), Main "B" points agenda (for discussion, pdf), "A" Points - legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf), "A" Points - Non-legislative (adopted without discussion, pdf)

See: Press release for 6-7 June: final (pdf)

‘Violence by design’ – the PPT delivers its verdict on the hostile environment (IRR News, link):

"Public tribunal finds hostile environment policies foster racism, institutional cruelty and violence by design.

As the scandal over the treatment of the Windrush generation and the failure to offer adequate compensation continues, the Home Office’s immigration and asylum policies are under scrutiny like never before. The Department of Health and Social Care are under fire too for failing to make public reports on the detrimental effects of immigration checks on migrants. Now the jury of the Permanent People’s Tribunal on Violations of the Rights of Migrants and Refugees adds to the pressure, with a damning verdict on the impact of the government’s hostile environment policies."

See: PPT-Report.(pdf)

Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, escalates attack on judges - Three magistrates singled out over their challenges to government’s hardline immigration policies (Guardian, link):

"A simmering row over the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Italy has erupted after the far-right interior minister publicly singled out three magistrates who have challenged his hardline anti-immigration policies.

In an escalation of his battle with the judges and the courts, Matteo Salvini said he would ask the state attorney to examine whether the magistrates should have abstained from passing verdicts in cases involving immigrants because their opinions conflict with government policy on security and immigration."

EU: Ministerial statement on "migration challenges" keeps focus on control measures

Interior ministers and other representatives of EU and Western Balkan states recently produced a statement emphasising the need to maintain strict control measures along the 'Balkan Route' and at the EU's south-eastern borders, with no reference to the dire situation faced by many migrants and refugees in the region.

GREECE: Exclusive: Violence breaks out between residents of refugee camp and police on Greek island of Samos (Euronews, link):

"Police clashed with residents from a refugee camp on the Greek island of Samos on Saturday morning, an NGO has told Euronews.

The refugees and asylum seekers were staging a protest march about living conditions in the camp but had their route blocked by police at around 7.30 am local time, a member of the NGO said.

...Overcrowding is a serious issue in the Samos camp, which is designed to host a maximum of around 650 people, while there are roughly 4,000 people living there and in the "jungle" surrounding it.

...This is not the first time the inhabitants of the camp have demonstrated, with three peaceful protests taking place in January along with another that turned violent, although "nothing as bad as this," according to the NGO.

Saturday marked the first time police used tear gas on the asylum seekers and refugees, it said."

IRELAND: Justice ‘not the appropriate department’ to support asylum seekers (Irish Times, link):

"The Department of Justice is not appropriately equipped to provide accommodation, health and social services to people in direct provision who are “effectively, living in punitive detention”, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has said.

The council’s submission to the Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality, co-written with Dr Maeve O’Rourke from the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, highlights the need for unannounced inspections of direct provision centres to ensure the rights of residents are respected.

The report follows a presentation made by the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI) last week to the Oireachtas justice committee in which the group called for the system of direct provision to be abolished and replaced with a scheme which would provide asylum seekers with housing support via local authorities."

See: Irish Council for Civil Liberties/Irish Centre for Human Rights: Joint submission to Committee on Justice and Equality on Direct Provision (link to pdf)

EU: Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM) update report - May 2019

The Commission Services together with the EEAS (European External Action Service) have produced the latest: GAMM update (9679/19, LIMITE, 24 May 2019, 44 pages, pdf).

CZECH REPUBLIC: Border protection centre opens in Prague (Radio Praha, link):

"Minister of Interior Jan Hamácek, along with police and customs officials on Tuesday opened a National Border Protection Centre in Prague. The main task of the newly established centre is to ensure cooperation between security forces in the protection of the Czech Republic’s outer borders.

The joint centre of the immigration police and the Czech Republic’s Customs Administration, which is located in Prague, will cooperate with partners in the Schengen Area and other countries.

Mr Hamácek said better protection of the Czech Republic’s outer borders was a basic precondition for preserving the freedom of movement."

EU's Frontex border agency set for 34% budget increase (EUobserver, link):

"The European Commission on Wednesday, in its draft EU budget proposal for 2020, said Frontex, the EU's border and coast agency, should get €420.6m. That sum is a 34.6 percent increase compared to 2019. The money is slated to help set up a standing corps of 10,000 border guards by 2027."

Interview: We Need to Snap Out of the Crisis Mode and Take a Step Back (ECRE, link):

"Interview with Ruben Andersson, an anthropologist and Associate Professor in the Department of International Development, University of Oxford, working on migration, borders and security. He is the author of No Go World: How fear is redrawing our maps and infecting our politics (University of California Press 2019) and Illegality, Inc.: Clandestine Migration and the Business of Bordering Europe (University of California Press 2014)."

UPDATE: Case against EU taken to ICC on migration policy in the Mediterranean: Full-text of submission to the court (244 pages, pdf)

See also: ICC submission calls for prosecution of EU over migrant deaths (The Guardian, link)

EU: New immigration liaison officers network puts more emphais on EU-level coordination

The Council of the EU and European Parliament recently agreed on a new Regulation establishing a network of European immigration liaison officers, aiming for greater EU-level coordination of the officials deployed to non-EU countries for the purpose of monitoring migration flows, assisting in obtaining documents for people subject to deportation from the EU and passing on relevant information to EU law enforcement authorities.

Commission unmoved by accusations of ‘crimes against humanity’ (euractiv, link):

"The European Commission defended its track record of saving lives in the Mediterranean on Monday (3 June), as it faced accusations of ““crimes against humanity” substantiated in a 245-page report by international lawyers, brought before the International Criminal Court."

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