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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
5-12.3.19
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Statewatch Observatory: The refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: a humanitarian emergency
EU: Council Presidency: "progress" in migration cooperation with Libya should be repeated across North Africa

The Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU has called for increased cooperation with North African countries on migration control, arguing that the "progress achieved in Libya" means "the EU should provide - on a much larger scale and over a longer period - targeted assistance" to other countries in the region.

EU: Commission's latest report on the Agenda on Migration praises "progress" can calls for further work

Last week the European Commission published its latest report on the European Agenda on Migration, praising work that has "brought irregular arrivals to Europe down to the lowest level recorded in 5 years." At the same time, it highlights the need for further work as part of the EU's "comprehensive approach", putting particular emphasis on cooperation with Morocco.

SPAIN-MOROCCO: Criminal investigation against Spanish human rights activist Helena Maleno closed

The Moroccan criminal investigation into alleged human trafficking by Spanish human rights activist Helena Maleno has been closed. The Tangiers Court of Appeal last week confirmed that there is no evidence of criminal activity by Maleno, against whom the Moroccan authorities opened an investigation in December 2017. She was accused of trafficking in persons due to her alarm calls to the Spanish authorities concerning vessels in distress on the journey between Spain and Morocco.

AI: Europe’s shameful failure to end the torture and abuse of refugees and migrants in Libya (link):

"Catastrophic impact of Europe’s migration policies

Most of the people currently held in Libya’s detention centres were intercepted at sea by the Libyan coastguard, which has enjoyed all kind of support from European governments in exchange for preventing refugees and migrants from reaching European shores.

Through the donation of ships, the setting up of a Libyan search and rescue zone, and the construction of coordination centres, among other measures, European taxpayers’ money has been used to enhance the Libyan capacity to block people attempting to flee Libya and hold them in unlawful detention. And this was done with no conditions attached, even if such cooperation results in gross human rights violations like torture."

No agreement on asylum possible before EU elections, EU member states admit (euractiv, link):

"EU interior ministers on Thursday (7 March) failed to conclude an overhaul of the bloc’s migration policy, meaning that under the Juncker Commission, no further progress can be expected on a dossier expected to take centre stage at the European elections.

After the proposal of a package of laws to overhaul the European asylum system, five of the seven laws have been agreed.

However, EU member states have been deadlocked for more than a year on the most important one: the planned harmonisation of the bloc’s asylum procedures and the controversial question of relocation quotas for refugees across the bloc."

EU declares migration crisis over as it hits out at 'fake news' - European commission combats ‘untruths’ over issue after row with Hungary’s Viktor Orbán (Guardian, link):

"The European commission has declared the migration crisis over, as it sharpened its attack on “fake news” and “misinformation” about the issue.

Frans Timmermans, the European commission’s first vice-president, said: “Europe is no longer experiencing the migration crisis we lived in 2015, but structural problems remain.”"

Greece: Three dead in migrant boat sinking off Samos (ekathimerini.com, link):

"One man and two children died on Thursday after a boat they were on sank off the east coast of the Greek island of Samos, in the eastern Aegean, state-run news agency ANA-MPA reported."

Bulldozers demolish migrant camp in Italy (euobserver, link):

"Bulldozers and paramilitary police demolished a migrant camp near Gioia Tauro, in Calabria, in southern Italy, on Wednesday, putting at risk of homelessness the mostly African people who lived there and who worked on local farms for low wages, local charities warned."

Border controls in Bavaria and Austria: Police to extract mobile phones (Matthias Monroy, link):

"With the takeover of the sovereign border security, the Free State is also using new technology. The extraction of telephones is supposed to help in the detection of „smuggler networks“. Another application is „contactless identity verification“. The projects are perfecting the expansion of biometric EU databases."

No choice: Migrants kidnapped for ransom (Info Migrants, link):

"'Travel now, pay later' schemes offered by smugglers seem to be increasing the risks to migrants and refugees, especially in parts of Africa. One of the dangers is being kidnapped for ransom, a business that thrives in lawless regions and traps migrants with no way out."

EU-MED: 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 (...)

And, indeed, the mission which has rescued about 49,000 people so far has picked up only 106 refugees since July 2018."

Rethinking refugee support: Responding to the crisis in South Eastern Europe (pressenza.com, llink):

"The migration crisis that began in 2015 has had a major impact on countries in South Eastern Europe.

Outlining findings and recommendations from a new project, Amanda Russell Beattie, Gemma Bird, Jelena Obradovic-Wochnik and Patrycja Rozbicka explain that the EU’s response to the crisis has resulted in the outsourcing of refugee settlement and care to states such as Serbia, Greece and Bosnia which were previously described as ‘transit’ countries. This is leading to overcrowding in refugee camps and reception centres, as well as difficulty in ensuring adequate standards of care and accommodation."

UK: Celebrities call for change to ‘unjust’ rules on asylum seekers working in UK (Daily Echo, link):

" A group of actors, authors, lawyers and film-makers have called on the Government to lift a ban on people seeking asylum in the UK taking on paid work.

The joint letter, signed by 39 people including actor Jude Law, sculptor Antony Gormley, film-maker Ken Loach and former archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, said the issue is “urgent, so plainly unjust and so easy to reconcile that we have been compelled to speak out”.

Under current Government rules, asylum seekers are not normally permitted to work while they are waiting for their application to be processed."

Greece: Moria 8 declared innocent (aegean.bordermonitoring.eu, link):

"After 11 months of unjust detention, the Moria 8 have finally been declared innocent and will be released. On the 22nd of February 2019, they were brought to the High Court in Chios where it took the three judges and the four person jury only an hour and a half to acquit them of all charges."

After crackdown, what do people employed in migration market do? (Aljazzera, link)

"Thousands in Niger were employed as middlemen until the government, aided by the EU, targeted undocumented migration."

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