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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
24-30.9.19

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

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UK: New report calls for root and branch reform of Home Office decision-making following Windrush scandal (Refugee Council, link):

"A new report out today from Freedom From Torture, the Refugee Council and six other leading organisations exposes the historical and systematic failures of asylum-decision making in the UK and makes the case for root-and-branch reform of the asylum and immigration system.

By examining 50 reports from 17 different organisations, including parliamentary committees, the United Nations, nongovernmental organisations, academics and independent inspectorates, Lessons Not Learned charts a 15-year history of criticism levelled at the Home Office. It identifies trends in the mishandling of asylum claims, and asks the crucial question as to why lessons have still not been learned."

Greece: Deadly fire triggers protests at Moria refugee camp (BBC News, link):

"At least one person has died after a fire broke out at an overcrowded refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, local officials say.

They say the charred body of a woman was found at Moria camp. But unconfirmed reports say there was another victim, a child.

Police fired teargas against protesting migrants who said firefighters were too slow to respond to the blaze.

The camp houses about 12,000 people in tents and shipping containers.

But it only has an official capacity of 3,000 - leading to severe overcrowding."

EU extends Operation Sophia, Libyan coast guard cooperation despite hefty criticism (InfoMigrants, link):

"The European Union has extended Operation Sophia, its anti-migrant-smuggling mission along the Libyan Mediterranean coast, by six months to the end of March 2020. Actual naval operations remain halted, however; the mandate now mainly consists of air support and training Libya’s controversial coast guard, Europe’s go-to partner to stem migration.

European Union member states resolved to extend the naval mission Operation Sophia for another six months. The mandate was due to expire at the end of September, According to a press release by the European Council, the core aim of the operation, which was set up four years ago, is to "disrupt the business model of migrant smugglers and human traffickers" in the southern central Mediterranean. Albeit not an official goal, the desired result is fewer migrants successfully crossing the Mediterranean Sea from northern Africa to Europe."

Sweden: Deportations on the Rise and Self-harm Widespread (ECRE, link):

"2600 rejected asylum seekers have been deported from Sweden by plane between January and August 2019. In September 50 Afghan nationals were deported to Kabul in a single day. Information from the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) reveals that self-harm is wide-spread among asylum seekers in Sweden.

With 2,600 deportations in the first seven months of 2019 the number of deportations from Sweden is likely to increase despite a significant decrease of arrivals since 2015, when a total of 2,810 people were deported. The number of escorted deportations is also rising – cases where rejected asylum seekers are reported to the police as at risk of disappearing or refusing deportation."

EU: 'Inhumane' Frontex forced returns going unreported (EUobserver, link):

"On a late evening August flight last year from Munich to Afghanistan, an Afghan man seated in the back of the plane struggled to breath as a German escort officer repeatedly squeezed his testicles.

The man, along with another Afghan who had tried to kill himself, was being forcibly removed from Germany and sent back to a country engulfed in war.

The EU's border agency Frontex coordinated and helped pay for the forced return operation, as part of a broader bid to remove from Europe unwanted migrants and others whose applications for international protection had been rejected.

...The flight journey from Munich highlights a stunning omission from Frontex responsibilities - adding to concerns the EU agency is failing to maintain standards when it comes to coordinating forced-returns in a humane manner. "

EU: The "temporary solidarity mechanism" on relocation of people rescued at sea - what does it say?

Germany, France, Italy and Malta have drafted a declaration (pdf) establishing a "predictable and efficient temporary solidarity mechanism" aimed at ensuring the "dignified disembarkation" of people rescued at sea in the Mediterranean. If those rescued are eligible for international protection they will be relocated to a participating EU member state within four weeks, while ineligible persons will be subject to "effective and quick return."

Asylum seeker denied cancer treatment by Home Office dies (The Guardian, link):

"An Ethiopian woman who was denied potentially life-saving cancer treatment for six weeks amid confusion about whether she should be charged by the NHS has died aged 39.

Kelemua Mulat, who had advanced breast cancer, was refused chemotherapy last year after Home Office and NHS officials decided that she was not eligible for free care."

Five EU interior ministers want quotas for shipwrecked refugees (DW, link):

"At a meeting in Malta, the three largest countries in the EU want to find a solution to the issue of distributing migrants. Will other countries follow their lead? Bernd Riegert reports. (...)

Maltese Interior Minister Michael Farrugia to invite his new Italian colleague, as well as interior ministers from Germany, France and Finland, to come to Malta in hopes of establishing new rules laying out how the EU will deal with migrants rescued while crossing the Mediterranean from Libya."

Sassoli: Migration agreement respects fundamental principles of Parliament’s proposal (EP News, link):

"“Finally we move in the direction outlined by the European Parliament.”

This was the first reaction by European Parliament President David Sassoli on the agreement reached today in Valletta between four EU countries: France, Germany, Italy and Malta, on the redistribution of asylum seekers arriving in Europe across the Mediterranean"

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