EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2.12.15)

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- EU-ITALY: Statewatch Briefing: The Italian Roadmap 2015 Hotspots, readmissions, asylum procedures and the re-opening of detention centres (pdf) by Yasha Maccanico

The following is an annotated translation of the Italian Roadmap produced on 28 September 2015, which also refers to eight attachments which are not available. By way of introduction, it is worth noting that it illustrates the Italian Interior Ministry’s position and plan for reception of migrants and refugees in the context of the current crisis in late September. Some preliminary comments are in order, including:

  • The absence of any reference to access to legal representation or a right of appeal for those deemed “irregular” and/or excluded from the relocation and/or asylum procedures or those for the granting of international protection.
  • The great plans for “relocations” appear increasingly uncertain and have currently stalled, considering the number of places offered by Member States to date, as reported by the Commission on 24 November 2015, which have been stuck at the figure of 3,216 (out of 160,000) for two weeks.
  • In the section on forced returns and cooperation with third countries, the document refers to both the “more for more” principle and the “laissez-passer” travel document procedure, both of which were dropped due to opposition by African states in the Valletta Conference on 11-12 November 2015
  • Contributions pledged by member states for the Africa Trust Fund, which the Roadmap (p. 13) describes as potentially useful for the purpose of setting up and implanting an AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) in third countries in Africa, are well below the required levels, as reported by the Commission on 27 November 2015

    - EU: Will aid stop migration?

    The EU has announced a €350 million aid package described as "the single biggest EU measure in response to the Syrian refugee crisis to date," which will fund programmes aimed at helping "up to 1.5 million Syrian refugees and overstretched host communities in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq."

    According to a Commission document, the fund has "two main strategic objectives" - to "stabilise the overstretched host countries (Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq)" and "reduce the pull factors and root causes of the migration crisis (in the entire region)".

    - EU: HOTSPOTS: «Hotspots» and «processing centres»: The new forms of the European policy of sorting, encampment and outsourcing of exiles (pdf)

    Public meeting in Calais, France on 12 December: "the « hotspots » terminology (especially for Italy and Greece) and « processing centre » (in Niger in particular) have become the new keywords in the European institutions’ communication. Activists and researchers gathered in Calais will exchange views both on these projects and the effects which can already be observed in a number of regions declared as “front lines” of the fight against the so-called illegal emigration. Participants from Greece, Turkey, Italy and Niger will share their experiences and analysis in order to strengthen the defence of human rights and the collective struggles in favour of freedom of movement in Calais, Europe and beyond."

    French: « Hotspots » et « processing centres » : Les nouveaux habits de la politique européenne d’encampement, d’externalisation et de tri des exilé•e•s (Migreurop, link)

    - News (2.12.15)

    Child drowns as refugee boat tries to reach Greek shores (ekathimerini, link): "A 4-year-old child was reported drowned in the early hours of Tuesday as she and 28 fellow passengers tried to swim to the shore of Rho, a small islet off the coast of Kastellorizo in the southeastern Aegean."

    Children Account for 20% of Maritime Arrivals to Europe in 2015: IOM and UNICEF (IOM, link): "A new data brief produced by IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre and UNICEF shows that children make up at least one in five of the 870,000 refugees and migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean Sea so far this year.

    The share is greatest along the Eastern Mediterranean route from Turkey to Greece and through the Western Balkans, where children make up over one quarter of arrivals. About 10 per cent of arrivals to Italy are children, with nearly three quarters unaccompanied by a parent or guardian.

    Children are among the most vulnerable of the migrants and refugees travelling to Europe. More than one third of all deaths in the Aegean Sea this year have been of children, many of them infants."

    CROATIA: Once a Refugee, Now a Helping Hand (UNHCR, link): "Some of the humanitarian workers, volunteers and police officers were refugees themselves 24 years ago. Then war raged across the Balkans. In Croatia they still remember the help they received from UNHCR when they themselves fled in search of safety."

    Dispatches: Risks of the EU-Turkey Migration Deal (Human Rights Watch, link): "Asylum seekers fleeing most countries today cannot obtain effective refugee protection in Turkey. Syrians are given only temporary protection, and Afghans and Iraqis don’t receive even that. Preventing people from travelling to the EU will deny protection to many people who need it. Given the Turkish police force’s reputation for using excessive force, there is a risk that Turkey will use abusive tactics to prevent people from reaching its EU neighbors Greece and Bulgaria."

    European Parliament press release: Permanent relocation scheme and list of safe countries of origin: state of play (pdf): "Two legislative proposals to tackle the migration and refugee crisis, one on a permanent mechanism for relocating people in need of international protection among EU member states under extreme pressure and another on an EU common list of safe countries of origin, were debated by the Civil Liberties Committee with the EU Commission, Council of Ministers, European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) on Tuesday afternoon."

    European Union Naval Force Mediterranean SOPHIA: Press release 04/15: First Shared Awareness and De-confliction (SHADE) meeting for the Mediterranean Sea (pdf): "Since the EUNAVFOR MED operation Sophia launch, last 22nd of June, 43 people have been reported to the Italian Authorities as suspect smugglers and 46 boats have been removed from illegal organizations’ availability while the EU Task Force contributed to save more than 5700 people."

    Flow of refugee and migrant children into Greece doubles, UN agencies report (UN News Centre, link): "About a third of the refugees and migrants who have drowned in the Aegean Sea this year were children, while the number of children applying for asylum in the European Union has doubled compared to 2014, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported today, warning of the increasing perils facing youngsters as winter takes hold."

    Number of migrants reaching Europe dips but 1 million in sight for year: U.N. (Reuters, link): "An estimated 140,000 refugees and migrants reached Europe by sea in November, a big drop from October, although the numbers crossing remain very high and could reach 1 million for the year, the U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday."

    Syrian refugees expected to face mental health challenges (Toronto Sun, link): "Refugees are at a high-risk for mental health issues and often suffer spiked rates of depression and substance abuse, Canadian experts say.

    Dr. Kwame McKenzie, a psychiatrist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, says challenges for newcomers often stretch far beyond post-traumatic stress disorder following time in war zones or refugee camps."

    Turkey Detains Hundreds of Asylum Seekers (AJ+ on Facebook, link to video): "The EU offered Turkey lots of cash to stem the flow of people entering Europe. Hours later, Turkey detained 1,300 refugees and migrants."

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