Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20 news stories: 24.11.15)

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- UN decries stopping refugees at borders (euractiv, link): "The United Nations yesterday (24 November) condemned new restrictions on refugees that have left around 1,000 migrants stuck at the main border crossing into Macedonia from Greece, denied entry due to their nationalities in violation of international law.

"Profiling asylum seekers on the basis of their alleged nationality infringes the human right of all people to seek asylum, irrespective of their nationality and to have their individual cases heard," U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said in a statement issued by his press office."

UN's Ban Ki-Moon decries Balkan refugee restrictions (DW, link): "UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon has spoken out against filtering asylum-seekers by nationality, claiming that the procedure "infringes" on their rights. Several Balkan states are only accepting migrants from war-zones.

Ban called on authorities "to respond with compassion, solidarity and shared responsibility," and to ensure that their policies on screening refugees adhere to international regulations, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

The head of the global organization also stressed that collective expulsion and return of asylum seekers were strictly prohibited under international law."
[emphasis added]

- News (25.11.15)

UNHCR statistics (link): 863,101 arrivals in the EU: 715,704 to Greece, 143,700 to Italy. 3,510 dead/missing (25.11.15) and: UNHCR warns of new humanitarian problems building at crossings from Greece into the Balkans (link): "On Friday last week, UNHCR, together with our partners IOM and Unicef, expressed our shared concern at the risks associated with a series of new and uncoordinated restrictions imposed on several borders in the Balkans in use by refugees and migrants. The negative consequences of these actions are already becoming clear as people become backed up in countries along the route and without proper solution to their situations. A new humanitarian situation is developing in Europe that needs urgent attention."

Slovakia takes EU to court over migrant quotas (euractiv, link): "Slovakia will launch legal action by next month against an EU quota plan to distribute 160,000 refugees and migrants across the bloc, a justice ministry spokeswoman told AFP today (24 November)."

Rate of refugee arrivals picking up ( "After a brief dip in the number of refugees and migrants arriving on Greece’s eastern Aegean islands, an increase was noted on Tuesday in the quantity of boats reaching Greek shores from Turkey. The uptick came a day ahead of Frontex’s management board meeting in Warsaw on Wednesday, when it is expected that the European Union border agency will decide to move its operational office from Piraeus. The office has been located in the port city since 2010 and its removal would be seen as a diplomatic blow for Greece, especially given the current flow of refugees to the country." [emphasis added]

French PM: Europe can receive no more refugees (euobserver, link): "France's prime minister Manuel Valls told several newspapers Tuesday (24 November) he wants Europe to completely halt the influx of migrants from the Middle East, as Sweden announced it would become more strict with asylum seekers. “We cannot receive more refugees in Europe. It is not possible”, Valls said, according to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, adding that Europe must control its external borders. Valls: 'We cannot receive more refugees in Europe. It is not possible' “If we do not do that, then the people will say: it's over with Europe”, noted the centre-left politician."

Sweden slams shut its open-door policy towards refugees (Guardian, link): ‘We simply can’t do any more,’ prime minister says in announcing Sweden’s asylum regime will revert to EU minimum" and: Sweden and Norway tighten asylum rules (Deutsche Welle, link): "Sweden and Norway have tightened border controls and asylum rules as a means to reduce the number of asylum seekers. The move is also an effort to force other European Union member states to take in more refugees."

BALKANS: Refugee crisis: Stranded Iranian asylum seekers sew their mouths shut in protest at Greek-Macedonian border (The Independent, link): "A group of Iranian refugees have sewn their mouths shut and gone on hunger strike at the border between Greece and Macedonia as hundreds of asylum seekers continue to be trapped."

FINLAND: Asylum applications drop in Finland after Sweden launches border checks (Helsinki Times, link): "Finnish authorities maintain the readiness to house asylum seekers in tents instead of accommodation facilities regardless of the fact that the number of asylum seekers arriving in the country has dropped considerably following a decision by Sweden to step up its border control efforts."

French, German ministers propose 10 billion euro fund for refugee crisis (Reuters, link): "The French and German economy ministers have proposed setting up a 10 billion euro (7.06 billion pound) fund to pay for tighter security, external border controls and care of refugees, French minister Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday."

French PM: Europe can receive no more refugees (EUobserver, link): "France's prime minister Manuel Valls told several newspapers Tuesday (24 November) he wants Europe to completely halt the influx of migrants from the Middle East, as Sweden announced it would become more strict with asylum seekers."

GERMANY: Merkel tries to hit tough-but-fair note on refugees (The Local, link): "Angela Merkel continued her balancing act between her party and her principles in a speech to MPs on Wednesday as she attempted to reassure parliament that she had the refugee crisis under control."

GERMANY: November set to break refugee arrivals record (The Local, link): "November is set to break the record set in October for the highest number of refugees to arrive in Germany in one month, police reported on Monday."

NETHERLANDS: Minister gets tough on asylum seekers who commit crime (Dutch News, link): "The government is making it harder for asylum seekers who commit crimes to obtain and keep a residency permit, junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff has told parliament in a briefing."

Immigration detention in Europe (, link): "Well before the current mass arrival of refugees, Europe has been busy closing its borders. As part of this attempt to ‘manage migration’, most member states have witnessed a growing intersection between criminal justice and immigration policy, introducing a host of new legislation criminalising matters that used to be purely administrative."

Czech Republic: Anti-Islam group head accused of inciting hatred of Muslims (Prague Post, link): "Martin Konvicka, leader of the Czech far-right group Bloc Against Islam, has been accused of encouraging hatred of Muslims over the statements he made on his Facebook profile, his lawyer Klára Samková told journalists today"

Norway to clamp down on asylum 'misuse' (The, link): "Refugees and migrants who cross into Norway from Russia to seek asylum will be turned away without due process"

Greece: FM Xydakis: EU faces challenges that threaten its cohesion (ANAMPA, link)

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