Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 14.4.16


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 Greece: Attacks on civil society/NGOs: See lawyer, Electra (link)


"They've made volunteers so afraid to perform their activities, which are safeguarding human rights, that even they now call the attempts of refugees to escape breaches of their right to dinity and reach safety "illegal". Crackdown against civil society is widening and intensifying in Idomeni. Volunteers must understand that if they don't jointly speak up, they're gonna be next.."

See Statement by InterVolve (International volunteers) (pdf): "Four of our volunteers were arrested today for carrying two-way radios on their way to camp of Eidomeni..We reserve our right to initiate legal action concerning false accusations made today by journalists and the media."

And see: Greek Police crack down on activists along FYROM border (, link):

"As tensions flared anew at Greece’s border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on Wednesday, police detained five foreign nationals – a German, a Briton and three Norwegians – who are alleged to have committed a string of offenses while acting in purported solidarity with refugees who want to cross the border.

The German woman was arrested near the Idomeni refugee camp after officers found a can of pepper spray in her possession. The other four activists were said to be carrying transistor radios that were allegedly tuned into the frequency used by the Greek Police (ELAS).

Officers have been conducting spot checks on people in and around the Idomeni camp amid fears that certain activists are exhorting refugees and migrants to break through Greece’s border with FYROM."

See: Greek Police crack down on activists along FYROM border (, link): "In a related development, theGreek Foreign Ministry lodged complaints with the governments of Austria, Croatia, Serbia and the Czech Republic following claims by FYROM authorities according to which members of those countries’ security services participated in violence against migrants during clashes at the Greek-FYROM border on Sunday." [emphasis added]

 Greece Holds Activists as Migrants and Police Clash Anew at Macedonia Border (New York Times, link):

"Clashes erupted at Greece’s northern border for the second time in three days on Wednesday, with the Macedonian police firing tear gas on scores of migrants as they protested border closings that have left more than 12,000 stranded in a makeshift refugee camp.

The protests in Idomeni, a town in Greece on the border with Macedonia, came as Greek authorities arrested 14 activists there, saying that they had incited the migrants to storm the razor-wire fence dividing the two countries."

 AYS NEWS DIGEST 13/4/2016 (link):

"Reporting about the refugees who have attempted the dangerous trip across Aegean, we sometimes forget to reflect on living conditions of those who couldn't afford the place on a smuggler's boat. One of our volunteer contacts, who wishes to remain anonymous, has sent us a disturbing personal testimony about refugees who are stuck in Turkey: ...

MSF issued a report about the state of the migrants and refugees at the closed facility on Samos. There are more than 700 asylum seekers, mostly from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afganistan, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt, on Samos currently. Many are women and children. According to MSF, most of them arrived by boat after 20 March. “Migrants were told they will be sent to a camp in Athens in accordance with the relocation mechanism set out in the Dublin Regulation. This allows refugees to choose eight countries from the list of EU states, and efforts will be made to send them to one of them. However, there appears to be no guarantee that the choice of eight countries will be respected. In general, people don’t know what even the near future holds for them..."

 Watch The Med - Alarmphone: The New Aegean Deportation Regime: Mass incarcerations in hotspots and forced expulsions of Migrants and Refugees (link): "n light of the catastrophic conditions in these hotspots/detention centres, the UNHCR and Doctors without Borders refused to continue their work there. Both organisations have strongly denounced the violation of international human rights conventions, clear consequences of the EU-Turkey deal ... "

 Electra (links)

"Army's helicopters, air jets and armed soldiers in coordinated activity have left Idomeni Camp. It cannot be deemed justified, under ANY respect, that a military exercise took place exactly where thousands of people having fled war have camped, without ANY concern on -at least- informing about it? These people have re-lived the terror of war attacks today. Children cannot stop crying and shaking. Who is going to treat these children who have been re-traumatized today? WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO US LATELY?" and

(link) "Interim measure request just sent to the European Court of Human Rights, on behalf of several women alone with dozens of children, stranded in Idomeni, requesting authorities to stop terrorising them, and especially their children. After the recent teargas, grenades and shooting plastic bullets that Greek authorities just watched F.Y.R.O.M. authorities throw and fire, today refugees in Idomeni are surrounded by air and land by jets glying low above their heads, tanks, army with guns running around them in an acute war-like environment. No one has informed them why this is happening. For God's, Allah's, Jesus', Buddha's and Universe's sake. 
These people have just fled war.

These thousands of children have escaped a war field. STOP doing this to them! Enough with inhumanity. ENOUGH!"

 Ten nations seek military planes for deportations (, link): "Austria and nine East European and Balkan states are calling for an EU declaration endorsing the use of military aircraft for the deportation of migrants who have no chance for asylum, or whose request for that status have been rejected."

 News (14.4.16)

Human rights group slams EU, Greece over refugee, migrant living conditions on islands (, link): "Human Rights Watch issued a statement criticizing what it said were the “deplorable conditions” in which about 4,000 people were being detained on the Greek islands of Lesvos and Chios.... The statement also said: “Turkey cannot be considered a safe country due to its refusal to grant effective protection to non-Europeans in need, including Afghans and Iraqis.”"

UNHCR Daily Report 13.4.16: "Regarding relocation and resettlement of persons in need of international protection, EU Member States were urged by the European Commission (EC) to urgently deliver on their political and legal commitments.

Only 208 people were relocated since 16 March, bringing the total number of relocated applicants from Greece and Italy to 1,145. The EC estimates that between 35,000 and 40,000 people in Greece would be eligible for relocation. As of 12 April, 615 people were relocated from Greece. The EC calls on EU Member States to drastically increase their relocation efforts in order to alleviate the urgent humanitarian situation in Greece and prevent the deterioration of the situation in Italy."

Daily Report 14.4.16: "A broad majority of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voiced concern over the agreement and called on the Commission and Council to closely monitor the situation of human rights and freedom of speech in Turkey, as well as allegations that Syrian refugees are being pushed back to Syria by the Turkish authorities. They also questioned whether Turkey can be considered a “safe country” of return for refugees."

Refugee country ‘safe lists’ complicated by European disunity (euractiv, link): "The Geneva Convention clearly defines where can be considered a “safe country of origin”, but the refugee crisis has complicated the issue and thrust it back into the limelight.... This is particularly relevant in the current debate, where Germany wants to list Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia as safe, yet Bulgaria has long included Algeria on its own list. Morocco and Tunisia are currently not listed on any national lists as safe. The matter highlights in particular how flexible international law is and how much power individual countries have over determining where is safe and where is not. Currently, 12 member states have compiled “safe lists”, yet there is not one single country that appears on all 12 lists, emphasising the bloc’s failures to coordinate on a common refugee policy...".

Greece: Tell us what it's like to live in Lesbos (The Guardian, link): "Pope Francis is set to arrive on the Greek island on Saturday to show his support and solidarity for refugees. We’d like to know what life is like in Lesbos."

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