Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 26.4.16


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 EU Commission: Refugees to become "displaced people" - out of sight, out of mind: Communication: Lives in Dignity: from Aid-dependence to Self-reliance (COM 234-16, pdf)


"The aim of this Communication is to put forward a policy framework to prevent forced displacement from becoming protracted and to gradually end dependence on humanitarian assistance in existing displacement situations by fostering self-reliance and enabling the displaced to live in dignity as contributors to their host societies, until voluntary return or resettlement." [emphasis added]

and Forced Displacement and Development (SWD-142-16, pdf):

"It provides an overview and assessment of the existing EU policies, instruments and practice in assisting refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and asylum seekers (together referred to as "forcibly displaced people") in third partner countries. It focuses on protracted forced displacement and its context, drivers and consequences for the displaced and their host communities and countries and presents findings and recommendations resulting from the review of past and ongoing stand-alone EU projects and interventions." [emphasis added]

 Open Hotspots Again (HRW, link):

"On April 20, more than 160 asylum seekers and migrants reached Lesbos and Chios from Turkey. The police detained them in the closed facilities on those islands, Moria and VIAL, as they do everyone who has arrived on the islands since the ill-conceived EU-Turkey deal came into force a month ago.

But this blanket and automatic detention is unjustifiable on legal, humanitarian and practical grounds.

First, authorities should not automatically detain asylum seekers more than the shortest reasonable time. When they do, and alternatives exist, it constitutes arbitrary detention under international law.

Second, the conditions in Moria and VIAL, where about 4,500 people are held, are unacceptably poor. When the facilities became prison-like detention centers, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, and most nongovernmental organizations stopped providing services."

 Matteo Renzi’s new proposal on migration: Building on illegality and immorality? (GUE/NGL, link):

"GUE/NGL MEPs have strongly condemned the proposal presented by the Italian Prime Minister to extend the EU-Turkey deal on refugees to all 'countries of origin and transit'

Italian MEP, Barbara Spinelli, criticised the document presented by the Italian Government: "From the outset, the proposal of the Italian Prime Minister to the European Commission and the European Council completely neglects the fact that the agreement signed by the EU and Turkey may be illegitimate under EU and international law."

"Worse, the EU-Turkey agreement is presented as a positive model for future arrangements which could be extended to the African countries which are part of the Khartoum and Rabat processes (including states ruled by dictators such as Eritrea or Sudan), and financed with EU funds."

See: 'Migration compact non-paper' (pdf)

 European Parliament: Draft report: on the proposal for a regulation establishing an EU common list of safe countries of origin for the purposes of Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection, and amending Directive 2013/32/EU (COM(2015)0452 – C8-0270/2015 – 2015/0211(COD)) Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Rapporteur: Sylvie Guillaume (pdf)

 Czech police officers to help enforce EU-Turkey agreement in Greece (Radio Prague, link): "The Czech Republic is to send thirty police officers to Greece on Friday where they will help fulfill the EU’s agreement with Turkey on the return of migrants who attempt to enter the EU via Greece. The officers will be assigned to the European border agency Frontex where they will be directly involved in the process of escorting migrants back to Turkey."

 Medical charity MSF restarts Mediterranean migrant rescues (Reuters, link):

"The medical relief charity Medecins sans Frontieres has relaunched rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea, accusing European governments of failing to act to save migrants in peril at sea, it said on Monday....

"The absence of a global solution to the current refugee crisis, and the European states' policies of deterrence, as well their refusal to provide alternatives to the deadly sea crossing, continue to kill thousands," said Joanne Liu, president of MSF International in a statement." (emphasis added]

 IOM: Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals in 2016: 181,476: Deaths 1,232 (link): 154,491 arrivals in Greece and 25,894 in Italy.

 Are You Syrious (link)

"69 new arrivals on Greek islands: "There were 69 new arrivals on Greek islands today (Monday) and the total number of refugees in Greece today numbers 45, 360 with 7,450 in the islands, 14,020 in the Attica region, 3,400 in central Greece, 300 in southern Greece and 20,190 in northern Greece...

800 in Idomeni left without water because of landlord: "No good news from #Idomeni as usual. 10,232 people still reside there. The owner of Hotel Hara has turned off all water supplies, leaving a population of over 800 including many families without water....

Austria announced temporary border control on the border with Hungary to limit the inflow of undocumented migrants: After announcing border controls on their border with Italy, Austria introduced today temporary border control on its border with Hungary to limit the inflow of undocumented migrants, local media reported. According to the Austrian newspaper Osterreich, the border controls were scheduled to apply from 8 a.m. local time. The newspaper added that the authorities plan to pay special attention to vans entering Austria from Hungary....

Norway offering money to asylum seekers to leave voluntarily: "While Germany’s policies might be questionable and cynical, Norway has gone even further. The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (Utlendingsdirektoratet—UDI) is offering a 10,000 kroner bonus to asylum seekers to leave voluntarily. UDI will offer an additional 10,000 kroner to the first 500 asylum seekers who apply for a voluntary return to their home countries. Beginning on Monday, the offer will run for six weeks on a first-come, first-served basis. “We need to entice more to voluntarily travel back by giving them a bit more money on their way out. This will save us a lot of money because it is expensive to have people in the asylum centres,” Integration Minister Sylvi Listhaug told broadcaster NRK. The offer entails giving asylum seekers an additional 10,000 kroner in travel expenses on top of the 20,000 kroner already offered....

SWEDEN: Building that was to be re-purposed into a home for refugee children set on fire in a case of arson "In other integration-gone-wrong-in-Europe story, a building that was to be repurposed into a home for refugee children has been set ablaze in a second apparent arson attack in the east of Sweden in the city of Haernoesand. Firefighters managed to contain the fire, but not before it devoured the former school building. No one was injured in the incident, though the building was totally destroyed. An investigation has been launched, while the incident was classified as an arson, according to local media."

 US backs NATO blockade of Libya to close refugee route (euractiv, link):

"The United States yesterday (25 April) offered its backing for a NATO naval operation off the cost of Libya, in support of a controversial Italian plan to close the Western Mediterranean refugee route to Europe....

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi told reporters after meeting the US president and the leaders of Britain, France and Germany in Hanover, Germany...

Italian Minister of Defence Roberta Pinotti had earlier revealed that preparations for a naval blockade were already advanced, with approval expected when NATO leaders meet on 7 July in Warsaw. US officials confirmed that Washington is fully on board."

 Clashes break out at migrant camp on Lesvos (, link):

"Clashes broke out between police and migrants held at a detention centre on the Greek island of Lesvos on Tuesday, a police spokesman said.

The spokesman said incidents started from a wing holding minors at the Moria camp and spread. Bins were set on fire, the spokesman said.

“Riot police are conducting an operation in and out of the camp at the moment,” the spokesman said."

 News (26.4.16)

Berlin steps up efforts to expand its ‘safe list’ (euractiv, link):

"Critics have denounced Germany’s intention to put Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia on a list of safe countries of origin in an attempt to reduce the number of asylum seekers coming from those countries...

Critics have denounced Germany’s intention to put Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia on a list of safe countries of origin in an attempt to reduce the number of asylum seekers coming from those countries...

Human rights organisations have criticised the proposal and highlighted that not all refugees from those countries should be tarred with the same brush, as many would still be eligible for asylum. “It contradicts the basic principle of the asylum procedure,” the head of Pro Asyl, Günter Burkhardt, said."

Turkey to boost legal protection for migrants, easing EU returns (FT, link): "Ankara will bolster the legal protection it extends to non-Syrian refugees in a concession that paves the way for the EU to fully implement a deal to send back thousands of asylum seekers currently stranded in Greece"

Comment: Does this mean fully implementing the Geneva Conventioin - can we see the letter to the Commission?

How Turkey’s Promise to Stop the Flow of Refugees Is Creating a New Crisis (INYT, link): "Turkey is struggling to cope with the 2.7 million Syrians it hosts and honor its agreement to stop refugees from crossing into Europe. And renewed fighting in Syria last week pushed tens of thousands of Syrians closer to the border with Turkey, in a sign that the problem could still get worse."

Czech Republic: Graffitis in Prague probably motivated by hate (Prague Monitor, link):"The unknown perpetrators who scrawled threatening inscriptions or Nazi symbols at several places in Prague at the weekend are suspected of graffiti spread and hate-motivated crimes, police spokesman Tomas Hulan told CTK Saturday.
He said the police suspect them of damaging other's property with graffiti, inciting to hatred of another group of persons and restricting their rights and freedoms, and of the crime of sympathy for a movement aimed to suppress man's rights and freedoms. If found guilty, they face up to three years in prison.".

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