Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 15.8.16


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 Poland pushes back thousands of refugees, many fleeing crackdown in Tajikistan


"With the election of a right-wing government in Poland in late 2015 boasting an openly anti-migrant platform, things are looking increasingly bleak for Tajik refugees headed to Europe. While the Polish Border Guard insists that it is merely upholding Schengen regulations and “fighting illegal migration,” Polish NGOs and human rights organizations accuse the Polish authorities of engaging in illegal push-backs of Tajik asylum seekers in particular in the buffer zone between the Polish and Belarusian checkpoints, away from the eyes of UNHCR and other outside observers..."

 FRANCE: Illegal shops in Calais 'jungle' cannot be destroyed, court rules, as charities say numbers surpass 9,000 (The Telegraph, link): "A French court has rejected a state request to tear down more than 70 "illegal shops" inside Calais' notorious "jungle" as associations say the numbers in the migrant camp have swollen to 9,000.

Lille's administrative court rejected the request by the state "prefecture" of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region on the grounds that while the informal shops and restaurants were undoubtedly illegal, they served an important purpose as "calm meeting places between migrants and volunteer workers".

In his ruling, judge Jean-François Molla said while local state authorities' concerns that the shops "benefit from no administrative authorisation" and some "don't respect the most basic of sanitary norms", they were were "understandable"."

 More border fences in Bulgaria

"Meanwhile, a 30 kilometer long, 3.5 meter (12 foot) high fence has been erected along the Bulgarian border with Turkey. Now the fence is to be extended along the entire length of that border.

Officials want to secure the country's 484 kilometer southern border to Greece with a fence as well. This is because the Bulgarians have witnessed an increase in the numbers of refugees attempting to cross their border to get to the EU as a result of Macedonia having closed its border with Greece."

 UN rights chief sees ‘worrying signs’ in Bulgaria’s detention regime for migrants (UN News Centre, link):

"United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein today expressed serious concern that virtually all people entering Bulgaria in an “irregular manner” are subjected to detention, and that they could be prosecuted and even jailed if they try to leave, “placing many of them in an invidious Catch-22 situation.”

“This means that people who do not qualify under the strict definition of a refugee, but still have legitimate reasons for being unable to return to their home country, have hardly any avenues open to them,” said High Commissioner Zeid, in a news release issued by his Office (OHCHR)."

 CZECH REPUBLIC: MfD: Anti-migrant parties run in Czech regional polls (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "At least seven of the parties running in the Czech regional polls rely on an anti-immigration approach, present themselves as anti-Islamist, anti-refugee and nationalist and some have included anti-migrant slogans in their names, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) wrote on Monday.

Most of them are opposed to the Czech acceptance of any refugees, the paper writes.

These parties include well-known groupings such as lawmaker Tomio Okamura and his Party of Direct Democracy (SPD), the Dawn movement, the far-right Workers' Party of Social Justice (DSSS) and the Republicans, but also a completely new group named "No Illegal Migrants - Let Money Go to Our People.""

 Sweden rebukes Hungary in row over asylum seekers (The Local, link): "Sweden has said it will summon Hungary's ambassador to Stockholm to protest against her country's refusal to take back asylum seekers who first registered in Hungary.

Swedish Migration Minister Morgan Johansson told news agency TT that Hungary had informed Sweden it would not apply the EU's Dublin Regulation, under which asylum seekers may be sent back to their first country of arrival in the EU to have their application processed there."

 ITALY: EU agency: Number of migrants arriving in Italy rises 12% in July (EurActiv, link): "More than 25,000 migrants arrived in Italy in July, 12% more than in the same period last year, EU border agency Frontex said on Friday (12 August).

Most of the migrants who made the trip across the Mediterranean from North Africa were Nigerians and Eritreans, Frontex said. The number of migrants arriving in the January to July period was stable compared to last year at 95,000.

Frontex said the quality of the boats people smugglers were using to transport migrants was deteriorating."

And see: Number of migrants arriving in Italy up 12% in July (Frontex, link)

 FRANCE: Escaping “the jungle” must be done in an orderly manner (UK Human Rights Blog, link)

Brief analysis of the Secretary of State for the Home Department v Zat and others case, an appeal by the UK Home Office regarding child asylum-seekers who were living in Calais but filed asylum applications in the UK and were granted permission to do so by the courts.

"Since the UT decision, systems have been put in place for the French and UK governments to improve the operation of the Dublin processes. But there is still concern that the French government is reactive and not proactive, which requires human rights organisations to locate and help unaccompanied minors before they fall to human traffickers or otherwise disappear.

But this judgment does not condemn asylum seekers to indeterminate delays in “the jungle”. It may be that applying under Dublin III will ensure a better chance of escaping intolerable conditions, even if there are delays. The right to an effective remedy under article 27 of Dublin III means that once an application is made, a lower threshold test is applied."

See the judgment: Secretary of State for the Home Department v Zat and others ([2016] EWCA Civ 810) (pdf)

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