Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 18.1.16

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 UPDATED: Refugee crisis: Statistics: September 2015 ongoing


Latest Commission figures, published 18.1.16. Very little has changed: relocation is practically at a standstill as is Member State support for hotspots, aid budgets and "trust funds", and civil protection requirements.

 Press release by Roma Thüringen concerning the group deportation of December 16, 2015 - Every deportation is a crime (The Voice, link): "For several weeks, mass deportations of Romanies and other refugees from so-called 'safe countries of origin' have been taking place. The fact that these countries are not safe, in particular for Romanies and other minorities, which been proven by Romany organisation as well as other NGOs many times. Even the notification of a violent abduction to other countries that people have fled from is a threat to their very existence. This holds true all the more for the actual execution of such a violent deportation by the German police. Every deportation is a crime and not tolerable."

 EU: FENCES: Bulgaria and Macedonia

Bulgarian IntMin Hopes Fence at Border with Turkey to be Completed in March (Novinite, link): "She reminded that the fence has a length of 132.6 kilometres and is situated at the territories of three regions – Haskovo, Yambol and Burgas

The cost of the fence is BGN 60 M, with half of the sum having been absorbed until now.

According to her, the new facility is better than the one which had been constructed by the army during the government of Plamen Oresharski.

The barbed wire of the new facility is thicker, it has three rows instead of the existing two and the fence has warranty service of five years."

European refugee crisis: Macedonia builds 10ft-high razor-topped fence along Greek border (International Business Times, link): "The Republic of Macedonia is just weeks away from completing a 10ft-high razor-topped fence along its border with Greece to stop refugees and migrants entering the Balkans.


Armed security teams from six other Eastern European nations will help Macedonia patrol its southern border. This underpins the idea that Macedonia's fence would operate as a bottleneck to slow the refugees down..."

 EU: MEDITERRANEAN: 23,664 arrivals by sea in 2016, 59 dead/missing this year as of 15 January

50 people have died or are missing in the sea between Greece and Turkey, and nine in the sea between Italy and North Africa.

See: IOM: Mediterranean Update: Migration Flows Europe: Arrivals and Fatalities (pdf)

 UNHCR: Lesvos island snapshot - 17 Jan 2016 (pdf)

  • Total arrivals in Lesvos (01 Jan 2015 - 17 Jan 2016): 518,141
  • Total arrivals in Lesvos during Jan 2016: 18,123
  • Average daily arrivals during Jan 2016: 1,066
  • Average daily arrivals during Dec 2015: 1,901
  • % of arrivals in Lesvos compared to total: 59%
  • Estimated residual population staying on the island: 346
  • Estimated departures to mainland: 2,845

 GERMANY: CONFERENCE: 3-5 March 2016: Civil Society 4.0 – Refugees and Digital Self Organization (HKW, link): "Refugees are also digital trailblazers; the use of smartphones and social media are essential both for their escape and for everyday life in their new homes. For voluntary refugee aids, digital tools are also of great importance. Recently projects such as the platform have demonstrated how important the web is for the self-organization of refugees. The Civil Society 4.0 conference aims to network the many initiatives and projects."

 ITALY: CONFERENCE: 22-27 April 2016, Torino: Moving Stories: Narratives of Migration Crossing Europe (UNITED, link): "We are pleased to announce the dates and host city for the next UNITED conference. Entitled “Moving Stories: Narratives of Migration Crossing Europe”, the conference will take place from 22-27 April 2016 at a venue near Torino, Italy. Representatives of NGOs and grassroots organisations from all over Europe will spend five days reviewing different perspectives on the situation of migration and asylum in Europe, exploring various tools and methods for challenging narratives on migrants and refugees, sharing best practices and getting to know other activists and organisations."

 UN: The Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of Migrants in an Irregular Situation (pdf): "Migrants in an irregular situation are not criminals. The evidence shows that they do not migrate with the objective of cheating the social security system or misusing the services of the country of destination. They are more likely to be working in a hospital than unfairly using its facilities. They tend to work in sectors that are dirty and dangerous, often doing jobs that local workers are unwilling to do. Indeed, Governments have an interest in promoting and protecting the human rights of all migrants, including irregular migrants, because no society can develop to its true potential when legal, social or political barriers prevent entire sectors of that society from contributing to it.

This publication offers a rich resource for policymakers in Governments, national human rights institutions, civil society, lawyers, judges and migrants themselves to understand the scope and content of the human rights of migrants in an irregular situation. Through a specific focus on economic, social and cultural rights, it seeks to challenge common assumptions about the entitlement of migrants in an irregular situation to such fundamental human rights as the right to health, to education, to an adequate standard of living, to social security, and to just and favourable conditions of work. Irregular migrants are human beings and as human beings they are protected by international human rights law."

See: Launch of the Publication 'The Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of Migrants in an Irregular Situation' (UN Human Rights, link): "All persons must have access, without discrimination, to their fundamental human rights. This includes migrants, regardless of their administrative status. "

 News (18.1.16)

BELGIUM-DENMARK: "It's a stupid idea" (Flanders News, link): "That's how the Belgian interior minister Jan Jambon labelled the measure from Denmark's liberal government that sees asylum seekers being parted from their cash and their valuables in return for their welcome."

CENTRAL EUROPE: V4 interior ministers to debate migration in Prague (Prague Daily Monitor, link): "The interior ministers of the Visegrad Four (V4) Group, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, will meet in Prague on Tuesday to discuss migration with representatives of the Balkan countries that refugees are crossing, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec told CTK yesterday."

EU: About 1,700 Migrants per Day Reached Europe by Sea Jan 1-14 - IOM (Novinite, link): "A total of 23,664 migrants arrived in Europe by sea in the first 14 days of the year, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has announced."

EU: End of Europe? Berlin, Brussels' shock tactic on migrants (Reuters, link): "The Germans, founders and funders of the postwar union, shut their borders to refugees in a bid for political survival by the chancellor who let in a million migrants. And then -- why not? -- they decide to revive the Deutschmark while they're at it.

That is not the fantasy of diehard Eurosceptics but a real fear articulated at the highest levels in Berlin and Brussels.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, her ratings hit by crimes blamed on asylum seekers at New Year parties in Cologne, and EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker both said as much last week.

Juncker echoed Merkel in warning that the central economic achievements of the common market and the euro are at risk from incoherent, nationalistic reactions to migration and other crises. He renewed warnings that Europe is on its "last chance", even if he still hoped it was not "at the beginning of the end"."

EU: Is this the next migration crisis? (World Economic Forum, link): "Migration was the defining story of 2015, as an unprecedented number of people sought to escape war, poverty and persecution. Faced with a crisis on a scale not seen since the Second World War, policy-makers struggled to know how to respond.

As winter approached, the flows of migrants slowed down. But as one crisis ends, another one could yet begin: a crisis of integration.

When migrants are successfully integrated into their new communities and instilled with a sense of belonging, everyone reaps the benefits. Unfortunately, the tendency of some to focus on the negative aspects of migration – mainly in the hope of political gains – could complicate the integration process, paving the way for a second crisis."

EU: Less Schengen? No, more integration! (European Green Party, link): "It was another tough week for the Schengen acquis, one of the most important and historical achievements of the European Union."

Female refugees heading to Europe face violence (Al Jazeera, link): "Women and girl refugees coming into Europe face violence and sexual harassment at every stage of their journey, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

The report released Monday by the human rights group was based on interviews with 40 women and girls in Germany and Norway last month who had traveled from Turkey to Greece and then across the Balkans.

Women and girls traveling alone or accompanied only by children said they felt particularly under threat in Hungary, Croatia and Greece, where they were forced to sleep alongside hundreds of male refugees. Those interviewed included female refugees from Iraq and Syria."

Germans and refugees protest sexism and racism in wake of Cologne attacks (Deutsche Welle, link): "Germans, Syrians and others have protested in Cologne against the sexual assaults of New Year’s Eve. As the backlash against refugees grows, some people with migrant backgrounds feel they're becoming public enemies."

Germany eyes expulsion hubs for North African migrants (The Local, link): "The proposals came after a sharp rise in new arrivals from the two countries and public outrage over a rash of attacks on women on New Year's Eve in the western city of Cologne blamed on North African and Arab migrants."

GERMANY: Crimes at refugee homes on the rise, say German Criminal Police (Deutsche Welle, link): "Germany's Criminal Police Office have registered a growing number of crimes in refugee and asylum centers. Now the interior minister wants to keep track of crimes committed by, and targeted at, migrants."

GERMANY: How Syrian refugees helped an American student during the Cologne attacks (Deutsche Welle, link): "An American student and a Syrian man have described their harrowing experience in Cologne on New Year’s Eve. After the student was assaulted by several men, the Syrian and his friends protected her."

GERMANY: Take back migrants or lose aid cash, Berlin tells North Africa (The Local, link): "Germany’s Vice-Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, has threatened to withdraw aid from north African countries if they don’t cooperate on taking back rejected asylum seekers."

NETHERLANDS: Human traffickers operate near refugee centres, target young girls (Dutch News, link): "There are clear signs that human traffickers are active close to refugee centres in the Netherlands and attempting to recruit young women as prostitutes, the Volkskrant said at the weekend."

NETHERLANDS: Iraqi refugee commits suicide after long wait for assessment (Dutch News, link): "Questions are to be raised in parliament following the suicide of an Iraqi refugee at the Alphen aan den Rijn asylum seekers’ centre on Saturday. The 30-year-old man hung himself after becoming frustrated at the amount of time it was taking for his case to be processed, according to a local foundation which is supporting the 1,200 refugees living in the former prison."

Refugee Trail Fame: A Trip, a Fall and a Whole New Life (Der Spiegel, link): "One kick was all it took to make Osama Mohsen, a professional soccer coach from Syria, into one of the most famous refugees to arrive in Europe last year. After a Hungarian camerawoman sent Mohsen tumbling, his life took an unexpected turn."

Turkish Police Detain Bulgarian Truck with 106 Syrian Migrants (Novinite, link): "As many as 106 migrants from Syria have been found in a TIR truck with a Bulgarian license plate en route from Turkey to Bulgaria, Cihan News Agency Reports citing Turkish authorities."

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