Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 29.1.16

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 Migrant Arrivals in Europe in 2016 Top 55,000, Over 200 Deaths (IOM, link): "IOM estimates that 55,528 migrants and refugees crossed the Mediterranean to enter Europe during the first 28 days of 2016 – a rate of nearly 2,000 per day. The daily average is nearly equivalent to the total numbers for the month of January as recently as two years ago.


During the same period IOM has recorded some 244 deaths at sea, as well as at least a dozen more deaths of migrants and refugees who died either after reaching Europe or traveling to a launch point in Turkey. By comparison, total deaths on Mediterranean Sea routes were 12 in 2014 and 82 last year."

Greece: Arrivals: 52,055; Deaths: 218 (Eastern Mediterranean route)

Italy: Arrivals: 3,473; Deaths: 26 (Central Mediterranean route).

The UNHCR provides similar figures. on 29 January the agency records a total of 54,518 arrivals by sea since 1 January 2016, and 236 dead or missing in the same period. See: Refugees/Migrants Emergency Response - Mediterranean (UNCHR, link)

Meanwhile: "Timmermans was quoted in Dutch media as saying some 60 percent of the arrivals in December come from countries where there is no conflict.

...However, recent figures provided by both the EU's border agency, Frontex, and the UN agency for refugees (UNHCR) paint a much more nuanced picture... almost 90 percent the people who arrived by sea in the EU in December came from countries gripped by war or emerged from a wider regional conflict."

See: Timmermans blunders on migrant figures (EUobserver, link)

 EU: Fundamental Rights Agency: Monthly data collection on the current migration situation in the EU: December 2015 monthly report (pdf)

Covers main developments ("highlights") and the specific situation in Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia and Sweden.

The sections on each country are divided into the following:

  • Stakeholders contacted
  • Overview of the situation
  • Criminal proceedings against migrants and people helping them
  • Fundamental rights issues in relation to registration and channelling into different procedures
  • Challenges and developments concerning reception conditions of new arrivals, including detention
  • Responses in law, policy and/or practice
  • Social response to the situation
  • Hate crime incidents

 EU: ECRE: Case Law Fact Sheet: Prevention of Dublin Transfers to Hungary (pdf): "This fact sheet is devoted to jurisprudence preventing transfers under Regulation 604/2013 (Dublin III Regulation) to Hungary. Its scope is limited to case law from European Union Member States supported by policy and non-governmental material to illustrate the grounds on which the judiciary are suspending transfers to Hungary. In light of the substantial amount of case law on the topic, the note in no way purports to be a fully comprehensive review of Member State practice, nonetheless the jurisprudence included serves as a unique tool for practitioners to consult and use in their own respective litigation. It is to be seen against the backdrop of the Commission’s infringement proceedings against Hungary and the new systematic monitoring process outlined in the European Agenda on Migration, as well as several cases pending before the European Court of Human Rights and an urgent preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union lodged by Debrecen Administrative and Labour Court in the context of asylum law. The note therefore provides a further layer of examination and analysis, one which is jurisprudential in nature and which should be borne in mind when evaluating the adherence of Hungary to European and international legal obligations."

 EU/Greece: Share Responsibility for Asylum Seekers (Human Rights Watch, link): "Calls to quarantine Greece and to prevent the onward movement of asylum seekers put their rights at risk, Human Rights Watch said today. Asylum seekers and migrants in Greece face chaotic registration procedures, serious obstacles to applying for asylum, and inadequate reception conditions.

“It’s deeply troubling to hear EU leaders discuss plans to trap people in Greece by sealing the country’s northern border while people continue to risk their lives to reach Europe, and thousands more are suffering in Greece,” said Eva Cossé, Greece specialist at Human Rights Watch. “Greece has its fair share of responsibility for the situation on the ground, but turning the country into a warehouse is no solution to Europe’s refugee crisis.”"

 Big, bad Visegrad (The Economist, link): "The newfound unity between the four countries delights populist politicians. “Probably the only good thing in the whole migration crisis is that the V4 [Visegrad group] has found a common voice and strategy,” says Marton Gyongyosi of Jobbik. The group “allows three small countries to punch above their weight”, says Gyorgy Schopflin, a Fidesz MEP."

The 'Visegrad Group' or 'V4' is made up of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland.

 News (29.1.16)

EASO launches online tool to help identify asylum seekers with special needs (EIN, link): "The EU's European Asylum Support Office (EASO) yesterday announced the launch of a new online tool which helps identify asylum seekers with special needs.

The new EASO tool for identification of persons with special needs (IPSN tool) has its own website here.

EASO says the tool can be used by anyone who is in contact with applicants for international protection in their daily work and who may have a role in the identification of special needs in the asylum procedure and the reception context.

It may be used at any stage of the asylum procedure and at any stage of the reception process."

Germany tightens refugee policy as Finland joins Sweden in deportations (The Guardian, link): "Germany has moved to toughen its asylum policies as Finland and Sweden announced plans to deport tens of thousands of people in a bid to contain the migrant crisis.

Sigmar Gabriel, the vice chancellor, announced that Germany would place Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia on a list of “safe countries of origin” – meaning that migrants from those countries would have little chance of winning asylum.

Some migrants would also be blocked from bringing their families to join them in Germany for two years, Gabriel said."

GERMANY: Wary of culture clash, Germans teach refugees their rules (The Washington Post, link): "First impressions are important in any culture, and Germany is keen that even refugees from conservative Muslim countries get it right.

“Men and women say hello and goodbye by shaking hands and looking each other in the eyes,” an online brochure earnestly instructs refugees, many of whom come from places where unrelated men and women are not supposed to touch one another. It also addresses more sensitive issues: “In Germany, homosexuals are allowed to show their sexual preference in public.”"

Greece's Refugee Ring-Fence Will Be Europe's Noose (Telesur, link): "In a desperate bid to halt the influx of refugees from the islands of the Aegean to the heartland of the European continent, EU leaders are currently debating plans to help Macedonia shut its southern border to new arrivals. If it goes through, the move will effectively ring-fence Greece and trap hundreds of thousands of refugees in one of the EU's most fragile member states.

With the backing of Brussels and Berlin, this double exclusion – of refugees and of Greece – would finally formalize what many have been observing for years now: the fact that the process of European integration, once considered irreversible, has already gone into a headlong retreat."

NETHERLANDS: Dutch Hotline Sees Doubling of Internet Discrimination Reports (, link): "The Dutch hotline for Internet discrimination MiND received twice as many reports in 2015 as it did in 2014. Most reports related to discrimination based on race (44 percent) and religion (22 percent). More than half of the utterances (64 percent) were made on social media. Reports that MiND received included "Burn all asylum seekers' centers down" and "Kick Muslims into cattle wagons for deportation." MiND's director states, "Unfortunately, this sort of despicable utterance happens on a daily basis. We see the civic discussions also cause digital derailment.""

OECD and UNHCR call for scaling up integration policies in favour of refugees (UNHCR, link): "The heads of the OECD and UNHCR, at a joint high-level Conference on the integration of beneficiaries of international protection in Paris today, have called on governments to scale up their efforts to help refugees integrate and contribute to the societies and economies of Europe.

In 2015, more than 1 million people crossed the Mediterranean Sea to look for international protection in Europe. In total, about 1.5 million claimed asylum in OECD countries in 2015. This is almost twice the number recorded in 2014 and the highest number ever. At the same time, asylum seekers represent only about 0.1% of the total OECD population, and, even in Europe, they represent less than 0.3% of the total EU population.

The OECD and UNHCR stressed not only the moral imperative but also the clear economic incentive to help the millions of refugees living in OECD countries to develop the skills they need to work productively and safely in the jobs of tomorrow."

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