Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 27.6.16


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 Statement 26th of June 2016: Three deaths in the straight of Gibraltar caused by the arrival of the Marine Royal (Moroccan Navy) (Alarmphone, link): "During the interception the migrants’ boat capsized. The survivors witnessed that the Marine Royal did not rescue all passengers, but only 5 of the 8. The Marine Royal then left the three dead bodies behind.


On Sunday the 26 of June 2016, the Alarmphone got a call from a Senegalese man staying in Morocco. His brother had left in a rubber boat with a group of 8 persons, heading from Tangier in direction of Tarifa. During the interception the migrants’ boat capsized, because of the big waves produced by the ship of the Marine Royal.

The survivors witnessed that the Marine Royal did not rescue all passengers, but only 5 of the 8. The Marine Royal then left the three dead bodies behind. In anguish the Senegalese comrades in Tangier wrote the following statemen"

 Europol press release: Latest trends in migrant smuggling: nearly 7000 suspected smugglers reported, increased exploitation, higher prices (pdf): "Between January and June 2016, Europol received intelligence on more than 7000 newly-identified migrant smuggling suspects. 95% of them are male, with an average age of 36. Recent data also shows that migrant smuggling remains an increasingly profitable business for criminals, with the
prices for migrant smuggling having tripled. These are only a few of the most recent trends perceived by Europol and published today.

At the end of last summer, migrants were paying between EUR 2000 and 5000 for their entire trip, i.e. from the country of origin to a final destination country in the EU. Nowadays, prices have increased significantly, with migrants paying up to EUR 3000 for just one part of the journey, for example from the country of origin to the EU entry country. More then needs to be paid for the next part of the journey. One of the consequences is that the overall time between leaving the country of origin and arriving in the country of destination is longer. Last year, the trips were sometimes completed in one to two weeks; now a journey can last for months. An increase in pressure on secondary movement routes is expected."

 Over 100 NGOs to European Council: don't try to curb migration at the expense "of fundamental values and human rights"

"The European Union is set to open a dark chapter in its history unless it rejects the European Commission’s proposal on migration, a coalition of more than 100 NGOs warned on Monday. Shifting towards a foreign policy that serves the single objective of curbing migration, the EU and its member states risk further undermining their credibility and authority in the defence of human rights, the organizations say. They call on European leaders to reject the Commission proposal that would cement this approach, making deterrence and return of people the main objective of the EU’s relationship with third countries."

 EU: (Language) policing at Europe’s borders (IRR, link): "Frontex plays a key role in screening of new arrivals on Europe’s southern borders, with its interpreters often deciding nationality. Aisha Maniar shows the inappropriateness of this role, given Frontex’ quasi-military role in policing the borders."

 Unaccompanied minors in the hotspot (ECRE, link): "Italian law prescribes that unaccompanied children cannot be placed in detention centres or in reception centres for adults. However, in practice unaccompanied minors (UAMs) are placed together with adults in hotspot facilities in Italy, in “closed” centres in open violation of Constitutional law. Paradoxically, they are obliged to remain in a detention-like situation longer than adults due to the lack of available places in dedicated reception centres for them. These centres are few in number and usually overcrowded, and there are few places available due to the sharp increase in the number of unaccompanied minors arriving over the last few years. According to data from the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, in 2015, 11,921 unaccompanied minors were accommodated in Italy, whereas in 2014 10,536 were accommodation. The number was 6,319 in 2013. While adults generally remain in the hotspot facilities from between two to six days, minors have had to stay for several weeks (mainly in Pozzallo and Lampedusa). For instance, 260 unaccompanied minors reached the Sicilian coast in a disembarkation on 25 May in Palermo. They were sent to the hotspot facilities for identification and registration. As of 11 June, ten of them were still in the hotspot premises at Trapani waiting for available places within the dedicated centres. On that date, in Lampedusa there are 66 unaccompanied minors still waiting to be transferred to dedicated reception centres."

 European travel document: MEPs and ministers strike informal deal (EP press release, link): "A new standard European travel document to speed the return of non-EU nationals staying "irregularly" in EU member states without valid passports or identity cards was informally agreed by MEPs and EU ministers on Thursday evening. A key goal during the talks has been to increase third countries’ acceptance of the document through improved technical details. To enter into force, this informal deal needs to be formally endorsed by the full Parliament and the Council of Ministers."

 EU: Border and coast guard: consolidated text of proposed Regulation

This is the text agreed in an informal deal between negotiators from the Parliament, Council and Commission last week. The Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee will vote on the text today.

 Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: Resolution 2128 (2016): Violence against migrants (pdf): "1. The Parliamentary Assembly is very concerned about the increased phenomenon of violence against migrants in Europe, which manifests itself in forms such as physical violence, labour exploitation, trafficking, sexual harassment and abuse, discrimination and hate speech.

2. Regrettably, very few European governments have taken active steps to combat the root causes of violence against migrants. Moreover, during the recent economic crisis, anti-migrant rhetoric has been widely used by populist parties and mass media, provoking stigmatisation, intolerance and xenophobia. The introduction of increasingly restrictive policies towards migrants and harsher measures against irregular migration is also exacerbating the situation.

3. The Assembly is deeply concerned about women and children migrants, who are particularly vulnerable to different forms of violence and abuse, including sexual violence, especially in detention centres or places with high concentrations of migrants. These groups should receive special protection from the receiving countries, including through the provision of safe reception facilities and alternatives to their detention.

4. The Assembly believes that the opening of regular channels for migration, combating the exploitation of migrants in the labour market, the promotion of a positive image of migrants in political discourse and in the media, as well as the development of social inclusion programmes are the most effective steps to combat violence against migrants in Europe.

5. The Assembly therefore calls on all member States of the Council of Europe to place the protection of the human rights of migrants at the forefront of migration management priorities and to combat racism, discrimination and hate speech, which lead to violence against migrants."

 Rethinking asylum distribution in the EU: Shall we start with the facts? (CEPS, link): "Ten months of what has alternatively been called a "refugee crisis", a "migrant crisis" and a "migrant and asylum crisis" in the EU has fuelled an exceptionally vivid discussion about statistics. All member states are required to provide Eurostat, the EU’s statistical agency, with data on immigration and asylum in accordance with a regulation that sets out clear and concise rules on what data must be submitted. The purpose of the regulation is to ensure that the data on migration and asylum the member states provide to Eurostat for publication is comparable across all EU countries.

A number of member states also have other data sources that do not conform to the Eurostat regulation but which they release to the public. These data, for instance in the case of Germany, from the EASY registration system designed to allocate responsibility for possible asylum applicants across Germany, are not consistent with the data member states must produce for Eurostat, so the results can be startlingly different. Over the past ten months of the refugee crisis, uncertainty about the numbers has been a real challenge for policy-makers.

To understand the distribution of asylum seekers across the EU, the only consistent source of information is that released by Eurostat. So what do the Eurostat data reveal about the distribution of asylum seekers in the EU? According to the report it issued on 3 March 2016, relating to the full year of 2015, the total applications received for asylum was just over 1.2 million, with the number by month shown in Figure 1."

 News (27.6.16)

Boat migrant rescues surge, as calm seas return to Mediterranean (EurActiv, link): "Ships manned by humanitarian organisations, the Italian navy and the coast guard helped rescue more than 2,000 migrants on boats today (23 June) as calm seas returned to the Mediterranean prompting a surge in departures.

The Topaz Responder, a ship run by the Malta-based humanitarian group Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), said 23 different migrant boats had been spotted in the sea about 20 nautical miles from the Libyan port city of Sabratha.

Rescue operations were ongoing, the Italian coast guard said. “The mass movement is probably the result of week-long, unfavourable weather conditions” that have come to an end, MOAS said on Twitter."

GREECE: Vital refugee centre on Lesbos forced to close and British owners hit with €10,000 penalty (Daily Mirror, link): "Neck deep in freezing waves, Philippa Kempson battled to pull a little boy from a sinking boat crammed with 80 people.

Terrified six-year-old Mohammed, who had arrived at the Greek island of Lesbos after a perilous 1,600-mile journey from Syria, was just one of thousands of refugees Philippa and her husband Eric have helped.

But now the British expat couple, who run a beachside refuge for migrants called Hope Centre, face being closed down after a ruling by local authorities.

They have been told their 20-room centre – a former holiday hotel – can no longer be used to provide shelter, food or clothing."

HUNGARY: Top court rejects all four quota referendum appeals (, link): "Following a court ruling rejecting several appeals against the government-backed referendum against the EU mandatory migrant quota system, the popular vote on the quotas will go ahead, a government spokesperson said. The Constitutional Court rejected on Tuesday four appeals against plans to hold the referendum. “Left-wing politicians attacked the government’s plans to put the issue to a popular vote but no obstacles remain”, Bence Tuzson, state secretary for government communications, told a press conference. According to the legal timetable, the referendum is most likely to be held in September or October. The government asks Hungarians to say no to EU quotas, he added."

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