Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 28-29.6.16

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 Are You Syrious (link):

Bulgaria Drops Case against Border Police Officer Who Shot Migrant


"Prosecutors in Burgas decided to end pretrial proceedings into the death of an Afghan migrant who was killed not far from the Bulgarian border last October. Border police claim that officers noticed the movement of over 50 people near the border and that after shooting in the air “as a warning sign”, a bullet “rebounded” hitting one of the people on the move in the back of the neck. Human rights organizations pointed to the development as a possible case of police brutality.

Burgas District Prosecutor’s Office investigation established that no crime had been committed accepting the version according to which the bullet fired ricocheted off the bridge, changing its movement and hitting the migrant."

Hungary: New law that allows push backs of people

"Hungarian president signed the “8km law” that will be in effect from 5th July. The law allows pushing back people to the Serbian side of the fence. Namely, the new amendment of the law allows the police to ‘escort’ all refugees that are caught within 8km of the fence to the ‘no man’s land’ at the other side of the fence where they have to wait for days and weeks in inhumane conditions and almost no legal counseling. The only independent source of legal assistance in transit zones, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, but they have limited access and capacity to deal with each case."

Germany: Rise of far-right extremists attack

"An annual report by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency recorded 1,408 violent crimes by far-right extremists in 2015. That compares with 990 such crimes the previous year.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Tuesday that far-right extremists targeted asylum seekers in particular last year. Far-right groups have seen a rise in membership and support amid growing anti-foreigner sentiment last year, as Germany saw an unprecedented influx of refugees from the Middle East and Africa."

 BORDER CONTROLS INCREASE DEMAND FOR SMUGGLERS: Europol: 39 migrant smugglers arrested during Sirocco-2 Action Day along Western-Balkan route (Press release, pdf)

""Border management restrictions in the South East European region have created demand for criminal networks to offer their services to those migrants who are stranded in various phases of their journey. Facilitators often appear in refugee camps and offer their services to asylum seekers."

 Greece: Lesvos: Reported incident of police violence towards unaccompanied minors at Moria Reception Center in Lesvos (link):

"Médecins du Monde – Doctors of the World Greece expresses its deep concern about the reported incident of police violence towards unaccompanied minors detained in Moria Reception Center in Lesvos.

On the 24th of June 2016, twelve (12) unaccompanied minor of Pakistani nationality, accompanied by the coordinator of the Centre, were examined by the doctor and the psychologist of the medical team of MdM."

 European Parliament Study: The Reform of the Dublin III Regulation (pdf):

"It examines the performance of Dublin and of relocation schemes, and assesses the Commission’s “Dublin IV” Proposal in this light. It argues that by retaining the Dublin philosophy and betting on more coercion, Dublin IV is unlikely to achieve its objectives while raising human rights concerns. It advocates re-centring EU responsibility allocation schemes on one key objective – quick access to asylum procedures. This requires taking protection seekers’ preferences seriously and de-bureaucratising the process. Such a reform would need to be accompanied by (a) stepping up the enforcement of refugee rights across the EU, (b) moving solidarity schemes from a logic of capacity-building to one of compensation, and (c) granting protected persons real mobility rights."

Towards compassion and a ‘compact’ on refugees (euractiv, link):

"UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appeals to European leaders meeting in Brussels today (28 June) to contribute for a new Global Compact on Responsibility-sharing for Refugees, as well as a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

The author is Secretary-General of the United Nations.

New figures released last week by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees show that forcible displacement has reached new heights: 65 million. Every minute, 24 people are uprooted – four times the level of a decade ago. As European leaders meet in Brussels, they must focus on humane solutions that save lives, uphold international law and protect human rights."

 European Council: 28-29 June: Draft Conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 8471-16, pdf):

"the return of migrants to Turkey in full respect of the provisions on inadmissibility under the Asylum Procedures Directive..."

Comment: The problem with the Asylum Procedures Directive is that is based on the lowest possible standards and does not requite third countries to implement the 1951 Geneva Convention standards and protections.

"In the Central Mediterranean, flows of predominantly economic migrants remain at the same level as last year..." [emphasis added]

Comment: People arriving from north Africa are refugees.

"fast and operational returns of irregular migrants, including by applying temporary arrangements, pending the conclusion of full-fledged readmission agreements."

Comment: To be based on the use of "leverage", that is, threats to withdraw development aid and trade if not compliant to EU demands.

See: EU to use aid and trade to stop Africa migration (euobserver, link): "EU leaders are likely to agree to use all means possible to keep irregular migrants from leaving Africa to reach Europe when they meet at a summit in Brussels later, according to leaked papers seen by this website. The heads of state are set to back a master plan to use development aid and trade as leverage against so-called countries of origin in Africa."

 EU-AFRICA: ARCI: Steps in the process of externalisation of border controls to Africa from the Valletta Summit to today (pdf)

"While the logic of externalisation of borders control to neighbouring countries, has been an essential feature of EU strategy over the last ten years, as evidenced first by Tony Blair’s government’s proposal of 2003 to create asylum seekers’ camps in transit countries, by the Italy-Libya agreement of 2008, by that between Spain and Morocco of 2012, as well also as the EU-Turkey readmission agreement of 2014, we are now witnessing an acceleration in the agreements and in their effects.

This is also due to the considerable funds it has been decided to invest in the criminalisation of migration. Trust funds for Africa, established at the Valletta Summit, have made cash available to facilitate dealings with African countries. This monetisation of the relationship with African countries opens up a trade logic that appears to skate over questions of human rights and the fate of thousands of people on the African continent."

Report in Italian (pdf) and French (pdf)

 NGOs warn EU against opening ‘dark chapter in its history’ on migration (euractiv, link):

"More than 100 NGOs have called upon the European Commission to put a stop to its controversial migration plan. EurActiv Germany reports.

The executive’s plan sees trade deals, development aid and other financial tools being used to limit the number of migrants reaching Europe from third countries. “We propose to use a mix of positive and negative incentives to reward those third countries willing to cooperate effectively with us and to ensure that there are consequences for those who do not,” said First Vice-President Frans Timmermans. EU leaders will discuss the plan this week at a summit being held in Brussels.

The NGOs have criticised the EU for focusing solely on curbing migration through its foreign policy and highlighted that this undermines the bloc’s credibility and authority when it comes to defending human rights. The organisations therefore called upon the member states to reject the Commission’s proposal."

See: See Statement: Joint NGO statement ahead of the European Council of 28-29 June 2016: NGOs strongly condemn new EU policies to contain migration (pdf)

 News (28-29.6.16)

French politicians warn about migration from UK (New Europe, link): "France is reviewing the Touquet accord, an agreement signed in 2003 to reinforce French-British cooperation on immigration. The deal essentially moved the British border to cross-channel embarkation areas in France and Belgium and allowed London to offload some responsibility for border control."

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