01 June 2016
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EU-TURKEY: Council to Greece: forget judicial independence and individual assessment, tell your judges Turkey is safe for Syrians
"The European Council on Justice and Home Affairs is applying pressure on Greece over a recent statement about the EU-Turkey migration deal. They are urging Athens to recognise Turkey as a safe third-country.
“We have to make clear to Greece that the vast majority of member states consider Turkey a safe country for Syrians to be returned to,” stressed one diplomatic source on June 8, prior to the Justice and Home Affairs Council that is slated to be held in Luxembourg on June 9-10.
The Council also urged Greece’s government to explain to the country’s judges that Turkey is safe for Syrians and to review the composition and role of the appeal committees since people from civil societies are not neutral."
See: EU Council: Why Greece should consider Turkey safe for Syrian refugees (New Europe, link)
Unaccompanied child refugees' suffering on route to Europe laid bare (The Guardian, link): "The suffering of unaccompanied child refugees who have made their way to Sweden has been laid bare in a report detailing the horrific abuse some have been subjected to at home and on their journeys north.
Interviews conducted by Human Rights Watch (HRW) with 50 unaccompanied child refugees aged nine to 17 reveal the scale of trauma suffered by many making the perilous voyages from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Syria and other countries."
See: Sweden: Migrant Children Face Barriers (Human Rights Watch, link): "Unaccompanied migrant children in Sweden are experiencing delays and difficulties in getting critical care and support, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Sweden has had an unprecedented increase in the arrival of unaccompanied children, but it should do more to ensure that all unaccompanied children get special protection, including swift processing of their asylum claims."
Morocco: Migrant dies trying to enter Spain via sewer (New Europe, link): "The Moroccan state news agency says a migrant from sub-Saharan Africa has died after trying to cross from Morocco into the Spanish enclave of Melilla through the sewage system.
The MAP news agency reported the man was evacuated from the sewer by local authorities along with three other migrants. He was hospitalized in the Moroccan border town of Nador and died Tuesday.
MAP said the other three migrants were treated and released."
Britain helps arrest people-smuggling kingpin known as 'The General' (The Independent, link): "One of the world’s most wanted people-smugglers has been arrested after an operation involving Britain’s National Crime Agency and GCHQ.
Mered Medhanie, dubbed "The General", is said to be the mastermind of an international smuggling network who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of refugees in the Mediterranean.
The 35-year-old Eritrean, who earned the nickname because he styled himself on former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, was arrested in the Sudanese capital Khartoum in May before being extradited to Italy on Tuesday."
'Where can I find peace?' Paris police clear makeshift refugee camp before Euro 2016 (Middle East Eye, link): "Before authorities began evacuating a squalid makeshift camp in the early morning, lorries transporting beer in preparation for the 2016 UEFA European championship roared down the street lined with tents and the sleeping bodies of almost 2,000 desperate migrants.
Homeless refugees and migrants from Afghanistan and Africa began living on the edges of Eole Park in north Paris a month ago. In the past week, their numbers swelled to about 1,850 people, all hoping for an official evacuation that would see them housed by local authorities. Amid the detritus and waste generated by hundreds crammed into a 4,000-square-metre area, many had lived in tents provided by local volunteers, and those without shelter passed nights on the pavement on cardboard boxes, pallets or in sleeping bags."
Refugees' Ramadan in Greece: No dates or milk, just bread and potatoes (Middle East Eye, link): "Sara will not be eating her traditional Ramadan iftar this year. “In Afghanistan, we have this thing called bolani [a stuffed flat bread] and we eat it with tomatoes and potatoes… and the fruit juices… It was all so yummy”, she said longingly.
“But here we have to eat the food they give us,” she added, looking thoroughly glum at the prospect.
The 17-year-old from Kabul, currently living with her parents and five siblings in Elionas camp near Athens, later sent this reporter a hurried WhatsApp message, just before breaking her fast.
“Maybe the food will be different for iftar. It has to be different. Am I right?” she wrote hopefully.
For the 50,000 refugees currently trapped in Greece, many from Muslim families, Ramadan will certainly be different this year."
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