Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 17.5.16


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 UN Human Rights: Greece: UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants concludes his follow up country visit to Greece (pdf): Fourteen Preliminary Recommendations on Greece:


"The unfortunate use of mandatory detention: The law limits administrative detention upon arrival to twenty-five days. However in practice detention at times lasts longer. I deeply regret the Greek government’s policy of increasing the use of detention of persons irregularly entering the Greek territory, including unaccompanied children and families."

"Establish a roster of lawyers and interpreters for easy access of the Asylum Service, First Reception Service and other authorities. Appoint immediately camp management for every hotspot and every open camp, in charge of coordinating activities of all actors and protecting the human rights of migrants; provide clear and public information with regards to the authority of the management at central level."

And nine Recommendations addressed to the EU, including:

"Ensure an independent and thorough human rights impact assessment to overview how the EU-migration agenda, the EU-Turkey statement and all future agreements on mobility and migration are carried out.

Examine the EU's accountability under an agreement such as the EU-Turkey statement.".

 Greek journalists draft ethical code to fight racism on refugees coverage (European federation of Journalists, link):

"The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is strongly supporting the initiative of its affiliate in Greece the Journalists’ Union of Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers (ESIEMTH) – who drafted a proposal for the adoption of the Anti-racism Ethics Code of the Greek journalists called The Charter of Idomeni, in the name of the border control village where thousands of refugees are passing through to reach Northern European countries."

 Report Launched for "Mapping Refugee Media Journeys" project (Open University, link):

"The Open University has released a ground–breaking research report on how refugees use smartphones. It was led by Prof. Marie Gillespie and was carried out in partnership with France Medias Monde....

The report, “Mapping Refugee Media Journeys: Smart Phones and Social Media Networks” explores the benefits and risks of mobile phones for refugees. It calls for action from the European Commission and Member States to fulfill their responsibilities under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention to provide relevant, reliable and timely information and news for refugees."

See report: Mapping Refugee Media Journeys Smartphones and Social Media Networks (pdf) and Website (link)

 The Lampedusa Hotspot Failure: Refugees Demand Dignity (, link):

"Having been held as prisoners on the island of Lampedusa for months now, a number of refugees started a hunger strike to demand to be enabled to leave the island. Besides the desperate living conditions in the island's former reception center and first European hotspot, refugees expressed their opposition to identifications that would force them to stay in Italy, even though they wish to settle in another European country. They are roughly 550 migrants living in these conditions, a figure that is set to increase since multiple new landings took place in the last few days. "

 Samos: Greece: Revealing Truths: Talking with Refugees in Samos (Sofiane Ait Chalalet and Chris Jones, link):

"The term ‘the system’ is one we have come across many times when talking with refugees and with poor people in many places and in various countries. It refers to the ways in which people understand the world and their place in it. It is also a description of the world in which they live under the gaze of teachers, police, social workers, border guards, prison officers, NGOs, bosses and supervisors and so on. It is the system that watches and humiliates and as one young Syrian refugee told us, it celebrates and feeds on wars. “Always war“ he said. “If it is not shooting you in your body, it is trying to destroy your brain and always shoots at our pockets.”"

 Syrians returned to Turkey under EU deal 'have had no access to lawyers' (Guardian, link):

"Refugees report being detained indefinitely in poor conditions and not being allowed to rejoin family members in Turkey...

The first Syrians to be returned by plane under the EU-Turkey deal have been detained in a remote camp for the past three weeks with no access to lawyers, casting further doubts over EU claims that they are being sent back to a safe third country.

With hundreds more likely to be expelled in similar fashion in the coming weeks, the returnees have warned that those following in their wake face arbitrary detention, an inscrutable asylum process, and substandard living conditions. Their claims undermine the legitimacy of the EU-Turkey migration deal,...."

 UN proposal would ask EU ships to enforce Libya arms embargo (euractiv, link): "The European Union’s Operation Sophia would be tasked with enforcing a UN arms embargo that was imposed on Libya in 2011, during the uprising against Moamer Kadhafi. European powers are also looking at building up Libya’s coast guards to ramp up operations against migrant smugglers operating off the coast of the north African country." and:

Libya to be military equipped in fight against ISIL - The US and other world powers agree to help unity government in the fight against ISIL threat in Libya.(

 EU struggles to save Turkey agreement (New Europe, link):

"Tensions continue to rise over a deal to grant Turks visa-free travel rights within the European Union. Controversy hit a peak when the European Commission’s third report on Turkey’s progress in fulfilling the requirements of the visa liberalisation roadmap found that Turkey is still short several benchmarks. Five of them, including one of the most important benchmarks, have yet to be addressed.

More specifically, under the fundamental rights block, Turkey still needs to “revise – in line with the European Convention for Human Rights (ECHR) and with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) case law, the EU acquis and EU Member States practices – the legal framework as regards organised crime and terrorism, as well as its interpretation by the courts and by the security forces and the law enforcement agencies, so as to ensure the right to liberty and security, the right to a fair trial and freedom of expression, of assembly and association in practice”."

 UNHCR (17.5.16)

"On 13 May, 1,034 people arrived to Italy following several search and rescue operations. They were disembarked in Augusta (344), Catania (286), Crotone
(231) and Palermo (173). Despite the Coast Guard’s initial communication regarding the nationality of arrivals, following disembarkation, UNHCR did not observe large groups of people originating from Syria. Boats disembarked from Egypt carried people mainly from Egypt, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, and Comoros Islands. Boats departed from Libya carried mainly people originating from various Sub Sahara countries."

"On 13 May, the Austrian Minister of the Interior announced that for the time being, border controls will not be introduced at the Austrian-Italian Brennero crossing. He said that currently numbers of asylumseekers and migrants have dropped significantly and linked this to tightened controls on trains taking place in Italy prior to reaching Austria through Brennero.."

 News (17.5.16)

Stop jailing refugee children, UN adviser tells Greece (euobserver, link)

World must tackle 'once-in-a-generation' refugee crisis: Angelina Jolie (Reuters, link): "Global leaders must come together to tackle a 'once-in-a-generation' migrant crisis, said U.N. special envoy Angelina Jolie, or risk greater instability that could drive more refugees to Europe. The United Nations and the declaration of human rights were among the world-changing outcomes of the global refugee crisis after World War Two, Jolie said, adding that the international community is now at a similar pivotal moment. "I believe this is again that once-in-a-generation moment when nations have to pull together," the Hollywood actress and director told the BBC."

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