Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 20.5.16


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 African Civil Society condemns the hunt for migrants on the continent (pdf):


"African civil society condemns these hunting policies for migrants that grow everywhere on the African continent with the support of the European institutions under the guise of the fight against "irregular" migration. The current situation in Libya is a sad illustration with anti-immigration brigade heavily armed, with the support of the European Union, which tracks day and night the sub-Saharan migrant workers cram in detention centers instead of effectively combating traffickers and Libyan smugglers...

The lure of European financial aid to fight against migration transforms the African political authorities in real persecutors of their brothers and sisters who are looking for work to live and feed their families. This could recall the time of slavery abolished there only two centuries. The European Union, at the expense of its humanist values, and shamelessly, in African countries outsources its security migration policy.

African civil society calls for the African Union commission, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and all African heads of state to listen to the voice of their people and engage resolutely in a real regional integration process. Only a true African integration could prevent our countries to always be the instrument of European policy and will prevent brave young hope of tomorrow's Africa, being killed in other countries on the continent seeking win their daily bread."

Signed by: The West African Observatory on Migrations (WAOM), The Pan African Network for the Defense of Migrants' Rights (PANiDMR), Caritas - Migration and Development Network (MADE) – Africa, Moroccan Transnational Network on Migration and Development (RMTMD), Samir ABI, Visions Solidaires.

CYPRUS: Recent conflicts at Kofinou constitute a manifestation of the Center’s Abandonment by the Government (pdf) and: Greek (pdf)

"During Saturday night (14.05.16), a number of serious incidents were noted between residents of the Kofinou Center for Asylum Seekers, which resulted in the injury of certain individuals and became the cause for great turbulence.i KISA condemns in the most unreserved manner any act of violence, no matter its source. At the same time however, we consider the particular incident to constitute an expression of the chronic and structural problems which are present at Kofinou and which have been exacerbated due to the Ministry of Interior’s continued delay in deciding upon the Center’s new supervision body. As a result of the above, the Kofinou Reception Center for Asylum Seekers continues to remain without any Administration Unit for the past eight months."

 Greece: Campaign for Access to Asylum: Open Letter to the Asylum Service (pdf)

"The great difficulty in access to the asylum procedure was the reason why our campaign was founded in 2012. Today, four years later, not only hasn’t this problem been solved but it has greatly deteriorated....

The problem has now reached alarming levels, given that:

- the refugee population is a much-afflicted population (because of the sufferings from the war and persecutions, the difficult journey towards our country and also the severe deficiencies of our country regarding their reception) which is in a state of great uncertainty.

- a great number of those people belong to particularly vulnerable groups (40% chlidren, a great number of sick people and people with disabilities).

- the documents of a large number of those people have already expired and as a result they are in risk of arrest, detention and deportation, as they are in state of legal uncertainty."

 The DCR/ECRE desk research on application of a safe third country and a first country of asylum concepts to Turkey (link)

"There is currently no meaningful capacity in Turkey for permanent independent monitoring of migration and border control management practices of Turkish authorities. In particular with regard to Turkey’s extensive land borders in the south and east and the increasing number of detention centres that are being used and established by the Turkish authorities. This means that present practices of immigration and border authorities remain outside any meaningful and independent scrutiny....

The present analysis of the current legal framework for international protection in Turkey and the available evidence of gaps in asylum seekers’ and refugees’ access to human rights, absence of effective access to procedural guarantees during the asylum procedure, and documented cases of refoulement, does not allow for the conclusion that Turkey meets the criteria laid down in Article 38(1) and Article 35 recast Asylum Procedures Directive."

See: Final version (pdf)

 EU: Justice and Home Affairs Council, 20 May 2016: Final press release (pdf): including: "Council expressed support for Greece's designation of Turkey as a safe country for return of irregular migrants"

"B" Points Agenda (for discussion, pdf), "A" Points (legislative, adopted without discussion) and "A" Points (non-legislative, adopted without discussion). See Background Note (pdf)

 Refugees tell of being pushed back into Greece from Balkans (, link):

"IDOMENI - Anwar Ismail Murad passed almost effortlessly along what has become known as the Balkan route, heading north from Greece to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, through Serbia, Croatia and on to Slovenia. He reached there on February 14, when the border was still open, but that’s where his dream abruptly died....

From then on, against all expectations — and against official policy — Murad found himself kicked back across nearly all the borders he had passed through...

Balkan countries along the route say they do not force potential asylum-seekers back across the border they just came from. But Murad’s case is by no means the only one."

 Turkish minister: Anti-terror law amendment ‘not on the agenda’ (euractiv, link):

"The granting of visa liberalisation, and to a lesser extent the German parliament’s expected recognition of the Armenian genocide, could threaten to derail the EU’s refugee pact with Turkey. EurActiv’s partner Der Tagesspiegel spoke with the Turkish Minister of Youth and Sport, Çagatay Kiliç....

The EU needs Ankara to change its anti-terror laws if it is to grant visa liberalisation to its citizens. Will Turkey follow through on this?

We have to make it clear what we mean when we talk about anti-terror legislation. The PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) is a terrorist organisation, it is classed as such by Germany and the EU. We are fighting a war on terror, so we have to stand together. It’s the EU that is going to have to move when it comes to defining the fight against terror...

So an amendment will not be made to the anti-terror law?

It’s not on the agenda."

 Are You Syrious (link)

Bulgaria: Bigger and stronger wall

"The Bulgarian government plans to fill the gaps at its borders with Greece and Turkey in order to stop refugees and migrants from entering the country, German newspaper Bildt reports. The government would, according to the report, consider establishing a fence along certain parts of the country’s the border with Greece. It also planned to extend the fences along the Turkish border by another 160 kilometers over summer. The report says that action in the Aegean to tackle smuggling has shifted the migrant route to Western Europe from Turkey through Bulgaria."

Serbia: Up to 600 people daily in Belgrade

"According to Info Park and other organizations working with refugees in Serbia, a number of refugees going through Serbia is still high. They estimate that at any moment, there are at least 500–600 people in transit in Belgrade.

The refugees over the last couple of days are predominantly composed of Afghani citizens along with a smaller number of Syrian and Iraqi families with children. They are mainly coming from Macedonia, via Preshevo, while smaller part comes from Bulgaria, via Stara planina, according to Info Park."

And see: Guide to Asylum, reunification, and relocation in Greece is now available in Urdu, Arabic and Kurdish

 Exclusive Video: Worst Riots Ever Break Out at Idomeni Refugee Camp (Greek Reporter, link)

 Hungary: Updates on the asylum and migration situation in Hungary: May 6th - May 18th (, link)

"As mentioned in our first situation update, one of the ways we at MigSzol can influence the current situation is through documentation. Many people are still passing through Hungary every day, and recently the importance of Hungary as a transit country has been increasing again: there are many things happening at both the Serbian and the Austrian borders and the situation is changing quickly. Even though most of the camps are full (and often overcrowded), there is very little information about the conditions there available.

Most importantly, see here for the information leaflet prepared by the Hungarian Helsinki committee."

See also: UNHCR: Hungary: As a Country of Asylum (pdf)

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