Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 28-29,5.16


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 Refugee deaths intensify call for safe EU passages (, link):


"EU member states need to do more to prevent deaths as peak crossing season approaches, rights groups warn...

The latest incidents have raised alarm among human rights groups and NGOs, who are urging EU member states to do more to protect the thousands escaping turmoil.

"The first thing to do is to ensure a robust search and rescue operation," Judith Sunderland, associate director for Europe at Human Rights Watch (HRW), told Al Jazeera....

HRW's Sunderland said the EU's naval mission in the Mediterranean - Operation Sophia - aimed at checking undocumented migration could be exacerbating the danger."

and Libya Is Saving Migrants At Sea Only To Trap Them In Dire Conditions On Land (Huffington Post, link):

"Europe, desperate to stem the flow of refugees and migrants, has offered the fragile country help to stop migrants from leaving. Libyan forces intercepted over 2,000 migrants trying to flee by boat this week, as European leaders offered the country’s fragile new administration more help to turn back migrant boats.

Among them were four boats crammed with 500 people headed to Europe, including three children and eight pregnant women, that were intercepted by Libyan coastguards on Tuesday. They are now destined for Libya’s network of overcrowded, squalid detention centers, where human rights groups say violence is rampant and detention can stretch on indefinitely.

Libya’s efforts are potentially saving lives in the Mediterranean Sea, but they risk solving one problem by creating another."

 Lesvos, Greece: Eric Kempson reports (link): "Another boat came in on the north last night every one safe, that's four boat on the island that we know of in three day all the teams are working well, great job."

 Are You Syrious (28.5.16)

UNHCR concerned at conditions in new refugee sites and urges that alternatives be found

"UNHCR is seriously concerned about sub-standard conditions at several sites in northern Greece where refugees and migrants were evacuated this week from the makeshift site at Idomeni, and urges the Greek authorities, with the financial support provided by the European Union, to find better alternatives quickly."

Turkey: Refugees in Turkey already searching for new routes to Europe

"Turkey-EU migrant deal has apparently paid off and European leaders seem to be satisfied with the decreasing number of people crossing the Aegean Sea to Greece. However, keeping Europe migrant-free using Turkey’s help may come to an end in the wake of exchanged ultimatums between Brussels and Ankara."

 Refugee agency says survivors from three shipwrecks being taken to Italian ports but hundreds of people still missing (The Observer, link):

"More than 700 migrants are feared dead in three Mediterranean Sea shipwrecks off southern Italy in the last few days as they tried to reach Europe in unseaworthy boats, according to the UN refugee agency.

Carlotta Sami, spokeswoman for UNHCR, said on Sunday that an estimated 100 people were missing from a smugglers’ boat that capsized on Wednesday. The Italian navy took horrific pictures of that capsizing as it attempted to rescue survivors." and

Refugee crisis: 13,000 people rescued in Mediterranean in one week (The Observer, link)

 Greece: New migrant centers ‘substandard,’ UNHCR says (, link):

"Despite the evacuation of refugees from the sprawling makeshift border camp of Idomeni in northern Greece on Thursday, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed serious concern Friday over the “sub-standard” conditions at the new camps they have been relocated to.

The new camps, UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming said, “fall well below minimum standards,” and she appealed to Greek authorities to address the matter as soon as possible."

 Deaths at the Borders: Evidence from the Southern External Borders of the EU (, link)

"This paper contains a brief introduction to the Deaths at the Border Database, including methodology, prelimiary outcomes and preliminary policy conclusions.

Deaths at the Borders: Evidence from the Southern External Borders of the EU, published in HIJRA – La Revue Marocaine de Droit d’Asile et Migration 2016, no.1

– English version: p. 5-23
– Arabic version: p. 24-36"

 Are You Syrious (27.5.16, link)

HUNGARY: Anti-refugee propaganda continues to escalate dangerously as new laws threaten deportations and pushbacks

"Political tensions and propaganda continue to escalate as camp conditions only worsen in Hungary, reports Migszol. György Bakondi, security advisor to the Ministry of the Interior, labeled refugees trapped in camps “criminals” on state television. Furthermore, Hungarian Parliament is discussing a new law to return anyone “found within 8km of the fence” to the transit zone. Not only would this endanger the lives and freedom of refugees in the future, it also has the potential to worsen the conditions of the transit zone camp on the Hungarian-Serbian border where hundreds of people have been trapped for weeks with minimal aid"

Mytillini: quest for justice unites all as hundreds protest

"On the 26th, three days of protest culminated in hundreds of people gathering in front of the port and marching, uniting refugees of different nationalities, demanding freedom, volunteers reported."

3,900 asylum-seekers have disappeared from Idomeni, their arrival not being registered in other official camps

"From numbers calculated using the Greek government’s daily refugee flow numbers, 3,900 refugees are estimated to have disappeared from Idomeni without relocating to new official camps. With many camps remaining dangerously overcrowded, “Scores of tents” have appeared near the to"

GREECE: One boat with fifty people landed in the South of Lesvos

"Remar S.O.S. is in need of volunteers to help in a RefugeeAid Project in Lesvos from June 1st through June 15th, 2016. They are looking for volunteers who can join them for a minimum of 7 days. Work will consist of handing out food, cleaning, and food preparation,contact them at"

Child refugees in Greece have been out of school for 1.5 years on average

Child refugees stranded in Greece have been out of school for an average of 1.5 years, according to Save the Children. The studyconducted by the charity ahead of the inaugural World Humanitarian Summit found that Syrian child refugees have been out of school for an average of 25.8 months, while Afghan child refugees spent an average of 10.7 months out of the classroom."

 UPD Imminent intervention? Greece, Italy & Malta close their airspace for aircraft departing from Libya (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Weird things are happening in the Mediterranean Sea. Almost simultaneously three countries in the Mediterranean have closed their airspace and territories for aircraft departing from Libya. The exceptions are very few and could hind on the transport of military and evacuees. At the same time, three NATO exercises are taking place but the airspace closure and directly little to do with that.

The first country to close its airspace for aircraft departing from Libya” was Italy, followed by Malta. Today it was Greece’s turn. All three countries issued relevant NOTAMs: Italy on May 11 and closes the airspace May 11 – August 8 2016, consequently at the same period Malta that issued the NOTAM on May 12."

 News (28-29.5.16)

EU: Stop ignoring the refugee crisis and start working on solutions (euractiv, link): "Nothing better demonstrates the decline of the EU as the pillar for common solutions than the painful scenes of refugees abandoned at Idomeni. The crisis is here to stay, so the EU must adapt, write Joost Lagendijk and Monica Frassoni.... In recent months, the EU has demonstrated an inability to live up to its values, with its member states unwilling to respect and enact common decisions, choosing instead go their own way by building fences and walls, irrespective of the fact that these are not legal."

Greece: Ethnic tensions at migrant camps seen as potential risk (, link): "“Tension cannot be avoided and the safety of refugees cannot be guaranteed if Idomeni was evacuated only to create little Idomenis here and there,” Achilleas Tzemos, the deputy coordinator of the Doctors Without Borders team, told Kathimerini on Saturday."

Italian navy recovers 45 bodies after refugee boat sinks - Coastguard sent in rescue ships after receiving a call for help reporting 350 people in the water (Guardian, link)

Afghan migrant killed by lorry in Calais (The, link): "A 25-year-old Afghan migrant was killed by a lorry on a motorway near the French port city of Calais in the early hours of Saturday, according to officials.."

Erdogan threatens to pull the deal (, link) " The EU will no doubt try its utmost to bend its own requirements - though it is not clear that they will be able to cowtow to Erdogan to quite the degree that now appears necessary for the deal to be ratified. We would, however, expect the EU to try and soften its stance on the quid-pro-quos for visa-free travel. Never underestimate the ability by Brussels to seek out a fudge. The bottom line is: if you strike Faustian pacts with dictators, don't pretend to be shocked about human rights violations.."

Serbia-Hungary: U.N. urges relief for migrants at border (link)" The United Nations' refugee agency on Friday urged Serbia and Hungary to find a solution for the migrants camping in dire conditions at their border, hoping to enter the European Union despite border closures."

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