Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 30.5.16


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 HOTSPOTS: ITALY: Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) applicable to ITALIAN HOTSPOTS (pdf): "The SOPs for ITALIAN HOTSPOTS have been drafted by the Italian Ministry of the Interior, Department for Civil Liberties and Immigration, and Department of Public Security. The European Commission, Frontex, Europol, EASO, UNHCR and IOM provided valuable contributions to the preparation of this document. The procedures indicated in this document should be used as an operational guide for activities organised within Hotspots. In the event of discrepancies between this document and current legislation, the latter shall apply."


Official document on how the "hotspots" in Italy are supposed to function in practice, which agencies and institutions are involved, and what their different roles are. See also the same document in Italian: STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES (SOP) applicabili agli HOTSPOTS ITALIANI (pdf) and a presentation on how the relocation scheme is supposed to work (also in Italian):L’hotspot approach e la relocation (pdf)

 Annual reports for 2015: Fundamental Rights Agency and European Ombudsman

The FRA's report deals with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and its use by Member States; equality and non-discrimination; racism, xenophobia and related intolerance; Roma integration; information society, privacy and data protection; rights of the child; access to justice, including the rights of crime victims; developments in the implementation of the convention of the rights of persons with disabilities.

The report also includes a section focusing specifically on the situation for migrants and refugees in Europe:

"Over a million people sought refuge in EU Member States in 2015, confronting the EU with an unprecedented challenge. Although this represents only about 0.2 % of the overall population, the number was far larger than in previous years. Moreover, with about 60 million people in the world forcibly displaced as a result of persecution, conflict, generalised violence or human rights violations, the scale of these movements is likely to continue for some time. FRA looks at the effectiveness of measures taken or proposed by the EU and its Member States to manage this situation, with particular reference to their fundamental rights compliance."

The section on asylum and migration provides a useful oversight of developments across Europe in 2015, including the immediate responses to the arrival of large numbers of refugees and migrants; the construction of fences and introduction of border controls in the various countries; and legal and policy changes introduced by the EU and its Member States and their implications for migrants and refugees.


 Migrants could die crossing Channel, ex-chief inspector warns (BBC News, link): "More resources are needed to stop migrants trying to reach the UK on boats or lives will be lost, a former border force chief inspector has said.

A group of 20 people - including 18 Albanian migrants and two children - were rescued from an inflatable boat off the coast of Kent on Sunday.

Two British men, aged 35 and 33, have been charged with immigration offences.

Ex-inspector John Vine said there was an "equal chance" of migrants drowning in the Channel as in the Mediterranean."

And see: Kent boat rescue: two Britons charged with immigration offences (The Guardian, link)

 MEDITERRANEAN: Statement in light of the current situation in the Mediterranean Sea and yesterday’s events (Alarm Phone, link): "Yesterday, on Thursday the 26th of May, it took more than four hours for rescue vessels to arrive. Four hours of worrying and of attempts to support the anxious people on board of an overcrowded wooden boat. In a SOS call at 6.21am, our WatchTheMed Alarm Phone shift team passed on the GPS coordinates to the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome. Shortly before, an emergency call had reached us via a satellite phone. The caller informed us about two boats carrying 500 people each, among them many Syrian and Iraqi refugees. At 10.31am, rescue finally approached but an hour earlier, the second boat had already capsized, within eyeshot. So far it is unclear how many people drowned or disappeared. MRCC Rome reported in their daily statement about one capsized boat and 96 survivors. Fatalities were not mentioned. However, the private rescue boat Sea-Watch, which arrived at the site of distress in the early afternoon, had to recover bodies of drowned people."

And see: Refugee crisis: 13,000 people rescued in Mediterranean in one week (The Guardian, link): "A flotilla of ships saved 668 people from boats in the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday, authorities in Italy said, bringing the week’s total of refugees plucked from the sea to 13,000 people."

 Greece: Involuntary eviction from Idomeni creates further hardship for refugees (MSF, link): "Athens - As the eviction of residents from Idomeni camp continues, Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) denounces the forced movement of thousands of refugees, the lack of information provided about their destinations and the restrictions imposed on humanitarian assistance during this process.

MSF calls on the Greek authorities to ensure that adequate and continuous assistance is guaranteed during the movement of people from the informal camps and in the new locations."

And see: Greece: UNHCR concerned at conditions in new refugee sites and urges that alternatives be found (UNHCR, link): "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."

 The back way to Europe: Gambia’s forgotten refugees (openDemocracy, link): "The distinction between a refugee and other irregular migrants coming from the Gambia is hard to maintain in a country where a lack of democracy is accompanied by failures of economic and political governance."

 IOM Records Over 60,000 Migrants Passing Through Agadez, Niger between February and April 2016 (IOM, link): "Niger - Through its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), IOM has recorded a total of 60,970 migrants passing through the transit towns of Arlit and Séguédine in the Agadez region of Niger between February and April 2016. Of this total, 44,890 were recorded leaving Niger, while 16,080 were migrants entering the country. Niger is a transit country for West African migrants travelling to and from Algeria and Libya.

The results of the flow monitoring during this period shows that minors represent 2.9 percent of the flow through Séguédine, which is an increase in the number of reported unaccompanied and accompanied minors heading towards Libya. The proportion of minors through Arlit is 9.4 percent, which includes those coming from and going to Algeria."

 Syrian refugees sue Denmark over immigration law (EUobserver, link): "Five Syrians have sued Denmark over its recent law that extended the waiting period before refugees can apply for family members to join them from one year to three. Their lawyer Christian Dahl Ager says the law breaches the European Convention on Human Rights, which gives right to family life."

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