Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 24-5.11.16

 GREECE: LESVOS: Death and riots at EU asylum hotspot in Greece (euobserver, link):


"A woman and her young child have died on Thursday (24 November) at an asylum detention centre on the Greek island of Lesbos, triggering riots and clashes with police.

The two were killed when a gas cylinder exploded while cooking at the Moria camp, a so-called hotspot initiated by the EU commission where asylum seekers are screened and registered.

The deaths provoked a protest among other asylum seekers who have been stuck at camps described as open-prisons. The police clashes injured six asylum seekers, according to Greek media."

See also: Mother and son in critical condition from Moria migrant camp fire (, link):

"Twenty large tents and over 100 smaller ones were destroyed in the blaze, as well as by fires started by migrants protesting living conditions at the overcrowded camp in reaction to the gas cooker explosion in the family tent that started the conflagration.

Police have arrested 15 Afghan men for starting the smaller fires and clashing with riot police dispatched to the scene. Between eight and 10 camp residents are also being treated at the Lesvos general hospital for burns and smoke inhalation."

And: Riots in Moria camp after woman and child killed in tragic gas explosion (Keep Talking Greece, with videos, link)

 Greece: Migration minister fends off criticism in wake of deadly fire (, link):

"Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas came under fire in Parliament on Friday – even from within the ranks of his own party – following a deadly fire at a migrant processing center on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos.

Most of the ammunition directed at the leftist minister related to conditions at the camps on Lesvos, Samos, Kos and Chios, with critics saying that overcrowding at these facilities is putting the migrants at risk and stoking reactions from local communities."

 Refugees clash with authorities in Bulgarian, Greek camps (DW, link): "Refugees rioted in Bulgarian and Greek camps late Thursday and early Friday. Bulgaria's Prime Minister said many now face expulsion?."

 Bulgarian police fire rubber bullets during migrant camp riot - Bulgaria’s biggest refugee camp erupts after its inhabitants wrongly accused by local media of carrying infectious skin diseases (Guardian, link):

"Bulgarian police fired water cannon and rubber bullets at rioting migrants angered at being confined to their refugee camp during a health scare, the interior ministry said.

The unrest in the camp in Harmanli, a town close to the Turkish border, happened two days after the authorities sealed it off to prevent anyone leaving following local media reports that the migrants were carrying infectious diseases.

Earlier on Thursday, camp residents set fire to furniture and tyres and threw stones at riot police, who deployed water cannon. In the evening, police pushed back a large group trying to leave the camp, which is home to 3,000 people, mostly thought to be Afghans. “We used a water cannon, blanks and rubber bullets as well as physical force,” said Georgi Kostov, the interior ministry’s chief secretary, outside Bulgaria’s biggest refugee camp."

 Are You Syrious (24.11.16)

Fire in Lesvos camp leads to the death of two refugees, eight more seriously injured

"The woman had been on Lesvos for 4 months according to authorities, a story all too common on the Greek islands. The situation of the ground is difficult. The asylum offices are severely undermanned, which results in the severe congestion and leads to massive buildups of refugees well beyond the official capacities. Had the process been more streamlined, the woman and her grandchild could have been allowed to leave for the Greek mainland by now, and their lives may not have been extinguished when they were."

Bulgaria: Refugees in Harmanli Center clash with police

"Hundreds of refugees protested after being told that they will be unable to leave the camp. Tires were set alight and refugees threw stones at police, who returned fire and even used rubber bullets and water canons in retaliation. Following an initial calming of tensions, demonstrations continued well into the night. The curtailment of the refugees’ freedom of movement came as a result of pressure placed on the government by right wing ideologues and their supporters."

Serbia: Refugee from Afghanistan commits suicide in Šid

"The body of a 23 year old refugee from Afghanistan was found at 6am on Thursday morning. His body was found not far from the Adaševci reception center. His friends say that he was traveling alone without family. He had made several attempts to cross the border into Hungary, but to no avail. His friends noticed that he was missing a few days ago, and reported it to reception center authorities."

Asylum Info Center in Belgrade helps refugees

The center provides refugees with knowledge of their rights, internet, clothing, translation, and counseling. They also help refugees to reach the asylum and reception centers in Serbia, and give referrals to other organizations which may provide legal aid, identification, family reunification, and searching for missing persons. The center is located on Nemanjina Street 3 in Belgrade, and their website may be found at You may call them at +381 60 099 16 34.

Hungary: Refugee boy almost dies as a result of beating at the hands of Hungarian police

"The boy provided testimony of the violence, which may be found here. The beating took place at night around 200 meters from the border. Hungarian police crossed the border and members of the group were attacked so severely that they needed to be taken to the hospital. Reports of such brutality at the hands of Hungarian police are far from uncommon, and yet nobody seems to be capable of doing anything to curb the violence. Be the neglect from the lack of power or the lack of will by EU authorities, such incidents serve to show that dark forces linger in Europe, which inflict violence on people who are themselves escaping war."

Italy: Clashes break out in Turin as tensions between refugees and local population grows

"Refugees were frightened on Wednesday night as two small explosions went off. After this, refugees living in the camp went out to the streets in an agitated mood, with media reporting that some of them damaged road signs and cars, and threw stones and bottles. The police were thankfully able to diffuse the tensions before anyone was hurt."

 EU-TURKEY: European Parliament: Freeze EU accession talks with Turkey until it halts repression, urge MEPs (Press release, link)

"MEPs want a temporary freeze on EU accession talks with Turkey. In a resolution voted on Thursday, they say Turkey should nonetheless remain “anchored” to the EU. They also pledge to review their position when the "disproportionate repressive measures" under the state of emergency in Turkey are lifted.:...

The resolution was approved by 479 votes to 37, with 107 abstentions."

And see: Turkey threatens to end refugee deal in row over EU accession - President Erdogan issues warning after European parliament vote urging ministers to freeze talks on Turkey joining the EU (Guardian, link):

"Turkey’s president has threatened to tear up a landmark deal to stem the flow of refugees into Europe a day after the European parliament urged governments to freeze EU accession talks with Ankara.

The threat underlines how far relations between Turkey and the European bloc have deteriorated in recent months, particularly after a coup attempt in July.

“If Europe goes too far, we will allow refugees to pass from the border gates,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech on Friday at a women’s rights conference. “Do not forget, the west needs Turkey.” Erdogan’s statements, the most direct warning yet that Turkey could abandon the agreement, came in response to a symbolic vote in the European parliament on Thursday that demanded an end to the decade-long accession negotiations."

And see: Turkey threatens to “flood the EU with migrants”(Keep Talking Greece, link):

"“The damage will be multiple for the European Union,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim warned and threatened that “without the help of Ankara, EU member states may be flooded with waves of migrants.”

Yildirim’s threats came in form of a televised address to the nation, after the European Parliament vote to freeze EU’s accession talks with Turkey.

“We are one of the factors that protect Europe. If the refugees cross our borders, will flood and overwhelm Europe and Turkey prevents this from happening,” the Turkish PM said adding “I accept that the interruption of relations with Europe will harm Turkey, but the damage for Europe will be five to six times bigger.”

 Migrants and police clash in Bulgaria refugee camp (euractiv, link):

"Around 1,500 migrants rioted in Bulgaria’s largest refugee camp yesterday (24 November), triggering clashes that left two dozen police injured and prompted the arrest of hundreds of protesters, officials said.

“Around 300 migrants, six of them considered a threat to national security, have been arrested,” Prime Minister Boyko Borissov told BNR public radio after visiting the camp in early hours of Friday."

Greece: Arrivals in Lesvos (UNHCR)

17/11/2016: 103
18/11/2016:   40
19/11/2016: 108
20/11/2016:   92
21/11/2016:   45

 EU Policies Put Refugees At Risk - An Agenda to Restore Protection (HRW, link):

"A lack of leadership, vision, and solidarity based on human rights principles are at the core of the European Union’s dismal response to refugee and migration challenges. The mismanagement and politicization of a surge in boat migration in 2015, when over one million migrants and asylum seekers traveled to the EU by sea, has led to a humanitarian and political crisis largely of the EU’s own making that needs to be addressed with the utmost urgency.

If chaos characterized the response of the EU and its member states in 2015, wrong-headed and rights-abusing policies have defined 2016. Instead of providing for safe and orderly channels into the EU for asylum seekers and refugees and sharing responsibility for them equitably, the EU and its member states have endorsed policies designed to limit arrivals and to outsource responsibility to regions and countries outside of the EU. The deeply flawed deal with Turkey and problematic cooperation with the Libyan authorities reflect this approach.....

The European Commission has also advocated changes to EU aid and foreign policy that would direct them towards migration control objectives rather than improving respect for human rights. The Partnership Framework for relations with third countries represents a clear articulation of the EU’s goal, significantly re-energized over the past 18 months, to intensify migration cooperation with countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia with the objectives of preventing irregular migratory flows to Europe and facilitating the removal of rejected asylum seekers and other irregular migrants from EU territory."


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