Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 3.11.16


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 Turkey threatens to cancel EU Migration Deal unless “visa-free travel to Turkish citizens by end of the year” (Keep Talking Greece, link):


"Turkey has threatened to end the EU migration deal unless visa-free travel is granted to Turkish citizens this year. But Brussels said Turks will need to get visas until Ankara addresses EU concerns on the rule of law.

Turkey will cancel a migration deal with the European Union if the bloc doesn’t grant visa-free travel to Turkish citizens by the end of the year, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday, a day after a top EU official suggested any visa deal was a long way off."

 Long Read: Shipwreck Survivors Stranded by a Faltering Deal (Refugees Deeply, link):

"As an E.U.–Turkey agreement on refugees nears collapse, Preethi Nallu and Iason Athanasiadis report from the Greek island of Lesbos on how the deal never fully stopped the deadly voyages and has left survivors of such tragedies in agonizing limbo."

 Greece: Mainland Half Empty, Islands More Than Full (News That Moves, pdf)

 CoE: Anti-torture committee critical of treatment and conditions of migrants and refugees in Hungary (link):

"In a report published today, the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) welcomes cooperation of Hungarian authorities during its visit last year to detention centres and police detention facilities for foreigners, but also points out shortcomings.

The committee finds that the majority of detained foreign nationals interviewed stated that they had been treated correctly by police and prison officers or armed guards. However, it also finds that a “considerable number” of foreign nationals complained of ill treatment by police and discovered wanting conditions in some detention centres."

See: CoE: CPT Report (pdf), Summary (pdf) and Government response (pdf)

 AI: Italy: Refugees and migrants slapped and subjected to electric shocks to force fingerprinting (Press release, link):

"Police in Italy have subjected refugees and migrants to serious ill-treatment, including beatings, electric shocks – and have even used pliers on one man’s testicles - to force them to be fingerprinted under an EU-sponsored scheme to process refugees and migrants in the country. In some cases, this treatment may amount to torture.

These shocking claims are revealed in a new Amnesty report into the so-called “hotspot approach”, introduced last year and designed to identify and fingerprint newly-arrived refugees and migrants at the point of entry to the EU. The scheme aims to swiftly assess the protection needs of new arrivals and either process their asylum applications or return them to their country of origin."

See: AI: Hotspot Italy report (pdf) and see: Amnesty: Italian police tortured migrants to meet EU target (euobserver, link)

 Migrants jump border into Spain’s Ceuta enclave (New Europe, link):

"More than 200 mainly African migrants broke through a barbed-wire border fence to cross into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta from Morocco. They were then rounded up from the hills on the Spanish side of the border on November 1.

According to the United Nations, more than 1,000 people have crossed over the heavily fortified border to reach Ceuta so far this year.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, officials said dozens of migrants were injured in the scuffle with Spanish police on November 1."

 GREECE: How can we overcome the dead-end situation on the refugee issue in Greece? (pdf) by Spyros Rizakos, Head of Ngo AITIMA:

"The period when refugees massively transited Greece on their way to central and northern Europe was succeeded by the gradual closure of the Balkan route and the implementation of the policy marked by the EU-Turkey Joint Statement. Thus, since last March the approximately 60.000 refugees who had already entered and continued entering Greece with the aim of moving on to other European states suddenly realized that they had to stay in Greece. Most of the refugees who had come to Greece before March 20 – approximately 50.000 persons – are now staying in the mainland, whereas the other 10.000 who crossed our borders after 20 March are obliged by the authorities to stay on the islands.

Today, seven months after these developments, the situation that has been formed raises serious concerns."

 AUSTRIA: Haunted by asylum centre fire, divided Austrian town prepares to vote (EurActiv, link):

"A group of men sip beers in Altenfelden’s Barolo bar, remembering the night this summer when attackers set fire to the town’s refugee centre before a single migrant had moved in.

“It burned so nicely,” says one at the counter, as the others chuckle nervously around him. Another member of the group, clearly uncomfortable, tells him to be quiet. But the conversation drags on, more blue jokes and political banter. The waitresses stare at the floor.

Memories of the arson attack, and the debates about immigration that swirled around it, are particularly charged this month in Altenfelden which, like the rest of Austria, is preparing for a presidential vote on 4 December that could create Western Europe’s first far-right head of state in decades."

 EU: No direct flight: new maps show the fragmented journeys of migrants and refugees to Europe (The Conversation, link):

"Politicians across Europe have talked about the arrival of refugees and migrants in 2015 and 2016 as if it were an unprecedented “event”, a single coherent flow of people “heading for Europe”. There is a focus on the beginning and end of peoples’ journeys – at the expense of almost everything in between.

Our new research with 500 refugees and migrants in Italy, Greece, Turkey and Malta reveals a much more complicated picture of protracted, fragmented journeys. Between them, our respondents travelled along nearly 100 different routes before eventually reaching Europe, sometimes having spent months or even years living elsewhere. The convergence of these routes in Turkey and Libya helps us to understand why the number of migrants heading to Europe increased to just over a million in 2015."

 Irish Association of Social Workers and Irish Refugee Council ask for leadership from Irish Government in providing refuge to children (Irish Refugee Council, link):

"On the eve of the Dáil motion to discuss the fate of hundreds of child refugees stranded in Calais, the Irish Association of Social Workers (IASW) Social Work and Migration Special Interest Group and the Irish Refugee Council (IRC) call on the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality to honour the Government’s commitment to relocate refugees stranded in camps throughout Europe, especially unaccompanied children, without delay. Following the recent demolition and further displacement of refugees at Calais, there is serious concern for the protection of children."

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