01 November 2016
Unaccompanied child asylum-seekers: European Court of Human Rights: Written Submissions on behalf of Statewatchas Third Party Intervenor in the case of Sh.D and others v Greece, F.Y.R.O.M, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia(Application No: 14165/16, pdf): The Statewatch Intervention invites the Court to find that:
"States party to the decision to close the Western Balkans route knew or ought to have known about the continued serious systemic deficiencies in the Greek state in respect of asylum seekers, and particularly in respect of the reception, guardianship and processing of claims of unaccompanied asylum seeking children. Non-admission at the border along the Balkan and neighbouring states of unaccompanied asylum seeking children seeking access to the territory violates non-refoulement obligations under international refugee and human rights law and is incompatible with Article 3, ECHR."
The Intervention finds that:
"In view of the widely reported continuing serious deficiencies and significant delays in practice for reception (and use of prolonged de facto detention), guardianship and access to asylum processes by UN and EU agencies and non-governmental organisations, the Intervener submits that there remains no evidential basis that could lead this Court to reach a different conclusion to that which has prevailed to date, namely that the omissions to date of the Greek authorities in implementing a system of monitoring, supervising, assisting and safeguarding the best interests of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children persist at a level of severity of degrading treatment such as to amount to a breach of the state’s obligation under Article 3, ECHR." and:
"The Intervener therefore submits that while every country has the prerogative to control its borders, action by the Balkan states and neighbouring states to push back at the border or reject refugees and asylum-seekers based on their nationality and without any possibility of claiming asylum or otherwise having their individual circumstances taken into account violates the nonrefoulement obligations. The direct consequence of the decision to close the West Balkans route is to knowingly expose individuals – and in particular unaccompanied children, acknowledged to be a most vulnerable category of persons - to “the risk of proscribed ill-treatment” 75 in breach of Article 3, ECHR." [emphasis in original]
Denmark seizes thousands in cash from migrants (The Local.dk, link):
"A controversial Danish law allowing authorities to seize cash and valuables from asylum-seekers has been used on a handful of occasions since coming into force in February, Danish police said on Thursday..
A total of 117,600 kroner (€15,805, $17,525), all of it in cash, had been confiscated, Danish police told AFP in an email.
"When they asked if I had 10,000 kroner, I answered 'yes'," asylum-seeker Ali Abdel Razaq told broadcaster Radio24syv in an interview broadcast on Wednesday, adding that he had been unaware that any cash or valuables above that amount had to be handed over to the authorities.
Soon after, police came knocking on his door at an asylum centre in the small southern town of Bolderslev on October 22nd, forcing him to hand over 8,000 kroner."
German ministry wants African migrants intercepted – report (Observer, link):
"Eliminating ‘the prospect of reaching’ Europe would deter migrants, the ministry is quoted as saying by a German newspaper.
The German interior ministry wants to stop migrants ever reaching Europe’s Mediterranean coast by picking them up at sea and returning them to Africa, the Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported on Sunday.
In what would be a huge shift for a country with one of the most generous asylum policies, the ministry says the European Union should adopt an Australian-style system under which migrants intercepted at sea are sent for processing at camps in third countries.
“The elimination of the prospect of reaching the European coast could convince migrants to avoid embarking on the life-threatening and costly journey in the first place,” the paper quoted a ministry spokeswoman as saying.The German interior ministry wants to stop migrants ever reaching Europe’s Mediterranean coast by picking them up at sea and returning them to Africa, the Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported on Sunday.
Most Calais camp child refugees ‘traumatised and depressed’ (Observer, link)
"Charities warn that the longer children are exposed to uncertainty, the more difficult it will be for them to adjust to normal life.
Nearly all of the children who stayed in the now demolished Calais camp for refugees have a mental health condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, according to psychiatric assessments of some of those waiting to come to Britain.
Evidence compiled by a psychiatrist for Citizens UK, which is supporting scores of children dispersed around France, suggests that their mental health is deteriorating amid continuing delays over their transfer. Since the demolition of the camp, the charity’s staff report receiving suicidal text messages from the children."
"The allegation that the Libyan Coast Guard violently assaulted a vessel transporting asylum seekers raises strong concerns about the EU’s collaboration with the Libyan navy, which commenced last week as part of the EU’s Operation Sophia.
German NGO Sea Watch reported that during a rescue operation two weeks ago, a rubber dinghy carrying 150 – 160 people was attacked by the Libyan Coast Guard. According to Sea Watch, coast guards were seen hitting migrants and causing the deflation of the vessel. The attack led to the drowning of approximately 30 people. While Sea Watch published pictures of the incident, the Libyan Coast Guard merely confirmed its presence at the scene but denied the alleged attack...."
Austria: EU must prepare borders for end of Turkey migrant deal (DW, link)
"Austria's defense minister has said the European Union's migrant deal with Turkey is dead. The EU must now prepare to strengthen its external borders, he added.... Austria's defense minister has said the European Union's migrant deal with Turkey is dead. The EU must now prepare to strengthen its external borders, he added.
The European Union should bolster its border defenses against another influx of migrants in anticipation of the possible collapse of the bloc's refugee deal with Turkey, Austria's defense minister said Saturday.
"I have always said that the EU-Turkey deal should only be a stop-gap measure until the EU is in the position to effectively protect its external borders and thereby stem the flow of migrants," Hans Peter Doskozil told the German daily "Bild" in an interview.
"The time to organize for that is ever closer," he said, adding that he invited defense ministers from Central European states to Vienna early next week to discuss joint measures and the situation in Turkey."
Greece: Unrest returns to migrant facility on Chios (ekathimerini.com, link):
"A fresh bout of unrest broke out at one of the reception centers for migrants on the Aegean island of Chios on Friday after heavy rain led to widespread flooding that soaked the tents of many refugee families.
The worsening of the already substandard living conditions for migrants set off a new round of tense scuffles between migrants of different ethnic backgrounds, who are frustrated at delays in the processing of their asylum applications.
Greek government officials have appealed to the European Commission for more asylum experts to accelerate the process on the islands but the additional staff is yet to arrive."
Greece: Samos authorities lose patience with migrant situation (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Tensions in and around reception centers on the islands of the eastern Aegean are growing, as arrivals of migrants from neighboring Turkey continue, with authorities and residents on Samos planning protests.
In a joint statement, the Municipality of Samos and local business groups complained about the conditions in which migrants are being detained, claiming that it “puts at risk citizens’ safety and social cohesion.”"
Greece: Migration Ministry general secretary confirms resignation (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Vasilis Papadopoulos confirmed his resignation as Migration Ministry General Secretary on Thursday, following a report in daily Eleftheros Typos published on the same day.
According to the newspaper, Papadopoulos submitted his resignation, his third to date, on October 26, citing the situation on Greek islands due to the increasing numbers of refugees and migrants arriving on Greek islands as the reason behind the move."
Greece Almost 8,000 Waiting For Relocation (News That Moves, link):
"According to new figures (Greek link only) from the Greek Asylum Service, 7,961 asylum seekers currently in Greece and selected for relocation are waiting to be transferred to their European destination country.
Since November 2015, more than 15,300 have applied to be transferred from Greece under the EU relocation program. According to EU data, as of November 3, 5,343 people have been relocated from Greece."
See also: Relocation statistics (pdf)
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