Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 8-9 10.16


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Austria: Taxi drivers who transported refugees ‘not people smugglers (The, link):


"Taxi drivers and members of the public who picked up refugees who had made it across the Austrian border last summer and drove them to their destination cannot be prosecuted as people smugglers, Austria’s high court (OGH) has ruled....

The OGH decided that "the mere transport of strangers who have already illegally crossed Austria’s border” is not a criminal offence punishable by law.

The ruling could have implications for many cases, including that of a 32-year-old Syrian taxi driver who was based at Vienna airport. He has a minivan with eight seats and last summer he was asked to make three trips to the Austrian border town of Nickelsdorf, by an acquaintance who worked for a people smuggling organization."

 Greece: Chios refugee center burned in riot (, link):

"Authorities on the eastern Aegean island of Chios were working on Saturday to repair the damage wreaked to a refugee reception center after frustrated youths set fire to mattresses, causing a blaze that destroyed eight prefabricated homes.

Two Syrians were detained in connection with the blaze, which broke out following a dispute between migrants from different ethnic groups. The exact cause of the argument was unclear but tensions often bubble to the surface in refugee camps where migrants wait for months for asylum applications to be processed."

 Britain ‘ignored plea by France’ to aid stranded Calais child refugees (THe Observer, link): "Home Office delayed action on French requests to accept 400 eligible lone children, says Red Cross."

 Greek fisherman nominated for Nobel Prize (DW, link):

"When boats brimming with refugees teetered across the Mediterranean, Stratis Valiamos and his fellow fishermen came to the rescue. Now he has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. DW spent some time getting to know the fisherman."

 Scrubbing away hate: one Berliner's cleaning campaign against far-right graffiti (DW, link):

"Irmela Mensah-Schramm removes Nazi and other far-right symbols from public spaces in German cities. But the 70-year-old Berlin resident is in trouble after a court charged her with damaging public property."

 UK: Charity takes legal action against Home Office over child refugees (Guardian, link)

"Help Refugees says ministers have breached duties to unaccompanied children, exposing them to ‘serious risks’...

Lawyers for a leading refugee charity have begun legal proceedings against the Home Office, arguing that ministers have failed in obligations to give sanctuary to some of the thousands of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Europe.

Help Refugees says the home secretary, Amber Rudd, has breached her relocation duties to some unaccompanied children in Europe, by misconstruing or misapplying the May Immigration Act under which the government was obliged to take some children into the UK.

The legal papers state that because of this failure it “is incontestable that the unaccompanied children” whom the legislation is intended to assist “are exposed to serious risks of abuse and exploitation”.

 UK: Lists, lists of foreigners, lists of foreign born people (Michael Rosen, link):

Lists of foreigners
Lists of foreign born people living and working alongside those not on lists
Lists of children sitting alongside children not on lists
Lists to be sent in to government departments
Lists of names, addresses that can pass from official to official from department to department so that what starts out as 'information' drifts into ways of saying to those on the lists that they should have less they should have no guarantees of the right to work or live alongside or amongst those not on the lists.. [and more]

See: Proposals on lists of foreign workers cause outcry - Economists see little to link migration and unemployment (FT, link) and: LSE foreign academics told they will not be asked to advise UK on Brexit - Experts question legality under anti-discrimination laws as senior politicians criticise move as ‘baffling’ (Guardian, link)

 Mhairi Black: We must learn lessons from history and speak out against the Tories' ugly xenophobia (The National, link):

"IN my year and a half of being a politician I can truly say that I have never been more horrified or afraid of the rhetoric coming from the Conservative Government as I have this past week. To read the headlines of the major British newspapers felt like I had awoken in some dystopian, V for Vendetta-esque society. The Conservative Party’s mask as ‘a party of the common people’ has slipped to reveal the xenophobic, often racist, nationalist, ugly face beneath....

So let me finish with a poem by Martin Niemoller:

First they came for the Jews.
But I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists.
But I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists.
But I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics.
But I did not speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me.
And by that time there was no one left to speak out for me."

 Italy: Council of State suspends transfers to Hungary and Bulgaria (AIDA, link):

"The Italian Council of State has delivered its first judgments suspending transfers of asylum seekers to Hungary and Bulgaria under the Dublin Regulation, to prevent violations of fundamental rights....

In the case of Hungary, they concluded that: “On the basis of deficiencies in the asylum procedure and reception conditions, the Court found that the transfer of the asylum seeker to Hungary would violate Article 4 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.”" and the same for Bulgaria.

 Are You Syrious (8.10.16, link):

Greece: New arrivals are officially registered in Greece

"Lesvos: 32
Samos: 158
Leros: 4
Chios: 46
Total: 240

Some people also left Greece. Officially, 11 returned to Turkey, on their own will hopefully. A number of residents in Cherso dropped from 1667 to 1567, and in Nea Kavala from 1875 to 1775."


"The situation in Bulgaria remains tense but kept far away from the eyes of people in the rest of the EU. Some of the volunteers we contacted in this country told us that they do not feel to talk about conditions in camps or issues they are facing daily. Hate crimes are on the rise all over the country. This Friday, the movement Natsionalna Sportiva (National Resistance) called for a protest march “against migrants who have taken over the streets of the capital”. The plan was that the protest will pass the places where migrants have been placed."

 UNHCR: 313,872 arrivals in Europe in 2016: 167,600 in Greece, 142,468 in Italy. 3,604 dead/missing.

UNHCR: Weekly report (7 September 2016)

Trends of Sea Arrivals

"Between 26 September to 02 October, 668 refugees and migrants crossed the sea to Greece, a slight increase from the 597 that crossed the previous week.
There was a total of 3,080 sea arrivals during September, a slight decrease from the 3,447 who arrived in August this year. During the first nine months of 2016,
166,824 persons have arrived to Greece by sea, in comparison to 385,069 who crossed during the same period in 2015. As of 2 October, the main countries of origin of those who arrived in Greece remain the Syrian Arab Republic (48%), Afghanistan (25%) and Iraq (15%); children comprised 38% of arrivals with men making up 41% and women 21%.

Between 26 September to 02 October, 406 refugees and migrants arrived to Italy, of which 161 (40%) were unaccompanied and separated children (UASC). In comparison, 1,021 arrived the previous week. Between 01 January and 02 October 2016, 131,915 persons arrived by sea, compared to 132,071 persons that disembarked at the end of September 2015. According to Italian authorities, in total 18,564 UASC have arrived to Italy by sea as of 15 September, compared to 12,360 in 2015 and 13,026 in 2014. Overall, sea arrival trends in 2016 remain on par with 2014 and 2015. The top countries of origin among arrivals include Nigeria, Eritrea, Gambia, and Sudan."

Arrivals in Greece

"With an average of 104 daily arrivals to the Aegean islands during the month of September, Reception and Identification Centres (RICs) continue to face serious challenges with capacity and shelter allocation for new arrivals. The maximum capacity on the five islands remains 7,450 while the total presence on the islands was 14,331 as of 02 October according to Greek authorities."

Update on Relocation

From Italy, 62 asylum-seekers were relocated to Finland. Since the adoption of the relocation scheme, a total of 1,258 persons (3.2% of the 39,600 target) have been relocated from Italy. So far 3,809 pledges were received from adhering states (latest EC data, 27 September).

From Greece, there were 525 asylum-seekers relocated during the reporting period. Thus far, a total of 4,468 (6.7%) asylum-seekers against the targeted 66,400, have been relocated from Greece to other EU countries since the beginning of the relocation programme in November 2015. A total of 9,596 pledges have been made by EU Member States, including those made by Malta which pledged 28 places during the reporting period."

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