Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19.9.16) including Lesvos, Bulgaria, Hungary, EU "flexible solidarity"

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- Lesvos, Greece: “NGOs Out Of Kara Tepe Camp”

"From ANA-MPA, the Lesvos municipal council has requested all NGOs leave the island’s Kara Tepe refugee camp. Mayor Spiros Galinos accused aid groups working there of “deceiving him,” claiming they were helping create a new refugee camp without his knowledge. The resolution was passed during an emergency council meeting and includes almost all aid groups operating at Kara Tepe, adding that the municipality should have exclusive jurisdiction over the camp, limiting NGOs to support roles. Galinos called the meeting after media reports that a new camp was being built at a former military base. Work was halted after Defence Minister Panos Kammenos intervened."

And: Lesvos in Migration Crisis: Situation at risk of getting out of control with protests, attacks and unwanted NGO’s (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Hundreds of residents of Moria village and surrounding areas on the island of Lesvos took to the streets on Monday morning protesting the presence of refugees and migrants outside the hot spot of the same name....

The protest rally turned really ugly when extremists from the ultra right-wing Golden Dawn who joined the protest attacked three women, one of them a volunteer at a refugees reception center. The woman was transferred to the local hospital for treatment. According to local website, the police that was present did nothing to hinder the attack.

According to the same website, the injured were four university student attacked by 15 GD members while others from the same party were shouting “throw them to the sea...

Kara Tepe has been a model refugee camp, often visited by international VIPs who come to Lesvos to express solidarity with the refugees.”

- ECHO budget almost doubles – but migration strings attached (IRIN, link):

"But it’s not so straightforward, according to some observers.

“Totally extraordinary,” said Kathrin Schick, director of VOICE, a network of European NGOs active in humanitarian aid. “The scale and nature of the Turkey portfolio for ECHO goes beyond the ‘harmonica system’ of expanding and contracting budgets that ECHO has become used to.”

There are many international NGOs in Turkey that have standing partnerships with ECHO, but their ability to operate is limited, their registration in Turkey short-term, and restrictions on visas and internal travel hampers their ability to work, Schick said....

She and other NGO analysts pointed out that the needs of unregistered refugees and asylum seekers, and their protection, should not be left out. And what about other nationalities? Only Syrian refugees may to be eligible for the safety net, according to a fact sheet: “Whilst the monthly cash-transfer under the ESSN will reach the most vulnerable families among registered Syrian refugees in Turkey, a referral system will be put in place as part of the ESSN to address the needs of other persons of concern too.”"

- When is "solidarity" not "solidarity"? When Its "flexible": ‘Flexible solidarity’ becomes new tool in response to refugee crisis (euractiv, link):

"The Bratislava summit marks a turning point in the evolution of the EU’s response to the migration crisis, as Germany and other Western nations appeared to accept the Visegrad Group’s alternative to relocation and migrant quotas, called ‘flexible solidarity”.

At the summit, the Visegrad Group (V4), consisting of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, submitted an appropriately-titled Joint Statement consisting of proposals for the future of the Union after Brexit.....

The idea that relocation doesn’t work seems to be accepted by Germany. The European Commission is the only one to religiously promote the concept."

See: Papering over overt racism: Visegard Group: Joint Statement of the Heads of Governments of the V4 Countries Bratislava, 16 September 2016 (pdf):

"Concerning migrations, it is necessary to halt the number of irregular migrants and to guarantee the security of the EU, the Member States and individual citizens. The countries of the Visegrad Group have therefore been underlining that enhanced cooperation with third countries, including with Turkey, whether transit or origin, as well as protection of EU external borders are key tools."

- Bulgaria: Report from the project: Who gets detained? Increasing the transparency and accountability of Bulgaria’s detention practices of asylum seekers and migrants (pdf):

"Since 2013, Bulgaria, as an external border of the EU, has experienced an unprecedented for its history number of migrants passing through its territory, primarily asylum seekers and refugees. The majority of the arriving migrants are subjected to administrative detention, where the decisions made by the administrative bodies appear to be dictated by policy rather than by individual and objective assessment.

The current project “Who gets detained? Increasing the transparency and accountability of Bulgaria’s detention practices of asylum seekers and migrants” examines this proposition, while aiming to contribute to increasing the transparency in the decision-making process for the administrative detention of migrants in Bulgaria and to the adopting of transparent and just detention practices that are in line with the principles of proportionality and individual assessment defined in international and European law."

- EU: Council President Tusk speech at UN: Speech by President Donald Tusk at the UN summit for refugees and migrants (pdf):

"You have to know that today the European Union has a clear objective to restore order on its external borders. As a result, this will lead to the further reduction of the irregular flows to the EU. There will be no repeat of the year 2015 with more than 1 and a half million irregular migrants....

We are also setting up new partnership agreements with African countries. Moreover, we are determined to continue our cooperation with Turkey and with the Western Balkans countries."
[emphasis added]

Comment: President Tusk fails to mention that the "new partnership agreements with African countries" are intended to stop refugees reaching the EU and if they do to send them back to countries of origin or transit.

- Fundamental Rights Agency: Monthly data collection: September 2016 (link)

- Video from Lesvos: Bridget Bardot in Skala 17/09/2016 (Eric Kempson, link) and "Hope Centre": Hope Is Not Lost 17/06/2016 (video link)

- Hungary’s War on Refugees (HRW, link):

"Throughout this period, the Hungarian government has stirred up xenophobic sentiments against refugees and migrants and has gone to great lengths, and cost, to spew hateful messages nationwide. Along with restrictive new laws making life difficult for asylum seekers and refugees, anti-migrant rhetoric by decision makers and high-ranking politicians is commonplace.

Asylum seekers and refugees are called, “intruders,” and “potential terrorists,” all bent on destroying Western civilization, burying Christianity and the Western culture. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán himself in July referred to migration as “poison.”"

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