Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe 26..9.16


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 European Parliament: From 42 MEPs: Letter to Mr Fabrice Leggeri, Executive Director of Frontex concerning "Shoot First" policy (pdf):


"We are contacting you with reference to a number of incidents reports documenting the recurrent use of weapons by coast guards within Frontex operations to stop boats driven by suspected smugglers, injuring or killing refugees. The documents, published on August 22nd 2016 by the online publication.

The Intercept (“Shoot First: Coast Guard Fired at Migrant Boats, European Border Agency Documents Show”), show multiple cases of firearms use against boats carrying refugees by the Greek and FRONTEX’s operators leading to severely endangering refugees in the process. The reports cover a 20-month period from May 2014 to December 2015. Each case of firearms use — even if it resulted in someone being wounded — was described “as part of the 'standard rules of engagement' for stopping boats at sea”."

See: Shoot First: Coast Guard Fired at Migrant Boats, European Border Agency Documents Show (The Intercept, link) and full file: Serious Incident Reports (190 pages, pdf) also Frontex rules: Serious Incident Reporting (pdf).

 Number of asylum seekers slightly up again: Eurostat (New Europe, link):

"The number of first time asylum seekers went slightly up again to almost 306 000 in the second quarter of 2016, with Syrians continuing to be the most numerous, according to data released today by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency.

During the second quarter of 2016 (from April to June 2016), 305 700 first time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the member states of the European Union, up by 6% compared with the first quarter of 2016 (when 287 100 first time applicants were registered)....."

 Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: Committee calls for the protection of unaccompanied minors in Europe to be harmonised (link):

"PACE Migration Committee today called on European governments to improve the protection of unaccompanied migrant minors and to avoid them going missing. The present migration and refugee crisis, the committee said, has exacerbated the challenges of how to treat and assist these children on the move, and “generated new problems with the realisation that large numbers of children are going missing at different stages of their journey”, especially directly after arrival at reception centres.

Adopting a draft resolution, based on the report prepared by Manlio Di Stefano (Italy, NR), the parliamentarians called on Council of Europe member States to protect children from trafficking and criminal activities to which they are particularly vulnerable, uphold the right to family reunion in the case of separated migrant minors and harmonise the rules concerning the establishment of guardians and legal representatives."

See: Draft report and resolution (pdf)

 Are You Syriuos (24-25.9.16)

AUSTRIA: Austrian government statistics reveal twofold rise in attacks against centers for asylum seekers.

"In 2015, there was a total of 25 attacks against centers. In the first 6 months of 2016, there had already been 26 such attacks, ranging from hateful posts on the internet, to arson and acid attacks. The situation in Austria is particularly tense given the near-victory of the presidency by the candidate of the Freedom Party, a far right nationalist group. Another election for the post is scheduled to take place on December 4, and with the Freedom Party’s marginal loss, the results of the election are anybody’s guess.

The rise of far-right wing parties is widespread throughout Europe, having recently been stoked by xenophobic attitudes against refugees. These anxieties have caused in neighboring Germany the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, previously an extremely marginal group, to come in second place in the parliament of the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Bundesland."

GERMANY: Afghans protest discriminatory asylum system

"Hundreds of Afghans gathered in Hamburg today to demonstrate against discriminatory behavior of German authority in processing their asylum claims in Germany. They also called on the Afghan government to withdraw the decision of signing MOU that will encourage forced return of Afghan refugees back to Afghanistan."

DENMARK: Danish couple fined over 5,000 euro for helping refugees.

"A disturbing new development has come from Denmark which has officially convicted a Danish couple of “people smuggling” for giving refugees rides and some small food items. The woman who did not know she was breaking the law transported the family from the south of Denmark to Copenhagen, not ever crossing international boundaries. They were initially prosecuted under the Danish Aliens Act in March, but appealed their sentence. Now the Danish High Court has upheld the sentence and increased the penalty by five hundred British pound. They now must pay 5,700 British pounds for their act of kindness."

FINLAND: 15 thousand gather in Helsinki to protest racism

"In the aftermath of the death of a man at the hands of neo-Nazi radicals, 15 thousand have taken to the streets of Helsinki in a protest against fascist violence. Thousands more participated in similar demonstrations across the country. Among the participants is the current Premier of the country, Juha Sipila, who vowed that the government will soon be tackling such groups."

 Migration Summit in Vienna: They agreed that they mainly disagree (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"The so-called Balkan migration route has been the focus of attention at a mini summit in Vienna of leaders from affected countries. Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern welcomed head of states form Germany,Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia as well as the European Council President Donald Tusk...."

 Greece: Another parents' group votes to block refugees from schools (, link):

"Two parents' associations voted over the weekend to block child refugees from attending local schools, the latest in a string of objections to the government's initiative."

 Violence against refugees, attacks on shelters rising in Austria (Daily Sabah, link):

"Attacks on centres for asylum seekers in Austria are on course to double this year, according to government figures released on Saturday.

Twenty-four were recorded in the first half of 2016, compared with 25 for the whole of 2015, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said in reply to a parliamentary enquiry. The incidents ranged from arson to acid attacks to stones thrown through windows, or racist or Nazi graffiti and hate postings on the Internet....

The far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), in common with similar parties across Europe, has stoked concerns about the influx to boost its support.

Polls put the FPOe's Norbert Hofer neck-and-neck with independent ecologist Alexander Van der Bellen to be elected to the largely but not entirely ceremonial post of president on December 4."

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