01 August 2017
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
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"Rape, torture and slave labour are among the horrendous daily realities for people stuck in Libya who are desperately trying to escape war, persecution and poverty in African countries, according to a new report by Oxfam and Italian partners MEDU and Borderline Sicilia.
The report features harrowing testimonies, gathered by Oxfam and its partners, from women and men who arrived in Sicily having made the dangerous crossing from Libya. Some revealed how gangs imprisoned them in underground cells, before calling their families to demand a ransom for their release. A teenager from Senegal told how he was kept in a cell which was full of dead bodies, before managing to escape. Others spoke of being regularly beaten and starved for months on end.
Oxfam and its partners are calling on Italy and other European member states to stop pursuing migration policies that prevent people leaving Libya and the abuse they are suffering."
See: 'You aren't human any more': Migrants expose the harrowing situation in Libya and the impact of European policies (pdf) and: Refugees face kidnap, torture, rape and slavery in Libyan living hell', Oxfam report says (Independent, link)
EU-LIBYA: More NGOs follow MSF in suspending Mediterranean migrant rescues (Reuters, link):
"Two more aid groups have suspended migrant rescues in the Mediterranean, joining Doctors Without Borders, because they felt threatened by the Libyan coastguard.
Save the Children and Germany's Sea Eye said on Sunday their crews could no longer work safely because of the hostile stance of the Libyan authorities. Doctors Without Borders - or Medecins sans Frontieres - cited the same concern when it said on Saturday it would halt Mediterranean operations.
"We leave a deadly gap in the Mediterranean," Sea Eye's founder Michael Busch Heuer warned on Facebook, adding that Libya had issued an "explicit threat" against non-government organisations operating in the area around its coast."
See: Hindrance of humanitarian assistance will create a deadly gap in the Mediterranean Sea (MSF, link): "On 11 August 2017, the Libyan authorities publicly announced the establishment of a search and rescue (SAR) zone and restricted the access to humanitarian vessels into the international waters off the Libyan coasts." And: After MSF, two other NGOs suspend work off Libyan coast citing Libyan ban (Libyan Express, link)
Greece: Europes laboratory. An idea for Europe (pdf) Excellent and timely report:
""Greece: Europe's laboratory. An idea for Europe" written after a field research made by legal operators and lawyers from ASGI (Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione - Association for Juridical Studies on Migration) conducted in march 2017.
The research aims to analyze the juridical effects that the Eu-Turkey deal had on the Greek asylum system after one year from its approval. Through this observation and the contemporary study on the European ongoing reforms of the European asylum system we can say that Greece can be considered as a laboratory for the newest European immigration governmental policies which clearly focuses on stopping the fluxes also despite the respect of fundamental principles of the European rule of law."
SOLIDARITY IS NOT A CRIME
Solidarity must not be considered a law-breaking offence. It is not a crime, but a humanitarian obligation
Barbara Spinelli (MEP - group GUE-NGL)
Marie-Christine Vergiat (MEP - group GUE-NGL)
Pascal Durand (MEP - group Greens/European Free Alliance)
Brussels, August 11, 2017
The recent proliferation of prosecutions in Italy and France towards people who showed solidarity with the refugees is a disturbing attempt to create division among NGOs active in Search and Rescue operations, and to isolate common European citizens who are concerned with the safety of the forced exiles who embarked in perilous journeys from Eritrea, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and many other distressed countries. For years, they risk death on land and sea on a daily basis in a sort of Darwinian selection and the European Union, where only a part of them arrive, is closing more and more its doors and externalizing its asylum policies.
The vast majority of migrants and refugees (80%) find shelter in developing, mostly African countries. The extraordinary activity of NGOs in the Mediterranean is due to the absence of proactive public Search and Rescue operations carried out by the Union and its Member States, since the end of "Mare Nostrum"".
EU: Children on the move in Italy and Greece(pdf, emphasis in original):
"REACH, in the framework of a partnership with UNICEF, conducted an assessment on the profiles and experiences of children who arrived in Italy and Greece in 2016 and 2017, why they left home, the risks children encountered on their journey and their life once in Europe.
The assessment found that refugee and migrant children in Italy and Greece come from conflict-ridden countries and areas with poverty; all leave behind a situation where they feel they have no access to their basic rights as a child and do not see any prospects for themselves in the foreseeable future. For many children who have arrived in Italy or Greece, the journey is not yet over, as they aim to join family elsewhere. Others would like to stay in Italy or Greece to continue their education and build a life in the country.
All face challenges in realising their objectives, as access to documentation, including asylum and residence permits, takes longer than they had anticipated and legal pathways are inherently slow. In the meantime, children lose out on education. Often, children do not understand how procedures work and why they need to wait. As a result, children lose their trust in the child reception system and attempt to reach their goals through irregular means, relying on smugglers and putting themselves at risk of abuse and exploitation."
Hafter says southern migrant border closure will cost $20 billion (Libya Herald, link):
"To block Libyas southern border and so stem the flow of migrants would cost some $20 billion over the next 20 to 25 years, armed forces commander-in-chief Khalifa Hafter has said.
I have the elements, but I lack the resources, he told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Hafter said the migrant problem cannot be solved on the Libyan coast, adding that if Libya stops the flow of migrants to Europe then Libya has to keep them. That, he said, is not possible. He thinks shoring up the 4,000 kilometre-long southern border is the best way to block the flow of sub-Saharan migrants.
He said wants to establish mobile camps spanning the southern border, each a maximum of 100 kilometres apart and each manned by 150 border guards.....
Hafter said he is preparing a list for him. It will include an array of military assistance from training border guards to weapons and ammunitions, armoured vehicles, drones, mine detectors, night vision binoculars and helicopters."
Greece: Tensions rising at migrant centers as influx continues (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Tensions are building at reception centers on the islands of the eastern Aegean as the influx of migrants arriving from neighboring Turkey continues unabated while departures are moving at a significantly slower rate.
An average of between 80 and 90 migrants reach the islands daily, according to official figures. The numbers are a fraction of the thousands that were landing daily at the peak of the refugee crisis two years ago but they are increasing the pressure on already overcrowded reception centers....."
UK: Nigerian gay rights activist wins UK asylum claim after 13-year battle(The Guardian, link):
"The Home Office has granted refugee status to a prominent Nigerian LGBT activist, ending a 13-year battle over her right to remain in the UK.
Aderonke Apata, 50, says she knew she was gay from the age of 16 and was persecuted in Nigeria. She has been recognised internationally for her human rights work, and recently received Attitude magazines Pride award.
Apate arrived in the UK in 2004 but did not immediately claim asylum on the grounds of her sexuality. Until 2010, lesbian, gay and bisexual asylum seekers were often forcibly removed to their home countries if it was deemed safe for them to live discreetly."
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