01 August 2017
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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
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"The Home Office secretly acquired sensitive data, showing the nationality of people sleeping rough on the streets, in order to remove them from Britain, the Observer can reveal.
A chain of emails sent by senior Home Office immigration officials show how they used information that was designed to protect rough sleepers to target vulnerable individuals for deportation. The internal correspondence shows the Home Office repeatedly requesting and finally gaining access to a map created by the Greater London Authority (GLA) that identified and categorised rough sleepers by nationality."
Are You Syrious (18.8.17, link):
"The boats affiliated with Defend Europe a far-right xenophobic organization, have drawn quite a bit of attention in the last few months. The group, whose stated mission was to keep boats from reaching Europe, has announced that their mission is coming to a close. Even as they frame their exit as having completed their goals, the truth of the matter is that the mission was a failure from the get-go, and has been marred by controversies and mishaps from the very beginning.
Their boat was detained several times, first in Egypt and later on Cyprus, their fundraising mediums were taken offline, and they became embroiled in a people smuggling controversy...."
Syrian refugees and their children jailed
"After their asylum application was rejected, a Syrian refugee family living on Chios has been detained and jailed pending their deportation to Turkey. The family was arrested around noon on Thursday. With them are their young children, aged 7, 5, and 2-year-old.
To quote the Chios Solidarity group, we are asking for the immediate release of the children and their parents and we call for the intervention of every competent body, local and nationwide, in this and in all the other relevant cases we are afraid we will see in the future, due to the application of the inhuman agreement of the EU with Turkey.
"A total of 1,421 refugees and migrants crossed the islands of the northern Aegean from August 1 until today, Thursday, August 17, morning. Of these, 394 passed to Lesvos, 458 to Chios and 569 to Samos.
It is worth mentioning that, according to Turkish Coast Guard information published on its official website, during the same period, they intervened in 32 incidents and returned to the Turkish coasts 1,265 people heading to the Greek islands."
Libya; Refugee sheds light on collaboration between Libyan coast guard and smugglers
"As AYS reported last week, the loyalties of the Libyan coast guard are questionable, with the country embroiled in a long-standing civil war in which several governments are vying for power. The western-backed Unity government is quite weak and often relies on the help of local militias to maintain any semblance of control. Many in the Libyan coast guard currently being trained by the EU to cap the refugee flow across the Mediterranean are themselves militias who are affiliated with very dark practices, namely keeping rescued refugees in makeshift camps that are simply not suitable for living.
One recent refugee, Ghanim from Sudan, told representatives of SOS Méditerranée that the camp in which he was being held was being administered by a high-ranking official in the military who would decide when departures would take place. If this is true, it speaks to an unimaginable level of corruption and a massive failure on the EUs part. In effect, this constitutes the EU funding people linked to smugglers as part of their project to crack down on smugglers."
UNHCR checking asylum program as influx continues (ekathimerini.com, link):
"As the influx of undocumented migrants into Greece continues unabated, exacerbating the overcrowding problems at reception centers, the United Nations refugee agency has dispatched an official to assess the situation.
The UNHCRs representative to Greece, Philip Leclerc, was on Crete Friday and is expected to stay until Monday to evaluate the progress of a state-backed program to accommodate refugees whose asylum applications have been accepted.
The slow progress in the processing of asylum claims is a key reason for the overcrowding of reception centers, particularly on the islands of the eastern Aegean, which dozens of migrants continue to reach daily on smuggling boats from neighboring Turkey."
EU: Commission rolls out migration action plan despite heavy criticism (euractiv, link):
"The EU is pressing on with controversial plans to tackle the migration crisis in the face of mounting criticism from NGOs and UN experts. EURACTIV France reports.
After protests from several NGOs, two experts from the UNs Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Thursday (August) added their voices to criticism of the EUs management of the refugee crisis.
The EUs proposed new action plan, including a code of conduct for organisations operating rescue boats, threatens life and breaches international standards by condemning people to face further human rights violations in Libya, said the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Felipe González Morales, and the Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer."
Repoliticization Through Search and Rescue? Humanitarian NGOs and Migration Management in the Central Mediterranean (Taylor & Francis Online, link):
"This article analyses the search and rescue (SAR) activities carried out by three NGOs (MOAS, MSF and Sea-Watch) in the Central Mediterranean, and asks whether and in how far non-governmental SAR contributes to the repoliticization of the EU maritime border.
The article first introduces the concept of depoliticization/repoliticization, as well as that of humanitarianization. Two sections summarize the development of the SAR regime and the governmentalization of international waters in the Strait of Sicily from the Cap Anamur case to 2016, and from late 2016 to recent days. Against this backdrop, the article analyses the different political positions taken by MOAS, MSF and Sea-Watch, their operational activities, as well as their cooperation and relations with the other actors involved in SAR. "
See: Article (pdf)
"Bulgaria plans to station 600 troops on its border with Turkey to quell any potential flow of migrants. Bulgaria's defense minister said the EU's failure to stop migrants crossing the Mediterranean justified the move."
. Migration trends shifting across Mediterranean region (ekathimerini.com, link)::
"At the height of Europes recent migration crisis, more than 7,000 people landed every day at the Greek islands that face Turkey. Orange life vests covered the beaches of northern Lesvos while multiplying numbers of new arrivals slept in fields and at the islands main port.
That was the fall of 2015.
Now, with international efforts underway to block smugglers and their human cargo on one of the Mediterranean Sea routes to Europe, smugglers are finding alternatives. As a result, Spain is set to overtake Greece this year as a key entry point for migrants, although Italy far and away outpaces the two other countries....."
GREECE: Protest at reception center as migrant influx continues (ekathimerini.com, link):
"As tensions continue to run high at overcrowded reception centers across the country, a group of migrants Thursday staged a sit-in at a state-run camp in Diavata, northern Greece, protesting plans to bring more migrants to the facility.
The situation is worse on the islands of the eastern Aegean, where many reception centers are at twice their capacity as hundreds of migrants and refugees await the outcome of asylum applications or deportation orders while dozens more arrive daily from neighboring Turkey. There are currently more than 14,500 migrants living on camps on Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros."
Life in the Hungarian transit zones (Hungarian Spectrum, link)
"The other day I happened upon an opinion piece in Magyar Idok written by Georg Spöttle, one of the many somewhat mysterious national security experts attracted to the Orbán government. He is allegedly a retired German army officer who has permanently settled in Hungary. His background is murky, as one can see from an interview he gave to Magyar Nemzet in 2002."
"UNHCR warning comes as Spanish coastguard intercepts nearly 600 people in a day trying to reach country from Morocco."
"Speaking about the refugee crisis and the Lybian and Syrian conflicts, Óscar Camps, director of the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, accused the EU of hiding the dirt under the carpet of international waters in the Mediterranean sea."
The War on Migrants Continues - NGOs harassed in the Mediterranean (Migreurop,link):
"Since this PR has been written, the situation in the Mediterranean is much more worse:
- Libya established a SAR zone up to 100 miles of its coast, forbidden to foreign vessels, particularly those of the NGOs.
- Facing threats from the Libyan coast-guards, several NGOs (as of Aug. 16, 2017 Médecins sans frontières, Save the Children and Sea Eye) decided to interrupt their SAR missions.
- General Haftar asks the EU for 20 billions , for the «safety» of Libya Southern border, and nearly 1000 migrants have been intercepted at sea by the Libyan coast-guards to be sent back to the hell of the Libyan gaols."
The 10 Best Articles on Refugees and Migration (Open MIgration, link):
"The controversy on the code of conduct for NGOs which has been dubbed the code of mass distraction has kept the publics attention away from the real issue: Libya. From the suspension of rescue missions to the hell of Libyas prison, here are some things we really need to talk about."
Lesvos, Greece: Eric Kempson report (link):
"On the 14th we had one boat arrived on Samos with 57 people on board,. Yesterday we had one boat arrived on lesvos 37 people on board, also one boat arrived on Samos the morning with 45 people on board. There are reports of a boat Arriving on Zakinthos with 150 people on board."
Migrants still attempting to enter Europe through Greece (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Even as a steady influx of undocumented migrants continues to arrive on Greek islands in the eastern Aegean from neighboring Turkey, in western Greece hundreds have been intercepted while attempting to continue their journeys further into Europe.
In the first seven months of this year, authorities intercepted more than 400 undocumented migrants trying to reach Italy aboard ferries from the Peloponnese and the Ionian island of Zakynthos."
Austria sends 70 soldiers to guard Brenner Pass (ansa, link):
"Austria has deployed 70 soldiers to help police conduct checks at its border with Italy, near the Brenner Pass, territorial military commander Herbert Bauer announced on Wednesday.
"This does not mean," local police chief Helmut Tomac said, "that Panzers will be deployed there as well." Austria has threatened in the past to shut the Brenner Pass if Italy were to give migrants humanitarian visas to travel across Europe, a possibility Rome has aired but since ruled out."
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