EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe: 21-31.8.17

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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
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Keep in touch: Statewatch Observatory: Refugee crisis in the Med and inside the EU: Daily news (updated through the day), commentaries and official documents
:International Organisation for Migration to help Libyan authorties take migrants back to "hell"

The International Organisation for Migration, which since July 2016 has been the UN's migration agency, has met with authorities in Libya "to discuss an initial workplan and the establishment of a coordination body to facilitate rescues at sea," having already "provided computer literacy classes and lifesaving equipment to Libyan authorities as part of a wider intervention to strengthen the Government’s humanitarian capacity."

Backed by Italy, Libya enlists militias to stop migrants(Washington Post, link):

"Under a deal backed by Italy, Libya’s struggling government in Tripoli has paid militias implicated in trafficking to now prevent migrants from crossing the Mediterranean to Europe, one reason for a dramatic drop in the traffic, militia and security officials told The Associated Press.

The policy has raised an outcry among some in the Libyan security forces and activists dealing with migrants, who warn that it enriches militias, enabling them to buy more weapons and become more powerful. In the country’s chaos, the militias can at any time go back to trafficking or turn against the government, they say.

The deal further cements the real power of militias, which since the fall of dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 have undermined Libya’s successive governments, including the current one of Fayez Serraj, which is internationally recognized but weak."

See also: Italy accused of bribing Libyan militias to stop migrants reaching Europe (Middle East Eye, link): "Rome refuses to comment on claims that millions of dollars have changed hands, as migrant arrivals in Italy plummet"

EU and Africa leaders in migrant talks (euobserver, link):

"A mini-summit on Africa is being hosted in Paris on Monday (28 August) to stem economic migration.

Heads of state and government from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, along with the EU's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, will meet with their counterparts from Chad, Niger, and Libya.

The European Commission in a statement last week said that the summit will reaffirm the EU's support for Chad, Niger and Libya in their efforts to manage migratory flows."

Italian PM holds talks on migration after mass protest over Rome eviction (Guardian, link):

"Thousands of Italians have marched through Rome in support of the rights of refugees after clashes between migrants and police exposed rising hostility towards recent arrivals in the country.

Italy is bearing the brunt of the European migration crisis, having seen almost 100,000 people arrive between January and June. Authorities are struggling to cope and efforts to promote integration have become strained.

The prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, is due to meet the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and counterparts from Spain and Germany, as well as leaders from Chad, Niger and Libya, on Monday for talks aimed at cutting illegal migration from Africa to Europe."

See also: Police Clear Migrants From Rome Piazza With Water Cannons(In Homeland Security, link) and: Macron wants asylum claims to start in Africa (EUobserver, link)

EU: Opinion: Europe is paying for African migrant deterrence (Deutsche Welle, link):

"Macron is taking a fast, focused and skillful approach in his implementation of a new European refugee and migration policy. He wants to present himself to the French people as a man of action and this could help boost his poor approval rating. The other guests share his goal of closing the Mediterranean route to migrants and keeping as many people in Africa as possible. European and African leaders want to make clear that before potential migrants embark on a dangerous journey to Europe, they must understand that they have very little chance of obtaining asylum or the right to live in Europe legally.

The European Union is becoming all the more ruthless in this regard and has put aside any concerns about conditions in Libya or the humanitarian situation in North Africa as a whole. Italy does not want to receive any more people who will not be distributed throughout Europe. Spain, on the other hand, does not want to become an alternative route for migrants. German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to prevent the flow of migrants from Italy to Germany via the Alps at all costs. She wants to win re-election in a vote scheduled less than four weeks from now."

GREECE: EU states begin returning refugees to Greece (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"European Union member states like Germany, UK and others to send asylum seekers back to where they first sought refuge, despite the continued economic strife in Greece.

European countries are poised to begin the process of returning refugees to Greece, as migrants seeking reunification with their family members – mostly in Germany – step up protests in Athens.

In a move decried by human rights groups, EU states will send back asylum seekers who first sought refuge in Greece, despite the nation being enmeshed in its worst economic crisis in modern times.

Germany has made nearly 400 resettlement requests, according to officials in Berlin and sources in Athens’ leftist-led government. The UK, France, the Netherlands and Norway have also asked that asylum seekers be returned to Greece....

In the last couple of days, more than 1,100 new refugees and migrants arrived on the islands of the Eastern Aegean Sea. Local authorities watch with sudden increase of new arrivals with concern, wondering whether the phenomenon has to do with the improved weather conditions or with President Erdogan letting the EU – Turkey deal go burst due to his feud with Germany."

UK: Samim Bigzad: UK Government's attempt to deport Afghan asylum seeker fails after pilot refuses to take off (Independent, link):

"The deportation of a young Afghan man refused asylum by the Government has been dramatically stayed after the pilot of the plane he was supposed to be removed on refused to take off.

Samim Bigzad’s friends and family feared their efforts to prevent him being forced back to Kabul had failed when he was detained and booked on commercial flight to Afghanistan via Istanbul.

The 22-year-old’s cousin previously told The Independent he feared he would be killed in the city he fled two years ago after being threatened with beheading by the Taliban.

More than 3,000 people had signed a petition appealing for the deportation to be delayed so Mr Bigzad’s asylum claim could be reviewed."

Mauritania: Police experts of the G5 Sahel countries boost cooperation (Medafrica, link):

"During last week gathering, sponsored by the GIZ (German Cooperation Agency), 32 senior police officers from the G5 countries exchanged views “on cooperation between police officers at the borders, security of border areas, and cross-border crime”. They also discussed compliance with human rights standards in the context of border controls, and the creation of a platform for exchanges on community policing, the official document of the workshop detailed.

According to the organizers, the Nouakchott phase emerged as an approach aimed at identifying operational planning for cooperation actions between the G5 Sahel police forces in order to counter the cross-border crime in the region.

The regional task force, which is expected to consist of around 5,000 troops, is scheduled to be operational by October.

It will need significant financial backing to fund a first-year budget of €423 million.

The five member states have so far contributed a total of €108 million, including the European Union’s €50 million contribution announced in June."

GERMANY: 25 years after Rostock-Lichtenhagen: 'Don't dwell on the past, learn from it' (Deutsche Welle, link):

""It never had to reach that point," says Frau Kosfelder, clutching her shopping bag on the way to the supermarket. "The politicians failed us that summer."

The 77-year-old pensioner was among the German residents of the so-called "Sunflower house" apartment block who witnessed the escalation of right-wing violence between August 22 and 26, 1992

The apartments were subjected to the worst right-wing violence in Germany since the Second World War. Alongside the German residents lived Vietnamese contract workers, who had been hired by former East Germany, as well as refugees at an asylum seeker reception center.

On August 22, 1992, around 2,000 people gathered in from the apartment blocks and began throwing stones. The violence escalated on the second day, however, when hundreds of well-known right-wing extremists traveled from across Germany to support the rioters.

The building was attacked with fire bombs as bystanders looked on, many of them chanting right-wing slogans such as "Germany for the Germans! Foreigners out!""

C-Star : FIDH calls on Mongolia to withdraw its flag of convenience from racist boat(FIDH, link):

"Paris, August 23, 2017 – Chartered by European identitarian and xenophobic groups, the C-Star (“racist” in reverse) and its crew claimed this summer to hinder the efforts of NGOs to rescue Mediterranean boat-people. The boat completed an eventful first mission, still flying a flag of convenience granted by Mongolia. FIDH is sending a letter today to the Mongolian Minister of Transports, asking for the boat’s deregistration, as the Defend Europe collective’s objectives are contrary to both the Mongolian Constitution and international maritime law."

Poland sticking to its ‘zero-refugee’ policy (euractiv, link):

"While migrant relocations reached record levels this year (peaking in June with over 3,000) Poland and Hungary remained steadfast in their refusal to participate in EU-mandated resettlement efforts. EURACTIV Poland reports.

Despite the fact that the European Commission has initiated an infringement procedure against Poland – along with the Czech Republic and Hungary – for “non-compliance with their legal obligations on relocation”, Poland is maintaining its stance – as, the Minister of the Interior and Administration, Mariusz Blaszczak, said in a letter to the European Commission on Wednesday (23 August).

In the same letter, Blaszczak informed the Commission that Poland has applied for cancellation of the infringement procedure."

Iceland Not to Receive Asylum-Seekers from Georgia (Georgia Today, link):

"Georgia’s Special and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to Denmark and Iceland, Gigi Gigiadze, has stated that Iceland will no longer accept Georgian citizens’ applications on asylum and will proceed to deport applicants for such.

“Iceland’s decision once again emphasizes the positive environment, political stability and economic development in terms of human rights and security in Georgia, clearly recognized by our partners,” Gigiadze said, adding that if Georgians address Iceland regarding asylum, they will be deported and sanctions will be imposed on them in Georgia."

Italian police use water cannon against refugees occupying Rome square (Guardian, link):

"Police in riot gear clash with refugees near main train station after about 800 were evicted from office building on Saturday"

Malta 'denies' Defend Europe anti-migrant boat (,link):

"Aid groups applaud Maltese government, saying snub sends 'a clear message against the politics of hate and extremism'"

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