14 July 2017
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
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" A Code of Conduct for NGOs active in search and rescue (SAR) operations that has been drafted by the Italian government was leaked this week by Statewatch. Human rights organisations are raising strong concern that initiative will endanger thousands of lifes on the Mediterranean....
The Charity Human Rights at Sea raised concern over the exclusion of SAR NGOs from the drafting process as well as its interference with the independence of NGOs and humanitarian principles. The organisation also highlights the existing voluntary Code of Conduct which was drafted by SAR NGOs earlier this year."
"n the context of our project on legal assistance to asylum seekers, we deal with hundreds of cases of asylum seekers who are in Greece and have applied for family reunification under the Dublin III Regulation.
During the last months we have noted that there is a serious problem concerning the completion of the family reunification cases in Germany. More specifically we have found that in cases of asylum seekers for which Germany has accepted responsibility, the transfer to Germany has not been carried out despite the fact that the six-month time-limit provided by the Regulation has expired. So far our organization is aware of 21 such cases of asylum seekers, including particularly vulnerable people such as an eight-member family waiting to be reunited with the seriously ill father as well as unaccompanied minors."
Italy proposes Libya pact to curb illegal migration (euraciiv, link):
"Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti on Thursday (13 July) proposed a pact with Libya to combat human trafficking during a visit to Tripoli to meet mayors of cities affected by the scourge."
EU to scale back Greek asylum aid (euobserver, link):
"Stranded refugees on the Greek islands will soon have to rely on the Greek government for all basic services.
Athens is set to nationalise services over the summer that were previously funded by the EU amid concerns that it won't be able to deliver, as some 60 people continue to arrive from Turkey to the islands on a daily basis.
Greek socialist MEP Miltiadis Kyrkos, at a hearing on the issue at the European Parliament on Wednesday (12 July), said that the transition of aid from EU-funded NGOs to the Greek state will be a "disaster.""
Spain: Hunger strike
in Barcelona migrant detention centre ends
A hunger strike undertaken by some 60 detainees in Barcelona's migrant detention centre (CIE, Centro de Internamiento de Extranjeros) ended on Wednesday night, two days after it began.
The hunger strike was undertaken as a protest calling for detainees to be set free and against their planned expulsion, which they considered to be "collective" according to a lawyer for local campaign group Tanquem els CIE (Close the CIE).
Exposing hate crimes of successfully prosecuted beyond borders (IRR News, link):
" Eric and Philippa Kempson and their daughter are long-time residents of Lesbos, their home facing across the short stretch of idyllic but deadly water to the Turkish mainland and the first landfall for the many flimsy vessels of refugees seeking rescue and safety. In the months and now years that have passed since the initial arrivals, they helped bring to the worlds attention the plight of people arriving, and gave up their normal lives to devote themselves to the needs of the most vulnerable children, elderly, disabled, bereaved, nursing and pregnant mothers, the war wounded and traumatised...
Some sought to scapegoat the Kempson family and other human rights defenders for encouraging refugees to come to Lesbos, and have continued a campaign of intimidation and threats of violence against them to this day....
As if local animosity were not enough, a regular British tourist to Lesbos, Richard Sturdy, a respectable 72-year-old businessman from North Yorkshire, joined in the abuse, using online social media, Twitter, Facebook and even media interviews to denigrate and abuse the Kempsons. His personalised hate campaign also extended to racially and religiously abusive language against refugees as well as those trying to assist them. ...
At his trial on 25 May, Sturdy changed his plea to guilty on all charges and received a community rehabilitation activity order, was made to pay victim and court costs and subjected to a restraining order not to contact the victim (this non-custodial sentence reflected credit for a guilty plea)."
GREECE: NGOs fearful of handing island camps to state (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Seven top NGOs aiding refugees in Greece have issued a joint statement expressing their concerns over the handover of responsibilities at migrant camps on the Greek islands to the government as of August 1.
The NGOs say the Greek government has released few details about how it plans to continue providing existing assistance to residents at the camps. A deterioration of living conditions and diminished access to essential services are the main concerns cited if the Greek government does not communicate a plan to the NGOs before the handover."
European Par/liament: Smart Borders Entry/Exit System is unproven, expensive and violates right to privacy (GUE/NGL, link):
"The European Parliament's LIBE Committee today adopted the first part of the so-called Smart Borders Package; the Entry/Exit System (EES).
System text that was voted on today is the result of negotiations
with the European Council. It is complex, costly and dangerous
to fundamental rights and freedoms. It conflates irregular immigration,
border security and the fight against terrorism, and it's effectiveness
has not been proven. This is particularly worrying, considering
the huge sums of money that would be invested in it."
"In this text, the European Parliament has retreated on many of its initial positions, notably on the right to respect for privacy and data protection. All biometric and alphanumeric data recorded in the EES will be accessible to the member states, including their immigration authorities, law enforcement authorities and intelligence services.
"Even worse, it allows data sharing and cooperation with third countries without specifying the purposes for this.
"The EES therefore institutionalises the registration of personal details of all third-country nationals on a mass scale in violation of their fundamental rights. This is a big brother-style policy and it would set a dangerous precedent," warns the French MEP."
Mediterranean migration route: help for Italy and long-term solutions (EP Press release, link):
"Most MEPs in the debate defended the work of NGOs from criticism that their presence and rescue interventions are encouraging perilous journeys and even supporting human traffickers. Nevertheless, some MEPs also agreed that a code of conduct is needed to create order in operations at sea.
Many voiced doubts about the cooperation with Libya, pointing to the political instability in the country, the unreliability of its authorities and the heightened risk of abuse and violence faced by migrants who are returned to its shores."
Italy to impose tough rules on NGOs (euobserver, link):
"Italy is set to reveal an 11-point code of conduct to restrict NGO rescues in the Mediterranean sea. Those that fail to comply will be banned from disembarking rescued people at Italian ports, according to a draft copy of the proposal.
The issue is part of a wider Italian-led campaign following failed appeals by Rome to get help from other EU member states. "
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