09 September 2017
EU-TURKEY DEAL: Operational implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement (pdf):
The total number of returns from Greece to Turkey under the "Bilteral protocol" since 21 March 2016 has been 588 people.
The total number of returns under the "dodgy" Turkey Statement in 2016 was 801
The total number of returns under the "dodgy" Turkey Statement in 2017 is so far 506.
Overall total: 1,895.
The total depoyment of Frontex, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and others in Greece is 1,177: The largest numbers are: 327 "Border Surveillance Officers and Crew Members assigned to Frontex (including the UK Border Force boat "Valiant" stationed in Mytilni harbour) plus 280 Security Officers - assigned to Frontex and 105 "Escort officers and readmission experts" under Frontex.
"An open letter from MSF International President Dr Joanne Liu to European government leaders...
What migrants and refugees are living in Libya should shock the collective conscience of Europe’s citizens and elected leaders.
Blinded by the single-minded goal of keeping people outside of Europe, European funding is helping to stop the boats from departing Libyan waters, but this policy is also feeding a criminal system of abuse.
The detention of migrants and refugees in Libya is rotten to the core. It must be named for what it is: a thriving enterprise of kidnapping, torture and extortion. And European governments have chosen to contain people in this situation. People cannot be sent back to Libya, nor should they be contained there."
ALARMPHONE: Deterrence no matter what - Europe escalates its War on Migrants (link):"Alarm Phone 6 Week Report, 24th July – 3rd September...
he EU and member states have sought to establish ever-more violent obstacles, and following the EU-Turkey deal of March 2016, they have focused their energies even more on Libya. The drastic consequences are currently becoming more visible than ever before."
Are You Syrious (7.9.17, link)
Feature: Human Cruelty - the cost of current “migration management
"Several groups of humanitarian workers and activists are trying to bring awareness to the corruption and dangerous collaboration between European leaders and Libyan officials in encouraging the harming of refugees setting out from Libya.
MSF has been extremely active on Twitter in calling for dissent and bringing awareness to the systematic human rights abuses against refugees in Libya....
Horrifying reports of sexual and all forms of violence against those pushed into the margins of society?—?at the mercy of smugglers or corrupt officials.
European officials hope to prevent further migration to Europe by blockading refugees in Libya, claiming they are not equipped to deal with this level of migration."
GREECE: GENERAL: REGISTRATIONS (Official) 6.9.17:
"Around 73 people arrived to Crete today, with 100 being transported from Crete to Athens. It is clear that there is continued effort to transport people from the islands to the mainland.
Activists report that Crete not be overlooked in terms of overloaded, under-supported reception centers. There is a serious shortage of services on Crete, no lawyers, not enough volunteers. "
AUSTRIA: URGENT CALL TO PREVENT DEPORTATION IN AUSTRIA
"A refugee from Afghanistan who has been living in Austria since March of 2015 and has since learned German to B1 proficiency and is working in an NGO was taken into custody and is facing deportation! He was picked up in Niedernsill and is being transported to Vienna, where he will face deportation to Afghanistan.
It is recommended that citizens of Austria immediately send this form letter or one like it to this address (in German)...."
"According to activists in Finland, six more individuals of Afghan nationality were deported the night prior. Follow Afghanistan Migrants Advice & Support Org for more information."
Where Dreams Come to Die Migrant Path in Europe Ends at Brenner Pass (Spiegel Online, link)
"Migrants who make it across the Mediterranean to Italy dream of continuing on to northern Europe. Most, though, are unable to make it past the Brenner Pass. A visit to Europe's waiting room.
"Whereas the number of migrants arriving in southern Italy has dropped recently, a new border has been established here in the north. In mid-August, the Austrian army sent 70 soldiers to the Brenner Pass, the Alpine border between Italy and Austria, and they use iron rods to poke through freight trains for stowaways. In addition, police are checking passenger trains more thoroughly than ever before. Austria is in the midst of an election campaign, and gone are the days when around 200 Africans, Pakistanis and Afghans heading north were waved through the border each day, while Bolzano residents handed out food and clothing. Today, says one railroad worker, residents are more likely to point out refugees hiding under the seats and say: "Look, mister conductor, there's another one trying to hide."""
European citizens want information on migration – not higher walls (The Conservation, link);
"The groups of citizens we spoke with did not see tougher border security measures by the EU as either an effective solution to the challenge of migration, or as reflecting their own views on the issue. Instead, they called for better information, greater dialogue with European citizens, and stronger efforts to manage integration between communities."
Dozens of migrants found in crippled yacht off Greece (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Greece’s coast guard says it has located a crippled yacht carrying dozens of migrants in waters south of the Aegean island of Santorini, and is towing it to safety.
The coast guard says that between 50 and 70 people are believed to be on the vessel, which is expected to reach the port of Iraklion on Crete later on Thursday."
Fugees The Score (by Jan Piotrowsk) (fourmillionstepsblog, link):
"The military jeep at the entrance is the only overt clue the old factory is not what it seems. You could pass its unassuming walls everyday and remain unaware that hundreds of people live in purgatory within. The guards are to prevent unwanted visitors, and its refugee residents can leave whenever they want of course. However with international borders closed and the world looking at its feet, calling the camp anything but a prison feels like a semantic slight of hand. Among the scrubland pocked with industrial detritus, hope is a fragile thing, as insubstantial and difficult to grasp as the whirling dust clouds that whip across the hard, ocre dirt.
The camp I visited lies just outside Thessaloniki in northern Greece, but this scene is repeated again and again across Europe. Images of sprawling tent cities that populate peoples’ conceptions of refugees camps do exist: mostly at the entry points to the continent – Greek islands, Italy, increasingly Spain. Camps are more often are hidden away though, in warehouses, abandoned factories or stacked containers in remote border villages. Out if sight, out of mind...."
Court of Justice of the European Union: The Court dismisses the actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary against the provisional mechanism for the mandatory relocation of asylum seekers (Press release, pdf)
"That mechanism actually contributes to enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis and is proportionate.....
Since the decision is a non-legislative act, its adoption was not subject to the requirements relating to the participation of national Parliaments and to the public nature of the deliberations and vote in the Council (as those requirements apply only to legislative acts)."
See: Judgment: full-text (pdf)
And: Hungary and Slovakia defiant after EU court rebuke (euobserver, link):
"Hungary and Slovakia pledged not to change their opposition to taking in asylum seekers after the EU's top court on Wednesday (6 September) dismissed the two countries' complaints over the EU's migration quota scheme.
Slovak prime minister Robert Fico said his country respects the European Court of Justice's (ECJ's) decision to reject their complaints but that it will not change his position.
"We will continue to work on having solidarity expressed in different ways other than forcing [on us] migrants from other countries that don't want to be here anyway," he said. Hungary's foreign minister, Peter Szijjarto, called the court decision "outrageous and irresponsible"."
EU rejects Hungary's demand to finance border fence (EUobserver, link):
"The European Commission rejected Hungarian demands to co-finance its fences along the country's shared borders with Serbia and Croatia.
"We are not financing the construction of fences or barriers at the external borders," EU commission spokesperson, Alexander Winterstein, told reporters in Brussels on Friday (1 September).
Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban, in a letter addressed to EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, requested the money as a gesture of solidarity given the some €800 million Budapest has spent on the fences. Hungary now wants the EU to pay half.
But Winterstein also took issue with Orban's notion of solidarity, noting Hungary's refusal to take in asylum seekers from Greece and Italy."
UK: Detainees 'mocked and abused' at immigration centre (BBC News, link):
"G4S has suspended nine members of staff from an immigration removal centre near Gatwick Airport, following a BBC Panorama undercover investigation.
The programme says it has covert footage recorded at Brook House showing officers "mocking, abusing and assaulting" people being held there.
It says it has seen "widespread self-harm and attempted suicides" in the centre, and that drug use is "rife".
G4S said it is aware of the claims and "immediately" began an investigation."
And see: We are locking up people indefinitely. This inhumane practice needs to end (The Guardian, link) by Paul Blomfield: "We are the only country in Europe to hold migrants in detention centres with no time limit – some of them for years. We can’t let the government off the hook"
SPAIN: Outsourcing Border Control to Morocco a Recipe for Abuse (Human Rights Watch, link):
"“We had to get up at 4 in the morning to avoid the police. They caught me five or six times. They beat me with their batons. If you fall, they beat you. Each time, they sent me to Tangiers, Casablanca or somewhere else far away.”
Eighteen-year-old Emmanuel’s horrendous experience at the hands of the Moroccan police is a foreseeable consequence of Spain’s emphasis on deterrence and outsourcing of border control while turning a blind eye to Morocco’s abuses against migrants. This model also serves as an unfortunate blueprint for the European Union’s current approach to migration and asylum.
In 2015, Spain formalized in its law the longstanding practice of summary returns of would-be asylum seekers to Morocco, a move that breaches EU and international law. Spain’s close border control cooperation with Morocco, and wider EU investment in “effective migration management” in that country carries lessons as the EU pursues similar engagement with other countries, including Turkey and Libya. Morocco has taken positive steps but has yet to establish a national asylum system, and many of the abuses documented by Human Rights Watch in 2012 and by others continue."
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