EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10-18.4.18)


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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
10-18.4.18
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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
European Parliament study: Senegal: bastion of democracy, migration priority for the EU (pdf)

"Senegal has a long tradition of migration to the EU and other African countries, and today 5 % of its population live abroad. Remittances account for more than 10 % of GDP. As a priority partner in the Migration Partnership Framework, Senegal has been constructive in the political dialogue on migration, while maintaining its position that more should be done on legal migration into the EU. Senegal is one of the main benificiaries of the EU Trust Fund. Development cooperation, still at the core of relations with Senegal, has been structured to ensure increased coordination between the EU, Member States, and the Senegalese authorities. The challenge going forward will be to ensure that Senegal honours its commitments on the readmission of irregular migrants, and encourage progress on human rights."

EU: Migratory flows in March: Fewer arrivals in Italy (Frontex, link):

"In March, 6 200 irregular border crossings were detected on the four main migratory routes into the EU, down 63% from the same month of last year.

In the first quarter of 2018, the total number of irregular border crossings halved to 18 800, mainly because of lower migratory pressure on the Central Mediterranean route."

ITALY: Sequestration of the Open Arms rescue boat and the case against the crew: background, documentation and sources

On 16 April 2018 Statewatch published an analysis entitled 'The seizure of the Open Arms boat as a paradigm of the European Union's war on human rights', examining the charges levelled at the crew of the boat and the vessel's sequestration in Sicily. This page provides background information and documentation relevant to the case and the broader situation.

EU: Common European Asylum System: Qualification Directive: 6th trilogue - State of Play (178 pages, pdf): Four column document with the Commission proposal, Council and European Parliament positions and "compromise" column:

"In order to facilitate the reading, these parts have been highlighted in in the table below as follows:

- the parts in yellow concern cross-references to other proposals which depend on the finalisation of the CEAS package;
- the parts in in green mark the elements upo which agreement has been confirmed;
- the parts in blue mark the elements upon which the agreement reached at technical level has to be confirmed at political level.

New text in the fourth column compared to the COM proposal is marked in bold and new text compared to the previous version of the table is marked in underline. Deleted text in the fourth column compared to COM proposal is marked with […]."

And see:LIBE Commitee Agenda (pdf)

Greece: Persisting problems in the asylum procedure (Aitima, pdf):

"One year ago, our organization released the report Asylum Seekers "ON HOLD¨ whereby we highlighted serious problems in the asylum procedure. We remain very concerned, because most of these problems persist and at the same time new ones have emerged.

PERSISTING PROBLEMS

- The access to the asylum procedure at the mainland remains difficult, given that all unregistered asylum seekers are referred to the problematic Skype procedure.
- The authorities still impose a geographical restriction on all new-comers to remain on the islands with disregard to the principle of proportionality.
- The European Asylum Support Office is still involved in the asylum procedure exceeding its competence under the relevant Regulation.
- Everyday service of the asylum seekers at the Regional Asylum Offices remains problematic.
- The authorities do not yet provide free of charge legal aid at 1st instance to asylum applicants.
- The Asylum Service cannot yet ensure adequate 1st instance examination of the asylum applications in all cases.
- The problem of the 3.100 appeals pending for over two years remains and what is more over 400 backlog cases have been added to that."

FRANCE: Bill Could Undermine Asylum Seekers’ Rights - Amend Draft to Safeguard Access to Protection (HRW, link):

"(Paris) – A bill before the French Parliament on immigration and asylum could jeopardize access to protection and should be revised, Human Rights Watch said today. The National Assembly will examine the bill in the week of April 16, 2018, and the Senate in May.

“Under the guise of providing a more effective asylum system, the bill includes a series of measures that would diminish access to protection,” said Bénédicte Jeannerod, France director at Human Rights Watch. “The few – albeit significant – positive measures in the bill cannot hide the concerns it raises for people who were at risk in their home countries.”

Human Rights Watch is concerned about the following measures:

Lack of fairness in accelerated procedures... Shortened deadline for appealing rejections... Removals would no longer be suspended pending appeal... Increased maximum detention period... Migrant children in detention"

UPDATED: Migrants in Serbia still face difficulties, EU official says (euractiv, link):

"Migrants staying in Serbia are in a difficult situation and their integration into society should be enabled through education for minors and job opportunities for adults, a representative of the EU delegation to Serbia told EURACTIV.rs.

Nicholas Bizel said that many of the migrants have been in Serbia – which was on the so-called Balkan migration route at the height of the migrant crisis – for more than a year or even longer. He added that their chances of entering the EU are very slim and unlikely.

There are currently just over 4,000 migrants in Serbia, and in the first two months of 2018 more than 1,000 of them said they would seek asylum."

EU: Schengen Information System for returns: latest trilogue document

As part of its ongoing efforts to beef up the 'Security Union', the EU is establishing a new legal basis for the Schengen Information System which will increase the role that the database plays in deportations from the EU. The legal basis is currently being negotiated in secret 'trilogue' meetings between the Council, the Parliament and the Commission. Statewatch is today publishing the latest trilogue document showing the Commission's original proposal, the positions of the Council and the Parliament and any compromises that have been reached so far.

Statewatch Analysis: The seizure of the Open Arms boat as a paradigm of the European Union's war against human rights (pdf)

This analysis is based on the charges levelled at Proactiva Open Arms and was published in the wake of the crew's interrogation and the impounding of the Open Arms rescue boat. It was written by the steering group (direttivo) of the Osservatorio Solidarietà della Carta di Milano, which was formally constituted in January 2018. It was originally published in Italian. A prosecutor has now ordered the freeing of the Open Arms, although judicial proceedings are ongoing.

Italy: The Taranto Hotspot: Unveiling the Developments of EU Migration Management Policies (Border Criminologies Blog, link):

"Guest post by Carlo Caprioglio, Francesco Ferri and Lucia Gennari. Carlo is a researcher and activist. He is currently a PhD Candidate in Legal Philosophy at Roma Tre University. Carlo’s research focuses on migration law, administrative detention, labour exploitation and clinical legal education.(...)

In this piece, we take the hotspot of Taranto as a case study through which to explore the changes that migration and border control policies have undergone in the country. Since 2014, the EU Commission has played a leading role in defining migration management policies in member states. As depicted in EU official documents (such as the ‘Agenda on migration’ and the Commission's proposals for new regulations on the European asylum system; see here, here and here), these policies aim to prevent the arrival of migrants in Europe, as well as migrants’ mobility across the EU internal borders."

EU: CJEU: An unaccompanied minor who attains the age of majority during the asylum procedure retains their right to family unification (Press release, pdf):

"Such an application for family reunification must however be made within a reasonable time, in principle within three months of the date on which the minor concerned is recognised as having refugee status.!

See: Judgment (pdf) and: Childhood’s End? The Court of Justice upholds unaccompanied child refugees’ right to family reunion (EU Law Analysis, link)

More than 1,650 migrants crossed Greece's northeastern border in March (ekathimerini.com, link):

"More than 1,650 migrants crossed Greece’s Evros river that marks the country’s northeastern border with Turkey in March, despite the high water levels during winter, data from police arrests showed on Friday.

According the police, 1,658 people were detained after entering the country from the river last month, compared with 262 people arrested for illegal entry the same period last year. Most of the arrivals are Syrian and Iraqi families who brave the cold weather to attempt the perilous journey across the border."

Greece: Arrivals on the islands: Hellenic Ministry figures show that as of 12 April there were 15,267 refugees on the islands, including 8,465 on Lesvos.

EU: UNHCR Desperate Journeys report provides snapshot of changing refugee movements to Europe

Despite a drop in the number of refugees and migrants reaching Europe last year, the dangers many face along the way have in some cases increased, according to a new report by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, setting out changing patterns of movement.

The Desperate Journeys report found that sea arrivals to Italy, mostly from Libya, have drastically reduced since July 2017. This decrease has continued in the first three months of 2018, with a 74 per cent drop compared to last year.

CoE: Anti-Torture Committee calls for a co-ordinated European approach to address mass migratory arrivals in Italy (link):

"The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) published today a report on an ad hoc visit conducted in Italy to examine the situation of foreign nationals deprived of their liberty in the so-called “hotspots” and immigration detention centres, in a context of large-scale arrivals from North Africa.

The CPT recognises the significant challenges faced by the Italian authorities regarding the influx of new arrivals by sea. It also acknowledges the substantial efforts in carrying out rescue operations and in providing shelter and support to the hundreds of thousands of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants currently present in the country. In this framework, the CPT recalls the need for a co-ordinated European approach and support system to address the phenomenon of mass migratory arrivals."

And see: Executive Summary (pdf) and Full report (pdf)

Greece: Lesvos: Migrant arrivals continue, riot breaks out at Moria camp (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Authorities say a total of 607 migrants and refugees reached Greece’s eastern Aegean islands between Thursday and Tuesday.

More specifically, 418 arrivals were recorded on Lesvos, 120 on Samos and 69 on Chios. According to official data, a total of 1,173 migrants and refugees have reached the Greek islands since April 1.

Meanwhile, reports Tuesday said that a medical clinic was seriously damaged during riots at the Moria refugee camp on Lesvos late Monday."

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