EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe -28-8-18

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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
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Moria, Lesvos, Greece: Children 'attempting suicide' at Greek refugee camp (BBC News, link):

"At Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, there is deadly violence, overcrowding, appalling sanitary conditions and now a charity says children as young as 10 are attempting suicide. The Victoria Derbyshire programme has been given rare access inside.

"We are always ready to escape, 24 hours a day we have our children ready," says Sara Khan, originally from Afghanistan. (...)

The place smells of raw sewage, and there are around 70 people per toilet, according to medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).(...)

Back at the MSF tent, Luca Fontana, who has worked all over the world in conflict zones, says the camp is the worst place he has seen in his life.

He worked during the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa but says, "I've never seen the level of suffering we are witnessing here every day".

"Even those affected by Ebola still have the hope to survive or they have the support of their family, their society, their village, their relatives.

"Here, the hope is taken away by the system.""

Austria rejects Afghan’s asylum request over appearance (New Europe, link):

"Austria rejected the asylum application of an 18-year-old Afghan gay man as authorities believe he did not “act” or “dress” like a homosexual, the Falter weekly newspaper reports.

Homosexuality is illegal in Afghanistan and is punishable by death. At the very least, homosexuals face social exclusion."

EU: European External Action Service: Strategic Review on EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia, EUBAM Libya & EU Liaison and Planning Cell

The European External Action Service has produced a: Strategic Review on EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia, EUBAM Libya & EU Liaison and Planning Cell (LIMITE doc no: 11471-18, 98 pages, pdf) for discussion in the Political and Security Committee:

"the existing mandates of EUNAVFOR Med Op Sophia (Op Sophia) and EUBAM Libya will expire on 31 December 2018. A decision on their mandates and on the future of the EU Liaison and Planning Cell (EULPC) needs to be taken in light of the findings of this review and the broader political and security situation in Libya, the Central Mediterranean and the surrounding region."

ITALY: ‘EU is filth’, Salvini lashes out as tensions between Rome and Brussels grow (euractiv, link):

"Although the 150 migrants stranded on the Diciotti rescue ship were able to disembark on Sunday (26 August), Italy’s firebrand Interior Minister Matteo Salvini engaged in another vilification of the EU, calling it “filth” and reiterating threats to stop EU funding.

“Europe has demonstrated once again to be unprecedented filth that doesn’t deserve our money,” the leader of the far-right Lega told supporters on Sunday in the small town of Pinzolo in the northern Italian Alps."

Greece: Fresh calls for migrants to be moved from Aegean islands (, link):

"Authorities on the eastern Aegean islands have renewed calls on the central government to relocate hundreds of migrants to the mainland as their population on Lesvos, Chios and Samos has risen to 16,334 from 10,349 this time last year. "

Matteo Salvini formally investigated over migrant ship standoff (The Observer, link): "Italian deputy PM allows migrants on the Ubaldo Diciotti to disembark, after he was placed under investigation over their detention."

EU commission rejects Italy budget threat on migrants (euobserver, link):

"The European Commission said on Friday (24 August) it would not bow to threats by the Italian government after deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio said Italy would withhold EU funds if other countries did not take migrants from a coast guard ship in Sicily. "

Are You Syrious (23.8.18, link):


"In protesting the “death of human rights in Malta” crew members of MV Lifeline and Sea-Watch 3 carried a coffin from Castille Square to the court building in Valletta on Thursday. The coffin was draped in a EU flag. Their Captain Claus-Peter Reisch has charges against him for improper ship registration. It is registered as a pleasure craft in the Netherlands and therefore, the claim is made, it cannot serve on a rescue mission " (...)


"The 25 people returned by the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) on Wednesday were immediately detained, reports IOM. Among the 25 were a mother and her child.

More testimonies are coming out about the darkness of Libyan detention centers. A 17 year old states he did not see any light for seven months. An MSF psychologist reports that one of the children who disembarked from the Diciotti ship in Catania is having sight problems after living in darkness for a whole year.

The EU is funding the LCG to literally keep people in the dark."

Italy to suspend EU funding unless others take in migrants (euractiv, link):

"The European Commission has called a meeting today (25 August) after Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said his party would vote to suspend funding to the EU unless other member states agreed to take in migrants being held on a coastguard ship in Sicily.

Three days after Italy’s Diciotti coastguard vessel docked in Catania, 150 adult migrants remained on deck. After seeing hundreds of thousands of sea arrivals in recent years, Italy wants other EU countries to accept them.(...)

“If tomorrow nothing comes out of a European Commission meeting on redistributing migrants from the Diciotti ship, the 5-Star and I will not be willing to give €20 billion each year to the EU,” Di Maio said in a video posted on Facebook."

Migrants who stormed Morocco-Spain border sent back (euractiv, link):

"Spain on Thursday (23 August) sent back to Morocco 116 migrants who had forced their way into the Spanish territory of Ceuta, in a mass expulsion condemned by human rights activists.

“The 116 sub-Saharan migrants who entered Spain via the Ceuta border illegally yesterday (Wednesday) have been sent back to Morocco,” the Ceuta prefecture said in a statement."

Hungary: Asylum Seekers Denied Food - Cease Inhumane Treatment, Resume Distribution Immediately (HRW, link):

" Hungarian authorities have stopped food distribution since early August 2018 to some rejected asylum seekers held in transit zones on the Hungarian-Serbian border, Human Rights Watch said today. They should immediately ensure that all asylum seekers in custody are provided sufficient and appropriate food in line with the government’s legal obligations."

Migrants cross border to Spanish enclave in north Africa (euobserver, link):

"More than 100 African migrants managed to force their way into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta from Morocco on Wednesday, when hundreds tried to storm the highly fortified border fence."

Lesvos, Greece: The numbers of refugees on the island rose to 10,192 according to official figures on 22 August

Spain: European Commission: Schengen evaluation on returns

The European Commission has published: Proposal for a Council Implementing Decision on setting out a recommendation on addressing the deficiencies identified in the 2017 evaluation of Spain on the application of the Schengen acquis in the field of return (LIMITE, COM 2018/300, pdf)

Italy: Standoff in Italy as Salvini refuses to let in refugees after coastguard ship docks (Guardian, link): "Interior minister wants EU states to agree to take 177 refugees and migrants onboard."

Germany and Greece reach agreement to repatriate refugees (euractiv, link):

"Berlin has reached an agreement with Athens to send back refugees to Greece if they have already applied for asylum there. The move follows a similar agreement with Spain earlier this month while a deal with Italy is also soon to follow.

“The conclusion is imminent,” German Interior Ministry spokeswoman Eleonore Petermann said on Friday (17 August) in Berlin, pointing out that it only lacks an exchange of agreement letters between the two capitals for the deal to be formally signed.

She said she was not able to reveal any details before that.

She added Germany was negotiating a similar deal with the Italian government, qualifying the planned migration agreement between the two countries as “very advanced”."

Italy threatens to return migrants to Libya (DW, link): "The threat comes amid a standoff with Malta over the fate of 177 migrants rescued by Italy in Maltese waters. Returning migrants to an "unsafe" Libya could pose legal troubles for Rome."

Germany - Asylum granted legally in over 99 percent of cases, review finds (The, link):

"Despite high profile scandals in the past year, the number of refugees who have been unlawfully granted asylum is far lower than feared, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on Monday.

A review of 43,000 successful claims from the first half of 2018 found that asylum had been wrongfully granted in only 0.7 percent of cases, according to figures provided by the Interior Ministry.

The review led to just 307 successful claimants having their asylum status withdrawn, reported the Sueddeutsche Zeitung."

Are You Serious (17.8.18, link):

Feature: Asylum-seekers denied food in transit zones

"The Hungarian Helsinki Committee says that the Hungarian Immigration and Asylum Office refuses to provide food to people in “alien policing procedures” in the transit zones, with the aim of dissuading them from pursuing court appeals and to make them abandon their asylum applications by returning to Serbia.

The inadmissibility decisions are based on a new provision, according to which people are inadmissible if “the applicant arrived through a country where he/she was not exposed to persecution or to serious harm, or if an adequate level of protection was available in the country through which the applicant had arrived to Hungary”."

And see: Asylum-seekers with Inadmissible Claims are Denied Food in Transit Zones at Border (Hungarian Helsinki Committee, pdf)

Are You Syrious (16.8.18, link)

FEATURE: Praise and despair after Aquarius docs in Malta

"In the UNHCR press release from 15 August, when the Aquarius was finally granted permission to disembark 141 asylum seekers and migrants in Malta after more than five days at sea, High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi harshly criticised the delay in disembarkation:

“But the situation should never have come to this in the first place. It is wrong, dangerous and immoral to keep rescue ships wandering the Mediterranean while governments compete on who can take the least responsibility.”

We cannot agree more with Mr Grandi, but have to remind him of UNHCR responsibility, too.

The UNHCR press release appealed to shipmasters not to stop efforts towards rescues at sea, presumably in a bid to prevent the delays in providing a port of safety becoming a deterrent to those who wish to save lives at sea."

Migrant rescue ship arrives in Malta, ending standoff (euractiv, link):

"The Mediterranean rescue ship Aquarius arrived at Valletta harbour in Malta on Wednesday (15 August) to allow 141 migrants to get off, ending a five-day tug-of-war among EU countries which had seen the vessel banned from docking in several ports.

The ship, run by the Franco-German charity SOS Mediterranée and Doctors Without Borders (MSF), was allowed in after France, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain agreed on Tuesday to take in the migrants, who were rescued off the coast of Libya."

Spain to take in 60 of the 141 Aquarius migrants: PM Sanchez (The Local, link):

"Spain and Portugal on Tuesday offered to take in most of the 141 migrants on board the Aquarius after it was given permission to dock in Malta, resolving a new standoff over the rescue ship

Madrid said it would accept 60 people, while Portugal offered to welcome 30, with the remainder distributed between France, Germany and Luxembourg, government sources in Malta and Spain said."

Turkish Coast Guard Command: Irregular migration statistics (link): Shows that the recorded number of refugees was 10,583 in 2017 on comparable dates and 15,497 in 2018

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