14 October 2018
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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe
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"Unbearable, Hell, bad, dangerous - just a few of the words people use to describe the Moria refugee camp to us on the rare access we were given inside.
We visited the camp on the Greek island of Lesbos at what felt like a potential breaking point.
The thousands of refugees living there are traumatised, trapped and the hope they had when they arrived has been replaced with feelings of desolation.
The staff we spoke to in the overcapacity facility admitted to being overwhelmed and at a loss, but desperate for a solution."
The hotspots experiment: removing human rights from the equation (Refugee Support Aegean, link):
"The Greek hotspots have been transformed into areas where human rights are being systematically breached. It is extremely problematic that these breaches continue despite the fact that a number of international organizations supervise and contribute to the hotspot operations."
The contested Mediterranean (link)
"Private rescue organizations are put on the chain. In the middle of the standoff about the ship Aquarius Frontex starts the surveillance with drones and wants to give the coordinates of refugee boats to Libya."
European Commission releases data on Funds to Greece to deal with Migration (Keep Talking Greece, link):
"The European Commission has published a list of recipients of funds to Greece to deal with the migration crisis. An amount totaling 1.6 billion euros has been allocated to non-governmental organizations, international organizations and Greek authorities, even though only half of it has been disbursed."
Are You Syrious (11.10.18, link):
"Sea Watchs reconaissance aicraft Moonbird took off from a new operating base on Thursday to give evidence of Europes deadly border policy and to call for rescue where needed. The aircraft had been prevented from continuing search-and-rescue operations by the Maltese government for three months. The death rate in the central Mediterranean sea has never been as high, as the number of active rescue boats has plummeted."
Greece: Tents and Drones (Samos Chronicles, link)
"On Wednesday October 3rd 2018 over 200 refugees arrived on Samos.
On Thursday, a Palestinian friend living in one of the containers inside the camp was told he had to leave to make space for new arrivals who had more need for his place. Of course he asked where do I go. To the forest around the camp, he was told.
In what do I sleep?
A tent came the reply.What tent? You must go and buy one. On Friday we heard that the Chinese shops which sell small summer style tents had sold out. In the meantime ."
Germany extends border controls with Austria and Denmark (DW, link):
"Germany's Interior Ministry will extend migration controls at borders with Austria and Denmark for another six months. Denmark, Austria and France have also announced their intention to extend border controls."
EU: The European Border and Coast Guard: The Justice and Home Affairs Council is discussing: Policy debate: Doc no; 12768-18 (this is not a LIIMITE document, pdf) which includes proposals for:
"strengthening the cooperation with third countries by giving the agency a wider scope for action (not limiting it to neighbouring countries);
- supporting Member States on a technical and operational level with return operations; Agency staff can communicate directly with third countries." [emphasis added]
Some "concerns" have been expressed as to the mandate of the standing corps of 10,000 officers.
EU: Reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) is in a mess
- disagreement amongst Member States blocking adoption
The Austrian Presidency of the Council has produced a report on the state of play in the while trying to agree its negotiating position: From: Presidency To: Permanent Representatives Committee/Council (LIMITE doc no: 12420-18, pdf). There are no fewer than six previous versions.
Each of the seven measures are held up because a minority of delegations (Member States) in the Council are opposed to changes made or proposed unacceptable changes to the Council's original, agreed, negotiating position on which trilogue talks are based.
On its part the European Parliament - after many trilogue meetings - stands by the agreement reached in June on three measures: the Qualifications Directive, Reception Directive and the Resettlement Regulation.
Hungarys Orbán thanks Greek far-right Golden Dawn for its support (euractiv, link):
" Hungarys Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has formally thanked the Greek far-right Golden Dawn party for their support during last months vote on the activation of Article 7 against Hungary in the European Parliament. The move is likely to cause new frictions in the European Peoples Party, Orbáns political home in the EU."
Three female migrants found murdered near Greece-Turkey border - Area is known for illegal migrant crossings and police say they suspect foul play (Guardian, link):
"Two women and a girl believed to be migrants have been found dead with their throats slashed near Greeces north-eastern border with Turkey, Greek authorities said.
The victims appeared to be of North African, Middle Eastern or Asian origin, but their nationalities and identities were unknown, police said. An initial examination of the bodies suggested the three were killed about four days earlier, coroner Pavlos Pavlidis said on Wednesday.
It is clearly a criminal act, Pavlidis told Associated Press. They were found with their hands bound, each body about two or three metres away from the other. Their throats were cut right across."
Greek court orders inquiry into use of EU migrant funds(euobserver, link):
"Greek Supreme Court prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou on Monday ordered an investigation of how 570m of EU funds for migrant aid was spent after the sacked head of hotspot reception centres, Andreas Iliopoulos, indicated in a newspaper interview that EU funds for migration were being mismanaged. Iliopoulos was responsible for reception centres on Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos and in Evros, northern Greece. He was dismissed last week."
And see: Prosecutor launches probe into alleged mismanagement of EU Funds for refugees (Keep Talking Greece, link)
In Italys hospitality town, migrants fight to save mayor who gave them a new home (Guardian, link):
"Domenico Lucano revitalised his community by welcoming foreigners. He has been detained by the state and supporters fear a political motive."
EU: The next phase of the European Border and Coast Guard: towards operational effectiveness(EU Law Analysis, link):
" Two years after the establishment, in record time, of the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG), the Commissions new proposed Regulation opens the way for a standing corps of 10,000 border guards, with its own equipment and greater executive powers."
Salvini threatens to shut airports over migrant charter flights from Germany (euractiv, link):
"Italys far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini threatened Sunday (7 October) to shut the countrys airports after media reported that Germany planned to send charter flights of rejected asylum-seekers to Italy."
EU: Asylum: Austria and Denmark announce their "vision for a better protection system in a globalized world"
A paper published by the Austrian interior ministry and the Danish Ministry of Immigration and Integration declares that "migration and asylum policy will shape Europe's future", arguing that "many citizens have lost trust in their governments' ability to deal with the challenges of irregular migration" - trust which will only be restored by "an alternative, unifying vision".
Denmark still refusing to accept any quota refugees in 2018 (The Copenhagen Post, link):
"Denmark will not be accepting any quota refugees for 2018, according to the immigration and integration minister, Inger Støjberg.
The decision means Denmark hasnt accepted any quota refugees since 2015 and remains the only country to halt its intake of the so-called resettlement refugees.
Even though weve seen better control on the flow of refugees, we are still in a situation when we are fighting to integrate the many refugees who have arrived to Denmark in recent years, Støjberg said.
Despite more refugees finding work, there are still many who cant support themselves particularly among women. So Ive decided that Denmark wont be taking in any quota refugees in 2018."
Italian-flagged migrant rescue boat defies anti immigration minister (Guardian, link):
"Vessel Mare Jonio sets out towards Libya despite Matteo Salvini clampdown on rescued migrants entering Italian ports. (...)
The Italian flag on the 38-metre Mare Jonio will make it harder for Salvini to prevent it from docking, though he could still move to prevent people from disembarking. The boat has been bought and equipped by a coalition of leftwing politicians, anti-racist associations, intellectuals and figures in the arts, under the supervision of two NGOs. Its mission has been called Mediterranean."
Europe's migrant rescue boats face uncertain future (DW, link)
"The Aquarius has docked at the port of Marseille, carrying with it uncertainty about the future of migrant rescue missions. But even as the humanitarian vessel ends operations indefinitely, some see hope on the horizon. (...)
"It means the Aquarius is going to be in the port of Marseille for a certain period of time while we go through the administrative details of getting registration for the vessel to be able to head back out to sea," Nick Romaniuk, rescue coordinator for SOS Mediterranee, told DW."
A brutal life for migrants in Libya: trafficking, detention or death en route to Europe (pbs.org, link)
Greece: "We have found hell': trauma runs deep for children at dire Lesbos camp (Guardian, link):
"Violent and unsanitary conditions in Moria refugee settlement are exacerbating the horror of fleeing conflict for the 3,000 children who live there."
Hurriyet: Turkey sets up radars to monitor Aegean vessel traffic (ekathimerini.com, link):
"Turkey has set up eleven surveillance stations on the Aegean coast as part of the first phase of the Coast Surveillance Radar System (SGRS) Project which aims to "halt illegal activities" in the sea, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported on Wednesday.
The paper says, when the system testing has been completed, the radars and electro-optical sensors will monitor the sea around the clock."
Morocco's foreign minister rejects EU's migrant centers (DW, link):
"Morocco's foreign minister said his country should play a greater role in EU decisions on migration in a newspaper interview. Nasser Bourita said Morocco was opposed to the migrant centers that the EU has suggested."
EU: The shrinking space for solidarity with migrants and refugees: How the European Union and Member States target and criminalize defenders of the rights of people on the move (TNI, link):
"Europes refugee crisis triggered a wave of solidarity actions by both civil society organisations and ordinary citizens. Their efforts were part of a wave of compassion, as people organised convoys to refugee reception centers, warmly greeted arrivals at train stations and lined highways to provide food and water to those making the journey from Syria and elsewhere. Just a few years later those same activists are treated as criminals and humanitarian search and rescue missions are criminalised.
The current onslaught originated in the intensification of the EUs restrictive approach to immigration policy from late 2014 and the EUs treatment of Italy and Greece, front-line states on the EUs migration routes. Today in Europe, solidarity with migrants and refugees can lead to arrest, legal troubles, or harassment. The actions of national police, judiciaries, political powers and far-right militants have created and compounded hostility to solidarity with refugees and migrants.
This report looks at how EU policy has played out and offers a glimpse into the ways citizens and movements are resisting xenophobic and securitarian policies."
EU: On the fifth anniversary of the Lampedusa shipwreck that took 368 lives:Save the Aquarius, Save Lives - Joint NGO Letter (Human Rights Watch, link):
"Five years to the day after the Lampedusa tragedy in which at least 368 people died, rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea are more vital than ever. It is alarming that the last rescue ship in the Central Mediterranean may be forced to stop operating. We call on European leaders to ensure the Aquarius can continue to save lives at sea.
The decision by Panamanian authorities to strike the Aquarius, a nongovernmental rescue ship operated by SOS MEDITERRANEE and Médécins Sans Frontières (MSF), from its ships registry, apparently in response to pressure from the Italian government, is a reprehensible move. It will deny potentially life-saving assistance to vulnerable people at risk, including injured people, pregnant women, torture survivors, people traumatized by shipwrecks and unaccompanied minors.
This is just the latest in a series of moves to delegitimize and block nongovernmental groups performing vital search-and-rescue operations in the central Mediterranean. It risks forcing the last remaining NGO ship away from the deadliest stretch of water in the world, resulting in the end of nongovernmental rescue in the area, which for years, has courageously contributed to saving thousands of lives. All other NGOs are blocked in Italian or Maltese ports by legal actions or have been forced to suspend operations given unconscionable delays or refusals to disembark rescued persons in European ports."
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