Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19-25.2.19)


- African Union seeks to kill EU plan to process migrants in Africa - Report on the consequences of security and migration policies at French-Italian border - Deal will see Spanish rescue ships return migrants to Morocco

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African Union seeks to kill EU plan to process migrants in Africa (The Guardian, link):

"The African Union is seeking to kill off the EU’s latest blueprint for stemming migration, claiming that it would breach international law by establishing “de facto detention centres” on African soil, trampling over the rights of those being held.

A “common African position paper” leaked to the Guardian reveals the determination of the 55-member state body, currently headed by Egypt, to dissuade any of its coastal states from cooperating with Brussels on the plan.

The EU set plans for “regional disembarkation platforms” in motion last summer to allow migrants found in European waters to have their asylum requests processed on African soil."

German Government confirms: Libyan authorities not contactable for maritime rescue (Andrej Hunko press release, pdf):

"The Federal Government confirms that there are “difficulties in the availability electronically and by telephone” of the Libyan ‘coastguard’. The same was also said to apply “regarding language barriers”. The EUNAVFOR MED military mission has initiated a “monitoring mecha-nism” to tackle problems such as these, with the aim of evaluating maritime rescue missions."

Persona non grata, Consequences of security and migration policies at the France-Italy border - Observation report 2017-2018 (Anafé, pdf):

"In 2017 and 2018, working with local, national, French and Italian partner non-profits and NGOs, Anafé has monitored the border and has collected testimonies in order to conemn the illegal practices of the French administration against foreigners arriving there.

From Menton to Ventimiglia, in the Roya Valley, from Briançon to the Col de Fréjus and Modane, via the Col de Montgenèvre and the Col de l´Échelle, the conclusions are the same: discriminatory controls, hasty procedures, human rights violations, endangered people, irregularities in entry denials, hindrances to the access to asylum, failure to look after unacompanied minors, irregular push backs, irregular detention, police chases, violence, injuries and deaths."

Building States’ Capacity to Manage Legal Identity – Focus on e-Passports, Public Key Infrastructure (IOM, link):

"In a world increasingly on the move, technology races to efficiently support the daily management of departures and arrivals of millions of individuals at airports, seaports and land borders. This is a global challenge: facilitate national and international travels while optimizing security checks to adequately address border management risks.

In order to mitigate some of these risks, it is strongly recommended that travelers use biometric travel documents, such as e-passports and electronic identity cards, to properly verify their identity when needed, and obviously at a border.(...)

Greece races to move refugees from island likened to a 'new Lesbos' - Migration minister warns camp on Samos where hundreds of children live in squalor is six times over capacity (Guardian, link):

"Greek authorities are scrambling to house almost 4,000 people crammed into an overflowing migrant camp in Samos, as aid groups warn of a “humanitarian disaster” on one of Europe’s forgotten frontlines.

Likening Samos to a “new Lesbos,” the country’s migration minister warned of a race against the clock to find suitable accommodation for the ever growing number of people trapped in a reception centre now six times over capacity."

Spain and Morocco reach deal to curb irregular migration flows (El Pais, link):

"Sea rescue services will be able to return some migrants to Moroccan ports instead of taking them to Spanish ones.

Spain and Morocco have reached an agreement on an unprecedented strategy to contain irregular immigration. Under the deal, Spain’s sea rescue services, Salvamento Marítimo, will be allowed to take some of the rescued migrants back to Moroccan ports, according to three sources in the Spanish government.

The measure will apply to migrants found in missions where Spanish rescue services are assisting the Moroccan Coast Guard in their maritime area of responsibility, and when the nearest port is in Morocco."

EU: Council negotiating position on new Frontex Regulation

The Council of the EU last week agreed its mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on the new Frontex Regulation, which will further increase the powers and role of the border agency. Statewatch is making the Council's mandate (document 6357/19, LIMITE, pdf) publicly available.

Turkey might allow Syrian refugees to go to Europe - newspaper (Ahval, link):

"The Turkish government is considering opening its borders to allow Syrian refugees to travel to Europe as the European Union opposes Ankara’s plan to establish what it calls a safe zone in northeastern Syria, pro-government daily Yeni Safak said on Friday.

The United States and the European Union are sabotaging Turkey’s plans to establish a safe zone to the east of the River Euphrates as a way to help four million Syrians in Turkey return to their homeland, Yeni Safak said.

In response, Turkey is considering abandoning a 2016 refugee deal between Turkey and the EU, it said, on the grounds that the EU has failed to fulfil the terms of the agreement."

The ECtHR as a drowning ‘Island of Hope’?’ Its impending reversal of the interpretation of collective expulsion is a warning signal (Verfassungsblog, link):

"The outcome of the currently pending case ND and NT v. Spain before the Grand Chamber may determine the future course of the Court in other migration policy related cases. This particular case deals with Spain’s policy of ‘devoluciones en caliente’ or ‘hot returns’ in Melilla. These are immediate returns of foreign citizens who have been intercepted at the Spanish-Moroccan border area without even assessing these individuals’ identity. The public hearing before the Grand Chamber took place last fall and the pronouncement of the judgment is expected soon. The judgment could be yet another setback for the interpretation of the prohibition of collective expulsion, for push-back policies and, more broadly, for the minimum level of protection for migrants and refugees by the European Convention on Human Rights and its additional protocols. Thus, the ruling might be a further step in a development to cut minimum guarantees for migrants and asylum seekers – a development encouraged by pressure from certain governments."

GREECE: Council of Europe slams Greece over refugee camp conditions

"Horrific sanitary conditions, lack of food, and police beatings: just some of the conditions migrants in Greek camps are subjected to, according to a new report. The situation for children is particularly precarious."

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