Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10-21.1.19)


Including: - Libya: Nightmarish Detention for Migrants, Asylum Seekers - Germany deports record number of refugees to other EU states - 'About 170 migrants dead' in Mediterranean shipwrecks - EU: Council: Values of the Union - Hungary - Article 7 (1)

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Launch of New Atlas of Migration (EU Joint Research Centre, link):

"Launched on the occasion of International Migrants Day, a new Atlas from the Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography provides insights on migration for all EU Member States and 44 non-EU countries.

With graphs, charts and maps, the Atlas of Migration provides a snapshot of migration in 2017, providing a knowledge base for policy makers, stakeholders, businesses, researchers and the general public.

The publication presents the available data on a range of migration-related fields in a format that is both easy to access and to understand."

See: Atlas of Migration 2018 (JRC, link)

Libya: Nightmarish Detention for Migrants, Asylum Seekers (Human Rights Watch, link):

"(Brussels) – European Union policies contribute to a cycle of extreme abuse against migrants in Libya, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The EU and Italy’s support for the Libyan Coast Guard contributes significantly to the interception of migrants and asylum seekers and their subsequent detention in arbitrary, abusive detention in Libya.

The 70-page report, “‘No Escape from Hell’: EU Policies Contribute to Abuse of Migrants in Libya,” documents severe overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, malnutrition, and lack of adequate health care. Human Rights Watch found violent abuse by guards in four official detention centers in western Libya, including beatings and whippings. Human Rights Watch witnessed large numbers of children, including newborns, detained in grossly unsuitable conditions in three out of the four detention centers. Almost 20 percent of those who reached Europe by sea from Libya in 2018 were children."

Germany deports record number of refugees to other EU states (Deutsche Welle, link):

"In 2018, more refugees were transferred from Germany to other EU member states than ever before, according to an Interior Ministry report obtained by German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. The report was a response to a parliamentary inquiry by the Left Party.

Some 8,658 asylum-seekers who were required to leave Germany did so between January and the end of November 2018. The previous year, 7,102 were deported to other states.

As such, the proportion of completed transfers from Germany to other EU countries saw a rise from 15.1 percent in 2017 to 24.5 percent in 2018.

The deportations follow the EU's Dublin III rule, which states that the country where a refugee first entered Europe is responsible for handling his or her application."

'About 170 migrants dead' in Mediterranean shipwrecks (BBC News, link):

"About 170 people are feared to have died in two separate Mediterranean shipwrecks, the UNHCR says.

The Italian navy reports a ship sank off the coast of Libya with 117 people on board, while Moroccan and Spanish authorities have tried to find a lost boat in the western Mediterranean.

The UN's refugee agency could not independently verify the death tolls.

More than 2,200 people lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean in 2018."

And see: Merchant ship rescues migrants from sinking boat, NGO fears it would return them to Libya 'hell' (Times of Malta, link)

GREECE: Samos Island Notes January 2019 (Samos Chronicles, link):

"The past few weeks have seen Samos island drenched by days of winter rain storms. Most of the farmers are happy. Winter soaking keeps Samos a green island and is essential if the fruits, vegetables, olives and vines are going to flourish in the hot summers. But for thousands of refugees both in the camp and in their tents and shacks in the olive groves around the camp, it is nightmare time."

EU: Leaders Stoke Fear, Ignore Rights - Defense of Shared Values Vital to Curb Negative Trends (HRW, link):

"(Berlin) – Influential leaders in European Union states used migration to stoke fear, justify abusive policies, and block meaningful reform in 2018, even as arrivals at borders decreased, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2019. But during 2018, EU institutions, with backing from some EU states, demonstrated a greater commitment to address attacks on democratic institutions and the rule of law in Hungary and Poland.(...)

“We saw populist leaders in EU states stoking fear and jettisoning rights during 2018 with little regard for the consequences,” said Benjamin Ward, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Thankfully, we have some EU institutions and states willing to stand up to the populists’ dangerous disregard for Europe’s core values.”"

Amnesty Slams EU Policy as Migrant Boats Barred From Ports (, link):

"Human rights group Amnesty International has described as shameful the decision by several European states to block NGO migrant rescue ships from docking in their ports. The group says Europe's migrant policy is putting lives in danger, both at sea and in Libya, where most of the asylum seekers set out to try to reach Europe. Henry Ridgwell reports from London."

LIBYA: Rescued at sea, locked up, then sold to smugglers (The Irish Times, link):

"The Souq al Khamis detention centre in Khoms, Libya, is so close to the sea that migrants and refugees can hear waves crashing on the shore. Its detainees – hundreds of men, women and children – were among 15,000 people caught trying to cross the Mediterranean in flimsy boats in 2018, after attempting to reach Italy and the safety of Europe.

They’re now locked in rooms covered in graffiti, including warnings that refugees may be sold to smugglers by the guards that watch them.

This detention centre is run by the UN-backed Libyan government’s department for combatting illegal migration (DCIM). Events here over the last few weeks show how a hardening of European migration policy is leaving desperate refugees with little room to escape from networks ready to exploit them."

EU: Remarks by Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos on the solution found with regards to the disembarkation of NGO vessels and progress under the European Agenda on Migration (9 January 2019, pdf):

"With these events, it has become very clear again that all actors, including NGOs, have to respect the rules and act responsibly in order not to perpetuate the business model used by traffickers to exploit human misery.

In June, the European Council was unanimous on this point, underlining in particular that all vessels operating in the Mediterranean must respect the applicable laws.

Moreover, the European Union cannot continue to rely on unorganised, ad-hoc solutions when it comes to disembarkation."

EU: Council: Values of the Union - Hungary - Article 7 (1) (14022/18, 8 November 2018, pdf)

"Delegations will find in the Annex a Commission non-paper providing factual information on the values-related infringement proceedings in relation to Hungary."

Ongoing proceedings include: NGO law, Higher Education Law, Asylum, Relocation, New legislation criminalising activities in support of asylum and residence applications, Roma.

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