Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15-21.10.19) including: Croatia’s Schengen Accession: Reinforcing Legal Red Lines Not Borders Reports on the situation in the Aegean, Lesvos and the Balkans A flimsy raft, more than 100 souls, and three teenage heroes - or are they pirates?

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EU: Croatia’s Schengen Accession: Reinforcing Legal Red Lines Not Borders (ECRE, link):

"A tussle is taking place in the Commission over the accession of Croatia to Schengen – membership of the Schengen zone through accession to the Schengen treaty. On one side, President Juncker; on the other, a handful of Member States, technical experts, and a mounting pile of evidence about violations at the border.

As is to be expected from the “political Commission”, it is a highly political issue. Rumours abound that Juncker has promised Croatian Prime Minister Plenkovic, an ally, that he will get it done before he’s done, and his public statements say as much.

But then there’s the situation at the borders. There is now widespread substantiated evidence of violence at Croatia’s borders, especially but not only at the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Evidence demonstrates breaches of international and EU law, including of the prohibition of refoulement under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the prohibition of collective expulsions under Article 4 Protocol 4 ECHR, of Articles 4 and 19 of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights."

Desperate African refugees pay to get into Libyan jails - UNHCR (Reuters, link):

"African refugees in Libya are so desperate that some are bribing their way into detention centres in the hope of eventually being resettled out of the war-torn, lawless country, the United Nations said on Thursday.

Forces loyal to eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive in April to try to wrest control of Tripoli from forces aligned with the internationally-recognised government, which is based in the capital."

MALTA: Migrants' detention beyond 10 weeks 'on health grounds' is unlawful - court (Times of Malta, link):

"The detention of migrants for more than 10 weeks on the basis of health laws was unlawful and the migrants should be released, a court has ruled.

The judgement was delivered following an application filed by six asylum seekers, detained at the Safi Barracks beyond the legal limit of ten weeks.

The migrants, assisted by lawyers from Aditus Foundation and the Jesuit Refugee Service, filed separate applications claiming that their continued detention was not merely a ‘restriction of movement’ in terms of laws on the prevention of disease, but was a deprivation of their personal freedom."

End the Killing - For a European Policy of Human Rights (, link):

"We call on the European Council and the EU governments to:

– End the EU–Turkey deal.

– End the partnership with Erdogan’s government, cease arms supplies and make use of all possible avenues to halt at once the war against Rojava in northern Syria.

– Immediately evacuate the migrant camps on the Greek islands, and allow their inhabitants freedom of movement in Europe and their reception by Solidarity Cities.

– Lay new political foundations for migration and asylum in Europe, with policies committed to protecting the human rights of refugees and migrants in Syria, the Mediterranean and in Europe itself."

76 rescued migrants brought to Malta, as Italy rescues 180 more (Times of Malta, link):

"More than 75 migrants stranded at sea were rescued by the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) on Tuesday and brought to shore.

The rescue came as an NGO accused Malta's AFM of ignoring a plea for help.

NGO Alarm Phone claimed in a tweet that it had informed the Maltese authorities on Monday night about the boat carrying around 75 migrants, but received no response.

The AFM later confirmed that it had rescued 76 people at sea but did not provide any further details."

Turkish Syria offensive raises Greek fears of new refugee influx - EU states divided over giving Turkey further funds to deter refugees from making crossing (Guardian, link):

"Turkey’s military push into Syria has sparked fears in Greece, already struggling with an alarming surge in the number of asylum seekers, of a new wave of migration to Europe.

With camps on Aegean islands at breaking point, Athens has insisted the topic should be discussed at this week’s EU summit. “Europe shouldn’t be caught unprepared again,” Giorgos Koumoutsakos, the Greek minister for migration policy, told local media. “Nobody can be certain what is going to happen.”"

GREECE: Report on Rights Violations & Resistance in Lesvos - October 2019 (Lesvos Legal Centre, link):

"For over three years we have been reporting on the systematic denial of rights to migrants in Lesvos, and each report includes a laundry list of violations that only seem to worsen over time. The containment policy - at first opposed by UN agencies, NGOs and civil society - has become all but the norm in Lesvos.

Since the start of the year, 45,500 people have migrated to Greece, with approximately 18,000 arriving by sea from Turkey in August and September alone. Currently, over 14,000 people trapped on Lesvos are living in inhumane living conditions as a result of the 2016 EU-Turkey Statement, and the legislated containment policy that stipulates that asylum seekers cannot leave the Greek islands."

GREECE: Fire in Samos Refugee Camp (Pressenza, link):

"Last night there was a fire on the island of Samos, a fire that ripped through the temporary homes of human beings living in ‘the jungle’, the overfill space relied upon to house men, women and children in a Reception and Identification Centre that can no longer cope with the numbers of refugees stuck on the island waiting for an asylum meeting.

Fires, in the RICs are no longer deemed to be news worthy; during the summer months they were occurring on a weekly basis, but like the fire on Lesvos only two weeks ago, this fire was different. The fire on Lesvos led to the death of two people and like last night’s fire on Samos is a symptom of the extreme overcrowding, which leads to frustrations and arguments but that can also lead to far worse."

And see: Samos mayor warns island at breaking point after migrant camp fire (ekathimerini, link):

"The mayor of East Samos has warned that a fire at its Vathy migrant reception and processing center earlier his week has brought the eastern Aegean island to breaking point as hundreds of people are having to sleep in the streets and public squares.

“The island has become destabilized,” Mayor Giorgos Stantzos told a morning talk show on Antenna TV on Thursday, days after a fire and a riot at the facility. “We are counting down for something bad to happen.”"

The Rescue - A flimsy raft, more than 100 souls, and three teenage heroes - or are they pirates? (The Atavist, link):

"Abdalla Bari was hungry. It was the morning of March 26, 2019, and Bari and more than 100 other people were floating in a 30-foot-long rubber dinghy in the Mediterranean Sea, somewhere in the expanse of water between North Africa and Italy. Men straddled the boat’s edge, each with one foot dangling above the water and the other inside the dinghy. They formed a tightly packed ring around a huddled mass of women and children. At least one of the women was noticeably pregnant. Another, Souwa Nikavogui, was Bari’s wife."

MotM EXCLUSIVE | Going Homeless In Gran Ghetto (Migrants of the Mediterranean, link):

"“Just say ‘ghetto’ and anyone will tell you what bus to take. Just say ‘ghetto.’”

Peter* (Sierra Leone) told me this again and again in the days leading up to my visit. Those are imprecise, if not outright dubious directions when you’re wondering how to meet someone in one of Italy’s most precarious places.

Peter is in a ghetto in Foggia, Italy after leaving Isernia, a small town in the Molise region where I first met him in spring of this year."

EU: Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM): Council of the European Union: Commission services: GAMM (LIMITE doc no: 11539-19,47 pages, pdf):

"This document provides an updated overview of the main external migration dialogues and processes implemented in the framework of the EU Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM). The document is compiled for the information of the EU High Level Working Group on Asylum and Migration by the responsible European Commission services, in association with the EEAS."

See previous: Update report - May 2019 (Statewatch News) and March 2019 (Statewatch News)

Border Violence Monitoring Network: Balkan Region – Report September 2019 (link):

"The Border Violence Monitoring Network has just published it’s September report analyzing collated testimony of pushbacks and police violence in the Western Balkans. The case material covers extensive violations along Croatia’s border with Bosnia-Herzegovina, chain refoulement from Slovenia, pushbacks from Hungary to Serbia, and incidents from the North Macedonian -Greek border."

Download report (link)

Aegean Boat Report: Week 41: Report (pdf):

"A total of 181 boats started their trip towards the Greek Islands, carrying a total of 5915 people. However, 125 boats were stopped by TCG/police, and 1776 people arrived on the Greek Islands.

So far this year 2316 boats have been stopped by The Turkish Coast Guard and Police, 75947 people. 40209 people have arrived on the Greek islands on 1222 boats, so far in 2019."

GREECE: Lesvos protesters said to prevent Spanish charity ship from docking ( link):

"Protesters on the island of Lesvos, in the eastern Aegean, have reportedly prevented the Open Arms – a humanitarian vessel operated by Spanish NGO Proactive – from docking at the northern harbor of Skala Sykamias, reports said.

The incident took place on Monday as a group of people, believed to be residents of Petra and Molyvos villages, reportedly threw stones at the vessel which currently remains anchored at around 200 meters from the coast."

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