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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30-31.7.16)

Turkey-Greece: More Than 33,000 Apprehensions In Turkey (News That Moves, link):

"Since January until July 21, 33,396 people were apprehended or intercepted while trying to cross from Turkey to Greece.

According to data from the Turkish Coast Guard, Turkish Armed Forces and UNHCR, 79 per cent of interceptions and rescues occurred at sea, 21 per cent on land borders. Of the total, 68 per cent of people intercepted were Syrians and 20 per cent were from Afghanistan"

See: UNHCR report on interceptions and death/missing (pdf)

Lesvos, Greece (UNHCR) Arrival of refugees in last week:

22/07/2016: 108
23/07/2016:  114
24/07/2016:    51
25/07/2016:    60
26/07/2016:    43
27/07/2016:    35
28/07/2016:  104

And see: Islands appeal for measures to deal with influx of migrants (ekathimerini.com, link):

"As the influx of migrants from neighboring Turkey continues – with a slight but noticable increase – regional authorities and tourism professionals are calling for measures to support communities on the Aegean islands.

Over the past two weeks, following a failed coup in Turkey on July 15, the influx of migrants has increased, according to government figures. Overall, more than 1,000 migrants landed on the five so-called hot spots: Lesvos, Chios, Kos, Samos and Leros since the failed coup....

In a letter to Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas and Alternate Defense Minister Dimitris Vitsas, the governor of the northern Aegean region, Christiana Kalogirou, asked for immediate steps to decongest the islands.

“We are seeing a constant and apparently increasing flow of migrants and refugees toward the islands of the northern Aegean,” she wrote, noting that the maximum capacity of state reception centers has been exceeded on all the islands.""

Also: Refugee flows to Greece increase after Turkish Coup attempt, as Erdogan plays the Migration Card again (Keep Talking Greece, link)

Greece: Over 13,000 migrants have applied for asylum (ekathimerini.com, link):

"More than 13,000 migrants have lodged applications for asylum in Greece since the beginning of this year, according to government figures, but it could take months for the requests to be processed even as the Aegean islands are seeing hundreds of new arrivals every week.

According to the most updated available government figures, 13,583 migrants made asylum applications between January 1 and May 31.

Of those, 5,731 lodged their applications in Attica, 3,007 in Thessaloniki, 1,918 on Lesvos, 526 on Samos, 210 on Chios and 130 on Leros.

A total of 7,032 of the asylum applicants are from Syria, 1,248 from Iraq, 1,030 from Pakistan, 568 from Afghanistan, 544 from Albania, 518 from Iran, 372 from Bangladesh, 257 from Georgia, 212 from Morocco and 163 from the Palestinian Territories.

So far, just 588 decisions have been issued, 410 of which have been rejections."

Greece: The dangers of reporting on the refugee crisis: Mapping Media Freedom correspondent Christina Vasilaki looks at the treatment of journalists covering the refugee crisis in Greece (Index, link)

"As Greece tries to deal with around 50,000 stranded refugees on its soil after Austria and the western Balkan countries closed their borders, attention has turned to the living conditions inside the refugee camps. Throughout the crisis, the Greek and international press has faced major difficulties in covering the crisis.

“It’s clear that the government does not want the press to be present when a policeman assaults migrants,” Marios Lolos, press photographer and head of the Union of Press Photographers of Greece said in an interview with Index on Censorship. “When the police are forced to suppress a revolt of the migrants, they don’t want us to be there and take pictures.”"

Are You Syrious (29.7.16, link)

Italy: Flow of refugees into Italy remains constant, according to the UNHCR weekly report

"Between 18 and 24 July, 8,157 refugees and migrants arrived in Italy by sea which is a significant increase to the previous week’s arrivals of 2,148. However, overall sea arrivals to Italy remain consistent with those of 2015. As of 24 July, 88,009 persons arrived by sea to Italy in 2016, compared to 93,540 persons whom disembarked at the end of July 2015. On three separate disembarkations this week the bodies of 39 individuals were discovered, bringing the total number of people dead or missing at sea to 2,990. Their cause of death is believed to be from inhaling engine exhaust fumes or suffocation. The top nationalities of origin among arrivals include Nigeria, Eritrea, Gambia, Cote D’Ivoire, and Sudan."

Are You Syrious (30.7.16, link)

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention called for the closure of reception centers for refugees across Greece. Place refugees into local communities instead!

"This plea followed the organisation’s officials carrying out inspections on 16 centers in northern Greece and findingthe conditions there to pose a public health risk.

According to KEELPNO’s findings, which were forwarded to the ministries of Migration Policy, Defense and Health, the cramming of hundreds of refugees into disused military barracks and industrial sites present a series of health risks for both the migrants and the general public."

A refugee baby, Joy Aurora, born on a rescue ship

"This morning, a Congolese woman gave birth to a little girl Joy Aurora on Italian navy ship Bettica. Both mother and child are fine.

The health team on board supported the operation, from Foundation Francesca Rava, Red Cross and the Italian navy. This is the third birth on board of Bettica."

EU: Council of the European Union: Eurodac Regulation (revised text)

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of 'Eurodac' for the comparison of fingerprints for the effective application of [Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or a stateless person] , for identifying an illegally staying third-country national or stateless person and on requests for the comparison with Eurodac data by Member States' law enforcement authorities and Europol for law enforcement purposes (recast) (LIMITE doc no: 10531-16, 112 pges, pdf)

Council developing its negotiating position:

"The text of the proposal in Annex contains modifications suggested by the Presidency on the basis of these discussions. Other comments made by delegations appear in the footnotes.

All delegations have general scrutiny reservations on the proposal. New text to the Commission proposal is indicated by underlining the insertion and including it within Council tags, deleted text is indicated within underlined square brackets..".

See also: Compulsory fingerprinting of migrants (Statewatch database, link)

News (30-31.7.16)

Spain: Barcelona unveils digital 'shame counter’ to track refugee deaths - Mayor Ada Colau begins counter with 3,034 – the number of migrants and refugees killed trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in 2016 (Guardian, link): "Barcelona’s leftwing government has unveiled a large digital counter next to one of the city’s popular beaches that will track the number of refugees who die in the Mediterranean.“We are inaugurating this shame counter which will update all known victims who drowned in the Mediterranean in real time,” said mayor Ada Colau... The monument consists of a large metal rectangular pillar that comes decked out with a digital counter above the inscription “This isn’t just a number, these are people.”"

Refugees scapegoated after wave of attacks in Germany (Daily Sabah, link): "Since the influx of refugees in Germany, the country's atmosphere has been tense. The call by Chancellor Angela Merkel of "We can do this!" raised a bit of hope, but didn't quite stop the rise of extreme right wing parties, such as the Alternative for Germany (AfD)."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (29.7.16)

EU: Over 3,000 migrants dead or missing in 2016


The latest figures from the IOM show that 3,034 migrants have died or gone missing trying to reach Europe in 2016. The organisation has recorded 251,557 arrivals by sea this year so far. May was the deadliest month so far, with 1,138 people dying.

See: IOM: Mediterranean Update: Migration Flows Europe: Arrivals and Fatalities (29 July 2016, pdf)

EU: Policy cycle on serious and organised crime: "illegal immigration" report and other documentation

The EU's policy cycle on serious and organised crime is supposed to coordinate the actions of Europol and Member States' law enforcement priorities in order to deal with a series of cross-border "threats", identified by Europol and subsequently approved by the Council of the EU. Amongst the current priorities is "facilitated illegal immigration". A leaked Europol report gives an overview of work undertaken during 2016.

Turkish coup ‘increases’ migration flows to Greece (EurActiv, link): "Since the failed 15 July coup attempt, increased numbers of new arrivals have been recorded from across the Aegean Sea in the last ten days, according to Greek coastguard sources.

“It seems that the routes have re-opened, so the chasing game has started again,” sources said.

The island of Lesvos is currently hosting 3,495 migrants and refugees, Chios 2,509, and Samos 1,030.

Reports in Athens suggest that it is the first time since the EU-Turkey migrant deal that the number of refugees has exceeded 7,000 in the North Aegean Sea alone."

HUNGARY: Referendum on refugee relocation quotas: The quota system – what it actually is about? What Migszol thinks about the plans of the European Union (Migszol, link): "On the 2nd of October, 2016, the Hungarian people will be asked to vote on the following question: Do you want to allow the European Union to mandate the resettlement of non-Hungarian citizens to Hungary without the approval of the Parliament?

There is much to be said about the way the question is formulated, the bias it includes and the way in which it pre-empts the answer favoured by the government. Yet, we should not forget what lies beneath the workings of rhetoric and deception: What is the relocation scheme of the European Union actually about?"

See also: Hungary’s Orban says “every single migrant is a terror risk” (New Europe, link): "Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban said “every single migrant represents a public security and terror risk” and made clear his country refuses to accept the quota system that the EU Commission tries to impose."

And: Refugee relocation scheme "has clearly failed", says Italy's immigration chief (Statewatch News Online)

Turkey recalls officials from Greek islands (ekathimerini, link): "Turkish officials stationed on Greek islands overlooking the implementation of a migrant relocation deal between the European Union and Turkey were ordered to return to Turkey a week ago, sources said.

According to the sources, Turkish authorities informed their Greek counterparts that the officials were being recalled from eastern Aegean islands because their passports had expired, but that they were expected to return or be replaced."

GERMANY: Angela Merkel Sticks With Her Plan to Integrate Migrants (New York Times, link): "Chancellor Angela Merkel doubled down on Thursday on her pledge that Germany would achieve what she called the “historic” task of integrating hundreds of thousands of migrants, while defending freedom and democracy against the hate sown by terrorists.

“Today, as in the past, I am convinced that we can do it — to live up to our historic task, which is a historic test in the age of globalization,” she said, in an attempt to reassure the nation after three recent violent attacks, two of them linked to the Islamic State. “We can do this.”""

UK: People smugglers caught in sinking dinghy jailed for more than four years each (The Telegraph, link): "Two British people smugglers who were caught in a sinking dinghy off the Kent coast with 18 illegal immigrants have received lengthy prison sentences.

Mark Stribling, 35, and Robert Stilwell, 33, a former Judo champion from Dartford pleaded guilty to conspiring to assist unlawful immigration following their bungled smuggling operation in which they had to be rescued by lifeboat crews."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28.7.16)

Greece: Refugee flows remain a concern (ekathimerini.com, link):


"As the last of the refugees and migrants stranded at the port of Piraeus were bused on Wednesday to organized accommodation shelters of their choice around the country, authorities are reportedly concerned by the continued flow of asylum seekers to the islands.

According to the latest official data, there were 9,140 refugees and migrants on the islands of the eastern Aegean on Wednesday, while 100 more arrived throughout the day. This is a significant increase compared to the 8,475 on July 13, when arrivals began to pick up again at a daily rate of between 40 and 120 people.

The situation has been further compounded by the failed coup attempt in Turkey and its aftermath, which, authorities say, has practically “frozen” the return of refugees to the neighboring country."

Greece: Police Raids Refugee Squats in Thessaloniki, Greece (The Press Project, link):

"Early on Wednesday morning, police forces raided three occupied buildings in Thessaloniki, in Northern Greece, where refugees were hosted thanks to solidarity groups and citizens. Police is moving refugees to state camps while Greek nationals from squats face arrest..."

See also: SYRIZA vs SYRIZA: Ruling Party against Government for refugees’ evacuation from occupied buildings (News THat Moves, link):

"Greece’s ruling party SYRIZA condemned a decision of the SYRIZA-Indepenten Greeks government to have police raid and evacuate three buildings in Thessaloniki, northern Greece. The buildings were occupied by anti-authoritarians and members of Solidarity movement who had settled refugees and migrants there.

“Criminalizing solidarity projects is a method that has nothing to do with the principles and values of the Left. We are against the evacuation,” the press office of SYRIZA party said in a statement. "

Are You Syrious (link)

Bulgaria and Greece joining forces in fear of potential migration pressure

"Bulgaria and Greece have agreed to hold a joint exercise of their Special Forces at the common border „to demonstrate unity and strength in the face of a potential surge in migration pressure“, Bulgarian Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev has said."

The top 10 refugee-hosting countries may surprise you

"Misconceptions about the refugee crisis (and especially the position of the EU countries in welcoming those fleeing war and persecution) are many and, whether they come from lack of information, fear or other reasons, it is necessary to avoid drawing coclusions without the entire picture in mind. Check out the current official UNHCR infographics."

News (28.7.16)

Populism, racism and xenophobia have infected Europe (euractiv, link): "We have been infected. The virus of populism, racism, xenophobia has affected Europe. This virus in Europe is named Le Pen in France, Farage in Great Britain, Orban in Hungary, 5 Star Movement in Italy, Kaczynski in Poland, writes Gianni Pittella."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (27.7.16)

Dispatches: Italy Illegally Returning Migrant Children to Greece - Children Held Arbitrarily in Degrading Conditions (HRW, link):


"“Akram,” a 17-year-old Kurdish boy from Iraq, hid under a truck on the ferry from Greece to Italy for 18 hours without food or water. When he arrived in Italy, the police locked him in a small room on the ferry and sent him right back to Greece.

“I showed my passport and that I’m under 18 but the Italian police told me to ‘go back, go back.’”

This unlawful practice is not new. In 2013, Human Rights Watch documented the failure of Italian border police to screen adequately for people in need of protection, including unaccompanied children, who stow away on ferries from Greece to Italy’s Adriatic ports. Placed in the custody of the captains of commercial ferries for the return journey to Greece, adults and children were sometimes subjected to abusive confinement and treatment. Back in Greece, unaccompanied children faced police abuse, degrading detention conditions, and xenophobic violence."

More than 57,000 migrants, refugees stranded in Greece (ekathimerini.com, link):

"A total of 57,182 migrants and asylum-seekers are currently in Greece according to fresh data provided by the government.

According to the data, 22,692 individuals are currently in northern Greece, 2,279 in central Greece, and 251 in southern Greece. An estimated 9,140 people are scattered around the eastern Aegean islands. The government said a total 85 arrivals were recorded in the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, up to 10,168 refugees are currently staying at official centres set up in Attica region, while the number of those camping out at makeshift facilities is 5,423.

On Tuesday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) called for the closure of reception centers for migrants across the country after its officials carried out inspections on 16 centers in northern Greece and found the conditions there to pose a public health risk.

Orbán says migration is Europe’s ‘poison’ (euractiv, link):

"Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Tuesday (26 July) described the arrival of asylum seekers in Europe as “a poison”, saying his country did not want or need “a single migrant”.

“Hungary does not need a single migrant for the economy to work, or the population to sustain itself, or for the country to have a future,” he told a joint press conference in Budapest with Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern.

“This is why there is no need for a common European migration policy: whoever needs migrants can take them, but don’t force them on us, we don’t need them,” Orbán said. The populist strongman added that “every single migrant poses a public security and terror risk”."

Greece: Lesvos: Eric Kempson (Twitter) reports: (27.7.16): "One boat picked up on north Lesvos this morning 26 men 4 women 2 children. 1 needed medical assistance."

Are You Syriuous reports (26.7.16):

60 persons, mostly families, arrived by rubber boats two nights ago on Kos.

"Now there are about 800 persons seeking refuge at the small island."

Report from our friends at Action from Switzerland

"37 new arrivals on Chios, as is usual these days the mix of groups and nationalities was Libyan, Syrian, Moroccan, Algerian, and Western Saharan."

SERBIA: Detailed video reveals true conditions of Horgoš transit zoneat Serbian-Hungarian border

"Courtesy of noborder activists in Belgrade, we understand that the hunger strikers at Horgoš who arrived recently now number around 300. Twelve are in need of medical aid due to the toll taken on their bodies after the grueling march, and striking in the summer heat. Twenty-six more have set off from Belgrade to join their compatriots in Horgoš."

AUSTRIA: Court-certified interpreter reveals the complete lack of oversight and responsibility in providing adequate interpreters to refugees

"Read the following distressing news from a court-certified interpreter on the irresponsible behavior that is present not only in Austria, but across the route. This report was written by Border Crossing Spielfeld."

According to data released by UNHCR, 70% of those participating in pre-registration exercises in Greece in the last month were women and children

"22% were women and a staggering 48% children. 690 of the total number were unaccompanied minors. Reports across Europe thoroughly demonstrate how unaccompanied minors are specific targets of exploitation and abuse. It is crucial to treat these cases with care and to also take great precautions to preserve family groups and not inadvertently separate families."

News (27.7.16)

Turkish coup suspects in Greece win asylum case delay (hurriyetdailynews.com, link): "Eight Turkish military officers who fled the July 15 failed coup attempt in Turkey by traveling to Greece have been given more time to press their asylum claim, their lawyer said on July 27. Lawyer Vassilis Terzidis told Agence France-Presse that the men “fear for their lives” if they were to be returned to Turkey, where authorities have been waging a massive crackdown against suspects in the July 15 military coup bid."

Pay up on migrant deal, Turkey tells EU (euobserver, link): "Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told the EU to pay its dues if it wants to keep a migrant deal with Ankara intact. Speaking to German ARD television on Monday (25 July), Erdogan said the EU had promised €3 billion in aid to help improve living conditions of the some 3 million Syrian refugee it hosts. “Ask them [the EU]. Did you pay? But Turkey still hosts 3 million people. What would Europe do if we let these people go to Europe?”, he said."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.7.16)

Greece: GISTI report on Greek hotspots in Lesbos and Chios after the EU/Turkey deal


"On 25 July 2016, GISTI published a report on its fact-finding mission to the hotspots set up on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios and on the effects the EU/Turkey deal, entitled "Accord UE-Turquie: la grande imposture. Rapport de mission dans les hotspots grecs de Lesbos et Chios, juillet 2016....

The facts speak for themselves: in order to put an end to the serious violations of the rights of migrants detained in the Greek "hotspots" under threat of an expulsion to Turkey, it is indispensable for the EU and its member states to, at the very least:

Give up on the idea of implementing the 18 March 2016 Statement;

Conduct an in-depth review of the system for allocating responsibility to an EU member state (the "Dublin III" regulation) to evaluate an asylum application in order for the asylum application to be examined in the applicant's country of choice."

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Greece (link):

"Strasbourg, 26.07.2016 - A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out an ad hoc visit to Greece from 19 to 25 July 2016.

One of the primary purposes of the visit was to examine the situation in the “Reception and Identification Centres” (so-called “hotspots”) on the islands of Chios, Lesvos and Samos and to evaluate any developments since the Committee’s April 2016 visit. The delegation also visited a number of police stations and holding facilities for irregular migrants in Athens, Thessaloniki and on the Aegean islands. A further focus of the visit was to look into the treatment of criminal suspects held in police custody and the safeguards afforded to them."

EU: UK House of Lords, European Union Committee: Children in crisis: unaccompanied migrant children in the EU (94 pages, pdf):

"The current refugee crisis is the greatest humanitarian challenge to have faced the European Union since its foundation. Although the outcome of the referendum on 23 June 2016 was that the UK should leave the EU, the UK remains a full member of the EU, with all the responsibilities that entails, until the final withdrawal agreement is ratified. It is vital, both on moral grounds and in order to help maintain good relations with the other 27 Member States, that the UK Government should participate fully in EU action to resolve this humanitarian crisis.

It has become increasingly clear that children, many of them unaccompanied by a parent, relative or guardian, are in the forefront of the crisis. In 2015 88,245 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in the EU, including 3,045 in the UK. In May 2016 alone, 3,133 unaccompanied migrant children arrived in Italy. Many children do not even reach the EU’s shores: at least 137 children have drowned in the Mediterranean since the start of 2016."

See: Migrant children are being failed by UK, says Lords committee report - Government accused of dismissing its responsibility to care for unaccompanied minors as ‘somebody else’s problem’ (Guardian, link)

Passeurs d'hospitalités – English ~ Exiles in Calais and at the British border: Destruction of the northern part of the shantytown: statement of the Defender of Rights (link):

"While early July the pressure for the destruction of the northern part of Calais shantytown was increasing, the mayor of Calais had been to announce the imminence of it (and it is probably for respond to these pressures that the police operation against the restaurants and shops of the slum is conducted – see here, here, here and here), the Defender of Rights issued a statement reminding the conditions so that this destruction can be respectful of human rights. It also stresses the precariousness in which the risk of expulsion maintains people, and that previous destructions have only worsened their living conditions."

GREECE: Volunteers and Refugees on Samos (link):

"On Samos at least, the term ‘volunteer’ now has a specific meaning referring to those from outside the island who sign up to work with an NGO called Samos Volunteers. The term volunteer for example does not include the many local people who over the past 12 months did so much to support and sustain the thousands of refugees who landed here. Nor does it include the refugee activists who come to work on Samos but refuse to be bound by the rules and regulations of the authorities....

We all need to remember that we are not the story. We can never hope to get near to the experiences of the refugees but we can at least try and stand in their shoes and make that the starting point of our activity. It will not be enough but it might mean we can help in ways which shames and highlights the system’s inhumanity to our fellow human beings as well as demonstrating our solidarity and providing something however small which makes refugees stronger and not weaker."

News (26.7.16)

Libya: 87 refugee bodies wash up on beach (aljazeera.com, link): "Bodies began washing up on the city's beach west of Tripoli on Friday, but more have since been found, official says."

Report from Lesvos:Eric Kempson: 26.7.16: "A boat of 30 people landed in skala north coast Lesvos every one ok." and Coast Guard rescues 61 migrants off Kos (.ekathimerini.com, link): "A Coast Guard vessel was dispatched early in the morning after a smuggling boat was seen to be foundering a short distance from the shore. The vessel was found to have sprung a leak and was letting on water."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (25.7.16)

Balkan Route: migrants march to Serbia-Hungary border


"Hundreds of refugees and migrants have set off marching from the Serbian capital to the Hungarian border in protest against closed borders and European Union restrictions on entry.

A group of several dozen refugees and migrants first arrived on Sunday in northern Serbia's Subotica, a town situated around 10km from the Hungarian border, after taking a train part of the way from Belgrade."

EU: Policing the internet: 91% of Europol's 11,000 requests for content removal succesful

"Since its launch one year ago, Europol’s European Union Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) has assessed and processed for the purpose of referral towards concerned internet service providers over 11 000 messages across some 31 online platforms in 8 languages. The content had been put out by criminals to spread violent extremist online content materials.

91.4% of the total content has been successfully removed from the platforms by the social media and online service providers.

Additionally, EU IRU has expanded its open-source and internet monitoring activities in order to contribute to the disruption of illegal migrant smuggling networks. Content advertising smuggling services for migrants and refugees was referred for the purpose of removal." [emphasis added]

EU: Council pushes for big increases in EU migration and security budgets

With the Council and the Parliament moving towards negotiations on the EU's budget for 2017, the Council has agreed its position and is calling for "€5.2 billion in commitments for specific migration-related expenditure" and increases of millions of euros in both commitments and payments from the Internal Security Fund.

EU: Austria, Hungary and Europol dismantle migrant smuggling ring (Europol press release, pdf): "Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC) has supported the Austrian and Hungarian authorities to detect and dismantle an Austrian-based organised crime group involved in migrant smuggling.

On 21 July 2016, Europol deployed a Mobile Analysis Support Team to Austria and Hungary to support the local authorities in organising a joint action day against the network. Law enforcement officers arrested 7 individuals in Austria and one in Hungary.

The group was composed of 25 Russian nationals of Chechen origin residing in Austria. The Austrian-based key facilitator was recruiting drivers in Austria and deploying them to Hungary. He was in permanent contact with the recruiters who had been tasked to recruit migrants in refugee camps in Hungary."

News (25.7.16)

SPAIN: Algeciras abre la puerta a un nuevo CIE mientras las grandes ciudades plantean su cierre general [Algerciras opens the door to a new immigration detection centre as Spain's big cities plan for their general closure] (El Diario, link):

Following a local council vote in which only representatives of the Partido Popular voted in favour, Algeciras will use some 10,000 square metres of land ceded to the town by the Ministry of Interior to construct a new immigration detention centre (CIE, Centro de Internamiento de Extranjeros). The new centre will be located next to a prison, which campaigners have said will add to the stigmatisation suffered by people held in the CIE. The move to open a new centre comes as the administrations of cities such as Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia have shown their support for the closure of CIEs within their jurisdiction, although the power to do so remains with the Minstry of Interior.

GERMANY: Ansbach blast: Syrian asylum seeker kills himself and injures 12 in Germany (The Guardian, link): "A Syrian man has killed himself and injured 12 others after setting off an explosive device outside a music festival in the German town of Ansbach.

Authorities said the 27-year-old had been denied asylum a year ago and had a history of making attempts on his own life. Three of those injured are in a serious condition.

It is believed a device he was carrying exploded although it is not clear whether it was a suicide bombing or whether the man intended to plant it and harm others."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23-24.7.16)

Council of the European Union: New EU "returns" document & Turkey visa "benchmarks"


- EU Returns document: Draft Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on a European travel document for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals (first reading) - Confirmation of the final compromise text with a view to agreement (LIMITE doc no: 10638-16, pdf)

This draft Regulation replaces the Maastricht era Council Recommendation of 30 November 1994. The Council reached its negotiating position on 23 May 2016 and the European Parliament did the same on 30 May. At the trilogue meeting on 23 June a "compromise" text was agreed. The parliament will formally adopt the measure at its plenary session of 12-15 September.

The document will be valid for a single journey to the country of origin or transit for refugees and migrants who have been found to be "illegally staying" in the EU and is "essential for increasing rates of return, which are unsatisfactory."

The Regulation states that the 1994 Recommendation is not widely accepted by authorities of third countries, for reasons including its inadequate security standards - the unstated primary reason is that third countries do not accept the idea of the return by the EU of maybe thousands of its people who fled the country or who have transited through it - and there is an understandable fear that most refugees do not want to be returned to the country they have fled from. It does not apply to the UK or Ireland.

- TURKEY: Visa Working Party/Mixed Committee (EU/Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, Liechtenstein): Summary of discussions: (LIMITE doc no: 11065-16. pdf)

Minutes from a meeting held on 14 June 2016. For visa waivers with Turkey to be agreed:

"COM confirmed that there are still seven benchmarks to be fulfilled, and gave a brief update on the ongoing discussions. This file would be followed up at the next meeting, depending on the progress achieved." [emphasis added]

No doubt there will be a few more after the Turkish government's reaction to the coup.

Lesvos, Greece: Numbers arriving start to rise: In the last week UNHCR reports that in the last week (17-23 July) a total of 390 refugees arrived on the island.

Average daily arrivals during July 2016: 36 and Average daily arrivals during June 2016: 16.

Early Sunday morning (24.7.16): Eric Kempson (link) reports: "2 boats one north east of Lesvos one in the south, 46 people in total every one OK."

Are You Syrious (link):

Refugee protest march from Belgrade to Hungary

"About 300 people took part in protest in Belgrade, while some of them started marching toward Hungary asking for border to be open. While the Europe is not ready to admit that the deal with Turkey was never really alive, more and more people are arriving to the continent every day, risking their lives and hoping to be safe. New route is created at the north of Italy."

100 new arrivals to Greece

"Two boats with approximately 100 people were intercepted today (22.7.16) in the south of Lesvos by Frontex and brought into Mytilene harbour."

Serbia / Hungary: Serious harm on the physical and mental health of refugees

"In their latest report, MSF warns that restrictive policies at the Serbia/Hungarian border having a serious impact on the physical and mental health of already vulnerable refugee communities

MSF teams at the ex so called Balkan route have seen an increase in the level of violence against migrants since the route was “closed”."

UNHCR Weekly Report: Euro/pe (20.7.16):

Trends of Sea Arrivals

"Between 11 and 17 July, 453 refugees and migrants crossed the sea to Greece, a slight increase from the 258 that crossed the previous week. Thus far in 2016, 158,937 have arrived to Greece by sea, contributing to a total of 241,263 arrivals that crossed the Mediterranean.The primary landing places of sea arrivals in Greece continues to be on the islands of Lesvos, Samos and Chios. However, during this reporting period there were spontaneous arrivals to Kos and Leros as well. Until 14 July, the countries of origin of those who arrived in Greece are mainly from the Syrian Arab Republic (48%), Afghanistan (25%) and Iraq (15%).

During the same period in Italy, 2,143 refugees and migrants reached the country by sea, which is a decrease in arrivals from the 6,437 who arrived the previous week. As of 17 July, 79,851 persons arrived by sea in Italy in 2016, compared to 93,540 persons whom disembarked at the end of July 2015. Overall, sea arrivals in 2016 are in line with 2014 and 2015 trends. The top nationalities of origin among arrivals include, Nigeria, Eritrea, Gambia, and Sudan."

Situation in Greece

"The pre-registration exercise conducted by the Greek Asylum Service, with support by UNHCR and EASO, continued smoothly. Since 8 June 2016, a total of 25,202 people have been pre-registered and 25,700 have been provided with a wristband to prepare for their pre-registration, seeing an increase from the previous week. In addition, a total of 571 unaccompanied children and 471 separated children were identified and directed to UNHCR along with other child protection partners."

Situation at the Serbia-Hungary border:

"On 15 July, UNHCR in Geneva issued a statement about its concern of the new Hungarian restrictive law, increased reports of violence, and the deterioration of the situation at Serbia-Hungary border. The number of refugees and migrants at the Serbia-Hungary border has reached over 1,400, including people waiting to enter the transit zones, as well as those at the Refugee Aid Point at Subotica, 42% of which were children, 35 % men and 23% women. The majority are Afghans (65%) and Syrians (21%), followed by Iranians (8%) and Iraqi (5%)."

Italy/Switzerland: New refugee route

"Italy is struggling to deal with the thousands of refugees who are rescued in the Mediterranean each week and brought to ports in Sicily and elsewhere in the south.

So far this year, around 84,000 have been intercepted in rubber dinghies and ex-fishing boats and brought to the safety of dry land. Many have later continued towards Switzerland. But Switzerland is now beefing up its border security, deploying border guards and a drone to fly over the region in an attempt to catch the migrants, Telegraph reports."

Thousands of refugee children alone in Germany

"According to the Federal Association for Unaccompanied Minor Refugees, at the end of January 2016 there were more than 60,000 children and adolescents in Germany who entered the country as a refugee without a parent or guardian."

News (23-24.7.16)

Greece Fears Wave of Political Asylum Seekers from Turkey (Greek Reporter, link): "The Greek army across the border with Turkey is on high alert after recent developments in the neighboring country, following the failed coup and the Turkish government’s punitive tendencies."

Serbia Braces For Rise in Refugee Numbers - Serbian authorities are expanding capacities in refugee camps following reports that the number of migrants and refugees could rise.(Balkan Insight, link): "The number of refugees in Serbia has been increasing steadily since Hungary tightened security on its border with Serbia early in July."

Refugees: Sharp increase in violence against migrants since border closures in the Balkans (ReiefWeb, link): "MSF consultations for violent trauma doubled since March."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22.7.16)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (21.7.16)

Council of the European Union: From: Greek Delegation; Temporary entry/exit of persons into/from the Greek territory (LIMITE doc no: 10008-26, pdf):


"We kindly ask you to take note of the Joint Ministerial Decision dated 12.05.2016 and published on issue 1373/17.05.2016 of the Official Journal... on the temporary entry/exit of persons into/from the Greek territory via the sea ports of Kalymnos, Petra, Lesbos, Agia Marina/Leros and Karlovasi/Samos and the airports of Karpathos and Chios accordingly by the date of its entry into force (17.05.2016) until the 31st of October 2016.

We therefore wish to inform you that according to the aforementioned Decision, the relevant checks at the sea ports of Kalymnos, Petra, Lesbos, Agia Marina/Leros and Karlovasi/Samos will be conducted under the full responsibility of the Police Departments of Kalymnos, Kalloni, Leros and Karlovasi/Samos. With reference now to the airports of Karpathos and Chios, the relevant Police Department of Karpathos and the Security Subdivision of Chios aretasked to carry out those checks."
[emphasis added]

France: Passeurs d'hospitalités – Exiles in Calais and at the British border (link): Calais Jungle : July census:

"The census carried out in early July by the associations Help Refugees and Auberge des Migrants (see here and here) shows that increasing the number of migrants in Calais continues at the same pace despite Ramadan: 7037 people including the structures set up by the state (containers camp andwomen and children shelter at the center Jules Ferry), 5307 people in the Jungle alone. The main nationalities are Afghans (38%) and Sudaneses (32%). We can foresee 10,000 people in September.

The issue of children keeps all its acuteness: they are 761, including 608 unaccompanied. This shows yet again the derisory nature of the measures that the state and the county timidly begin to put in place under pressure (see here and here)."

Are You Syrious (link)

Xanthi and Paranthesti

"According to reports from Beyond Europe, two protests were organized at closed camps today?—?Xanthi and Paranthesti. Both protests were organized similarly, with delegations of lawyers and doctors requesting access in order to check on the conditions of the camp. In Xanthi, the delegation was refused and pushed back. The crowd pushed back, breaking through some of the walls, to which the police responded with batons and tear gas. At Paranthesti, the protests went much more smoothly as the delegation was given access, although journalists were barred."

Malakasa: Desperate situation reaches critical mass in Malakasa

"A volunteer delegation reports truly disturbing conditions at a camp in Malakasa. Nearly one thousand people, mostly Afghan, languish in what is basically captivity, slowly burning under the merciless Greek sun. Water supplies are limited, medical care even moreso, and this combination with limited waste facilities makes for a potentially disastrous situation. Refugees are pitted against one another as interpreters are given special privileges which are sometimes abused. The lack of any psychosocial care and any legal aid only further intensifies already desperate and at-risk minds. As a result, domestic violence is rampant."

CROATIA: Possibly 1,700 refugees may be imminently pushed back to Croatia

"Citing the re-establishment of the Dublin regulation, Croatian NGO The Welcome Initiative warns that up to 1700 refugees may be pushed back to Croatia from Austria. The group has released a comprehensive statement including that “These are refugees who came to Austria via the so-called Balkan refugee route. Although the information about their return to Croatia is two weeks old, Austrian organization Interkulturelles Zentrum and the Welcome Initiative stress that there has been no official reaction to the announcement of their arrival, let alone any plan how they will be accommodated, taken care of and integrated.” All that can be done is to watch and wait."

HUNGARY: New billboards repeat old talking points in campaign about Hungarian refugee referendum

"Hungarians will vote on October 2nd on the question: “Do you want the European Union to be entitled to prescribe the mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary without the consent of parliament?”"

Ireland: Report calls for 'immediate improvements' in asylum seeker supports (Utv Ireland, link)

"A new report by the Irish Refugee Council has called for immediate improvements in the supports given to asylum seekers...

The report highlighted the loneliness and frustration of many asylum seekers in Direct Provision centres and is recommending that settlement grants be introduced to help those who've been processed to help them to rebuild their lives.

It found many reception centres lack basic facilities, like self-catering kitchens, leaving many people to become insitutionalised and suffering mental health difficulties."

See report: Transition from Direct Provision to life in the community: The experiences of those who have been granted refugee status, subsidiary protection or leave to remain in Ireland (pdf, link)

News (21.7.16)

Greece moves Turks seeking asylum further inland (ekathimerini.com, link): "Authorities in northern Greece say eight Turkish military officers seeking asylum here after Turkey’s failed coup attempt have been moved to a different police detention site for security reasons. The officers flew to neighboring Greece in a military helicopter in the wake of Friday's deadly coup attempt, triggering demands for their return from Ankara.... The helicopter has already been returned to Turkey.".

Libya-Italy: MSF ship recovers 22 bodies in Mediterranean - Medical-aid association saves 209 asylum seeker (ANSA, link): "The Acquarius rescue ship run by medical-aid association Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) recovered 22 bodies after saving 209 asylum seekers in the southern Mediterranean near the Libyan coast, ANSA sources said Thursday. The ship rescued two boats that had run into difficulty and is expected to arrive in the Sicilian port of Trapani on Friday. The sources said that 21 of the victims were women."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (20.7.16)

Greece Prepares For Long Term Accommodation Of Migrants (News That Moves, link):


"The Greek government appears to be preparing for long term accommodation of the migrant population currently in Greece.

Greek media reported this week that the Greek government plans to close 70 per cent of the country’s migrant reception centers by September, replacing them with small sites with better living conditions, more suitable for the longer term accommodation of the migrant population....

The Ministry of Defence is responsible for the construction of the new camps."

Electra (Facebook, link): Greece: Unaccompanied children:

"This is the camp where the Government intended to "host" the unaccompanied minors in the Sh.D. case. I refused to cooperate in something which I thought would violate these children's rights and was ultimately harassed by authorities for not "taking the children to them". I answered that they can contact the children themselves, if they wanted to take them there. The case has been communicated by the ECtHR to the Greek Government and amazing legal entities have intervened as 3rd parties, among which Statewatch and ECRE."

Günther Oettinger: No visa waiver for Turkey this year (politico, link)

‘Erdogan has to make concessions to us regarding the respect of the rule of law, and it doesn’t look like it is happening now,’ the digital commissioner told German media.

European Commissioner Günther Oettinger has ruled out visa-free travel to Europe for Turks this year, after Friday’s failed coup prompted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to launch a purge in the administration, the army, the police and the judiciary, German media report.

“Erdogan has to make concessions to us regarding the respect of the rule of law, and it doesn’t look like it is happening now,” Oettinger, the EU’s commissioner for the digital economy and society, told Funke Mediengruppe. “It is not possible to strip MPs of their immunity to bully them. It is not possible to intimidate journalists. And it is not possible to withdraw thousands of unwanted judges from service.”"

Are You Syrious (Link)

Who are the Mobile Info Team, what can they do for you and what you can do for them

"The Mobile Info Team are a group of volunteers dedicated to bringing refugees reliable information and up-to-date news on asylum. Based in Northern Greece, MIT makes weekly visits to 8 different camps in the Thessaloniki area, as well as taking on some specific cases they feel they can help with and bridging the gap between on-the-ground needs in camps and other groups who can meet them. Their aim is to give refugees enough verified info that they can make the informed decisions that best suit them....

If you can help them with either, please write to: https://www.facebook.com/mobileinfoteam/ or mobileinfoteam@gmail.com"

Serbia: Are deportations from Serbia to start soon?

"Last Friday, the AC Krnjaca started to be emptied. First to be kicked out were the refugees without valid documents. Thereafter, all the rest were moved to Sid, Adasevci and Principovac. These places now hold about 600 refugees, while there are less then 100 in Krnjaca. This is a really strong indication that these refugees may be transferred to Croatia."

Austria: Refugees started a hunger strike to protest inhumane conditions of the food they are given

"The food given to refugees is of sub-human condition. For example, a bottle of an expired juice and 200g of the worst quality mortadella makes a lunch for 3 children and 2 adults!"

France: Welcome to Our Jungle — Refugee Voices, a participatory photography project by the refugees of the Calais camp

Welcome to Our Jungle’ is a participatory photography project based in the refugee camp known as the ‘Jungle’ in Calais, giving a much needed platform for the voices of those directly affected by the crisis.

Participatory photography involves empowering participants by putting the cameras into their hands and giving them the skills to tell their own stories."

Greece must end migrant kids detention, says human rights group (ekathimerini.com. link):

"The rights group Human Rights Watch is calling on Greece to immediately end the holding of unaccompanied migrant children in police station cells, saying the country must find space for them in facilities where they can receive adequate care.

In a Tuesday announcement, HRW said a shortage of places in shelters had led to “arbitrary prolonged detention in places unfit for children.” The group said that according to Greece’s National Center for Social Solidarity, about 18 children were awaiting transfer in police stations, and hundreds were in detention centers."

See: Greece: Migrant Children in Police Cells: Dreadful Conditions; Transfer Them to Open Facilities (HRW, link):

"Greek authorities regularly detain asylum-seeking and other migrant children traveling on their own in small, crowded, and unsanitary police station cells, Human Rights Watch said today. They are held there for weeks and months, waiting for space in shelter facilities.

Greece should immediately end this practice and find space for unaccompanied children in open facilities with decent living conditions where they can receive care, counseling, legal aid, and other basic services."

News (20.7.16)

South Tyrol braces for outcome of Austrian election (The Local.at, link): "The migrant situation at the Brenner crossing point is not as intense as it was in 2015, Arno Kompatscher, the governor of South Tyrol said on Wednesday. But that could change if Austria’s right-wing Freedom Party claims victory in the country’s upcoming presidential election re-run."

More than 3,200 boat migrants rescued: Italian coast guard (The Local.it, link): "The latest arrivals take the number of migrants to have landed in Italy this year to more than 80,000."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18.7.16)

Greece: Most migrant centers to be replaced (ekathimerini.com, link):


"Three quarters of the country’s migrant reception centers are to close by September, according to government plans.

The second phase of a government scheme to deal with the fallout of the refugee crisis, which has left some 56,000 migrants stranded in Greece, foresees the closure of most facilities currently hosting migrants and their replacement with several small state facilities with better conditions. These facilities are to be modeled on a center in Elaionas, near downtown Athens, where migrants live in prefabricated homes with electricity and running water....

Ministry officials have already started assessing the country’s 42 reception facilities..."

Are You Syrious (link):

Serbia: Hundreds of people asking for help in Belgrade

"Situation in Serbia is not improving. More and more people are arriving every day and they are asking for help.... Last night in Belgrade, around 300 people slept in the open. Among them were many women and children, including babies."

Border are between Serbia and Hungary

"People lost shelter due to heavy rain - situation at the border, Kalebija, is not improving even though volunteers and human rights organizations are warning for days about how bad it is. IHO volunteers are still there helping in every possible way. Currently, over 400 people are stuck in this area.... Over the last three days, there have been heavy rain in the area, and many people lost their tents."

Greece: More migrants, refugees reach eastern Aegean islands (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Migrants and refugees arriving on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos last week came to 270 people, the Greek ANA-MPA news agency reported on Sunday. The figure represented those who reached the island from Tuesday to Sunday. On the island of Chios, arrivals reached 84 people, while only three arrived on the island of Samos, during the same period."

France: Recent Forced Evictions in France: the Calm before the Storm (ERRC, link):

"Budapest, Paris, 13 July 2016: A report released today by the European Roma Rights Centre and the Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, shows a marked decrease in the number of evictions taking place in France during the second quarter of this year, compared with previous quarters and years. These most recent figures are likely not all they seem however, and probably represent only a lull in the storm of relentless and uncompromising forced evictions which have plagued French Roma over the past few years."

See: Census of forced evictions in living areas occupied by Roma (or persons designated as such) in France (pdf, link)

The daily harassment of the refugees and migrants on Kos (Sofiane Ait Chalalet and Chris Jones, link):

"We came for a week but in those 7 days we yet again confronted the same cruelties we had seen before in Samos and in Athens. We saw police who were totally unsuited for working with vulnerable people, we saw agencies like UNCHR whose contributions were so limited and seemed incapable of offering what was needed. And we met refugees and migrants who despite all these humiliations struggled to stay sane and human and who showed us kindness and friendship which stood in the starkest contrast to the authorities. They knew they could expect little or nothing from the system and placed much hope in ordinary people who they thought could help if only they knew what was going on. Sadly, we are not so sure……."

UNHCR concerned Hungary pushing asylum seekers back to Serbia - Agency worried by reports of violence and worsening conditions at Hungarian-Serbian border (link):

"The UN Refugee Agency said today it was deeply concerned that asylum-seekers were reportedly being forced back across the border into Serbia under new Hungarian regulations and called for an investigation into reports that they were being subjected to violence and abuse.

UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler told a press briefing in Geneva the new restrictions contravened EU and international law. "We are deeply concerned about further restrictions by Hungary leading to push-backs of people seeking asylum and reports about the use of violence and abuse," Spindler said.

The number of refugees and migrants at the Serbian-Hungarian border had reached more than 1,400, the agency said. “These restrictions are at variance with EU and international law and reports of abuse need to be investigated,” he added."

News (18.7.16)

Italy says 675 migrants died in April 2015 shipwreck (Daily Sabah Europe, link): "The remains of up to 675 victims have been recovered from a 2015 migrant shipwreck, Italy's navy said on Thursday, as it concluded an operation to retrieve corpses from one of the worst disasters in the Mediterranean."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15.7.16)

Informal Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting under the Slovakia Council Presidency, 7 July 2016 provide minimalist background documents:


- Schengen Borders fit for the future (pdf):

"Ministers will discuss the implementation of the European Border and Coast Guard Regulation as well as interaction of the new Agency with neighbouring countries....

The Presidency attaches great importance to the Smart Borders project and is committed to bringing it closer to reality. A proposal on the EU Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is expected to complete the picture in a not too distant future. Ministers will discuss how the system should look like."

- European Asylum Policy, addressing common challenges (pdf)

"The Commission’s legislative proposals, both those already adopted and those expected in the nearest future, aim at improving many aspects of the CEAS. One of the leading concepts of the proposals is solidarity."

Comment: There has not been much solidarity between Member States on the refugee crisis.

"Reforming the Common European Asylum System - the way ahead: The package of asylum proposals submitted by the Commission is one of the most important elements of the legislative work ahead."

UNHCR (15.7.26): 239,879 arrivals in 2016: 158.927 in Greece, 79,124 in Italy. 2.944 dead/missing

Migrant Detention in Bulgaria: Numbers and Graphs (Detained, link):

As part of the Who Gets Detained? project, over the course of 10 months starting in August 2016, the team of the Center of Legal Aid – Voice in Bulgaria collected statistics on the number and characteristics of the people who end up behind the walls of the closed centres for foreigners, and of those who are arrested and found to be “illegal” and are issued deportation and/or detention orders

See: Who gets detained? Increasing the transparency and accountability of Bulgaria’s detention practices of asylum seekers and migrants (pdf, link)

Unaccompanied Minors in Greece (Nrew That Moves, link):

"Almost half of people currently in camps in mainland Greece are under 18 years old, according to data made public by the Greek newspaper Kathimerini.

Since the operation to pre-register asylum applications began, 45% of the total of those pre-registered have been identified as being under 18 years old of age, according to Kathimerini.

According to UNCHR data, 524 unaccompanied children and 426 separated children have been identified during the pre-registration exercise."

A year on, no business as usual at Austrian border (euractiv, link):

"It’s holiday season at Nickelsdorf on Austria’s border with Hungary as families hit the highway. But although the huge numbers of refugees seen here a year ago have gone, things are far from normal.

Police officers in fluorescent jackets in the July sunshine stand at the border. They wave through the car with the bikes on the back, but the van with the tinted windows is pulled over and checked. Since 1 July, checks have even been stepped up, causing major traffic jams at this border — a frontier within Europe’s Schengen zone where until recently, goods and people could pass freely."

Italy the new Greece on migration frontline: Frontex - EU-Turkey migration deal has slowed migrant flows to Greece (politico, link):

"Italy has overtaken Greece to become the country on Europe’s migration frontline, with about 750 people arriving per day, the head of the EU border control agency Frontex said on Tuesday.

Around 50 migrants per day arrive in Greece, which used to be the main point of entry for migrants."

Are You Syrious (link)

SPAIN: Victory and solidarity for refugees and migrants as “migrants prison” is shut down!

"Subsequent to a protest movement, the Barcelona City Council has barred the re-opening of the local “Foreigners Prison,” on both technical and safety grounds. This humanitarian victory would have been impossible without the work of volunteers and activists!""

Around 1,200 refugees remain in Belgrade, putting local aid efforts under heavy strain.

"The asylum center Krnjaca is full to capacity; as a result the number of refugees who sleep outside every night is only increasing, averaging around 150–200 per night. Info Park, Refugee Aid Serbia, Covekoljublje, Caritas and Jesuit Refugee Service are all in collaboration to support aid initiatives in the park. The numbers in the park are almost equal to last year’s high point in August."

HUNGARY: 10,000-strong army to “manage” Hungarian border.

"Despite massive international criticism on the deplorable treatment of refugees by Hungarian authorities, Hungarian officials have moved forward on a massive military and police initiative to repel any refugees trying to enter from Serbia. Around 10,000 military and police are being mobilized.

Human Rights Watch researchers have decried the abuse of refugees, stating, “Hungary is breaking all the rules for asylum seekers transiting through Serbia, summarily dismissing claims and sending them back across the border.”"

Austria to deport rejected applicants by military plane.

"In an interview with Die Welt, Austrian interior minister, Wolfgang Sobotka says that the 37,500 asylum request limit will not be reached in 2016. Sobotka is firmly opposed to the harmonisation of asylum across Europe.

Austria is going to deport 14 rejected asylum applicants next week to Bulgaria, using a military C-130. Government plans to deport 50,000 rejected asylum applicants by the year 2019. One flight hour of the plane costs 11,800 Euro. Critics from the Green Party say that the money could be instead invested in integration programmes. The government argues that the flight hours are included in the yearly flight hours quota."

European Parliament: Migration: MEPs assess refugee camps in Calais (Press release, pdf):

"A delegation from the civil liberties committee went to Calais in northern France yesterday to assess the situation of people gathering there with the aim of crossing the Channel. The delegation, led by Portuguese S&D member Ana Gomes, visited facilities for migrants and refugees and met with representatives from local authorities,"

EPIC & EPIM: EPC Policy Update for the European Programme for Integration and Migration (pdf)

News (15.7.16)

Calais mayor says UK border deal must be part of Brexit talks (euobserver, link): "The mayor of the French port city Calais has demanded that a 2003 border deal between France and the UK allowing both sides to carry out immigration checks on each other's territory be renegotiated as part of Brexit talks. Natacha Bouchart told this website on Wednesday (13 July) that the UK's decision to leave the EU has created an opportunity to shift the burden of thousands of migrants living in a camp around Calais on to the British authorities."

Greece’s island refugee camps strain under EU-Turkey deal deadlock - Moria is a symbol of mounting frustration for asylum seekers (FT, link)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14.7.16)

European Commission: Asylum, relocation, resettlement, legal channels - package


European Commission: Completing the reform of the Common European Asylum System: towards an efficient, fair and humane asylum policy (Press release, pdf)

"The Commission is proposing to replace the Asylum Procedures Directive with a Regulation establishing a fully harmonised common EU procedure for international protection to reduce differences in recognition rates from one Member State to the next, discourage secondary movements and ensure common effective procedural guarantees for asylum seekers."

- Proposal for a: Regulation on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection, for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection and for the content of the protection granted and amending Council Directive 2003/109/EC of 25 November 2003 concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents (COM 466, pdf)

- Proposal for a: Regulation establishing a common procedure for international protection in the Union and repealing Directive 2013/32/EU (COM 467, pdf)

- Reforming the Common European Asylum System: Frequently asked questions (pdf)

- The reform of the Dublin System (pdf)

- Proposal for a Directive: Laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (recast) (COM 465, pdf)

- Enhancing legal channels: Commission proposes to create common EU Resettlement Framework (Press release, pdf)

- Proposal for a Regulation: Establishing a Union Resettlement Framework and amending Regulation (EU) No516/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council (COM 468, pdf)

REACTIONS to above: EU officials finalise common asylum system to resettle refugees - Advocates say people can expect similar treatment wherever they settle, but critics say scheme is betrayal of refugee rights (Guardian, link):

"It is hoped that the proposed system would discourage the kind of country-hopping that saw hundreds of thousands of refugees settle in Germany last year having passed through other European countries such as Hungary and Greece....

Under the plan, refugees will only be formally resettled in Europe from third countries that agree to readmit migrants who arrived in Europe by informal means.

Additionally, the plans make it easier for refugees to be expelled from Europe in the first place. Brussels would be given greater say over which countries are deemed safe for refugees – overriding the wishes of independent appeals boards in nation states. In the current context, this would theoretically allow the EU to expel more people from Greece to Turkey, despite Greek officials deeming Turkey unsafe for some refugees....

Malin Björk, the European parliament’s rapporteur on the proposal, called it “disgraceful”. The Swedish politician said: “As the parliament’s rapporteur, I will do what I can to stop this distortion of the international right to asylum and the notion of global responsibility and solidarity.”

Last September, European leaders promised to relieve Greece and Italy of 160,000 refugees stranded on their territory. On Wednesday the EU admitted that member states had accepted just 3,056 – nearly 10 months after promising to help out."

 EU asylum rules: Retrograde proposals on rights and criteria for asylum seekers (Green/EFA Group, press release, link):

"The European Commission today presented further proposals for reforming the EU’s system of asylum rules, notably as regards the criteria under which asylum-seekers’ applications for international protection are judged in the EU, and the rights and treatment they should receive. Commenting on the proposals, Green asylum spokesperson Jean Lambert MEP said:

“The EU and its member states have justifiably come under fire for their response to the refugee crisis but today’s proposals from the Commission will do nothing to allay this. This latest step in the ongoing review of the EU’s asylum rules represents further retrograde steps in a number of areas of asylum policy, notably regarding the rights of asylum seekers and an obsession with punitive measures."

and Amnesty: EU’s asylum policy – a cynical attempt to strengthen fortress Europe (New Europe, link); "A package of new proposals published by the European Union on Wednesday risks rolling back basic protections for refugees and asylum seekers, said Amnesty International today in Brussels.

A proposed EU-wide resettlement framework would use resettlement as a tool for migration control rather than to provide assistance to vulnerable refugees. In addition, three proposed reforms of the EU asylum system would introduce measures intended to increase the number of refugees and asylum seekers returned to non-EU countries.

also: EU plans tougher asylum rules (euobserver, link): "The European Commission plans to toughen asylum rules to deter claimants from travelling from one EU country to another. The EU executive on Wednesday (13 July) proposed a set of new rules that would harmonise asylum procedures in the bloc in order to deal with the over 1.3 million asylum seekers who arrived to the continent in the last year.

"We set clear obligations and duties for asylum seekers to prevent secondary movements and abuse of procedures," the commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, told press. Asylum seekers who do not wait for their claims to be examined in the country where they first entered the EU or who do not cooperate with local authorities would have their claim automatically dropped, he said."

Hungary rejects claims of 'excessive force' (BBC News, link):

"The Hungarian government has rejected accusations by the UN refugee agency of using excessive force to expel migrants.

Around 600 people have been deported, while 10,000 police and soldiers have also been deployed along the country's southern border with Serbia. The toughening up of what were already strict controls are leading to a rise in the number of people stuck in makeshift camps." and

Hungary deploys army to push migrants back to Serbia (BBC News, link):

!A massive security operation, involving up to 10,000 police and soldiers, is under way along Hungary's southern border with Serbia, to keep out migrants and refugees.

The armed forces have been deployed to reinforce a 175km (110-mile) razor-wire fence erected last year on a border that is also a gateway to the European Union.

Until new regulations came into force on 5 July, an average of 130 people crossed the fence every day.

The new law allows the authorities to push back anyone caught inside Hungary within 8km of the fence, but in practice it seems to be applied to those caught far deeper into Hungary, as far as Budapest."

Aire Centre & ECRE: With Greece: Recommendations for refugee protection (pdf) 

"systemic challenges to access to asylum stemming from procedural barriers or gaps in the provision of information or legal assistance have been less reported on. Against this backdrop, the aim of the joint visit conducted by The AIRE Centre and ECRE between 28 May and 6 June 2016 was to cover issues which may not have received equal attention to date, as well as to conduct a needs assessment for NGOs and practitioners working in the field, which would enable effective and sustainable support to the Greek asylum system. This report contains observations and recommendations on the basis of findings from several meetings with key stakeholders present in Greece during the time of the joint visit."

News (14.7.16)

Greece: Bodies recovered off Lesvos belonged to Syrian family from Aleppo (ekathimerini.com, link): "The four bodies recovered off the coast of the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos on Wednesday belonged to a Syrian family from Aleppo, authorities announced on Thursday. The mother and father and their children, aged 4 and 6, drowned when their inflatable dinghy capsized. Six people were rescued by coast guard officers.

Dispatches: Italy Wakes Up to Xenophobia - Killing of Nigerian refugee shows growing concern over intolerance (HRW, link): !Emmanuel was a 36-year-old Nigerian who came to Italy last year with his wife after both their parents were killed when Boko Haram bombed their church. Emmanuel survived terrorism at home, violence in Libya, and the dangerous sea crossing to Italy. But last week he was beaten to death on the streets of Fermo, a mid-sized town in eastern Italy, in a fight that began when an Italian man called Emmanuel’s wife an “African monkey.”"

IOM highlights refugee drownings: "Drownings in the Mediterranean killed two-thirds of the 3,694 refugees who perished while trying to reach Europe since January. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says it's the deadliest route worldwide." (DW, link)


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (13.7.16)

European Commission: 13 July 2016: Relocation and Resettlement, 13 July 2016


- Relocation and Resettlement: Positive trend continues, but more efforts needed (Press release, pdf)

"Relocation and Resettlement: Positive trend continues, but more efforts needed... During the reporting period from 14 June to 11 July, the number of relocations increased with an additional 776 persons being relocated,...

Although this constitutes positive progress and shows that Member States are stepping up their efforts, it still falls far short of the Commission's proposed target of relocating 6,000 people per month. Member States are not yet meeting the commitments they made under the Council Decisions on relocation.... relocation from Italy decreased and remained at a particularly low level compared to the continuously high number of potential applicants for relocation arriving in Italy....

Since 4 April 2016, a total of 802 Syrians have been resettled from Turkey to the EU, including 291 since the last report..."

- Communication: Fifth report on relocation and resettlement (COM 480, pdf):

"While relocation transfers from Greece increased during the reporting period (710 persons relocated compared to 594 during the previous reporting period), those from Italy decreased and remained particularly unsatisfactory (only 66 people relocated in the reporting period, compared to 186 in the previous reporting period)....

Greece is carrying out a mass, rapid pre-registration exercise that will accelerate the identification and full registration of applicants eligible for relocation. 34,000 applicants are expected to be eligible for relocation. Greece needs to continue increasing its processing capacity to avoid creating a bottleneck after the pre-registration is completed, so that applicants can fully lodge their applications as swiftly as possible, urgently establish the additional relocation centres and continue relocating those that are eligible."

- Annex 1: Greece (pdf)

- Annex 2: Italy (pdf)

- Annex 3: Resettlement (pdf)

- Factsheet: Relocation and Resettlement (pdf)

New migrant crisis in the making in the Balkans (New Europe, link):

!Hundreds of migrants arrive daily to Serbia’s border with Hungary, packing inside a makeshift tent settlement without toilets, showers and with only one tap of running water as Hungary introduced new measures meant to try to keep them out of the EU.

“This is the problem. There’s no toilets, no place to take a shower. It is very difficult for us,” Rajawi said. “They (the Hungarians) let each day only 15 people. If (they let) more, it gets better for us. Because, we are human, we need human rights here.”

In what appears to be another refugee crisis in the making in Europe, the numbers are surging at this camp and other ones on Serbia’s border with EU country Hungary. The numbers have been growing since last week, when Hungary introduced forced deportations of migrants caught within 8 kilometers (5 miles) of border fences.

Hungary has also restricted the number of people who can apply for asylum in the country to 15 a day."

Hungary: Migrants Abused at the Border - Ensure Asylum Access; Investigate Cruel, Violent Pushbacks (HRW, link):

" Migrants at Hungary’s border are being summarily forced back to Serbia, in some cases with cruel and violent treatment, without consideration of their claims for protection, Human Rights Watch said today.

New laws and procedures adopted in Hungary over the past year force all asylum seekers who wish to enter Hungary to do so through a transit zone on Hungarian territory, to which the government applies a legal fiction claiming that persons in the zone have not yet ‘entered’ Hungary

France, Grande-Synthe: Humanitarian camps are supposed to offer refugees shelter, not turn them away (msf.org, link):

"n Thursday 7 July, six Afghan men were refused entry to the migrant camp in Grande-Synthe. Set up in March 2016, the camp was constructed to offer shelter to all refugees needing safe lodging and basic services. The town council that manages the site in partnership with the French government and the camp manager, the AFEJI, now say that men travelling alone will not be allowed access to the camp. This decision comes amid growing pressure put on refugees by authorities in north France. MSF is extremely concerned by this decision and calls for it to be immediately overturned."

Are You Syrious: AYS Daily News Digest 12/7: Far-right racist terror surges in Europe (link)

"The anger and fear of locals takes barbaric form as they attack and threaten refugees; we invite more people to express their solidarity in these difficult moments. Let’s make Europe safe for human differences!"

News (13.7.16)

Austria will reach refugee limit by the fall: interior minister - Austria is 15,000 applications short of reaching government’s upper limit for 2016 (politico, link): "Austria’s self-imposed limit on the number of asylum applications it will accept — set at 37,500 a year — will be reached by the fall, the interior minister said Tuesday."

Italy is 'new front line' on migrant crisis (euobserver, link): "Fabrice Leggeri, the head of the EU’s Frontex border agency, said Tuesday on French radio that Italy is the “new front line” in the migration crisis. He said 750 people a day are coming to Italy, compared to 50 in Greece. He said there were 360,000 irregular crossings in the first six months of this year, a figure higher than last year, but that numbers were falling since April."

Germany content to return Afghan asylum seekers to ‘islands of safety’ (euractiv, link): "More than half of Afghan asylum-seekers have their applications rejected by German authorities and are returned to the Middle-Eastern country. EurActiv’s partner Der Tagesspiegel reports. In Kabul, more and more Afghans end up stranded, as they return from Germany or other European countries, having failed to secure asylum status. Around 3,500 have come back from Germany alone since last year. The returnees are left with little, even nothing, and have no social ties in the capital, said Omid Nouripour of the German Greens, who regularly travels to Afghanistan."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (11.7.16)


News (13.7.16)

Germany content to return Afghan asylum seekers to ‘islands of safety’ (euractiv, link): "More than half of Afghan asylum-seekers have their applications rejected by German authorities and are returned to the Middle-Eastern country. EurActiv’s partner Der Tagesspiegel reports. In Kabul, more and more Afghans end up stranded, as they return from Germany or other European countries, having failed to secure asylum status. Around 3,500 have come back from Germany alone since last year. The returnees are left with little, even nothing, and have no social ties in the capital, said Omid Nouripour of the German Greens, who regularly travels to Afghanistan."

GREECE: Violence and tension on Aegean islands

Volunteers leave Greek island after attacks on refugees (Al Jazeera, link): "Tensions have escalated in the Greek island of Leros following a series of attacks on refugees and migrants, while several international volunteers working in refugee camps have been evacuated from the island.

After locals attacked refugees on Saturday and threatened aid workers in the island's main refugee camp, many international volunteers and groups halted their operations and left Leros on Sunday.

"There have been tensions which targeted both refugees and members of the humanitarian community," said Katerina Kitidi, a Greece-based communications officer for the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR)."

And see: GREECE: Refugees in Greece's Chios fear violence from far-right (Al Jazeera, link)

EU: Legal response to migration continues: safe third country list and visa waivers

The European Parliament's civil liberties committee has approved texts on a common European list of "safe third countries" and the possibility of suspending visa-free travel for certain nationalities, with a view to reaching swift agreements with the Council. Plans to establish an EU-wide list of safe countries of origin were included in the May 2015 European Agenda on Migration, which also hinted at changes to visa waiver rules.

See: Asylum: EU list of safe countries of origin to replace national lists in 3 years (pdf)

HUNGARY: Latest amendments “legalise” extrajudicial push-back of asylum-seekers, in violation of EU and international law

The amendments to the Asylum Act and the Act on State Border that entered into force today allow the Hungarian police to automatically push back asylum-seekers who are apprehended within 8 km (5 miles) of either the Serbian-Hungarian or the Croatian-Hungarian border to the external side of the border fence. Legalising push-backs from deep within Hungarian territory denies asylum-seekers the right to seek international protection, in breach of relevant obligations emanating from international and EU law.

GREECE: Asylum policies and practices impairing the access to international protection in Greece (Greek Forum of Refugees, pdf): "As a result of regular interactions with refugee communities, GFR has continuously observed a number of obstacles preventing asylum seekers in the country from accessing the asylum procedures and receiving the international protection they are entitled to, according to international law.

Drawing on the implementation of the law and the practices adopted by the authorities, the present report mainly aims at pointing out the gap between the de jure situation, as it is defined by international law, and the de facto situation in Greece, as up to the EU-Turkey deal of 18 March 2016. In doing so, the privileged point of view and focus of research are represented by the series of testimonies provided by asylum seekers, refugees and communities and collected by GFR over 2015."

HUNGARY: Border trials: The hearing of Ahmed H (Migszol, link): "We arrive at the Szeged courthouse with cramps in our stomachs – we don’t have much experience in attending trials, plus we’re not even sure we’ll be allowed in, after all as we know today will be the continued hearing of an especially dangerous man, Ahmed H., charged with terrorist activity."

All the World’s Immigration Visualized in 1 Map (Metrocosm, link): "This map shows the estimated net immigration (inflows minus outflows) by origin and destination country between 2010 and 2015."

News (11.7.16)

AUSTRIA-HUNGARY: Border controls cause row between Austria and Hungary (New Europe, link): "Security checks have been given a big boost along the border between Austria and Hungary, causing a row between the two countries.

As reported by The Local, Hungarian authorities have come under fire from Austria’s Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka after they began checking people crossing the border from Austria into Hungary. But Hungary’s decision is a response to Austria recently strengthening controls on its side of the border."

MEDITERRANEAN: NATO Plan for Mediterranean Naval Mission Ruffles EU (Washington Post, link): "The European Union’s foreign policy chief raised concerns with President Barack Obama that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was duplicating the bloc’s naval mission in the central Mediterranean, according to U.S. and other Western officials, a sign of the complexities of managing increased cooperation between the two bodies.

NATO had planned to provide maritime surveillance planes to assist the EU’s mission off the coast of Libya—dubbed Operation Sophia—which was set up to fight human smuggling by arresting smugglers and destroying their boats after rescuing migrants. But at the summit in Warsaw, officials said the provision of ships as well as planes was under discussion."

SPAIN-MOROCCO: Denuncian la muerte de un inmigrante tras el intento de entrada del pasado viernes [Denunciations after immigrant died in an attempt to enter Spain last Friday] (El Faro Digital, link): Helena Maleno, an activist from the organisation Ca-minando, has confirmed that a Cameroonian migrant died last Friday as an attempt to enter Ceuta was halted by Moroccan police. The family of the dead man have already identified the body.

Hundreds of sub-Saharan Africans, some of them with injuries, were detained and removed to the south of Morocco after the attempted entry.

UK: The moment I felt at home: refugees tell their stories (Positive News, link): "There are around 120,000 refugees in the UK, and last year 32,414 applied for asylum. For most, life is not easy. Unemployment in refugee communities is above 50 per cent, and in 2015 the British Red Cross supported more than 9,000 who were destitute. Yet some successfully make new lives here. We meet seven people who, having ?ed their homelands, have found a new beginning in London. Photographing them in the place where they first felt safe or part of this country, we ask them about the moment the UK became home"

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (8.7.16)

EU: European Parliament: thumbs up for beefing up Frontex


On Wednesday 6 July the European Parliament approved a proposal to turn the EU border agency Frontex into a 'European Border and Coast Guard Agency', with new powers that have been heavily criticised by some of the Parliament's political groups as well as civil society organisations. The new agency is expected to start operations in the autumn.

The text of the new Regulation - which was agreed in secret trilogue meetings between Council, Parliament and Commission negotiators before being voted on by the full Parliament - was adopted with 483 votes in favour, 181 votes against and 48 abstentions.

See: the Final text approved by the Parliament (pdf)

UNHCR: Arrivals in Greece, July 2016

216 people have crossed the Mediterranean and Aegean to arrive in Greece so far in July, according to the UNHCR's figures, an average of 31 per day. During June an average of 50 people per day arrived. See: Greece data snapshot - 7 July 2016 (pdf)

See also: UNHCR Weekly Report: Europe (6 July, pdf) covering: Trends of sea arrivals - Situation in Greece - Situation at Serbia-Hungary border - Italian navy recovers ship in which up to 800 thought to have drowned - Update on relocations and returns - EU Developments

NATO to expand role in Mediterranean migration operations?

"Turning to the Middle East, the Secretary General said Alliance leaders will this week approve the deployment of NATO AWACS surveillance aircraft to support the Global Coalition to counter ISIL. He also said he expected NATO to agree on a new training and capacity building effort in Iraq and a role for NATO in the Central Mediterranean to complement the European Union’s Operation Sophia" (emphasis added). See: NATO Secretary General outlines Warsaw Summit agenda (NATO, link)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also noted during a press conference (link) that NATO expects to "build on our effective cooperation in the Aegean to cut lines of human trafficking."

EU: Law enforcement efforts against "migrant smuggling" stepped up with new international bureau in Vienna

"On 4 May 2016, the Austrian Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Sobotka opened the “Joint Operational Office against Human Smuggling Networks” (JOO) in Vienna. In a statement, the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior stated that the institution was an “international investigative bureau against human smuggling”. The centre has an initial complement of 38 staff members, Europol intends to second additional personnel. It is intended to be a point of contact for investigations of authorities also from the migrants’ countries of origin."

See: International investigative bureau in Vienna to combat “migrant smuggling” (Matthias Monroy, link)

News (8.7.16)

German states demand billions of euros to cover refugee costs (Deutsche Welle, link): "Germany's 16 states are demanding an additional 8 billion euros ($8.8 billion) over the next three years from the federal government in Berlin to cover the cost burden of integrating refugees, the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" reported on Wednesday.

Horst Seehofer, the premier of the state of Bavaria and leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), told the Munich-based newspaper that all 16 states were united on the 8 billion euro figure ahead of a government summit to discuss the issue at the Chancellery on Thursday.

The additional sum would be distributed in three lump sum payments of 1.5 billion euros this year, 2.5 billion euros next year and 4 billion euros in 2018."

Hungary to hold referendum on refugee quotas on 2 October (EurActiv, link): "Hungary will hold a referendum on 2 October on EU plans to relocate migrants among member states, a scheme fiercely opposed by right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the president said today (5 July).

“As president of the republic, I decree that the referendum will be held on 2 October,” President János Áder said in a statement."

Italy extracts 217 bodies from hull of sunken migrant ship (Al Arabiya, link): "Italian navy officials say they have recovered 217 bodies from the hull of a migrant ship that sank off Libya last year in a tragedy that sparked the EU to beef up Mediterranean rescue operations.

Italian authorities raised the ship from the seabed last week and have been working to remove and identify the bodies ever since. In a statement Thursday, the navy said 52 autopsies had been performed on the 217 bodies pulled out so far.

Some of the 28 survivors of the April 18, 2015 wreck had said as many as 700-800 people were aboard, leading officials to label it one of the worst known tragedies of the Mediterranean migrant crisis.

Around 200 bodies were initially recovered; after officials saw the ship’s dimensions, they suggested about 300 remained."

Italy migrants: Nigerian killed in Fermo race attack (BBC News, link): "A man has been arrested by Italian police investigating the killing of a Nigerian immigrant which the government has condemned as a racist attack.

Police say a row broke out at Fermo, a town on Italy's east coast, when racist abuse was hurled at the partner of Emmanuel Chidi Namdi, 36.

The violence escalated when a traffic pole was pulled from the ground. The victim later died in hospital.

A local man described as a well-known "ultra" football fan is being held."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (6.7.16)

Why are Hungarian border guards practicing shooting to kill? (Migszol update from Hungary, 20 June - 4 July) (Migszol, link)


A detailed update on the current situation in Hungary as it relates to refugees, asylum policy and border controls:

"There main issues from the last two weeks which we would like to highlight include the political trials in Szeged in which people are accused of either terrorism or then of illegal crossing of the Hungarian border during a mass riot, the violent pushbacks on the Hungarian-Serbian border and the violence of informal gangs, the opening of a new open refugee camp has been opened in Kiskunhalas in Southern Hungary, and the border guard competition was held in eastern Hungary. Before we examine all these in detail, there are some other political and general updates we would like to share.

1. Political developments
2. Austrian-Hungarian cooperation
3. Movement and smugglers
4. Political show trials in Szeged
5. Violent pushbacks at the Serbian border
6. Border guards’ shooting practice
7. New open camp in Kiskunhalas

FRANCE: Number of children in detention doubles

The number of families with children locked up in detention in France doubled in 2015 compared to the previous year, finds a new report entitled 'Centres and Sites of Administrative Detention' by La Cimade and four other organisations

Last boat from Lesvos - Asylum seeker stowaways try to reach the Greek mainland (IRIN, link): "Until recently, only Syrians were being processed. As weeks have turned to months, increasing numbers of non-Syrians have turned to smuggling themselves on board the ferry to Athens. According to conversations with dozens of asylum seekers on Lesvos, they can choose from two options: pay smugglers hundreds of euros for boarding papers or hide in one of the shipping containers loaded onto the ferry."

IRELAND: Irish Refugee Council questions the real impact of the McMahon Report 12 months on (Irish Refugee Council, link): "Today [30 June 2016] marks one year since the publication of the Working Group to Report to Government on Improvements to the Protection Process, including Direct Provision and Supports to Asylum Seekers, known as the McMahon Report. The Government reported on the 16 June 2016 that 91 recommendations have been fully implemented, 49 partially implemented or in progress, while the remaining 33 require further consideration. On paper this sounds like there is movement on the McMahon report, but the IRC questions whether this translates into practical changes and improvements for those who bear the brunt of failures within our asylum system. Despite claims about implementation, a haze of vagueness prevails over this entire document."

Refugees are an opportunity for our society, not just a challenge say S&Ds (Socialists & Democrats, link): "The European Parliament has today called on the EU to take action and ensure refugees are swiftly and fully integrated into the labour market and society.

In a resolution drafted by S&D Euro MP Brando Benifei, the Parliament set out recommendations for action at EU level, including an increase in resources for social policy in Europe via the European Social Fund (ESF) to facilitate the integration of refugees in European countries."

The resoluton: European Parliament resolution of 5 July 2016 on refugees: social inclusion and integration into the labour market (2015/2321(INI)) (pdf)

News (6.7.16)

Obama Recruits Goldman, Google to Resettle Refugees (Bloomberg, link): "At least 15 U.S. companies led by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Alphabet Inc. have pledged money to help the Obama administration resettle refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war and other international conflicts.

The White House is leaning on companies to commit money and other assistance to resettlement programs ahead of a Sept. 20 summit President Barack Obama will host at the United Nations. Other companies participating in the effort include MasterCard Inc., United Parcel Service Inc., HP Inc., and IBM, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg News."

Refugees who cannot pay people smugglers 'being sold for organs' (The Independent, link): "Migrants who are unable to pay people smugglers for their journey from Africa to Europe are killed for their organs, a former smuggler has said.

Nuredein Wehabrebi Atta, who has been sentenced to five years in prison for his involvement in moving migrants, told Italian police that migrants who couldn't pay for journeys across the Meditteranean “were sold for €15,000 to groups, particularly Egyptians, who are equipped for harvesting organs".

His testimony has helped break open a transnational network dedicated to migrant trafficking with Italian police confirming they have detained 38 people suspected of being involved - 25 Eritreans, 12 Ethiopians and one Italian."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (4.7.16)

Border Wars: The arms dealers profiting from Europe's refugee tragedy (Transnational Institute, link): "While tens of thousands of refugees have died fleeing terrible violence and hardship to get to Europe, not everyone has lost out. This report exposes the military and security companies that have profited from the tragedy, winning contracts to provide the equipment to border guards, the surveillance technology to monitor frontiers, and the IT infrastructure to track population movements."


Report: Border Wars (pdf) and: Executive summary (pdf)

European Council adopts Migration compact despite NGOs statement (ECRE, link): "The adopted proposal contains no safeguards to ensure that human rights, rule of law standards and protection mechanisms when the EU strikes deals with governments it deems useful for stopping migration to Europe. These governments include countries with a poor human rights record, such as Sudan and Eritrea, countries where a large share of refugees flee from. ECRE’s Aspasia Papadopoulou warned that this EU pressure could result in those countries increasing the use of detention or border enforcement. “Partner countries will be well aware that they have their own leverage in the form of would-be migrants and asylum seekers hoping to reach Europe. They’ll negotiate hard to get what they want out it,” Papadopoulou states."

"Have you seen this camp?" Softex camp in Northern Greece (ECRE & AIRE Centre, link): "We first heard about the conditions in Softex the day we arrived, when the Save the Children team in Polykastro explained us that many who were evacuated from Idomeni were brought there. The new official camps, quickly arranged to host thousands of people, are mostly abandoned warehouses. The official Softex camp used to be an old textile factory.

The camp is situated in the industrial outskirts of Thessaloniki, alongside a narrow and busy road. The back entrance to the camp is wide open, while the official entry at the other end is guarded by the Greek army. Opposite the camp is a Volvo garage with four huge dogs barking non-stop at passers-by."

Una caravana partirá a Grecia para reclamar el respeto a los derechos de los refugiados [A caravan will leave for Greece to reclaim the respect of refugees' rights] (Diagonal, link): On 16 July, 10 buses will leave from Barcelona and head for Thessaloniki in Greece, in order to call attention to the violations of thousands of asylum-seekers' human rights and to highlight the responsibility of the institutions of the EU and its Member States.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2-3.7.16)

Greece: PLEIADES - REPORT ON "ELLINIKO" REFUGEE CAMP (HELLENIC ACTION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS - Pleiades, link): A Report on Living Conditions: Based on information available on June 30, 2016.


Are You Syrious (link)

Gianluca D’Agostino, captain of the ship Diciotti (coastal guard), arrived to Catania with the bodies of 10 refugee women that drowned in the June 30th shipwreck. Here is the captain’s testimony.

"The dead women were brought along with the other 348 refugees, 108 of which were survivors of the same shipwreck. Meanwhile, the police mentioned that the two smugglers have been captured.

The captain said “My men risked their lives. If the dinghy hadn’t made it, my men would have sunk with the refugees. They found themselves surrounded by floating corpses, and they directed themselves towards the people they thought were still alive. For some, we found out they were already dead, despite the reanimation on board the Diciotti. We fought against the time and the dangerous sea, plus the dinghy’s floor crushed. However, the tragedy was contained, we saved as many lives as possible. The boys have been very courageous and I’m really proud of their performance and reactions”.

France: Calais kitchen in desperate need of donations

"This morning Calais Kitchens confirmed that, due to low stock and funds, they will be unable to distribute food packs next week...

In order to keep up their amazing work, Calais Kitchens must raise £7000 a week to cover costs. Please click here to send either a one-off or, better still, a monthly donation and share with your networks. Help them here".

EU set to spend €62 billion on Africa to tackle migration (euractiv, link):

"The EU has made significant funds available for a migration partnership with African countries, so that asylum seekers can be intercepted before they reach the bloc’s external borders....

Repatriation, irregular migrants, “before the end of the year”, have become part of Brussels’ everyday jargon since the shameful mess of the Balkans route began to unfold. This time, however, it appears they are going to be followed up with action. After its declaration, the EU has ceased its mere lip service to migration policy and has green lit a Commission paper that is set to open up a new era in tackling irregular migration.

So-called “migration pacts” are in the pipeline with selected African countries, in an attempt to stymie the number of migrants making their way from Africa. Countries such as Nigeria, Sudan and Mali will act as outer defence posts, charged with filtering migrants thousands of miles before they reach the EU’s external border."

News (2-3.7.16)

Greece: Film on Idomeni border wins award in Dublin - Caoimhe Butterly’s ‘The Border’ highlights plight of 12,000 people at Greek frontier (Irish Times, link): "The Grand Prize in Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) Human Rights Film Awards was won on Thursday by Caoimhe Butterly for her short documentary The Border – an examination of life at the Idomeni border crossing in Greece. It highlights the dislocation of the more than 12,000 women, men and children migrants who were stranded there earlier this year and the real impact of European border closures as expressed by those most directly affected. The ICCL Human Rights Film Awards are the only short film awards in Ireland dedicated to human rights and five such films were shortlisted for the Grand Prize this year.

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe

Hungary jails 10 migrants for up to three years (EUobserver, link): "A Hungarian court on Friday sentenced 10 migrants, mostly Syrians, to between one and three years in jail for illegally crossing the border during a riot in September 2015, after Hungary built a fence to seal its border with Serbia. This was the first case tried under a law passed a few days before the incident making illegal border crossing punishable by one to five years in prison."


Background: Refugee crisis: "show trials" for "violating the border fence" (Statewatch News Online, 30.6.16)

EU: Warning over new Frontex agency's data-gathering powers, lack of accountability and overseas deployments without oversight

With the full European Parliament due to vote on the proposed new Frontex Regulation on 6 July, the Frontexit campaign has called on MEPs to reject the text, warning that it provides new powers to gather and exchange personal data without the necessary safeguards; establishes a new complaint mechanism that does not meet the required standards of independence; and permits increased overseas deployments by the agency "away from any oversight by the European Parliament or national parliaments."

UNHCR: June arrivals in Greece

The total number of people arriving in Greece in June was 1,448, according to the UNHCR. Over the last week the numbers were:

  • 24 June: 13
  • 25 June: 24
  • 26 June: 134
  • 27 June: 55
  • 28 June: 0
  • 29 June: 5
  • 30 June: 62

Europe tries to buy its way out of the migration crisis (IRIN, link): "This week’s European Council meeting was dominated by reactions to Britain’s referendum result, but on Tuesday EU leaders took a decision that has far-reaching consequences for people forced or wishing to migrate from more than a dozen countries in Africa and Asia.

Under the Partnership Framework with third countries, which the council adopted, 16 countries of origin and transit for migrants will be pressured to cooperate with the EU’s goals on curbing migration. Their compliance is to be rewarded with various “incentives” including development aid and trade deals. Non-cooperation will be met with unspecified “negative incentives” – presumably the withholding of aid and trade.

Ahead of yesterday’s meeting, 124 NGOs issued a joint statement condemning the proposed policy and urging EU leaders to reject it in favour of more sustainable and long-term strategies for migration management and the delivery of development aid."

News (1.7.16)

Croatia puts up barrier at Serbia border (Politico, link): "Croatia installed a barrier on a bridge over the Danube river that forms part of its border with Serbia to prevent migrants from entering the country, a police statement said on Thursday.

Police said it was intended to stop “potential attempts by migrants to illegally enter” Croatia over the Batina crossing. Technical barriers have been installed at the crossing that “can be activated in case of an urgent need and in line with the security measures,” the statement said."

Denmark takes cash from migrants (New Europe, link): "Denmark has confiscated more than 10,000 kroner worth of cash, jewellery and other valuables from migrants arriving to the country under a controversial law that was passed in February.

According to the Agence France-Presse (AFP), Danish police announced on June 30 they confiscated cash worth nearly €11,000 from five migrants trying to enter the country with fake identity papers. The two men and three women between the ages of 26 and 35 with Iranian nationality were arrested at Copenhagen’s airport. All five have asked for asylum and their request is under review, according to the police."

Migrants die as dinghy sinks off Libya (BBC News, link): "At least 10 people drowned and more than 100 others were rescued when an inflatable boat carrying migrants capsized 32km (20 miles) off Libya.

Those who died were all women, Italian reports said.

The latest migrant tragedy came as the Italian navy raised to the surface a boat that sank with the loss of more than 700 lives.

The April 2015 sinking was the worst loss of human life since the influx of migrants began in 2013."

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