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Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (30.11.16-1.12.16)

StopTheDeal: We are helping to take the shameful EU-Turkey refugee deal to court, in a bid to save the life of one man and improve the lives of millions.(link):

"This is a shameful deal that sends a frightful message to the rest of the world: that men, women and children who managed to survive a perilous journey and the horrors of war, persecution and extraordinary vulnerability are not welcome in Europe. Furthermore, the deal has also led these people to take other, even more dangerous routes to our shores.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. As DiEM25 we are standing behind a unique legal action that could blow this deal up, potentially improving the lives of millions of people seeking to come to Europe in desperate need. How? By helping to save a man’s life.

A team of volunteers in Spain and Greece, headed by the eminent Spanish former anti-corruption prosecutor Carlos Jiménez Villarejo, is working to save Shabbir. On November 29, 2016, they filed a legal action to the European Court of Justice. It’s aim: to annul the EU-Turkey Agreement and prevent Shabbir and thousands of others from being deported.

But if this case is successful, it will do much more than save a man’s life: it could shatter the EU-Turkey deal once and for all."

Hungary: Shameful misuse of terrorism provisions as man involved in border clash jailed for 10 years (AI, link):

"In response to the sentencing of Ahmed H, to 10 years in prison on terrorism charges for his involvement in clashes with Hungarian border guards at a Serbia-Hungary border crossing last year, Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Directorwho attended the court hearing said:

“This verdict is based on a blatant misuse of terrorism provisions and reflects a disturbing confluence of two dangerous trends: the misuse of terrorism-related offenses and the appalling treatment of refugees and migrants.”

Throwing stones and entering a country irregularly does not constitute terrorism and cannot justify this draconian ruling"

EU: European Council: 15-16 December 2016: Draft guidelines for conclusions (LIMITE doc no: 13936-16, pdf) :

On Migration: "assess and reaffirm its commitment to the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement and assess progress on the compacts with the five selected African countries in terms of arrivals and returns," and

"assess progress on the reform of the Common European Asylum System, including on how to apply the principles of responsibility and solidarity in the future, on the basis of a report from the Presidency."

Regarding Members States the Council has to try and appease those against "responsibility and solidarity in the future", while hoping the European Parliament will unblock discussions on the Qualifications Regulation, the Reception Conditions Directive and the Procedures Regulation and the Resettlement file.

On Internal Security: Review progress on:

"systematic checks against the relevant databases, that must be interconnected, of all persons crossing the Union's external borders, including nationals from EU Member States; the entry/exit system; the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS); combatting terrorism; firearms; anti-money laundering; Passenger Name Record (PNR); and enhancing effective cooperation with electronic service providers." [emphasis added]

RACIAL VIOLENCE and the BREXIT STATE (pdf) by Jon Burnett (Institute of Race Relations)

In a pioneering study published today, the IRR takes a fresh look at the nature of racial hate crimes since the referendum. Through a detailed examination of cases on the IRR’s unique database it establishes a link between the language and behaviour of perpetrators of such violence, the rhetoric and policy pronouncements of politicians over recent years and the stigmatising frameworks of the media.

‘It is convenient to condemn the “spike” in violence this summer, in which at least one person lost their life, as the acts of a thuggish minority. But an examination of over one hundred cases shows a link between the language and behaviour of perpetrators and the rhetoric and policy pronouncement of politicians’, said IRR researcher, Dr. Jon Burnett.

Are You Syrious (30.11.16)

Winter arrives in force to Greece

"It had been very cold for a while now in northern Greece and volunteers have been very busy trying to improve the difficult conditions the refugees live in around the country.

But no preparations would have been enough for what happened last night and today, especially the camp of Petra on the hills next to mount Olympus, where 241 people (official numbers) were still living when a huge snow storm came down merciless on them....."

There has been a call for help from teams of volunteers.

"Lighthouse Relief volunteers of Lesvos are fundraising because there is a critical shortage of shoes to provide for refugees. With winter fast approaching, nearly every refugee now arrives with soaking wet shoes, increasing the life threatening risk of hypothermia. Providing dry clothing is the fastest and most efficient response to hypothermia that Lighthouse Relief can provide. Unfortunately, NGOs across the island have exhausted the supply of shoes and, due to the reality of the crisis, demand outweighs supply. To support them please follow the link."


"The UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) has written to the mayor of Rome voicing alarm over the hundreds of migrants sleeping rough on the capital’s streets while thousands more with legal residency are forced to live in squats."

Refugees rehoused in Greece as temperatures drop (, link):

"Thousands of refugees and migrants will be relocated indoors from tent camps in Greece as temperatures fell below zero for the first time, the UN refugee agency said Thursday.

The operation began Wednesday in the snow-covered foothills of Olympus, Greece’s tallest mountain, to move around 1,000 members of Iraq's Yazidi minority, said UNHCR spokesman Roland Schoenbauer."

Polar cold, Snow: Refugees spend the icy-cold days & nights in tents (picts, vid, Keep Talking Greece, link): "Migrants and refuges in Malakasa accommodation center launched a protest demanding better the living conditions amid polar cold sweeping through out Greece."

EU-Turkey-Syria: Border between Syria and Turkey – the death zone

"The truth is that the crisis has shifted. The wall, the German chancellor Angela Merkel under no circumstances wanted to see at the German border, was erected at the border to Syria by the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A concrete wall, several hundred kilometers long, three meters high is keeping migrants away. People are not dying in the Aegean sea anymore, as the number of boat crossings to Greece declined after the deal. Now, they die at the Turkish-Syrian border."

EU: Frontex takes first step towards creating European coast guard (pdf):

"Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, has called on EU member states and Schengen Associated Countries to provide officers for the newly adopted European Coast Guard Functions Officer profile, paving the way for the deployment of multi-national crews in the agency’s maritime operations."

Towards a dispersal of crossing? (Passeurs d'hospitalités, link):

"There are many similarities between the closure of the Sangatte Center in 2002 and the destruction of the Calais shantytown in 2016. A media operation aimed at making people believe that a “problem” was being solved, while all that had been done was to hide it. The huge number of police in order to force people to hide and therefore to be less visible (see here, here and here). The harassment of people showing solidarity (see here, here and here). And also the CAO scheme, which is in its conception a copy of Operation Ulysses that followed between 2002 and 2006."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (29.11.16)

Are You Syrious (28.11.16, link):


Mediterranean: More violence against migrants as well as against the NGO’s - Watch med six week report

"Watch the Med has issued its six week report. The report states that violence against migrants as well as NGOs is increasing, and warns that the EU is ever more concerned with systematically pushing people back to Libya’s coast than helping them to reach safety. It seems that in late October, the EU’s naval operation EUNAVFOR MED/Sophia started to train the so-called Libyan coast guard on their vessels, showing them how to do the dirty job of preventing travelers from leaving Libyan waters."

Hungary: Bicske reception center closing, Migszol against it

"The Bicske reception center will be closed by the Hungarian government by the end of 2016. Migszol, the Migrant Solidarity Group of Hungary, has issued a statement explaining that they are against this because they support, “the full inclusion of anyone in society regardless of their immigration status.”

GREECE: Pressure grows as Athens eyes faster asylum process (, link):

"The municipal council on the Aegean island of Chios has voted against a government proposal to create a new reception center for migrants and refugees on the site of a former landfill with the aim of easing congestion at the existing Souda facility."

Over 5,300 Voluntary Returns From Greece (News That Moves, link)

"More than 5,300 foreign citizens voluntary returned from Greece to their countries of origin from January 1 to November 7 this year,.."

Greece: Refugee camp flooded – Is Chios the new Idomeni? (video) (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"A strong rainfall on the island of Chios left a couple of hundreds of refugees and migrants sitting in the mud. Rocks have been put at the tents basis to protect them from the next wind blow. Kids play in the mud. The camp of Souda has turned into a lake of water and mud as the soil could not absorb the tones of water due to heavy rainfall on Sunday evening."

Record number of boat migrants reach Italy in 2016 (euractiv, link):

"A record number of migrants have reached Italy by boat from North Africa in 2016, according to official data, as pressure on Italy’s shelter and asylum systems grows.

Italy has borne the brunt of new arrivals since the implementation in March of an agreement between the European Union and Turkey to curb the flow of migrants sailing for Greece.

As of November 28, 171,299 boat migrants had reached Italy’s shores, the Interior Ministry said, compared to the previous record of 170,100 for all of 2014."

Turkey slams EU vote as ‘most unjust in history’ (euractiv, link):

"Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister, Ömer Çelik, on Tuesday (29 November) dismissed a European Parliament vote to freeze accession talks with Ankara as the “most unjust resolution in history” and urged solidarity instead.

During a visit to Brussels, Çelik sought to ease tensions exacerbated by the non-binding vote last week to halt Turkey’s membership process over its “disproportionate” crackdown since July’s failed coup."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (28.11.16)

GREECE-TURKEY-FRONTEX: E.U. Border Agency Still Unaccountable on Refugees’ Rights (Refugees Deeply, link): "Last month, 10 Syrians boarded a flight organized and staffed by the European Union’s border agency, Frontex, on the Greek island of Kos, believing their destination was Athens. Instead, they landed in the Turkish city of Adana.


The Syrians had wanted to seek international protection in Greece, and carried documents indicating their intention to initiate asylum procedures. They were never given deportation orders or offered an opportunity to mount a legal challenge to their deportation."

GREECE: Refugee Tensions Spiral on Greek Island of Chios (VOA, link):

"CHIOS, GREECE — Transformed into a holding pen by the European Union, tensions are escalating on the Greek island of Chios as both residents and refugees pay a heavy price.

Just over a week ago, brewing frustrations culminated in clashes breaking out in Souda refugee camp, which is home to about 800 people.

For two nights running, huge rocks and - some claim - molotov cocktails were thrown from the ancient walls of a castle onto refugees in the tents below, while a small number of Greeks and some residents of the camp clashed.

And with some still too fearful to sleep in the camp, which is in the island’s main town, there are now concerns that more violence could follow."

GREECE: «We’ve managed to improve the provisions for all the people in the camp» (Papierlose Zeitung, link):

"The inhabitants of Oreokastro, the Greek refugee camp, have kicked out the NGOs responsible for them and have taken over the day-to-day running of the camp themselves: a small ray of hope that nevertheless can’t blot out the adverse conditions of life in Oreokastro."

EU: Resettled in the Baltics, refugees flee for wealthier lands (Reuters, link):

"In early November, 34 Syrian and Iraqi refugees boarded buses heading for Germany from Lithuania, the country where they had been resettled. No one expects them to return.

Only a tiny number of refugees from war in the Middle East have been sent to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, among the European Union's poorest countries. The Baltic states were nobody's first choice.

"When we left from Turkey to Greece, our final goal was Germany or Holland," said Mohamed Kamel Haj Ali, 52, once a shopkeeper in Syria, who for the time being still lives in Rukla in Lithuania.

"But the land route from Greece was already closed, so we had no choice but to enter the relocation program, which brought us here.""

FRANCE: From CAO to PRAHDA (Passeurs d'hospitalités, link): "The PRAHDA (Asylum Seekers’ Hosting and Accommodation Program) began to to be talked about in relation to the incease in asylum seeker’s deportations with the Dublin procedure to the country responsible for their application for asylum (the Dublin III regulation is used to determine the European country responsible for an asylum application, usually the country of entry into the European Union), because one of its tasks as defined by the public tender was published: “the preparation of the transfer of persons under Dublin procedure and follow-up, where appropriate, people placed under house arrest in the scheme “.

But a deeper reading of the tendering process shows that the target audience is that of the CAO’s (Reception and Orientation Centres – see here, here, here and there), that is to say not only persons whose asylum procedure is ongoing"

And in French: Des CAO au PRAHDA (link)

IRAQ: Winter closes in on refugees fleeing Iraq's Mosul (Reuters, link):

"U.S.-backed Iraqi government troops and Kurdish security forces have launched the biggest battle in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to drive Islamic State fighters from Mosul, the militant group's last major bastion in the country, many times larger than any other city the fighters have held.

The United Nations is asking donors to fund winter kits for 1.2 million people -- preparing for a worst case scenario that much of the city's population may have to flee. Seventy-two thousand have fled so far, and winter has brought freezing temperatures.

The Kurdish authorities are requiring fleeing civilians to stay in camps even if they have family outside, so that males can be checked for ties to Islamic State. Relatives crowded out front, bringing blankets and pillows."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26-27.11.16)

Greek refugee lawyer targeted by police (DW, link)


"A Greek lawyer standing up for the rights of vulnerable groups such as refugees has found herself at the receiving end of police hostility. Omaira Gill reports from Athens....

On the afternoon of Sept. 27, 2016, several Syrian refugees aged between 13 to 16 were on their way to a cultural center to take part in a theatrical performance about their lives in Syria, carrying plastic toy guns as part of their costumes....

An activist began to highlight what was happening on Facebook, and human rights lawyer Electra Koutra was invited to become involved by assisting the parents and children in their reporting of what happened.

According to a statement on her own Facebook page, she said that the children were ill-treated by the police, separated from the adults, humiliated and forced to strip. When the youngest, aged 13, objected in tears to removing his underwear, he was thrown against a wall. They were forbidden from contacting their family members to let them know what was happening.

Sitting at her dinner table strewn with legal documents, she recalls what happened next. "I was prevented repeatedly from properly representing my clients. One child, who has received therapy for witnessing the torture of family members in Syria, was interviewed from 1:30 am until 4:30 am, not allowed contact with his father and me, despite the complaints we raised. Being forced to wait in the hall for hours in front of a guarded closed door, knowing that the rights of the child were being violated and not being able to do anything about it was a traumatic experience for me," she told DW...."

Are You Syrious (26.11.16, link)

Feature: Slight increase in number of new arrivals to Greece

"A number of refugees staying on Greek islands is growing every day. Today on Chios, 112 people arrived, which is a slight increase compared to numbers from previous weeks.

Officially, there are around 16.000 refugees on the islands at the moment. The real number could be much higher with many people sleeping in the streets and improvised shelters. But every camp on the islands has been full for weeks now. The solution for this situation is nowhere to be found yet.

At Mytilene, there are around 6000 people at the moment, while the capacity of the two main camps - Kara Tepe and Moria?—?is 3500. The situation is especially bad in Moria where twice as many people live as the camp has capacity. Sanitary conditions are awful, food is poor, there are not enough warm clothes for all the people who are stuck there against their will. The situation can get worse as more people are expected to come soon. Lifeguard Hellas Save and Rescue Volunteer team asks for more volunteers for the shifts of watching and scans the shore for boats."

Bulgaria: Forced expulsions announced in December

"The situation in Bulgaria is not settling. Local authorities are seriously ready to expel over 1,000 refugees who protested against restrictions on their freedom of movement. They are now moved to a former army barracks, but soon could be expelled, as Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said. People who are being threatened are by large from Afghanistan. Expulsion could happen in December, as Bulgarian media are reporting."

Eric Kempson from Lesvos, Greece: Fascists Ruining Tourism! 24/11/2016 (video link) Fascists are not being prosecuted.... and the "big Greek heart" needs to be portrayed in the media.

Are You Syrious (25.11.16, link):

Hundreds of protesters arrested, to be deported from Bulgaria

"In the aftermath of yesterday’s riots in Harmanli, the Bulgarian Prime Minister vows to detain and deport 1,000 people.. About 400 people have been detained after yesterday’s riots Bulgaria’s largest refugee camp in Harmanli in southern Bulgaria, which left more than 200 refugees and 29 policemen injured. According to the official government sources, a thousand refugees who clashed with police will be moved from Harmanli into former army barracks near the Turkish border before being expelled from the country. It seems Bulgarian authorities are following Hungary’s example by playing the terrorism card."

Notorious Bulgarian “refugee hunter” Dinko Valev also made an appearance in front of the camp today, surrounded by his thugs, threatening the already scared refugees in front of the cameras

"According to the Bulgarian police, about 2,000 refugees, most from Afghanistan, were involved in the riots. The conflict reportedly erupted over the camp being put under quarantine following the outbreak of infectious diseases...

Bordermonitoring Bulgaria says the closing of the camp had already been decided by the government as part of a larger plan to deal with the permanent ongoing protest by right-wing parties, neo-Nazis and their supporters. According to their info, police entered some buildings in the middle of the riot, and were physically violent, including towards people who were not involved in the riot."

Media hysteria, fence around the camp: pre-election stunt?

"The Bulgarian Helsinki Commitee notes that Bulgarian elections are pending, which may explain the heightened tensions at Harmanli and the government’s response. “Certain parties which bet only on anti-migrant, xenophobic and fascist rhetoric feel the need to accumulate self-confidence and an electorate,” the organization stated, adding: "What would be better than organising a controlled riot with a little blood-letting and lots of media hysterics?”

EU-AFRICA: The small African region with more refugees than all of Europe - Hunger follows displaced people around north-east Nigeria, as Boko Haram and climate change drive millions from their homes (Guardian, link):

"About 40% more people have been displaced throughout Borno state (1.4 million) than reached Europe by boat in 2015 (1 million). Across the region, the war against Boko Haram has forced more people from their homes – 2.6 million – than there are Syrians in Turkey, the country that hosts more refugees than any other.

The comparisons mirror a wider trend across Africa. Of the world’s 17 million displaced Africans, 93.7% remain inside the continent, and just 3.3% have reached Europe, according to UN data supplied privately to the Guardian.

“No matter how many problems Europeans have, it’s nothing like this,” summarises Modu Amsami, the informal leader of Monguno’s nine camps for internally displaced people (IDP), as he strolls past Kawu’s newly erected hut. “Please, I’m appealing to Europeans to forget their minor problems. Let them come here and face our major problems.”

The provoked riot in Harmanli’s refugee camp (Bordermonitoring Bulgaria, link):

"Today, after more than two days of quarantine, at noon a massive riot broke out in Harmanli’s refugee camp, which is located not far way from the Bulgarian-Turkish border. The revolting migrants protested against the closing of the camp and for freedom of movement. Hundreds did not understand why more than 3000 people have to stay inside the camp and are not allowed to go out, while not everybody is ill from deceases. The closing of the camp was already a longer plan of the authorities and an answer on the permanent ongoing protest of right wing parties, neo-nazis and their supporters."

UK: Pawel Legomina was on his way to work when arrested in Hove accused of rough sleeping (The Argos, link):

"A POLISH man threatened with deportation for sleeping rough claims he has lived and worked in the UK for three years and never spent a night on the streets.

Pawel Legomina was one of ten Europeans arrested in Brighton and Hove by immigration officers last Tuesday.

The operation, which was supported by Sussex Police, resulted in them being detained for breaching their legal right to be in the UK by sleeping rough under rules introduced in May, a Home Office spokeswoman said. "


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (24-25.11.16)


GREECE: LESVOS: Death and riots at EU asylum hotspot in Greece (euobserver, link):

"A woman and her young child have died on Thursday (24 November) at an asylum detention centre on the Greek island of Lesbos, triggering riots and clashes with police.

The two were killed when a gas cylinder exploded while cooking at the Moria camp, a so-called hotspot initiated by the EU commission where asylum seekers are screened and registered.

The deaths provoked a protest among other asylum seekers who have been stuck at camps described as open-prisons. The police clashes injured six asylum seekers, according to Greek media."

See also: Mother and son in critical condition from Moria migrant camp fire (, link):

"Twenty large tents and over 100 smaller ones were destroyed in the blaze, as well as by fires started by migrants protesting living conditions at the overcrowded camp in reaction to the gas cooker explosion in the family tent that started the conflagration.

Police have arrested 15 Afghan men for starting the smaller fires and clashing with riot police dispatched to the scene. Between eight and 10 camp residents are also being treated at the Lesvos general hospital for burns and smoke inhalation."

And: Riots in Moria camp after woman and child killed in tragic gas explosion (Keep Talking Greece, with videos, link)

Greece: Migration minister fends off criticism in wake of deadly fire (, link):

"Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas came under fire in Parliament on Friday – even from within the ranks of his own party – following a deadly fire at a migrant processing center on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos.

Most of the ammunition directed at the leftist minister related to conditions at the camps on Lesvos, Samos, Kos and Chios, with critics saying that overcrowding at these facilities is putting the migrants at risk and stoking reactions from local communities."

Refugees clash with authorities in Bulgarian, Greek camps (DW, link): "Refugees rioted in Bulgarian and Greek camps late Thursday and early Friday. Bulgaria's Prime Minister said many now face expulsion?."

Bulgarian police fire rubber bullets during migrant camp riot - Bulgaria’s biggest refugee camp erupts after its inhabitants wrongly accused by local media of carrying infectious skin diseases (Guardian, link):

"Bulgarian police fired water cannon and rubber bullets at rioting migrants angered at being confined to their refugee camp during a health scare, the interior ministry said.

The unrest in the camp in Harmanli, a town close to the Turkish border, happened two days after the authorities sealed it off to prevent anyone leaving following local media reports that the migrants were carrying infectious diseases.

Earlier on Thursday, camp residents set fire to furniture and tyres and threw stones at riot police, who deployed water cannon. In the evening, police pushed back a large group trying to leave the camp, which is home to 3,000 people, mostly thought to be Afghans. “We used a water cannon, blanks and rubber bullets as well as physical force,” said Georgi Kostov, the interior ministry’s chief secretary, outside Bulgaria’s biggest refugee camp."

Are You Syrious (24.11.16)

Fire in Lesvos camp leads to the death of two refugees, eight more seriously injured

"The woman had been on Lesvos for 4 months according to authorities, a story all too common on the Greek islands. The situation of the ground is difficult. The asylum offices are severely undermanned, which results in the severe congestion and leads to massive buildups of refugees well beyond the official capacities. Had the process been more streamlined, the woman and her grandchild could have been allowed to leave for the Greek mainland by now, and their lives may not have been extinguished when they were."

Bulgaria: Refugees in Harmanli Center clash with police

"Hundreds of refugees protested after being told that they will be unable to leave the camp. Tires were set alight and refugees threw stones at police, who returned fire and even used rubber bullets and water canons in retaliation. Following an initial calming of tensions, demonstrations continued well into the night. The curtailment of the refugees’ freedom of movement came as a result of pressure placed on the government by right wing ideologues and their supporters."

Serbia: Refugee from Afghanistan commits suicide in Šid

"The body of a 23 year old refugee from Afghanistan was found at 6am on Thursday morning. His body was found not far from the Adaševci reception center. His friends say that he was traveling alone without family. He had made several attempts to cross the border into Hungary, but to no avail. His friends noticed that he was missing a few days ago, and reported it to reception center authorities."

Asylum Info Center in Belgrade helps refugees

The center provides refugees with knowledge of their rights, internet, clothing, translation, and counseling. They also help refugees to reach the asylum and reception centers in Serbia, and give referrals to other organizations which may provide legal aid, identification, family reunification, and searching for missing persons. The center is located on Nemanjina Street 3 in Belgrade, and their website may be found at You may call them at +381 60 099 16 34.

Hungary: Refugee boy almost dies as a result of beating at the hands of Hungarian police

"The boy provided testimony of the violence, which may be found here. The beating took place at night around 200 meters from the border. Hungarian police crossed the border and members of the group were attacked so severely that they needed to be taken to the hospital. Reports of such brutality at the hands of Hungarian police are far from uncommon, and yet nobody seems to be capable of doing anything to curb the violence. Be the neglect from the lack of power or the lack of will by EU authorities, such incidents serve to show that dark forces linger in Europe, which inflict violence on people who are themselves escaping war."

Italy: Clashes break out in Turin as tensions between refugees and local population grows

"Refugees were frightened on Wednesday night as two small explosions went off. After this, refugees living in the camp went out to the streets in an agitated mood, with media reporting that some of them damaged road signs and cars, and threw stones and bottles. The police were thankfully able to diffuse the tensions before anyone was hurt."

EU-TURKEY: European Parliament: Freeze EU accession talks with Turkey until it halts repression, urge MEPs (Press release, link)

"MEPs want a temporary freeze on EU accession talks with Turkey. In a resolution voted on Thursday, they say Turkey should nonetheless remain “anchored” to the EU. They also pledge to review their position when the "disproportionate repressive measures" under the state of emergency in Turkey are lifted.:...

The resolution was approved by 479 votes to 37, with 107 abstentions."

And see: Turkey threatens to end refugee deal in row over EU accession - President Erdogan issues warning after European parliament vote urging ministers to freeze talks on Turkey joining the EU (Guardian, link):

"Turkey’s president has threatened to tear up a landmark deal to stem the flow of refugees into Europe a day after the European parliament urged governments to freeze EU accession talks with Ankara.

The threat underlines how far relations between Turkey and the European bloc have deteriorated in recent months, particularly after a coup attempt in July.

“If Europe goes too far, we will allow refugees to pass from the border gates,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech on Friday at a women’s rights conference. “Do not forget, the west needs Turkey.” Erdogan’s statements, the most direct warning yet that Turkey could abandon the agreement, came in response to a symbolic vote in the European parliament on Thursday that demanded an end to the decade-long accession negotiations."

And see: Turkey threatens to “flood the EU with migrants”(Keep Talking Greece, link):

"“The damage will be multiple for the European Union,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim warned and threatened that “without the help of Ankara, EU member states may be flooded with waves of migrants.”

Yildirim’s threats came in form of a televised address to the nation, after the European Parliament vote to freeze EU’s accession talks with Turkey.

“We are one of the factors that protect Europe. If the refugees cross our borders, will flood and overwhelm Europe and Turkey prevents this from happening,” the Turkish PM said adding “I accept that the interruption of relations with Europe will harm Turkey, but the damage for Europe will be five to six times bigger.”

Migrants and police clash in Bulgaria refugee camp (euractiv, link):

"Around 1,500 migrants rioted in Bulgaria’s largest refugee camp yesterday (24 November), triggering clashes that left two dozen police injured and prompted the arrest of hundreds of protesters, officials said.

“Around 300 migrants, six of them considered a threat to national security, have been arrested,” Prime Minister Boyko Borissov told BNR public radio after visiting the camp in early hours of Friday."

Greece: Arrivals in Lesvos (UNHCR)

17/11/2016: 103
18/11/2016:   40
19/11/2016: 108
20/11/2016:   92
21/11/2016:   45

EU Policies Put Refugees At Risk - An Agenda to Restore Protection (HRW, link):

"A lack of leadership, vision, and solidarity based on human rights principles are at the core of the European Union’s dismal response to refugee and migration challenges. The mismanagement and politicization of a surge in boat migration in 2015, when over one million migrants and asylum seekers traveled to the EU by sea, has led to a humanitarian and political crisis largely of the EU’s own making that needs to be addressed with the utmost urgency.

If chaos characterized the response of the EU and its member states in 2015, wrong-headed and rights-abusing policies have defined 2016. Instead of providing for safe and orderly channels into the EU for asylum seekers and refugees and sharing responsibility for them equitably, the EU and its member states have endorsed policies designed to limit arrivals and to outsource responsibility to regions and countries outside of the EU. The deeply flawed deal with Turkey and problematic cooperation with the Libyan authorities reflect this approach.....

The European Commission has also advocated changes to EU aid and foreign policy that would direct them towards migration control objectives rather than improving respect for human rights. The Partnership Framework for relations with third countries represents a clear articulation of the EU’s goal, significantly re-energized over the past 18 months, to intensify migration cooperation with countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia with the objectives of preventing irregular migratory flows to Europe and facilitating the removal of rejected asylum seekers and other irregular migrants from EU territory."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23.11.16)


How economic migrants become refugees as they seek a new life (The Independent, link):

"As right-wing politicians across Europe call for “economic migrants” to be deported or even left to drown in the Mediterranean Sea, analysts say the term is divorced from the harrowing reality faced by many of the men, women and children risking their lives to reach safety.

The passage from Libya to Italy, the deadliest crossing in the world, is now the dominant route after the controversial EU-Turkey deal aimed to close the comparatively safer and shorter path over the Aegean Sea.

Libya has been a draw for people seeking work across Africa for decades and the prospect of high wages and abundant construction work is still luring migrants unaware of the chaos and violence that awaits.

Migrants and refugees are frequently kidnapped by gangs in exchange for ransoms, being beaten, raped and tortured in squalid makeshift prisons, while others are detained in labour camps or forced into prostitution until they pay their way out.

With routes out of Libya controlled by militias and many borders closed, the only escape is flimsy rubber boats sent into the Mediterranean Sea by smugglers, who threaten to shoot anyone attempting to resist being packed into the overcrowded dinghies."

EU: Organised crime group behind illegal immigration dismantled (Eurojust, link):

"Today, the Prosecutor’s Office - Anti-Mafia District Directorate of Salerno, Italy, in close cooperation with the Public Prosecution Office of Karlsruhe, Germany and with the support of Eurojust, carried out an operation concerning an organised crime group (OCG) involved in facilitating illegal immigration of non-EU citizens into Europe. A total of ten people have been arrested and three house arrests were carried out by the Italian police (Mobile Squad of Salerno). Simultaneously, the German authorities executed several searches and a European Arrest Warrant against the main suspect, a German citizen of Somali origin.

The investigation started in spring 2015, following the docking of the military ship ‘Chimera’ in the port of Salerno, carrying 545 Somali migrants, who were rescued in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Tripoli by the Italian navy. Some migrants were left for three days without water, food and medicines, and were affected by scabies and high fever. For this reason, the OCG members, all of Somali origin, are also accused of harassment and inhumane treatment of the migrants during the journey from the Libyan coast to Italy."

GERMANY: What living conditions are like for a Syrian refugee in Berlin (Vice, link):

"“There is no proper housing, no good life,” a Syrian refugee named Farouk told VICE News correspondent Milène Larsson in Berlin. “There is no good food, no work. Some people have to wait for a year to start learning German. People say it’s our fault, no.”

When the migrant crisis began to overwhelm Europe last year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stood out for her insistence on opening the country to newcomers. More than a million refugees moved in, and now Merkel’s popularity is waning.

“Our rooms are very cramped,” Farouk said. “No money, nothing that we can build a life with. There is nothing that gives us hope for tomorrow.”"

UK: Destitute migrant families: study assesses voluntary sector work

"This study explores the role played by voluntary sector organisations [in England] providing services such as advice and material support to migrant children and families who are destitute. It seeks to explain one of the findings of a recent study conducted by COMPAS on the responses of local authorities to destitute children and their families, which observed that voluntary sector organisations found this area of work particularly challenging. The study seeks to identify the causes of those challenges, and how those challenges could be addressed."

The executive summary (pdf) identities five main challenges: 1. Structural imbalance in the sector; 2. Funding constraints; 3. Narrative: the deserving and the undeserving; 4. Fear of media attention; 5. Misunderstanding on the legality of provision to migrants.

Full report available on the COMPAS website: Meeting the challenge: Voluntary sector services for destitute migrant children and families (link)

EU-TURKEY: MEPs intensify push to halt Turkey talks (EUobserver, link):

"The EU wants to maintain membership talks with Turkey but MEPs are calling for them to be suspended, amid an intensifying crackdown by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told the EU parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday (22 November) that any move to annul Turkey's membership to the EU would be a lost opportunity.

"If the accession process came to an end I believe we would both find ourselves in a lose-lose scenario," she said.

But Erdogan has hinted that he would support the reinstatement of the death penalty, a move that Mogherini has set as a red line for the EU.

The EU parliament will vote on a non-binding resolution on Thursday to freeze accession talks, given the government-led purge in Ankara against so-called terrorists and state saboteurs."

And see: How Erdogan’s purge hit the EU and NATO (EurActiv, link): "The European Parliament will this week vote on whether to suspend Turkey’s EU membership bid. Andrew Duff explains how the Turkish military has reacted to Erdogan’s power grabbing and how NATO fits into the equation."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (22.11.16)

Frontex to begin collecting personal data in Greece on suspected criminals (Press release, pdf):


"Starting today, Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, will begin collecting personal data of persons suspected of people smuggling, terrorism and other cross-border crimes collected as part of its operation in Greece."

Note: according to Article 2(16) of the new Frontex Regulation (pdf), "cross-border crime" means "any serious crime with a cross-border dimension committed at or along, or which is related to, the external borders." There is no specific definition of "cross-border crime" in the Regulation but such activities "necessary entail a cross-border dimension," for example "trafficking in human beings or smuggling of migrants" (preamble, paragraph 19).

Hungarian prisoners complete part of new anti-migrant fence (euractiv, link):

"Hungarian prisoners have finished building the first part of a second anti-migrant fence on Hungary’s southern border with Serbia, state television reported yesterday (21 November).

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced last August plans for a second fence line in August to reinforce the existing barrier erected last year along the 175-kilometre-long border."

Chios Greeece: Dep. Migration Minister Vows to Close Refugee Camp in Souda Following Days of Violence (Greek Reporter, link):

"Deputy Migration Policy Minister Ioannis Balafas said the government wants to close the camp in Souda on the Greek island of Chios and transfer refugees and migrants in a new camp outside the town....

The UN Refugee Agency and Amnesty International condemned the serious violence that broke out in the municipality-run refugee camp at Souda, when tents were burned and two activists beaten by suspected extreme-right supporters. A Syrian refugee at the camp was seriously injured on Friday, when a stone thrown down from the walls surrounding the camp hit him on the head."

Refugee 'crisis'? Try 'crisis in the European press' (Open Democracy, link):

"A new study finds some disturbing trends in the European press coverage of refugees and the purported consequences of their arrival...

The emerging narrative strongly links negative consequences to 'real', tangible developments in European countries, while very few positive aspects go beyond moral obligations....

This all leads to problematic signals coming from the media, whose vulnerability and lack of resources become particularly evident in coverage of complex stories like this. A lack of context given to the refugee plight, low diversity of standpoints, and little mention of wider historical circumstances behind 'the crisis' result in simplistic framing: us versus them, the good versus the bad, refugees worthy of saving versus sneaky/dangerous migrants. Finally, no voice given to refugees or even citizens makes it impossible to develop a sense of togetherness or solidarity in Europe. The 'refugee crisis' label is controversial, but there is no doubt we are experiencing a crisis of journalism and ethics."

Calais refugee children describe French reception centers as 'prisons' (Daily Sabah Europe, link):

"Refugee children living in the French reception centers after the makeshift "Jungle" camp closure in Calais have been forced to work in farms, as many of them believes that they live in a "prison" rather than a reception center, a Britain-based charity groups said, the Independent reported yesterday.

Interviewing 33 refugee boys living in reception centers by phone, the report by Safe Passage shows that 15 percent of the boys did not "feel safe in the center" and 39 percent of them stated that they had been "better off in Calais.""

Greece: Plan for refugee children's hostel causes tension in Piraeus (, link):

"Dozens of residents at the port city of Piraeus heckled representatives at a meeting of the municipal council on Monday, in protest at plans by a nongovernmental organization to open a hostel for unaccompanied refugee and migrant children.

According to reports, Piraeus residents are opposing a project by the NGO Praksis, which has rented a former school building in Piraeus’s fifth district and plans to turn it into a hostel. "

Is the EU Gradually Renouncing its Fundamental Values in Order to Better Protect its External Borders? (,link):

"Criticism by a number of NGOs and policy commentators about the European Union’s wavering observance of some of its core fundamental values has been mounting over the past few months. One strategic area in which such criticism has been most acute has been the EU’s evolving immigration and border security policy....

The outsourcing of the EU’s border security strategy to third countries with a potentially poor human rights record and an often discretionary use of rule of law has not been confined to Turkey alone."

Belgrade: Police raids and mass transfers to Preševo (, link):

"This is a report which was send to us by an independent support collective in Belgrade. It testifies a massive nightly police operation on November 10th in Belgrade, which lead to mass evictions and transfers towards the Southern Serbian border where illegal push-backs have become normality. This testimony is an important addition to our recently published report „Bordered Lives – Unbound violence“ on migrants‘ situation in Serbia."

Asylum applications from Turkey skyrocket in Germany (DW, link):

"Germany saw a massive uptick in asylum seekers from Turkey in 2016. Much of it is due to the failed coup in July and ensuing crackdown on human rights and press freedom."

EU: Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA): Current migration situation in the EU: hate crime - November 2016 (link):

"Asylum seekers and migrants face various forms of violence and harassment across the European Union (EU). As this month’s report on the migration situation underscores, such acts are both perpetrated and condoned by state authorities, private individuals, as well as vigilante groups. They increasingly also target activists and politicians perceived as ‘pro-refugee’. "

See Report: Current migration situation in the EU: hate crime (pdf)

Europe’s migration campaign pivots to Africa (politico, link):

"Having reduced the number of crossings from Turkey to Greece, European leaders are now looking to northern Africa...

“Tunisia could be the first country in North Africa to benefit from an ambitious visa facilitation agreement,” said Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU commissioner for migration. “At the same time, the conclusion of a readmission agreement will help to avert the risk of irregular immigration from Tunisia, and manage its consequences.”"

European Parliament: Don’t incite fear and hatred of migrants and refugees, MEPs urge EU countries (Press release, pdf):

"EU member states should “refrain from inciting fear and hatred in their citizens towards migrants and asylum-seekers for political gains”, said Civil Liberties Committee MEPs voting a resolution on fundamental rights in the EU on Thursday. The rights to free movement and life-saving abortion are also stressed in the text, which will now be put to a vote by Parliament as a whole."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18-21.11.16)

EU: November deadly for migrants crossing Mediterranean, IOM says (Reuters, link)


"At least 365 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean this week in six sinkings, bringing the death toll so far this year to 4,636, already 1,000 more than in all of 2015, the International Organization for Migration said on Friday.

Migrants, mainly from West Africa, are taking to the sea from Libya in flimsy rubber boats, trying to reach Italian islands and Europe, where they have little hope of being granted asylum, IOM spokesman Leonard Doyle said.

"This is really a calamity in plain sight," Doyle told a news briefing. "We are seeing really tragic scenes of rubber rafts going under the seas in the middle of winter in the Mediterranean.""

See latest figures from: the UN (17 November, pdf) which records 4,518 dead or missing people in the Mediterranean in 2016; and the IOM (18 November, pdf) which reports 4,621 dead or missing.

GREECE: Far-right group attacks refugee camp on Greek island of Chios (The Guardian, link):

"Dozens of people have been driven out of a refugee camp on the Greek island of Chios after two successive nights of attacks by a far-right group.

At least two people were wounded after attackers threw Molotov cocktails and rocks as big as boulders from elevated areas surrounding the Souda camp, activists said.

Three tents were burned down and three others were hit by rocks. A 42-year-old Syrian man was assaulted, while a Nigerian boy was hit by a rock.

Fearing a third attack on Friday night, about 100 former occupants refused to re-enter the camp, instead taking shelter in a nearby car park. “We do not have any kind of protection,” Mostafa al-Khatib, a Syrian refugee, told the Guardian. “No one cares about us.”"

And see: Chios tense after unrest at migrant camp (Ekathimerini, link)

TURKEY: 123 Migrants Flee Center in Turkey After Fire Breaks Out (ABC News, link):

"Turkey's interior ministry says that 123 migrants being held at a repatriation center in Istanbul have fled in the chaos that ensued after a fire broke out.

The ministry said in a statement that Saturday's fire was set by some of the migrants.

All rooms were vacated and the inmates were brought to an assembly area, from where 123 people fled during the ensuing chaos."

UK:-FRANCE: Charities criticise Home Office for UK ban on teenage refugees (Third Force News, link):

"Charities have hit out at the Home Office after it revealed most unaccompanied children over the age of 12 will not be allowed to enter the UK from the demolished Calais 'Jungle' refugee camp.

Representatives from Citizens UK, Calais Action, Refugee Action and Help Refugees say the government is breaking its promises after guidance was issued which means unaccompanied teenage refugees who do not have family in the UK and are from countries other than Syria and Sudan will not be allowed entry except in exceptional circumstances.

The guidance on how to implement the Dubs Amendment – passed by Lord Alf Dubs in April this year – that committed the government to taking 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees, means that children as young as 13 and 14 from countries such as Afghanistan, Yemen and Eritrea will be barred from being transferred to Britain."

See: Government must not backtrack on commitment to protect refugee children from Calais (Refugee Action, link) and: Home Office Guidance: Implementation of section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 in France (pdf): contains the new eligibility criteria.

POLAND-BELARUS: A road to nowhere for asylum-seekers

"On 2-5 October 2016, we conducted a monitoring visit as representatives of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in order to investigate the situation at the Brzesc-Terespol (Brest-Terespol) border crossing between Belarus and Poland. The purpose of our monitoring was threefold: (1) Uncovering the general situation of those of the foreign nationals present in Brest who express intention to seek international protection in Poland, and specifically the scale of the phenomenon, types of problems and aid actions taken on-site; (2) Observation of access to the procedure of filing an application for international protection at the Terespol border crossing point; (3) Conducting interviews with foreign nationals present in Brest with the purpose of exploring the expressed reasons for them seeking international protection and their experiences in contacts with Polish Border Guard (Straz Graniczna)."

See: A road to nowhere (Helsinki Foundation, link) and the report: A road to nowhere. The account of a monitoring visit at the Brest-Terespol border crossing between Poland and Belarus (link to pdf)

And see: Inaccessible? Polish asylum procedure at the border crossing between Poland and Belarus (ECRE, link)

BULGARIA: Helsinki Committee report on the detention of migrants and possible alternatives

A new report by the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee examines the detention of migrants and possible alternatives: "The purpose of this report is making an analysis of the efficiency of the national practice in applying administrative detention of foreign nationals and the potential new alternatives to detention which, when put in place, would both improve the efficiency of immigration control and lower its financial and human costs."

The report: Bulgarian Helsinki Committee: Program for Legal Protection of Refugees and Migrants: Detention Mapping Report (pdf)

EU: Civil liberties committee: more funding for "on-going migration, refugee and security crisis" needed

"The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs calls on the Committee on Budgets, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution...

Acknowledges that the financial impact of the current internal security crises, as well as of the humanitarian and migratory challenges, were not accounted for when the current MFF was adopted in 2013... Emphasises that, even with the systematic mobilisation of the totality of the Flexibility Instrument under heading 3 in the coming years, the financial resources available will not be sufficient to tackle the increased needs; considers as essential, therefore, a fair distribution of funding according to priorities, in full transparency and accountability".

See: OPINION of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on the mobilisation of the Flexibility Instrument to finance immediate budgetary measures to address the on-going migration, refugee and security crisis (2016/2120(BUD)) (pdf)

And: European Parliament Legislative Observatory: Mobilisation of the Flexibility Instrument: financing immediate budgetary measures to address the ongoing migration, refugee and security crisis (link). The report to be drawn up by the Committee on Budgets is expected to be the subject of a plenary vote on 30 November.

EU: Draft Conclusions on the integration of third-country nationals legally residing in the EU

The Council is drawing up a set of conclusions on the integration of legally-residing third-country nationals in the EU, as a follow up to the Commission's recent Action Plan on the topic. See: Draft Conclusions of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States on the integration of third-country nationals legally residing in the EU (14096/16, LIMITE, 10 November 2016, pdf)


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17.11.16)

Many arrested after fires break out in and around Chios refugee, migrant camp (, link):


"Greek riot police forces detained several people at a refugee and migrant processing camp located in the area of Souda,on the eastern Aegean island of Chios, late Wednesday, after fires broke out on the camp and the vicinity."

But on the other hand Are You Syrious reports (link): Greece: Refugee camp in Chios attacked:

"Volunteers report 60 fascists descended onto the Souda camp from both sides, attacking refugees with fireworks and rocks. Many volunteers and refugees were arrested inside the camp, with refugees reporting incidents of police brutality. 4 to 5 people were forced to go to the hospital, a,d one man got his scull fractured by a thrown rock.

Yesterday night, a senior member of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party held a speech on the refugee crisis on Chios and an anti-fascist demonstration took place against the presence of Golden Dawn on the island."

Migrant crisis: Belgium withdraws its experts from Greece (Brussels Times, link):

"Shots against asylum offices on Lesbos

The Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Theo Francken (N-VA), has decided to withdraw the Belgian experts present on the Greek islands due to the deterioration of the security situation. According to Het Nieuwsblad and De Standaard (16 November), he has called for urgent action by the Greek authorities.

In Lesbos, migrants fired shots at the European asylum offices because of the slowness of the proceedings. Staff is also daily threatened. Theo Francken has therefore decided to repatriate dozens of Belgian experts.

Francken requested changes to ensure better working conditions on the spot. He also demanded that asylum procedures, as well as deportations to Turkey, should be speeded up. Unless these conditions are met, the Belgian employees will not return."

EU-AFGHANISTAN "DEAL": NGOs Concerned About EU-Afghanistan Deal (pdf):

"The NGOs noted that:

The agreement may violate the principle of non-refoulement, and may hinder the protection against collective expulsions and the right to asylum;

The deal between EU and Afghanistan may cause an increase in returns of children with their families and unaccompanied minors;

The EU is wrongly presenting Afghanistan as a ‘safe country’ for return, whereas the situation on the ground is still dangerous, “as provinces such as Helmand and Kunduz fall into the hands of armed groups yet again.”

The open letter was signed, among others, by Médecins du monde, Save the Children, International Federation for Human Rights, Amnesty International, European Council on Refugees and Exiles, Emergency, Terre des Hommes, Pro Asyl."

Are You Syrious (16.11.16)

At least 240 died in the Mediterranean this week

"Reuters reports at least 240 refugees died in the Mediterranean this week while another 580 people were pulled from overcrowded boats."

Situation in Bosnia

"Bosnia remains one of the countries in the region that was not part of the so called Balkan route, but this changed with the tightening of the EU borders. However, even the limited number of people who entered the country are not receiving protection they are entitled to.

All the refugees who are found by the police are forcibly taken into the Centre for immigration where they are investigated, and while they stay inside, closely watched by the police. The center is of semi-open type."

Italy: Refugees evicted in Rome

"Baobab Experience says that refugees were yet again evicted, this time from Piazzale Spadolini. They were also threatened by police, with officers saying “Don’t dare building another camp in the area because we’re going to throw everything away and you’re going get into trouble”, “we have the order from the police headquarters to evacuate you, from now on, in every place you’re going to be”, “we’re not going to let you fuck around with us”."

Germany and Sweden meet over response to refugee crisis (, lnk):

"As asylum seekers continue to stream to their countries, the leaders of Germany and Sweden were to meet Tuesday to discuss the need for a European Union-wide response to the refugee crisis.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven have both called for a coordinated and mandatory system for the redistribution of asylum seekers within the EU.

Germany, along with Sweden and Austria, has also requested more help from neighbouring countries to cope with the throngs of people. "

FRONTEX: Record number of migrants reached Italy in October (Press release, link):

"Nearly 27 500 migrants reached the Italian shores in October, the highest monthly number ever recorded in the Central Mediterranean and more than twice as many as in the previous month.

A key reason for the unprecedented number was improved weather that followed relatively poor weather conditions in September. Encouraged by this, people smugglers crammed even more migrants onto unseaworthy boats before the winter weather sets in, leading to a very high number of deaths.

There were 127 bodies recovered in the Central Mediterranean region in October and likely many more drowned."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (16.11.16)

Right-wing asylum-related attacks rising in Germany (Daily Sabah, link):


"More than 450 violent attacks on German politicians and aid workers by right-wing extremist groups were registered this year, German police reported, indicating a surge in the country's emboldened xenophobic right wing."

Are You Syrious (15.11.16, link)

Greece: Numbers: Today’s registrations: Lesvos 48, Chios 10, Samos 16, Leros 38

"With todays registrations, the number of new registrations in November rose above 1000 (1055). This includes: 418 registratons on Lesvos, 95 on Chios, 274 on Samos, 131 on Leros, 39 on Kos, 11 on Rhodes, and 87 on Kastellorizo (Megisti).

While Samos has seen the most arrivals in the last month, this month (in November), it’s Leros island that is seeing the greatest number of new arrivals.

There have been 1055 recorded new guests only on the Aegean islands. The total number throughout Greece rose from 61.327 (1/11) to 61.907 today (15/11). Moreover, since 1/11, there have been 4 deportations to Turkey and 190 voluntary returns."

Samos hotels refuse to take refugees from flooded camp: Choosing tourists over refugees

"Rain flooded a refugee camp on Samos. On Samos, the association of hoteliers on Monday said it will turn down applications by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to house camp residents whose tents were destroyed by rain. Hoteliers’ association head Kostas Kyriazis told Kathimerini he had received an ultimatum from tour operators to “choose between tourists and migrants.”

France: Protesters stormed Brittany migrant centre

"An anti-migrant demonstration in the Brittany village of Arzon degenerated on Monday night when police were forced to fire tear gas after protesters kicked down the door of a centre where young migrants were being lodged.

A number of protesters were arrested after forcing their way into the centre, regional newspaper Ouest-France reported."

European MIgration Network: Network: Resettlement and Humanitarian Admission Programmes in Europe – what works? (pdf) and The Return of Rejected Asylum Seekers: Challenges and Good Practices (pdf)

Greece: Overcrowded islands on the brink of uncontrollable strife (, link):

"The islands of the eastern Aegean with populations of refugees and migrants who have arrived since March are at risk of increased conflict, according to local observers who are warning that the situation on Greece’s overcrowded islands is “dangerous and could get out of control at any moment.”

Between Tuesday morning and last night, 112 refugees and migrants arrived from Turkey, boosting their total number on the islands to 16,194.

Of these, 6,154 are on Lesvos, 4,144 on Chios, 2,686 on Samos, 2,004 on Kos, 915 on Leros and 285 on Rhodes.

Tensions were further stoked Tuesday on Chios, when Ilias Kasidiaris, a senior member of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, addressed a rally presenting his proposals with regard to the refugee crisis."

Migrants scuffle with police on Serbian border (DW, link):

"A group of migrants was stopped by police as they attempted to cross from Serbia to Croatia on Monday. Migrants have become increasingly frustrated as Balkan borders remain closed."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15.11.16)

EU: The European Parliament want a "humanitarian visa" - the Council and the European Commission are opposed: Regulation on the Union Code on visas (Visa Code) (recast) (First reading) (LIMITE doc no: 14262-16, pdf): State of play:


"1) the Council and the Commission want to stick to the recast rules (possibility for the co-legislators to amend only the parts highlighted in grey in the Commission's proposal). However, as the EP has tabled amendments concerning the white and the grey parts, the Rapporteur pleaded during the last trilogues for a pragmatic approach and advocated widening the scope of the recast exercise.

2) the humanitarian visa: EP strongly insists to include this element and considers that it would be the key added value of the proposed Regulation...

 At the last trilogue on 11 October 2016, views remained strongly opposed regarding in particular the issue of the humanitarian visa...

The humanitarian visa is the main outstanding issue in the file and constitutes at the same time a red line for the EP, the Member States and the Commission.." [emphasis added]

See also: External processing of applications for international protection in the EU (EU Law Analysis, link)

EU: Council of the European Union: First Progress Report on the Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on Migration (pdf): Contains the admission that:

"More concrete progress has been made in the recent months than previously achieved over many years, including on return and readmission."

Is this an admission that 11 years of GAMM (Global Approach to Migration and Mobility), which is not mentioned at all, has been a failure?

Greece: Conditions Worsening In Samos (News That Moves, link):

"The living conditions for migrants and refugees on the Greek island of Samos are getting harder at seriously overcrowded camps after they were flooded by recent heavy rains. As of November 14, according to official data 2,760 people are hosted in Samos, where the capacity of organized camps is 850."

Are You Syrious (14.11.16, link)

State of emergency in Samos camp, UNHCR states

"camps in Greek islands are severely overcrowded. This situation prompted UNHCR to react, or more to the point, plead with authorities and the EU that this is unbearable and unnecessary. They are particularly concerned with the situation on Samos where the official capacity is 850, but they have received 2000 people. They have issued an appeal for urgent action to address the “severe deterioration of the living conditions of refugees and migrants on Samos.” adding that “Hundreds of migrants have been left in “small camping tents out in the open...

March of hope

"Today people were still protesting near the border between Serbia and Croatia. We have written extensively on it yesterday and the situation is still pretty much the same. Refugees were protesting at Croatian border (Location 45.15378, 19.1770.) and by the reports from the field, Police were aggressively extinguish one small source of warmth even though the temperature is below zero..."

Hungary: Less and less people are being let through Hungarian border

"As situation in camps on the border of Serbia and Hungary gets worse due to the drop of the temperature, Hungarian authorities have decided that Fewer and fewer refugees admitted through to Hungary. Between November 3 and November 6, Hungarian authorities admitted only 20 asylum after allowing around 30 people per day previously."

Bulgaria: Fascists are knocking on the door

"The fascist candidate in Bulgaria’s presidential election has taken 15% of the vote?—?sharply up on previous elections?—?and taken third place.

Bulgaria’s presidential election was somewhat overshadowed by that in the US this week?—?the country of just seven million people is the poorest in the EU. But the electoral rise of Bulgaria’s fascists is still worrying, especially as the country’s parliamentary fascist organisations are closely linked with the armed paramilitary groups that are “hunting” refugees at the country’s borders."

UK: Missing People: Heading back to harm: A study on trafficked and unaccompanied children going missing from care in the UK (pdf):

"The plight of trafficked, unaccompanied and separated children is complex and underlined by a myriad of causes. The more research that is carried out, the better the care and protection we can provide to at-risk children and the closer we will come to creating an environment where children feel safe and protected."

CoE: Migrants in limbo in Europe have the right to live in dignity (Commissioner for Human Rights, link):

"In some countries, they call them “invisible persons”, in others – “ghosts”. Throughout Europe there are many migrants, primarily rejected asylum seekers, who live in a state of protracted legal and social limbo without any long-term prospects. The authorities refuse to regularize them or to grant them any kind of legal status, but often, they cannot go back to their countries of origin for various reasons, most often, fear of persecution.

These desperate persons tend to live in substandard conditions, completely excluded from society, lacking residence permits and the means to meet basic needs such as shelter, food, health or education. In essence, they are deprived of any opportunity to live in dignity."

Migrant resettlement ban to be resubmitted by Hungary’s Jobbik (New Europe, link):

"A proposed constitutional amendment banning the resettlement of migrants in Hungary will be resubmitted to the parliament by the far-right opposition party Jobbik.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, the amendment was submitted by Prime Minister Viktor Orban but fell short of the needed two-thirds majority in parliament last week, largely because Jobbik abstained from voting. But the party’s chairman, Gabor Vona, told reporters he planned to resubmit the amendment, verbatim."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14.11.16)

EU: Turkey is not safe for children: 56 MEPs call on EU to stop sending back migrants


A letter signed by 56 MEPs addressed to numerous officials from the European Commission, the UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration highlights the abysmal educational and living standards for children in Turkey and calls for "the cessation of readmissions and returns of migrants to Turkey, especially of vulnerable categories such as children." Of particular concern is the fact that many Syrian children are employed in Turkish textile factories where they "work in painful conditions, in very close contact with a wide range of toxic chemicals and other hazardous substances such as hydrochloric acid."

See: Letter concerning the situation of refugee children in Turkey (pdf)

EU: Salzburg Forum: "unprecedented and uncontrolled migratory flow" must not happen again

A recent statement by the Salzburg Forum, a central European security initiative, emphasises that the "unprecedented and uncontrolled migratory flow along the Eastern Mediterranean-Western Balkans route, which Europe has faced over the last two years, must not be repeated in the future." The "priority goals" for achieving this are findings ways to "strengthen the migration management and the control of the EU external border," and ensuring "the full implementation of the EU-Turkey statement."

See: Salzburg Forum Ministerial Conference, Prague (14274/16, 11 November 2016, pdf)

FRANCE: What Can We Learn from the Existence and Eviction of the Calais Jungle? (Novara Media, link):

"To challenge the mainstream media portrayal of the Jungle as only a muddy, desperate environment without basic facilities or official authority, it is important to highlight what was built there, and to recognise the strength, resilience, and determination of people to create homes, an economy, and hold onto their autonomy in the worst possible conditions.

There have been refugee camps in the Calais region since the early 1990s, and after each eviction people have always come back, to rebuild and start again. Calais and Jungle residents alike are unanimous in the belief there will always be migration at the border, that people will continue to arrive and try to cross to the UK. In light of this, the eviction does not appear to be a sustainable solution; rather, with the upcoming elections in France, this reflects on political, not practical interests. the Jungle comes to an end it is also crucial that we do not just write it off as a terrible by-product of EU border policies, but rather see what can be learnt from the camp and how can this can be integrated into the way Europe supports refugees and asylum seekers."

EU: European Agency for Asylum: Council Presidency compromise text for five chapters of proposed Regulation

"Delegations will find in Annex Presidency compromise suggestions for Chapters 7 and 12 to be examined at the meeting of JHA Counsellors on 16 November. Changes to the previous text, as it appeared in doc 13306/16 are indicated in bold and […]."

See: NOTE from: Presidency to: Delegations (14293/16, 11 November 2016, pdf)

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (12-13.11.16)

ITALY-SUDAN MOU: ASGI/Italy: Memorandum of understanding between the Italian public security department and the Sudanese national police. A reading guide (pdf):


"The repatriation of around 40 Sudanese refugees on the past 24 August 2016 - taken from Ventimiglia, transported to the Hotspot in Taranto (Apulia) and then led, always by force, to the airport terminal in Turin - has uncovered the existence of an agreement between Italy and Sudan which has been vigorously criticised by the Tavolo Nazionale Asilo [a consultation group on asylum comprising Acli, Arci, Asgi, Caritas italiana, Casa dei diritti sociali, Centro Astalli, Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati, Comunità di S. Egidio, Federazione delle Chiese Evangeliche in Italia, Medici per i Diritti Umani, Medici Senza Frontiere, Senza Confine].

In a reply handled through an interview with [the newspaper] Avvenire on 29 September, the chief of police, prefect Gabrielli, explained that the Memorandum in question is merely one of 267 agreements underwritten by Italy with other countries for the purpose of perfecting police cooperation and, hence, it does not require any parliamentary oversight....

The Italian-Sudanese memorandum entails the distortion of the guarantees provided by the legal order in the field of returns, which are already weak as things stand."

Golden Dawn rallies on Chios, Lesvos fuel concerns (, link):

"Rallies scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday by the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party on the the eastern Aegean islands of Chios and Lesvos have placed local authorities on alert, fearing outbreaks of violence as counter-demonstrations are also expected to take place.

According to flyers distributed across both islands by party loyalists, the events will discuss Golden Dawn’s proposals on the refugee crisis."

Erdogan: “If 3 million refugees march to Europe, the EU will not know what to do” (Keep TalkIng Greece, link):

"The choleric man in Bosporus, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdodan fired another threat at the European Union. He said that Turkey currently hosts 3 million refugees and that if they were to march to Europe, the EU would not know what to do with them."

Alongside Amnesty International - 44 NGOs sign up in supportlongside Amnesty International - 44 NGOs sign up in support

Associazione Diritti e Frontiere (ADIF):

"We address the following appeal to all the associations, social and political forces and sections of civil society which consider the attack against Amnesty International unacceptable and intend to continue to advance any effort to shed light on what is happening to the migrants who arrive in Italy."

Barbara Spinelli MEP writes to the President [of the Council of Ministers], Renzi: an independent inquiry into ill-treatment in hotspots is necessary

Barbara Spinelli MEP has sent a letter to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi - and in copy to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker and to the Interior Minister, Angelino Alfano, asking to know the truth about the ill-treatment in Italian hotspots reported in the Amnesty International report published on the 3 November 2016.

See also: AI: Hotspot Italy report (pdf) and Statewatch Viewpoint: In support of the Amnesty International report: Other stories of violence in the hospot system

Calais update: confusion and mistreatment continue (Doctors of the world, link):

"It’s only been two weeks since the Calais camp demolition, but already the system to house refugees at “reception and orientation” centres (Les Centres d'accueil et Orientation, CAOs) across France is failing to meet basic human needs.

We’re hearing reports that refugees are unable to access healthcare and aren’t being provided with enough food: sometimes only one meal per day. Many organisations responsible for the CAOs have not been trained to work with refugees, which is a concern as people’s mental health could easily be worsened if they are not treated professionally."

Refugees struggling with mental health (, link):

"Refugees and migrants stranded in camps across Greece suffer from increased instances of mental illness, according to a report, Greece in 2016: Vulnerable People Left Behind, published by the international aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders).

In its report, the Paris-based humanitarian group said that refugees in Greece suffer from conditions ranging from insomnia and persistent headaches to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychosomatic problems.

“Sleeping disorders, a loss of appetite, an inability to concentrate and depression-related reactions are just a few of the symptoms that refugees display, ” Christina Sideri, a Medecins Sans Frontieres psychologist in Malakasa, told the Athens News Agency, adding that older people and children suffer from back pains and stomach aches."

The Refugee Crisis and Our Connected Histories of Colonialism and Empire (link) by Gurminder K Bhambra, University of Warwick.


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (11.11.16)

FRANCE: Paris opens migrant centre after clearing street camp (RFI, link):


"Paris opened its first reception centre for migrants and refugees in Thursday, a month later than expected. Temporary shelter and basic services will be provided.

The "humanitarian centre" is in a disused railway yard on a busy boulevard in northern Paris. It can lodge up to 400 people and take in 50-80 new arrivals each day.

The yellow and white inflatable reception hall stands in stark contrast to the concrete, industrial zone that surrounds it.

Behind the reception hall, a 10,000-square-metre hangar contains dormitories, bathrooms, a canteen and a games area.

Only men can stay in this centre; another for women and families is to open in January, while unaccompanied minors will be sent to existing children's shelters in Paris."

Asylum in the EU: European Parliament briefing on renewed reception Directive

A new briefing by the European Parliamentary Research Service examines the "recast" Directive on reception conditions for applicants for international protection, setting out the context; the requirements of existing legislation; the changes that the new Directive would introduce; and the views of the Parliament, various NGOs and other "stakeholders".

See: Briefing: Reception of asylum-seekers – recast Directive (pdf)

EU: Europol press release: More than 100 arrests in major international migrant smuggling operation (pdf):

"On 21 October 2016, the Spanish National Police, together with the Polish Border Police, joined forces with Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC) in Operation Kolso to dismantle a transnational criminal organisation implicated in the smuggling of Ukrainian citizens into the United Kingdom and Ireland.

This extensive investigation was initiated in autumn 2015 as a result of bilateral cooperation between the Polish Border Guard and the Spanish National Police, but soon developed into an international investigation with links in several countries. In 2016, the operation concluded with more than 100 individuals being arrested for forgery of administrative documents and the facilitation of illegal immigration."

The new European Migrant Smuggling Centre, set up as part of the EU's response to the large-scale arrival of migrants and refugees over the last two years, has been keen to promote its work. The press release on the Poland-Spain-Europol operation follows one issued yesterday: Action day in the Balkans: Europol supports Hungarian Police (pdf)

Turkey vows to extend state of emergency ‘until threat is fully eradicated’ (Hurriyet, link):

"The Turkish government has signaled a long-term implementation of the state of emergency, with EU Minister Ömer Çelik saying it will continue throughout the struggle against coup plotters and describing it as the only mechanism to “fully eradicate the threat posed by the Gülenists.”

“We have no luxury to take risks and leave the issue be resolved on its own. It’s clear that we should continue until we are sure they are fully rooted out. The state of emergency is an essential mechanism to this end. You can’t fight them with any other mechanism,” Çelik told journalists accompanying him on his trip to Athens on Nov. 2 and 3.

Ankara declared a state of emergency right after the July 15 coup attempt and extended it after the initial three months. The existing state of emergency will expire in late January 2017, but Çelik’s words indicate the government’s plan to extend it for an indefinite period of time."

What Happens After Deportation? Human Stories Behind the Closed Doors of Europe (Border Criminologies, link):

"It is important that what happens after deportation does not go unnoticed. A better examination of the human costs of forced returns and the political responsibilities of European states for post-deportation risks is called for. Only by listening to the human stories behind the closed doors of Europe, can we engage in an informed discussion about the security effects of European migration policies in a comprehensive manner."

When It Comes to the Refugee Crisis, the Numbers Game Matters (Refugees Deeply, link):

"As part of our “This Age of Migration” series, Paul Currion, a former aid worker focused on Afghans returning from Pakistan in the early 2000s, argues that better data and improved understanding of statistics are essential for an informed debate on the refugee crisis."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10.11.16)

Statewatch Viewpoint: In support of the Amnesty International report: Other stories of violence in the hotspot system (pdf): by Alessandra Sciurba:


"When I read the “Hotspots Italy” report, which I knew was due to be published because I was part of one of the groups that was interviewed to produce it, I was speechless because I recognised exactly the same details which I knew so well, which I had not specifically spoken to Amnesty about and which, in general, I had not found the way to make known more widely."

Greece: Tensions on Samos after clashes between residents, migrants (, link):

"The tension was palpable in the town of Vathi on the island of Samos on Wednesday, in the aftermath of clashes between migrants and local youths late Tuesday."

Are You Syrious (9.11.16, link):

One step forth, two back: Serbia systematically ignores Human Rights

"For most of the refugees Serbia is meant to be a station, not a new home. But with around 6200 refugees there estimated by UNHCR as of 2. November 2016, the people stuck there are facing more and more problems. This is a consequence of the stricter border controls in Hungary which have been implemented in the beginning of July and left the protection seekers stranded in Serbia, which obviously was not prepared to host that much people. One example: In the end of June UNHCR reported agitatedly, that for the first time since February there have been more than 2000 people. Today the number is three times higher...."

Hungary allowing half as many people the right to apply for asylum in the transit zones

"Volunteers from the Sirius.Help team, who have been actively present on the Serbo-Hungarian border warn about recent changes in numbers and conditions of crossing the Hungarian border from Serbia. Reportedly, from November 2nd, the official Hungary will only allow half as many refugees to apply for asylum in the transit zones at the border. Up until now 105 people a week were able to apply, 15 per day. This number now decreased to 10 a day, and reportedly, from now on they won’t accept applications on weekends, meaning that only 50 people get a chance in a week time...."

GERMANY: 27 years after - more walls?!

"In the heart of the most refugee welcoming country in Europe a wall has been built. Local politicians have expressed anger at a sound barrier built between a new refugee shelter and residential homes in the Munich district of Neuperlach, DW reports. A 100 meters (330 feet) long and four metres high wall made of massive gray rocks and held together by metal wires, it has sparked outrage among the locals and politicians."

Greece: Refugees & migrants set fire in Chios hot spot, protest conditions in Samos (Keep Talking Greece, link);

"For one more time, frustrated refugees and migrants stuck in the hot spots of the islands of Chios and Samos launched protests. In the hot spot Souda on Chios, the protest started Wednesday noon when young camp residents having block the street leading to the camp with garbage bins, which they later set on fire."

What it will take for President Trump to deport millions and build the wall (Washington Post, link):

"If Donald Trump sticks to the immigration pledges that helped drive his presidential election victory, he will begin a clampdown on illegal immigration that would be unprecedented in American history and would require an exorbitantly expensive — and logistically difficult — operation to remove millions from the country while fortifying the border."

And see: Europe's leaders cannot hide their nerves amid Trump congratulations (Guardian, link):

"In Europe, the uncertainty bubbled up beneath the ritual dispatch of congratulations. The German defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, gave her gut reaction soon after the outcome of the election became clear, admitting her surprise....

the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, framed her congratulations in the conditional, suggesting Berlin would get on with Washington as long as it continued to share core values.

“Germany and America are linked by values such as democracy, freedom, respect for the rule of law and the dignity of men, regardless of origin, skin colour, religion, gender or sexual orientation,” Merkel said. “On the basis of these values, I offer US president-elect Donald Trump our close cooperation.”"


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (9.11.16)

Greece: Refugees & migrants set fire in Chios hot spot, protest conditions in Samos (Keep Talking Greece, link);


"For one more time, frustrated refugees and migrants stuck in the hot spots of the islands of Chios and Samos launched protests. In the hot spot Souda on Chios, the protest started Wednesday noon when young camp residents having block the street leading to the camp with garbage bins, which they later set on fire."

European Commission (9.11.16):

- Relocation and Resettlement: Member States need to sustain efforts to deliver on commitments (Press release, pdf):

"Today the Commission adopted its latest progress report on the EU's emergency relocation and resettlement schemes, assessing actions taken since 28 September 2016." [emphasis added]

"The Commission says that "the lower number of transfers in October (779, of which 549 from Greece and 230 from Italy) reflects in particular the low number of pledges made during the month of August, which has had a knock on effect in terms of lower transfer rates".

- Seventh report on relocation and resettlement (COM 720, pdf)
- Annex 1: Greece (pdf): Relocations: Pledged:11,305, Carried out: 5,376 and Places needed: 63,302
- Annex 2: Italy (pdf): Relocations: Pledged: 4,954, Carried out: 1,549 and Places needed: 34,953
- Annex 3: Resettlement (pdf)
- Relocation and Resettlement - State of Play (pdf)

Czech Republic: Interior min: EU officials' words on CzechRep, migrants are scandalous (Prague Dsily Monitor, link):

"Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec yesterday labelled scandalous the words of some EU politicians who have described the Czechs and the other Visegrad Four (V4) states as unreliable in tackling migration, and he warned that such attacks might foment anti-EU moods in the states concerned.

"In recent days, some European politicians and also EC officials have intensified their efforts to describe the Czech Republic and other V4 states as countries that fail to fulfil their duties in tackling illegal migration. The offensive includes open extortion, or threats to reduce the subsidies we receive from structural funds, unless we start accepting migrants from Italy and Greece at a pace that would make the two countries satisfied,"

Greece: Golden Dawn says Trump win a victory for ethnically 'clean' states (, link):

"Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party hailed Donald Trump's election as president of the United States, calling it a victory against "illegal immigration" and in favor of ethnically "clean" nations."

Shocking CCTV footage shows refugee being attacked with bricks and fireworks in Springburn (Glasgow LIve, link):

!A Zimbabwean refugee living in Springburn was subjected to a horrific attack this week and pelted with lit fireworks and bricks outside his home.

The attack was caught on CCTV installed by the victim himself at the property.

Able Miller, 62, who stood as a member of parliament in his home country, came to Scotland when seeking a safe haven in 2002 after he was shot and burned by political rivals."

Greece: Gov’t planning new migrant center for Chios (, link):

"A crisis meeting chaired by State Minister Alekos Flambouraris on Tuesday about the problem of overcrowding at the migrant reception center on Chios yielded a decision to create a new facility on the eastern Aegean island despite objections by local residents....

Currently some 4,211 migrants are being housed at the Souda facility, nearly four times its maximum capacity of 1,100. The pressure on the center keeps building as more migrants arrive from Turkey daily, sometimes more than 100 per day."

Juncker tells Turks to blame Erdogan if visa-free deal fails (euractiv, link):

"The European Union stepped up criticism yesterday (8 November) of Turkey’s crackdown on opponents and alleged plotters behind a failed coup, drawing a sharp retort from Ankara, which accused Europe of failing to grasp the threats it faces.

But neither seems ready to take the kind of active reprisal that might completely damage a delicate relationship of mutual dependence. Brussels needs Ankara to keep stopping migrants reaching Europe and Turkey, seeing its currency hit record lows on instability fears, wants to keep access to European markets."

Syrian families held in Greece sue Ireland, EU over rights breaches (Irish Times, link):

"Case says migration deal, which allows for return of migrants to Turkey, goes against European law .

Members of two Syrian families detained in Greece after fleeing the beseiged city of Aleppo have taken an unprecedented action in the Irish courts against the European Council, EU and Ireland over alleged breaches of their human rights.

The core claim of the families is that the EU-Turkey deal on migration agreed on March 18th by the European Council - the 28 EU Heads of State including Taoiseach Enda Kenny - was made outside the EC’s powers and breaches EU law. The deal allows Greece return to Turkey “all new irregular migrants” arriving there since March 20th. "

European Parliament Study: Smart Borders Revisited: An assessment of the Commission’s revised Smart Borders proposal (pdf):

"This study, commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, appraises the revised legislative proposals (‘package’) on EU smart borders adopted by the European Commission on 6 April 2016. It provides a general assessment of the package, focusing in particular on costs, technical feasibility and overall proportionality, and a fundamental rights check of the initiative."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (8.11.16)

Hungary migrant ban narrowly fails in parliamentary vote (Guardian, link):


"Vote on proposal to bar migrants from being resettled in the country falls just short of two-thirds majority needed.

Hungary’s parliament has narrowly failed to pass a plan proposed by the prime minister, Viktor Orbán, to ban the resettlement of migrants in the country.

The proposed constitutional amendment got 131 votes in the 199-seat parliament – a majority of 65.8% but just short of the two-thirds majority needed to make the change. Opposition parties boycotted the vote."

Greece: Ministry statistics of refugee "guests" (7.11.16, pdf)

On the islands: Number of refugee "guests": 16,187, Capacity 8,204 and 98 arrvials by 0730.

The Swiss go for British-style standoff with Brussels over EU migration (New Europe, link):

"The sovereigntist right wins this battle, but at what cost?

Switzerland is moving towards a British-style confrontation with the EU after the Swiss Parliament moves to give the Swiss preferential access in its labour market over EU citizens.

The EU has made clear that Switzerland cannot gain access to the Single Market without agreeing to free movement of people. 25% of the residents of Switzerland are foreign nationals. Bern hopes it is possible to broker a deal under which a current resident of Switzerland – Swiss or EU citizen – will have preferential access to its job market.....

The Swiss Parliament decided on Monday to give Swiss citizens preference in its labour market, succumbing to pressure from the nationalist right. Under the new law, companies will declare job vacancies to authorities before and local job centres of any vacancies. If they hire foreigners, they may be made to account for their “failure” to hire locally. The rule is supposed to apply only in sectors with higher than the average unemployment."

Why Cooperating with Libya On Migration Could Damage the EU’s Standing (HRW, link):

"The EU and Italy have a hidden agenda in training Libyan naval forces to intercept smugglers.

Italy and the Netherlands began training Libyan coast guard and navy officers on Italian and Dutch navy ships in the Mediterranean earlier in October. The training is part of the European Union’s anti-smuggling operation in the central Mediterranean with the goal of enhancing Libya’s “capability to disrupt smuggling and trafficking… and to perform search-and-rescue activities.”

What might sound like a straightforward and even laudable initiative is actually fraught with legal and ethical questions."

Are You Syrious (7.11.16, link):


"There were 98 new arrivals on Greek islands today. This adds to the number reached this weekend with over 15 000 people stuck in five “hot spots” in east Aegean islands. The numbers are well over the staggering 15 000 count which was reported in the news and, according to official data there are now 16 187 people in the camps on the islands. These camps became overcrowded long time ago, with the capacity for 8 204 people they now hold almost a double of that number."

No Border Kitchen Lesvos reports on increased repression on the ground

"The repression detailed in report is much felt on the ground, with reports of police violence coming from Lesvos where No border kitchen claims that they are being harassed more and more in last couple of weeks by the police and even physically attacked (by plain clothes person who would have not identify himself as police). They even reported that police entered into the new social center and picked up everybody that was not “European looking” and brought them to the police station. Still, No border kitchen says “Luckily everybody got out of the police station and Camp Moria quite fast and despite the repression our work goes on."

German legal system under pressure

"Pressure is piling up on the legal system in Berlin. While in 2015 they dealt with 2343 asylum requests/legal processes, the first 10 months of this year already mark 6908 cases. Lately, most of the asylum seekers were only provided with the subsidiary protection. A judge told Tagesspiegel these processes could take years and burden the justice system. The refugees have no costs in the process, either Berlin covers it of BAMF, depending on the outcome. Due to this, they predict no family reunification until March 2018."

EU-Turkey migrant deal risks collapse, warns Austria (euobserver, link):

"The EU's migrant swap deal with Turkey risks collapse amid a sharp upsurge of tensions between the two sides, Austria's defence minister has warned.

Hans Peter Doskozil urged the EU to develop contingency plans. "As the deal between the EU and Turkey is turning more and more fragile and the first cracks are becoming visible, we must make sure that we are ready to act," he told reporters on Monday (7 November)."

IOM: 2,026 migrants returned to homelands in October (, link);

"Thousands of migrants have left Greece and returned to their home countries within the framework of an assisted voluntary return and reintegration program operated by the International Organization for Migration, the agency said Monday.

According to the IOM, 2,026 migrants were repatriated in October, bringing the total number of returns so far this year to 15,954.

The majority of those who returned to their homelands were Albanians (1,153), followed by Afghans, Pakistanis, Iraqis, Georgians, Algerians, Iranians and Moroccans."

Europol supported a high level expert meeting in Rome to discuss migrant smuggling (link):

"On 3 November 2016, Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre together with the Italian authorities organised an expert meeting in Rome focusing on migrant smuggling networks operating from North Africa on the Central Mediterranean route....

All participants concluded that effective action against migrant smuggling relies on joint cooperation among origin, transit and destination countries, as well as on a swift information exchange between law enforcement partners. It was also emphasized throughout the session that the timely exchange of information between affected partners could contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon and enable a more efficient response to the rapidly developing situations. To facilitate this, an informal network of experts from the relevant stakeholders is expected to establish under the coordination of the Italian Authorities."

See also: European Migrant Smugling Centre - EMSC (link)

FRA: 4 persistent migration challenges needing urgent action (Fundamental Rights Agency, link):

"Protecting unaccompanied children, tackling violence and hate crime, improving safety in reception centres and more support for local communities; these are four persistent challenges that need addressing urgently, as identified in the latest FRA summary report on migration-related fundamental rights."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (5-6.11.16)

Unaccompanied child asylum-seekers: European Court of Human Rights: Written Submissions on behalf of Statewatch as Third Party Intervenor in the case of Sh.D and others v Greece, F.Y.R.O.M, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia (Application No: 14165/16, pdf): The Statewatch Intervention invites the Court to find that:


"States party to the decision to close the Western Balkans route knew or ought to have known about the continued serious systemic deficiencies in the Greek state in respect of asylum seekers, and particularly in respect of the reception, guardianship and processing of claims of unaccompanied asylum seeking children. Non-admission at the border along the Balkan and neighbouring states of unaccompanied asylum seeking children seeking access to the territory violates non-refoulement obligations under international refugee and human rights law and is incompatible with Article 3, ECHR."

The Intervention finds that:

"In view of the widely reported continuing serious deficiencies and significant delays in practice for reception (and use of prolonged de facto detention), guardianship and access to asylum processes by UN and EU agencies and non-governmental organisations, the Intervener submits that there remains no evidential basis that could lead this Court to reach a different conclusion to that which has prevailed to date, namely that the omissions to date of the Greek authorities in implementing a system of monitoring, supervising, assisting and safeguarding the best interests of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children persist at a level of severity of degrading treatment such as to amount to a breach of the state’s obligation under Article 3, ECHR." and:

"The Intervener therefore submits that while every country has the prerogative to control its borders, action by the Balkan states and neighbouring states to push back at the border or reject refugees and asylum-seekers based on their nationality and without any possibility of claiming asylum or otherwise having their individual circumstances taken into account violates the nonrefoulement obligations. The direct consequence of the decision to close the West Balkans route is to knowingly expose individuals – and in particular unaccompanied children, acknowledged to be a most vulnerable category of persons - to “the risk of proscribed ill-treatment” 75 in breach of Article 3, ECHR." [emphasis in original]

Denmark seizes thousands in cash from migrants (The, link):

"A controversial Danish law allowing authorities to seize cash and valuables from asylum-seekers has been used on a handful of occasions since coming into force in February, Danish police said on Thursday..

A total of 117,600 kroner (€15,805, $17,525), all of it in cash, had been confiscated, Danish police told AFP in an email.

"When they asked if I had 10,000 kroner, I answered 'yes'," asylum-seeker Ali Abdel Razaq told broadcaster Radio24syv in an interview broadcast on Wednesday, adding that he had been unaware that any cash or valuables above that amount had to be handed over to the authorities.

Soon after, police came knocking on his door at an asylum centre in the small southern town of Bolderslev on October 22nd, forcing him to hand over 8,000 kroner."

German ministry wants African migrants intercepted – report (Observer, link):

"Eliminating ‘the prospect of reaching’ Europe would deter migrants, the ministry is quoted as saying by a German newspaper.

The German interior ministry wants to stop migrants ever reaching Europe’s Mediterranean coast by picking them up at sea and returning them to Africa, the Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported on Sunday.

In what would be a huge shift for a country with one of the most generous asylum policies, the ministry says the European Union should adopt an Australian-style system under which migrants intercepted at sea are sent for processing at camps in third countries.

“The elimination of the prospect of reaching the European coast could convince migrants to avoid embarking on the life-threatening and costly journey in the first place,” the paper quoted a ministry spokeswoman as saying.The German interior ministry wants to stop migrants ever reaching Europe’s Mediterranean coast by picking them up at sea and returning them to Africa, the Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported on Sunday.

Most Calais camp child refugees ‘traumatised and depressed’ (Observer, link)

"Charities warn that the longer children are exposed to uncertainty, the more difficult it will be for them to adjust to normal life.

Nearly all of the children who stayed in the now demolished Calais camp for refugees have a mental health condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder or depression, according to psychiatric assessments of some of those waiting to come to Britain.

Evidence compiled by a psychiatrist for Citizens UK, which is supporting scores of children dispersed around France, suggests that their mental health is deteriorating amid continuing delays over their transfer. Since the demolition of the camp, the charity’s staff report receiving suicidal text messages from the children."

Report of Libyan Coast Guards attacking migrants raises concerns over continued cooperation within Operation Sophia (ECRE, link):

"The allegation that the Libyan Coast Guard violently assaulted a vessel transporting asylum seekers raises strong concerns about the EU’s collaboration with the Libyan navy, which commenced last week as part of the EU’s Operation Sophia.

German NGO Sea Watch reported that during a rescue operation two weeks ago, a rubber dinghy carrying 150 – 160 people was attacked by the Libyan Coast Guard. According to Sea Watch, coast guards were seen hitting migrants and causing the deflation of the vessel. The attack led to the drowning of approximately 30 people. While Sea Watch published pictures of the incident, the Libyan Coast Guard merely confirmed its presence at the scene but denied the alleged attack...."

Austria: EU must prepare borders for end of Turkey migrant deal (DW, link)

"Austria's defense minister has said the European Union's migrant deal with Turkey is dead. The EU must now prepare to strengthen its external borders, he added.... Austria's defense minister has said the European Union's migrant deal with Turkey is dead. The EU must now prepare to strengthen its external borders, he added.

The European Union should bolster its border defenses against another influx of migrants in anticipation of the possible collapse of the bloc's refugee deal with Turkey, Austria's defense minister said Saturday.

"I have always said that the EU-Turkey deal should only be a stop-gap measure until the EU is in the position to effectively protect its external borders and thereby stem the flow of migrants," Hans Peter Doskozil told the German daily "Bild" in an interview.

"The time to organize for that is ever closer," he said, adding that he invited defense ministers from Central European states to Vienna early next week to discuss joint measures and the situation in Turkey."

Greece: Unrest returns to migrant facility on Chios (, link):

"A fresh bout of unrest broke out at one of the reception centers for migrants on the Aegean island of Chios on Friday after heavy rain led to widespread flooding that soaked the tents of many refugee families.

The worsening of the already substandard living conditions for migrants set off a new round of tense scuffles between migrants of different ethnic backgrounds, who are frustrated at delays in the processing of their asylum applications.

Greek government officials have appealed to the European Commission for more asylum experts to accelerate the process on the islands but the additional staff is yet to arrive."

Greece: Samos authorities lose patience with migrant situation (, link):

"Tensions in and around reception centers on the islands of the eastern Aegean are growing, as arrivals of migrants from neighboring Turkey continue, with authorities and residents on Samos planning protests.

In a joint statement, the Municipality of Samos and local business groups complained about the conditions in which migrants are being detained, claiming that it “puts at risk citizens’ safety and social cohesion.”"

Greece: Migration Ministry general secretary confirms resignation (, link):

"Vasilis Papadopoulos confirmed his resignation as Migration Ministry General Secretary on Thursday, following a report in daily Eleftheros Typos published on the same day.

According to the newspaper, Papadopoulos submitted his resignation, his third to date, on October 26, citing the situation on Greek islands due to the increasing numbers of refugees and migrants arriving on Greek islands as the reason behind the move."

Greece Almost 8,000 Waiting For Relocation (News That Moves, link):

"According to new figures (Greek link only) from the Greek Asylum Service, 7,961 asylum seekers currently in Greece and selected for relocation are waiting to be transferred to their European destination country.

Since November 2015, more than 15,300 have applied to be transferred from Greece under the EU relocation program. According to EU data, as of November 3, 5,343 people have been relocated from Greece."

See also: Relocation statistics (pdf)


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (4.11.16)

BULGARIA: Over the Line: Bulgaria Welcomes Refugees With Attack Dogs and Beatings (The Intercept, link):


"Bulgaria’s border police are engaged in a game of questionable legality, both when they force asylum seekers out and when they let them in. They routinely use violence — not only to send particular asylum seekers away, but to make sure that the larger stream of refugees turns elsewhere. Unless the refugees pay.

...The land border between Bulgaria and Turkey is about 160 miles long, and currently only the western half of it is fenced. This side consists of rolling, arid farmland. The unfenced, eastern part spans nearly 50 miles of low, forested mountains whose thick, tall trees are intercut with winding trails. Refugees and smugglers call this “the jungle.”

Sometimes, the smugglers explained, groups of refugees would try to cross through the jungle without paying the police. Sometimes, the smugglers would deliberately not pay, having kept the passengers’ money for themselves. If the passengers were caught crossing without paying, they said, Bulgarian police would always return the group to Turkey, often violently.

That, the two smugglers said, was official policy."

And see: Frontex: Joint Operational Flexible Operational Activities 2015 Land: South Eastern borders operational area: Serious Incident Report: Alleged violation of fundamental rights: censored and uncensored (pdfs)

FRANCE: After Calais, police move in to clear encampments in Paris

"French police begun Friday a major operation to move thousands of migrants who have living on the streets of northeastern Paris, just over one week after thousands more were moved from a larger camp in Calais.

Officers backed by riot police converged early on Friday morning on the streets around Stalingrad subway station, where an estimated 3,000 migrants and refugees had been living rough.

A total of eighty-two buses were used to transport them to eighty different temporary shelters around the French capital."

See: French police clear thousands of migrants living rough on streets of Paris (France 24 link) and: Paris Is the New Calais, With Scores of Migrants Arriving Daily (The New York Times, link): "In a pattern that has not varied for months, the migrants establish themselves on the sidewalks of Paris, their numbers gradually swell over a period of weeks, and then the police come to clear them out."

Migrant crisis: 'Hundreds dead' in shipwrecks off Libya (BBC News, link):

"More than 200 migrants are believed drowned in two shipwrecks off the coast of Libya, migration officials say.

The UN refugee agency was told the news by survivors brought ashore on the Italian island of Lampedusa, spokeswoman Carlotta Sami said.

Twelve bodies have been recovered."

EU: 725 More Mediterranean Migrant Deaths Than This Period Last Year (IOM, link):

"An estimated 725 more migrants have died in the Mediterranean so far in 2016 compared to the same period (January to 4 November) in 2015. This is after 240 migrants went missing and are presumed dead after two shipwrecks on Wednesday (02/11) in the Mediterranean between Libya and Italy.

These latest tragedies bring the grim tally of migrant deaths in 2016 to 4,220, making this already the deadliest year ever recorded. In 2015 some 3,770 migrants and refugees died trying to cross the Mediterranean."

Italians throw party to welcome migrants in Milan (The Washington Post, link):

"More than 1,000 Italians on Tuesday threw a block party featuring a pasta lunch, a brass band and crafts to welcome some 80 migrants to the neighborhood in Milan, contrasting with rising anti-migrant tensions throughout the country including a protest at the barracks the night before.

Shouts of welcome went up as a small contingent of about 30 migrants came out of a recently repurposed army barracks for what was billed as the first welcome party of its kind in Italy."

Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (3.11.16)

Turkey threatens to cancel EU Migration Deal unless “visa-free travel to Turkish citizens by end of the year” (Keep Talking Greece, link):


"Turkey has threatened to end the EU migration deal unless visa-free travel is granted to Turkish citizens this year. But Brussels said Turks will need to get visas until Ankara addresses EU concerns on the rule of law.

Turkey will cancel a migration deal with the European Union if the bloc doesn’t grant visa-free travel to Turkish citizens by the end of the year, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday, a day after a top EU official suggested any visa deal was a long way off."

Long Read: Shipwreck Survivors Stranded by a Faltering Deal (Refugees Deeply, link):

"As an E.U.–Turkey agreement on refugees nears collapse, Preethi Nallu and Iason Athanasiadis report from the Greek island of Lesbos on how the deal never fully stopped the deadly voyages and has left survivors of such tragedies in agonizing limbo."

Greece: Mainland Half Empty, Islands More Than Full (News That Moves, pdf)

CoE: Anti-torture committee critical of treatment and conditions of migrants and refugees in Hungary (link):

"In a report published today, the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) welcomes cooperation of Hungarian authorities during its visit last year to detention centres and police detention facilities for foreigners, but also points out shortcomings.

The committee finds that the majority of detained foreign nationals interviewed stated that they had been treated correctly by police and prison officers or armed guards. However, it also finds that a “considerable number” of foreign nationals complained of ill treatment by police and discovered wanting conditions in some detention centres."

See: CoE: CPT Report (pdf), Summary (pdf) and Government response (pdf)

AI: Italy: Refugees and migrants slapped and subjected to electric shocks to force fingerprinting (Press release, link):

"Police in Italy have subjected refugees and migrants to serious ill-treatment, including beatings, electric shocks – and have even used pliers on one man’s testicles - to force them to be fingerprinted under an EU-sponsored scheme to process refugees and migrants in the country. In some cases, this treatment may amount to torture.

These shocking claims are revealed in a new Amnesty report into the so-called “hotspot approach”, introduced last year and designed to identify and fingerprint newly-arrived refugees and migrants at the point of entry to the EU. The scheme aims to swiftly assess the protection needs of new arrivals and either process their asylum applications or return them to their country of origin."

See: AI: Hotspot Italy report (pdf) and see: Amnesty: Italian police tortured migrants to meet EU target (euobserver, link)

Migrants jump border into Spain’s Ceuta enclave (New Europe, link):

"More than 200 mainly African migrants broke through a barbed-wire border fence to cross into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta from Morocco. They were then rounded up from the hills on the Spanish side of the border on November 1.

According to the United Nations, more than 1,000 people have crossed over the heavily fortified border to reach Ceuta so far this year.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, officials said dozens of migrants were injured in the scuffle with Spanish police on November 1."

GREECE: How can we overcome the dead-end situation on the refugee issue in Greece? (pdf) by Spyros Rizakos, Head of Ngo AITIMA:

"The period when refugees massively transited Greece on their way to central and northern Europe was succeeded by the gradual closure of the Balkan route and the implementation of the policy marked by the EU-Turkey Joint Statement. Thus, since last March the approximately 60.000 refugees who had already entered and continued entering Greece with the aim of moving on to other European states suddenly realized that they had to stay in Greece. Most of the refugees who had come to Greece before March 20 – approximately 50.000 persons – are now staying in the mainland, whereas the other 10.000 who crossed our borders after 20 March are obliged by the authorities to stay on the islands.

Today, seven months after these developments, the situation that has been formed raises serious concerns."

AUSTRIA: Haunted by asylum centre fire, divided Austrian town prepares to vote (EurActiv, link):

"A group of men sip beers in Altenfelden’s Barolo bar, remembering the night this summer when attackers set fire to the town’s refugee centre before a single migrant had moved in.

“It burned so nicely,” says one at the counter, as the others chuckle nervously around him. Another member of the group, clearly uncomfortable, tells him to be quiet. But the conversation drags on, more blue jokes and political banter. The waitresses stare at the floor.

Memories of the arson attack, and the debates about immigration that swirled around it, are particularly charged this month in Altenfelden which, like the rest of Austria, is preparing for a presidential vote on 4 December that could create Western Europe’s first far-right head of state in decades."

EU: No direct flight: new maps show the fragmented journeys of migrants and refugees to Europe (The Conversation, link):

"Politicians across Europe have talked about the arrival of refugees and migrants in 2015 and 2016 as if it were an unprecedented “event”, a single coherent flow of people “heading for Europe”. There is a focus on the beginning and end of peoples’ journeys – at the expense of almost everything in between.

Our new research with 500 refugees and migrants in Italy, Greece, Turkey and Malta reveals a much more complicated picture of protracted, fragmented journeys. Between them, our respondents travelled along nearly 100 different routes before eventually reaching Europe, sometimes having spent months or even years living elsewhere. The convergence of these routes in Turkey and Libya helps us to understand why the number of migrants heading to Europe increased to just over a million in 2015."

Irish Association of Social Workers and Irish Refugee Council ask for leadership from Irish Government in providing refuge to children (Irish Refugee Council, link):

"On the eve of the Dáil motion to discuss the fate of hundreds of child refugees stranded in Calais, the Irish Association of Social Workers (IASW) Social Work and Migration Special Interest Group and the Irish Refugee Council (IRC) call on the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality to honour the Government’s commitment to relocate refugees stranded in camps throughout Europe, especially unaccompanied children, without delay. Following the recent demolition and further displacement of refugees at Calais, there is serious concern for the protection of children."

October 2016


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (2.11.16)

Alarm over effectiveness of EU-Turkey refugee deal grows in Brussels (euractiv, link):

"Some seven months after the European Union and Turkey struck an agreement to turn back the tide of Syrians fleeing west, very few refugees have been sent back from Greece, and Brussels is losing its patience as overcrowded camps grow violent.


The agreement reached in March was designed to reduce the number of migrants crossing into Europe from Turkey, after more than a million people arrived in Europe last year, most reaching Greek islands by boat and continuing by land to Germany.... Balkan countries along the land route north closed their borders, so that migrants who once poured across Greece to reach other parts of Europe are now trapped there and prevented from pressing on."

And see: EU Commission is losing patience with Greece as overcrowded refugee camps there grow violent (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"What a self-deluding arrogance. The EU is apparently losing patience with Greece as “overcrowded refugee camps that turn violent” and Athens do not keep the terms of the EU Turkey deal to send refugees back to Turkey....

Migrants, refugees all in one bag, in the same bag with ‘cruel bureaucracy’, shortage of ‘interpreters’ and ‘asylum experts’ and ‘overcrowded camps’ and lots of ‘inefficient Greeks’, but I read no word about the EU Commission funds allocated to NGOs and the UNHCR, neither do I see a sentence mentioning the xenophobic EU-member-states stubbornly refusing to take refugees from Greece AND Italy in their countries."

And also: Refugees languish in Greek limbo as alarm grows in Brussels (Reuters, link)

EU: Unaccompanied Migrant Children (EUC Report): UK House of Lords, Hansard (link)

Two Iraqi asylum seekers who returned to “safe” Iraq and were killed (Migrant Tales - Speaking out for Others since 2007, link):

"In May and much to the surprise of many, especially asylum seekers and concerned citizens, the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) announced that countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia were safe to return asylum seekers.

Migrant Tales reported in September about Mohammed Khulbus Idnan’s return to “safe” Iraq after waiting for a year for his residence permit without luck. He returned to Baghdad to be at his mother’s side since she was going to die. He returned and was lucky: He got shot six times and survived.

Two other persons weren’t as lucky as Khulbus Idnan when they returned in summer to “safe” Iraq. Both of them were killed by bombs."

Frontex’s Prison Island Lesvos: Apartheid in the tourist paradise (w2eu, link):

"Since 2013, Welcome to Europe (w2eu) and Youth Without Borders (JOG) organise journeys for young refugees, to make it possible for them to return to the place where they had first reached Europe: The Island of Lesvos/Greece. This year, the ‘back to the border’ journey turned into a horror trip, especially, for all of us who were without European identity cards...

This year we returned to Lesvos to support the more than 6,000 people who are stuck, since months, in the prison labelled nicely “Hot Spot” in EU-jargon and in Kara Tepe, an open tent camp run and controlled by the local government. These people cannot leave the island due to the dirty EU-Turkey deal and simply because they are humans who do not possess the right papers.

Nowadays, all those travellers who are not white and not European are being subjected to racist controls. Even a member of the European Parliament, who is black was controlled for two hours recently. Lesbos Island was turned into a prison since March 20th and has become as a whole a border with heavy controls and high fences, which is the opposite of a cosy and beautiful tourist attraction."

Greece: Three refugees injured in fire at Oraiokastro camp (, link): "Three Syrian refugees were injured in a fire at the refugee camp of Oraiokastro, near the northern Greek town of Thessaloniki, in the early hours of Wednesday."


Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (31.10-16 - 1.11.16)

Greece: Refugee flows increased in late October, data shows (, link):


"Refugee flows to Greece increased 54 percent between October 24 and 30, compared to the previous week, according to data released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

More specifically, 661 people arrived in the week of October 24-30, as opposed to 430 between October 17 and 23.

Forty-two percent of the new arrivals are men while 21 percent are women. Children comprise 37 percent of the October 24-30 arrivals."

Greek Ministry refugees statistics 1.11.16 (pdf)

Are You Syrious (31.10.15, link):

Greece: A month of more arrivals than departures

"As the end of the month is here, we bring the comparative data for Greek camps between the end of September and the end of October. In the frame of this month there have been 2895 new arrivals on Greek islands, with majority of people landing on Samos. Hotspots on 5 Greek islands are unbelievably overcrowded with overpassing capacity in some places for more than three times. In totality, there are currently 15844 refugees stranded on the islands and official capacity is only 8085. For more graphic data here is a link to interactive graph of comparison of arrival numbers in September and October."

MSF issued a report on encampment system in Greece and what it those to those most vulnerable

"Behind this dry numbers there is a certain increase of human suffering and despair that is detailed in recently published MSF 2016 report on Greece: “Vulnerable People Get Left Behind”. By the MSF research, many of those coming to Greek shores are not initially properly processed as to determine whether they suffer from mental or physical problems due to the fact that the interviews are short and are done by the personnel that is not sufficiently trained to recognize those signs. Therefore, vulnerable people are placed in the camps where their state deteriorates rapidly stemming possible prospects of future integration and healing."

Jungle or the surface of the moon - only unaccompanied minors left standing

"Moving further more to the west, as the Jungle has been made into the surface of the moon, around 1500 unaccompanied minors are still left without resettlement plan and sleeping in shipping containers on the site where the jungle has been. Calais Kitchen, Refugee community kitchen and Little Ashram Kitchen are trying to provide food and water to the stranded minors who are fenced off in the area which, by the reports, proves to be difficult since the area is guarded and not many passes are issued for entrance."

Italy: Record migrant arrivals in Italy as tensions rise (The, link):

" October marked a record monthly high in the number of migrants arriving in Italy in recent years, with over 27,000 people reaching its shores.

Italy's interior ministry released figures Thursday showing that 26,161 people -- almost all from West Africa and the Horn of Africa -- arrived here this month. Almost another 1,000 were pulled from their dinghies later that day."

Syrian refugees: we were tricked into returning to Turkey (Guardian, link):

"Allegations that young family was deported despite lodging asylum claims in Greece weaken basis for EU-Turkey deal

A group of Syrian refugees including a couple with four young children detained in Turkey say they were tricked into being deported from Greece last month without having their asylum claims processed.

In the first case of its kind since the start of the EU-Turkey migration pact, at least eight Syrians were allegedly sent back to Turkey in October despite lodging asylum claims in Greece.

The allegations weaken the legal basis for the EU-Turkey deal, which was reached in March on the assumption that all refugees arriving in Greece would have access to a fair asylum procedure.

According to documents shared by the applicants with the Guardian, the refugees were initially given the chance to apply for asylum after landing in Greece on 9 October. But 11 days later, before their applications were fully processed, they say they were tricked by EU and Greek officials into returning to Turkey."

Greece & Italy joint front: Cut EU Funds for members refusing to help in Refugee Crisis (Keep Talking Greece, link):

"Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Italian Mateo Rezi could be an effective nice front against those xenophobic EU member-states that refuse to accept asylum seekers. I have the feeling that the first steps in this direction are already under way – nevertheless, the South Europe Solidarity Summit in September.

Four days ago, in an interview to German daily Stuttgarter Zeitung, Alexis Tsipras asked for sanctions and cuts in EU Funds for those member-states refusing to actively participate in dealing with the Refugee Crisis."

Refugees, Tourism and Islamophobia on Samos (Samos Chronicles, link):

"Without exception every report on the refugee situation on Greek frontier islands such as Samos agree that the refugees stuck in the hotspots are suffering and that it is getting worse, week by week. In the 10 days leading up to 25th October 2016 there were 758 new arrivals on Samos with just 139 departures according to the local authority. All of them have been pushed into the Camp. Virtually every space has been taken up by tents. There are now close to 3,000 refugees in a fenced enclosure which is intended for 800. There is absolutely nothing positive to say about the Camp. This week we met a journalist from New York who had recently visited refugee camps in Turkey and Lebanon who told us that the Samos camp was the worst she had seen.

Despite the mountains of reports and statements condemning the treatment of refugees arriving on the Greek islands, nothing improves. This starkly contrasts with the speed in which security and border hardening measures are implemented and expanded."

UK: Invisible fathers of immigration detention in the UK (Open Democracy, link) by Melanie Griffiths:

"The British state has regulated relationships between its citizens and certain foreigners since at least the Colonial era. Today’s border controls continue to police people’s intimate lives and retain sexist and racist assumptions."

Human & humanitarian smugglers: Europe’s scapegoat in the ‘refugee crisis’ (EU Law Analysis, link):

"These five observations offer entry points into the moral complexities of human smuggling and the legal imperative of decriminalising humanitarian acts of the facilitation of irregular entry. Ultimately, if the EC intends to provide recommendations to amend the Facilitation Directive that reflect the need to avoid criminalising humanitarian assistance to irregular migrants, it will first need to more narrowly and clearly define acts of the facilitation of irregular entry worthy of criminalisation. The EC’s challenge lies with the fact that the primary purpose of the Facilitation Directive is to deter irregular migration and a narrower directive would ultimately undermine this objective.

In the current crisis, human smugglers – and all individuals deemed as such – have become Europe’s scapegoat. Targeting human smugglers worthy of criminalisation and those ‘humanitarian smugglers’ worthy of praise is Europe’s Band-Aid solution to a problem that can only be solved through safe and legal pathways for refugees to reach Europe. "

See also: Council proposals on migrant smuggling would criminalise humanitarian assistance by civil society, local people and volunteers (Statewatch)

UK: QPR gives fleet of coaches to bring child refugees from Calais (Guardian, link): "London football club plays crucial role in plan to bring more than 1,000 children in a kindertransport-style mercy mission."

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