27 October - 16 November 2020


  • History repeats itself again as hundreds of people die in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic
  • Greek authorities arrest father of 6-year-old who drowned off the coast of Samos
  • EU: Tracking the Pact: European Commission presentation on "solidarity mechanisms"
  • EU: Tracking the Pact: Presidency placing heavy emphasis on externalisation, deportations, border controls
  • Pullback to Turkey organised by Greek official on German boat as part of Frontex operation

16 November 2020

Greece: Sentenced to 50 years in prison – Freedom for Amir & Razuli

Two men who were subject to an attempted illegal pushback by the Greek coastguard have been sentenced to 50 years in prison. An appeal hearing is pending.

16 November 2020

History repeats itself again as hundreds of people die in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic

Over 110 people died after being shipwrecked in the Central Mediterranean over the course of a week in early November. Meanwhile, almost 500 people lost their lives attempting to reach the Canary Islands from Senegal in one week in late October. Seven years ago, following a similar tragedy, EU officials promised that beefing up Frontex and increasing border surveillance would help prevent such incidents.

16 November 2020

EU action against terrorism: Council targets migrants and Muslims

EU justice and home affairs ministers recently adopted a statement in response to the recent terrorist attacks in France and Austria. It asserts a need "to combat all forms of violence which target people on the basis of their actual or supposed ethnic origin, or their religious belief or on the basis of other types of prejudice," and then goes on to single out migrants (explicitly) and Muslims (implicitly) as a problem, whilst demanding more of the same security measures that have been developed over the last 30 years. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and French President Emmanuel Macron have both recently made very clear statements about the need to suppress "political Islam".

16 November 2020

Greece: Greek authorities arrest father of 6-year-old who drowned off the coast of Samos

A six-year old boy recently drowned after a boat on which he was travelling ran into trouble off the coast of Samos. The Greek authorities are charging his father with "suspicion of endangering a life" and he could face ten years in prison. The pilot of the boat was also arrested, on smuggling charges, "a ridiculous charge as nearly all those who steer the boats are those who cannot afford to pay the full fare".

12 November 2020

EU: Tracking the Pact: European Commission presentation on "solidarity mechanisms"

On 22 October, the European Commission gave a presentation to an "informal videoconference" of the Council's Strategic Committee on Immigration, Frontiers and Asylum (SCIFA). The presentation explains the different types of "solidarity" that will be available for member states under the proposed Asylum and Migration Management Regulation, such as relocation of asylum applicants and "return sponsorship".

10 November 2020

European Parliament studies: civic space, external migration policy, technological disruption

Three recent studies commissioned by the European Parliament.

09 November 2020

Europe-wide action against the EU Migration Pact during the next week

A week of action against the EU's new Pact on Migration and Asylum is taking place this week, led by the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal on Violations of the Rights of Migrant and Refugee People and Europe Must Act. The groups are calling for a Global Solidarity Pact in place of the EU's Migration Pact, to halt the criminalisation of migrants and to ensured the rights and dignity of all people. Due to the pandemic, most actions will take place online, but some 'real-life' activities are planned.

06 November 2020

Senegal: Press release from 28 organisations on the drama of so-called irregular migration

Press release issued on 3 November by the Collectif des Organisations de la Société Civile et Aceturs de la Migration (C.O.C.S.A.M.), known as Lu waral lii. Translated with permission by Statewatch.

06 November 2020

EU: Tracking the Pact: Presidency placing heavy emphasis on externalisation, deportations, border controls

Discussions in the Council on the measures proposed as part of the EU's new 'Pact on Migration and Asylum' are ongoing. The aim is to find consensus on key points prior to Justice and Home Affairs Council meetings in November and December. The German Presidency set out its thinking on the proposals in a discussion paper circulated on 28 October, and published here. Externalisation, deportations, operations against migrant smuggling and tougher border controls are high on the Presidency's agenda.

06 November 2020

European Commission plans to visit Croatia in light of human rights violations – looking to clear their conscience or in increasingly hot water

The latest newsletter from Inicijativa Dobrodošli!/Welcome! Initiative covers the European Commission's plans to visit Croatia in light of news of fundamental rights violations at the borders; pushbacks at the Greek borders; deaths at sea; and police violence in Trieste against anti-racist demonstrators countering a far-right protest.

05 November 2020

France: Increasing numbers of Chechens have their refugee status revoked

Mediapart was able to consult the files of several refugees from the Chechen community facing the withdrawal of their asylum status, something most often done on the basis of "white notes" transmitted by the intelligence services.

05 November 2020

Pullback to Turkey organised by Greek official on German boat as part of Frontex operation

In response to a question in the Bundestag, the German interior ministry's parliamentary secretary has said that a Greek official deployed on a German boat as part of Frontex's 'Operation Poseidon' "arranged for the Turkish Coast Guard to take over the persons" on board a boat spotted in Turkish waters, and return them to Turkey.

04 November 2020

Greece: Eviction of the Pikpa camp: statement from Lesvos Solidarity

On 30 October the Greek police evicted Pikpa camp, which for years has provided a safe and welcoming place for migrants and refugees arriving on Lesvos. The eviction appears to be part of the Greek government's move to ensure all people arriving on the islands are placed in "closed camps".

04 November 2020

UK: New report documents "insulting and degrading" financial support for asylum seekers

A new report by the charity Asylum Matters documents the effects of the government support provided to asylum seekers. The weekly rate of support for an individual - recently raised by a paltry three pence to £39.63, or £5.66 a day - is provided on a pre-paid card. The result is that people must "live in poverty for months, or even years at a time, as they wait for a decision on their asylum claim." The Home Office recently claimed that the three pence raise will "ensure essential needs are provided for."

30 October 2020

Deadliest Shipwreck of the Year Claims at Least 140 Lives

Some 140 people have died after a boat carrying 200 people heading towards the Canary Islands sank off the coast of Senegal.

29 October 2020

EU: Tracking the Pact: The "full grotesquerie of Europe’s approach to forced migration is on display", say ECRE

ECRE's initial examination of the proposed Regulation on Asylum and Migration Management finds it to be complex, confusing, contradictory and conniving. The organisation argues that the proposal seeks to strengthen the role of DG HOME and internal security policies in relation to migration management.

29 October 2020

EU: German Presidency: Documents on the future of legal migration and COVID-19: lessons learned regarding legal migration

Two discussion papers recently circulated by the German Presidency of the Council, on the future of legal migration to the EU and lessons learned for legal migration policy from the COVID-19 pandemic.

29 October 2020

ECHR-Belgium: Deportation of applicant to Sudan: violation of Convention

Belgium's deportation of an individual to Sudan violated the rights to an effective remedy and the prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment, the ECHR has ruled. The case concerns a deportation that took place in 2017, when the Belgian and Sudanese authorities were cooperating closely on forced removals.

28 October 2020

UK: Channel migrants: Deaths should be 'a wake-up call' for those in power

Four people - two adults and two children - have died whilst attempting to cross the Channel in a small boat, which sank off the coast of France. There are calls for changes to the UK's asylum system and border control measures to prevent the same thing happening again in the future. This incident follows the drowning of a teenager earlier this year.


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