Statewatch article: RefNo# 36476
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (10.5.16)
Statewatch News Online, May 2016
- EU: What Merkel, Tusk and Timmermans should have seen during their visit to Turkey: Report from GUE/NGL Delegation to Turkey, May 2-4, 2016 (pdf):

"The key findings of the delegation are:

1. People deported from Greece have, until now, had no opportunity to ask for asylum, neither in Greece nor in Turkey;

2. Detention under a prison-style regime including for children;

3. Documented push-backs to Turkey by Bulgarian and Greek police forces;

4. Horrifying testimonials from refugees as a result of the closure of the Turkish-Syrian border."


See also: Non-Syrians denied asylum claims under EU-Turkey deal - MEPs (Guardian, link): "Politicians say interviews with refugees reveal they were not given chance to ask for asylum in Greece or Turkey. Hundreds of non-Syrian asylum seekers deported under the EU-Turkey migration deal were not allowed to claim asylum in either Greece or Turkey, a group of European politicians has claimed.... “All refugees interviewed told us they were not given the opportunity to ask for asylum, neither in Greece nor in Turkey,” Cornelia Ernst, Marina Albiol and Josu Juaristi said in a report released to journalists after they visited two detention centres in northern Turkey. “All said they did not know what will happen to them, and had received no information since they had arrived in Turkey.”

- Buried without a name - The untold story of Europe's drowned migrants (BBC News, link)

"More than 1,250 unnamed men, women and children have been buried in unmarked graves in 70 sites in Turkey, Greece and Italy since 2014, a BBC investigation has found. The majority died trying to cross the Mediterranean to seek a new life in Europe."

- Greek ‘Plan B’ reported, if EU-Turkey deal collapses (euractiv, link):

"A German tabloid reported yesterday (9 May) that the EU was considering giving the billions it promised to Turkey to Greece instead, in case the deal agreed with Ankara to stem the refugee flows collapses.

On Monday, Bild reported that several Greek islands in the Aegean are being turned into central registration sites for stranded refugees, and that ships will no longer take refugees to the Greek mainland in order to stop the uncontrolled flow of migrants into the EU.

In other words, asylum seekers will be kept on the islands; those refused asylum would then be deported directly to their home countries. The €6 billion in aid promised to Turkey would be transferred to Athens instead.

The paper reported that several EU states are considering this alternative plan in the event that the EU’s refugee deal with Ankara collapses. The story included statements from unnamed high-ranking politicians. Bild is known for having excellent contacts within the German government....

the EU may be unable to move forward with the promise to offer visa-free travel to the Turks by the end of June. On 7 May, Erdogan made it clear Turkey will not change its anti-terror law, which is one of the conditions for the EU to lift the visa barrier."


- Europe to Turkey: We won’t be bullied on refugees - Europe needs Erdogan’s help — but Turkey wants an EU visa waiver and its financial aid. (Poltico,link):

"European officials have argued the imperative of the EU’s refugee deal with Turkey to a skeptical public for weeks, insisting there was simply no viable alternative to the controversial pact....

As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hinted in recent days he may just let the whole arrangement collapse, a step that could again send refugees streaming across the Aegean, Europe has quietly begun preparing a Plan B...

The EU’s contingency plan, described by senior diplomats, envisions turning Greece into what European leaders from Angela Merkel on down have vowed to avoid: a giant refugee camp."


Statewatch:comment: And the same could happen to Italy

- Médecins Sans Frontières financial independence makes organisation more flexible, its general director tells ANA-MPA (link):

"The financial independence of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which is a basic principle of the organization, ensures the immediate and effective assistance to people in need," its general director Marietta Provopoulos said in an interview with ANA-MPA on Monday.

"Our choice to refuse state funding makes the organization more flexible and ready to go where it is needed," she added."


- Turkey’s EU minister heads to Strasbourg for thorny visa talks with EP(hurriyetdailynews.com, link): "Turkey’s EU minister has embarked on an intense lobbying visit to Strasbourg and Brussels, as the European Parliament’s plenary is scheduled on May 11 to debate last week’s proposal by the EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, to lift visa requirements for Turkish citizens."

- Turkey: Border Guards Kill and Injure Asylum Seekers - Border Lock-Down Puts Syrian Lives at Risk (HRW, link):

"(Istanbul) – Turkish border guards are shooting and beating Syrian asylum seekers trying to reach Turkey, resulting in deaths and serious injuries, Human Rights Watch said today. The Turkish authorities should stop pushing Syrian asylum seekers back at the border and should investigate all use of excessive force by border guards....

“While senior Turkish officials claim they are welcoming Syrian refugees with open borders and open arms, their border guards are killing and beating them,” said Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Firing at traumatized men, women, and children fleeing fighting and indiscriminate warfare is truly appalling.”"


- UNHCR Daily Report (9.5.16)

"On 5 May, Bulgaria and Turkey signed a “Protocol for the Implementation of the Agreement between the Republic of Turkey and the European Union on the Readmission of Persons Residing without Authorisation”.

- Are You Syrious (9.5.16, link)

New arrivals on Greek islands.

"The number of refugees in Greece today is 54,341 with 8,352 in the islands, 14,438 in the Atika region, 1,915 in central Greece, 338 in southern Greece and 29,298 in the northern region. There were 74 new arrivals today with 37 in Lesvos and 37 in Leros."

Protests continue on Leros

"As UNHCR reports, on the island of Leros, tension and protests occurred during the last days at the hotspot / registration and identification center. Demonstration began on Wednesday, 3 May, and continued in the following days, when detained refugees and migrants protested against general living conditions. In addition, members of the local community gathered outside the center to express their anger to the Mayor. Authorities guaranteed improvement regarding food provision, and announced that those detained for 25 days will then be able to move freely on the island."

Hunger strike in Elliniko camp

"Unfortunately, the news from the mainland is not looking good, either. As reported from the #Elliniko camp in Athens, refugees started a hunger strike today: Volunteers report that people “are desperate, and this is the only way they can speak out. They say that they will leave the camp, if things won’t change.” They are asking for their voice to be heard and to be treated like human beings by closed off Europe."

HUNGARY: Hundreds of new asylum seekers reported to have arrived in Hungary during last week with 572 people apprehended for illegal border crossing

"As UNHCR reports around 800 asylum-seekers and migrants were reported to have arrived in Hungary last week. Police reported 572 individuals were apprehended after irregular entry while UNHCR observed 265 people who approached the transit zones in Roszke and Tompa. With the limited daily admission capacity (30 per zone per day) at these locations, around 200 people are waiting outside the fence without shelter, sanitation and hygiene facilities, and are exposed to protection and health risks. UNHCR is present daily in the transit zones to monitor the admission process, coordinate with UNHCR Serbia to identify people with specific needs. On the Hungarian side of the border, access to the transit zones remains limited for other organizations."

GERMANY: Useful app for asylum seekers in Germany

"There is a useful tool for asylum seekers in Germany?—?it is called Ankommen and it can help with basic information on language, previously established migrant communities, as well aswhere to get some basic necessities near you. The app for iPhones can be downloaded here and for Android here"

Don’t forget about Calais: People to People Solidarity running out of supplies!

"People to People Solidarity?—?Action from UK needs your help. With the warmer weather, more refugees are making their way to Calais and Dunkirk while the volunteers are running out of supplies. Some volunteers report that every day they have new people coming with absolutely nothing and they have not been able to help them for the last couple of days since they ran out of everything.

They’ve put a list of items to help you all find what is being asked at the moment and where to go for up-to-date information so please see the following link and help if you can: http://bit.ly/1s8uDWK."


- News (10.5.16)

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals in 2016: 187,631; Deaths: 1,357 (IOM, link)

Migrants freed from Greek detention, trapped in limbo on islands (Daily Sabah, link): "Migrants and refugees are being freed from detention centers in Greece but remain trapped on its islands until their asylum requests are processed, exposing them to dire living conditions and even the risk of people smugglers, human rights groups say. At least 1,100 people have been released from centers on three islands and more will follow as their 25-day detention limit expires, police officials said. They are forbidden from travelling to the mainland, where most state-run shelters are."

Czech extremists swap traditional topics for migrant issue (Radio Praha, link): "In its annual report on extremism in the Czech Republic in 2015, the Interior Ministry reports on a slight rise in activities both left and right and a shift from traditional topics to the migrant issue which invariably commands public attention."

Greece: Most migrants in Idomeni have expired papers, says minister (ekathimerini.com, link): "The majority of refugees stranded at the sprawling camp in Idomeni, northern Greece, do not have valid documents as most have expired, according to Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas. “The papers of 70 percent of the people at Idomeni [which they received when they were registered] have already expired,” he said, admitting that if police were to conduct checks on the more than 10,000 migrants at the camp many could be arrested as illegal migrants. “What we are saying is that if they are moved to other camps around the country their documents will be automatically validated and renewed,” he said."

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