Statewatch article: RefNo# 36564
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (26.5.16): Including outrageous and disturbing reports from the Idomeni "clear-out"
Statewatch News Online, May 2016
- Electra reports (link) Idomeni clear-out: volunteers denied access to their equipment, tents etc bulldozed

"This is OUTRAGEOUS! I guess that's the Greek Government's way of saying 'thanks' to volunteers... By destroying the humanitarian material and belongings thousands fundraised for... Volunteers in Idomeni, who were told that if they approach the camp during the - priorly unanounced - eviction they would be arrested, return to the field, just to find all their tents, belongings and humanitarian material smashed under the bulldozers: "Despite liaising with authorities to recover resources all of our resources and the ngo resources have been destroyed by the authorities. This includes thousands of euros of medical equipment all the NGO tents and hundreds of thousands of euros other infrastructure."


- Idomeni clear-out (read more)

Eric Kempson on Facebook posted this report today (26.5.16)

"This post was put on by Phoebe Ramsey a must to read. This what has happened in the last 36 hours, summarized to the best of my ability in my present exhausted, sad, and angry state.

At present, there are only a couple of hundred people left in Idomeni. There has been no major resistance or violence. It seems everyone was resigned and complied in the face of the enormous presence of riot police. As the tents have been emptied, bulldozers have come in to flatten them. Just over 2,000 people were moved yesterday, and about 1,000 today. Given that there were at least 7,000 people in Idomeni two days ago, this means that about 4,000 people are 'unaccounted' for. They have either tried to go to the major cities, or made a panicked rush for the border-hundreds and hundreds of people headed west into the woods last night. This is in convenient conjunction with today's reported announcement by police that from now on, anyone caught and returned by FYROM (pushbacks) from an illegal border crossing will be arrested in Greece, and have any existing asylum claims canceled.......

- Council of Europe: detention of lone minors 'unacceptable' (ekathimerini.com, link):

"One of Europe’s top human rights officials says it is “unacceptable” that any unaccompanied refugee and migrant children who arrive on the continent are held in detention centers, and called on European countries to ensure such children can be housed in special facilities and quickly reunited with their families.

Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland also voiced criticism Thursday over the increasingly restrictive legislation some European countries are adopting that would make it harder for such children to be reunited with parents already living in Europe."


- EU: SHIPPING AND FISHERIES INDUSTRIES CO-OPTED INTO BORDER SURVEILLANCE & INTERCEPTING "SUSPECTED" BOATS Frontex, EMSA and EFCA extend cooperation (Frontex, link):

Frontex, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) signed bilateral interagency agreements today to extend their cooperation. The three agencies will continue to work together in their respective areas of border surveillance, interception of vessels suspected of engaging in criminal activities, cross border crime, support for search and rescue at sea and illegal fishing.

- Denmark: creating a hostile environment (IRR News, link): "Nearly 300 people face criminal charges for aiding refugees in Denmark in September 2015, and the government continues to create a hostile environment by cracking down on migration." and

Solidarity criminalised: an interview with Reem El-Awwad (link): "Below we interview a member of the Danish group MedMenneskeSmuglerne (With the Human Smugglers), about the criminal charges of ‘human trafficking’ those who acted in solidarity with refugees now face."

- Sudan and Eritrea crackdown on migrants amid reports of EU incentives (IRIN, link):

"Authorities in Sudan have launched a crackdown on Eritrean migrants - arresting those living in the capital, Khartoum, and intercepting hundreds travelling north through the country towards Libya, the launching point for smugglers’ boats heading for Europe.

Reports that 900 Eritreans were rounded up in Khartoum on Monday and that a further 400 arrested en route to Libya have been deported to Eritrea, come amid recent revelations in the British and German media that the EU is planning to deepen its cooperation with a number of African countries, including Sudan and Eritrea, to stem migration towards Europe."


- Syrian refugees caught in the middle of Europe and Turkey standoff over migrant deal (IBT, link):

"the EU and Turkey have found themselves wrangling over the issue of Turkish visa-free travel to the continent. The visa waiver scheme for Turkey's 75 million citizens was one of the largest incentives on offer to Ankara for accepting the deal....

Speaking as the UN's World Humanitarian Summit took place in Istanbul Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his parliament would block the swap deal if visa-free travel was not granted.

"If that (the visa exemption) is not what will happen... no decision and no law in the framework of the readmission agreement will come out of the parliament of the Turkish Republic," he was quoted by the Hurriyet Daily News as saying."


- EU: Turkey 'threats' over migrant deal won't work, says Juncker (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Turkey must uphold its side of a deal made with the European Union over stemming the flow of migrants, a top EU official said Thursday, warning “threats” against the bloc will not work. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Ankara must ease strict anti-terror laws if it wants its citizens to enjoy visa-free travel on the continent."

- Italian navy saves 550 refugees as smugglers' trawler capsizes in Med (Guardian, link):

"Praise for sailors’ swift action as dramatic photographs show overloaded boat turning over as naval vessel approaches...

More than 500 people narrowly escaped drowning on Wednesday after their smugglers’ boat capsized in the southern Mediterranean, a series of dramatic photographs have revealed.

As Italian naval ships approached to rescue the stricken asylum-seekers, their boat – a repurposed trawler – tipped over, throwing those on deck into the water.

At least five people drowned when the boat capsized “due to overcrowding and instability caused by the high number of people on board”, the Italian navy said in a statement. But the sailors managed to save about 550 lives, in a mission that migration experts described as miraculous."


- Bulgaria to Have 146-km Wire Fence along Border with Turkey in 2 Months (novinite.com, link):

"In about two months Bulgaria will have a wire fence built along 146 km of the country's border with Turkey, preventing illegal migration flow, Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova has said."

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