Statewatch article: RefNo# 36598
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1.6.16)
Statewatch News Online, June 2016
- Two women try to stop deportation (Refugee Trial, link):

"he was dragged onto the plane, where two women stood up to protest his deportation and called on other passengers to do the same....

In a scene straight out of a Hollywood movie, the stewardesses then walked through the plane and, according to a journalist who was inside, “asked passengers if they were happy with the plane departing.” This offered every single passenger the chance to save Eze from deportation. Not a single person did."

- EU ships in Libyan waters would undermine Tripoli government: diplomat (Reuters, link):

"The U.N.-backed government in Libya has not invited European ships into its territorial waters to help stop people smuggling because this could harm efforts to broaden support for the fledgling government, its envoy to Rome said on Tuesday.

Ahmed Elmabrouk Safar, ambassador to Rome for Fayaz Seraj's Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), told reporters foreign warships within sight of its coast "would not help Libyan stability".

"Inviting foreign military and naval forces in Libyan waters could be seen as an important security-led step which might cut down on the number of people who are crossing over the Mediterranean, but would it help in unifying the country in the current phase?" the envoy said.

The Tripoli government, established in March, is still struggling to assert its authority. It does not control the entire country, including much of the coastline. Armed groups hold real power on the ground and in the east there is a separate government that has not accepted the GNA."

- Greece: Over 100 migrants land on Crete island (, link):

"A group of 113 mostly Afghan migrants has landed on Greece's biggest island Crete, officials said on Wednesday, the first big arrival on the island since the migrant crisis began.

Crete, Greece's southernmost island, lies north of Libya and Egypt. The migrants said they had set off from Antalya on Turkey's southwestern coast, some 260 nautical miles away, police and coastguard officials said."

- Are You Syrious (link)

Turkey: Doctors Without Borders Refuses EU Funds Over Turkey-Migrant Deal

"The international aid organization Doctors Without Borders has decided to refuse all future European Union funding as it protests the bloc’s recent migrant deal with Turkey.

The decision follows a May 13 open letter from the group that called the agreement, under which people arriving on Greek islands are to be returned to Turkey, an “historic abdication of [the EU’s] moral and legal responsibilities.” It also described the official welcome offered by Europe to those stranded in Greece as “shameful.”"

Uptick in migrant arrivals raises concerns on Greek islands

"A recent spike in refugee and migrant arrivals from Turkey onto Greek shores is raising concerns among authorities on Greece’s eastern Aegean islands, Skai reported on Tuesday, also quoting sources saying that hundreds are gathered on the coast of Izmir waiting to make the passage that will bring them into European Union territory.

According to Skai, 160 migrants and refugees have landed on Lesvos in the past five days, marking an increase after a few weeks of almost no arrivals, bringing the total number being hosted on the island to just under 4,000 and stretching resources."

Czechia: Prima TV station told reporters to depict refugees as a risk and a threat or they would be fired

"The Czech NGO Hlídací (“Watchdog”) has testimonies from several sources inside Prima TV stating that the television station’s management gave producers there clear instructions during a meeting on 7 September 2015 about what angle to take toward the refugee “crisis” in its news reporting. The station’s reporting on the issue took center stage this spring because of how it chose to report on the arrival of Christian refugees from Iraq to the Czech Republic."

- Greece: UNHCR reports that so far: EASO and Greek Asylum Service:

"Out of the 700 interviews conducted thus far, 200 have been considered inadmissible and subject to readmission to Turkey. Those deemed inadmissible are able to appeal the decision"

- Denmark and Sweden extend border checks until November (euractiv, link):

"Denmark and Sweden on Wednesday (1 June) extended their border controls until November to curb the tide of migrants into their nations, saying the European Union still lacked security at its external borders.

Denmark received more than 21,000 asylum applications in 2015, a 44% jump from 2014 but significantly less than its northern neighbour Sweden, which registered 163,000 applications in the same year.

“In the current situation, where there still isn’t a sustainable solution for securing Europe’s external borders,” Danish Integration Minister Inger Stojberg said in a statement."

- European Parliament: Study: The Implementation of the Common European Asylum System (pdf):

"This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee. It provides an overview of the current implementation of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) from both a legal and practical perspective. Against the background of large inflows of seekers of international protection, the study covers the CEAS instruments as well as the EU policy responses brought forward in 2015 until May 2016....

Reception conditions represent a very difficult field of harmonisation. Standards set by EU law cannot erase the economic differences between EU MS, implying that prospects in some EU MS remain better than in others. As evidenced in the study, the reception conditions vary significantly in EU MS. The shortcomings in the EU reception conditions trigger secondary movements and consequently thwart any distribution mechanisms."

- European Parliament: Press release: MEPs back new EU travel document to ease return of irregular non-EU residents (pdf):

"The Commission's proposal for a standard EU travel document, to speed up the process of returning non-EU nationals who stay "irregularly" in EU member states without valid passports or identity cards, was endorsed by Civil Liberties Committee MEPs on Monday. Members highlight that many EU countries are currently facing serious difficulties in returning these residents to their home countries in a safe and lawful way.

The text, drafted by Jussi Halla-aho (ECR, FI) and approved by 39 votes in favour to 9 against, with 2 abstentions....

Finally, MEPs call on the EU and member states to promote the use of this harmonised document in the context of readmission agreements reached with third countries."

The "New Europe" headline is a more accurate one: MEPs back new EU travel papers for undocumented migrants (link):

Statewatch comments: Previous attempts by the EU to issue its own travel documents for forced returns have been resisted by African states.

- EU-Turkey deal 'not working' - Boldrini (ANSA, link):

"Greek court ruled Turkey 'unsafe' for refugees says speaker.

Lower House Speaker Laura Boldrini said Monday an EU-Turkey accord on asylum seekers is not working. There are political and juridical "problems", she told reporters. The European Parliament has decided not to proceed until they see a commitment from the Turkey side to satisfy all the criteria" contained in the bilateral deal, Boldrini explained. "A Greek court of appeals has ruled Turkey cannot be considered a safe country of first arrival" for asylum seekers, the speaker pointed out."

- News (1.6.16)

Migrants rescued off Lefkada on Greece-Italy sea route (BBC News, link): "Greek rescuers have picked up 29 migrants at sea off the western island of Lefkada as they headed for Italy. It is the first time migrants have been rescued trying to cross from Greece to Italy since Greece's land border with Macedonia was closed in March."

Sudan: Hundreds Deported to Likely Abuse (HRW, link): "(Nairobi, May 30, 2016) – The Sudanese authorities deported at least 442 Eritreans, including six registered refugees, to Eritrea in May 2016, Human Rights Watch said today. Sudan denied the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) access to identify those who wanted to claim asylum and also denied the agency access to 64 Ethiopians still in detention who risk deportation."

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