|Statewatch article: RefNo# 35952
|Statewatch News Online, January 2016
|- GREECE: Proem-Aid release: "Good morning, on the morning of today, the Greek coast guard has arrested our team in Lesvos, for an alleged offence of trafficking in persons. From Proem-Aid we inform you that the Spanish Embassy in Greece is carrying out the necessary action to resolve this misunderstanding.
Thank you for your support, we just keep you informed.
Good Morning, in the early hours of today, the Greek Coast Guard ,stopped our team in Lesvos, for an alleged crime of trafficking in persons .
From Proem-Aid , we want to inform you that the Spanish Embassy in Grece is working to fix this misunderstanding.Thank for your support. We keep you informed"
See: website: PROEM-AID: Professional emergency aid (link)
- EU: European Commission: Press Release: Refugee crisis: Commission reviews 2015 actions and sets 2016 priorities (pdf). Notes the failures of 2015: Relocation is failing - only 272 in 2015 - with very few offers to meet the need for 160,000; only three hotspots set up out of 11, and neither is the returns programme happening. In 2016 the Commission wants the quick adoption of the European Border and Coast Guard, reform the Dublin System, introduce measures on legal migration and migrant smuggling.
See: Statewatch Compilation: Commission statistics ongoing since September 2015: State of Play: Measures to Address the Refugee Crisis
EU migration chief says refugee response is not working (ekathimerini.com, link): "The European Union's top migration official says efforts to manage the refugee emergency are not working and that more countries are tightening border security to cope with the influx. Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said Thursday that “the situation is getting worse” as thousands of people fleeing conflict or poverty continue to arrive in Europe daily. He told EU lawmakers in Brussels that “more and more member states are reintroducing border controls” in response.... Avramopoulos said that “these schemes have not delivered the expected results.”
- EU-GREECE: 90 new finger-printing machines ordered: Commission provides additional support for fingerprinting of migrants in Greece (2nd item in Press Release, pdf):
"The European Commission has informed Greece of its decision to award €1.36 million in emergency funding for the acquisition of 90 fingerprinting devices. These devices will be used to ensure proper identification and registration of migrants at Greek border crossings. This emergency funding comes from the Internal Security Fund (ISF). The 90 fingerprinting devices and workstations will be connected to the central EURODAC system to ensure sharing of information, and will be installed at border crossing points throughout the country, including on the Eastern Aegean islands."
- Greece said to propose return trips for illegal migrants (ekathimerini.com, link):
"A senior Greek official has said the government will ask Europe's border protection agency Frontex to help set up a sea deportation route to send migrants who reach the country illegally back to Turkey.
The official told AP the plan would involve chartering boats on Lesvos and other Greek islands to send back migrants who were not considered eligible for asylum in the European Union. the official spoke on condition of anonymity because Athens hasn't yet formally raised the issue with other European governments."
- Netherlands Council Presidency:
Promote the multidisciplinary approach in addressing migrant smuggling (link): "The Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice is organising the conference in collaboration with the European Migration Network."
It appears the Presdiency does not know the legal difference between "smuggling" and "trafficking" nor btween migrants and refugees.
And aims to trace: "the entire route travelled by migrants makes it possible to identify where barriers can be erected to deter human trafficking."
- Commission forced to top up Turkey migration money - EU states unhappy at Turkey’s efforts on migration, and want to reduce their share of money promised to Ankara (politico, link).
- GREECE: Talks on hot spot for migrants inconclusive (ekathimerini.com, link): "Greece’s minister for immigration policy, Yiannis Mouzalas, on Wednesday met with mayors from different parts of the country but the talks failed to determine a timetable for the creation of screening centers for migrants, or “hot spots,” that Athens has promised the European Union it will set up by the end of the month."
and: Battle lines drawn over migrant crossings (BBC News, link): "A range of measures, from stepped-up patrols, visa restrictions and rule changes designed to make deportation easier seem to have changed the atmosphere."
UNHCR reports that 18,384 refugees have arrived in Greece this year, and 49 dead/missing.
AUSTRIA: Doctor in spotlight after refusing to treat refugees (The Local.at, link): "A Viennese doctor who put up a sign on the door to his practise saying that he wouldn't accept asylum seekers as patients may face disciplinary action. He also announced his decision on Facebook, causing a storm of protest on the social networking site."
GERNANY: Maddened local leader sends bus full of refugees to Merkel (The Local.de, link)
FRANCE: Briton spared jail for trying to smuggle Calais refugee girl (The Local.fr, link): "British man Rob Lawrie was fined €1,000 by a French court on Thursday after he tried to smuggle a four-year-old Afghan girl out of the Calais jungle camp into the UK. Lawrie however escaped jail."
FRANCE: Calais camp refugees defy relocation efforts (The Local.fr, link): "Tensions were high at the Calais migrant camp on Thursday as hundreds of refugees defied efforts to move them to a more permanent encampment as the winter cold kicks in.... nstead of moving into the containers, many migrants were on Thursday picking up their ramshackle tents and shelters and, with the help of activists, moving them deeper into the camp .."
HUNGARY: Migrants in Hungary: CoE human rights commissioner rings alarm (China-Europe, link): "STRASBOURG, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe (CoE), Nils Muiznieks, sounded the alarm on Wednesday in Strasbourg regarding the treatment of migrants returned to Hungary following recent changes made to asylum legislation. "Due to sweeping changes introduced in Hungary in asylum law and practice over recent months, asylum seekers returned there run a considerable risk of being subject to human rights violations," Muiznieks declared."
Opinion: Razor wire on the Schengen border: Obstruction or self-destruction? (euractiv, link): "Closing borders and building fences is the wrong response to the migrant crisis. Allowing our actions to be governed by fear and xenophobia will only strengthen the hand of the extremists, argues Bruno Nikolic."
GREECE-BULGARIA: As refugee exodus to Greece continues, some take Bulgarian route (euractiv, link): "From Greece, some of the migrants take the Bulgarian route. Yesterday the Bulgarian police announced it had saved 118 migrants from drowning in the Maritsa river (Evros in Greece). It is still unclear if they are of Syrian or Iraqi origin. All are without identity documents."
Migrant influx to Greece continues unabated through winter (ekathimerini.com, link): "More than 1,000 migrants and refugees arrived at Greece's biggest port of Piraeus near Athens on Wednesday as the influx of people fleeing conflict zones for Europe continued unabated into the winter months."
GERMANY-AUSTRIA: Refugees caught in quagmire as Germany reinstates rules (DW, link): "Confusion reigns once again on Austria's border as hundreds of migrants seeking refuge in other countries are being rejected by Germany, which once welcomed them with open arms. Alison Langley reports from Schärding."
UN: The human rights of migrants in transit (link): "Last year the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) developed and promulgated a set of “Recommended Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights at International Borders”, including respect for the right to freedom of movement, on which we made recommendations at the invitation of the OHCHR. As a follow-up, and in response to ongoing refugee crises in Europe and elsewhere, the OHCHR has been tasked by the UN Human Rights Council with preparing further recommendations in relation to the rights of migrants in transit, including, “[e]xit restrictions … and the externalisation of border controls which could have an impact on the human rights of migrants in transit.”
Swedish border control becomes a privacy nightmare for travellers (EDRI, link): "Sweden and Denmark have passed national legislations which gives train, bus and ship operators the responsibility of checking if their passengers have valid travel documents before they are transported through the border zone where state border guards officially check passports or identification documents. This is similar to the obligations imposed on carriers in the EU Directive 2001/51/EC, except that the new Swedish and Danish obligations apply to passengers transported within the Schengen area."
EU failing to deliver on migration plans (euobserver, link): "Member states and EU institutions lag far behind on promises to better manage refugee flows, amid a growing public backlash. By contrast to the slow pace of joint measures, EU countries have taken snap unilateral measures, including border lockdowns in the heart of the Schengen free-travel zone, and tighter asylum laws in places such as Denmark, Germany, and Sweden. With migrants increasingly stranded in Greece, the main point of entry to the EU, the European Commission has repeatedly voiced frustration."
DENMARK: Govt gets backing for bill on taking migrants' cash (The Local.dk, link): "A controversial Danish bill to seize migrants' valuables to pay for their stay in asylum centres looks set to pass in parliament after the government on Tuesday secured a parliamentary majority. Parliament will on Wednesday begin a series of debates on the bill, ahead of a vote on January 26." and see: Denmark to seize refugees’ valuables - Move defies international criticism as Denmark continues to toughen stance on asylum seekers.(politico. link)
Italy tells EU: Choose Schengen or asylum accord (Yahoo News, link): "Europe must choose between its Schengen open borders and its Dublin rules on asylum procedures because the migrant crisis means the two are no longer compatible, Italy said Tuesday."
EU: Cash Crisis: If Schengen Goes, the Euro is Finished, Warns Merkel (sputniknews.com/europe, link): "Europe has to control its outer, not internal borders, and the very existence of the single currency depends on the survival of Schengen, the German chancellor said."
Germany to relax migrant deportation rules (euobserver, link): "Germany is amending laws to ease the deportation of foreigners with criminal offences amid an on-going backlash over mass sexual assaults on women during New Year's Eve festivities."
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