Statewatch article: RefNo# 36154
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (1.3.16)
Statewatch News Online, February 2016
- Greece: Athens: Demo against NATO’s Aegean patrols (ekathimerini.com, link):

"A demonstration against the presence of a NATO mission in the Aegean Sea will be held Wednesday in front of Athens University in the city center.

The rally is organized by left-wing groups and the Popular Unity party, against “imperialism, xenophobia and racism and to express solidarity with refugees.”

A German-led NATO mission is conducting operations in the Aegean in a bid to stem the flow of migrants into Greece from Turkey."


- EU court backs refugees' free movement, in most cases (euobserver, link): "People granted international protection can freely live and move anywhere they want in a member state but may be ordered to reside at a specific address in limited cases. The European Court of Justice on Tuesday (3 March) ruled "a place-of-residence condition" can be imposed if the person is somehow unable to integrate. In practice, the restriction would apply in few cases. The residency restriction is narrow, can't be imposed on refugees, and can't be justified on the basis that the burden of social assistance should be distributed across the state."

See: CJEU: EU Court of Justice: The Court of Justice gives as a ruling on the relationship between the freedom of movement of beneficiaries of international protection and measures intended to facilitate their integration (Press release, pdf): "A place-of-residence condition may be imposed on beneficiaries of subsidiary protection if they face greater integration difficulties than other non-EU citizens who are legally resident in the Member State that has granted such protection."

- ‘No asylum in Austria’ Facebook campaign tells Afghans to stay home (euractiv, link):

"Austria wants to deter Afghans from seeking asylum there by funding a campaign of advertisements on Kabul buses, on Facebook and on television telling them not to expect a warm welcome.

Austria, the last stop before Germany, the top destination for migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and beyond, has come under fire from the European Commission and human rights groups for capping its intake of refugees."


- A Rough Welcome: Tour the Lesbos Refugee Camp with Open Migration (eu.liberties link, by Marìka Surace, Italian Coalition for Civil Rights and Freedoms): "The Moria Registration Camp, a former military base, has a 400-person capacity, but up to 2,000 refugees have been arriving there each day."

- MEPs question EU border guard proposal (euobserver, link): "Liberal and Green MEPs have criticised proposals that would allow EU border guards greater powers to intervene in member states, arguing that it would not be clear who was responsible for protecting rights. German Green MEP Ska Keller told the parliamentary committee reviewing the proposal on Monday (29 February) that it would give EU border agency Frontex “unprecedented levels” of power to intervene, without the necessary safeguards or public oversight.

“Who is the one in charge, who is responsible for example for fundamental rights violations? It is a problem when the competences of Frontex are mixed up with those of member states, when equipment is co-owned,” she said. Under the European Commission proposal, a beefed-up Frontex would be able to intervene in a member state – even against that country’s will – if the passport-free Schengen area was deemed to be at risk."


and see: European Parliaent press release: Migration: debate on Coast guard and external border checks (pdf)

- EU/Balkans/Greece: Border Curbs Threaten Rights - Discriminatory Actions Causing Chaos, Crisis (HRW, link):

"The chaos and violence unfolding on the Greece-Macedonia border are a direct result of discriminatory border closures and Austria’s unilateral cap on asylum seekers. Thousands of asylum seekers and migrants are effectively trapped in Greece as a result of the border closures, and they face an ever-deepening humanitarian crisis.

“Trapping asylum seekers in Greece is an unconscionable and short-sighted non-solution that is causing suffering and violence” said Eva Cossé, Greece specialist at Human Rights Watch. “It demonstrates once again the EU’s utter failure to respond collectively and compassionately to refugee flows.”"


- IOM: Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals in 2016 Near 130,000; Deaths Reach 418 (link): Arrivals in the EU: 129,455, in Greece: 120,369 and Italy: 9,086 (1.3.16)

- Who Is Responsible for Harm in Immigration Detention? Models of Accountability for Private Corporations (Global Detention Project, link): "This paper argues that private corporations can and should be held responsible for structural injustices that take place in immigration detention regimes in which they operate. It draws on literature from business ethics to evaluate various ethical arguments for assessing corporate responsibility, emphasising models that may lead to the prevention of harm and suffering. In particular, the paper employs a social connection model of ethics as well as evidence of detention practices in Europe, the United States, and Australia to address a number of inter-related questions: How is immigration detention harmful? Who is responsible for this harm? How can responsible institutions reduce harm? The paper concludes by arguing that in addition to corporations and states, citizens and non-citizens have obligations to share in efforts to reduce the harm of immigration-related detention."

SWEDEN-UN: IMMIGRATION DETENTION: Submission to the Human Rights Committee: Sweden (Global Detention Project, link): A submission from the Global Detention Project to the UN Human Rights Committee for the seventh periodic report on Sweden's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The submission relates to Sweden's "practices concerning detention for immigration or asylum-related reasons."

See also: Sweden’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) - Joint NGO submission for the UN Human Rights Committee’s review of Sweden during its 116th session, 7-31 March 2016 (pdf)

- News (1.3.16)

UNHCR: Daily report: 29.2.16: "Over the past days, widespread protests regarding refugee and migrant issues took place. In Slovenia, citizens demonstrated both in favour and against an increasing number of refugees and migrants transiting through the country. Meanwhile in Greece, people protested against the setting up of temporary accommodation facilities; while, in Greece and Serbia, refugees and migrants peacefully protested against the restrictions imposed at border crossings....

According to Turkish Coast Guard, almost 6,800 people, mostly of Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian nationality were found by the Turkish authorities in the first 24 days of February. This compares to around 600 people who were detained in February 2015 and constitutes a 1,000% increase"


Macedonia: Balkan route will shut down if Austria hits migrant cap (politico, link): "Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov warned on Monday that the Western Balkan corridor migrants have used to reach Europe could soon shut down as a result of Austria’s decision to cap the refugee influx. Austria recently announced it would only accept 80 asylum claims a day and cap the number of people seeking to transit the country to Germany and onward at 37,500 this year. Ivanov said Austria could reach that number soon, leaving thousands of migrants stranded in countries along the way. “We need a political decision now. Soon it will be too late. The Austrian ceiling of 37,000 will be reached,” Ivanov said in an interview with Der Spiegel."

Refugees face hardship in Turkey's farm camps (SW, link): "Beyond Izmir's city limits, thousands of Syrian refugees work in agriculture camps, where they live far from health services and are denied basic rights. Diego Cupolo reports from Torbali, Turkey."

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