Statewatch article: RefNo# 36347
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (19.4.16)
Statewatch News Online, April 2016
- UN chief slams 'deeply worrying' attacks on refugees (ekathimerini.com. link):

"UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday denounced rising attacks on migrants and refugees, calling for “political will” to resolve the root causes of Europe’s worst migration crisis in decades.

“The continuing increase in anti-migrant and anti-refugee rhetoric and violent attacks against these communities... across all Europe is deeply worrying,” Ban told a press conference in The Hague. “These actions in divided communities sow instability and betray the values and human rights standards that underpin international solidarity.”


- Are You Syrious (link)

Croatia: Criminalsing helping refugees: "Today, a public discussion panel was held in Zagreb, organized by the Center for Peace Studies and the Welcome Initiative. The panel was held with the aim of discussing the changes of the Law on foreigners. Special focus was placed on trying to make a joint effort through conversation with Ministry of Interior representatives on curbing the newly introduced provision of the law that institutes the criminalization of solidarity (referring to any category of helping the foreigner without valid permission to stay in Croatia). The changes would criminalize helping the foreigners that are in so called 'illegal' status unless they are in mortal danger. Many of the organizations, including the ombudsman office see this provision as something that should be changed in order to better work together on integration and prevention of trafficking and/or exploiting migrant workers. The changes to the law should be applied from July this year, but hopefully with many amended clauses."

Sprious reasoning to exclude Afghans from EU relocation scheme: rights are not based on percentages: "If you were wondering why Afghans are not yet eligible for EU’s relocation program, News that moves reported today the calculations of EASO that state that the program applies to nationalities who have an average EU-wide asylum recognition rate equal to or higher than 75%, on the basis of EUROSTAT data for the previous quarter. Eligible nationalities are updated quarterly. Afghans have an asylum recognition rate lower than 75% EU-wide, therefore they are not eligible. Currently, nationals or stateless persons who are residents in of Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, Burundi, Central African Republic, Costa Rica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Bahrain, Maldives, and British overseas countries and territories are eligible to participate to the relocation programme."

- Save The Children: Shortage Of Shelter For Refugee Children (News that moves, link)

"According to Save The Children, more than 1,500 refugee children in Greece have currently no safe shelter and many of them are being held in detention centres and police cells. The Independent newspaper reports that only 477 sheltered spaces are available for unaccompanied refugee children in Greece at the moment.

Spokesperson for Save the Children, Sacha Myers, said “we estimate that there are at least 2,000 unaccompanied children in Greece – we know there are hundreds, potentially thousands more.” According to the law, refugees “can only stay in a detention centre for 25 days and then need to be moved to a more permanent shelter, but because they’re full, the children are either staying in detention or being moved into police cells,” Myers said.

According to UNHCR, currently more than 22,000 refugee and migrant children are stranded in Greece. Of that total, unaccompanied and separated children represent about 10 percent of all refugee and migrant children in Greece"


- Death by Rescue: THE LETHAL EFFECTS OF THE EU’S POLICIES OF NON-ASSISTANCE (full report, link) and Foreword: DEATH BY (FAILURE TO) RESCUE (link) by by Barbara Spinelli, Member of the European Parliament (European United Left/Nordic Green Left Parliamentary Group):

"Looking back—as the Forensic Oceanography report requires us to do—we have an idea of how in just two and a half years, we have passed from hypocritical declarations on Lampedusa to active indifference in front of the 350 children drowned at sea following the death of Alan Kurdi, as if this were a natural catastrophe that does not affect the political sphere. The more European institutions have talked about rights and humanity, the more they have proceeded towards a subtraction of means, personnel, financial assistance for search and rescue, engaging in agreements with Third Countries not reliable from the point of view of respect for fundamental rights (the Rabat and Karthoum processes) and in the deliberate and shameless outsourcing of refoulement culminating in the EU-Turkey agreement."

- Council of Europe: Parliamentary Assembly: Urgent debate on the situation of refugees and migrants under the EU-Turkey Agreement (link): "The Assembly decided also to hold, on Wednesday 20, an urgent procedure debate on “The situation of refugees and migrants under the EU-Turkey Agreement of 18 March 2016”

- EU/Greece: First Turkey Deportations Riddled With Abuse (HRW, link):

"The first round of European Union-sanctioned deportations of 66 people from the Greek island of Chios to Turkey on April 4, 2016 was rushed, chaotic, and violated the rights of those deported, Human Rights Watch said today. In Turkey, the detained deportees lost contact with family and friends held in Greece, and Turkish authorities have not allowed visits by rights groups or the United Nations.

“In the mad dash to start the deportations deal with Turkey, the European Union and Greece tossed rights to the wind, including for people who wanted to seek asylum,” said Fred Abrahams, Human Rights Watch associate director for program. “The abusive deportations expose the fundamental flaws in the EU’s expedited mass returns to a country that cannot be considered safe.”


- EU-LIBYA-MED: Council conclusions on Libya (pdf):

"The EU stands ready to offer security sector support in response to possible GNA requests. Should a Libyan request be forthcoming and following consultations with the Libyans, a possible civilian CSDP mission could support Libyan efforts inter alia through advice and capacity building in the fields of police and criminal justice including on counter-terrorism, border management, countering irregular migration and smuggling of migrants and trafficking of human beings, as part of broader Security Sector Reform support. This possible mission could draw upon the existing planning capacity of EUBAM Libya. In addition to the possible civilian mission, further consideration will also be given to support that can be provided through EUNAVFOR MED Sophia, by enhancing its capacity to disrupt the business model of human smugglers and trafficking networks and to contribute to broader security in support to the legitimate Libyan authorities, for example through potential capacity building for the Libyan Coastguard, and the implementation of international law."

EU set to upgrade naval mission in Mediterranean (FT, link): "Europe’s governments signalled they are ready to expand the role of an EU naval mission in the Mediterranean, as the bloc braces itself for an expected surge in the number of asylum seekers seeking to make the dangerous sea crossing from north Africa. The EU is under pressure to find solutions ahead of a likely influx this summer of people setting off for Europe from the coast of Libya and neighbouring countries."

and: EU navies prepare to start work in Libyan waters (euobserver, link): "The EU is to make plans for posting security experts to Libya and for moving its naval operation into Libyan waters following initial talks with the country’s new government."

- UNHCR Daily Report (18.4.16):

"On the Greek island of Lesvos, those remaining at informal sites (Olive Grove and Tsamakis) were taken to Moria for registration by police forces. They had arrived prior to 20 March when the EU-Turkey agreement came into force. As of 15 April, of the 7,216 people present on the Greek islands, at least 5,380 expressed their intent to seek asylum....

The media reports that over 400 people drowned in the Mediterranean after several overcrowded boats capsized whilst crossing from Egypt to Italy or Greece in the past few days...

Between 11-15 April, some 287 people were apprehended at Turkey’s land borders and 130 were intercepted or rescued along the Turkey’s sea borders, according to the Turkish Coast Guard."


- News (19.4.16)

Turkish PM issues EU visa ultimatum (euobserver, link): "Turkey's prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu has warned the migrant swap deal with the EU risks collapse unless visa restrictions are lifted on Turkish nationals by June as planned. "I maintain my belief that, god willing, we will have the visa exemption in June. In the absence of that, then of course no-one can expect Turkey to adhere to its commitments," he said on Monday (18 April) in Ankara."

Austria’s neighbours fear more border controls (euractiv, link): "While increased people-trafficking has been recorded in eastern Austria, increased border controls in the west, specifically at the Brenner Pass, continue to be mooted. EurActiv Germany reports.

Although Hungarian authorities have made their zero-tolerance stance on migrants clear, more people are coming from that direction into Austria. Guided by smugglers, they enter Austria and Germany in minibuses and vans. This month, 24 traffickers and 520 refugees have been apprehended in Burgenland, the easternmost region of the alpine republic.."


Migrant crisis: Hundreds dead after capsize, say survivors (BBC News, link)

Migrants reoccupy border rail crossing (ekathimerini.com, link): "An attempt by the Greek Police (ELAS) Monday to halt a month-long migrants’ protest on the railway line connecting Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was short-lived as the protesters returned to the site shortly after the police intervention. The railway line opened for a short while in the morning after police peacefully removed the migrants from the area. But the migrants did not stay away for long. They returned with their tents and rolled large stones onto the railway tracks."

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