Statewatch article: RefNo# 36376
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (23-24.4.16)
Statewatch News Online, April 2016
- EU-TURKEY: Remarks by President Donald Tusk during his visit to Turkey (23.4.16, pdf):

"Today Turkey is the best example in the entire world of how to treat refugees."

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:

"Why is the EU not the best example in the entire world of how to treat refugees?"

- Refugee Rights: Data Project: The Long Wait: Filling data gaps relating to refugees and displaced people in the Calais camo (link):

"Contrary to many other large refugee settlements around the world, the Calais camp is not an officially recognised refugee camp. This has left it marginalised without any statistics or data available regarding the camp, its inhabitants or their living conditions. While the existence of statistics by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is the norm elsewhere, none have been gathered in Calais.

Moreover, there is no border data, and no registration process has been put in place by the authorities. This makes it impossible to gain an indepth understanding of
the realities of life in the camp. It also means that thousands of people are ‘slipping through the net’, being left outside of the system. As a result, the people in the Calais camp are rendered incredibly vulnerable - among them a significant number of unaccompanied children".


- Are You Syrious (23.4.16, link)

"Solidarity center on Chios was burned down by an unknown party:

Soli Cafe, a solidarity center on #Chios that treated refugees as equals, and has been under constant police and fascist pressure and attacks recently, was set on fire last night. Culprits are still unknown. Fortunately, gas canisters had been removed from the building in time to prevent greater damage.

Meanwhile, Vial camp on Chios is still closed for independent volunteers as well as some NGO’s trying to get in. Refugees are still being detained under Greek law for up to 25 days. Volunteers have collected multiple testimonials confirming that the food provided is of poor quality, and nutritionally insufficient. There’s lack of medical support as well....

International lawyers and translators needed!

An international network of lawyers is trying to get a grip on how asylum claims in Greece are being handled. At the moment they need support of both Greek and international colleagues to review all the refugee cases in time. Translators fluent in Greek, Arabic and Farsi are needed as well. They are also looking for friendly contacts within EASO to meet with during their legal coordination meetings. If you can help with legal expertise or you know someone who could be useful, please contact ariel.ricker@gmail.com...."


- UNHCR reports (22.4/16): 180,629 arrivals in the EU in 2016: 154,268 in Greece, 25,458 in Italy. 1,261 dead/missing

- Greece: Migrant flow from Turkey to Greece picking up again: IOM (ekathimerini.com, link): "The numbers of migrants landing in Greece from Turkey is starting to creep up again, showing efforts to close off the route are coming under strain, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Friday. Around 150 people a day had arrived over the last three days, still way off the numbers seen a month ago, the organization added, but showing an increase since an EU deal with Turkey deal to stem the flow."

- UNHCR: Daily Report (22.4.16:)

"In Turkey, so far (as of 18 April), 326 people were returned boat to Dikili (Turkey) since the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement, including 202 people on 4 April and 124 people on 8 April. Main nationalities include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, India, Morocco, Egypt and Palestine. Two Syrians have been returned to date.

All non-Syrians returned by sea were referred to Kirklareli removal centre, while Syrians are transferred to Duzici camp for processing. Despite written requests, UNHCR still does not have access to them, including to the 13 persons who had expressed their wish to apply for asylum. Discussions are on-going with authorities on UNHCR’s access to removal centres."

"In Greece, on 20 April, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Economic and Social Committee of Greece and the Permanent Representation of the European Commission in Athens co-chaired a conference entitled: "Human flows and the world we share: Can Europe Tackle the Refugee and Migrant Issue?". Speaking at the conference, the Greek Alternate Defence Minister, responsible for coordinating efforts to tackle the refugee crisis, said that given the fact many people will remain in the country for one, two or more years, and rights should be granted as required; in this context, the government may consider issuing a refugee passport. The Minister also said that there are 34 operating host centers across Greece, noting that Eidomeni and Piraeus are not included in the list."
[emphasis added]

- Are You Syrious (22.4.16, link): "An Austrian bishop refused on Thursday to allow parts of a planned anti-migrant fence on the country's southern border with Hungary to be built on Church land. The barrier near Moschendorf, one of a number of government measures meant to be completed by June, is set to be several kilometres long but crosses two Church-owned properties. A fence "would contradict the spirit of the Gospel, Pope Francis's clear message to Europe, and in particular for a diocese that was in the shadow of the Iron Curtain for decades," said Aegidius Zsifkokvics, bishop of #Eisenstadt"

- Despite deal, refugees still trickling into Greece (ekathimerini.com, link): "Despite reduced flows from Turkey, authorities say that roughly 100 refugees are still arriving daily on the Greek islands, adding to the thousands of migrants scattered in registration and reception centers throughout the country....

According to the latest official figures, there are 53,817 migrants throughout the country: 29,298 are at camps and centers in northern Greece, while in Attica there are 14,359, of which 3,294 are at the port of Piraeus.

Authorities estimate that it will take more than a month to process all the asylum applications submitted.... Afghans have repeatedly protested what they say is preferential treatment given to Syrians."


- When we mourn the passing of Prince but not 500 migrants, we have to ask: have we lost all sense of perspective? (Independent, link) by Robert Fisk: "Could not one of those dead children among the five hundred souls on the sinking Mediterranean boat become a ‘superstar’?"

- News (23-24.4.16)

Angela Merkel to launch EU aid programme for Syrians on Turkey visit (Guardian link): "German chancellor will attend photocall with Ahmet Davutoglu at refugee camp in Gaziantep amid concerns over her policy....In exchange for Turkish acquiescence, Europe has promised looser visa restrictions for Turks travelling to Europe and agreed to accelerate negotiations over Turkey’s proposed accession to the EU... But Merkel and her European colleagues have been accused of pandering too much to Turkey, amid calls for stronger international criticism of the government’s crackdown on political opponents."

Rumour: Is the Relocation Program Real? (News That Moves, link)

UK: David Cameron faces knife-edge vote on child refugee policy (Observer, link): "Tory MPs join chorus of calls for UK to admit more unaccompanied young people fleeing war-torn homelands"

Babies Detained in Refugee Centers on Greek Island “Not Getting Adequate Milk” (Press Project, link): "Asylum seekers who are held in a detention center in Chios claim babies under six months old are being given only 100ml of milk a day"

Czech Republic: Migrant crisis fuelling negative sentiments towards foreigners and the EU (Radio, Praha, link)

Refugee crisis: the ugly truth behind the cynical EU-Turkey deal (FIDH< link): "March 18 2016, European Union leaders and Turkey struck a shameful deal providing for fast-track procedures aimed at returning ‘all new irregular migrants’ reaching the Greek islands after March 20 who do not have a legitimate asylum claim back to Turkey and an infamous ‘migrant swap’."

Swiss halt Muslim family's citizenship process after refusal to shake hands (Daily Sabah, link): "As anti-immigration sentiment increases across Europe, Switzerland has suspended the citizenship process of a Muslim family after brothers refused to shake female teachers' hands, saying it violates their beliefs."

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