Statewatch article: RefNo# 36643
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (14.6.16): increase in deaths in the Mediterranean; Parliament position on a European Border Guard; reports on unaccompanied minors; and more.
Statewatch News Online, June 2016
- Mediterranean: 2016 data shows massive increase in deaths compared to 2015

"International Organization for Migration reports an estimated 207,260 migrants, including refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 through 8 June, arriving in Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Spain. Deaths so far this year are 2,856, compared with 1,838 through the first six months of 2015. In other words, fatalities in the Mediterranean in 2016 are over 1,000 more than last year’s mid-year total, although we now are some three weeks shy of 2016’s mid-year point." (emphasis added)

- Reports on unaccompanied child migrants in Europe and Spain

"Migrant children making the perilous journey to Europe to escape war and poverty face possible beatings, rape and forced labor in addition to risk of drowning in the Mediterranean, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday.

Minors account for a growing percentage of migrants and refugees, particularly those trying to reach Italy by sea from Libya, it said in a report, "Danger Every Step of the Way".

Of the roughly 206,200 people who arrived in Europe by sea this year to June 4, one in three was a child, it said, citing figures from the U.N. refugee agency.

"Every step of the journey is fraught with danger, all the more so for the nearly one in four children traveling without a parent or guardian," UNICEF said."

See: Children face beatings, rape, death trying to reach Europe: UNICEF (Reuters, link)

UNICEF press release: “If you try to run, they shoot you; if you stop working they beat you. It was just like the slave trade.” (link)

And the full report: Danger Every Step of the Way (pdf)

The Spanish arm of Save the Children has also recently released a report on the situation for unaccompanied minors in Spain: Invisible childhood: unaccompanied foreign minors, victims of trafficking and refugees in Spain (Infancias invisibles: menores extranjeros no acompañados, víctimas de trata y refugiados en España, pdf)

Published in Spanish, it contains an executive summary, an introduction and six chapters, under the headings of: foreign unaccompanied minors; children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation; refugee childhood; Fortress Europe; what Save the Children is doing; and a conclusion entitled "children versus migrants".

- European Border Guard Agency: European Parliament position for negotiations with the Council

On 30 May the European Parliament's civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee (LIBE) adopted its position on the proposed Regulation for a European Border and Coast Guard Agency, which would significantly expand the powers of Frontex. The text adopted by LIBE will be used as the basis for the Parliament's negotiations with the Council in the secret "trilogue" procedure.

- Report of the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief: Fleeing Persecution: Asylum Claims in the UK on Religious Grounds (pdf)

This report examines the treatment by the British state of claims for asylum on the grounds of religious persecution. It is based on an enquiry set up "to look at the quality of the assessment of religion-based asylum claims in the UK and the impact of the asylum procedure on the fairness and quality of decision making."

The executive summary highlights the main concerns raised by the report: that while the UK Home Office has updated its guidance on religious asylum claims and has offered relevant training to its staff, "there is a disparity between the Home Office policy guidelines and what is actually happening in practice."

These concerns include lack of knowledge amongst decision-makers leading to poorly and wrongly-assessed claims; procedural problems (for example "the adequacy of resources in the asylum system, the legal representation of asylum seekers as well as religious literacy training of Home Office asylum process staff"); problems with interpretation; and a lack of statistics on the grounds for asylum claims submitted in the UK.

- U.N. rights boss deplores detention of migrants in Europe (Reuters, link): "The U.N. human rights chief on Monday decried a "worrying rise" in detentions of migrants in Greece and Italy and urged authorities to find alternatives to confining children while asylum requests are processed.

More than one million migrants, many fleeing Syria's war, have arrived in Europe through Greece since last year. More than 150,000 have come in 2016 so far - 38 percent of them children, according to United Nations refugee agency data. Italy has also set up mandatory detention centres.

"Even unaccompanied children are frequently placed in prison cells or centres ringed with barbed wire. Detention is never in the best interests of the child – which must take primacy over immigration objectives," Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"Alternatives to the detention of children must be developed," he told the start of a three-week council session."

- UNHCR report puts projected resettlement needs in 2017 at 1.19 million (UNHCR, link): "With a multitude of conflicts and crises causing record displacement around the world, resettlement has become an increasingly vital part of UNHCR’s efforts to find solutions and advocate for fairer responsibility-sharing for refugees, a UNHCR report released today at an annual meeting in Geneva says.

While the UNHCR Projected Global Resettlement Needs 2017 report says that more than 1 million refugees were submitted by UNHCR to over 30 resettlement countries in the past decade, the number of people in need of resettlement far surpasses the opportunities for placement in a third country.

The report says that despite increased resettlement quotas from some countries, expansion in global resettlement capacity, and increases in submissions, the projected number of people in need of resettlement in 2017 will pass 1.19 million.

In response, UNHCR expects to submit 170,000 refugees for resettlement next year, based on the expected global quotas from resettlement states. This compares to a current target of some 143,000 in 2016 and more than 100,000 in each of 2015 and 2014 respectively. Despite the increase in quotas from states and submissions made, the gap in terms of needs remains great."

Full report (30MB, link to pdf): UNHCR Projected Global Resettlement Needs 2017

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