Statewatch article: RefNo# 36652
EU: Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (15.6.16)
Statewatch News Online, June 2016
EU-Turkey deal progress report; Commission on Greece's asylum system; new EU-funded projects in Africa; IOM report on dead and missing migrants; Amnesty on EU-Libya cooperation; a convoy from the UK to Calais; and more.

- Thursday 16th June: French border police ban aid convoy from sailing from Dover (Peoples' Assembly)

"Last night we were contacted by the Metropolitan Police who informed us that the French authorities have decided to ban the Convoy to Calais from entering France and, as things stand at the moment, we will not be granted permission to cross the border.

We are doing all in our power to get this overturned. It is more important than ever that we go ahead and show the strength of feeling and support for refugees. If the authorities still refuse to let us cross the channel we will be holding a protest in Dover.

We will still assemble the convoy on Whitehall at 8:30am and will drive to Dover.
We are in negotiations to get the ban lifted and are putting political pressure here and in France to allow the convoy to cross the French border.

How you can help: Sign and share the petition Calling for a reversal of the ban and demanding that the UK government gets involved. Sign the petition here"


- WatchTheMed Alarm Phone denounces illegal push-back operation with Frontex present! (link):

"Following a period without any reported incidents of push-backs since January 2016, and decreased numbers of emergency calls from the Aegean Sea which is clearly related to decreased border crossings as a consequence of the EU-Turkey deal from March 20, the Alarm Phone documented a push-back operation on June 11, 2016."

- Bodies of 34 migrants, including 20 children, found in Niger desert (France 24, link):

"The bodies of 34 migrants, including 20 children, who were abandoned by people smugglers while trying to reach neighbouring Algeria were found in the Niger desert last week, authorities said Wednesday."

- Appeal for the closure of Detention Centres and HOTSPOTS in Europe! (pdf):

"There are 393 Administrative Detention Centers in Europe. Their purpose is to keep foreigners who have an irregular administrative status locked up before they are expelled from the territory. ...

We demand that the European states close those places, that serve to establish differences between human beings, those who have rights and those who are considered as «undesirable foreign objects» in violation of articles 1, 2 and 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We demand that the European states adopt reception policies that respond to the urgency of the humanitarian situation at the external borders and within the territory of the European Union..."


First Signatories

Antirazzista Catanese (Italia), Askavusa Lampedusa (Italia), ATMF (Association des Travailleurs Maghrébins de France), BAAM (Bureau d’accueil et a’accompagnement des migrants - France), CISPM (Coalition internationale des Sans Papiers et Migrants), CISPM New Haven (USA), CSP93 (Coordination 93 de lutte pour les Sans Papiers - France), CSP75 (Coordination 75 des Sans Papiers - France), Fondation Frantz Fanon (France), Intégration 21 (France), Kâlî (France), MAFED (Marche des Femmes pour la Dignité - France), Tanquem els CIEs (España), UNSP (Union nationale des sans papiers et des migrants - France), Union syndicale Solidaires (France)....

- EU trying to bury report on Turkey migrant returns (euobserver, link):

"The European Commission and some member states want to bury a report by an EU agency that is likely to say Turkey is unfit for asylum seekers, EUobserver understands.

People sitting on the management board of the Malta-based European Asylum Support Office (EASO), including EU commission staff from the home affairs department, DG Home, are unhappy with EASO's efforts to determine if Turkey is a safe third country....

EASO is now caught in a dilemma. Either they publish a credible report or one that toes the EU line on how Turkey is fit for returned asylum seekers. The report is not yet finished.

Asked to comment, Schembri says they are still in consultation with the management board and with the commission to determine "if this [safe third country] is in our role or not."

EUobserver also understands that the UK members on the management board had objected to the EASO probe and then decided to write their own report."


- European Parliament Briefing: Towards an EU humanitarian visa scheme? (pdf)

"With large numbers of protection seekers continuing to risk hazardous sea crossings to reach the European Union, there has been considerable focus on the need for legal entry channels, notably resettlement. Humanitarian visas represent one such legal channel. This briefing provides a succinct overview of what humanitarian visas are, the rationale for their use, how they function, how they are regulated in EU law and the scope for future development of a fully-fledged EU humanitarian visa scheme."

- EU pushes Greece to set up new asylum committees (euobserver,link):

"The EU wants Greece to quickly set up new appeals committees to better cope with the large number of asylum requests.

"New appeals committees under the new law will be set up in the next 10 days, I am confident that procedures will be accelerated soon," EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told journalist on Wednesday (15 June)."


- EC prods Greece to enforce Dublin Regulation (/ekathimerini/news, link):

"Even as the process of relocating refugees from Greece and Italy to other European Union member-states as part of an EU program proceeds very slowly, the European Commission on Wednesday called on Greece to improve its implementation of the so-called Dublin Regulation which stipulates that migrants who have traveled on to other countries in the bloc via Greece be returned to Greece."

See: Asylum: Commission calls on further efforts from Greece to allow resumption of Dublin transfers

- UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN: Supporting unaccompanied and separated children and youth in Greece (pdf)

"In a collaborative effort, the European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM) and eleven other European Foundations, including the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Bodossaki Foundation and the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation are dedicating a funding programme to the particularly urgent situation of unaccompanied and separated children and youth in Greece. The programme is part of the Europe-wide initiative “Never Alone –Building our future with children and youth arriving in Europe”.

- Are You Syrious (link)

WatchTheMed Alarm Phone denounces an illegal push-back operation with Frontex present

WatchTheMed says a refugee boat between Chios and Cesme was illegally pushed-back to Turkey by Greek coast guards. It says that refugees reported being told by the coastguard that they were safe but were later handed over to the Turkish coast guard. The refugees were brought back to the port of Cesme and later detained.

- UNHCR Weekly report: Greece: 15 June:

Situation on the islands

"Situation on the islands Conditions in the Reception and Identification Centres (RICS) on the Greek islands continue to be dire, particularly for people with specific needs. On Lesvos, families with specific needs who were transferred to the open facility Kara Tepe have begun to spontaneously return to Moria asking to be transferred to facilities with better living conditions and where cash assistance is distributed by some NGOs. On Samos, 128 refugees and migrants arrived during the reporting period, while no additional accommodation space is available. There are currently 1,063 people present in the RIC in Samos, which has a capacity of 636. As a result, new arrivals are staying in tents, which has led to increasing need for communal water and sanitation facilities and protection risks for the population."

Situation at the border between Serbia and Hungary

A significant number of refugees and migrants continue to accumulate at the border between Serbia and Hungary. Between 6 and 12 June, there were on average, 600 people, mainly women and children, awaiting admission into the “transit zones” in Hungary, without appropriate shelter or sanitary conditions. UNHCR, UNICEF and the Red Cross continued to distribute food and non-food items to people present at the border in Horgos I and Kelebija. Some 213 individuals were admitted in the “transit zones” in the past week. Tensions remained in the pre-transit areas along the Serbian border. In addition, in relation to people trying to cross irregularly to Hungary, reports about pushbacks, physical abuse and harassment by Hungarian police forces and military personnel have increased in recent weeks. UNHCR has raised concerns about the increase in reported incidents with the Hungarian police."

- News (16.6.16)

Turkey fails to meet criteria for visa-free EU travel - European commission says Turkey has not met conditions of possible deal including border security and human rights issues (Guardian. link)

UNHCR warns of ‘collective failure’ following London donor conference (euractiv, link): "The UNHCR warned of a “collective failure” by the international community to deliver on pledges made to help the countries which bear the heaviest burden of the Syrian refugee crisis."

UN authorises EU operation against Libya arms smuggling (euractiv, link): "The UN Security Council on Tuesday (14 June) approved an EU operation to intercept ships suspected of arms smuggling to Libya, moving to shore up Tripoli’s unity government as it battles the Islamic State group."

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