Statewatch article: RefNo# 36665
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (18-19.6.16)
Statewatch News Online, June 2016
- Turkish border guards 'kill 11 Syrian refugees' in indiscriminate shooting - Syrian groups condemn 'massacre' – but Turkey denies reports (Independent, link):

"Turkish border guards have killed at least eight Syrian refugees, including several children, as families were “fired on indiscriminately” after attempting to cross into the country, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said.

At least eight others were injured, according to the UK-based violence monitor, with the death toll likely to rise due to the number of people in “critical” condition.

The Observatory said in a statement: “Turkish border guards have committed and are committing massacres against several refugees fleeing from the brutality of the regime and its bombardment since the beginning of the year."


- GREECE: The government manipulates the Asylum Appeals Committees (AnalyzeGreece, link):

"On the 16-6-2016, with a last minute amendment, the Greek Government changes the composition of the Asylum Appeals Committees, because the existing ones were not sending refugees back to Turkey, were not considering turkey a safe third country for each applican as the implementation of the EU-Turkey refugee deal imposes. This is a disgraceful intervention and some members the existing Asylum Appeals Committees explain about it..

Managing legal issues by use of political priorities raises many questions about the future of the asylum system in Greece, the protection of human rights and the rule of law. For us, it is apparent that the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement is incompatible with the guarantees of the existing asylum system and the level of protection of human rights which has been achieved within the international and European legal framework. Unfortunately, the Ministry’s orchestrations indicate that whenever any decision making body, old or new, is not in line with the objective of mass returns to Turkey, such law amendments and wresting of authorities and responsibility will not be in the future the exception but rather the rule."


See: Link in Greek and: Letter by members of the Asylum Appeals Committees of Greece (Presidential Decree 114/2010), regarding the latest developments in the asylum claims review process (pdf)

- EASO recruits security firm giant G4S: LESVOS, GREECE: New Security on Greek Islands Reduces Access: European migration commentator Apostolis Fotiadis probes the legality of the European Asylum Support Office’s decision to limit access to asylum proceedings as part of new security measures on the Greek islands (News Deeply - Refugees Deeply, link):

"On June 9, the Lawyers Association of Mitilini (Lesvos) sued the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) for obstructing access to asylum proceedings by its members. The lawyers claim that EASO officials and private security guards are prohibiting access to specific areas of the holding centers, also called hotspots, that host the EASO offices and the asylum proceedings.

“The [lawyers’] association will guard the rights of its members as well as refugees against anyone who creates obstacles to their representation according to law,” said Haris Petsikos, a lawyer and member of the association....

The lawyers in Lesvos have accused the European agency of using increased security measures to deliberately limit uninhibited monitoring of how the asylum proceedings are being conducted. Reacting to questions about the unusual security measures, an EASO spokesperson confirmed that it has contracted G4S, a private global security company, to provide services inside refugee hotspots on the Greek islands due to “serious safety concerns” about their officials.

G4S is the world’s largest security company in terms of revenue and operates in 125 countries. Recent controversies involving the company include allegations of using immigrant-detainee labor in prisons, misconduct in child custodial institutions and manipulating police telephone data. Given this record, human rights groups and lawyers are understandably concerned about the rights and treatment of asylum seekers.

Civil society activists and advocacy groups such as Pro Asyl have also criticized the European asylum office for purportedly acting beyond its stated mandate. Some groups also claim that the EASO is helping impose a policy of en mass inadmissible decisions on asylum claims, in order to bolster the E.U.-Turkey deal."


- MSF rejects EU funding in protest at refugee deal - Aid group could lose €60m but says it cannot take money from countries that are ‘pushing away’ people and their suffering (Guardian, link):

"The aid group Médecins Sans Frontières will no longer take money from any member of the EU, including Britain, in protest at the way Europe has responded to the refugee crisis. The decision could see the organisation miss out on €60m (£47m), the amount MSF was given by EU members, EU institutions and Norway in 2015.

MSF says it can no longer take money from countries and institutions that are “intensifying attempts to push people and their suffering away from European shores. This decision will take effect immediately and will apply to MSF’s projects worldwide.”

In particular, MSF has criticised the EU-Turkey deportation deal, the agreement created in March that is meant to ensure the deportation of almost all asylum seekers arriving by boat to Greece, and which has seen thousands of people stranded in legal limbo in squalid conditions on the Greek islands.

MSF has also condemned Europe’s ongoing attempts to pay dictatorships in Africa to stem migration flows before they reach Europe.......

Jérôme Oberreit, MSF’s international secretary general, said. “The EU-Turkey deal goes one step further and has placed the very concept of ‘refugee’ and the protection it offers in danger.”""


- UN chief calls Lesvos 'island of peace' during visit to refugees (ekathimerini.com, link):

"UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called Lesvos "the island of peace" and the Aegean "a sea of solidarity" during a visit to the eastern Aegean island on Saturday.

The UN chief expressed his thanks to the Greek government, local authorities and the people of Lesvos for their efforts to help refugees. Accompanied by Migration Policy Minister Yiannis Mouzalas and local officials, Ban visited the Moria reception center and the Kara Tepe refugee settlement."


- ITALY: Oxfam report: HOTSPOT, RIGHTS DENIED (pdf):

"The lack of a legal framework is threatening the rights of migrants reaching the Italian shore. Oxfam calls for immediate and mid-term action....

The European response to the refugee crisis is proving ineffective and dangerous. Ineffective, because it is failing to hold back the migratory flows, which was its main objective, and to ensure an appropriate management of incoming migrants, as we will see in this report which tries to describe the situation in Sicily."

And: Report in Italian (pdf)

- Countries must do more help Greece with migrant crisis, UN chief says (ekathimerini.com, link):

"United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Saturday for countries to do more to help cope with Europe's migrant crisis, saying Greece could not manage on its own.

Speaking in Athens before heading to the Greek island of Lesbos, the gateway into Europe for nearly a million people last year, Ban said Greece had shown "remarkable solidarity and compassion" in dealing with the hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing war, despite its economic hardship.

"Greece should not be left alone to address this challenge on its own," Ban told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras."


- FRANCE: La Cimade’s Charter Awards highlight unlawful practices enacted by prefectures against migrants which subordinate the law to immigration policy objectives (pdf): "Detention and expulsion: prefectures awarded prizes for their illegal and abusive practices."

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