Statewatch article: RefNo# 36972
Refugee crisis: latest news from across Europe (17-18.8.16)
Statewatch News Online, August 2016
- Long Read: Minor Miracle or Historic Failure Ahead for U.N. Summit? (Refugees Deeply, link):

"In the lead-up to September’s U.N. summit on refugees and migrants, Jeff Crisp, associate fellow at Chatham House, warns that growing isolationism will prevent a successful initiative and further weaken refugee protection."

- UNHCR Weekly Report (18.8.16): 265,985 arrivals by sea in 2016. 265,985 in Greece and 162,015 in Italy. 3,155 dead/missing

Update on Relocation

"No relocations took place from Italy last week. Thus far, 961 people, only 2.4 % of the targeted 39,600 for the period of September 2015 to September 2017, have been relocated from Italy.

On 12 August, 400 pledges for Greece were opened by France. As of 12 August, 2,986 have been relocated from Greece of the 66,400 targeted total up to September 2017, representing only 4.5%."


Hungary

"During the week, Hungarian police reported 74 apprehensions for irregular entry, while 453 people were pre-vented from irregularly crossing the border and another 445 people were intercepted inside Hungary and escorted back to the other side of the border fence. The Hungarian government decided on 10 August to deploy an additional 3,000 police personnel to the border in response to irregular migration."

- GREECE: official figures of number of "guests" in detention centres (57,828 refugees) on the islands and the mainland: 18.8.16 (pdf): Lesvos, Chios and Samos have more "guests" than their capacity.

- GREECE: Gov't seeking revision of Dublin Regulation returning migrants (ekathimerini.com, link):

"Intent on tackling the refugee crisis head on, the government aims to push for an overhaul of the so-called Dublin Regulation, which stipulates that migrants must apply for asylum in the first European Union country they enter, a provision that has put much of the burden on Greece....

Indications by Turkey that it might not honor a migrant deal with the EU have fueled concerns in Greece that a slowed migrant influx could pick up again. Greek officials insist that a slight uptick in migrant arrivals on the Greek islands remains manageable but in private they are concerned....

diplomatic sources have indicated that any such change is unlikely during Slovakia’s presidency of the EU, which finishes at the end of the year."


- Asylum Applications In Greece Increase Over 264% (News That Moves, link)

"The Greek Asylum Service (GAS) released data on asylum applications filed in Greece in 2016. Between January and July, 21,833 asylum claims have been submitted in Greece, an increase of 264.8% compared with the same period in 2015.

Most asylum applications in 2016 have been filed in Athens (8,731),Thessaloniki (5,079) and Lesvos (2,393). In July alone, 2,543 men and 1,470 women applied for asylum in Greece.

Asylum applications in Greece started to increase in March 2016 after the closure of the Balkan Route and the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement."


- Greece: 8 refugees sent back to Turkey - On Wednesday, Greek coast guards rescued 70 refugees and migrants (AA, link)

"A special flight was chartered by Frontex and the eight refugees flew by Astra Airlines to Adana, southern Turkey, according to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA).

Meanwhile, refugees continue to enter the Greek waters from the Aegean sea.

On Wednesday, the Greek coast guards rescued 70 refugees and migrants in an inflatable dinghy in off the coast of the Kos island, reported the state new agency AMNA. The migrants, who came from Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan, were transferred to a reception center.

In the last 24 hours, a total of 44 refugees and migrants have arrived at the Lesvos island."


- Greece plans new refugee facilities to cut overcrowding on islands (euractiv, link)

"Greece plans to reduce overcrowding at migrant camps on its islands, a government official said yesterday (17 August), to ease growing tensions and improve conditions that campaigners have called “disgraceful”."

- New migrant center to open near Thiva as Cretan authorities protest plans for four local camps (ekathimerini.com, link)

"The government is planning to host around 1,000 migrants in a former cotton mill near the city of Thiva in central Greece, it emerged Tuesday, as authorities on Crete expressed objections to plans to accommodate another 2,000 migrants in four migrant centers on the island."

- Aid and Attention Dwindling, Migrant Crisis Intensifies in Greece (NYT, link):

"NEA KAVALA, Greece — As her young children played near heaps of garbage, picking through burned corn cobs and crushed plastic bottles to fashion new toys, Shiraz Madran, a 28-year-old mother of four, turned with tear-rimmed eyes to survey the desolate encampment that has become her home.

This year, her family fled Syria, only to get stuck at Greece’s northern border with Macedonia in Idomeni, a town that had been the gateway to northern Europe for more than one million migrants from the Middle East and Africa seeking a haven from conflict. After Europe sealed the border in February to curb the unceasing stream, the Greek authorities relocated many of those massed in Idomeni to a camp on this wind-beaten agricultural plain in northern Greece, with promises to process their asylum bids quickly.

But weeks have turned into months..."


- Turkey struggling to cope with refugees (euobserver, link):

"Host to the world’s largest refugee population, Turkey is struggling to meet its international obligations and secure dignified living conditions for the more than 3 million people that fled to the country.

In a report published on Wednesday (17 August), the Council of Europe’s special representative on migration and refugees, Tomas Bocek, praised Turkey for its efforts to help people displaced by conflicts in neighbouring states.

But the report by the Czech official, who visited Turkey in May and June on a fact-finding mission, raises doubts whether Turkey can cope with the challenge."


See: Council of Europe: Turkey: Migrant children and refugees living precariously outside camps (link):

- Are You Syrious (17.8.16)

Thessaloniki

"Teams from multiple organizations, including AYS, report that police are evicting refugees from the park and treating volunteers with some hostility, blaming them for making the location habitable and therefore incentivizing more refugees to come and wait in the park.

The term “people hunting” seemed fitting today to describe what’s happening at Thessaloniki Park’s unofficial gathering. This morning, police came at 7 am without announcement and picked up refugees, taking them to other camps in northern Greece. There were around 400 people in the camp last night. Many kept trying to return throughout the day, but police stayed there during the whole day and through the evening, searching for people. Many of the camps in northern Greece are in a state of decay?—?the smell is so bad that people cannot breathe without covering their noses and mouths to keep from coughing...."


ITALY

"A man has been arrested for attempting to bring people into France. The man, a native of Nice, France, was apprehended by Italian police near the French-Italian border. The man was previously known to police due to his affiliation with no-border activist groups. "

- Are You Syrious (16.8.16, link)

Slovenia reinforcing wire fence after reported increase of irregular border crossings

"Slovenian authorities have announced they will reinforce the wire fence along the border with Croatia, following the reported increase of irregular refugee arrivals. According to unnamed government official cited in local newspapers, several smuggling attempts and irregular border crossings have been detected recently. Some of the refugees who were caught were pushed back to Croatia, while others have asked for asylum in Slovenia."

Slovenian reception centres on standby in preparation for possible further increase of arrivals

"According to Slovenian police, last week there were 311 refugees in accommodation and detention centres, but more people are thought to have passed the country without being registered. Slovenian officials are getting ready for the possible scenario of re-opening the route if Turkey decides to abandon its deal with EU and start letting more refugees to proceed to their journey towards EU countries."

Italian municipalities propose a plan for equal redistribution of migrants in the country

"The national association of Italian municipalities (ANCI) has proposed a plan to redistribute the presence of refugees in an equal way, considering the possibility to host an average of 2.5 refugees for each 1,000 inhabitants in municipalities throughout the country."

- Swiss-Italian frontier becomes flashpoint in Europe’s migrant crisis (euractiv, link):

"Nine months pregnant and desperate to cross from Italy into Switzerland after fleeing Ethiopia, a young woman along with her husband are among hundreds stranded by a Swiss border clampdown that is drawing international scrutiny.

Swiss authorities reject accusations they are violating would-be refugees’ rights to seek asylum. But a growing throng of migrants waiting near Como in northern Italy and aid workers tell a different story: The Swiss border is effectively closed."


- Refugees create flag for their Olympic team as a 'symbol of solidarity' (Mashable UK, link):

"When the first ever Olympic team made up of refugees entered the opening ceremony last week, not much united them beyond their desires to compete and unwilling separations from their home countries. Now, a new organization wants to give them their own symbol.

The 10 athletes walked under the Olympic flag during the Parade of Nations and they continue to compete under those five rings, since their members come from four different countries. But a newly-formed organization, The Refugee Nation, has designed a flag it hopes will become part of the identity of the team and inspire goodwill for forcibly displaced people around the world."


- CZECH REPUBLIC: People from Ukraine, Iraq, China, Cuba mostly seek asylum in 2016 (Prague Monitor, link): "Czech asylum was sought by 872 people from January to July, which is nearly the same number as in the first seven months of 2015 (884), and the highest number of asylum seekers were from Ukraine, Iraq, China, Cuba and Syria, according to the latest data released by the Interior Ministry. The largest group of asylum seekers continued to be Ukrainians (289), though their number considerably decreased compared to last year. Thanks to a resettlement project for Iraqi refugees, Czech authorities received 133 applications for asylum from citizens of Iraq this year. In the previous years, very few Iraqis applied for asylum in the country."

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