Migration / Refugees /Asylum
Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals in 2016: 190,973; Deaths 1,359
05/20/16 – IOM
Italy – IOM reports an estimated 190,973 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea in 2016 through 18 May, arriving in Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Spain.
Greece: “Europe’s lack of political will creating serious suffering for thousands of migrants in Greece” – UN rights expert
ATHENS / GENEVA (17 May 2016) – “The suffering of migrants in Greece is the result of a complete absence of long-term vision and the clear lack of political will of the European Union,” United Nations human rights expert François Crépeau said at the end of a follow-up mission* to Greece.
“This is not only a humanitarian crisis,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants warned. “This is more importantly a political crisis in which the EU and the overwhelming majority of EU member states have abandoned Greece – a country that is fighting to implement austerity measures – leaving it to deal with an issue that requires efforts from all.”
Mr. Crépeau stressed that the closure of the borders surrounding Greece, coupled with the new EU-Turkey agreement, have exponentially increased the number of irregular migrants in the country. “Unlike before, Greece is no longer a transit country and is struggling to ‘catch up’ and develop a mechanism to deal with immediate needs, in the absence of a clear commitment from the EU to support the country,” he said.
The independent expert expressed particular concern with conditions in the Reception and Identification Centres (RIC or ‘hotspots’), which have become closed centres as a result of the EU-Turkey deal, and “are creating an unacceptable level of confusion, frustration, violence and fear.”
He noted, among other worrying issues, the length of process to identify vulnerable migrants, the blatant over-crowding that is amplifying inter-communal friction, the mix of families and young single males, the absence of many Government services during the weekend, the contradictory information received regarding procedures and timelines, as well as insufficient procedural safeguards in detention facilities for migrants…
EU-Turkey deal: Greek decision highlights fundamental flaws
Press Release – Amnesty International
20 May 2016, 19:11 UTC
A Syrian national who arrived on the Greek island of Lesvos has won an appeal against a decision that would have led to his forcible return to Turkey, underscoring the fundamental flaws in the migration deal agreed in March between the European Union and Turkey, Amnesty International said.
In the first such decision Amnesty International has seen since the deal, an appeals committee in Athens overturned an initial decision considering Turkey a safe third country on the grounds that Turkey does not afford refugees the full protection required under the Refugee Convention. The committee also ruled that Turkey does not guarantee the principle of non-refoulement, which forbids returning someone to a country where he or she is at risk of serious human rights violations.
“This decision goes to the heart of why the EU-Turkey deal was so deeply flawed to begin with,” said Gauri van Gulik, Deputy Europe Director at Amnesty International.
“Turkey is not safe for refugees, it does not offer them full protection, and assurances on paper are simply not good enough. We’ve seen the reality on the ground: until Turkey ends all violations against refugees and guarantees them full protection, nobody else should be sent back under this deal. Instead Europe should focus on its part of the deal by accepting refugees for resettlement from Turkey. It should also urgently improve conditions for refugees in Greece.”…