Euro-Border Flashpoint News #24

Issue 24: Week 11th – 17th April, 2016

A weekly bulletin, aiming to collate and simplify information from a variety of sources about the situation at Europe’s borders.

General News

Turkey is negotiating readmission agreements with 14 countries, including Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, in order to deport people more conveniently.

New evidence proves EU policy-makers knew reduced search-and-rescue operation would cause mass deaths.

Suicide attempts in UK immigration removal centres at an all-time high, averaging more than one a day, according to official figures released following a freedom of information request by NGO No Deportations: 393 recorded suicide attempts in 2015, a rise of 11% on the previous year.

Watch the Med Alarm Phone are appealing for donations.

A new newspaper is being published by and for people who are refugees, in Germany.

12th Apr – EU Parliament advocates a centralised EU asylum system and legal ways to migrate.


12th Apr – Austria is building a 250m anti-migrant barrier across the Brenner pass at Italian border.

13th Apr – Groups of Bulgarian nationalist volunteers in military uniform are “hunting” migrants near the Turkish border in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian state has at times openly supported the migrant hunters. A migrant hunter is under house arrest, with Bulgarian nationalists supporting him outside.

16th Apr – Switzerland is preparing to station tank battalions on its border with Italy to prepare for “migrant onslaught”. Approximately 2,000 soldiers are on standby.

Turkey / Greece (East Med / Aegean)

UNHCR records lowest weekly arrival to date in Greece: fewer than 100 people per day.

The UNHCR published an interactive, constantly updated map of all refugee camps in Greece. Bordermonitoring Europe have been visiting these camps and reporting on conditions.

Mayor of Lesbos wants to close Lesbos Solidarity Camp (ex-PIPKA), a unique volunteer and refugee run camp, which was created in 2012. Petition. More information about the camp.

Right-wing mobs and general violence and negativity are rising up against refugees on Chios.

11th Apr – Another protest at Idomeni, without the police violence of the previous day.

11th Apr – Nea Karvali camp in north-east Greece is evicted; people moved first to Larissa, then Katsikas. They refuse to leave the buses, remaining in them for days, demanding better conditions. People already in Katsikas camp protest against conditions, blocking the highway.

12th Apr – Evacuation of Idomeni underway, with 500 people transferred to other camps. Refugees largely move voluntarily, but about 30 people begin a hunger strike in Idomeni.

13th Apr – Boat in distress northeast of Samos is rescued to Greece.

13th Apr – Volunteers and medics arrested in and around Idomeni for trivial reasons such as possessing two-way radios and possession of a pen knife. Advice for volunteers.

14th Apr – Boat intercepted by Turkish coastguard near Lesvos, with NATO military vessel involved

14th Apr – Greek army stages double military exercise, flying warplanes and helicopters above migrants and refugees camped at Idomeni.

16th Apr – The Pope visits Lesbos, to be shown a carefully staged presentation of refugees. He takes 12 Syrian asylum seekers, including 6 children, back to the Vatican with him by plane.

16th Apr – Body of a three-year-old Syrian girl found in a fisherman’s net off the coast of Turkey.

Calais / UK

Still no news about the fate of remaining part of the Jungle; evictions of smaller camps continue.

12th Apr – 3 European citizens accused of Outrage, Rebellion and Incitement to Rebellion after an encounter with police in Calais receive suspended prison sentences and €50 fine per officer (x12).

14th Apr – Two Iranian men in an inflatable dinghy are rescued from the English Channel after the light on their mobile phone alerts a passing ship.

Morocco / Spanish Border (West Med)

West Africans attempting to return to their countries of origin blocked for over a week at the Mauritania border by Moroccan border agents, who say they cannot leave for lack of entry stamps.

10th Apr – Moroccan Auxiliary forces attack fields of migrants camping in Nador forests, burning everything, including tents, food and medical supplies. 23 men arrested in Selouane alone.

14th Apr – Judges in Madrid order the immediate re-admittance of some of the Moroccan citizens who were ejected from the CETI (immigration centre) in Melilla. 14 Moroccans have been ejected from this centre after their asylum claims were rejected, while other nationalities were allowed to remain. They have been sleeping on the street and facing the cold and robbery.

14th Apr – 19 men and 2 women successfully reach Almeria, Spain in a large boat.

15th Apr – Another 53 people successfully reach Spain.

15th Apr – Moroccan Auxiliary Forces raid three camps near Selouane, burning all possessions, including tents, clothes, food and medicine. Many women and children left without shelter.