Euro-Border Flashpoint News #28

Issue 28: Week 9 – 15th May, 2016

Weekly bulletin to collate and summarise the latest news from Europe’s borders.

General News

Irregular Mediterranean arrivals so far in 2016: 187,631; Deaths: 1,357.

Refugee and migrant communities call to all European citizens: React with us to stop inhumane policies towards refugees and migrants.

EU officials prepare “Plan B” that doesn’t include Turkey as EU-Turkey deal on danger of collapse.

Hundreds of non-Syrian asylum seekers deported under the EU-Turkey migration deal were not allowed to claim asylum in either Greece or Turkey, finds group of European politicians.

7th May, 2016 saw actions held across the UK and beyond in a coordinated Day of Action against Immigration Detention. Video from protest at The Verne.

9th May – Poland refuses to take a single refugee because of ‘security’ fears.

10th May – Human Rights Watch says Turkish border guards continue to shoot and beat Syrian refugees trying to cross into Turkey and is calling on the country to investigate abuses.

10th May – Danish officials rescue 4 men trying to reach Sweden from Denmark after their boat sinks in the sea between the two countries.

11th May – Cases of sexual assault in German refugee shelters on the rise.

12th May – Large investigation into NGO corruption during the “refugee crisis”.

13th May – EU member states to extend border controls in Schengen zone for another 6 months.


France / UK

There is a rat infestation in the Calais Jungle. A clean-up operation is planned on May 21st.

Activists and donations needed in Calais.

A legal center is being opened by Medicine Sans Frontiers and volunteers in Grande-Synthe camp in Dunkirk, to inform refugees about legal rights.

9th May – 24 year old Intazar Hussain from Pakistan killed on the highway to Calais port. Witnesses blame police as people couldn’t see due to tear-gas. Many others hurt on same night, at least 12 seriously. This is the fourth border-related death at Calais in 2016.


Thousands of people still taking Balkan route to the EU, despite border closures and EU-Turkey deal. Hungarian authorities detained nearly 11,000 people in 2016 for breaching borders. After release, most continue other EU states. To avoid the Turkey-Greece route, many new arrivals now take the dangerous route from Turkey via Bulgaria and Serbia, where about 100 people arrive daily.

9th May – A 26-year-old Syrian woman was shot on the Slovakian-Hungarian border after the driver of the car she was being smuggled in refused to stop for police warning shots. She is now in a stable condition in hospital. The UN is urging Slovakia to investigate the incident.


Turkey / Greece (East Med / Aegean)

There are more than 50,000 refugees in Greece, almost 10,000 of them stuck in Idomeni at the Greece-Macedonia border. Authorities try to convince them to move to official camps, but are they any better? Moving Europe made an interactive map of conditions in official camps. The Skype system for asylum, family reunification and relocation remains dysfunctional. There are testimonies of push-backs from Macedonia to Greece every day, but also news from people who finally arrive in Belgrade. Interview with M from Damascus who has been in Idomeni for months.

Almost 1,700 foreign citizens were returned from Greece to their countries of origin in April.

The occupied Hotel City Plaza in Athens provides safe and dignified accommodation to almost 400 refugees. Help maintain the hotel by donating food, medication, cleaning devices, detergents, etc

9th May – A group of minors march through Idomeni carrying a coffin with an EU flag, saying, “This is the funeral of the moral conscience of the EU”.

9th May – 4 refugees staying in a camp on Chios island attempt to swim back to Turkey.

10th May – Greek riot police fire tear gas to stop a fight involving up to 300 refugees at Idomeni.


Libya / Italy (Central Med)

11th May – 199 people rescued off Lybian coast, including 40 minors.

12th May – Italian Coast Guard rescues two boats with around 500 mostly Syrian refugees who had drifted several days after leaving Egypt.

13th May – Italy deploys 110 more guards to patrol Alpine pass after warning from Austria.


Morocco / Spain (West Med)

No Borders Morocco have produced a non-exhaustive summary of migration-related incidents at the Spain-Morocco border during April, 2016. The death toll rose 48% in 2015 at this border.

Interzone Voices appealing for musical instruments and clothes, books, toiletries and essential items for people stuck in Morocco