Euro-Border Flashpoint News #30

Issue 29: Weeks 23rd May – 6th June, 2016

(Usually) weekly bulletin collating and summarising the latest news from Europe’s borders.

Calais (UK / France border)

26th May – A fight in the distribution line at Jules Ferry Center escalates and spills out over a large part of the Jungle. Over 50 people taken to hospital by ambulance, but given inadequate treatment. Tents and living structures set on fire and burned down. Police intervene late, laughing at the chaos.

Hungary

The route across Hungary reopened as borders through the Balkans to Austria become harder to cross. At least 12,000 people broke through the razor-wire fence on the Serbia-Hungary border this year. The number of people waiting to legally cross the fence into Hungary continues to rise (16,612 on May 22nd) as only 20-30 allowed to pass each day. There have been several protests in different detention centres across Hungary. Asylum legislation has been reformed, integration support abolished, 3 year review on refugee status introduced and homelessness criminalised. Some case officers are resigning, saying they cannot fulfil their job with a clear conscience. Very bad conditions and violence from guards reported in detention camps. Map of camps in Hungary.

1st June – 300 people begin a protest in closed camp Kiskunhalas, demanding freedom to leave the prison and live in an open camp, faster asylum procedure and better living conditions. Video.

3rd June – Protest continues at Kiskunhalas detention camp.

3rd June – Body found of man who attempted to swim across the river from Serbia to Hungary. Iraqi family of 5 people also taken out of the water; 2-3 year old toddler close to hypothermia. Mother and 3 children taken to hospital, father taken for criminal investigation. Police give family presents.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria steps up push-backs in response to increasing numbers of irregular crossings from Greece.

 

Turkey / Greece (East Med / Aegean)

New deterrence measures between Greece and Turkey mean fewer sea crossings on this route.

A campaign has been launched to allow Ismail, a 47 year old man from Syria who has terminal cancer, to be allowed to travel quickly and safely from Greece to Sweden to be with his family.

23rd May – Massive police force movements towards Idomeni in preparation for upcoming eviction.

24th May – Eviction of 8,500 people begins at Idomeni camp on the Greece-Macedonia border after thousands of refugees awake to find themselves surrounded by thousands of police.

25th May – Eviction continues. Buses take people to new makeshift camps and extended existing ones. Conditions inadequate. Many people refuse to get on buses or to disembark in new camps.

26th May – Final day of eviction, Idomeni is now empty. Moving Europe continue reporting about the situation in the new camps and other flashpoints across Greece on their Live Ticker.

Libya / Lampedusa / Italy (Central Med)

Thousands of people are now braving the perilous Libya-Italy crossing daily, on overcrowded boats. 13,000 arrivals in only one week, with 1,130 travellers drowned in several shipwrecks in May and 1,052 people saved in eight different Search And Rescue operations over only a few days.

“Until European navies, NATO, Frontex vessels and coastguards can officially enter Libyan waters to push people back to Libya, they seem to employ their assets only for selective and media-effective rescue operations.” – Alarm Phone

A large number of minors are kept on Lampedusa for 4-6 weeks, in close proximity with adults, in trucks where the lights are always on, and “punished” with the same treatment as adults who are protesting the Italian identification system and Dublin regulations.

There are still around 150 people camping at Ventimiglia on the Italy-France border, despite hotspots, deportations and state repression. Activists are raising money for a new “freespot”.

23-30th May – 3 shipwrecks in 7 days, with 70 deaths verified but more than 700 missing.

23rd May – Over 2,600 people rescued from boats between Italy and Libya in only 24 hours.

25th May – At least 5 people dead, 562 rescued after a ship overturns on route to Italy from Libya.

26th May – At least 15 drowned in new shipwreck of a boat carrying 100 people off Libyan coast.

26th May – Hundreds drown after boat with 500 Syrian and Iraqi refugees sinks off Libya coast.

28th May – Boat carrying 12 people safely reaches the Italian island of Pantelleria.

3rd June – 117 bodies found on the West coast of Libya.

 

Morocco / Spain (West Med)

26th May – After close to 120 people storm the fence of Melilla, 30 touch Spanish soil, but are returned to Morocco, as has become usual, in “devoluciones en calienete”. Only one person is considered by Spanish authorities to have passed the point necessary to be admitted into Spain.

28th May – Boat with 11 people on board rescued to Spain after travelling from Tangier, Morocco.

2nd June – 14 family members of people who died in the Ceuta Massacre of 6th Feb, 2014 are denied visas to Spain, where they planed to identify bodies of their loved ones and give DNA as evidence.