Euro-Border Flashpoint News #31

Issue 31: Weeks 6th – 19th June, 2016

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

General News

214,691 people have arrived irregularly in Europe via the Mediterranean in 2016; 2,861 died trying.

15 years of Fortress Europe have caused over 32,000 deaths. Everybody needs to watch this.

New FRONTEX agency: satellite reconnaissance and drones over the Mediterranean as 3 agencies responsible for coastal and maritime surveillance are to be merged by the end of this year.

The European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) has published a list of lawyers and experts from several countries in Europe who work on asylum and immigration law.

Man extradited to Italy thought to be people smuggling kingpin could be case of mistaken identity.

7th June – Two Pakistani nationals and an Afghan national are making a legal case against the European Council to annul the EU-Turkey deal.

17th June – Médecins Sans Frontières will no longer accept funding from any EU state in protest of refugee treatment and EU-Turkey deal. The decision could see the organisation miss out on €60m.

 

Calais (UK / France border)

4 French police being prosecuted after appearing in video compilation of police violence in Calais.

11th June – Three Iranians make it to the UK in a boat. No news on what happened next.

18th June – A huge organised aid convoy from the UK to Calais faces a last minute ban and is refused entry into France. Over 250 vehicles carrying many tonnes of aid for refugees in the Jungle are turned away at the border by the French authorities. Port blockaded in protest. Petition.

 

Balkans

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee has published new info leaflets for asylum seekers in Hungary available in 10 languages here. A new legal amendment includes legalisation of push-backs of people caught within 8km of the fence after crossing irregularly into Hungary. Serbia says it won’t accept returns to its territory. 600 people, mainly women and children, await admission into the “transit zones” in Hungary, without appropriate shelter or sanitary conditions. 1,362 people were caught crossing the border illegally to Hungary between June 10th20th. Conditions in detention centres remain very bad with little food. Refugees are on trial for “vandalism” for damaging parts of a camp in protest. There have been hunger strikes and possible mass suicide announced.

Armed civil militias trained by Russia are hunting migrants along Bulgaria’s borders.

 

Turkey / Greece (East Med / Aegean)

A new pre-registration process begins in Greece. Moving Europe continue to visit camps and report on conditions in Greece. Skype calls to Asylum office still largely unanswered, except from organisations like Greek Forum of Refugees, Generation 2, or the Afghan Community. Long queues wait outside their offices to skype. The occupied City Plaza Hotel in Athens continues to offer self-organised housing for refugees. Greece wants to send thousands back to Turkey in coming weeks, despite Greek appeals committees ruling Turkey “an unsafe country” in favour of 35 refugees. Some Syrians now reportedly paying smugglers to return to Syria from Greece, disillusioned.

7th June – 45 people rescued to Greece.

7th June – 113 people, families and children attempting to reach Greece trapped on Crete for days.

7th June – Fire in Souda camp burns some tents and NGO containers. A group of Golden Dawn supporters block the entrance, pushing back people who try to escape.

9th June – Lawyers Association of Mitilini (Lesvos) sues the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) for obstructing access to asylum proceedings by its members, using G4S security.

11th June – 53 people pushed back to Turkey after reaching Greek waters, threatened with guns by Greek coastguards and later imprisoned in Turkey. Frontex also present. Statement by Alarm Phone.

12th June – 40 people arrive safely on Greek island Lesbos while another boat returned to Turkey.

14th June – Eviction of the last two self-organised camps in northern Greece.

16th June – Boat successfully reaches Greek island Chios, despite being tailed by Turkish coastguard

19th June – A number of Syrian refugees, including several children, killed by Turkish border police as they attempt to cross the border into Turkey.

 

Libya / Lampedusa / Italy (Central Med)

So far in 2016, 1 in every 23 migrants has died attempting the journey across the Central Med.

6th June – Spanish boat of 390 migrants from the Horn of Africa lands on Sardinia.

11th June – Italian coastguard rescues over 3,000 people at sea in three days.

12th June – One dead, about 585 rescued to Italy; 125 returned to Libya in four separate boats.

 

Morocco / Spain (West Med)

No Borders Morocco publishes non-exhaustive summary of the situation in Morocco during May.

8th June – A man from Sub-Saharan Africa dies trying to enter Spain via sewers from Morocco.