Euro-Border Flashpoint News #32

Issue 32: Week 20th – 26th June, 2016

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

General News

The UNHCR’s annual Global Trends Report estimates 65.3 million–1 in every 113 people on the planet–were either refugees, asylum-seekers or internally displaced at the end of 2015. This is a new record. An average of 24 people became forcibly displaced every minute in 2015.

Around 1 in 10 refugees travelling through Europe is a pregnant woman. Women and children account for 60% of refugees.

There have been 2,888 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean during 2016. The MSF boat, Seawatch, and others are currently rescuing hundreds, sometimes thousands of people every single day.

39 people smugglers and 580 smuggled migrants arrested during 36 hour long Sirocco-2 Action Day along Western-Balkan route, with help from Europol.

20th Jun – World Refugee Day is like every other day for refugees, who are not celebrating.

20th Jun – Apple pulls ad agency’s fake refugee boat-spotting app that wanted people’s passport info.

22nd Jun – New restrictive Swedish asylum law means residence permits now only 13 months.

28th Jun – Police in Iceland remove an Iraqi teenager from church shelter and deport him.

Calais (UK / France border)

As a result of Brexit vote on 23rd June, France is reviewing the Touquet accord, the 2003 deal that externalised the UK border controls to France. Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart says, “The British wanted to leave the EU…. They have to accept all the economic and migratory consequences.” Reports of hate crime have risen 57 in Britain percent following the UK referendum to leave the EU

Drones are now being implemented to monitor the UK-France border at Calais.

20th Jun – High court judgement means UK officials can’t detain children who look like adults.

20th Jun – Large traffic jam on A16 motorway by Calais Jungle. Many people board lorries, many others tear-gassed and beaten by police, who then close off motorway and Jungle. 3 arrests. Video.

22nd Jun – Abdul Haroun, 40 year old refugee from Sudan who walked 31 miles through Channel Tunnel to UK, pleads guilty to obscure charge and walks free, having already served sentence.

Balkans

Volunteers urgently needed on the border of Hungary and Serbia, very tough conditions.

11 people, including disabled and elderly asylum seekers, are on trial in Hungary for participation in a “mass-riot” in September, 2015. The trials are being held in Szeget, Hungary on 27th, 29th and 30th June and 1st July, 2016. Call-out for solidarity.

21st Jun – Hungarian prosecutors open investigation into police responsibility for death of Farhan al-Hwaish, a Syrian man trying to swim into Hungary from Serbia on June 1st. Case dropped.

23rd Jun – Bulgaria forces Greek train back over border on suspicion of refugee smuggling.

24-26th Jun – A “defencing” festival takes place with around 400 people on either side of the Slovenian-Croatian border.

 

Turkey / Greece (East Med / Aegean)

Locals across northern Greece lament the economic downfall as refugees and supporters leave.

Children in Greek refugee camps are growing sicker every day.

Smugglers are now charging triple for clandestine routes into Europe.

20th Jun – The first Center of Refugee Aid Organizations Congress held in Turkey.

22nd Jun – Occupied self-organised Athens refugee accommodation space City Plaza Hotel turns 2 months old. There are now 170 children living in the space, now being registered in schools. A number of other autonomous, self-organised occupied spaces are now also in operation.

25th Jun – Hope Centre built to house refugees on Lesbos forced to close and owners the Kempsons hit with €10,000 penalty.

 

Libya / Lampedusa / Italy (Central Med)

The surge in arrivals, including many shipwreck surviviors, in Lampedusa, Sicily and Italy, is leading to a breakdown in conditions and services for traumatised people, as well as a rise in falsification and serious fraud by service providers and others.

23rd Jun – Italian Coast Guard rescues at least 5,000 people in 43 operations in a single day. 1 death.

27th Jun – 3,300 people rescued off coast of Libya, bringing the total over 10,000 in just a few days.

 

Morocco / Spain (West Med)

20th Jun – 14 men on small dinghy rescued by Spanish coastguard, 1 with hypothermia symptoms.

24th Jun – 7 men and one woman rescued to Spain after setting off from Tangier by boat.

24th Jun – A young man named Star is pushed back to Morocco after spending 30 hours atop the fence that divides Spanish city Ceuta from Morocco.

26th Jun – Three deaths in the straight of Gibraltar caused by arrival of the Moroccan Navy.