Euro-Border Flashpoint News #6

Issue 6: Week 2nd – 8th November, 2015

This is the sixth weekly update on the situation at Europe’s border hotspots, aiming to collate and simplify information from a variety of sources. Apologies for any unintentional omissions.

General News

Just in October, IOM counted the deaths of 398 migrants on all sea routes to Europe: at least 40 drownings or reports of missing people in Spanish waters; over 220 deaths between Greece and Turkey, plus an estimated 138 between North Africa and Sicily.

A record 218,000 people crossed the Mediterranean in Octobermore than in the whole of the previous 9 months and about as many as in the entire year of 2014.

Germany is creating centres to expel “failed” asylum seekers more quickly.

Balkan Route

Balkan Route update blog with very important info: http://balkanroute.bordermonitoring.eu/

Independent travelling information about the Balkan Route available here.

Greece

A far left movement within the Greek Army has issued a call for a mass movement, both inside and outside the Army, signed by Privates from 50 military units, to block Frontex, NATO, the European army, and actions of the Armed Forces against migrants.

The Greek government is facing increasing pressure to take down the fence along its land border with Turkey, to stop forcing refugees to make the deadly journey to Europe via the Mediterranean.

People continue to die in Greek and Turkish waters while attempting the crossing. The island of Lesbos has run out of space to bury the dead. Over 60 bodies remain unburried, mainly children.

2-3rd Nov: 2-day ferry strike by Panhellenic Maritime Federation reduces movement from islands to the mainland. 5,000 people at the port in Samos with access to very little resources and food.

Calais / UK

Essential reading: The Guardian’s excellent and very detailed account of the Jungle in Calais.

Police sent to count how many people are in the jungle found 3,500 according to media sources. Activists have responded with disbelief, with some estimating the numbers are as high as 10,000.

This week has seen London2Calais members detained by special branch and counter terrorism officers under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act while returning from Calais.

The French state has instituted a daily arrest quota in Calais of 40-50 people. Raids have been happening around the city. People are snatched from the streets or around the Eurotunnel entrance and taken to Coquelles detention center. Calais Migrant Solidarity have issued a call-out for donations of small digital video cameras to document what is happening.

In the last two weeks, at least 600 people have been detained and forcibly transferred to other parts of France on 14 buses and a dozen flights, according an agency working with detainees. The flights are provided as part of an estimated €1.5 million contract tendered by French Homeland Security in 2014. French lawyers describe the costly plan as “absurd,” because 99% of the detainees are released by courts within five days and return to the camp in Calais.

The French Government has been given eight days to implement improvements at the Jungle in Calais, after NGOs denounced ‘serious human rights violations’ in their legal appeal last week.

A British ex-soldier is facing criminal charges and jail for attempting to smuggle a four year old Afghan girl from the Calais jungle to members of her family in the UK.

2nd Nov – Refugees violently attacked by CRS (French riot police) for two hours, with approximately 20 tear-gas grenades fired into the camp. Several shots land in sleeping areas.

7th Nov – The plan to start construction of the new closed container camp in the jungle has been delayed. People refuse to be moved, the state threatens forced removal if they do not.

8th NovCoallition of ultra-right groups march against immigration, Islam and multiculturism.

8th Nov – Large protests by some of the people living in the jungle. Police respond by heavily tear-gassing the entire camp. Many injuries.

Morocco / Spanish Border

A new camp has arisen in the Moroccan city of Fez as a result of a switch in migratory politics in Morocco—burning camps and evicting neighbourhoods in the north, deporting people south, away from the European border. An estimated 450 people live in tents, another 500 in shared flats.

This week, as usual, many people have been rescued after their boats became endangered. Two men have been detained as alleged trafickers after being identified as having steered a boat.

3rd Nov – There are currently 750 people of 27 different nationalities in the CETI (Temorary Centre for Immigrants) in CEUTA.

4th Nov – Two men from Subsaharan Africa found under the dashboard and in the fuel tank of a car after their screams were heard and immediately transferred to hospital in Ceuta (Spanish enclave).

6th Nov – Two Spanish police accused of sexual abuse of unaccompanied underage migrants, the prositution of minors, and the production and possession of child pornography.