This is a summary of what was said by the UNHCR spokesperson at today’s Palais des Nations press briefing in Geneva. Further information can be found on the UNHCR websites, www.unhcr.org and www.unhcr.fr, which should also be checked for regular media updates on non-briefing days.
New UNHCR report warns against returning asylum-seekers to Greece
What began in 2011 in Syria as protests inspired by the Arab Spring has become an entrenched and bloody conflict that shows no sign of resolution.
The Greek authorities’ failure to adequately investigate the deaths of 11 Afghans who drowned at sea shows a blatant disregard for justice for the victims and their families and exemplifies their hard-line approach towards asylum and migration, said Amnesty International on the anniversary of the Farmakonisi tragedy.
Facts and Figures on the arrivals of migrants in Europe
What is smuggling of migrants?
To enter the EU, irregular migrants often turn to smugglers.
A new batch of urgently needed medical and relief supplies is leaving to the Ebola-affected region in West Africa today on board of the Dutch ship "Karel Doorman".
For the second time, as part of the coordinated European response to the Ebola outbreak, the Netherlands has offered to transport vital supplies free of charge. The vessel is carrying 1,500 tons of food for the World Food Programme (WFP) in addition to more than 50 vehicles, medical supplies and protective clothing for health personnel offered by Belgium, France, Germany and the UK.
L’Union européenne et ses États membres continuent de mobiliser toutes les ressources dont ils disposent pour contribuer à endiguer la plus grande épidémie d’Ebola jamais enregistrée.
Athens – Thousands of refugees arriving on the shores of Greece’s Aegean islands are being welcomed with a dysfunctional reception system and inhumane living conditions, according to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Greece and the European Union (EU) must urgently improve living conditions for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, and offer them adequate medical assistance and protection.
| Overview |
Athens, Greece | AFP | Friday 11/28/2014 - 14:44 GMT
Some 200 Syrian refugees protesting in Athens on Friday asked to be allowed access to other European countries, fearing deteriorating conditions in crisis-hit Greece.
"Crisis-hit Greece alone cannot support the weight of accommodating war refugees," said Nander Halbuni, a representative of the Syrians who have been camping on Syntagma Square in central Athens for over a week.
Italy - IOM’s team providing assistance to migrants arriving in Europe by sea from North Africa and the Middle East recorded another 18 migrants reported missing, and presumed dead this week. The reports came from fellow passengers rescued by commercial and military vessels patrolling increasingly wintery and dangerous Mediterranean routes.
IERAPETRA, Grèce | AFP | Wednesday 11/26/2014 - 15:21 GMT
Around 700 migrants aboard a freighter that had been drifting in the Aegean Sea for two days began disembarking on the Greek island of Crete on Thursday, local officials said.
The migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, include "a lot of women and children", said Theodosis Kalantzakis, the mayor of Ierapetra.
The Kiribati-flagged freighter Baris was towed to the seaside town of Ierapetra after suffering engine failure on Tuesday.
CHANIA, Greece, November 26 (UNHCR) – Nineteen-year-old Doaa al Zamel fled her home in Syria in the hope of finding safety and a better future; she ended up desperately fighting for her life in the Mediterranean Sea and losing her fiancé.
She still relives the trauma of September 10, when an unidentified vessel rammed into the smuggler's trawler that was carrying Doaa and more than 500 other people, including many women and children, who dreamed of reaching Europe. The vessel quickly sank off the east coast of Malta; there were just 11 survivors.
IERAPETRA, Grèce | AFP | Wednesday 11/26/2014 - 12:31 GMT
The Greek island of Crete was preparing on Wednesday to take in some 700 migrants aboard a freighter immobilised by engine failure, local officials said.
The Kiribati-flagged ferry Baris was being towed by a Greek navy frigate to the Cretan port of Ierapetra, and was expected to arrive on Thursday, the Greek coastguard said.
"The freighter is expected to arrive early on Thursday owing to poor weather conditions," a coastguard spokesman told AFP.
Rome, Italie | AFP | Saturday 11/22/2014 - 21:07 GMT
A total 796 people were rescued from boats in distress in the Mediterranean in the last 48 hours, Italian and Libyan officials said Saturday, as unprecedented numbers of would-be immigrants head for Italy's shores.
The Italian coastguard said it helped pluck 520 people from five boats in trouble in Libyan waters overnight Thursday to Friday after a communications centre in Rome traced distress calls sent by cellphone from the boats heading towards Sicily.
Brussels, 31 October 2014
What is Triton?
Triton is a Frontex coordinated joint operation, requested by the Italian authorities that will start its activity as from 1 November 2014 in the Central Mediterranean to support Italy.
How have the details of the operation been defined?
Greece has spent over half a billion euros in the last five years on migration control measures.
11/5/2014 - 00:01 GMT
Small islands, long thought to be natural tsunami barriers for coast-dwellers, may in fact amplify the waves they are supposed to break, researchers warned Wednesday.
The findings are of concern, for many coastal communities have settled in areas traditionally believed to be shielded from waves by offshore islands.
But simulations of wave motion found that some of these communities may be at higher risk from tsunamis of the kind that devastated villages in the Indian Ocean in 2004 and in northeastern Japan in 2011.
GENEVA (30 October 2014) – Allowing people to die at Europe’s borders just because of their administrative status is a complete disregard for the value of human life, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, said today urging the British authorities to reconsider its decision not support search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.
Italy - Some 8,736 irregular Syrian migrants have arrived in Italy by sea in recent weeks, bringing the total number of Syrian arrivals this year through the end of September to 32,681 – the largest number from any country – overtaking 32,537 from Eritrea.
“In September, there were more Syrians than Eritreans,” said IOM Rome spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo. “Both groups are fleeing from war and persecution. Together they represent almost half of the total number of migrants and asylum seekers arriving in Italy by sea this year.”
The death toll in the Mediterranean rises while Europe looks the other way
A year on from the Lampedusa shipwrecks, which claimed more than 500 lives, a new report by Amnesty International highlights how the shameful inaction of European Union (EU) countries has contributed to a spiralling death toll with thousands of refugees and migrants losing their lives in a desperate bid to reach European shores.