Balkans: Refugees and migrants beaten by police, left in legal limbo and failed by EU
Thousands of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants – including children – making dangerous journeys across the Balkans are suffering violent abuse and extortion at the hands of the authorities and criminal gangs and being shamefully let down by a failing European Union (EU) asylum and migration system which leaves them trapped without protection in Serbia and Macedonia, said Amnesty International in a new report.
Budapest, Hungary | AFP | Monday 7/6/2015 - 16:20 GMT
Hungary's parliament on Monday overwhelmingly approved the construction of a controversial fence on the border with Serbia to keep out migrants, under new legislation that also tightens asylum application rules.
The plans for the four-metre (13-foot) high barrier announced by populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban last month triggered concern both in Serbia and the European Union, which is struggling to control a massive influx of migrants from the Middle East and Africa.
GINEBRA, Suiza, 1 de julio de 2015 (ACNUR/UNHCR) – La gran mayoría de las 137.000 personas que cruzaron el Mar Mediterráneo hacia Europa durante los seis primeros meses del 2015 huían de guerras, conflictos o persecución, haciendo de la crisis del mediterráneo una crisis principalmente de refugiados. Esta es la conclusión a la que llega el informe del ACNUR publicado hoy.
Mediterranean Crisis 2015 at six months: refugee and migrant numbers highest on record
Source: Reuters - Tue, 30 Jun 2015 18:40 GMT
BUDAPEST, June 30 (Reuters) - Austria, Hungary and Serbia called on the European Union on Tuesday to step up efforts to fight human smuggling through the Balkans and not just focus on southern immigration routes.
Read more on AlertNet.
Commenting on the European Council meeting on migration, Aurelie Ponthieu, Migration Advisor for Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders, said:
Geneva, Switzerland | AFP | Thursday 6/25/2015 - 19:29 GMT
Switzerland on Thursday authorised the extradition of former Bosnian Muslim commander Naser Oric to Bosnia rather than Serbia, which had issued the war crimes warrant for his arrest.
Oric, who led Muslim forces in Bosnia's east during its 1992-1995 civil war, was arrested on June 10 in Geneva, accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity against ethnic Serbs during the conflict.
Half are Kosovars, Syrians or Afghans
During the first three months of 2015, 185 000 first time asylum seekers applied for protection in the European Union (EU), almost stable compared with the last quarter of 2014 but up by 86% compared with the first quarter of 2014. In particular, the number of Kosovars rose considerably to reach almost 50 000. They represent the main citizenship of first time asylum applicants in the EU over the first quarter 2015, ahead of Syrians and Afghans.
Skopje, Macedonia | AFP | Thursday 6/18/2015 - 18:36 GMT
Macedonian lawmakers on Thursday amended the country's asylum law in a bid to better cope with the thousands of migrants who have been pouring in the Balkan country, heading towards the EU.
The changes are designed to facilitate the transit of migrants, allowing them to register with the authorities and then within 72 hours either seek asylum or leave Macedonia, which is not an EU member.
Focus on healthy and balanced nutrition
A front-runner in the race to end hunger, the region still struggles with malnutrition
Multiple trends are shaping the nutrition map for Europe and Central Asia, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s first-ever report on food insecurity and malnutrition in Europe and Central Asia, released today. The problems of food insecurity have changed away from that of caloric sufficiency toward the quality of peoples’ diets – a trend that will likely continue in this way.
Brussels, Belgium | AFP | Thursday 6/18/2015 - 11:54 GMT
The EU said Thursday that Hungary's building of a fence to keep out migrants was not an effective way of halting the tide of humanity washing up on Europe's borders.
Hungary said Wednesday it would build a four-metre (13-foot) high fence on its border with Serbia, arguing that other countries such as Spain and Greece had taken similar measures and it was not breaking any international law by doing so.
Thousands of dresses fluttered from washing lines strung across the football pitch in Pristina, Kosovo on Friday as our staff and Kosovo Country Director Iliriana Gashi joined their country’s leaders and citizens at an art installation to raise awareness for survivors of sexual violence during the Kosovo War. The dresses, many of which were donated by survivors, transformed the stadium into a tribute and created a space for women to raise the power of their voices on an issue that for too long has been nearly silenced.
Construction of houses earmarked for beneficiaries in the fourth Return and Reintegration of Kosovars phase of the International Organization for Migration-implemented housing project, funded by the European Union and co-funded by the Kosovo’s Ministry for Communities and Return (MCR), is undergoing final stages of work in Istog/Istok, with some of the houses already completed.
The project falls under the European Union - Return and Reintegration in Kosovo, Phase IV (EU-RRK-IV) housing return project.
Budapest, Hungary | AFP | Friday 6/12/2015 - 12:10 GMT
EU member Hungary threatened Friday to close its border with Serbia to stop an influx of migrants.
"We don't think it's right that they send us the refugees, they need to be stopped on Serbian territory," Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in an interview on Kossuth public radio.
"We take every option into consideration, including the possibility of complete physical closure of borders," Orban, 52, said, adding that a decision could be made next Wednesday.
This is a summary of what was said by the UNHCR spokesperson at today’s Palais des Nations press briefing in Geneva.
UNHCR is concerned about increasing risks facing refugees and migrants in the Western Balkans with more people using this route for their journeys. Men, women and children are often walking for days, some exposed to violence and abuse, or accidents along train tracks.
On 3 June, the Federal Cabinet decided to extend the Bundeswehr’s three deployments abroad in Kosovo (KFOR), Mali (MINUSMA) and Lebanon (UNIFIL). The Bundestag still has to give its approval.
Stable situation in Kosovo
2015 - Le PNUD : oeuvrer pour les peuples et la planète
Dans toutes les régions du monde, des voix s’élèvent pour demander un leadership et des mesures en 2015 pour lutter contre la pauvreté, l’inégalité et le changement climatique.
Voices around the world are demanding leadership and action in 2015 on poverty, inequality and climate change. These universal challenges demand global action, and this year presents unprecedented opportunities for achieving the future we want. This is the year when world leaders come together to adopt a new agenda for sustainable development. The new global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will guide policy and funding for the next 15 years, beginning with a historic pledge to end poverty.