UNHCR Europe Monthly Report (June 2017)
Trends and key figures
Since 01 January 2017 until 30 June 2017, 102,847 refugees and migrants have arrived in the Mediterranean (Greece, Italy, Spain and Cyprus, including arrivals to the Canary Islands and by land to Spain). Arrivals by sea in this period comprised of 17 per cent children, 12 per cent women and 71 per cent men.
As of 30 June 2017, 9,286 refugees and migrants reached Greek shores, compared to 158,377 arriving in the same period last year (a 94 per cent reduction). Persons mainly originate from the Syrian Arab Republic (37 per cent) and Iraq (13 per cent) and most of these two nationalities were arriving as family groups.
In June, arrivals have increased significantly in Lesvos, with 906 people arriving between 01 – 26 June, double the 431 arrivals in the same period the previous month. Recent arrivals on Lesvos reported that there are three main crossing routes from Turkey to Lesvos’ northern shoreline: to the area of Korakas, to the coast between Eftalou and Skala Sykamnias and towards the west coast.
The total number of rescues/interceptions by the Turkish Coast Guard of persons mostly headed to Greece by sea reached 7,654 persons as of 30 June 2017 since the beginning of the year. A rise in those apprehended at the western land borders was observed in the last two weeks of June. According to Turkish Land Forces data, from 12 to 25 June 1,754 persons were apprehended by the Turkish Land Forces at the land border with Greece and Bulgaria (2,725 for the whole of June). This is approximately double the period between 29 May and 11 June 2017. The majority of the apprehensions (1,669 persons) took place at the Greek land border.
So far in 2017, 83,752 refugees and migrants reached the Italian shores - compared to 70,222 arriving in the same period last year, a 19 per cent increase. The vast majority disembarked following search and rescue (SAR) operations, having departed from Libya: they most commonly originate from sub-Saharan African countries, as well as northern African countries and Bangladesh.
Arrivals peaked in the last week of June, when over 12,000 migrants and refugees were registered at landing points. Also during the last six months, almost 10,000 unaccompanied children reached Italian shores.
In Spain, 9,507 persons have arrived by sea and land between January and June 2017 compared to 4,936 in the same period last year, a 93 per cent increase. In the context of increasing sea arrivals to Spain in 2017, arrivals in June registered a significant peak. In June alone, 2,363 persons were registered at landing points in Spain, a 300 per cent increase compared to June 2016. While most sea arrivals are young men from sub-Saharan African countries (Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, the Gambia and Cameroon), an increasing number of women was observed. UNHCR attends at some disembarkation sites and works with the Spanish authorities to promote the identification of new arrivals’ protection needs and to ensure access to asylum. While most boats departed from the Moroccan coast (Al-Hoceimas, Assilah, Nador, and Tanger), some also departed from Algeria.
Between January and April 2017, 302 refugees and migrants arrived in Cyprus compared to 43 in the same period last year. There were no arrivals to Cyprus in May and June.
In June 2017, 2,012 refugees and migrants arrived in Greece by sea compared to 1,554 in June 2016, while 23,524 arrived at the Italian shores compared to 22,339 in June 2016. In June so far, 1,820 persons arrived in Spain by sea, representing a 300 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.
Death and missing: as of 30 June 2017, an estimated 2,257 people have died or gone missing while trying to reach Europe by sea, compared to 2,896 for the same period in 2016.
Relocation: according to the European Commission (EC), 23,162 asylum-seekers have been relocated from Greece and Italy as of 29 June 2017: 15,808 from Greece (out of 66,400 originally foreseen, 23 per cent of the total) and 7,354 from Italy (out of 39,600 originally foreseen, 18 per cent of the total) respectively.
Returns: in June 48 people were returned from Greece to Turkey on the basis of the EU-TUR Statement, which included 14 Pakistanis, 10 Algerian, 3 Syrians and 21 other third country nationals (11 on 01 June; 11 on 08 June; 07 on 09 June; 07 on 15 June; 12 on 22 June)