Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan for Europe (January to December 2017)
The Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) for 2017 outlines the intended operational response and financial requirements for the response to the large-scale population movements registered throughout Europe since 2015. In 2017, the response by humanitarian partners focused on the relatively static populations in most of Europe and increasing populations in Greece and Italy. The RMRP presents a set of measures that will enable the humanitarian community to contribute to the protection of refugees and vulnerable migrants, as well as the human rights of all people involved. The following report is a summary of key interventions applied across various sectors throughout the region by humanitarian partners during the fourth quarter of 2017.
The number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Europe in 2017 dropped 48% compared to 2016 with over 172,300 people arriving by sea last year compared to over 362,700 in 2016. Of the three sea routes, most crossed via the Central Mediterranean route from North Africa to Italy with smaller numbers crossing via the Eastern Mediterranean route to Greece and Cyprus and the Western Mediterranean route to Spain. In 2017, 29,718 refugees and migrants arrived by sea on the eastern Aegean islands and an additional 7,5442 were registered at the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) of Evros at the Greek-Turkish land border.
Most arrivals by sea in 2017 were men (69%), largely due to the higher proportion of men crossing the Central Mediterranean route, while proportions of women and children were higher along the Eastern Mediterranean. Across all three routes, women comprised 13% of arrivals and children comprised 18%. In 2017, over 30,0003 children arrived in Greece, Italy and Spain, of whom over 17,000 (56%) were unaccompanied or separated children (UASC). Majority of the UASC (15,700 or 91%) arrived through the Central Mediterranean Route and were mostly from Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and The Gambia.
Despite the overall reduction in arrival figures by sea in 2017, irregular mixed movements continued through the Balkans and Central Europe. With tighter border restrictions, refugees and migrants often attempt to travel onwards through dangerous smuggling networks. Asylum-seekers and migrants continued to be intercepted by border authorities during their attempt to cross the region irregularly. Along several borders UNHCR continues to receive reports of forced removals without individual screening of asylum claims, including allegations of violence and abuse in some cases. Throughout the region UNHCR and partners monitor border movements and reception conditions, providing legal assistance and other forms of support.