Statement from the European Council on Refugees and Exiles Annual (ECRE) General Conference in Belgrade November 6-9, 2018.
Nearly 4000 Sri Lankan refugees living in camps in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu have reportedly applied for return to Sri Lanka in the coming months. Political turmoil erupted on Friday as Parliament was suspended and the country’s former Prime Minister reinstated, suggesting the situation on the ground may be volatile.
Several people were injured during an incident at the Croatian-Bosnian land border of Maljevac last week, after a group of more than 200 refugees and migrants, including women and children, blocked the main road, hoping to be allowed entry into Croatia.
Uganda has received wide praise for opening its borders and allowing a high level of freedom of movement and access to work for its large population of refugees. However, an investigation into allegedly fraudulent registrations and mismanaged funds demonstrate that transparency is crucial to ensure Uganda’s refugee policy is appropriately translated into practise.
It came as little surprise when Austria announced its decision not to sign the Global Compact on Migration (GCM). But rather than creating a scandal it all looks rather sad. International cooperation on migration and asylum will continue, regardless of the self-destructive approach of one or two little land-locked countries. Along with Hungary, Austria has its head in the sand, the Austrich, trying to deny that migration exists.
An estimated 4000 – 7000 refugees and migrants have been fleeing on foot from Honduras, through Guatemala and Mexico, and toward the US, in the hope of seeking safety from violence and economic downturn in their home countries. Attempts to reach the US continue despite warnings from US President Donald Trump.
The Portuguese Ministry of Internal Administration has announced a bilateral agreement for a pilot relocation of 100 refugees from Greece to Portugal. Following its pilot phase, the bilateral relocation scheme would be extended to cover 1,000 refugees in the course of 2019.
Morocco has said it is to deport 141 migrants who were arrested on Sunday, following an attempt by up to 300 people to enter Spain by crossing the border fence at the Moroccan enclave of Melilla. The attempt resulted in the death of one man who suffered a heart attack, while at least twenty-two others were injured.
A recent report from The Guardian documents increasing barriers to access to Turkish territory for Syrian refugees. People arriving at the border province of Hatay are pressured into signing “voluntary return” documents, advised by authorities that they are either to waive their right to seek protection or face indefinite detention.
The UK Home Office has agreed to carry out an independent inquiry into the mistreatment and alleged abuse of detainees held in its network of 10 immigration removal centres (IRC’S), following the threat of legal action. The inquiry will investigate accusations of both verbal and physical abuse in order to decide whether conduct was in breach of the detainees’ right “not to be tortured or treated in an inhumane or degrading way”.
ECRE and UNHCR published the report ‘Joint Way Forward – A Comprehensive Study of the new Proposals for EU funds on Asylum, Migration and Integration’ that analyses selected new legislative and budgetary proposals published by the European Commission within the framework of the proposed Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-27.
The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) has updated its EU Asylum, Borders and External Cooperation on Migration: Recent Developments publication as of September 2018.
34 people, including 2 children, have been found dead after a ship which was carrying approximately 60 refugees came into distress in the early hours of Sunday morning. The people on board called the Coordination Center for Maritime Rescue as the ship started to sink while still in the Moroccan Alawi rescue zone, but no help reached them for 36 hours.
Five years to the day after the Lampedusa tragedy in which at least 368 people died, rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea are more vital than ever. It is alarming that the last rescue ship in the Central Mediterranean may be forced to stop operating. We call on European leaders to ensure the Aquarius can continue to save lives at sea.
ECRE has published its Comments on the European Commission’s Proposal on the Asylum and Migration Fund (AMF) which is currently being negotiated as part of the legislative proposals for the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021- 2027. The Comments include analysis of some of the main provisions of the proposal as well as recommendations to the European Parliament and Member States.
In response to measures imposed by the Hungarian government that attempt to crack down on civil society individuals or organisations that purportedly “promote illegal migration”, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC) and the Open Society Foundation (OSF) have both announced that they are filing cases against the Hungarian government at the European Court of Human Rights.
Asylum seekers face heightened risks of destitution due to a shortage of reception places in Ireland. The Department of Justice has confirmed that at least 20 people were told they could not be provided with accommodation in the last two weeks.
A Decree-Law on immigration and security approved by the Council of Ministers on 24 September 2018 introduces far-reaching restrictions to the Italian asylum system. The reform has been decried by civil society organisations for lowering protection standards, infringing constitutional and human rights guarantees and exacerbating social tension on migration.
Unaccompanied migrant children as young as 10 have been forced to sleep at police stations in northern Spain as arrivals overwhelm reception centres across different Spanish cities. On Tuesday it was also confirmed that Spain has returned an unaccompanied minor to Morocco after holding him in immigration detention for over a week.