By Marwa Mohamed Head of Advocacy and Outreach at Lawyers for Justice in Libya, who has been working on peace and justice in Libya particularly in the field of migration for over 10 years. LFJL is a UK-based, organisation working on and in Libya to promote human rights, the rule of law and access to justice.
On 1 April 2020, the EU launched Operation IRINI, a revamped version of Operation SOPHIA that prioritises the enforcement of the UN arms embargo on Libya. Other elements of IRINI are still very much in line with SOPHIA including the continued training of the Libyan Coast Guard and Navy as well as the mission to disrupt the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks but by design not the rescue of people at sea.
This comes after the renewal of the memorandum of understanding between Italy and Libya (the MoU) that was automatically extended for three years on 2 February 2020. The MoU, initially signed in 2017, mainly centres around training and equipping the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) as part of a larger border control and cooperation agreement to curtail movement, which de facto fuelled smuggling and human trafficking. The MoU largely funded by the EU and endorsed by European heads of states at the February 2017 Malta Summit, actually allows Italy to circumvent the principle of non-refoulement, or what is the prohibition of returning someone to a place where their life is at risk. To prevent sea arrivals to Italy the LCG is deployed to intercept the boats heading towards Europe and return those fleeing back to Libya, often into detention centres.
It is clear that EU policy, despite undeniable evidence of severe human rights abuse, escalating civil war and now the threat of a global pandemic, has no intention in re-examining its position. The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus adds to a list of serious concerns for an already vulnerable population now trapped in a conflict-ridden country with a failed health system. Many humanitarian organisations have been forced to withdraw or minimise projects, which can further exacerbate the situation and potentially lead to a humanitarian crisis, yet the LCG continues to intercept and return those trying to flee.
Devoid of Reality
EU policy on Libya including bilateral agreements such as the MoU with Italy has proven problematic from its conception, and with the establishment of Operation IRINI the complete disregard of the situation in Libya and consequences of further engagement with the LCG continues to expand. Today the global spread of the COVID-19 virus raises an additional and particularly worrisome concern, as the conflict over the years in Libya has left the health sector in near ruins. The ongoing armed conflict in Libya has caused horrific levels of violence against refugees and migrants at the hands of armed groups and militias. The absence of the rule of law has led to complete impunity for those responsible for the violence. Rather than training the LCG and returning individuals to Libya, the EU must focus efforts on a comprehensive approach by conditioning cooperation with Libya to the closure of all detention facilities and bringing an end to detention practice in Libya. The EU and its member states must also recognise that in the current context return to Libya means detention, abuse and violence, and accordingly focus efforts on immediate largescale evacuation out of Libya, drastically increasing resettlement slots and offering legal and safe pathways to Europe. More so today with the virus outbreak raising real concern for those in already in overcrowded and unsanitary detention conditions.
However, despite the ongoing violence, as was demonstrated in the attack on the Tajoura detention centre killing 48 and injuring over 100, resettlement slots remain minimal. If past resettlement numbers are any indication, 2020 will be no exception, but 30.000 resettlement places were pledged by EU member states at the Global Refugee Forum. According to IOM, there are approximately 650,000 identified migrants in Libya, while the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) registered 43,000 refugees.
Since the notable increase in spontaneous arrivals into Europe between 2014 and 2016, the strategy for Europe has been geared towards a crack-down that would stop arrivals at any cost. Training the LCG would become the key focus, providing it with equipment, technical skills and know-how. Helping facilitate a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre for Tripoli and an accompanying Search and Rescue zone ensured that almost no one could make it to the shores of Europe. , The 2018 arrival numbers demonstrate the impact where only 22,518 arrived in Europe via the Central Mediterranean route in that year. This shows a sharp decline in the number of arrivals from Libya to European shores down from 153,842 in 2015.
European narratives now define decline in numbers as a success. However, what is missing from this very narrow interpretation is what is happening to those who are returned by the LCG and trapped in Libya. The cost of this ‘success’ is the lives of those now stuck in a country at war. This disconnect from the reality on the ground reveals EU policies for what they are, measures of containment, where the aim of stopping migration movement overrides human rights considerations.
Since the launch of the offensive on Tripoli in April last year, and while many of Libya’s institutions have experienced disruptions due to the conflict, the LCG continued to operate unimpeded. In 2019, while the war in the capital raged on claiming nearly 300 civilian lives and displacing hundreds of thousands, the LCG intercepted nearly 10,000 individuals trying to flee and returned them to Libya.
The timing of the MoU renewal coincides with UNHCR announcing the organisation’s withdrawal from the Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) for security reasons as a result of the conflict. The centre was initially established by the refugee organisation with the Libyan Ministry of Interior to process vulnerable refugees for evacuation. IOM, in the same month, issued a public statement emphasising concerns for safety, stating that despite having over 1000 individuals registered for voluntary return, the conflict in Tripoli has disrupted the evacuation process. Yet it seems that the considerations guiding EU policy on Libya are completely removed from the realities on the ground .
Alternatives to detention are not in Libya
There are no alternatives to detention in Libya today. In addition to the clear dangers arising from the armed conflict, Libya does not have the political will, stability nor the infrastructure in place to uphold the protection space needed for alternatives to be considered. Law 19 of 2010 criminalises irregular entry, stay and departure. Furthermore, Libyan law is silent on the right to asylum and refugee protection, two fundamental tools needed to establish the protection space for alternatives to be considered. This is notwithstanding the overall breakdown in the rule of law that might otherwise deter widespread crimes and human rights violations of the kind documented against refugees and migrants. Since April 2019, the situation has not improved, in one incident in December 2019, two migrants were shot and killed on the streets of Tripoli, days after their release from the GDF, and this is but one demonstration of the appalling reality for refugees and migrants in war torn Libya today.
Until there is peace in the country and the necessary institutions are in place that will allow for the needed legislative reform and accountability, the stark reality is that the EU cannot continue with business as usual in Libya – because it means sacrificing basic human rights and human life on the altar of migration control.
Op-ed: ECRE publishes op-eds by commentators with relevant experience and expertise in the field who want to contribute to the debate on refugee rights in Europe. The views expressed are those of the author and does not necessarily reflect ECRE positions.
The emergency suspension of asylum applications between 1 and 31 of March has ended and been replaced by a general suspension of activities of the Greek Asylum Service until at least April 10. The Malakasa camp, north of Athens has been quarantined due to a confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus. Luxembourg and Germany are the first of eight EU countries to make good on the promises to accept unaccompanied children from the island camps. Push backs by sea to Turkey reported in Evros.
The controversial emergency act suspending the submission of asylum applications for people arriving in the period between 1-31 March has ended. However, access to asylum has been affected by the suspension of the Greek Asylum Service's activities due to COVID-19 measures, which will be in place at least until 10 April. The measure has affected every asylum applicant in Greece de facto preventing asylum applications.
Following similar measures in the Ritsona camp in central Greece where 20 people tested positive for the Corona virus the Malakasa camp north of Athens has now been quarantined. The measure follows a confirmed case of the Corona virus - an Afghan man aged 53 who has been transferred to a hospital in Athens. Countless civil society organisations and INGOs as well as MEP’s from the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and EU commissioner for home affairs, Ylva Johansson, have called for the protection and support of refugees on the Greek mainland and in the overcrowded island camps.
Luxembourg and Germany are the first to deliver on promises made in March by eight European member states including also France, Portugal, Finland, Lithuania, Croatia and Ireland, later joined by Belgium, Bulgaria and Switzerland, to accept a total of 1600 unaccompanied children to be relocated from camps on the Greek islands. The German government has confirmed that it aims to begin the transfer of 50 children as a first step next week given concern for their health. Luxembourg is set to receive twelve unaccompanied children selected by UNHCR and facilitated by the UN migration agency, IOM. The Aegean islands hosts more than 42,000 people including about 5,500 unaccompanied children, ten per cent of whom are under the age of fourteen.
Media reports that Greek Coast Guard has been carrying out illegal returns of refugees by sea to Turkey. After reaching the Greek shore, people have reportedly been placed in rafts that look like floating tents and then left in Turkish territorial waters. Witnesses identified the people that previously arrived at the Greek shore and were later picked up in floating tents by the Turkish Coast Guard. Allegedly, at least nine such incidents were recorded on different Greek islands.
For further information:
- ECRE, Greece: Parliament Ratifies Emergency Decree Amid Intensifying Critique, March 2020
- ECRE, Greece: Fire and Virus Fear in Moria, 450 People Detained on Vessel Moved to Closed Camp, March 2020
- ECRE, Violations Continue in Greece, EU Says Asylum Procedures Cannot be Suspended, March 2020
- Organisations in Greece, Joint Statement: “Protect our laws and humanity!”, March 2020
- ECRE, Weekly Editorial: EU is Crossing the Red Line by Preventing Refugees from Crossing its Borders, March 2020
- ECRE, Greece: Situation in Lesvos Intensifies after Police Crackdown on Protesters, February 2020
- ECRE, Greece: Nationality-based Detention in the Moria Refugee Camp, January 2020
- ECRE, Serbia Shows European Solidarity in Greece – France Follows up on Mixed Promises, January 2019
- ECRE, Greece: Government Hit with Interim Measures and Introducing New List of Safe Country of Origin, January 2020
- AIDA, Country Report Greece, 2019 Update
- ECRE, France to Assist Greece Where Situation Continues to Worsen, December 2019
- ECRE, Greece: Six People Found Dead in Evros Region while Authorities Prop Up Border Security, December 2019
150 people are awaiting a safe port for disembarkation. Italy and Malta close ports to rescued people due to health risks. Conceding loss of control, the Libyan government declares Tripoli port unsafe.
On Monday, the rescue vessel Alan Kurdi, operated by the NGO Sea Eye, rescued a total of 150 people in two operations in international waters off the Libyan coast after being alerted by the NGO Alarm Phone. A Libyan militia hindered the first operation firing shots and causing people to jump into the water. In the second operation, an Italian supply ship already present at the location did not undertake efforts to conduct a rescue operation.
The Italian and Maltese governments have told the German foreign ministry that due to the coronavirus pandemic they will not allow the disembarkation of 150 people, even if other member states agreed to relocate them. According to Sea-Eye, the German government has advised the NGO not to conduct any further rescues and to call back its already deployed ships.
On Tuesday, the Italian government issued a decree declaring its seaports “unsafe” for the disembarkation of people rescued from boats flying a foreign flag for the duration of the health emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic. It states that Italy is currently not able to guarantee an absence of any threat to the lives of rescued people after landing in Italy. After Maltese Armed Forces rescued a group of 66 people in their Search and Rescue (SAR) zone on Thursday, Malta published a similar declaration also sent to the European Commission. Sea Eye expresses understanding for the difficult situation in Italy and is asking the German government to arrange for the immediate transfer of all persons to Germany by plane.
The NGO Alarm Phone commented: “We are very concerned about the effects of the Italian decree and how European authorities are using the Covid-19 pandemic to increase restrictive measures. With Malta also decreasing rescue efforts, we are witnessing a deadly rescue gap off the Libyan coast.’’
This week, around 500 people left Libya by boat. 124 people who arrived to Lampedusa on Tuesday in boats were put into quarantine close to the port. 280 people were intercepted by a Libyan patrol boat, which is refused entry to the port of Tripoli as the al-Sarraj government recognises that it has no longer control over the port due to the on-going conflict. As of April 9, 241 people have been recorded to have died trying to reach Europe by the Mediterranean in 2020.
For further information:
- ECRE, Med: IRINI Ships will Not Search but Rescue – Civilian Search and Rescue Vessel Back at Sea, April 2020
- ECRE, Med: EU Naval Arms Embargo Mission Jeopardised Over Migration Concerns, Cyprus Turns Away Syrian Nationals, March 2020
- ECRE, Med: Search and Rescue Operations Under Pressure from COVID-19, Interceptions and Return to Libya Continue, March 2020
- ECRE, Interview: WatchTheMed Alarm Phone: A Response for Rescue and a Call for Change,February 2020
- ECRE, Med: Death Toll Mounting, NGOs Rescue, Returns to Libya Continue,February 2020
- ECRE, Med: People Returned, Rescued and Gone Missing, 20 February 2020
- ECRE, Med: Disembarkations in Italy, Rescues by Malta, Court release NGO Vessel, 14 February 2020
- ECRE, Med: NGOs Rescue Almost 1000 people – Pull-backs to Libya continue, January 2020
- ECRE, Mediterranean: Rescue Operation and Hope for Sophia’s Ships, January 2020
- ECRE, Safe Ports in Italy for 237 People but 1000 Returned to Detention in Libya, January 2020
- ECRE, Appeal Court Clears Lifeline Captain of all Charges – NGOs Continue to Rescue, January 2020
- ECRE, Operation Sophia: Ships Remain Suspended while Support of Libyan ‘Coast Guard’ Continues, September 2019
- ECRE, Last Breath of Operation Sophia Should Push Coalition of the Willing, March 2019
- ECRE, A Contingency Plan for Disembarkation and Relocation, January 2019
- ECRE, Med: Deaths, Returns, Rescues and Hope for Justice, December 2019
- ECRE, EU Praise of Libyan Coast Guard out of Touch with Reality, September 2020
The updated country report on Belgium documents developments in the area of asylum procedures, reception conditions, detention of asylum seekers and content of international protection in 2019.
2019 was marked by a significant delay in the processing of asylum applications, and the lack of reception accommodation, resulting in asylum seekers left homeless and destitute. Despite the numerous warnings of the federal reception agency for asylum seekers Fedasil as well as civil society actors, a new reception crisis emerged in 2019. This is due to the government's scaling down of capacity to adapt reception systems to a drop in asylum applications in previous years, which was therefore not able to address the increase of applications for international protection in 2019. Moreover, as a result of the lack of staff within the determining authority, asylum procedures took longer and asylum seekers had to remain in reception centres for longer periods. The saturation of Fedasil’s reception network also led to a suspension of resettlement operations for refugees since July 2019.
Policy measures were adopted to withdraw reception conditions of certain asylum applicants. Since 7 January 2020, Fedasil no longer provides reception for two categories of applicants of international protection: (i) applicants for international protection who have received an Annex 26quater on the basis of the Dublin III Regulation, but for whom Belgium becomes responsible by default due to failure to transfer within the six-month deadline (Article 29(2) Dublin III Regulation); and (ii) applicants for international protection who make a first application in Belgium but who already have an international protection status in another EU Member State. This measure is based on an instruction of Fedasil. In January 2020 alone, more than 80 persons have subsequently been refused reception, including some single women with minor children. This instruction has no legal basis and violates national and European law as it excludes categories of individuals from reception beyond the ones foreseen by Article 20 of the recast Reception Conditions Directive. A procedure before the Council of State is pending.
The Belgian government further continued its engagement to increase detention. In 2019 an open reception centre (Holsbeek) has been turned into a closed centre for women and two additional detention centres will open in 2020. While the current detention capacity is 660 places, these plans will bring Belgium’s detention capacity to 1,066 places by 2022.
However, no more families with children have been detained, following a judgment of the Council of State. In August 2018, the government opened five family units in the 127bis repatriation centre, as a result of which families with children were being detained again. Detention was applied where the family manifestly refuses to cooperate with the return procedure. However, the Royal Decree of 22 July 2018 that establishes the rules for the functioning of the closed family units near Brussels International airport has been suspended by the Council of State in April 2019, and thus no more families have been detained. The Council of State still has to pronounce its decision on the annulation of this Royal Decree.
This report has largely been written prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Belgium. Subsequently measures have been taken to limit access to the asylum procedure for newly arrived asylum seekers. These measures do not figure throughout the AIDA report. However, a brief overview can be found at the start of the section ‘Overview of the main changes since the previous report update’. The most controversial measure was temporarily suspending access to the asylum procedure as of 17 March 2020, and therefore leaving asylum seekers homeless and destitute. On 3 April 2020 the Immigration Office, however, announced that all applicants that want to register a demand for international protection are obliged to make an appointment at the Registration Centre by using an online form, with strict formalities. Since 3 April 2020 applicants can register online in order to obtain an appointment. A reception place will be assigned following the appointment.
AIDA: *This information was first published by AIDA, managed by ECRE.
On early morning of 6 April, 55 people of a group of around 260 managed to jump the fence between Morocco and the Spanish enclave Melilla. 20 were injured. Rights organisation call for their right to request international protection and hygienic measures against Covid-19 to be put in place.
Out of 260 people who attempted to cross the border fence, 38 were rejected and returned to the Moroccan authorities, 55 crossed into Spain and the rest stayed on the Moroccan side, according to Spanish authorities. Around 20 were injured and treated by the Red Cross outside of the immigrant centre (CETI) which is under quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic. Four of them were taken to the hospital for bone fractures and a head injury, the Red Cross reported. The Moroccan Human Rights Association reports that many of those left on the Morrocon side were wounded but returned to the nearby forests without treatment. Two Spanish officers were injured according to the Guardia Civil. Those who crossed will be transferred to an area close to V Pino, where they will undergo sanitary control, Spanish authorities said.
Spain’s Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, announced that the “usual procedures” would be put in place, but clarified that returns were not possible as the border with Morocco remained closed. He also assured that the necessary measures will be taken to guarantee the health of citizens and immigrants.
Amnesty International stresses that their right to request international protection, adequate reception conditions and hygienic measures must be guaranteed.
The Spanish Commission for Refugee Support (CEAR) sent a letter asking the Spanish President to authorize urgent transfer and relocation of people seeking international protection and migrants in the CETI of the autonomous Spanish enclaves.
The incidence is the first major crossing of the fence since a controversial ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that found that the immediate return to Morocco of two people who crossed to Melilla did not breach the European Convention of Human Rights.
For further information:
- ECRE, Spain to Release Unreturnable Detainees – NGOs Urges UK to Do the Same, March 2020
- EDAL, D. and N.T. v. Spain: do hot returns require cold decision-making?, February 2020
- ECRE, D and N.T v Spain: Return to Morocco Did Not Breach Convention, February 2020
- ECRE, Spain: Two Persons Pushed Back to Morocco after 300 attempt to Cross Border Fence in Ceuta, January 2020
- ECRE, Spain: Summary Expulsion of 42 People to Morocco, January 2020
- ECRE, Spain: Rights of Asylum Seekers Deteriorating at Border with Morocco, October 2019
- ECRE, Spain Curbs Last State-Run Rescue Operation in EU, August 2019
- ECRE, Situation Worsens for Migrants on Western Mediterranean Route, June 2019
- ECRE, EU Report Links Drop in Arrivals to Spanish Moroccan Cooperation, May 2019
- ECRE, Op-ed: The Rights of Minors – UN Condemns Spain’s Push-Backs and Demands Legal Amendments, March 2019
- ECRE, 34 refugees die waiting more than 24 hours as ships sinks off the coast of Morocco, 5 October 2018
- ECRE, Spain: The UN Condemns Spain for Push-back Policy Violating Children’s Rights, February 2019
- AIDA, Country report Spain, Update 2018, March 2019
Protests are reported in a reception centre in Halberstadt, where more than 800 people have been under lockdown since Friday 27 March due to positive COVID-19 tests in the facility. The insufficient hygiene, supply of food and lack of space to ensure social distance leaves the residents extremely exposed.
After confirmed cases in the facility access to leave was suspended and exits are now controlled by security guards. The combination of limited space for physically distancing themselves, the lack of sufficient hygiene products and adequate sanitary facilities, and the lack of information in multiple languages caused alarm among residents. While the lockdown aims to prevent the virus spreading to the outside of the centre, residents inside feel unprotected. Currently there are 30 people who have been tested positive and evacuated to another facility.
The situation led to a protest last Saturday by some residents, who clashed with security guards. Around 100 refugees entered a hunger strike. Additionally, residents issued a letter demanding enough supply of food, hygiene products as well as protective gloves for all residents. Also, an immediate evacuation of elderly, people with a precondition, pregnant women and families. After a meeting between residents and the facility management, an improvement of the situation is promised.
For further information:
EUROPEAN COURTS AND INTERNATIONAL MECHANISMS
On 2 April, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) published its judgement in the joint cases of the Commission v Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic concluding that all three EU member states had failed to fulfil their obligations under the Relocation Decisions (Article 5(2) 2015/1601 and 2015/1523). The Court did not accept a justification of non-compliance based on maintaining public order and national security concerns under Article 72 TFEU.
European Member States are obliged to indicate the number of applicants of international protection who can be relocated to their territory. Poland and the Czech Republic initially indicated the number of individuals that would be relocated to their territory but failed to fulfil the subsequent obligation to relocate the individuals pursuant to Article 5(4) of the Relocation Decisions, while Hungary failed to indicate the number of individuals it could relocate. Receiving no response on calls to meet agreed commitments the European Commission sought a declaration from the Court that each Member State had failed to fulfil its obligations under the Returns Decisions.
The Court observed that the relocation of applicants of international protection is complex, requiring coordination between Member States in order to have tangible effects, and is only possible if Member States commit to fulfilling their obligations. It also noted that a failure to fulfil obligations under Article 5(2) would consequently lead to an infringement under Article 5(4). The Court stated that Article 5 is to be interpreted strictly and does not confer on States the power to depart from provisions of EU law based solely on the reliance of interests linked to maintaining law and order and safeguarding internal security pursuant to Article 72 TFEU.
For further information:
A full legal summary of this judgment can be found on the EDAL website, managed by ECRE.
On 2 April, more than 250 people were found near Madama, a settlement on the northeast frontier of Niger bordering Libya, abandoned by human smugglers due to the Covid-19 emergency.
The people, mainly from Nigeria (104), Ghana (53) and Burkina (34) were assisted by IOM Niger, who facilitated their transport to Agadez, together with the Nigerien Civil Protection. People will be accommodated in the local stadium to complete the 14 days of quarantine.
IOM expressed concern for the significant number of people still arriving to Niger, despite the lockdown imposed by the Government. The measures include the border closures, curfews and travel bans within the country and 14 days of compulsory quarantine for those crossing the national borders.
People are assisted in six transit centres in Niger in the framework of IOM’s Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration supported by the European Union.
People are set to be returned to their countries of origin through IOM’s “Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration program” (AVRR).
For further information:
Leaving no one behind in the coronavirus crisis: ENAR calls for system change now to achieve real equality.
FEATURED CAMPAIGNS & JOINT STATEMENTS
Greece: Urgently protect refugees from COVID-19. Amnesty. While the world is facing the crisis of COVID-19 pandemic, the risks for refugees in the Greek islands are multiplying by the hour.
URGENT CALL TO ACTION: Refugee Rights Europe. EU Member States Should Commit to the Emergency Relocation of Unaccompanied Children from the Greek Islands.
Displaced Syrians in Lebanon facing COVID-19 Updates on the situation in Shatila, Saida and Arsal in Lebanon, March 2020
Covid-19: AN OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE OUR WELFARE SYSTEMS. Caritas Europe. Caritas Europa is pleased to see the speed at which the European Union mobilises funding in support of both direct public health and indirect immediate humanitarian consequences of the pandemic.
Protect the most vulnerable to ensure protection for everyone! Restore legality to protect refugees and the society at large amidst the pandemic’ Open letter signed by 121 Organizations.
Appeal from European doctors: bring refugees on the Greek islands to safety. Doctors in Europe call on the leaders of our governments and of the European Union to bring refugees in Greek camps to safety immediately.
Greece: Move Asylum Seekers, Migrants to Safety. Joint statement. Immediate Hotspot Decongestion Needed to Address COVID-19
Sea-Watch calls on EU Commission: Send decommissioned cruise ships to evacuate camps in Greece. While the Corona crisis is keeping Europe in suspense, the suffering of those seeking international protection and the humanitarian disaster at Europe’s borders are fading into the background.
Urgent Appeal For The Evacuation Of The Greek Refugee Camps. Joint petition. We urge the immediate evacuation of the refugee camps and hotspots on the Greek islands to avert a catastrophe amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Greece: Rights violations against asylum seekers at Turkey-Greece border must stop – UN Special Rapporteur. OHCHR. Greece must take immediate action to end the violence against migrants and asylum seekers at the Turkey-Greece border and enhance their protection
Protect our laws and humanity! Joint Statement. The undersigned organisations are deeply concerned about recent developments at the Evros border and the Aegean islands where people are stranded at the borders of Europe, instrumentalized for political purposes, and subject to violations of their rights.
Statement by Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, on the COVID-19 crisis UNHCR. wars and persecution have not stopped – and today, across the globe, people are continuing to flee their homes in search of safety. I am increasingly worried by measures adopted by some countries that could block altogether the right to seek asylum.
COVID-19: No one is safe until All are protected! Open Letter from the Transbalkan Solidarity Group. Currently there are tens of thousands of refugees and other migrants in the Balkans.
Our community is as healthy as all of its members. NGO Press Release on the human rights of migrants in the current epidemic. It is appalling to hear Government talk of non-Maltese nationals without acknowledging their humanity and – in many cases – their vulnerability.
We need Physical distances Not Social Distance! Urgent statement New Women Connectors. At this point social solidarity is one of the most important aspects of our reactions to hashtag#covid19outbreak.
Stand Together to Beat Coronavirus. Global Citizen website. It's time to take action — by taking steps to change our own behaviour, call on governments to step up, and encourage donations, we can protect ourselves and others.
COVID-19 does not discriminate; nor should our response. OHCHR. As the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations Network on Migration salutes the immense efforts to date to combat this crisis and urges that all – including migrants regardless of migratory status – are included in efforts to mitigate and roll back this illness's impact.
#LeaveNoOneBehind: In view of the great challenge we face, many signs of solidarity are needed. Petty-mindedness or egoism will not lead us the way. The corona virus will especially hit those who already have difficulties.
Stay Calm, Stay Human ECRE Statement on the Situation at the Greek Turkish Border. ECRE is highly concerned about the political developments emanating from last week’s events in Idlib, Syria and urges calm and measured response, focused on accepting refugees and sharing responsibility across Europe.
Hungary : Parliament should not pass COVID-19 permanent emergency powers Bill. ICJ calls on the Parliament of Hungary not to approve a Government bill that would extend indefinitely the emergency powers of the executive to counter the Covid-19 pandemic.
EP stands up for democracy in Hungary during COVID-19. The Civil Liberties Committee highlights that any extraordinary measure adopted by the Hungarian government in response to the pandemic must respect the EU’s founding values.
UNLIMITED POWER IS NOT THE PANACEA HHC: Assessment of the proposed law to extend the state of emergency in Hungary and its constitutional preconditions.
Our international solidarity campaign – Free the El Hiblu Three! Passengers of the El Hiblu 1, sea-rescue organisations, international lawyers, researchers, activists, human rights organisations in Malta and beyond have come together to call for the immediate dismissal of the trial. Instead of being prosecuted, the El Hiblu Three should be celebrated for preventing an illegal push-back to Libya.
#GrowYourCommunity: We all want to live in a community where people accept us the way we are. We want to be free to pursue our religion and be open about our sexual orientation. #GrowYourCommunity is a video series that explores the concept of inclusion and caring communities.
Choose Respect: Together We Can Tackle Anti-Migrant Hate Speech. Hate speech against migrants and refugees is all too common, both online and in the real world. But it isn’t always easy to know how to react effectively – and it’s even harder to respond in a way which changes attitudes.
#FairLassen …: For independent legal assistance in the asylum process. Against isolation. The Austrian legal reform of May 2019 jeopardises dignified asylum procedures in line with European law. We demand the provision of independent legal assistance, dignified reception conditions and integration instead of isolation for people seeking protection in Austria.
CALLS FOR PAPERS & OPEN CALLS