Press Review


08 January 2020
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Western Africa: Sudan Tribune: Niger breaks up Sudanese refugees sit-in as fire destroys their camp – On 4 January, Niger’s authorities forcibly broke up a sit-in of Sudanese refugees outside the office of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Agadez. As a continuation of their protest, some of them reportedly set ablaze parts of the camp once returned there by the police. The group of vulnerable refugees most of which fled Libya had been protesting peacefully outside of the UNHCR office since 14 December 2019 to demand better living conditions and the acceleration of their resettlement procedures.

See also: Air Info Agadez: Agadez/Incendie centre humanitaire : 335 demandeurs d’asile interpellés.
CIVIL SOCIETY: Malta Independent: MV Lifeline captain conviction overturned on appeal – The Court of Criminal Appeal in Malta overturned the conviction of the captain of the search and rescue vessel MV Lifeline. Captain Claus Peter Reisch had been found guilty of ship registration irregularities and was fined €10,000, with the court refusing the prosecution’s request to confiscate the vessel. He was charged after rescuing 234 people at sea in 2018. The judgement stated that the captain had lacked the specific criminal intent and cleared Reisch of all charges.

EU AGENCIES: EASO: EASO operations to double in size this year – The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) announced that, in 2020, the EU agency will see its operational deployments double in size, with up to 550 personnel deployed in Greece, 150 in Italy, 120 in Cyprus and 60 in Malta. In addition, interpreters and security personnel will be deployed in the four Member States, bringing the total deployment up to as many as 2,000 personnel. Cyprus, Greece and Malta will all see a doubling of EASO personnel, while operational deployments in Italy will be decreased in light of changing needs on the part of the Italian authorities.

FUNDING: NYT: How Forced Labor in Eritrea Is Linked to E.U.-Funded Projects – The New York Times reports that in 2019 the EU spent 20 million euros in Eritrea, hoping to help stem an exodus from the country, which is consistently one of the biggest sources of asylum seekers to the EU. Their research revealed that many workers on the EU-funded construction project are forced conscripts, and the EU has no real means of monitoring the it. Under the European Trust Fund (EUTF) for Africa the EU is to spend another €95 million in the country.
AUSTRIA: Asylkoordination: Asylkoordination kritisiert Festhalten am Ende der unabhängigen Rechtsberatung und Isolierung von AsylwerberInnen – Austrian ECRE member asylkoordination has criticised the coalition agreement between the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) and the Green Party for maintaining the previous government’s hard-line stance on migration. They warn that the establishment of a new agency will mean the end to independent legal assistance for asylum seekers as enshrined in European law. They also fear that the introduction of preventive custody and return centres could increase the use of detention, restrict the rights of asylum seekers and hamper integration.

 InfoMigrants: What does Austria's new governing coalition mean for migrants?
GERMANY: Die Welt: CDU will „sichere Herkunftsstaaten“ ohne Bundesrat ausweiten [CDU want to extend list of safe countries of origins bypassing the Federal Council] – The German conservative party (CDU)  is looking for ways to bypass the Federal Council, the second chamber of the German Parliament, to extend the list of safe countries of origin for asylum seekers. An extension of the list with states in North Africa had failed last year due to resistance of the governments of federal states involving the Green and Left party. People from countries on the list are granted only limited access to asylum procedures.

Spain: Olive Press: Spanish Government Tightens Restrictions On Yemeni Refugees Entering Spain, Amid Civil War That Has Killed 100,000 People – From January 1, the Spanish government requires a transit visa for Yemeni citizens fleeing the war torn country via Spanish airports. Thus, Yemeni refugees can no longer buy a plane ticket to a third country and have a stopover in Spain in order to request asylum. In 2018, Spain demanded a transit visa for Palestinian refugees, which decreased the number of asylum applications.

Switzerland: AAgauer Zeitung: Bundesverwaltungsgericht genügen Garantien nicht: Es stoppt Ausschaffungen von Familien nach Italien – An administrative court in Switzerland has ruled that families seeking asylum in Switzerland can no longer be returned to Italy even if the state would be responsible for the processing of their asylum application according to the Dublin Regulation. The court’s research has shown that the implications of the measures enacted under former Italian Interior Minister Salvini make reception conditions inadequate for people with special needs and vulnerabilities, despite guarantees from Italian authorities to ensure appropriate conditions.
OMFM: The Politics of Exhaustion: Immigration Control in the British-French Border Zone – Based on extensive field research carried out amongst displaced people in Europe in 2016-2019, this article highlights the way in which individuals in northern France are finding themselves trapped in a violent border zone, unable to move forward whilst having no obvious alternative way out of their predicament. The author suggests that the raft of violent measures and micro practices authorities resort to in the French-British border zone constitute a Politics of Exhaustion.
EU migration law blog: Individual rights in EU migration and asylum law – Legal researcher Catherine Warin argues that awareness of the relationship between rights, obligations and interests enables reflections on rights in a flexible and coherent manner, which is essential in the increasingly complex field of EU migration law.
With kind regards,
Hannah Berwian

Hannah Berwian
Communications Assistant
p: +32 2 234 38 22
a: Rue Royale 146, Brussels

Please note that the information of the press review is taken from publicly available information provided by media companies, organisations and blogs. All the sources are clearly ascribed and ECRE is not claiming any authorship over the content. The Press Review does not necessarily reflect the views of ECRE. This document is just a relay to the original articles and makes it easier to find stories concerning asylum issues. If you are the publisher of some of the information and would like it removed from this document, or if you would like to see a particular story published in the Press Review, please email: 

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