Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 35 n°33

Posts Tagged ‘refugees’

An airlift for Ukrainian refugees – how Putin’s cynical plot will fail

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 25 marzo 2022

Four weeks into Russia’s assault, more than 3.5 million people have already fled Ukraine. If things continue as they are going, a total of 5 million Ukrainians will have fled to the EU by the end of March. It could be 10 million refugees reaching the European Union within another few weeks after that.Knowing the numbers is one thing. Understanding their importance is something else entirely. Some in Europe still find it difficult to understand their significance: what it means to experience the biggest refugee catastrophe in Europe since the end of the Second World War. However, European leaders do not have much time to adapt to this new reality. They must, immediately, act and think in ways appropriate to the scale of this humanitarian challenge.During the equally historic refugee movement in 2015, one million people crossed the Aegean from Turkey in 12 months. Since the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine on 24 February, more than 100,000 people – mainly women and children – have fled from Ukraine to the European Union and Moldova every day. That is 1 million people a week.If another 2 million people arrive in the next two to three weeks, then one million is likely to make its way to Austria and Germany by train or car. Another million, however, should be offered to board planes (or buses) to be taken directly to other counties in Europe: to Spain, Portugal, Ireland, or Sweden, but also to the UK, perhaps even to the United States and Canada. Is that realistic? If Spain and Portugal together were to agree to take in 160,000 by the end of March, and France and the UK each did the same then yes, it would be possible. This would mean: 1,500 flights with 300 people on board by the end of March to those four countries alone.Putin’s cynical goal of blackmailing Ukraine and the EU through brutal warfare leading to mass displacement, as in Syria and Chechnya, must fail and must be seen to fail. Desperate Ukrainian refugees are part of Putin’s plan of attack. His calculation is as ruthless as it is transparent: by expelling civilians, he hopes not just to demoralize Ukrainians and force them to surrender but also to make the EU turn against and betray Ukraine. This must not happen. An Airlift 2022, a Macron-Scholz-EU-G7 initiative to implement the most generous refugee reception policy worldwide in decades, would be an appropriate response. It is about helping people, as well as bolstering the authority and credibility of the West as a community of values. It would be a humane response to inhumane cynicism.

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Refugees on Greek islands: MEPs urge evacuation of camps to prevent spread of COVID-19

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 27 marzo 2020

In order to control the COVID-19 pandemic, preventive measures have to be applied to everyone, including asylum-seekers living in overcrowded hotspots on the Greek islands.Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES), Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee, has written to Commissioner Janez Lenarčič -s European Emergency Response Coordinator and Chair of the Crisis Coordination Committee-, on behalf of the whole committee, calling for an “immediate European response” to avoid the humanitarian crisis on the Greek islands becoming a public health issue, with the risk of many deaths.After a first case has been confirmed on the island of Lesvos, “one of the main issues to be addressed to avoid the quick and wide spread of COVID-19 is the urgent preventive evacuation of the overcrowded camps”, notes the text.Many of those in the camps (42.000 people in total) are already in a precarious health situation and, despite the measures taken by the Greek authorities, the overcrowding and the dire living conditions make it difficult to contain COVID-19, MEPs warn.
“There is no chance of isolation or social distancing, nor is it possible to ensure appropriate hygienic conditions. (…) There are only six intensive care beds available on the island of Lesvos (…) and the necessary health equipment is not at present available on the islands”, they add.MEPs demand an action plan that should include:
• Preventive evacuation of the population at high risk including those older than 60 and people with respiratory conditions, diabetes of other diseases;
• Increased cooperation amongst EU member states’ health care systems;
• Additional financial resources for increased hospitalization capacity and intensive care, and
• Relocation, in particular of children, must not be put on hold due to the pandemic.
“There will be no true control of the COVID-19 outbreak without preventive measures for all, including asylum-seekers. We therefore urge you to undertake immediate action and start with the preventive evacuation of the most vulnerable groups in the camps on the Greek islands. This is of crucial importance to save their lives and decongest the hotspots”, concludes the letter.

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Migrants and refugees at the Greek-Turkish border: debate this afternoon

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 10 marzo 2020

MEPs will assess the situation at the Greek border with Turkey on Tuesday from around 16.30, with Commissioner Johansson and the Croatian Presidency.Since the beginning of March, thousands of people have been attempting to cross the Greek-Turkish border by land and sea, after President Erdoğan announced his country would no longer stop them doing so, as it has been since 2016 in exchange for EU financial aid.MEPs will assess the impact of Ankara’s move on the relations between the EU and Turkey, the actions by the Greek police towards migrants and refugees as well as the Greek government’s decision not to accept any asylum applications for a month, among other issues. President Erdoğan visited Brussels on Monday, where he met with EC President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel to discuss the latest developments at the border of his country with Greece.

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EU-Turkey: MEPs raised questions about future cooperation regarding refugees

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 10 novembre 2019

The situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey and the effects of the budgetary support provided by the EU to the Turkish government were assessed on Wednesday by MEPs.Representatives of the European Commission briefed MEPs of the Civil Liberties, Foreign Affairs and Development committees, particularly on the results of the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey, but also on the general implementation of the EU-Turkey statement, agreed with Ankara in 2016 to halt the flow of refugees from Turkey into the EU.
Several MEPs referred to the unilateral intervention by Turkish forces in North East Syria and insisted that EU funds should not be used to force Syrian population back into their country. Some also complained that the EU has not made any progress in the last years, while the arrival of refugees to European soil decreased, towards the establishment of a well-functioning common asylum system.Civil Liberties MEPs also discussed the situation on the Greek islands, first with Michalis Chrisochoidis, Greek Minister for Citizens’ Protection, and in a subsequent debate with representatives of the European Commission, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, the EU Asylum Support Office and Médecins sans Frontières.Most of the speakers praised the efforts by the Greek authorities and criticised the lack of solidarity of other EU member states, while stressing the horrific conditions in which thousands of asylum-seekers live in the Greek islands. MEPs denounced the overcrowding of the facilities, the lack of basic health care and the absence of protection measures for the most vulnerable, among other aspects.

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Call to commemorate refugees who lost their lives in the Mediterranean

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 17 giugno 2019

On the occasion of the World Refugee Day observed on 20 June, the Conference of European Churches together with the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) has issued a call to churches and parishes across Europe to hold services commemorating “those who have died on their journey to find a dignified life in Europe through an annual day of prayer.”
“In this period of Ascension and Pentecost filled with hope and light that are intended for all humankind, we are deeply saddened and disturbed that the way of the cross, of suffering, hopelessness and death, continues for thousands of our human brothers and sister on the outer borders of the European Union,” says the CEC–CCME message issued by CEC President Rev. Christian Krieger and CMME General Secretary Dr Torsten Moritz.
“As churches and Christians our divine calling is to be witnesses and servants of the resurrection and of a new life in justice and peace for all, regardless of their ethnicity, nationality or religion. Let us jointly remember the documented as well as the undocumented persons who have died at European borders, let us share our sorrow in prayer,” reads the message.This call was affirmed by the CEC General Assembly held in Budapest in July 2013. In past years, many churches and parishes across Europe have taken up this call and held commemoration services around the World Refugee Day.The resource titled Day of intercession in memory of those who have lost their lives at the borders of the EU – Information, Intercessions and Ideas is available and has been updated last year by CCME together with support from German Ecumenical Committee on Church Asylum, the Evangelical Church in Berlin, Brandenburg and Silesian Oberlausitz and the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). Read full text of “Call to commemorate persons who lost their lives on their way to seek safety” in English, French and German.

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Humanitarian visas would reduce refugees’ death toll

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 7 dicembre 2018

Access to EU territory for the sole purpose of requesting international protection. To be issued at EU embassies and consulates abroad 90% of those granted international protection in the EU arrived via irregular means Around 30 000 people have died trying to reach Europe since 2000. Asylum-seekers should be able to request humanitarian visas at EU embassies and consulates abroad, allowing them to access Europe safely, say Civil Liberties MEPs.
With 37 votes to 10 and 3 abstentions, the Civil Liberties Committee agreed on Monday to ask the European Commission to table, by 31 March 2019, a legislative proposal establishing a European Humanitarian Visa. Holders would be allowed into Europe – only to the member state issuing the visa – for the sole purpose of submitting an application for international protection.MEPs stress that the EU lacks a harmonised framework of protected entry procedures for people seeking international protection and point out that, due to insufficient legal options, an estimated 90% of those granted refugee status or subsidiary protection reached the European Union through irregular means.
According to the committee, humanitarian visas would help to address the intolerable death toll in the Mediterranean and on the migration routes to the EU (at least 30 000 persons have died at EU borders since 2000), to combat human smuggling, and to manage arrivals, reception and processing of asylum claims better.This tool should also contribute to optimising member states’ and the EU’s budget for asylum, law enforcement procedures, border control, surveillance and search and rescue activities, MEPs say.They stress, however, that the decision to issue European humanitarian visas should remain a responsibility solely of the member states.
Beneficiaries will have to prove well-founded exposure to or risk of persecution and not be in a resettlement process already. The assessment of the application should not involve a full status determination process, but before issuing the visa, each applicant should be subject to a security screening, through the relevant national and European databases, “to ensure that they do not pose a security risk”.Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES) , rapporteur for the proposal, underlined that “after more than four years of very tough negotiations, we have before us a new and possibly last opportunity to approve European Humanitarian Visas. We need to do more to help people in need, as there are currently clearly not enough legal and safe pathways to the EU for those seeking international protection.”
This legislative initiative will be put to a vote by the full House in the December plenary session. If adopted by plenary by qualified majority, the Commission will have to give a reasoned reply to Parliament’s request.

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UNHCR – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 11 agosto 2018

Luxembourg Project/Consultancy title: Monitoring of reception conditions of unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) in Luxembourg.
Organizational context and General background of assignment:The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is an intergovernmental organization with a mandate to protect refugees and stateless persons worldwide. UNHCR works with States, civil society organizations and other actors to address issues of concern which fall under its mandate.Children’s rights are enshrined in international law, including in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and are at the heart of UNHCR’s protection mandate. Given the fact that asylum- seeking girls and boys face unique protection risks, responding to their specific needs is a key priority for the BELUX Unit. UNHCR’s commitment to protect children of its concern is not only a moral imperative, but will also contribute to ensuring a better future for children, their families and communities.Between 2015 and 2017, over 200 UASC have applied for asylum in Luxembourg, representing more than twice the number for the period between 2012 and 2014. While the largest increase was noticed in 2015, 2017 was marked by the particularly young age of UASC applying for asylum in Luxembourg (between 12-14 years old).In addition to the 2 already-existing mixed reception centres hosting UASC, 3 reception centres exclusively dedicated to UASC have opened their doors since 2016. The principle of the best interest of the child is embedded in Luxembourg legislation and policy, and should be implemented in the context of reception conditions. A mapping of the current situation for the identification of good practices and elaboration of recommendations in line with international protection standards and the best interest principle will serve as a basis for UNHCR to engage with and support different stakeholders in upholding these standards.

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Sharing a meal with migrants and refugees and sharing hope

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 14 giugno 2018

Rome 19th June 2018 Caritas Rome soup kitchen “San Giovanni Paolo II”, via Marsala 109. Caritas will invite migrants, refugees in Rome to share a meal with public and Church figures as part of its Share the Journey campaign. The meal, which will take place at the Caritas soup kitchen at Rome’s Termini Station, will be a moment for migrants and refugees to share their migration stories and experiencesThe Rome meal is part of Caritas’s Share the Journey campaign’s “Global Week of Action” 17-24 June. During that week, the 165 member Catholic confederation will promote meals and activities with migrants and refugees across the globe to mark World Refugee Day. See map for activities in other parts of the world.Speakers at the event will include migrants and refugees plus a family which has welcomed a refugee to live in their home. Other speakers include:
· Msgr. Enrico Feroci, Caritas Rome director
· Michel Roy, Caritas International secretary general
· Oliviero Forti, head of Caritas Italy’s migration department
· Laura Baldassarre, councillor for the community from Rome City Council
Alessandro Gisotti, a journalist from Vatican News, will present the event. Pope Francis launched the Share the Journey campaign in September 2017, emphasising how migration is a reciprocal journey made both by migrants and communities.“Hope is the force that drives us “to share the journey”, because the journey is made jointly: by those who come to our land, and by us who go towards their heart, to understand them, to understand their culture, their language.” Read more.Share the Journey is part of a global effort to build stronger relationships between migrants, refugees and with the communities which they want to leave, where they travel through, where they make their home.

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Capiche: the smart language assistant for refugees

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 13 dicembre 2017

berlinoBerlin. Capiche is a translation and tracing service based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and crowd knowledge that aims to improve communication with and from refugees in Europe. The application Capiche was developed in cooperation with the German refugee information portal and presented in Berlin during the EIT Digital Germany Innovation Day. It is the first AI system on the market that integrates crowdsourcing and uses the resulting data for learning the AI system. Capiche is a spin-off of EIT Digital’s European Refugee Information and Communication Service (ERICS) Innovation Activity and was developed in cooperation with EIT Digital partners TU Berlin, T-Systems Multimedia Solutions GmbH, DFKI, Aalto University and Crowdee GmbH.As the number of refugees increases, so does the number of people in Europe that have to overcome major obstacles in everyday life due to a lack of language skills, e.g. in understanding websites and information brochures or in communicating with authorities. Direct demand from senders is rarely possible, as national operators of websites, online journals, and public administration institutions usually do not use direct communication, if they do not understand Arabic, for example. A lack of language skills leads to a loss of information, unanswered questions and slower integration.
Capiche is a new solution for these information providers: it now enables small editorial offices to offer their users content in non-standard languages. Via an interface in the Content Management System, content is played via a cloud-based micro-service to the AI system and the crowd, with the help of which it is translated and returned in the desired language. In this way, Capiche helps to overcome language barriers and promote integration. In the next phase, Capiche will be available as multilingual real-time communication in all major EU and refugee languages, including an extremist and fake news filter. In the future, it will also be possible for a user to put his or her question directly to an information portal in his or her own language, and the combination of artificial intelligence and human crowd intelligence to find the answer quickly and easily in his or her own language.
EIT Digital is a leading European open innovation organisation that brings together a partnership of over 130 top European corporations, SMEs, startups, universities and research institutes. EIT Digital invests in strategic areas to accelerate market uptake of research-based digital technologies and to bring entrepreneurial talent and leadership to Europe.

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A New Humanitarian Envoy to Support Refugees Worldwide

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 30 ottobre 2017

business wireIn a significant step to bolster their ongoing life-saving relief operations, The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), one of the world’s leading humanitarian organisations based out of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has appointed Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Council, as its Humanitarian Envoy. Since its establishment first as a fundraising campaign in 2013, and then transforming into a full-fledged humanitarian foundation in 2015, TBHF has actioned positive change in the lives of more than 600,000 refugees and people in need, especially women and children who fled regions affected by wars and crises in countries including Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, and Indonesia among other countries.Based out of the UAE’s third largest emirate, Sharjah, and Chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, TBHF made the announcement in recognition of Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi’s remarkable efforts in charitable fields across the UAE and the MENA region.As TBHF Humanitarian Envoy, Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi will contribute to mobilising community support both regionally and internationally, to advocate for refugees and less fortunate people around the world, and will support TBHF with building stronger humanitarian partnerships in the UAE, the GCC region and beyond.The appointment reinforces Sharjah’s leading role in the international community in driving and supporting humanitarian campaigns worldwide.TBHF also plays a major role in facilitating increased cooperation with local and regional government bodies, international humanitarian organisations and UN agencies. TBHF and its partners operate in a range of countries and terrains – from major cities to remote villages – and tailor their programmes to fit the varying realities of individual conflict zones. (Photo: Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi during his visit to Al Zaatari Refugee Camp Business Wire)

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Capiche, the Smart Assistant for Refugees

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 14 settembre 2017

Female refugeesBrussels. To improve communication with refugees coming to Europe, EIT Digital has launched a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) and crowd-based innovation, named “Capiche”. Originating from the European Refugee Information and Communication Service (ERICS), itself an EIT Digital Innovation Activity, it aims to support refugees with a mobile translation and search service, including an extremist and fake news filter solution. Capiche will soon be available for mobile users. It will be the first AI-system on the market that integrates crowd-sourcing with further exploitation of the collected and interpreted data to enhance the machine-learning system. Communication inside the European Union primarily depends on language and understanding each country’s cultural, economic and social nature. With growing numbers of refugees every day, there are thousands and thousands of persons facing huge hurdles. To solve such barriers Capiche provides real-time multilingual communication microservices based in the cloud, offered in major EU and refugee languages.
Capiche can reduce integration costs and speed-up time-to-job, while providing opportunities for services offered by public as well as private organizations in fields like transportation, healthcare, education, legal counselling, job offerings, or FMCG. All the accumulated data and content produced by refugees after analysis will be collected and translated to help match refugees’ demands of businesses or institutions and vice versa.

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ECJ ruling on refugees: no more excuses to delay transfers from Italy and Greece

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 10 settembre 2017

european parliamentBruxelles. European Parliament rapporteur for relocation decisions, Ska Keller (Greens, DE), and Civil Liberties Committee Chair Claude Moraes (S&D, UK) welcome decision by the European Court of Justice. The Court ruled today against Hungary and Slovakia’s appeal against the EU decision to relocate refugees from Greece and Italy, stating that the scheme “actually contributes to enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis and is proportionate”. Ska Keller said: “Now that the ECJ has dismissed the actions of Hungary and Slovakia against the redistribution of refugees, there is no excuse. Finally, those member states which have so far boycotted redistribution must also deliver. Solidarity in the EU is not a one-way street. Government leaders such as Viktor Orbán cannot demand more money for border protection, while blocking the reception of refugees from Greece and Italy.” She added: “This ruling is a milestone for the EU. The ECJ confirmed that solidarity is a key principle of the common asylum policy. All member states must now live up to their obligations; it is insane that most countries are still lagging far behind. The European Commission should also follow-up with the infringement proceedings initiated against Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland for not doing their part”. Claude Moraes said: “Member States cannot dodge their responsibilities; today’s verdict has shown this. The Parliament has consistently called on Member States to quickly uphold their commitments, since the adoption of the relocation mechanism in 2015. Yet two years later, only 28 000 people out of the 160 000 have been relocated.”
According to Moraes, “the fact that collectively Member States have relocated less than a quarter of the modest figure of 160 000 people from Italy and Greece draws attention to significant gaps in the EU’s response to the biggest refugee crisis on the continent since World War II. We urgently need to have in place an organised and compassionate response.”
Against the background of severe migration and refugee crises in the summer of 2015, the EU adopted two emergency decisions to relocate thousands of refugees. 160 000 asylum seekers with a high chance of being granted refugee status from Italy and Greece were to be relocated by September 2017 to other member states where their applications would be processed. Both Hungary and Slovakia appealed the European Court of Justice to annul the second Decision, which foresaw the relocation of 120 000 asylum-seekers, denouncing what they considered wrong legal grounds and arguing that it was not proportionate nor adequate for the purpose sought. Last June, the European Commission announced infringement procedures against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland for non-compliance with their obligations under the relocation decisions. Neither Hungary nor Poland have so far relocated anyone, while the Czech Republic has not done so since August 2016. According to UNHCR data, around 50 000 asylum-seekers are still stuck in Greece. Italy had a record number of arrivals in 2016, with 181 436 migrants and asylum-seekers reaching its shores. So far this year, 99 742 people have arrived in the country, mainly from Libya.

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Recognised refugees should get five-year renewable residence permits

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 16 giugno 2017

rifugiatiMEPs against compulsory review of the refugee status in case of changes in the country of originProtection can be withdrawn if the beneficiary is involved in serious crimes Residence permits for all beneficiaries of international protection in the EU should be valid for five years and be renewable for additional five-year periods.Civil Liberties Committee MEPs backed on Thursday a new “Qualification” regulation on the recognition of people in need of protection and for the rights granted to them. By turning the previous directive into a regulation, which is directly applicable by member states, criteria and standards for the recognition of a refugee status become more harmonised. The legislation was passed by 40 votes in favour to 13 against and with 4 abstentions.
The aim of the regulation is to ensure that asylum seekers face equal treatment and get the same form of protection regardless of the member state in which they file their request. This should help reduce ‘asylum-shopping’. MEPs also want to improve integration in the societies hosting refugees.MEPs aim to minimize the distinction in terms of rights between refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection (people at real risk of serious harm if they return to their home country, but who do not qualify for refugee status). Subsidiary protection was set up as a response to a short-term need, but this has not proved to be the case.When assessing an asylum claim, member states will have to rely on the information from the EU Agency for Asylum on the situation in the country of origin and should also verify possible internal protection alternatives. If there is no longer a need for protection, authorities can withdraw it. They can also do so if the beneficiary is involved in terrorism or other serious crimes. But MEPs deleted the compulsory review of the refugee status, following a “significant change in the country of origin” and left it as an option for national authorities.MEPs included provisions to make sure that unaccompanied children receive adequate protection, like any other children in the country they are located. They should have a guardian appointed, if possible the same one since their arrival to the EU, and be placed with relatives, foster families or in open specialised centres.

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Migrants and refugees in Italy: MEPs assess the situation ahead of the summer

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 8 giugno 2017

European_Investment_Bank_-_LuxemburgEuropean Parliament (Brussels) Paul-Henri Spaak (PHS) 3C50, Thursday, 8 June at 10.30 (situation in Italy) and at 16.00 (children in migration) MEPs on the Civil Liberties Committee will assess the situation of migrants and refugees in Italy and the ways forward as summer approaches. Italy is the main arrival point to the EU for migrants and asylum-seekers since the closure of the Balkan route and the EU-Turkey deal. In the first five months of 2017, already more than 60 000 people have arrived on its shores, compared to 47 883 in the same period in 2016. This trend is likely to continue during the warmer months, when better conditions at sea lead to more people attempting to cross over.According to UNHCR data, 1 778 persons have died or gone missing trying to reach Italy since the beginning of the year.Under the two emergency relocation decisions adopted in 2015, 39 600 asylum-seekers likely to be granted refugee status should be transferred from Italy to other EU countries, but so far only 6 502 have been moved (as of 2 June).
In a separate debate, MEPs will discuss with the European Commission how to better protect children in migration. Around 30% of persons seeking asylum in the EU in 2015 and 2016 were children, many of them travelling alone. Unaccompanied minors face a higher risk of becoming victims of violence, trafficking and exploitation.

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Refugees in Greece: MEPs to check reception centres, asylum procedures and relocation

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 24 Maggio 2017

cartina-grecia-centrale-atticaA delegation of the Civil Liberties committee will be in Greece from 22 to 25 May to check the functioning of several reception centres and assess the management of asylum procedures and relocation schemes. MEPs will visit Athens and the islands of Kos and Lesvos. They will meet national and local authorities, as well as representatives of the EU, other international bodies and NGOs.In the context of their current legislative work on the reform of the Common European Asylum System, MEPs aim to understand better the functioning of “hotspots”, notably in view of the EU-Turkey migration deal, and the role of EU and national actors in dealing with the large number of arrivals of asylum-seekers and migrants. The conditions in the Greek reception centres have often been raised by MEPs, particularly regarding vulnerable groups such as unaccompanied minors. The EU´s assistance to Greece for dealing with the registration and management of asylum procedures, the implementation of the relocation decisions and the returns of migrants and asylum-seekers to Turkey in virtue of the EU-Turkey deal are also subjects of interest for the delegation.

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EP urges EU countries to speed up relocation of refugees, particularly children

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 19 Maggio 2017

parlamento europeoMEPs condemn that, despite having agreed to move 160,000 refugees from Greece and Italy by September 2017, EU member states have relocated just 11% of their total obligations (18,770 persons as of 16 May). They find the lack of solidarity and responsibility-sharing disappointing. In a resolution backed by 398 votes to 134 with 41 abstentions, Parliament urges EU countries to honour their commitments and prioritise the relocation of children without family and of other vulnerable applicants. MEPs point out that “only one single unaccompanied minor was relocated so far”.MEPs criticise a number of member states for “very restrictive and discriminatory preferences, such as granting relocation only to single mothers or excluding applicants from specific nationalities, such as Eritreans, and applying very extensive security checks”. Most countries still lag far behind their targets. Four have only been relocating on an extremely limited basis and two member states are still not participating at all, they add.Parliament makes clear that, even if they have not reached their relocation targets by September, EU countries will have to continue transferring eligible applicants. They also propose extending the relocation scheme until the new Dublin Regulation on asylum is adopted.Against the background of severe migration and refugee crises in the summer of 2015, the EU adopted two emergency decisions to relocate thousands of refugees. 160,000 asylum seekers with a high chance of being granted refugee status from Italy and Greece were to be relocated by September 2017 to other member states where their applications would be processed.In a subsequent decision approved by the Council in September 2016 – which was opposed by Parliament – member states agreed that 54,000 out of the 160,000 places could be used for the admission of Syrian refugees from Turkey, as part of the EU-Turkey migration deal, rather than from Italy or Greece.According to UNHCR data, around 50,000 asylum-seekers are still stuck in Greece, while Italy faced a new record in 2016 with 181.436 new arrivals.

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Refugees in Greece: Civil Liberties MEPs discussed the situation with Migration Minister Mouzalas

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 12 marzo 2017

cartina-grecia-centrale-atticaMEPs of the Civil Liberties Committee discussed on Thursday with Greek Minister of Migration, Ioannis Mouzalas, the situation of the refugee and migrant population in the country and the possible ways forward.Mr Mouzalas underlined that the living conditions of migrant and asylum-seekers in Greece have significantly improved in the last months, although the situation in the Aegean islands continues to be “difficult”. Special efforts are being made regarding unaccompanied minors, he added. The Minister complained about the “hypocrisy” of the EU institutions and other member states, for pointing their finger at Greece for the treatment of refugees while at the same not providing the help they committed. He welcomed the proposal by Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE) to make the relocation of asylum-seekers mandatory: “this is a good basis”, he said.
According to UNHCR data, around 46 000 migrants and asylum-seekers continue to be stranded in Greece. Conditions have been particularly dire during the winter in the islands, where there are still over 13 000 people.
EU countries agreed in 2015 to relocate 63 000 asylum-seekers from Greece to other member states over two years, but so far less than 10 000 persons have effectively been transferred.

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Refugees: Civil Liberties MEPs praise Canada´s resettlement and integration policies

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 24 febbraio 2017

torontoA delegation of Civil Liberties MEPs travelled to Canada to assess its resettlement and integration policies for refugees. They met with government officials in Ottawa and Toronto, members of the House of Commons, as well as representatives of UNHCR, NGOs and other stakeholders working in this field.Over 40,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Canada since November 2015 and the country is among the top destinations for refugees resettled through the UNHCR.”We are particularly impressed by the openness, welcoming spirit, support and efficiency shown by the Canadian authorities, and in particular by its citizens, in this effort to receive and integrate refugees into a new life in Canada”, said Agustín Díaz de Mera (EPP, ES), Head of the delegation.”In both Ottawa and Toronto we visited a number of refugee reception centres that provide specific services and assistance, we witnessed the strong involvement of the local communities and heard about the private sponsorship initiatives all contributing to integration and the full participation of newcomers in the economic, social, cultural and civic life of Canada”.
“It became clear during our meetings that a key to the successes of the resettlement and integration of refugees was the strong leadership shown by the Canadian authorities at all levels and the cross party support of a well-managed migration system”MEPs also discussed with the Canadian authorities the question of visa reciprocity. In this regard, Mr Díaz de Mera said: “we welcome the commitments made by Canadian Government and express our trust that the necessary steps will be taken in view of their implementation by December 2017”.The Head of the delegation underlined “the importance of this mission and of this exchange of best practices in the context of the related work at EU level on the proposal for a regulation that aims to establish a Union Resettlement framework.”
The Chair also emphasised in the context of the visit the importance of the consent given by the European Parliament to CETA and the Strategic Partnership Agreement, and welcomed the presence of Prime Minister Trudeau in the plenary session in February in Strasbourg. He also pointed out the importance of the future cooperation in the field of migration with Canada.

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Refugees: MEPs demand emergency winter aid and transfers to other EU countries

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 20 gennaio 2017

Female refugeesEU and national authorities should provide emergency aid to help migrants and refugees to cope with freezing temperatures and snow in several parts of Europe, MEPs urged on Wednesday. They also called on EU governments to keep their promises to transfer thousands of asylum-seekers, particularly from Greece, to other countries. Several speakers called the plight of refugees in the Greek islands, but also in other countries like Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, “unacceptable” and some asked how many people have to die of cold before the EU reacts. Many MEPs underlined that only 6% of the 160,000 asylum-seekers who should have been relocated from Greece and Italy have so far been moved. “We are not proud of this very painful situation”, said humanitarian aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides, who explained that the EU had allocated enough money to help Greece cope with this unprecedented conditions, but that “some weaknesses on the ground did not allow this money to be utilised in the best way”.

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