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How we work

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Jobs

Employment

All vacancies at EuroMed Rights, be it for employment or internship, are published on our website (and other relevant job search websites if relevant) and filled via transparent recruitment procedures. All potential applicants are encouraged to visit EuroMed Rights website on a regular basis and to submit an application for a specific vacancy if interested, following the application guidelines mentioned in each application package.

 

Equal opportunity employer

EuroMed Rights prides itself on its dedicated and diverse staff committed to the promotion and respect of human rights in the region. Aware of the importance of satisfaction and fulfillment of its employees, EuroMed Rights strives to provide them with productive and attractive working conditions.

EuroMed Rights is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in its hiring practices on any basis. We are committed to the creation and strengthening of both a working environment and a corporate culture that respects gender parity, equal representation at all levels of decision making, equal opportunity, as well as equal distribution of resources for women and men according to their respective duties within EuroMed Rights

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Publications

About us

Rooted in civil society, EuroMed Rights seeks to develop and strengthen partnerships between NGOs in the Euro-Mediterranean region, advocate for human rights values and develop capacities in this regard.

Following the launch of the Barcelona Process in 1995, a group of human rights activists from both sides of the Mediterranean believed that they could make a positive impact on the human rights situation by creating a civil society network, linking up the Barcelona Process to Human Rights NGOs operating in the region.

In December 1997, a constitutive assembly established EuroMed Rights as genuine north-south network. The first Executive Committee composed of members from north and south Mediterranean countries, in equal measure, adopted EuroMed Rights first statutes and action plan.

In 2000, a new action plan was adopted and the Network multiplied its activities. 2004 saw the establishment of the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights (EMHRF) which was set up to assist human rights defenders with flexible, small-scale grants. It also saw the adoption of Gender Mainstreaming as a comprehensive strategy to advance gender equality, to be implemented in all EuroMed Rights structures and activities. Since then, EuroMed Rights has regularly conducted gender audits.

Following the “Arab uprisings” in 2011, a new strategic plan was adopted, including a policy paper on Gender Equality highlighting the issue of gender equality in the global fight for human rights and to promote the adoption of measures supporting  women’s rights and gender equality. The General Assembly elected Michel Tubiana, Honorary President of the French Human Rights League as its new president. EuroMed Rights was one of the first international organisations to officially establish an office in Tunisia following the ousting of Ben Ali. The Tunisia Mission’s ambition is to assist its members and emerging civil society develop their work in a new Tunisia. Thus, EuroMed Rights has become a key partner for civil society capacity building across the country, facilitating dialogue between local civil society, government institutions. Having established its credibility on both sides of the Mediterranean, EuroMed Rights is now widely recognised as an key organisation for civil society and decision-makers alike.

Who we are

Rooted in civil society, EuroMed Rights seeks to develop and strengthen partnerships between NGOs in the Euro-Mediterranean region, advocate for human rights values and develop capacities in this regard.

Following the launch of the Barcelona Process in 1995, a group of human rights activists from both sides of the Mediterranean believed that they could make a positive impact on the human rights situation by creating a civil society network, linking up the Barcelona Process to Human Rights NGOs operating in the region.

In December 1997, a constitutive assembly established EuroMed Rights as genuine north-south network. The first Executive Committee composed of members from north and south Mediterranean countries, in equal measure, adopted EuroMed Rights first statutes and action plan.

In 2000, a new action plan was adopted and the Network multiplied its activities. 2004 saw the establishment of the Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights (EMHRF) which was set up to assist human rights defenders with flexible, small-scale grants. It also saw the adoption of Gender Mainstreaming as a comprehensive strategy to advance gender equality, to be implemented in all EuroMed Rights' structures and activities. Since then, EuroMed Rights has regularly conducted gender audits (gender audit 2008gender audit 2012 and gender audit 2015).

Following the “Arab uprisings” in 2011, a new strategic plan was adopted, including a Policy Paper on Gender Equality highlighting the issue of gender equality in the global fight for human rights and to promote the adoption of measures supporting women’s rights and gender equality.

The 2018 General Assembly Wadih Al-Asmar as its new president. EuroMed Rights was one of the first international organisations to officially establish an office in Tunisia following the ousting of Ben Ali. Now a Maghreb Office, the ambition is to assist members and emerging civil society develop their work in a new Tunisia and elswhere in the Maghreb. Thus, EuroMed Rights has become a key partner for civil society capacity building across the country, facilitating dialogue between local civil society, government institutions. Having established its credibility on both sides of the Mediterranean, EuroMed Rights is now widely recognised as a key organisation for civil society and decision-makers alike.

A network bridging two shores

EuroMed Rights, formerly the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, is a regional non-governmental organisation aiming to promote human rights and democracy for all on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea.

EuroMed Rights is a network representing 65 human rights organisations active in 30 countries. It was founded in 1997, following the 1995 Barcelona Declaration, by civil society organisations dedicated to promoting human rights and democracy within the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.

EuroMed Rights’ mission is to develop and strengthen partnerships, on an equal footing, between civil society organisations at regional and national levels. By creating network opportunities and encouraging such civil society cooperation, EuroMed Rights aims to help them develop joint strategies, convey their shared views and visions to decision-makers and to the broader public, and ultimately increase their influence at home and abroad.

In its 2018-2021 strategy, EuroMed Rights identified four key thematic areas alongside its regular work on Southern Mediterranean countries.

How we work

EuroMed Rights implements its mission by combining the five working methods below:

Networking: EuroMed Rights promotes and defends human rights and democracy by initiating and facilitating the development, with its members and partners, of shared political priorities and strategies. These networking efforts mainly take the form of working groups and solidarity groups created in response to current political challenges and opportunities. These groups also serve as platforms to build capacity, trust and solidarity among the network’s members and partners to further strengthen cooperation and coordination.

Advocating: EuroMed Rights influences policy makers and authorities at national, regional and international levels to adopt and incorporate pro-human rights and pro-democracy policies, including the recommendations developed in the working groups and solidarity groups.

Communicating: EuroMed Rights mobilises support for human rights and democracy by disseminating its recommendations and positions to a wide range of audiences, including the general public through both traditional media work and social media. It also develops a host of written and audiovisual communication tools, e.g. newsletter, videos and podcasts.

Mainstreaming: EuroMed Rights promotes gender equality by systematically mainstreaming gender policies internally in its organisational policies and structures, and externally in its work to promote and defend human rights and democracy. EuroMed Rights also fights back against the repression and persecution of civil society by addressing the challenges related to shrinking space for civil society in all its programmes and activities.

Monitoring and evaluating: EuroMed Rights systematically monitors, documents and learns from its work. It uses these results to drive performance and impact, and to ensure accountability towards its members, partners, donors and the broader public. Monitoring and evaluation also helps foster internal learning and organisational development.

Secretariat

EuroMed Rights Secretariat, headed by Executive Director Rasmus Alenius Boserup, is in charge of implementing the organisation's three-year work programme, as well as strategies and action plans adopted by the Executive Committee.

Executive Committee

The General Assembly is the supreme body of EuroMed Rights; it meets every three years and elects the Executive Committee.

The 2018-2021 Executive Committee is composed of:

Our donors

EuroMed Rights fundraising strategy is articulated around three general principles; ensuring the network’s independence; minimising our donor dependence and guaranteeing our financial sustainability. EuroMed Rights would like to acknowledge and thank the following donors for their financial support:

Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency)

Danish-Arab Partnership Programme

European Union

Church of Sweden

Fondation de France

Sigrid Rausing Trust

Open Society Foundations

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Swiss Confederation

Heinrich Böll Foundation

 

Countries

In accordance with its triennial strategy 2018-2021, EuroMed Rights develops programmes in the following countries. The organisation also monitors the human rights situation across the Euro-Mediterranean region, notably across four themes.

Themes

EuroMed Right’s 2018-2021 strategy identifies the four key human rights thematic areas below besides its country focus and monitoring work across the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Our Members introduction

our members

EuroMed Rights is a forum and a pool of expertise for human rights non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and activists in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

The organisation encourages networking and fosters cooperation and development of partnerships between its members, and devises capacity building in advocacy and communication.

EuroMed Rights builds its members’ capacities in order to:

  • Better understand local contexts, European mechanisms and human rights instruments;
  • Influence governmental and inter-governmental stakeholders more effectively by participating in regional policy processes and debates;
  • Contribute further to the reform process in the South of the Mediterranean by strengthening and providing input into the democratisation processes;
  • Increase members’ outreach in conveying human rights values and principles, including in the media and on social media platforms.

EuroMed Rights provides members with:

  • International/regional support to their work within EuroMed Rights’ key areas;
  • Facilitated access to human rights NGOs in 30 countries on both sides of the Mediterranean;
  • A broader platform to promote their work to regional and international audiences;
  • Training sessions and opportunities to build their capacities;
  • Increased protection when members or their work are at risk.

Campaign

EuroMed Rights is at the forefront of campaigning for the respect for human rights issues in the region. Since its creation, the Network has launched and participated in many campaigns.

Frontexit

Frontexit is an international campaign for the defence of migrants' human rights at the external borders of the European Union. The campaign reports and denounces the impacts of Frontex operations in terms of human rights.
www.frontexit.org/

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, EuroMed Rights takes stock of the situation of women in Euro-Mediterranean region, and lament the sharp increase in gender-based violence and the widespread impunity. Throughout the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence that follow, EuroMed Rights regularly updates this page with factsheets, activities and statements, including those of its members, to shed light on the bleak situation for women in the region.

Free Syrian Voices

This campaign sheds light on the plight of Syrian civil society activists including human rights defenders, media and humanitarian workers who have been targeted for their work or peaceful activism.
www.free-syrian-voices.org/

migartion

Become a member

Being a EuroMed Rights member means being part of a regional human rights forum that is a major source of knowledge and action on human rights and democratic reform in the Euro-Mediterranean region. It also means that your organisation supports the Network and its activities. It furthermore gives your organisation the opportunity to participate in the General Assembly meetings and receive invitations for activities organised by the EMHRN.

Membership applications that we receive undergo an initial review by the Executive Committee of EuroMed Rights (EC). The EC recommends new members to the EuroMed Rights General Assembly that alone retains the prerogative to accept a new member.

Individuals who have provided outstanding contribution and sat in the political bodies of EuroMed Rights (namely the EC) are granted formal recognition as honorary members.

If your organisation wishes to apply for membership, you should provide Rasmus Alenius Boserup from the EuroMed Rights Secretariat with the following documents: 

Regular or Associate Membership:

  • A letter of motivation
  • A copy of your organisation’s Statutes;
  • A declaration stating that your organisation accepts and complies with EuroMed RightsStatutes ;
  • A letter of recommendation signed by at least two Regular members of EuroMed Rights
  • Material related to the activities of your organisation, including how you work to promote gender equality within your organisation and its activities.

For more information, please refer to our statutes.

We recommend that you also send us the following documents to give our Executive Committee a complete picture of your organisation and its activities, including:

  • Narrative Report of main fields of activities over the past two years (max. 2 pages)
  • List of members of board (including when they were elected)
  • List of publications (past 2 years)
  • List of meetings/ seminars/ conferences/ events (past 2 years)
  • Latest Annual activity Report (if available, if not please indicate why)
  • Latest Financial Report (if available, if not please indicate why)
  • Gender equality policy or strategy (if available)

For more information please contact Rasmus Alenius Boserup.

 

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Members Releases

EMHRN Brings Over Hundred Activists to its General Assembly in Brussels

EMHRN held its 10th General Assembly as the ever-volatile Euro-Med region is rocked by escalating conflicts, deaths at sea, radicalisation of its disenchanted youth, refugee and displacement crisis and mounting crackdown on dissent and peaceful protests. 

This context makes the Network’s mission and work as relevant as ever. The EMHRN is one of few regional organisations bringing human rights activists and civil society activists on both sides of the Mediterranean together.

The General Assembly has re-elected Michel Tubiana as president and a new Executive Committee (see below for full list). The GA has admitted new members and taken stock of the past three years and adopted political priorities to face difficulties ahead.

Reflecting on its current concerns and priorities, the General Assembly has also run three workshops: “Multiple Borders: Deaths, Encounters and Access to Rights,” “Human Rights and the Militarisation of Politics in South of the Mediterranean” and “ENP Revision: Human Rights First”.

Read our general resolution here

See the photo gallery here

 

 

Call for representation

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EC Member Osman Isci Speaks on Ankara Attacks (13/10/2015)

[caption id="attachment_4333" align="alignnone" width="599"]Osman Isçi (IHD, Turkey) interviewed by EuroMed Rights on 13/10/2015 Osman Isçi (IHD, Turkey) interviewed by EuroMed Rights on 13/10/2015[/caption]

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Human Rights Behind Bars in Egypt

Privacy Policy

https://euromedrights.org/egypt-human-rights-behind-bars/

Please read this policy carefully to understand how we collect, use and process your personal data.

 

Acceptance of our Terms

This website, including all information and materials contained in it, is managed by EuroMed Rights, who is committed to ensuring the privacy of all our users. This Privacy Policy governs all pages on the EuroMed Rights website. It does not apply to pages hosted by other organisations, related organisations or third party sites. The EuroMed Rights website may be linked to the websites of such other parties, but those other sites may have their own privacy policies which apply to them.

By visiting this website and/or using any of the services or information created, collected, compiled or submitted to EuroMed Rights, you consent to the following Terms. If you do not want to be bound by our Terms, your only option is not to visit, view or otherwise use the services of EuroMed Rights. You understand, agree and acknowledge that these Terms constitute a legally binding agreement between you and EuroMed Rights and that your use of the EuroMed Rights website shall indicate your conclusive acceptance of this agreement.

What type of information do we collect and store?

The type and amount of information we receive and store depends on how you use the EuroMed Rights website. You can access most of the pages on the EuroMed Rights without telling us who you are and without revealing any personal information.

We do not collect personal information (such as your name, address, phone number or e-mail address) on the EuroMed Rights Website unless you choose to provide it. For example, where you show your support by sending us a picture, sign a petition or subscribe to our email updates.

Your personal information will be retained by EuroMed Rights in a secure environment, kept confidential and will only be used in connection with the purposes for which it is submitted. It will not be sold or rented nor will it be shared with third parties. However the transmission of information over the internet is never completely secure, so while we do our best to protect personal information, we cannot guarantee the security of information transmitted to our website.

Access to your personal information

You may have rights of access to personal information that we hold about you, to correct that information or, in some circumstances, to object to our processing of your information, under data privacy law. If you wish to exercise any of these rights or have any questions about this policy, please contact us via email at information@euromedrights.net.

Proprietary Rights

You acknowledge and agree that EuroMed Rights may contain proprietary and confidential information including trademarks, service marks and patents protected by intellectual property laws. Our content may not be sold, reproduced, or distributed without our written permission. Any third-party trademarks, service marks and logos are the property of their respective owners. Any further rights not specifically granted herein are reserved.

Submitted Content

When you submit content to EuroMed Rights you simultaneously grant EuroMed Rights an irrevocable, worldwide, royalty free license to publish, display, modify, distribute and syndicate your content worldwide. You confirm and warrant that you have the required authority to grant the above license to EuroMed Rights.

Disclaimer of warranties

You understand and agree that your use of EuroMed Rights is entirely at your own risk and that this website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraph, EuroMed Rights does not warrant that:

  • this website will be constantly available, or available at all; or
  • the information on this website is complete, true, accurate or non-misleading.

Nothing on this website constitutes, or is meant to constitute, advice of any kind. If you require advice in relation to any legal matter, you should consult an appropriate professional.

Limitations of liability

You understand and agree that EuroMed Rights will in no event be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, or exemplary damages. These limitations of liability apply whether EuroMed Rights has been or should have been expressly advised of the potential loss.

As EuroMed Rights has an interest in limiting the personal liability of its officers and employees, you agree that you will not bring any claim personally against EuroMed Rights officers or employees in respect of any losses you suffer in connection with the website. Without prejudice to the foregoing paragraph, you agree that the limitations of warranties and liability set out in this website disclaimer will protect EuroMed Rights employees, agents, subsidiaries, successors, assigns and sub-contractors as well as EuroMed Rights.

External Content

EuroMed Rights may include hyperlinks to third-party content, advertising or websites. You acknowledge and agree that EuroMed Rights is not responsible for their content and does not endorse any advertising, products or resource available from such resources or websites. Tweets sent by any account other than @EMHRN with the hashtag #DetainNoMore do not imply in any way endorsement or agreement on behalf of EuroMed Rights.

Jurisdiction

You expressly understand and agree to submit to the personal and exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of the country determined solely by EuroMed Rights to resolve any legal matter arising from this agreement or related to your use of EuroMed Rights. If the court of law having jurisdiction rules that any provision of the agreement is invalid, then that provision will be removed from the Terms and the remaining Terms will continue to be valid.

Trials of Spring projection at One World Festival

On 22 April, the movie Trials of Spring was projected at the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the EU in cooperation with EuroMed Rights as part of the One World Festival 2016.

The projection was followed by a debate on the situation of women in Egypt and other Mediterranean countries. The panel included Nawla Darwiche, New Woman Fondation, Egypt and Kholoud Saber Barakat, formerly AFTE, and was moderated by Hayet Zeghiche, EuroMed Rights Communication Director.

 

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EuroMed Rights

Why Turkey is not a Safe Country

READ THE REPORT – “Turkey, Human Rights Under Curfew”

Analyse the Turkey factsheet

CoveR-TURKEY-ENWhile European institutions discuss the possibility of including Turkey in a European list of “safe” countries of origin, AEDH, EuroMed Rights, FIDH and LDH warns against the silence of the European Union and its Member States faced with the severe rights violations perpetrated by Turkish authorities.

In light of this and of the authoritarian drift of the AKP government as well as the climate surrounding Turkey’s general election of 1st November 2015 and the lack of adequate reaction from the international community, our organisations agreed on the importance to send a joint high-level mission to the country. The delegation aimed to show solidarity with human rights defenders and civil society activists and organizations under pressure and with victims of human rights violations and their families, and to contribute to drawing international attention to the situation in Turkey.

The delegation met with a large number of civil society activists, human rights defenders and victims and witnesses of human rights violations. The mission also aimed at gathering information to prepare advocacy activities at the international (United Nations (UN), European Union (EU) and Council of Europe (CoE) level.

In parallel, our organisations have edited a factsheet on Turkey, highlighting clearly whyTurkey is not the "safe country" EU claims to be.

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Home Back Up

Violence Against Women is not Fate

Online training guide – EU advocacy ▶️

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Many human rights NGOs and individuals have steadily reported how obscure and sometimes elusive the European Union (EU) is, making advocacy towards its institutions a very challenging exercise.

In a bid to help them navigate through the EU institutional maze, EuroMed Rights has developed a web-based version of its training guide on influencing EU relations with the Southern Mediterranean countries.

This interactive guide aims to ease up the understanding of the EU and help NGOs devise efficient advocacy strategies to champion their cause, by identifying the right targets and instruments.

In the first part, the main EU institutions and bodies, their competencies and the actions they can take on human rights are decrypted. As EU foreign policy is still very much driven by the Member States, their role is also specifically underlined.

The second part focuses on global EU human rights policies and tools at global, regional and bilateral levels. The Euro-Mediterranean partnership as well as the EU’s bilateral relations with Southern Mediterranean countries are described in detail.

The third part provides guidance on how to devise and implement an effective advocacy roadmap towards the EU, with practical tips and good practices.

We hope that this website will allow you to strengthen your advocacy skills, and ultimately promote and enhance human rights standards throughout the Euro-Mediterranean region and beyond.

EuroMed Rights

Step 1: The European Union ▶️

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The European Union (EU) was set up to maintain peace and democracy, and improve cooperation between European countries. It is a unique economic and political union gathering 28 countries (27 in 2019 after the Brexit). Together they shape and adopt common legislation and policies, including to “promote human rights both internally and around the world.”

Originally conceived as an economic and trade entity, the EU has become a stronger political actor over the years. The adoption in 1993 of the “Common Foreign and Security Policy” illustrates this trend. Yet, foreign policy is still very much dominated by Member State governments and their agendas. When it comes to advocacy on foreign policy and human rights, Member States should be among your priority targets.

At EU level, the following bodies can make a difference if they are receptive to your recommendations:

  • The European Council and the Council of the European Union, both representing the interests of the Member States;
  • The European Commission representing the interest of the Union as a whole;
  • The European External Action Service (EEAS) as the EU diplomatic body; and finally,
  • The European Parliament, representing the EU citizens.

Let’s dig into their respective profiles…

The European Council

The European Council represents the highest level of political cooperation between EU countries. It gathers the Heads of state or government of the Member States, the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The EUCO is chaired by a President, appointed by the Heads of state or government for a once-renewable two-and-a-half-year term. He/She coordinates and oversees the work of the European Council.

It is the EUCO that decides on the EU’s overall direction and political priorities. It also sets EU’s common foreign and security policy.

 

The EU Member States

Member States are still very influent in shaping EU foreign policy; they decide by consensus or unanimity. It is therefore crucial to understand their political positions to be influential at their level.

Some Member States are particularly involved in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), considering their historical legacy, geographical proximity, political, economic and cultural ties. Yet this can also hamper them to take firm positions on human rights.

Member States are present in Brussels through their ambassador-level Permanent representatives and their country’s Permanent Representation.

But the national scene may also be relevant to influence the Member States. For instance, national parliamentarians interested in foreign affairs may turn out to be key interlocutors to promote their country’s human rights policies towards the South Mediterranean region.

In the field

Another window of opportunity are the EU Member State embassies and consulates in non-EU countries. Through them, Member States advance their own interests abroad, following their political agendas. On the other hand, EU embassies must act in accordance with the binding common positions of the EU and are expected to implement EU’s policies.

The Council of the European Union

The Council of the EU is the institution where all the EU Member States' governments are represented.

In ten different configurations, national ministers from all Member States meet to coordinate policies. The most relevant configuration when it comes to promoting human rights in the world is the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) where foreign ministers of the Member States discuss with a view to adopting a common line on EU's external action.

Chaired by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, the FAC takes positions on human rights violations in non-EU countries and agrees on measures the EU should take.

In the FAC, decisions are taken by consensus or unanimity and not by majority voting, which means one Member State can block EU action, watering down EU positions.

The Political and Security Committee (PSC) prepares the work of the FAC. Composed of the Member State Ambassadors to the EU, chaired by the European External Action Service (EEAS), the PSC provides coordination and expertise in foreign policy. It is supported by several geographic and thematic working groups, notably the Maghreb/Mashreq Working Party (MAMA).

Those working parties prepare EU’s positions relating to their mandates and deal with bilateral relations with non-EU countries.

Another relevant Working Party is COHOM, which deals with Human Rights in foreign policy. Responsible for shaping EU’s positions and policies in that area, COHOM monitors the implementation of related instruments.

The Council of the European Union should not be confused with the Council of Europe.

Composed of 47 European member countries, the Council of Europe promotes common and democratic principles based on the European Convention on Human Rights. If it works in close cooperation with the EU, it is not institutionally linked to it.

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission (HR/VP) represents the EU externally. As the EU's chief diplomat, the HR/VP chairs the Foreign Affairs Council, coordinates and carries out the EU foreign and security policy. He/she regularly visits non-EU countries to discuss their relationship with the EU.

Expressing publicly the voice of the EU on EU foreign policy issues, she is also in charge of promoting and protecting human rights externally.

In 2012, the Foreign Affairs Council appointed an EU Special Representative (EUSR) for Human Rights to support the HR/VP’s work in that field. There is also an EUSR for the Middle East Peace Process.

The European External Action Service

Established in 2010, the European External Action Service (EEAS) – based in Brussels - is the diplomatic service of the EU.

Divided into geographical directorates, including on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), it also includes a thematic directorate on human rights, global and multilateral issues.

To support the work of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP), the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) and its working parties, the EEAS prepares policy positions, drafts agendas ahead of bilateral and multilateral meetings, as well as reports and statements.

In the field

In non-EU countries, the EU delegations are the first point of contact for local NGOs. They represent valuable advocacy targets and play a key role in the development and implementation of EU human rights policies.

Usually divided into a political and an operations section, the EU delegations act on behalf of the EU, conduct political dialogue and issue statements. In each delegation, a focal point on human rights is appointed.

The delegations are expected to consult regularly local NGOs, gathering their inputs ahead of human rights sub-committee meetings and debriefing them afterwards.

The Head of the EU Delegation and Member State Ambassadors, collectively known as the Heads of Mission, meet regularly to coordinate policy.

The European Commission

The European Commission is the executive body of the EU. It consists of a college of commissioners. The President of the European Commission is appointed by the European Council. In turn, he/she appoints other Commissioners for a five-year term. All appointments must be approved by the European Parliament.

The European Commission proposes and enforces legislation, sets objectives and priorities for EU action, manages and implements EU policies and the EU budget. In certain policy areas, it also represents the EU externally, notably on migration and trade issues.

For issues related to Southern Mediterranean countries, one of the most relevant Commissioners is the one responsible for the European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, supported by a Directorate General called DG NEAR. Another one is the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, supported by the DG for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME), in charge of negotiating bilateral agreements such as those dealing with readmission of irregular migrants.

What about funding?

At the European Commission, the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) manages the funding provided to the countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), including a Civil Society Facility created in 2011 to support civil society organisations.

The Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) administers thematic funds as well as the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), a fund specifically directed toward human rights NGOs and civil society without government approval or intervention. Grants are allocated through global calls for proposals announced on the DG DEVCO website or through EU delegation. Each delegation further disposes of an emergency fund for human rights defenders at risk.

The European Parliament

The European Parliament (EP) represents the citizens of the EU, being the only directly elected institution of the EU. It plays a major role in monitoring EU policies and in making recommendations to the Council of the EU and the European External Action Service (EEAS). Although it is the most active on human rights and supportive of civil society, it has little formal power or influence over EU foreign policy.

The 751 Members of the EP (MEPs) serve five-year terms. According to the size of its population, each Member State is allocated a certain number of seats. Once elected, MEPs elect a President that represents the institution externally and vis-à-vis others EU institutions.

On human rights issues, it is through parliamentary questions to the Council, Commission or EEAS that individual MEPs can publicise a situation and express concern. They can also recommend specific actions. Then, during the EP plenary, general resolutions pertaining to human rights, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the Mediterranean region may be adopted as well as human rights urgency resolutions. Although not binding for other EU institutions, resolutions may call for action. Moreover, the EP issues an annual report on human rights and democracy in the world.

The EP organises its work through 20 parliamentary committees.

The committees relevant to human rights in the MENA region are:

  • the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET),
  • the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) - holding hearings, with NGO experts or representatives of civil society frequently invited, and adopting reports about country-specific or thematic human rights issues,
  • the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee (FEMM), and finally
  • the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).

There are also 41 parliamentary delegations that maintain relations with parliaments in non-EU countries. The EP also has the capacity to send election observation missions.

The European Economic and Social Committee

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is a consultative body that gathers representatives of EU-based employers’ organisations, trade unions and civil society organisations. It adopts non-binding opinions. The EESC has an Euromed follow-up committee that focuses on the European Neighbourhood Policy.

Step 2: EU instruments and policies ▶️

The EU makes numerous commitments and references to human rights within its foreign policy, both at the global and regional levels; it has developed several policy and funding instruments.

EU global human rights commitments

Presentation of the commitments of the EU in terms of Human Rights Commitments

The Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy

The objectives of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) includes the development and consolidation of democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Recently, in 2012, the EU released a Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy that establishes some mechanisms and instruments supporting the implementation of its human rights goals.

EU Human Rights Action Plan

EU’s five-year Action Plan on Human Rights lays out specific tasks for various EU institutions and bodies to undertake. The progress towards implementing the Action Plan is evaluated annually in a public report on human rights and democracy around the world.

EU Human Rights Guidelines

The EU has adopted a series of guidelines that aim to provide a practical toolkit for actions to be taken by EU delegations and Member State embassies on key human rights issues. Those guidelines have been agreed upon at the ministerial level.

Examples of guidelines:

  • Human rights dialogue with third countries
  • Human rights defenders
  • Violence against women and girls
  • Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
  • International humanitarian law

EU Human Rights and Democracy Country Strategies

The human rights and democracy country strategies are developed by the EU delegations based on an analysis of the human rights situation in the country. The strategies identify priorities for EU action, for a three to five-year period. They are endorsed by all the EU Member States.

The priorities are to be taken into consideration in human rights and political dialogues at all levels. While these strategies are in principle confidential, the EU delegations can share the priorities on their website, or at least verbally with civil society.

EU Country Roadmaps for Engagement with Civil Society

The Country Roadmaps for Engagement with Civil Society were introduced to improve the consistency of EU cooperation with civil society and to promote better coordination between EU delegations, Member States and other relevant actors. They assess the state of civil society in a given country as well as the EU’s current engagement with it.

Those Roadmaps are drafted jointly by the EU delegations and Member State embassies, with input from local civil society.

EU commitments in its policy towards the Southern Mediterranean

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and Union for the Mediterranean

In November 1995, adopting the Barcelona Declaration, the then 15 EU Member States and 12 Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries launched the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP). This process aimed at achieving a common area of peace and stability underpinned by sustainable development, rule of law, democracy and human rights.

In 2008, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership was replaced by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). Yet this multilateral partnership has become stagnant due to the conflicts in the region. At the moment, the UfM deals mainly with promoting regional economic and infrastructure projects.

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership/ UfM has also held three ministerial conferences on strengthening the role of women in society and made commitments to working towards ensuring gender equality.

The European Neighbourhood Policy

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), launched in 2004, is a bilateral mechanism regulating the EU’s relationship with two regionally-defined areas: South and East. It has become the main foreign policy instrument guiding EU external action towards its neighbouring countries

The ENP-South is built on legally binding Association Agreements. On top of them, non-binding Partnerships Priorities have been mutually agreed following the ENP review published in November 2015. The stated priorities are: stabilisation and security, economic development and migration management. Human rights are at the margin.

EU commitments in bilateral relations with Southern neighbourhood countries

Bilateral Association Agreements have been signed between the EU and a number of the Southern Mediterranean countries.

These agreements are legally binding to both sides. Those agreements contain a clause allowing for the suspension of signatory countries or the introduction of sanctions in the case of a violation of democratic principles or human right. Despite occasional calls from the European Parliament or civil society, this clause has not been invoked with regard to any of the Southern Mediterranean partners to date.

Some countries have been granted an advanced status to entail closer political relations and increase EU financial support. Currently it is the case of Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan.

Joint structures between the EU and its partners implementing the Association Agreements

  • Association Council: Ministerial-level meeting that usually takes place once a year. The EU is represented by the High Representative for foreign affairs or the European Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner, and the Southern partner by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
  • Association Committee: An annual meeting of high-level public servants/ senior officials. Prepares the Association Council and discusses mainly technical cooperation.
  • Sub-committees: Technical sub-committees covering various areas of co-operation. These meetings happen once a year at the civil servant level of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the relevant ministries of the partner country. There are specific human rights sub-committee meetings.

The EEAS organises consultation meetings with NGOs in Brussels and on the ground. It is expected to debrief them systematically.

Step 3: Design an Effective EU Advocacy Roadmap ▶️

This part will help you develop an advocacy roadmap.

First, what does “advocacy” mean?

This word stands for a process of deliberate, planned and sustained efforts to advance an agenda for change. Different stages should be considered in your advocacy planning and implementation process to ensure success.

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How to develop an advocacy roadmap?

advocacy roadmap

1. Identify the advocacy issue

You need to be specific in identifying the advocacy issue. It is essential to have a good understanding of the challenge you want to address and a clear idea of how it could be solved.

2. Set long, medium and short-term objectives

An advocacy strategy may have various objectives in the short, medium, and long terms. Define them with precision to get them thorough.

Define what kind of action you want the EU to take, depending on the issue, its seriousness and extent. Therefore, give priority to the measures that are most appropriate for a given situation.

3. Identify the right targets

It is crucial to identify policy and decision-makers who have the power to introduce the policy changes you propose. Ask yourself: what are the best targets for my efforts, who has the greatest influence? Who are our existing contacts? Which are the ones the most/less sympathetic to my cause?

Identify and be in regular contact with allies within the EU missions in your country and, if possible, in Brussels as well as in Member State capitals.

4. Define key messages

Clear requests or recommendations should be developed, for a limited number of key actions, to achieve specific, concrete and realistic objectives. Prioritisation is key.

Tailor your message to your target audience and situation. Prepare different kinds of input depending on the type of meeting, and refer to relevant EU or Member State policies confronting your interlocutors with their own commitments.

5. Consider partnerships and networks

Working in coalition with like-minded organisations can bring added value since it bears the potential to increase the pressure on advocacy targets. However, keep in mind that this can also slow down the internal decision-making process.

Partnerships may be particularly strategic when trying to influence individual EU Member States.

6. Develop a timely action plan

Timing is crucial for achieving results. Link your issue to a topic that is already high on the agenda and/or that is receiving attention from the media or general public.

Keep regular contact with the EU delegation in your country to identify its upcoming agenda and priorities.

7. Monitor and evaluate

Take time to discuss the chosen strategy and its outcomes. Assess what has been achieved, what follow-up is required, and which approaches need to be reviewed to better achieve objectives in the future.

8. Review and adapt

Review and adapt your strategy in line with the findings of the evaluation process.

9. Follow up

Have the policy makers taken the actions they had committed to? If not, find out why.

Personal contacts can be the only way to obtain information that is otherwise confidential. If you identify a blockage, try advocating at a different level, using other entry points.

How to get the EU to act?

The EU has various specific tools at its disposal to react to human rights violations, in the short and long terms.

In the field

Human Rights and Democracy Country Strategies

Those strategies can be referred to when calling on the EU to act on a particular issue. Civil society’s input is considered in the drafting and implementation process of the strategies.

To ensure you will be consulted, contact the head of the political section or the human rights focal point at the EU delegation. If possible, also contact the geographical desks and the human rights unit of the European External Action Service (EEAS) in Brussels.

Partnership Priorities (previously European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plans)

Partnership Priorities include specific topics that the EU should monitor very closely on an ongoing basis, in order to ensure that relevant related reforms receive EU support and that the agenda of joint meetings - such as the human rights subcommittees – address these topics systematically.

Once Partnership Priorities are set, NGOs should carefully monitor their implementation. Any lack of progress should be reported to the EU.

Human rights dialogue

Human rights dialogue discusses both ongoing and structural issues in a country. The EU and the partner country set jointly the agenda of the meeting. EU delegations should hold consultation meetings with civil society ahead of subcommittee meetings as well as debriefings after.

Contact the EU delegation to ask for information on the meeting, get a specific issue on the agenda and call for consultation or debriefing if they are not organised.

Local statements

The EU Heads of Mission can jointly agree to make local statements on human rights issues to condemn ongoing violations or take a stand on an individual case.

Contact the EU delegation immediately after an incident or violation has taken place.

Demarches

Demarches are confidential statements or interpellations issued by the EU towards the host country. They are particularly relevant for serious and urgent cases. As it is non-public, a demarche may be an easier action to advocate for from the EU than a public statement.

Specify which authorities the EU should address and detail the exact concerns it should raise.

Visiting a victim of a human rights violation in detention

A visit – or at least attempting a visit - from an EU representative to a detained victim of a human rights violation can send a powerful message and have a positive impact.

Trial observation

Trial observation is a common form of intervention by the EU, particularly when there are pre-existing doubts about the fairness of the trial or the country’s judicial system in general. Ideally, a public statement should be issued after the trial observation.

Concrete assistance to individuals

The emergency fund for human rights defenders at risk, managed under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), allows for EU delegations to quickly provide small grants of up to 10,000€ directly to individuals or organisations in need of urgent support.

The EU mechanism for the protection of Human Rights Defenders, Protect Defenders, run by 12 NGOs, can also provide small grants and emergency support, including for temporary relocation.

 

Brussels level

Council conclusions

They are the most authoritative form of an EU political statement, thus providing an excellent basis for further advocacy efforts.

Due to the time required for the drafting and adoption of the text by Member States, this tool may not be appropriate for urgent cases. You should time your advocacy efforts at least four weeks before the Foreign Affairs Council meeting.

To influence Council conclusions, national governments are key advocacy targets.

EU bilateral relations with a Southern Mediterranean country

NGOs can also try to influence the EU’s bilateral relationship with a country ahead of Association Council meetings or negotiations.

For high-level and political meetings, it is better to focus on one or two priority human rights issues and advocate for their inclusion.

Public statements

Public statements by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP) on behalf of the EU or on behalf of the mandate holder are an appropriate advocacy objective if you are dealing with urgent situations/ individual cases, as well as for ongoing issues.

Public statements can also be made by the President of the European Parliament, by members of an EP delegation visiting a country, or by chairs of a relevant EP committee.

European Parliament resolution

European Parliament resolutions on foreign policy matters are not binding to the EU. Yet they are useful advocacy tools for exerting pressure on other EU institutions and the governments of Southern Mediterranean countries.

The drafting process of such resolutions routinely takes a few months. The Parliament also issues three ‘urgency’ resolutions on particularly worrying human rights situations, or specific cases, in individual countries at each plenary session – for those, the drafting takes maximum a week.

Make sure to follow up on the resolution by contacting MEPs to ask if the requested actions have been taken into account by other EU institutions.

Parliamentary questions

MEPs can ask questions to the Council of the EU, the European Commission, or the HR/VP on what is being done to address a specific human rights issue in a country.

 

Member State capital level

Significant attention should be paid to advocacy towards individual Member State governments since they shape EU foreign policy and have the same types of tools available to address human rights issues.

We hope what’s above has helped you better navigate the EU institutional maze and identify avenues for advocacy.

Useful links – How to find EU contacts

We are a small organisation... Where to start?

As a field organisation, you should first get in touch with the EU representatives being the closest to you: the ‘EU missions’ (EU delegation and Member State embassies).

The EU delegation plays an increasing coordination role to promote human rights and support civil society. Member State embassies are also an important target for field organisations as they actively cooperate with the EU delegation on a large range of issues.


Front Page 2020

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On the Move 

Latest migration news

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Recent highlights

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Several deadly shipwrecks and several boats in distress at sea off Lampedusa, Italy, NGO vessels are carrying out numerous rescue operations in the Central Mediterranean. A shipwreck off Tunisia left 22 people missing and one dead. Migreurop, the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights and EuroMed Rights condemned security-based externalisation of EU Tunisia cooperation on migration.  

In Spain’s Canary Islands, arrivals decreased in the first half of February 2021, while migrants protest over the dire conditions in reception centres. Dramatic situation in the Greek islands camps, amid freezing temperatures and floods: Doctors Without Borders denounce the alarming mental health situation of children. Pushbacks continue to take place across the Euro-Mediterranean region at the French-SpanishFrench-Italian and Greek-Turkey borders, in the Balkan route and in LibyaCroatia fails to establish a cross-border independent monitoring mechanism. 37 organisations signed a statement denouncing the ongoing harassment and criminalisation against the NGO KISA in Cyprus, while Cyprus accuses Turkey of creating a new migratory route through its island. 

The Danish Refugee Council is calling on Denmark to stop considering Damascus, Syria, as safe. In Belgium, undocumented people are calling for their regularisation. Migrants, regardless of their status, will be included in the COVID-19 vaccination plan in the UK.  

To find out more, click on the country pages below. 

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Good news

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The search and rescue ship Aita Mari of the NGO Salvamento Maritimo Humanitario was back at sea on 12 February. On 19 February, the Aita Mari rescued 102 people, including 8 women and one child, who had left Libya and were in distress at sea. On the same day Sea Watch 3 was finally able to sail again to rescue lives at sea after a 7-months stoppage.

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EU updates

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Asylum applications in the EU at their lowest level since 2013. The European Commission released a communication on cooperation with third countries on returns and readmissions. EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson visited the Lipa camp in Bosnia. A group of lawyers wants to take the Chief of Frontex to the European Court of Justice.  

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Algeria

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Belgium

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Bulgaria

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Croatia

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Cyprus

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Denmark

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Egypt

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France

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Greece

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Italy

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Lebanon

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Libya

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Malta

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Morocco

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Spain

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Syria

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Tunisia

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Turkey

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UK

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Migrants and refugees in Bulgaria

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28/09 – 09/10

  • In Bulgaria, an increasing number of Turkish asylum seekers who try to submit an asylum application are deported to Turkey, in violation of EU and international conventions.

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Migrants and refugees in Cyprus

08/02/2021 – 22/02/2021

  • On 19 February 2021, 37 organisations denounced the ongoing harassment against KISA and called on the Cypriot authorities to reinstate their official registration as a non-governmental organisation (NGO). ·       In a joint declaration, the Cypriot Foreign Affairs and Interior Ministers accused Turkey of creating a new migration route that has “disproportionately affected" Cyprus, that now has the highest percentage of asylum seekers in the European Union in relation to its population. The Ministers requested discussing this issue at the upcoming videoconference of EU Foreign Affairs and Interior Ministers on 15 March 2021.

21/12 2020 – 8/2 2021

  • Read EuroMed Right’s submission to the Special Rapporteur’s Report on Pushback Practices and Their Impact on the Human Rights of Migrants 
  • Asylum seekers detained in the Pournara camp protested against the inhumane detention conditions and over delays in their asylum application process.

12/1 2021–25/1 2021

  • Asylum seekers detained in the Pournara “reception” centre protested for freedom and to denounce the inhumane detention conditions in which they live.   
  • Cypriot Interior Minister published a decree banning newly arrived Syrian refugees in Cyprus to settle in the coastal village of Chlorakas, accusing them of causing demographic and criminality problems and of “creating ghettos”.

21/12 2020 –12/1 2021

  •  On 8 January 2021,around 25 people onboard a boat were reportedly pushed back from Cyprus to Turkey.
  • A report produced by the Ombudswoman, Maria Stylianou-Lottides, with the UCLan Cyprus University, revealed the extremely worrying conditions of migrant domestic workers in Cyprus. Among the alarming findings: domestic workers work 40% more hours than their employment contract states; and “about 75 per cent of them said they would not report their employer to the police if they were victims of physical abuse”

21/12 2020

  • EuroMed Rights’ member KISA denounces the continuous acts of repression by the Cypriot government and its Minister of Interior, who proceeded on 14.12.2020 to remove KISA from the Register of Associations and declared KISA’s actions as illegal” in a violent criminalisation and defamation attempt.   

28/09 – 09/10 2020

  • Cyprus and Lebanon are concluding an agreement which will allow to “swiftly turn away boats proven to have left Lebanon and send them back to where they have departed from”, thus legitimising pushbacks and collective expulsions in violation of the principle of non-refoulement and of EU and international conventions. An increased support from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, is also foreseen. Migrants report cases of violence, threats and beating from the “Greek Cypriot marine police officers”. Human Right Watch published a report on pushbacks from Cyprus to Lebanon.

Migrants and refugees in Morocco

9/02/2021

  • On 9 February 2021, the Moroccan police dismantled a network of migrant smugglers in an operation carried out simultaneously in five places, all of them in the province of Nador.

25/01/2021

  • On 19 January 2021, around 150 migrants attempted to cross the border fence from Morocco to Melilla and nearly 90 people managed to cross. Nine people were injured and were brought to the hospital. The others were transferred to the CETI. The Spanish extreme right-wing party, Vox, accused thMoroccan government of not being “a trustworthy” partner.   
  • On 19 January 2021, seven former hirak prisoners fled Morocco and arrived in Spain by boatsAccording to the Spanish press, two of them, who had been held in the CIE in Murcia, risk being returned to MoroccoWhile, on 21 January 2021, some other hirak prisoners in Morocco were separated and transferred to different prisons  

09/12 - 21/12 2020

  • On 15 December 2020, Morocco rejected an EU request to accept the readmissions of non-Moroccan migrants from EU countries, following pressures from the European Commission and EU Member States early this month.    
  • A young Moroccan seasonal migrant worker in Spain was fired by her employer after discovering she suffered from terminal cancer.  

24/11 – 08/12 2020

  • On the night of 5 December 2020, a boat capsized off the coasts of Tan Tan in Morocco, causing 2 deaths and 9 people missing. Alarm Phone declared that they alerted authorities but in vain.  
  • On 1-2 December 2020the EU Home Affairs Commissioner, Ylva Johansson, visited Morocco to discuss migration management and, in particular, readmission and visa policiesby actually imposing visa facilitation to be conditioned to readmission agreements. Morocco seems favourable to readmissions of Moroccan nationals while it refuses readmissions of citizens of Sub-Saharan countries. This visit follows a similar one from the Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister and discussions between France, Germany and Morocco on readmissions of Moroccan non-accompanied minorsThe NGO Alarm Phone denouncethe increasing number of young Moroccans attempting to cross to Europe through Algeria, where more than 50 Moroccan migrants have been detained only in November 2020.  

12/11 - 23/11 2020

  • Morocco continues to deport people from Dakhla’s airport to Guinea Conakry, Senegal and Mali. The last deportation flight likely took place on 11 November 2020 with around 100 people on board. Human rights organisations denounced these illegal practices of forced deportations which authorities disguise as “voluntary returns”.

12/10 2020

  • Activists denounced the fact that deportations of migrants from Dakhla airport (where nationals from different African countries are deported mainly to Guinea and Senegal) have resumed and increased. Between 6 and 8 October 2020, the Moroccan Royal Navy rescued 231 nationals from sub-Saharan Africa in the Mediterranean Sea.

28/09 – 09/10 2020

  • Alarm Phone Sahara (APS) condemns the violent pushbacks and deportations from Morocco and Algeria. Between late September and early October 2020, more than 2,500 citizens from various sub-Saharan African countries were deported. In a report released on 5 October, APS publishes the testimonies of migrants, including women and children, who have been forcibly deported and pushed back from Morocco to Senegal, Guinea and to the Algerian border. Similar pushbacks occurred from Algeria to Niger. APS denounces the direct or indirect complicity of EU countries.

Migrants and refugees in Greece

08/02/2021 – 22/02/2021 

  • On 19 February 2021, another fire erupted in Kara Tepe camp on Lesvos, Greece, due to electrical misuse, Doctor Without Borders reported.
  • On 17 February 2021, 116 refugees were relocated from Lesvos, Greece, to Germany, in the first direct relocation flight from a Greek island to an EU country. A recently released joint Oxfam & Greek Council for Refugees briefing paper explore the failure of EU Member States in responsibility- and solidarity-sharing in terms of relocations from Greece.
  • On 10 February 2021, Migration and Asylum Minister, Notis Mitarakis, declared his intention to revise the EU-Turkey statement and expand its geographical scope thus allowing to return migrants to Turkey also from the land border and not only from the Aegean islands.
  • The NGO Legal Centre Lesvos released its new report based on evidence shared by over fifty survivors of collective expulsions in the Aegean Sea. On 15 February 2021, Legal Centre Lesvos and Front-Lex sent a formal request to Frontex Chief to suspend or terminate Frontex activities in the Aegean Sea.
  • The NGO Mare Liberum released its 2020 Pushback Report where they counted at least “321 pushbacks in the Aegean Sea, with some 9,798 people pushed back”. On 15 February 2021, Greek Migration Minister, Notis Mitarakis, denied once again the accusations of pushbacks from Greece to Turkey, labelling them as “fake news”.
  • Doctors Without Borders d the alarming mental health situation of children in the Greek hotspots, reporting “50 cases of children with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts” in 2020. According to a Greek NGO, the Greek asylum system contributes to retraumatising victims of torture.
  • As heavy snowstorms, flood and freezing temperatures  hit Greece, concerns are raised for migrants living in tents in the camps. Some of them were transferred to temporary shelters in Athens.

21/12 2020 – 8/2 2021

  • The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has asked the Greek government to reply on the treatment of asylum seekers in the refugee camps in the islands of Lesvos and Kos, given the degrading and inhumane living conditions in these camps. At the same time, the Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia, in Germany, prohibited the return of refugees from Germany to Greece due to the inhumane and harsh conditions they face in refugee camps in Greece.
  • A group of Greek NGOs, including the Greek Council for Refugees, denounced that many of the provisions on the border and pre-screening procedures contained in the EU Pact on Migration are very similar to those introduced in Greece with a new asylum law in recent years. They published a correlation table presenting “a point-by-point comparison of the main provisions of the Screening Regulation proposal with relevant domestic legislation”, with a view to “preventing the entrenchment of failed and violent border policies in the ‘new‘ EU Pact”.
  • A group of migrants, after reporting they have been attacked, tortured and beaten by the police in the Paranesti detention center, started a hunger strike on 30 February 2021.
  • On 6 February 2021, residents of the Greek island of Chios continued to against the creation of a new closed migrant camp which will have a capacity of 1500 places.

13/01/2021 - 25/01/2021

  • Human Rights Watch publishes its 2020 Greece Report. 
  • On 14 January 2021, Greek migration minister, Notis Mitarachi, called on the European Commission and Frontex to help in the “immediate return of around 1 500 rejected asylum seekers to Turkey under the framework of the 2016 EU-Turkey statement. In 2020, 139 migrants were returned to Turkey under the Statement and the returns are currently suspended due to the pandemic. Turkey has been refusing Greek requests so far. According to the Greek Migration Minister, migrants’ arrivals decreased by 80% in 2020.   
  • HIAS Greece reported that starting from 11 January 2021, and for the first time in 4 months, the Regional Asylum Office of Lesvos will begin notifying applicants on Lesvos with first instance rejections and will also start accepting appeals against these decisions. However, the procedure is restarting without the guarantee of state free legal aid from the Register of Lawyers of the Asylum Service.  
  • On 18 January 2021, after a snowstorm, around 7,500 people in the Kara Tepe camp are living in freezing weather, under the snow and in extremely dire conditions  

21/12 2020 –12/1 2021

  • On 27 December 2020, Alarm Phone denounced another violent pushback in the Evros region where around 20 people were beaten and pushed back by Greek border guards from Greece to Turkey. On 24 December 2020, Alarm Phone reported that around 30 people on a boat in distress in the Aegean Sea were pushed back to Turkey by the Greek Coast Guard, following several other boats reportedly pushed back in the Aegean in the previous days.
  • On 26 December 2020, a centre hosting unaccompanied children aged 12-15 in Oraiokastro, Thessaloniki, was attacked by racists with sticks, knives and iron bars. Four minors were injured and brought to the hospital.
  • An internal document seen by Der Spiegel suggests that German Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, covered Greek Coast Guards criminal practice of abandoning and pushing backs asylum seekers at sea.
  • On Christmas’ Eve, asylum seekers stuck in a limbo on the Greek island of Lesvos wrote a letter directly to EU Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen and to EU policy makers, for the first time, denouncing their dramatic situation.
  • NGOs and media denounced that the EU-funded refugee camp near Athens, known as the “new Malakasa” and built in March 2020, hosts around 1,000 people in deplorable conditions, with no water and heating. Children there do not have access to education and women report cases of violence and sexual harassment. The camp is co-financed under the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), amounting to around EUR 4.7 million.

21/12

  • On 17 December 2020, 86 refugee children, with serious health problems, have been transferred from Greece to Germany.  
  • A recently published research from the International Rescue Committee showed how the EU-funded hotspots on the Greek islands are causing severe mental health conditions on asylum seekers and refugeesincluding depression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and self-harm among people of all ages and backgrounds”.  
  • On 12 December 2020, three Greek border guards and one policeman have been suspended for “use of violence against people during control check” for violently beating two refugees on the island of Lesvos 
  • Heavy floods hit the refugee camp on Lesvos built after the fire in Moria. More than 7,000 refugees are stuck there in inhumane conditions, without heat, sanitation and electricity.  

24/11 – 08/12 2020

  • On 4 December 2020, Greece announced that 7,200 migrants, who have been kept in temporary camps since the Moria fire, will be transferred to new facilities by September 2021. The Commission is supporting Greece in the construction of these new camps on the islands for a total budget of EUR 250,000.
  • On 2 December 2020, 32 people were rescued off the coasts of Lesvos when their boat capsized: one woman died while another is still missing.

12/11 - 23/11 

  • On 19 November 2020, the Council of Europe's anti-torture committee (CPT) published the report of a visit to Greece in March 2020. The report raised concerns on the “appalling conditions” in which families with children, unaccompanied and separated children and other vulnerable persons have been detained. It calledon Greek authorities to “reform its immigration detention system and stop pushbacks”. While, EUobserver reveals a Greek operation at the Greek-Turkish border to “keep out migrants”.
  • New closed immigration facilities will be built on the islands of Samos, Kos and Leros with the financial support of the European Commission. On 18 November 2020, Greek Migration Minister presented these camps as “new, better-equipped, reception centres for asylum seekers”, which will be functional on the Greek islands.
  • The EUobserver reported that new evidence “clearly shows that the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) received orders to push migrants back into Turkish territorial waters”.
  • Following the death of his six-year-old child in an attempt to reach the Greek island of Samos from the Turkish coast, a father was charged by Greek authorities with endangering his son’s life and risks 10 years in prison.

29/10 - 10/11

  • On 7 November 2020, a shipwreck off the island of Samos was reported. Two pregnant women and two children are missing.  
  • Concerns were raiseover new rules announced on 5 November 2020 in the new camp on Lesvos, including the possibility to suspend housing/reception conditions in case of non-compliance with the rules.  
  • On 3 November 2020, the NGO Aegean Boat Report published its October 2020 Report where they documented 34 illegal pushbacks in the Aegean Sea. While, according to the NGO Mare Liberum, 8,521 people have been illegally pushed back in the Aegean Sea since March 2020.  
  • On 30 October 2020, 66 people, including 18 minors, were relocated to Germany from Greece.  

15/10 - 26/10

  • The German newspaper Der Spiegel has shown the unlawful practice of the EU border control agency, Frontex, of systematically helping the Greek coastguard illegally push back refugee boats into Turkish waters. The European Parliamentary group GUE/NL strongly calls for the immediate resignation of Frontex’ Chief, Fabrice Leggeri 
  • The NGO Alarm Phone released its Aegean Regional Analysis Report. 
  • The NGO Human Rights 360° published a new report on “Defending human rights in times of border militarization” with a focus on the Greek-Turkish border at the Evros riverForensic Architecture, in partnership with Human Rights 360°, reconstructed various incidents of pushbacks at the Evros river, using a technique called ‘situated testimony’ 
  • Increased securitisation at the Greek-Turkish border at the Evros river: 400 guards will be deployed to patrol the border, a 62.9-million-euro steel fence with barbed wire will be completed by April 2021, it will be five meters high and have a total length of 27 kilometres. According to reports, two sound canons will also be installed, that “emit powerful sound waves which may cause pain and shock to the human body”.   
  • BBC NewsNight investigates the events surrounding the blaze in the Moria refugee camp.  
  • The Greek Minister of Immigration and Asylum applies quarantine measures only for asylum seekers hosted in the Vial refugee camp in Chios, while excluding the camp’s employees from the quarantine. On Thursday 22 October 2020, the Minister announced that the lockdown in Vial was extended until 4 November 2020MSF denounces the dire conditions of the Vathy camp in Samos (which is under quarantine measures) and calls for the immediate evacuation from the island of elderly people and those with chronic and complex medical conditions”.   
  • The European Court of Human Rights, following an application for interim measures, has requested that the Greek Government submit all information (by 22 October) on the decision to close the accommodation facility PIKPA at Lesvos 
  • Four German journalists were detained for 7 hours and mistreated by the police because they were producing a documentary on migration on Samos. 
  • The NGO Aegean Boat Report denounced that 59 people were put by the Greek Coast Guard into two overcrowded life rafts outside Lesvos and left adrift for hours on 18 October 2020. They were eventually rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard  
  • On 23 October 2020, the NGO Alarm Phone reported that “197 people have been reportedly beaten and pushed-back from Crete to Turkey by the Hellenic Coast Guard, their phones were stolen and they were left adrift in inflatable life rafts”. 

28/09 – 09/10

  • In September, an estimated 400 refugees who had previously left Lesvos have returned from the mainland to the island.
  • Tensions at Greece's Malakasa migrant camp after officials reported the first death of a migrant in the country due to COVID-19.
  • On 30 September 2020, 4 asylum seekers were rescued by Turkish authorities after they had been pushed back by Greek coast guards. On 1 October 2020, 59 people, including children, were rescued by the Hellenic Coast Guard of the islands of Crete.
  • In a clear attempt to criminalise NGOs’ activities, the Greek government prepared a case file against 33 NGO members including offences of “forming and joining a criminal organisation, espionage, violation of state secrets”. Alarm Phone released a statement on the Greek government’s criminalisation campaign against NGOs. On 6 October 2020, 29 human rights and humanitarian aid organisations, including the Greek Council for Refugees, pressed in an open letter the Greek Parliament to open an inquiry into allegations of pushbacks and violence at borders. 
  • Dutch citizens of the Let’s Bring Them Here movement (We Gaan Ze Halen) have rented a plane to begin airlifting refugees from Lesvos by themselves. They are into negotiations with the Greek and Dutch governments to evacuate 189 refugees from the Greek island and bring them to the Netherlands.
  • On 8 October 2020, heavy floods hit the Kara Tepe emergency centre. Around 7,800 refugees and asylum-seekers who were evacuated there from Moria are currently hosted in dire conditions. UNHCR and other humanitarian organisations have called on the Greek authorities for immediate action.

Migrants and refugees in Libya

08/02/2021 – 22/02/2021

  • Watch EuroMed Rights’ Migration and Asylum Programme Officer’s interview on Al Araby TV the situation of migrants in Libya.
  • On 20 February, 500 people were intercepted and returned to Libya, while on 10 February 2021, more than 200 migrants were intercepted and pushed back to Libya. According to IOM Libya, in the period of 9 - 15 February 2021, 318 migrants were rescued/intercepted at sea and pushed back to Libya. More than 2,500 people were returned to Libya so far in 2021.
  • From 26-28 January 2021, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) organised a workshop in Tripoli with four networks of Libyan civil society organisations working on migration, in the framework of the EU-funded project “Strategic and Institutional Management of Migration in Libya” aiming at improving the management of migration flows and the conditions of migrants in Libya.

21/12 2020 – 8/2 2021

  • On 8 February 2021, the Italian newspaper Avvenire reported a recording from the Italian armed forces aircraft ordering Italian fishing boats not to enter Libyan maritime zone because of the conflict. Yet Italy asks rescue NGO vessels to take orders from Tripoli for returning migrants to Libya.
  • On 5 February 2021, the International Organization for Migration in Libya reported that more than 1,000 refugees have recently fled “dire humanitarian conditions” in Libya. In just three days, nearly 1500 people were intercepted by the Libyan coastguard and sent back to the “country’s notorious detention centres” falling victims of exploitation, abuse and trafficking.
  • On 4 February 2021, around 121 people, including 19 women and 2 children, were rescued by the NGO vessel Ocean Viking in international waters off Khoms in a first rescue operation. Later in the day, another 116 people were rescued, including one baby boy. On 5 February 2021, the Ocean Viking rescued more than 180 people, including 11 minors, on two boats off Al Khoms.
  • On 2 February 2021, 5 NGOs, including the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies ( CIHRS), call for an investigation into allegations of denial to the right to health for migrants and asylum seekers in Libya.
  • On 27 January 2021, UNHCR released its “2021 strategic action plan and funding appeal”, calling on States to do more to save lives of refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean and to strengthen safe and legal pathways for refugees, including through family reunification.

13/01/2021 - 25/01/2021

  • On 14 January 2021, Alarm Phone published its Central Mediterranean analysis covering the period July-December 2020. 
  • On 19 January 2021, at least 43 people lost their lives in a deadly shipwreck off the Libyan coasts. According to Alarm Phone, there is currently a huge rescue gap in the Central Mediterranean, with six rescue vessels stopped by authorities. Soon after the shipwreck, another 48 people were intercepted and returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard. According to the National Commission for Human Rights in Libya (NCHRL)the number of people intercepted at sea and sent back to Libya in 2020 amounted to 11,891. Following the shipwreck, in a joint statement, four UN agencies, including IOM and UNHCR called on the international community to end the policy of returning migrants to unsafe countries. 
  • On 20 January 2021, UNHCR confirmed that all asylum seekers detained at the Zintan shelter, most of them for more than two years and in extremely dire conditions, have been released. 
  • On 22 January 2021, IOM Libya reports that at least 17 people died, including women and children, in a shipwreck off Libya and 82 people were returned to shore by the Libyan Coast Guards.  
  • On 23 January 2021, among the 250 people in distress at sea off the Libyan shores, 145 of them returned to Libya as their boat broke down. Alarm phone denounces the silence and inaction of authorities  

21/12 2020 –12/1 2021

  • On 3 January 2021, 79 migrants were intercepted at sea and pushed back to Libya, while 8 people are still missing. In 48 hours, 340 people tried to escape Libya.
  • IOM Libya reported that between 22-28 December 2020, the body of one migrant was found on Libyan shores. Around 11,891 migrants were intercepted at sea and pushed back to Libya in 2020.

09/12 - 21/12 2020

  • On 16 December 2020, 126 migrants, among them 28 children, were intercepted at sea by the Libyan coast guard and brought back to Libya in detention, while the bodies of four children were found on Libyan shores.   

24/11 – 08/12 2020

  • 170 migrant have been detained by the Saharan Patrol Department in trying to reach the shores of Sabratha, the Libya Observer reports.  
  • On 24 November 2020, 150 Ghanaians were “voluntary” returned from Libya through a charter flight. This was the first operation of this kind led by the International Organisation for Migration after the onset of the pandemic. Under the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, Libya accounts for 63.5 of the returns to Ghana 

12/11 - 23/11 2020

  • Four deadly shipwrecks in just three days led to more than 110 deaths in the Central Mediterranean, including a 6-month-old baby. 70 bodies have been recovered on the Libyan shores near al-Khums. According to IOM Libya, between 10 and 16 November 2020, 409 migrants were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya. Around 900 people have died or gone missing so far this year in the Mediterranean. The UN Head of mission in Libya, Stephanie Williams, reiterated that Libya is not safe, and migrants are increasingly suffering from violence and abuses.
  • As evacuation flights from Libya to Rwanda resumed on 19 November 2020, UNHCR warns that resettlements have been severely reduced due to COVID-19, with only 15,425 people resettled this year compared to 50,086 over the same period last year.

29/10 - 12/11 2020

  • On 7 November 2020, the NGO Alarm Phone reported that around 100 people onboard a rubber boat are in distress at sea off Al Khums. They have been at sea for 3 days and no authority is responding to the distress calls.
  • Between 2 and 4 November 2020, almost 1,000 migrants were intercepted and brought back to detention centres in Libya. Since January 2020, nearly 10,000 migrants have been intercepted and returned to Libya.
  • On 11 November 2020, a deadly shipwreck occurred off the Libyan coast. The search and rescue NGO Open Arms rescued 111 people while at least 5 people died, including a 6-month-old baby. The situation on board the vessel is critical and many rescued people need to be evacuated immediately.

15/10 - 26/10 2020

  • On 23 October 2020, the warring parties gathered in Geneva agreed to hold a ceasefire under the auspices of the UN Support Mission in Libya. This is an important step that could have an impact on the lives of millions of people in Libya.   
  • Between 20 and 21 October 2020, two shipwrecks occurred off the coast of Sabratha and Lampedusa, respectively. According to IOM Libya, 5 survivors were brought to Libya by fishermen while 15 people lost their lives. In the shipwreck off Lampedusa, 5 people are missing, including one little girl and a pregnant woman. The 15 survivors, presumably all Libyans, were rescued by Italian fishermen.  
  • In the same period, more than 70 people were intercepted and brough back to Libya by the Libyan coast guard. 
  • Senior Libyan coastguard commander, Abd al-Rahman Milad, known as Bija, has been arrested on 14 October 2020 in Tripoli, on charges of human trafficking.  
  • On 20 October 2020, the EU Observer reported on the “poor progress”, criminal and violent conduct of the so-called Libyan Coast Guards as highlighted in an EU internal report. This comes despite Eu declarations stating that EU funding to the Libyan authorities are helping migrants.  
  • Evacuation flights run by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) under the Emergency Transit Mechanism from Libya to Niger resumed on 16 October 2020. They evacuated 153 vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers of Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan.     

28/09-12/10 2020

  • Between 10 and 11 October 2020 six boats were intercepted by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard and pushed back to Libya in over 48 hours. A total of 390 men, women and children were taken to detention. From the beginning of 2020, around 10,000 people were unlawfully pushed back to Libya in attempting to cross the Mediterranean.
  • According to the EU Commission, in 2020, 65 million euros were allocated for the training of the so-called Libyan coastguard (without however specifying which of the "coastguards" are beneficiaries) and only 900,000 euros for projects aiming at promoting human rights. The establishment of the Libyan search and rescue area and its implementation are due to the Italian government’s pressures in 2017-2018.
  • In a terrible escalation of violence against migrants in Libya, a migrant worker was burned to death in Tripoli, while three other migrants suffered burns and were severely injured.
  • Italy-Libya: an investigation by the New York Times revealed how the Caprera, an Italian warship, which was deployed to Tripoli to help combat people-smugglers in Libya, stopped 7,000 migrants from leaving Libyan shores and prevented the smuggling of 700,000 cigarettes to Italy.

Migrants and refugees in Italy

28/09 – 12/10

  • Migrants and asylum seekers who have been tested positive to COVID-19, and already hosted in reception centres across Italy, have been transferred to the quarantine boats. Many appeals have been raised against this unlawful, discriminatory and illegal practice by numerous civil society organisations (testimonies from ARCI, ASGI, MSF and LasciateCIEntrare).
  • The dire conditions inside the quarantine boats are extremely worrying. On 1 October 2020, 5 Tunisian migrants tried to escape when the quarantine boat arrived in the port of Palermo, 2 fell down on the pier and injured themselves. On 5 October 2020, a 15-year-old  migrant died after been evacuated from the quarantine boat Allegra: he had passed out after he was kept on the boat for 15 days despite his very serious health conditions. Italian prosecutors are investigating his tragic death.
  • Italy-Libya: An investigation by the New York Times revealed how the Caprera, an Italian warship, which was deployed to Tripoli to help combat people-smugglers in Libya, stopped 7,000 migrants from leaving Libyan shores, and prevented the smuggling of 700,000 cigarettes to Italy.
  • Italy-Tunisia: Italian and Tunisian associations requested access to documents of the agreement concluded on 17 August 2020 as the details of this agreement were not published. According to press reports discussing the agreement, Italy is to provide 11 million euros of support to Tunisia in order to strengthen the border control systems. These funds may also be used to better train Tunisian security forces in preventing the departure of migrants and in intercepting ships in Tunisian territorial waters.

 

Migrants and refugees in Tunisia

13/02 2021

  • On 13 February 2021, a boat with 48 people capsized off Tunisia leaving 22 people missing and one body recovered.

21/12 2020 – 17/2 2021

  • Migreurop, the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) and EuroMed Rights signed a joint release concerning the imbalance in EU-Tunisia cooperation (in French only)
  • Repatriation flights continue to take place from Italy to Tunisia. On 28 January 2021, 40 Tunisians have been forcibly returned from Italy on board a private flight to the Enfidha Airport.

13/01/2021 - 25/01/2021

  • FTDES reported that the number of migrants leaving Tunisia and arriving in Italy in 2020 had seen fivefold increase, with around 13,000 people fleeing Tunisia, especially due to the hard socioeconomic conditions. While people took to the streets to protest against the government’s decision to impose a four-day lockdown and to cancel many events organised for the 10th anniversary of the revolution.   

21/12 2020 –12/1 2021

  • On 24 December 2020, at least 20 people died in a shipwreck off the coasts of Sfax: 19 were women and 4 of them were pregnant. 20 others are still missing.  

09/12 - 21/12 2020

  • On 17 December 2020, ASGI, FTDES (Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights) and Avocats Sans Frontières Tunisia published the answers by the Italian and Tunisian governments to the requests for civic access to know the content of the agreements discussed between Italy and Tunisia in August 2020. The organisations reported that: “On the Tunisian side, the Ministry of the Interior shared a table with sums relating to the purchase of equipment for the control of maritime borders, without specifying the origin of the loan or the reference year.” On the Italian side, the Ministers of the Interior and Foreign Affairs replied that there is no specific financial commitment at the moment, that no agreement has been signed yet and that discussions will resume on the next visit of Italian Interior Minister and EU Home Affairs Commissioner Johansson to Tunisia, probably in January 2021.  

24/11 – 08/12 2020

  • An investigation on Inkyfada sheds light on the repatriation procedures from Italy to Tunisia, on the basis of a readmission agreement which was renegotiated in August 2020, showing how this practice is carried out in an opaque and violent way and it does not deter returned migrants to leave again who instead repeat the whole travel four, five times.   

12/11 - 23/11 2020

  • EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, and the Italian Interior Minister, Luciana Lamorgese, will visit Tunisia at the beginning of December 2020 to further discuss migration management. According to FTDES, 11,212 migrants arrived in Italy in the first ten months of 2020 from Tunisia, while another 11,900 were intercepted at sea and brough back to Tunisia.

29/10 - 10/11 2020

  • 23 organisations addressed a letter to France’s Interior Minister ahead of his visit to Tunisia on 6 November 2020. In the letter they condemn the terrorist attacks in Nice (France) and Vienna (Austria). They also ask to put an end to political pressures on the Tunisian governments (and Southern countries) aimed at increasing the securitisation approach to migration at the expense of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees’ rights.   
  • The French Minister of the Interior also met with his Italian counterpart to discuss a plan that provides for "the deployment of naval or air assets that could alert Tunisian authorities of possible departures and help them intercept the boats. This proposal constitutes a real arbitrary "naval block" and follows the unlawful model of refoulements by proxy adopted off the coast of Libya.  

28/09 –12/10 2020

  • On 11 October 2020, Reuters reported that at least 11 people, 8 women and 3 children, died in a shipwreck off the coast near Sfax. 19 other people were onboard and are now missing.
  • Italy-Tunisia: Italian and Tunisian associations requested access to documents of the agreement concluded on 17 August 2020 as the details of this agreement were not published. According to press reports discussing the agreement, Italy is to provide 11 million euros of support to Tunisia in order to strengthen the border control systems. These funds may also be used to better train Tunisian security forces in preventing the departure of migrants and in intercepting ships in Tunisian territorial waters.

Migrants and refugees in the United Kingdom

08/02/2021 – 22/02/2021

  • The government announced that all migrants living the UK, regardless of their status, will receive COVID-19 vaccination and the vaccine shot should not trigger documents’ checks.

25/01/2021 - 8/02/2021

  • The Anglo-German flight company TUI has become the “main airline carrying out charter deportation flights for the UK Home Office”. In November 2020, it conducted nine mass deportations to 19 destinations and its deportation flights continue in 2021.
  • The UK Court of Appeal overturned the convictions of a group of activists, known as Stansted 15, who prevented 60 people from been forcibly returned to three African countries in 2017 by stopping their charter deportation flight.

13/01/2021 - 25/01/2021

  • Asylum seekers hosted in a military training camp in Penally, Pembrokeshire, are denouncing the very bad and unsafe conditions which put them at risk of coronavirus. 

21/12 2020 –12/1 2021

  • As the Dublin III Regulation will cease to apply to the UK as of 31 December 2020, when the Brexit transition period ends, the Home Office is accelerating remove operations of asylum seekers to return them to other EU countries under the Dublin system. The Independent reports that “£2.3m was spent on forcibly removing 225 people to European countries in July, August and September this year”.

21/12 2020

  • Starting from 1 January 2020, the UK will deny access to asylum, and treat their applications as inadmissible, to people travelling through a “safe third country”.  

15/10 - 26/10 2020

  • Data reveals that thousands of child victims of trafficking are at risk of deportation when turning 18 as a result of the Home Office’s immigration policies.  
  • On 21 October 2020, the Court of appeal ruled that the forcible removal of a migrant from the UK sometimes within hours and in many cases without access to lawyers” was unlawful 

28/09 – 12/10 2020

  • The government suggested to build an offshore asylum reception centre on Ascension Island, a remote UK territory in the Atlantic Ocean. The British Interior Minister declared he wants to reform the system to welcome migrants via "safe and legal routes" and systematically refuse entry to those arriving by boat. The installation of floating barriers in the Channel between France and the United Kingdom to deter migrants would also be considered. During the first deportation flight from the UK after the COVID-19 outbreak, one deportee cut his wrists and another had a concealed blade in his mouth.

Good news – Migrants and refugees in the EuroMed region

08/02/2021 - 22/02/2021

  • The search and rescue ship Aita Mari of the NGO Salvamento Maritimo Humanitario was back at sea on 12 February. 
  • On 19 February, the Aita Mari rescued 102 people, including 8 women and one child, who had left Libya and were in distress at sea. 
  • On 19 February, Sea Watch 3 was finally able to sail again to rescue lives at sea after 7-month stoppage.  

12/1 2020 –12/1 2021 

  • On 19 January 2021, the French Council of State decided to suspend the freezing of visas for family reunification for children and family members of non-EU nationals residing in France, following a complaint made in December 2020 by associations and trade unions. The freezing measure were taken by the French government in March 2020.  
  • On 18 January 2021, following the appeal submitted by two Italian lawyers and members of the NGO ASGI, the Court of Rome issued an order condemning the “readmissions” (or better pushbacks) of migrants and asylum seekers, from Italy to Slovenia as they resulted in “inhumane and degrading treatments” along the Balkan route and in “torture” in Croatia. This is landmark order as it clarifies the illegality of readmission procedures for both asylum seekers and non-asylum seekers . It states that the individual examination of individual positions must be ensured. 
  • On 14 January 2021, the European Court of Justice in the case TQ v Staatssecretaris van Justitie en Veiligheid stressed that if a state intends to issue a return decision against an unaccompanied child, it must necessarily take into account the best interests of the child at all stages of the procedures, which entails a general and in-depth assessment of the situation of the child, including the availability of adequate reception facilities in the destination country.

21/12 2020 –12/1 2021

  • The rescue vessel Ocean Viking, from the NGO SOS Méditerranée, has been released after a five-month stop imposed by Italian authorities and it will be back at sea as of January 2021 to save lives.
  • The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants is calling for inputs for his forthcoming report to the 47th session of the Human Rights Council on pushback practices and their impact on the human rights of migrants.

22/12

  • On 17 December 2020, Hungary was condemned by the Court of Justice of the European Union for violating European asylum law by setting up "transit zones" on its border with Serbia and limiting the access to international protection. 
24/11 - 8/12
  • Spanish SAR NGO Open Arms will be back at sea to save lives in the Mediterranean after having been stopped for two weeks in the port of Trapani, Italy.
  • The NGO MOAS is also planning to be back in the Mediterranean with a joint mission with Sea-Eye starting from February 2021 to save lies at sea.

12/11-23/11

  • The Spanish Supreme Court has d the right to seek asylum in embassies against the government’s position. This right is included in the 2009 Asylum Law but has never had any "regulatory development" until now and this procedure has been systematically prevented. We hope that this decision will be effectively implemented.
  • On 18 November 2020, the Greek Migration Minister announced the country will  end the practice of detaining unaccompanied migrant children and declared that there are no longer any unaccompanied asylum-seeker teenagers and children in police custody. Hopefully , this declaration will be put into practice.

29/10 -10/11

  • On 4 November 2020, after two years of a fierce criminalisation campaign, the Court of Ragusa, Sicily, decided in its preliminary hearing not to proceed against the Head of Mission and the Commander of the Search and Rescue NGO Open Arms who were accused of facilitating illegal entry and private violence. 

15/10 - 26/10

  • The Pipka community-led refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesvos will not be closed, for now, contrary to what was previously announced by the Greek government, following appeals from civil society organisations to keep it open.  The camp was eventually evacuated on 29 October 2020, amid criticisms by NGOs.
  • On 14 October 2020, the French Court of Cassation once again sanctioned the Court of Appeal of Aix-en-Provence for the “criminalisation of solidarity” trial of Loïc Le Dall.  
  • Sea Watch search and rescue aircraft Moonbird will resume operations soon, after it was stopped for 2 months by the Italian authorities.  
  • The European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) confirms lack of adequate medical treatment for asylum seekers on Samos and ordered the Greek government to “provide the necessary medical examination and treatment for eight asylum-seekers suffering from Hepatitis B”.  
  • On 27 October 2020, the European Court of Human Rights, in the case M.A. v. Belgium, ruled that Belgium, in 2017, breached international law, and the principle of non-refoulement, by forcibly deporting a Sudanese national to Khartoum “without an assessment of the risk of human rights violations upon return”.

28/09 – 12/10

  • Belgium: On 6 October 2020, the Brussels Court of First Instance has condemned the Belgian state over its failure to offer reception to asylum seekers as soon as they submit their request for international protection.
  • Spain: The judgement given by the Cour of Justice of the EU on 25 June 2020 is applied for the first time in the Canary Islands. It allows asylum seekers to request international protection in front of an investigating judge and reduces the grounds for detention to a minimum.
  • Italy: The Italian government amended the so-called “Security decrees” adopted by former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and passed a new “Immigration Decree” which includes some positive proposals, such as:
    • the prohibition of expulsion and pushback of those who risk torture or inhumane treatment in their country;
    • reduction of the amount of fines to NGOs (though fines remain in place);
    • rescue of lives at sea as a constitutional and international obligation;
    • reform of the asylum seekers’ reception and integration system;
    • reduced detention period in Repatriation Centres and
    • reintroduction of a form of humanitarian protection called “special protection”.
  • Greece: a court in Athens ruled that the neo-fascist party Golden Dawn was a criminal organisation. The verdict was celebrated in Greece and internationally.

EU updates – Migrants and refugees in the EuroMed region

9/02/2021 - 22/01/2021

  • On 18 February 2021, the European Commission launched a legal action against Hungary for failing to implement a judgement from the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which ruled that legislation on restricting foreign funding of NGOs violated EU law. 
  • On 18 February 2021, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, visited the Lipa refugee camp in Bosnia stating that more legal pathways are needed. On 20 February 2021, she visited FRONTEX Joint Operation in Kakavia, Albania.    
  • According to Statewatch, the Council of the European Union is planning to update the 'Joint Valletta Action Plan' (JVAP), agreed by European and African heads of state in 2015 for implementing joint activities on migration and asylum.  
  • The European Ombudsman decided to close a case following a complaint presented by Statewatch in 2019 which called on Frontex and Europol to “improve and update their public registers of documents” and to allow non-EU citizens in non-EU countries to access Frontex’s documents. Frontex refused the latter point. The Ombudsman approved the agency’s stance and decided  to close the case.  
  • On 10 February 2021, the European Commission published findings of the first annual assessment on Enhancing cooperation on return and readmission as part of a fair, effective and comprehensive EU migration policy with third countries.  
  • On 4 February 2021, Statewatch published the preliminary report of the Frontex Management Board Working Group following allegations of involvement in pushbacks from Turkey to Greece 
  • According to Der Spiegel, a team of lawyers wants to take Frontex Chief, Fabrice Leggeri, to the European Court of Justice for the agency’s involvement in human rights violations in the Aegean Sea.  
  • According to the latest statistics released by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO)asylum applications in 2020 were at the lowest level since 2013, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and related emergency measures, such as movement restrictions. Syrians are the first nationality of asylum seekers, followed by Afghans and Venezuelans

26/01/2021 - 8/02/2021

  • On 5 February 2021, following an investigation into the links between the European Border Guard Agency and the surveillance and armaments industry, the German ZDF media outlet and the NGO Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) revealed breaches of the EU institutions' rules on lobbying, a lack of transparency and an almost complete absence of concern for the respect of human rights.   
  • On 27 January 2021, the EU Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, announced that it has suspended operations in Hungary, following a recent ruling from the European Court of Justice condemning Hungary’s practice of pushing migrants back to Serbia. Ylva Johansson, EU Commissioner for home Affairs, welcomed the suspension of Frontex border operations in Hungary.  
  • On 29 January 2021, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from the Civil Liberties and Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) ccommittees decideed to set up a Frontex Scrutiny Working Group to launch ainvestigation into Frontex, meaning that there will not be a standard inquiry committee 
  • On 20 January 2021, the report on the implementation of Article 43 of Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection (2020/2047(INI)) was published by the rapporteur, MEP Erik Marquardt. The debate on the report is scheduled in plenary for 8 February 2021.  

12/1 2021–25/1 2021

  • FRONTEX: On 23 January 2021, Frontex Board of Directors will further investigate five of the 13 cases of pushbacks reported in 2020 from Greece to Turkey in the Aegean Sea. The EU’s anti-fraud office, OLAF, has opened an investigation into Frontex, over allegations of harassment, misconduct and migrant pushbacks. On 13 January 2021, the Interior Committee of the Bundestag, the German Parliament, questioned Frontex Chief on illegal pushbacks. The Director-General of the European Commission’s DG HOME accused Frontex Executive Director of replying in a “misleading manner” when questioned by MEPs about Frontex involvement in pushbacks and the new fundamental rights monitoring framework, in a hearing in December 2020. Frontex has also been accused of serious mismanagement in recruitment processesincluding lack of transparency, and for not employing enough fundamental rights officers. In the meantime, Frontex has renewed a contract with an Israeli company to improve its maritime surveillance through an artificial intelligence platform.   
  • The European Court of Justice (ECJ) will decide on the appeals filed by the NGO Sea-Watch to the administrative court in Palermo, Italy, against the detention of their rescue ships Sea-Watch 3 and Sea-Watch 4  
  • The European Commission sent a formal notice to Hungary for ignoring a recent ECJ verdict ruling that, among other things, the push backs to Serbia were illegal under EU lawThe NGO the Hungarian Helsinki Committee reported that push backs to Serbia continued also after the ECJ ruling, amounting to “2,300 people being pushed back” since then.  
  • On 28-29 January 2021, EU Interior Ministers will attend an informal meeting on migration held by the Portuguese presidency 

 21/12 2020 –12/1 2021

  • As Portugal took over the EU Presidency on 1 January 2021, until June 2021, Portuguese Interior Minister, Eduardo Cabrita, has already held talks with his Greek counterpart, before discussing also with Spain, Italy and Malta soon on the migration fileAccording to Portugal“solidarity cannot be voluntary”

08/12 - 21/12

  • On 9 December 2020, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union reached an agreement on the priorities of the new Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) which will amount to EUR 9.882 billion. According to the legislators, among the priorities, the new AMIF will “support third-country nationals to effectively integrate and be socially included, contribute to the fight against irregular migration” and ensure returns and reintegration in third countries. 63.5% of the funds will be allocated to programmes that are jointly managed by the EU and the member states, while 36.5% will be directly managed by the EU. 
  • On 10 December 2020, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union reached an agreement on the border management fund for 2021-2027, amounting to EUR 6.241 billion. 10% of the fund will be spent for visa policy in national programmes. 
  • On 17 December 2020, the Council of the European Union adopted the regulation laying down the EU’s Multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027, with a significant increase in funding in the areas of migration and border management which will amount to €22.7 billion.   
  • On 18 December 2020, EU Member States’ ambassadors endorsed the provisional agreement reached between the European Parliament and the Council Presidency on the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI). The NDICI will amount to a total of EUR 79,462 million for the next 7 years, of which EUR 6,358 million will be allocated to “thematic programmes”, including migration. 
  • On 16 December 2020, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) adopted a resolution on the implementation of the Return Directivenoting that “an effective return policy is one of the key elements of a well-functioning EU asylum and migration policy”, and stressing the importance of prioritising voluntary returns and safeguarding fundamental rights when applying EU legislation on returns. On the same day, MEPs adopted another resolution on the 2013 Dublin III Regulation, calling for fairer rules on responsibility sharing among EU Member States.  
  • On 14 December 2020, EU Interior Ministers discussed the EU Migration Pact giving a strong focus on the external dimension of the Pact. The Commission presented a “non-paper” on the way forward focussing mainly on the external dimension and as a result of negotiations with partner countries. The German Presidency presented a progress report and the negotiations will continue in 2021 under the Portuguese Presidency.  

24/11 – 08/12 2020

  • On 3 December 2020, a new programme, co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, to promote fair labour migration was launched in Tunis, Tunisia. The programme, called THAMM, will be implemented in Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt and will involve the International Organisation for Migration, the International Labour Organisation and the Belgian Development Agency, Enabel 
  • On 25 November 2020, the leaders of Spain, Italy, Greece and Malta signed a joint declaration calling for more “solidarity” towards EU first-entry countries from other EU Member states. They called for clearer rules to be included in the migration Pact and rejected the idea of large detention centres at external borders.    
  • On 1 December 2020, Members of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee called for “a sustainable solidarity mechanism among EU member states” in a draft resolution. The objective is to overcome the 2013 Dublin III Regulation, which imposes the excessive use of the first country of entry criterion. They also stressed that the right to family reunification and protection of children should be prioritised.     
  • On 25 November 2020, in an unexpected and worrying move, the European Parliament’s Development Committee adopted a report “Improving development effectiveness and efficiency of aid which included a clause on making EU aid to developing countries conditional on their compliance with EU migration control objectives  
  • The EU Fundamental Rights Agency published its latest report on fundamental rights of refugees, asylum applicants and migrants at the European borders. 
  • The European Data Protection Supervisor published its opinion on the EU Pact on migration from the privacy and data protection perspective.  
  • Some Members of the European Parliament from the Greens, S&D and GUE groups, want to pursue a formal inquiry into Frontex, EU member states, and the European Commission following evidence-based allegations of illegal pushbacks. The S&D group also asked for the resignation of Frontex Executive Director, Fabrice Leggeri, while an internal letter from Frontex to the EU Commission shows that Germany was involved in an unlawful pushback by Greek coast guards in the Aegean Sea 
  • Frontex is taking two pro-transparency activists to court for not paying the agency EUR 24,000 in legal fees after losing a case last year, when Frontex annual budget for 2020 is EUR 460 million, the EU Observer reports.   

12/11-23/11 2020

In light of the numerous evidence-based allegations of pushbacks carried out by Frontex in the Aegean Sea, the Management Board of Frontex held an extraordinary meeting on 10 November 2020. Among the conclusions, the Management Board asked the Executive Director to “ensure that the internal reporting system is solid and effective in order to allow for an immediate follow-up in case of incidences” and decided to “set up a sub-group to the Management Board to further consider these aspects”. The mandate of the sub-group will be discussed on 25-26 November 2020.

An investigation by The Guardian, published in March 2020, revealed how Frontex was highly involved in pushbacks in the Central Mediterranean, as acting as the “eyes and ears” of the so-called Libyan Coast Guard in detecting migrants at sea. According to the Guardian, EU senior officials “were aware that the scale of their involvement with the Libyans risked making them legally responsible for the fate of returned migrants”. A recent strong condemnation against Frontex came also from MSF, who denounced the Agency’s involvement in refoulement to Libya, failure to save lives at sea and coordinate rescue operation and violation of the international law of the sea for not making sure that a rescue operation leads to a disembarkation to a safe place.

On 19 November 2020, the European Parliament organised a High-level Inter-parliamentary Conference on Migration and Asylum in Europe, during which the president of the German parliament, Wolfgang Schäuble, said that the EU “has no choice but to work with despotic regimes” and suggested that those migrants who cannot be returned home might be held in “facilities outside Europe”."

29/10 - 10/11 2020

During the Justice and Home Affairs Council on Friday 13 November 2020, EU interior ministers will likely adopt a "declaration" on the “integration” of migrants and on giving access to authorities to the codes to bypass encrypted appsaccording to a document leaked by the Financial Times and the GuardianThe said “declaration” drafted by France, Austria and the German EU Presidency worryingly associates Muslim migrants with a terrorist threat  

On 10 November 2020, the management Board of Frontex (the European Border and Coast Guard Agency) will have to examine accusations of unlawful pushbacks of migrants in the Aegean Sea.  

On 6 November 2020, in its latest migration quarterly bulletin, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights denounces worsening conditions for migrants and refugees in Europe including regarding reception centres and increasing reports of pushbacks and violence at the borders. 

15/10 – 26/10 2020 

On 20 October 2020, the European Commission launched infringement procedures against Cyprus and Malta regarding their investor citizenship schemesThese, often known as “golden passports schemes, foresee the granting of EU citizenship for pre-determined payments or investments to people without any genuine link with the Member State concerned. According to the Commission, these schemes undermine the essence of EU citizenship.  On 22 October 2020, in a plenary debate, Members of the European Parliament called on Member States to end the golden passports” schemes currently in place in Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria.  

On 16 October 2020, the European Commission released a new Financial Tracking Report to monitor the progress of donor funds against their pledges made at the 4th Brussels Conference on ‘Supporting the Future of Syria and the region’ last 30 June 2020. This report highlights that international donors have already fulfilled their 2020 pledges. The financial support mostly goes to Syria and to five neighbouring countries currently hosting refugees (Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt). Nevertheless, funding continues to fall short of needs in all sectors in order to support the more than 11 million people in need in Syria and the 5.6 million refugees in the region.    

The Guardian reported that the EU will use drones from Airbus and two Israeli weapons companies to spot refugees and migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. This programme will cost a total of EUR 100 millionStarting from next year, the drones will be based either in Greece, Italy or Malta. Some have criticised this programme which could be used by the EU as a way to avoid its search and rescue responsibilities. 

28/09 – 12/10

EU Pact on Migration and Asylum: on 8 October 2020, EU interior ministers discussed the EU Pact on Migration and, despite the optimism expressed by Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, Member States seem to have quite polarised positions. “No Member States said they are fully satisfied with everything in the proposal” underlined Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson. According to previous official statements, Germany and France seem to endorse the proposal, while Greece, Italy, Spain and Malta criticise the unchanged first-entry country criterium and the voluntary solidarity mechanism. The Visegrad Group and Austria oppose any redistribution of asylum seekers.

During an interview on the Pact, European Commission Vice President and Commissioner for Promoting our European way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, stressed once again the importance of solidarity among Member States. He stated “no pact will be meaningful unless it provides effective solidarity in practice for those member states that by their geography are the most confronted with the migratory challenge”.

Interviewed by Politico, the Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said “the EU's proposed pact still needs a lot of work” and that “the aim is to have all the migrants moved off the islands by Easter next year, provided there is not a major uptick in arrivals”. 

​Check EuroMed Rights’ interview on Euronews on the day of the EU interior ministers conference here. 

You can watch EuroMed Rights’ video summarising the key aspects of the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum below.


Migrants and refugees in Spain

08/02/2021 – 22/02/2021

  • On 21 February 2021, EuroMed Rights’ Migration & Asylum Programme Officer was invited on a televised interview on the French program “C Politique” on the channel France 5, on the situation of migrants in the Canary Islands.
  • On 16 February 2021, for the second time in less than six months the Spanish Supreme Court established, in a final and non-appealable ruling, that asylum seekers have the right to free movement within Spain condemning the current government practices of retaining asylum seekers in Ceuta, Melilla and the Canary Islands.
  • A sharp fall in arrivals to the Canary Islands was registered in the first half of February 2021, with 155 people compared to 1,008 in the second half of January and 1,069 in the first half of January 2021.
  • On 14 February 2021, a fire destroyed an informal settlement in Nijar, Alméria, which hosted around 1,200 people from Morocco and Sub-Saharan African countries who work in the greenhouses. Around 200 people remained without shelter.
  • The government decided to allocate EUR 15.8 million for the reception of migrants in the Canary Islands, including for the military camp (CATE) in Barranco Seco, Gran Canaria. While in the Canarias 50 camp in Gran Canaria, a problem in the sewage system has caused floods in the camp. Some migrants stuck in the El Lasso camp in Gran Canaria would prefer to be repatriated than living in those terrible conditions. A group of migrants in the Las Raices camp in Tenerife, which hosts several hundred people, protested for the dire conditions of the facilities, floods, cold and lack of food. While tensions intensified in minor reception centres on the islands. While earlier in February, the police dispersed a protest of Moroccan migrants in Porto Rico, Gran Canaria, who demanded to be transferred to Spain instead of being returned to Morocco.
  • On 10 February 2021, Salvamento Maritimo rescued around 38 people, including 11 women and 11 children, south of Tenerife.
  • The President of the Government of the Canary Islands is strongly demanding to the Spanish government to help managing migration in the Canary Islands and to allow transfers to the peninsula.
  • The Mixed Migration Centre published a research report analysing the motivations of refugees and migrants for taking the Atlantic route, as well as the risks and challenges they face, including in their experiences of interception and forced return.

21/12 2020 – 8/2 2021

  • According to a report of the Ombudsman, at least 80 migrants who had tested positive from COVID-19 lived in overcrowded conditions at the Arguineguín port in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, in November 2020. As of 3 February 2021, at least 21 people (out of 67) kept in the detention centre for foreigners (CIE) of Hoya Fría ) in Tenerife have tested positive to COVID-19. According to the Cáritas Diocesana de Tenerife, the conditions in the CIEs do not allow for the respect of the sanitary quarantine and are “themselves places that violate human rights”. People currently kept in the CIE reportedly come from Morocco, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Conakry and Mauritania. Following the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020, the CIEs were closed, including the CIE in Barranco Seco, Gran Canaria, which reopened in late 2020 with the obligation to keep a maximum of 42 people.
  • Around 1,727 unaccompanied minors in the Canary Islands are in a limbo and out of school still waiting for the bone test to determine their age. On 25 January 2021, the Deputy Minister of Social Rights of the Government of the Canary Islands, Gemma Martínez, declared that the Islands are facing a “humanitarian emergency” regarding unaccompanied minors and met with the Cabinet of EU Commissioner Johansson. In 2020, 26 emergency reception centres for minors were opened in the Canary Islands (16 in Gran Canaria, 8 in Tenerife and 2 in Fuerteventura). No transfers to the peninsula have been carried out so far. On 5 February 2021, the UN Agency, UNICEF, following reports of violence and abuse against Moroccan children in the Tindaya centre in Gran Canaria, called to intensify the prevention of and fight against racism and xenophobia and to set up a national plan for the integration of unaccompanied minors.
  • After a group of migrants in the Canary Islands filed a complaint to the Ombudsman for being prevented to leave the islands by plane to the peninsula, despite having their passports and tickets, the Ombudsman declared that hindering the mobility of these people – as well those in Ceuta and Melilla – “is against the law and must end in practice”.
  • In the first week of February 2021, the first migrant camp set up in Tenerife, Canary Islands, at the Las Raices military barracks, started to operate with migrants transferred from Gran Canaria.
  • The escalation of violent and xenophobic attacks against migrants continue to take place in Gran Canaria. Since November 2020, anti-migrant protests have been organized across the islands in an escalation of violence against migrants.
  • The authorities in Gran Canaria are calling on the Spanish government and the EU to allow transfers of migrants from the Islands to the peninsula, at least to Spain, thus preventing that the Canary Islands further become prison-like islands and to reproduce the models of Lesvos and Lampedusa.
  • The photojournalist Juan Medina, who has been documenting migrations for the last 20 years from West Africa to Europe , presented his exhibition 'Migrations on the southern border of Europe’ in Gran Canaria.
  • An article published by the Barcelona Center for International Affairs explores the policies of containment in the Canary Islands, showing “the great fallacy of European migration and border policies”.

13/01/2021 - 25/01/2021

  • Following heavy rain, the Barranco Seco camp is in very bad conditions (no access to showers, holes in the tents and people without warm clothes). The authorities stand accused of lack of transparency and information and of preventing access to the camp to external actors. People are detained there much more than the 72 hours foreseen by the law, in cold temperatures and crowded conditions with high risk of health infections. A minor was detained there for eight days with food and water rationing, despite the fact his passport proved his minor identity.  
  • On 23 January 2021, Salvamento Marítimo rescued 36 people(including 22 women (one pregnant), 11 men and 3 children and people from Senegal and Mali)in the South of Gran Canaria after five-day hard journeyOn 20 January 2021, a migrant suffering from severe hypothermia died in the hospital of El Hierro in the Canary Islands. On 15 January 2021, 15 people arrived on the South of Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, while 33 others were rescued off Gran Canaria. 55 more arrived in Fuerteventura. On 10 January 2021, 89 people arrived in Tenerife, Canary Islands and 40 others landed in Arguineguin, Gran CanariaA 12-year-old girl from Guinea Conakry watched his 9-year-old brother die and throw his body into the sea just a few hours before the boat was rescued by Salvamento Maritimo. The death toll in the Atlantic route already totals 10 deaths in 2021 while 1,069 migrants were saved in the same period. 
  • Of the more than 23,000 people who arrived in the Canary Islands in 2020, only 2,035 were transferred to the peninsula (70% between September and November 2020). It is estimated that hundreds of people also moved on their own. 2,450 minors are currently hosted in reception centres across the Canary Islands. 
  • The Spanish government opens the Canarias 50 camp, in Gran Canariawith currently 442 places, but which could host up to 1,320 people. Canarias 50 is one of the seven camps announced by the government to be opened by the end of 2020, with a total capacity of 7,000 people. But many of those promised camps are still closed. The delays in transferring migrants from the hotels to these new camps are also fomenting social tensions and xenophobia among the local population. Dozens of migrants who lost their temporary places in hotels are now living on the streets.  

21/12 2020 –12/1 2021

  • On 6 January 2021, 125 people were rescued South of Gran Canaria and disembarked at the Arguineguin port.
  • On 5 January 2021, 4 migrants were found dead in a boat carrying other 43 people, including one women and 17 children, arriving in Tenerife.
  • On 30 December 2020, the government announced that it will install “a facial recognition system on its borders in 2021” and build three new Temporary Attention Centers for Foreigners (CATE), in Motril (Granada), Las Palmas and Cartagena (Murcia).
  • On 26 December 2020, 57 people were rescued off Canary Islands, while other 8 people arrived in Canary Islands after being missing for two days. On 25 December 2020, Alarm Phone reported that 30 people on a boat in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea had returned to Morocco, while 5 others were rescued off Spain.
  • On 25 December 2020, 42 migrants, including two children, arrived in the small island of El Hierro, Canary Islands.
  • On 24 December 2020, 29 people arrived in Gran Canaria. On the same day, Moroccan authorities intercepted a boat off Laayoune with 43 migrants on board and 2 dead bodies. On 22 December 2020, 6 bodies were washed ashore 50 kilometers south of Laayoune. Another shipwreck off Laayoune was reported leading to 18 people missing, 1 body found and 44 survivors, including 6 women and one child. According to the end-of-year report of the Moroccan General Directorate of National Security, Moroccan police detained 9,179 “candidates for irregular migration” in 2020, two thirds of whom are non-Moroccans.
  • On 23 December 2020, 47 people, reportedly from sub-Saharan countries, were rescued South of Gran Canaria.
  • It is estimated that around 600 people, including children, have lost their lives in 2020 trying to reach the Canary Islands by boat, according to official figures. Only 164 bodies have been recovered. According to the Red Cross, the real number of deaths is likely to be between 1,000 and 1,700, as it is estimated that between 5 and 8% of boats attempting the crossing failed to reach the Canary Islands. According to Caminando Fronteras, the total number of people who have died in 2020 in their attempt to reach Spain by sea is actually much higher, at least 2,170, 143% more than in 2019.
  • The president of the regional government, Ángel Víctor Torres, declared that all the autonomous regions have shown their willingness to transfer unaccompanied minors now stuck in the Canary Islands (around 2,000) except for the Community of Madrid and Andalusia who refused it.

09/12 - 21/12 2020

  • EuroMed Rights travelled to the Canaries to see the conditions in the camp of Barranco Seco. The photo reportage is available online. 
  • On 18 December 2020, the first of the 7 new emergency camps that are being built on the Canary Islands has begun to operate. The Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations has confirmed this first transfer of migrants to the new camp built at the old León school, in the neighbourhood of El Lasso, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. 
  • Between 14 and 15 December 2020, around 181 migrants aboard six boats were rescued by the Spanish Coast Guard (Salvamento Maritimo). Some disembarked at the Arguineguin port in Gran Canaria and the others at the port of Los Cristianos in TenerifeA 22-year-old migrant was found dead in a hotel used temporarily to accommodate migrants on the islands, amid tensions and anti-migrant demonstrations from local communities.  
  • On 15 December 2020, the Spanish government approved measures for a total of EUR 83 million to improve the reception conditions of migrants in the Canary Islands, including EUR 30 million allocated to the Red Cross and EUR 53 million to “cover the needs of applicants and beneficiaries of international protection 
  • On 14 December 2020, 12 migrants arrived in Granada airport from the Canary Islands. The government is denying all involvement in these transfers, insisting that migrants fly in “commercial flights, like other passengers”. However, as of 11 December 2020, the government has intensified police controls at airports in the Canary Islands thus preventing migrants’ departures to the peninsula. 
  • On 14 December 2020, the Spanish Interior Minister, during the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council, stressed the need for the EU Migration Pact to provide for “an equitable distribution of responsibility”.     
  • On 10 December 2020, the European Commission announced a total of EUR 43.2 million new funding to Spain to increase reception conditions in the Canary Islands, including access to health assistance, food and sanitation.   
  • Increased arrivals to the Canary Islands from Senegal, where around 80% of people leaving the countries are fishermen in search of economic security. Since October 2020, more than 400 people from Senegal have died attempting the crossing and several boats remain missing at sea. 

24/11 – 08/12 2020

  • On 7 December 2020, around 21 Moroccan migrants were expelled to Laayoun from the Canary Islands. On readmissions, Spain is increasing cooperation and negotiations with Senegal too.  
  • On 5-6 December 2020, around 200 people were rescued off Gran Canaria and after a first identification at the Arguineguin dock by the Spanish Red Cross, they were brought to the Barranco Seco military camp to undergo further screening and registration procedures. Migrants at Barranco Seco should have remained for a maximum of 72 hours. In the Barranco Seco camp there are around 800 people, with high risk of overcrowding. Concerns on the use of this first reception camp include: limited (if not absent) access to asylum procedures; inadequate reception conditions (amounting to detention) and the presence of children, women and families. Following the 72 hours, migrants are accommodated in hotels scattered in the islands for a quarantine period of 14 days during which they are “invited” not to go out. Six camps are now under construction to host around 7000 migrants who will be transferred there from the hotels in the coming weeks. Since November 2020, an increase in arrivals of Moroccan nationals has been registered, with Moroccans accounting for 80% of all arrivals at the Canaries now. Of the almost 20,000 migrants arrived from all of Africa in the Canary Islands this year, there are now around 10,000 on the islands, including 2,000 minors. Although the Spanish government is not openly declaring that transfers to the peninsula are carried out, many people, especially Moroccan passport-holders, have already left the islands by plane or ferry. Some transfers of asylum seekers are also taking place.  
  • On 1st December 2020, around 70 migrants arrived by boat in the Canary Islands and were taken to Arguineguin harbor in Gran CanariaThe overcrowded camp built therewhich had accommodated up to 2,600 people in deplorable conditions, was dismantled only days before following appeals from the Spanish Ombudsman to evacuate people stuck in deplorable conditions. Migrants kept there before said they were not allowed to leave the camp and received no information regarding the possibility to leave freely after 72 hours, as the Ministry of Interior affirms.  
  • On 24 November 2020, 8 people died off the coasts of Lanzarote (Canary Islands)after their boat capsized.   
  • On the same day when Barcelona announces it will transfer 50 migrants from the Canary Islands, around 40 Algerian migrants were deported from the CIE in Barcelona, as the Iridia Human Rights Centre denounced  
  • Six autonomous governments agree to transfer migrants now stuck in the Canary Islands despite the central government’s refusal.  

12/11 - 23/11 2020

  • During his visit to Morocco, Spanish Interior Minister asked his Moroccan counterpart to reinforce controls of the Atlantic route and to repatriate Moroccan nationals, but no agreement has been reached.
  • On 22 November 2020, the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs d an agreement to restart the expulsions . He also revealed that Spain will sending  a patrol ship and a plane of the Guardia Civil to support the Senegalese patrol system.
  • On 20 November 2020, the Spanish Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations, José Luis Escrivá, announced that 7000 temporary reception places, in the forms of tents, will be provided in the three main islands of arrivals of the Canaries to accommodate migrants. Another 5,500 migrants will be hosted in 17 hotels and apartment buildings. At the same time, the Minister of Migration announced that he wanted to create 6,000 places in military tent camps and 7,000 "more stable accommodation" in buildings. Of the estimated 18,300 people who have reached the Canary Islands so far this year, 65% arrived in Gran Canaria, 20% in Tenerife, and 10% in Fuerteventura. The MinisterEscrivá estimates that only 10% are potential asylum seekers and refuses to transfer migrants to the mainland. The reception system in the islands will be financed with 43 million from the EU Recovery Fund.
  • On 19 November 2020, the Spanish Constitutional Court approved the pushbacks (so-called “hot returns”) of migrants at the Ceuta and Melilla borders, by stressing that its decision is in conformity with the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights on the same issue last February, amid strong condemnation by human rights organisations.
  • On 17 November 2020, around 225 people were evacuated from the Arguineguín port in Gran Canaria, but thousands still remain there.
  • The Spanish government is negotiating with Frontex and the government of Senegal to set up new areal operations to patrol the Atlantic route. The Spanish government is said to increase funding for cooperation by EUR 500 million. Mauritanian authorities said they will expel migrants of other nationalities who have been deported to Mauritania. Human rights organisations nced opacity and mistreatment during repatriation flights from Spain.
  • UNHCR and IOM declared they will deploy officers in the Canary Islands as of January 2021 to help manage the situation in a “dignified and humane manner”.
  • Departures from Senegal to the Canary Islands have increased. On November 16, 2020, more than 100 people died following the explosion of the engine of their boat from Senegal. 6 people who were on board swam to the island of Sal, Cape Verde, to ask for help: one person among them died and 66 others were saved

29/10 - 10/11 2020

  • On 7 November 2020, almost 1,100 migrants, including one dead, arrived in the Canary Islands on 18 different boats in one day: the highest number since 2006-2007. On 8 November 2020, another 600 migrants were rescued by the ‘Salvamento Marítimo’ and brought to the Arguineguín Pier on Gran Canaria. Around 1300 migrants are now stuck in deplorable conditions on that dock.
  • On 6-7 November 2020, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, visited the Canary Islands with Spanish Interior Minister, Grande-Marlaska, who announced he will close the Arguineguín migrant camp in Gran Canaria where 800 people are currently detained. The Spanish Interior Minister will visit Morocco on 20 November to discuss migration management.
  • Frontex deployed officers in Canary Islands for registration and identification of migrants. While the Spanish government is negotiating with Frontex the relaunch of a possible joint operation to try to stop the arrival of boats to the islands.
  • In just one week at the end of October 2020, approximately 480 people died or have gone missing along the Atlantic route. On 29 October 2020, at least 140 people lost their lives off the Senegalese coasts in the deadliest shipwreck recorded in 2020.
  • Alarm Phone published its Western Mediterranean Regional Analysis covering the period 1 June 2020 - 30 September 2020.

15/10 - 26/10 2020

  • Spain’s procedures to determine the age of unaccompanied migrant children violated their fundamental human rights, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has found. 
  • The NGO Alarm Phone reports that a daily average of 144 peopleincluding people from Gambia and Mauritania, had arrived on the Canary Islands in the first two weeks of October 2020.  
  • The Spanish photojournalist Javier Bauluz denounces his preventing from accessing and getting closer to the migrants disembarking on the Canary Islands. 
  • 12 children were separated from their mothers after disembarking at the Canary Islands, amid indignation against these inhumane measures. The media outlet Cadena Ser reports that Spain has been convicted four times for these practices before the European Court of Human Rights 
  • 15 young Moroccans have reportedly perished or disappeared at sea during a shipwreck in an attempt to reach the Canary Islands from Dakhla. The Moroccan Association for Human Rights  blames authorities for not acting to save lives and calls for an investigation into the incident. Another 100 people are feared to have drowned trying to reach the Canary Islands from Senegal 

28/09 - 12/10 2020

  • Canary Islands : Between 8 and 10 October 2020, around 1,015 migrants, mainly from Tunisia and sub-Saharan African countries, aboard a total of 37 boats, arrived in the Canary Islands. The Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration declared that the reception capacity of Gran Canaria must be expanded. Migrant reception centres across the Canary islands are stretched to capacity.

Migrants and refugees in Algeria

12/11 - 23/11

  • Alarm Phone Sahara continues to monitor and denounce the increased deportations from Algeria to Niger, with 445 people deported on 12 November and 644 on 14 November, accounting for a total of 1089 people deported in just 3 days. The Spanish Government is reportedly working to stipulate an agreement with Algiers to speed up the expulsions of Algerians arriving in Andalusia, who today are the main nationality among those arriving by sea (7644 as of September 30, 2020).

29/10 - 10/11

  • The NGO Alarm Phone Sahara denounces continued deportations of migrants from Sub-Saharan countries from Algeria to Niger and publishes several testimonies of violence by Algerian security forces against deported people. Since the end of September 2020, at least 6,747 people (including children) were violently deported.  

15/10 - 26/10

  • On 19 October 2020, 6 people aboard a dinghy were finally rescued by the Italian Coast Guard off the coast of Sicily. This took place after numerous callwhich remained unanswered and after they spent more than 10 days at sea5 other people who were on board died and the bodies were thrown at sea. The boat had departed from Algeria on 9 October. 

28/09 - 12/10

  • Increased departures from Algeria to Spain. Between 6 and 7 October 2020, 228 Algerians, on 18 different boats, were intercepted by the Spanish coast guard of Murcia.
  • Human Rights Watch denounces the pushbacks from Algeria to Niger that affected thousands of migrants and asylum seekers between the 5 and the 9 of October 2020. According to humanitarian organisations working in Niger, since the beginning of September Algeria has expelled to Niger more than 3,400 migrants of at least 20 different nationalities, including 430 children and 240 women. The total number of deportations to Niger from Algeria this year amounts to 16,000 people.

Migrants and refugees in Bulgaria

28/09 – 09/10

  • In Bulgaria, an increasing number of Turkish asylum seekers who try to submit an asylum application are deported to Turkey, in violation of EU and international conventions.

Migrants and refugees in Belgium

08/02/2021 – 22/02/2021

  • The occupation of the Beguinage Church and of the University ULB continues in Brussels. Around 230 undocumented people, including 90 women and some children, of seven different nationalities are currently staying in the Beguinage Church. The people, united under the movement L’union des sans papiers pour la regularisation, are calling for their immediate regularisation and the recognition of their rights. Their actions are receiving more media attention and solidarity.

8/02/2021

  • Since 31 January 2021, around 200 undocumented people have occupied the Beguinage Church in Brussels with the consent of the priest. They are calling on authorities to be heard and to be regularised.   

24/11 – 08/12 2020

  • Belgium declared it will transfer 150 refugees from Greece by the end of 2020.  

15/10 - 26/10 2020 

  • The so-called “Bossuyt Commission”, in charge of evaluating the Belgian policy of voluntary returns and forced removal of foreigners, published its final report in mid-September 2020. Many Belgian civil society organisations produced a detailed analysis and assessment of this report, highlighting its flaws and loopholes.  

Migrants and refugees in France

08/02/2021 – 22/02/2021

  • The NGO Utopia56 denounced the alarming situation in the coastal region in Northern France, amounting to a humanitarian emergency, where more than 1000 people, including women and unaccompanied children, live on the street amid freezing temperatures and snow.
  • On 6 February 2021, around 36 migrants attempted to cross the Channel to reach the UK on two boats.They were rescued off Calais and taken back to France.
  • On 3 February 2021, the French authorities reportedly pushed back ,at the French-Spanish border, a 16-year-old boy who was directly handed over to Spanish authorities, without possibility to appeal to the decision, and he was left alone in the street. Different associations strongly denounced this incident and the unlawful pushbacks at the French borders. At the French-Italy border, in the Alps, an increased number of people attempting to reach France were prevented from accessing asylum procedures and were pushed back to Italy.

21/12 2020 – 8/2 2021

  • The anthropologist, Didier Fassin, and the doctor, Alfred Sprira, denounced the daily human rights violations committed by the State at the Italian-French border in the Alps.

12/01/2021 - 25/01/2021

  • On 19 January 2021, migrants were  evicted from their shelters under two bridges in the city centre of Calais, in the North of FranceAccording to a press release from the prefecture, "115 people were taken care of and transported to be sheltered in different accommodation structures in the department (NédonchelCroisilles and Merlimont)". On 16-17 January 2021, despite the activation of the “Cold weather plan” in Calais, hundreds of migrants stuck there have been forced to sleep under the snow in freezing temperatures. In the Puythouck forest, in Gran-Synthe, another 500 migrants are living there in inhumane conditions.  
  • In 2020 there has been a 41% drop in the number of asylum requests in France, also due to the travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic.  

21/12 2020 –12/1 2021

  • Between 400 and 800 migrants - mainly Sudanese, Eritreans, Ethiopians, Afghans and Pakistanis - live in makeshift camps in the Calais region. In recent weeks, local associations have denounced several cases of hypothermia and expulsions, without any long-lasting solutions by the authorities.

21/12

  • Le Monde denounces an alarming situation in detention centres (CRAs) amid the health crisis, where physical distance and adequate sanitary conditions do not apply. 
  • On 16 December 2020, nine associations, members of the French Coordination for the Right of Asylum, trade unions and foreigners concerned, made a complaint to the Council of State to suspend the freezing of visas for family reunification, which has prevented families of refugees and foreigners in France since March 2020 to reunite. 

24/11 – 08/12 2020

  • On 7 December 2020, the French Minister of Justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti, and his counterpart, Mohamed Ben Abdelkader, signed in Rabat, Morocco, a readmission agreement for unaccompanied minors.  
  • The French Minister of Interior Gerald Darmanin, declared he will launch an investigation into accusations of brutal force used by the French police in dismantling migrant camp, including by attacking refugees, journalists and others with truncheons and teargas, according to The Guardian.  
  • On 28-29 November 2020, 64 migrants, including children and a pregnant woman, were rescued by the French coast guard in an attempt to cross the Channel.  
  • France and the UK issued a joint declaration on future bilateral cooperation on migration management aiming at preventing migrants and asylum seekers to reach the UK from France. The plan includes enhancing border surveillance tech equipmentsan increase in police forces to investigate and dissuade crossings and increase border controls. 

12/11 - 23/11 2020

  • On 17 November 2020, French police dismantled a migrant camp in Saint-Denis, northern Paris, for public health reasons, where at least 2,000 people were staying. The evacuees have been screened for COVID-19 and housed in a hotel until at least mid-December.
  • On 15 November 2020, French Minister of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, stated that France is willing to “reduce the number of visas granted to citizens of countries that are reluctant to take back their undocumented nationals”.

29/10 - 10/11 2020

  • At the end of October 2020, a family of four Iranian Kurds died while trying to cross the Channel in a boat. 15 people onboard survived but another 9 are feared to be dead.  

15/10 - 26/10 2020 

  • On 18 October 2020, the body of a dead man, who might have been trying to cross the Channel, has been found on the shores near Calais. More than 6,100 migrants have arrived in the UK on small boats so far in 2020.  

Migrants and refugees in Croatia

08/02/2021 – 22/02/2021

  • Croatia’s Interior Ministry failed to establish an independent monitoring mechanism at its borders to investigate allegations of human rights violations, following repeated requests by the European Commission and the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), the last one in November 2020.

21/12 2020 – 8/2 2021

  • On 30 January 2021, four Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group were stopped for several hours by the Croatian police while they were trying to see what is happening at the border with Bosnia and they were visiting the migrants’ dire conditions in the refugee camp in Bihac. Croatian Interior Minister, Davor Bozinovic, accused the MEPs of “discrediting the country’s reputation” and of “provoking” Croatian police. The MEPs stated that an investigation will be requested by European authorities and that migrants are stuck in “inhumane” conditions at the border.

21/12 2020 –12/1 2021

  • On 23 December 2020, the Lipa migrant camp in the Bosnian region of Bihac, close to the Croatian border, was set on fire and destroyed. After one week, the 1,300 migrants who were hosted there in deplorable conditions are still without shelter, together with another 2,000 homeless migrants at the Bihac border, in an extreme cold weather. Around 10,000 migrants are estimated to be stuck in a limbo at the Bosnia-Croatia border, hiding in the woods with no access to food, water, accommodation, healthcare and basic needs and suffering from brutal attacks from the police. The European Union has been supporting Bosnia with EUR 60 million for migration management, asylum and border control and pledged EUR 25 million more. The European Commission released a statement urging the authorities to find a solution and reopen other migrant facilities and on 3 January announced an additional €3.5 million in humanitarian aid. While reports of pushbacks along the Balkan route intensifies, with numerous human rights organisations denouncing illegal pushbacks from Italy to Slovenia and then to Croatia and further back to Bosnia and Herzegovina. A recent report from the Italian newspaper Avvenire also sheds light on the dangers of those territories which are the world's most dangerous minefields.

21/12 2020

  • On 11 December 2020Syrian asylum applicant and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHRsubmitted a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee on Croatia’s practice of pushbacks. Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) published on 18 December 2020 publication on illegal border pushbacks gathering evidence and testimonies of the violence suffered by over 12,000 people across the Balkan Route.  

12/11 - 24/11 2020

  • On the occasion of the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on Croatia, several UN member states have made recommendations regarding “investigations into the use of excessive force against refugees and other migrants, ending illegal deportations, improving border management in line with international human rights standards, and combating discrimination against refugees and other migrants”.
  • The European Ombudsman’s Office has announced that it will open an inquiry into the possible failure of the European Commission to ensure that Croatian authorities respected fundamental rights while conducting EU-funded border operations against migrants and refugees.
  • Pressures from Croatian authorities against the partner of a migrant rights defender and member of the human rights organisation Are you Syrious. The partner, an Iraqi refugee in Croatia, saw his refugee status revoked by the Ministry of Interior on 11 May 2020. On 5 November 2020, the appeal hearing into the case was scheduled at the Administrative Court of Zagreb.
  • New videos and reports confirm abuses against migrants by the Croatian police at the Bosnia-Croatian border. A visual investigation from Border Violence Monitoring Network presents witness testimonies of brutal violence regarding the case of a violent pushback to the Bosnian village of Poljana on March 23rd, 2020. The investigation was published on Der Spiegel.

15/10 - 26/10 2020 

  • The Danish Refugee Council has documented a series of brutal pushbacks that took place on the Bosnia-Croatian border between 12 and 16 October 2020. These involved dozens of asylum seekers who have allegedly been whipped, robbed and, in one case, sexually abused by members of the Croatian police. Further testimoniesvideos and photos of the violence were also published by the NGO Border Violence Monitoring Network “suggesting that the violence is the product of a concerted effort by the Croatian authorities to deter transit and brutalize groups attempting to make journeys further into EuropeThese types of violations have become systematic practice of the Croatian police denounced the Croatian Centre for Peace Studies, which also organised a street action in the European square in Zagreb.   
  • EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, stated that she will pressure Croatian authorities to investigate reports of pushbacks and inhumane treatment at the Bosnia-Croatian border. Croatian authorities deny any violenceThe Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatoviccalled on the Croatian authorities to stop pushbacks and border violence, to ensure full cooperation with independent monitoring mechanisms and to publish the report of the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture on their rapid reaction visit to the country.  
  • In its September 2020 Reportthe NGO Border Violence Monitoring Network documented 40 cases of pushbacks along the Balkan Route and in Greece and analysed how these illegal and violent acts take place and how they impact people-on-the-move 

Migrants and refugees in Italy

08/02/2021 – 22/02/2021

  • Between 19 and 20 February 2021, two boats capsized off Lampedusa, one of them during the rescue operations, leaving between 50 and 120 people missing. The public prosecutor of Agrigento opened an investigation into the shipwreck happened during the transhipment operations in Italian territorial waters. The aircraft Moonbird of the NGO SeaWatch spotted more than 450 people on board 6 boats. On 21 February 2021, around 80 migrants were rescued by the merchant vessel Vos Triton and following protests of migrants on board not to be pushed back to Libya, the vessel inverted course and is now close to Lampedusa.  The vessel Asso Trenta rescued around 232 people in distress at sea.
  • Between 17 and 18 February 2021, around 230 people arrived in Lampedusa. On 13 February 2021, Open Arms rescued around 107 people, many of them were women and children, in Maltese Search and Rescue zone. On 16 February 2021, Porto Empedocle in Sicily was assigned as port of disembarkation for the 146 people on board the Open Arms.
  • On 4 February 2021, Doctors for Human Rights (MEDU) released a report on the critical situation at the French-Italian border in the Alps, where around 4700 people transited from September to December 2020, including 390 minors. The snow, freezing temperatures and the militarisation of the border result in increased risks and dangers. Systematic pushbacks from France to Italy have been reported and a constant criminalisation of solidarity, including the closure of temporary aid shelters along the route.
  • In the framework of further attempting to externalise border controls and increase returns, the Italian defence and security company Leonardo will provide a drone to the Italian Interior Ministry to patrol migratory routes in the Mediterranean sea, while pushbacks increase and the Italian Coast Guard is failing to publicly share data on search and rescue activities in the Central Mediterranean.

21/12 2020 – 8/2 2021

  • A press conference on “Pushback to Libya: legal action against private companies and the Italian government” organised by the Italian Association for Legal Studies on Immigration (ASGI) and Amnesty International Italy will take place On 12 February 2021,. The conference will discuss the case of five Eritrean citizens who were illegitimately pushed back on 2 July 2018 by the Augusta Offshore vessel "Asso Ventinove" as part of operations coordinated by the Italian authorities stationed in Libya in collaboration of the so-called Libyan coastguard.
  • On 7 February 2021, the Italian authorities have assigned Augusta, Sicily, as a safe port of disembarkation for the 422 people on board the Ocean Viking.
  • On 4 February 2021, around 99 people arrived in Lampedusa from Libya. On the same day, Sea-Watch’s aircraft Moon Bird identified around 350 people in distress at sea on five different boats: 25 people in Malta’s Search and Rescue (SAR) zone and 330 in Libyan SAR zone.
  • On 2 February 2021, 4 years after the signature of the Italy-Libya memorandum of understanding, six Italian NGOs called on the Italian Parliament to suspend the bilateral agreements with Libya and to launch a search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean. In 4 years, more than 50 000 people have been pushed back to Libya, 12 000 only in 2020.
  • On 27 January 2021, the UN Human Rights Committee found that Italy had failed to respond to various distress calls and to protect the right to life of more than 200 migrants on board of a vessel that sank in 2013. The Committee calls on Italy to investigate and prosecute those responsible and to provide effective remedies to the victims’ families.
  • The Barcelona City Council will join the Open Arms trial against former Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini as a civil party. The municipality will appear as the accusing party in the proceedings in which Salvini may have to answer for kidnapping and refusing to perform official acts.
  • Two asylum seekers in Italy have received a special residence permit due to serious labour exploitation, after having been victims of a criminal organization that is now on trial.

13/01/2021 - 25/01/2021

  • On 13 January 2021, the Interior Minister, Luciana Lamorgese stated at a parliamentary hearing that Slovenia and Croatia were “safe countries”. This came despite numerous evidence and testimonies of brutal police violence against migrants in those countries. A few days later, the Court of Rome condemned Italy for those refoulement procedures.  
  • On 13 January 2021 again, the Interior Ministry, in a report to the Italian Parliament on the activities of Police Forces in 2019, stressed the importance of the cooperation with Libya and to limit the rescue NGOs’ activities in the Mediterranean in order to “reduce the migratory flow”.  
  • On 14 January 2021, 26 people (from Iraq), including women and minors, arrived in the port of Salerno, Italy, inside two containers where they had spent the whole journey from Turkey.  
  • On 25 January 2021, the rescue vessel Ocean Viking of the NGO SOS Mediterranée disembarked 373 people rescued in less than 48 hours, among them many infants and unaccompanied minors, in the port of Augusta, Sicily. On the same day, 45 people who fled Libya two days before arrived autonomously in Lampedusa.  

21/12 2020 –12/1 2021

  • On 31 December 2020, the SAR NGO Open Arms rescued 169 people, including 12 women, 6 children and 40 teenagers, most of them Eritreans, who had left Sabratha, Libya. On 2 January 2021, Open Arms rescued other 96 people, including 2 women and 17 minors, who had left Zuwarah on 31 December and were left adrift for two days with no water or food. After the 265 rescued people were disembarked in Italy, the Open Arms’ crew was stopped in Porto Empedocle, Sicily, for a mandatory quarantine. The preliminary hearing on the case against former Italian Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, accused of abusing power by preventing Open Arms from anchoring in 2019 and to allow about 100 migrants to disembark, is adjournedto 20 March
  • On 23 December 2020, Alarm Phone (AP) was alerted that around 65 people, including children, were in distress at sea South of Lampedusa. On 24 December 2020, AP reported that three boats arrived in Lampedusa.
  • 13 people who left Libya on 24 December 2020 for Lampedusa are still missing at sea. Alarm Phone transferred the distress call to Italian, Maltese, Libyan authorities and Frontex. It seems that Frontex replied to the call, contrary to its usual practice, and sent two patrolling flights on 26 December 2020. Alarm Phone, Sea Watch and the Italian MP Erasmo Palazzotto, among others, are calling for immediate action by the Italian and Maltese Coast Guard to find and rescue them.
  • On 20 December 2020, 110 migrants, including many women and children, landed in Locri, Calabria, escaping from Turkey.

09/12 - 21/12 2020

  • On 18 December 2020, the Italian Senate approved the new Immigration Decree which abrogated the so-called “Security Decrees”, from the former Interior Minister Salvini. Among the main changes: reducing the time needed to obtain citizenship, introduction of a new legal permit for “special protection” ; penal fines for SAR NGOs (before was only administrative); reduction of detention time in CIEs from 180 to 90 days and slightly improved measures for reception and integration. 
  • The experience aboard a refugee quarantine boat in Sicily, told by psychologists of the Italian Red Cross. Numerous appeals have been voiced against the use of quarantine boats which raise numerous concernsit increases the infection risks instead of reducing it; it is discriminatory and non-transparent and reduces the access to asylum; and, it is extremely expensive as it costs 4-5 times more than reception on the territory – funds that could be spent to increase protection and integration. Italian media reported that another minor had died following evacuation from a quarantine boat on 14 September. Despite the fact that the 17-year-old from Somalia suffered from tuberculosis, he was kept on one of these boats.     
  • Increased arrivals on the island of Lampedusa, with around 300 people disembarked in one day on 15 December 2020 from three different boats. Among them, around 60 women and many childrencoming mainly from Tunisia.   

24/11 – 08/12 2020

  • On 4 December 2020, Italian Defence Minister met his GNA Libyan counterpart in Rome to sign a military agreement aimed at further strengthening cooperation on border controls and migration management.  

12/11 - 23/11 2020

  • Increased systematic pushbacks from Italy to Slovenia have been documented, with 1,321 people returned to Slovenia in 2020. These pushbacks triggered further chain refoulements to Croatia and Bosnia.

15/10 – 26/10 2020

  • The association ASGI denounced the recent practice of using quarantine boats to precede direct expulsions of many Tunisian migrants. It is reported that numerous Tunisians have been transferred from the quarantine boats directly to repatriation centres and then deported to Tunisia, without having the possibility to apply for international protection. It is reported that an unaccompanied minor has been transferred to a repatriation centre from a quarantine boat.  
  • The Ministry of Interior decided to stop transfers of migrants from reception centres across Italy to the quarantine boats, following numerous appeals by civil society organisations who had denounced this unlawful practice. Following aparliamentary question from the MP Erasmo Palazzotto, the Minister of Interior Luciana Lamorgese declared that 25 additional facilities (or a capacity of 2700 places) would be made available on land across the territory in order to quarantine migrants and asylum seekers who tested positive to COVID-19.  
  • However, numerous minors are still onboard the quarantine boats and civil society associations asked the government not to keep minors at sea for the quarantine period.  
  • In a continued attempt to criminalise solidarity, five search and rescue boats have been detained in the last five months, including MSF's Sea-Watch 4 MSF reported 
  • On 16 October 2020, 60 asylum seekers have been relocated to Germany in the framework of the voluntary relocation mechanism under the Malta Declaration of September 2019. The relocation operations are covered by the European Commission’s DG HOME and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Since September 2019, 1,139 asylum seekers have been relocated to other EU Member States under the Malta Declaration.  
  • Italy publishes the decree to allow seasonal workers to enter Italy for work, amounting to 18,000 people. 6,000 places are reserved for agricultural seasonal workers; 12,850 places are reserved for non-seasonal and self-employed work of which 6,000 are reserved for non-seasonal employment in the road haulage, construction and tourism-hotel sectors for citizens of countries that have signed or are about to sign cooperation agreements on migration with Italy. Countries such as Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Palestine are excluded from the decree, while Pakistan has been added.  
  • The Ministry of the Interior intends to use a drone to oversee the Mediterranean for 12 months, for a total of EUR 8.8 million contract. This aims to "extend the surveillance of the external maritime borders" and "combat illegal immigration". The reference to search and rescue operations to save people’s lives is not even mentioned. Meanwhile, the Government continues to deny access to the records of the Italy-Libya cooperation. 
  • The Italian newspaper Avvenire reports that Turkey took over the control and training of the so-called Libyan Coast Guards and its patrol boats, given by ItalyBetween 2017 and 2018, Italy financially supported the Libyan Coast Guards at a level of EUR 1,8 million. Now, Tripoli and Ankara will decide together when to intercept migrants at sea and when to let them reach the Italian coasts. 

Migrants and Refugees in Malta

21/12 2020 – 8/2 2021

  • According to the Times of Malta, since 2007, the EU disbursed EUR 22.5 million to Malta for migration management and humanitarian aid. According to Interior Minister, Byron Camilleri, this is not enough as Malta carried a “disproportionate burden”.
  • Several reports of physical torture have been received by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) from migrants detained in the Lyster and Safi barracks. Reports include “beatings, solitary confinement, denial or delay of medical care and, in some cases, electrocution”.

25/01/2021

  • On 12 January 2021, Malta’s Interior Minister declared that a number of asylum seekers whose asylum request had been rejected have been returned to their country of origin, without specifying how many people were returned and where.  
  • Testimonies report the unbearable detention conditions of migrants and asylum seekers in closed centres in Malta.  

21/12 2020 - 21/01 2021

  • 270 people were relocated from Malta to other EU member states in 2020 in the framework of the voluntary relocation process under the 2019 Malta Declaration. The relocation operations are co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), implemented by the International Organisation for Migration and coordinated by the EU Commission.

09/12 - 21/12 2020

  • In an article on PoliticoMalta’s minister for European and foreign affairs, Evarist Bartolo, declared that the EU should outsource migration management and build migrant camps outside the EU, “in Libya or in other African countries”.  

24/11 – 08/12 2020

  • A Court in Malta condemns the government’s arbitrary detention of four asylum seekers arrived in June 2020 on the island that lasted for 166 days.   

12/11 - 23/11 2020

  • On 29 October 2020, an Ivorian national was released, after having been detained for medical reasons, following a decision by the Maltese Court of Magistrates who had found numerous cases of such types of detentions without any legal basis.

29/10 - 10/11 2020

  • 50 asylum seekers have filed a constitutional case against the Maltese government claiming effective remedies for the breaches of human rights suffered during a pushback to Libya in April 2020.  

15/10 - 26/10 2020

  • The NGOs Border Violence Monitoring Network and Sea-Watch have submitted a joint report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee regarding Malta’s continued violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  

Migrants and refugees in Syria

08/02/2021 – 22/02/2021

  • The Syria Justice and Accountability Center (SJAC) presented a submission to the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor to investigate Greek authorities and Frontex agents for abuses against asylum-seekers that could amount to crimes against humanity.
  • The NGO Basmeh & Zeitooneh published a new report on the effects of military conscription on Syrian refugees, as well as Syrians still living in Syria.

21/12 2020 – 8/2 2021

  • Due to heavy rains, snow and floods, more than 24,000 displaced people have lost their shelters in Northwest Syria: one child died and three other people were injured. Amid increased needs in Northern Syria, with rising cases of COVID-19, NGOs warn that the humanitarian access to the area has been significantly reduced.

24/11 – 08/12 2020

  • According to the UN, 3 million displaced Syrians in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo are in urgent need of help as heavy rains destroyed their tents, amid an increasingly cold weather This comes as Germany is planning to examine whether Norther Syria is safe for returns, amid strong criticisms.  

29/10 - 10/11

  • As Danish authorities declared that they now consider Damascus safe and are reassessing numerous refugee statuses, Syrian refugees in Denmark are now living in constant fear of being returned. Syrian refugees have to show evidence that they will be persecuted if returned and, if there is no due process and the evidence is not considered properly by Danish authorities, the return amounts to refoulement, warns Human Rights Watch.
  • On 4 November 2020, at least 7 people were killed (including 4 children) under bombings by the Syrian governments in Idlib. In the last rebel-held province, humanitarian organisations are warning that civilians, especially children, are suffering from severe malnutrition.
  • Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in a video call with Bashar al-Assad, on 9 November 2020, said Syrian refugees should return as many areas of Syria “enjoy relative peace”. On 11-12 November 2020, a Russian-sponsored conference on refugee returns will take place in Syria, while Russian airstrikes on civilians in Idlib have intensified.

 

15/10 – 26/10

  • O15 October 2020, Human Rights Watch published a 167-page report on 46 attacks by Syrian and Russian forces that destroyed civilian infrastructure in the Idlib governorate in SyriaHuman Rights Watch revealed how researchers exposed the abusive military strategy behind attacks on civilians in northern Syria – without visiting the sites.  

Migrants and refugees in Egypt

21/12

  • On 18 December 2020, the European Parliament adopted an urgency resolution on the deteriorating situation of human rights in Egypt, which “reiterates that cooperation in the areas of migration management or counter-terrorism, but also geopolitical considerations, should not come at the expense of continued pressure for human rights compliance and accountability for human rights abuses”

12/11-23/11

  • Xenophobia and violence against Sudanese refugees are on the rise in Egypt. The Guardian reported that many Sudanese opponents of the Sudanese government living in Egypt have been “imprisoned, tortured and handed over to the Sudanese security forced”. The 10 Sudanese refugees who have been arrested on 29 October by the Egyptian intelligence services and detained for almost three weeks without access to lawyers, were eventually released on 20 November on a bail of 2,000 Egyptian pounds each.

29/10 – 10/11

  • The killing, on 29 October 2020, of a 12-year-old Sudanese child by an Egyptian man sparked protests among the Sudanese community in Cairo. Amnesty International is calling for the release of the ten Sudanese migrants and refugees who were arbitrarily arrested by Egyptian security forces while peacefully demonstrating.   

Migrants and refugees in Lebanon

21/12 2020 – 8/2 2021

  • Syrians who sought refuge in Lebanon are under pressure as never before to return to Syria, which is still too unsafe According to UNHCR, about 90% of them do not have legal residency in Lebanon and 90% of them live below the extreme poverty line.
  • Human Rights Watch is calling for an equitable and transparent distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Lebanon, “regardless of nationality or residency status”, because of the gaps and flaws in the vaccine program planning.

21/12 2020 –12/1 2021

  • A recently published UN study denounces the deteriorating and alarming living conditions of Syrian refugees in camps in Lebanon, with almost 90% of them living in extreme poverty.

24/11 – 08/12 2020

  • In Lebanon’s overcrowded refugee camps in the Beqaa Valley, where social distancing is impossible, refugees having tested positive to COVID-19 suffer from stigma and discrimination 

29/10 – 10/11 2020

  • On 30 October 2020, Lebanon’s State Shura Council suspended the implementation of a new standard unified contract, which included protections and safeguards for migrant domestic workers and was in the direction of abolishing the kafala system.  

Partenariat Euro-Méditerranéen: comment mieux prendre en compte les droits humains ?

Il y a 25 ans, 27 Etats européens et du bassin méditerranéen ainsi que l’UE signaient le partenariat Euro-Méditerranéen (également connu comme Déclaration de Barcelone) pour tenter de renforcer les partenariats et la coopération politique, économique, sociale et également en matière de droits humains.

25 ans plus tard cependant, où en est cette coopération ? La Déclaration a-t-elle véritablement aidé à promouvoir les droits humains et le développement social ?

EuroMed Droits et le CNCD-11.11.11 vous invitent à un webinaire pour évaluer la prégnance des droits humains dans la Politique Européenne de Voisinage.

Enregistrez-vous pour cet événement Zoom sur avant le 25 novembre sur ce lien.

Panellistes:

  • Zahra Bazzi, Réseau des ONGs de développement arabes (ANND)
  • Iva Babic, Direction générale de la politique européenne de voisinage et des négociations d'élargissement (DG NEAR)
  • Salima Yenbou, Membre du Parlement européen et Présidente du groupe de travail du Parlement européen sur le voisinage sud
  • Nathalie Janne d’Othée, CNCD-11.11.11
  • Marion Sandner, EuroMed Droits

test page – 16 days of activism

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this page aims at shedding light on the situation of women rights in the Euro-Mediterranean region  

 

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Our Markets

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Latifa Omrani

Saturdays (8am - 2pm), Alameda, CA

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Jack London Farmers Market

Tuesdays (10am - 2pm), Oakland, CA

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Ferry Plaza Farmers Market

Thursdays (10am - 2pm), SF, CA

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Over 400 Local Merchants

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Nunc dictum pulvinar porta. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Curabitur tortor lorem, lacinia in nunc eget tristique volutpat urna.

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100% Organic

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Curabitur tortor lorem, lacinia in nunc eget, tristique volutpat urna. Pellentesque suscipit dolor metus, eu cursus sapien molestie non. Sed viverra mauris molestie purus hendrerit. Curabitur tortor lorem, lacinia in nunc eget, tristique volutpat urna.

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- Victor Novak, Califor Agro Ltd.

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- Victor Novak, Califor Agro Ltd.

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- Victor Novak, Califor Agro Ltd.

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- Victor Novak, Califor Agro Ltd.

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Special Events

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08 Sep 2017

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Organic Crops Showing Event 2017

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Maecenas lectus purus, pulvinar sed rutrum id, laoreet cursus nibh. Duis eu purus at convallis vehicula.

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08 Sep 2017

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Organic Crops Showing Event 2017

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Latest from the Blog

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Maghreb

16 days of activism: Speaking against online gender-based violence

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From 25 November to 10 December, EuroMed Rights and its members join the

UN Women campaign “16 days of activism against gender-based violence”

This page will be regularly updated with testimonies from feminist activists

in the Euro-Mediterranean region, stay tuned and feel free to share! 

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Targeting women’s lives is

facilitated by new technologies

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Egyptian human rights defender, Mozn Hassan, explains how new technologies facilitate violence against women human rights defenders

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The intricate links between

online and domestic violence

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://euromedrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Image_Dominique-Guillien-Isenmann-1-e1606745845272-150x144.jpg" title_text="Image_Dominique Guillien-Isenmann" align="center" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" width="75%" max_width="75%"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default"]

Organisations helping victims of domestic violence notice an increase in the use of online harassment tools. Solidarité Femmes President Dominique Guillien-Isenmann explains.

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16 days against

online gender-based violence

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Front (on)line

defender

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://euromedrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Signali-Féministement_Amal-Bint-Nadia-1-150x150.jpg" title_text="Signali Féministement_Amal Bint Nadia" align="center" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default"]

Organising online against hate-speech. Tunisian feminist Amal Bint Nadia tells us about the “Signali Féministement”’ Facebook initiative

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Gender violence,

a political affair

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Cyber violence reaches new highs in political circles. And this can affect our democracies. Asha Allen explains how the European Women's Lobby helps women politicians fight against online harassment

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Am I in porn?

Interview with Jonas Schnabel

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Are you in porn?

Meet the NGO fighting to end “revenge porn”

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Meet “Am I In Porn” is an NGO fighting a growing phenomenon both North and South of the Mediterranean: image-based abuse

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The Digital World:

A Double-Edged Sword For Women

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To end the 16 Days of Activism campaign, EuroMed Rights and Oxfam joined up to discuss the digital world and online gender-based violence in the MENA Region. Watch it again!

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Cyber violence -

Natalia Araya's testimony

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_video src="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUQ6AUwpHso&t=16s" thumbnail_overlay_color="rgba(0,0,0,0.6)" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" width="81%" max_width="81%" module_alignment="center"][/et_pb_video][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built="1" admin_label="Feature Section" _builder_version="4.6.5" custom_margin="10px||10px||false|false" custom_padding="10px||10px||false|false"][et_pb_row column_structure="1_3,1_3,1_3" admin_label="Stats" _builder_version="4.6.5" custom_margin="15px||15px||false|false" custom_padding="15px|0px|15px|0px|false|false"][et_pb_column type="1_3" _builder_version="3.25" custom_padding="|||" custom_padding__hover="|||"][et_pb_number_counter title="only of Moroccan women victims of online violence reported to the police in 2019" number="10" _builder_version="4.6.5" title_font="Lato||||||||" title_line_height="1.5em" number_font="Lato|700|||||||" number_text_color="#f75002" number_font_size="84px" custom_margin="||40px|"][/et_pb_number_counter][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_3" _builder_version="3.25" custom_padding="|||" custom_padding__hover="|||"][et_pb_number_counter title="the number of times women are more likely to be harassed online than men" number="27" percent_sign="off" _builder_version="4.6.5" title_font="Lato||||||||" title_line_height="1.5em" number_font="Lato|700|||||||" number_text_color="#374059" number_font_size="84px" custom_margin="||40px|" locked="off"][/et_pb_number_counter][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type="1_3" _builder_version="3.25" custom_padding="|||" custom_padding__hover="|||"][et_pb_number_counter title="of cyber-harassed EU women were victims of sexual/physical violence from a partner in 2014" number="77" _builder_version="4.6.5" title_font="Lato||||||||" title_line_height="1.5em" number_font="Lato|700|||||||" number_text_color="#FFFFFF" number_font_size="84px" custom_margin="||40px|"][/et_pb_number_counter][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built="1" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default"][et_pb_row _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" custom_margin="10px||10px||false|false" custom_padding="10px||10px||false|false" box_shadow_style="preset1"][et_pb_column type="4_4" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default"][et_pb_social_media_follow use_icon_font_size="on" icon_font_size="24px" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" text_orientation="center"][et_pb_social_media_follow_network social_network="facebook" url="https://www.facebook.com/EuroMedRights/" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" background_color="#3b5998" follow_button="off" url_new_window="on"]facebook[/et_pb_social_media_follow_network][et_pb_social_media_follow_network social_network="twitter" url="https://twitter.com/EuroMedRights" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" background_color="#00aced" follow_button="off" url_new_window="on"]twitter[/et_pb_social_media_follow_network][et_pb_social_media_follow_network social_network="youtube" url="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFiBDCKpslAq4QhUBPhEKTw" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" background_color="#a82400" follow_button="off" url_new_window="on"]youtube[/et_pb_social_media_follow_network][/et_pb_social_media_follow][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

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With the forgotten migrants of the Canary Islands

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Abandoned boats (pateras et cayucos), used for the migratory journey, at the Arguineguín dock in Gran Canaria ©SaraPrestianni

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This Friday, 18 December 2020, marks 20 years since the United Nations established International Migrants Day commemorating the adoption, in 1990, of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. It has been 30 years since European Union (EU) Member States have continued to ignore this text, which only seeks to recognise that all migrants are entitled to equal protection of all their fundamental rights. 

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://euromedrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/3-1.jpg" title_text="©SaraPrestianni" show_in_lightbox="on" admin_label="Migrant.e.s, y compris des femmes et des enfants" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" custom_margin="0px||0px||false|false" animation_style="fade"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label="Legende" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" text_font="|300|||||||" text_text_color="#686868" text_font_size="9px" text_line_height="1em" header_text_color="#636363" text_orientation="justified" custom_margin="2px||15px||false|false"]

Migrants, including women and children, disembarking at the Arguineguín dock in Gran Canaria, 5 December 2020 ©SaraPrestianni

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Locked up far from sight 

 

The migrants are then transferred to the military camp of 'Barranco Seco', which has been transformed into a "Temporary Reception Centre" (CATE - Centro de Atención Temporal de Extranjeros). This camp is located in an isolated, hidden and difficultto-reach place, since it is 10km from the centre of the capital, Las Palmas, and seems to have been placed there to escape the scrutiny of the press and civil society. Members of the national and European parliaments have been denied access to the camp, and on 4 December 2020 they were denied entry, despite the fact that their status entitles them to visit any place of detention on European soil.  

 

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://euromedrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/6-1.jpg" title_text="©ElenaBizzi" show_in_lightbox="on" admin_label="Frontex, la Croix-Rouge espagnole" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" custom_margin="||0px||false|false" animation_style="fade"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label="Legende" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" text_font="|300|||||||" text_text_color="#686868" text_font_size="9px" text_line_height="1em" header_text_color="#636363" text_orientation="justified" custom_margin="2px||15px||false|false"]

Frontex, the Spanish Red Cross and police authorities carrying out checks at the Arguineguín dock in Gran Canaria ©ElenaBizzi

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This procedure, already in place in the Canary Islands and inspired by the Greek (Moria camp in particular) and Italian (Lampedusa camps) models, appears to be the outline of the security vision of "pre-screening" camps that the European Union wishes to apply in the framework of its new Pact on Migration and Asylum.   

 

A future of uncertainty 

 

After this period of time, the only possible way out for migrants is almost always with an administrative document written in Spanish - a language not always understood by the people concerned - informing them that they are about to be deported. They are then directed to emergency reception centres - mainly run by the Red Cross - in fact empty hotels scattered around the islands, to be placed in quarantine for a fortnight.  

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://euromedrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/10.jpg" title_text="©SaraPrestianni" show_in_lightbox="on" admin_label="Migrant.e.s transférés du quai d’Arguineguín au camp militaire" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" custom_margin="||0px||false|false" animation_style="fade"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label="Legende" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" text_font="|300|||||||" text_text_color="#686868" text_font_size="9px" text_line_height="1em" header_text_color="#636363" text_orientation="justified" custom_margin="2px||15px||false|false"]

Migrants being transferred from the Arguineguín dock to the Barranco Seco military camp ©SaraPrestianni

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The Spanish state does not officially carry out any transfers to the peninsula. However, it does let those with passports go, even if they are subject to an expulsion order. The few who manage to obtain a pass are also allowed to leave.

Since November 2020, 80% of arrivals in the Canary Islands have been Moroccan citizens. If they arrive with a passport and have enough money to finance their transfer, they can leave the island fairly quickly. For the others, those without passports and without money, i.e. the most vulnerable, who generally come from Senegal and Mali, the only possibility left is to remain on the island without prospects. In mid-December there were nearly 10,000 of them, including 2,000 minors. 

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://euromedrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/15.jpg" title_text="©ElenaBizzi" show_in_lightbox="on" admin_label="Procédures d'identification et de contrôle" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" custom_margin="||0px||false|false" animation_style="fade"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label="Legende" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" text_font="|300|||||||" text_text_color="#686868" text_font_size="9px" text_line_height="1em" header_text_color="#636363" text_orientation="justified" custom_margin="2px||15px||false|false"]

Identification and screening procedures in the Barranco Seco CATE ©ElenaBizzi

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On 18 December 2020, no one can no longer ignore the fact that, in Europe, the protection of borders takes precedence over the rights of migrants. As proof of this, EuroMed Rights publishes today a photographic report from a recent mission to the Canary Islands. 

 

 

The Canaries, first entry point to Europe

for many Africans 

 

Since August 2020, more than 21,000 people have disembarked on these distant shores of the European Union. At the beginning of December 2020, the EuroMed Rights team in charge of this mission attended a rescue and disembarkation operation in the port of Arguinéguin, on the island of Gran Canaria: 130 people - including women and children - joined the hundreds of people who had been present for several months on this same island.   

Since the very recent closure of the Arguinéguin camp, the procedure now in place upon their arrival in the port provides for an initial identification on the quayside by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and a medical diagnosis by the Spanish Red Cross. 

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://euromedrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/7-scaled.jpg" title_text="©ElenaBizzi" show_in_lightbox="on" admin_label="child disembarked" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" custom_margin="||0px||false|false" animation_style="fade"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label="Legende" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" text_font="|300|||||||" text_text_color="#686868" text_font_size="9px" text_line_height="1em" header_text_color="#636363" text_orientation="justified" custom_margin="2px||15px||false|false"]

A child disembarked at the Arguineguín dock in Gran Canaria ©ElenaBizzi

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More than 800 people are currently parked at Barranco Seco. The risks linked to the effects of overcrowding, in particular COVID-19 contamination, are very high in this camp whose conditions are more akin to a prison than a reception centre. Theoretically, information on the possibilities of access to asylum is given to migrants upon arrival, but it was impossible to verify this.  

In principle, in this camp, migrants are not supposed to stay more than 72 hours. During this period, the Agency Frontex assists the Spanish police in identity control procedures (identification, fingerprinting, screening and debriefing with their Spanish counterparts).

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://euromedrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/8-scaled.jpg" title_text="©SaraPrestianni" show_in_lightbox="on" admin_label="migrants undergoing first checks" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" custom_margin="||0px||false|false" animation_style="fade"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label="Legende" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" text_font="|300|||||||" text_text_color="#686868" text_font_size="9px" text_line_height="1em" header_text_color="#636363" text_orientation="justified" custom_margin="2px||15px||false|false"]

Migrants undergoing first identification and medical checks at the Arguineguín dock in Gran Canaria ©SaraPrestianni

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Due to local pressure and the discontent of part of the population of the Canary Islands, the Spanish government decided to stop using hotels since 1st January 2020 and to authorise six camps, currently under construction in three of the Canary Islands, which should reach a capacity of 7,000 people. These camps, financed in part by the EU Asylum and Migration Fund, should be located in peripheral and isolated areas, mainly in military barracks or camps on the sites of 'Canarias50' in Gran Canaria and 'Las Raices' in Fuerteventura.  

After their quarantine the migrants are therefore free to stay or leave their hotels, but in any case, they will be obliged to do so from January 2021 when they will be automatically transferred to the new camps under construction. If they have applied for asylum, they will be transferred to reception centres run by local associations. 

 

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src="https://euromedrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/13.jpg" title_text="©ElenaBizzi" show_in_lightbox="on" admin_label="Migrants détenus dans le CATE " _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" custom_margin="||0px||false|false" animation_style="fade"][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label="Legende" _builder_version="4.6.5" _module_preset="default" text_font="|300|||||||" text_text_color="#686868" text_font_size="9px" text_line_height="1em" header_text_color="#636363" text_orientation="justified" custom_margin="2px||15px||false|false"]

Migrants held in the CATE (Centro de Atención Temporal de Extranjeros) built in the Barranco Seco military camp ©ElenaBizzi

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Blackmailing the countries of departure 

 

Since the beginning of this increase in arrivals in the Canary Islands, the response of the EU and Spain has been to put pressure on the countries of departure and origin to try to increase returns. This is the case of Mauritania, which, as a result, not only accepts the return of Mauritanian citizens but also of those who have left the Mauritanian shores. Similar discussions are underway with Senegal. 

This is the subject of discussions with Morocco, for whom the EU is threatening to block the issue of visas, thus further reducing the legal channels of access to European territory.  

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The forms and intensity of this "blackmail" targeting the Canary Islands appears to be a "trial run" or even an in vivo test of the European Pact on Migration and Asylum and its objective to develop negative return/visa conditionality. On the other hand, like what was observed with Tunisia in August 2020 and Turkey in March of the same year, Morocco does not hesitate to use these departures of emigrants to try to better negotiate geopolitical and economic issues with the EU. 

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One of the new camps built at the León school, in the neighbourhood of El Lasso, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria ©SaraPrestianni

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Photographs : Sara Prestianni & Elena Bizzi

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Migrants and refugees in Turkey

21/12 2020 – 8/2 2021

  • As Turkey has launched its COVID-19 vaccination plan on 13 January 2021, concerns and doubts were raised whether refugees, registered or unregistered, will receive the vaccine.
  • IHD released its 2020 Report on Violations Against Refugees, On the Edge of Life, showing a an ever-growing difficulty in addressing the problems leading to rights’ violations as States are far away from adopting human rights-based approaches and policies.

13/01/2021 - 25/01/2021

  • On 21 January 2021, Turkey's minister of foreign affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu declared he would hold talks with the European Commission on an updated EU-Turkey statement. The European Commission has denied that.  

21/12 2020 –12/1 2021

  • In a context of increased shrinking civic space in the whole Euro-Mediterranean region, on 27 December 2020, the Turkish Parliament approved legislation further restricting NGOs and civil society activitiesThe law, which has been strongly criticised also by Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, “also allows the interior minister to replace members of organisations who are being investigated on terror charges”. 
  • The European Commission has extended two humanitarian programmes for refugees in Turkey until early 2022. The two programmes are: The Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN), “providing over 1.8 million refugees with monthly cash assistance”, and the Conditional Cash Transfers for Education (CCTE)On 16 December 2020, the EU delegation to Turkey, declared it had finalised "the contracting of EUR 6 billion in EU support to refugees and host communities in Turkey” as part of the 2016 EU-Turkey statement.  
  • On 9 January 2021, in a videoconference with President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said that “2021 offered a productive atmosphere in terms of new cooperation to be built in the sphere of migration” and that “visa liberalization should be provided to Turkish citizens”.

Migrants and refugees in Denmark

08/02/2021 – 22/02/2021

  • As the Danish authorities have started to consider Damascus safe enough to return Syrian refugees there, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) disagrees with the decision, stating that “it is too early and too dangerous” and that “should continue to provide protection to Syrian refugees”.

8/02/2021

  • On 2 February 2021, Denmark’s Parliament voted to try former immigration minister, Inger Støjberg, over an order issued in 2016 aimed at separating asylum-seekers’ couples where one partner was under 18”. 
  • On 22 January 2021, Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, said she wants to ”reduce asylum applications to zero”. 2020 saw a sharp decrease in asylum applications in Denmark, with a total of 1,547 applicants, due to both the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s strict rules and policies. 

Interactive Guide – EU Advocacy ▶️

Many human rights NGOs and individuals have steadily reported how obscure and sometimes elusive the European Union (EU) is, making advocacy towards its institutions a very challenging exercise.

In a bid to help them navigate through the EU institutional maze, EuroMed Rights has developed a web-based version of its training guide on influencing EU relations with the Southern Mediterranean countries.

This interactive guide aims to ease up the understanding of the EU and help NGOs devise efficient advocacy strategies to champion their cause, by identifying the right targets and instruments.

In the first part, the main EU institutions and bodies, their competencies and the actions they can take on human rights are decrypted. As EU foreign policy is still very much driven by the Member States, their role is also specifically underlined.

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The second part focuses on global EU human rights policies and tools at global, regional and bilateral levels. The Euro-Mediterranean partnership as well as the EU’s bilateral relations with Southern Mediterranean countries are described in detail.

The third part provides guidance on how to devise and implement an effective advocacy roadmap towards the EU, with practical tips and good practices.

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We hope that this website will allow you to strengthen your advocacy skills, and ultimately promote and enhance human rights standards throughout the Euro-Mediterranean region and beyond.

EuroMed Rights