On the Western Mediterranean route, migrants’ arrivals in the Canary Islands increased by 135.8% in the first eight months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. 125 people were forcibly returned to Morocco after seeking asylum at the Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, in Spanish territory.
In the Central Mediterranean, 123 rescued people on board the NGO rescue ship Ocean Viking wait for a safe port of disembarkation. Between 12-18 September 2021, 819 migrants were intercepted at sea and forcibly returned to Libya. Between 14-19 September 2021, almost 2,000 people disembarked in Italy, mainly in Lampedusa.
Some of the victims of the last pushback from Cyprus to Lebanon were deported to Syria. A new report from Amnesty International documents that former Syrian refugees faced torture, rape, enforce disappearance after returning to Syria. The UK is willing to push migrants crossing the Channel back to French water, in blatant violation of international law. Soon after the announcement, a pushback in the English Channel was documented. Greece has opened a new EU-funded prison-like refugee camp on the island of Samos. Afghanis in Turkey are faced with increased fear.
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The rescue vessel GeoBarents from Doctors without Borders (MSF) is back in the Search and Rescue zone again to save lives in the Central Mediterranean.
The EU is suspending forced returns of Afghan refugees to Afghanistan but encourages Afghans’ return to third countries through readmission agreements. The High-level Resettlement Forum on Afghanistan will take place on 7 October 2021.
Mapping policies and practices in the EuroMed region
The research provides an overview of the current return policies and practices in the Euro-Mediterranean region and sheds a light on the violations of human rights entailed by this “return obsession”, which is shared across Member States, EU institutions and third countries alike. The report covers national return policies and practices in the Mashreq and Maghreb regions, focusing on returns from Turkey and Lebanon to Syria, and on readmission agreements between Italy and Tunisia, Spain and Morocco as well as France and Morocco. It also looks at returns from Germany and Italy to Egypt. Read More