In the Central Mediterranean, more than 5 thousand people reached the shores of Lampedusa in the second half of February. 66 more migrants were rescued by the Italian Cost Guards and disembarked in the port of Pozzallo. A terrible shipwreck off the southeastern Italian cost of Calabria caused the death of at least 62 migrants. In the meantime, Italy continues to hinder Search and Rescue operations carried out by NGOs. 132 people were rescued off the coast of Libya and safely brought to Italy by the rescue NGOs, despite the assignment of distant disembarkation ports.
Illegal pushbacks continue off the coast of Greece. 45 people in distress were rescued off the coast of Lesvos to be pushed back once disembarked. Two migrants were found dead off the coast of the Greek island of Kos after the boat they were traveling in sank.
Following the release of IOM figures on missing migrants, the Canary route was described as one of the world’s deadliest. On February 26, Alarm Phone reported the illegal pullback of 47 people, as a cargo ship picked them up along the Canary route to bring them back to Boujdour in Morocco, thereby violating their right to seek asylum in Europe.
Following the devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria on February 6, more than 16,800 Syrian refugees who had been living in Turkey have decided to cross the border into Syria. It is unclear what rules apply in case they decide to head back to Turkey again.
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The Italian court of Catania rules in favor of the search and rescue NGO SOS Humanity, declaring unlawful the ban from stopping in Italian waters that was imposed on the ship by Italian authorities in November 2022.
The European Commission intends to extend until March 2025 the temporary protection for Ukrainian refugees. New figures were released on the numbers of asylum applications lodged in the EU in 2022. The Council concludes an agreement with North Macedonia on Frontex’s future operational activities in the country, while renewed plans for increased cooperation with Libya emerge in a 12-point plan drafted by the EU Council.
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