AYS Daily Digest 26/07/17: European Court of Justice ruling regarding the Dublin III Regulation

Refugees required to seek asylum in the first country they reach even in exceptional circumstances, ECJ stated / Sea-Watch is bringing another ship into operation / Defend Europe mission fails / Overcrowded Aegean islands / Watter supply cut in Samos / UNHCR reports 157 collective expulsions from Croatia / French police routinely abuse refugees and migrants in Calais / EC pledges to offer Italy further €100m in funding / And more news…

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The judgment is regarding cases of A.S. v Slovenia and the Jafari sisters, two Afghan families and a Syrian who applied for asylum in Austria after crossing Croatia. This ruling could have far-reaching consequences for how the EU deals with migrants in the future, upholding the right of member states to deport asylum-seekers to the first EU country they enter, Telegraph writes.

The ECJ considers the border crossings to Croatia were illegal and didn’t follow the opinion of general advocate Eleanor Sharpston. Even if Croatian authorities let them enter their territory and organized the transfers to Slovenia, this doesn’t mean they are allowed to continue their travel: “The Court points out that such authorisation is valid only in respect of the territory of the Member State concerned, not the territory of the other Member States.” This — in theory — means, that all refugees who crossed Croatia, or any other EU country, before arriving in other countries can be deported under Dublin III to the country of arrivals, even if the authorities organized the transfers and further border crossings.

The court only “recalls that an applicant for international protection must not be transferred to the Member State responsible if, following the arrival of an unusually large number of non-EU nationals seeking international protection, there is a genuine risk that the person concerned may suffer inhumane or degrading treatment if transferred.” But we know what this means in practice — again lower courts or authorities have to decide on single cases. There is no final definition of “inhumane or degrading treatment if transferred”.

The court’s decision was unexpected, after the judges took the unusual step of ignoring the advice of the advocate-general, Telegraph writes. In a written opinion issued last month, they add, Ms Sharpston warned that the Dublin system “was simply not designed to cover such exceptional circumstances”. “If border member states, such as Croatia, are deemed to be responsible for accepting and processing exceptionally high numbers of asylum-seekers, there is a real risk that they will simply be unable to cope with the situation,” she wrote.

A legal opinion presented to the EU’s top court says mandatory quotas for the relocation of refugees across the bloc should stand DW reports. Hungary and Slovakia have challenged the EU measure, claiming it’s illegal. An adviser to the European Court of Justice says the court should dismiss those lawsuits filed by Hungary and Slovakia. Advocate General Yves Bot rejected arguments from Slovakia and Hungary saying it “helps relieve the considerable pressure on the asylum systems of Italy and Greece.” The relocation effort has had only limited success so far, Ekathimerini reports. Bot said the EU did not overreach its competences because EU treaties allow the adoption of measures to address clearly identified emergency situations, they add.


Many migrants are now paying upwards of USD 5,000 to get into the European Union, with those coming from Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan being charged the most. Greece and Bulgaria are being used as transit countries into the Western Balkans, with Northern Europe as the goal destination. While the most popular destination up to June 2016 was overwhelmingly Germany, migrants now seek to get to France, Sweden, Italy, Norway, Austria and Denmark as well.

Full report can be found here.

17,179 people have been resettled to 22 States out of the 22,504 of the agreed resettlements, Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship wrote today, adding that June was a record month for relocation with almost 3000 relocated from Greece and Italy.


Sea-Watch is bringing another ship into operation

Sea-Watch is sending another rescue ship in response to the inaction of the EU. Many thousands of people are drowning every year at Europe’s deadly sea border. The European Union, on the other hand, is turning a blind eye to these deaths, leaving Italy alone with the consequences of this humanitarian crisis. The Code of Conduct, which is largely unlawful, is a desperate reaction from Italy. Instead of developing concrete solutions, those who take action where governmental structures fail are attacked: the civilian rescue fleet. However, what are needed in the face of more than 2,000 deaths this year alone are not more rules, but more rescue capacities!

Defend Europe fiasco


Protest of locals in Lesvos

Overcrowded Aegean islands

The five Aegean islands hosting facilities are currently home of 15,222 asylum seekers and migrants, the majority of which are on Lesvos: 4,725 at the official state-run facility that has a total capacity for 3,500 and 188 at other centers. Chios is hosting 3,503 individuals, when it has an official capacity for 1,100, Samos’s facilities for 850 people have to cope with 2,414 and Kos is also stretched with 1,830 people living in a camp designed for 1,000, as well another 1,048 people staying at other facilities. Only Leros has manageable numbers, with 865 refugees and migrants staying at a camp for 1,000 people, as well as an additional 160 individuals in other facilities.

Another boat landed on the North shore of Lesvos the morning, second boat of the day, carrying 27 people who were very wet and cold. There was one medical case everyone else was okay. There were 77 new registrations on Lesvos, 35 others making a total of 112 today. Lesvos seems to be getting more crowded again with 1800 arrivals since June. 53 refugees arrived on Chios.

Samos — water supply will be cut off from 7.00 to 11.00 pm

The only people that were informed about the water being cut every morning were the NGOs, not the actual people who needed to know. A volunteer told us he walked in the camp to inform everyone to fill up their buckets, jugs, bottles etc.





Italian Press Agency ANSA presented infomigrants.net today, a news portal in English, Arabic and French, aiming to inform in a complete, balanced and innovative way about migrants and refugees: both the ones in the departure countries intending to leave, the ones transiting and the ones already arrived in Europe. Through its multilingual service for the Mediterranean ‘ANSAmed’, ANSA has been following for years the crucial topic of the migrations, it is partner with France Media Monde and Deutsche Welle, in a project supported by the European Commission facing the migration phenomenon, the most relevant in the last years for the Euro-Mediterranean area.

MSF issued a statement following the meeting at Italian Ministry of Interior regarding Code of Conduct for SAR NGOs which you can read here.

…as the content and potential impact of this code is discussed, we must all remember that so far this year over 2,000 people have lost their lives in the Mediterranean sea, at least 13 this very afternoon, they wrote.


LGBTQ — List or regional contacts if you need support or info:



Calais — Like Living in Hell

The report, “‘Like Living in Hell’: Police Abuses Against Child and Adult Migrants in Calais,” states that

police forces in Calais, particularly the French riot police (Compagnies républicaines de sécurité, CRS), routinely use pepper spray on child and adult migrants while they are sleeping or in other circumstances in which they pose no threat. Police also regularly spray or confiscate sleeping bags, blankets, and clothing, and have sometimes used pepper spray on migrants’ food and water, apparently to press them to leave the area. Such acts violate the prohibition on inhuman and degrading treatment as well as international standards on police conduct, which call for police to use force only when it is unavoidable, and then only with restraint, in proportion to the circumstances, and for a legitimate law enforcement purpose.

The report is based on interviews with more than 60 asylum seekers and other migrants in and around Calais and Dunkerque, including 31 unaccompanied children, in June and July 2017. French authorities have denied the accusations in the report.

Volunteers say police use of excessive force, both towards refugees and volunteers, is recurring and constantly present, even by water distributions, like the one in this video:


We strive to echo correct news from the ground through collaboration and fairness, so let us know if something you read here is not right.

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Daily news digests from the field, mainly for volunteers and refugees on the route, but also for journalists and other parties.

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