The report highlights these four priority areas after reviewing data collected over the past year. It signposts key areas that should be addressed to better safeguard the rights of asylum seekers and migrants. Some of the main findings include:
- Unaccompanied children – inadequate first child reception facilities often result in missing children. Qualified staff and clear guidance to identify children at risk are often lacking. Guardianship remains problematic with delays in appointment or the temporary use of reception staff hindering child protection and family reunification. In addition, children face legal and practical obstacles to access asylum procedures. They may also be detained to protect and prevent them from absconding.
- Violence and hate speech against migrants –hate crime and hate speech continues to be a major concern and seems to be worsening and spreading in some Member States. It spans physical attacks and murder, damage to property including arson, threats to aid workers and service providers, and hostile demonstrations against refugees. Such incidents are often politically-motivated and in part being carried out by vigilantes. There also have been incidents of police violence.
- Safety and protection at reception facilities – While they may have various protection and safety measures, incidents of abuse and sexual assault on women and children have been reported. This points to the need for specific measures to protect vulnerable people against violence that are often lacking.
- Impact on local communities – The lack of information and contact between local and refugee communities is contributing to growing hostility in many local communities. However, shifting budgets to the local level to deal with the impact of arrivals and integrating migrant children into local schools seems to be improving.
Numerous challenges still remain to safeguard asylum seekers and migrants. This report underlines persistent issues from the past year that the EU and its Member States need to urgently address.
The European Commission asked the Agency to collect data about the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in Member States, particularly affected by large migration movements. The countries covered are: Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Sweden. From next month, the Agency will extending reporting from Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Spain.
Future reports will be shorter, including main findings for the Member States covered together with a thematic focus section. Specific findings for the Member States will include references to these for a better understanding of the challenges which affect several EU Member States or the EU as a whole.
FRA has published overviews since September 2015. Each overview covers such issues as:
- initial registration and asylum applications;
- criminal proceedings initiated for offences related to irregular border crossings;
- child protection;
- reception conditions for new arrivals;
- access to healthcare;
- public response such as rallies of support, humanitarian assistance or voluntary work;
- racist incidents such as demonstrations, online hate speech or hate crime.
Next month the focus will be on hate speech and hate crime.