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Responses to high numbers of arrivals still causing concern

Responses by some EU Member States to continuing high numbers of arrivals in Europe remain a cause for concern, according to the latest issue of FRA’s monthly report on migration-related issues.

Read the July 2017 monthly data collection highlights >>

Some of the main areas of fundamental rights-related concerns identified in the latest summary report include the following:

  1. With new arrivals to Italy remaining high, reaching some 22,470 persons in June, the Italian government announced that the country may consider closing its ports to ships engaged in search and rescue operations as accommodation of new arrivals cannot be guaranteed. In other developments, Greek NGOs, the UNHCR and the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights expressed deep concerns over alleged pushbacks at the Greek-Turkish land border, and the Greek Ombudsman ordered an investigation of alleged forced returns of Turkish citizens by Greek authorities to Turkey.
  2. The number of asylum applications also remains high in various EU Member States, with the Greek Asylum Service registering some 4,200 new applications for international protection in June. Germany received some 16,640 asylum applications in May, an increase of 12.1% compared to April. Also in Germany, several human rights and welfare organisations demanded an improvement of the non-governmental and independent support structures for applicants of asylum and refugees after an internal investigation of 2,000 asylum decisions revealed severe deficiencies in the procedure.
  3. The number of forced returns in some Member States remains high, with more than 700 forced returns from Greece conducted by the Hellenic Police in June, compared with close to 420 returns under the IOM Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programme over the same period. Meanwhile returns to Afghanistan were criticised and demonstrated against by various stakeholders in Austria, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, given the allegedly unstable and deteriorating security situation in the country.
  4. Reception conditions  remain a concern, in particular the formation of informal camps, overcrowding, violence and poor living conditions were reported in  in a number of countries.
  5. Various aspects of child protection continue to be worrying. In Italy, Save The Children released an ‘Atlas of Unaccompanied Children in Italy’, mapping the developments since 2011 which showed, inter alia, a six-fold increase in annual arrivals. Elsewhere, children disappearing from reception centres, reported cases of rape and age assessment methods were issues of concern.
  6. A number of legal changes making things more difficult for migrants were introduced in various countries. Incidents of hate crime and acts of violence against migrants also continued to be reported.

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 reports cover 14 Member States: Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.

FRA has published its migration overviews since September 2015.