Media Listing December 2016


Migrant boat traffic from Libya to Europe is surging — and turning deadlier: Italian authorities express concern about the surge in migrant arrivals from Libya via the Central Mediterranean Sea highlighting some of the factors contributing to the phenomenon including the people-smugglers and search-and- rescue vessels. (Washington Post – 01/12/2016)

Spain-Morocco: Amnesty denounces migrants’ conditions in Ceuta, Melilla: Amnesty International raises concern over the violation of migrant rights in Spain and the Kingdom of Morocco, urging the two countries to respect the international law. According to the human rights organization, migrants mostly from Africa and Syria are subjected to police abuses, instant expulsion and inhumane reception conditions. (North Africa Post – 01/12/2016)

Migrant women are taking contraceptives before the journey because they expect to be raped: According to this article, women migrants including girls are taking contraceptives before they embark on perilous journeys to various destination countries due to the risk of being subjected to sexual violence. UNICEF earlier reported that children in refugee camps in France were being subjected to sexual abuse. (The Age – 01/12/2016)

10 things you need to know about the Mediterranean crisis: In this article, MSF, a humanitarian organisation, highlights 10 issues about the Mediterranean migrant crisis based on the agency’s experience in rescuing boat migrants to safety. (MSF – 02/12/2016)

UNHCR urges governments: People fleeing war to be considered as refugees: UNHCR issues new guidelines on dealing with people fleeing their country because of war, a move aimed at reinforcing the global refugee protection regime. “The idea that one has to be singled out and individually targeted to be a refugee is a myth,” said UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Volker Türk. (ReliefWeb – 02/12/2016)

Combating human traffickers - facts and questions: In this article, the author reviews recent attempts by authorities in Europe to combat human traffickers and argues that these efforts will be counterproductive as long as legal and safe access routes remain closed. (DW – 06/12/2016)

The EU’s migration policy in Africa: five ways forward: In view of the migrant crisis in Europe, the authors of this article suggest five ways through which the EU can address the situation. These include supporting increased intra-Africa mobility, processing asylum requests in third countries, allowing circular migration to Europe, voluntary rather than forced returns and promoting the use of remittances for development in origin countries. (ECRF – 08/12/2016)

More people are being displaced from their homes by environmental change in Africa than we thought: A new report from the International Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) indicate that a record 1.1 million people were uprooted from their homes in 33 African countries in 2015 due to natural hazards stemming from environmental change. (Quartz Africa – 10/12/2016)

EUTF for Africa and IOM initiative for Protection and Reintegration of returnees along the Central Mediterranean migration routes: The European Union through the EUTF and with contributions from Germany and Italy launches a joint initiative with IOM to support the efforts of 14 partner countries in Africa to strengthen migration management and to respond to urgent migrant protection needs. (New Europe – 15/12/2016)

For managing migration, Australia is no model for Europe: In view of rising support for populist political parties in Europe, the author of this article argues that the Australian approach of keeping migrants out cannot be adopted in Europe to control the influx of migrants noting that the approach is costly, temporary and violates the rights of migrants and asylum seekers. (Human Rights Watch – 29/12/2016)

Mali sends back migrants deported by France: Malian government sends back two people who were deported from France on the same planes they arrived on noting that it could not accept people “simply assumed to be Malian.” In addition, the government criticized the use of European “Laissez-passez” travel permits used to expel the two individuals noting that this was against international conventions. (BBC – 30/12/2016)


Immigration to UK hit record levels prior to Brexit vote, data shows: According to this article, immigration to Britain reached its highest ever level in the run up to the EU referendum with an estimated 650,000 arriving in the country. This resulted in the net migration reaching a near-record high of 335,000 in the 12 months to the end of June 2016. (The Guardian – 01/12/2016)

UNHCR calls for new vision in Europe’s approach to refugees: In a paper presented to the European Union, the head of the UN Refugee Agency, Filipo Grandi calls for a far-reaching reform of Europe’s global engagement with refugees, including the European asylum system, noting that Europe in 2015 “failed to implement a collective, managed response to the challenges posed by the arrival of over a million refugees.” (UNHCR – 05/12/2016)

Austria to fine or jail migrants who lie to authorities: Austrian cabinet agree on a draft law that will allow authorities to punish asylum seekers who lie about their identities, a move aimed partly at dissuading migrants from attempting to settle in the country. (Reuters – 06/12/2016)

The EU-Turkey refugee deal only succeeded in one thing: This article reviews the situation of migrants and asylum seekers stuck in some of Greek’s Islands such as Chios and argues that the EU-Turkey migrant deal has not effectively addressed the plight of the migrants. In addition, the authors argue that that the deal has effectively swept under the carpet, the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in the islands. (New Statesman – 08/12/2016)

Asylum seekers in Europe will be sent back to Greece starting March 2017: European Union announces that EU countries could resume returning asylum seekers to Greece in March 2017 noting that Greece had improved the conditions for asylum seekers in line with a court ruling of 2011. (EurActiv – 08/12/2016)

Somali migrant smuggling network in Europe dismantled: A joint operation by security forces from France, the Netherlands and Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre uncover a migrant smuggling network suspected of aiding some 500 migrants from Somalia to different destination countries in Europe. Nine individuals believed to be of Somali nationality were detained. (EUROJUST – 09/12/2016)

Greece appeals to EU for support over plan to detain refugees in order to speed up deportations: Greece appeals to the EU to support its plan to reduce the number of migrants living in overcrowded refugee camps on the Aegean Islands by transferring migrants with a slight chance of achieving asylum to “pre-removal centres” on Greece’s mainland. Human rights organizations have criticized the plan terming it as illegal and arbitrary. (The Independent - 10/12/2016)

Rescuers save 1,164 migrants in Mediterranean, find six bodies: A joint rescue operation by Italian coastguard, naval ships and private aid groups rescue an estimated 1,164 people from rubber and wooden boats in the Mediterranean Sea in a single day and recover six dead bodies. (Reuters – 11/12/2016)

EU, Mali reach deal on repatriation of denied asylum applicants: The European Union signs a deal with the Malian government to facilitate the return of migrants who have reached Europe but subsequently had their asylum requests rejected by EU. Mali will also receive a financial package of more than 145 million euros to address the root causes of migration and crackdown on people smugglers. (DW – 12/12/2016)

EU: Restore rights values to migration policy: In this statement, Human Rights Watch calls on European Union leaders to “signal a change in course and affirm strong human rights principles in EU asylum policy and foreign relations.” The agency has consistently urged EU to adhere to human rights in its response to the migration crisis. (Human Rights Watch – 13/12/2016)

In Italy, migrants and refugees forced at gunpoint to steer boats are being arrested for people trafficking: This article highlights the plight of some individuals who have been arrested by Italian authorities on suspicion of being migrant smugglers. The article notes that some of the individuals are migrants and asylum seekers who were coerced by people-smugglers to steer the boats at gunpoint, a tactic employed by professional smugglers to avoid being arrested. (The Independent – 12/12/2016)

EU: Asylum-seekers must be moved from appalling conditions on islands: Amnesty International joins other human rights organisations calling on EU Heads of State and Government to commit to concrete action to save lives and restore dignity of migrants and asylum seekers arriving in Europe. The agency proposes a six-step solution to address the migration crisis. (Amnesty International – 13/12/2016)

Tunisian Captain in Deadly Migrant Shipwreck Jailed for 18 Years: A Tunisian captain who was piloting a fishing vessel that collided with another ship resulting in the death of an estimated 700 migrants crossing from Libya to Italy in April 2015, is sentenced to 18 years in prison by a court in Catania, Sicily. (The New York Times – 13/12/2016)

Joint NGO statement ahead of the European Council of 15 December 2016: EU leaders can save lives this winter if they change migration policies: In this joint statements, 15 NGOs call on EU leaders to take 3 key steps to address the migration situation in Europe. These include transferring migrants from overcrowded camps in Greek’s islands, redoubling efforts to take asylum seekers out of first countries of arrivals and ensuring migrant rights including access to fair and efficient asylum process. (ReliefWeb – 14/12/2016)

Austrian proposal for an Australian migration solution: In a media interview, Austria’s foreign minister Sebastian Kurz, calls on European Union to adopt the “Australian model” to stop migrants and asylum seekers from reaching European soil. “Our approach must be to protect the external borders and to tell whoever tries to come to Europe illegally, ‘You won’t get through’,” he said. (POLITICO – 14/12/2016)

EU report: Cooperation with Niger, Mali has not yet curbed arrivals: According to a report released by European Commission, cooperation with five Africa countries (Mali, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal and Ethiopia) has helped limit migrant movements in West Africa but not yet reduced migrant arrivals along European shores. The report noted that nearly 60,000 migrants from the five countries had entered Europe in 2016 against a backdrop of 2,700 migrants from the five countries who had been sent back from EU in the same period. (Europe Online – 14/12/2016)

European Union approves projects worth €37 million to tackle migration challenges in North Africa: European Union approves projects worth 37 million euros to address migration challenges in Libya, Tunisia and Morocco bringing the total EU support to Northern African countries through the EU Trust Fund for Africa to 64.5 million euros in 2016. (New Europe – 16/12/2016)

EU supports Horn of Africa: Targeting instability and migration: European Union adopts new programs worth 170 million euros to address the root causes of instability, irregular migration and forced displacement in the Horn of Africa. The package will complement 24 previously adopted actions approved between December 2015 and October 2016 for the region worth 436 million euros. (EU Bulletin – 19/12/2016) 

European border agency Frontex warns Isis is weaponising refugees: Frontex, the European border and coastguard agency, cautions that ISIS terror groups may be trying to manipulate refugees into carrying out terrorist attacks in Europe. The agency further cautioned that terror groups may also try to sneak in trained fighters among the migrants and asylum seekers entering Europe. (The Independent – 27/12/2016)

Another 900 migrants rescued in Med: Italian coastguard: Italy’s coastguard rescue an estimated 900 migrants off Libya’s coast as the number of migrants registered at Italian ports reaches more than 180,000 in 2016. (AFP – 29/12/2016)


Egypt refers two officials to court for migrant boat capsizing: Egyptian authorities refer two maritime inspection officials to trial for their role in the capsizing of a migrant ship off Egypt’s northern coast in September in which more than 200 people drowned and another 169 rescued. (Newsweek – 03/12/2016)

In Cairo, Ethiopia's Oromos lose hope with UN refugee agency: In this article, Ethiopian migrants, mostly Oromos, in Egypt criticize UNHCR for “routinely rejecting their asylum claims” noting that the agency has been hostile to their allegations of discrimination, persecution and even torture by the government of Ethiopia. (Thomson Reuters Foundation – 06/12/2016)

Egypt says organ trafficking racket busted, dozens arrested: Egyptian authorities announce they have uncovered an international criminal network operating in the country that is involved in smuggling of human parts. An estimated 45 people were arrested and millions of dollars seized. (DW – 06/12/2016)

Egypt: Immigration law lacks key protections: Human Rights Watch expresses concern over Egypt’s first law addressing irregular migration noting that it is a positive step towards protecting migrant rights but fails to additional fundamental rights. These include guarantees for the rights to seek asylum or freedom of movement and education. Furthermore, the new law does not guarantee protection against refoulement. (Human Rights Watch – 15/12/2016)


Ethiopian migrants stranded in Mozambique return home with IOM: IOM facilitates the repatriation of 34 Ethiopian migrants stranded in Mozambique en route to South Africa. The migrants, all males and aged between 21 and 39 years, including three children aged between 15 and 17 years, reportedly paid around USD 3,500 to smugglers. (IOM Press – 23/12/2016)


EU: Libya's cities making $346M a year from people smuggling: According to a report submitted to EU by a military taskforce, Libya’s coastal cities are making an estimated revenue of up to $292 to $346 million annually from migrant smuggling. However, the report does not provide further details on how the figures were calculated. (Associated Press – 01/12/2016)

Migrants in Libya facing "human rights crisis" - U.N. report: According to a report released by UN, migrants and asylum seekers in Libya are suffering consistent and widespread abuse at the hands of armed groups who have reportedly taken effective control of official detention centres for migrants. (Thomson Reuters Foundation – 13/12/2016)

Libya deports dozens of illegal African migrants: In cooperation with Libyan authorities, IOM facilitates the repatriation of 157 African migrants mostly from Mali who were stranded in Libya after a failed attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy. (Africa News – 30/12/2016)


Sudanese migrants stuck between Libya and Egypt: According to this article, an estimated 2,000 Sudanese nationals are reportedly stuck at the Libya-Egyptian border crossing of Musaed in dire humanitarian situation since they do not have formal documents to enable them leave Libya. (ReliefWeb – 13/12/2016)

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