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Europe’s migrant crisis is worsening during the pandemic. The reaction has been brutal – CNN

Coronavirus has left countries such as Tunisia facing serious economic hardship and unemployment, while others, including Libya, are dealing with the effects of war. That's led to an increase in sea arrivals this year in countries including Italy and Malta, according to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Arrivals in southeastern Europe are also up on 2019, mostly from Syria, followed by Morocco and Iraq.

But European responses have often been brutal. Humanitarian organizations say pushbacks at borders in countries such as Greece, an absence of sea rescues in the Mediterranean and unhealthy quarantine arrangements have created huge challenges. And it comes at a time when movement is harder and more dangerous thanks to travel restrictions and the closure of transport routes and processing centers.

Last week, a man was found dead on Sangatte beach, near Calais in northern France. He and a friend had tried to cross the English Channel, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, in an inflatable dinghy with shovels for paddles. The friend said he was just 16, but French authorities said his papers belonged to a 28-year-old Sudanese migrant and an autopsy showed he was an adult. He couldn't swim, his companion said.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said the "tragic loss" was "a brutal reminder of the abhorrent criminal gangs and people smugglers who exploit vulnerable people."

The news came on the same day that at least 45 migrants perished in the deadliest recorded shipwreck off the Libyan coast this year, according to the UNHCR and International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The organizations said there was "an urgent need to strengthen the current search and rescue capacity."

"Delays recorded in recent months, and failure to assist, are unacceptable and put lives at avoidable risk," they added.

Journeys in a pandemic

Almost 4,900 people have crossed the Channel in small boats since lockdown began, more than double the amount thought to have crossed in the whole of 2019, according to analysis by PA Media.

"We know that smugglers and traffickers have obviously been impacted by the pandemic and the restrictions that were put in place. But we also know they're very adaptable," UNHCR spokesman Charlie Yaxley told CNN.

"That's a big concern for us because it also means that the refugees and migrants who are taking these journeys are taking more dangerous and more risky routes."

He said migrants were facing torture, rape and other abuse during land journeys to Libya "by smugglers, traffickers, militias, but also state officials."

Yaxley said there were currently no rescue ships on the central Mediterranean, or EU programs as in previous years, so migrants leaving Libya by boat were often taken back to Libya by the coastguard to face detention or other rights violations.

But the response from European countries burdened by coronavirus has been icy, with migrants forced back or detained in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions.

Felix Weiss, from the German NGO Sea Watch, told CNN he understood the anger from businesses already struggling during the pandemic.

"But this is stuff that you could definitely avoid," he said. "Just disembark them, and then find a solution where they can go in Europe.

"There has to be a European solution," he added. "This is a European failure."

'Nightmare' situation

Weiss said conducting rescues had become "a nightmare" during lockdown because of countries including Italy and Malta blocking boats and refusing to act themselves.

Officials say migrants should quarantine for 14 days on ferries, but some have been kept on unsuitable pleasure boats or oil tankers. Migrants with health issues who have endured detention in inhumane conditions have been stranded for up to six weeks, said Weiss.

"People are traumatized," said Weiss. "The Ocean Viking can take persons for a few days ... but we [rescuers] are not trained to have really bad psychological cases."

Italy's Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said at a news conference on August 15 that families facing economic crisis in Tunisia were "leaving in search of better life conditions."

"Managing the migrants' flow has been more difficult due to Covid emergency," Lamorgese added.

HRW said several asylum-seekers reported being picked up from Greek islands by the coastguard, forced onto inflatable rafts with no motor, and cast adrift near the border.

"Instead of protecting the most vulnerable people in this time of global crisis, Greek authorities have targeted them in total breach of the right to seek asylum and in disregard for their health," said Eva Cosse, Greece researcher at HRW.

Europe's responsibility

Many migrant camps and centers pose a major risk for the spread of coronavirus.

On July 30, 129 migrants tested positive for Covid-19 at a camp in Treviso, in Italy's Veneto region. Lampedusa's 90-person capacity camp currently has 1,300 residents, according to Weiss.

After more than 200 migrants ran away from a camp in Sicily last month, the region's governor Nello Musumeci warned in a statement of an "unsustainable situation," saying "the issue of migrants has also become a matter of public order and health."

It said that during lockdown, "inequality has been sharpened for transit communities, further limiting access to asylum, healthcare, adequate accommodation, and safety from brutal collective expulsions."

Yaxley said the situation was still "very manageable," but there needed to be "EU solidarity with those Mediterranean coastal states through relocation programs ... so that there's a sharing of the distribution of the responsibility."

"The ad-hoc approach simply inflames the toxic political narrative," he said.

"There's a real need for compassion and humanity."

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated which NGO operates Ocean Viking. The vessel is run by SOS Mediterranee.

CNN's Livia Borghese, Valentina Di Donato, Martin Goillandeau, Alexander Durie and Eva Tapiero contributed to this report.

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Europe's migrant crisis is worsening during the pandemic. The reaction has been brutal - CNN

Six pivotal moments of the 2015 ‘migrant crisis’ – InfoMigrants

A tragic shipwreck in the Mediterranean, a lifeless boy on a beach, the fickleness of politicians, borders opening and shutting -- these are some of the enduring images of the summer and fall 2015 in Europe in the context of migration. We look at six pivotal moments that have defined the so-called migrant crisis and have been engraved in our collective memory.

On the night of April 18, 2015, a small blue trawler coming from Libya capsizes and sinks in the Strait of Sicily under the horrified eyes of the crew of the "King Jacob", a Portuguese freighter sent to help.

Only some 30 survive among the more than 800 migrants who had been crammed on board the trawler. The tragedy, likely caused by overcrowding and incorrect maneuvers, is one of the worst in recent decades in the Mediterranean.

The scale of the disaster and the chilling accounts of survivors provoke a wave of outrage and push the European Union to strengthen its presence off the Libyan coast. In 2016, an Italian court sentences the Tunisian captain of the trawler to 18 years in jail.

In March of this year, UN migration agency IOM estimates that the death toll of migrants who had tried to cross the Mediterranean Sea since 2014 has passed the "grim milestone" of 20,000 deaths.

Wearing a red T-shirt and blue shorts, the small lifeless body of a three-year-old Syrian boy lies on a Turkish beach. He drowned with at least four other people, including his mother, his five-year-old brother and two others on their rubber boat as they tried to reach a Greek island.

Theheartbreaking photographs of the toddler's body washed ashore in Turkey quicklymake global headlines, prompting international responses and sparking aflurry of donations for asylum seekers. Alan Kurdis death also becomes aglobal symbol of the plight of refugees at sea.

"It was as though themigrants' crisis, so often told through numbers, had found a human face,"news agency AFP wrote.

In total, more than a million people reach Europe via the sea in the year of 2015. Among them, more than 850,000 arrive on Greek shores, the majority are Syrians fleeing their war-torn country.

In 2019, German NGO Sea-Eyenamed its search and rescue (SAR) vessel Alan Kurdiafter the Syrian boy. It has since helped save thousands of lives in the central Mediterranean.

In March this year, a Turkish court sentenced three suspects to 125 years in prison each for the death of Alan Kurdi.

At dawn on August 15, 2015, German photographer Daniel Etter is waiting on the shores of Kos, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea mere kilometers away from mainland Turkey. Soon, a family arrives on the island on a sinking boat.

"Locals, who were there that morning, pulled them on the beach," Etter wrote on Twitter last month. "A visibly shaken man left the boat. As soon as he reached safety, his emotions took over and he gathered his family around him."

That man was Iraqi Laith Majid. In September 2015, it was discovered that the family was actually from Iraq, not Syria as initially reported. "Given the hierarchy imposed on refugees back then, their smuggler told them to pose for Syrian," Etter said.

The photograph was part of the New York Times entry that won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in the Breaking News Photography category.

It's August 31, 2015. After visiting a camp for newly arrived refugees, German chancellor Angela Merkel attends a press conference, where she utters a simple sentence about taking in refugees that is now famous: "Wir schaffen das!" ("We will manage this!").

Merkel was addressing the fact that hundreds of thousands of refugees were expected to reach Germany that year.

Fearing a humanitarian crisis, she soon after took a stand and announced an open-door policy. Her decision is a landmark moment. In the year that follows, more than a million people claim asylum in Germany.

Dubbed "Mama Merkel", the chancellor is hailed by Syrian asylum seekers and praised by those who believe she has saved Europe's honor. But her decision also provokes a backlash in Germany and other European countries and helps to give rise to far-right parties including the Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Since 2015, the number of asylum applications has fallen steadily, with Syria remaining the main country of origin for asylum seekers and refugees in Germany.

Today, Germany is the country with the fifth highest refugee population worldwide, according to UN refugee agency UNHCR. By the end of 2019, there were 1.36 million people with protection status in Germany

Between 2015 and 2020, the German government took many steps to reduce the number of asylum seekers, including new laws that made getting asylum more difficult like supporting the EU-Turkey deal.

While many of them are still struggling, the overall trend for refugees and migrants in Germany is positive: 10% more refugees are employed today than in 2015.

Some 20 Eritreans, smiling under the flashes of photographers' cameras, board a plane in Rome. It's October 9, 2015. The men and women, rescued off the Libyan coast and taken to Italy, are now headed for Sweden.

The transfer initiates a "contentious European Union relocation program meant to help the union's front-line countries deal with the largest movement of refugees on the Continent since World War II," the New York Times writes pithily that day.

Italy and Greece are the first entry points into the then-28-nation bloc for hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

At the airport send-off ceremony, Italian and EU politicians proudly repeat that in the next two years, 40,000 refugees from Eritrea, Iraq and Syria would be resettled from Italy throughout member state countries, helping share Italy's burden.

Two months later, the result is meager. A mere 133 people of the 40,000 were relocated from Italy. Some countries drag their feet, others such as Poland and Hungary refuse to carry it out, despite its being compulsory.

In September 2015, a month before the scene at the Rome airport, European countries agree to a "relocation" plan to redistribute some 160,000 asylum seekers from the bloc's two main points of entry by September 2017. After officials found that fewer people were eligible under the scheme that first expected, the number was later revised to just under 100,000.

Ultimately, though, only 33,000 took part in the scheme across EU member states. "The plan, supposed to embody Europe's solidarity, becomes a symbol of division," AFP wrote.

As hundreds of thousands of migrants come into Europe in 2015, one of the most common ways for them to arrive in the EU is through the so-called Balkan route. Their path typically begins in Turkey and then wound through either Bulgaria or Greece. The migrants then make their way further north, eventually reaching Slovenia or Hungary on the path towards countries like Germany.

As spring 2016 approaches, however, the situation changes radically. Countries along the route, from Macedonia, to Croatia and Slovenia all the way to Austria, where a corridor allowing migrants to pass had been in place since summer 2015, all announce that their borders are shut. However, refugees frustrated by the closing of borders still manage to go along the route.

And on March 18, the European Union and Ankara reached a controversial accord ("EU-Turkey deal") to address "irregular migration" from Turkey into the European Union. Under the agreement, Turkey would be obligated to take back migrants who pass through its territory to prevent them from crossing into Greece illegally.

For every "irregular" migrant returned to Turkey, another migrant approved for asylum in the EU would be resettled in one of the bloc's 28 member states. In addition, the EU gave Turkey 6 billion ($6.6 billion) in financial aid to assist with the country's large refugee population, which is currently above 3.5 million.

Between 2016 and March 2020, Germany accepted almost 10,000 migrants and asylum seekers under the accord.

The outcome is a drastic drop in the number of arrivals in Europe, but tens of thousands of migrants find themselves stranded in Greece, raising fears of a humanitarian crisis and Erdogan using their situation for political gain. And Europeans remain divided over key refugee and asylum policies. Numerous initiatives such as a binding distribution quota for migrants have failed.

This article is based on a feature from AFP.

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Six pivotal moments of the 2015 'migrant crisis' - InfoMigrants

Five years since the European migrant crisis, Balkans route still a hope for migrants – Deccan Herald

With a smart black sweater and a clean-shaven face, Younes Qermoua recalls his first attempt to reach Europe five years ago, at the peak of the continent's refugee crisis.

Half a decade later, the world's attention has moved on but the 35-year-old Moroccan is back on the Balkan route, where traffic is picking up this summer even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

After years of bouncing back and forth across the region in attempts by boat, on foot and even tucked above the wheel of a truck, Qermoua's goal remains unchanged.

"I want to live in a country where I can work and get paid for my work, a country where the laws are respected, where there are hospitals, schools," he told AFP in a migrant centre outside Sarajevo, where he is catching some rest before continuing westward towards EU member Croatia.

In 2015, hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees traversed the Balkans in weary columns, reaching the peninsula through Greece before trundling northwards.

The route was officially shut down under a 2016 deal between Brussels and Turkey.

But in reality, the movement has never stopped.

While the numbers are lower, tens of thousands still flow through the region annually, escaping war and poverty in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

Qermoua, who in his first attempt never made it past Greece, is now making progress on a new route that bends west through Bosnia to avoid tighter controls in Hungary, which built a border fence in 2015.

He joins a summer surge of travellers in the Balkans who are on the move after the loosening in early spring of virus lockdowns, when movement was curtailed and some migrant camps were sealed shut.

In June, the Western Balkans was the most active migratory route into Europe, while the first six months of 2020 saw a 73-percent increase in migrants detected at the borders compared to the same period last year, according to Frontex, the EU's border police.

For Lence Zdravkin, whose front porch looks out onto a railway track slicing through the centre of North Macedonia, there is a sense of deja vu.

When huge numbers of people started passing her doorstep during the crisis five years ago -- following the train tracks as a guide -- she became a local hero for collecting food, clothing and other donated aid for them.

This summer, the 53-year-old sits on her balcony with a bright light to help spot travellers who are again passing regularly, though fewer donations are coming in as the world's attention is focused on the pandemic.

"The refugees are facing the same sufferings, with the same journeys, with all the problems that accompany them from the beginning of their travel to its end," she told AFP.

The warm months always bring a new tide of migrants but this summer the numbers have "drastically increased", she said.

While North Macedonia built a barrier on its southern border with Greece in 2015, migrants can still slip in through a mountainous region where the barrier doesn't reach, said Jasmin Redjepi, from the Skopje-based NGO Legis.

Many then take the railway tracks, often hopping onto the links between the carriages of freight trains barrelling past.

According to data from the UN's refugee agency, arrivals in North Macedonia over the past six months have already topped last year's figures for the same period, reaching nearly 23,000.

"They want to cross during this period and get to Europe because they do not want to find themselves in autumn and winter with closed borders and quarantines again," Redjepi told AFP.

Some stretches of the Balkan route are more complicated than they were five years ago, with migrants forced to cross difficult terrain to avoid border barriers and boosted patrols.

Reports of violent pushbacks at the frontiers have also become commonplace, with migrants describing beatings, theft and other abuse at the hands of police.

After crossing Turkey's land border with Greece, Qermoua walked some 700 kilometres (435 miles), mostly alone he says to avoid detection, through Albania and Montenegro to reach Bosnia.

But the next leg of his journey may be even tougher as the country's northwest -- which flanks the border with Croatia -- once again becomes a dead end.

Local authorities have started blocking the entry of new arrivals to the region, where official camps are filling up and thousands of more migrants are sleeping rough in abandoned homes and factories.

While locals were initially receptive to the foreigners, some are now protesting against the influx, calling on authorities to "clear" the streets.

Local mobs have recently stopped buses and pulled off migrants and asylum seekers, leaving them stranded.

The mood has also soured in Serbia, where right-wing groups have become more vocally anti-migrant in recent years.

In a park near Belgrade's bus station, scores of foreigners gather on the grass, a common meeting point to link up with smugglers.

Many bear the same wounds from thwarted attempts to cross the Croatian, Hungarian or Romanian borders: gashes on their lower legs and smashed mobile phones they attribute to violent police expulsions.

After five years stuck in the Balkans, Arif, a soft-spoken 24-year-old from Pakistan, is one of those whose hope is fading.

"My mother and father keep calling me to come back home, and now I tell them, as soon as I get my papers, I'll be back".

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Five years since the European migrant crisis, Balkans route still a hope for migrants - Deccan Herald

Migrant crisis: Five years after refugee influx, Merkel ‘would do the same’ – RTL Today

Five years after Germany controversially took in hundreds of thousands of migrants, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday she would do the same again as she rides a wave of popularity for her handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I would make essentially the same decisions," Merkel said at her annual summer press conference in Berlin, in response to a question about whether she regretted her 2015 policy to keep the border open to an influx of asylum seekers.

"When people are standing at the German-Austrian border or the Hungarian-Austrian border, they have to be treated like human beings," she said.

More than one million people filed asylum applications in Germany in 2015-2016 during a pivotal moment in Merkel's now 15-year tenure.

The influx deeply polarised Germany and fuelled the rise of the far-right AfD party, weakening Merkel's standing at home.

But as the veteran leader, 66, nears the end of her fourth term, her handling of the coronavirus pandemic has given her an unexpected popularity boost.

In a recent Infratest Dimap poll, 71 percent of respondents said they were very satisfied or satisfied with Merkel's work.

The AfD, on the other hand, has seen its ratings decline during the pandemic.

"It's amazing to see how quickly things can change," notes Hans Vorlaender, a professor of politics at the TU Dresden university. "As a rule, crises are always a make or break moment for those in charge."

Voters have been charmed by Merkel's "rationality, calmness and self-confidence" during the crisis, he observes.

Her understated pleas to the German public to help fight the virus were well received because they were "not a macho show of power, but filled with empathy", he said.

- 'Loss of control' -

Back at the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, Merkel at first seemed to have public opinion on her side, taking smiling selfies with the new arrivals and coining the now legendary phrase "We can do this!"

But the debate around migration became deeply divisive, eating into public trust in Merkel and even leading to a far-right party -- the anti-Islam, anti-immigration AfD -- gaining a meaningful presence in parliament for the first time since the Nazi regime.

Some authorities were overwhelmed and the chancellor was blamed for the "chaotic" situation, even within her conservative ranks.

Thomas de Maiziere, then interior minister, admitted recently that there had been a "loss of control" at times.

And then there were the damaging headlines. On New Year's Eve 2015, mass sexual assaults were committed against women in Cologne, mostly by men of North African origin.

A year later in December 2016, Anis Amri -- a rejected asylum seeker from Tunisia and known radical jihadist -- hijacked a truck and ploughed it into a crowded Christmas market in central Berlin. Twelve people died.

Events like these in turn fuelled right-wing anger, leading to demands from the AfD that "Merkel must go".

After the European Union made a controversial agreement with Turkey in 2016, the flow of migrants arriving in Germany slowed dramatically.

But Merkel was punished in 2017 federal elections when the AfD was voted into parliament as Germany's largest opposition party.

European and regional elections in 2018 confirmed the decline in Merkel's popularity.

At the end of 2018, she resigned as head of her party, the CDU, but said she intended to remain chancellor until the end of her fourth term in 2021.

Many doubted that she would make it that far -- until the pandemic came along.

- 'Not finished' -

Five years on from the refugee crisis, Germany "has become more diverse, more colourful, younger", according to the Pro Asyl migrants' association.

By the latest count, around half the migrants who arrived in Germany during the crisis are now employed -- a figure held up by the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) as a success story.

Merkel on Friday pointed to successes in integrating refugees into the job market and German society.

"Nevertheless, the subject will continue to be of concern to us and will remain so in the years to come," she said.

"The subject of migration... is not finished. It will be a constant theme for the 21st century."

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Migrant crisis: Five years after refugee influx, Merkel 'would do the same' - RTL Today

New-age digital raths and e-electioneering new normal; Bihar elections test for parties – The Tribune India

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 4

Call it the status quo in Bihar or winds of change as the BJP prepares to roll out its high pitch e-blitzkrieg powered by money and resources, the question is can the rivals match it to turn the situation in their favour.

Those associated with grass-roots in the poll-bound state believe it is possible as the ground reality, like in Jharkhand (Assembly elections), is far from what it appears from far.

Digital raths and e-electioneering are the new normal in the COVID times. In those terms, the upcoming Bihar elections will not just test parties but also the voters of the state where caste combinations, social situations and poverty continue to be the biggest issues.

This time, there is more.

According to political observers, thecombination of the coronavirus pandemic, resultant migrant crisis and job losses, and recent floods have the potential to lead to some unexpected results.

If you think Sushant Singh Rajput is an issue, think again. Ram Mandir is not an issue in the state where anything related to Mandal Commission (reservation) still has the potential to knock down a party as it happened with the BJP in 2015. The votes and issues of the backward classes, the EBCs and the Muslim community will decide the fate of the parties. The upper castes have their own grievances. The floods have played havoc and large tracks of farmlands have been submerged. Parties have to keep all that in mind, the experts say.

As far as the saffron party is concerned about digital and social media and high-tech campaigns, it is more experienced than others. Its e-campaign focusing on virtual rallies and digital raths with LED screen mounted atop vehicles for the live telecast of campaigns to take care of those whose who do not have smartphones or internet connection is ready. Party cadres will also be conducting nukkad or corner meetings with a limited audience and maintaining social distancing. Election guidelines will further define the contours and specifics of physical rallies and meetings, party leaders say.

The BJPs focus areas include Prime Minister Narendra Modis self-reliance pitch (Atmanirbhar Bihar) and monetary help, rations and the MNREGA jobs to migrants after they reached Bihar during the COVID-19 lockdown.

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New-age digital raths and e-electioneering new normal; Bihar elections test for parties - The Tribune India

Protection beyond reach – State of play of refugee and migrant children’s rights in Europe – World – ReliefWeb

Over 200,000 lone child migrants left to uncertain fates in Europe

Five years since the tragic death of Alan Kurdi, Save the Children is warning that Europe has failed to address the needs of migrant and refugee children

Brussels, September 2nd - Some 210,000 unaccompanied children sought asylum in Europe over the past five years, fleeing conflict, persecution or violence, a new report by Save the Children said today. The total number of children arriving is likely to be much higher, with many being forced into an existence in the shadows of Europe, at risk of exploitation and abuse.

In the same period, more than 700 children, including babies, lost their lives trying to reach European shores[i], during perilous journeys by sea.

While some of the children have been offered safety and protection, many struggle to get a refugee status, live in constant fear of being deported or detained, and are unable to reunite with family members living elsewhere in Europe , the report Protection Beyond Reach by Save the Children reveals.

Children, travelling alone or with their family, have unique needs and must be offered safety and protection, yet the EU responded with increasingly restrictive and dangerous measures, Save the Children said.

It is five years to the day since Alan Kurdi lost his life just off the Turkish coast, becoming a tragic symbol of the refugee crisis. European leaders were among the first to say: Never again, but ever since, they have only made routes more difficult and dangerous for refugees and migrants, said Anita Bay Bundegaard, Director of Save the Children Europe.

The way Europe has treated the most vulnerable children in their hour of need is unacceptable. On any given day since August 2019, an average of 10,000 children were stranded on the Greek islands, 60% of them are under 12 years old. While some efforts were made to relocate children out of Greece, thousands have been abandoned due to the unwillingness of some European countries to take in and care for some of the most vulnerable children in the world. Children continue to die on the EUs doorstep while European leaders look the other way, Bay Bundegaard continued.

Many children are fleeing from countries facing ongoing or protracted crises. With the conflict in Syria in its tenth year, half of the countrys eight million children have known nothing but war. The conflict in Afghanistan where most unaccompanied children in Europe are from remains among the deadliest for children, who make up almost a third of all casualties in the country[ii].

Many European countries responded to the migrant crisis by shutting their borders, facilitating detention of children or making it nearly impossible for children to be reunited with their parents - in Greece alone, some 331 children were in detention in March 2020.

Ahmed, a 15-year old boy who fled Syria and is now in Belgrade, Serbia, said: When we try to cross the borders we get beaten by the police, badly. They are often very rude. I think they want us to feel afraid to try again. I havent seen my family for a long time now, I left to go to Europe because there was nothing for me in Syria, or Lebanon, or Turkey."

Children suffer nightmares and other symptoms of trauma and depression, including self-harm because of their experience in their country of origin and the arduous journey, their permits of stay being under constant review and their fears of being deported[iii].

While some improvements have been made,[iv] these are overshadowed by harsh border policies and measures to prevent vulnerable children from entering Europe altogether. Europe needs to draw lessons from the past. New migration policies should not come at the cost of childrens lives, continued Anita Bay Bundegaard.

Based on data compiled by organisations such as Eurostat, UNHCR and IOM Save the Children found that:

Ahead of the EUs announcement on new measures on asylum and migration, Save the Children is calling for the rights of children need to be at the heart of those decisions and for the EU and its leaders to ensure that steps are taken to keep vulnerable children safe. They must ensure that children can immediately access asylum and protection once they arrive to Europe, instead of being pushed back. More and better legal migration pathways, including swift access to family reunification, could prevent more children from dying on their way to Europe.

ENDS

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Protection beyond reach - State of play of refugee and migrant children's rights in Europe - World - ReliefWeb

Gary Lineker reveals hes inviting migrant to live at 4m house because his kids are grown up and got plenty – The Sun

GARY Lineker has revealed he will house a refugee in a few weeks as his kids are grown up and he has plenty of room.

The Match of the Day host, 59, said to be worth over 30million, is giving up one of the five bedrooms at his 4m Surrey mansion.

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Last month Lineker was challenged by a Tory MP to offer his townhouse to refugees after accusing him of "virtue signalling" over the migrant crisis.

The ex-England striker told the Mirror: "My kids are all grown up so Ive got plenty of room so if I can help on a temporary basis then Im more than happy to do so. Why not?

"Most of the things we think of as quintessentially British are often brought in from different shores. Even St George is Turkish.

I just think we owe a lot to refugees and most people are descended from refugees at some point.

They have given so much to this country and still continue to do so in terms of the jobs they do which we have witnessed during the pandemic in the NHS, carers and key workers.

The former Spurs and Barcelona striker, who has four sons in their 20s, was interviewed by a charity who came to visit his home during the application process.

Refugees at Home has helped find temporary accommodation for more than 2,250 vulnerable people.

It comes after a record 409 migrants crossed the Channel yesterday.

Lineker, who earned 80 caps for England during a glittering career, admits he has no idea who will be staying with him and what country they are from.

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The BBC host began campaigning for refugees after the death of Alan Kurdi - a Syrian child who drowned near Greece in 2015.

And news of a Sudanese man dying while attempting to cross the Channel, prompted Lineker to take action.

He said: "It was seeing the images of what was happening when they were going in the boats and landing in Greece, seeing families dying, it just struck me as so intolerably sad.

FINE LINEGary Lineker dismisses BBC boss's warning to staff to keep views off social media

STAY AT MY PLAICEGary Lineker thanks refugees for 'giving Britain fish & chips'

NEW HOMEIs Gary Lineker inviting a migrant to live in his house?

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'I CAN'T SEE'Gary Lineker's eyesight is so bad he struggles to read Match of the Day notes

VIDEO NASTYMan City hero Sterling watched Spurs defeat highlights before toppling Madrid

Imagine if it was London that was being bombed and we had to flee somewhere and nobody would accept you and nobody would want us and everyone would hate you.

The former England striker will also appear in a new film highlighting how fish and chips came from Jews fleeing persecution in Spain and Portugal, as part of an initiative highlighting refugees' contributions.

He will appear alongside comedian Jo Brand and TV actor Yasmin Kadi star in a new film exploring the origins of the popular dish on Friday.

He tweeted: "Providing a new start to those who have fled their homes represents the best of Britain's values. As we know refugees have always helped to keep our communities safe and make our society stronger. They even brought us fish & chips."

Lineker has praised young footballers such as Marcus Rashford for speaking out about social issues calling their maturity "extraordinary."

The father-of-four is supporting the International Rescue Committee campaign which raises awareness of the migrant crisis.

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Gary Lineker reveals hes inviting migrant to live at 4m house because his kids are grown up and got plenty - The Sun

Facebook and YouTube accused of allowing posts linked to people smuggling – iNews

Facebook, YouTube and other social media companieshave been accused of failing toremovepages linked to people-smugglingas soaring numbers of migrants attempt the perilous crossing from France to the United Kingdom.

With more than5,600people landingin small beacheson English beachesso far in 2020, including 416 in one day this week,MPs were warnedthatnobody in the world has solved this problem.Almostall ofthe migrantsclaim asylum upon their arrival.

A senior official from the National Crime Agency said criminal gangs were taking advantageofend-to-end encryption and closed groups on social media tocirculate information about getting to Britain.

Rob Jones,itsdirector of threat leadership,said around 40 per cent of the pages linked to immigration crimereferred to social mediaorganisations remained online becausethe firms terms and conditions were considered not to have been breached.

Askedat the Commons home affairs select committeewhetherFacebook and YouTube would be among them, hereplied: Yes, they would.

Facebook responded:People smuggling is illegal and any ads, posts, pages or groups that co-ordinate this activity are not allowed.

Dan OMahoney, the official in charge ofcombating the people smuggling,toldMPs that Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, wasabsolutely committed to solving the problem.

But the former marinewarned:Its an incredibly complex problem that requires interventions at every stage of the route and some really, really innovative thinking.He added: Nobody in the world has solved this problem.

Tim Loughton, the Tory MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, asked about a French politicians comments that migrants head to the UK because it is easier to work illegally and live undercover.

He said: It would appear French members of parliament are party to putting around these misconceptions about how they are actually going to be looked after if they do make it to the UK.

Thats part of the problem, isnt it, that people are coming here on a false premise?

Mr OMahoney replied: I think thats absolutely correct.

Hepraised the overall efforts of his French counterparts to tackle the migrant crisis, telling the committee: They are as committed as we are.They have prevented 3,000 people from crossing this year, including yesterday close to 200.

Mr Mahoney, a former Royal Marine, said the French authorities had stopped a large boatwith unbelievably 63 people on itfromcasting off.

A charter flight with 11 migrants whose claims for asylum had been rejected took off for Spain yesterday. Ministers had hoped to remove 20 but nine did not board the plane following late legal challenges.

Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UKs refugee and migrant rights programme director, saidBoris Johnsonsconstant talk of criminal gangs deflects attention away from the UKs responsibility to cooperate with the French authorities in establishing safe procedures for desperate and often very vulnerable people.

Unprecedented numbers of people are on the move around theglobe and only the tiniest fraction of them end up on the south coast of England.

The latest United Nations estimate suggests that there are some 272 million migrants worldwide, many fleeing war and repression in unstable states such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, South Sudan and Eritrea.

Just a small proportion make it to Europe often after arduous and expensive overland journeys through the Middle East or across the Sahara to the Mediterranean.

As a result, Greece, Italy and Malta have been the European countries most affected by the tide of new arrivals in recent years.

However, some migrants set their sights on northern Europe with popular choices including Germany, France and Sweden.

Others have the UK as their ultimate destinationdrawn by family links and familiarity with the English language.

Upon arrival at theFrench coastpeople trafficking gangs can charge them 4,000to 5,000 to make the short but hazardous crossing to Kent.

Tighter security around Calais and the Eurotunnel, as well as thecollapse in traffic during the coronavirus lockdown, have forced many migrants to take to the seaduring 2020.

More than 5,000 havesofar taken their lives in their hands this year by crossing in small boats,compared with an estimated 500 in the whole of 2018.

Numberssoaredduring August and reachedarecord 416on Wednesdaywhen theweather conditions were ideal for attempting the journey.

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Facebook and YouTube accused of allowing posts linked to people smuggling - iNews

Minister Cikotic: EU has paid 70 Million Euros since the Beginning of Migrants Crisis – Sarajevo Times

Today, at the session of the House of Peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Minister of Security of BiH, Selmo Cikotic, answered the question of the delegate Dusanka Majkic about how much money BiH received in the period from 2016 to 2020 to solve the migrant crisis, Klix.ba news portal reports.

Yesterday, during the meeting involving representatives of international organizations, I received information from representatives of the European Commission that the EU has paid 70 million euros since the beginning of the crisis. These funds were mostly paid to the International Organization for Migrations. These are funds for renting space, salaries, for the procurement of food and other funds for migrants in reception centers, Cikotic said, adding that there were no data on other international donors.

The Minister of Finance of BiH, Vjekoslav Bevanda, previously said that the account of the Ministry of Human Rights is 781,845 BAM, and the account of the Ministry of Security is 1.19 million BAM. In addition, as he emphasized, the funds of the Government of the Czech Republic have 1.8 million BAM in a special account of the Ministry of Security of BiH.

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Minister Cikotic: EU has paid 70 Million Euros since the Beginning of Migrants Crisis - Sarajevo Times

COVID economic pain will pass but we need to create enduring change for firms, citizens with reforms – The Indian Express

Written by Manish Sabharwal | Updated: September 3, 2020 8:42:17 amCOVIDs economic pain is a passing shower, not climate change. (Express photo/Praveen Khanna)

Americas opioid crisis took off in 1995 after doctors and medical students were convinced about thinking of pain as the fifth vital sign (traditional signs were temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure). Medical science now recognises the ignorance, danger, and short-termism of overprescribing pain killers. COVID creates massive economic pain but history suggests that todays circumstances are when we should take the longue duree and heed historian Fernand Braudels warning against fireflies and froth. Policy presentism a belief that todays circumstances are unique, permanent, and unprecedented is unhelpful and calmness is power. COVID will end, the last quarter was unique, and COVID has created a policy window for overdue reform.

The pain of COVID is real, unprecedented, and expected GST shortfall of Rs 3 lakh crore, expected new bad loans of Rs 3 lakh crore, and a 25 per cent first quarter contraction of GDP. But is this surprising if the planet is taking a gap quarter or year? Modern economies are rivers, not lakes, customers pay salaries, not shareholders, and banks have powers to lend not spend. A lockdown that forces customers on strike will have pain but extrapolating this data will lead to noisy estimates like the unemployment number whiplash 8 per cent to 28 per cent to 8 per cent within four months that are microscopically precise but macroscopically incomplete.

Editorial | GDP figures confirm the sharp contraction of the economy, and the arduous challenge of recovery that lies ahead

The last quarter was unique and the short-term is unmodellable till we have answered three questions. Are we at the start, middle, or end of the virus? This matters because life will be tentative until companies and individuals know where we are. Will companies and individuals be frugal or hedonistic after the virus that is, will they save for a rainy day or live for today? This matters because lower demand is fantastic for the environment but fatal for the economy (the paradox of thrift). Finally, do we have an effective solution for professions that cant be done without social distancing until the vaccine arrives? This matters because the fastest-growing segments of Indias labour markets sales, customer service, logistics, hospitality, and construction are these professions. All policy can do in the short run is ensure that disease doesnt lead to death, unemployment doesnt lead to hunger, and working capital problems dont lead to bankruptcy.

The long term is different: Our post-COVID, post-Trump, post-China, post-GST, and post US Federal Reserve economic strategy must recognise factors in our favour. The unassailable status and benefits of being a reserve currency embedded in the belief that the dollar is our currency but your problem are challenged by the US Federal Reserve exploding balance sheet, shifting of the goal post on monetary policy, and a US$ 3 trillion fiscal deficit. China has many strengths but its territorial arrogance may be premature; its credit to GDP is an unsustainable 300 per cent, many of its big companies are animals bred in captivity who will not survive in the jungle, and its domestic consumption is not sufficient to substitute for global trade. More importantly, Chinas military overreach is unifying the region and creating coalitions and alliances that they will regret but India will enjoy.

Opinion | In post-Covid world, growth of business must not be at expense of societal well-being

Muted global growth means oil prices will remain low; this is a huge macroeconomic gift for a country like India with a birth defect 1.3 billion people but almost no energy of our own. The global digitisation supercycle creates insatiable demand for software talent. Over the next few decades, most rich countries with their ageing populations, creaking health systems, and huge public debt will struggle to grow. But the global glut of capital fixed income has become no income with 25 per cent of the worlds bonds trading at negative or zero interest rates means investors. This forces investors to overprice growth. And because of our past sins, India is the only big country with decades of growth left.

This luck is something to be built on. The recent courage and ambition demonstrated in politics Article 370, black money, Swachh Bharat, Ujjwala, etc should now be replicated in economics. Our problem is not jobs but productivity. This needs compliance reform (taking an axe through our 67,000 compliances and 6,700 filings), labour law reform (Chinas factory refugees will not come if our employment contract is marriage without divorce), banking reform (raising our credit to GDP ratio from 50 per cent to 100 per cent by licensing more banks and fixing existing ones), education reform (bring forward the Poorna Swaraj for universities and schools proposed by the wonderful new National Education Policy from 15 years to 5 years), ease-of-doing-business reforms (reduce the number of ministries from 52 to 15) and civil service reform (cut the number of people in Delhi with the rank of Secretary from 250+ to 50). COVID creates a policy window for change and Japan offers an important reminder of why a risk-averse bureaucracy must be sidestepped or overruled. Prime Minister Shinzo Abes great strategy three arrows of fiscal, monetary, and structural action is a tarnished legacy because he didnt deal with the sabotage of the structural reform arrow by vested interests whose weapon was the civil service.

COVIDs economic pain is a passing shower, not climate change. The weather of the moment the first quarter 25 per cent GDP contraction has passed. The second-quarter contraction will be a fraction of 25 per cent because our labour market shock absorbers like agriculture and self-employment that keep us poor but not hungry are working. The third quarter will be different because factories are producing, migrant labour is returning, offices are opening, investors are investing, and entrepreneurs are reinventing. Lets ignore the breathless demands for the government to borrow 10 lakh crore by stealing from our grandchildren. Lets, instead, create climate change for our entrepreneurs, firms, and citizens with reforms that will give them economic Poorna Swaraj. And take our per capita income of $2,500 to $10,000 in five years. If not now, then when?

This article first appeared in the print edition on September 3, 2020 under the title Wall with a window. The writer is Chairman, Teamlease Services

Opinion | Crisis also brings opportunity for building a nurturing economy

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COVID economic pain will pass but we need to create enduring change for firms, citizens with reforms - The Indian Express

Five years after migrant crisis, integration in Germany is succeeding, policy analyst says – The World

In 2015, hundreds of thousands of people were on the move from Africa, Asia and the Middle East, fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria and turning to Europe as they sought safer and more stable futures.

Germany took in more than 1.7 million asylum-seekers that year. And five years ago today, German chancellor Angela Merkel made what would become a famous speech in which she reiterated that migrants and refugees were welcome in Germany.

I'll put it simply: Germany is a strong country...we can do this, she said.

Critics said this statement, which triggered a groundswell of xenophobia,would be her undoing. They argued it would open the door to terrorism, right-wingextremism in politics, and general divisions within the German population and Europe overall.

Five years later, critics worst predictions have not come to pass. And while Merkels popularity took a hit, it has risen again throughout the pandemic.

The World's host Carol Hillschecked in on what's happened to Merkel and the so-called "migrant crisis" with ConstanzeStelzenmller, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who focuses on German and European foreign policy.

Related: Survey: Despite crisis, most Europeans still welcome refugees

Constanze Stelzenmller: I was mesmerized by what seemed like an absolutely historical immigration challenge for Germany and mesmerized also by the generosity of the response. And I don't just mean the chancellors memorable words for which, of course, she was castigated but I realized that many of my friends and acquaintances were trying to help out. This was people who had 24/7 jobs in national policymaking who were volunteering in refugee shelters, to the 82-year-old mother of a friend of mine, a retired gynecologist in the former eastern Germany, who said to her son, Well, somebody is going to have to take care of these ladies, and reinserted herself into the workforce. So there was a general atmosphere of people rolling up their sleeves and saying, Let's try and get to grips with it. But it did, of course, become apparent that there were real problems with us as well.

There was reasonable criticism by many, it has to be said, that, while, German civil society was responding in the sort of energetic and cheerful ways that I've just described, German government institutions seem to be much more overwhelmed, seemed to be faltering in addressing this challenge. And this gave a completely new breath of energy and malignant force to Germany's populist parties, in particular the Alternative for Germany, a relatively small, mildly Eurosceptic party that had been formed in 2013 and that suddenly ramped up everywhere, based on really viciously xenophobic and ethno-nationalist messaging. There was a sudden and very serious groundswell of anger against Chancellor Merkel. There was a movement on the right wing of her Christian Democratic Party called MMW for short Merkel Muss Weg, or Merkel Must Go and for a while, it seemed as though that was going to muster a very serious challenge to her authority.

Well, famously, she said, if we can't accept that we are large and wealthy enough to handle this kind of a refugee influx, then this is no longer my country. That angered many, many people. And the truth is, five years later, we're seeing that the worst of the predictions have not come to pass. We have not had significant foreign radical terrorist attacks. We have seen some immigrant crime, but my understanding is that immigrant crime numbers are below the domestic crime numbers. There are actually a great number of success stories. In other words, the integration of those who were eligible to stay because there were genuine political refugees, I think, is now a more or less unqualified success.

Interestingly, Merkel, who is a very canny, shrewd political operator, stuck to her guns saying, we can do this and we should not change our rules or close our borders. De facto, that is exactly what we did. The border closings really happened all across Europe and then Merkel negotiated a bilateral treaty with Turkey that amounted to a promise by Turkey to keep the bulk of Middle Eastern refugees in Turkey in exchange for billions of euros in economic support. So far, it seems to have worked, and the influx of new migration to Europe and Germany is much much lower than it was five years ago. Obviously, that also has something to do with the pandemic.

Merkel's popularity went down in national polls when it became clear that this influx of a million or more refugees in 2015 would be much more difficult than everybody thought at the beginning. Now, five years later, we're in the middle of a pandemic but Merkel's popularity is greater than it's ever been. It's really interesting. I think that she will go out on a very high note. And by the way, she has said that she is not running again in 2021, and I think we have every reason to believe her. She is not needy, unlike many other politicians, and I think she will calmly go into the sunset.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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Five years after migrant crisis, integration in Germany is succeeding, policy analyst says - The World

Gary Lineker reveals hes inviting migrant to live at 4m mansion because his kids are grown up and got plen – The Sun

GARY Lineker has revealed he will house a refugee in a few weeks as his kids are grown up and he has plenty of room.

The Match of the Day host, 59, said to be worth over 30million, is giving up one of the five bedrooms at his 4m Surrey mansion.

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Last month Lineker was challenged by a Tory MP to offer his townhouse to refugees after accusing him of "virtue signalling" over the migrant crisis.

The ex-England striker told the Mirror: "My kids are all grown up so Ive got plenty of room so if I can help on a temporary basis then Im more than happy to do so. Why not?

"Most of the things we think of as quintessentially British are often brought in from different shores. Even St George is Turkish.

I just think we owe a lot to refugees and most people are descended from refugees at some point.

They have given so much to this country and still continue to do so in terms of the jobs they do which we have witnessed during the pandemic in the NHS, carers and key workers.

The former Spurs and Barcelona striker, who has four sons in their 20s, was interviewed by a charity who came to visit his home during the application process.

Refugees at Home has helped find temporary accommodation for more than 2,250 vulnerable people.

It comes after a record 409 migrants crossed the Channel yesterday.

Lineker, who earned 80 caps for England during a glittering career, admits he has no idea who will be staying with him and what country they are from.

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The BBC host began campaigning for refugees after the death of Alan Kurdi - a Syrian child who drowned near Greece in 2015.

And news of a Sudanese man dying while attempting to cross the Channel, prompted Lineker to take action.

He said: "It was seeing the images of what was happening when they were going in the boats and landing in Greece, seeing families dying, it just struck me as so intolerably sad.

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Imagine if it was London that was being bombed and we had to flee somewhere and nobody would accept you and nobody would want us and everyone would hate you.

Lineker praised young footballers such as Marcus Rashford for speaking out about social issues calling their maturity "extraordinary."

The father-of-four is supporting the International Rescue Committee campaign which raises awareness of the migrant crisis.

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Gary Lineker reveals hes inviting migrant to live at 4m mansion because his kids are grown up and got plen - The Sun

Europe and West targeted by further Russian disinformation efforts, Facebook says – EURACTIV

A fresh spate of coordinated disinformation campaigns emanating from Russias Internet Research Agency (IRA) has sought to target Western and European targets, Facebook has said.

As part of the social media firms August report on coordinated inauthentic behaviour, analysing efforts to manipulate public debate for a strategic goal, a small network of 13 Facebook accounts and two pages linked to users connected with Russias IRA were identified.

The accounts were purportedly associated with the political news website Peace Data which has published a range of spurious stories on the UK migrant crisis, NATO and EU politics, and French influence in Africa, among wider issues such as US military policy, tensions between Israel and Palestine and President Donald Trump.

The people behind this activity relied on fake accounts some of which had already been detected and disabled by our automated systems to create elaborate fictitious personas, manage Pages, post in Groups and drive people to their off-platform site masquerading as an independent news outlet, Facebook noted in their August report.

These personas operated across a number of internet services and used fake names and profile photos generated likely using machine learning techniques like generative adversarial networks (GAN), and posed as news editors, the report adds, also finding that the company, Peace Data, had recruited unwitting freelance journalists to cover the stories.

NBC News reports that Facebook had received a tip-off from the FBI and it appears that Facebook was able to remove the accounts before they were able to develop a wider presence on the platform, with the English-language page only having around 200 followers.

The IRA leads online influence campaigns on behalf of clients, some of which are believed to represent the interests of the Russian government, and the efforts in this field have previously provoked concerns from policymakers in Brussels.

EU efforts to counter disinformation

In 2015, the European External Action Services (EEAS) Strategic Communications and Information Analysis Division was established as part of the East Stratcom Task Force, aiming to counter fake news emanating from Russia.

Nonetheless, the East StratCom Task Forces capacity to deal with fake news coming from Russia has previously been a concern highlighted by the European Commission, whose former vice-president, Andrus Ansip, saidthat the budget for the body, currently at 5 million, is far from enough when compared to the resources the Russians have at their disposal.

Combating disinformation efforts has been high on the EU agenda for some time. The Commissions voluntary code of practice against disinformation was introduced in October 2018, in a bid to combat fake news ahead of the 2019 European Parliament elections.

Arecent study on the code, however, commissioned by the EU executive, hit out at the self-regulatory nature of the framework, suggesting that sanctions should be put into place for platforms that fail to abide by the guidelines.

An evaluation of the code will be published later this year, as the bloc looks into further measures it can implement as part of new rules featured in the Digital Services Act and the Democracy Action Plan, the latter of which will hone in on disinformation in the context of external interference and manipulation in elections.

[Edited by Sam Morgan]

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Europe and West targeted by further Russian disinformation efforts, Facebook says - EURACTIV

Alan Kurdi: Five years on from boy’s tragic death, ‘refugee and migrant children worse off’ – Euronews

Five years on from the death of three-year-old boy Alan Kurdi, refugee and migrant children in Europe "are often worse off", Save the Children said on Wednesday.

Kurdi was photographed dead on a Turkish beach on September 2, 2015, and the harrowing image shocked the world and sparked a European debate on the refugee crisis. He drowned as his family made for Europe in a small dinghy that capsized off the Turkish coast.

"His drowning was expected to inspire new measures to protect migrant and refugee children. Instead, as this report shows, five years later refugee and migrant children are often worse off," Save the Children said in a report.

The NGO estimates that more than 210,000 unaccompanied children arrived in Europe over the past five years and that at least 700 have died in their attempts to do so.

It stressed that they continue to be most at risk on Europe's external border, where Kurdi lost his life.

The European Union struck a deal with Turkey in 2016 aimed at curbing the inflow of people into the bloc and which planned for rapid return to Turkey for migrants not in need of international protection. In exchange, the EU pledge billions of euros in aid.

According to the children's welfare charity, the deal with Turkey, coupled with the EU's funding of Libyan coastguards and a crackdown on search and rescue operations, has led to children being stranded in transit countries including Morocco, Libya, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey where "access to international protection is either limited or non-existent".

At least 10,000 more children are also stranded on Greek islands in what the charity described as "inhumane conditions". Sixty per cent of them are under the age of 12.

But even the children who manage to access asylum systems in Europe face hurdles, with few being granted refugee status.

"Finland, Sweden, Norway and Germany introduced new restrictions making it harder for children to access asylum or renew their permits. Many receive temporary or tolerated permits, but the length of time they are allowed to stay has been significantly reduced and recognition rates have dropped," Save the Children said in its report.

Additionally, several countries have introduced measures allowing for the detention of children.

"At the European level, proposed border procedures risk facilitating long-term detention of children and families. On the Greek islands and in police stations in Greece, children can be detained as a temporary protective custody measure," it argued.

"In Spain, new detention facilities allow for the de facto detention of children for 72 hours or more at disembarkation points. In Norway and Sweden, children are being detained in pre-removal proceedings. The AnkER-Zentren in Germany (centres for reception, decision and return) are severely limiting childrens freedom of movement," it added.

Another "worrying trend" flagged by the charity is the increasing use of pushbacks.

Testimonies it gathered in 2018 from 860 children who were travelling alone or had been separated from their families found that nearly half said that force had been used by police or border guards to push them back.

"Most of these violent pushbacks occurred at the border between Croatia and Serbia. In 2019, more than a third of children travelling the Western Balkans route were reportedly pushed back. Almost half of these cases involved violence inflicted by police or guards at the borders," it said.

For the NGO, "the sharp increase in anti-migrant sentiments and radical right-wing populism has had a profound effect on laws and policies, leading to measures of control and security that disproportionally affect children, whether they are travelling alone or with their families."

The report, released on the anniversary of Aylan Kurdi's death, comes as the EU Commission is preparing to unveil new proposals on migration and asylum reform.

The NGO called for member states to end child immigration detention and to fast-track asylum and family reunification procedures for children.

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Alan Kurdi: Five years on from boy's tragic death, 'refugee and migrant children worse off' - Euronews

Not the Booker: Hashim & Family by Shahnaz Ahsan review an important tale of migration – The Guardian

Immigration takes guts. Its hard to leave your home and everything you know, never mind the physical and bureaucratic obstacles, or having to learn a different language; never mind facing racism, hostility and violence. Never mind how difficult it must have been for the people described in Shahnaz Ahsans debut novel, Hashim & Family, people who left behind the Indian subcontinent in the 1950s and 1960s for the rain and cold of Britain.

The people who showed so much bravery and initiative in the mid-20th century went on to contribute an incalculable amount to British society. But during the past few weeks, while some media and Nigel Farage have been promoting the ongoing myth that there is a migrant crisis, it has been moving to read this important novel, one that gently and affectionately shows the reality of migration and the humanity of migrants.

That is reason enough to recommend Hashim & Family although unless youve only been reading the Daily Mail for the last 30 years, there wont be much here to surprise you. It tells a familiar story.

We first meet the titular Hashim in 1960, wearing his cheap suit as he arrives in Manchester Central railway station, where his cousin Rofikul picks him up. Rofikul has warned Hashim that There are three phrases you need to know to get by in England. These are thank you and sorry, closely followed by please in order of importance. There follows plenty more commonplaces about the weather and rickety terraced houses, as Hashim gets used to life under the grey Manchester skies. He brings his wife, Munira, over, while Rofikul marries Helen, who is from Liverpool. They have children. Hashim runs a shop. Time moves on. By the 70s, Rofikul is a journalist covering the Bangladesh war of independence, while, back in Manchester, Hashim is subjected to Paki bashing and the National Front. More generally, this is a story of quiet striving and determination, of love and friendship.

Theres nothing ground-breaking about Hashim & Family, but there is resonance beyond its politics. Most of Ahsans characters feel real enough to touch the heart. We understand why Munira adores sweet-natured Hashim and why his nephew Adam, on receiving a typewriter for his 10th birthday, types out that he has the best fam ily in the uni verse. Their home feels as warm as the beef curry and biryani Munira cooks on special occasions.

Its not all so convincing. Ahsan struggles to get inside the character of Rofikul, especially partly because he is supposed to be enigmatic and his motivations can be a mystery even to himself. But when Ahsan does try to show us his inner thoughts, it can veer on banal: Rofikul was taken aback by the sense of freedom he gained from roaming the streets cloaked in his long-sought anonymity. And section after section starts with variations on all that had been three long years ago, several months later, in the days that followed. If a house is terraced well be told several times. Harmless enough in isolation, but tiresome in repetition.

But even if Ahsan is not a remarkable stylist, she produces smooth and readable prose that does enough to serve her story; that story, in turn, does enough to keep you reading, give or take a few loose ends and a bit of drift towards the end. Theres plenty of worth here.

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Not the Booker: Hashim & Family by Shahnaz Ahsan review an important tale of migration - The Guardian

Exhausted migrants wade to shore and collapse on beach as 409 make journey across Channel too shatter new d – The Sun

EXHAUSTED migrants stagger onto UK shores this morning as 409 made the perilous crossing shattering the previous daily record.

Dramatic pictures show one group collapsing on the Kent coast at Dover after coming from France.

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Up to 30 boats are believed to have brought at least 409 migrants across the Channel comfortably beating the previous daily record of 235 set on August 6.

There has been unverified reports that around 500 could have made the crossing today across the world's busiest shipping lane, the Dover Strait.

Calm waters and clear skies are said to have caused "absolute mayhem" in the Channel making it easier to complete the journey.

Four dinghies evaded patrols to land at The Warren beach near Folkestone while another two migrant boats made it to Shakespeare Beach at Dover.

One group was seen walking up a hill after landing in the village of St Margaret's at Cliffe and another was spotted at the foot of the White Cliffs of Dover.

Today's rescue operation has been going since 6am.

The Coastguard said it had been "assisting Border Force with incidents off Dover" today.

A spokesman said: "HM Coastguard is committed to safeguarding life around the seas and coastal areas of this country.

"We are only concerned with preservation of life, rescuing those in trouble and bringing them safely back to shore, where they will be handed over to the relevant partner emergency services or authorities."

Immigration minister Chris Philp told the House of Commons today that the "dangerous, illegal crossings" must be brought to an end.

Mr Philp said the best way to stop the crossings was to send migrants back to the country they first arrived in.

He said: "The countries where these migrants are arriving are manifestly safe countries with fully functioning asylum seeker systems in place.

"Those feeling persecution have had many opportunities to claim asylum in the European countries they have passed through, long before attempt (the Channel) crossing."

He added: "It serves both French and UK interests to cut off this route."

Yesterday, children were among the groups of migrants arriving in Dover today after another perilous Channel crossing.

Pictures showed young kids being wrapped up in blankets and taken to safety by Border Force officers.

So far this year, at least 5,025 migrants have arrived in small boats - including a single-month record of 1,468 in August.

The tide of young kids arriving on boats has not stopped despite Home Secretary Priti Patel's efforts to make the dangerous route across the Channel "unviable".

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Last month,a 28-year-old man died after making a desperate bid to reach the UK in a dingy -using spades as oars.

Ms Patel has been forced to dig her heels in over the fight to make it harder for migrants to travel to the UK.

The Home Office has blamed French authorities for failing to monitor people fleeing to the UK via Calais and"activist" lawyers for making it more difficult to remove asylum seekers once they get to Britain.

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Exhausted migrants wade to shore and collapse on beach as 409 make journey across Channel too shatter new d - The Sun

Could the line between UK aid and defence spending become blurred? – The Guardian

David Cameron was long committed to spending 0.7% of GDP on overseas aid as a way of demonstrating in the early part of the decade that the Conservatives had changed, although the pledge was not always popular across the party.

It is a target that has been hit every year since 2013, enduring throughout the premiership of the first of Camerons successors.

But a recent series of briefings suggested the 12.9bn budget is coming under more severe pressure, as the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, tries to tackle the 30bn-plus cost of helping Britain through the coronavirus crisis in the run-up to the November spending round.

Over the past few days it has been suggested that any new defence spending, such as on drones or cyberwarfare, would have to be funded from the aid budget and even that the 0.7% target, enshrined in law, could be under threat.

Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, was quick to defend the 0.7% target as the newly merged Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office began work on Wednesday, and dismissed rumours of a switch from aid to military spending as tittle-tattle.

Defence insiders were similarly sceptical. We are not getting money from the aid budget, said one source, who said there was no diktat from the Treasury that new defence spending would have to be paid for from aid.

Conservative commitments mean defence is particularly well funded. The partys election manifesto promised not just to hit the longstanding target of 2% of GDP but to increase spending by 0.5% above inflation, a commitment the Ministry of Defence is still working towards.

That means that while the overseas aid budget has already been cut by 2.9bn in July with a massive knock-on impact on the aid sector the defence budget is relatively stable, and is expected, if the pledge is met, to be a little over 42bn in 2021-22.

Yet for all the financial stability, the MoD is struggling financially. It has a shortfall of 13bn in its 10-year equipment budget, which officials are trying to close amid a debate about Britains post-Brexit role in the world.

A defence and foreign policy review has restarted after being stalled because of coronavirus. Last week it emerged that the military was giving consideration to mothballing the armys ageing Challenger 2 tank fleet, which is at the point of obsolescence.

Experts say ministers needs to be clear about what the definition of the UKs national security is. Britain has become embroiled in wars that it started in Iraq and Afghanistan, but its involvement in combat operations in the last of those ended in 2010, and expensive conventional wars using costly kit appear unlikely in the future.

Prof Malcolm Chalmers, the deputy director of the Royal United Services Institute, said: Its not clear the UK needs to have a division-size force on standby for deployment in three months time in a foreign war; whats needed is the ability to put a few hundred in a crisis zone in a few days.

Simply repurposing aid spending on drones or cyberwarfare to bail out the MoD would appear impossible to achieve, as the UK adheres to international definitions on aid spending that rule out spending on military equipment, services or counter-terrorism spending.

But a more subtle blending of aid and defence spending is already under way. The 1.26bn Conflict and Stability Fund, launched in 2015, runs programmes in Lebanon, Colombia and Pakistan, part of a previous attempt to placate critics of the size of the aid budget.

And there are some examples where it could make good sense: effectively tackling the migrant crisis in west Africa at source in countries such as Mali, Niger and Chad could justify additional integrated spend on aid, policing and reconnaissance capability.

Old Whitehall hands say they detect the beginnings of a familiar game. Its like a judo bout, where everybody is trying to get a grip as the negotiations with the Treasury begin, said one. Leaks are starting, partly to see what the other side will wear. Its not over yet.

Continued here:

Could the line between UK aid and defence spending become blurred? - The Guardian

Five years after arrival, Germanys refugees are integrating – The Economist

But those whose claims are rejected are stuck in legal limbo

BERLIN AND GTTINGEN

ASKED WHAT he makes of his new home, Safwan Daher, a Syrian refugee, chuckles: Duderstadt, a town near Gttingen that few Germans could find on a map, is boring. No matter. Mr Daher has an enjoyable computer-programming job that pays for a flat with three bedrooms. He keeps one empty, hoping his parents will leave Syria and join him. In his spare time he hangs out with his brother, a student at Gttingen University. The next step is German citizenship, for which he has just applied.

Karam Kabbani, an activist who fled Aleppo after Bashar al-Assads thugs tortured him, has had a rougher time. Nervously chain-smoking, he describes an anguished five years bouncing from one agency to another, forced to take dead-end jobs, with no help offered for his psychological scars. He plans to leave Germany when he can. Germans are very closed people, he says. No one wants to help.

On August 31st 2015, with a growing number of asylum-seekers reaching Germany, Angela Merkel declared: Wir schaffen das (roughly, We can handle this). A few days later the chancellor opened the borders to migrants stranded in Budapest, amplifying the wave: perhaps 1.2m reached Germany before Balkan border closures and a deal with Turkey in 2016 stemmed the flow. Initially Germany handled the migrants well. Yet five years on, its experience of integrating them has been mixed.

Start with jobs. In 2015 an influx of mainly young migrants looked a neat fit for German firms facing an ageing labour force. Daimlers boss foresaw an economic miracle. Rules were eased for asylum-seekers looking for jobs, and the government pushed 1.1m through integration and language courses. By 2018 43% of the working-age asylum-seekers who arrived between 2013 and 2016 were in work or training (compared with over 75% for the same age group in Germany as a whole)better than the wave of refugees from Yugoslavia in the 1990s. (A stronger labour market helped.) Jobs came slowly at first, but accelerated as people emerged from integration courses, which hints at better to come. These numbers are not perfect, but they are hopeful, says Marlene Thiele, who runs a project at the German Chamber of Commerce to help firms hire refugees.

The headline figure conceals some awkward details. Barely half the refugees in Germanys labour force today work in skilled jobs, although over 80% did in their home countries, calculates Herbert Brcker at the Institute for Employment Research, the research arm of the Federal Employment Agency. Many wash dishes in restaurants or make beds in hotels, with few prospects for advancement (and a high chance of covid-related layoffs). Women in particular have struggled, especially those from cultures that think their place is in the home. Many newcomers, especially from countries like Eritrea and Iraq, were functionally illiterate when they arrived and are still years away from entering the job market. Control for age, and average migrant earnings are around two-thirds the native German level.

Migrants were dispersed all over Germany; most live outside cities. That was a test for Germanys decentralised government, which gives lots of power to local officials. (In Berlin integration is just an abstract question, grumbles Rolf-Georg Khler, Gttingens mayor.) A study of 92 municipalities funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation found that many were quite adaptable, for example launching their own language courses while waiting for the bureaucratic wheels to turn in Berlin. Civil society was crucial. Mr Khler credits the local sport association with speeding integration: the language of football is universal. Over half of Germanys population has worked in some way with refugees. We can activate a whole network if we need to, says Bettina Briesemeister, who runs a refugee housing centre in Gttingen.

The flip side is confusion and inefficiency. Officials are sometimes unclear which layer of government is responsible for a policy, and states and municipalities swap ideas surprisingly rarely. More than 600 under-resourced foreigners offices are responsible for matters like work permits and deportations. The bureaucratic maze is disconcerting. Ask any refugee what they fear most, and its the letterbox, says Mr Kabbani: it invariably contains demands, appointments or warnings from official bodies they have never heard of.

Like many European countries Germany has struggled to deport failed asylum-seekers. More than 200,000 people have been granted Duldung (tolerated) status, meaning they have no right to be in the country but do not face immediate deportation. Perhaps a further 50,000 have no legal status. To stop them from slipping into idleness or worse, under new rules some may work or take on apprenticeships. But insecurity persists. One such rejected asylum-seeker, Mohammad Walizada, an Afghan who had worked with an American de-mining firm in Kabul, now has a legal job in a phone shop on Sylt, a North Sea island. But he has given up on his goal of getting a doctorate in Germany. I have no hopes, its just survival, he says.

There is a huge difference in integration outcomes between people that receive protection and those that are in Duldung or rejected, says Victoria Rietig of the German Council on Foreign Relations. Just 3% of those with Duldung status can move freely throughout Germany, which is no help when looking for a job. And because Germany has no birthright citizenship rule, their children are usually given the same status, and risk being deported to a country they have never known. Its this population we should be worried about, says Ms Rietig. Germany seems afraid both of enforcing its rules and of making it too easy for failed asylum-seekers to find alternative ways into German society. As the numbers grow, the dilemma worsens.

Yet the country remains paralysed by the political battles of five years ago. The migrant crisis jolted the radical-right Alternative for Germany into third place at the 2017 election. A poll last year found a majority of Germans thought the country should accept no more refugees. These days the borders are quieter and the issue has gone off the boil, but fresh waves of migrants from Europes troubled neighbourhood can hardly be ruled out. Mama Merkel, as she is known to many refugees, long ago abandoned her Wir schaffen das mantra for a more paradoxical claim: that her decision to leave the borders open was correct, and must never be repeated.

Ahmad Denno, a well-integrated Syrian who is completing a degree in Berlin, identifies three types of German: those who treat him normally; racists who want him to leave; and those for whom he is permanently on probation. Asked if he could ever feel at home here, he shrugs. For some, I could never be German. For others, I already am. I dont feel like an outsider here. Im just looking for a normal, safe life.

This article appeared in the Europe section of the print edition under the headline "Did they handle it?"

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Five years after arrival, Germanys refugees are integrating - The Economist

Migrant crisis: 96 people rescued by Greek coast guard from partially sunk yacht – The Independent

A major search and rescue operation in the eastern Aegean Sea continued into Wednesday after authorities received an emergency call from a vessel carrying an unknown number of migrants, Greeces coast guard said.

A total of 96 people were rescued from the sea 21 nautical miles (31km, 24 miles) west of the small island of Halki, near Rhodes, the coast guard said on Wednesday morning.

The migrants had been travelling in a yacht that was found partially sunk. It was not immediately clear what had caused the sinking, where the yacht had set sail for or what its intended destination was. A passenger used a cellphone to call a European emergency number late Tuesday.

The majority of those rescued were transported to the nearby island of Rhodes, the coast guard said, while some were taken to the smaller island of Karpathos.

The search and rescue operation was continuing, as it was unclear how many people had been on board the yacht, authorities said. Overnight, five coast guard vessels, military helicopters, a navy ship and five nearby vessels had participated. By Wednesday morning, the effort was scaled back to one coast guard patrol boat, one navy ship and two vessels sailing nearby.

Thousands of people continue to make their way clandestinely to the Greek islands from the nearby Turkish coast, paying smugglers to ferry them in often unseaworthy, overcrowded inflatable dinghies or other vessels.

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Migrant crisis: 96 people rescued by Greek coast guard from partially sunk yacht - The Independent

Emmanuel Macron is trying to use the migrant crisis as a Brexit negotiating weapon – The Sun

THE body of a teenage asylum seeker is washed up on a French beach.

He was, reported the BBC, a desperate 16-year-old seeking sanctuary in Britain another victim of corruption, violence and, by implication, the heartless Tories.

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In fact, the poor soul was 28-year-old Sudanese Abdulfatah Hamdallah, whose official asylum claim had been ruled unacceptable by the French authorities.

A non-swimmer, he stole a toy dinghy and tried to cross Europes busiest sea lane before puncturing his flimsy craft with a spade used as a paddle a mile offshore.

Whichever way you look at it, this is a tragic story.

Yet for some bizarre reason, Britain is getting the blame.

Why, wail the shroud-wavers, are WE putting lives at risk?

In truth, migrants are the raw material for a cruel criminal industry.

Countless young men pay people-smugglers billions to cross continents and reach British soil.

At least one in four lies about his age, according to social care records. Many are well over 18, as was 28-year-old Abdulfatah.

In this age-limit lottery, winners hit the jackpot with free accommodation, healthcare and spending money up to the age of 25.

All claim to be from war zones, fleeing for their lives.

Some are telling the truth. Many make false claims, both about their age and their origins. Some, reportedly coached by aid workers, concoct fake personal histories and nationalities and destroy evidence of their true identity.

With 50,000 illegals now parked in temporary accommodation around the country, hard-pressed officials struggle to tell one from the other.

In fact, only some are in genuine fear for their lives.

The United Nations warns seven out of ten coming through Libya are economic opportunists using criminal gangs to jump the queue. Some are battle-hardened Islamists.

They will remain on the hook to gangsters who shipped them over.

Most who reach France have been officially ordered, at some point along the way, to leave Europe.

Many complain bitterly about French racism and ill-treatment. With every other country moving them on, Britain just 22 miles away is their last hope.

Once here, thanks to zealous human rights lawyers they are unlikely ever to leave and, under our liberal laws, might one day bring their family over to join them.

This explains why they are desperate.

France could solve this crisis by closing camps and cracking down on criminal gangs.

Instead, as The Sun reported on Saturday, Emmanuel Macron is using it as a Brexit negotiating weapon.

If we want a neighbourly hand, we must cough up another 30million and abandon our rights to sovereign status over fishing and human rights laws.

Macron is happy to see migrants leaving.

He thinks it is Britains fault for being so soft an undeniable fact which Boris Johnson is, I am told, about to address. The whole point of Brexit was taking back control.

Covid has exposed the shocking, perhaps even deadly, lack of such control at the heart of government.

Ministers pull levers and nothing happens on PPE and Covid testing. In June, they demanded a return to school. Nothing happened.

Britain is paying the price for an unaccountable bureaucracy, the Whitehall Blob. And for a legion of grotesquely expensive quangos such as Public Health England, identified here on Sunday by former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith.

We are tied in chains by lawyers posing as human rights champions and troublemakers who challenge decisions with costly and time-consuming judicial reviews.

Well, I am here to tell you, folks, this is all about to end ...I hope.

Whitehall Remainers are seething over a range of yet-to-be revealed measures which will sweep away EU-style meddling and regulation and hand power back where it belongs: In elected political hands.

Comment

DAN WOOTTONThe BBC's leftie elite doesn't report the real news - it shapes it

Comment

JANE MOORE This online clothes size farce proves we need to return to the High Street

Comment

THE SUN SAYSFear of our kids getting Covid is out of all proportion to the actual threat

Comment

ROD LIDDLEWhy should I pay the licence fee when the BBC despises everything I believe in?

Comment

ROD LIDDLEHalfwit Tories are worse than Frank Spencer or Benny from Crossroads

Comment

THE SUN SAYSProductivity and innovation will nosedive unless workers return to the office

Illegal migrants will be sent back. Long legal wrangles will be terminated. Judicial reviews will be effectively abolished.

Human rights laws will be tailored to fit the needs of Britain, not Brussels.

Thanks to Brexit, the Bonfire Of The Quangos is about to begin...at last.

Free world problems

THE US presidential elections are private grief, but every Western democracy has skin in this game.

The leadership of the Free World is being fought between two gaffe-prone third-raters, neither likely to last a full term.

Republican incumbent Donald Trump, 74, makes even his rare triumphs like the Israeli-Arab peace deal look shabby.

Dazzlingly dentured Democrat Joe Biden, 77, if victorious, will be remembered for turning a non-entity opportunist into the Free Worlds first black female leader if he fails to see out his term.

Chosen running-mate Kamala Harris might be a surprising success...or an unmitigated, untested and unelected disaster.

Neither Americas 150million voters nor the rest of the world will have a say.

GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAILexclusive@the-sun.co.uk

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Emmanuel Macron is trying to use the migrant crisis as a Brexit negotiating weapon - The Sun


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