Tag Archives: migration

Taiwan-Okinawa ancient migrant route

Taiwan museums and their Japanese colleagues launched a third experiment of human migration route from Taiwan to Okinawa, which they presume existed about 30,000 years ago. (Image above: illustration).

The sea voyage in a dugout canoe is one of multiple research projects signed in 2017 between Taiwan’s National Museum of Prehistory and Japan’s National Museum of Nature and Science.

Scientists at Japan‘s National Museum of Nature and Science have been trying for three years to obtain evidence of a hypotheses that people migrated from Taiwan to Okinawa some 30,000 years ago with archaic canoe. Previous attempts using a grass boat and a bamboo raft failed, but scientists don’t give up.

The crew five members on the canoe will use the sun and stars for navigation. They are expected to reach Yonaguni Island in 30 to 40 hours.

The museum informed the vessel left the east coast of Taiwan around 1:30 PM, local time, on July 7.

Hungary abandons UN migration agreement

Hungary officially notified the United Nations on Tuesday, July 24, that it is quitting the approval process of the Global Compact for Migration, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said.

It has become clear that differences between Hungary’s position on migration and the UN’s approach are irreconcilable, Szijjarto told a press conference.

“Hungary will maintain its position and no global package can change that”, he added.

“We see migration processes from a different perspective,” he said. The UN believes that migration is unavoidable, beneficial and should be supported, while Hungary considers it a danger to Hungary and Europe, he said, adding that the UN’s aim was to encourage migration whereas Hungary’s goal was to stop it.

EU foreign ministers to discuss broad agenda

The Foreign Affairs Council on July 16 will start with a discussion on current affairs, allowing ministers to review pressing issues on the international agenda.

This will include the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) following the JCPOA Joint Commission meeting on 6 July.

The High Representative and foreign ministers may also refer to the Western Balkan Summit taking place in London on 10 July.

Foreign ministers will exchange views on the Eastern Partnership. They will prepare for the Eastern Partnership ministerial meeting foreseen in October.

Ministers will discuss the implementation of the 20 deliverables for 2020. This framework aims to achieve stronger economy, governance, connectivity and society in the six Eastern partners: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

The Council will discuss Libya and it will focus on the political process, in particular the upcoming elections. It will be the opportunity to reiterate the EU’s support to UN Secretary General’s Special Representative Ghassan Salamé.

Ministers may also touch upon the country’s economic situation.The discussion also takes place in the context of the follow-up to the European Council conclusions on migration.

Kurz welcomes plans for refugee centres outside EU

I am glad that it has come to one in the European . For the first time, there is approval for refugee centres outside the so-called #Anladeplattformen“, Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz said at arrival for the second day of the EU Summit on migration (#EUCO).

European leaders called on the Council and the Commission to swiftly explore the concept of regional “disembarkation platforms” in close cooperation with relevant third countries, UNHCR and IOM. Such platforms should operate, regarding individual situations in “full respect of international law and without creating a pull factor“,  EU Council final document says.

 

V4 declines EU attempts to reach informal deal on migration

Today in Brussels the leaders from 17 member states have attended an  informal Summit on Migration, while  Hungary’s Prime minister, Viktor Orbán, announced his country and three other Visegrad (V4) Four members would boycott the meeting. With the decision of V4 countries to deny EU their support in migrants relocation policy, the European crisis on the issue of illegal migration reached a new low.

Although the meeting is informal, without any press-conferences, trading barbs took place ahead of the event between Italy and France, while new Italian government was accusing French President Emmanuel Macron of “arrogance”.

The Italian government assessed France proposal on migration “out of reality”, including a suggestion to apply  financial sanctions on EU states that refuse migrants.

The Visegrad group decided not to attend the informal Summit called by president Juncker, because they “believe that it is not the Commission’s task to organise any summit for heads of government: that is the duty of the Council and the President of the Council”.

“We want to make it absolutely clear that the prime ministers of the four Visegrád states have agreed that they will not attend it (Informal Summit on Sunday – ed) because it would be improper to attend a meeting with a status which is unclear in terms of the European Union’s internal practices and rules. We shall therefore state our position on migration and other issues at the Brussels summit next Thursday” – Hungarian Prime Minister Orban said, explaining the position of V4.

“The future of a prosperous continent that will always be open for those in need,
but that will also deal with the challenge of migration together,
and not leave some to cope alone,” – Juncker wrote in a paper produced by the institution he leads for the occasion of migrants Summit.

Apparently the traditional President Juncker’s call for unity, solidarity and “more Europe” does not serve as a remedy for the mass-migration crisis, taking into consideration the situation in Southern Europe, where Italy alone receive more than half-a-million illegal migrants crossing Mediterranean with the help of NGOs vessels.

(Image: MSF courtesy).

 

 

 

#EUCO for "pragmatic" migration strategy

EU leaders agreed that their “comprehensive, pragmatic and resolute” migration strategy, which aims to restore control of external borders and to reduce arrivals and the number of deaths at sea, was bringing results and should be consolidated.

At the same time they highlighted the need for vigilance on all migration routes and readiness to react to any new trends and developments.

The summit called for further action, including:

  • support for directly affected EU countries
  • strong cooperation with countries of origin and transit, including with Turkey and the Western Balkans
  • further efforts to increase returns
  • applying the necessary leverage by means of EU policies, such as trade or development, to improve return rates and prevent illegal migration

EU leaders also reaffirmed their support for the Schengen system. They said they would get “Back to Schengen” as soon as possible, taking into account security interests of EU countries.

They also pledged to continue talks on the reform of the Dublin system at their summit in December, with a view of reaching a consensus in the first half of 2018.

Infographic – Migration flows: Central Mediterranean route

Irregular arrivals in Italy per month, from January 2015-2017

Central Mediterranean Route

Illegal arrivals decreased by almost 70% on the Central Mediterranean route in the third quarter of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, thanks to the efforts of the EU and its member states, especially Italy.

“Leaders agreed to offer Prime Minister Gentiloni stronger support for Italy’s work with the Libyan authorities. We have a real chance of closing the Central Mediterranean route”

President Donald Tusk at the press briefing of European Council meeting of 19 October 2017

At the summit the EU leaders called for further efforts, including:

  • working with Libya and its neighbours to boost border controlsand support local communities along the migratory routes in Libya
  • increase efforts to establish a permanent EU presence in Libya
  • providing adequate and targeted funding for migration-related projects in North Africa

Britons for strict migration policies

Immigration is good for the UK,  but the public wishes to see it controlled after Brexit because of the impact it can have, particularly on those on low incomes, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday, September 6.

A leaked government document showed Britain is considering measures to restrict immigration for all but the highest-skilled EU workers, plans some companies called alarming and an opposition lawmaker described as “plainly cruel”.

“Overall, immigration has been good for the UK but what people want to see is control of that immigration – that is what people want to see as a result of coming out of the European Union,” – May told parliament when asked by a lawmaker about benefits of immigration to the British economy.

 “There is a reason for wanting to ensure that we can control migration. It is because of the impact that that migration can have … on people, on access to services, on infrastructure, but crucially it often hits those at the lower end of the income scale hardest” – May concluded. (Image: Calais Jungle, France)

EU claims “relocation success”

6.09.2017. Brussels. Today the Commission is presenting four progress reports on actions taken under the European Agenda on Migration to better manage migration and protect the EU’s external borders. The package outlines progress made in the EU’s relocation and resettlement schemes and also reports on the roll-out of the European Border and Coast Guard and the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement, as well as on the progress made under the Partnership Framework on Migration and along the Central Mediterranean route.

“All EU actors have worked hard together to manage migration flows, to protect our external borders and to support the frontline Member States. We’re on the right track and the results can be seen on the ground. However, the challenges and risk factors of migration remain. So we must continue to improve our work to save lives, to put in place safe and legal pathways for those who deserve protection and to return those who have no right to stay,” – European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said.

When we speak of migration, we often say that we are facing a complex challenge, but we should never forget that we are dealing with the stories of hundreds of thousands of human beings. We are advancing towards a system to jointly and sustainably manage, in full respect of human rights, a situation which requires strong partnership, sharing of responsibilities, solidarity, and sustained commitment. We are finally on the right path – we need to continue to work with consistency and determination,” – EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini said.

“When Europe works together in a spirit of responsibility and solidarity, we make progress and achieve concrete results, both inside and outside the EU. We also see intra-EU solidarity: with the relocation programme delivering results and almost all registered applicants having been relocated from Greece and Italy. This success now needs to be sustained on all these fronts,”  – Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said.

 

EU Commission laudits for migrant relocations

The European Commission has adopted its 14th progress report on relocation of asylum seekers within the EU and resettlement of refugees from outside the EU. The considers that that there is ‘good progress’ in the resolution of the situation.

“With relocations reaching record levels in June (with over 2,000 relocated from Greece and almost 1,000 from Italy) and almost all Member States pledging and transferring regularly, relocating all those eligible remains feasible before September. However, more efforts are needed to accelerate transfers from Italy, especially in view of the current situation in the Central Mediterranean. Meanwhile, good progress continues to be made on resettlement and the Commission has launched a new pledging exercise to resettle the most vulnerable people from Libya, Egypt, Niger, Ethiopia and Sudan while continuing resettlements from Turkey.” – says the communication issued by the European Commission.

 

 “Looking at the results achieved so far, one thing is very clear: relocation works if the political will is there. What we need now is a final push to achieve our common goal of relocating the vast majority of the asylum seekers present and eligible in Greece and Italy by September,” – EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said.  “Italy in particular is under enormous pressure and I call on all Member States to further step up their relocation efforts from Italy. The EU won’t leave countries with an external border alone and the Commission will continue to ensure that all Member States comply with their legal obligations when it comes to relocation”  –  Avramopoulos underlined.

In parallel, the Commission  taking forward the infringement procedures against the Czech RepublicHungary and Poland for  what it defines “failing to meet their legal obligations on relocation”.

According to the  Commission the pace of relocation has continued to increase over recent months, with transfers reaching more than 1,000 every month since November 2016 and June 2017 representing a new record monthly high with over 3,000 transfers. As of 24 July, the total number of relocations stands at 24,676 (16,803 from Greece; 7,873 from Italy).

However, the Commission insists on continuous efforts needed for around 4,800 candidates currently awaiting relocation from Greece — with the number likely to increase to 6,800 — and continuous arrivals of eligible candidates to Italy. Italy still needs to urgently enrol eligible arrivals in 2016 and the first half of 2017 in the scheme. This concerns in particular Eritreans of whom around 25,000 have arrived in Italy since the beginning of 2016 but of which only 10,000 have been registered for relocation. As outlined in the Commission’s Action plan to support Italy, the Italian authorities should swiftly register all Eritreans currently present in the country and centralise the relocation procedure in dedicated hubs. The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) is supporting Italy’s efforts with an online outreach campaign to identify all potential applicants.

https://twitter.com/V_of_Europe/status/890279900569055233

In this final phase, it is crucial, according to the Commission’s opinion, that Member States accelerate relocations and provide enough pledges to relocate all eligible applicants, including those who are likely to arrive until 26 September. In any case, Member States’ legal obligation to relocate will not cease after September: the Council Decisions on relocation apply to all persons arriving in Greece or Italy until 26 September 2017 and eligible applicants must be relocated within a reasonable timeframe thereafter.

A number of Member States are close to fully fulfilling their relocation obligations: MaltaLatvia and also Norway — a Schengen Associated State participating voluntarily in the scheme — have all relocated their full allocations for Greece and Sweden who only started relocation in June will have relocated almost 60% of its allocation. The Commission also welcomes the recently-announced increase in the monthly pledges by Spain and the announced acceleration in the pace of transfers by Germany.

 

 

 

UN calls for solidarity with Italy

Italy needs more international support to assist the waves of migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean, the United Nations refugee chief today urged.

“What is happening in front of our eyes in Italy is an unfolding tragedy,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

He stressed that “this cannot be an Italian problem alone. It is, first and foremost, a matter of international concern, requiring a joined-up, comprehensive regional approach.”

Some 12,600 migrants and refugees arrived on Italian shores in the course of last weekend, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said.

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