According to FRA report that covers period 1-31 December 2016- With the onset of winter across Europe, many fundamental rights risks for migrants and refugees have become increasingly acute. As temperatures continue to drop, timely humanitarian action and adequate shelter are urgently needed – particularly in Bulgaria, Hungary and Greece, where facilities are in poor condition or people are staying in tents.
- New Arrivals
Arrivals to Italy and Greece continue to decrease: some 8,680 persons arrive in Italy and some 1,660 in Greece. For Greece, this is a 17 % drop in arrivals compared with November 2016. In 2016, the majority of arrivals to Greece were women and children (58 %).
Many people continue trying to enter Hungary. Some 470 persons enter Hungary irregularly, including 43 children.
Arrivals in Bulgaria further decrease to some 440 persons, who are apprehended at the borders and within Bulgarian territory.
Slovakian authorities apprehend some 260 persons, mainly from the Ukraine.
Sweden receives fewer than 2,000 asylum seekers, the lowest monthly figure in 2016.
- Criminal proceedings
Several Member States (Sweden, Poland, Hungary, Denmark, Germany) launched criminal proceedings for facilitation or intentionally assisting an alien to unlawfully enter or pass the country.
- Initial registration and asylum processing
At the border
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Italy continue to report that most disembarkations occur outside the hotspot system. Under these circumstances, identification practices are less clear and information on international protection cannot always be provided.
In Poland, more than 24,000 persons are refused entry at the border.
Every day, about 120 persons wait for admission to one of the transit zones at the Hungarian-Serbian border, where admission continues to be restricted to 10 persons a day.
Amnesty International reports(link is external) on collective expulsions, immediate returns without individual assessments and police violence in Ceuta and Melilla, Spain.
Some 1,160 persons were relocated from Greece to other EU Member States in December 2016, the majority to France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain
Asylum applications further decrease in several Member States-Germany, Bulgaria, Finland.
Asylum applications in France increased by 10 % in 2016
Denmark suspends the transfer of asylum seekers to Hungary under the Dublin Regulation due to the risk of possible rights violations.
The Swedish Migration Agency publishes a judicial position(link is external) that deems unsafe several more areas in Afghanistan due to internal conflicts.
Germany returns 34 persons to Afghanistan. Courts cancel several other planned returns to Afghanistan.
Hungary returned 190 persons in December, more than during any other month in 2016. This figure does not include the number of applicants rejected in the transit zones.
In line with its recent agreement with Afghanistan, Sweden carries out the first “test chartered return flight” to Kabul without any reported incidents.
- Reception conditions
Greece increases its accommodation capacity for persons eligible for relocation and for asylum seekers with specific needs – financed through EU funds – to 20,000 places, as planned.
Reception and Identification Centres on the Greek islands remain overcrowded.
In Bulgaria, pre-removal facilities are consistently overcrowded.
In Italy, resistance against the reception plan approved in September 2016 persists at municipal level. According to this plan, asylum seekers should be distributed among all municipalities at a ratio of 2.5 asylum seekers per 1,000 inhabitants.
Hungary closes the reception centre in Bicske, where conditions were considered best. Residents were moved to other centres in remote locations, including the Körmend tent camp, where conditions are extremely poor. A local priest takes in eight inhabitants from Körmend as they could no longer bear the freezing temperatures in the camp.
France launches a tender for some 5,350 places in emergency shelter for asylum seekers and applicants under house arrest.
- Child protection
In Germany, children made up more than one third (36 %) of all asylum applicants in 2016; more than 10 % were under four years old.
More than 25,770 unaccompanied children arrived in Italy in 2016.
Slovakia discusses legislative changes that would require age assessments of unaccompanied children only when there is a suspicion that the person is an adult.
The Swedish Migration Agency re-registers as adults many children who were earlier assessed and registered as 15- to 16-year-olds.
In Finland, children – including unaccompanied children – increasingly get negative asylum decisions
Although Greece’s capacity to accommodate unaccompanied children is increasing, the number of places remains insufficient.
In Italy, unaccompanied children continue to be held at hotspot facilities;
Children continue to be held in pre-removal detention in Busmantsi, Bulgaria.
Guardians are insufficiently available, assigned late, have different competences and may represent several dozens of children at a time, according to the Finnish Ombudsman for Children.
Many migrant children live on the streets in Melilla, Spain, and often experience severe violence