European leaders should hang their heads in shame over the pitifully low numbers of refugees from Syria they are prepared to resettle, said Amnesty International.
In a briefing published today, "An international failure: The Syrian refugee crisis", the organization details how European Union (EU) member states have only offered to open their doors to around 12,000 of the most vulnerable refugees from Syria: just 0.5 per cent of the 2.3 million people who have fled the country.
"The EU has miserably failed to play its part in providing a safe haven to the refugees who have lost all but their lives. The number of those it’s prepared to resettle is truly pitiful. Across the board European leaders should hang their heads in shame", said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International. […]
Syrian refugees who survived the trip from North Africa to Europe describe their experiences:
Young Syrian male: "All I want to say is that no one should get on the boat".
Anas, a Palestinian Syrian 17-year-old boy who survived the 11 October sinking: "When the water first came, I was pushed into a room or compartment and then everything went black. Suddenly I saw a little light. I swam until it got closer and bigger and I noticed it was a window. I climbed through it". […]
On 5 December, representatives of the European Union (EU), its member states and Tunisia are set to sign a "Mobility Partnership". It will be the sixth agreement of its kind to be signed by the EU, with similar agreements already signed with other countries, including Morocco.
One year ago, almost to the day, a number of our organisations urged the implicated authorities to guarantee the full respect of the fundamental rights of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in the framework of the negotiations that were about to begin.
We have several reasons to believe that this call has not been heard. On the one hand, civil society has not been involved in the negotiating process, although the issues at play in the partnership constitute part of their daily work with regards to the protection of human rights. […]
Hundreds of refugees are living in appalling conditions in Bulgarian reception centers where there is a disastrous lack of medical care, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today, following assessments it carried out in the Bulgarian capital Sofia and Haskovo Province.
Nearly 10,000 migrants have arrived in Bulgaria since January. Most are Syrian refugees who made a difficult journey around border controls along the Bulgaria-Turkey frontier. MSF calls on Bulgarian and European authorities to rapidly improve conditions for asylum seekers.
"Despite some measures taken by the Bulgarian authorities, the reception conditions remain unacceptable", said Ioanna Kotsioni, head of mission for MSF in Bulgaria. "These people live in overcrowded centers, sometimes with just one toilet for 50 people. Even more worrying is the concern for families who do not receive enough food to eat".
On arrival in Bulgaria, hundreds of migrants find their only option is to sleep outside in unheated tents, while others crowd together in school classrooms because reception centers do not have adequate capacity. […]
Urgent action is needed from the Bulgarian authorities to improve conditions at an emergency accommodation centre for asylum seekers near the Turkish border, Amnesty International said after scores of its residents – including people who fled armed conflict in Afghanistan and Syria – staged a protest today.
As many as 100 people threatened to launch a hunger strike in protest at the deplorable living conditions at Harmanli camp, south-eastern Bulgaria, where around 1,000 asylum-seekers are being detained on a former military base.
"It is appalling that people seeking refuge in the European Union are being trapped in limbo in such awful conditions with winter rapidly approaching. The Bulgarian asylum system has a burgeoning crisis with a backlog of applications – the authorities must act fast to ensure they don’t have a humanitarian crisis on their hands too", said Barbora Černušáková, EU team researcher at Amnesty International, who visited Harmanli camp last week. […]