Welcome back – after a short break – to the Council of Europe’s migration newsletter, for which I have now taken over responsibility from Christos Giakoumopoulos. I would like to begin by thanking him and his colleagues for setting up and publishing for three years this excellent resource to share our news in this field. With this edition, we are introducing a new, revised format, and I hope that you will find it as informative as always.

There have been a number of important developments since the last newsletter. So far this year, over 268,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe by sea; tragically, over 3,100 have either died or gone missing during the perilous journey. The closure of the Western Balkan route and the conclusion of the EU-Turkey agreement have both contributed to reducing the number of refugees and migrants arriving in Greece. However, those who arrived at the start of the year are now stranded there, unable to continue their journeys north. The number of people arriving in Italy continues to increase, and recent evidence suggests that arrivals in the Greek islands are once again on the rise. There are also alarming reports that thousands of unaccompanied minors have disappeared since arriving in Europe. Many are thought to have fallen into the hands of traffickers. Refugees granted protection status face obstacles to integration and a rising tide of hate crime and xenophobic attacks, which represent a serious challenge for European governments. The need for swift and coordinated action to assist those in need grows more pressing by the day.

Each of the bodies and departments of the Council of Europe dealing with migration makes an invaluable contribution to the work done by this organisation as a whole to ensure that refugees and migrants are treated with dignity and respect throughout the migratory and integration process. The aim of this newsletter is to promote a better awareness of what the various organs of the Council of Europe are doing in this area. I look forward to continuing to work closely with my colleagues in the months to come and to creating further opportunities for cooperation in-house as well as with our international partners. It is only in this way that we can hope to achieve concrete improvements to the situation of the millions of refugees and migrants across Europe in need of our assistance.

SRSG's report on Turkey and visit to Athens following his report on Greece

Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees 01/09/2016

“The Council of Europe should assist the Turkish authorities to develop effective policies to prevent refugee and migrant children working and to encourage their attendance at school”, says the Secretary General’s Special Representative on migration and refugees Ambassador Tomáš Boček in a report...

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PACE Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons: activities June-September 2016

PACE 01/09/2016

The Committee’s full June session agenda included debates in plenary on “refugees at risk in Greece” and on “violence against migrants” and a joint hearing with the Equality Committee on “Discrimination against women refugees” with the participation of UNHCR, Gynaecologists without Borders, a...

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Combatting transnational trafficking in human beings and supporting victims

GRETA 01/09/2016

In the current situation in which Europe is faced with an influx of refugees, it becomes increasingly important to identify victims of trafficking among asylum-seekers, including unaccompanied children. This was one of the central themes in the most recent general report of the monitoring body...

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Lanzarote Committe monitoring exercise on sexual exploitation of children

Children's Rights 01/09/2016

On 17 June 2016 the Lanzarote Committee launched an urgent monitoring exercise aimed at collecting information on what the 41 States Parties to the Lanzarote Convention are doing to protect children affected by the refugee crisis from sexual exploitation and abuse. Findings and recommendations...

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CPT visited hotspots and detention facilities in Greece

CPT 01/09/2016

A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out an ad hoc visit to Greece from 19 to 25 July 2016. The CPT examined the situation in the Reception and Identification Centres for refugees and...

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Congress to visit refugee reception centres in Greece

Congress 01/09/2016

At the invitation of Mrs Irene Dourou, Governor of the Attica region in Greece and member of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, President Jean-Claude Frécon and Congress rapporteurs will visit refugee reception sites and a logistics centre from 6-8 September...

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Social innovation for refugee inclusion

Intercultural cities 01/09/2016

The Council of Europe’s Intercultural cities network will address the potential of social innovation for refugee inclusion in an event which will take place in Brussels on 12 and 13 September. Participation is open and free of charge. The event will help: Reach an understanding of what social...

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Explosion in requests for recognition of qualifications from refugees

Education 01/09/2016

Since 2015, the European Network of Information Centres in the European Region and the National Academic Recognition Information Centres in the European Union (ENIC-NARIC) have faced a significant increase in requests by refugees regarding the recognition of their qualifications. A specific page...

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Rules on administrative detention of migrants

European Committee on Legal Co-operation 01/09/2016

A committee of experts, set up under the authority of the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ), is preparing a legal instrument codifying the existing international standards regarding the conditions of migrant detainees in closed centres, and possibly in other places or situations of...

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