UNHCR remains extremely concerned about the dangers many people in need of international protection face while attempting to seek safety in Europe. As of the end of September, it is estimated that almost 2,700 refugees and migrants have died at sea en route to Europe while at least another 55 are known to have died along land routes in Europe or at Europe’s borders in 2017. UNHCR continues to call for access to territory and protection for those who arrive to Europe, in addition greater access to safe and legal pathways is also needed, including via resettlement and family reunification.
ECRE and the ELENA Network have published a new Legal Note on asylum applicants’ access to legal aid in Europe. The note outlines relevant European legislation and jurisprudence from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), as well as international legal standards. It identifies the main obstacles faced by asylum applicants in relation to legal aid, while also identifying good practices at the national level. Access to quality legal aid is an indispensable feature of a fair asylum system and safeguard against erroneous decisions and arbitrariness. ECRE/ELENA firmly believes that the provision of legal aid is crucial to safeguard the fundamental rights of people applying for asylum and is beneficial to both applicants/beneficiaries of international protection and asylum authorities. Access to legal aid at an early stage of the asylum process not only enhances the fairness and efficiency of the procedure, it may also reduce financial costs by strengthening the quality of decisions with the potential reduction of appeal rates. Importantly, it enables asylum applicants to fully understand their rights and obligations during the procedure and helps to establish trust in the asylum authorities, which is essential to ensure quality and efficiency in decision-making. Yet, recent developments in Europe point to a worrying trend of measures undermining asylum applicants’ access to legal aid. Even in countries where legal aid is available in general and where good practices can be identified, obstacles regarding the quality, funding or availability of legal aid for asylum applicants are increasingly reported. For that reason, ECRE/ELENA call on European states to ensure that legal aid is provided to all asylum applicants without sufficient means, at all stages of the asylum procedure and regardless of the specific asylum procedures that they may fall under.
Produced by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), the European Network on Statelessness (ENS) and the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (ISI) this new report synthesises the findings of the #RomaBelong project, which set out to explore the nexus between statelessness, discrimination and marginalisation of Romani people in European Union candidate and neighbourhood countries in the Western Balkans and Ukraine. https://www.statelessness.eu/sites/www.statelessness.eu/files/attachments/resources/roma-belong.pdf
A new report “Age assessment: Council of Europe member states’ policies, procedures and practices respectful of children’s rights in the context of migration” has been issued today. This report, prepared by an independent expert, is based on a survey conducted in 37 Council of Europe member states1 in spring 2017, as well as on secondary sources analysis. The aim of the report is to provide a factual overview of the current situation in the member states and support the Council of Europe’s work in developing guidelines on age assessment which respect children’s rights in the context of migration.
Across Europe, grassroots efforts have emerged in the wake of crisis that draw members of the public into the process of receiving refugees and supporting their integration. This policy brief examines the many forms community-based or private sponsorship can take,
what benefits such approaches may hold for European communities, and the tradeoffs policymakers face in their implementation.
Following the 2015–16 crisis that saw record numbers of refugees arrive in Europe, policymakers have shown interest in creating managed, legal alternatives to the dangerous, unauthorized journeys many asylum seekers make. While these discussions should be informed by an understanding of current pathways and protection channels, it is “nearly impossible” to know how protection seekers enter and what legal channels are available to them, as this MPI Europe report explains.
The Roadmap highlights the need to identify children, register them through child-friendly procedures, and build a relationship of trust with them as early as possible. Ensuring that a well-trained guardian takes immediate responsibility for the child, engaging cultural mediators, and mobilizing members of host communities are critical measures that can help build a trusting relationship and protect children from smugglers, traffickers or family pressure. The document provides recommendations developed in a broad consultative process led by the three organizations, with input from 100 practitioners, including guardians, psychologists, social workers and lawyers, as well as relevant authorities from several European states and the European Union, and refugee and migrant children across the continent. The situation for unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children has worsened since the increase of arrivals to Europe back in 2015, with a broadened use of detention and large scale institutional care, limited family reunification opportunities, and rising concerns over deportations. The Roadmap also recommends stronger emphasis on providing safety, proper care arrangements and services, and long-term solutions to these children based on their specific needs.
A humanitarian crisis continues to unfold in the central Mediterranean as thousands of people are dying at sea in the desperate attempt to reach safety or a better life in Europe. Instead of trying to prevent further loss of life, European leaders are focused on preventing refugees and migrants from departing from Libya to keep the number of arrivals in Europe down. This report shows how this reckless European strategy is exposing refugees and migrants to even greater risks at sea and, when intercepted, to disembarkation in Libya, where they face horrific conditions and violations in detention, torture and rape. https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/EUR0366552017ENGLISH.PDF
An AIDA legal briefing published today examines the use of special procedures to accelerate, prioritise and fast-track asylum applications in European countries. Practice reveals a wide diversity and complexity of procedural models, tools and concepts across national systems.
CPT urges European states to hold persons in remand detention only as a measure of last resort and in adequate conditions.
The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) urges the 47 Council of Europe member states to use remand detention only as a measure of last resort and to provide remand prisoners with adequate detention conditions. During visits to prisons throughout Europe, the CPT has often found that remand prisoners are held under very poor conditions and an impoverished regime.