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Executive Summary for April 5th

We review the latest developments on refugee issues, including returns from Greece to Turkey under the E.U.–Turkey deal, missing minors at Calais following recent demolitions and accusations against Mexico of torturing migrants and asylum seekers.

Published on April 5, 2016 Read time Approx. 4 minutes

Returns Under E.U.–Turkey Deal Met with Sekpticism

As the first returns under the E.U.–Turkey deal took place, E.U. authorities claimed that none of the people deported on Monday had requested asylum in Greece and all had left voluntarily.

But Frontex officials are unsure about future efforts that will involve returns of people who want to apply for asylum in the E.U.

“I hate to say this but they were easy cases,” Ewa Moncure, a Frontex spokeswoman, said to the Guardian, adding that the “next readmission” will be less predictable.

Most of the 202 people who left Lesbos and Chios and arrived at Dikili in western Turkey are “inadmissible cases” from Pakistan and Afghanistan and others from Iran, Sri Lanka, Morocco and other countries.

Migrants who were deported did not resist, but others who are still in Greece complained about lack of information on the asylum procedure. Some said they were unaware they could be returned, according to BBC reports.

Meanwhile 43 people arrived in Europe from Turkey as part of the exchange agreement.

The refugees arrived in Germany and Finland on Monday, according to the Guardian.

But the E.U.–Turkey deal has not stopped arrivals in Greece.

“More people arrived on the Greek islands in the 24 hours to Monday morning than were transported to Turkey, Greek authorities said, putting total arrivals at 339,” according to Reuters.

Turkish president Recep Erdogan criticized the E.U. on its meager resettlement rates, according the same report.

“As Turkey, we embraced 3 million Syrian victims, but it is clear who tried to keep them away,” he said in a speech in Ankara. “Did we send our Syrian brothers back? No we didn’t. But they kept these people out of their countries by putting up razor-wire fences.”

Turkey has recently faced accusations that it turned away Syrians fleeing conflict at its own borders, which Ankara has repeatedly denied, despite growing evidence.

“Turkish authorities have been rounding up and expelling groups of around 100 Syrian men, women and children to Syria on a near-daily basis since mid-January,” according to Amnesty International.

The mayor of Dikili meanwhile said they are not ready to accommodate the hundreds of refugees that arrived on Monday.

The processing of asylum applications on the Greek islands could take weeks, if not months, if asylum seekers appeal a rejection of their claims and the procedure follows legal norms, according to the New York Times.

‘Violence and Missing Children’ Reported at Calais ‘Jungle’

Recent raids and mass evictions of asylum seekers from the camp at Calais that has become home to tens of thousands of people hoping to enter the U.K. led to further violence and missing children.

According to a report in the Independent, 75 percent of refugees in the camp have “experienced police violence.”

Research conducted by the Refugee Rights Data Project found that “the most prevalent form of violence reported was the use of tear gas, experienced by 69.9 percent of respondents,” while “81.5 percent of women reported suffering police violence.”

Since the demolition of the southern parts of the camp 129 unaccompanied children have gone missing, according to another report by the Independent.

The E.U. police agency Europol confirmed earlier this year that at least 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees have disappeared in Europe. Humanitarian agencies claim that this number is much higher as many children are not registered.

Help Refugees U.K. has reported extensively about the missing children.

“No alternative accommodation was provided for unaccompanied minors during the evictions, no assessment was made by the French authorities of their needs, and no systems put in place to monitor them or provide safeguarding. There is no official registration system for children in place in Calais or Dunkirk,” their latest statement said.

Mexico Accused of Torture as Central American Migration Surges

Activists have accused Mexico’s National Immigration Institute of flagrant violations of human rights by the police forces and systematic use of torture.

“A growing number of indigenous Mexicans are being detained and threatened with expulsion by immigration agents looking for undocumented Central American migrants,” according to the Guardian.

As part of the Southern Border Plan, mobile immigration teams were deployed to clamp down on migration amid U.S. pressure to stop Central American migrants reaching its border.

Carolina Jiménez, deputy director at Amnesty International, reported a “disturbing pattern of very serious human rights violations against migrants traveling through Mexico,” adding that the involvement of immigration officials making migrants “confess” took the situation to a “whole more sinister level.”

A recent Human Rights Watch report concluded that the Mexican government has flouted national and international laws in dealing with refugees and that the police failed to process them as asylum seekers.

Recommended reads:

Top image: Refugees and migrants – most of them from Pakistan – protest against the E.U.–Turkey deal on migration inside the entrance of Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

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