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Executive Summary for June 16th

We review recent issues related to refugees, including a survey suggesting a rise in Islamophobia in Germany, reports of 34 migrant deaths in the Niger desert and the E.U. Commission’s latest progress report on the E.U.-Turkey deal.

Published on June 16, 2016 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Survey: Islamophobia Is Increasing in Germany

Islamophobia is on the rise in Germany, according to new survey cited by Reuters, which sheds light on German society’s struggles in taking in more than 1 million migrants and refugees.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open border policy to admit refugees has been contested by right-wing opposition parties. Researchers at the University of Leipzig along with the Heinrich Boell Foundation, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and the Otto Brenner Foundation conducted the study.

One out of every two respondents of the 2,420 people surveyed said they sometimes felt like a foreigner in their own country because of the influx of Muslim migrants, according to the International Business Times. This is an increase from 43 percent in 2014 and 30.2 percent in 2009.

More than 40 percent of those surveyed believe Muslims should be banned from entering Germany, an increase from 20 percent in 2009.

The survey explored “extreme right-wing opinions” toward other minority groups as well.

“While general prejudice against migrants fell slightly, the focus of resentment toward asylums seekers, Muslims as well as Sinti and Roma, increased,” the study’s authors noted.

Anti-immigrant sentiments have fueled support for the opposition Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which considers Islam to be incompatible with the German constitution and supports a ban on minarets (mosque towers) and the burqa.

34 Migrants, Including 20 Children, Found Dead in Niger Desert

Thirty-four migrants were found dead in the Niger desert near the Algerian border after being abandoned by a smuggler, according to Reuters.

Five men, nine women and 20 children “died as they tried to cross the desert,” interior minister Bazoum Mohamed said on national television on Wednesday, according to Deutsche Welle reports.

“They probably died of thirst, as is often the case, and they were found near Assamakka,” he added. This particular border post lies between Niger and Algeria.

They died between June 6 and 12, Mohamed said. He added that two victims were identified as Nigerian but the nationalities of the other victims were not immediately clear, reported the BBC.

A major migration route between sub-Saharan Africa and Europe runs through Niger. About 120,000 migrants crossed through Niger’s arid northern Agadez region in 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration’s estimates.

E.U. Commission: Fewer Migrants Arriving in Greece, but Refugee Resettlement Lacking

E.U. commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said in a press conference that the plan to resettle refugees in member states is not working.

This was said despite a progress report released by the E.U. Commission on Wednesday that the number of migrants arriving in Europe via Greece from Turkey had declined.

The “sharp and continued decline” of irregular crossings is proof of the “continued successful implementation” of the E.U.-Turkey deal, said the report. Before the deal, there were around 1,740 crossings across the Aegean Sea per day. Now that number is down to 47.

Member states have resettled 2,280 refugees from Greece and Italy over the past nine months. This figure is an improvement on the Commission’s previous report in May, but it “clearly falls short” of the E.U.’s plan to relocate 160,000 refugees, warned Avramopoulos. Around 6,000 refugees must be resettled per month for the plan to work.

“Progress is still too slow” and member states must “speed up their efforts. There is no time to lose,” said Avramopoulos. “As numbers of arrivals in Greece have gone down, the absolute onus now lies on significantly increasing and speeding up relocations,” he added.

The Commission report added that although the E.U.-Turkey deal had seen progress in its implementation, “urgent attention should be given by Greece to increase its capacity in processing asylum applications and appeals on an individual basis.”

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