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Executive Summary for August 19th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including images from U.S. migrant detention cells, a report on refugee conditions in Turkey and the sacking of Bulgarian border police for helping smugglers.

Published on Aug. 19, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Images Show Migrants Packed Into Dirty Detention Cells in U.S.

A U.S. court has released pictures from inside Border Patrol detention facilities that show migrants packed into dirty, overcrowded cells.

The images from security camera footage in several migrant processing centers in Arizona show people sleeping on concrete floors with thin blankets and children held in trash-strewn cells.

They were made public as part of a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security alleging inhumane conditions at the centers, often referred to as hieleras (Spanish for “ice boxes”) because of their freezing temperatures.

The agency says the cells are meant as short-term holding facilities while migrants are processed, but studies show most people are detained there for between one and three days.

Refugees Still Struggling to Survive in Turkey, Says CoE

Refugees in Turkey are still living in harsh conditions despite a European Union deal offering aid to the country in exchange for stopping migrant boats, says a Council of Europe (CoE) report.

Just 20 percent of refugees in Turkey are living in camps, and the rest face a “struggle to survive,” the CoE’s special representative on migration and refugees, Tomas Bocek, said in the Aug. 17 report.

Some 100,000 people are still waiting to be registered as refugees in Turkey, the report found. Meanwhile, Turkey’s pledge to allow refugees to work has not yet materialized, and child labor and child marriage are growing, it says.

Turkey has the world’s largest refugee population, at 3 million people. In March the E.U. tried to stop people taking boats from Turkey to Europe with a deal to return people arriving in Greece, and pledged to help ease refugees’ conditions in Turkey.

Bocek said returning Syrians have been detained in Turkey, apparently without legal basis. The report also criticized the E.U. for not standing by its part of the deal to bring more Syrians in Turkey to Europe, saying only 1,000 of a planned 100,000 have been resettled.

“Turkey cannot be expected to shoulder the burden of accommodating and integrating such a high number of refugees and asylum seekers alone,” Bocek said.

Bulgaria Fires Border Police Chief For Helping Smugglers

The top two officials in Bulgaria’s border police have been forced to resign after allegedly signing over public funds to a man charged with people smuggling.

Border police chief Antonio Angelov and his deputy Yotko Andreev resigned after reports emerged of the Aug. 8 deal with a company run by Grigor Toshkov, who was arrested in June and charged with smuggling migrants.

The deal with Toshkov’s company to transport migrants detained at the border with Turkey to refugee camps in Bulgaria was reportedly worth 100,000 euros ($113,210).

“It’s shameful, there’s no other way to put it,” said Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borissov.

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