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Executive Summary for June 9th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including an E.U. legal case on Dublin returns, the U.N.’s response to reports of Greek pushbacks to Turkey and the health risks facing 240,000 people displaced by fighting in the Philippines.

Published on June 9, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Adviser to E.U. Court Recommends Against Dublin Returns

An adviser to the E.U. Court of Justice said Austria and Slovenia should not send asylum seekers back to the European country they first entered in 2015.

Nearly 1 million people arrived in Europe that year. Under the E.U.’s Dublin Regulation, most asylum seekers should return to the first E.U. country they entered in order to process their asylum claim there.

But the Court of Justice’s advocate general said the large number of arrivals and lack of clear guidance meant countries on the frontier of Europe would likely be unable to cope.

“In the advocate general’s view, the regulation was simply not designed to cover such exceptional circumstances,” a statement from the court read.

The court, which usually follows the advocate general’s advice, is considering the case of a Syrian man seeking asylum in Slovenia and an Afghan family who applied for asylum in Austria, both of whom were slated for return to Croatia, where they first entered Europe.

UNHCR ‘Concerned’ by Reports of Greek Pushbacks to Turkey

The U.N. refugee agency expressed concern about reports by a local rights group that Greece has forced Turkish asylum seekers back to the country.

The Hellenic League for Human Rights said at least nine people were forced back over the border, including a family with four children who were delivered to masked gunman. At least one man returned to Turkey is already in prison, according to the group, which said it would pursue a legal case.

“Such allegations of informal forced return have been recorded before, and it is of vital importance that the Greek authorities investigate them thoroughly,” said the UNHCR representative in Greece, Philippe Leclerc. “If confirmed, this is extremely worrying. The right to seek and enjoy asylum is a fundamental human right.”

The Greek government denied that any pushbacks had taken place.

ICRC Warns of Health Risks for 240,000 Displaced in Philippines

Some 240,000 people have been displaced by fighting in the Philippine city of Marawi, and aid workers are warning they face deadly health risks.

Islamist militants stormed the city two weeks ago and remain in control of around 10 percent of the area, Agence France-Presse reported.

Around 90 percent of those who fled are now sheltering with friends or relatives, the government says.

Emmalyn Macababayao, 37, told the news agency that her one-year-old son died after the family spent six days in torrential rain fleeing Marawi, after which he fell ill and was unable to get medical treatment.

The International Committee of the Red Cross warned that the rainy season could worsen an already-observed uptick in diarrhea and respiratory illnesses.

“The health situation is not yet critical at this point, but we fear that this may worsen in the coming days with prolonged displacement,” said Jose Amigo, ICRC’s health coordinator in the Philippines.

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