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Executive Summary for May 16th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including a Greek law to speed up asylum claims, a deadly shipwreck off Turkey’s coast and Ireland’s family reunification scheme.

Published on May 16, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Greece Passes Law to Speed up Asylum Claims

The Greek parliament passed legislation to speed up the asylum system amid increasing refugee arrivals by land and boat.

The law shortens the appeals process for rejected asylum claims and boosts numbers of staff at asylum offices. It also controversially reinstates a ban on asylum seekers leaving the Greek islands that was lifted by Greece’s top court last month.

Some groups welcomed efforts to ease the severe overcrowding in Greek camps, but others warned that expediting asylum appeals in order to speed up deportations to Turkey risks violating refugees’ rights.

Some 16,500 people have crossed into Greece this year, putting pressure on camps on both the islands and mainland. On May 15, Greek police evicted around 600 people sleeping in two abandoned factories in Patras, western Greece, and took them to refugee camps.

Afghans Drown in Shipwreck off Turkey

Seven Afghans, including three children, were found dead off the coast of Turkey after their boat sank.

The Turkish coast guard found 12 other Afghans and an Iranian man who survived the shipwreck off Canakkale province. The Iranian was detained on suspicion of people smuggling.

Some 42,000 Afghans have been blocked from leaving Turkey to travel to Greece and on to Europe this year, according to figures cited by the Associated Press.

Ireland Offers 530 Refugee Family Reunification Places

Ireland will admit 530 refugees who have relatives in the country after previously restricting family reunification.

The new Humanitarian Admission Programme will allow people with international protection to apply over the next six weeks to bring immediate family to Ireland.

The scheme is open to people from the 10 top countries of origin for refugees, including Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan, and will prioritize families who can provide accommodation in Ireland.

In 2015, Ireland restricted family reunification for refugees to spouses and children under 18 years old.

Ireland is also preparing to pilot a community sponsorship scheme allowing communities to directly sponsor refugees, according to the Irish Times.

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