"Put the refugee 'crisis' in context" — UNHCR

Quote of the day

"If the world came together now to step up efforts to stop the war in Syria, and in the meantime meaningfully helped the people who fled from it, there would be no need to erect new borders and turn people back on boats. Refugees would no longer represent a crisis, but a group of people who have been given access to a safe and dignified life in exile." – Melissa Fleming, UNHCR Spokesperson.

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Put the refugee 'crisis' in context — UNHCR

As the war in Syria enters its sixth year, blocked borders and folded arms now greet people trying to escape bombs and bullets.
Neighboring countries have taken in almost 5 million refugees and are close to capacity. Lebanon and Jordan have told the world they can manage no more unless recent pledges of massive new infrastructure and development support are met.
Turkey, host to 2.7 million Syrians, has agreed to take on even more of a refugee hosting role in exchange for $6 billion and the lifting of visa restrictions for its own citizens. This deal with the European Union is intended to cut off smuggler-run sea routes to Europe in exchange for resettlement of Syrian refugees from Turkey.
Aid organizations have voiced concern over the humanitarian implications of Friday’s agreement between the European Union and Turkey, aimed at stopping the flow of refugees and migrants entering Europe via Greece’s Aegean islands.
In theory, and only if missing human rights safeguards are swiftly putinto place in Greece and Turkey, this pact might herald the end of dangerous boat crossings for some refugees — and a fairer sharing of Syrian refugees among EU member states.
But the jury is also still out on whether desperate people — including the second two largest groups of people, Iraqis and Afghans, for whom no special resettlement scheme is foreseen — will find access to asylum and the basic survival services closer to home. If not, experience shows that alternative routes will be quickly created by cunning and ruthless people smugglers. Inevitably, these routes will be as, if not more, dangerous and deadly.
For those who do make it to Europe, reception will be fraught with rejection. Here, refugees, once greeted with remarkable sympathy, are finding themselves linked through fear to the same terrorist groups they fled. They are, too often, falsely labelled “irregular migrants,” implying that the trouble they left at home was poverty, not war.

‘Crisis’ in context and meaningful solutions

This is a crisis for refugees, not a crisis for Europeans. The 1 million that have arrived since August 2015 represent a mere 0.2 percent of Europe's population of 500 million. Over 90 percent came from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Almost all of them said they left because of violence and war. Those who had been living as refugees in neighboring countries said they did not have the means to educate and feed their children.


Greece and migrants - torn in between Europe and Turkey...

UNHCR says won't work in Greek 'detention centres' in swipe at EU-Turkey deal

By Stephanie Nebehay and Karolina Tagaris

GENEVA/LESBOS (Reuters) - The United Nations refugee agency dealt a blow to EU efforts to stem the biggest humanitarian crisis in generations on Tuesday, saying it would no longer assist in the transfer of migrants and refugees arriving in Greece to "detention centres". 
The European Union reached a deal with Turkey just four days ago aimed at halting the flow of migrants across the sea to Greece, but the UNHCR said the deal was being prematurely implemented without the required safeguards in place.
It said migrants were being held against their will at reception facilities in Greece, and it would not transport people there from the beaches. It will continue to provide other services including counselling to refugees, it said.
The accord crafted by EU leaders and Turkey specifically mentions the UNHCR's involvement, although UN officials in Geneva said they were not consulted on that.
The deal, which took effect on Sunday, is aimed at putting new arrivals in Greece who seek asylum on a fast-track for processing. But it also means those migrants and refugees are kept in detention until their claims are assessed. 
"Under the new provisions, these so-called hotspots have now become detention centres," said the UNHCR's Melissa Fleming. 
"Accordingly, and in line with UNHCR policy of opposing mandatory detention, we have suspended some of our activities at all closed centres on the island." 
Those considered ineligible for asylum are to be sent back to Turkey from April 4. For every Syrian returned, another still in Turkey will be resettled directly in Europe, effectively penalising those who have in many cases spent their life savings trying to flee conflict.
At least two EU officials said they hoped this shock therapy might work in ebbing the flow of migrants and refugees into Europe. One EU official said "ugly images" of forced detentions and deportations were something the EU would have to accept if it was to regain control of its own borders.
"Ethically we might have doubts. But legally we have no doubts," another EU official said. Both made the remarks before the UNHCR said it was partially withdrawing its support.
Until Sunday, arrivals to Lesbos had been free to leave the Moria migrant camp and head for ferries to the Greek mainland from where they would mostly head north via the Balkans in a bid to reach western Europe, particularly Germany.
Now, they are meant to be held in Moria or one of four other centres set up on the Aegean islands of Samos, Chios, Leros and Kos, pending the outcome of their asylum applications.
As of Sunday, just two buses were available to transport the arrivals to Moria, one belonging to the coast guard and one to the police, a senior port police official said.
Early on Tuesday, 129 refugees and migrants who had been rescued at sea by a coast guard patrol boat and taken to the port waited for some 40 minutes for the buses to arrive. 
They sat on the dock shivering, men dressed in thin trousers and jackets and women wrapped up with scarves. Many were barefoot and soaked to their knees.
One, a young man named Zalmai, said he had left Afghanistan with his five-member family.
"(There are) a lot of problems in our country. We're coming for a better life," he said, putting on a jumper given to him by volunteers and wrapping a thick grey blanket around his waist.
Using his finger to imitate a knife across his throat, he said: "I'm not going back to Turkey, to Afghanistan. Please, I'll stay here."
More than 147,000 people, many fleeing conflict in the Middle East and Asia, have arrived in Greece by sea this year, 59 percent of them women and children, according to UNHCR.
On Monday, Turkish monitors arrived on Lesbos to help put the deal into practise. On Tuesday, the Czech Republic offered 10 asylum experts and 30 police officers plus humanitarian aid to Greece, its state secretary for EU affairs said.
Under a timetable agreed with the EU last week, a task force of 4,000 people from asylum case workers and experts to arbitrators, interpreters and security staff should be in place by March 28. Of those, 2,300 should be deployed by other EU states.
A spokeswoman for the U.N. children's fund UNICEF told a briefing in Geneva on Tuesday the fund was concerned about this new agreement and the implications for children.
"We see no mention of children despite the fact that children make up 40 percent of those currently stranded in Greece," she said, adding 19,000 children are stranded in Greece and about 10 percent are unaccompanied.
(Additional reporting by Jan Lopatka in Prague and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; Editing by Hugh Lawson)


Rock en Seine 2016

La programmation du plus parisien des festivals de musique vient de tomber.
Une raison supplémentaire d'attendre août avec impatience!

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Sum 41 image

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  • Rock en Seine 2016
    samedi 27 août

Cent fois enterré, cent fois ressuscité. Malgré des défections qui ont mutilé son collectif et aurait signé l’arrêt de mort de n’importe quel autre projet, Massive Attack continue en 2016 d’imposer les lignes de basse les plus hypnotiques de l’ère moderne, et peut même compter sur le retour dans ses rangs de ses plus grands hérauts en renfort du duo originel, 3D et Daddy G. Tricky, Martina Topley-Bird ou Horace Andy font partie de ce panthéon qui s’est autant nourrit du golem bristolien que l’inverse. Les rares apparitions de Massive Attack, du haut de ses innombrables hymnes crépusculaires, sont l’objet des contemplations les plus avides depuis 25 ans ; ils sont également en prise directe avec le réel, pointant sans relache dans des dispositifs saisissants, les travers les plus obscurs de nos sociétés.