Refugee crisis media roundup – 8 February

On the rumor front, what I’ve heard on various FB pages and from a friend who works on Lesvos, is that the Greek Coast Guard has started to meet the refugees boats as they enter Greek waters and are offloading them from the dinghies onto the Coast Guard boats and bringing the refugees safely to land. I’m not sure if this is the case for the other islands, Chios included. This is welcome news in that this will prevent a certain number of drownings, refugees will arrive drier and less in shock and trauma from not having to arrive on the Greek beaches and all that entails (sometimes jumping in the water, at night, with many who don’t know how to swim).

That being said, there is still a major problem on the Turkish side (which is where the real problem with drownings is)…

Refugee crisis: 35 die off Turkish coast

“The Turkish coastguard said 24 drowned when a boat capsized in the Bay of Edremit, near the Greek island of Lesbos, while the Doğan news agency reported that the bodies of 11 people were found after a separate accident further south, near the Aegean resort of Dikili.”

More problem at FYROM-Greek border slows refugees’ journey north

“Soldiers of the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia have begun erecting a second, bigger wall just five metres from the border fence with Greece it rushed to put up last November.”

Syrian refugees: We did not flee for tents

“Tantalizingly close to Turkish soil, thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing an upsurge in violence have gathered at their neighbor’s border.

They can see Turkey’s flag fluttering in the distance, the safety they long for painfully near but closed to them.”

Sweden: 80,000 could be expelled after refugee influx

“Swedish authorities have asked police and the country’s migration agency to prepare expulsions of up to 80,000 refugees and migrants who arrived in 2015 and whose applications for asylum could be rejected.”

Disappointed With Europe, Thousands of Iraqi Migrants Return Home

“Last year, beckoned by news reports of easy passage to Europe through Turkey, tens of thousands of Iraqis joined Syrians, Africans and Afghans in the great migrant wave to the Continent. Now, thousands of Iraqis are coming home.

Many say they arrived in Europe with unrealistic expectations for quick success. Some also say the warm reception they received from Europeans last summer gave way to suspicion after the Paris terrorist attacks carried out by the Islamic State in November.”

Canada’s Syrian refugee plan raises concerns of ‘shortcuts,’ homeland security committee hears“

“Will there be shortcuts taken? Is that something that really ought to concern Americans here, as Canada is really ramping up — … with all wonderful intentions, being very compassionate — admitting a much higher level of refugees than they are normally taking in and at a much faster pace,” said Johnson as the hearing got underway.”

EU calls on Turkey to let Syrian refugees cross border

“Officials in the EU have urged Turkey to let in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees trapped on its border at Kilis after fleeing fighting.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said there was a moral, if not legal, duty to provide protection.”

Europe quick to judge all refugees by actions of a few

“But the polarized media depiction of refugees as victims or criminals is harmful and utterly unproductive. It panders to our natural biases and empowers reaction rather than reason. The truth is that there are genuine problems, but that these involve a small minority. More than a million refugees crossed into Europe in 2015, yet the sexual assaults that took place in Germany, Finland, Sweden and Austria involved around 200 migrants. That’s 0.02 per cent of refugees. And even now victims from Cologne are saying that a group of Syrian refugees actually “saved them” from the crowd, which also included two Germans, an American and a Serb.”

Terrorism suspects are posing as refugees, Germany says

“An Algerian couple, suspected of planning a terrorist attack in Berlin and arrested on suspicion of belonging to the Islamic State, entered Germany late last year and applied for asylum as Syrian refugees — part of a pattern of terrorism suspects entering Europe under the guise of fleeing war, the German authorities said Friday.”

Austria Could Send Troops to Balkan Nations to Block Refugees

“Austria is considering sending a military force to eastern European countries in the Balkans in order to cut off the refugees route into western European countries, Austria’s Defence Minister Hans Peter Doskozil said during a meeting late Friday.  Doskozil said his country’s army is ready to go for a“combined civil-military mission in the Balkans” if necessary, citing the 100-strong military task force already involved in Frontex mission.””

The West must stop giving Turkey a free pass

“Many prominent Western academics and non-governmental organizations have been vocal in censuring the persecution suffered by their Turkish counterparts. The European Union’s lack of action on Turkey’s crackdown on academic freedom and human rights would therefore be inexplicable but for one crucial detail: As the European Union faces its largest refugee crisis since World War II, the 2.5 million Syrians currently in Turkey are a huge bargaining chip for Ankara. Europe’s leaders are well aware of this.”

Germany’s Merkel says refugees must return home once war is over

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel tried on Saturday to placate the increasingly vocal critics of her open-door policy for refugees by insisting that most refugees from Syria and Iraq would go home once the conflicts there had ended.”

Europe’s refugee story has hardly begun

“The refugee story has hardly begun. There will be, on conservative estimates, another million arriving via Turkey this year – and maybe more. The distribution quotas proposed by Germany, and resisted by many states in eastern Europe, are already a fiction and will fade into insignificance as the next wave comes.”

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