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03 February 2016

Migrants and refugees struggle ashore on a Greek beach. Photo: F. Malavolta, 2016.

Greece Pledges to Speed up Delivery of Migrant 'Hotspot' Centers

Greece - Greece will speed up completion of five migrant registration centers and two relocation camps after the European Commission chided it for neglecting its duties to Europe's passport-free Schengen zone, according to the Greek prime minister's office, writes George Georgiopoulos for Reuters.

European Union (EU) interior ministers urged Athens last week to do more to control the influx of migrants, some threatening exclusion from the Schengen zone, as the crisis increasingly divides bloc members.

Greece was the main gateway to Europe for more than a million refugees and migrants who reached the EU last year. It has been criticized for a failure to control the flow of arrivals, which has shown little sign of easing over the winter.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ office said that the completion of "hot spot" registration centers for refugees and migrants on the islands of Samos, Lesvos, Chios, Kos and Leros near the Turkish coast would now gain pace.

The government will also complete two relocation camps on the mainland, with the defense ministry taking a more active role to ensure that the five hotspots will be ready to operate in the next two weeks.

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The Nauru detention centre. Photo: Angela Wylie.

Australian Court Dismisses Challenge to Offshore Refugee Detention

Australia's highest court has opened the way for hundreds of asylum-seekers to be transferred to a remote Pacific outpost, including women allegedly sexually assaulted there, when it dismissed a challenge to a hardline immigration policy, writes Madeleine Coorey for Agence France Presse.

The High Court case was brought by a Bangladeshi woman who arrived on an unauthorized boat and was dispatched to the tiny Pacific island republic of Nauru before being brought to Australia for urgent medical treatment during a pregnancy.

She sought a declaration that Australia's conduct in sending her to Nauru was unlawful in a challenge seen as a test case for more than 260 asylum-seekers, including 37 babies born in Australia and 54 other children, lawyers said.

But the High Court ruled six to one that the Australian government's arrangements for offshore detention on Nauru did not breach Australian law.

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Migration in the News

  • AFP and Voice of America reported that according to UNICEF, children now make up over a third of migrants making the sea crossing from Turkey to Greece.
  • Xinhua, Reuters and Sputnik reported that the total number of migrants and refugees arriving in Greece in January topped 62,000, according to IOM.

  • Express UK shared an IOM map  showing the most popular migration routes to Europe from Africa and the Middle East in 2016.

  • AFP reported that Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei will create an artwork in Germany from 14,000 life jackets discarded by migrants arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos.

  • Vice News reported on the Iraqi migrants who voluntarily returned home from Belgium this week under IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programme.

Trending on the Internet

  •  New York Times published an editorial criticizing Denmark’s new policy that allows immigration authorities to seize valuable items from refugees, including jewelry and cash, to offset the cost of resettling them.
  •  Xinhua reported that China will work over the next five years to integrate migrant workers in cities in an orderly way, according to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

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