Compiled by Eva-Maria Maurer, 08.05.2020

Other recommended News Digests are:

Table of Contents

  • Austria deports despite Corona – both individually and via charter
  • Refugees quarantined at Vienna Fair demonstrate against conditions
  • German courts confirm corona risk in refugee accommodation
  • Two Rescue Ships Detained by Italy
  • Malta: Criminal Investigations against Prime, for Murder of 12
  • Malta breached migrants’ human rights – European Court of Human Rights Judge
  • More dodgy details on “Pirate-Pushbacks” by PM
  • Migrants kept aboard “Quarantine Ships” without supplies
  • Greece: Spike in Pushbacks despite Travel Ban to Turkey
  • Turkish Interior Ministry Criticizes ongoing Brutal Greek Pushbacks
  • Relocation – Small Steps
  • Ongoing Negotiation of Relocation
  • Mob burned refugee hotel
  • Effects of Greek asylum suspension in March 2020
  • Spain: Hungerstrike in Melilla
  • Recent Evidence of Bloody Pushbacks from Coratia
  • Croatia tags migrants like cattle
  • Death at the Border Serbia – Romania
  • Another proof? Afghans’ lifes don’t count in Iran
  • Libya-EU: Border regime and quarantine in times of Corona



Deportations despite Corona – both individually and via charter

Despite the entry ban and curfew (!) in Georgia, Austria is deporting there. Aren’t the official corona laws relevant anymore?

„The Ministry of the Interior’s actions raise doubts: Is the Austrian Government serious about combating the spread of the pandemic with appropriate means?

On the one hand, an illegal entry stop for individual asylum seekers was enacted, but at the same time hundreds of people are barracked in mass camps instead of being placed in a decentralized manner. Refugees have been shown to be incompletely informed about their rights, while others have been ordered to live in a quarantined part of the country in Tyrol that was under full locked-down.

The “Asylkoordination” calls for an immediate stop to the deportation and appeals to the Ministry of the Interior to continue to allow people to return voluntarily. “

Refugees quarantined at Vienna Fair demonstrate against conditions

“No new mass quarantine in the fair hall – implement immediate decentralized accommodation! Delivering hundreds of people at the same time to a dangerous risk of infection is inhumane. It shows the racist hierarchy within state „care”! Apartments instead of mass shelters!”

On May 10th, there will be a protest outside the Fair Quarantine too:


No minimum distance in the asylum home

Saxon courts confirm corona risk in collective accommodation for refugees: four refugees have fought for the right to leave shared accommodation for #Corona.


Two Rescue Ships Detained by Italy

Italy has blocked in Palermo harbour for „deficiencies“ the only 2 RESCUE boats operating at Mediterranean sea, AlanKurdi(On May 5th, 2020) & AitaMari(On May 6th). The crew had been Quarantined  and coronatested (negative, just like all people they rescued) but now is refused saving more lives.

If the authorities really cared for the „safety of people“, they would send search & rescue missions themselves and not stop others from rescuing drowning migrants.

The „inspections“ by the italian authorities of the AlanKurdi and AitaMari were unlawful! The detentions of the vessels should be ended by the ITLOS according to Article 292 UNCLOS on behalf the flag States Germany and Spain!

Italy has no right to inspect the ships itself, but only seaworthiness confirmations. Germany issued these confirmations for Alan Kurdi, which got technically checked  recently. “Italy ignores the „Convention on the Law of the Sea“ (#UNCLOS):

  • Article 94 (6) provides, that concerns should be reported to the flag State.
  • Article 226 provides, „…inspection of a foreign vessel shall be limited to…certificates, records or other documents …“


Criminal Investigations against Prime M. Abela, for Murder of 12 and against Maltese Coastguard

„The first allegations involving the soldiers has been rejected with new evidence contradicting the claim made originally by NGO Alarm Phone.

However, the magistrate is now looking into whether Malta has adhered to its international obligations to coordinate rescues in its SAR and identify a port of safety for rescued migrants.

The criminal complaint was filed against the Prime Minister and army commander Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi.“

Malta breached migrants’ human rights – European Court of Human Rights Judge:

More dodgy details on “Pirate-Pushbacks” by PM

„Neville Gafà, former Office of the Prime Minister of Malta operative has admitted under oath that he had co-ordinated the push back of the 51 migrants involved in the Easter Tragedy on instructions of the Office of the Prime Minister.”

He is known for facilitating secret deals between Malta and Libya, and for cooperating with Militas and smugglers, including Al Bija.

More info on his background:

More and more migrants kept aboard “Quarantine Ships” 

No water, food or medical help

Stand-Off on the backs of hungry and thirsty migrants: Malta waits for concrete relocation plan by EU while EU waits for Malta to let them disembark first. Malta lets Migrants drift since days, not allowing them to disembark from 2 boats after rescue, in need of doctors, food and water. „Almost 150 people are stranded out at sea in Malta’s search and rescue area, while Malta waits for other European states to step in and offer support(…). The European Commission has, in turn, said it can play a role in relocating migrants once they have been allowed to disembark(…). this duty is not only a legal but also a moral imperative which can never be subjected to political conditions, such as the availability of concrete offers of relocation (…).

57 from one dinghy are on board a Maltese Captain Morgan tourist launch just outside territorial waters.“*, while „The 78 people still remain on the Marina in Malta SAR. As the company of the merchant vessel told us, the people on board are short of water and food and 6 people need medical care urgently! Malta once more refuses to take responsibility and risks the health of people in need.“ Lampedusa, which is very close, also refuses entry because the 78 were rescued through the RCC Malta.


 Spike in Pushbacks despite Travel Ban to Turkey

People taken from camps allover Greece, robbed, stripped and pushed back, even with valid documents.

Photographic evidence of wounds and dozens of testimonials on the false promises used by police to capture migrants.

During only “six weeks, the teams received reports of 194 people removed and pushed back into Turkey from the refugee camp in Diavata and the Drama Paranesti Pre-removal Detention Centre (…). Though the pushbacks seem to be a regular occurence from Greece to Turkey, rarely have groups been removed from inner city camps halfway across the territory or at such a scale from inland detention spaces.”

The very fact that these were „pushbacks“ and not readmissions makes them inherently illegal. The method of removal is illegal (E.g. no due process, violence, taken by military and civilians across the border in rubber boats). Also Readmissions to turkey are not occurring atm, so there’s no legal frame for any asylum seeker to be removed, no matter if already rejected or not. 05/05/2020:

Turkish Interior Ministry Criticizes ongoing Brutal Greek Pushbacks

 “Turkey condemned Greece for its harsh reaction to the influx of people at its border, including physical attacks, spraying tear gas and killing several people who attempted to cross to Greece from Turkey.” As has happened regularly since March 2020 in Greek (!) waters, “Greek coast guards pushed back the boat(…) putting their lives at risk (…). their motor was put out of use and their fuel was seized.”

Relocation – Small Steps

“Finally something happens and today vulnerable people in the camp get tickets to Athens. Seems now they really start with evacuation after so many promises and delays.

This is a very important step but we ask: Why only now? Why now before Corona endangered them? Where were all of you in March? Back then we were almost left alone with no protection. What would happened the virus hit the camp?

Please bring out all the people, old and sick and also the minors as we asked long time ago. There is no protection for them here! And the danger from Corona is not gone, we just have a short break now on the island to use it in the best way.”

Until now, Weeks of Negotiatons and Delays of Relocation

 First 395 of 2400 from Moria supposedly got transferred to the mainland on Sunday May 3rd 2020

Authorities are getting ready to transfer a group of about 395 migrants seen as vulnerable later today to the mainland via ship,“ a police official, who declined to be named, said.

The group will leave the Moria camp on the eastern Aegean island, which is close to Turkey […]

„The goal is to transfer about 2,400 from island camps to mainland Greece,“ a Migration Ministry official said.

April 24: “For now, 400 #refugeesgr are supposed to be transferred within the next days/weeks with a ferry to a safer location on mainland.”

Far right mob burned a hotel in front of sick and elderly refugees about to move in 04/05/2020:

Effects of Greek asylum suspension in March 2020

What happened to refugees affected? Analysis of cases before domestic courts/ Strasbourg:


Hungerstrike in Melilla

 „At the CETI in Melilla protests begin to demand the transfer to the Mainland! 7 interns have sewn their mouths in protest! Their reception situation is unbearable and they claim their right to ask for asylum“


Recent Evidence of Bloody Pushbacks

”The 700th testimony published by BVMN demonstrates that unlawful cross-border removals are continuing unchecked during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the case, from early April, the transit group approached authorities in Croatia but were taken by police directly to the border and beaten by officers dressed in black and wielding batons.

Their possessions (including phones, money and other valuables) were stolen by the police and their jackets were burnt. The Croatian officers beat them to the point that two individuals were bleeding from their heads, and then pushed them back into Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The only person who avoided the attack was laid out on the floor semi-conscious. He was the injured man the group had initially sought help for. But by approaching the police, all the men received was a violent pushback.

No attempt was made to follow mandated health screening or safety procedures. Batons and fires are not „personal protective equipment“, but weapons of a regime that has not ceased during the pandemic crisis. Find out more in our upcoming report, which analyses how the lockdown measures have been used to suspend the rights of people-on-the-move.“

Croatia tags migrants like cattle

“Can you believe this? Over the last several days, Croatian authorities have been spray-painting people with orange paint before illegally pushing them back to Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH). Tagging them like livestock.

The images in this post were taken yesterday (May 6th) in Poljana, BiH. Our source says that the group was also robbed of their money and mobile phones. Several group-members had their shoes taken from them as well (sympathetic local people later provided them with new shoes).

Several days ago (May 2nd), another group reported being pushed back to Glinica, BiH – less than 3km away from Poljana – describing the exact same treatment.”


Death at the Border Serbia – Romania

“During the night of 16-17 April, a boat with 16 foreign men and two Serbian smugglers trying to cross from Serbia into Romania on the Danube capsized, leaving eight persons who attempted to swim back to Serbia missing, one young man from Syria drowned.”


Not Europe – but Europe’s sending migrants there … 


Another proof Afghans’ lifes don’t count in Iran?

„In the western province of Herat, allegedly 57 Afghan nationals who tried to enter Iran for work were arrested by the Iranian border security forces who tortured the Afghans and threw some of them into a river–in which some died–according to an Afghan claiming to be a victim and also family members of alleged victims. The incident is said to have occurred on Wednesday.“

Afghan news report on Tolo News:

Libya / Algeria

Criticism of Eu-funded detention, border regime and Corona handling

IOM “quarantine” is so bad, migrants even ask to be flewn back to their countries of origin – but there are no flights. Forceful deportations in the desert, however, take place, putting migrants’ lifes at risk.

New press release 07.05.2020:

Pictures and further reports:

Migrants in Europe in Times of Corona – Update