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Executive Summary for April 12th

We review the latest developments related to refugee issues, including a drop in boat arrivals from Turkey to Greece, footage showing Bulgarian vigilantes tying up migrants in a remote area near the country’s border with Turkey and Denmark’s tough new stance on refugees.

Published on April 12, 2016 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Drop in Refugee Arrivals From Turkey to Greece

Just 18 refugees landed in Greece by sea during the 24-hour period between April 10 and April 11, the Associated Press reports. The figure represents a dramatic drop from recent weeks and months, and comes one week after the implementation of an E.U.–Turkey deal to send new arrivals back to Turkey.

On March 24, Greek authorities noted the first day without new refugee arrivals, after the deal was announced. But since then, figures have spiked and fallen. The first deportations back to Turkey went into effect on April 4, and as the BBC reported, Greek authorities marked a rise in asylum applications.

According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), there are an estimated 53,000 migrants and refugees stuck in Greece. Most are being housed at reception centers in northern Greece and Attica.

Bulgarian Vigilantes Filmed Tying up Afghan Migrants

Video footage obtained by the Bulgarian television network BTV News and circulated by the BBC, shows vigilantes tying up three Afghan migrants in a forested area.

One of the vigilantes shown in the video is armed with a machete, and can be heard telling the migrants, who have their hands tied behind their backs, to go back to Turkey. “No Bulgaria,” the man says. “Go back to Turkey.” One of the Afghan men appears to nod in understanding.

The video is reported to have been shot in the mountainous area of Strandja, close to Bulgaria’s border with Turkey. Prosecutors in the area have launched an investigation into the attack. Unlawful detention in Bulgaria carries a jail term of up to six years, the Associated Press reports.

Bulgaria is among the eastern European countries to have taken a hardline stance on refugees, erecting a 60-mile (95km) razor-wire fence along a portion of its border with Turkey. Vigilante groups are believed to have been targeting migrants and refugees in the border area, Bloomberg reports.

Denmark’s Aggressive New Stance on Refugees Continues

A Danish grandmother is among hundreds of people to have been convicted of people smuggling for offering transport to asylum seekers, according to the Washington Post.

The newspaper tells the story of 70-year-old Lise Ramslog, who was convicted by the Danish government in March, after giving a ride to six asylum seekers – including a baby and a young child. Ramslog drove them from southern Denmark to Sweden after spotting them walking, exhausted, along the highway.

Denmark, which has long had a reputation as a social utopia, shocked human rights experts in January when it passed a bill to seize cash and valuables from asylum seekers.

On Monday the Copenhagen Post reported that a majority in Danish parliament is in favor of another new bill, to put armed soldiers on the streets and at border points. Many people, including security experts, have spoken out against the proposal.

“Denmark is not at war, which is what the military is trained for,” Claus Oxfeldt, head of the police association Politiforbundet, told Danish television channel TV2 News.

Recommended Reads

Top image: A migrant boy waits for food in the makeshift refugee camp at the northern Greek border point of Idomeni, Greece, Wednesday, March 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

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