European Police Break Up International Smuggling Ring
European authorities have dismantled an alleged 25-member international people-smuggling ring that illegally brought over 1,000 migrants from Hungary into western Europe, Austrian police said Monday.
Six suspects were arrested in Austria last week including the alleged ringleader, a Syrian national. Another suspect was arrested in Hungary, the E.U.’s police agency Europol said in a statement.
Seventeen suspects of the 25-member smuggling ring have been arrested since last September, reported the Wall Street Journal.
“Members (of the organization) were almost exclusively people from the Russian region of Chechnya based in Austria,” Austrian police said, according to Reuters.
The smuggled migrants were mostly from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. They were charged around 300 euros ($330) per person for transport from Hungary to Vienna and 700-800 euros ($770-880) per person from Hungary to Germany.
General Assembly Agrees to Make the International Organization for Migration Part of U.N. system
The U.N. General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution to make the International Organization for Migration (IOM) part of the U.N. system as a related organization, the IOM said in a press release Monday.
“The General Assembly’s decision to approve this Agreement shows the growing strength of the relationship between IOM and the U.N.,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing. “And now, becoming a part of the U.N. family will give IOM a vital voice at the U.N. table to advocate for migrants and their rights worldwide,” he added.
“Migration is at the heart of the new global political landscape and its social and economic dynamics. At a time of growing levels of migration within and across borders, a closer legal and working relationship between the United Nations and IOM is needed more than ever,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement welcoming the Assembly’s decision.
Ban Ki-moon and Lacy Swing will sign the approved agreement on September 19 during the U.N. Summit for Refugees and Migrants
Turkish President Erdogan Says E.U. Failing to Honor Migrant Deal
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized E.U. leaders for not being “sincere” in their promises made under the E.U.-Turkey deal, reported the BBC.
Erdogan said in an interview with German public broadcaster ARD on Monday that Turkey had received only 2 million euros ($2.2 million) of the 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) promised by the E.U.
“Ask them [the E.U.]. Did you pay? But Turkey still hosts 3 million people. What would Europe do if we let these people go to Europe?” he asked, according to E.U. Observer.
“The [European] governments are not honest,” he added.
Erdogan said Turkey has spent about 11 billion euros ($12bn) on the 3 million Syrian refugees living in the country.
The E.U. also promised that Turkish citizens would be allowed to travel visa-free in the E.U. and to accelerate Turkey’s E.U. accession process. Referring to the visa-free travel agreement, Erdogan added, “We stand by our promises. But have the Europeans kept their promises?”
- Al Jazeera: Syrian Refugees: Struggles in Turkey Intensify
- Amnesty International: Narrow National Self-Interest Must Not Scupper Ban Ki-moon’s Initiative to End Refugee Crisis
- New York Times: Jordan Deal With Donors Means Legal Work for Syria Refugees
- IRIN: Leaving No One (Apart From Migrants and Refugees) Behind
- CNN: What Are the Rules for Asylum Seekers in Germany?
- The Guardian: Theresa May’s Scrapping of Minister for Refugees ‘Utterly Disgraceful’