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Refugees Deeply is designed to help you understand the complex web of geopolitical, human rights, environmental, legal and other factors combining to make the refugee issue one of the most challenging of our lifetimes. Our editors and expert contributors are working around the clock to bring you greater clarity and comprehensive coverage.

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Executive Summary for July 26th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including the journey of an anti-refugee ship, the renewal of the E.U.’s anti-smuggling naval mission and a French town building a wall to block migrant arrivals.

Published on July 26, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Anti-Refugee Ship Arrives in the Mediterranean

A ship chartered by far right activists who say they want to block migrants and refugees reaching Europe has entered the Mediterranean Sea.

The ship, named C-Star, left for the Sicilian city of Catania from Djibouti last week, but was briefly held while passing through the Suez Canal. Marine logs showed the ship docked in the Cypriot port of Famagusta on July 26.

Defend Europe, an anti-immigrant group linked to the European “identitarian” movement, accuses NGOs like Save the Children of colluding with people smugglers in Libya to “lure” migrants into the sea and transport them to Europe, vowing to “stop the boats to save Europe.”

The mayor of Catania, Enzo Bianco, said last week he will try to block C-Star from docking at the port, arguing that it would endanger public order.

Europe Extends Operation Sophia

The European Council extended the mandate of its anti-refugee smuggling operation in the Mediterranean Sea until the end of 2018.

The “Operation Sophia” naval mission, launched in 2015, was also expanded to include monitoring oil trafficking from Libya. Ahead of the renewal date, the operation was sharply criticized as ineffective by British lawmakers.

The same day, Spanish rescuers found 13 bodies in a boat on the Mediterranean Sea and rescued over 100 survivors. Proactiva Open Arms said the dead, including pregnant women and children, probably died of asphyxiation.

Residents of French Town Build Wall to Block Migrants

Protesters from Séméac, a small town in southwest France, constructed a wall around a disused hotel to try to stop authorities using it as a migrant shelter, reported the BBC.

Residents worked overnight to build the 60ft (18m) long and 6ft (1.8m) high concrete wall blocking the hotel’s entrance. They complained that local authorities did not consult them on the proposal to transform the former hotel into a center for up to 85 migrants.

“We not against taking in migrants. But you have to take account of the citizens,” Laurent Teixeira told AFP news agency.

French authorities have purchased over 60 former hotels around the country to shelter migrants who are currently living on the streets.

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