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Executive Summary for October 4th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including a European Court of Human Rights ruling on Spain’s border pushbacks, an MSF report on violence against young migrants on Serbia’s borders and the UNHCR Nansen Award going to a Nigerian lawyer.

Published on Oct. 4, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

European Court Rules Spain’s Border Pushbacks Illegal

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that Spain’s pushback of migrants at its border with Morocco is unlawful.

The case was brought by two refugees from Mali and Cote d’Ivoire who crossed the border fence into the Spanish enclave of Melilla in August 2014, and were immediately sent back to Morocco by Spanish forces.

“The litigation against Spain has an impact beyond the individual case,” said Wolfgang Kaleck of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), which helped the refugees bring the case. “The ECtHR judgment clarifies that Spain’s border regime violates human rights, because the Convention also applies at the external borders of the E.U.

ECCHR called on the Spanish government to repeal the “Protection of Public Safety” law, under which Spain turns back people who try to cross irregularly into the enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta.

MSF: Young Migrants Face Repeated Violence on E.U. Borders With Serbia

E.U. members Hungary, Bulgaria and Croatia continue to violently turn away young migrants trying to leave Serbia, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said.

The medical charity, also known as Doctors without Borders, said it had documented 62 incidents of intentional violence at the Hungarian border and 24 on the Croatian border with Serbia.

Most of those injured are boys and men aged 15–25 years old who are trying to reach the E.U. despite the closure of the Balkan route last year.

“For more than a year our doctors and nurses have continued to hear the same, repetitive story of young people being beaten, humiliated and attacked with dogs for desperately trying to continue their journeys,” said Stephane Moissaing, MSF’s head of mission in Serbia.

“It’s disgraceful that E.U. member states are intentionally using violence to deter children and young people from seeking asylum in the European Union,” Moissaing said.

Nigerian Lawyer Receives Nansen Refugee Award

A Nigerian lawyer who brokered the release of Boko Haram captives and set up schools for children orphaned by the country’s conflict received the U.N. refugee agency’s annual Nansen Award.

“We have witnessed unprecedented destructions to human beings in northeast Nigeria. The level of devastation to children and women is unparalleled in the history of the region,” Zannah Mustapha said at the award ceremony in Geneva.

Mustapha set up a school providing free education and meals to orphans and other children impacted by the insurgency in 2007. The school in Maiduguri, the capital of conflict-torn Borno state, has since grown from 36 students to 540 and he has opened up another nearby.

Mustapha has also helped mediate between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government, including for the release of the Chibok schoolgirls.

The award is named for the U.N. agency’s first high commissioner, Fridtjof Nansen, and honors people for outstanding service to refugees and displaced people.

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