Around a thousand migrants remain stuck at the main border crossing into Macedonia from Greece due to new restrictions denying them refugee status.
Point of view
all people have the right to seek asylum, irrespective of their nationality
Protests raging from sewing their lips together to using body paints have been staged to get their message across.
They are angry that only nationals from war torn countries are being allowed through. That means those from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The United Nations has condemned the new profiling of asylum seekers.
A spokesperson the organisations refugee agency (UNHCR) Adrian Edwards said told reporters:
“All people have the right to seek asylum, irrespective of their nationality and to have their individual cases heard. Proper information needs to be provided to people affected by decisions like these at border points, and proper counseling has to be available.”
While Balkan countries have introduced the profiling restrictions, Sweden, traditionally a refugee haven has also announced it will tighten its border controls. It expects up to 190,000 asylum seekers to reach its borders this years and its says its reception system just can’s cope.
“The situation is untenable,” said Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. “It is untenable for those who seek asylum, for personnel and for all those who should feel trust for the functions carried out by society. Now, to put it bluntly, more people will have to seek asylum and get protection in other European countries.”
Monitoring groups say the numbers of migrants taking the dangerous sea route to Greece are falling and there have also been no boats landing in Italy for a week. Both are probably due to Winter’s rough seas and freezing temperatures rather than any slowing down in the numbers fleeing war and poverty.
But in a move designed to try and persuade refugees from taking the perilous journey to Europe, the EU has confirmed it is setting up a 3bn euro fund for two years to help Turkey support Syrian refugees.
It was a fund offered to Ankara last month as part of a package of measures to ease Europe’s migration crisis and which EU leaders plan to finalise at a summit with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Brussels on Sunday (Nov. 29).