Greece suspends asylum applications for one month, in a move that experts characterise as a breach of European asylum law and international humanitarian law. The Greek government made this decision after Turkey opened its frontiers and said that it would no longer keep refugees from traveling towards Europe. As a result, thousands of migrants have been trying to enter Greece, prompting the Greek authorities to deploy military forces to strengthen their borders.
This past Sunday, Luxembourg became the first country in the world to make public transport free. Previously, several cities, such as Tallinn, had adopted such measures. Residents and tourists will have equal access to free public transport in Luxembourg. This new policy is part of an effort to increase the use of public transport and reduce traffic jams in the country.
Russian human rights activists, including organisations like Memorial and the Civic Assistance Committee, have sent comments to the Ministry of Justice on the working draft of the new Code of Administrative Offences. Their suggestions include removing articles that punish gay propaganda among minors and prostitution, as well as clarifying the concept of drug propaganda and the criteria for deporting migrants.
Following the adoption of a new law in Germany, kindergartens and schools can now only accept new children if they have been vaccinated against measles. If a child’s immunisation is not documented, schools will be forced to notify the local public health office, and if parents refuse to vaccinate their children, they will pay fines up to €2,500. A group of parents has already filed a complaint that the law violates their constitutional rights.
The Conservative-Green coalition government in Austria has adopted a law stopping financial support for NGOs that provide legal counselling in asylum proceedings to refugees. Until now, a few NGOs received some funding from the government in order to ensure independent legal consultation, but starting from January 2021, a body within the Ministry of the Interior will take over the legal counselling in asylum proceedings. The new law has been criticised by different political parties and NGOs.
Two women’s rights organisations in Rome, ‘La Casa Internazionale delle Donne’ (the International House of Women) and a shelter named ‘Lucha y Siesta’ are worried that they could soon be evicted. Activists in Italy’s capital accuse mayor Virginia Raggi of not taking enough actions to protect women.
For the first time in German history, a court has refused to extradite a Polish suspect to his home country because of doubts as to the future of the independence of the Polish judiciary and the guarantee of the right to a fair trial. These doubts have been spurred by the divisive law signed by Polish president Andrzej Duda last month. It allows judges to be punished for questioning and criticising the national judicial system.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has decided to indefinitely suspend access to border transit areas for asylum seekers due to risks associated with the spread of the coronavirus. As a result, asylum rights as a whole have been suspended, since asylum applications are processed in stations in the transit areas.
Turkey announced last week that it is preparing a case about Greece’s treatment of migrants to bring before the European Court of Human Rights. On February 28, Turkey opened its frontiers, allowing refugees and migrants to travel towards Europe. Many of them have since been trying to enter Greece.
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