The Latest: EU to members states: do more for migrant kids
Posted April 12
MADRID — The Latest on migrants and asylum-seekers in Europe (all times local):
The European Union is urging member countries to do more to look after migrant children with around one in three asylum seekers entering the bloc a child.
The EU's executive Commission said Wednesday that child protection officers should be appointed to areas where many migrants arrive and that children should be swiftly identified and sheltered.
Children should also have access to legal aid, health care, social support and education without delay. Foster or family care should be offered to unaccompanied minors.
U.N. agencies and migrant groups welcomed the move, although some remain concerned that children can still be placed in detention under certain circumstances.
French authorities are transferring migrants to sites around the country after their huge camp near the English Channel burned down.
The interior and housing ministers said in a statement Wednesday that 1,200 displaced migrants have been provisionally housed in gymnasiums or elsewhere since the Monday night fire.
As many as 1,600 migrants who hope to reach Britain had been living in the camp in the Dunkirk suburb of Grande-Synthe. Hundreds remain unaccounted for.
The statement said the government is trying to speed up efforts to move the migrants to temporary housing centers around the country and persuade them to seek asylum in France.
A bus left Wednesday carrying dozens of asylum seekers to a temporary housing center.
Motorists in southeast Italy have spotted some 70 Iraqi and Afghani migrants walking on a road near the coast, apparently after they slipped ashore.
The Italian news agency ANSA said people told authorities Wednesday they noticed the migrants on a road that runs along part of the Puglia region's coastline. The migrants, including children, were taken to a center for asylum seekers.
The overwhelming majority of the hundreds of thousands of migrants who have reached Italy in the last few years came ashore after being rescued at sea from foundering smugglers' boats.
But occasionally, smaller boats carrying migrants go undetected and reach the unpatrolled coastline in Sardinia, or as in Wednesday's case, Puglia, which forms the "heel" of Italy's boot-shaped mainland.
The European Union's border control agency Frontex says the number of illegal border crossings into the EU was up 10 percent in March over the previous month, to nearly 13,000, as the weather turns warmer.
However, the Warsaw-based agency also said Monday that compared to the same period over last year, the total number of detected illegal crossings in the first quarter of 2017 fell 70 percent to 32,540.
Italy is the country under the greatest pressure, with 10,800 illegal border crossings detected in March. The country saw a total of nearly 24,250 in the first three months of the year. Most of those migrants were from Bangladesh, Nigeria and Guinea, though the numbers from Eritrea and Somalia were rising as the weather improves, Frontex said.
The European Union is again urging member countries to respect their pledge to accommodate thousands of refugees staying in poor conditions in overwhelmed Greece and Italy.
In what has become a monthly routine, the EU Commission urged nations Wednesday "to demonstrate political will and intensify and coordinate their efforts to deliver on their obligations."
EU countries agreed in September 2015 to relocate 160,000 refugees over two years. At current rates they are unlikely to share out even a quarter of that number by the deadline.
The relocation program — considered a "key" part of EU migration policy — saw a total of 2,465 refugees shifted from Greece and Italy in March, by far the most productive month.
But even this falls more than 500 short of the monthly target.
Spain's maritime rescue service says the death toll from a migrant boat that capsized in the Mediterranean Sea has risen to three, after police divers found the body of a man that had been reported missing.
Authorities earlier said a 10-year-old girl and a woman died after the boat overturned Tuesday afternoon. It was not immediately known if the girl and the women were related.
A Spanish Navy unit stationed on Alboran island, halfway between Spain and Morocco, rescued 30 other migrants from the boat.
There were no details on the migrants' nationalities.
Thousands of migrants, most from sub-Saharan African countries, try to reach Spain's shores by boat each year.
Romania's border police say they have detained 34 Pakistani and Syrian citizens, including children, who were allegedly trying to illegally enter southwest Romania and head to Western Europe.
Police said Wednesday they found three separate groups during border patrols in the area between Serbia and Romania. Police took the migrants, found in separate areas, for questioning.
Those detained, which include three minors aged 2 to 17, told police they wanted to reach Western Europe.
Spain's maritime rescue service says a woman and a child died after the boat in which they and 30 other migrants were trying to reach Europe capsized in the Mediterranean Sea.
A service spokeswoman says a Spanish Navy unit stationed on Alboran island, halfway between Spain and Morocco, rescued 29 migrants after the boat overturned Tuesday afternoon.
She said a search for one missing migrant was continuing Wednesday.
The spokeswoman said a 10-year-old girl was found dead while the woman died later. It was not immediately known if the two related.
She said the boat was believed to have set sail from northern Morocco. There were no details on the migrants' nationalities.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with service regulations.