Journal Article

Mounting one of its biggest rescue operations in the Aegean Sea this year, the Greek Coast Guard on Wednesday saved some 240 migrants after a large wooden smuggling boat capsized in high winds off the Greek island of Lesbos, killing three people, including two children. The search continued late into the night in a bid to find more survivors.

Newly arrived migrants were lining up at the train station in this border town for their first registration one recent evening. In a group of young Afghans traveling on their own, Matin, from Kabul, said he was 17 years old.

Reza Mohammadi lost his parents in a forest in Macedonia. Or Serbia. He does not remember. What he does remember is that it was raining: Thick mud clung to his shoes and weighed down his 7-year-old legs. His family had fled from Afghanistan to Iran, then to Turkey. They had boarded a rubber boat to Greece and were rescued by the coast guard before moving on, mostly by foot, toward Germany.

The small Balkan nations on the path of the human migration through Europe are seeing record numbers of asylum-seekers cross their borders, and are overwhelmed in their ability to manage the human flow. Despite hopes that plummeting temperatures and treacherous seas would finally slow the tide of refugees flowing into the heart of Europe, fresh fighting in Syria and growing fears of border closings are driving more migrants to undertake the treacherous trek.

They arrived in an unceasing stream, 10,000 a day at the height, as many as a million migrants heading for Europe this year, pushing infants in strollers and elderly parents in wheelchairs, carrying children on their shoulders and life savings in their socks.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Wednesday that a refugee crisis was looming in Central and North America as people flee unchecked gang violence in parts of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. “The dramatic refugee crises we are witnessing in the world today are not confined to the Middle East or Africa,” the high commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, said in Washington.

As Europe grapples with the rising tide of migrants, asylum seekers are facing opposition and, in some cases, violence from locals. Human Rights Watch said Thursday that asked men – often armed – have been attacking and intercepting boats in the Aegean Sea carrying refugees on their way to Greece, one of many clashes reported this week.

L'UE tenait dimanche, dans l'urgence et un climat de tensions, un mini-sommet avec les pays européens les plus exposés à l'afflux de migrants transitant par les Balkans afin de juguler «collectivement» une crise sans précédent qui menace l'unité de l'Europe. 

"La crise migratoire qui a vu 700 000 migrants et réfugiés arriver en Europe via la Méditerranée depuis janvier va s'aggraver, a prévenu mardi le président du Conseil européen Donald Tusk, mettant à l'épreuve la coopération, déjà délicate, entre les pays de l'UE. Signe de cette préoccupation, le président français François Hollande et la chancelière allemande Angela Merkel ont mis la question migratoire au programme d'un entretien bilatéral, également consacré à la Syrie, mardi à Paris."

Débordée par le flux ininterrompu de réfugiés arrivant toujours au rythme de 6000 à 10 000 personnes par jour sur son territoire, l’Allemagne a décidé de durcir son arsenal juridique.


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