Italian authorities say they have rescued more than 700 people from boats off the coast of Libya and recovered the bodies of four others. More than 400 people have died in the Mediterranean this year attempting to reach Europe. Meanwhile, along the Greek-Macedonian border, Greek riot police forcibly removed Afghan refugees from train tracks as they protested policies that have stranded them in northern Greece. Macedonia closed its border to Afghans, reclassifying the refugees as economic migrants, meaning they can’t obtain political asylum. A spokesperson for the U.N. refugee agency expressed concern over how Macedonia and other countries are profiling refugees at the border.
Karin de Gruijl: “In general, we are concerned about the profiling of refugees at the borders. We feel—we think that refugees and asylum seekers, their claims should be looked at individually through asylum systems, and people should not be selected on the basis of their nationality. They should be selected on whether they are in need of international protection or not. And you cannot do that by selecting—by setting up a selecting mechanism by nationality.”
The International Organization for Migration says more than 110,000 people have arrived in Greece and Italy this year, a sharp uptick over last year.