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Refugee Crisis Has Left Europe a War Zone
by Shayne Heffernan

The European migrant crisis, or the European refugee crisis, began in 2015 when rising numbers of people arrived illegally in the European Union, traveling across the Mediterranean Sea or overland through Southeast Europe.

The trend was brought to the world’s attention during the 2015/2016 New Year’s Eve celebrations, there were mass sexual assaults, at least 24 rapes, and numerous thefts in Germany, mainly in Cologne city center. There were similar incidents at the public celebrations in Hamburg, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart and Bielefeld. For all of Germany, police report that 1,200 women were sexually assaulted and estimate that at least 2,000 refugee men were involved, acting in groups.

All of the incidents involved women being surrounded and assaulted by groups of men on the street. Police reported that the perpetrators were men of “Arab or North African appearance” and said that Germany had never experienced such mass sexual assaults before.The German Federal Criminal Police Office said the incidents were a phenomenon very common in some Arab countries as taharrush jamai.

Europe’s rate of sexual assault skyrocketed as the refugees arrived as have other crimes of violence.

The US State Department is warning Americans that traveling to Europe risks being caught in a terrorist attack. The ‘Travel Alert’ is set to remain in place for the next four months.

Between 60 and 80 Islamic State operatives in Europe are preparing to carry out attacks, a Dutch counterterrorism official warned last week, adding that the terrorist group is asking its militants to forgo traveling to Syria or Iraq and take the fight to Europe instead.

There are currently between 4,000 and 5,000 European terrorist fighters in Iraq and Syria, warned Dick Schoof, the Netherlands’ National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism, adding that “the chance of attack in the Netherlands is real.”

An official statement referred to recent attacks by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al Qaeda, as well as their affiliates, against France, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Further terrorist attacks may be carried out, even as “local governments continue counter-terrorism operations,” the State Department said.

Civil Unrest
The political divide is not just an American problem, pro-immigration Socialists/Communists are also becoming more violent around the world.

In Europe there are protests by immigrants, anti-immigration protests and Socialists/Communists are also on the rise.

Commemorations around the Bastille square turned violent after Molotov cocktails were thrown at police by black-masked activists, leaving at least one officer with serious burn wounds. Other protesters threw smoke bombs to disorientate police, who in turn fired tear gas to try and control the crowd.

Thousands of police were on-guard in Berlin’s traditionally left-wing Kreuzberg neighborhood to avoid a repeat of the violence of previous years, such as in 2009, when 273 officers were injured during clashes with rioters. While most of the day’s celebrations went off without incident, some black-clad protesters started throwing stones and firecrackers at police. Tear gas was discharged and several arrests were made. Meanwhile, in the eastern town of Apolda around 100 people were arrested after allegedly hurling rocks and firecrackers at police officers.

Germany took in 160 times more Syrian refugees in 2016 than UK
The Local - Germany

Of the 406,000 Syrian refugees given protection in Europe in 2016, almost 300,000 were offered sanctuary in Germany, new figures show.
The figures released by Eurostat on Wednesday display in clear terms how a few countries have shared the majority of the burden in taking in refugees from war-torn Syria.

While Germany took in 295,000 of the 406,000 Syrians who were granted asylum in the EU during 2016, major economies such as France and and Great Britain failed to offer protection to more than a few thousand.

The UK offered protection to 1,850 Syrians, 160 times less than Germany.

Sweden was the country which bore the second largest share of the burden, taking in 44,905 Syrians.

Germany also offered asylum or subsidiary protection to three quarters of the 66,000 Iraqis who were offered protection during this time in the EU, and to around 60 percent of all Afghans.

A total of 710,000 positive decisions were made on asylum cases in the EU during 2016, with 445,000 of these being made in Germany.

In Europe as a whole, 55 percent of the offers of protection were for full refugee status, 37 percent were for subsidiary protection, and eight percent were authorization to stay for humanitarian reasons.

While both refugee and subsidiary protection status are defined by EU law, humanitarian status is granted on the basis of national legislation.

But despite the EU rules for who should be determined a refugee, there were drastic differences in recognition rates from country to country.

While Germany and Sweden both offered asylum in 69 percent of first instance decisions, the UK offered it in 32 percent of cases, and Hungary in only eight percent of cases.

Throughout the refugee crisis, Germany argued for a quota system that would distribute refugees across the 28 member states of the European Union according to indices such as economic growth and unemployment.

But the proposal met with fierce resistance from eastern European states, while countries largely failed to live up to their pledges on a pilot project for the quota.

Pope Francis: Europe migrant centres 'concentration camps'

Pope Francis has described some of Europe's holding centres for migrants and refugees as concentration camps.

The Roman Catholic leader made the comments while meeting migrants during a visit to a basilica in Rome.

He thanked those who welcomed refugees but said that it appeared "international accords are more important than human rights".

The American Jewish Committee said the Pope should rethink his "regrettable" reference to concentration camps.

The term "concentration camp", which predates World War Two, is nonetheless evocative of the centres set up by the Nazis for slave labour and the extermination of millions of Jews and others.

'Generous people'
Pope Francis told migrants at the basilica of St Bartholomew on Saturday about his visit to a camp on the Greek island of Lesbos last year.

He met a Middle Eastern refugee who said his Christian wife had been killed by militant Islamists for refusing to throw her crucifix to the ground.

The Pope said: "I don't know if he managed to leave that concentration camp, because refugee camps - many of them - are concentration... because there is a great number of people left there inside them."

He said the "generous people" who welcomed refugees "must bear this extra burden, because it seems that international accords are more important than human rights".

The Pope did not elaborate, but the European Union has agreements to try to prevent the entry of migrants crossing from Libya and Turkey.

He added that he hoped the generosity of southern Italy could "infect the north a bit".

"If every municipality in Italy took in just two migrants there would be a place for everyone," he said.

David Harris, head of the American Jewish Committee, criticised the choice of the words "concentration camp".

"The conditions in which migrants are currently living in some European countries may well be difficult, and deserve still greater international attention, but concentration camps they certainly are not," he said.

The concept stretches back into history but acquired its modern connotations as a place of mass internment marked by poor conditions in the 19th Century.

The actual term was used in British parliamentary papers during the Boer War, at the beginning of the last century, to describe internment camps.

The Soviet Union became notorious for the forced labour camps it established in the inter-war period.

For many people, the term is primarily associated with the extermination camps like Auschwitz, set up by Nazi Germany
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