European Union not stopping lead poisoning birds

This video from the USA says about itself:

2 November 2014

In 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that bans the use of lead bullets for hunting in the state. The law may help boost the survival of the endangered California condor, a scavenger that can get lead poisoning when ingesting animal carcasses left shot with lead bullets.

From BirdLife:

Failure to ban toxic ammunition putting bird lives at risk

By BirdLife Europe, Thu, 04/02/2016 – 14:15

Birds in Europe will continue to be put at risk from lead poisoning, as the European Commission today announces it will continue allowing the chemical’s use in ammunition.

Lead ammunition use will be regulated on a limited basis under the EU chemicals regulation REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals), despite it being responsible for thousands of bird deaths every year.

Under REACH, the use of lead in ammunition could be banned completely through a so-called “restriction process”. Sadly the Commission has only chosen to focus on lead in wetlands, where a ban is already supposed to have been in place for many years. By taking this course, the Commission is ignoring the evidence of damage done by lead shots in other habitats and by rifle ammunition.

Lead is highly toxic to birds and people alike. A review by the University of Oxford found that 50,000 to 100,000 birds in the UK alone die of lead poisoning. Ducks and waders often mistake lead shot (small bullets) for grit (the stones they eat to help with digestion) and die a slow and painful death from the toxic effects.

Throughout the EU there are also frequently major cases of lead poisoning of raptors. One example is the poisoning of White-tailed Eagles, which eat carcases containing lead bullets every autumn. White-tailed Eagles and other raptors and vultures eat the carcasses of game species such as wild boar. Many wild boars that get shot do not die straight away and are not found by hunters. When scavenging on the carcasses of these species, raptors often ingest fragments of lead ammunition and die of lead poisoning.

The UN Convention on Migratory Species, which the EU has signed, has called on its signatories to phase out all lead ammunition within three years. Several EU Member States, such as Denmark and the Netherlands, have already done so. Partial bans have been proven to be ineffective and unenforceable. In the UK, for example, lead shot has been banned in wetlands only, but investigations showed that as many as 70% of the ducks shot in England still contained lead shot. These figures exclude Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Reacting to the Commission’s announcement, Ariel Brunner, Head of Policy at BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, told us: “The case for a complete ban of lead ammunition in the EU is crystal clear. The Commission should protect its wildlife and citizens from poisoning and meet its obligations under the Convention on Migratory Species.

“Alternatives to lead ammunition, such as steel shot and modified bullets, are readily available and there is no reason to delay banning lead in ammunition.”

For more information about lead poisoning, click here.

Anti-refugee racism in European countries

Thisd video from the USA says about itself:

Denmark Wants to Take Jewelry & Cash From Syrian Refugees?!?

17 December 2015

Denmark’s government has proposed a law that would allow authorities to seize jewelry and cash from Syrian refugees entering the country. The idea has troubling implications given the ugly history of confiscation in Europe where the Nazis similarly seized gold and other valuables from Jews. Will the proposal pass Parliament? We look at Denmark’s effort to deter refugees from seeking asylum within their borders on the Lip News with Mark Sovel and Elliot Hill.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Welcome all refugees! Bankrupt EU spreads racist poison

THE Danish parliament has just voted to rob asylum seekers of their valuables – so that they pay for their upkeep.

This policy immediately brings to mind the pictures of piles of jewellery taken from concentration camp victims by the Nazis, piled up on benches, just before the victims were gassed.

For the crime of seeking asylum in Denmark, police will be able to seize valuables worth more than 10,000 kroner (1,340 euros; £1,000) from refugees to cover their housing and food costs.

The new measures also mean the period migrants will have to wait before applying for relatives to join them will be extended from one year to three – a move aimed at discouraging new arrivals.

Temporary residence permits will be shortened and the conditions for obtaining a permanent permit will be restricted. The message is clear. Refugees are not welcome in Denmark!

MPs approved the measures by 81 votes to 27. One MP abstained and 70 others were absent. The centre-left opposition Social Democrats and the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party both voted in favour.

Meanwhile, Norway has been deporting refugees to Russia, Sweden has begun its own deportations and in France, Justice Minister Christiane Taubira has resigned from the Hollande government after it announced that it was bringing into parliament a proposal that all dual nationals who are French-born – if they are convicted of terrorism charges – will have their French nationality taken off them.

This will place large numbers of French-born citizens, some three million French born with dual nationality, in terror of police frame-ups that will mean them losing their French nationality and being deported!

The National Front is delighted that Hollande has adopted one of their policies and is now celebrating its victory. The racist European Commission (EC) is meanwhile moving to dump the Schengen agreement on Freedom of Movement.

Greece, on which the EC, the European Central Bank and the IMF have already declared war, is once again in their sights, as is Italy. The EC is already reviewing whether Greece’s crisis should be used to allow states to treat Greece as a state outside the Schengen agreement.

Greece will then be left (along with Italy) to carry the entire cost of the imperialist wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria and the millions of refugees that the wars have created, while the rest of the EU shelters behind its barbed wire and border guards.

Meanwhile in the UK, there have already been a number of examples of official bodies who are keen to follow the example of Denmark. We have seen the red doors for asylum seekers scandal in Middlesbrough, the wrist bands to gain access to meals for asylum seekers in Cardiff – no doubt there will be more revelations of similar practices!

Racism is straining at the leash to get going a pogrom atmosphere throughout the EU.

The organised working class must take up the defence of all refugees and fight for the UK government to give access to all refugees, who must have the same facilities as UK citizens as soon as they arrive.

The trade unions must demand that the UK withdraws all of its military forces from the Middle East and North Africa, since it was these interventions as allies of the USA that created a situation where millions had no alternative but to flee their homes. It is perfectly clear that there is nothing progressive about the European Union.

The workers of the UK and the EU must join hands with the working people of Africa and Asia to smash imperialism to make a better world for all.

At a meeting in Amsterdam this week, European interior and justice ministers sought to outdo each other with suggestions as to how the influx of desperate refugees from the Middle East could be stopped. No measure was too brutal for consideration: here.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

Germany is stopping family reunion for refugees from war zones for two years. Vice Chancellor Gabriel announced this after a summit meeting in the Merkel coalition government.

Also translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

European pressure on Turkey to stem the flow of refugees has undesirable side effects. According to Amnesty International Turkey violates the rights of refugees by imprisoning them and returning them to their country of origin. Human Rights Watch has also found such human rights violations.

Systemizing neglect, how the EU is forcing Greece to let refugees suffer: here.

The Swedish government has announced its intention to deport 80,000 refugees whose asylum applications have been rejected in the coming months. The Social Democratic-Green coalition in Stockholm, which enforced stricter asylum laws and border controls last year, is pursuing a vicious policy of deterrence against refugees and transforming the country, which boasted of its liberal refugee policy for decades, into a police state: here.

Doctors Without Borders criticizes European Union anti-refugee policies

This video says about itself:

No Man’s Land For Refugees Between Hungary And Barbed Wire

15 September 2015

Ten of thousands of refugees have fled their homelands, heading to the Hungarian border and hoping to find peace in Europe. But Hungary has put up barbed wire to stop the refugees and passed harsh new anti-refugee laws.

From MSF/Doctors Without Borders, about the crisis for refugees and anti-refugee policies in the European Union:

Obstacle Course to Europe: A Policy-Made Humanitarian Crisis at EU Borders, December 2015

Report from Médecins Sans Frontières

Published on 19 January 2016

During 2015 MSF teams provided just under 100,000 medical consultations on three search and rescue vessels in the Mediterranean, in Greece, Italy, throughout the Balkans and we are now working in northern France. Many of these consultations were for illnesses and injuries sustained on the life threatening journeys that people were forced to take for want of a safe, legal alternative. In Serbia, for example, 80% of the consultations performed by our medics were related to the tough conditions on the journey.

The lack of adequate reception conditions to meet basic humanitarian standards also took their toll. MSF treated people for hypothermia and exhaustion after they were forced to sleep outside or wait in long queues without access to shelter, toilets, food, water or sanitation for days at a time. We were often unable to move people out of these queues for medical reasons. Others were forced to languish in dire reception centres – in Italy conditions became so inhumane that MSF decided it had no choice but to leave.

MSF also witnessed states and governments actively obstructing efforts to improve conditions. In Kos, Greece, for example, there is still no reception facility, despite months of pleading by MSF for authorisation to improve reception facilities. Winter setting in and temperatures plummeting only adds to the suffering.

MSF also treated the psychological scars of the situations people had initially fled, the impact of the dire conditions on the journey and the uncertainty that people faced (a situation compounded by the lack of basic information available on the route). In late November, in Idomeni, for example, MSF psychologists noted a significant increase in the number of panic attacks and self-harm attempts, a direct consequence of the dire conditions faced by people at the border with FYROM and ongoing uncertainty about their futures.

Arbitrary decisions by governments along the route also increased the suffering and danger faced by people. Each time a border closed without consultation with the neighbouring country thousands were abruptly halted, stranded in no man’s land with little or no humanitarian assistance.

The policies of deterrence, border control and security have failed to deter people, working only to increase their suffering by making the journey to Europe more miserable, more dangerous and more expensive.

The report then moves onto identifying policy responses that would minimise suffering and save lives, centred largely on providing protection to people who need it. This includes safe and legal alternatives to dangerous journeys in the hands of smugglers, decent reception, proactive search and rescue. It also includes safe passage between EU countries and an end to acts of violence and abuse from state authorities.

Commenting on the report, Vickie Hawkins, MSF executive director, said:

“Through Greece, Italy, the Balkans and in northern France, MSF teams have witnessed first-hand the fundamental inhumanity of the political response to the European refugee crisis. By putting concerns of borders, security and deterrence ahead of the needs of those caught up in this crisis, politicians have failed in their responsibility to protect people, instead actively increasing suffering and costing lives. Whilst MSF can treat wounds and try to heal psychological scars, unless European governments abandon their obstacle course approach in 2016 the extreme suffering and death will continue.”

European Union pressure on Greece for yet harsher anti-refugee measures

This video says about itself:

Drowned Syrian Boy Symbolizes Refugee Crisis Sweeping Europe

2 September 2015

A 3-year-old Syrian-Kurdish boy from Kobani who drowned in the Mediterranean last night has come to symbolize the tragedy of the refugee crisis sweeping Europe. #KiyiyaVuranInsanlik (“Humanity washed ashore”) went viral as the harrowing photo was shared.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

EU threatens to expel Greece from Schengen

Today, 15:59

Gwen ter Horst, Editor Brussels Office

If Greece does not take swift measures to control its borders better, the country risks to be expelled from the Schengen area. With that threat, the European Union puts the Greek government under pressure to finally work now on guarding the European external border. This year alone an estimated 700,000 migrants entered Europe from Greece.

On Friday the EU Ministers for Home Affairs will meet in Brussels. According to insiders involved in the preparation of these consultations the patience with Greece is running out. There are said to be serious attempts to pressure Greece. …

[Dutch] Prime Minister Rutte is also irritated by the inability of Greece to monitor the external border of the EU. He blamed Greece repeatedly that the border between Turkey and Greece is “totally porous”.

That is another one of your many lies, Mark Rutte. At the land border between Turkey and Greece, near the Evros river, there is a big cruel anti-refugee barbed wire fence, similar to the one the Hungarian government erected recently at the border with Serbia, and later at other (European Union internal) borders.

The rest of the Turkish-Greek border is not land, but sea water. I never heard about a sea being ‘porous’. I myself was privileged to cross the sea from Turkey to the Greek island Lesbos sitting on a seat on a ferryboat. I then saw beautiful bottlenose dolphins. I saw beautiful Scopoli’s shearwaters. I have fond memories of this.

Why, why does not a refugee from bloody war in Syria have the same right as I then had to travel in this comfortable way, trying to forget the horrors of bloodshed? Why does a woman refugee from the re-started Iraq war not have the right to enjoy wild bottlenose dolphins? Why does a boy, fleeing from the drone war in Pakistan, not have the right to admire the Scopoli’s shearwaters? Why should a girl refugee from the massacres in Somalia drown in the Mediterranean in some leaky inflatable vessel, rather than to have better experiences than when she was raped by Pentagon-allied ‘peace soldiers’ in her homeland; according to the ‘logic’ of Mark Rutte and of other NATO and European Union bigwigs?

Reportedly, Rutte at an EU summit last month in Malta attacked his Greek counterpart Tsipras directly for his refusal to accept help. Athens refuses help from the other EU countries and the European Frontex border authority in the management of external borders.

European Union (EU) heads of government and state agreed a shameful deal with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at the EU-Turkey conference on Sunday in Brussels. Turkey has pledged to prevent refugees from entering the EU and in exchange will receive €3 billion in financing and a commitment to speed up negotiations for EU membership and visa-free travel: here.

European Council President Donald Tusk called for interning refugees for 18 months after their arrival and sealing off Europe’s borders, in an interview with six leading European newspapers including the Süddeutsche Zeitung and the British Guardian: here.

Up to 50,000 workers marched in Athens Thursday, in a one-day general strike that was one of the biggest mobilisations to protest austerity in Greece in recent years. The strike testifies to explosive anger in the working class at the austerity policies now being imposed by the Syriza (“Coalition of the Radical Left”) government: here.