The latest news as migrants make their way across Europe by the tens of thousands, fleeing war or seeking a better life. All times local:
A Cyprus foreign ministry official says 114 people aboard two boats that came ashore at a British air base on the east Mediterranean island on Wednesday are the responsibility of British authorities.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he’s not authorized to discuss the matter, said a 2003 agreement Cyprus signed with the British Bases does not obligate Cyprus to take accept asylum seekers, whether or not their applications are accepted.
He said Thursday that the agreement stipulates that Cyprus must help British authorities screen and house asylum seekers until their bids are examined. It’s unclear what will happen to those who don’t apply for asylum or don’t meet application criteria.
British Bases authorities said Wednesday that the agreement holds the Cyprus government responsible for such arrivals.
Croatia’s interior minister says neighboring Slovenia should speed up migrant acceptance so the newcomers can swiftly move on toward western Europe.
Ranko Ostojic said Thursday that Croatia has offered to transport migrants in trains directly to a Slovenian border crossing with Austria. «I don’t know what else we can do so these people don’t freeze,» he said.
Slovenia has accused Croatia of dumping large numbers of migrants at its doorstep without coordination. Ostojic said that «if 10,000 come to Croatia, half of them have to go through.»
He added that migrants have already been registered in Croatia before they reach Slovenia, so «stalling them is not necessary.»
Ostojic said a meeting with Serbian officials on Friday will aim to resolve problems at the Serbia-Croatia border, where migrants have been spending long hours in the open in freezing temperatures
Police in Slovenia say one man has been stabbed in a scuffle among refugees crossing from Croatia to Slovenia.
Police said the incident took place near Rigonci earlier Thursday. They say the wounded man has received medical treatment.
Anxiety and impatience have been growing among thousands of people moving toward Western Europe as they wait to move on in long lines in cold weather.
The migrant flow has slowed after Hungary closed its border with Croatia forcing their route toward much smaller Slovenia. Most migrants want to reach Germany or other rich European nations as they flee war and poverty in Syria and other countries of the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
The Czech Republic’s president and the Interior Minister have rejected the criticism by the U.N. human rights chief of their country’s policy of detaining migrants and refugees and their treatment.
Speaking through his spokesman Jiri Ovcacek, President Milos Zeman dismissed the criticism as a campaign against the Czech Republic. Ovcacek says Zeman is not ready to change his critical views of Islam and the refugees.
Zeman previously said that asylum-seekers might bring terrorism and infectious diseases, and called for the deployment of the armed forces to protect the country’s borders against them.
The reaction comes after Zeid Raad al-Hussein, the UNHCR chief, suggested the Czech Republic systemically violates the human rights of migrants. Zeid singled out the Bela-Jezova center where refugees are detained with their children.
The Czech Republic’s ombudsman condemned conditions in the detention facility last week, saying they violate the U.N.’s Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Convention on Human Rights.
An official of Slovenia’s ruling party official says declaring a state of emergency over the migrant crisis remains a possibility although the government hopes to avoid that by granting some police powers to the army.
Simona Kustec Lipicer, a senior official of Prime Minister Miro Cerar’s Modern Center Party, said Thursday the state of emergency could be declared in case of «drastic deterioration in the situation.»
Slovenia’s Constitution envisages the state of emergency can be declared when there is clear and present danger to the country. It is formally imposed by the parliament upon a proposal from the government.
The U.N. human rights chief is criticizing the Czech Republic for its policy of detaining migrants and refugees for up to 90 days.
Zeid Raad al-Hussein says credible reports indicate «the violations of the human rights of migrants are neither isolated nor coincidental, but systematic» in the country. He said the Czech measures appear to be designed to deter arrivals.
His office took aim in particular Thursday at detention facilities such as Bila-Jezova north of Prague, saying that even Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikan has called it «worse than a prison.» It cited an internal Czech report on Oct. 13 saying 100 children were inside when the rapporteur visited.
Zeid’s office cited other reports that authorities had strip-searched some migrants to confiscate money to pay for their involuntary detention.
Austria’s state rail company has suspended traffic near the main border crossing point with Slovenia so as not to endanger migrants near the tracks.
The move comes after Austrian police removed barriers Thursday at the migrant collection point at the Spielfeld crossing, saying they needed to relieve growing pressure due to overcrowding that could lead to violence.
Police say more than 3,000 migrants remain grouped near the collection point. But hundreds are scattered, with many walking northward from the border on a main road toward the southern city of Graz.
A U.N. refugee agency field officer says a large number of families with small children have been among the thousands of migrants crossing along a muddy border passage between Serbia and Croatia.
Niklas Stoerup Agerup, field protection officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said Thursday that some 1,000 people have passed through the border area overnight.
Stoerup Agerup says that around 60 percent of the people passing through are in families, and «maybe 45 percent of them have been children under the age of 5.» He adds that «it is a tendency that we have been seeing over the last couple of weeks.»
Croatian police say some 1,300 migrants have crossed the border since midnight Wednesday.
Slovenian police say more than 12,000 people crossing from Croatia on Wednesday, raising the total to more than 34,000 since Saturday.
Slovenia became a new link in the migrant trail after Hungary closed its border. Asylum seekers who had reached Croatia then turned to Slovenia as the alternative.
Some 12,616 migrants entered the country on Wednesday, higher than the usual number of up to 10,000 people reported by countries along the so-called Balkan corridor.
Slovenia has said it can handle no more than 2,500 entries per day, and has accused Croatia of sending too many migrants through.
More than 1,000 asylum seekers have streamed out of a crowded Austrian collection point on the border with Slovenia after Austrian police removed barriers to prevent possible violence.
Police said some followed instructions and regrouped outside the barriers Thursday but many continued walking northward away from the Spielfeld border crossing.
More than a thousand migrants fleeing war and hardship already broke through barriers at the Austrian center on Wednesday, but most were collected by police. This time, police said they removed barriers to relieve pent-up pressure that could have triggered violence among those waiting for transport to shelters.
Several thousand more migrants are waiting on the Slovene side of the border for entry into Austria.