Illegal migration surges in Europe amid distraction – report

While attention was focused on Ukraine, inflows jumped to the highest levels since the height of the migrant crisis

Illegal immigration into Europe will finish 2022 at the highest level seen since the continent’s 2015-2016 migrant crisis, having ballooned as member states are also struggling to cope with huge influxes of refugees displaced by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

There were 308,000 “irregular entries” detected across the external borders of European Union nations in this year’s first 11 months, up 68% from the same period in 2021, according to a report earlier this month by Frontex, the bloc’s border agency. With one month still to go, inflows were already higher than any full-year total since 2016.

As noted by Breitbart News, which reported on the migration figures earlier on Saturday, the surge in illegal immigration got little public attention this year because Europeans were focused on the Ukraine crisis. The Frontex statistics don’t include the millions of Ukrainian refugees who flooded into EU nations amid the fighting in their country.

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Top MEP warns of ‘huge challenge’ to EU

There were nearly 7.9 million Ukrainian refugees recorded across Europe as of last week, according to UN data. Some of the largest totals were received in Poland, Germany and Czechia. Russia received the largest number of Ukrainian refugees, at 2.85 million, Statista reported earlier this month.

While legitimate refugees aren’t counted as “irregular entries,” many of the foreigners flooding into Western Europe are economic migrants. For instance, the largest share of migrants crossing the English Channel to seek asylum in the UK are from Albania, which isn’t at war.

The Western Balkan and Central Mediterranean routes have the most migrant traffic this year, according to Frontex. There were 27,000 irregular border crossings into EU states in November alone. The agency said it’s providing more than 2,100 officers to help countries cope with “heavy migratory pressure and other challenges at their borders.”

READ MORE: Illegal migrants kept in cage by EU state – media

UN votes for global court to rule on Israeli occupation

The International Court of Justice will study how Israel’s policies and actions affect the illegal occupation of Palestine

The United Nations General Assembly has approved a resolution seeking an official legal opinion from the International Court of Justice regarding the consequences of Israel’s ongoing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Adopted on Friday, the measure was celebrated by Palestinian leaders as a first step toward accountability.

The resolution asks the ICJ to advise on the legal consequences arising from Israel’s ongoing “occupation, settlement and annexation” of the Palestinian territories, “including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.” The court should explain how specific Israeli policies and actions “affect the legal status of the occupation” and set out the legal consequences that could result – not just for Israel but for the UN and its members.

The resolution passed with the support of 87 countries. The 26 “no” votes included the US, Israel, UK, Germany, Italy, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Another 53 countries abstained.

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Palestinians urge world to ‘reject’ new Israeli government

While the ICJ’s rulings are supposed to be binding, the absence of an enforcement mechanism means that even if it does rule against Tel Aviv, change is unlikely. In 2004, the ICJ ruled that the ‘security wall’ Israel had constructed through the West Bank and East Jerusalem was illegal and amounted to de facto annexation of Palestinian land, demanding the structure be demolished and Palestinians be paid compensation. The UN General Assembly even passed a resolution demanding Israel comply with the ICJ’s decision. The wall still stands.

The Israeli ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, dismissed Friday’s resolution – and by extension “any decision from a judicial body which receives its mandate from the morally bankrupt and politicized UN” – as “completely illegitimate.” The country swore in a right-wing coalition government headed by its longest-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, earlier this week.

The UN and its subsidiaries have issued dozens of resolutions condemning the illegality of the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories over the last several decades. Friday’s resolution had its origins in a UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry report from October, which hinted that Israeli policies may rise to the level of war crimes and require the attention of the ICJ.

Brazil’s president dodges transition ceremony with successor – media

Jair Bolsonaro has reportedly flown to Florida after vowing not to hand the presidential sash to rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has reportedly flown to Florida rather than sticking around for Sunday’s ceremonial handoff of the presidential sash to his hated leftist rival and successor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The conservative politician arrived in Orlando, Florida, early Saturday morning on a Brazilian Air Force plane, according to media reports. He left Brasilia shortly after posting a tearful farewell message to supporters in which he called his election defeat unfair, condemned violent protests over the result, and defended his record as president.

Bolsonaro has vowed not to participate in the transition of power when Lula takes office in Sunday’s inauguration. Vice President Hamilton Mourao, who is serving as acting president for his final full day in office, said last month that he wouldn’t hand the sash to Lula if Bolsonaro refused to do so.

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Brazil’s Bolsonaro fined for challenging election results

The situation harkens back to US President Joe Biden’s January 2021 inauguration in Washington. After then-President Donald Trump refused to concede his election defeat and left Washington before his successor was sworn in, Vice President Mike Pence filled the traditional role of welcoming the new commander-in-chief to the White House.

Bolsonaro lost Brazil’s October 30 election to Lula by a margin of 50.9% to 49.1%. He challenged the result, alleging that voting machines used in the contest were prone to fraud, but the country’s electoral court rejected his claims in November and imposed fines for denying the result in “bad faith.”

The dispute led to protests, some of which were violent, across Brazil. Bolsonaro supporters also camped outside army barracks, demanding that the military stage a coup to keep their leader in power.

READ MORE: Pro-Bolsonaro crowd riots at Brazilian police HQ

Bolsonaro could have had another reason for leaving Brazil, according to media reports. He may face law-related risks when his presidential immunity from prosecution expires on Sunday, Reuters reported. A Senate panel last year recommended that he be charged with nine crimes stemming from his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic