PICUM Bulletin — 3 February 2016

Borders

  • GREECE / ITALY / Over 36,500 migrants arrive during first weeks of the year

    According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), migrant arrivals to Europe by sea reached 36,556 in the first three weeks of 2016. On 21 January 2016, two shipwrecks were reported in the Aegean in which at least 15 people lost their lives. A two-year-old boy who drowned near Greece’s Agathonisi Island is said to be the first known casualty of 2016. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch (HRW) documented attacks against asylum seekers and migrants by masked men on boats in the Aegean Sea in late 2015. Witnesses reported several cases in which armed men in speed boats wearing black clothes and ski masks intercepted and disabled boats carrying asylum seekers and migrants from Turkey toward the Greek islands.
    Sources: International Organisation for Migration Press release 22 January 2016; Human Rights Watch, 7 December 2016; The Guardian, 3 January 2015

  • FRONTEX / Launch of Poseidon Rapid Intervention in the Aegean Sea

    On 28 December 2015 Frontex launched a new operation called “Poseidon Rapid Intervention”, replacing the Joint Operation Poseidon Sea with a higher number of officers and technical equipment to support Greece. The deployment of 293 officers and 15 vessels to the operational area in the North and South Aegean began on 28 December. Over 400 officers will participate in the operation which is due to last until 31 March 2016 on six islands: Lesvos, Chios, Kos, Leros and Samos. An additional floating vessel will also be stationed at the island of Kastelorizo.
    Source: Frontex Press Release, 29 December 2015

  • POSITION PAPER / Vulnerabilities linked to migratory routes to the EU

    The National Red Cross Societies in the EU published a position paper on 9 December 2015 entitled ‘Addressing the Vulnerabilities Linked to Migratory Routes to the European Union’ that describes various risks faced by migrants arriving in and transiting through the EU, including limited access to basic services, arbitrary detention, violence and separation from family members. The paper also sets out seven specific recommendations for EU policymakers to address those factors that exacerbate migrants’ vulnerability. In particular, the EU is urged to implement an effective framework for safe and lawful migration to the EU; develop mechanisms for identifying and addressing the additional vulnerabilities of migrants linked to their migratory routes; respect and protect the rights of all migrants, irrespective of their legal status, in domestic and foreign policies; facilitate family reunification and address the legal, practical and/or administrative obstacles which limit or prevent family unity; uphold a victim-centred approach in all efforts to tackle human trafficking; set up a dedicated search and rescue operation covering the entire Mediterranean Basin, and support assistance to migrants in distress; and uphold the right of migrants and their families to know about the fate of their loved ones. The position paper builds on a booklet entitled ‘Perilous journeys – Vulnerabilities along migratory routes to the EU’ grounded in the practical expertise of Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies working with and for all migrants on both sides of the Mediterranean. Download the complete position paper here.

United Nations

  • OHCHR / Series of practical guides for civil society

    The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recently published new practical guides to show how civil society actors can engage with the United Nations and to familiarise them with the UN human rights system. The guide ‘Civil Society Space and the United Nations Human Rights System’ provides an overview of the conditions for a free and independent civil society, including relevant international human rights standards for freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and the right to participate in public affairs. The guide ‘How to follow up on United Nations Human Rights Recommendations’ mainly targets civil society actors working at national level. It outlines ways in which civil society can follow up and help ensure effective implementation of UN recommendations. To view the full series of practical guides, click here.

  • UN / Information about NGO participation at the forthcoming 31st Session of the Human Rights Council

    The United Nations has published information on NGO participation in the 31st Session of the Human Rights Council which will take place in Geneva from 29 February to 24 March 2016. Annual accreditation with the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) is a pre-requisite for being accredited for the Human Rights Council session.  Information on how to apply is available here. A detailed guide for NGO participants in Human Rights Council sessions is available here.

  • UN / Special Rapporteur on Migrants: joint letter on ‘firewalls’ concerning irregular migrants

    On 15 December 2015, ahead of International Migrants Day (18 December 2015), a group of United Nations experts on the rights of migrants called on governments across the world to guarantee access to services for all migrants, regardless of their migration status. The Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, Francois Crépeau, and the Chair of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, Francisco Carrión Mena, urged states to separate immigration enforcement from access to public services through the implementation of “firewalls”, emphasising that “large-scale migration is unavoidable and that human rights are for all.” They underscored equality and non-discrimination as the bedrock of all human rights obligations, which include the right to education, health, justice, housing and decent work, whatever one’s nationality or immigration status. They noted that the risk of being reported to immigration authorities creates an unacceptable barrier to migrants’ right to access social services and public service agents, including the police. They encourage states to view migrants as partners in “our collective development” who are best able to play an active role in their host countries when their basic rights are ensured.
    Source: Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, 15 December 2015

European Policy Developments

  • EUROPEAN COMMISSION / State of play on measures on migration

    The European Commission published on 5 January 2015 an updated “State of Play” on measures adopted as part of the implementation of the European Agenda on Migration and related priority actions identified by the Commission. As part of the document, updated information on the situation concerning the functioning of “hotspots” has been provided, together with information concerning forced returns of undocumented migrants since September 2015. Three specific progress reports on the situation in Italy, Greece and along the Western Balkans route were published by the European Commission on 15 December 2015. The European Commission also announced a total of 16 actions, worth almost €300 million to address the root causes of irregular migration, including a package of 10 actions for an amount of €253 million in the Horn of Africa. More information is available here. Finally, the European Commission presented proposals concerning the establishment of a new “European Border and Coast Guard” agency that, with an annual budget of €322m, would be equipped with 1,000 permanent staff and would be able to recruit 1,500 additional staff. The new agency would have a “right to intervene” in EU member states that are deemed to be failing to secure their borders.
    Source: European Commission, Press Release, 5 January 2016; 15 December 2015; 15 December.

  • EUROPEAN COUNCIL / Council conclusions on migration and on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy

    The leaders of the European Union adopted, at the European Council meeting on 17 December 2015, conclusions on migration, agreeing on the need to address shortcomings relating to the Schengen external borders of the European Union, as well as the need to address deficiencies in the functioning of the new “hotspots”. EU leaders also agreed to ensure “systematic and complete identification, registration and fingerprinting” of migrants arriving in the EU and to ensure implementation of deportation orders. A six-month deadline was agreed to allow further discussions for a new European Border Guard Agency as proposed by the European Commission on 15 December 2015. EU ministers will have to “rapidly examine” the proposed scheme and to take a decision by 30 June 2016, under the Netherlands Presidency. The Luxembourg Presidency also prepared a report on “Managing migration flows” to inform the leaders’ discussions. In separate conclusions on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy, the Council called for enhanced effective cooperation on forced returns, readmission and sustainable reintegration.
    Source: European Council, Press Release 17 December 2015 and 14 December 2015

National Developments

  • CYPRUS / Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights concerned about asylum system and detention

    Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, visited Cyprus in the beginning of December 2015. In a statement on 11 December he expressed his concern about the shortcomings of the national asylum system and prolonged detention of migrants. The Commissioner visited the island’s only reception center for asylum seekers, located near the village of Kofinou, which depends heavily on EU funds and UNHCR support and he urged the authorities “to design long-term reception policies and match them with adequate funding for their implementation.” Detention of rejected asylum seekers and other migrants is still widespread in Cyprus. While the Commissioner welcomed that the capacity of the Menoyia migrant detention centre had been reduced by half, in line with the recommendations of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), he noted the lack of social and psychological support offered to detainees in Cyprus. He also welcomed the recent signature by Cyprus of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence and called on the authorities to ratify the treaty. In his statement, the Commissioner also addressed the impact of the economic crisis and austerity measures on the people of Cyprus.
    Source: Council of Europe, Press release, 11 December 2015.

  • GERMANY / Proposals for faster deportation of foreign criminals, following sexual assaults and robbery during New Year’s Eve

    The German government agreed on a draft bill which aims to deport foreign criminals faster. This affects, among others, sexual assaults, property crimes and resistance against police. The draft bill reasons that if foreigners commit relatively serious crimes, it could threaten societal peace and acceptance to take in refugees. Asylum seekers and refugees who commit crimes would be denied their right to a refugee status. Those receiving a prison sentence of at least one year can be deported. A foreigner could also be expelled if placed on probation with a suspended sentence. The developments came following reports regarding incidents on New Year’s Eve, when large groups of men sexually assaulted and robbed women, mainly in Cologne as well as in other German cities. Over 900 women submitted complaints to the police. Witnesses described most men as ‘northern-African’ looking. This triggered a debate in Germany and beyond about the assimilation of migrants and refugees in countries of destination. Most perpetrators were neither identified nor convicted, with approximately nine people currently in custody. Various organisations and citizens’ initiatives urged caution to avoid premature actions against foreigners and to rather focus on a debate regarding sexual violence against women and racism.
    Sources: Die ZEIT, 27 January 2016; Focus, 27 January 2016; Reuters, 27 January 2016

Health Care

  • UNITED KINGDOM / Guidelines clarify undocumented migrants’ access to general practitioner

    In November 2015 the UK addressed an important barrier for undocumented migrants seeking to register with a general practitioner: the risk of being turned away because of failure to prove their address or identity. Under new guidelines, the NHS clarified that there is no regulatory requirement for patients to prove identity, address or immigration status or provide an NHS number to register with a general health practitioner, and that patients unable to furnish these documents must not be declined registration on this basis. Whereas one must be “ordinarily resident” to access secondary (hospital care), “anybody in England may register and consult with a GP without charge.”
    Sources: Doctors of the World, 17 November 2015; NHS, 27 November 2015.

  • FINLAND / Concern about expected sharp rise in undocumented migrants needing health care

    Global Clinic, a volunteer-led organisation in Helsinki, Finland that provides health and dental services to undocumented migrants, has expressed concern that it will be unable to meet the needs of undocumented patients, whose numbers are expected to rise in the coming months as applications for asylum are denied. Clinic workers estimate that as many as 20,000 undocumented migrants could remain in Finland after their applications are denied, and worry that their clinic will not have the capacity to meet the increased need for services amongst undocumented migrants, who are not entitled to health care in Finland.
    Source: Yle, 29 December 2015

  • SERBIA / UNFPA provides mobile health units to serve migrants in Serbia

    The United National Population Fund (UNFPA) donated a mobile health clinic to the health centre in Šid, Serbia, an important transit point for migrants in Europe, on 11 December 2015. A second mobile clinic is being made available to the health centre in Vraje, and medical examination tables and ultrasound equipment are being delivered to health facilities in Presevo, Dimitrovgrad, Bosilegrad and Belgrade. Mobile units have gynecological examination tables and ultrasound equipment, and are intended to address the need among migrant women for reproductive health care. In addition, UNFPA has distributed about 4,300 “dignity kits” to migrant women in Serbia, containing menstrual hygiene products, soap, clean underwear and other items intended for women and girls, who are estimated to constitute 13% of migrants recently arrived to Serbia.
    Source: United Nations Population Fund, 22 December 2015

  • TRAINING PACKAGES / Improve access to and quality of health services for migrants and ethnic minorities

    In 2014 several organisations, including the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), were commissioned by a consortium of public and academic institutions (Andalusian School of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, University of Amsterdam, Azienda Unita Sanitaria Locale Reggio Emilia) to review, develop, test and evaluate training materials for health professional to facilitate access to and improve quality of health services for migrants and ethnic minorities, including Roma. The training package, which was drafted in December 2014, was piloted in Denmark, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Spain between February and May 2015. A dissemination workshop was held on 2 October 2015. The core content of the package includes four modules focusing respectively on (1) sensitivity and awareness of cultural and other forms of diversity; (2) knowledge about migrants, ethnic minorities and their health; (3) professional skills; and (4) knowledge application. Two additional modules (on target groups and specific health concerns) are also available. The module on “target groups” includes a unit on irregular migrants. An analysis of migrants’ state of health and health determinants and relevant legal and policy frameworks, among other topics, is currently being finalised. Initial conclusions underscore the importance of taking account of national health systems as well as the characteristics of the migrant populations and local context; and of training in diversity sensitivity, as opposed to the narrower question of cultural differences. To view the training package, click here.
    Sources: European Commission, 18 December 2015,  Project (MEM-TP)

  • EU / Commissioner for Health Andriukaitis presents personal health record in Greece

    During a visit to a reception centre in Lesvos, Greece on 19 November 2015, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, presented the “Personal Health Record” (PHR) to Greek authorities in Athens and to non-governmental organisations. The PHR, developed by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) with the support of the European Commission, and with input from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, will be used to help reconstruct the medical history of migrants, and to evaluate their health needs for acute or chronic conditions, certain communicable or non-communicable diseases, immunisation status, injuries or mental health problems. The health assessments will take place in hotspots, reception or registration centres, hospitals and health care centres. The PHR is intended to be a personal document that migrants keep in their possession to facilitate their dealings with health care professionals. Just like any other medical record, its content is considered confidential. The PHR allows health professionals to make recommendations regarding treatment, travel and special schooling or housing needs. The PHR is accompanied by a handbook for health professionals orienting them to the migration health assessment process, and providing a standardised procedure for obtaining health information from migrants in locations where the only diagnostic support may be rapid test kits, with the aim of identifying conditions needing immediate or ongoing attention. Health assessments are conducted prior to departure or upon arrival in a country of transit or destination, and involve a review of a migrant’s medical history and the provision of care or referral for treatment, counselling and health education.
    Sources: European Commission, 20 November 2015,  Personal Health Record; Health professional handbook.

Labour and Fair Working Conditions

  • REPORT / Increased number of migrants and refugees can have positive effect on labour market

    A paper from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released in January 2016 discusses the impact of increased numbers of refugees and migrants on the labour markets of countries of destination. The IMF Staff Discussion Note “The Refugee Surge in Europe: Economic Challenges” discusses short and long term macroeconomic impacts by providing available data and analysing previous migration flows. Among others, the paper states that the effect of new migrant arrivals on native workers is usually small. The average wages of national workers change little and the effect on unemployment is also limited. Moreover, the paper looks at housing and education in the context of increasing numbers of migrant and refugee arrivals. It states that policies may be needed to encourage a supply response to the growing demand for housing and that targeted measures for migrant students, such as allocating more resources to schools with a high share of migrants, training teachers for intercultural education and providing adequate language support lead to positive results for migrant children at school. To read the paper, click here.
    Source: Financial Times, 20 January 2016

  • USA / VIDEO / Access to services for migrant farmworkers

    In recognition of International Migrants Day on 18 December 2016, the Transnational Legal Clinic of the University of Pennsylvania in the USA, released “Isolated by Force: Denying Migrant Farmworkers Access to Services.”  The video was prepared as part of an ongoing collaboration between the Transnational Legal Clinic and legal, medical and other service providers to address access rights for migrant workers staying in employer-owned accommodation. Employers, often aided by local law enforcement, regularly deny workers access to medical, legal and other social service providers. The video discusses cases of exploitation and gives a voice to service providers. Among others, it recommends that service providers should have full access to employer controlled housing to uphold workers’ rights. To watch the video, click here.

Undocumented Women

  • BELGIUM / Migrant victims of domestic violence, what are my rights?

    The Belgian organisation CIRÉ in cooperation with the migrant women-led group ESPER (Undocumented Wives in Resistance) published in December 2015 a multilingual information leaflet for migrants on a spouse or partner dependent visa who may experience violence or abuse. To address the administrative restrictions which often force migrants with an insecure status to remain in abusive relationships, this brochure helps victims to identify various forms of abuse, informs them of their rights as victims as well as the various support services available. Currently available in French and Dutch, the brochure will soon be released in English, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Turkish.  The leaflet is available here.

  • EU / Red Cross EU position paper on vulnerabilities linked to migratory routes in EU

    The National Red Cross Societies in the EU published a position paper on 9 December 2015 entitled ‘Addressing the Vulnerabilities Linked to Migratory Routes to the European Union’ that describes various risks faced by migrants arriving in and transiting through the EU, including limited access to basic services, arbitrary detention, violence and separation from family members. The paper also sets out seven specific recommendations for EU policymakers to address those factors that exacerbate migrants’ vulnerability. In particular, the EU is urged to implement an effective framework for safe and lawful migration to the EU; develop mechanisms for identifying and addressing the additional vulnerabilities of migrants linked to their migratory routes; respect and protect the rights of all migrants, irrespective of their legal status, in domestic and foreign policies; facilitate family reunification and address the legal, practical and/or administrative obstacles which limit or prevent family unity; uphold a victim-centred approach in all efforts to tackle human trafficking; set up a dedicated search and rescue operation covering the entire Mediterranean Basin, and support assistance to migrants in distress; and uphold the right of migrants and their families to know about the fate of their loved ones. The position paper builds on a booklet entitled ‘Perilous journeys – Vulnerabilities along migratory routes to the EU’ grounded in the practical expertise of Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies working with and for all migrants on both sides of the Mediterranean. Download the complete position paper here.

Undocumented Children and Their Families

  • BOOK / “Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America”

    A new book by Roberto G. Gonzales, entitled “Lives in Limbo: Undocumented and Coming of Age in America” presents the results of an unprecedented twelve-year study that followed 150 undocumented young adults in Los Angeles. Lives in Limbo exposes the failures of a system that integrates children into compulsory education but ultimately denies them the rewards of their labour. This vivid ethnography explores why highly educated undocumented youth share similar work and life outcomes with their less-educated peers, despite the fact that higher education is touted as the path to integration and success in America. For more information and to purchase the book, click here.

  • EU / New legal briefing on age assessment

    The European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE)’s Asylum Information Database (AIDA) published its fifth legal briefing on age assessment “Detriment of the Doubt: Age Assessment of Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children” in December 2015. An overview of practices in European countries in this briefing identifies areas where the core principles of the “best interests of the child” and the “benefit of the doubt” are at risk of being sidestepped by asylum authorities when conducting age assessments. According to the briefing, the over-reliance of states on medical methods of age determination exposes children too readily to intrusive examinations of dubious accuracy, which are often immune from legal challenge. At the same time, in some cases, states are treating self-declared minors as adults until their age has been confirmed, thereby exposing them to detention and deportation, as well as preventing them from accessing the safeguards that are in place for children. Medical methods of age determination have been criticised by several actors as unethical and inaccurate (see for example PICUM Bulletin, 17 December 2015). The briefing is available here.
    Source: ECRE Weekly Bulletin, 8 January 2016

  • USA / Increasing number of unaccompanied children arrivals

    The number of unaccompanied migrant children arrivals in the US has again increased. In October and November 2015 more than 10,500 children crossed the US-Mexico border. The vast majority of these children are fleeing drug and gang related violence from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, according to U.S. government data published by the Migration Policy Institute. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) opened a new 700-bed shelter in Texas and is planning to open two more in Texas and in California. In addition, the HHS secretary Sylvia Burwell urged lawmakers to grant a contingency fund of up to $400 million if the numbers of children continue to increase, beyond the $950 million already requested for the unaccompanied minors program. The increase in number also led to fears of a new humanitarian crisis. In 2014, an unprecedented number of unaccompanied children entered the United States across its border with Mexico (see PICUM Bulletin 30 June 2014). The recent numbers are still below the peak period in 2014, when about 10,600 unaccompanied children crossed the border in the month of June alone which was described as a humanitarian crisis by the Obama administration.
    Sources: Washington Post, 16 December 2015,  The Star, 16 December 2015

Detention and Deportation

  • EU / Concerns over procedures and issuing of deportation orders in the hotspots in Italy

    An updated report on Italy from the European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE)’s Asylum Information Database (AIDA) shows how Italian authorities have applied a pre-identification approach in the “hotspots”, through which those identified as migrants are issued with a rejection/expulsion order and, where places are available, detained in the identification and expulsion centres. Those identified as asylum seekers are instead channelled to the Regional Hubs, where they can claim asylum and, if they are Syrians, Eritreans or Iraqis, may fall into the relocation process. The Italian Council for Refugees (CIR), author of the report, raises a number of issues in relation to the operation of “hotspots”, including the limited access to the asylum procedure for specific nationalities, mainly from West Africa; the issuing of mass notifications of expulsion orders; the lack of or adequate information provided on the procedures and the asylum system; and the lack of access to the “hotspots” for NGOs and UNHCR. The report is available here.
    Source: ECRE Weekly Bulletin, 8 January 2016

  • MALTA / New migration strategy ends automatic detention of irregular migrants

    Malta has introduced a new migration strategy for the reception of asylum seekers and irregular migrants. The new strategy aims to end the practice of automatic detention of migrants who enter irregularly. These reforms will allow migrants to be accommodated, medically screened and have their applications processed in a closed Initial Reception Centre for a maximum of seven days, where they will be informed of their right to apply for international protection. Furthermore, assessments will be done to ensure provision of necessary support. Additionally, the strategy introduces grounds for detention and alternatives to detention. Migrants may be detained if one of six grounds for detention outlined in the Reception Conditions Directive is met or if they have been issued with a return decision. Vulnerable persons will not be detained in closed centres but accommodated in open centres after their release from the Initial Reception Centre. Maltese civil society organisations welcomed the strategy. Nonetheless, some organisations also noted shortcomings. The strategy does not address the methods for identification of vulnerable people and age assessment of those who entered Malta regularly. The situation of migrants denied entry to Malta at the airport also remains unclear, particularly in relation to their detention and their possibility to challenge it.
    Sources: Asylum in Europe, 8 January 2016, ECRE, weekly legal update, 8 January 2016

  • REPORT / Lack of transparency in immigration detention

    The Global Detention Project together with Access Info Europe released the report “The Uncounted: The Detention of Migrants and Asylum Seekers in Europe” in December 2015. The research for the report covered 33 countries across Europe and North America. It reveals that in many countries it is impossible to obtain the accurate number of migrants held in detention. Many countries refuse to answer freedom of information requests, and when information is released or publicly available it is often incomplete or based on unclear measures that do not fully capture the situation. The report concludes that particularly in Europe, there is not sufficient transparency in detention regimes. Among others, the report recommends that states should regularly publish information on immigration detention; governments should also make disaggregated data on children in detention available and officials should be trained on their obligation to provide information. To view the report, click here.

  • USA / Arrests of Central American families

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security began a national operation during the first week of January 2016 to deport Central American families. Many of them came during a surge in 2014 (see PICUM Bulletin 30 June 2014 ) and their asylum applications were rejected. According to officials, most of the arrests took place in Georgia, Texas and North Carolina. According to court figures, as of November 2015, judges had decided 905 cases of migrant families of which 80% received a deportation order. Cecilia Wang, the Director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project for the American Civil Liberties Union, stated that many families could not afford a lawyer. Several migrant organisations in the US criticised the raids.
    Source: New York Times, 4 January 2016  ; The Monitor, 4 January 2016

  • USA / Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders promises to end detention of undocumented LGBT migrants

    Democratic senator for Vermont and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders stated on 7 December 2015 that, were he elected president in 2016, he would end the detention of undocumented gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) migrants as part of his broader immigration plan, which would also do away with the detention of families. LGBT detainees are often subject to higher levels of sexual assault than other detainees. At the event where he made his remarks, Senator Sanders apologised to a transgender woman present at the meeting for not having more specifically addressed LGBT issues in his “Families First” immigration agenda, which was announced in December 2015.
    Source: Latin Post, 9 December 2015

  • USA / Women in criminal detention in California express solidarity for women in immigration detention

    On 14 December 2015 several women prisoners in Yuba County Jail in Marysville, California went on a hunger strike to show their support for detained migrants in the first unified prisoner action in the United States. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rents space in the Yuba County Jail for the detention of undocumented migrants. The hunger strike was prompted by the circumstances of Rajashree Roy, a migrant woman detained for more than a year in the US, who faced deportation to Fiji where she had not lived since she was eight years old. The women released the following statement: “We are locked up together and refuse to be divided into immigrants and citizens. We join the brave immigrant hunger strikers across the country in fasting to force recognition of our humanity.” (See PICUM Bulletin 30 November 2015 ) The strike follows hunger strikes by hundreds of detainees in immigration detention centres in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas demanding, among other things, release on parole or supervision for all asylum-seekers held for more than six months, and an end to US Department of Homeland Security’s policy requiring ICE to keep an average of 34,000 detainees in custody per day to guarantee a constant revenue stream to counties renting it public jail space.
    Source: Workers World, 18 December 2015.

Publications and other Resources

  • PROJECT / Identification and protection of victims of trafficking

    A new training kit has been developed by the AIRE Centre as part of a two-year EU project. Released on 25 January 2016, the resource aims to help those working on the frontline to better identify and protect victims of human trafficking. The project ‘Upholding Rights: Early Legal Intervention’  is a European Commission funded project involving legal experts from Bulgaria, Croatia, Ireland, Lithuania, Scotland and the UK. The coalition of independent law centres and migrant rights groups has been examining how to achieve best practice in ensuring that the entitlements of victims of human trafficking are respected – and that they are not treated like criminals.
    Source: The AIRE Centre press release, 25 January 2016

  • REPORT / Journalism and migration in 2015

    The Ethical Journalism Network published the report “Moving Stories. International Review of How Media Cover Migration” on 18 December 2015, International Migrants’ Day. The report analyses how the media reported on migration when the issue became a key topic of the public debate in 2015. Among others, it highlights that media missed the opportunity to focus on the issue earlier as the story was there before; anti-migrants and anti-Muslim statements such as by Donald Trump were given visibility; media failed to provide sufficient in-depth and detailed information on migration and refugees; and media was driven by sensationalism which ignored the correct terms to describe migrants and refugees and their realities. To download the report, click here.

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