- UNITED NATIONS
- EUROPEAN POLICY DEVELOPMENTS
- NATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS
- HEALTH CARE
- LABOUR AND FAIR WORKING CONDITIONS
- UNDOCUMENTED WOMEN
- UNDOCUMENTED CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES
- DETENTION AND DEPORTATION
- OTHER NEWS
- PICUM IN THE NEWS
ITALY / Calls for reform of EU migration policy after tragedy near Lamepdusa
The European Union has come under pressure concerning its migration policies after a boat coming from Libya with about 500 migrants, mostly from Eritrea and Somalia, capsized near the island of Lampedusa on 3 October 2013, leaving only 155 survivors. EU Home Affairs Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, asked ministers from the 28 member states at a meeting in Luxembourg on 8 October 2013 to allow a major operation by the EU’s Frontex border agency “covering the whole Mediterranean, from Cyprus to Spain”. European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, was scheduled to visit the island of Lampedusa on 9 October 2013. Meanwhile, human rights groups critcised the EU for its increased focus on border security which, according to them, pushes more migrants into taking unsafe routes. They demanded the EU to revise its policy of cooperating with third countries on migration control, while turning a blind eye to human rights abuses suffered by migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees in these countries. The alleged captain of the ship is in custody and might be charged with manslaughter and trafficking of human beings. The Italian Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, announced that all those who died would receive Italian citizenship as opposed to the survivors, who are placed under investigation and face up to 5,000 euro fines per person for irregular entry under an Italian law for “clandestine immigration”.
Sources: BBC, 8 October 2013; The Guardian, 8 October, 2013; El País, 6 October 2013
ITALY / Increasing number of Syrian migrants arriving in Sicily
Around 350 migrants from Syria arrived in Sicily on 28 August 2013. The coast guard intercepted and escorted two boats to Sicily. In the first boat with 191 migrants, a Syrian woman gave birth to a baby during the eight-day journey. Both mother and son were well and resting at a hospital in Syracuse. The second boat was found 150 miles away from the coast of Syracuse. Thousands of migrants have arrived in Sicily in recent weeks, most of them coming from the Middle East. According to the Interior Ministry (Viminale), 2,872 migrants arrived in the first eight months of 2013.
Source: La Repubblica, 28 August 2013
MOROCCO / EU tolerates migrants’ rights abuses in Morocco
The report of the journalist Paul Mason who researched undercover information about the situation of migrants trying to reach the EU through Morocco, reveals that the EU has spent tens of millions of euros annually for Moroccan authorities to prevent migrants from reaching the EU. Meanwhile, the report states that the EU tolerates continuous migrants’ rights abuses by the Moroccan police. The report also demands answers from the EU to the practice of alleged returns of boat people, picked up in Spanish waters, to Moroccan territory, violating the right to seek asylum and the practice of abandoning migrants detained in Morocco across the Algerian border. The report states that the European Union should also take responsibility for the human rights abuses.
Source: The Guardian, 2 September 2013
UN / High-Level Dialogue calls for measures to protect the rights of millions of migrants
The second United Nations High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development took place in New York from 3 to 4 October 2013. The two-day dialogue aimed to identify concrete measures to strengthen cooperation and enhance the benefits of international migration for migrants and countries, while reducing its negative implications. The event featured presentations by states and interventions by civil society organisations in plenaries and roundtables and included side events throughout the week. The dialogue addressed issues such as the links between migration and sustainable development, labour mobility and working conditions as well as the situation of particularly vulnerable groups such as migrant women and children. The 193-member assembly also adopted a declaration to work towards an effective and inclusive agenda on international migration that integrates development and respects human rights by improving the performance of existing institutions and frameworks. Moreover, the assembly condemned racism and discrimination of all migrants. To watch plenaries and roundtable debates of the event, please click here.
Sources: Press release, UN News Centre, 3 October 2013
UN / ILO Domestic Worker Convention comes into force
The International Labour Organisation Domestic Workers’ Convention (No. 189) came into force on 5 September 2013, extending basic labour rights to all domestic workers. According to the last ILO report entitled ‘Domestic Workers Across the World’, there are around 53 million domestic workers around the world, mostly women from Asia and Latin America. This number does not include child domestic workers, which are estimated to number 10 million worldwide. The C189 will come into force in the first two countries that have ratified it, namely Uruguay and the Philippines. To date, ten countries have ratified the convention. The convention will enter into force one year after the actual date of ratification in these countries. As affirmed by Ms Tomei, Director of the ILO’s Working Conditions and Equality Department, “Today’s entry into force of Convention 189 sends a powerful signal to more than 50 million domestic workers worldwide. I hope that it will also send a signal to ILO member States and that we soon see more and more countries committing to protect the rights of domestic workers.”
Source: International Labour Organisation, 5 September 2013; IDMW, 4 September 2013
REPORT / Migration and the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has published the book ‘Migration and the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda’. Each chapter discusses different ways in which migration might be integrated into a future post-2015 global development agenda by gathering recent research findings and presenting different aspects of the debate – from addressing the role of labour migration and migrant health in the development agenda, to the feasibility of including migration within a global partnerships goal. The book is available for download here.
Source: International Organization for Migration, 29 August 2013
REPORT / New joint publication on ‘International Migration, Health and Human Rights’ released by IOM, WHO and OHCHR
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have released a joint publication entitled ‘International Migration, Health and Human Rights’. The report examines the effects of the migration process on migrant health and the protection offered to migrants through human rights instruments, and reports on recent developments in this area. The aim of the publication is to provide inspiration to policymakers to devise migration policies and programmes that are guided by public health considerations and human rights imperatives, with a view to protecting the human rights and improving the health of both migrants and the communities in which they live. The three organisations indeed promote the principle that the realisation of the rights of migrants is a sound public health practice that benefits all. Ms Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in particular stresses the plight of migrants in an irregular situation. “These migrants are more likely to be denied basic labour protections, due process guarantees, personal security and health care. They are vulnerable to suffering prolonged detention or ill-treatment, and in some cases enslavement, rape or even murder,” she said. The full report is available here.
Source: IOM, 3 September 2013
EUROPEAN POLICY DEVELOPMENTS
EU COMMISSION / EU Commissioner Malmström sends warning on push-backs during relocation forum
EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, emphasized at the Relocation Forum on 25 September 2013 that push-backs of refugees and migrants are illegal and contrary to the principle of non-refoulement and that access to the asylum procedure must be guaranteed by EU member states. The Relocation Forum aims to discuss current pressures and lessons learnt from relocation and to share information on the practicalities of relocation among EU member states. The instrument of relocation could provide an opportunity for those member states who have few asylum seekers to take more responsibility in the EU’s common system. The Commissioner highlighted the relocation does not solve all issues related to the large number of migrants reaching EU border countries but that it is one of many tools to alleviate and assist member states under pressure.
Sources: Speech by Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, Relocation Forum, 25 September 2013; Malta Today, 26 September 2013
GREECE / Continuous racist attacks against migrants
According to Javed Aslam, president of the Greece’s Pakistani community, about nine hundred migrants have fallen victim to right wing attacks in the last three years. A recent knife attack against two young Pakistani men by a mob of about 20 men, associated with the far right wing party Golden Dawn, became public after the victims sought assistance from Amnesty International in Greece. The two undocumented migrants reported that they were stopped by a group of men wearing black, who arrived with several cars and motorbikes. When the migrants responded to the question ‘where are you from’, the mob started to assault them with knives. After the incident the men were too scared to approach the hospital or the police for fear of deportation. Human rights organisations have repeatedly criticized that migrant victims of assaults cannot turn to the police fearing police violence.
Sources: I can’t relax in Greece WordPress, 29 August 2013; ENET English, 23 September 2013
GREECE / Prosecutor to examine allegations of slave labour and trafficking scams in Megara
After the publication of a report entitled ‘We dreamt of Europe but awoke as slaves in Megara’, in the Greek newspaper Elftherotypia on 31 August 2013 explaining the precarious conditions migrant workers face in the Greek town of Megara, further investigation has been carried out by a prosecutor. One of the most serious complaints that came out of the report concerned the Pakistani community in Megara. The head of this community said that there are about 1,000 regular and 700 undocumented Pakistanis living there in poultry sheds, working up to 15 hours a day for little or even no pay. The group was allegedly victim of a massive trafficking scam run by a local man who made a false promise to help their friends and relatives to obtain visas and defrauded them of their earnings. This follows the case of the shooting of 28 Bangladeshi migrant workers during a pay dispute for outstanding wages on a strawberry plantation in Manolada, Greece on 17 April 2013 which also brought to light the plight of thousands of migrants who mainly work in the agricultural sector (See PICUM newsletter 17 May 2013).
Source: EnetEnglish, 5 September 2013 ; Elftherotypia, 31 August 2013
ITALY / Shooting of migrants in Naples
Suspected gangs of Italian youths shot a Nigerian and a Senegalese migrant in Naples on 19 and 20 August 2013. Both were shot for no apparent reason, one in the shoulder and the other one in his legs. Both migrants are now in good condition. According to Italy’s anti-racist network “February 3”, “The City of Naples can’t pretend this is not happening. The security forces do what they can, but there is a cultural problem that needs to be addressed across the country.” This is not the first time that attacks on migrants have been reported. In 2005, a Senegalese migrant was killed by a 19 year old Italian man outside a call centre in Naples and in 2008 Naples mafia killed six African migrants.
Source: La Repubblica, 26 August 2013
RUSSIA / Mandatory deportation for irregular migrants
According to a draft bill submitted by Liberal Democratic Party deputies, migrants who “fail to meet the conditions of entry” and violate immigration procedure will be subject to mandatory deportation. In May, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin stated that he did not like the idea of migrants from Central Asia receiving permanent residency in Moscow. A makeshift camp holding about 1,000 irregular migrants (see PICUM bulletin 22 August 2013) has meanwhile been closed.
Source: Moscow Times, 30 August 2013 ; Moscow Times, 22 August 2013; Tageszeitung, 21 August 2013
UK / Government committed to reducing migration
After figures from the Migration Statistics Quarterly Report of August 2013 showed a rise in net migration in the UK, government officials announced to bring net migration further down. Shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant said the figures were “a blow” to the home secretary, Theresa May, showing a failure of the government in respect to irregular migration. According to Chris Bryant, irregular migration is “getting worse and worse with fewer people being stopped at the border, absconsions up and deportations down”. This comes after legal complaints against the Home Office in the United Kingdom’s controversial campaign targeting undocumented migrants in London that used vans with a ‘go home or face arrest’ message (see PICUM newsletter 22 August 2013 ). The legal complaints and discontent regarding the immigration spot checks around London forced the UK Home Office to withdraw from the campaign.
Sources: BBC, 29 August 2013; The Guardian, 12 August 2013
USA / New smartphone app to help young ‘dreamers’ with regularisation procedure
The migrants’ rights groups Own the Dream, Immigration Rights Advocates, American Immigration Lawyers Association and the American Immigration Council have launched a smartphone app to help the so called ‘dreamer migrants’ with the regularisation procedure offered by President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the government’s name for the non-deportation program. ‘Pocket DACA’ allows users to do a pre-screening interview so they can see if they are likely to qualify, including age and residency requirements. It also contains information about how to avoid immigration scams and to get access to scholarships to help pay the fees required by DACA.
Source: The Washington Times, August 14, 2013
BELGIUM / Deportation of asylum seekers with AIDS
The number of deportations of asylum seekers with AIDS whose applications have been rejected has increased in Belgium. The President of the Socialist Group, Philippe Mahoux, asked the Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Maggie De Block, to provide a written clarification on the matter as an interruption of antiretroviral treatment could cause serious health problems for the affected asylum seekers and migrants.
Source: Le Soir, 30 August 2013
SPAIN / Access to health care for undocumented migrants
Access to health care for undocumented migrants in Spain since the legal reforms last year has left around 150,000 undocumented migrants over 18 years of age without proper health care over a year. With the legal reform, undocumented migrants are only entitled to receive urgent health care, childbirth and postpartum services. However, this law is being applied differently around the autonomous regions in Spain; for example, in Asturias undocumented migrants are guaranteed assistance, whilst in the Madrid region, they face huge barriers to accessing health services. Different NGOs working on the issue have informed the relevant government bodies of the continuous problems migrants face. These NGOs have stressed that the main issues have been around the follow-up periods, after migrants have received treatment by doctors, and access to medication. Amnesty International has criticised the healthcare reform that was approved last year in Spain for being discriminatory and limiting migrants’ right to health, according to Esteban Beltrán, Director of Amnesty International Spain.
Sources: El Pais, 1 September 2013; El Mundo, 4 July 2013
UK / Charging migrants could damage NHS
The UK Government is planning to charge migrants and short-term visitors to access healthcare. According to doctors this means that patients would have to prove their identity when they register with their GP. This proposal has been criticised by the British Medical Association (BMA), doctors and other medical groups who believe it will increase bureaucracy in an already over-burdened system. They have also described it as an impractical and inefficient proposal that will harm the NHS services and they warn the government that it could discourage non-EU doctors from working in the UK.
Source: Practice business, 08 August 2013; Huffington Post, 08 August 2013
NORWAY / Ethics Committees of Nordic Medical Associations call for health care for undocumented migrants
The Ethics Committees of the Nordic Medical Associations met in Bergen, Norway to discuss access to health care for undocumented migrants. The committees unanimously agreed that undocumented migrants do not receive the health care they are entitled to under the international rights framework and ethical guidelines of medicine. The committees called on the Nordic governments to develop a regulation which meets the requirements of the right to health care. For more information, contact Trond Markestad, Chairman of the Council for Medical Ethics of the Norwegian Medical Association at: trond.markestad(at)helse-bergen.no
LABOUR AND FAIR WORKING CONDITIONS
GERMANY / Leaflets explaining rights for irregular workers
The project “ASAW – Asylum Seeking and Work” has published different leaflets for undocumented migrants and asylum seekers on labour exploitation and rights and entitlements for all workers in twelve languages. The leaflets highlight the right to receive an adequate wage and provide information about steps that can be taken in case of exploitation, as well as frameworks such as the EU Employers’ Sanction Directive which also entitles irregular workers to make claims. For more information, click here.
PUBLICATION / Book on rights of migrant workers
Martin Ruhs, lecturer at Oxford university released ‘The Price of Rights: Regulating International Labour Migration’. The book considers the UN International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW) and the reasons why it has received little ratification to date, leaving a large gap between rights of migrant workers under international law and in practice, under national law. Ruhs highlights that the reluctance to ratify the CMW is caused by the effect that ratification would have on the national interest of host states when granting or restricting migrant workers’ rights. The book emphasises the need to approach migrants’ rights as instruments of labour immigration policy and to include in the debate an analysis of the interests of states in granting the rights of migrant workers, for example, the fiscal effects of immigration depending on whether migrants’ social rights are restricted. It also looks at the tensions between human rights and citizenship rights, the agency and interests of migrants and states, and the determinants and ethics of labour immigration policy. To watch a video discussion with Martin Ruhs about the book, please click here.
Source: The Compas Blog, 26 June 2013
ITALY / Chinese migrants trafficked to work in inhumane conditions in garment factories
According to estimates of Italy’s official statistical agency (Istat), about 210,000 Chinese live in Italy, many of them without a regular status. Many of the Chinese who live in Italy irregularly came to the country by way of human traffickers in what is reported to be a made-to-order market for garment workers. Once in Italy, many Chinese migrants are living so far under the radar that no one knows who they really are, therefore those who find work in the textile factories are often treated like slaves. In March 2013 the city of Prato, a major destination for Chinese migrants, opened an investigation to better understand the working conditions in the garment factories after a young Chinese teenager turned up at an emergency room malnourished and severely injured after a factory machine malfunctioned. Undercover videos revealed horrific working conditions, with small children sleeping on mattresses on the floor amid rats and cockroaches. Because of the vast number of workers competing for jobs, some irregular migrants turn to prostitution to earn a living and they also run serious risks of exploitation. In Milan, three nude Chinese women had to jump from a first-floor balcony to escape, and after months of imprisonment as sex slaves for Chinese businessmen did not know which city they were in.
Source: The Daily Beast, 20 August 2013
GLOBAL / Launch of the Women and Global Migration Working Group website
The Women and Global Migration Working Group (WGMWG) was first established at the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) in April 2012. The Working Group, of which PICUM is a member, aims at strengthening a gender analysis within the migrant rights movement globally and is currently made up of national, regional, and global organisations. With the aim of further promoting the human rights of women in migration, the WGMWG has launched a new website and presented the Women and Global Migration Caucus advocacy document for the UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development.
Source: Women and Global Migration Working Group, 20 August 2013
UNDOCUMENTED CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES
COUNCIL OF EUROPE / Child labour in Europe: a persisting challenge
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, reported that his Office has found through different sources, such as UNESCO and national studies, that child labour is on the rise in Europe. He said that it affects particularly vulnerable groups, such as unaccompanied migrants under 18. This is said to be partly due to the economic crisis Europe is facing at the moment. The Commissioner urges governments to take action to ensure a better future for these children, and recommends to apply correctly legal instruments such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the standards of the European Social Charter, ratify the Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings and measure the impacts of child labour across Europe.
Source: The Council of Europe, 20 August 2013
EU PARLIAMENT / Resolution on the situation of unaccompanied children
The European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution on 12 September 2012 calling on the EU to draw up strategic guidelines for use by all member states to better protect unaccompanied children. The report responds to the Commission’s mid-term review of its action plan on unaccompanied minors. When presenting the report in the EP plenary session, rapporteur on the situation of unaccompanied minors in the European Union for the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament, Nathalie Griesbeck, stated: “We have underscored two key principles when dealing with unaccompanied minors. First, they are first and foremost children and second, their best interest should be the leading principle of any action that concerns them”. The EP rapporteur continued: “These guidelines should propose common minimum standards dealing with each stage of the process that a minor has to go through, from the arrival until a durable solution is found”. The strategic guidelines call on member states to provide unaccompanied minors with adequate protection, irrespective of their status and under the same conditions as children who are nationals of the host country. This includes access to legal and psychological support, education and health services as well as a stable accommodation, separated from adults and never in closed centres. To view the resolution and guidelines, click here.
ITALY / The Regional Council of Lombardy rejects a motion that would guarantee paediatric assistance to undocumented children
A motion that would extend free access to basic paediatric medical care to undocumented children was presented by a member of the Lombardy Regional Council, Umberto Ambrosoli, and was rejected on 2 July 2013. The motion had been introduced in order to align Lombardy with the national guidelines provided by the Italian “State-Regions Conference” regarding the provision of medical assistance services to irregular migrants (see PICUM Bulletin, 22 January 2013). Besides being contrary to those guidelines, the decision of the Lombardy Council has been strongly criticised by the Italian Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration (“ASGI”) for violating children’s fundamental rights and for ignoring a judgment of the Tribunal of Milan that states that foreign children cannot be considered “irregular” according to Article 19 of the Italian Consolidated Law on Immigration.
Source: Corriere Immigrazione, 7 July 2013
REPORT / Implementing the Roadmap for Achieving the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour by 2016
The International Labour Organisation recently published a training guide titled ‘Implementing the Roadmap for Achieving the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour by 2016’. The guide provides the necessary knowledge, capacity and tools for national policy makers, practitioners and other key stakeholders to tackle child labour, focusing on its worst forms. The guide mentions undocumented children and highlights that they are a vulnerable group that can face child labour, exploitation and become victims of trafficking. The guide is available for download here.
NETHERLANDS / Proposal to restrict access to child welfare and youth care services
A new legislative proposal that would restrict access to child welfare and youth care services for undocumented children was presented to the lower house on 1 July 2013. The new youth law (Jeugdwet) will transfer the responsibility for youth care to local governments. As part of the law child welfare and youth care will only be accessible for lawfully residing children, and even for them access can be restricted depending on the reason, expected length and place of their stay. With this new legislation the government hopes to prevent youth care from becoming a ground upon which continuation of undocumented children’s stay is sought. In the beginning of September there will be a debate in the lower house about the proposed legislation. If the law passes the lower and upper house, it will be implemented by 1 January 2015.
Source: Stichting LOS, Newsletter, Year 3 No. 13, 7 July 2013; Nederlands Jeugd Institute, August 2013.
SPAIN / High Court of Justice states that the protection of migrants’ family life can prevent their expulsion
In its judgment of 15 March 2013, the Madrid High Court of Justice (Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Madrid) overturned the expulsion order of a migrant father, finding that the right of a child “to be and to grow up with, and to be raised and educated by his or her parents” is predominant. The man was living in Spain with his wife and two sons, one of whom was born in Spain, and both of whom were attending school there. Although Spanish law does not expressly state that the expulsion of a migrant can be made conditional upon private or family life, the Court ruled that if it is possible to deduce this limit from the general goals pursued by the law, then migrants cannot be expelled. The Court in particular ruled that Art. 39 of the Spanish Constitution, which provides juridical protection to family life, is a guiding principle of the Spanish legal system, hence, this norm applies also to migrant families in cases of expulsion.
Source: Colegio de Abogados de Madrid, 29 May 2013
USA / Prosecutorial discretion for parents of minors
The Obama administration has released a new policy memo directing the use of prosecutorial discretion in cases of undocumented parents of minor children. This is the latest immigration development invoking the tool of prosecutorial discretion under which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is prioritising who to detain, focusing instead on undocumented migrants with serious criminal records or those who have repeatedly violated immigration laws. Last summer ICE released a policy memo which outlined eligibility for prosecutorial discretion of young people who came to the US under the age of 16, were continually residing there, were or had been enrolled in education and had not been convicted of any felonies or offences. In June 2010 ICE authorities were also ordered to refrain from detaining migrants suffering from physical or mental illness, those who were disabled, elderly, pregnant or nursing. Following the latest new guidelines ICE agents should try to avoid detaining parents and in circumstances where this is not possible, authorities should ensure that parents have the ability to visit with their children or participate in family court proceedings. As of yet it is unclear how many migrants may benefit from the latest guidelines and although the move has been widely welcomed by immigrant campaigners, they also emphasized that a long term solution must come in legislative action.
Source: The Washington Times, 29 August 2013 ; Immigration and Customs enforcement, 29 August 2013
DETENTION AND DEPORTATION
BELGIUM / Budget for forced repatriations almost finished
The annual budget of the police in Belgium that goes towards forced repatriation is said to be coming to an end. The Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, Maggie De Block, admitted that there were financial difficulties. According to a spokesperson, this is due to the many evictions during the first half of the year. The news became public after the Belgian federal police had to postpone deportation proceedings to avoid extra costs. A meeting between Minister for Interior, Joëlle Milquet, Secretary of State for Asylum, Maggie de Block and General Commissioner of the Police, Catherine De Bolle, was scheduled to address the issue.
Source: La Libre, 26 August 2013
DENMARK / Departure centre to facilitate more deportations
The Danish Ministry of Justice has announced plans to open a departure centre for unsuccessful asylum seekers in the beginning of 2014. This is part of the government’s asylum agreement of 19 September 2012 entailing a targeted effort to deport unsuccessful asylum seekers. The purpose of the centre is to provide economic support and advice in regards to the process of return and to oversee both voluntary and forced deportations. The Danish Prison and Probation Service will manage the enclosed centre. The union for employees in the Danish Prison and Probation Service has expressed concerns over its role in the centre. The union stresses the fact that those to be detained are not criminals and fear its members are being used to scare irregular migrants into leaving the country. The centre will be located near Denmark’s largest reception centre Sandholm to maintain cooperation between the two centres. Local politicians are concerned about potential effects on the local community.
Sources: Ministry of Justice, 16 August 2013, ; Dagbladet Information, 17 August 2013; Fængselsforbundet, 16 August 2013
ITALY / Integration Minister calls for better reception conditions for migrants
Italy’s Integration Minister Cécile Kyenge visited the biggest detention centre (CIE) in Europe, in the island of Capo Rizzuto, Crotone, Calabria on 21 August 2013. Ms Kyenge listened to migrants’ claims and affirmed that the “conditions of the reception centres is also a European problem. Europe cannot abandon Italy”. Two days before, on 19 August 2013, Ms Kyenge asked for a revision of the Bossi-Fini law on migration at an event in Reggio Calabria. According to the minister, “we need to have an approach based on the individual”.
Source: La Repubblica, 21 August 2013; Il Sole 24 ore, 19 August 2013
NETHERLANDS / Deportation of sick child
A 6-year-old Georgian girl was deported on 31 July 2013 along with her parents to Poland. In the asylum centre the girl had serious nosebleeds and headaches, but the medical staff refused to let her see a GP. After four days the family went to a GP on their own initiative and the girl was given a referral note for blood tests. This was ignored by the medical staff. The family was then put in detention, where the child’s complaints (and the GP’s request for a blood test) were still ignored. A few days later they were put on a plane to Poland, where the girl was rushed to hospital and acute leukaemia was diagnosed. The doctor who treated her said that the chance of a cure would have been 90% if the symptoms had been immediately responded to, but the delay has reduced this chance. This case follows a series of incidents in which deportation procedures and medical care have come under fire, but because of the parliamentary summer recess no action has yet been taken. However, a legal case is being brought against the Dutch state on behalf of the girl.
Source: Volkskrant, 31 July 2013
UK / Continuous child detention
Children in the decision and removal phase of the asylum process are increasingly being detained. Recent figures published by the Home Office demonstrate that the number of detained immigrant children almost doubled from 127 in 2011 to 242 in 2012. A total of 444 children have been detained since 2010 despite several government statements this year proclaiming that child detention was no longer a reality in the UK. Child detention mainly occurs in immigration removal centres for adults. After the release of the statistics a Home Office Spokesperson stressed that the Government safeguards child welfare and therefore has met its promise of ending child detention.
Source: The Independent, 1 September 2013
USA / The monetary costs of detention
In August the National Immigration Forum released ”The Math of Immigration Detention”, a report which illustrates the savings the US government could make if more effective alternatives to detention were invested in. According to the report, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained a total of 429,247 immigrants during the year 2011 and spends almost $2 billion each year on immigration detention. However, if alternative measures were introduced for detainees who have not been convicted of serious crimes it is estimated that expenses would be reduced by 80% which equates to a saving of $1.44 billion per year. Nonetheless, the House of Representatives budget for the 2014 fiscal year indicates that immigration detention will in fact increase to $5.6 million per day, much of which is paid to large private-prison corporations in charge of detention centres.
Source: The National Immigration Forum, 29 August 2013; The Huffington Post, 29 August 2013
FILM / Story about undocumented Mexican migrant entering the US
“Desierto” (‘Desert’) will be the name of the next movie directed by Jonás Cuarón and will tell the story of a Mexican migrant trying to enter the United States irregularly. The well-known actor, Gael García Bernal, will play the main role of an undocumented migrant from Mexico.
Source: Diario Vasco, 29 August 2013
PICUM IN THE NEWS
EU / The link of climate change to irregular migration
EurActiv discussed the possible link of climate change to irregular migration and tragedies such as the death of hundreds of migrants who drowned near the Italian island of Lampedusa on 3 October after their boat capsized. PICUM Director, Michele LeVoy noted that moves to increase border security in the EU were themselves a primary cause of tragedies such as the one at Lampedusa.
Source: EurActiv, 8 October 2013
MEXICO / Roundtable debate at the UN High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development
The Mexican wire, Organización Editorial Mexicana (OEM), reported on Mexico leading one of the four roundtables at the United Nations High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development which took place in New York from 3 to 4 October 2013. PICUM Director, Michele LeVoy, is mentioned as representative of civil society in the roundtable on the human rights of all migrants with particular focus on women and children.
Source: Organización Editorial Mexicana (OEM), 4 October 2013