PICUM Bulletin — 11 April 2011


  • ITALY / DEATH AT THE BORDER / Boat capsizes off the coast of Italy, 150 still missing

    At around 4am on Wednesday, 6 April 2011, a boat sailing from Libya carrying around 200 people capsized off the Italian island of Lampedusa. Italian rescue teams managed to save 48 people from the waters, around 20 bodies were rescued but around 150 are still to be found. It appears that there were women and children on the boat at the time of the tragic incident.
    Source: Migrants at Sea, 6 April 2011, BBC, 6 April 2011

  • ITALY / DEATH AT THE BORDER / 68 migrants found dead in the waters of Tripoli

    68 migrants of still unknown origins were found dead in the waters of Tripoli on 3 April 2011. It is suspected they are probably the passengers of the boat that sent an SOS on 25 March 2011, but that was never found by the sea patrols. The boat was heading in the direction to the Italian island of Lampedusa.
    Source (in Italian): Fortress Europe, 3 April 2011

  • ITALY / DEATH AT THE BORDER / Two migrants drowned and one died for unknown reasons while hidden in a ferry boat

    Two bodies were found in the waters of Modica, Italy, on 1 April and on 2 April. They are the bodies of two migrants who did not survive the rough debarkation of a boat carrying 500 other migrants that run aground off the coasts of Modica on 29 March 2011. Another body of a young man was found in a ferry boat carrying tourists from Greece to Ancona, Italy. The young man was hiding in a truck and probably died from the harsh conditions of his hiding place.
    Source: Fortress Europe, 2 April 2011, Fortress Europe, 3 April 2011

  • ITALY / DEATH AT THE BORDER / 27 Tunisian migrants found dead in the Sicilian channel

    The dead bodies of 27 Tunisian migrants travelling in the direction of Italy were found off the coast of the Tunisian island of Kerkennah on 1 April 2011. The migrants found were victims of the two different shipwrecks which occurred on 13 March and 27 March 2011.
    Source (in Italian): Fortress Europe, 1 April 2011

  • ITALY / Emptying Lampedusa: transfers, escapes and new arrivals

    The tension decreases on Lampedusa Island, after the ship Excelsior sailed on 3 April 2011 with 1,731 migrants on board to other Italian destinations. Among them, 500 will be transferred to other Sicilians reception centres; others will be transferred to Napoli. During the transfers, acts of vandalism were reported on the Excelsior ship. About 700 undocumented migrants remain on Lampedusa, but new arrivals are heading to the island to the helplessness of the local administration. New arrivals also reached Sardinia. The situation remains tense in the tent cities of Manduria and Potenza, which migrants try to escape from by all means for fear of being sent back to Africa.
    Source (in Italian): Il Sole 24 ORE, 4 April 2011.


  • Committee on the protection of rights of migrant workers opens fourteenth session

    In its 14th session which ran from 4-8 April 2011, the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families reviewed the second periodic report of Mexico on how that country is fulfilling its obligations under the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. The Committee also heard an address by the United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kyung-Wha Kang, updating members on developments since their last session, and held a public meeting with non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions on Mexico. In opening remarks, Ms. Kang said that the critical situation in this region had demonstrated once again the importance of continuing to promote the international human rights standards relating to migration, as the High Commissioner did when chairing the Global Migration Group last year. The Committee members would recall that her focus at that time was the protection of migrant workers in irregular situations and that she had identified migration as one of the priority areas for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights over the next two years.
    Source: ungo.ch

  • Committee on the rights of migrant workers considers report on Mexico

    The second periodic report of Mexico (CMW/C/MEX/2) notes that while the growth rate of the Mexican migrant population in the United States has stabilized and even decreased since 2006, the total number of Mexican migrants in that country stands at 12.7 million, 55 per cent of whom are undocumented. Mexican nationals constitute the largest immigrant group in the United States, where they account for almost a third of all immigrants and are increasingly integrated. Possible factors in the decline in undocumented Mexican migration to the United States in recent years, currently estimated at approximately 315,000 persons per year, include economic factors, such as the downturn in the United States economy since 2006, and the restrictive measures taken by the United States authorities to curb undocumented migration. The number of deportations from the United States to Mexico between 2006 and 2008 exceeded 500,000 per year. These measures have resulted in greater risks to migrants and their families, an increase in the cost of migration and a climate of hostility, anti-immigration and discrimination in the country of destination, which increases migrants’ vulnerability.
    Source: unog.ch


  • EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS / PUBLICATION / Handbook on European non-discrimination law

    The European Court of Human Rights and the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) have jointly produced a “Handbook on European Non-Discrimination Law”. It is a comprehensive guide to non-discrimination law and relevant key concepts. The substance of non-discrimination law is set out according to the definitions of direct and indirect discrimination as elaborated through the European Convention on Human Rights (including Protocol 12) and the European Union’s Gender Equality Directives, Racial Equality Directive and Employment Equality Directive. The meaning of provisions is presented through analysis of cases delivered by the European Court of Human Rights and the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
    Source: The Fundamental Rights Agency, 21 March 2011

  • EUROPEAN COMMISSION / REPORT / 2010 Annual report on Charter of Fundamental Rights

    The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights has now been legally binding for over a year and the European Commission reported on 31 March 2011 for the first time on how the Charter has been applied. The Annual Report on the application of the Charter shows that fundamental rights are relevant across a wide range of policies – from data protection to immigration and asylum – and that public interest in the Charter runs high. The Commission will present such a report each year in order to monitor progress made in the application of and compliance with the Charter.
    Source: European Social Platform, 31 March 2011, European Commission, 31 March 2011.

  • EUROPEAN COUNCIL / The Council of the EU adopts new directive in the area of trafficking in human beings

    The Council of the EU adopted a new directive on 21 March 2011 that replaces the Framework Decision 2002/629/JHA and establishes EU wide minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and the level of sanctions in the area of trafficking in human beings. The new rules also strengthen the prevention of the crime and the protection of victims of trafficking in human beings.

  • EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT / MEPs forms “Alliance for Children”

    The European Parliament has formed an “Alliance for Children” to defend children in internal and external policies, mainstreaming their rights in all the actions and programs of the EU.  It is backed by the presidents of seven EP committees (Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Civil Liberties, Development, Women, Culture and Petitions). EP Vice-President Roberta Angelilli is promoting the initiative, and hoping to extend it to more members. The first issue to be discussed will be the communication by Commissioner Reding on “child friendly justice”, a package that includes measures on the abduction of children, unaccompanied children, protection within the family and help for children who are victims of violence.
    Source: European Parliament, 30 March 2011

  • EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT / EU Solidarity Mechanism for Italy

    On 5 April 2011 the European Parliament gave its approval to MEP Provera’s report, which recommends the 27 national governments to provide assistance to Italy and calls EU Home Affairs Commissioner Malmström to set the solidarity mechanism outlined by treaties into motion, including directive 55 on ‘temporary protection’ of refugees from areas of war. Such status may last up to one year and would allow migrants to freely circulate within the Schengen area. The directive for the temporary protection of migrants will soon be examined by the Council together with the elaboration of a strategy for the Mediterranean.
    Source: L’Occidentale, 6 April 2011, European Parliament, 5 April 2011.


  • ITALY / Signing of an Italy-Tunisia agreement

    Italy’s Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and Minister of the Interior, Roberto Maroni, convened in Tunis on 4 April 2011 in order to reach an agreement to countervail irregular migration flows and an agreement was signed on Tuesday, 5 April 2011. Initially, Italy had hoped to repatriate over 20,000 migrants back but Tunisia refused to consider mass repatriation. Finally, it was agreed that around 20,000 Tunisians whom have already arrived in Italy would be granted permission to remain for a minimum of six months with temporary residency permits and Tunisia in turn has apparently agreed to accelerated and simplified return procedures which are meant to act as a deterrent for Tunisian planning to reach the coast of Europe by Italy. The final terms of the agreement are yet to be made public.
    Source: Migrants at Sea, 6 April 2011

  • USA / Some states introduce legislation that would make it a crime to transport an undocumented migrant anywhere, even to the hospital

    Some of the toughest bills in the US that are aimed at undocumented migrants are making their way through legislatures in the US states of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. A bill in the South Carolina legislature would make it illegal to transport immigrants anywhere, including a hospital or a church. In Alabama, legislators are working on similar bills in the House and the Senate, which would also make it a crime to knowingly rent to an undocumented migrant. In a “Letter to the Editor”, the organization Physicians for Human Rights denounced such legislation and said it could effectively deny critically needed medical care to thousands of people, threatening not only the health of individuals, but also the public health of the entire state.
    Source: The New York Times, 25 March 2011

  • USA / Washington state discusses budget cuts to programmes used by undocumented migrants

    In the state of Washington, legislatures are looking for ways to decrease a $5 billion budget shortfall, resulting in the reduction (and in some cases elimination) of services used by undocumented migrants.  Lawmakers already have passed a law that effectively limits the state Basic Health Plan for the working poor to legal residents. The state estimates around 10,000 people, roughly 18 per cent of those on the plan, will lose state-subsidized insurance because they cannot prove they are in the country legally. It is expected to save $59 million over two years. As part of a much broader budget-cutting plan, some have recommended eliminating a health-care program for undocumented children.
    Source: The Seattle Times, 3 April 2011

  • USA / New Campaign Launched to Hold President Obama Accountable and Fix the US Immigration System

    The Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ immigration task force announced a national campaign to hold President Obama accountable for promises he made on the campaign trail to reform the country’s broken immigration system. Featuring the stories of families devastated by deportations, “Change Takes Courage” will hold events across at least 20 states. The campaign will include meetings and press events with local leaders and immigration advocates designed to put pressure on the administration. Spearheaded by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, a coalition of more than 200 immigration advocacy groups, the campaign will contrast video clips of the promises Obama made on the campaign trail with two years of Congressional inaction, and spotlight the experiences of families torn apart by deportation. Despite the campaign the Obama administration has announced it will not block deportations of young people who grew up in the United States. Current immigration law offers few options to those who want to stay in the United States to be with their families or because they have lived there since childhood. In order to receive legal status, those who entered the country without authorization must return to their native country for 10 years to wait for a visa, sometimes even longer, separating them from family.
    Source: The Huffington Post, 31 March 2011


  • FRANCE / Provision authorizing the referral of seriously ill foreigners to their country of origin

    On 10 March 2011, the French National Assembly passed a provision of the Immigration Act which authorizes the return of seriously ill foreigners to their country of origin. The NGO La Cimade highlighted how the implemention of a dehumanized system leads to death in referring to the case of Mr Kanoute, an undocumented migrant who was returned to Mali despite his chronic hepatitis B and later died. The diagnosis of chronic active hepatitis B was made as part of a health check carried out in 2003 and after a refusal to issue a residence permit for medical reasons in 2005, he was deported to Mali in 2008, two days before an appointment at the hospital. The death of Mr Kanoute, who was deported despite serious health problems, comes at a decisive moment when the government tries to suppress the right of residence for care of seriously ill foreigners residing in France, without effective access to care in their countries of origin.  It is reported that 28,000 foreign patients, also risk deportation and the interruption of their care.
    Source: La Cimade, 14 March 2011

  • ITALY / Call for a Health Passport to register migrants’ health conditions

    Walter Pasini, Director of Rimini’s Travel Medicine Centre and Global Health, called for the creation of a medical document and for the activation of procedures aimed at registering migrants’ health conditions as soon as they enter Italy, with special attention to be given to tuberculosis. Mr Pasini stressed the necessity of a ‘health census’ in which all Italian regional constituencies should be involved. He stated that up to now, the consequences of migration have been analysed only from an economic and social perspective, but its impact on public health has never been assessed. The recent migration flow to Lampedusa has highlighted the existing difficulties in guaranteeing proper hygienic conditions for undocumented migrants who can easily fall ill because of the overcrowded and promiscuous conditions they face.
    Source: Lunico, 23 March 2011.

  • ITALY / First Outpatient clinic for migrants in Manduria

    Thousands of migrants, especially Tunisians, have reached Lampedusa, Italy, in recent months following the unrest in North Africa. Many of them have been transferred from the island to different reception centres in southern Italy. The tent camp of Manduria (Puglia) is overcrowded to the point that Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the only organisation allowed to enter the camp, fear health threats for themselves and the local population especially with the summer season approaching. Regio Puglia is about to present the first regional outpatient clinic providing special care exclusively to migrants, also to undocumented. The camp in Manduria hosts migrants with different statuses, including asylum seekers and irregular migrants.  The structure is still under construction, with no electric energy. Source: Repubblica, 5 April 2011

  • NETHERLANDS / Study shows that 46% of undocumented migrants sought medical help in the Netherlands, 25% of which were denied care

    A new study in the Netherlands underlines the need for a better education of undocumented patients and providers concerning the opportunities for health care. The study specifically targeted those who were in a detention centre and awaiting expulsion. The results of the study showed that among the 122 interviewed, only half of the undocumented migrants in the study knew how to get access to medical care in the Netherlands. Forty-six per cent of respondents reported to have sought medical help during their stay in the Netherlands while having no health insurance. Care was sought most frequently for injuries and dental problems and about 25% of these care seekers reported to have been denied care by a health care provider.
    Source: 7th Space Interactive, 28 March 2011


  • THE NETHERLANDS / Exploitation of migrant workers by foreign embassies in The Hague

    Many foreign embassies in The Hague are paying staff below recommended levels and have poor working conditions, according to reports by the Dutch world service radio. Although the Dutch foreign affairs ministry publishes minimum wage and other recommendations, embassies are not bound to comply with them and many fail to do so. Researchers spoke to present and former staff at nine embassies, where complaints ranged from being forced to work without employment contracts to intimidation and a ban on going outside during working hours. Marieke Manschot of the Abvakabo trade union, who recently raised the alarm about underpaid staff at the Moroccan embassy, described these complaints are the ‘tip of the iceberg’ noting that ‘Not everyone dares talk. If you work for a small mission, it is easy to track you down’. The Netherlands hosts some 150 diplomatic missions, most of which are in The Hague.
    Source: Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 22 March 2011, Dutch News, 23 March 2011.

  • SWEDEN / Publication: “Who Cleans the Welfare State?”

    This report provides a vital insight into the situation of migrant domestic workers in Stockholm who are excluded from the protections of the formal labour market. Gathered from interviews with NGOs, unions, employment agencies and workers, Gavanas exposes how migration status, social networks, and exploitative relations impact upon the conditions and bargaining power of migrant domestic workers in Stockholm. The report gives specific attention to the particularly difficult position of undocumented domestic workers who often face violence and sexual harassment at work.
    Source: Anna Gavanas, www.framtidsstudier.se

  • USA / Video on garment industry in New York City and the experiences of day labourers

    One hundred years after 146 garment workers died in a fire at the Triangle shirtwaist factory, new immigrants still try to sew their way to the American dream.  But these days, especially in New York, garment work is hard to come by.  Safe working conditions and living wages in unionized factories are a legacy of the Triangle fire, but in other factories, day labourers, many of whom are undocumented and from Latin America say they are treated poorly, paid less than minimum wage, or not paid at all. Watch the video.
    Source: The New York Times, 21 March 2011.


  • Solidar radio programme on labour rights of migrant women

    In March 2011 as part of activities for International Women’s Day, Solidar radio programme within the project “Decent Work for All! – Making Migration Work for Development” in cooperation with Progetto Sviluppo and radio Articolo1 was dedicated to migrant women. Laura Fallavollita from the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) spoke specifically about the poor working and living conditions of undocumented workers in Europe making particular reference to project with PICUM and the importance of terminology.
    Source: Solidar, 31 March 2011.

  • UNITED KINGDOM / Proposed rules would increase vulnerability of migrant domestic violence victims

    On 31 March 2011, the UK Home Office released a statement announcing proposed changes to the Immigration Rules before Parliament, including an amendment to para.289a which allows for settlement to be granted to spouses or partners who have been victims of domestic violence. The proposal is that for settlement to be granted the applicant will need to be free of unspent criminal convictions. This change would have the effect of deterring victims of domestic violence from escaping from abusive and violent partners if they believe that any unspent conviction which might exist against them would lead to them failing to benefit from the existing provision. They would be aware that if they did flee they would risk being considered in breach of their conditions of stay because they are no longer living with their partner. The Immigration Law Practitioners Association has urged all parliamentarians to call against the proposals.
    Source: Migrants Rights Network, 1 April 2011


  • DENMARK / Danes urged to reapply for family reunification following Zambrano ruling

    A number of experts and the interest group Marriage Without Borders are encouraging Danes with foreign spouses to resubmit their applications for residence permits. According to experts in EU law, applicants should ignore any previous rejections and instead challenge the legal system with the EU ruling handed down on 8 March 2011, in which Gerardo Ruiz Zambrano won a 12-year fight for residency when the European Court of Justice (ECJ) established his right to work and live in the EU because he is supporting a child who has EU citizenship. The immigration minister, Søren Pind, has said Denmark should adhere to the Zambrano Ruling and avoid a legal clash with the ECJ. The Danish People’s Party (DF), however, rejected the suggestion that the rulings should be accepted and expect that the points system for family reunification will be adjusted so that the recent rulings will not become shortcuts to residency in Denmark.
    Source: The Copenhagen Post, 24 March 2011

  • ISRAEL / Deportation of hundreds of irregularly present children and their mothers begins

    Despite international Jewish outcry when the government agreed plans to deport hundreds of children of irregular migrant workers, and their mothers, the deportation of an estimated 400 to 600 children has begun. Before the operation began, Interior Minister Eli Yishai announced that he was postponing the deportation of school-age kids and their parents for a few months so as not to disrupt their education. However, the deportation of children under three – of pre-school age – and their parents is underway. Many of the children have been born in Israel, but Israel does not have birth right citizenship. Children and their parents are detained in new holding cells set up at Ben-Gurion Airport for up to 72 hours before deportation.
    Source: The Jerusalem Post, 30 March 2011

  • ITALY / Squalid conditions for unaccompanied children on Lampedusa

    Lampedusa has been struggling to cope with the influx of around 15,000 people from Tunisia since the January revolution. Hundreds of people are being taken by Italian naval ship to Sicily. More than 4,000 are still on the tiny island and the Save the Children charity has complained that 230 unaccompanied children aged 12 to 17 are living in squalid conditions. “The situation is bad as they don’t have showers and only two toilets for 230 people,” Save the Children child protection manager Carlotta Bellini told the BBC News website. She said four of the children were being treated in hospital after cutting themselves with knives to draw attention to the situation. According to Save the Children, approximately one hundred more children have escaped the controls and are wandering the island, alone and exposed to bad weather conditions.
    Source: BBC News, 23 March 2011, Inter Press Service, 2 April 2011

  • PICUM NEWS / CRAG response to European Commission communication

    On 21 March 2011, the Child Rights Action Group (CRAG) released a response to the European Commission’s communication on an “EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child”.  In this response, the CRAG members point out the main shortcomings of the communication and give recommendations for improvement. The importance of such an EU strategy to apply to all children, including undocumented migrant children, is also highlighted in the response

  • UNITED KINGDOM / UKBA officers enter school to detain refused asylum- seeker

    Border Agency officers went into Cathays High School, in Cardiff, at 9.25am on Monday, 28 March 2011, to detain 18-year-old Amanullah Armani, a refused asylum seeker. Teachers were asked to hand over Mr Armani, whilst in class, despite knowing nothing about the operation in advance. The school’s headmaster Rod Phillips will meet the Border Agency to discuss how the operation was handled. Mr Armani is scheduled to return to Afghanistan but is appealing the decision. Cathays High School has a very large number of asylum-seeking children, particularly unaccompanied asylum-seeking pupils, so there is also concern over the effects this action will have on those children.
    Source: South Wales Echo-Wales Online, 26 March 2011.


  • CYPRUS / General-attorney deports victim of trafficking and forced prostitution

    A 20-year old Indian woman who was trafficked, force into prostitution and fell pregnant following a gang rape has received an order to leave the Cypriot territory. The decision from the General-Attorney comes following an investigation of the alleged accusations reported by the victim following her complaint to the Anti-Trafficking Unit of the police. The victim was taken into care and advised by the NGO KISA. In March 2011, the police went to the government shelter where she had been placed and informed the victim that she would be deported despite the law protecting her as a victim of trafficking.
    Source: Cyprus Mail, 16 March 2011

  • GERMANY / Assessing deportation and custody prior to deportation from a human rights perspective

    In a policy paper published in March 2011 the German Institute for Human Rights (Deutsches Institut für Menschenrechte) assesses the planned implementation of the directive 2008/115/EC of the European Parliament “on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals” and the practice of custody prior to deportation in Germany from a human rights perspective with special focus on undocumented and unaccompanied minors. The paper argues that a maximum period of custody prior to deportation of 18 months always violates the principle of proportionality and leads to excessive burdens for the detainees, especially vulnerable groups such as minors, pregnant women and sick persons. It has been proven that detainees suffer from custody, become physically and psychologically ill. Unaccompanied minors represent a special case, since they are additionally protected by the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. From a human rights perspective, however, children should be protected and alternative care should be provided by child protective services to respect the best interests of the child. The respect of the child’s best interests is not compatible with the custody prior to deportation. The Institute’s policy advice is, therefore, to considerably reduce the maximum length of custody prior to detention for adults and not to allow such custody for unaccompanied minors at all.
    Source: German Institute for Human Rights, March 2011.

  • THE NETHERLANDS / Temporary stop of repatriations to Libya

    The Dutch Minister for Immigration has decided that for the time being and for at least the next six months, Libyans that failed the asylum procedure are not to be repatriated to their home country. During this period they keep the right to shelter, but can still be sent into detention centres. The number of Libyans in this particular situation is estimated at around 70.
    Source: NU.nl, 6 April 2011

  • SPAIN / A judge reminds the Government that the expulsion of immigrants “is not a law of the State”, but an provision which can be implemented in varied ways

    A judge in Madrid has issued a ruling in which reminds the Government that the expulsion of immigrants “is not a fundamental right of the State but a measure adopted legislatively and that may well vary in its regulation”. The ruling responds to a request from the Foreign Police Brigade filed on 18 March 2011 for the detention and expulsion of a young migrant, Jabrán S., who could not prove he had a legal right to reside in Spain. The judge said too often the authorities directly see detention as the only measure ignoring the specificity of each case as well as other legal measures available such as confiscation of passport and regular contact with police authorities. Jabrán has been released and granted residency under the programme ‘Messengers of the Peace’ having been able to prove his 6-year residency having arrived in Spain as an unaccompanied minor.
    Source: Europa Press, 23 March 2011


  • SPAIN / A guide for irregular migrants in Andalusia published

    The Human Rights Association of Andalusia (Asociación Pro Derechos de Andalucía, APDHA) and the Andalusian Ombudsman, José Chamizo de la Rubia, presented at a press conference on 22 March a guide with basic legal advice for irregular immigrants living in Andalusia and the rest of the Spain. The guide has been prepared by the APDHA Immigration area and edited in collaboration with the Andalusian Ombudsman. The document aims to provide practical advice to exercise and defend the fundamental rights of foreigners in irregular situation, in a direct and understandable language. The guide is available in Spanish and French.
    Source: Asociación Pro Derechos de Andalucía, 22 March 2011


  • CZECH REPUBLIC / Conference on regularization of irregular migration

    Sdružení pro integraci a migraci (Association for Integration and Migration), Organizace pro pomoc uprchlíkům (Organization for Help to Refugees) and Multikulturní centrum Praha (Multicultural Centre Prague) are organizing a joint conference and public presentation of the project ‘Regularization of Irregular Migration’. The event will take place on 12 April 12 2011 from 9am to 4pm at the Polský Institute. The event consists of three panel discussions on issues of irregular migration (work and working conditions, access to health and social services, family rights); a presentation of Czech, Portugal and Spanish partners of the project and its implications for Czech migration policies as well as a press conference. The working language is Czech, Portuguese and Spanish; simultaneous translation will be available.
    Source: Multicultural Center Prague, Migration Online

  • THE NETHERLANDS / PICUM NEWS / Conference on criminalization of undocumented migrants in the Netherlands and Europe

    The Dutch government recently launched a proposal to criminalize undocumented migrants. In response, PICUM and some of its Dutch Members, Stichting LOS, Stichting ROS and the Paulus Church, have decided to organize an international workshop.The workshop titled, “Countering New Legislative Proposals Criminalizing Undocumented Migrants in the Netherlands: Building on Experiences of Resistance throughout Europe”, is intended to provide a better understanding of laws, policies and practices concerning criminalization of undocumented migrants in different European countries. By providing examples and sharing experiences from countries that have experienced such criminalization legislations, the hope is to better prepare other countries, such as the Netherlands, which may soon have to face a similar battle. The workshop will be held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on Friday, 27 May 2011.
    Source: PICUM News, 8 April 2011


  • GERMANY / Federal campaign against discriminatory laws

    The national campaign “Abolish!” denouncing discriminatory laws that apply only to persons who do not have German citizenship started on 22 March 2011 with rallies and other public activities in more than 20 cities. These special regulations affect most severely refugees, asylum seekers and people with a temporary leave to remain in Germany by producing isolation and social disintegration. The aim of the campaign is “to fight the racist legislation that brings about policies of isolation, stigmatization and persecution of refugees”.


  • USA / Arizona sheriff to launch new operations targeting undocumented migrants

    In the state of Arizona, the controversial county sheriff Joe Arpaio launched a new operation where small planes will be used to detect the smuggling of drugs and undocumented immigrants across the border from Mexico. “Operation Desert Sky,” which will last several weeks, will be focused in the south-western and south-eastern corridors of Arizona’s Maricopa County and will include the participation of approximately 30 people, among them pilots, volunteers and deputies. The Sherriff is currently under investigation by the Justice Department after accusations were filed against him for racial profiling practices his department allegedly used against Hispanic residents. It is reported the operation will not use resources from his department since it will be carried out by volunteers and members of the anti-drug and anti-human trafficking units in the county.
    Source: Fox News Latino, 31 March 2011, Colorlines, 30 March 2011.

  • THE NETHERLANDS / Criminalising undocumented residence undermines EU procedures

    Systematically criminalising undocumented stay in the Netherlands undermines those EU procedures that are supposed to foster the repatriation of migrants. Dutch MEPs have called on the European Commission to put pressure on the Dutch government not to criminalise irregular residence. The MEPs suggested the government tackle the problem at its roots by considering issue of trafficking and unscrupulous employers.
    Source: Trouw, 31 March 2011

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