PICUM Bulletin — 11 July 2012


  • GREECE / DEATH AT BORDER / Death of two irregular migrants

    On 23 June 2012, two irregular migrants died on board the Greek ferry Superfast VI at Ancona, in Italy. The two migrants were hiding beneath a false floor inside a truck, together with sixteen other migrants. The two migrants were Afghani and the cause of their deaths was a combination of extreme heat and a lack of oxygen. Three other migrants who were also hiding in the truck were hospitalised in critical conditions.
    Source: Infomobile, 24 June 2012; Protothema, 23 June 2012

  • ITALY / Irregular migrants missing off the coast of Apulia

    Eight undocumented migrants have gone missing off the Apulian coast in the Otranto channel, after their boat sank on 19 June 2012, near the Salento coast. Four of the people on board were rescued and were taken to the local hospital. Survivors’ stories suggest that they came from North Africa. While the smuggler has been arrested, the competent authorities started search operations to find the missing migrants. Since the incident, the possibility of constructing radar on the cape of Gagliano, facilitating monitoring of the coast, has been much debated. Since 2010 the Salento area has been the target destination of the so called ‘journeys of hope’, mainly originating from Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Libya.
    Source: Fortress Europe, 19 June 2012; La Repubblica, 19 June 2012 and 22 June 2012

  • ITALY / Agreement with Libya to control irregular migration disclosed

    The Italian newspaper La Stampa has published the text of the April 2012 Libya-Italy agreement, which outlines measures to be taken by Libya to prevent undocumented migrants from leaving the country. This included the need for Libya to reinforce its land and maritime borders through increased collaboration with Italy;  the training of Libyan police and border personnel by Italy; the provision of Italian assistance in strengthening controls of Libya’s borders and coastal patrols; and the facilitation of voluntary return to be coordinated by IOM. Amnesty International Italy, who had repeatedly asked the Italian Ministry of Interior for a copy of the document, confirmed its concern upon its publication, noting that it completely ignored the fact that some people were in need of humanitarian protection in a country where the rule of law is absent, prison detention centres are inadequate, and detention conditions inhumane.
    Source: La Stampa, 18 June 2012; Amnesty International Italy, 18 June 2012


  • UN / Special Rapporteur says EU should go beyond mere border control regarding Tunisian migrants

    The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, has called on the EU to develop a migration mechanism (mobility partnership) with Tunisia which goes beyond security issues and concentrates on the respect, protection and promotion of the human rights of migrants. Following his country visit to Tunisia on 3-8 June 2012, Mr. Crépeau stated that Tunisia has been criminalising irregular border crossings, thus contravening the right to leave one’s country. Mr. Crépeau has undertaken a year-long study of the management of the EU’s external borders in relation to the human rights of migrants which will result in a special thematic report to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2013.
    Source: UN News Centre, 12 June 2012


  • FINLAND / Legal advice for undocumented migrants and those helping them

    A new project, Paperittomat (Paperless), has been initiated by the Refugee Advice Centre to offer advice on legal matters to undocumented migrants and those helping them. They offer not only confidential counselling but also court representation and the drawing up of documents. One of the aims of the project is to also look into the rights of undocumented migrants, for example, the right to public health care. Other central activities include the dissemination of information, and working to get more insight into the situation of undocumented migrants in Finland. The legal advice service is available once a week at the Global Clinic, which offers health care to undocumented migrants on a voluntary basis. The advice service can, if needed, also advise on appropriate organisations to turn to for further help. For further information about the project, see the Refugee Advice Centre website (in Finnish only) or contact the project coordinator, Meri Korniloff, 045-8437979, meri.korniloff@pakolaisneuvonta.fi

  • MOROCCO / Rise in violence against undocumented migrants

    In Rabat on 14 May 2012, a young migrant from Mali was stabbed to death by a Moroccan man as both of them waited in line at a grocery store. Following this, a riot erupted between Moroccans and other sub-Saharan migrants. All of the sub-Saharans were arrested and taken to the police station, including the person who was attacked, before being conducted and abandoned at the border. According to the Collective of the Sub-Saharan Community and the Council of Migrants in Morocco, these are not isolated events but reflect a rising climate of racism in the country. The Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH) has also pointed to the authorities, as police brutality has seemed to be systematic during raids affecting sub-Saharan undocumented migrants. The AMDH also reports an increase in cases of sub-Saharan women being raped by citizens and representatives of authorities. This tragic incident, along with shocking pictures, made the headlines in a national newspaper, putting the spotlight on a situation that affects some 15,000 people, living and working in a country with no access to basic social services and justice.

  • POLAND / Assisted Voluntary Return programme under supervision of IOM

    The International Organisation for Migration has launched an information campaign which was subsidised by the European Return Fund in order to promote voluntary returns of undocumented migrants. Starting at the beginning of June, a wide mass-media project is now being carried out all over the country with the use of TV, outdoor advertising, press and the internet. It is estimated that around 6,500 foreigners from over 50 countries have taken part in voluntary return programmes since its introduction in 2006. For those interested in more detailed information, please contact Polish branch of IOM: +48 22 538 91 03
    Sources: IOM, 25 June 2012

  • UK / Home Office to scrap ’14 Year Rule’ from 9 July

    The Home Office has announced that current provisions within the immigration rules dealing with settlement for persons resident in the UK for fourteen years, some without official leave to remain, will be withdrawn on 9 July 2012. Applications for settlement on the basis of fourteen years residence made prior to 9 July will be considered on the basis of the rule as set out immediately prior to 9 July. Anyone who believes that they might be entitled to consideration on the basis of fourteen years residence at this point in time is therefore strongly advised to obtain legal advice on the merits of making an application in advance of the deadline. The Home Office intends that the rule will be replaced from 9 July onwards with the requirement that the condition of twenty years residence be met in the event that any part of that residence has been without official leave to remain. The immigration rule provision permitting applications for settlement on the basis of ten years continuous residence where the entire period of that residence has been with official leave to remain will continue unchanged. Details of these changes to the immigration rules can be found in the Home Office Statement of Intent: Family Migration (June 2012) at paragraph 134, bullet points 4, 5 & 6.
    Source: Migrants Rights Network, 12 June 2012

  • USA / In Arizona, Supreme Court upholds controversial “show me your papers” provision

    The Supreme court of Arizona overturned three out of four provisions of the anti-immigration law S.B. 1070 on 25 June 2012, arguing that such powers rested with the federal government, but it upheld the contentious section 2B, better known as “show my your papers”. This provision requires the police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop before releasing them. The National Immigration Law Centre filed a civil rights challenge to this law and five other similar laws in other states. With the Dream Act only applying to the young, a considerable part of the undocumented community remains at risk of being deported.
    Source: Los Angeles Times, 25 June 2012; Democracy Now, 26 June 2012; Colorlines, 26 June 2012

  • EU / MEPs lead urgent plea from health community to prevent health crisis in Europe

    An unprecedented open letter was sent to the European Council by nine MEPs, 65 leading trade unions, civil society organisations including PICUM, health organisations, and industry associations, who called on European leaders to stop cutting essential health and welfare systems and to focus on the ordinary people living in Europe; those who are trying to cope with the dire impacts of a financial crisis of which they are the first victims. The letter expresses concern that the indiscriminate cuts may threaten the economic recovery prospects for Europe as a whole, deny universal and equitable access to quality health care, force a transfer of care and payment onto households, and destabilise the social values of Europe. The coalition is led by the European Public Health Alliance, whose recent briefing note summarises the evidence of the devastating impact of the financial crisis on human health.
    Source: European Public Health Alliance, 26 June 2012


  • SPAIN / The Forum for Social Integration of Migrants criticises new law-decree on health care

    The Forum for Social Integration of Migrants in Spain, as part of the Ministry of Social Security and Employment, conducted an ex ante evaluation of the new law-decree on health care (Real decreto Ley 16/2012) (See PICUM Bulletin 29 May 2012) and its impact on migrants’ health. The evaluation clearly demonstrates that migrants are generally in better shape than nationals and go to the doctor less. These conclusions invalidate the argument raised by the government as a reason to exclude undocumented migrants from health care according to which many would come to Spain just to take advantage of the health care services. The Asturias region is already setting measures not to exclude undocumented migrants from health care. The region will provide undocumented migrants with a personal health code assigning them to medical centres where they will be able to access medical assistance. Discussions are still on-going concerning access to free medicines.
    Source: Europapress, 14 June 2012

  • SWEDEN / Government extends health care provisions for undocumented migrants

    A health care agreement has been reached that will give undocumented migrants access to subsidised health care for conditions that require urgent medical attention, the same rights currently offered to asylum seekers. Children up to eighteen years of age will have the right to health coverage on equal terms as Swedish children. The agreement was announced at a press conference of the Swedish government and Green Party (Miljöpartiet) on 28 June 2012, unveiling the migration policy agreement. According to the Minister of Social Affairs, Göran Hägglund, the ambition is to have a new legislation in place on 1 July 2013. Although the original goal of the Green party was to provide the same health care rights for undocumented migrants as for those with permanent residence permits in Sweden, Green Party spokesperson Åsa Romson described the proposal as a step in the right direction.
    Source: The Local, 28 June 2012; United Press International, 28 June 2012


  • CYPRUS / Two months to comply with rules on migrants

    The European Commission (EC) has set a two-month deadline for Cyprus to abide by the EU Employer Sanctions Directive (Directive 2009/52/EC) on sanctions and measures against employers who exploit irregular migrants. The Directive, which binds all EU member states, except Denmark, Ireland and UK, prohibits the employment of irregular migrants by punishing employers through fines and aims to prevent irregular migration. According to an EC press release on 22 June 2012, the EC initiated infringement proceedings by sending a letter of formal notice to Cyprus on 30 September 2011, but the State had not notified the measures that would fully transpose the Directive into the Cypriot legislation. Therefore, the EC decided to advance the infringement proceedings and issued a reasoned opinion requesting Cyprus to fully comply with the Directive and giving the country a two-month deadline to respond. The answer of the State will determine if the EC will refer Cyprus to the court or not.
    Source: Cyprus Mail, 22 June 2012

  • GERMANY / BOOK / Domestic workers

    A report entitled “Sans-Papiers-Hausarbeiterinnen zwischen Prekarität und Selbstbestimmung “ (Undocumented domestic workers between insecurity and self-determination) written by Alex Knoll, Sarah Schilliger and Bea Schwager was published in June 2012. It is the first comprehensive study of the living and working conditions of irregular migrants in private households in German-speaking Switzerland. This book provides an insight into their daily lives, giving space for women who usually go unheard to express themselves and speak out about the insecurity and fear they experience on a daily basis. It highlights a variety of strategies of resistance put in place by these individuals to deal with this insecurity. In its concluding remarks, the book formulates policy perspectives on irregular migration and care work in private households.
    Source: Sans-Papiers-anlaufstelle, Edition 22,  June 2012

  • IOM / Humanitarian protection for exploited migrant workers – IOM suggestions to Italy

    Following the first steps towards the implementation of EU directive 2009/52/CE on employers’ sanctions into Italian legislation, the IOM has made some suggestions to the Italian government. The law should not only include sanctions for those exploiting migrant workers, but also protection against possible retaliations against migrants. Also the possibility of a flexible humanitarian residence permit for those migrants who denounce their exploiters is highly recommended by the IOM.
    Source: La Repubblica, 22 June 2012

  • USA / REPORT / System of guest worker visas abused by employers

    Global Workers Justice Alliance has produced a report entitled “Visas Inc: Corporate Control and Policy Incoherence in the U.S. Temporary Foreign Labor System” which provides the first comprehensive analysis of the many visas that employers use and misuse in order to bring foreign workers into the USA. The report notes how vulnerable the system is, with the result that, “U.S. workers are losing out on opportunities, and foreign workers have almost no protection from exploitation, unpaid wages, unsafe conditions and even trafficking and other abuses.” The report concludes with recommendations for the US government to regulate the system, including ensuring the monitoring of the Department of Labour on all visa categories, the release of data on which visas are being given and to whom, reviewing temporary foreign labour visas to harmonise them with US labour market policy, the development of a single visa system, and enhancing cooperation with countries of origin to prevent abuse. Download the report here. A video of the presentation of the report in Washington D.C., which includes testimonies of victims of the system, can be seen here.
    Source: Global Workers Justice Alliance, 31 May 2012


  • PICUM / REPORT / ‘Strategies to end double violence against undocumented women’

    On Thursday 21 June 2012, the launch of PICUM’s seminal report on undocumented women was co-hosted by members of the European Parliament from across the political spectrum. Policymakers and staff from the European Institutions were joined by over 40 external guests representing a broad range of European networks, humanitarian agencies, migrant support organisations as well as governmental agencies and equality bodies. The event was hosted by MEPs, Mr Mikael Gustafsson (GUE/NGL) current Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM), Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP) and Jean Lambert (Greens/EFA). PICUM Board member Mr George Joseph provided an overview of PICUM’s report “Strategies to End Double Violence Against Undocumented Women: Protecting Rights and Ensuring Justice” which responds to growing recognition of the need to prioritise women’s protection needs; presenting a broad range of legislative, policy and practical measures that succeed in putting victims first, migration status second. From partnerships between police and local NGOs, to regional initiatives and national legislation, this report proves how this can be done practically, coherently and in accordance with the duties of law enforcement, legislators, civil society, and policymakers. The examples are testimony to the agency, capacity and impact of migrant women themselves in bringing about change. Providing an overview of the laws, practices and partnerships that respect rights and ensure justice for all women in Europe without discrimination, it shows what works, where, and how it came about. PICUM’s report ‘Strategies to End Double Violence Against Undocumented Women’ is now available for free download from the PICUM website in English, French and Spanish.
    Source: PICUM Blog, 28 June 2012


  • EU / Separated Children in Europe Programme publishes position paper on age assessment

    The Separated Children in Europe Programme (SCEP) has published its “Position Paper on Age Assessment in the Context of Separated Children in Europe”. It aims to provide concrete recommendations to Member States and other relevant stakeholders on how to ensure full respect of the rights that separated children are entitled to, when doubts concerning their age may arise. SCEP’s positions presented in this paper are based on the current situation concerning laws, policies and practices related to age assessment in Europe, primarily as it resulted from a review undertaken by SCEP in sixteen European countries. Download the report here.
    Source: ECRE Weekly Bulletin, 22 June 2012

  • FRANCE / The current law does not allow migrants to defend their rights

    Réseau Education Sans Frontières (RESF) has reported the case of a Thai family living in France for nine years who was in the process of regularising their status through work. Their employer had initiated the procedure. Answering to the police’s notification of a meeting, which Ms. Prawanna thought was to finalise her regularisation application, Ms. Prawanna was immediately arrested and put in a detention centre with a flight to Bangkok planned for the following day. Thanks to the help of parents, teachers and elected officials, Ms. Prawanna was freed on 29 May 2012 and could join her husband and her two and three year-old children. RESF again denounced the implementation of the current law, which prevents undocumented migrants from defending their rights due to automatic decisions and short time limits. RESF asked for a moratorium on detention and deportation of parents, families and young people.
    Source: Réseau Education Sans Frontières, 22 May 2012

  • ITALY / Ukrainian student denied taking final exams

    A student of Ukrainian origin was denied the right to take part in his final exams at Natta high school in Milan as he was found without a residence permit and had already turned eighteen. According to the regional education superintendent the school’s decision was caused by a lack of knowledge as it is common practice in Italy to admit undocumented students to the final exams even if they have already turned eighteen. He seemed to suggest that the decision would be reconsidered. Italian trade unions asserted the right to study and pointed out that schools have always allowed undocumented students to take part in exams, although the diploma is often not officially recognised until the regularisation of the person.
    Source: La Repubblica, 13 June 2012

  • NETHERLANDS / Dutch government appeals against decision to allow undocumented migrants to undertake work placements

    The Dutch government has announced that it will appeal against a court ruling that decided that an undocumented student is allowed to undertake a work placement (See PICUM Bulletin 29 May 2012). In the Netherlands undocumented migrants are not allowed to carry out work and a work placement is not considered to be an educational activity. During the appeal period the government will not hand out sanctions in case of infractions. Despite the appeal a majority in Parliament favours granting work placements to undocumented students. Currently it is estimated that there are 500 undocumented students carrying out work placements and a further 1,000 irregular young adults carrying out an internship.
    Source: De Stentor, 25 June 2012

  • UK / People earning less than £18,600 a year prevented from bringing family to the UK, campaign around changes to family migration rules continues

    People with spouses who are not citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) will have to earn at least £18,600 a year if they want to set up their family home in the UK, under new immigration rules. The changes also include an extension of the probationary period from two to five years. The planned changes mean that lower-paid British citizens and settled migrants would be forced to emigrate to live with a loved one from overseas, or face family separation. The income requirement is increased if the spouse or fiancé has children, to £22,400 for one child, and an additional £2,400 for each further child. A briefing from the Migrants Rights Network notes that according to the Migration Observatory, this will prevent 47% of the working population of the UK from sponsoring a foreign partner from 9th July 2012, when the changes come into effect. MRN are also urging people to join their campaign opposing the changes.
    Source: The Daily Mail, 10 June 2012; Migrants Rights Network, 21 June 2012

  • UK / REPORT / Coram Children’s Legal Centre releases new report

    The Migrant Children’s Project at Coram Children’s Legal Centre released a report in May 2012 which draws on interviews with practitioners and cases from the centre’s work with migrant children. The report shows the strain on several legal advice and support services and analyses the complex administrative and legal processes that separated migrant children have to navigate in the UK, also listing the range of professionals who can assist them.
    Source: Coram Children’s Legal Centre, May 2012

  • USA / College Education Board releases a resource guide for undocumented students

    The College Board has released a state-specific resource guide for undocumented students in the USA.  The Repository of Resources for Undocumented Students gives information regarding admissions, financial aid, scholarships and support groups in eleven out of the fourteen states that have in-state tuition rates for undocumented students. The report also contains a General Resources section listing various NGO and corporate scholarships available to undocumented students. The report is authored by Alejandra Rincon, an immigrant rights activist.
    Source: U.S. News University, 5 June 2012; Repository of Resources for Undocumented Students

  • USA / Young migrants making dangerous journey USA-Mexico

    Between October 2011 and March 2012, a total of 5,252 children were taken into custody after trying to enter the USA irregularly from Mexico. This was a 93% increase from the same period in 2010-2011, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. The department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) handles the custody of undocumented children caught in the border zone. It has been suggested that there have been a number of drivers for the increased migration of unaccompanied children, including (1) tightened security at the border; (2) what experts refer to as the ‘caging effect’ whereby undocumented migrant men are locked in the USA and so their children travel alone to join them; and (3) a direct correlation to the increasing number of migrant women who cross this border, whose children may then follow them.
    Source: BBC 12 June 2012; Observer, 14 June 2012


  • USA / Obama Administration to halt deportations and grant work permits to undocumented migrant youth who have no criminal record and meet certain criteria

    On Friday 15 June 2012, President Obama announced that the Department of Homeland Security will stop deporting undocumented migrant youth and allow them to obtain work permits if they arrived in the USA (1) before they turned sixteen, (2) are younger than 30, (3) have no criminal record (4) have been in the USA for at least five consecutive years, (5) graduated from a U.S. High School or hold a GED, or served in the military. Although welcomed by the million “DREAMers”, organisations who have been advocating for the Dream Act remain cautious and are waiting to see if Obama’s promises become a reality.
    Source: Wall Street Journal, 15 June 2012 ; Colorlines, 18 June 2012

  • CYPRUS / Amnesty International: irregular migrants are treated like criminals whilst Ministry for Internal Affairs responds that most of the accusations of the Amnesty International are unsubstantiated

    An Amnesty International report released on 18 June 2012 stated that hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers who arrive every year to Cyprus are detained without having had committed any crime. They are subjected to prolonged detentions only for the purpose of being deported, even in cases where their deportation is impossible or the Supreme Court has ordered their release. Giorgos Kosmopoulos, Amnesty International’s expert on Cyprus, said that Cypriot authorities breach their international obligations on purpose when they detain migrants. He called on them to find alternative measures for controlling migration. The Ministry for Internal Affairs reconfirmed its commitment to protect human rights and said that most of the accusations of Amnesty International are unsubstantiated. It was clarified that Cyprus has already supported more than 2,800 persons. The Ministry stated that detention is used only as the last resort and only for non-EU migrants, who do not possess a legal permit of residence and do not want to be deported. In relation to asylum seekers, the Ministry stressed that the examination of their case has priority and it is ensured that they are fully protected according to  refugee legislation. There are delays only in cases of asylum seekers, who support that they are victims of torture, because they have to be examined by a medical committee. It was added that 85% of the detained migrants are being deported after four or five days and in the rest of the cases no migrant is detained for more than six months, as imposed by the EU legislation. The Ministry also mentioned its efforts to improve the detention centres in order to make them comply with the criteria of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture.
    Source: Cyprus Mail, 19 June 2012; Fileleftheros, 19 June 2012 ; Fileleftheros, 20 June 2012

  • FRANCE / French Court of Cassation against police custody of undocumented migrants

    The criminal chamber of the Court of Cassation has ruled against police custody for undocumented migrants. For years undocumented migrants have been detained in police custody before being placed in detention centres and then deported. This police custody were based purely on the fact that people staying without documents could get a prison sentence, a practice which has been condemned by the European Court of Justice. The new ruling of the Court of Cassation could put an end to these abusive situations. In Toulouse, a judge already took this ruling into account to refuse police custody for undocumented migrants.
    Source: La CIMADE, 7 June 2012

  • GREECE / New report about the detention conditions of children at the Greek-Turkish border

    In a new report entitled “Unaccompanied Minors in the Greek Turkish Borders” published on 22 June 2012, the Greek Council for Refugees has collected data pertaining to the detention of children in the Evros region. As the report concludes, ‘problematic provisions and legal gaps, lack of care, insufficient reception centres and compulsory detention in inhuman conditions are the children’s reality in the region, with incalculable short and long-term consequences on their lives and development.’ Download the report here. For the month of June, Greece has been the focus on the global End Immigration Detention of Children campaign. For more information click here.
    Source: End Immigration Detention of Children campaign update, 22 June 2012

  • GREECE / REPORT / Detention conditions of children at Greek-Turkish border

    The Greek Council for Refugees released a report entitled “Unaccompanied Minors in the Greek-Turkish Borders: Evros Region March 2011 – March 2012”, about the special holding facility for irregular migrants “Fylakio” in the border area, based on twelve months of monitoring. The report concludes that Greece needs to rethink its policy regarding minor migrants and calls upon the Greek government to follow the good practices of Belgium, Argentina and Sweden.
    Source: End Child Detention, 22 June 2012

  • MALTA / Death in detention

    Following the tragic death of Mamadou Kamara in Detention Service (DS) custody on 30 June 2012, 10 NGOs have signed a common statement condemning the violent incident and calling upon the Maltese government to respond accordingly. Mamadou had attempted to escape from the detention facility on Friday, 29 June 2012 but was caught by DS officers and arrived dead at Paola polyclinic having succumbed to injuries to his groin and lower back. The NGOs are calling for the inquiry into Mamadou’s death to be truly independent and effective, for the conduction of a comprehensive and inclusive review of Malta’s policy of mandatory detention including fast implementation of recommendations put forward by these inquiries, and strengthening the mandate and capacity of the Detention Visitors Board responsible for monitoring detention conditions. Dr Neil Falzon, Director of Aditus Foundation, a PICUM member, said “Malta is duty-bound to ensure that all persons deprived of their personal liberty – for whatever reasons – are effectively protected from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Their right to life must be safeguarded and any alleged violations must be investigated and perpetrators brought to justice. Importantly, any institutional failures should be addressed in order to prevent future violations.”
    Source: Malta Today, 2 June 2012

  • NETHERLANDS / Government funds return of unsuccessful Iraqi asylum seekers

    The Dutch Minister for Migration, Gerd Leers, met his Iraqi counterpart to discuss the repatriation of unsuccessful asylum seekers from Iraq. Since 2008 about 2,500 Iraqis have returned to Iraq, but there are still 1,300 people waiting for repatriation. The Dutch government has announced the allocation of €5.5 million to support the reintegration of unsuccessful Iraqi asylum seekers back into their country of origin. Leers said that the money will only be provided if Iraq cooperates in accepting their return.
    Source: NOS, 21 June 2012; Brabants Dagblad, 21 June 2012; Nu.nl, 21 June 2012

  • UN / REPORT / UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau to focus on immigration detention

    The report is submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 17/12, and is the first to be presented to the Human Rights Council by the newly appointed Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Francois Crépeau, who assumed his functions on 1 August 2011. It provides a summary of activities undertaken by the mandate holder since taking up his functions. The first part of the thematic report sets out the international and regional human rights legal framework, including with regards to groups of migrants with special protection needs, and the second part focuses on alternatives to detention. The report draws on the work of the previous mandate holders in their reports on the human rights of migrants deprived of their liberty (E/CN.4/2003/85) and on the criminalisation of irregular migration (A/HRC/7/12 and A/65/222). Migrants Rights International (MRI) delivered an aural intervention “Freedom is the Rule.  Detention is the Exception!”, in response to the report by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on 22 June 2012 at the 11th Plenary Meeting – 20th Session of the Human Rights Council. Watch the video here. Earlier that week on 19 June, MRI also held a side event related to the Special Rapporteur’s report, “Detention of Migrant Workers: A Global Human Rights Crisis”, where Francois Crépeau presented its work. On the occasion Mr. Crépeau said that “Freedom is the rule. Detention is the exception”, which became the catch-phrase of his report and the title of MRI’s intervention.
    Source: OHCHR, 22 June 2012

  • UK / Supreme Court clarifies the importance of children’s rights in parental deportation cases

    The Coram Children’s Legal Centre has issued a press release welcoming the UK Supreme Court clarification on the importance of children’s rights in parental deportation cases. Judgment was handed down by the Supreme Court on 20 June 2012 on three cases in which the Coram Children’s Legal Centre intervened to make submissions on the weight and importance to be given to the interests of children whose parents or carers face deportation, in deciding whether or not to allow deportations to proceed. The ruling by the Supreme Court makes it clear that requested states must do much more, and at a much earlier stage, to understand the impact on the lives of children affected, to consider alternatives to deportation, to seek to minimise the damage to children if possible and, in particular, to ensure that children’s best interests are of primary consideration when making a decision which is likely to have a serious and fundamental impact on a child’s family life. This ruling does not, as these cases show, prevent deportation where the seriousness of the offences committed by the parent justifies it in the public interest, but requires that the high standards laid down by the Supreme Court in its judgment in ZH (Tanzania) v SSHD UKSC04 2011 on children’s rights must not be ignored or taken for granted (see PICUM Bulletin 9 November and 14 March 2011).
    Source: The Coram Children’s Legal Centre, Press release 20 June 2012

  • RUSSIA / Changes to Russian police law concerning detention of irregular immigrants

    On Friday 15 June 2012, the Russian Government passed a change to the law ‘On Police’ which delays the creation of a special institutions for detention of foreigners awaiting deportation. The government is postponing for one year the establishment of these special institutions, which were due to be created no later than 1 January 2012. Until the special institutions are created, the police will continue to be charged with the task of detaining irregular migrants awaiting deportation. The special institutions are to be created for the detention of irregular migrants already sentenced to be deported. The one year postponement of the special institutions is due to lack of finances.
    Source: Ria, 15 June 2012


  • EU / New Webzine

    The latest edition of ENARgy webzine focuses on the human rights defenders in Europe. Following an overview of the situation through varied articles examples of key cases in Europe are discussed. An article is dedicated to the case of Doros Polykarpou, Director of KISA, a Cypriot PICUM member who was charged, but whose charge was  dropped on 5 June, for rioting and participating in an illegal assembly following a violent incident at the Rainbow Festival in 2010 (See PICUM Bulletin 17 January 2012 and 18 June 2012. The Webzine also addresses the impact of EU support to the situation of human rights defenders in non-EU countries, as well as assessing whether the EU is doing enough to protect human rights defenders in the EU. Access the ENARgy here.

  • NORTH AFRICA / Migration and revolution

    The article, “Migration and revolution” has been published in the Forced Migration Review (#39) on North Africa and displacement. After the explosion of popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, European leaders and politicians were expecting a “migration crisis” caused by massive arrivals of migrants on the continent. According to the article, the crisis never happened and it doesn’t do justice to this complex phenomenon. Europe’s  answer to the Arab Spring migrations reflects the gaps between European rhetoric and its practice: 2,000 estimated deaths at sea in 2011, €87 million budgeted for Frontex in 2010, and the increasing externalisation of border controls to southern countries. The article argues that this Eurocentric approach completely neglects the effects of the Arab Spring in its own countries of origin. Read more here.
    Source: Nando Sigona, 19 June 2012


  • CAMPAIGN / “When you don’t exist “

    Amnesty International has this week launched the campaign “When you don´t exist” to ensure that migrants’ rights are respected during border control and return operations. The “S.O.S. Europe – Human rights and Migration Control” report accompanies the launch. The report examines some aspects of the human rights impact of European migration control policies, looking in particular at the agreements between Italy and Libya and their consequences. It calls for all border control policies to be consistent with human rights obligations and for transparency from all governments in their agreements on migration control. It also raises concerns about serious failures in relation to rescue-at-sea operations, which require further investigation. View Youtube film here. For further information follow it on Twitter or Facebook.

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