- UNITED NATIONS
- EUROPEAN POLICY DEVELOPMENTS
- NATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS
- HEALTH CARE
- LABOUR AND FAIR WORKING CONDITIONS
- UNDOCUMENTED WOMEN
- UNDOCUMENTED CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES
- DETENTION AND DEPORTATION
- PUBLICATIONS AND OTHER RESOURCES
- OTHER NEWS
CAMPAIGN / S.O.S. Europe: What’s the deal at Europe’s borders?
As part of its International Migration Campaign, Amnesty International launched the petition “S.O.S. Europe: What’s the deal at Europe’s borders?” The aim is to call on members of the European Parliament to fulfill their watchdog role and ensure public scrutiny of migration control agreements and operations and accountability for their direct and indirect human rights consequences. Signatures will be handed to representatives of the European Parliament through a boat action on 24 April 2013. The plan is to have an old boat in the streets near the European Parliament for the delivery of the signatures. To sign the petition, click here
EU / EU plans to reinforce the detection of undocumented migrants through a ‘smart border package’
The European Commission has published a press release stating that it aims to implement a “smart border package” to move “towards a more modern and efficient border management”. According to the Commission, the goal is to speed up, facilitate and reinforce border check procedures for foreigners who frequently travel to the EU. However, the Registered Traveller Programme (RTP) and an Entry/Exit System (EES) also aim for better detection of undocumented migrants through technologies which will alert authorities if non-EU citizens overstay their visa. “Modernising our systems will also lead to a higher level of security by preventing irregular border crossings and detecting those who overstay”, said Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs. The Greens/European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament, among others, criticised the plans for criminalising non-EU travellers and for incurring costs of hundreds of millions of euro at times of budget cuts. According to media sources, the development and maintenance of the system would cost about 500 million euro between 2015 and 2020. In June 2012, the Heinrich Böll Foundation published a study on the human rights implications of the EU’s new border security initiatives. The study concludes that the EU has not sufficiently investigated the impact on fundamental human rights of EUROSUR, the Registered Traveller Programme (RTP) and the Entry/Exit System (EES).
Source: EU Commission, 28 February 2013; Deutsche Welle, 16 February 2013
USA / Border security becomes central to U.S. immigration reform debate
After President Barack Obama put forth an ambitious second-term agenda on potential immigration reform, border security has become a central issue of the debate. Several Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee expressed skepticism that changes to U.S. immigration laws would adequately improve border controls, punish employers who hire undocumented workers and remove undocumented people who commit crimes. The U.S. Senate is expected to take the lead in immigration reform. A group of eight bipartisan senators are currently working on legislation.
Source: The Wall Street Journal Europe, 13 February 2013
GENEVA / EVENT / General discussion on the role of migration statistics for treaty reporting and migration policies
The UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW) will hold a general discussion on “the role of migration statistics for treaty reporting and migration policies” on 22 April 2013 in Geneva. Representatives of governments, UN bodies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations are invited to participate. Registration is open until 8 April 2013. Written contributions can be submitted until 15 April 2013.
For more information, click here
UN / Business & Human Rights Resource Centre launches online portals on UN Guiding Principles and UN Working Group
The non-profit Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has launched two new online portals providing information on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and on the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights. Both portals provide human rights related information in seven languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish), including information on migration related projects and events. The platforms aim to complement information available on the website of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
EUROPEAN POLICY DEVELOPMENTS
EU / Dublin Regulation: ten years on but little to celebrate
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Dublin II Regulation, whereby asylum seekers are returned to the country of first entry to the EU to submit their asylum claim, Forum Réfugiés-Cosi, ECRE, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and their national partners released a comparative study on how this regulation is applied by states. Entitled “The Dublin II Regulation: Lives on Hold”, the report shows that the Dublin system continues to fail both refugees and Member State”. It reflects on the impact of the regulation on families who are forced apart, asylum seekers who are pushed into destitution and detained for prolonged periods during the process with no guarantee of ultimately accessing the asylum process. The report makes recommendations regarding immediate action to address the failings identified in the current practice within the Dublin system that will not be in the Dublin III regulations. Concluding remarks call for a fundamental review of the asylum process in order to establish “a more humane and equitable system” which favours integration.
Source: Forum Réfugiés-Cosi,18 February 2013
EU / Launch of the EU Civil Society Platform against Trafficking in Human Beings
Civil society organisations from EU member states working on trafficking in human beings are invited to express an interest to participate in the first meeting of the EU Civil Society Platform on Trafficking in Human Beings which will take place on 31 May 2013 in Brussels. The platform will serve as a forum to exchange expertise and ideas. Bringing together civil society organisations from EU member states working at European, national and local levels, the Platform will facilitate the creation of partnerships and synergies in this field. Participation of civil society organisations from third countries is foreseen for future meetings. To apply, please read the call for interest and send the completed form until 3 April 2013, 5 p.m. to HOME-ANTITRAFFICKING(at)ec.europa.eu. Applications will be examined by the European Commission ensuring a maximum number of participants with a geographical balance to include as many member states as possible and taking into account a diversity of areas of expertise for a comprehensive approach to EU policy. The need for the platform was also addressed at the Brussels conference “Working together towards the eradication of trafficking in human beings: the way forward” on 18 October 2012. To mark the 6th EU Anti-Trafficking Day, the Cyprus EU Presidency and the European Commission had organised the conference which discussed the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE / Mounting tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean
A Parliamentary Assembly debate on migration and asylum on 24 January 2013 adopted a resolution to tackle the mounting pressure and tension over asylum and irregular migration into Greece, Turkey and other Mediterranean countries. The provisional version says that enhanced EU border control in Greece has not helped significantly in dealing with the situation of irregular migrants, asylum seekers and refugees already in Greece. The resolution also notes that detention has not improved the situation and that instead, xenophobia has increased. The Assembly concluded that Greece does not have the capacity to deal with the scale of the problem the country is facing and called on Member States of the Council of Europe to substantially increase their assistance to Greece, Turkey and other front-line countries to ensure that they have a realistic possibility of achieving what is expected of them.
Source: Council of Europe
POLICY BRIEF / Looking beyond Stockholm
The Migration Policy Institute Europe launched the first of a series of policy briefs on 20 February 2012 which will examine some of the top European migration challenges and opportunities beyond the Stockholm programme as the EU develops a new European agenda for immigration and asylum policy. In this first brief, “Facing 2020: developing a new European agenda for immigration and asylum policy”, MPI Europe Director Elizabeth Collett argues that the fiscal uncertainty and the jobs crisis which is used to justify a lack of commitment to reviewing the EU migration policy make a strategic approach relevant. The brief notes that the EU will have to work more actively with national policy makers to develop a migration policy that is holistic and considers other policy areas including employment, social affairs and integration.
Source: Migration Policy Institute Europe, 20 February 2013
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT / The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs issues a report on the integration of migrants
The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs of the European Parliament issued a report on 14 February 2013 for a motion for a parliamentary resolution on the integration of migrants, its effects on the labour market and the external dimension of social security coordination. The motion provides various recommendations on the integration of migrants and calls for solutions to be found in relation to the “desperate situation of undocumented migrants and failed asylum seekers”. The Committee further notes that undocumented migrants have very few prospects for integration and that opening up channels for regularisation would improve integration prospects. The motion for a resolution will be debated in plenary on 12 March and voted on 13 March 2013.
The full text of the recommendation is available here, the full report on the integration of migrants, its effects on the labour market and the external dimension of social security coordination is here.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE / PACE calls for measures to combat trafficking in migrants
In a Resolution adopted on 25 January, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) calls for measures to be taken to combat trafficking in migrants for forced labour, but ensuring that victims of this trafficking are not penalised. The measures proposed include the approval of laws to condemn the organisers of this crime, improvements in the regulation of employment and the revision of policies relating to migration and the return of immigrants. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), at least 20.9 million people across the globe – three in every thousand – are trapped in forced labour and 44% of these people (9.1 million) are victims of trafficking.
Source: Bulletin of Legal and Institutional Policies, University of Girona, 25 January 2013
GERMANY / Revised edition of Counselling Manual on “Illegality”
The German Red Cross and Caritas Germany issued a new and revised edition of the counselling guidelines for undocumented migrants (Aufenthaltsrechtliche Illegalität) in October 2012. The guidelines deal with legal issues concerning schooling, health care, housing, maternal care, social services and work. A list of useful addresses is also included. The brochure is available for free download.
ITALY / “A day without migrants”
Following the first general strike of migrants held on 1 March 2010, migrants residing in Italy protested once again against the current national immigration policies and laws on 1 March 2013. In various cities across Italy, migrants organised specific initiatives and local demonstrations aiming at raising awareness on the vulnerable situation of both undocumented and documented migrants in Italy. During this “day without migrants”, protestors called for better migration policies that would ensure freedom of movement, alternatives to migrant detention, the right of citizenship for migrant children born in Italy and migrants’ access to social rights.
Source: La Repubblica, 28 February 2013
SWEDEN / Racial profiling by the police to track down undocumented migrants
A recent increase of incidents where Swedish police targeted foreign-looking people to allegedly detect and deport undocumented migrants has led to a renewed debate on the rights of undocumented migrants in the country. The editor-in-chief of the socialist weekly Arbetaren, Daniel Wiklander, outlined how the project Reva, which stands for ‘legal and effective execution of policy’ (Rättssäkert och effektivt verkställighetsarbete), is used to find and deport undocumented migrants in Sweden. According to Daniel Wiklander, the police stop people in the streets with pretexts such as alleged traffic violations but actually aim to check people’s identification documents. There are also reports of cases where the police interrupted weddings with pepper spray to get hold of undocumented immigrants. Reva is supported by the European Return Fund which has a total budget of €676 million for the period of 2008 to 2013.
Source: The Local, 21 February, 2013; The Local, 22 February, 2013
SWITZERLAND / Federal Council does not intend to change the legal status of undocumented migrants
The Federal Council of Switzerland stated in a release on 13 February 2013 that it does not see an immediate need to regularise the status of undocumented migrants. According to the Federal Council, social insurance regulation is sufficient, even with regard to undocumented migrants. The release also notes that undocumented migrants are generally obliged to obtain health insurance in Switzerland but that their irregular status makes them avoid contact with authorities. As a consequence, they rarely receive social benefits. Moreover, the Federal Council sees a direct connection of undocumented migration to informal labour and aims to reduce the number of undocumented migrants through combatting informal labour in the country.
Source: Bulletin of Legal and Institutional Policies, University of Girona, February 2013
RUSSIA / The fight against the “rubber apartments” bill
The State Duma has approved in the first reading a bill on the tougher regulation of residential registration in Russia on 22 February. The new bill targets “rubber” apartments, apartments where hundreds of migrants are currently registered to live. Registration in Russia is required to obtain a job. However, if a migrant cannot buy an apartment, then only close family members, living in the city, will be able to register him or her. Not only is this bill making it harder for migrants to obtain registration, the new bill will also harshly target those who do not have registration. The bill allows the police and migration services to fine people who are not registered for every day of living without registration, allowing greater opportunities for corruption and discrimination against undocumented migrants. The opposition is calling this bill a return to serfdom. In addition, the Russian Comity of Human Rights has stated that the new bill will increase corruption in Russia, mostly in the form of bribes. One owner of a rubber apartment commented that the bill is creating an artificial problem, and not addressing the problem that the migrants do not have any place to live where they could be registered.
Source: Novaya Gazeta, 18 January 2013
USA / Key figures on the number of undocumented migrants in The United States from 1990 to 2010
The International Migration Review (IMR) published a report on 15 February 2013 entitled “Unauthorized Immigration to the United States: Annual Estimates and Components of Change, by State, 1990 to 2010”. The report highlights what were the main immigration trends in the United States between 1990 and 2010. Contrary to discourses that tend to over-estimate the number of undocumented immigrants living the USA, the total of undocumented migrants in the United Stated decreased. The total of undocumented migrants in the United Stated was about 11.7 million in January 2010. In comparison with the period from 1990-2001, the number has decreased significantly, as the report estimates that the number of undocumented migrants in the U.S peaked at more than one million annually between 1999 and 2001 and then decreased significantly thereafter. According to the study several factors could explain this trend, among them, the economic crisis and less favorable economic conditions, the increase of security and measures after September 11, 2001 as well as the Department of Homeland Security enforcement. To read the report click here.
BELGIUM / Financial support for treatment of undocumented migrants with HIV limited
The municipal public welfare centre (CPAS/OCMW) in Antwerp announced that it will stop granting undocumented migrants infected with HIV the EUR 800 per month necessary to cover their treatment. The request for the grant will now be decided on a case by case basis. Dirk Avonts (Green Party) and Dirk Van Duppen (Social Democrats), who are politicians and physicians, denounced the decision considering the need for all patients to receive treatment in order to prevent the spread and a possible development of more resistant viruses. The Minister of Health, Laurette Onkelinx (Socialist Party), met with Maggie De Block of the Liberal Party and Secretary of State on Asylum and Migration, to discuss a solution for undocumented migrants with HIV.
Source: Le Soir, 18 February 2013
FRANCE / LETTER / Associations are alerted about the violations of the right to health care for undocumented children in Mayotte
On 27 February 2013, two French associations, Migrants Outre-Mer (MOM) and l’Observatoire du Droit à la Santé des Etrangers (ODSE), sent a joint letter to the French Health Minister, Marisol Touraine, and the Human Rights Ombudsman (le Défenseur des Droits), Dominique Baudis, to call their attention to the violations of the rights of undocumented children to access health care and protection in Mayotte. Mayotte, an island near Madagascar, became an overseas region of France (Département) in March 2011 and still implements specific legislation on access to health care which discriminates undocumented children and their families. The associations urge the French Health Minister and the Human Rights Ombudsman to put an end to these discriminations by removing all the barriers that prevent undocumented children from accessing health care, allowing these children to directly benefit from social security, and change Mayotte’s health care legislation. The joint letter of the MOM and the ODSE is available here.
PUBLICATION / Training for health providers to understand the needs of trafficked persons
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Gender Violence & Health Centre of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) published a training package titled “Caring for Trafficked Persons Facilitator’s Guide” for health-care providers in 2012. The training package is designed to help health-care providers to understand the phenomenon of human trafficking and what are the subsequent health problems in order to better respond to the needs of victims of human trafficking. The training is designed for all types and levels of health providers, particularly those actively providing services. To read the report click here.
UN / United Nations discuss children’s right to health
The annual day of discussion on children’s rights at the Human Rights Council will this year be dedicated to children’s right to the highest attainable standard of health, and be held on 7 March 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland. The Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) has prepared a study on the issue in advance of the day, which recommends, among other things, that States take appropriate legislative and other measures to fulfil the right of the child to health “to the maximum extent of their available resources”, ensuring the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of essential health services for all children, without discrimination. The study is available here. The OHCHR study and day of discussion were decided by a UN Human Rights Council resolution on the rights of the child (19/37) with similar recommendations around ensuring non-discriminatory access to health care services as well as all other all civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights for migrant children, and children of migrant parents. The resolution is available here.
EVENT / Universal health coverage for children with a focus on migrant children
At the occasion of the 22nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, a side event conference on “Universal Health Coverage for Children in the post 2015 UN development framework: a specific focus on children in the context of migration” took place in Geneva on 4 March. The event was co-organised by PICUM, Terre des Hommes International Federation, IOM and End Immigration Detention of Children. Topics of discussion were the impact of an irregular status on children and how detention and deportation affects their psychological and physical well-being.
For more information, click here.
LABOUR AND FAIR WORKING CONDITIONS
UNITED STATES / REPORT / Blueprint for ending international labour recruitment abuse
On 5 February, the federation of labour organisations AFL-CIO, the American Federation of Teachers, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (CDM), Farmworker Justice, the Global Workers Justice Alliance, the National Guestworker Alliance, the Southern Poverty Law Center and various other international and national organisations launched a new report titled The American Dream Up for Sale: A Blueprint for Ending International Labor Recruitment Abuse. The report highlights abuses experienced by internationally recruited workers and proposes a blueprint for change. The report of the International Labor Recruitment Working Group (ILRWG) identifies the shortcomings and gaps in the current regulatory and enforcement framework governing international worker programs and discusses issues such as access to justice, freedom of movement and employer accountability. To view the report, click here.
UNITED STATES / REPORT / Abuses of Migrant Workers in the U.S. Fair and Carnival Industry
On the occasion of United Nations World Day of Social Justice on 20 February, the American University Washington College of Law Immigrant Justice Clinic and Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (CDM) released a report describing the abuse of migrant workers in the U.S. fair and carnival industry. “Taken for a Ride: Migrant Workers in the U.S. Fair and Carnival Industry” outlines how migrant workers form the backbone of one of America’s favourite pastimes and sets out recommendations for regulation of labour conditions. Key recommendations include legislation to hold employers, recruiters, and their agents jointly and severally liable, the removal of any exemptions from minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping provisions for amusement industry employers from labour laws, the requirement to reimburse employers for all travel costs and amendments to federal anti-discrimination laws to address the available protections for migrant workers. The information for the report was gathered using in-depth interviews of migrant fair and carnival workers whose personal stories are also outlined in the report. The full report is available here.
REPORT / How Immigration Reform Can Stop Retaliation and Advance Labor Rights
The National Employment Law Project (NELP) in the United States has published a report called “Workers’ Rights on ICE: How Immigration Reform Can Stop Retaliation and Advance Labor Rights” on 27 February 2013. The report highlights the exploitation of low-paid immigrant labourers and provides principles to protect immigrant workers’ rights. Recommendations include pathways to citizenship on the basis of physical presence in the United States instead of employment requirements. Status regularisation should include family members of applicants who would otherwise not qualify for citizenship and immigration reform must include a broad waiver for offenses associated with unauthorized work to protect undocumented migrants.To view the full report, click here.
GLOBAL / IOM calls for gender-sensitive migration policies to ensure safe migration and migrant women’s empowerment
Ambassador William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), announced on 4 March 2013 that the IOM is currently working to eradicate violence against women worldwide at every stage of the migration process. To this end, the IOM is currently working on policies and programmes that aim to empower female migrant workers and migrant women who have been victims of violence by helping them to understand their legal rights. Mr Swing highlighted that migration is a way for many women and girls to fulfil their potential and stressed their vulnerability and risk to become victims of exploitation and abuse.
Source: IOM, 4 March 2013
UN / PICUM attends General Discussion on “Access to Justice”
Following the submission of its recommendations to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), PICUM attended the half-day General Discussion on “Access to Justice” on 18 February 2013. The General Discussion was organised by the CEDAW on the occasion of its 54th session, held from 11 February to 1 March 2013. PICUM met with several members of CEDAW to highlight PICUM’s key concerns about undocumented women’s lack of access to justice. The discussion marked the first step in the Committee’s process of elaborating a “General Recommendation on Access to Justice”. Participants in the discussion spoke in favour of a full and inclusive implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, particularly to ensure all women’s right of access to justice. Wilder Tayler, Secretary General of the International Commission of Jurists, referred to undocumented women as one of the most vulnerable groups and called on State Parties to the Convention to ensure inclusive access to justice for all. To find out more about the General Discussion, click here. For more information on undocumented migrant women, we invite you to download the PICUM report entitled “Strategies to End Double Violence Against Undocumented Women: Protecting Rights and Ensuring Justice”, published in 2012 in English, French and Spanish.
USA / Undocumented Women Mobilise Around Senate Hearing on Immigration Reform
As immigration reform takes centre stage in the US political debate, undocumented women are playing an active role in engaging policy makers on the issue, informing them of their experiences of living and working as irregular migrants and calling for positive change. Two cases garnered particular attention. On 13 February 2013, 66-year-old Maria Reyes, who used to be an undocumented health care worker, interrupted the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “comprehensive immigration reform”. As Director of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano took the microphone, the undocumented woman stood up and called for an end to the deportations tearing undocumented families apart. Following this impromptu intervention, Ms Reyes was detained for more than eight hours. Criticising the treatment of Ms Reyes, migrants’ rights organisations have called on the Chair of the Immigration Subcommittee, Senator Chuck Schumer, to invite an undocumented Latino worker to provide a formal testimony at the next hearing. In the second case, 18-year-old undocumented student Jessica Bravo scheduled an appointment with her local Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) as part of an initiative among undocumented youth to engage members of Congress and ask them to vote for a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million irregular migrants in the United States. Bravo, a community college student in Huntington Beach, was smuggled over the border from Mexico by her parents when she was three years of age. Dana Rohrabacher allegedly told the young woman that he only represented citizens and that he “hates illegals”. In disputing the case, Rohrabacher told the LA Times “I don’t hate anyone, but just because you are a wonderful person doesn’t mean you deserve to be an American citizen.”
Source: Presente.org, February 2013; LA Times, 18 February 2013
UNDOCUMENTED CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES
EU / European Commission recognises vulnerability of undocumented children and recommends improved access to health care services
The European Commission has adopted a Recommendation: Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage, for tackling and preventing the disadvantage of children at risk of poverty and social exclusion. It takes a three pillar approach: addressing access to adequate resources, access to affordable quality services, and children’s right to participate. The EC Recommendation notes that some migrant children are at greater risk of poverty and social exclusion due to multiple disadvantages. In addition, it includes a recommendation that health systems are improved to ensure all children enjoy their right to health, listing undocumented children as one of the groups requiring special attention. The recommendation is available online here.
Source: European Commission
FILM / Documentary ‘Inocente’ wins Oscar
The documentary of the daily struggle of the 15-year-old Mexican-born Inocente Izucar from San Diego, California won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short at this year’s 85th Academy Awards. The documentary describes how the young, homeless and undocumented girl pursues her dream of becoming a painter. The documentary was produced by Fine Films, SALTY Features and the non-profit production company Shine Global.
Source: Huffington Post, 24 February 2013
PICUM / International conference on realizing the rights of children and families in an irregular migration situation
On 26 February, PICUM, The Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants, held its international conference on the rights of children and their families in an irregular migration situation in Brussels. The event was attended by 150 participants and gave a voice to policymakers, representatives of the EU and civil society organizations, activists and campaigners, researchers, journalists and undocumented migrants to discuss how access to services for undocumented children and their families is limited in law and practice. Participants also shared good practices in workshops and emphasized the need to empower undocumented youth to break down existing barriers. On the occasion of the conference, PICUM launched its toolkit “Children First and Foremost: Realising the rights of children and families in an irregular migration situation” which sets out strategies to overcome barriers. The toolkit is available for free download in English , French and Spanish.
SPAIN / Immigration authority of Catalonia denied the renewal of residence permits for 376 children last year
The crisis in Spain has also affected immigrants: tens of thousands of immigrants in Spain have returned to their countries of origin after fighting for years for a better life in Europe and labor market contsraints have also caused immigration and foreign affairs authorities to deny the renewal of residence and work permits, leaving many migrants undocumented. The foreign affairs office of Catalonia denied 8,195 renewals of work and residence permits between 2010 and 2012. However, this is still a small percentage, between 2.6% and 3.7% of all renewal claims. The problem is that in many cases it affects children who previously had residence permits. Last year, Catalonia denied 376 renewals of residence permits of children. These children have no longer equal access to education, health care and other services. The loss of residence permits mainly affects children of Moroccan or Latin American families and is closely linked to parental unemployment.
Source: El País, 17 February 2013.
REPORT / UN Committee on the Rights of the Child publishes report of the 2012 Day of General Discussion
The Committee on the Rights of the Child published its report on the Day of General Discussion (DGD) on the Rights of All Children in the Context of International Migration which took place in Geneva on 28 September 2012. The report, entitled The Rights of All Children in the Context of International Migration, contains 36 recommendations to States on the specifics of applying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in the context of international migration. The Committee also refers to undocumented children. The recommendations state that a child is, first and foremost, a child and that all children involved in, or directly affected by, international migration are entitled to the enjoyment of their rights, whether accompanied or unaccompanied, on the move or otherwise settled, documented or undocumented or any other. Moreover, the recommendations call on states to ensure concrete measures for enhancing and expanding data collection and analysis on the conditions and impact of migration on children. In this context, the Committee recommends that States ensure safeguards for guaranteeing that such data is not used by migration control authorities, to the prejudice or disadvantage of undocumented migrants. The full report is publicly available here.
UNITED STATES / The Dream is Now: Campaign for a pathway to citizenship
The campaign “The Dream is Now” aims to push the US Congress to pass the Dream Act by collecting signatures and videos with the stories of undocumented youth. The videos are used to create an interactive documentary of individual stories of young undocumented migrants in the United States to convince the US Congress to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented youth. There is, for instance, the story of UC Berkeley math and biostatistics major Terrence Park who came out as undocumented making a calculation of the costs of deporting every undocumented student in the United States ($23,000 per person) versus the overall gain of $329 billion for the US economy when guaranteeing them citizenship. Besides, the campaign includes several contests for schools and university campuses to win the largest number of signatures possible. The campaign is supported by several civil society organisations working for the rights of youth and migrants. For more information and to sign the petition, click here.
DETENTION AND DEPORTATION
ITALY / Undocumented migrant awaiting deportation sets himself on fire
A 19-year old undocumented migrant of Ivorian origin set himself on fire at Rome Fiumicino airport on 14 February 2013, while facing enforcement of his removal to the Ivory Coast. According to Melting Pot Europe, the Italian Government should in principle have suspended his expulsion to Ivory Coast. The Ivorian had unsuccessfully claimed asylum in Italy and, after having lived in the Netherlands, was deported from the Netherlands to Italy under the Dublin II Regulation. After the incident, he was taken to a hospital in Rome to be treated for serious burns. The Italian Council for Refugees (CIR) and the organisation Arci Immigrazione called for a reconsideration of the consequences of forced repatriation of undocumented migrants and for the elimination of use of the Dublin Regulation.
Source: Melting Pot Europe, 14 February 2013; La Repubblica, 15 February 2013
ITALY / Revolt during attempted expulsion of Nigerian detainee
Victor, a 29 year old irregular migrant of Nigerian origin detained at the Centre of Ponte Galeria, Rome, refused his intended deportation which led to a fight between police forces and about 40 other Nigerian migrants who intervened on his behalf. During the fight, detainees set mattresses and furniture on fire. Firemen and police intervened over the course of the night. Victor was ultimately not repatriated but eight irregular Nigerian migrants were taken for provisional arrest. The case once again triggered the debate about conditions in migrant detention centers.
Source: La Repubblica, 18 Febbraio 2013
SPAIN / Amnesty International calls for alternatives to migrant detention
Amnesty International Spain launched on 22 February 2013 a new report entitled: “Hay alternativas:
No a la detención de las personas inmigrantes” (There are alternatives to detention: Stop migrants’ detention). In the publication, Amnesty International calls for the application of alternative measures to detention of irregular migrants and reports that undocumented migrants in Spain are often detained without giving any prior consideration to their personal circumstances and that the detention of migrants is currently used as a migration policy tool. Amnesty International also presented specific recommendations to the Spanish Parliament in view of the elaboration of a new Regulation on migrant detention centres (CIE), calling for better conditions of detention facilities. In 2011, Spanish authorities detained 13,240 migrants; 6,825 of whom were deported.
Source: Amnesty International, 22 February 2013
USA / Irregular migrants sue ICE
The National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago (NIJC) is suing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Al Jefferson County, Illinois, on behalf of seven irregular migrants detained at the Jefferson County Justice Center in the autumn of 2012 for the poor detention conditions and lack of medical care for detainees. The case is being taken on the grounds that the contract between ICE and Jefferson County Jail is in violation of the congressional mandate that migrants must be detained in facilities that respect human rights. The current conditions do not include access to basic health care for detained migrants.
Source: International Detention Monitor, Issue 33: February 2013; San Diego Red, 8 February 2013
PUBLICATIONS AND OTHER RESOURCES
BOOK / The Immigrant War
The book “The Immigrant War” by Vittorio Longhi addresses labour migration in a globalised world and the abuse of immigrants. From Asian workers abused in the oil-rich Gulf states, Latinos trafficked at the US-Mexico border, undocumented Africans exploited in France and sub-Saharan farmhands attacked by organised crime groups in Italy, these communities have faced acute discrimination, exploitation and violence. The book also describes how immigrant communities start to organise themselves and become social actors. Vittorio Longhi demands a rethink of immigration policy in contemporary society and gives a voice to untold stories from every corner of the world. To watch the debate at the book launch on 24 January in Brussels, click here.
FILM / Exit: Global migration and its causes
The film ‘Exit’, commissioned by the Fondation Cartier and created by the artists and architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, exhibits human trajectories in a series of animated maps. It is the result of a multi-disciplinary collaboration between scientists, statisticians, environmentalists, geographers and anthropologists. The film presents a dynamic visualization of a database of information about global migration and its causes. The six scenarios portrayed are population shifts: cities, political refugees and forced migration; remittances: sending money home; natural disasters; rising seas, sinking cities; speechless and deforestation. The film was screened as part of the European launch of the year Mathematics of the Planet Earth 2013 at UNESCO on 5 March 2013 in Geneva.
For more information, click here.