- European Policy Developments
- National Developments
- Health Care
- Labour and Fair Working Conditions
- Undocumented Women
- Undocumented Children and Their Families
- Detention and Deportation
- Other News
- PICUM IN THE NEWS
AUSTRIA / Over 70 people found dead inside truck
A truck with bodies of 71 migrants was found by staff of a highway inspection near Vienna on 27 August 2015. Most of the migrants were from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and had suffocated during the transport from Hungary to Austria. Five suspects were arrested. Investigators stated that the migrants must have died several days before the refrigerated truck was inspected. One of the suspects allegedly brought another group of 81 migrants only one day after the discovery in a similar truck across the Hungarian border to Austria. This time however they were able to free themselves with a crowbar. The Austrian Minister for Home Affairs, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, stated that smugglers need to be considered as criminals and announced the need to intensify the fight against smugglers.
Source: Focus, 4 September 2015; Euronews 27 August 2015
GREECE / TURKEY / Increasing number of migrants trying to reach Europe
Between the last week of August and the first week of September 2015, an increased number of migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and African countries, tried to leave Turkey by sea for Greece. According to the estimates of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), over 5,000 migrants a day have crossed the Aegean Sea into Greece. Meanwhile, tensions have started to rise on the Greek island of Kos. Staff of Amnesty International witnessed how individuals shouted slurs at migrants and a group of 15-25 thugs attacked them physically. According to witnesses, the police only intervened with tear-gas, once the attacks became physical. Amnesty International reported deplorable conditions on the island of Kos, including the detention of migrant children in dirty police cells. A photo of the body of a drowned toddler from Syria washed up on the beach near Turkish tourist resorts went viral on social media and made international headlines, sparking renewed calls for political action.
Source: Amnesty International, 4 September 2015; RTE News, 2 September 2015; International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Press Release, 4 September 2015
HUNGARY / Migrants leave camp and demand to move on to other European countries
During the first week of September, a group of about 1,000 migrants were stuck at a Budapest railway station after finally setting off on foot to walk towards Austria. A total of about 300 migrants had left a reception camp near the Hungarian border with Serbia attempting to move on to other European countries including Austria and Germany. Hungarian police and authorities tried to contain the migrants in Hungary, which is a transit country for many who want to reach Western Europe. At one of the stations, on 3 September, clashes started when far-right extremists threw firecrackers at migrants. New laws came into effect in Hungary on 14 September 2015. Anyone who crosses the border irregularly will face criminal charges and the laws also make it a criminal offence – punishable by prison or deportation – to damage the newly-built four-metre fence along Hungary’s 175km border with Serbia. The Hungarian Parliament also passed on 6 July 2015 new legislation which significantly tightens migration and asylum rules (See PICUM Bulletin, 3 July 2015). This law shortens the time-frame for screening asylum applications and provides for mandatory detention of migrants during the decision-making process. The new law also allows the detention of migrants in temporary camps and limits the possibility for appeal against negative decisions. The Hungarian Parliament also agreed on the construction of a fence of 175 km along the border with Serbia.
Source: The Guardian, 2 July 2015; BBC News, 4 September 2015; Die Presse, 4 September 2015; BBC News 15 September 2015
FRONTEX / Annual Report on the implementation of the EU Regulation establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders
The EU Agency Frontex published, on 9 July 2015, the Annual Report on the implementation of the EU Regulation 656/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014, which established rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders. In the document, the agency reports on the practical application of the Regulation by describing the amendments introduced to the agency’s Joint Operations and Operational Plans, including information on compliance with fundamental rights, in order to comply with the Regulation. In particular, the report analyses the implementation of the Regulation in relation to the issues of disembarkation in third countries, and procedures put in place to address the special needs of vulnerable migrants and of persons in need of international protection. The full report is available here.
- The EU Agency Frontex published, on 9 July 2015, the Annual Report (http://frontex.europa.eu/assets/About_Frontex/Governance_documents/Sea_Surveillance/Sea_Surveillance_report_2014.pdf) on the implementation of the EU Regulation 656/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014, which established rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders. In the document, the agency reports on the practical application of the Regulation by describing the amendments introduced to the agency’s Joint Operations and Operational Plans, including information on compliance with fundamental rights, in order to comply with the Regulation. In particular, the report analyses the implementation of the Regulation in relation to the issues of disembarkation in third countries, and procedures put in place to address the special needs of vulnerable migrants and of persons in need of international protection. The full report is available here (http://frontex.europa.eu/assets/About_Frontex/Governance_documents/Sea_Surveillance/Sea_Surveillance_report_2014.pdf).
European Policy Developments
COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION / Integration and language tests should facilitate integration, not create barriers
In a decision issued on 9 July 2015, in the Case C 153/14, Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken V K and A, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) examined the compatibility of the Dutch law that imposes on third country nationals the requirement to pass Dutch language and culture exams, with the Family Reunification Directive. The Court found that, although civic integration exams are compatible with the scope of the directive in principle, they should be aimed at facilitating integration, rather than acting as a barrier. The Court clarified that the personal circumstances of the applicant, such as health, age and level of education, should be taken into account when determining whether applicants could be exempted from the integration and language exam, as strict requirements and logistical barriers, including high application fees, have the undesirable effect of making family reunification disproportionately difficult. The full decision is available here.
Source: EU Law Analysis, 9 July 2015
EUROPEAN COMMISSION / Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union calls for action towards migrant arrivals in Europe
European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, held his State of the Union speech in the European Parliament on 9 September 2015. The speech presented his political vision for the future of the EU that will guide the preparation of the Commission’s Work Programme for 2016 and beyond. The question on how to deal with increased numbers of migrants arriving in Europe was one of the key issues addressed. Mr Juncker called for joint action, especially to alleviate Greece, Italy and Hungary, and proposed a second emergency mechanism to relocate a further 120,000 asylum seekers from Italy, Greece and Hungary. Mr Juncker emphasised that the borders would need to be further strengthened and recognised that more, safe and controlled roads opened to Europe could help to better manage migration and decrease smuggling. To access the speech, click here.
EUROPEAN COMMISSION / New funding programmes for the period 2014-2020
The European Commission approved, during the month of August 2015, a total of 23 multi-annual national programmes under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF), for a total funding of €2.4 billion, for the period 2014-2020. The AMIF funding supports efforts at national level to improve reception capacities, ensure that asylum procedures are in line with European Union standards, integrate migrants at local and regional levels and increase the effectiveness of return programmes. Funding from the ISF supports member states’ border management and surveillance including the use of modern technologies. The Commission has also announced that 13 additional programmes are expected to be approved throughout 2015.
Source: European Commission Press Release, 10 August 2015
MOROCCO / Deportations and large scale evictions in Boukhalef
Undocumented migrants in the district of Boukhalef, in the periphery of Tangier, Morocco, were victims, on 1 July 2015, of a large-scale eviction carried out by more than 200 police officers deployed in the district by the national authorities. The operation follows a rise in violence against migrants in the district, which started during the night of 22 June 2015. As part of the operation, 500 people have been arrested and deported by bus to southern Morocco. During the raid, two persons were seriously injured and Mamadou Kone, a young migrant born in 1986 in Ivory Coast, died as he fell from the fourth floor of a building. The Moroccan organisation GADEM issued a statement , on 1 July 2015, to condemn the large-scale evictions and mass deportation in the area.
Source: El Diario, 1 July 2015; No Borders Morocco, 2 July 2015; GADEM, 1 July 2015.
PUBLICATION / Peer-reviewed publication on public health ethics’ approaches to migrant health
In July 2015, the journal ‘Public Health Ethics’ published an issue devoted to public health approaches to migrants’ health. The issue opens with an editorial underlining the fact that resource-rich nations in Europe and elsewhere have not reached a consensus on acceptable standards of health for migrants, including undocumented migrants. The issue draws from input provided at an international symposium that took place at the Brocher Foundation in Switzerland in 2013, which gathered together a group of global experts from academia, NGOs, and international organisations to examine the ethical issues related to migrants’ health care. The journal’s editorial provides an overview of the issue’s contents, and sets out several factors identified at the Brocher symposium as needing additional attention in ongoing discussions of migrants’ access to health care, including: more systematic attention to the ethical dimensions of health provision to migrants; the careful use of language and labels for different groups of migrants, and its potential to objectify; empirical research involving migrant groups, and attendant challenges relating to consent and stereotypes; and the crucial role of health care professionals, and ethics training for medical professionals and students on migration. To view an excerpt from the issue, click here.
Source: Public Health Ethics, Vol. 8, No. 2, July 2015
SPAIN / Autonomous Community of Madrid to Issue Health Document to Undocumented Migrants
Citing a “moral obligation” to provide medical care to anyone in need regardless of their residence status, President of the community of Madrid, Ms. Cristina Cifuentes, announced on 21 August 2015 her region’s plans to create a health document to permit undocumented migrants to access primary and specialised care her region, in addition to the emergency care they are already entitled to under national law. The proposed health document will differ from a health insurance card in that it cannot be used outside the Madrid region. Castilla-La Mancha and Extremadura also stated their intention to pass laws providing access to health care for undocumented migrants, and on 17 August 2015, the region of Cantabria announced that it would give care to irregular migrants registered in the region for three months. A similar approach will be implemented in Valencia. The Balearic Islands announced that the region will grant a health document valid for one year to migrants who provide a sworn statement attesting to their situation and lack of resources. This activity at the regional level takes place in the absence of concrete action by the Spanish government following its announcement in March 2015 that undocumented migrants would once again be entitled to access free primary health care services, as of 31 March 2015, which represented a departure from the Royal Decree Act 16/2012 (See PICUM Bulletin, 29 May 2012 and PICUM Bulletin, 9 May 2012). The Spanish Royal Decree restricts access to health care for undocumented migrants to emergency care, care for pregnant women and care for children only. Civil society organisations have expressed concern that the variability in available care across Spain creates confusion, and have continued to call for harmonised coverage at the national level.
Sources: EuroWeekly, 24 August 2015; El Mundo, 22 August 2015; El Pais, 21 August 2015; El Diario, 21 August 2015; El Dia, 27 August 2015; also Expansion, 27 August 2015
Labour and Fair Working Conditions
CAMPAIGN / #OurHands informs domestic workers of their rights
A new social media campaign, entitled #OurHands, aims to inform domestic workers of their rights as enshrined in ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, a landmark reinforcing the equal status of domestic workers with other workers. The campaign’s name #OurHands means that empowering and protecting the rights of domestic workers is a collective responsibility. A toolkit providing posts that can be shared to raise awareness of domestic workers’ rights is available here.
To know more about the campaign, please click here
GREECE / Four men convicted for 2012 attack on undocumented bakery worker
In November 2012, on the island of Salamina, near Piraeus, Greece, Walid Talib, a young undocumented bakery worker, was chained up and tortured for 18 hours in a stable by his employer, after having claimed his due unpaid wages. He was found brutally beaten, bound and chained to a lamppost. He was taken to hospital, where he was immediately arrested by the police, and detained for four nights for being undocumented. On 10 July 2015, four men from the island of Salamina were sentenced for beating and torturing Walid Talib. The men were found guilty of abduction, robbery and grievous bodily harm. However, the Court did not examine the racist motivation of the attack and argued that relevant legislative provisions in force at the time of the attack have now been repealed. Walid’s former employer, Giorgos Sgourdas, was sentenced to 13 years and two months in prison. The other three men were released pending their appeals against the sentences of, respectively, 5-year imprisonment for the employer’s son and 10-year imprisonment for each of the other two accomplices.
Source: Ekathimerini, 10 July 2015
ISRAEL / Handbook for migrant caregivers
The Israeli organisation, Kav LaOved (Worker’s Hotline), released a new handbook for migrant caregivers on 16 June 2015. The handbook aims at informing migrant caregivers in Israel about their labour rights. It includes relevant information about their minimum salary, overtime and holidays as well as the Israeli regulations in cases of work accidents and for pregnant migrant workers. You can find the handbook here
UK / Undocumented workers severely penalised in proposed immigration bill
Undocumented workers might face penalties of up to six months in jail in England and Wales if a proposed immigration bill will be introduced in the autumn. Other proposed penalties for undocumented workers include fines and wages being seized. Penalties for employers of undocumented workers are increased from two years to up to five years in jail under the new bill. This is one of the latest of several immigration announcements the government has made over the summer (See PICUM Bulletin 31 August 2015). The Migrants’ Rights Network (MRN) criticised the government’s plan to ramp up enforcement action and stated that “the proposal to create a criminal offence which could lead to a six month prison sentence with an unlimited fine for anyone found working without the right papers is also a grossly disproportionate to any harm which migrants in a vulnerable position may be considered to have done.”
Sources: Reuters, 25 August 2015 ; BBC 25 August 2015; Migrants’ Rights Network, 25 August 2015
PUBLICATION / Call for Articles on Women and Migration in Africa
Issue 6 of “BUWA! Journal on African Women’s Experience” will explore African women’s experiences of migration and displacement from different perspectives. The organisation is therefore requesting submissions on international, regional, national and local policies that shape women’s choices and experiences in relation to migration, exclusion and displacement. Migration and displacement in this sense encompass more than physical movement from point A to point B, but also capture those factors that shape the creation of new identities and outlooks, and one’s sense of belonging. A guiding principle of the issue is “the personal is political.” Priority will be given to evidence-based articles that show the link between policy and women’s choices and experiences. Policy and advocacy recommendations are welcome, as are case studies. The deadline for submission is Thursday, 15 October 2015.
Source: Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), August 2015
UK / Report details challenges of migrant women on spousal visas
Eaves, an organisation supporting women and girls who have faced various forms of violence, has published a report, “Settling in: Experiences on Spousal Visas in the UK,” based on nearly two years of research examining the experiences of foreign-born spouses of British nationals. Among other things, the study addresses the particular vulnerability of women whose regular status is “so closely tied to their husband’s that this may leave them vulnerable to control or abuse”; the double discrimination they face in the workforce due to their immigration status as well as their gender; the ease with which they are able to “settle” in or “adjust” to life in the UK; and the strict requirements for obtaining permanent residence status. The report concludes that women on spousal visas are often qualified with much work experience which is under-valued, disregarded and wasted at potentially significant cost to the public purse. It found that they are all willing and eager to learn English, work and be self-sufficient. The report also states that still more detailed analysis is needed in respect to the gendered impact of the migration experience on spousal and extended family relationships. Avenues for future research include the interaction between immigration status and women’s health and the combined effect for women of gender and immigration status on them and their children.
Source: Migrants’ Rights Network, 27 July 2015
Undocumented Children and Their Families
EU / European forum on the rights of the child notes particular challenges in protection of undocumented children
The report of the 9th European Forum on the rights of the child, held on 3-4 June 2015, has been released. In the parallel session on Identification, reporting and referral, speakers and participants underlined the need to recognise and mitigate the particular risks and challenges facing undocumented children and stateless children, including those in families. Issues around self-identification were raised for all children, and for undocumented children in particular (due to fear and risk of immigration enforcement actions as a result of contacting police or child protection authorities). Alongside the principle of non-discrimination, it was reiterated in the final plenary session by the rapporteur of the session that child protection systems should support all children, regardless of residence status. The background paper to the Forum, which consistently raises protection concerns for migrant children, including undocumented children, as well as the report, programme, background papers of the parallel sessions and presentations, are available here.
USA / Debate around birthright citizenship
The frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump, has proposed ending birthright citizenship in the United States in a six-page proposal on immigration policy. The proposal also lays out a series of measures, including increasing apprehensions, detention and deportations, restricting regular migration channels, and cutting funding to inclusive social services and support programmes. Much of the ensuing debate has centred around the practicalities and impacts of ending birthright citizenship, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution which guarantees American citizenship to anyone born in the United States, regardless of the residence status of their parents. No clarity has been provided by Trump’s campaign regarding what his requirements for access to citizenship by birth would be (e.g. one parent a citizen, both parents regularly residing, one parent regularly residing) and whether he proposes to revoke citizenship from current American citizen children of undocumented migrants. Citing data and analysis from the Migration Policy Institute and Pew Research Centre, commentators in the Washington Post have discussed who the undocumented resident population are and how ending birthright citizenship would increase the undocumented resident population in the United States, as well as the feasibility and costs of deporting the current and future undocumented population. The New York Times’ dedicated Room for Debate section also considered various legal, historical and practical factors. Other commentators have challenged the data used by Trump regarding payment of tax credits to undocumented migrants. An undocumented young person who has been working for two years at the Koi SoHo restaurant in Donald Trump’s hotel, Trump SoHo, has appeared in a You Tube video to speak out against Trump’s statements that Mexican migrants are criminals, despite the risk of losing his job. Having lived in the United States with his family irregularly for ten years, Ricardo Aca explains that the US is his home: his photo project aims to discredit Trump’s comments. Watch the video and view Aca’s photo project here.
Source: Washington Post, 17 August 2015 ; 20 August 2015; New York Times, 24 August 2015
INTERNATIONAL / Report of the International Dialogue on Migration and Families
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has published its final publication of the International Dialogue on Migration workshop on ‘Migration and Families’ (Red Book No.24) which was held in Geneva in October 2014 (see PICUM Bulletin 30 October 2014). The publication includes a report of the workshop discussions, recommendations and conclusions, as well as an interview with a migrant (‘Migrant’s Voice’), the agenda and background paper for the event. Key issues raised in the discussions included access to services for migrant families and unaccompanied children in irregular situations and the negative impacts of detention on children, and challenges facing migrant youth. The Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants addressed human rights violations of undocumented families and the need for more regular channels for migration, a clear separation (‘firewall’) between the provision of services and immigration enforcement and an end to child detention. Speakers from UNICEF and Save the Children called for a more comprehensive and rights-based approach to all migrant children, with Save the Children also noting some particular challenges facing children born to undocumented parents in countries of destination. Terre des Hommes presented their Destination Unknown campaign. The impacts of family separation on children and families and the need for migration policies to facilitate family reunification, as well as the need for more data and analysis on family migration, were recurring themes throughout the discussions. The report is available in English, French and Spanish here.
Detention and Deportation
EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS / E.A. v Greece: detention conditions and lack of effective remedy in Greece
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) issued, on 30 July 2015, its decision in the case E.A. v Greece (Case nr: 74308/10) and found the very poor detention conditions in Greece to be against Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and the lack of effective remedy in the country to be in violation of Article 13 ECHR. The case concerned an Iranian national who, in August 2010, applied for asylum in Greece after being detained in Iran for engaging in anti-governmental political activities. The Greek authorities failed to register his first asylum claim in August 2010 and, as a result, the applicant was detained for two months pending expulsion by the border police in Soufli and Venna. After issuing two formal complaints concerning his detention conditions, the administrative court ordered his release on the grounds that the detention conditions were not appropriate for a period of six months. The ECtHR found that the conditions of detention: poor hygiene, overcrowding, and lack of natural light, constituted a violation of Article 3 ECHR. The Court also found a violation of Article 5(4), in light of the limited grounds for review of detention pending deportation, and a violation of Article 13 due to the deficiencies of the administration in processing the applicant’s asylum claim.
The full judgment is available in French here.
EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS / Cyprus condemned for not guaranteeing access to an effective remedy against detention
In three different judgements, in the Cases K.F v. CYPRUS (Application no. 41858/10), H.S. AND OTHERS v. CYPRUS (Application no. 41753/10 and 13 other cases) and A.H AND J.K. v. CYPRUS (Application No 41903/10 41911/10), the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) condemned the Cyprus Republic for violations of Articles 5(1) ECHR, the right to security and liberty and Article 5(4) ECHR, the right of access to an effective remedy against detention. The applications concern the cases of several Syrian Kurds who were arrested and detained for deportation purposes in 2010. In June 2010, the ECtHR issued interim measures under Rule 39 of the Rules of Procedures of the Court, to order the suspension of the deportation of the applicants. In the three judgements, the Court ruled that the current legal system in Cyprus does not provide for a sufficient effective remedy against decisions on administrative detention, thus confirming its previous case law in the case of M. A. vs Cyprus (Application No. 14872/10).
PICUM member KISA issued a statement, highlighting the fact that Cyprus has not yet complied with the decisions of the ECHR.
Source: Cyprus Mail, 21 July 2015; European Database of Asylum Law, 21 July 2015 ; KISA, 21 July 2015.
EU FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AGENCY / Overview of deportation monitoring systems in 28 EU member states
The Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union (FRA) has published on its website an overview of the ‘forced return monitoring systems’ currently in place in the 28 EU member states. The overview, which will be updated by the FRA on an ongoing basis, shows that, among the 26 member states bound by the EU Return Directive (2008/115/EC), eight states have no operational monitoring system in place yet. According to Article 8(6) of the EU Return Directive, member states must provide for an effective monitoring system of deportations. The overview is available here.
GERMANY / Thousands of deportations amidst news of 800,000 migrant arrivals
Since the beginning of 2015, Germany has already deported over 10,000 migrants, about the same number as the total of deportations in 2014. Several federal states plan repeated collective deportations in the coming months, mostly to the Balkan countries. The President of the Federal Authority for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), Manfred Schmidt, stated that they will decide about 75,000 pending applications until the end of the year, most of whom will be rejected. The German government expects up to 800,000 new migrants arriving this year. Germany has been making headlines with images of cheering citizens who welcomed migrants coming from Hungary. However, there are also other voices which are less represented in the media. Editorial staff of the weekly news magazine Spiegel stated that German media and deputies also receive letters expressing concern as well as xenophobic and hateful content.
Source: Der Spiegel, 9 September 2015 ; Der Spiegel, 5 September 2015
UK / Inspectorate on Prisons releases report on Yarl’s Wood
After carrying out unannounced inspections of the Yarl’s Wood and the Verne Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP), which is an independent inspectorate reporting on conditions for and treatment of those in prison, young offender institutions and immigration detention facilities, issued two reports on the visits to Yarl’s Wood and Verne on 12 August 2015. Concerning the visit to Yarl’s Wood, the HMIP highlighted a deterioration in detention conditions noting that their concerns expressed in 2013 had not been resolved. There was greater evidence of the distress caused to vulnerable women by their detention and particular concerns in relation to access to health care for migrants. The HMIP particularly noticed the detention of pregnant women, torture survivors and women with mental health needs, highlighted the severe staff shortages of the centre and criticised the unreasonable length of detention. In relation to the visit to the Verne IRC, the Inspectorate criticised the serious levels of violence and the high use of inner fencing and razor wire within the centre.
Source: Right to Remain, 12 August 2015.
USA / Migrant women file complaint over lack of medical care in family detention centres
On 30 July 2015, several migrant rights organisations jointly filed a complaint on behalf of mothers and their children claiming to have received inadequate medical care while detained in family detention facilities located in Dilley and Karnes City, Texas and Leesport, Pennsylvania. All of the complainants repeatedly sought medical care, but either faced major delays in getting care or did not receive any care at all. One mother of two from Honduras who was diagnosed with breast cancer and suffered nine days of non-stop vomiting was told by clinic staff that a doctor would see her children, but not her. A Guatemalan women was given care for an appendectomy after waiting six hours in the clinic, and was refused medication after her surgery. More than 250 children are said to have been given adult doses of a vaccine against Hepatitis A. According to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) guidelines, migrants are entitled to a “continuum of health care services, including screening, prevention, health education, diagnosis and treatment.” The complaint was submitted to the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and the officer of the Inspector General. See the complaint here
Source: Think Progress, 11 August 2015; Think Progress, 31 July 2015
USA / Children issued deportation orders without legal representation
Government data released reveals that of the 13,451 deportation cases completed between 18 July 2014 and 28 July 2015 in the immigration courts, barely half the children had legal representation, according to the newspaper Politico. The situation has improved over the course of the last year. From 19 July to 23 December 2014, only 27% of children had an attorney, while from mid-April 2015 to end July 2015, about 58% of children were assisted by counsel. However, the analysis by Politico finds the remaining 42% still represent an average of 100 case completions per week in which there is no record of a defence attorney. These figures include cases that were tried in absentia. The analysis shows that those without lawyers are more likely to receive orders of removal, feel pressured to agree to voluntary departure or do not appear in court. Among the cases completed, 57% resulted in removal orders or voluntary departure. Of the 7,237 deportation orders, 6,315 were issued in absentia.
Source: Politico, 11 August 2015
UN / New video on alternatives to detention for children and families
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Global Campaign to End Child Detention has released a short video highlighting how it is never in the best interests of the child to be detained, as well as presenting the range and practicalities of viable non-custodial community-based alternatives to detention for children, both for those that are unaccompanied and those in families. The video is available here.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture earlier this year echoed the guidance from the Committee on the Rights of the Child and urged states to adopt alternatives to the detention of children that fulfil the child’s best interests (see PICUM Bulletin 17 March 2015). He noted that within the context of administrative immigration enforcement, the deprivation of liberty of children based on their or their parents’ migration status is never in the best interests of the child, exceeds the requirement of necessity, becomes grossly disproportionate and may constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of migrant children.
FESTIVAL / 7th edition of LampedusaInFestival
The 7th edition of LampedusaInFestival will take place from 23-26 September. The festival aims to bring together Italian and other European organisations, initiatives and individuals who want to exchange ideas and experiences in two working groups in Lampedusa and Linosa. One working group will focus on border areas and management including migration and militarisation and another one on debt in societies with a focus on the global south and Greece. The programme also includes various cultural and political activities. For more information on the festival, click here.
PICUM IN THE NEWS
BELGIUM / How to manage migrant arrivals in a humane way
An article by MO Mondiaal Nieuws which aims to show humane ways to address the issue of large numbers of migrants arriving in Europe, mentions PICUM Director, Michele LeVoy in relation to labour migration. The article refers to Michele LeVoy’s input at a conference to launch the Belgian Federal Migration Centre (Centre Fédéral Migration, Myria) in Brussels on 3 September 2015 highlighting the need to expand the current debate on refugees to channels for migrants to come to Europe.
Source: Mondiaal Nieuws, 8 September 2015.
INTERNATIONAL / Interview on EU migration policy
The English version of the Russian radio Sputnik interviewed PICUM Advocacy Officer, Kadri Soova on where the EU and its member states have failed to address migration to prevent the current crisis. Kadri Soova stresses that the EU’s has focused on securisation and border management and highlights need for establishing regular channels for migrants to come and live and work in Europe.
Source: Radio Sputnik, 2 September 2015.
UK / Debate to how to address increased numbers of migrant arrivals
PICUM Advocacy Officer, Kadri Soova, gave input to a debate on BBC radio about how to address increasing arrivals of migrants arriving in Europe after the body of a drowned toddler from Syria washed ashore in Turkey.
Source: BBC 5 live Breakfast, 3 September 2015