PICUM Bulletin — 18 June 2012

BORDERS

  • FRANCE – MAYOTTE / Deaths in Mayotte

    On 20 May 2012, the press announced another shipwreck of a fishing boat with 43 persons in the direction of Mayotte. Many people who have lived their whole life in Mayotte are deported to Assouan where they often do not have any family ties. On this boat was Chadia, a young mother who studied, got married and had a child in Mayotte. She was deported and separated from her child in December 2011 and is now desperately trying to get her child back. In Pamandzi detention centre where she is currently detained, other victims are in similar situations.
    Source:  La Cimade, 24 May 2012

  • LIBYA / Ten undocumented migrants missing off the shores of Libya

    On 26 May 2006, between ten and 30 undocumented migrants went missing, having drowned off Libyan shores. The migrants, all of Somali origin, were onboard a rubber dinghy, which broke and lost air soon after departure. The Italian Coast Guard responded to the migrants’ SOS, but got involved in dealing with another migrants’ boat while on route. It then came to a merchant ship to save the survivors at sea. However, they were brought not to Italy but back to Libya, in violation of the principles of the ECJ’s ruling from 23 February 2012 (Case of Hirsi Jamaa and Others v. Italy, application no. 27765/09). The ECJ sentence obliges Italy to guarantee access to asylum procedures to all displaced migrants found at sea.
    Source: Fortress Europe, 27 May 2012

UNITED NATIONS

  • HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL / Critical analysis of Dutch asylum policy

    The UN Human Rights Council has criticised the Netherlands for detaining unsuccessful asylum seekers when they refuse to leave voluntarily and for not giving full rights to these migrants’children. According to the Minister of Internal Affairs, detention is a ‘last resort’ not often applied, though Amnesty International contested that it is a common procedure.
    Source: De Volkskrant, 31 May 2012

EUROPEAN POLICY DEVELOPMENTS

  • EUROPEAN COMMISSION / Infringement proceedings to go ahead for failure to implement Employer Sanctions Directive

    The European Commission has decided to advance infringement proceedings and issued reasoned opinions requesting Finland, Portugal and Slovenia to bring their laws into line with the Employer Sanctions Directive (Directive 2009/52/EC http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:168:0024:0032:EN:PDF), which should have been implemented by 20 July 2011. The Directive targets employers who take advantage of irregular migrants’ precarious position and employ them for what are usually low-paid jobs with poor working conditions. The Directive is a key element in EU efforts against irregular migration. It prohibits the employment of irregular migrants from outside the EU, by punishing employers through fines or even criminal sanctions in the most serious cases. As many irregularly-staying migrants work in private households, the Directive also applies to private individuals as well as employers. All Member States, except Denmark, Ireland and the UK, are bound by the Directive.
    Source: European Commission, 31 May 2012

NATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS

  • GREECE / Fear and violence with the neo-Nazi party in Greece

    The neo-Nazi party Chryssi Avghi entered the Greek Parliament following their 6.9% results in the recent legislative elections. On 22 May 2012, around 300 of its members fought with the police during an anti-migration demonstration in the port of Patras. Greece registered more than 55,000 arrests of migrants in 2011 in its border region with Italy and 12,000 so far in 2012. Official police data estimated 47,000 irregular migrants in 2012. NGOs explain that Chryssi Avghi (Golden Dawn) has fuelled a climate of fear and violence in the country. New legislative elections will take place on 17 June 2012.
    Source: AFP, 24 May 2012

  • GREECE / Bureaucracy hinders the implementation of the programme of voluntary repatriation in Greece

    The head of the Greek delegation of the International Organisation of Migration (IOM), Mr Daniel Esdras, regrets that despite EU funding for a programme of voluntary repatriation of migrants, the Greek state spends half of its time caught up in bureaucratic procedures which has meant missing the opportunity to take advantage of the full benefits of such a programme. Only 400 migrants were repatriated in 2011, of 2,500 applications. In 2012, applications increased by 50%. IOM hopes to repatriate 3,000 migrants by the end of the first programme, on 31 June 2012. For 2013, 7,000 repatriations are foreseen whereas the applications for the new programme are already over 6,000.
    Source: ToVima, 1 June 2012

  • ITALY / Temporary permits extended for Tunisians and concerns about new arrivals from North Africa

    On 23 May 2012, the Italian government decided to extend for six more months by government decree the temporary permits issued for humanitarian reasons in 2011 to those Tunisians who reached Italy between 1 January and 5 April 2011. The decision also benefits those migrants who lost their job, giving them a further six months to find employment. Previously on 17 May, Minister of Home Affairs Cancellieri had commented about the latest government’s intention to regulate migration flows by allowing only temporary migrant workers entry. The justification of this would be the state of economic crisis in the country and the incapacity of the job market to absorb long-term migrant workers. However, the decision to stop the flows could increase irregular migration, especially from the North of Africa. Caritas has already called on the government to increase efforts to handle new arrivals from North Africa, especially from Tunisia and Libya, which have already started.
    Source: La Repubblica, 23 May 2012 , La Repubblica, 17 May 2012

  • POLAND / Undocumented migrants from other countries seek regularisation in Poland

    Poland’s third regularisation programme, to which applications can be submitted until 2 July 2012, was intended to bring an end to life without legal status for thousands of undocumented Vietnamese, Ukrainians, Belarusians and Armenians living in the country. However, as Spring 2012 arrived, there has been a significant increase in the number of undocumented migrants travelling from other EU countries seeking to regularize their status in Poland. These are mostly organised groups. So far 520 Pakistanis, 200 Indians and 150 Egyptians travelling from Belgium, France and Greece have been recorded. Mr. Rafal Rogala, Head of the Office for Foreigners, explained that undocumented migrants coming from other countries tend to admit that they are residents of Paris or Athens but believe that on the basis of the Polish regularisation law they are entitled to participate in the regularisation programme. He also added that such individuals are often the victims of dishonest intermediaries. According to Ms. Jacqueline Sánchez-Pyrcz, Deputy Director of the Department of Foreigners within Mazowieckie Province, there is no possibility of these migrants being granted a positive decision as it will be clear that they do not meet the condition of having resided continuously in Poland since 20 December 2007.
    Source: Gazeta Wyborcza, 4 April 2012; RMF FM, 19 March 2012; Interia.pl, 3 April 2012

  • SPAIN / Spanish Ministry prohibits discrimination against irregular migrants

    The Spanish Interior Ministry will be issuing an internal memo to all law enforcement bodies to prohibit the existing discriminatory practice of checking and questioning people suspected of being irregular migrants. Without making reference to prior criticism expressed regarding this practice, the memo simply tells police officers “to avoid any practice that entails unjust restriction of rights and liberties of migrants”.
    Source: ENAR Weekly Mail n° 318, 25 May 2012; El Pais, 20 May 2012

  • RUSSIA / Migration Amnesty

    The newly created “21st Century Migration Fund” has called for a migration amnesty for irregular immigrants within Russia. The bill proposes to grant legal status for immigrants who have overstayed their work permits. Granting migration amnesty will help the government to improve data on the number of immigrants working in Russia as well as their location. Also, the 21st Century Migration Fund has highlighted the financial benefit from new tax revenues coming from irregular immigrants who now have legal status. In 2005-2006, another bill called Working Amnesty was already underway, but was dropped because of the liberalisation of migration legislation. The new migration amnesty bill will be ready in the fall 2012.
    Source: Kommersant, 3 May 2012

  • SPAIN / Caritas defends the right to healthcare for the most vulnerable

    On 17 May 2012, the Spanish Parliament voted in favour of a Royal Decree-Act to amend the Foreigners Act (Ley de Extranjería) (See PICUM Bulletin 29 May 2012), limiting access to health care services for irregular migrants in Spain to emergency, maternity and child care only, establishing the de facto dualisation of the Spanish health system. Gathered on 21 May 2012, the permanent commission of Caritas Spain analysed the consequences of such a restrictive legislation, warning about the risks of promulgating laws without further thinking of potential impact on public health as the restriction will primarily affect the most vulnerable category of people in Spain. The commission showed particular concern regarding the exclusion from public health care of the already stigmatized irregular migrants and irregular women migrants, victims of gender-based violence and sex trafficking, seriously compromising prevention, detection, assistance and protection against diseases.
    Source: Cáritas Española, 21 May 2012

HEALTH CARE

  • SWEDEN / One year anniversary since the study on providing health care to undocumented migrants was presented

    One year has passed since the government presented an inquiry into access to health care for undocumented migrants in the country aimed at serving as a basis to amend the law and provide a wider access. The inquiry has not yet resulted in a consultation or any concrete proposals for change from the government despite widespread public and civil society support. The Red Cross Youth is recognising the anniversary by calling on all Swedish counties to offer undocumented migrants health care and by launching a social media campaign to show support for undocumented migrants’ rights. For more information on the campaign see: http://rkuf.se/humanitetsbloggen/#. For more information about the Right to Health Initiative, see: Vård för papperslösa.
    Source: Rosengrenska blorg, 31 May 2012

LABOUR AND FAIR WORKING CONDITIONS

  • CZECH REPUBLIC / Nongovernmental sector criticises plans for restriction of issuing of work permits to low skilled migrants

    The Consortium of Nongovernmental Organizations Working with Migrants in Czech Republic issued a legal statement on the plan of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs on 9 May 2012. Since 1 July 2012 the Ministry plans to stop issuing and prolonging work permits to migrant workers applying for positions demanding qualifications lower than secondary education. The Consortium warned that this plan clashes with Czech laws and may lead to the transfer of migrant workers from the legal labour market to the informal one, increasing their vulnerability to exploitation and complications in the integration process. The statement was further supported on 10 May 2012 by other nongovernmental organizations and initiatives during an event on Palackého square, Prague. All official documents regarding the issue, from the position of both the Ministry and the Consortium, are available in Czech here.
    Source: Migrace online, 9 May 2012

  • FRANCE / Organisations question the new Prime Minister on the situation of undocumented workers

    On the occasion of the first meeting between the new government and social partners on 29 May 2012, an open letter signed by twelve organisations working for the regularisation of undocumented workers (FSU, UNEF, Autremonde, Cimade, Collectif du 31 mai, Femmes Egalité, JOC, LDH, MRAP, RESF and SOS Racisme) was passed on to the Prime Minister. The letter recalls the necessity to protect undocumented workers and the role of these workers in the French economy and the need to change Claude Guéant “31 May circular”, which restrains the possibility for young foreign students with a diploma to work in France (see also chapter on Undocumented Children).
    Source: L’Humanité, 29 May 2012; Le Monde, 31 May 2012

  • UK / Rejection of race discrimination claims brought by a young Nigerian

    Mary Mounga was brought from Nigeria to work as an au pair in the UK at the age of fourteen. She was promised that she would be sent to school and paid a stipend of £50 per month. Instead she was beaten, never paid and she never went to school. She had been to an employment tribunal which concluded  that her situation as an undocumented worker had allowed her employer to abuse her, but the Court of appeal rejected the claim, stating that she was “a willing party to the illegal work” and that she would not have complained if it were not for the abuse she faced and the arrangement had gone well. The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) denounces such a decision which reinforces and justifies racism and the exploitation of the vulnerable.
    Source: Institute of Race Relations, 17 May 2012

UNDOCUMENTED WOMEN

  • EU / REPORT LAUNCH / PICUM Report on Undocumented Migrant Women in Europe

    PICUM’s report “Strategies to End Double Violence Against Undocumented Women” will be launched at a roundtable event in the European Parliament on 21 June 2012. Informing readers about the realities of undocumented women experiencing violence, this report illustrates how initiatives to prevent, protect and prosecute gender-based violence can be strengthened. A broad range of legislative, financial and practical measures from across Europe which help undocumented women to access support and justice are detailed. The launch of the report will be followed by a preview screening of the chapter on undocumented women of “Undocumentary”, an upcoming web-documentary on the daily realities faced by undocumented migrants in Europe produced by PICUM. For more information you can visit our website or contact eve.geddie@picum.org

  • FRANCE / CAMPAIGN / Short-term success for campaign highlighting homeless women’s exposure to violence

    “One homeless woman in three is a victim of rape” highlights the most recent campaign poster of the Samu Social in Paris, a municipal social humanitarian service providing emergency care and medical aid to homeless people. Launched to foster public support to prevent the closure of Paris’ final emergency accommodation centre (see PICUM Newsletter, 16 April 2012 http://picum.org/en/news/bulletins/33125/), the public campaign succeeded in mobilising 24,680 signatures for its online petition. Due to close on 31 May 2012, the centre which is one of the few sources of shelter for destitute undocumented women in Paris, will now remain open until 31 August 2012.
    Source: Minute Buzz, 1 June 2012

  • USA / As inward migration falls, pregnant migrant women are focus of anti-migrant sentiment

    As the net-migration from Mexico to the United States continues to fall, concerns regarding the Latino population has become increasingly focused on pregnant migrant women. A new wave of legislation limiting reproductive rights, such as the push to repeal birth-citizenship provided under the 14th Amendment, led New American Media to note “The Latina mother – who has the power to change the demographics of this country through childbirth – has replaced the male immigrant worker as the new threat for many nativist Americans.” The attacks mean that immigrant women, who are struggling to keep their families together amid record detentions and deportations, also have to fight for reproductive health care as their access to basic health services is becoming more and more restricted. Migrant rights organisations are working hard to debunk myths about undocumented migrant women. The Centre for American Progress has presented a list of the top ten facts to improve public understanding about their contributions to US society and economy and highlight the dangers that they face.
    Source: Pew Research Centre, 23 April 2012; New American Media, 4 May 2012; Centre for American Progress, 7 March 2012

UNDOCUMENTED CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES

  • EU / Join declaration by NGOs at the occasion of International Family Day

    On 15 May 2012, International Family Day, 20 NGOs called on the European Union and its member states to increase their efforts to guarantee the effective right to family life and family reunification for all migrants and beneficiaries of international protection. According to the joint statement while all Member States could improve their family reunification practices, a growing number are infringing the Directive’s minimum standards. In 2008, the European Commission published a report acknowledging that Member States were not in compliance with several articles in the Directive. Since then however, no legal action has been undertaken.
    Source: Caritas Europa, 15 May 2012

  • FRANCE / Possibility for young foreign students with a diploma to work in France

    The controversial “Guéant circular” (see also chapter on Fair Working Conditions) of 31 May 2011 which restrained the possibility for young foreign students with a diploma to work in France, will be revoked this 31 May 2012, one year after its publication. The circular prevented many students who have found a job in France, even when highly qualified, to obtain a change from the status of student to the status of worker, thus forcing migrants into an irregular situation. A new text is being drafted, including a bid on the deportation of students whose temporary residence permits have expired and shortening of processing delays.
    Source: Le Monde, 31 May 2012

  • IRELAND / Migrants rights access to tertiary education

    Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) has reported that children of non-EU migrants born outside of Ireland face significant barriers when accessing tertiary education because of excessively high tuition fees. It is reported that a typical four year programme in any of Ireland’s further education institutions can cost migrants twice or three times more than their Irish peers. MRCI are working on change for this issue and are calling for quality of access to tertiary education for children of non-EU migrants born outside of Ireland. MRCI held an event on the issue on 21 March 2012 entitled “On Access to Third Level Education for Children of Non EU Migrants”.
    Source: MRCI, 27 February 2012

  • SWITZERLAND / Undocumented children to receive access to apprenticeships

    In 2010 the Swiss parliament asked the government to legislate to allow undocumented young people to take up apprenticeships. A draft government proposal released in May 2012 suggested that a conditional residence permit for hardship could be granted to undocumented young people for the duration of their apprenticeships. The stipulation of this proposal is that the undocumented person must have completed compulsory education in Switzerland for the last five years, minimum.
    Source: Le Matin, 2 March 2012

  • UK / Independent Family Returns Panel now part of reformed UKBA system on family returns

    The Family Returns Panel has operated on an interim basis since March 2011 but is now part of the new system introduced to reform family returns. The panel makes recommendations to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) on family returns and the welfare of children. Its mandated purpose is to provide independent advice to the UKBA on the method and removal of individual families from the UK when an ensured return is necessary. The panel must publish an annual report on the advice it has given, including information on any cases where the method of return differed from that advised by the panel. It must also consider how the UK handles families who are denied entry to the UK at the border, and must assess whether detention in such cases is being kept to a minimum. The eleven panel members and their background are listed on the UKBA website.
    Source: UK Home Office, 25 April 2012

  • UK / REPORT / The Migrant Children’s Project publishes a report looking at the legal processes migrant children face in the UK

    The Migrant Children’s Project at the Coram Children’s Legal Centre (CCLC) provides information and advice on the rights and entitlements of refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant children and young people. In May 2012 they published a report entitled ‘Navigating the System’ which explains the complex administrative and legal processes that migrant children have to navigate. The report offers practical advice for children and young people on their rights, and access to advice and representation. According to the Navigating the System report, 59% of professionals said it is becoming increasingly difficult to find legal representatives to refer children’s cases to.
    Source: Seeking Support, May 2012

  • UK / Ten leading charities call on the Home Secretary to abandon proposed rule changes on family migration

    Ahead of an All-Party Parliamentary meeting, ten leading charities signed a letter to the Editor of the Times calling on the Home Secretary to abandon proposed rule changes on family migration. The letter explains how the proposed measure of minimum income thresholds could potentially prevent half of the UK’s working population from living with their nuclear family in the UK, and that the change would discriminate against women, people with disabilities, young people and some ethnic minorities, as the average earnings of these groups are lower than the national median income. Thus the proposed changes would keep families apart and would further marginalise those who already face disadvantages in society. The letter was signed by Runnymede Trust, Migrant and Refugee Communities Forum, Coram Children’s Legal Centre, Migrants’ Rights Network, Praxis Community Projects, Family Immigration Alliance, Southall Black Sisters, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and Rights of Women.
    Source: Migrants’ Rights Network, 16 May 2012

  • UK / New Legal Aid Bill will remove legal aid representation for children’s immigration cases

    The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act received Royal Assent on 1 May 2012, becoming law. The new Act does not affect the right to legal aid for asylum or detention cases; however it removes the right to legal aid for immigration cases. This includes children’s immigration cases. The new law will come into effect in April 2013 and will affect, for example, children who have claims to stay in the UK based on Article 8 of the ECHR and children with refugee family reunion claims. The government have suggested that to fill the gap in representation, social workers could be enabled to provide immigration advice to children and young people in care. The Refugee Children’s Consortium has rejected this idea. It is possible that changes to legal aid funding will create cost-shifting to local authorities if they are asked to procure private immigration advice for children with immigration cases.
    Source: CROA Children’s Rights, 22 May 2012; Migrant Children’s Project Newsletter, May 2012

  • USA / Alabama State Senate votes to retain Immigration Bill requiring schools to check immigration status of its students

    On 16 May 2012, the Alabama State Senate voted to preserve the provision in Law HB 56 that requires schools to check the immigration status of their children. Opponents of the law protested before and after the Senate vote and four protestors who blocked a Senate hallway were led away in handcuffs. The day after this provision was voted in, 7% of Hispanic students in Alabama public schools were absent from school in fear that their undocumented parents would be deported. It is expected that as the passing of the Bill has scared so many children, Alabama schools may lose funding that is dependent on attendance. New provisions in the Bill (i) prevent undocumented migrants from renting property in the State, (ii) allow law enforcement authorities to challenge and verify the immigration status of anyone based only on ‘reasonable suspicion’, (iii) penalise businesses that hire undocumented workers by withdrawing their business licence, and (iv) require the State Department of Homeland Security to post a quarterly list of the names of any undocumented migrant who appears in court for violation of a state law, regardless of whether convicted or acquitted. The new Bill does however clarify what transactions undocumented migrants are prevented from entering into. For example, under the new Bill, migrants need to prove citizenship for obtaining car registration plates, driver’s, business and commercial licences.
    Source: Think Progress, 16 May 2012

  • USA / Michigan State will soon advertise three children of an undocumented Guatemalan father, for adoption

    A Guatemalan father of three children, one girl and two boys, all under the age of ten, has been deported from the USA, without his children. The man’s daughter has been placed in a separate foster care home to her brothers and the foster parents are moving forwards with adoption papers. The two boys will soon be placed in the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange which is a website that lists profiles of children whose case workers are actively seeking people who will adopt. A report published by Colourlines.com and ARC.org in November 2011 estimated that nearly 5,100 children in foster care in the USA are children of deported or detained parents (See PICUM Bulletin 17 December 2012).
    Source: Father and Families, 16 May 2012; Ann Arbor, 12 May 2012

  • USA / Three undocumented migrants arrested following their coming-out

    Rosario, Sara and Janet, three undocumented migrant women, who had been protesting in New York for the NY Dream Act to be adopted by New York Governor Cuomo, were arrested in front of the Governor’s office on Monday, 28 May 2012. Click here to read the women’s statement following the event. There is fear that they will be deported if immigration authorities intervene. A campaign has been launched by the New York State Youth Leadership Council, the first undocumented youth and membership led organisation. Click here to watch a video of the event

DETENTION AND DEPORTATION

  • CYPRUS / Amnesty says 200 migrants languish in prison

    An Amnesty International report published on 25 May 2012 presented the poor conditions of detention of migrants and asylum-seekers, whose claims have been rejected. Many of them are detained for long periods without a view to being removed from Cyprus. The Supreme Court of Cyprus found their detention arbitrary and decided their release. However, many of the released migrants were soon after re-detained on the same grounds. The Amnesty International report, along with other reports published in July 2011, stressed the allegations of threats, verbal and physical abuses that migrants and asylum-seekers undergo by police officers during their detention. Moreover, the transposition of the EU Returns Directive into the domestic law raised concerns, because the maximum period of pre-removal detention of migrants was set to six months with a possible extension up to eighteen months. There were also concerns about the prosecution of Doros Polycarpou, the executive Director of the NGO, KISA. Polycarpou was arrested during the anti-racism Rainbow Festival in Larnaca in November 2010, in which the participants were reportedly attacked by anti-migrant demonstrators, and police brought criminal charges against him for rioting and participating in an illegal assembly. The charges were dropped on 5 June 2012
    Source: Cyprus Mail, 26 May 2012

  • GREECE / Further constructions in Amygdaleza detention centre on hold

    In the Amygdaleza detention centre, three out of thirteen units are currently operating and hosting 220 undocumented migrants. This was the first out of the 30 detention centres that are to be created across Greece. UNHCR finds the conditions of detention as satisfactory although it is cautious about the conditions of capture and transfer of migrants as well as about the overall government strategy which emphasises the confinement and detention of migrants. The Ministry of Citizen Protection said he is planning to continue the construction after the elections of 17 June 2012 and to move on with the creation of the second detention centre in Attica and a third in Deskati, at Grevena. According to the Ministry, the EU funds for the establishment and the operation of the 30 centres are already reserved in order to detain up to 30,000  irregular migrants. It is estimated that the implementation of the project is possible within the time period of one year.
    Source: Tvxs.gr, 26 May 2012; Infomobile, 26 May 2012,

  • MALTA / Human rights jurists say migrant detention is contrary to international obligations

    The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has stated in a new report entitled “Not here to stay” that Malta should abandon its current policy of mandatory detention of migrants as it is contrary to its international obligations. The report is based on an ICJ study mission in September 2011 and highlights the serious inadequacies in expulsion procedures, detention policy and conditions, and living conditions of migrants in reception centres in Malta. Considering its small size, Malta has proportionately much higher numbers of arrivals of undocumented migrants than other Member States; the ICJ thus calls on the EU to support Malta to address the arrivals of migrants. Massimo Frigo, Legal Adviser of the ICJ Europe Programme stated that the high numbers and EU agreements do not justify Malta “to neglect its international human rights obligation”.
    Source: AEDH, 25 May 2012; MaltaToday, 21 May 2012

  • NETHERLANDS / Police removes encampment of unsuccessful asylum seekers

    The encampment of unsuccessful asylum seekers outside detention centre Ter Apel in the north of the Netherlands has been forcibly removed by Dutch police. A subsequent court case showed that the police applied disproportionate force. Initially the camp housed mainly Iraqi citizens, but they were later joined by Afghani, Sudanese and Iranians. The Minister has arranged temporary shelter until their repatriation, scheduled for June 2012.
    Source: BNR, 2 June 2012

  • UK / Transplant patient was at risk of death if being deported

    Roseline Akhalu, better known as Rose, a former kidney transplant patient residing in the UK, had been issued with a deportation order back to her country, Nigeria, after the expiration of her student visa (See PICUM Bulletin 9 May 2012). A campaign supported by journalists, lawyers, MPs, faith leaders, artists, celebrities and refugees to denounce the treatment of some as if they matter less, succeeded in stopping the removal, for now. Her doctor, a renal specialist, said that should Rose be deported back to Nigeria, she would lack the treatment she needs to remain alive as she will be on anti-rejection medication for the rest of her life and this medication is extremely expensive in Nigeria, and indeed remains unavailable in some parts of the country. Her deportation would be a death sentence. After suffering ill-treatment at the hands of UKBA as she was taken to Yarl’s wood detention centre, she contracted a serious urinary infection and has been unwell since. On 31 May 2012, it was announced that her solicitors had won an injection order stopping the flight.
    Source: National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns

  • UK / REPORT / UK Border Agency contempt for torture survivors

    The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) published a report, written by Jon Burnett, about the detention of torture survivors and the continuous breaching of Rule 35 (part of a set of rules governing the detention of people for immigration purposes) which states that torture survivors should never be detained except in the most extenuating circumstances. There is indeed indisputable medical evidence proving that imprisoning a person who has been victim of torture has devastating consequences and can be lived as a “second torture”. The report, entitled “The second torture: the immigration detention of torture survivors”, goes through 50 cases of torture survivors imprisoned in the UK between 2010 and 2011, and kept in detention centres thanks to a series of malicious procedures, rendering rule 35 effectively useless. Detainees whose cases are presented in the report often denounce bad treatment, indifference, torture, and the widespread contempt they face from case-workers.
    Source: Institute of Race Relations, 24 May 2012

PUBLICATIONS AND OTHER RESOURCES

  • EU / REPORT / Amnesty International 2012 report

    In its 2012 Annual Report, Amnesty International(AI) has denounced the weakness of the European Union to tackle human rights violations committed by its member states, thus failing to meet their primary obligation of upholding human rights for all. One of the issues addressed by the AI report is the treatment by European countries of the thousands of refugees and migrants fleeing turmoil in North Africa and the Middle East since January 2011. The report also denounced the high levels of discrimination and highlighted the on-going shortcomings between national and European anti-discrimination laws. Click here to download the report.
    Source: ENAR Weekly Mail n° 318, 25 May 2012

  • SWEDEN / Thesis “Presenting the absent: an account of undocumentedness in Sweden”

    Erika Sigvardsdotter, a PhD candidate at Uppsala University published her doctoral thesis entitled “Presenting the Absent: An account of undocumentedness in Sweden”. This thesis provides an ethnography and critical phenomenology of ‘undocumentedness’ in the Swedish context. Drawing on interviews with regional and local health care administrators, NGO-clinics’ representatives and health professionals, as well as broad participatory observation and interviews with undocumented persons, she claims that the undocumented condition is characterised by simultaneous absence and presence, and a correspondingly paradoxical spatiality. Public defense took place at Uppsala University on 8 June 2012.
    Source: Uppsala University, May 2012

  • USA / REPORT / Visas Inc: Corporate Control and Policy Incoherence in the U.S. Temporary Foreign Labor System

    International labor rights expert, Ashwini Sukthankar teamed up with Global Workers Justice Alliance to spearhead the report “Visas Inc: Corporate Control and Policy Incoherence in the U.S. Temporary Foreign Labor System”. The report analyses the expanding system of guestworker visas that are issued to hundreds of thousands of foreign workers in the USA. It provides the first comprehensive analysis of the many visas that employers use and misuse to bring foreign workers into the U.S and identifies patterns of abuse affecting both foreign workers as well as the U.S. workers who may be displaced. It also includes research in some of the countries that send workers to different U.S. industries: Mexico, China, India, Philippines, Jamaica and Guatemala. For more information click here.

EVENTS

  • EU / Boats 4 People: Stop migrant deaths at sea

    Boats 4 People is an international coalition of organisations from the Mediterranean, Africa, and Europe established to end deaths at maritime borders and to defend migrants’ rights at sea, advocating freedom of movement for all. They are calling upon the EU to end its violent control of maritime borders; the governments of Africa to break with the past and to refuse to sign readmission agreements with European countries and the EU; and all countries to stop prosecuting those who rescue migrants, in accordance with the law of the sea under which all sailors must “proceed with all possible speed to rescue of persons in distress” (art. 98 of the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea). The project will be launched on the 1 July 2012 with a conference on law of the sea and Boats 4 People complaint in Cecina, Italia. The departure of the boat on 2 July 2012 will be covered by a press conference.

  • MOROCCO / PICUM / Seminar on “Irregular migrants in Morocco: between legal entitlements and justice”

    The Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) in collaboration with the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and the Council of the Moroccan Community Abroad (CCME) are organizing a seminar entitled “Irregular migrants in Morocco: between legal entitlements and justice” on 4 July 2012 in Rabat, Morocco. Bringing the experiences of undocumented migrants living in Morocco to the attention of both government, civil society, professionals working on the ground as well as researchers and the media, the seminar will also identify the laws, policies and practices that facilitate undocumented migrants’ access to basic rights, services, and justice across the country. Click here to see the “Save the date” of the seminar.

  • SWITZERLAND / Global Migration Policy Symposium

    The Global Migration Policy Associates (GMPA) together with the Global Migration Studies Program of the Graduate Institute of Geneva are holding together a Global Migration Policy Symposium on 20 June 2012, 9h to 13h at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Entitled “Discrimination & Xenophobia: Modern Day Scourges versus Winning Hearts and Minds for Migrants” it will consist of two roundtable discussion with a contribution from Mr. François Crépeau, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants. This event is hosted by the Steering Committee for the Global Campaign for Ratification of the Migrant Workers Conventions, in cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

OTHER NEWS

  • UK / COMPAS’s new blog

    COMPAS’s new report ‘No Way Out, No Way In’, published in May 2012, is now accompanied by a blog on irregular migrant children in the UK. The report and blog look at all aspects of the irregular migration of children in the UK. The first blog entry by Dr Nando Sigona of COMPAS speaks about the problems associated with undocumented children in the UK and calls for the UK government to protect all children, regardless of  immigration status.
    Source: The Compas Blog

  • UK / BIHR project explores Human Rights in Health and Social Care

    As part of the British Institute for Human Rights (BIHR)’s health and human rights project, over 20 voluntary and community organisations are piloting projects which aim to inform service users about human rights, empower people to demand their health rights are met, or integrate human rights into existing services, through training and championing human rights within the organisation. For more information and details of upcoming events and trainings, visit http://www.bihr.org.uk/groups
    Source: British Institute of Human Rights May E-Newsletter, May 2012

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