PICUM Bulletin — 2 December 2013


  • BELGIUM / Three survivors of boat tragedy file complaint against Belgian army

    Three survivors of a shipwreck in 2011 that caused the deaths of 63 migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, filed a complaint at the Brussels Tribunal of First Instance against the Belgian army on 26 November 2013 for failing to provide assistance. In a dinghy coming from Libya and carrying a total of 72 people, they tried to reach Europe in 2011. The migrants started to panic when they lost control of the boat and did not have enough food left. Their calls for help were registered but they received no assistance despite being seen by naval vessels and helicopters of various states. During and in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, in the framework of NATO’s Operation Unified Protector off the Libyan shores, waters were under NATO control and reportedly closely monitored by military forces of several states. The complaint was lodged with the support of a coalition of NGOs with similar initiatives being underway in other countries. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe published a report focusing on the case on 29 March 2012 ‘Lives lost in the Mediterranean Sea: Who is responsible’.
    Source: Agence France Presse, 26 November 2013

  • BULGARIA / Government to get tougher on irregular migrants

    Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Tzvetlin Yovchev presented a plan for a tougher policy towards irregular migrants. The planned measures include significantly shorter time periods for removal of irregular migrants, increased security on the Bulgarian-Turkish border through greater numbers of police, the construction of a 30-kilometre fence and the construction of closed facilities. According to human rights organisations, the conditions in these facilities are similar to or worse than those in prisons. Moreover, police raids will be carried out in locations frequented by refugees and migrants. The government’s goal is to reduce the number of people entering the country irregularly by three times and at the same time expel three times as many people from Bulgaria. Human rights activists are concerned that the new measures may lead to police harassment and social exclusion of all migrants. Meanwhile, anti-migrant sentiment was also expressed by citizens during three protests in early November in the Bulgarian capital Sofia. The protests were organised by different political, nationalist and football fan groups, including a parliamentary party. The protestors carried signs and called for taking matters into their own hands and “cleansing the country from the immigrant scum”. The formal cause of the protests was the attack on a 20-year-old Bulgarian woman, allegedly by an undocumented migrant from Algeria.
    Sources: Capital, 4 November 2013; Press release of the Ministry of Interior in English, 4 November 2013; Dnevnik, 3 November 2013

  • DENMARK / Undocumented migrants disappear

    About 100 migrants entering Denmark from outside the Schengen area through Copenhagen airport disappeared in 2013. Common practice is to register these migrants as asylum seekers and send them by taxi to the Sandholm asylum centre. During this taxi journey, however, more and more migrants are vanishing. At the moment only names are registered upon entry. The director of the Copenhagen police has publicly promised more comprehensive registration of asylum seekers including taking photos and fingerprints. Several parties outside the government have commented that the issue in question can be attributed to the government’s lack of control over immigration in the airports.
    Source: Dagbladet Information, 18 November 2013

  • GREECE / Alliance of the southern EU border countries

    In view of the Greek EU presidency in the first half of of 2014, the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras started discussions with his counterparts in Italy and Malta on a common approach towards irregular migration. He argued that undocumented migrants cause socio-economic problems and instability and called for measures to be taken. The three prime ministers called for a more concrete European strategy in order to address irregular migration. Antonis Samaras underlined that the strengthening of Frontex and repatriation of undocumented migrants are the key points at this stage. Finally, he stated that effective management of irregular migration will be a positive step towards the exit of Greece from the economic crisis.
    Sources: Kathimerini, 22 October 2013; News.in, 21 October 2013; Zougla.gr, 22 October 2013

  • ITALY / EU to urge Libya to prevent traffickers from smuggling migrants

    Italy urged the EU on 11 November 2013 to press Libya to prevent traffickers from smuggling migrants from Africa on overcrowded boats to the EU. The call came three days after Sicilian investigators arrested a man for kidnapping, extortion and rape of some of the Eritreans migrants who survived the shipwreck tragedy near the island of Lampedusa on 3 October 2013 where about 360 people died. Malta backs Italy’s efforts and is preparing to send a military vessel to Libya to patrol the coast and prevent boats carrying migrants from departing, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said.
    Sources: Reuters, 11 November 2013; Reuters, 8 November 2013

  • SPAIN / Spanish authorities intercept more than 3,200 undocumented migrants in six months

    The results from the 9th edition of Operation Indalo, have shown that Spanish authorities have intercepted up to 3,248 undocumented migrants and 148 vessels that tried to reach the Spanish coast. This operation is managed by the Guardia Civil (national Spanish police) and funded by the European Border Agency (Frontex). The results also contain data on traffickers and drug smuggling that could be used to tackle these issues. The operation involved 3,200 hours of maritime vigilance and 500 hours of aerial surveillance that also included the support of authorities from Morocco, Algeria and ten other European countries. According to the head of the Guardia Civil, there are three points that are under pressure in the Mediterranean: the western point that affects Spain; the central zone that covers the island of Lampedusa and the eastern border of Greece.
    Source: Europa Press, 07 November 2013

  • REPORT / PRO ASYL report on the witnesses of push-backs at the Greek-Turkish border

    The human rights organisation PRO ASYL published a report based on 90 interviews of people who have tried at least once to cross the south-eastern external European borders with Turkey and have allegedly been victims of illegal push-backs and ill-treatment at the hands of Greek authorities.
    The report accuses masked Greek officers of ill-treating migrants and refugees upon apprehension, detaining them arbitrarily on Greek soil without any registration and then deporting them back to Turkey or even abandoning them in Turkish territorial waters without any consideration for their safety, in breach of international law. Witnesses reported being forced and even threatened with guns to return to Turkish waters and claimed to have been left in life threatening situations when left adrift in unseaworthy boats or being thrown in the water. The majority of the interviewees claimed that they had been ill-treated and the severity of some of the reported ill-treatment could amount to torture. They finally reported that after being rescued by the Turkish authorities, they were arrested and detained in Turkey. The report ends with an interview of two French journalists who reported having posed as Afghans and underwent a push-back and the same ill-treatment as migrants and asylum seekers. You can access the report here.


  • OHCHR / Information sheet on trafficking in human beings

    In the frame of a series of information sheets on human rights issues, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has published a one-pager on trafficking in human beings. The one-pager provides data on forms of trafficking and groups of victims of trafficking as well as outlining human rights treaties and decisions relating to the prevention and fight against trafficking in human beings.
    Source: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, November 2013

  • UN / New ratifications and guide on the CRC complaints procedure

    Portugal and Montenegro have become the seventh and eighth states to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on a complaints procedure on 24 September 2013. Two more ratifications are needed for the treaty’s entry into force. In the meantime, 44 States in total have signed the Optional Protocol. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on Violence against Children has also launched a child-friendly guide to the CRC’s complaints procedure entitled: ‘Raising Understanding among Children and Young People on the Optional Protocol on a Communications Procedure’. The guide aims to raise children’s awareness about their rights and enhance their confidence to speak up and seek support. The Child Rights International Network, CRIN, has produced a toolkit explaining how the complaints procedure works, including an annotated and a comparative guide to other international communications procedures of the UN. The toolkit is
    available in English, Arabic, and Russian.
    Source: Child Rights Information Network CRINMAIL 28, 18 October 2013


  • COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION / Debate on migration issues in the Mediterranean

    Following the EU Council meeting on 24 and 25 October 2013 in Brussels, ministers debated migration issues in the Mediterranean on 18 November 2013. They spoke in favour of a comprehensive approach with Libya to tackle irregular migration in the Mediterranean. This includes more cooperation with and assistance to the Libyan government to secure its borders and reduce trafficking in human beings. Through the EU Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM Libya), the EU aims to contribute to the capacity building of the Libyan border authorities. At the same time, the EU agreed on a mobility partnership with Tunisia which is expected to be signed officially soon. The mobility partnership foresees cooperation on migration and asylum and that the EU will deal with the challenge of the death of migrants at sea. The EU previously drew up an agreement of this type with Morocco in June 2013. The European Council of June 2014 will return to asylum and migration issues in a broader and longer term policy perspective.
    Sources: Council of the European Union Foreign Affairs, Press Release, 18 November 2013; ANSA, 18 November 2013

  • COUNCIL OF EUROPE / “The right to leave a country” – new paper by Commissioner for Human Rights

    The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, published on 5 November 2013 an issue paper on the right to leave a country, including one’s own, guaranteed in Article 2 of Protocol 4 to the European Convention on Human Rights. The paper highlights barriers to the fulfilment of this right, such as restrictive migration and border control policies or travel bans imposed by Council of Europe member states. The issue paper also explores the negative impact on the effective realisation of the right to leave a country due to the increasing externalisation of EU border control policies through mandatory visa requirements and readmission agreements with third countries. The paper concludes by recommending states to ensure that their laws, policies and practices relating to migration and border controls are compliant with the right to leave a country and the international human rights framework and abide by the principle of non-discrimination. The Issue Paper is available in English here.
    Sources: Council of Europe, Press release CommDH033(2013), 6 November 2013; European Voice, 7 November 2013

  • EU / Court backs asylum rights for homosexual people

    The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in Luxembourg ruled on 7 November 2013 that lesbian and gay people can seek asylum in the EU if they risk being jailed in their home countries. The Court also ruled that ‘voluntary discretion’ of sexual identity is no longer an acceptable rationale for rejecting asylum claims based on persecution grounded in sexual orientation. This ruling places the obligation on national authorities to fully and accurately assess the credibility of asylum claims based on sexual orientation. The case was brought by three gay men from Senegal, Sierra Leone and Uganda. They sought refugee status in the Netherlands fearing that they would be persecuted in their home countries because of their sexuality. Homosexuality is illegal in more than 30 African countries, with punishments ranging from death to severe or lighter jail sentences. To read the judgment, click here.
    In a similar case, Belgium was condemned by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for illegally detaining an asylum seeker from the Republic of Guinea-Bissau who had fled his country for reasons connected with his sexual orientation.
    Sources: EU Observer, 8 November 2013; La Libre, 16 November 2013


  • GERMANY / Lampedusa in Hamburg

    With the slogan ‘We are here to stay!’ the initiative ‘Lampedusa in Hamburg’ organises protests asking the Senate of the city of Hamburg to recognise a group of about 360 migrants as refugees of the NATO war in Libya in 2011. The migrants are of Sub-Saharan origin and lived in Libya as working migrants until the NATO bombing in 2011. Most of them arrived on the Italian island Lampedusa and were asked to leave for Germany by Italian authorities which felt overwhelmed by the large number of migrant arrivals and ask other EU member states to take responsibility. The initiative Asylum in the Church in Hamburg has provided shelter to about 100 of the migrants. The initiative supports similar programs in Berlin and Frankfurt. According to Pastor Fanny Dethloff of Asylum in the Church in Hamburg, those migrants who arrived before April 2013 can achieve a toleration of stay and suspension of deportation (‘Duldung’) on an individual basis. However, the protest movement favours a right to stay for all and cases of threats against those who opted for individual procedures have been reported.
    Source: Spiegel, 7 November 2013

  • GERMANY / More racist attacks against migrants, asylum-seekers and Roma

    In the past three months, eight attacks have been recorded on facilities for asylum seekers and on a house and a cultural centre for Roma. These attacks are accompanied by intensified racist campaigns against asylum seekers and refugees. Many observers of the situation are reminded of the conditions that prevailed in the early 1990s in Germany when more than 25 people died as a direct result of neo-Nazi attacks. Organisations such as the refugee-rights organisation Pro Asyl call for solidarity with the people affected by such agitation and attacks.
    Sources: Mut gegen rechte Gewalt, 20 October 2013; Pro Asyl, 24 October 2013

  • MALTA / Citizenship for 650,000 euros

    The Maltese Parliament approved new citizenship legislation on 12 November 2013 which enables foreigners to buy a Maltese passport without any residency or investment requirements for 650,000 euros. According to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, the program’s goal is to raise revenue for the country and attract “high-value” people who will ensure investment. Nationalist lawmakers announced they would consider a petition drive to force a referendum to repeal the law. Joseph Muscat recently called on the EU to take action to relieve Malta of the burden of migrant arrivals and has been criticised for allowing the selling of citizenship to the rich.
    Source: Spiegel online, 13 November 2013; Malta Independent, 9 November 2013

  • NETHERLANDS / The European Committee of Social Rights invites the Dutch government to take all possible ‘immediate measures’ to ensure the basic needs of undocumented migrants

    Following a request for ‘immediate measures’ submitted by the Conference of European Churches in order to ensure undocumented migrants have access to shelter, food and clothing in the Netherlands and ‘to safeguard their human dignity and prevent further harm’, the European Committee of Social Rights on 25 October 2013 invited the Dutch government to take ‘all possible measures with a view to avoiding serious, irreparable injury to the integrity of persons at immediate risk of destitution’ and ‘ensuring that their basic needs (shelter, clothes and food) are met’. The Conference of European Churches initially requested the suspension of the Dutch ‘Linkage Act’ which excludes undocumented migrants from accessing basic social services. Although that request was rejected, the Committee recognised the duty of the Dutch government to find alternative solutions which do not exclude irregular migrants from access to facilities relevant to the fulfillment of their basic needs.

  • UK / Immigration spot checks at railway stations

    According to the UK’s Minister for Immigration, Mark Harper, immigration spot checks will be continued at railway stations. These checks were carried out in the London area on 30 July and 1 August this year and had led to the arrest of 17 people for irregular stay. A pilot operation, Operation Vaken, took place between 22 July and 22 August 2013 in six London boroughs to test different ways to encourage irregular migrants’ return to their country of origin. This included mobile billboards highlighting the risk of arrest, postcards in shop windows, adverts in newspapers and magazines, leaflets and posters advertising immigration surgeries in faith/charity group buildings. Mark Harper announced in a statement on 31 October 2013 that the government will continue its promotion of departure schemes. The efforts have been criticised and the Equality and Human Rights Commission said it would examine the powers used and their “justification”. According to the UK Home Office, there have been 228 immigration street operations since 2008.
    Source: BBC, 19 November 2013


  • DENMARK / Protest against deportations of mentally ill asylum seekers

    The revelation of increased deportations of asylum seekers with severe health problems has triggered a public debate about the justification of deportations. On 1 November 2013, protesters took to the streets of Copenhagen with signs around their necks saying ‘I am mentally ill, let me stay in Denmark’. Among them were medical practitioners and lawyers who daily witness the deportations of victims of torture and violence diagnosed with severe mental illnesses. Availability of medication in the respective home countries has served as grounds for deportation. The speeches held on the day of the protest indicated the traumatic effects the return to countries of origin has on the migrants in question.
    Source: Sameksistens, 2 November 2013

  • UK / Limitation of access to healthcare for migrants

    Following the results of the public consultation initiated on 3 July 2013 on Access to Health Services for migrants, the UK Home Office aims to introduce and add charges. Temporary and non-EEA migrants will be required to pay for health services. Moreover, asylum seekers, people with refugee or humanitarian protection status and trafficked persons will in addition to regular charging be obligated to pay an immigrant surcharge and apply for leave if entering or remaining in the UK. The new restrictions on healthcare access for migrants are at odds with the findings of the consultation, as 69% of respondents did not feel that access should be based on permanent residence.
    Source: Migrants’ Rights Network, 4 November 2013


  • REPORT / Exploitation of migrant workers in Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Lithuania

    The European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI) published the report “Exploitation of migrant workers in Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Lithuania: Uncovering the links between recruitment, irregular employment practices and labour trafficking” on 24 October 2013. This publication is a compilation of four independent research reports commissioned under the umbrella concept of ADSTRINGO. The ADSTRINGO project addressed trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation through improved partnerships, enhanced diagnostics and intensified organisational approaches. The report, a compilation of recruitment practices in both countries of origin and destination, provides new information on the vulnerabilities, factors, methods and channels that facilitate exploitation. Moreover, the report aims to improve the current level of knowledge in the Baltic Sea region regarding exploitative recruitment practices that may lead to trafficking as well as the roles and responsibilities of employers in preventing such exploitation. The full report is available here.
    Source: Council of the Baltic Sea States, 24 October 2013


  • ISRAEL / Unauthorised abortion clinic suspected of trafficking undocumented women’s babies

    An illegal abortion clinic in south Tel Aviv that may have also trafficked newborn babies was raided on 15 November 2013 by Tel Aviv police and Border Police who were accompanied by officials from the Ministry of Health. A Tel Aviv couple were taken in for questioning; their apartment and food store reportedly served as delivery rooms where undocumented women were brought near the end of their pregnancies. Media reported that the store was used for performing abortions on foreign women with no legal standing in Israel, who feared being incarcerated or questioned if they went to state-run health clinics for care.  Over 3,000 miscarriages inducing pills were reportedly found at the clinic. The couple was also suspected of trafficking newborn babies to other, childless migrant families in south Israel, and of extorting large fees from the adoptive parents. In Israel, female migrant workers who become pregnant are likely to lose their residence permit. Once in an irregular situation, they are only entitled to essential, emergency care in hospitals. Physicians for Human Rights, a Tel Aviv-based humanitarian organisation, works to provide the community with free or low-cost care.
    Sources : Haaratz, 16 November 2013; The Times of Israel, 16 November 2013


  • CYPRUS / Migration department accused of mistreatment of migrant families

    The Cypriot Ombudsperson, Eliza Savvidou, and the Child Commissioner, Leda Koursoumba, have highlighted a number of cases in which the migration department has left teenagers to fend for themselves after detaining both parents, or have deprived children of at least one parent on charges of marriages of convenience lacking evidence. The latter was the case when a three-year-old girl was deprived of her Bulgarian mother and Pakistani father because the migration department claimed the couple’s marriage is one of convenience despite a DNA test proving paternity. In another case, a 15-year-old Chinese girl lived alone because her parents were held in detention in Menoyia awaiting deportation. Leda Koursoumba called on the state, which is ultimately responsible for the migration department’s policies, for a comprehensive policy to ensure that measures involving children are in accordance with children’s rights.
    Source: Cyprus Mail, 10 November 2013

  • GERMANY / Authorities accused of issuing passports with wrong birth dates

    A group of 13 young migrants from Somalia who arrived in Germany unaccompanied claim to be below the age of 18 and have accused authorities of issuing their papers with birth dates that make them adults under German law. Being considered of legal age, the young asylum seekers are accommodated in refugee homes for adults with little assistance whereas children below the age of 18 would usually be placed in child welfare facilities. Some of the young asylum seekers showed their birth certificates from Somalia to the authorities in the federal state of Brandenburg which, however, were allegedly not recognised. Authorities have denied responsibility for the case. Through the help of local activists, the child protection service was informed but could not help either. According to the Federal Association for Unaccompanied Minor Refugees (Bundesfachverband unbegleitete Minderjährige Flüchtlinge, BUMF), the child protection service is responsible for the young asylum seekers if they claim to be under age, regardless what their actual age is. The group continues their struggle to be recognised as children.
    Source: Taz, 19 November 2013

  • UK / Response to new immigration bill

    The Children’s Society in the UK presented a briefing to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, in response to the UK’s new immigration bill. The Children’s Society is extremely concerned that the proposed changes will further isolate vulnerable children and young people who are already at risk of homelessness, exploitation and exclusion by creating additional barriers to vital services including healthcare and housing. Among the proposals are restrictions to access to free primary and secondary health care for undocumented migrant children and the requirement to private landlords to check the immigration status of tenants. Furthermore, the Bill has failed to consider the best interests of the child within its proposal around Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights on the right to respect for his private and family life. This right can be a crucial element in resolving a child’s immigration status, including in cases concerning undocumented migrant children, the majority of who were born in the UK or arrived when they were very young.
    Source: The Children’s Society, Policy Newsletter, 14 November 2013


  • GREECE / Court condemns detention of child

    The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) condemned Greece in the case Housein v Greececoncerning the detention of the 11-year old Ali Hussein from Afghanistan. The court ruled that Greece violated his right to liberty when detaining him in an adult facility for about two months. His lawyer had submitted an objection to the unacceptable conditions of his detention and requested his transfer to a special detention centre for unaccompanied minors. This was rejected by the Greek courts which issued a decree for the continuation of his detention under the same conditions. The ECtHR ruled that detention conditions violated Article 3 ECHR on the prohibition of degrading treatment, as well as Article 9 ECHR on the freedom of religion as the Muslim boy was allegedly forced to choose between eating pork or going hungry.
    Sources: Asylum Information Database, 25 October 2013; Enet.gr, 24 October 2013

  • GREECE / Hunger strike and case of death in detention

    Approximately 400 detainees at the Komotini detention centre, located east of the city of Thessaloniki, refused to eat on October 24 and 25 and three sewed their mouths shut in a symbolic protest at the poor living conditions in the detention centre. The protest started when the detained migrants were not given personal hygiene products. A few days before, on 20 October, a 25-years-old Pakistani migrant died in the detention centre of Dendia in Xanthi, in northeastern Greece after falling from his bunk bed. According to the police, the detainee was transferred to the closest hospital but it was too late to save him. Insufficient medical care and the lack of basic safety measures and hygiene conditions have frequently been criticised.
    Sources: theinsider.gr, 24 October 2013; antiracismfascism.org, 20 October 2013

  • ISRAEL / Cabinet approves bill allowing detention of undocumented migrants up to one year

    The cabinet on 10 November 2013 approved an amendment to the bill dealing with irregular migrants mandating that the state can detain them for up to a year without trial in closed-door detention centres, and for a much longer period in other, more open, facilities. The decision follows an earlier version of the bill, which called for keeping migrants in closed detention centres for up to three years without trial. The bill also provides for the construction of an “open” detention centre that will only be locked at night. However, the detention centre is foreseen to be located in the desert which would limit the possibilities for migrants to move around freely. The bill requires migrants in the detention centre to register three times per day and bars them from seeking outside employment. Migrants’ rights organisations criticised the new amendment, saying it was just as unconstitutional as the version that was struck down by the High Court.
    Sources: The Times of Israel, 17 November 2013; The Jerusalem Post, 17 November 2013

  • RESEARCH / New set of working papers on immigration detention

    The Global Detention Project has issued a new set of working papers that aim to provide innovative perspectives on the practice, dynamics and consequences of immigration detention. The paper ‘The Hidden Costs of Human Rights: The Case of Immigration Detention’ by Michael Flynn explains how immigration detention has impacted some key human rights norms, which has helped spur states to adopt new institutions dedicated to this practice. The paper ‘”Crimmigration” in the European Union through the Lens of Immigration Detention’  by Izabella Majcher shows how the convergence of criminal and immigration laws can have a harmful impact on migrants, ranging from increasing negative attitudes about non-citizens to more restrictive immigration policies. The third paper entitled ‘Smoke Screens: Is There a Correlation between Migration Euphemisms and the Language of Detention?’ by Mariette Grange explores how language used to describe people moving across borders can have consequences on their well-being, including limiting their access to legal procedures.
    Source: Global Detention Project, October 2013

  • UK / Court ruling to keep dying detainee in custody

    The Nigerian Ifa Muaza, placed in the Harmondsworth immigration removal centre, has been on hunger strike for almost three months. After his asylum claim was rejected, he started to refuse food. In October, his medical condition was considered too critical for him to remain in detention. The High Court, however, ruled that he will have to stay in custody and the Home Office issued an “end of life plan”. The 45-year-old Nigerian applied for asylum on the basis of persecution by the Islamist group Boko Haram, recently recognised as a terrorist organisation by the US. He has commented on his own hunger protest that he would rather die than go back to Nigeria. While his solicitor has publicly called the ruling a death sentence, a Home Office spokesperson has refused to talk about individual cases.
    Source: The Guardian, 19 November 2013


  • ITALY / ‘An Inhuman Cost’

    After the launch of their campaign ‘I diritti non sono un costo’ (Rights are not an expense), the Italian NGO Lunaria released ‘An Inhuman Cost’, a study involving a detailed comparison between the public resources invested to control irregular migration, and those allocated to promoting the integration and social inclusion of third-country nationals. The report presents an analysis of the costs of controlling irregular migration through detention, border controls, the externalisation of borders and forced removals. The report reveals that, between 2005 and 2012, Italy spent more than 117 million euros on policies aimed at managing migration, 95% of which (i.e. more than 112 million euros) was invested in measures to combat irregular migration and only 5% of the overall amount was dedicated to measures aimed at migrants’ integration and social inclusion. An English summary of the report is available here and the full text of the report is available in Italian here.


  • FILM / Undocumented journalist produces film about own experience

    Jose Antonio Vargas, a former Washington Post journalist of Filipino origin who revealed that he has been undocumented since childhood, has made a documentary about his experience. ‘Documented’ retraces his migration from age 12 when his mother put him on a plane to California. He learned he didn’t have immigration papers when he was 16. For the film, Vargas sent a camera back to the Philippines to interview his mother, whom he hasn’t seen in 20 years. The broadcast rights for the documentary will be sold to CNN Films. The documentary will be broadcast in the US in the spring of 2014 but also shown in theatres starting at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam from 20 November to 3 December 2013. Mr Vargas cannot attend the festival as he cannot leave the US. The journalist, filmmaker, and founder of an advocacy group called Define American which campaigns for immigration reform was part of a team which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for their coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting. To find out more about ‘Define American’ and watch the trailer of ‘Documented’, click here. To view Jose Antonio Vargas’ blog, click here.
    Source: Star Tribune, 19 November 2013

  • GERMANY / Law students counsel migrants

    Law students of the University of Gießen are supporting refugees, migrants and asylum seekers through ‘Refugee Law Clinics’. Paul Tiedemann, judge at the administrative court in Frankfurt, initiated the program to allow students to gain practical experience along with theoretical training. Many of the students who take part in the program are migrants themselves. They provide counseling on the procedure of asylum applications and prepare candidates for their hearing at the Federal Authority for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge).
    Source: Spiegel online, 15 November 2013

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