- UNITED NATIONS
- EUROPEAN POLICY DEVELOPMENTS
- NATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS
- HEALTH CARE
- LABOUR AND FAIR WORKING CONDITIONS
- UNDOCUMENTED CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES
- DETENTION AND DEPORTATION
- PUBLICATIONS AND OTHER RESOURCES
- OTHER NEWS
GREECE / DEATH AT THE BORDER / Death of irregular migrants in Evros and Patras
The bodies of two irregular migrants in an advanced state of decay, one of unknown age and the other between 25-30 years old, were found by the police in the prefecture of Evros. The two irregular migrants lost their lives as they attempted to cross the Evros River to enter Greece. The first of the two victims was found on 15 March 2012 near the river, in the area of Soufli, and the second body was found two days later on 17 March 2012 in the area of Nea Vissa. Additionally, a 28 year old irregular migrant of Eritrean origin died on 12 March 2012 when a truck rolled over him near the new port in Patras. In his attempt to find a way to leave Greece and get to Italy, he tried to hide under the truck, but the truck driver did not see him until it was too late.
Source: Radioevros, 16 March 2012 ; Patrastimes, 12 March 2012.
ITALY / DEATH AT THE BORDER / Lampedusa, arrivals continue
With weather conditions improving, migration flows to Lampedusa Island have started to increase. Between 17 and 18 March 2012, over 270 migrants reached Lampedusa’s coast. On 16 March 2012, Italian authorities rescued a boat of 57 migrants in Libyan waters. Five of them were found dead. One pregnant woman was immediately transferred to Palermo Hospital by helicopter. Source: La Repubblica, 17 March 2012.
TUNISIA / Migrants tell their stories from Shousha camp
A few kilometres from the border with Libya stands the migrants’ camp of Shousha in Tunisia. Thousands of undocumented migrants, mostly originating from African countries, live in the camp after having tried and failed to reach Italy. 2,000 were intercepted on high seas in May 2009. Sent back to Libya by Italian authorities, they have ended up staying in the camp up until today. Shousha camp was established on 24 February 2011, partly founded by the Italian government, and currently hosts over 3,300 persons. Migrants have begun to speak out about the conditions of the camp: living conditions are poor, there is a lack of potable water, hygiene conditions are severe, and the situation is worsened by sandstorms. There are concerns that the camp will be tacitly transformed into a sort of permanent refuge.
Source: La Repubblica, 14 March 2012.
UN COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE / Spain found guilty
On January 2012, the UN Committee against Torture found Spain guilty of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment that humiliated personal dignity and endangered human life. This case concerned four Senegalese migrants who were intercepted by the Guardia Civil whilst trying to swim to Ceuta on the night of 25 September 2007. The Guardia Civil pierced the life jackets of the migrants on interception, forcing them to jump into Moroccan waters. Unable to swim, one migrant, Maucling Sonko, drowned. According to the decision, the Guardia Civil had an obligation to guarantee the security of the people they caught and thus were found to have violated Article 16 of the Convention against Torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, and also under Article 12 Spain had failed to investigate the facts by deeming that they occurred in Moroccan territorial waters, although Sonko was in fact under the effective control of the Spanish authorities when the tragic event occurred. Click here to view the decision
Source: CEAR, 16 Feburary 2012.
EUROPEAN POLICY DEVELOPMENTS
COUNCIL OF EUROPE / Recommendation on mobility, migration and access to healthcare
On 16 November 2011, the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers adopted a key Recommendation to the Member States on mobility, migration and access to healthcare, reflecting some of PICUM’s key messages. The Committee calls for governments to provide migrants with adequate entitlements to health services and to pay special attention to the entitlement of irregular migrants. The ministers also state that no individuals or agencies responsible for healthcare should be required to inform the authorities, and health professionals providing services to irregular migrants should not be liable to prosecution.
View the document here.
EUROPEAN COUNCIL / EU Ministers of Interior call on Greece to tighten immigration controls
A group of seven EU Ministers of the Interior gathered in Brussels on the occasion of the EU Council of Ministers on 9 March 2012 to raise criticism of Greece’s lax control of its border with Turkey. Some of the ministers went further, saying that some countries might have to reinstate border controls if Greece was not able to address the problem. Green MEP and spokesperson on immigration Ska Keller replied that immigration at Greece’s borders is not a ‘Greek problem’ but a wider European question. The proposal to reintroduce border controls with Greece would be an absolutely senseless response that would completely undermine the European nature of the issue and the need for a coherent EU-wide response. It would also give a further kick in the teeth to the Schengen system, which remains one of the most successful EU policies.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT / Adoption of resolution on funding of discriminatory websites
The European Parliament adopted a resolution on 15 March 2012 calling on the Dutch government to officially condemn the anti-migrant website ‘Meldpunt Midden en oost Europeanen’ created by Geert Wilders’ far-right PVV party. S&D Group leader, Hannes Swoboda, urged for an immediate shutdown of the website stating that “such a website is not acceptable in today’s EU. The questions there are discriminatory and stigmatise people from Central and Eastern Europe. The website is opposed to our European values and needs to be shut down.” A video is also available on the issue, click here to view it.
POLICY BRIEF / EU Single Permit Directive: a small step forward in EU migration policy
The European Policy Centre has published a policy brief that describes the negotiating process that culminated with the adoption of the proposal for a directive on a single permit in December 2011. A second part provides an analysis of the state of play and the apparently limited added value of the directive.
Source: European Policy Centre, 24 January 2012.
FRANCE / French socialist candidate’s proposals
The Socialist Party’s candidate Francois Hollande has stated that economic migration should be limited in the context of slow growth in France, but refused to give numbered objectives. He said that criteria (work, family, duration of stay) should be fairly and uniformly implemented in the different regions and that he would end detention of children and would instead use compulsory orders of residence. With the new French immigration law, the administrative judge can ask for this alternative measure as soon as an undocumented migrant is arrested, in exchange of guarantees (confiscation of the passport, proof of a residence address, etc.). So far, the French law has allowed detention of families with children while waiting for a justice decision or an expulsion. In 2010, 356 children have been detained with their parents. However, in January 2012, the European Court of Human Rights condemned France for having detained a Kazakh family who awaited expulsion.
Source: Libération, 16 March 2012 ; Libération, 16 March 2012.
IRELAND / Justice for the Undocumented Campaign creates a human shamrock to highlight the plight of undocumented in Ireland
Undocumented migrants involved in the Justice for the Undocumented Campaign, organised by the Migrants Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI), gathered on a beach in Dublin to create a large human shamrock in order to highlight the plight of an estimated 30,000 undocumented migrants living in Ireland. Pictures of the human shamrock were released just before St. Patrick’s Day, 17 March 2012, a day of celebration across the globe for Irish people. MRCI noted that just like the undocumented Irish living throughout the world, the undocumented living in Ireland are also deeply rooted in communities, working, paying taxes and trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. A video which shows the making of the human shamrock can be viewed here.
Source: MRCI, 15 March 2012.
NETHERLANDS / Dutch town of Utrecht to provide shelter for homeless irregular migrants
The council of the Dutch town of Utrecht has approved a pilot project to provide shelter for homeless irregular migrants, separate from existing shelter for ‘regular’ homeless. The project, for which EUR 800,000 has been made available, starts in April 2012 and will last for an estimated one and a half years. A local councillor declared that as the national government has failed to provide funding, municipalities have had to take care of shelter themselves.
Source: Utrecht.nieuws.nl, 11 March 2012.
NETHERLANDS / Dutch government sets quota for arrest of irregular migrants
The Dutch government’s coalition parties agreed on a quota for the detention of 4,800 undocumented migrants in 2012 as part of the ‘Repatriation and Departure Service’. In 2010 the police caught 4,355 irregular migrants, compared to 3,530 in 2011. This is part of an agreement between various agencies, namely the Aliens Police, Minister of Security and Justice, the Minister of Immigration, Asylum and Integration and the chief Kuijs, chairman Council of Chief Constables. However, police unions, municipalities and civil society organisations have questioned the desirability and feasibility of the new plans. The plan includes not only targeting irregular migrants but also unsuccessful asylum seekers. A spokesperson for the NGO ‘Kerk in Actie’ (Church in action) expressed concern that this quota will start ‘a hunt for irregular migrants’ and claimed that it will be impossible to find 4,800 irregular migrants who have committed a crime in order to then arrest and deport them. The chairman of the asylum committee of the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG) warned against a ‘Witch hunt’.
Source: Rijksoverheid, 6 March 2012; Nederlands Dagblad, 19 March 2012
UK / Independent regulatory body looks for responses regarding discussion paper on regulation of immigration advice
The Legal Services Board (LSB), an independent regulatory body which works with lawyers in England and Wales, has launched a new discussion paper which sets out concerns regarding regulation of immigration advice and services by regulators under the Legal Services Act 2007. The paper calls for the relevant approved regulators to implement coherent, evidence-based approaches to manage the risk to consumers and the public in the provision of immigration advice and services. It also questions whether the framework for service complaints about immigration should be changed. LSB is interested in responses by 24 May 2012.
Source: Migrants Rights Network, 20 March 2012; Legal Services Board, 24 March 2012.
USA / Parts of Alabama’s discriminatory anti-immigrant law is blocked by court
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit blocked two key sections of the state of Alabama’s anti-immigrant law. One of the provisions restricted business transactions with the state government and made contracts unenforceable with undocumented immigrants. Such provisions criminalised any interaction between undocumented immigrants and state or local government officials, and wreaked havoc on all Alabamians, citizen and non-citizen alike. People can now obtain utility services like water, renew their car registrations and lease an apartment without having to prove their immigration status. The court stated that it would not rule on the full Alabama law until the Supreme Court issues its decision on the state of Arizona’s legislation later in 2012.
Source: National Immigration Law Center (NILC), 8 March 2012 ; The Atlantic Wire, 8 March 2012.
ITALY / Italian network of medical professionals appeal to government for Libyan migrants
An informal network of major Italian organisations active in the field of asylum and protection for asylum seekers and refugees coordinated by the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Societa Italiana di Medicina delle Migrazioni (SIMM), a PICUM member, urged the Italian government to immediately find solutions for the migrants, asylum seekers and refugees that arrived in Italy as a result of the Libyan conflict. Since their arrival to Italy many of the migrants have lacked access to basic services and the network urges that a fair and reasonable solution must be met to protect the migrants’ access to healthcare, particularly those that do not qualify for international protection and to avoid generating irregular situations for the migrants. To read the proposals for the government (in Italian) click here.
Source: Societa Italiana di Medicina delle Migrazioni, 12 March 2012.
NETHERLANDS / Gravely ill man finally gets residence permit
After a lengthy procedure and an initial rejection, the Dutch Minister for Migration, Gerd Leers, gave a residence permit to a 27-year old failed asylum seeker from China, who upon his release from a detention centre in Rotterdam appeared to be gravely ill and nearly died of advanced hepatitis. Just in time he received a liver transplant and recovered. A report from an independent doctor made clear that the detention centre failed in providing him with adequate medical attention. After his application in 2000 the person in question had been entitled to a permit for many years, but as civil servants could not trace his entire file in a database his application kept being rejected. Despite evidence to the contrary, the Immigration Service also kept insisting that he was not entitled to a ‘pardon’ under an existing 2008 decree that ‘pardoned’ thousands of failed asylum seekers. The case will be debated in parliament and answers from the involved services are to be expected.
Source: de Volkskrant, 9 March 2012.
NORWAY / Medical centre working with undocumented reports large increase in patients in 2011
A medical centre in Norway, run through a partnership between the Church City Mission and the Red Cross, reported an increase in undocumented patients in 2011. The centre has been able to manage the increase in patients by extending opening hours and employing more volunteers, such as physicians, psychologists and nurses. The organisation comments that the policies of the government are not reflecting reality, particularly when the healthcare system promotes disease prevention but undocumented migrants are not entitled to receive treatment until their problems are acute since they only have the right to emergency medical care. The organisation comments that it is more economical to allow undocumented migrants to receive preventative healthcare. Such policies and lack of funding are putting healthcare providers in a difficult situation in relation to their ethical guidelines to provide care to everyone, regardless of their legal status.
Source: Kirkens Bymisjon, 16 March 2012.
SOUTH KOREA / Seoul offers healthcare support for undocumented migrants
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced it will provide medical aid to undocumented foreign workers in the capital, who are not entitled to social security and healthcare insurance. The costs for surgery and hospital charges up to a certain amount will be covered, and once over the set amount, 80% of the costs are covered. As well, interpretation and nursing services for up to a month depending on the patient’s conditions will be provided. Districts with a large population of migrant workers, many of whom have overstayed their visas, will be visited to inform them of the medical aid. Although the health benefits are meant specifically for undocumented migrant workers, unemployed foreign spouses, their children and refugees will also be eligible. It is reported that most undocumented workers have refused to report unfair treatment to the government as officials have the obligation to report undocumented workers under the immigration law. To counter this fear, the city has made arrangements with the Health and Justice Ministry to ensure that workers are not to be deported to their country of origin after receiving medical attention.
Source: The Korea Herald, 7 March 2012
EVENT / Roundtable on healthcare for vulnerable people
Doctors of the World will hold a roundtable discussion on access to healthcare for vulnerable people in Europe on 10 April 2012. Taking advantage of the World Health Day, 7 April 2012, the event will provide an opportunity for Doctors of the World to describe the situation of the persons they meet in their daily health programmes in 11 countries in Europe. Members of the European Parliament, Presidents of many of the Doctors of the World organisations in Europe, including Dr. Alvaro Gonzalez (Spain), Dr. Olivier Bernard (France) and Dr. Michel Degueldre (Belgium), as well as representatives of European platforms working within the healthcare sector and other European leaders will take part in this debate. If you would like to attend please confirm before 2 April 2012, by email: email@example.com or by phone: + 33 (0)1 44 92 13 69.
LABOUR AND FAIR WORKING CONDITIONS
LEBANON / NGOs call on authorities to stop abuse of domestic workers
A group of eight organisations, including Human Rights Watch, Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre, KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation, Anti-Racism Movement, Amel Association International, Insan, Danish Refugee Council, and Nasawiya, have all called on the Lebanese authorities to act following a recent tragic incident in Beirut, Lebanon, in which an Ethiopian domestic worker Alem Dechasa-Desisa took her life after being assaulted in front of the Ethiopian Embassy and then detained. Human Rights Watch was told by an activist who had spoken to a consulate official that the Consulate refused to take Alem after the recruitment agent brought her there claiming she had mental problems and told him to take her to a mental hospital. The incident occurred on 24 February 2012 but it was not until 8 March 2012 that the video filmed by a bystander was released by Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI). Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre, who maintains a presence at the detention facility, requested for her to be transferred for medical care. On 14 March 2012, Dechasa-Desisa committed suicide at the Deir al-Saleeb psychiatric hospital. The person who assaulted Alem was identified as Mahfouz, the brother of the head of the recruiting agency that brought her to Lebanon. Following the media spotlight the incident received, the authorities opened an investigation but it is unclear if Mahfouz will be prosecuted. Lebanon voted favourably for the adoption of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention No. 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, adopted in June 2011 but yet to be implemented.
Source: Human Rights Watch, 23 March 2012.
UK / New campaign condemns UK government for failing to protect child domestic workers
A new campaign, Children Unite, has been launched with the mission of making the UK government more responsive to the needs of children who are working in households as domestic workers across the country and the world. The immediate objective is to “make Vince Cable’s department for Business, Innovation and Skills listen to the voices of child domestic workers and to the UK public who demand that the UK Government ratifies the ILO Domestic Workers Convention.” In June 2011, after years of discussion, the International Labour Organisation adopted this new convention meaning that up to 100 million domestic workers would receive the same rights as other workers, with special attention given to protecting children. Children Unite will be formally launched at an event on Tuesday 20 March 2012 at the Horse Hospital, The Colonnade, London WC1N 1JD from 6.30 – 8.30pm. For more information visit the Children Unite website.
Source: Migrants Rights Newsletter, 7 March 2012.
VIDEO / Forced labour in Europe
Tens of thousands of persons every year find themselves trafficked into forced labour in Europe, amongst them many undocumented migrants. The main areas of exploitation are construction, agriculture or domestic services. Against this background Spanish NGO Accem, the Brussels-based Churches´ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) and partners launched on 15 March 2012 a series of video spots, asking EU citizens to open their eyes and help to identify trafficked persons. The short video spots, between 40 seconds and 1 and a half minutes long, present different elements of labour trafficking (e.g. recruitment and transport) and areas of exploitation. The video spots are in a range of languages: English, Spanish, Italian and Romanian. Videos are available here.
UNDOCUMENTED CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES
BELGIUM / EVENT / Workshop on basic social rights for undocumented children
PICUM and Plate-forme Mineurs en Exil will hold a workshop entitled “Building Strategies to Protect Children in an Irregular Migration Situation in Belgium” on 17 April 2012 in Brussels. The goals of the workshop are for participants to build mutual understanding of the problems that children in an irregular migration situation face in accessing education, healthcare and housing in Belgium, as well as collaborating to devise some concrete actions and strategies to improve on some of the challenges identified. The workshop will bring together and benefit from the expertise of education and healthcare professionals, social workers, local authorities, non-governmental organisations and individual migrants concerned about children living with their families in an irregular situation.
NETHERLANDS / Regularisation for undocumented children rejected by Council of State
Draft legislation that would give an automatic right to stay in the Netherlands to children who have lived there for at least eight years has been rejected by the Council of State on the basis of being unnecessary, because ministers have already discretionary rights to grant residency in some case. The new proposal was also judged to be unfocused because families could be encouraged to wait until a child had been in the country for eight years before trying other regularisation avenues. Moreover, the Council stated that this change would be unfair for families who have left. The proposal for the regularisation mechanism was drawn up by the Labour party (PvdA) and Christian party ChristenUnie following the public outcry surrounding the case of Mauro Manuel, who faced deportation on reaching the age of 18, even though he had been in the Netherlands since he was ten (see PICUM Bulletins 11 October 2011, 9 November 2011, 17 January 2012, 14 March 2012). The advisory body, which also functions as the Supreme Court, makes recommendations on new laws. Despite the criticism, the PvdA and ChristenUnie say they will press ahead with the legislation which they hope will have majority support in parliament.
Source: DutchNews.nl, 27 February 2012.
USA / A number of US state legislators are looking to pass their own “DREAM Act”
Since the federal government has been unable to pass the DREAM Act – legislation which would allow undocumented students to legalise their status as long as they pursued college degrees or served in the military – a number of states are looking into alternative national legislation options. In the state of Delaware legislators have proposed legislation which would allow undocumented students to be able to receive in-state tuition at the state’s colleges and universities, as well as be eligible for scholarship programmes. The state of New York is currently debating legislation which would allow undocumented students to receive government tuition aid through the state’s Tuition Assistance Programme and another would provide aid through a fund with private donations. At the moment only three other states allow undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition rates: Texas, New Mexico and California. A recent study by the Fiscal Policy Institute found that allowing such an access for undocumented students would provide a very strong return on investment as increasing the education level of workers in a state allows for a more highly educated labour force and makes it a more attractive location for companies to do business.
Source: The New York Times, 12 March 2012; The Newark Post, 14 March 2012; Fiscal Policy Institute, 9 March 2012.
USA / RESEARCH / New research released detailing US legislation which addresses access to education for immigrant students
The National Immigration Law Centre (NILC) has released a table which lists legislative bills that have been introduced in a number of US states and address access to education for immigrant students. The table lists bills which would improve access, for example by providing in-state tuition regardless the status of the student, and bills which would restrict access to education, such as banning enrolment. The table is broken down into three sections: improving access to higher education; restricting access to post-secondary education; and restricting access to K-12 education. The table will be updated continuously throughout the year as legislative sessions are still in process.
Source: NILC, 15 March 2012
DETENTION AND DEPORTATION
FRANCE / Petition against detention of families has 15,000 signatures
A petition demanding the end of the detention of migrant children has gained 15,000 signatures, including those of a number of celebrities, since its launch on 6 February 2012. The petition is an initiative of the Observatory of the Detention of Foreigners (l’Observatoire de l’enfermement des étrangers – OEE) and the Network for Education without Borders (le Réseau éducation sans frontières – RESF). On 19 January 2012, the European Court of Human Rights condemned France for its legislation, which allows the deprivation of liberty of families, without considering alternatives and without examining the individual situation of the children, and so can be considered inhuman and degrading treatment and an infringement on the right of every family to lead a normal life. Despite this decision, the French government continues to detain children. Between 19 January and 21 March 2012, twenty families, including 47 children, were detained in Toulouse, Oissel, Mesnil-Amelot, Lyon and Metz. In Mayotte, the detention of children is systematic and on a large scale. It is a detention centre below any standards in force in the Republic of France.
Source: Réseau éducation sans frontières, 21 March 2012.
GERMANY / Another deportation flight
Migreurop expressed its concern regarding another deportation flight on 13 March 2012 from Düsseldorf, Germany to Belgrade, Serbia. A previous flight took place on 14 February 2012 and in 2011, seven flights were coordinated by FRONTEX to deport people back to Serbia or Kosovo. Migreurop condemns this inhumane deportation policy of the EU considering that those that are deported are highly vulnerable and exposed to discrimination in their own countries. In general, the legality of such deportation mechanisms is debatable under European and international law since Article 19 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union states that “collective expulsions are prohibited”. States have previously justified their actions by stating that the deportation phase is collective but that each person has been analysed on a case by case basis.
Source: Migreurop, 13 March 2012.
GERMANY / Negative grades for behaviour can lead to deportation in Lower Saxony
The state government of Lower Saxony continues the practice of schools having to report the conduct of students to the authorities, which can, in extreme cases, even lead to the deportation of children. This has happened in the case of sixteen year old Anuar Naso, who the immigration authorities attested had a lack of integration and perspective in Germany based on reports about his lack of eagerness to study. Members of parliament of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) contest the notion that this practice is in compliance with Lower Saxonian school law and sees it in violation of data privacy regulations. The government, however, sees as part of their responsibility the welfare of students visiting schools in the state.
Source: Pro Asyl Newsletter 180, March 2012.
GREECE / Creation of migrants’ detention camp
Greek Minister of Citizen Protection Michalis Chrisochoidis announced on 19 March 2012 the creation of the first migrants’ detention camp in the Greek city of Kozani. 1,000 irregular migrants will be transferred to this camp, which will be provided by the Greek Army and located in a former military base. Greek police will be charged with the security of the perimeter of the detention camp and according to a Greek newspaper, a private security company will be contracted for the guarding of the interior of the camp.
Source: Tovima, 19 March 2012 ; Tanea, 19 March 2012; Clandestina, 20 March 2012.
SPAIN / Twelve hours of notice before deportation
Three Spanish judges ruled on 27 February 2012 that irregular migrants detained in CIE in Madrid must be given twelve hour notice before being deported. The decision also requires that detainees be given the possibility to make a phone call in order to plan their return after the judges condemned that without this prior information and ability to plan their return, deportees found themselves without any form of assistance upon their arrival in their home countries.
Source: Migration News Sheet, March 2012.
USA / New civil detention centre facility opens
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has opened its first civil detention centre in the state of Texas. The facility will house approximately 600 immigration detainees and conditions at the centre are said to be less restrictive than those in the 250 other facilities that house immigration detainees around the country. Detainees will be largely free to move around the facility, they will be provided with limited internet access and inexpensive domestic and international phone calls, and they will have twenty-four hour access to medical services. The facility will be mainly used to detain non-violent immigration detainees, including those applying for asylum.
Source: Physicians for Human Rights, 16 March 2012.
CAMPAIGN / PICUM joins campaign to end child detention, spotlights on Belgium and Cyprus
PICUM has joined the global campaign to end the immigration detention of children, launched on 21 March 2012 at the nineteenth session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva (see PICUM Bulletin 14 March 2012), as well as national launches in twenty countries around the world. The aim of the campaign is to denounce and end the use of child detention. For more information visit the campaign website and download the IDC policy report “Captured Childhood” . There are a number of ways to engage with the campaign, including submitting an incident report to the crowdmap , recording a video message of support (for those under 18 or formally detained as children) , signing the global online petition and endorsing the campaign (either privately or publicly). The issue has been picked up by news sources across the world. In particular, the campaign has provided the opportunity to shine a spotlight on Belgium, a country whose alternative to detention is referenced as a good model in the “Captured Childhood” report. The Belgian NGOS for the defence of the rights of children have issued a joint press release highlighting how a new law purportedly ‘prohibiting the detention of children in closed centres’, has actually reintroduced the practice, providing for ‘family units’ in closed detention centres. The NGOs denounce this return to child detention.
Source: International Detention Coalition News Flash, 19 March 2012
PUBLICATIONS AND OTHER RESOURCES
GERMANY / Study on undocumented migrants in Germany by the German authorities published
The German Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (Federal Office for Migration and Refugees) has published the report „Wie verhindert oder reduziert man “Irreguläre Migration”?“ (How to prevent or reduce irregular migration“?). In this study the Federal Office gives an overview about political approaches, regulations, mechanisms and practical measures in which government agencies deal with irregular migration. They also put together statistical findings and estimations about the number and socio-structural composition of undocumented migrants.
GFMD / Report on the Symposium
The Programme for the Study of Global Migration published the report on the Symposium: Joint Reflections on Migration and Development, which took place at the Graduate Institute in Geneva on 23-24 August 2011. The report includes a discussion on key themes of Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) 2011 and the themes of the GFMD 2010, noting how governments and civil society can use these discussions towards preparing for the GFMD in 2013. For further information on the Symposium, please refer to the concept note and the background paper . To view the Symposium report, please click here.
ITALY / Numbers of undocumented migrants in Italy
According to the study of European Migration Network (EMN), with the support of the Research Centre Idos, about 500,000 undocumented migrants are to be found in Italy today, half of the estimated number in the country a decade ago. In 2010, about 47,000 irregular migrants were found by police forces, and 4,890 of them were expelled from the country (mainly Albanians, Moroccans and Tunisians). According to EMN’s report, the numbers of expulsions has been decreasing over the past years.
Source: La Repubblica, 14 March 2012
DATABASE / Database on migration
The Migration Policy Institute has recently published database on migration on its website a divided into six chapters: 1) US Immigration 2) European Migration 3) Immigrant Integration 4) Migration and Development 5) Refugee Protection and 6) Migration Information Source. The Data Hub showcases the most current national and state-level demographic, social, and economic facts about immigrants to the US; as well as stock, flow, citizenship, net migration, and historical data for countries in Europe, North America, and Oceania. Access to the database is free.
Source: Migration Policy Institute
REPORT / Stories of expulsion
With the support of partners Migreurop has published a collection of testimonies entitled “Stories of expulsion”. The aim is to raise awareness by providing a space for people who have been expelled, returned or refouled to speak out and give a clearer picture of the dramatic effects of expulsion. The publication is only available in French, click here to download it.
Source: Migreurop, 9 March 2012
BELGIUM / 12th edition of Odysseus Summer School
The Odysseus Academic Network has announced that registration is now open for the twelfth edition of the Summer School on “Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy of the European Union”, which will take place in Brussels University (ULB) from 2 to 13 July 2012. The aim of the Summer School is to provide its participants with a comprehensive understanding of the immigration and asylum policy of the European Union from a legal point of view. Interested candidates are strongly advised to submit their applications by using the registration form available on the website of the Network as soon as possible, because of the limited number of places available.
ITALY / Destination Italy: representing migration in contemporary media and narrative
Italian Studies at Oxford will hold a conference on “Destination Italy: Representing Migration in Contemporary Media and Narrative” on 13-15 April 2012, in Oxford, UK. Researchers, journalists, writers and NGO representatives will participate in this conference to discuss how the image of the immigrants in Italy is distorted by the media. The conference will be divided in three parallel sections: cinema, literature and media.
Source: Italian Studies at Oxford, 2 January 2012.
ITALY / DOCUMENTARY / Mare chiuso
The documentary-film ‘Mare Chiuso’ (“Locked Sea”) was released on 15 March 2012 in Italian cinemas. Created by Italian filmmaker Andrea Segre, Mare Chiuso addresses the expulsions of migrants intercepted in the Mediterranean high seas, perpetrated in 2009 by Italian authorities. Also referred to as ‘push-back’ policy, the practice has sent about 2,000 migrants directly back to Libya. Most of them were asylum seekers originating from conflict situations.
Source: Corriere della Sera, 20 March 2012; Fortress Europe 13 March 2012.
USA / Artwork made by undocumented farm workers
Currently exhibiting in a Vermont art gallery are art pieces created by undocumented migrant farm workers, describing their journey to the United States. The exhibit is titled “Invisible Odysseys” and was inspired by a book previously compiled on Italian immigrants, which featured stories, letters and diaries of how Italian immigrants began their journey to the United States. The author of the book was touched by the idea of migrant farm workers labouring in the United States. This led her to approach a couple in Vermont who she knew offered help to the local farm worker community with her idea to do a project with the labourers. Through the artwork, the workers are able to tell their own stories, giving them a voice in a life often anonymised.
Source: Burlington Free Press, 18 March 2012.