- UNITED NATIONS
- EUROPEAN POLICY DEVELOPMENTS
- NATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS
- HEALTH CARE
- LABOUR AND FAIR WORKING CONDITIONS
- UNDOCUMENTED WOMEN
- UNDOCUMENTED CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES
- DETENTION AND DEPORTATION
- PUBLICATIONS AND OTHER RESOURCES
- PICUM IN THE NEWS
ITALY / Call on the EU as number of migrant arrivals rises
More than 52,000 migrants have arrived in Italy since January 2014, which will likely lead the country to surpass its record of 62,000 arrivals in 2011. Ahead of the EU Council meeting on 26 and 27 June 2014 in Brussels, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi pressed for more support but EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström stated that the EU won’t take over the costs for Italy’s search-and-rescue operation, Mare Nostrum. While the ‘Mare Nostrum’ operation – which has been carried out since last October by the Italian government – has rescued and saved thousands of lives, deaths at sea continue. At least ten migrants died when their boat capsized 40 miles from the Libyan coasts on 13 June 2014.
Sources: The Wall Street Journal 25 June 2014; The Wall Street Journal 26 June 2014
USA / Study reveals lack of accountability of border patrol
New data of the American Immigration Council shows a clear lack of accountability and transparency of the U.S. Border Patrol and its parent agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The data, which the Immigration Council acquired through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, covers 809 complaints of alleged abuse lodged against Border Patrol agents between January 2009 and January 2012. The data indicates that “physical abuse” was the most prevalent reason for a complaint, occurring in 40 percent of all cases, followed by “excessive use of force” (38 percent). A proportionately large number of complaints were filed in areas with higher levels of irregular migration. Among those cases in which a formal decision was issued, 97 percent resulted in “No Action Taken.” The American Immigration Council recommended that complaints should be processed more quickly and should be carefully reviewed. Furthermore, the seriousness of the complaints demands an external review.
Source: American Immigration Council, 4 May 2014
UN / Upcoming general discussion on girls’ and women’s right to education
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) will hold its 58th session in Geneva from 30 June to 18 July 2014, during which there will be a half-day general discussion on girls’ and women’s right to education. This discussion aims to begin elaborating on a ‘General Recommendation’ for state parties on how best to comply with their obligations under Article 10 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. This Article calls upon them to “eliminate discrimination against women in order to ensure to them equal rights with men in the field of education.” In anticipation of this discussion, CEDAW has prepared a concept note on the draft of the general recommendation which states that education should be provided regardless of the status of the women or girls. It also highlights the important role of education in transforming “discriminatory societal attitudes” in relation to such disadvantaged groups.
Source: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, June 2014; United Nations Concept Note on the Draft General Recommendation on Girls’/Women’s Right to Education, 2014
EUROPEAN POLICY DEVELOPMENTS
COUNCIL OF EUROPE / Convention on Violence against Women to come into force
On 1 August 2014, the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, will enter into force. More than half (26 of 47) of the Council of Europe member states have signed the convention, and to date, eleven countries have ratified: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Andorra, Denmark, Italy, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, and Turkey. In April 2014, Andorra and Denmark both ratified the treaty. Countries ratifying the treaty are obliged to protect and support victims of violence. Known informally as the “Istanbul Convention”, it is the first European treaty specifically targeting violence against women and domestic violence. It sets out minimum standards on prevention, protection, prosecution, and services. Countries ratifying must also establish services such as hotlines, shelters, medical services, counselling, and legal aid. Article 4 of the Convention affirms its provisions apply to all women regardless of migrant status and Article 59 on “Residence Status” addresses the situation of those on spouse dependent visas and the issuance of renewable residence permits to victims. The official guidance note makes specific reference to undocumented migrant women, highlighting that while they have a different legal status to asylum seekers, they share an increased risk of experiencing violence and face similar difficulties and structural barriers in overcoming violence.
Source: Council of Europe, May 2014; Human Rights Watch, 24 April 2014
EU COMMISSION / Update of communication on the work of the Task Force Mediterranean
The European Commission published on 22 May 2014 an update of the ‘Implementation of the Communication on the Work of the Task Force Mediterranean’. The update describes the actions being taken under the five identified main areas: reinforced border surveillance; assistance and solidarity between member states; regional protection programmes, resettlement and legal ways for migrants to access Europe; cooperation with third countries; and the fight against trafficking, smuggling and organised crime. The Task Force Mediterranean was formed as a response to the deaths at sea of more than 250 migrants on 3 October 2013, near Lampedusa, Italy. To read the ‘Implementation of the Communication on the Work of the Task Force Mediterranean’, click here. To read an annex providing a list of the actions of the task force, click here.
Source: European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), 30 May 2014
EU COMMISSION / Proposal for amendment of Dublin Regulation regarding unaccompanied children
The European Commission presented a proposal to amend the Dublin II Regulation regarding unaccompanied children on 26 June 2014. The proposals state that the member state where an unaccompanied child is present is responsible for lodging an application for protection, even if the unaccompanied child has already lodged an application in another EU member state. The proposals aim to address the vulnerability of unaccompanied children but only apply to children who have no family, siblings or relatives on EU territory. This proposal for amendment follows the ruling of the EU Court of Justice, on 6 June 2013, stating that the member state responsible for examining an asylum application made in more than one member state by an unaccompanied child is the one where the child is present. The Dublin III Regulation applies since January 2014 in all EU member states. When it was agreed in June 2013, the Commission announced its intention to address the current ambiguity of the provision on unaccompanied children who have no family, siblings or relatives in the EU, and to take account of the relevant ruling of the EU Court of Justice. The proposal has to be agreed on by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.
Source: European Commission Press Release
EU COUNCIL / Conclusions: Tackling irregular migration “resolutely”
The European Council, composed of the heads of state of EU member states’ governments, met from 26 to 27 June 2014 in Brussels. In its conclusions, the Council agreed the strategic guidelines for legislative and operational planning in the area of freedom, security and justice for the next five years. The European Council Conclusions stressed that one of the key priorities should be to consistently transpose, effectively implement and consolidate the legal instruments and policy measures already in place. The Council highlighted that the treaty principles of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility, in accordance with Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), should guide member states and the EU towards an efficient and well-managed migration, asylum and borders policy. The Council also called for the development of strategies to maximize the opportunities and regular channels for people to migrate to Europe, while “tackling irregular migration resolutely”. Other priorities identified by the Council include: strengthening active integration policies and social cohesion, addressing smuggling and trafficking in human beings more efficiently, establishing an effective common return policy and enforce readmission agreements and reinforcing Frontex’ operational assistance, including the possibility of creating a new “European system of border guards”. Meanwhile, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat welcomed the conclusions statement to share responsibility of irregular migration flows. Governments of the EU’s member states at the southern border had repeatedly called on the EU to share responsibility for large numbers of migrant arrivals. The European Council Conclusions are available here.
Sources: European Council Conclusions, 26-27 June 2014
ACTION WEEK / Participants of international protest march assemble in Brussels
Participants of the ‘Caravane des sans-papiers et refugies’ (Caravan of undocumented migrants and refugees), also known as the solidarity march for and with refugees and migrants (See PICUM Bulletin 22 May 2014), arrived in Brussels on the 20 June 2014. Crossing four countries on their march to Brussels, participants expressed their demands for freedom of movement, the end to the Dublin regulation and the need to address migrant detention. Ending 28 June, participants coming from various European countries organised a week of action in Brussels, including assemblies of supporters of migrants and refugees, protests in front of EU institutions, film screenings, and a major demonstration on 26 June, at the same time as the EU Council meeting which addressed migration issues. During the week, on 24 June, a school occupied by migrants and refugees in Berlin, Germany was partially cleared by police. Several of the German protestors who joined the march to Brussels have been supporting the occupants of the school, trying to find a solution for them to stay in Germany. The police operation was criticised for using pepper spray against protestors and for arriving armed with guns. Supporters also criticised the fact that over 200 migrants and refugees were left homeless.
Sources: La Caravane des Sans-Papiers et Refugies, June 2014; Freedom not Frontex, June 2014; Deutsche Presse Agentur (dpa), 24 June 2014
FRANCE / Migrants on hunger strike after eviction from makeshift camps
Around 50 migrants started a hunger strike on 11 June 2014 in Calais, France, demanding better living conditions in the French port, as they attempt to cross the Channel to reach Dover, England. The hunger strike followed the eviction of about 800 migrants and refugees from makeshift camps and the destruction of the camps in the area in May 2014. Since then, many of the migrants started to take shelter at a food distribution centre. Authorities claimed that the camps had to be destroyed because of the “deplorable hygiene” conditions. Humanitarian organisations distributed tents to some of the migrants and criticised the operation for not providing any solution to the problem.
Sources: The Guardian, 28 May 2014; BBC, 12 June 2014
FINLAND / Unethical behaviour of lawyers revealed
According to reports, court recruiters of newly established law firms in Finland are said to be actively searching for migrants and asylum seekers to sign mandates in places such as migration reception centres, police stations and even in the streets. Asylum seekers and migrants have allegedly been offered rewards for signing mandates to these firms. The recruiters may not even be lawyers themselves and the law firms that they represent do not necessarily have particular experience in immigration matters, nor do they have serious interest in defending migrants’ rights. However, the law firms are able to charge Finnish authorities as asylum seekers are often entitled to receive legal aid free of cost. There is a high risk that these law firms deliberately handle asylum applications improperly in order to lengthen the process and to make more profit, with negative impacts on the lives of migrants and asylum seekers.
Source: The Finnish Bar Association Journal ”Advokaatti”, Issue 2/2014
CYPRUS / Human rights defender of migrants temporarily arrested
Doros Polykarpou, the Executive Director of the Cypriot organisation KISA (KISA – Action for Equality, Support, Antiracism) was arrested for several hours when he visited unaccompanied children, held in the Mennogeia detention center. Authorities claimed that the arrest was due to an unpaid parking fine dating back to 2007. However, KISA and their supporters consider the arrest a clear act of harassment and intimidation, following KISA’s human rights work on revealing detention conditions of undocumented migrants in Cyprus including detention of children. After being arrested at Mennogeia, Doros Polykarpou was transferred to the Kofinou police station and then to the Central Prison in Nicosia, where he was placed in a wing with convicted prisoners. During the whole procedure, Mr Polykarpou was held handcuffed and not allowed to call a lawyer. The incident also follows a report of the UN Committee Against Torture which expressed, among others, concern over the numerous allegations of ill-treatment by police at the Menoyia detention centre, leading to protests and hunger strikes of detained migrants.
Sources: KISA, Press Release, 29 May 2014; Cyprus Mail, 29 May 2014
USA / Senate passes overhaul for immigration reform
The U.S. Senate approved the overhaul of the country’s immigration system with a vote of 68 to 32 on 26 June 2014. The immigration bill contains a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented migrants living in the US but also increased funds for border control. Following the Senate’s vote, the House, under Republican leadership, announced not to take up the Senate’s measure and instead focus on much narrower legislation that would not provide a path to citizenship for undocumented migrants. The legislation was drafted by a group of eight senators, a coalition of Democrats and Republicans, business groups and labour unions, farmworkers, and Latino, gay rights and immigration advocates. Since then, the legislation has been shaped and tweaked.
Source: New York Times, 27 June 2014
COUNCIL OF EUROPE / New HIV resolution adopted
On 23 May 2014 the Standing Committee, on behalf of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), adopted a resolution on ‘Migrants and refugees and the fight against AIDS’. It aims to ensure that migrants are not discriminated against due to their HIV/AIDS status and are able to access affordable prevention and treatment services. It notes the need for a distinction between immigration and health policies, including the removal of obligations on health care professionals to report irregular migrants. It also advocates for the protection of seriously ill migrants, calling for their protection from deportation when appropriate treatment is unavailable in the country to which they are to be deported.
Source: Resolution 1997 (2014) ‘Migrants and refugees and the fight against AIDS’, 23 May 2014; PACE: News, 23 May 2014
LABOUR AND FAIR WORKING CONDITIONS
TREATY / ILO protocol on forced labour approved
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) approved a new treaty on 11 June 2014, aimed at further preventing forced labour and contemporary forms of slavery, Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930. The protocol was approved by an overwhelming majority of delegates at the International Labour Conference (ILC), which included government members, employers’ and workers’ organisations. The treaty specifically noted that migrants were among those with a “higher risk of becoming victims” of forced labour and thus it obliges governments to ensure that all victims have access to justice and remedies, regardless of their legal status or presence in a country. ILO also released a new report entitled ‘Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour’ on 20 May 2014. The report states that forced labour in the private economy generates US$ 150 billion in illegal profits per year, about three times more than previously estimated. About US$ 99 billion came from commercial sexual exploitation, while another US$ 51 billion resulted from forced economic exploitation, including domestic work, agriculture and other economic activities such as construction. Furthermore, the report highlights that irregular migrants are more vulnerable to forced labour. The number of victims of forced labour is estimated to be 21 million worldwide. To view the full report, please click here.
Sources: Human Rights Watch, 11 June 2014; Panapress, 11 June 2014
MANUAL / U visas for victims of workplace crime in the U.S.
The U.S. National Employment Law Project (NELP) released a practice manual entitled ‘U Visas for Victims of Workplace Crime: A Practice Manual’ on 19 May 2014. The 190-page manual outlines terms of the U visa, a visa for migrants who are victims of crimes, and how it can be applied to workplace crimes. This concerns particularly low-wage industries which employ a high percentage of undocumented migrants. The manual aims to provide attorneys, advocates and other practitioners serving migrant communities with a guide to workplace crime. It also includes a legal analysis and examples of qualifying criminal activity in the workplace as well as practical resources, including sample intake forms, application materials, and advocacy letters. To download the manual, please click here.
USA / Toolkit on California’s new anti-retaliation legislation
The National Employment Law Project (NELP) released a new toolkit entitled ‘California’s New Immigrant Worker Protections Against Employer Retaliation’ on 19 May 2014. The guide covers the new anti-retaliation legislation passed by the California state legislature in 2013. This new legislation expanded existing protections for all workers from employer retaliation, which included broad protections that penalise employers for using the threat of migration enforcement to retaliate against migrant workers. The toolkit was designed for low-wage migrant worker advocates and community groups and includes fact sheets, bill language, sample letters to employers, and a popular education know-your-rights training curriculum (with translation in Spanish).
USA / Undocumented domestic workers establish cooperative to uphold their labour rights
Often working as housekeepers or nannies in the largely unregulated, informal domestic industry, undocumented women workers are especially vulnerable to exploitation. Reporting that forty-six percent of domestic workers are immigrants, and 35 percent are non–U.S. citizens, the National Domestic Workers Alliance have also estimated that wage theft – underpaying workers for overtime hours or simply not paying them at all – accounted for an estimated $105 billion a year. To address their precarious working situation, some of these workers have formed their own cooperatives. Motivated by low wages, wage theft, and abuse, there are now four undocumented women-owned cleaning cooperatives registered with the New York City Network of Worker Cooperatives. Forming cooperatives enables undocumented women day-workers to better control their workplace conditions. By registering as a limited liability company (LLC), these undocumented women can create a democratic governance structure in which each worker-owner owns and votes a single share and no non-worker can hold a voting share. Employers must sign formal contracts with the cooperatives, and undocumented workers who do not have a social security number can pay taxes to the IRS using an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). Irrespective of their irregular status, many of the workers’ pay taxes this way in the hope that immigration reform will enable them to avail of Medicare and Social Security systems in the future.
Source: Aljazeera America, 12 May 2014
UNDOCUMENTED CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES
ITALY / Italy to grant citizenship to children born to refugees
Italy has announced plans to give citizenship to children born to refugees. Italian citizenship is currently regulated by Law no. 91/1992 and it is mainly based on “ius sanguinis” (right of blood), according to which a child born to an Italian mother or father is Italian. Children born to migrants do not automatically acquire Italian citizenship even if they are born on Italian soil and spend their whole lives in Italy. They can only apply once they are 18. Under Law no. 91, citizenship can be granted to persons born on Italian soil whose parents are unknown, stateless or cannot pass on their citizenship to their child according to the laws of the State of which they are citizens. Moreover, according to article 16, a foreigner who is recognised as a refugee by Italy enjoys the same status of stateless persons in view of the granting of citizenship. The Italian Ministry of Interior has planned to issue an explanatory circular that aims to give an extensive interpretation of the current regulation on citizenship. The circular will clarify that children born on Italian soil to refugees can also obtain citizenship, just like children of stateless persons. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has expressed appreciation for the intention of the Ministry of Interior as a way to strengthen the integration process of refugees’ children in Italy in accordance with the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
Source: Stranieri in Italia, 4 June 2014; UNHCR, 5 June 2014
UN / Voices of Children in Ending Immigration Detention
PICUM, Terre des Hommes and the International Detention Coalition delivered a joint oral statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 13 June 2014 highlighting testimonies from children about their experiences in detention. The statement was symbolically brought by two long distance runners who came from Lampedusa to Geneva to highlight the concerns and needs of children in the context of migration. This was followed by a side event, entitled ‘Ending Child Immigration Detention’ on 19 June 2014, where the voices of detained children were again shared and strategies explored for ending child immigration detention consistent with the recommendations of the Child Rights Committee. The statement is available here. To read a blog post about the side event including children’s testimonies and responses, click here.
USA / Surge of unaccompanied child arrivals
An unprecedented number of unaccompanied children are entering the United States across its border with Mexico. According to estimates of government authorities, the numbers could approach 66,000 this year. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported over 47,000 unaccompanied children have been detained so far this year after crossing the border, almost double the number for all of 2013 and almost five times the number from 2009. President Obama has described the situation as a “humanitarian crisis.” The Department of Homeland Security declared this a crisis, a level-four alert which is the highest for agencies handling children crossing the border irregularly. On 9 May 2014. U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden, extended a planned trip to Latin America in the week of 15 June in order to convene a high-level meeting in Guatemala to address the issue. The Department of Health and Human Services is using an air force base in Texas, also used in 2012, as a temporary shelter for up to 1,000 unaccompanied children. The Health Department maintains shelters for the unaccompanied children, most run by private contractors, in the border region. Some of these children are as young as three years old. Meanwhile, a group of human rights organisations filed a complaint on 11 June 2014 addressing the Department of Homeland Security which alleges that the children were subjected to physical and verbal abuse, denied adequate medical care, food and water, separated from family members and even shackled.
Sources: The New York Times, 16 May 2014; Reuters, 28 May 2014; Democracy Now, 13 June 2014; Politico, 15 June 2014
REPORT / The rights of migrant children and adolescents at the Mexico-Guatemala border
The Mexican Human Rights Center Fray Matías de Córdova, in collaboration with the Human Rights Center of the Universidad Nacional de Lanús (Buenos Aires, Argentina), has published a report on the human rights situation of children and young migrants at the Mexican-Guatemalan border. The report focuses on the main mechanisms of the Mexican migration policy – detention and forced returns – that represent violations of the rights of migrant children and adolescents. The report also indicates that most undocumented children and adolescents crossing the Mexico-Guatemala border are unaccompanied. Recommendations, based on an analysis of the gathered information, suggest that the Mexican government should draft comprehensive immigration policy reform as related to children, with the objective of ensuring protection of children takes priority over migration control in all regulations, and to ensure participation of civil society organisations and other specialists in the processes of forming and design of these policies. The recommendations also address the countries of origin (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) suggesting to draft a policy for the comprehensive protection of migrant children in transit or residing outside the country.To view the full report in Spanish, please click here. To read the executive summary in English, click here.
REPORT / Child Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe – A matter of children’s rights
Save the Children has published a joint report on child poverty and social exclusion aimed at raising awareness of its causes and impact in Europe. The report advocates for the reduction of child poverty as a priority in the European political agendas. It estimates that the number of children at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Europe went up by almost 1 million between 2008 and 2012, highlighting that children with a migrant background are among those most at risk. It includes a number of recommendations which are addressed to EU member states, EU institutions as well as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. It explicitly notes the need for relevant measures to address migrant children’s specific issues, as well as marking out equal access to free high-quality education and adequate housing as key areas to work on. It urges countries to guarantee equal access to justice for all children, including migrant children, and states that redistributive state interventions, along with employment, have the greatest influence on child poverty. The full report can be viewed here.
REPORT / Child Migration and Human Rights in a Global Age
Spanning several continents and drawing on real stories of young migrants, ‘Child Migration and Human Rights in a Global Age’ by Jacqueline Bhabha provides a comprehensive account of the global phenomenon of child migration, exploring the complex challenges facing children and adolescents who move to join their families, who are moved to be exploited, or who move simply to survive. The book makes the case for an international ethics of children’s human rights. For more information, click here.
REPORT / Unaccompanied children lacking protection in Europe
The Observatory of the Migration of Minors published a report entitled ‘Unaccompanied children lacking protection in Europe’ on 17 June 2014 as part of the PUCAFREU project (“Promoting unaccompanied children’s access to fundamental rights in the European Union”). The research was conducted between 2011 and 2013 in four countries with the help of national organisations (France, Association Hors la rue; Belgium, Service Droit de Jeune; Spain, Fundación la Merced Migraciones and Italy, Associazioni per gli studi giuridici sull’immigrazione), which interviewed about 100 children and young adults. The report provides testimonies about their difficulty to access services, especially services of the welfare system. The final goal is to discuss the results of the research with young migrants, in order to seek solutions with their input. Comparative reports of the situation in the four countries are available in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Romanian, as well as national reports in French, Dutch, Spanish and Italian on this website. To view the full comparative report in English, please click here.
DETENTION AND DEPORTATION
LIBYA / Torture in detention centres
According to new findings of Human Rights Watch (HRW) released on 22 June 2014, migrants have been systematically tortured and abused in detention centres in Libya. The findings of an investigation in April 2014 in Libya revealed that about 100 of the 138 interviewed migrants experienced torture and other forms of abuses. The interviewed migrants reported whippings, electric shocks, beatings, strip-searches and people being hung upside down from trees. Besides physical abuse, massive overcrowding, dire sanitation conditions and lack of access to adequate medical care were noted. Both the EU and Italy support Libya’s detention centres by rehabilitating some centres and funding international and Libyan nongovernmental organisations that provide assistance there. According to HRW, the EU and Italy have committed at least €12 million over the next four years to these centres.
Sources: Human Rights Watch (HRW), 22 June 2014; The Guardian, 22 June 2014
SPAIN / Pregnant woman held 18 days in a detention centre
A six-month pregnant woman was detained by Spanish authorities at the Centre for Identification and Expulsion (CIE) of Madrid for 18 days in June 2014. The woman, a Brazilian national, had worked over the past seven years in Barcelona as an undocumented domestic worker. After remaining unemployed, she decided to buy a false Portuguese passport for 800 Euros in order to support her family. After a year, the police discovered her and legal proceedings were initiated. However, she never received any news about the judgment for an expulsion order. In 2012, she decided to go to Brazil to support a sick family member and was detained at the airport in Madrid when she returned in May 2014. The mother of a son who was born in Spain was detained at the airport and sent to the CIE of Madrid because it was alleged she had a criminal conviction for using false documents. After 18 days of being detained in unsanitary conditions, a lawyer appealed and the judge suspended the expulsion order on the grounds of her pregnancy and the fact that she has a Spanish son.
Source: El Diario, 14 June 2014
UK / Owner of airline pressured to prevent deportation of mother and children
Sir Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Atlantic, came under pressure on 29 May 2014 to prevent the deportation of a Nigerian mother and her two young daughters who allegedly are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) if deported to Nigeria. The mother herself is a victim of FGM. After news emerged that the family were due to be sent back to Lagos on a flight operated by Virgin Atlantic, supporters of the family targeted Sir Richard Branson on Twitter. More than 120,000 people have signed a petition on the website Change.org calling on the Home Office to reconsider the case. Deputy Prime Minister, and Shadow Immigration Secretary, David Hanson, wrote to Home Secretary, Theresa May, requesting she look into the case.
Source: The Guardian, 29 May 2014
USA / Hunger strike in detention centre in Washington State
Over 1,000 detainees, mostly of Latin American origin, went on hunger strike at the Northwest Detention Centre in Washington State, U.S. in late May 2014. They wanted to protest against the bad conditions in detention and reported that they had to eat rotten food and that some had gone through long stretches of solitary confinement, with little to no communication with the outside world. The detainees also reported that they had to work and basically ran the centre, receiving $1 a day.
Source: Latino USA, 30 May 2014
PUBLICATIONS AND OTHER RESOURCES
PROJECT / Spanish e-learning platform offers courses on migration and integration issues
The Spanish organisation Andalucía Acoge, working to promote the integration of migrants in the region of Andalucía, has launched an e-training platform with courses (in Spanish) on various issues such as migration law, psychological aspects and adaptation processes of migrants, as well as on administration for not for profit organisations, intercultural mediation, and social networks. Registration for the first series of courses is open now. For more details on the content, costs of courses and for registration, visit the e-learning platform.
CAMPAIGN / New leaflet promotes accurate terminology
The Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) published a pocket-size leaflet on accurate terminology when referring to undocumented migrants on 20 June 2014. The leaflet provides reasons why not to use the term ‘illegal migrant’, instead using the recognised terms ‘undocumented’ or ‘irregular’ migrant, and it includes a lexicon with translations of the latter terms in all EU languages. The publication marks the launch of a wider campaign to end discriminating and criminalising language in reference to undocumented migrants and promote language which accurately describes undocumented migrants as rights holders. Similar initiatives have been promoted by other organisations and institutions. Human Rights Watch (HRW), for example, published guidelines for describing migrants on 24 June 2014. For more information on PICUM’s terminology campaign, click here.
CONFERENCE / Growing phenomenon of “sanctuary cities”
The 2014 International Metropolis Conference from 3 to 7 November 2014 in Milan, Italy, will include a specific plenary session on ‘the challenges posed by irregular migration to cities and the growing phenomenon of “sanctuary cities” – cities providing access to services to irregular migrants in spite of national restrictions’. For more information click here.
PICUM IN THE NEWS
EU / Need for measures to ensure equal access to services, protection and justice for all children
PICUM published a joint op-ed with Human Rights Watch (HRW) on migrant children’s rights changes needed at EU level. The opinion outlines how measures need to be taken to end detention of children and ensure access to services for all children and their families, regardless of residence status.
Source: Policy Review, 24 June 2014
GREECE / European migration policy in Greece and the Euro-elections
As a follow-up of its activities on the situation of migrants in Greece, PICUM authored an opinion on the online news analysis platform Open Democracy which discusses how EU migration policy, after the EU Parliament elections, might impact the situation of migrants in Greece.
Source: Open Democracy, 5 June 2014
ITALY / PICUM speaking at paediatric congress in Italy
The Italian online news platform IMG press mentioned PICUM as a speaker of the 70th Paediatric Congress in Italy to address the issue of ensuring health care for undocumented children. The article was reprinted by Italia News.
Sources: IMG, 29 May 2014; Italia News, 29 May 2014
This newsletter was compiled by PICUM, with contributions from Alexandra Micha, Martina Meneghetti, Sara Fahmy and Sylvia Blaauw.