PICUM Bulletin — 4 December 2012


  • EDITORIAL CORRECTION / PICUM Bulletin – 15 November 2012: editorial correction

    The news item entitled “GREECE / Deportations of irregular migrants” published in PICUM Bulletin on 15 November wrongly reported that the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) was deporting irregular migrants in cooperation with the Department of Deportations of the General Police Directorate of Attica for Foreigners. We would like to clarify that any returns facilitated by the IOM Office in Greece are part of a structured voluntary return programme which provides the migrants with the opportunity to return home in a safe and dignified manner.
    The correct version of this news item now reads as follows:

    GREECE / Returns of irregular migrants

    1,531 irregular migrants of different nationalities were returned from Greece to their countries of origin in October 2012 under the operations of the Department of Deportations of the General Police Directorate of Attica for Foreigners, according to official data by Greek police. More specifically, 717 irregular migrants who were arrested for irregular entry into the country were either driven or returned by commercial flights from the Athens airport ‘Eleutherios Venizelos’. In addition, the Department of Deportations of the General Police Directorate of Attica for Foreigners, in cooperation with the International Organisation for Migration, organised the return of  814 irregular migrants to their countries of origin under a voluntary return programme. This programme was signed between IOM and the Greek government on 31 July 2012 and will run for 12 months. It is primarily funded by the European Returns Funds. Since August 2012, the official total number of irregular migrants who were returned from Greece to their countries of origin is 3,666 people.
    Source: Kathimerini, 6 November 2012; Express, 1 November 2012


  • ITALY / Major of Lampedusa calls on the European Union to act to stop deaths at sea

    Ms. Giusi Nicolini, Mayor of Lampedusa, issued an open letter on 7 November 2012, calling on the European Union to urgently act to stop deaths at sea. In her letter, Ms. Nicolini criticises Europe’s disregard of the loss of lives in the Mediterranean Sea and claims that Europe should reconsider its immigration policies in light of the tragic shipwrecks of migrant boats which are becoming increasingly common in the Mediterranean. Between 24 and 25 November 2012, the Italian Coast Guard rescued a total of 438 migrants who attempted to reach Italian shores.
    Source: Corriere della Sera, 24 November 2012; La Repubblica, 25 November 2012

  • GREECE / Evros anti-immigrant fence will soon be operational

    According to Greek authorities, the approximately 12 km fence along the Greek-Turkish border which was designed to prevent irregular migration through the northern region of Evros will be fully operational by the end of November 2012. However, the need for the fence which costs EUR 5 million is being questioned because of the sharp drop in irregular arrivals through the Greek -Turkish border during recent months due to the deployment of 1,800 Greek police officers along the border. A total of 8 irregular migrants were recorded entering into Greece in November 2012 and 26 in October 2012, compared to an average of 3,000 – 4,000 irregular migrants in the same period in 2011. In the meantime, the Mayor of Orestiada, a town in Evros region, announced on 1 November 2012 a plan to create bigger and more modern facilities next to the existing detention centre of Fylakio in order to improve detention conditions and to detain migrants for longer periods.
    Source: To Vima, 10 November 2012; Infomobile, 8 November 2012; E-evros, 1 November 2012

  • SPAIN / Fourteen migrants drown at Alboran Sea

    At least fourteen people drowned at Alboran Sea, off the cost of Morocco, on the night of 28 October 2012. According to the daily El País, the Spanish coast guard rescued seventeen other migrants from a sinking boat off the coast of Alhucemas, and it is believed that the boat carried more than 70 migrants. The survivors were taken to Alhucemas as they were in need of medical care. The bloggers from Beating Borders, which is circulated by the organisation Migreroup, interviewed one of the survivors, and added that the three boats left Tangiers and had passed the Spanish maritime border when they began to sink. According to the same source, the Moroccan police dealt with the boats and pursued them across the border, outside their jurisdiction, and allegedly without informing the Spanish police of the deaths of migrants.
    Source: El País, 25 October 2012; Beating Borders, 5 November2012


  • PICUM / Side Event prior to the United Nations Day of General Discussion (DGD) on “The rights of all children in the context of international migration”

    PICUM together with UNICEF, Migrants’ Rights International (MRI) and Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA), held a side event on 27 September 2012, a day prior to the DGD, during which strong calls were made for the full and inclusive implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in relation to the rights of all children, including those in an irregular migration situation. The chair, Mr. William Gois, Regional Coordinator of MFA, highlighted the need to ensure policies address issues facing families. Ms. Marta Mauras, Vice-Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, highlighted some key challenges regarding the rights of undocumented migrant children and mentioned the importance of a data collection system that would provide adequate and diversified data while ensuring that collection of data would not lead to possible human rights violations. In this context, UNICEF called for on-going and comprehensive debate and analysis on the impact of migration on the rights, well-being and development of all children affected by migration, in countries of origin, transit and destination. Key contributions were also offered by: Mr. Mehmet Sevim, Member of the UN Committee on Migrant Workers; Mr. Jesus Domingo, Minister and Consul General from the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the UN and Ms. Constanza Argentieri, from Mercosur’s Institute for Human Rights Policies.

  • UN / UNODC Regional Centre for East Asia and the Pacific launches a Voluntary Reporting System on Migrant Smuggling and Related Conduct

    In support of the Bali Process, the Regional Centre for East Asia and the Pacific of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime launched on 1 October a pilot program aimed at collecting information on irregular migration and on migrant smuggling.  The pilot phase of the “Voluntary Reporting System on Migrant Smuggling and Related Conduct” (VRS-MSRC) will involve the participation of more than 10 countries from Europe, Asia Pacific and North America. The VRS-MSRC is an internet-based IT tool through which participating countries will share information on irregular migration and migrant smuggling.
    Source: UNODC, 2 October 2012


  • EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT / European Parliament’s plenary chamber approves the appointment of Tonio Borg as European Commissioner for the Health and Consumers portfolio

    Despite the mobilisation of civil society and various NGOs  against the appointment of Tonio Borg as Commissioner Designate for the Health and Consumers portfolio, Borg secured the European Parliament’s backing on 21 November 2012. In particular, in response to Mr Borg’s worrying track record on migration issues, PICUM, together with the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), Médecins du Monde, European Network Against Racism (ENAR) and the Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union (COFACE) have shown their concern as to whether Mr Borg would uphold the rights of migrants.  NGO concerns arise from Mr Borg’s decision, in September and October 2002, as Minister of Home Affairs of Malta, to forcibly deport some 220 Eritreans back to Eritrea where they were detained and tortured and following his explicit rejection  in February 2004 of recommendations from former Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Álvaro Gil-Robles to change harsh migrant detention practices in Malta.  The appointment of Tonio Borg was supported by MEPs within the European Parliament plenary chamber, with 386 votes in favour, 281 against and 28 abstentions. The nomination of the new Commissioner was highly controversial. Mr Borg will take up the post as Commissioner for Health and Consumers Affairs subject to Council approval in the coming days.
    Source: European Parliament News, 21 November 2012

  • EU / Adoption of the new Directive on victims’ rights

    A new EU Directive on minimum standards for victims has been adopted by the Council of Ministers on 4 October 2012 and published in the Official Journal on 14 November 2012. The Directive was initially tabled by the Commission in May 2011 (see MEMO/11/310) and the European Parliament endorsed it with an overwhelming majority on 12 September 2012. The new Directive is the result of intense negotiations within the European Parliament mediated by the European Commission and its implementation within all 27 EU Member States, will have to be achieved by 16 November 2015. In order to better coordinate the implementation process amongst the 27 EU countries, some Members of the European Parliament have decided to call on other MEPs to sign a written declaration on coordination and assistance in the implementation of the Directive.  The directive sets out minimum rights for all victims, including undocumented migrants, to be respected and ensured within the whole territory of the European Union. The Directive will ensure that victims have access to the basic rights of information, support, respect and protection. For more information click here.


  • GREECE / “Xenios Zeus” operation will continue in 2013

    The “Xenios Zeus” operation, which is being implemented since the beginning of August 2012 in the areas of Attica and Evros to control irregular migrants, will continue in 2013. The cost of this operation is approximately EUR 4 million per month which is covered by allocations from the European External Border Fund. An allocation of EUR 10 million from the European External Border Fund had already been approved for the operation in 2013. However, the Greek Ministry of Public Order was negotiating with the European Commission for additional funding for the operation “Xenios Zeus” for 2013 as well as for covering the cost of running the detention centres operating in Athens, Korinthos, Drama and elsewhere. In Amygdaleza and Korinthos detentions centres, expansion works are already taking place in order to facilitate the detention of 4,000 migrants in each centre in 2013 while the plan is that all detention centres in Greece will host 10,000 detainees by the end of summer 2013. The operating cost of the facilities is estimated at EUR 30 million for 2013. Since the allocation from the European External Border Fund in 2013 are up to EUR 10 million, Greek authorities submitted a request for an additional allocation of EUR 20 million. Since the beginning of the operation, 1,439 irregular migrants have been arrested in Evros, compared to 23,565 in 2011, which represents a drop of 94%.
    Source: News247, 18 November 2012

  • NETHERLANDS / Unsuccessful asylum seekers go on hunger strike

    The Dutch vice-minister of Security and Justice has decided against providing shelter for a group of unsuccessful asylum seekers from their tent encampment in Amsterdam (See PICUM Bulletin 7 November 2012). In response 88 persons have gone on a hunger strike. The mayor of Amsterdam has been preparing an offer of shelter in ten different municipalities around Amsterdam.
    Source: Spits, 21 November 2012

  • SPAIN / Report on migrants’ rights in Spain

    The organisation Migreurop released a report entitled ‘The protection of migrants rights in Europe: Spain’, for the Human Rights Commission of the Council of Europe, on 15 November 2012. The report is part of a round of consultation led by Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks. It is also the result of severe human rights abuses against migrants in migrant detention centres and the southern border of Spain. Concerning migrant detention centres, the report highlights irregularities in both legal defence and asylum claims, as well as the presence of children and inadequate medical care, amongst other issues. As regards the southern border, the report criticises the Spanish Government for failing to comply with the legal procedures regarding border control. Spain regularly uses methods that violate the basic rights of migrants entering the country irregularly. The Ombudsman further illustrates the Spanish Government’s performance by providing concrete examples of migrants’ deaths at the Ceuta and Melilla barbed wire fence, as well as collective expulsions and irregular repatriation. The report in available in English and Spanish.
    Source: Migreroup, 15 Movember 2012

  • SPAIN / Press release against the Spanish Government providing residence permits to migrants spending 160.000 euros in property

    Andalucía Acoge, Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de Andalucía (APDH-A), Federación SOS Racismo and RED ACOGE, issued a press release on 21 November 2012 to condemn the Government announcement to provide residence permits to undocumented migrants buying houses worth EUR 160,000.  The press release raises the issue of the utilitarianism shaping the Government approach to migration, and claims that this discriminatory policy, focusing merely on the economically profitable side of integration, stands in sharp contrast to the many evictions conducted against migrants in the country. The press release also criticises the policy in the context the Royal Decree Act 16/2012 amending the Foreigners Act (see PICUM Bulletin 29 May 2012) which restricted health care access for undocumented migrants. Both these policies are seen as a reflection of the Spanish government’s struggle to implement a comprehensive migration and integration policy. The press release is available here.
    Source: Andalucia Acoge, 21 November 2012


  • BELGIUM / PUBLICATION / Health care and migration

    The Autumn 2012 issue of Migration|Magazine entitled “Santé et migrations: La Belgique, hôpital du monde?” explores different aspects of the connection between health and migration including access to health care in countries of origin and in Belgium, migration and requests for regularisation on health grounds as well as the mental health of migrants. The editorial by Stéphane Heymans, Officer in charge of the Belgian project, Doctors of the World, highlights the importance of this analysis for understanding the complexity of the issue and the interdependence of problems which result from migration including the impact of the loss of health care professionals in countries experiencing emigration on those who stay in their country origin, emphasising the need to ensure “medical protection” for migrants. Click here to find out more.

  • ITALY / EVENT / Conference on Trans-cultural psychology

    Hospital Sandro Pertini in Rome hosted a conference on “Mental health and transcultural psychology in local hospital services” on 23 November 2012. The conference focused on the complexity of migrants’ journey from escape to integration into new societies as well as on society’s openness and capacity to assist them in the process. The transcultural approach as a psychological healing method against depression was discussed.
    Source: La Repubblica, 19 November 2012

  • THAILAND / Government urged to expand health care coverage to migrant workers

    A medical expert has urged the government to expand health care schemes to include migrant workers. Phusit Prakongsai, director of the International Health Policy Programme Thailand, has said that about four million migrant workers, both regular and irregular, are living in Thailand. Dr Phusit explained that many hospitals are under financial strain, especially where there are high concentrations of migrant workers, as they meet the cost of treating the workers because they are morally obliged to do so. The National Health Personnel Committee of the National Health Commission has agreed with Dr Phusit who is also secretary of a sub-committee implementing the World Health Organisation’s Global Code of Practice on International Recruitment of Health Personnel. The Commission is set to discuss Dr Phusit’s proposal with the Public Health Ministry early in December. Dr Phusit said if the health care schemes were expanded, it would help public health authorities accurately allocate budgets.
    Source: Bangkok Post, 15 November 2012

  • UN / REPORT / WHO review of social determinants of health in Europe considers health inequalities faced by irregular migrants

    In a landmark report, a ‘European review of social determinants of health and the health divide’, the World Health Organisation (WHO) refers to the social exclusion of Roma and irregular migrants. The authors, Marmot et el., note that restrictions on access to health care seem to have little effect on the number of irregular migrants, but increase their vulnerability to marginalisation, poverty, illness, and exploitation. A key recommendation to address the social determinants of health and well-being among socially-excluded groups is to build on and extend existing systems that are in place for the wider society, with the aim of creating systems that are more sustainable, cohesive, and inclusive. The importance of protecting the employment rights of migrant workers is also considered, to eradicate exposure to unhealthy, unsafe work and to strengthen measures to secure healthy workplaces.


  • CZECH REPUBLIC / REPORT / Debate: Employment of Foreign Childminders in the Czech Republic

    Following the screening of the film “Mama Illegal”, the organisation Člověk v tísni published a report of the event. The main speakers Kristine Go and Petra Ezzeddine presented the experiences of childminders from the Philippines and post-Soviet states, which form the main groups of female childminders working in the Czech Republic. The debate covered the topics of shared migrant experiences: separation from family members, strains of long-distance communication and uncertainty of residence status. It also concentrated on the problematic relationships of the employers and migrant workers, lack of social security and the costs of transnational motherhood. The visitors also discussed the general background of the trend of hiring foreign childminders and its negative outcomes in the states of origin: ineffective state support, various forms of social criticism, alcoholism of men and children who are left to provide for themselves.
    Source: Migration 4 Media, 20 November 2012

  • GERMANY / Meeting of drop-in centres providing information on work-related problems

    There are currently seven drop-in contact centres in Germany for undocumented migrants who have problems in their work place. Most of these centres have been established by German trade unions. They are concerned with informing undocumented migrants about their labour rights and helping them to realise these rights. On 30 November and 1 December 2012 there will be a meeting in Munich of these trade union-led drop-in centres where their counselling work and other initiatives will be discussed. On 30 November 2012, there is also a public event which focuses on the situation of south-eastern European migrants.
    Source: Kompass – AntiRa – Newsletter Nr. 9, November 2012

  • IRELAND / MRCI campaign on Ireland ratifying domestic workers ILO convention 189

    The organisation Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI), a PICUM member, launched a campaign on 13 November 2012 to call on the Irish Government to commit to introducing new international labour laws protecting women working in private homes. The Irish Government voted for this law in Geneva in 2011, and the campaign is calling on the Government to bring it into effect. MRCI has found that up to 10,000 migrants in Ireland work in private homes, that there have been 40 cases of forced labour involving women working in private homes since 2008, and that this sector has the highest number of reported cases of trafficking for forced labour, 50% of which are cases involving embassies. You can sign the petition here.
    Source: Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, 13 November 2012

  • ISRAEL-PALESTINE / REPORT / “Employment of Palestinian Workers in Israel and the Settlements – Limitations, Restrictions, and Rights Violations”

    Kav LaOved, an Israeli NGO, has published a report entitled “Employment of Palestinian Workers in Israel and the Settlements – Limitations, Restrictions, and Rights Violations”. The report describes the obstacles faced by Palestinian workers who wish to take up employment in Israel. Palestinian workers in Israel are only allowed to work within specific fields of occupation such as: construction, industry, agriculture and services. The report includes final recommendations suggested by Kav LaOved for the government to address the negative consequences of the current provisions on this issue. To read the full report, click here.


  • UK / 2013 Refugee and Migrant Woman of the Year Awards

    Nominations are now open for the 2013 Refugee and Migrant Woman of the Year Awards which recognise and promote the work of women who have migrated or fled persecution and who go on to provide essential support and inspiring leadership at a grassroots level to others starting a new life in the UK.


  • GLOBAL / New thematic website on migrant children

    The network Terre des Hommes International Federation launched a thematic website entitled ‘Destination Unknown’ on 19 November 2012. The website is part of an international campaign to protect children on the move, and it is supported by partners who will join forces to develop protection mechanisms for migrant children, to raise awareness and to promote the campaign messages for policy change. It also offers an array of information, tools and expertise on the phenomenon of child mobility: field-based information, project results, policy analysis, research, news and events, civil society organisations’ positions and experts’ views. With Destination Unknown, Terre des Hommes is committed to promoting the protection and best interests of the child whenever she or he moves away from home.
    Source: Terre des Hommes, 19 November 2012

  • UK / Undocumented and stateless children living rough in the UK

    According to research conducted by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and supported by organisations such as Asylum Aid, Coram Children’s Legal Centre, Peckham Project Safe ‘n’ Sound and the Oxford University Centre on Migration Policy and Society, there are hundreds of children on the streets in UK’s major cities who may be stateless. The research organisations spoke to 53 undocumented migrant children and parents in London and Birmingham.  Although figures remain estimates, it is thought that there are 120,000 children living in the UK in an irregular migration situation. There are no concrete figures for numbers of stateless children. Several of the children spoken to have deteriorating health, and struggle in accessing support and accommodation from local authorities. The research reveals difficulties in accessing education, healthcare and social housing for undocumented and stateless children.
    Source: BBC, 5 November 2012

  • UK / The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on migration has launched an inquiry into the impact of the new family migration rules

    On 20 November 2012 the APPG launched an inquiry into the impact of the new family migration rules.  The inquiry specifically focuses on rule changes that require sponsors to show minimum earnings of £18,600 per year to sponsor spouses, partners and elderly dependents to come to the UK from outside the EU.  It is anticipated that this will have a profound impact on families with one British citizen or person who is settled in the UK. The committee is led by a cross-party representation of MPs and peers and chaired by shadow Equalities Minister Kate Green MP. The inquiry will collect written submissions for eleven weeks (commencing 20 November 2012). Submissions should be sent to info@appgmigration.org.uk by 31st January 2013.  The committee will also hear oral evidence at the House of Commons in February and March 2013.  Based on written submissions and the evidence at the parliamentary hearings, a final inquiry report will be published in April 2013.
    Source: All Party Group on Migration, 21 November 2012


  • FRANCE / Critical evaluation of immigration detention

    ASSFAM, France terre d’asile, Forum réfugiés-Cosi, La Cimade and Ordre de Malte France have collaborated for a second annual report concerning immigration detention practices in France. The report analyses the developments in the first year of application of the Besson law adopted in July 2011 (See PICUM Bulletin 11 July 2012) which made French immigration policy much more restrictive. The report reveals how the new law on immigration has become a tool to justify a rapid and systematic deportation policy in order  to respond to a policy of target numbers. This means that in practice increasingly serious violations are occurring. Amongst other findings of abuse of power, denial of rights, abusive arrests and unjustifiable detention practices, the report notes that 25% of migrants detained are deported before their fifth day of detention namely, before being brought before a judge. The report concludes by calling for urgent reform of the deportation policy and applying the policy articulated by French President François Hollande whereby detention remains an exception.
    Source: France Terre d’Asile, 22 Novembre 2012

  • GREECE / European Court of Human Rights rules against Greece on detention conditions

    The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled against Greece on 6 November 2012 in the case of a 29-year-old Chinese man who was wrongly arrested in Athens and mistreated during detention. Luping Lin, requested on 11 April 2006 a work and residence permit from the regional authorities of Thessalia. He provided a copy of his passport proving that he had entered the country legally. However, on 30 June 2010, Luping Lin was arrested for irregular entry and residence in Greece and was held in the reception centre of Elliniko, where – according to what he argued before the European Court of Human Rights – he was abused and subjected to degrading treatment. The ECHR ordered Greece to pay Mr Lin EUR 5,000 in compensation for material and moral damage.
    Sources: European Court of Human Rights, 6 November 2012; Infomobile, 8 November 2012; To Vima, 7 November 2012

  • GREECE / Hunger strike at detention centre of Korinthos

    The detainees in Korinthos detention centre started a hunger strike on 18 November 2012 in protest against long detention periods (with some having been detained for more than three months) as well as the degrading and inhumane conditions in the facilities, including a lack of warm water, insufficient food, absence of access to information and lawyers, absence of interpreters, lack of medicine and infrequent visits of doctors. The detainees confronted riot police and teargas inside their cells where they tried to barricade the doors to protect themselves. It was reported that some of the detainees fainted because of teargas and in some cells the detainees started burning mattresses. Police arrested 24 of the detainees who were then brought to court.
    Sources: Infomobile, 18 November 2012; Inews, 18 November 2012; Ta Nea, 19 November, 2012

  • GREECE / Afghan detainee of Xanthi detention centre in protest

    A migrant of Afghan origin who was detained at the new Xanthi detention centre, at the facilities of the former Police Academy, sewed his lips together on 12 November 2012 in protest against the new maximum detention period. The authorities took immediate action by calling state run KELPNO doctors who examined the health condition of the detainee and opened the stitches. The Afghan asked to be immediately deported back to his country in protest at the undue extension of detention at the centre. Until 19 October 2012 detainees who applied for asylum within detention could be held for a maximum of three months in the centre. But according to the recent Presidential Decree 116/2012, asylum seekers awaiting a decision on their application may now be detained for up to 18 months.
    Sources: Infomobile, 12 November 2012; Proto Thema, 13 November 2012; Makedonia, 13 November 2012

  • GREECE / Riots in Komotini detention centre

    Over 500 undocumented migrants who were detained at the Komotini police academy in eastern Greece started strong protests on 24 November 2012. Further to the “Xenios Zeus” operation, started by the Greek Government in August 2012, part of the police academy of Komotini has been converted into a detention centre. The protesters denounced the appalling conditions in which they are being held and they burned mattresses, wooden doors and window frames, chanting “freedom” and “send us home”. Twelve migrants and four guards were injured and around 50 migrants were arrested. The protest came after a similar action in Corinth on 19 November 2012, when detained migrants protested about the poor detention conditions.
    Source: Euobserver, 24 November 2012; Greek Reporter, 24 November 2012.

  • ITALY / Delaying unsuccessful asylum seekers’ expulsion

    Approximately 18,000 refugees and undocumented migrants reached Italy from Libya in 2011. The consequent emergency state proclaimed by the Italian government on 12 February 2012 will come to an end on 31 December 2012. According to an internal decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs on 31 October 2012, those asylum seekers whose asylum requests have been rejected may refer to the police headquarters’ offices for their application to be reconsidered. The Association for Juridical Studies on Migration (ASGI) argues that such a solution would only extend the undefined juridical status of many aspiring and unsuccessful asylum seekers.
    Source: La Repubblica, 7 November 2012

  • ITALY / Launch of report on detention

    The International University College of Turin will hold a conference in Turin on 7 December 2012 to launch its report “Betwixt and Between: Turin’s CIE. A human rights investigation into Turin’s immigration detention centre”. This report examines the extent to which Italian, European and international human rights and migration law is applied in Turin’s Centro di identificazione ed espulsione (Turin’s CIE), an immigration detention centre in Northern Italy (see PICUM bulletin 7 November 2012). The Conference will take place at the headquarters of Torino Study Abroad in via Santa Teresa 20, Torino. The working language is Italian and participation is free.

  • LIBYA / Amnesty International briefing: “We are foreigners, we have no rights”

    Amnesty International’s latest briefing on Libya, entitled “We are foreigners, we have no rights”, was launched on 13 November 2012. The report is based on fact-finding visits to Libya between May and September this year and it shows that undocumented foreign nationals continue to be at risk of exploitation, arbitrary detention and torture. Amnesty International visited nine detention centres throughout Libya where detainees claimed that they were subjected to torture and other ill-treatment. Amnesty International calls on the EU to ensure that any cooperation with Libya on migration and asylum fully respects the rights of migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees and launched a petition which urges members of the European Parliament to ensure public scrutiny of migration control agreements and operations.
    Source: Amnesty International, 13 November 2012; December 18, 13 November 2012

  • NETHERLANDS / REPORT / Immigration detention

    The National Ombudsman of the Netherlands released a report entitled ‘Immigration Detention: penal regime or step towards deportation? About respecting human rights in immigration detention’ on 6 August 2012. The report raised the issue of the current method of immigration detention implemented by the Dutch government as being an inappropriate regime that seriously strains respect of fundamental rights. In particular, the report highlights the facilities’ reduced space, the control of migrants’ schedules and freedom of movement, the visits for only two hours per week, the denial of the right to work and the lack of information on the length of the detention. The Ombudsman also questions whether it is  humane to lock up in this way people who have not been convicted of anything, and also backs up such criticism with reference to the many organisations, including Amnesty International, international bodies like the UN Human Rights Commission and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)) that regularly express criticism of how the Netherlands locks up foreign nationals who do not have the right of residence. The report is available in Dutch and English.
    Source: De Nationale Ombudsman, 6 August 2012

  • NETHERLANDS-SERBIA / Unsuccessful asylum seeker murdered following return

    An investigation from a Dutch radio program reveals that Zivko Kosanovic, an unsuccessful asylum seeker from Serbia who was forcibly returned in 2009, was murdered that same year. The person was the brother of a witness at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. His brother had been put in a witness protection programme. Despite Mr Kosanovic’s life being threatened in Serbia, the national Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) decided that it did not concern political persecution and ultimately rejected his appeal for asylum. The IND claims it made a proper assessment and reiterated that its decision was backed up by the Court in Den Bosch and the State Council. Kosanovic was killed in broad day light in his hometown of Šid by a man who had threatened and beaten him before he fled to the Netherlands.
    Source: NOS, 24 November 2012

  • POLAND / Government to carry out inspections in migrant detention centres

    The Polish Government announced an amendment of legislation on irregular migration on 4 November 2012. Competent authorities will no longer be obliged to send undocumented migrants to detention centres. In addition, the prosecutor has opened an investigation into the refugee centre at Lesznowola near Warsaw, and inspections in all detention centres for foreigners have been announced by the Ombudsman and the Ministry of Interior, to be carried out together with members of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and the Legal Intervention Association. These announcements come shortly after 73 migrants detained in immigration detention centres across Poland went on public hunger strike calling on the Government to enforce their rights (see PICUM Bulletin 7 November 2012).
    Source: Inter Press Service, 4 November 2012

  • SPAIN / REPORT / Migrant detention centres in Spain

    The Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (Centro de Estudios y Documentación Internacionales de Barcelona) released a report entitled ‘Migrant detention centres in Spain: source, functioning, legal and social implications (‘Los Centros de Internamiento de extranjeros en España: Origen, funcionamiento e implicaciones jurídico-sociales’) on 12 November 2012, as part of their series ‘Migrations’. The report criticises irregular migration management in Spain and its legal principles, as well as administrative practices applied by the State to deportation proceedings that are raised to legitimise the existence of migrant detention centres (CIEs). The report also provides a detailed description of the current situation of the CIEs, focusing on three main aspects: irregularities in applying legal provisions; the conditions of the facilities; and the personal conditions of migrants, whose rights are systematically violated. Lastly, it summarises the main proposals put forward by the Spanish Government in light of the Civil Society Organisations advocacy work. The report is available here.
    Source: Barcelona Centre for International Affaires, October 2012


  • SPAIN / Manual to challenge rumours, stereotypes and prejudices towards migration

    The Basque Government released a guide entitled ‘Manual to challenge rumours, stereotypes and prejudices towards migration’ (‘Guía práctica para combatir los rumores, los estereotipos y los prejuicios hacia la inmigración’) as part of the project entitled ‘Stop the Rumours’, on 9 July 2012. The guide is aimed at supporting administrations, organisations, schools and networks to challenge stereotypes against migrants by providing counter-arguments constructed on the basis of evidence based data. The guide is also intended to be used as educational material to train private individuals, entities, administrations and professionals.
    Source: Frena el Rumor, 9 July 2012


  • GLOBAL / EVENT / Second edition of ODYSSEIA, the audio magazine by Radio 1812

    Radio 1812 has released the second edition of ODYSSEIA (See also PICUM Bulletin – 10 October 2012), an audio magazine which aims to address various topics regarding international migration, such as the campaign for domestic workers’ rights and reports from the World Social Forum on Migration in the Philippines and the Global Forum on Migration and Development in Mauritius. This second edition of ODYSSEIA mainly focuses on the 12-by-12 Campaign, launched by the ITUC in December 2011 in partnership with a wide range of civil society organisations. The edition includes a special report on the situation of migrant and domestic workers in and from Asia. On 18 December 2012, Radio 1812 will release a special issue of Odysseia to celebrate International Migrants’ Day. For more information and to listen to Odysseia visit www.radio1812.net

  • GLOBAL / Global Forum on Migration and Development in Mauritius

    The sixth edition of the Global Forum on Migration and Development took place in Mauritius, with the civil society days from 19-20 November and the government days from 21-22 November 2012. The Forum was created by States after the High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in 2006 and is formally outside the UN structure, constituting a non-binding consultative process opened to observers. On 22 November 2012, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, stated that migrants’ rights should be a central pillar of the agenda of the Global Forum on Migration and Development and he highlighted that, due to the limited ability of civil society organisations to participate effectively, the Forum is not yet “fulfilling its potential to become a fully inclusive forum which anchors the human rights dimension of migration”. Sir Peter Sutherland, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative on Migration, expressed his concern for providing assistance to all migrants and stated: “[…] we need to do something urgently about the human price of irregular movement. […] and migration has to be integrated into the post-2015 development architecture”. More than 100 civil society organizations presented a “5 Point Plan for Strong Civil Society Involvement” for the upcoming High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development (HLD), which will take place in September 2013. For more information and to read the GFMD Civil Society Days Statement “We are here for change”, click here. As part of the GFMD, PICUM co-organized a side event on 20 November 2012, entitled “Protecting child rights in the context of migration. How can States Parties fulfil their human rights obligations to children in context of migration without discrimination?”. For some direct reporting listen to the radio report by Jenni Roth from December 18.
    Source: GFMD, 16 November 2012; OHCHR, 22 November 2012; GFMD Civil Society, 22 November 2012

  • MOROCCO / “Migrants week”

    L’Organisation Démocratique des Travailleurs Immigrés au Maroc (ODT Immigrés), an affiliated organisation of the Organisation Démocratique du Travail (ODT) will hold the first edition of “Migrants Week” in Morocco between 11-18 December 2012 entitled “For a policy of regularization of undocumented migrants in the context of the constitutional reform of Morocco”. The week-long event will consist of various activities with the objective of bringing together different migrant communities to discuss the issue of regularization. The event will include the participation of lawyers, researchers, parliamentarians, civil society actors, trade unions as well as migrant and community organizations. This event follows an unprecedented media coverage resulting from the intervention of the Secretary General of the ODT at one of the most popular program on Moroccan television “2M”. To see read related articles.


  • GERMANY / Mapping resistance against the border regime

    In the wake of the transborder conference in Istanbul 2012, a map of transnational networks and locations of resistance against the European border regime has been created. It is now available in German.
    Source: Kompass – AntiRa

  • ITALY / Io Sono Li (Shun Li and the Poet) wins 2012 LUX Cinema Prize

    Io Sono Li (Shun Li and the Poet), a film by the Italian director Andrea Segre, was awarded the 2012 LUX Cinema Prize on 21 November 2012. The award of the prize, which took place in the European Parliament’s plenary chamber in Strasbourg, was presented by the European Parliament President, Martin Schultz in an official ceremony. The film explores issues relating to migration and tells the moving story of a friendship that overcomes stereotypes and prejudices against migrants. At the ceremony, producer Mr. Segre called on the European Parliament to rethink European policies on migration as to facilitate and ease regular migration processes rather than combating irregular migration through restrictive immigration laws and practices.
    Source: European Parliament LUX Prize, 15 November 2012; European Parliament LUX Prize, 21 November 2012

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