PICUM Bulletin — 4 July 2011


  • ITALY / DEATH AT BORDER / Arrival of 900 irregular migrants on Lampedusa Island and death of an adolescent on Sicilian coast

    Approximately 900 undocumented migrants arrived on Lampedusa Island on a boat about to collapse on 22 June 2011, and were rescued by the Coastal Guard. Hundreds of tourists witnessed the happening. At the same time, on the coast of Agrigento, Sicily, an adolescent of Egyptian origin drowned at sea. He is thought to have dived in the water to reach the shore, but was then hit by the boat’s propeller. He was en route on a boat with another 60 migrants.
    Source: La Repubblica, 22 June 2011; La Repubblica, 23 June 2011

  • ITALY / Citizens call upon local government’s action

    In the past months, volunteer based organizations in Sicily have opened their doors to those migrants arriving to Italy in an attempt to compensate the limited government’s assistance and lack of space in the reception centres of the island. Volunteers have been taking care of undocumented migrants giving special attention to pregnant women, newly born children and adolescents. Most worrying is the situation for adolescents aged 14-17: about forty-five are hosted in family houses in Palermo, but over two hundred are still blocked on Lampedusa Island. Volunteer organizations have tried to arrange a meeting with the prefect’s office to design a reception plan and to map all available places in the reception centres.
    Source: La Repubblica, 24 June 2011

  • ITALY / DEATH AT BORDER / 28 years old Ghanaian died on Excelsior boat

    Amoabeng Kwabena, a 28 year old originating from Ghana, died on board of the Excelsior ship while being transferred from Lampedusa Island to Taranto, Apulia Region, Italy. An epileptic shock led him to death despite all attempts to save him by the doctor on board. Another 1,185 undocumented migrants from Central and Sub-Saharan Africa were on board the ship. Among them, 805 were transferred to the Reception Centre in Manduria, where they are expected to remain with other 400 North African migrants until the regions will communicate their availability to receive them.
    Source: La Repubblica, 25 June 2011

  • NETHERLANDS / Campaign by UNITED against Racism

    On the occasion of the 10th International Refugee Day, UNITED against Racism, a Dutch PICUM member sent out a strong message entitled “Will You Play Ignorant? NO EXCUSES: WE ARE STILL CAMPAIGNING Against Fortress Europe”. Since its creation, the organisation has monitoring the deadly results of the building of ‘Fortress Europe’ and documented 15,551 deaths since 1993. UNITED against Racism queries as to how many more migrants will have to lose their lives for “Europe’s conscious” to wake up and for concrete actions to prevent such deaths at Europe’s borders are put in place. For more information visit the UNITED against Racism website.

  • USA / DEATH AT BORDER / Bodies found in Arizona desert

    US Border Patrol agents say they have recovered the bodies of five people in southern Arizona believed to be undocumented migrants in five different locations. In their search, they also rescued 36 undocumented migrants.
    Source: Times Union.com, 29 June 2011

United Nations

  • ILO/UN / Committee on migrants’ rights hails new International Convention on Domestic Workers

    A United Nations expert committee on migrants’ rights welcomed the recent adoption by the International Labor Organization of the International Convention on Domestic Workers, a landmark legal instrument aimed at protecting the rights and improving the life conditions of domestic migrant workers.  Human Rights expert Abdelhamid El Jamri, head of the UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, also commented on the risks and vulnerabilities of female migrant domestic workers in particular and irregular migrants. Mr El Jamri also stressed that a speedy ratification and further implementation of the ILO Convention will improve respect for the rights of migrant domestic workers.
    Source: December18, 23 June 2011

  • OCHR-ILO-IOM / MEPs urge member states to adopt the UN convention on migrant rights

    The Regional Office for Europe of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) together with the International Labour Office (ILO) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) and MEPs including Alejandro Cercas, Claude Moraes and Jean Lambert launched a study on the rights of migrant workers in Europe. This study intends to identify and analyse the challenges and opportunities for ratification by European Union countries of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICRMW). At the launch of the report, MEPs strongly urged EU Member States to ratify the UN Convention. Read the report here.
    Source: UNRIC, 22 June 2011 ; Parliament.com, 22 June 2011

  • UN / Human Rights Council calls for inquiry on migrants abandoned on sinking boats in the Mediterranean Sea

    After the article of The Guardian and the Council of Europe call for an investigation it is now the United Nations Human Rights Council that urges probe into reports of migrants and asylum-seekers fleeing unrest in North Africa allegedly abandoned to their fate at sea despite possible rescue operations by ships in the vicinity. In May 2011, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that nearly 600 people may have drowned when a boat broke up off the coast of Libya.
    Source: UN News, 17 June 2011

European Policy Developments

  • COUNCIL OF THE EU / Migrants in danger of being the biggest losers of the European Summit of 24 June 2011

    The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) issued a position paper on 22 June 2011 prior to the European Summit of 23 and 24 June 2011, expressing concerns that the rights of migrants might be disregarded in the new EU Strategy towards Southern Mediterranean countries. EMHRN calls for the respect of UN Resolution 1973 to protect the civilian population and for its extension to migrants who are trying to cross the Mediterranean in order to flee violence.
    Source: EMHRN, 22 June 2011

  • COUNCIL OF THE EU / ENAR concerned about reintroduction of border checks at EU internal borders

    On 22 June 2011, the European Network against Racism (ENAR) called on EU leaders to strongly oppose the temporary reintroduction of border controls in countries facing “spikes” of migration. Fearing the emergence of a “Fortress Europe” even within the EU’s borders, ENAR reminded EU decision-makers that giving in to fear and populism with regards migration issues is not the solution, and urges them to highlight the positive impact of migration in the EU.
    Source: ENAR, 22 June 2011

  • COUNCIL OF THE EU / Poland takes over Presidency of the EU on 1 July 2011

    Poland takes over the rotating presidency from Hungary for six months on 1 July 2011. The Polish presidency plans to focus on what it calls three “basic priorities”, including EU integration, a “secure Europe” and a “Europe benefiting from openness”. “Secure Europe” relates to border security and the Presidency’s main aim will be to pursue the conclusion of changes to the regulation on Frontex. They aim to ensure that Frontex will more effectively support member states in crisis situations, such as those taking place in North Africa and the Middle East. Parliament’s political group leaders have backed the priorities of the incoming Polish presidency.
    Source: The Parliament.com, 20 June 2011

  • EUROPEAN COUNCIL / Migration as one of the key issues at the EU Summit

    European heads of state met on 23 and 24 June 2011 for the European Council meeting to discuss EU current affairs. Migration was highlighted as one of the key issues. Ahead of the Summit, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs made an appeal to the Heads of State to raise their standards in dealing with the men, women and children coming to Europe for protection or in search for a better life.  According to the conclusions adopted after the meeting, the European Council has set orientations for the development of EU’s migration policy. The Council is also expected to adopt conclusions as well as a short declaration on the situation in the North African and Middle Eastern states, particularly Libya and Syria. Ahead of the meeting, the European Commission, the European Parliament (EP) and Council of the EU reached a political agreement on the review of the mandate of the EU Border Agency Frontex. Frontex will now be able to acquire its own equipment, to call all deployed teams “European Border Guard Teams”, and to transfer personal data of those persons suspected of being involved in cross-border criminal activities to EU law enforcement agencies. Frontex will have also a stronger role in joint return operations. Regarding fundamental rights, a Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights will be established and a Fundamental Rights Officer will be appointed within Frontex.
    Source: ECRE Weekly Bulletin, 24 June

  • EUROPOL / Schengen enlargement will boost irregular migration, said a Senior Official of Europol

    EU Observer reported on 15 June 2011 on the declarations by Jean-Dominique Nollet, Head of Europol’s Analysis and Information Department, about Bulgaria and Romania joining the Schengen area. According to him, the planned Schengen enlargement is likely to spur irregular immigration coming through Greece and Turkey, as the Black Sea would become one of the new borders of the EU. This part of Europe has seen the biggest increase in terms of smuggling and human and drug trafficking in recent years. A Schengen accession of Bulgaria and Romania is still opposed by several EU Member States.
    Source: EU Observor.com, 15 June 2011

  • FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AGENCY / FRA publishes Annual Report on Fundamental Rights 2010

    On 15 June 2011, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published its Annual Report 2010 on the situation on Fundamental Rights in the EU. 2010 is the first year the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights operates on a legally-binding basis. The annual report dedicates one chapter on the rights of irregular migrants. According to the report, although irregular migrants form only a small proportion of the migrant population they are more likely to be exposed to human rights violations than other groups of migrants. Their irregular status normally prevents them from seeking redress where their rights are violated, as this would expose them to the risk of being removed. The report reminds member states that the majority of international human rights norms are generally applicable to every person, irrespective of their migration status. View the report here.
    Source: European Commission, 20 June 2011

National Developments

  • BELGIUM / Aliens Office denied access to databank of asylum seekers

    The Belgian Privacy Committee has denied the Aliens Office access to the databank of Fedasil, the service that organises the reception of asylum seekers because it would jeopardise the privacy of asylum seekers. The Aliens Office wanted to ease and speed up repatriation by making use of the databank’s information to find out which failed asylum seekers and undocumented migrants with children are still housed in detention centres. The Committee suggested the Aliens Office would utilise the existing possibilities, such as the National Registry, but they replied that because of slow response rates they had no other option but to request access to the databank.
    Source: Het Belang van Limburg, 28 June 2011

  • CYPRUS / Law enforcement authorities seek once again to criminalise KISA’s Director

    Six months have passed since the events in Larnaca, Cyprus, where participants in the Greek Resistance Movement and other nationalist elements, attacked, in the presence of a police force, the 13th anti-racist Rainbow Festival, the biggest annual multicultural festival in Cyprus. Nevertheless, the law enforcement authorities sought once again to criminalise KISA’s Executive Director by bringing against him criminal charges for “rioting and participating in an illegal assembly”, with the witness being the leaders of the extreme right wing and nationalist circles of Cyprus, who organised the above march. In view of the above, KISA has decided to conduct a campaign both in Cyprus and internationally and calls on individuals and organised groups to express their solidarity with the organisation and to condemned this new attempt to criminalise the organisation. PICUM will soon communicate its members and subscribers what intends to do in order to help KISA.

  • FRANCE / French lower court rules that expulsion orders should be motivated by authorities

    On 9 June 2011, the Administrative Tribunal of Marseilles, France, ruled that certain categories of expulsion orders (“APRF”) must be considered as illegal if the corresponding obligation to leave French territory (“OQTF”) has not been motivated by French authorities. This ruling goes against a decision by France’s highest administrative court (Conseil d’Etat) in 2007 which authorised joint motivations for multiple expulsion orders. French academic Serge Slama analyses the ruling and its implications.
    Source: Le Monde- Blog, 20 June 2011

  • FRANCE / Analysis of the main achievements and the remaining challenges after adoption of ILO Convention on Domestic Work

    French news website “Les Nouvelles News” analysed the newly adopted Convention on Domestic Work of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on 16 June 2011, listing the main achievements and the main challenges that remain. The article focused primarily on women, children, and migrants.
    Soure: Les Nouvelles News , 17 June 2011

  • FRANCE / GISTI files complaint against NATO, EU and all countries taking part in coalition operations in Libya

    GISTI (Groupe d’information et de soutien des immigrés), one of PICUM’s members in France, is organising a campaign to collect complaints in view of filing them officially against NATO, the European Union and coalition countries involved in the war against Libya. The main reason lies in the deaths of more than 1,500 migrants who tried to cross the Mediterranean in May 2011, and who were not helped by the coalition forces despite the huge amount of detection equipment deployed in this region for military purposes. GISTI claims that authorities are guilty of failing to assist a person in danger of drowning.
    Source: GISTI, 9 June 2011

  • NETHERLANDS / No right to study grants for undocumented adult students

    The Central Council of Appeals has ruled that under article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, there is no obligation on the part of the Dutch State to concede study grants to undocumented adult students. An exception to the rule is in place for undocumented minors, but students older than 18 cannot appeal to this exception, as they do not fall under the 1969 Compulsory Education Act.
    Source: Rechtennieuws.nl, 15 June 2011

  • NETHERLANDS / Migrants to pass integration test within three years

    The Dutch government has decided that migrants need to pass their integration test within three years to avoid their residence permit being withdrawn. The ruling does not apply for asylum seekers, who will instead be fined if they do not manage to successfully take the test within the time limit. Migrants and asylum seekers are now also supposed to pay for their own test. If they do not have the means they need to borrow from the government.
    Source: RTL Nieuws, 17 June 2011

  • USA / US journalist reveals his undocumented status

    A Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter from the Washington Post, Jose Antonio Vargas, came out as an undocumented immigrant in a New York Times Magazine article. The article details his secret life, which he lived while excelling as a journalist and, outwardly, a U.S. citizen. He learned when he was 16 years old that his family had used fake documentation to get him to the U.S., and over the years, he kept up the illusion. He says it was four students’ pilgrimage from Miami to Washington, D.C., to lobby for the Dream Act that inspired him to go public with his own immigration status. He has since created an organization “Define American” which looks to advocate for the passage of comprehensive immigration reform and discuss immigration in the US.
    Source: The New York Times, 22 June 2011; Define American, June 2011

  • USA / Drop the I-Word available in Spanish

    The Drop the I-Word campaign recently launched a Spanish version of its website with the aim of reaching out the Latino community and spreading their message. Visit the website by clicking here.

  • USA / Mormon Church issues statement supporting regularisation

    The Mormon church expressed concern over a raft of state immigration laws and appeared to support a guest-worker program for undocumented immigrants who “square themselves with the law” in a statement posted on its website on 10 June 2011. The statement by the Church of Latter-Day Saints of Jesus Christ comes as U.S. states have shown increasing willingness to tackle irregular immigration — an issue traditionally handled by federal authorities. The church said that immigration issues must ultimately be resolved by the federal government, and while it did not endorse any specific proposal in its statement, it appeared to embrace the general notion of allowing undocumented immigrants to earn their right to stay in the country legally. “The Church supports an approach where undocumented immigrants are allowed to square themselves with the law and continue to work without this necessarily leading to citizenship,” the statement said.
    Source: Reuters, 10 June 2011

  • USA / Initiative helping undocumented migrants get copies of their birth certificates finds many were never registered at birth

    In California, during the week of 15 June 2011, officials from the civil registration services of the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, along with representatives of the United Farm Workers, ran an initiative helping people to get copies of their birth certificates. They found that many of the people coming to them for the procedure were never registered at birth. “In Mexico, we have more than 112 million people and according to the National Population Council there are more than 10 million Mexicans who don’t have a birth certification,” noted Karen Mercado, president of the Mexico-based BE Foundation. For those that later emigrate, this means that they live in a “double undocumented” state. “In the United States, there is a large number of immigrants who live in a situation of double invisibility, double lack of documentation, because they don’t have a birth certificate in their country of origin,” Mercado told Efe. “If there is immigration reform in the United States, the ‘double’ undocumented people will simply remain outside it because there is no way to prove who they are and their nationality,” she said. The initiative is able to help people to get registered for the first time.
    Source: EFE America, 15 June 2011

  • USA / US Senator makes allegation that undocumented migrants are to blame for recent forest fires

    The former Republican presidential candidate John McCain has been accused of scapegoating Mexicans over comments he made linking wildfires in his home state of Arizona to irregular migration. The US senator made allegations that the fires were caused by people that were crossing the US border without authorization and said that the answer to part of the problem is to create a more secure border. A spokesperson for the federal group managing the fires said that there was no evidence that the fires were caused specifically by undocumented migrants.
    Source: The Guardian, 21 June 2011; ABC News, 18 June 2011

Health Care

  • ITALY / STUDY / Migration and Healthcare in Italy

    A study carried out by the Italian Society of Medicine of Migrations (SIMM) and the healthcare department of Caritas Rome, sponsored by the Ministry of Healthcare, presents an overview of the quality of the healthcare services provided to migrants by the Regions, from a normative perspective. The region of Apulia has the most developed political and legislative process, whereas Calabria and Basilicata are found to be the least developed of all regions in this respect. Assistance to irregular migrants is guaranteed on the entire national territory with varying degrees. In the Lombardy region irregular migrants only have access to First Aid structures, while in regions such as Apulia and Umbria and Trento provinces the legal status of a migrant does not influence their ability to access healthcare services. According to Caritas Migrantes, for the 300,000 – 500,000 estimated undocumented migrants in the country it is possible to access public healthcare structures on paper, but in reality this is not always the case.
    Source: Corriere della Sera, 14 June 2011

Labour and Fair Working Conditions

  • ITALY / SURVEY / Migrant workers and fraud in Italy

    On 30 June 2011, the Milan-based organization NAGA, in partnership with the associations ARCI, Comitato Inquilini Molise Calvariate Ponti and Immigrati Autorganizzati, held a press conference dedicated to the presentation of the survey ‘Truffasi’, roughly translated to ‘frauded’. The survey sheds light on about 450 cases of fraud at the detriment of migrant workers which have been analysed between November 2010 and June 2011. The survey is based on Italy’s 2009 Act of Indemnity for housemaids and nannies.  The main results of the survey will be shown at the Press Conference took place on 30 June 2011 in Milan at NAGA’s in Via Zamenhof 7a. Further information is available on NAGA website.
    Source: NAGA, 23 June 2011

  • MALAYSIA / Amnesty for undocumented foreign workers

    Starting from July 2011, Malaysia’s Amnesty program would start to register and gather fingerprints of about two million undocumented migrant workers, giving them the chance to work legally in a country that heavily relies on foreign labour. According to Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, the month-long process would be the largest program ever launched in the country, which sees growing numbers of irregular migrants enter, while no actions will be taken against irregular migrants or their employer during the process. Those who are found not eligible to work in the country would be given the choice to return to their country without being penalized. It is hoped that such measure boosts security and reduces human trafficking.
    Source: PhilStar.com, 22 June 2011

  • USA / New legislation at federal level to protect migrant workers

    A new piece of legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate called the Protect Our Workers from Exploitation and Retaliation Act (POWER Act). The POWER Act protects the right of immigrant workers to hold employers accountable without fear of retaliation. It would provide temporary protection for immigrant victims of crime and labor retaliation so that employers who are guilty of labor violations may be held accountable.
    Source: The POWER Act, 20 June 2011

  • DISCUSSION PAPER / The impact of circular migration for migrant rights

    The Global Labour Research Network recently released its latest discussion paper entitled “Circular Migration: A Triple Win or a Dead End” written by Piyasiri Wickramasekara.  The discussion paper analyses the impact and implications of circular migration, “defined as temporary movements of a repetitive character either formally or informally across borders” on migrant rights and their protection, with a particular focus on protection of low skilled workers. The author argues that although circular migration has been presented at a ‘triple win’ situation destination countries,  origin countries and migrant workers, but it can also be a ‘dead end’ based on the temporary and unstable status of the labour conditions and short-term positive impact resulting from ‘circular migration’.
    Source: GURN Discussion Paper, No. 15, March 2011

Undocumented Women

  • FRANCE / Homeless Undocumented Women in Paris

    Following budgetary reductions for homeless support services in Paris, the situation of undocumented women living on the street is set to worsen. The free helpline 115 that assists access to emergency accommodation has recently experienced a 25% reduction in its budget. As undocumented women constitute a significant part of its users, concerns have been raised about how the reduction in accommodation services may impact upon homeless undocumented women, many of whom have experienced violence, or are caring for young children.
    Source: Elle, 23 June 2011

  • UN / Communications Procedure of the Commission on the Status of Women

    UNWomen would like to remind individuals, NGOs, group or networks that they can submit a communications (complaints/appeals/petitions) to the Commission on the Status of Women.  These can be related to all types of alleged violations of the rights of women worldwide. These submissions will fall into the Commission’s annual programme of work in trying to identify trends and patterns with regards to the “discriminatory practices against women for purposes of policy formulation and development of strategies for the promotion of gender equality.” The final date of submission is 1 August 2011. For further information and details of the procedure to follow please refer to the UNWomen website.

Undocumented Children and Their Families

  • UN / New complaints mechanism for violations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

    The Human Rights Council adopted the final draft Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure for violations of children’s rights on 17 June 2011. The new protocol will enable the Committee on the Rights of the Child to examine communications from children and their representatives as well as inter-State communications, and provides for an inquiry procedure for grave or systematic violations of children’s rights. It will complement the state reporting procedure under the Convention of the Rights of the Child. In its resolution (A/HRC/17/L.8), the Council recommended that the General Assembly adopts the Optional Protocol and that the Optional Protocol be opened for signature at a signing ceremony to be held in 2012. Read the final draft Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
    Source: Human Rights Treaties Division Weekly Update 13-19 June 2011, Civil Society Section, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

  • USA / DREAM Act has committee hearing in the Senate

    The Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security had a hearing on the DREAM Act which was reintroduced in May 2011. The Development, Relief and Education for Minors (DREAM) Act passed the House of Representatives last year but did not have enough votes in the Senate. At the hearing, besides testimony from federal and local officials which discussed the positive aspects of the bill, there was also testimony from an undocumented student. The hearing was moved to a larger room due to the number of students and supporters in the attendance. Source: Voice of America, 28 June 2011; Reuters, 28 June 2011; the Huffington Post, 29 June 2011

  • USA / Five undocumented students arrested during protest

    During a protest in Atlanta, Georgia, regarding an anti-immigrant legislation that is set to become law on 1 July 2011, five undocumented students were arrested during the protest. They addressed the crowd and told their stories but were later arrested for blocking an intersection and refusing to move. They ranged in ages between 16 and 18 years old. For details on the legislation in Georgia, see PICUM news bulletin 23 May 2011.
    Source: SouthCobbPatch, 29 June 2011; PICUM Bulletin, 23 May 2011

Detention and Deportation

  • ITALY / Doctors Without Borders disapproval of government’s decision to extend detention of irregular migrants to 18 months

    Doctors Without Borders stated its disapproval on the Italian government’s decision to extend detention of irregular migrants to 18 months stating that the consequences of such a decision on migrants’ physical and mental health conditions is worrying. After visiting some of the identification and detention centres in Sicily, Doctors without Borders have called upon the closure of two centres: Kinisia and Palazzo San Gervasio where detention conditions were found to be unacceptable. Medical services are reported to be insufficient, with electricity and access to water often lacking.
    Source: La Repubblica, 17 June 2011

  • ITALY / REPORT / Terres des Hommes denounces the detention of children in Lampedusa

    An enquiry by Terres des Hommes has found that there are more than 260 children being detained at the former NATO base, Loran, on Lampedusa Island, in Italy, even though its maximum capacity is 180. There are also about a dozen young adults detained among the children. The children have been detained for 30-35 days without yet being appointed a guardian, having only been “identified”, and so are in a situation of legal limbo. They are unable to leave the camp so are effectively imprisoned and are unable to communicate with the outside world as they are no telephone booths in the camp. 5 euro telephone cards are being distributed every 10 days, but this is insufficient because there are few mobile telephones in the centre. There are also more than 80 children being detained in the Contrada Imbriacola detention centre. They are being detained even though none of them have been issued a detention or expulsion notice.
    Source: Carta.org, 22 June 2011

  • NETHERLANDS / Repatriations to Syria temporarily on hold

    The Dutch Minister for Immigration, Gerd Leers, has announced that for the time being failed asylum seekers from Syria will not be returned to that country amidst the violent unrest, because it is hard to properly assess the safety and security of citizens in Syria. The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) will not take any decisions on requests for asylum of Syrians for a period of at least six months.
    Source: Elsevier, 29 June 2011

  • UK / Deportee slashes his throat as he was being deported from Gatwick airport

    An irregular migrant slashed his throat in a plane that was about to take off and deport him to Kingston, Jamaica. The flight was postponed and the man received treatment in hospital. A UK Border Agency spokesman said an investigation was being launched into how the man was able to inflict the “superficial injuries” on himself, says The Guardian. The person is reported to be alive and there is no indication of him having been deported since 20 June 2011.
    Source: Migreurope; The Guardian, 20 June 2011

  • UK / REPORT / Children’s Society warns of the dangers of detaining children

    ‘What Have I Done? The experiences of children and families in UK immigration detention’, examines the experiences of 32 families detained prior to the coalition’s pledge, in May 2010, to end the immigration detention of children. The research emphasises the importance of safeguarding issues around the use of immigration detention and the impact on children’s physical and emotional health. The Children’s Society is concerned that the UK Border Agency’s new pre-departure accommodation could replicate some of the damaging experiences highlighted in the report. For example, families can still be held for up to a week in ‘exceptional circumstances’. The Children’s Society’s Chief Executive, Bob Reitemeier, said: ‘It remains to be seen how exactly the new arrangements will be used.” Questions about the potential impact on children of separating families during the returns process also remain. For more news on the continued use of child detention in the UK, see PICUM bulletins 28 March 2011, 27 April 2011, 23 May 2011. Download the report (EN) here.
    Source: The Children’s Society, 11 May 2011

  • UK / REPORT / Last resort or first resort? New study reveals detention of migrant families served no purpose

    A research paper published by Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) and the Children’s Society has found that, in the majority of cases, the detention of families with children served no purpose. The study focused on 82 families with 143 children who were detained in the UK during 2009. 61% of these families were eventually released. The study highlighted that in a considerable number of cases, families were detained when there was little risk of them absconding, their removal was not imminent, and they had not been given a meaningful opportunity to return voluntarily to their countries of origin. Moreover, in many cases, there were legal and health barriers to return these families to their countries of origin during the time they were detained. The report recommends that children and their families should not be detained for the purposes of immigration control and that after being informed that an immigration or asylum application has been refused, parents should be offered a reasonable amount of time to consider their options, including voluntary return.
    Source: ECRE Weekly Bulletin, 17 June 2011

  • REPORT / Human Rights Watch report on transfers of detained migrants to remote locations

    On 14 June 2011, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report entitled “A Costly Move: Far and Frequent Transfers Impede Hearings for Immigrant Detainees in the United States”. The report notes how detained migrants facing deportation are being transferred to remote location by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the impact this has on their asylum and deportation proceedings by moving them away from their lawyers.  The evidenced is based on 12 years of records analysing 2 million recorded transfers. The data was developed into an interactive maps and graphs showing transfers in the US. It is estimated that these 2 million transfers amounted to a total cost of $366 million. HRW concluded that it is unavoidable that some transfers occur but that “reasonable and rights-protective checks” be applied on transfers providing concrete suggestions as how to carry this out. Read the report here
    Source: Human Rights Watch, 14 June 2011

Publications and other Resources

  • FRANCE / French book on expulsions is republished after being sold out

    Réseau Terra advertised the second publication of the book “Douce France: rafles, rétentions, expulsions” by Olivier Le Cour Grandmaison, first published in October 2009. The book explores the detention centres and the situation of irregular migrants pending expulsion. It is jointly published by Seuil and RESF (Network for Education without Borders) and a small part of the benefits will go to this network. More information on the book here


  • GERMANY / International conference on immigration, transmigration, and remigration

    The University of Trier (Germany) will hold an international conference entitled “The Resilience of People in motion: Processes of immigration, transmigration, and remigration in the wider Europe today” from 13-15 October 2011. For more information visit the Conference website

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