PICUM Bulletin — 9 May 2012


  • GREECE / DEATH AT BORDER / Death of irregular migrants after police pursuit at the border

    Two irregular migrants died and four others were seriously injured on 29 April 2012 in an attempt to escape from FRONTEX control on Egnatia Road, in the area of Ardanio, Evros Prefecture. In the area of Likofis the local police for Irregular Immigration Enforcement and FRONTEX officers detected six irregular migrants in a car. The officers tried to cut in front of the vehicle in order to stop it for inspection, but as the driver attempted to avoid the police cars he lost control of the vehicle, the car overturned and caught fire. As a result, two migrants and the smuggler died at the scene, whilst four others were seriously injured and transferred to the University General Hospital of Alexandroupolis.
    Source: Ta nea, 29 April 2012; Agelioforos,  29 April 2012; Clandestina, 29 April 2012 ; Skai, 29 April 2012; ERT, 29 April 2012

  • ITALY / DEATH AT BORDER / One dead body found on Calabria’s coast

    A boat carrying about 40 undocumented migrants of Afghan origin reached the south eastern coast of Calabria on 26 April 2012. First accounts revealed that they had been transported first on a main ship, later on a smaller boat which stopped 250 metres from the shores. The migrants had to swim the remaining distance to reach Italian soil. The eldest, an Afghan man of 40-years-old, died in the sea, while two others were badly injured. The majority of the migrants were younger than twenty years old.
    Source: Fortress Europe, 26 April 2012

  • ITALY / Investigation over 270 disappeared

    Tunisians Presidents of the Italian associations Arci and Asgi, dealing respectively with social advancement and migration law studies, have requested to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Rome to open an investigation into the fate of about 270 Tunisian migrants who tried to reach Italy in 2011.  Their action follows the campaign “From one side to the other: lives that count” (Da una sponda all’altra: vite che contano) led by The Female Collective (Le venticinque undici) aimed at shedding a light on the faith of the people who went missing in their attempt to reach Europe through the Mediterranean. The collective consists of the migrants’ relatives who have not received contact from their missing family members for over a year. The collective was successful in obtaining the verification of migrants’ fingerprints between Italy and Tunisia.
    Source: La Repubblica, 26 April 2012

  • ITALY / DEATH AT BORDER / Sixteen-year-old drowned in attempt to reach Sicily

    A sixteen-year-old Egyptian died in his attempt to reach Sicily. He was found dead on Licata beach, Agrigento. He was travelling together with 80 Egyptians, forced to swim the last part of the route to reach Italian land. Eight children from the group have been transferred to a reception centre. The accounts led the investigation to a gang of smugglers active on the route from Malta to Sicily: a gang thought to be responsible for the arrival of the recent boats of North African undocumented migrants that have been reaching the Sicilian coast in the last few weeks.
    Source: Fortress Europe, 29 April 2012

  • USA / Video documentary on irregular migrant beaten at US-Mexican Border

    A video documentary by PBS has exposed the tragic incident which led to the death of 42-year-old  Anastasio Hernández-Rojas in May 2011. At the US-Mexican border Hernández-Rojas, an irregular migrant of Mexican origin, was beaten by US Border Patrol forces and later died of his wounds. Officers justified their reaction by saying that Hernández-Rojas had shown signs of aggression and hostility, but video evidence filmed by witnesses reflects another reality. Witnesses have said Mr Hernández-Rojas showed no sign of resistance whilst being beaten for nearly 30 minutes before dying. The documentary is a result of a joint investigation by the PBS broadcast, “Need to Know,” and the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute.
    Source: Democracy Now!, 24 April 2012


  • OHCHR / Dangerous borders

    The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has recognised that migrants in an irregular situation are more likely to face discrimination, exclusion, exploitation and abuse, and are less likely to be able to seek redress for violations due to fear of detection and deportation. A recent gathering of experts in Geneva was held to identify the protection gaps for migrants at borders, given the growing human rights crisis at international borders where violence, discrimination, unlawful interception, refoulement and loss of life are increasingly common. The meeting ended by suggesting ways in which gaps in law, policy and practice both en route and at borders could be filled, including through the provision of authoritative human rights guidance on the situation at international borders.

  • OHCHR / EU Border Management

    The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, has announced that he will carry out a one-year comprehensive study to examine the rights of migrants in the Euro-Mediterranean region, with a special focus on the management of the external borders of the EU. Mr. Crépeau said that the study will take on a human rights approach to analyse the issue. In the first phase of the year-long project, the Special Rapporteur will go to Brussels, Turkey, Tunisia, Italy and Greece where he will visit reception centres, shelters and other accommodation for migrants, as well as going to border points and meeting with relevant national representatives and civil society organisations.
    Source: UNGO, 3 May 2012


  • PACE / ”Catalogue of failures”

    On 29 March 2012 PACE’s Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons adopted a report submitted by MP Tineke Strik. The report commented on the failure to react to distress calls of a boat carrying 72 people fleeing the conflict in Libya by sea during a fifteen-day voyage in March 2011. The failure to react to the calls led to the deaths of 63 people. (See PICUM Bulletin 16 April 2012) On 24 April, supporting the evidence released in this report, PACE adopted a resolution stating that “search and rescue authorities, NATO, the flag states of naval vessels in the area, the Libyan authorities and reckless smugglers were among those who shared responsibility.” PACE requested NATO and concerned national parliaments to conduct an inquiry, as well as for the European Parliament to seek further information relating to the incident.
    Source: PACE, 24 April 2012


  • BELGIUM / Extreme right party launches website inciting denunciation

    The Vlaams Belang, the Belgian extreme right party, launched on 10 April 2012 a website “Meldpunt voor illegaliteit” inciting citizens to denounce irregular migrants. Filip Dewinter, leading figure of the Vlaams Beland in Antwerp, stated that the website aimed to deal with the ‘tens of thousands’ of irregular migrants living in Belgium. The objective of the website is to gather evidence of the link between irregular migrants and abuses of the social welfare system, the informal labour market, slum landlords and criminality. The Belgian Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight against Racism declared the website illegal. The European Commission remained discreet on the issue stating that it did not have the mandate to condemn these sorts of initiatives, but called on citizens who were against them and found them discriminatory to seek legal recourse in national courts. The website has been compared to the denunciation website launched by Geert Wilder’s party (PVV) in the Netherlands which was condemned in a European Parliament resolution (See PICUM Bulletin 26 March 2012). Interviewed by the international press agency Reuters, Eve Geddie, PICUM Programme Officer, said that “The website is a clear incitement to hatred and an attempt by the Vlaams Belang to gain some attention in view of the upcoming local elections. This sort of initiative has no place in modern European society”.
    Source: Flanders Info.be, 10 April 2012; Nieuwsblad.be, 10 April 2012

  • DENMARK / Danish police estimate the number of irregular migrants in Denmark to be between 20,000- 40,000

    Danish national TV spurred new public and political interest in irregular migration in the country in their evening newsflash on the 29 March 2012, stating that policemen estimate the number of irregular migrants to be between 20,000 to 40,000 people. The Danish Tax Administration has affirmed that this is a probable number. Various media has argued that this is a high amount, and the right wing integration spokesman from the Danish Folkparty, Martin Henriksen, has called three ministers in for consultation.
    Source: DR, 29 March 2012

  • DENMARK / First reports on homeless migrants in Copenhagen

    The first two reports about homeless migrants, some of whom are expected to be irregular migrants, have been completed in Denmark. Homeless organisations estimate the number of homeless migrants in Denmark to be 300-500 people. The Danish organisation Kofoeds Skole published the report in February 2012 describing the situation for Eastern European homeless migrants in Copenhagen, as well as highlighting the efforts done to help them in Kofoeds Skoles Contact Centre in Copenhagen. The homeless organisation Projekt Udenfor has also finished its report on homeless migrants for the Copenhagen Municipality and expects to publish the report in May 2012. The reports highlight the dilemma of how to help destitute migrants who, by law, have little access to social services in Denmark.
    Source: Kofoeds Skole, 29 March 2012

  • GREECE / Greek Minister of Citizens’ Protection announced legal prosecutions to owners of apartments with irregular migrants

    Greek Minister of Citizens’ Protection, Michalis Chrisochoidis, announced on 24 April 2012 that all apartments in Athens housing large numbers of irregular migrants will be emptied and the owners will be prosecuted.  He also invited Greek citizens to report directly such phenomena. Subsequently, the police will monitor the complaints and will proceed to evacuate, disinfect and seal these apartments. In the meantime, Doctors Without Borders has strongly reacted to the health checks which are issued to irregular migrants living in crowded apartments in Athens. Those migrants are examined by doctors of HCDCP (Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) in order to determine if they carry infectious or contagious or other diseases. According to the head of the Greek office of Doctors Without Borders, public health cannot be safeguarded through police-led inspections and through scaremongering. It also stressed that such operations can only cause fear to irregular migrants and make them hide rather than seek medical care if they need it. According to the medical records of Doctors Without Borders, after their intervention in detention centres in Evros in 2011, more than 60 % of the medical problems of irregular migrants are caused or are directly related to the very poor conditions of their detention.
    Source: News247, 25 April 2012; To Vima, 24 April 2012; To Vima, 29 April 2012; Ta Nea, 25 April 2012

  • SPAIN / Government eliminates funds for integration of immigrants

    The right-wing government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy eliminated the Fund for Integration of Immigrants’ entire resource allocation in the 2012 general budget, approved 30 March 2012. The Support Fund was set up in 2004 to provide reception, integration and educational services to immigrants, and it financed training, employment creation and intercultural mediation programmes carried out by NGOs, and both regional and municipal authorities. The situation has drawn harsh criticism from opposition parties and organisations, such as SOS Racismo and Andalucía Acoge, a PICUM member.
    Source: IPS News, 23 April 2012

  • USA / Undocumented migrants sue ICE over GPS ankle monitor

    Arturo Rodriguez, from the Isenberg Centre for Immigration Equality, is suing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Dallas field office and BI Inc, a purveyor of GPS ankle monitors. The suit was filed on behalf of a group of undocumented migrants who want GPS ankle monitors to be declared unconstitutional when used to track migrants who are not a threat to society, as this monitor represents a substantial burden: it is heavy, uncomfortable and needs three to four hours charging every day. The injunction would only apply to immigrants who have built a strong bond with society, consequently rejecting any immigrant with a criminal record. ICE detained more than 500,000 undocumented migrants in 2011.
    Source: Dallas Observer, 24 April 2012

  • USA / Arizona’s controversial immigration law heard by US Supreme Court

    The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, referred to as Arizona SB1070, is considered to be the strictest anti-irregular immigration measure in the US legislative history. The US Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of the law, widely denounced as being racist and its judgment is likely to set the direction of immigration law in America for years to come. In Arizona, where the Hispanic population reaches 41%, tensions between residents and the police increase a little more each day. Indeed, two specific clauses of the law encourage the police to be more proactive. They can for example, control the identity of anyone coming their way, should they suspect this person of being irregularly on the territory. As a result, the number of Hispanics sent to jail because they were unable to produce their driver’s license is constantly on the rise. Activists have denounced this racist profiling and abusive crackdown. With more than 30 men and women deported each day, the city of Phoenix has one of the highest deportation rates of the country. The US Supreme Court was expected to give its opinion regarding six controversial clauses blocked by lower courts. Should the Supreme Court allow them to stand, anyone representing a “reasonable suspicion” of being an irregular migrant can be arrested, with the risk of inflaming the situation.
    Source: The Guardian, 24 April 2012

  • USA / Two arrested for hiding irregular migrants

    In Texas, two 24-year-old Mexican men were arrested and taken into custody on 2 May 2012 following a police intervention. The police had received an emergency call from an irregular migrant who reported people being kept in houses which were padlocked and chained. The police discovered 150 migrants in three houses. The irregular migrants told the police that they had not received food or water for at least three days. Seven people were taken to hospital whilst the police turned the other irregular migrants to the Border Patrol agents. A similar dramatic discovery was made on 3 May in Arizona where four irregular migrants were rescued also from a stash where three had been physically and sexually abused. Five men were arrested.
    Source: Reuters, 4 May 2012


  • BELGIUM / Access to health care for undocumented migrants

    Under Belgian law, undocumented migrants have access to health care through the programme “Aide Médical Urgente” (Emergency Medical Assistante) but in practice this is not the case. In summer 2011 the NGOs JES, Médecins du monde, Pigment, Medimmigrant and Samenlevingsopbouw Brussel, held a meeting to discuss the situation.  The result of this consultation was a Memorandum which was recently published and which will be sent to Maggie De Block, Secretary of State, Julien Van Geertsom, President of the SSP Social Integration, Yvan Majeur, President of the conference of Presidents of the CPAS (social welfare offices) of Brussels as well as the Presidents of all the CPAS in Region of Brussels-Capital. If you are interested in joining the memorandum please contact pigment.vzw@gmail.com by 1 June 2012.

  • NETHERLANDS / Over a quarter of irregular migrants lack access to health care

    The Dutch branch of Médecins du Monde concluded after carrying out research in five European cities that 29% of irregular migrants in Amsterdam do not get sufficient health care. This contrasts with 46% of undocumented migrants who do not have sufficient access to health care in the other four cities: Brussels, Munich, Nice and Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, many health clinics refuse to register new undocumented migrants, but many centres are also unaware that they can get 80% of their costs reimbursed. Médecins du Monde says that when it intervenes it usually manages to find a place for those concerned, but it does not manage to be present in all regions.
    Source: Medisch Contact, 20 April 2012

  • SPAIN / Government announces law amendment to restrict irregular migrants’ access to health care

    The Spanish Government announced on 20 April 2012 the amendment of the Foreigners Act (Ley de Extranjería) to restrict access to health care for irregular migrants. The Minister of Health declared that the padrón (Municipal Register of Inhabitants), which allowed irregular migrants to obtain the health card, will not be enough for irregular migrants to qualify for health care access. The Minister further stated that the access will be limited to “those who truly live in Spain and hold tax residence, those who work like us and pay taxes”. The current Foreigners Act establishes that migrants registered at the municipality are entitled to access health care under the same conditions as nationals of the country. The amendment will bring new requirements to be met by irregular migrants in order to access health care, although the government has not yet stated what they will be or how they intend to execute such reform. Under this new legislation, only emergency, maternity and child care will be granted to irregular migrants. The reform aims at saving 500 million euros and has also included a provision banning so-called “health tourism”.  Previous reports by the HUMA Network had showed that access to health care is not a pull factor for migrants. PICUM Director, Michele LeVoy was quoted in El Pais on 29 April 2012: “especially in times of crisis, the protection and defence for human rights means protecting the fundamental values on which our European societies are founded”. Daniele Izuzquiza, from Pubelos Unidos, a PICUM member, published a blog entry on the issue to highlight the concerns raised for public, social, ethical and economic health.
    Source: Para Inmigrantes, 20 April 2012; La Republica, 20 April 2012 ; El Pais, 29 April 2012

  • UK / “Migrants are not health tourists”

    Following accusations launched at Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, that he was encouraging ‘health tourism’ by providing a guide for foreigners on the NHS, various organisations have joined to write a letter to the Editor of the Independent, including two PICUM members: Maternity Action and Migrant Rights Network. The letter highlighted that although all migrants, documented or not, are able to register for health care in the UK, there is no evidence to show it is a pull factor; on the contrary, many migrants under-use the system as they are not aware of their entitlements. The signatories to the letter welcomed the initiative by the Mayor of London to provide easy and practical information to foreigners on how to register for health care services.
    Source: The Independent, 11 April 2012; Refugee Health Network, 13 April 2012

  • UK / Ill Nigerian woman to be deported by Home Office

    A seriously ill Nigerian woman is threatened with deportation back to Nigeria by the Home Office. Roseline Akhlau, a 48-year-old woman who had a successful kidney transplant after being diagnosed with renal failure in 2009, will need regular check-ups at hospital and immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of her life. She came to the UK in 2004 to do a Master’s degree at Leeds University. The Home Office has already tried to deport her but the procedure was stopped as her solicitor launched judicial review proceedings. Also, an investigation has been launched by the UK Border Agency subcontractor on the way she had been treated when she was taken to Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre. Despite her condition, she was refused permission to go to the bathroom and told to urinate in a plastic bag. Roseline said that if she were to be sent back to Nigeria, there is no way she could possibly survive, because even if the treatment existed there, she wouldn’t be able to afford it. Doctors agree, warning she would lose her renal transplant within a month. This situation already presented itself in 2008, causing the death of a young Ghanaian woman suffering from cancer, after being forcibly deported to her country of origin.
    Source: The Guardian, 9 April 2012

  • USA / “The Undocumented and the Unborn”

    An Editorial in the International Herald Tribune discussed the recent positive development in Nebraska, where legislation was adopted to provide free prenatal care to undocumented immigrant women. Governor Heineman had used his veto to prevent the legislation, claiming that using tax payers’ money to provide care for those violating immigration laws was “misguided, misplaced and inappropriate.” His argument was rebuked by lawmakers who argued that “’the Legislature finds that unborn children do not have immigration status and therefore are not within the scope’ of a Nebraska law that denies benefits to people who cannot prove they are here legally.” The new bill will permit undocumented women who are unable to benefit from Medicaid to register their foetuses for coverage under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
    Source: International Herald Tribune, 23 April 2012


  • EU / Seasonal workers given rights

    Draft legislation voted on 25 April 2012 by Members of Parliament on the Civil Liberties and Justice Committee would provide non-EU seasonal workers basic working and living conditions, such as a minimum wage, decent affordable accommodation, travel costs, possibilities to extend work permits, and multi-season permits, amongst other social and labour rights. PICUM, together with SOLIDAR, ENAR, Opération 11.11.11 and Ciré, had been working actively to ensure that the proposed EU seasonal workers’ Directive improved the working conditions and rights for third country seasonal workers in the EU. This vote has now given Mr Claude Moraes (S&D, UK) the mandate to initiate negotiations with the Council in order to prepare a first-ready agreement.
    Source: European Parliament, 25 April 2012; ENAR Weekly Mail, 27 April 2012

  • ILO / Uruguay first state to ratify ILO Convention on Domestic Workers

    Uruguay has become the first country to ratify the International Labour Convention No. 189 on decent work for domestic workers. The treaty, which extends core labor rights to an estimated 50 to 100 million domestic workers, will come into legal force when it is ratified by two countries.
    Source: ITUC, 26 April 2012

  • USA / Time Magazine Most Influential List

    Time Magazine Most Influential List Dulce Matuz, a 27-year-old undocumented woman living in the United States, was named on 18 April 2012 on Time’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. As an undocumented migrant graduated from Arizona State University, she pressured President Barack Obama and others to press for passage of the Dream Act. This legislation would allow children brought into the country without authorisation to obtain legal status after going to college or joining the military. She said that after listening to her story, people could not keep insisting that all immigrants are criminals and should be deported. Ai-Jen Poo of the National Domestic Workers Alliance also appeared on the list. The influential labour organiser was celebrated for her work in promoting the rights of domestic workers in the United States, many of who are migrants, and in lobbying for the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights which expanded labour law protection for this group. Ai-Jen was celebrated for showing the humanity of a long devalued kind of work and seeking justice in the home.
    Source: TIME, ‘The 100 Most Influential People in the World’, available online.


  • FRANCE / Undocumented child becomes French chess champion

    Fahim, an eleven-year-old undocumented migrant, was crowned chess French champion for the under-twelve category on 21 April 2012. Since his first victory at the age of eight, he has been trained by the former coach of the French national team, Xavier Parmentier. As he is enrolled in a French school this trophy should have allowed him to enter the French national chess team, however in practice his lack of papers will prevent him from participating in international or even European competitions since he has no passport. His father undertook several actions, including petitions signed by Fahim’s school, the chess federation, and even a social politician, to support their request for residence. The services of asylum of the Minister of Interior and Immigration have said that Fahim could be granted a permit of stay based on ‘another’ reason other than asylum. With the support of RESF, a PICUM partner, Fahim’s father has been trying to get an appointment with the local authorities. Fahim hopes he will get a permit just so that he can participate in international competitions such as the European Championships in August 2012.
    Source: LesinRocks, 28 April 2012

  • NETHERLANDS / Dutch government wrong to ban irregular migrants from doing internships

    The Dutch ‘Raad van State’ (State Council) has ruled that the government’s policy of banning undocumented students from doing training has to be discontinued. The cases in which employers have been fined for having employed undocumented students have been annulled. A large parliamentary majority is in favour of making it possible for irregular migrants to undertake internships.  In the meantime several court cases are still pending.
    Source: de Volkskrant, 6 April 2012

  • SWEDEN / REPORT / Children without a voice: Report on ‘apathetic’ children

    The report “Children without a voice” presents information about the living situation of children with severe depressive devitalisation who have, together with their families, been rejected asylum and/or protection. The report finds that several of the children’s experiences were not included in the asylum application process, even if it formally states in the decisions that the decision adheres to the best interest of the child. For one third of the children there was not enough information in the documents to enable an assessment of health status. The justifications for rejections revealed gaps in knowledge as well as poor questioning and stereotypical perceptions of the children’s symptoms and needs for asylum, protection and care. Impediments to enforcement of a deportation decision are often rejected with the argument that it is not the severity of the illness but whether or not the illness hinders the actual deportation that should be assessed. Read the report here.

  • UK / BRIEFING / The impact of a new income threshold for family migration

    The Migrants Rights Network have released a briefing paper on the impact of a new income threshold for family migration, entitled “Keeping Families Apart”. It finds that up to 50% of the UK working population will be prevented from bringing foreign family members to the UK as a result of a new, higher income threshold requirement. MRN is organising campaigning on this and other issues raised by the family migration proposals, such as those to prevent foreign spouses and partners who are in the UK from applying for settlement for an additional three years, and to introduce tough enforcement measures aimed at tackling ‘sham’ and forced marriages. For more information, see Migrants Rights Network website.
    Source:  Migrants Rights Network, 19 April 2012

  • UK / UK Border Agency suspends pilot use of X-rays for age-assessments

    The UKBA’s planned pilot to test the use of dental x-rays to determine the age of children, scheduled to run for three months from 29 March 2012 (see PICUM Bulletin 16 April 2012), has been suspended. Zilla Bowell, director of asylum at the UKBA, confirmed that the trial has been put on hold after it emerged that the government should have sought ethical approval for the scheme, which qualifies as health “research”. “No X-rays will take place until such time as we have the appropriate ethical approval,” she said. The move was prompted by chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies, who raised concerns about whether the pilot required such approval when the scheme was announced.
    Source: Children and Young People Now, 27 April 2012

  • USA / Air base used as temporary shelter for separated migrant children

    The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Air Force have turned a San Antonio Air Force base into a temporary shelter for undocumented children, after an unusually high number of separated children were found crossing the border irregularly, according to a report by the San Antonio Express News. Although the number of migrants attempting to cross the border irregularly has plummeted in the past five years, the number of separated children entering the country has risen in recent years and months. This increase has prompted temporary solutions like the base shelter, when shelters and facilities operated by non-profit and religious organisations are full, and will require government and non-profit agencies to expand their shelter, legal representation and reunification services. According to a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune, 200 boys and girls younger than eighteen were staying in the base dormitory on 28 April 2012.
    Source: San Antonia Express-News, 17 April 2012;  The Huffington Post, 18 April 2012 (updated 19 April 2012); The San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 April 2012


  • ITALY / Irregular migrants repatriated and mouths taped on aeroplane

    The Public Prosecutor’s Office of Civitavecchia, Rome, has started to investigate the case of the two Algerians deported on an Alitalia flight Rome-Tunis on 17 April 2012. Their mouths were duct-taped and their wrists held together with nylon handcuffs. They were escorted by two officers in plain clothes. The passenger and filmmaker Antonio Sperandeo caught the incident and posted a photo on Facebook. This triggered the chief of police to ask the border police to issue a detailed report on the event. The Public Prosecutor’s Office does not rule out the possibility that this amounted to an abuse of authority and private violence. The Algerian government has lodged an official complaint with the Italian government over the way Italian authorities have mistreated Algerian deportees.
    Source: La Repubblica, 19 April 2012; Africa News, 28 April 2012

  • GREECE / Detention on health grounds and a plan for the establishment of 30 new detention centres

    A new detention camp for undocumented immigrants opened on 29 April 2012 in Amydgaleza area, in the northwest of Athens. This detention camp was the first of 30 due to be established in different areas in Greece, announced Greek Minister of Citizens’ Protection Michalis Chrisochoidis. The establishment of this new centre follows the decision of the Greek parliament to pass an amendment of the Greek Presidential Decree 114/2010 according to which undocumented migrants and asylum seekers can be detained on health grounds. This amendment gives legitimisation to the unlawful racial profiling operations already carried out by the Greek police, targeting dark skinned migrants, particularly in Athens, as well as having given licence to  police to arrest and detain virtually any foreigner irrespective of her/his residence status as migrants, refugees or asylum seekers.
    Source: Kathimerini, 29 April 2012 ; Ta Nea, 29 April 2012; To Vima, 29 April 2012

  • GREECE / REPORT / Detention at Evros border

    ProAsyl and the Greek Council for Refugees have published a report entitled “Walls of Shame – Accounts from the inside: detention centres of Evros”. This report is based on data collected during missions between August 2010 and October 2011 1 in the detention centres of the Evros region (Feres, Tychero, Soufli, Fylakio). It discusses detention within the context of EU migration policies, health, children, violence, lack of legal safeguards and death at the border, amongst other issues.

  • NETHERLANDS / Father of two commits suicide to avoid deportation

    A father of two children whose application for asylum was refused, has killed himself rather than be deported back to Burundi. The children’s mother died during the Burundi civil war. The family has been in the Netherlands for five years, and now the children, a girl aged 12 and boy aged 14, are being cared for by a foster family. It is unclear whether the children will now be allowed to stay in the Netherlands or will still be deported. The man may have committed suicide to try and help his children stay in the country.
    Source: DutchNews.nl, 12 April 2012; ENAR Weekly Mail n° 313, 20 April 2012

  • SPAIN / REPORT / Publication calls on the government to elaborate a rights-based regulation on migrant detention centres

    The platform “Que el derecho no se detenga en la puerta de los CIE” (Access to rights in migrant detention centres) made up of PICUM member Pueblos Unidos and fourteen organisations working at national level, released the report “Preocupaciones ante la regulación de los Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros” (Concerns about the migrant detention centres’ regulation) on 16 April 2012. The report includes the platform’s concerns about the infringement of the principles of both exceptionality and proportionality and the precarious functioning of the centres. A number of recommendations are made towards guaranteeing the rights of migrants, such as conducting data collection and improving its access; ensuring rights to health care and social services; establishing a complaint mechanism; granting open access for organisations; developing a communication regime to facilitate the contact of detained migrants with their families; ensuring appropriate police training to prevent abuses; or complying with the migrants’ right to be treated with dignity.
    Source: Pueblos Unidos, 16 April 2012

  • UK / Home Office detention of those with mental illness ruled unlawful

    A High Court Judge ruling on 17 April 2012 found that the Home Secretary acted unlawfully in August 2010 in making changes to the Home Office policy for detaining those with mental illness in immigration detention. In a judicial review brought by a detainee with paranoid schizophrenia, Mr Justice Singh QC ruled that the changes were unlawful as they failed to have due regard to equality duties owed by the Home Secretary under discrimination legislation. This was followed by a call from the Independent Monitoring Board of Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) to the Immigration minister to guarantee that suitable accommodation is provided for detainees who suffer from mental illness.
    Source: Bhatt Murphy Solicitors Press Release, 17 April 2012 (published in Refugee Health Network Update 23 April 2012) ; Migrants’ Rights Network, 30 April 2012


  • MEXICO-USA / STUDY / Slip in migration

    A study by the Pew Hispanic Centre reveals that after 40 years of growth, immigration from Mexico to the USA began slowing down five years ago and by 2010 movements seem to have even reversed. To justify the trend, the study suggests economic factors, increased border control, and lower Mexican birth rates as well as record deportation numbers by the Obama administration. Click here to view the report.
    Source: BBC News, 24 April 2012

  • BOOK / ”Fronteras en Movimiento”

    A book published by Ricard Zapata-Barrero and Xavier Ferrer-Gallardo entitled “Fronteras en Movimiento: Migraciones hacia la Unión Europea en el contexto Mediterráneo” discusses the concept of human mobility across borders in Europe. The book explores movement within the concept of borders, the people who migrate and practices and policies which control it.


  • BELGIUM / CONFERENCE / Conference on issues faced by migrant families

    The Brussels based NGO, La Asociación Familias del Mundo y la Parroquia de Riches Claires is organizing a Conference entitled “Estrés y Duelos en las Familias en la Migración” (Stress and Family Challenges in Migration). This event is organized with the participation on Dr. Joseba Achotegui and will discuss issues such as what identity do migrant children adopt and what kind of identity to migrant families create for themselves and their children. It will be held on Saturday, 26 May 2012 at 16:00 at Paroisse des Riches Claires, Brussels. To register please contact: famido-asbl@hotmail.com/496 70 49 19.

  • CONFERENCE / “Migration in a Changing World”

    Wiley-Blackwell will be organising a fourth online conference on “Migration in a Changing World: Where Do We Go Now?” which will take place between 5-9 November 2012. The issue of migration will be discussed in relation to seven themes: geography, economics, the environment, society, politics, and “Then and now”. Conference registration and participation is free of charge.

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