Photo Credit: https://www.rightscitymtldroitshumains.com/
Unprecedented Human Rights Conference coming to Montreal this May.
Described as “A global initiative celebrating the role Montreal has played in advancing human rights worldwide and re-energising the international human rights community in a time of great upheaval”
The two-day event is organized by Amnesty International, the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (Concordia University), the Armenian National Committee of Québec and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights.
For more information on the conference, please visit the following site
A policeman monitors the security situation along the underground water runway system that runs along the border. This is often used by smugglers to pass contraband in the USA. Photo Credit: Patrick Tombola
What is true for drug smuggling is also true for migrant smuggling. If push factors and pull factors remain unaddressed, and a barrier is created preventing fluidity from the one to the other, one has the perfect conditions for an underground market to flourish. The more the authorities repress undocumented migrants, the more they are pushed deeper underground into the hands of unscrupulous smugglers, recruiters, employers and landlords. 40 years of the war on drugs have not significantly reduced the power of the cartels. One should remember that the end of the Prohibition in the Thirties brought an end to bootlegging from Canada and destroyed underground empires such as Al Capone’s. Harm-reduction policies have most often worked better than zero-tolerance policies and allowed law enforcement to target specific threats without having to cast too large a net. As for tackling undocumented migration, taking over the mobility market by providing most migrants with regular, safe, accessible and affordable mobility options and repressing employers abusing the precariousness of their workforce are the only way to progressively eliminate underground labour markets and the migrant smuggling industry.
“When asked whether the border wall promised by President Trump will stop smugglers, he smiles. “This is never going to stop, neither the narco trafficking nor the illegals,” he says. “There will be more tunnels. More holes. If it doesn’t go over, it will go under.”
What will change? The fees that criminal networks charge to transport people and contraband across the border. Every time the wall goes up, so do smuggling profits.
Today, many migrants pay smugglers as much as $5,000 to head north without papers, trekking for days through the Sonoran Desert. Most of that money goes to drug cartels that have taken over the profitable business…
Strengthening defenses does not stop smuggling. It only makes it more expensive, which inadvertently gives more money to criminal networks”
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The Danish authorities have called for Zarmena Waziri, 70, who has dementia, to be deported to Afghanistan. She has suffered multiple strokes and has high blood pressure. Photo Credit: Andrew Testa for The New York Times on The New York Times' website.
“Zarmena Waziri’s dementia is so severe that when she recently ate an orange she forgot to swallow and nearly choked to death. She has suffered multiple strokes, has high blood pressure and wears a diaper.
Now, in a case that has captured headlines across Denmark, the Danish authorities have called for Mrs. Waziri, a 70-year-old Afghan woman, to be deported to Afghanistan, where, her children say, she is sure to die.
Her daughter Marzia, her main caregiver, has lived in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city, for 25 years and owns a small grocery business. Marzia’s two children are Danish citizens.
“I do not try to cross illegally,” said Mohammed Wafa Sekendari, right, who left Afghanistan with his family a year and a half ago. Photo credit: Akos Stiller for The New York Times on The New York Times' website
“Double rows of razor-wire fences. High-tech watch towers equipped with search lights, motion sensors, cameras and loudspeakers. Hungary’s border with Serbia, specially fortified in the last two years to keep out migrants and refugees, is anything but a welcome mat.
Now, add to those deterrents detention camps — small container villages surrounded by razor wire, with a tiny playground for children.
Hungary, which already had one of the toughest immigration policies in the European Union, last month rolled out a draconian new asylum procedure that will reduce applicants to a trickle — 10 people a day — and essentially put them in prison camps for months while their cases are decided. Even after that, if the recent past holds true, more than 90 percent are likely to be rejected.
By May, several hundred asylum seekers already in Hungary may also be relocated to the detention camps, evoking ugly and unavoidable echoes of rounding up Jews, Roma and others during World War II.”
The pictures illustrate well the present model of refugee camps in Europe, which one can find in Italy and in Greek hotspots, as well as now in Hungary. The automatic detention of all asylum seekers remain in violation of international and European human rights instruments.
Young people inside a refugee camp in north-east Greece. Photo credit: Patrick Kingsley for the Guardian on the Guardian's website
Unaccompanied child refugees in Greece desperate to reach the UK and other parts of northern Europe are being forced to sell their bodies in order to pay smugglers to help them with their journeys, according to a new report from Harvard University.
The Report from Dr Vasileia Digidiki and Prof Jacqueline Bhabha at the university’s centre for health and human rights, reveals what they describe as a “growing epidemic of sexual exploitation and abuse of migrant children in Greece”.
The report says child refugees from conflict zones including Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan trying to make their way across Europe are being stranded in Greece, unable to afford the fees charged by smugglers to move them.
Can we call such sexual exploitation an “unintended” consequence of EU border policies, when the European authorities know very well that more repression of irregular migration means more underground activities? Punishing migrants is actually empowering smuggling rings, unethical recruiters and exploitative employers. Through their policies, European States are effectively subsidising criminal networks. The current inefficiency of the Dublin relocation mechanisms and of national guardianship systems for separated children contribute to the tragedy.
Some cynics would say that making the life of asylum seekers as miserable as possible is part of the policy and practice arsenal to deter migration to Europe. Mitt Romney once called this kind of thinking a strategy to induce “self-deportation”. Not that it ever really worked that way. Others could say, even more cynically, that politicians know very well that such policies have no real effect on irregular migration numbers and movements. Their only objective is electoral at local level: anything goes, as long as one projects an image of “being tough on crime”.
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