A protest inside the Manus Island detention centre in August. Australia has been trying to clear the camp, which the Papua New Guinea supreme court declared illegal. Photo Credit: The Guardian

Australia offers to pay Rohingya refugees to return to Myanmar

Article in The Guardian
20 September, 2017

Expediency knows no limits!

“Australia is promising thousands of dollars to Rohingya refugees who agree to return to Myanmar, a country that has been accused of ethnic cleansing against the Muslim minority.

Asylum seekers in the Australian-run detention centre on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island, have been pressured by officials to return to their home countries, even if they face violence…

Returning Rohingya to their country could put their lives at risk. Myanmar does not recognise the ethnic minority and has conducted military operations in Rohingya villages that the United Nations’ top human rights official branded “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

Close to 400,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, many with bullet wounds and stories of mass killings, as their villages burn.”

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  'Who did Amber Rudd think she was? No special rules about court orders apply to her.’ Photo Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

If Amber Rudd can’t explain why she defied the courts, she should go

Article in The Guardian
20 September, 2017

The Home Minister will not apologise for violating three direct court orders. Defying the courts on migrants’ rights has become frequent in nationalist populist governments. Ministers think they have electoral support to denounce as illegitimate the constitutional protection that judges recognise to foreigners. Canada had an Immigration Minister who once famously said that, in applying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in favour of migrants, courts were preventing him from protecting Canadian citizens. And an American president recently talked about the “ridiculous” opinion of a “so-called judge” who had suspended his ill-conceived travel ban! An odd conception of justice, indeed

“Amber Rudd confused herself with a 16th-century monarch last week, seemingly believing she has a divine right to rule, irrespective of the law. Three times the courts told her to return Samim Bigzad, a 23-year-old asylum seeker who was cowering in a hotel room in Kabul, threatened with beheading by the Taliban. Three times she refused, thinking she knew best and the courts had got it wrong. It displayed a disdainful arrogance for the courts and the law. Unless she has an explanation, she has to go as home secretary. And the person who has a duty to see that the home secretary operates within the rule of law is the lord chancellor, David Lidington. This is as much a test of him as it is of her….

Amber Rudd is like everybody else in this country. She has to obey the courts. And of all the people who have a critical duty to obey court orders, it is the executive. Without the means of holding the executive to account there is no means of ensuring that it is the rule of law that prevails, rather than rule by the decree of ministers or civil servants.”

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Spatial Control: Geographical Approaches to the Study of Immigration Detention

Global Detention Project Working Paper No. 24 - Deirdre Conlon, Nancy Hiemstra, and Alison Mountz
19 September, 2017

“This Global Detention Project Working Paper surveys research on immigration detention conducted using geographical methods, highlighting how geography’s conceptualization of detention as a form of spatial control offers tools to scholars and activists working to contest this form of immigration control. The authors organize their review around three core themes: im/mobilities, scaled analyses, and borders/bordering. They argue that geographical approaches to the study of detention have helped generate a critical orientation that can disrupt the spread of detention across and within a widening array of places and social groups.”

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  Au camp, la nourriture était parfois rare et les files d’attente pour en obtenir étaient habituellement longues. Photo Credit: Georgios Katsagelos

Sur la route des Balkans

In Journal Le Fil
19 September, 2017

The perspective of geographers is remarkable as they straddle social sciences and “hard” sciences and are now at the core of the research about sustainable environment for human habitation. Their analysis takes in many more factors than that of, say, lawyers or political scientists. They often view migration as a normal human behaviour, not as a deviant practice that needs to be curbed.

“La professeure Danièle Bélanger, du Département de géographie, a comme thème de recherche les dynamiques migratoires mondiales. Cet été, elle a parcouru, en autocar et en train, la distance qui sépare la Grèce de l’Allemagne. Son but était de mieux comprendre ce qu’ont vécu les centaines de milliers de demandeurs d’asile, principalement syriens, irakiens et afghans, qui ont traversé six pays européens dans l’espoir d’une vie meilleure. Ce faisant, elle a remonté le très long corridor migratoire, ouvert en 2014 et fermé depuis le début de 2016, que l’on a surnommé la route des Balkans. Il traversait la Macédoine, la Serbie, la Croatie, la Hongrie, pour atteindre l’Autriche et finalement l’Allemagne…

«Aujourd’hui, explique-t-elle, les migrants sont invisibles sur l’ancienne route des Balkans. Ceux qui sont restés coincés lors des fermetures de frontières vivent maintenant dans des camps gérés par les gouvernements des différents pays, ou bien ils sont logés dans les villes. Outre les petits effectifs d’entrée autorisés, ceux qui tentent de traverser les frontières sont entre les mains de passeurs qui exigent des sommes exorbitantes, ou ils sont rapidement interceptés par la police. C’est un tout autre paysage qu’en 2015 alors que 885 000 migrants sont entrés dans l’Union européenne après avoir transité par différents pays via la route de l’Est de la Méditerranée.»

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  Three sheriffs — Richard Stanek, from Hennepin County, Minn., Danny Glick, from Laramie County, Wyo., and John Layton, from Marion County, Ind. — during a listening session with President Trump at the White House in February. Photo Credit: Andrew Harrer

Listen to ‘The Daily’: The Sheriff Bind

Article in the New York Times
18 September, 2017

A very interesting podcast. Many thanks to Ana Lucia.

“On today’s episode: Caitlin Dickerson, who covers immigration, describes the story of Sergio Jose Martinez, an illegal immigrant who has been deported to Mexico 20 times and has been arrested 10 times this year. His release after a recent stint in jail, she tells us, illustrates a fundamental issue in the relationship between local authorities and federal immigration authorities.”

To access the podcast and accompanying article, please click here