Multimedia Feature: Refugees Trapped Far From Home, Farther From Deliverance

Article in the New York Times
21 November, 2017

That such a humanitarian emergency be the wilful result of a rich country’s migration policies is baffling.

That this country has consistently refused that New Zealand take 150 of those refugees is mindboggling.

That this country is trampling the dignity of 1300 people (Manus and Nauru) in all, while fragile countries like Lebanon host one million refugees, is flabbergasting.

A future Australian government will have to apologise for the moral abyss in which Australian authorities have dug themselves into.

This is a good piece of investigative journalism

The New York Times sent journalists into a contested detention camp in Papua New Guinea to investigate Australia’s refugee policy, and the resistance rising against it.

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People for sale: Where lives are auctioned for $400

Article in CNN
21 November, 2017

This trafficking phenomenon is not new, as an Italian documentary had been made on it during the Ghaddafi era: Come un uomo sulla terra. For a trailer, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WU61c2d6b2c

“Each year, tens of thousands of people pour across Libya’s borders. They’re refugees fleeing conflict or economic migrants in search of better opportunities in Europe. Most have sold everything they own to finance the journey through Libya to the coast and the gateway to the Mediterranean.

But a recent clampdown by the Libyan coastguard means fewer boats are making it out to sea, leaving the smugglers with a backlog of would-be passengers on their hands. So the smugglers become masters, the migrants and refugees become slaves.”
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Deported: Human Rights in the Context of Forced Returns

Amnesty International Report, July 2017
13 November, 2017

Unless States know precisely how returned migrants can reintegrate their country of origin, forced returns may be in violation of human rights standards

“Amnesty Netherlands has published an English language summary of its report on deportation procedures from the Netherlands. The report illuminates amongst others the protection needs of vulnerable people prior to and after deportation; human right risks upon arrival at airports in countries of origin; and the need for monitoring and oversight mechanisms for the protection of human rights before, during and after deportation. Besides calling for human rights monitoring of reception proceedings and identification procedures at airports of arrival, the report’s recommendations also address concerns about the consequences of emergency travel documents, the scheduling of return flights and deportees’ access to means of communication prior to return flights.”

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  Migrant workers make up more than a quarter of the workforce in the Canadian mushroom industry, according to a new report. Photo Credit: Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council / Lydia Schouten

Canadian mushroom growers push for permanent residency for migrant workers

Article in the Toronto Star
31 October, 2017

Good to see an industry which is ready to incur higher labour costs in order to avoid labour shortages and retain a skilled labour force. We need more of this spirit in other agricultural sectors, as well as in construction, hospitality, care, domestic services and extraction. States need to reduce the common precariousness of temporary migrant statuses and provide more legal pathways to various forms of stable status, including permanent residence.

Canada’s mushroom growers are urging Ottawa to grant permanent residency to 870 migrant farmworkers to help the $1 billion industry fill current job vacancies and sustain growth.

Without a stable, skilled labour pool of migrant workers, the sector, which employs 4,330 people, could be in jeopardy, warned a report released Monday by Mushrooms Canada.

“Mushroom farms provide permanent, year-round jobs with a quality living wage in rural Canada and would like to welcome these skilled workers to Canada, so they have the option of staying and buying homes and building a life here as well,” said George Graham, president of Mushrooms Canada, whose members produce 134 tons of mushrooms a year.

“These workers are interested in working on farms and staying on farms. This is their dream job and we are fulfilling these workers’ dreams. They are our valued employees and part of the community, and we support and help them integrate in the local rural communities…

Migrant workers’ access to permanent residence is extremely limited because Canada’s immigration program selects prospective immigrants based on university education and professional designations — qualifications farmworkers lack.”

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  Men deported from Algeria queuing after their arrival to Bamako, October 25, 2017. Photo Credit: Bukary Dao/Le Républicain

Algeria: Surge in Deportations of Migrants

Human Rights Watch
30 October, 2017

One should certainly link this increase in summary expulsions from Algeria to European policies aiming at creating “capacity building” in Africa for hardening borders and stopping migrant movements, all supported with “development” funds and without ensuring much serious oversight or instituting effective accountability mechanisms. The language used, linking migration, drugs, crime and “chaos”, is very familiar indeed. On top of being a violation of the non-refoulement principle, such a policy runs contrary to the objective of many regional bodies in Africa which are trying to allow for freer movement for Africans across African borders, in order to boost regional economic and social development. One should be worried.

Algerian authorities have been rounding up sub-Saharan Africans in and around Algiers and have deported more than 3,000 to Niger since August 25, 2017, without giving them an opportunity to challenge their expulsion, Human Rights Watch said today. Those expelled include migrants who have lived and worked for years in Algeria, pregnant women, families with newborn babies, and about 25 unaccompanied children.

“Nothing justifies rounding up people based on their skin color, and then deporting them en masse,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “A country’s power to control its borders is not a license to treat people like criminals or to assume they have no right to be there because of their race or ethnicity.”

Trusted sources in Algiers told Human Rights Watch that those detained initially included 15 refugees and asylum seekers. All were later released after the authorities ascertained their status.”

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