The New York Times: Europe Benefits by Bankrolling an Anti-Migrant Effort. Niger Pays a Price

Niger has been well paid for drastically reducing the number of African migrants using the country as a conduit to Europe. But the effort has hurt parts of the economy and raised security concerns.
27 August, 2018


[Civilians in Dirkou, Niger, loading a truck in preparation for crossing the harsh desert. Joe Penny for the NYT]

Commentary by Francois Crépeau: “Creating an “immigration problem” in fragile countries, through diverting development aid towards local anti-immigration security measures, in order to prevent migrants setting foot in Europe, is so clearly an example of short-term benefit: economic, political, security, human rights and mobility issues will accumulate over time, before they explode in a much more toxic and damaging way.  Such prohibition policies cannot last and, for its utter lack of long-term vision on international human mobility, Europe will see its future generations pay a much higher price in due time.”

DIRKOU, Niger — The heavily armed troops are positioned around oases in Niger’s vast northern desert, where temperatures routinely climb beyond 100 degrees.

While both Al Qaeda and the Islamic State have branches operating in the area, the mission of the government forces here is not to combat jihadism.

Instead, these Nigerien soldiers are battling human smugglers, who transport migrants across the harsh landscape, where hundreds of miles of dunes separate solitary trees.

The migrants are hoping to reach neighboring Libya, and from there, try a treacherous, often deadly crossing of the Mediterranean to reach Europe.

The toll of the military engagement is high. Some smugglers are armed, militants are rife and the terrain is unforgiving: Each mission, lasting two weeks, requires 50 new truck tires to replace the ones shredded in the blistering, rocky sand.

But the operation has had an impact: Niger has drastically reduced the number of people moving north to Libya through its territory over the past two years.

The country is being paid handsomely for its efforts, by a Europe eager to reduce the migrant flow. The European Union announced at the end of last year it would provide Niger with one billion euros, or about $1.16 billion, in development aid through 2020, with hundreds of millions of that earmarked for anti-migration projects. Germany, France and Italy also provide aid on their own.

To read the full article, please click here.

The Guardian: Cuts to migrant projects fuel local tensions, warns report

Lack of help to find English lessons and jobs is a barrier to integration, thinktank says
27 August, 2018


Commentary by Francois Crépeau: “Britain is another society which feels collectively threatened by immigration and does not invest in the social and labour integration of migrants. The foreseeable outcomes of such lack of vision will come to haunt British authorities for decades to come.”

Repeated calls from ministers for migrants to integrate have been undermined by major cuts in key programmes designed to help them settle, a new study has warned.

A failure to help is also locking many new arrivals into low-paid work and helping to raise local tensions, according to a study by the Institute for Public Policy Research thinktank (IPPR). It found there had been dramatic cuts in funding for English lessons and other help, and that more than 37% of EU migrants are overqualified for their jobs in the UK.

The study found that the annual budget for teaching English had fallen by almost two-thirds in less than a decade, from around £46 per head in 2009 to £16 in 2017.

It also found that funding for integration efforts, aimed at local authorities with high levels of migration, had dropped by almost a third, from £8 per migrant in 2009 to £5.63 in 2017. Additionally, there was evidence that local councils with the highest levels of migration have been disadvantaged most, as their funding had not kept pace with population growth.

Le Monde: Crèche Baby-Loup : l’ONU critique la France pour le licenciement d’une salariée voilée

Le comité des droits de l’homme des Nations unies estime qu’il s’agit d’une « atteinte à la liberté de religion » et invite Paris à indemniser la salariée
27 August, 2018
A photo taken on June 3, 2014 shows the new building of the private nursery Baby-Loup in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, west of Paris. AFP PHOTO / ESTELLE EMONET / AFP PHOTO / ESTELLE EMONET
A photo taken on June 3, 2014 shows the new building of the private nursery Baby-Loup in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, west of Paris. AFP PHOTO / ESTELLE EMONET / AFP PHOTO / ESTELLE EMONET

Commentary by Francois Crépeau: “France still does not understand that integration is a two-way avenue, that host communities and migrants both have to adapt to each other, based on the common and shared values, which are embodied in the international human rights framework, nothing more but nothing less. France needs to learn that freedom of religion is an international human right while “laïcité” is not, at best an interpretive principle. It also needs to learn that banning a piece of cloth due to an anti-religious ideology sends a disastrous message to people of immigrant origin, that they are requested to “assimilate”, not “integrate”. Integration respects the diversity which comes with immigration, while assimilation does not. The damage to France – fractious relationships between communities inside and reputational damage outside – is considerable and will last for at least a generation. France is considered not to be a welcoming society for immigrants: this is not how most traditional immigration countries are now becoming vibrant, diverse and creative societies.”

Licenciée en 2008, la Française Fatima Afif avait été déboutée à deux reprises par les tribunaux. Mais dans un arrêt de mars 2013, vivement critiqué, la chambre sociale de la Cour de cassation lui avait donné raison, estimant que « s’agissant d’une crèche privée », le licenciement constituait « une discrimination en raison des convictions religieuses ». Mais son licenciement avait été confirmé par la Cour de cassation en 2014.

Dans ses conclusions, publiées le 10 août et que l’AFP a pu consulter, le comité de l’ONU a noté que « l’interdiction qui lui a été faite de porter son foulard sur son lieu de travail constitue une ingérence dans l’exercice de son droit à la liberté de manifester sa religion ».

Le comité, qui surveille l’application du Pacte international relatif aux droits civils et politiques, a observé par ailleurs que la France « n’explique pas en quelles mesures le port du foulard serait incompatible avec la stabilité sociale et l’accueil promus au sein de la crèche ».

To read the full article, please click here.

The Guardian: Britain can’t wait any longer for a post-Brexit immigration policy

The number of EU workers coming to the UK is falling. The delay in publishing a white paper is damaging the economy
24 August, 2018


[‘We don’t just need the “best and brightest”, we also need the fruit pickers.’ Photograph: Kelvin Murray/Getty Images]

Commentary by Francois Crépeau: “It is good to see the business community requesting long-term strategic planning on mobility and migration.”

By Adam Marshall

Anew statistics published by the ONS show another drop in the number of people coming to the UK from the EU to work, remember the government’s immigration white paper? It was originally due to appear over a year ago – but like so many other decisions, remains a casualty of Westminster disagreement and delay. The latest promise is that it will finally be unveiled in the “autumn”, a vague date meaning any time before December, provided warring ministers can agree on its details and publication.

For businesses across the UK, who have spent over a year in the dark about immigration rules and costs they’ll face, this unconscionable delay makes it impossible to plan with confidence. We have been told to wait for the outcome of Brexit negotiations – since so many of the questions about future business conditions are tied up in the presently stalled talks with Brussels.

To read the full article, please click here.

The Economist: The way forward on immigration to the West

24 August, 2018


Commentary by Francois Crépeau: “An articulated liberal view on migration. Several human rights safeguards are still missing (the idea of a “trade-off” where migrants are considered to have less human rights is anathema, even if human rights do not justify all government benefits), but it is refreshing to hear a voice of reason on migration policy issues. There is a sophisticated vision for the future, not simply a temporary fix for present electoral purposes.”

THE fear of immigration is poisoning Western politics. Donald Trump owes his job to it. Brexit would not be happening without it. Strident nationalists wield power in Italy, Hungary, Poland and Austria, and have gained influence elsewhere.

Even Sweden, long a country of refuge, has soured on migrants. The Sweden Democrats, a thunderingly anti-immigrant party, could win the most votes at an election on September 9th (see article). Though it will not form a government, it has already transformed Swedish politics as mainstream parties seek to halt migrants.

The West risks a backlash of the sort that ended the previous great age of mobility, before 1914. That would be a tragedy. Societies that close their doors to migrants will be poorer and less tolerant. Meanwhile, those to whom the doors are closed will see increased suffering, unable to escape the poverty, climate change or violence that prompts them to move.

To read the full article, please click here.