A Chinese shopkeeper selling inexpensive jewelry in the Centenaire neighborhood of Dakar, Senegal. More than 200 Chinese-owned shops line the Boulevard du Général de Gaulle, which slices through the neighborhood. Photo Credit: Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Chinese Merchants Thrive in Senegal, Where People ‘Needed Stuff’

Article in The New York Times
24 May, 2017

Through sheer grit, migration contributes to prosperity. Everywhere.

“Fresh out of college and frustrated by the paucity of job prospects at home, Cao Qihan, 23, did what generations of ambitious Chinese had done before him: He rolled the dice and ventured to a far-off, utterly unfamiliar land, where people speak languages he doesn’t understand…

“This is how life is for us,” said Zhu Haoming, 58, a brash, fast-talking man with an easy smile. “We have to leave home to make a living. If you find a good place, you end up pulling in your friends, even if it’s on the other side of the world.”

For Senegalese, the arrival of Chinese wholesalers has been a mixed blessing. The low-end merchandise they import sustains countless peddlers, many of whom fan out into the countryside and even to other countries in West Africa. Less pleased are the Senegalese traders who used to travel to China to buy the same goods but have been squeezed out…

But expressions of gratitude are more common, a sentiment bolstered by the cornucopia of Chinese-backed projects that have improved life in this dog-eared, traffic-clogged city. There are miles of new and refurbished roads, a sumptuous national theater and clusters of gleaming exercise equipment that draw multitudes of fitness-crazed Senegalese to a seaside promenade at dusk”

To access the full article, please click here

  Des centaines de personnes sans-papiers assistent à la séance d’information sur l’Opération Papyrus organisée par les syndicats et les associations du Collectif sans-papiers en février. Photo Credit: Keystone

Une brèche nationale pour les sans-papiers

Article in Revue Suisse
23 May, 2017

An excellent practice regarding how to deal with undocumented migration: cleaning up the underground labour markets, regularizing the migrants who work, taking individual decisions based on the facts of each case, establishing a discreet process which provides results rather than headlines…Many thanks to Cecilia

“En février, le Gouvernement genevois a créé la surprise en annonçant un plan ouvrant la voie à la régularisation de milliers de sans-papiers…

Papyrus. Mené au nom de la lutte contre le travail au noir, il devrait permettre la régularisation de milliers de sans-papiers actifs dans l’économie locale. Leur nombre est estimé à 18 000 dans le canton et à 76 000 dans tout le pays, avec un record pour Zurich, qui en accueillerait 28 000…

«L’idée du permis pour des raisons humanitaires répond à une situation de précarité insoutenable», défend Rémy Kammermann, juriste au CSP. Il évoque des personnes, des femmes notamment, vivant sans aucune protection sociale, et subissant la loi de marchands de sommeil qui louent des matelas à 400 francs par mois ou, pire, qui abusent sexuellement de personnes qui vivent dans la crainte d’une expulsion. «Ces arguments ont rencontré un souci de l’État, qui est de ne pas laisser se développer une zone de non-droit, potentiellement criminogène.»

Le fait est qu’en Suisse, les milliers de sans-papiers, originaires d’Afrique, d’Amérique latine, d’Asie, répondent à une demande de travail…”

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Making Canada’s Refugee System Faster and Fairer

Reviewing the Stated Goals and Unintended Policy Consequences of the 2012 Reform
9 May, 2017

The authors of the report write: “The SSHRC research project explores the practical and human rights implications associated with the recent moves towards securitization of migration in Canada. Although our research addresses both migration and refugee policies and legislation, our specific focus in this Working Paper are the refugee measures affected by the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act and the Balanced Refugee Reform Act. The Working Paper’s twofold purpose is, first, to examine whether reforms following the adoption of these Acts – which we shorthand to “the 2012 refugee reform” – work in intended ways and have reached their stated goals, notably protecting the “refugee system’s integrity”, including public safety and security. Second, the Working Paper aims at identifying some of the unanticipated consequences of the new measures. It is argued that the government has not been successful in reaching the stated objectives of the laws and policies under review. In addition, these measures have had some unintended and counter-productive results. We hope that the current government will take seriously the need to make progressive changes to our RSD system, in order to better protect the rights of refugees, restore Canada’s compliance with its international human rights obligations, and ensure smoother overall functioning

“Making Canada’s Refugee System Faster and Fairer” is a working paper recently published by the Canadian Association For Refugee And Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS). To access the full paper, click here.

  Refugees and German citizens attended an integration seminar last year in Weimar. Photo Credit: Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

Refugee integration in Weimar, Germany

Article in The New York Times
8 May, 2017

A very interesting interactive narrative compiled by the NY Times on refugee integration in Weimar, Germany.

Besides the housing and government-provided food or stipends, Weimar’s refugees found a plethora of student, religious and social service groups providing help navigating the German bureaucracy and offering activities and events to pull them into the life of the city.

Dozens of refugees we met said they had been largely welcomed — or ignored — though many recounted moments of public hostility and even physical aggression. As the months passed, we watched them wandering the cobbled streets of Weimar’s old city, pushing bicycles, pausing at kebab shops, playing table soccer with shaggy university students.

“I think this process of integration is going to be more difficult than people realize,” Anas said one day. “And I think it will come as a surprise to many of the Germans, but it is going to be just as hard for them as it is for us.”

To access the full article, please click here

  Photo Credit: https://www.rightscitymtldroitshumains.com/

“Rights City”- Montreal Human Rights Conference

May 26-27 - "One city. One cause. Three events"
8 May, 2017

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