This picture taken in 2014 shows asylum-seekers at a Manus Island detention centre. Photo Credit: Reuters

Australia agrees to pay A$70m to Manus Island detainees

Article in the BBC
14 June, 2017

Contrary to what is said in the analysis by Hywel Griffith below, the deterrent is not the harsh treatment in the camps, but the dozens of vessels of the Australian Navy which patrol the waters off Indonesia, stop any ship carrying migrants coming out of Indonesian territory and return them into the hands of Indonesian authorities. I was told that 29 such boats had been stopped in 2016.

The Australian authorities do not admit responsibility, but the Minister recognises that the trial had an “unknown outcome “, which means that he feared that the courts could condemn the government for human rights violations. It is a good start on the path towards dismantling the policy.

“The Australian government and its contractors have offered compensation totalling A$70m (£41m; $53m) to refugees detained in Papua New Guinea.

The 1,905 claimants had alleged they suffered harm while being held on PNG’s Manus Island between 2012 and 2016.

The government said it “strongly denied” the allegations but that settling was a “prudent” decision.

Australia turns away any refugees and asylum seekers arriving by boat and sends them to PNG and Nauru.

It says this deters migrants from attempting the life-threatening voyage to its shores in trafficking boats.

But the policy has been heavily criticised both at home and internationally, including by the United Nations”

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  Photo Credit: Martin Tremblay, La Presse

Le Montréal des sans-papiers

Article in La Presse
13 June, 2017

“Nous les croisons sans les voir dans les rues de Montréal. Ils font le tri de nos rebuts, récurent les toilettes de nos cliniques médicales, passent l’aspirateur, la nuit, dans les couloirs de nos bureaux. Ils sont des dizaines de milliers, mais ils sont invisibles. Sans eux, l’économie de la ville subirait un dur coup, puisque ces travailleurs de l’ombre occupent les emplois dont personne ne veut. Sans le moindre filet de sécurité. Bienvenue dans le monde occulte des sans-papiers de Montréal.”

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  Work is underway on a second barrier at the Hungarian-Serbian border to keep out migrants. Photo Credit: Anadolu Agency

U.N. Rapporteur: We Need a Long-Term Strategy for Human Migration

Article in NewsDeeply
8 June, 2017

The so-called “migration crisis” is policy-driven. Migration itself is a natural part of human existence; it is neither a crime nor a problem, and it has the potential to be a remedy for many social ills. The collective response to date of placing restrictions on mobility is part of the problem, not of the solution…

With this in mind, I propose two axes of solutions to human mobility and eight goals to aim for.

The first axis consists in developing refugee settlement programs to serve more refugees than the current 1 percent. Private sponsorship of refugees should be included in these programs, because it progressively builds a constituency of nationals who are in favor of welcoming refugees.

The second axis consists in recognizing real labor needs and opening up considerably more visa opportunities or visa-free travel programs for migrant workers at all skill levels. With appropriate selection and organization, the numbers would be entirely manageable…

A 2035 agenda for facilitating human mobility would translate the existing 2030 agenda for sustainable development into “bite-sized” and achievable goals, targets and indicators. I suggest the following goals:

Goal 1. Offer regular, safe, accessible and affordable mobility solutions to all migrants, regardless of status or skill level.

Goal 2. Protect the labor and human rights of all migrant workers, regardless of status and circumstances.

Goal 3. Ensure respect for human rights at border controls, including return, readmission and post-return monitoring, and establish accountability mechanisms.

Goal 4. End the use of detention as a border-management and deterrence tool against migrants.

Goal 5. Provide effective access to justice for all migrants.

Goal 6. Ensure easy access for all migrants to basic services, including education and health.

Goal 7. Protect all migrants from all forms of discrimination and violence, including racism, xenophobia, sexual and gender-based violence and hate speech.

Goal 8. Increase the collection and analysis of disaggregated data on migration and mobility.

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Ben & Jerry’s campaigns for refugees, migrants and justice

7 June, 2017

An interesting campaign by Ben & Jerry’s CEO against President Trump’s executive order limiting immigrants and refugees from predominantly Muslim countries: he “wanted to reiterate Ben & Jerry’s strong opposition to this assault on America’s commitment to fairness, the rule of law, and religious liberty”.

They also established a ‘One Sweet World’ campaign (and a new ice cream with the same name) to drive forward their social mission in relation to refugees and migrants:

The business community should be all in favour of mobility and diversity.

  Theresa May: We will change human rights laws to crack down on terrorism

May: I’ll rip up human rights laws that impede new terror legislation

Article in The Guardian
7 June, 2017

For politicians, it is too often a zero-sum game, “my way or the highway”. In the present nationalist populist atmosphere, politicians will claim that undesired foreigners should not be covered by international human rights law or by constitutional guarantees. When most of the terrorism is “homegrown”, they still need to “externalise” it and, in an echo of the Cold War, place the responsibility on “foreign agents”. Moreover, they invoke their conception of a “crisis” to justify trampling the rights of foreigners, forgetting that the human rights regime was created by the generation that survived WWII and that human rights safeguards were thus put in place to remind States of their obligations, not only in times of peace, but more so especially in times of crises or war. Who can seriously argue that our present “migration crisis” is of the magnitude of WWII?

“The prime minister said she was looking at how to make it easier to deport foreign terror suspects and how to increase controls on extremists where it is thought they present a threat but there is not enough evidence to prosecute them…

She said: “But I can tell you a few of the things I mean by that: I mean longer prison sentences for people convicted of terrorist offences. I mean making it easier for the authorities to deport foreign terror suspects to their own countries.

“And I mean doing more to restrict the freedom and the movements of terrorist suspects when we have enough evidence to know they present a threat, but not enough evidence to prosecute them in full in court.

“And if human rights laws stop us from doing it, we will change those laws so we can do it.”

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