FILE PHOTO: African migrants are transferred to a detention centre after being detained in Zawiya, northern Libya June 1, 2014. Photo credit: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah/File Photo on Reuters' website

Germany, France wants looser human rights rules to keep asylum seekers away

Article from Reuters
21 February, 2017

“Germany and France want the European Union to weaken its human rights safeguards to allow for deportation of asylum seekers before their case is considered, according to their joint proposal on curbing immigration, seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

This option would only kick in at times of a “mass influx” of people to the bloc and comes as the EU is persistently making it harder for migrants and refugees alike to get in and be allowed to stay.

While the EU says it has the right to send away all economic migrants if it chooses so, its existing laws on human rights and asylum say a third country must met certain conditions if the bloc were to send there someone who claims asylum in Europe, and have the person wait for a decision there.”

Germany and France want the “right” to clearly and utterly violate the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights, the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees and the 1984 UN Convention against torture. If the principle of it wasn’t already preposterous enough, they don’t seem to care that those rules were handed down, for good reasons, by the generation who had lived through WWII, an event with atrocities of a magnitude which far exceeds that of the present “migration crisis”.

To read the full article, please visit the Reuters website by clicking on the following link

  ‘We have a heightened responsibility towards Libya because of the role Britain played in bringing down the Gaddafi dictatorship.’ Photograph Credit: Dave Williams/Sound Ltd on the Guardian's website

The migrant slave trade is booming in Libya. Why is the world ignoring it?

Article in The Guardian
21 February, 2017

It’s a mass grave that we don’t need the United Nations to verify. Every day an average of 14 migrants, the vast majority from countries in sub-Saharan Africa, die crossing the Mediterranean.

Many more see their European dream turn into a nightmare long before they’re corralled on to flimsy rubber dinghies on Libya’s beaches. They’re the victims of a silent massacre in the Sahara desert – a journey more deadly than the crossing from the coast, according to the International Organisation for Migration.”

In view of such reports, the EU policy of cooperation with Libyan present-day fractious authorities, in order to keep migrants on Libyan territory either through reinforced border management or in detention, would appear criminal.

To read the full article by Ross Kemp, please click here.

Hungarian government wants to harden its immigration policy with plan to detain all asylum-seekers

ECRE Weekly Bulletin
17 February, 2017

“The Hungarian government submitted a new bill to the parliament on February 14 to be voted on during the spring session. If passed, it will increase the use of collective push-backs and introduce automatic detention of asylum seekers.


Further, under the bill the asylum procedure will take place in designated transit zones, which asylum seekers are prohibited to leave. All asylum seekers staying at open reception facilities at the time the bill enters into force will be transferred to these zones. This is an extension of the use systematic detention, an established practice as demonstrated by the latest AIDA report on Hungary.”

As is manifest below, Europe – both the EU institutions and EU member States – is sliding rapidly towards a much more robust undocumented migration deterrence and repression policy, including against asylum seekers, increasing detention capacity and implementing systematic detention policies (HU and IT), developing quick return mechanisms (HU and IT), reducing access to justice for migrants (IT) and reinstating border controls at internal EU borders (FR), as well as returning to the argument that helping undocumented migrants in distress (here – appallingly – children) creates a “pull factor” (UK), an argument that we had thought delegitimised after the Mare Nostrum summer.

To read the full article in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin, please click on the following link.

  New York police officers on Saturday watched people protest against the immigration policies of President Trump. Photo Credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images on the NY Times website

Sanctuary Cities in Name Only

Article in The New York Times
15 February, 2017

“President Trump’s plan to deport millions of people appears to be underway. Last week, federal immigration officials arrested more than 600 people at their homes and workplaces in at least 11 states, sending terror through immigrant communities.

The abruptness of the raids provoked criticism from local officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, who vowed to “stand with” immigrant communities. But mass deportation under President Trump will also happen through a more routine policy that is in the mayor’s control: endless, unnecessary arrests for low-level offenses, which end up feeding immigrants into the federal government’s deportation machine.

It’s not enough for cities like New York to declare themselves “sanctuaries,” which simply means that the local police won’t detain noncitizens on the federal government’s behalf. If cities really want to protect immigrants, they must also end the quota-driven style of policing that makes immigrants the victims of unnecessary arrests and disproportionate punishment.”

“Firewalls” are key to creating trust that denouncing exploitation and violence will not result in deportation. Ending the practical impunity of exploiters of migrant labour should be a central objective of law enforcement, a more important one than rounding up hard-working migrants in view of their deportation.

To read the full article on the New York Times’ website, please click here.

  A poster in Zurich opposing the citizenship measure was graffitied over to read “Unchecked incitement? No — Yes to an easier path to citizenship,” instead of the original “Unchecked naturalization? No to an easier path to citizenship.” Photo Credit Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters on the NY Times website

Switzerland Votes to Ease Citizenship for Third-Generation Immigrants

Article in The New York Times
12 February, 2017

“The posters seen in several cities and provinces featured two very similar young women: both born in Switzerland, educated in Swiss schools, now in their 20s and working full time in Swiss jobs. They even share the given name Vanessa.

The point, though, was the crucial way they differ. One Vanessa is a Swiss citizen, while the other is not, and is locked in a lengthy and expensive process to obtain citizenship even though her family put down roots in Switzerland two generations ago.

The posters backed a government-sponsored measure that would ease the path to citizenship for third-generation immigrants like the second Vanessa. And on Sunday, the measure was approved in a nationwide referendum.

The outcome went against the recent tide of right-wing populism and anti-immigrant sentiment in much of Western Europe. Just over 60 percent of votes were in favor, including majorities in 17 of the country’s 23 electoral cantons — a minimum of 12 are required to pass — despite a right-wing campaign that sought to stoke fears of Muslims infiltrating the country.”

Some sun ray among depressing other news. It still is baffling that over 40% of Swiss citizens voted against an easier naturalisation process for residents whose families have been in Switzerland for three generations. Some Swiss citizens are certainly less socially integrated than most of those “migrants”.

To read the full article, please click here.