Category: from the media

Child without a name

nameleschild

Hanna is five years old. She drew this picture of the happy family she wishes for.

Her mother named her Hanna but her name is nowhere officially recognised; to the German authorities, she is a nameless child. She was born in Cologne, and has always lived there. She knows no other country than Germany but has been considered an undocumented migrant all her life. To read Hanna’s full story, click here.

Hanna’s story is part of PICUM’s series of testimonies and stories of undocumented children and youth. PICUM, in which Pro Igual participates, regularly publishes stories and quotes in written form or through multimedia in the run-up to Universal Children’s day in November. The series aims to give a voice to children and young people as well as to their parents, caregivers and supporting organisations to show the realities undocumented children and youth face across Europe. Testimonies are available in English, French and Spanish and can also be shared through social media. #ShareYourStory

110 NGOs Condemn New ‪EU‬ Migration Response Plan #StayHuman

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The European Union is set to open a dark chapter in its history unless it rejects the European Commission’s proposal on migration, a coalition of more than 100 NGOs warned on Monday. Shifting towards a foreign policy that serves the single objective of curbing migration, the EU and its member states risk further undermining their credibility and authority in the defence of human rights, the organizations say. They call on European leaders to reject the Commission proposal that would cement this approach, making deterrence and return of people the main objective of the EU’s relationship with third countries.

The plan proposes using aid, trade and other funds to encourage countries to reduce the number of migrants reaching EU shores. It was put forward by the Commission at the beginning of June and will be discussed by European heads of state and government at the EU summit in Brussels this week. It is inspired by the EU-Turkey deal which has left thousands of people stranded in Greece in inhumane and degrading conditions. Children are particularly affected, with many hundreds of unaccompanied children being held in closed detention facilities or forced to sleep in police cells.

According to the coalition of 110 human rights, humanitarian, medical, migration and development agencies, Europe risks torpedoing human rights in its foreign policy, and undermining the right to asylum internationally. There are no safeguards envisaged to ensure that human rights, rule of law standards and protection mechanisms are in place when the EU strikes deals with governments it deems useful for stopping migration to Europe. This leaves a very real risk of breach of international law which forbids pushbacks to places where people are at risk of rights violations. “Responsibility and liability for human rights violations do not end at Europe’s borders,” the statement reads.

Also, the proposal discussed ignores all the evidence that deterrence strategies aimed at stopping migration are ineffective. The EU’s current approach will not only fail to ‘break the business-model’ of smugglers but will increase human suffering as people will be forced into taking more dangerous routes to reach Europe.

The NGO coalition is very concerned that the proposal will result in a wholesale reorientation of Europe’s development aid towards stopping migration. “This is an unacceptable contradiction to the EU’s commitment to use development cooperation with the aim of eradicating poverty,” the statement reads.

The organisations warn that striking ‘migration management’ agreements with countries where grave human rights violations are committed will be counter-productive in the longer term. Such deals will be “undermining human rights around the globe and perpetuating the cycle of abuse and repression that causes people to flee,” they say.

The NGOs call on the European leaders to reject the Commission proposal on migration. Instead, European countries should develop a sustainable long-term strategy for migration management. “The EU, a project built on the rubble of a devastating war, is about to embark on a dark chapter of its history,” the organizations warn in their joint statement.

 

To read the full joint statement and a view the list of the 110 signatories click HERE.

The European Commission Communication on a new Partnership Framework with third countries is available HERE.

 

EU Response to Migration: Turn Political Crisis into Opportunity

On the occasion of the extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting, Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) and its member organisations, among which Pro Igual, urge EU leaders to establish safe and regular channels for migrants and refugees to come to Europe.

2015 has seen record numbers of migrants risking their lives trying to enter Europe, leading to continuous tragedies both at sea and land borders. Yet PICUM underlines that the subsequent humanitarian crisis unfolding in many countries of Europe is the result of policies aiming to deter migrants and refugees over the past 15 years. According to the Migrant Files*, over 30,000 refugees and migrants have died since 2000 attempting to reach or stay in Europe. EU migration policies during this time period have limited and in several cases even blocked migrants from arriving in regular manners to seek protection and better living conditions.

The EU Migration Agenda**, unveiled by the European Commission in May 2015, presents no significant shift in this discourse. The security agenda prevails and human mobility continues to be seen as a threat rather than an opportunity. For nearly two decades, a security focus to migration has resulted in major efforts towards securing EU external borders, the creation and maintenance of detention facilities, and efforts to criminalise and define unwanted human mobility. Focus has also increasingly been shifted on blaming smugglers who – in the absence of official and safe channels – often offer the only possible route to Europe for migrants and refugees.

While tragedies continue to unfold on a daily basis, the lack of a realistic debate on migration will have long-term impacts on the EU. What is at stake is not only the obligation to safeguard EU values and core principles based on respect for human rights, but also the manifest need for migrant workforce in many EU countries in the coming decades. According to the OECD***, the working age population in Europe will shrink by 50 million by 2060. Already today, various sectors of the economy – particularly those in low-wage occupations – rely on the presence of migrant workforce.

Nonetheless, national and European Union migration policies offer few possibilities for migrant workers from outside the EU to receive work and residence permits. Migrants are therefore pushed into the informal labour market and into an irregular situation. The recently adopted directive on seasonal work**** has been an opportunity for EU policymakers to develop regular channels for low-wage migrant workers in one sector. This has been just one step and many more efforts will be needed in the coming years to address the unrecognised labour market needs in the EU.

Aside from immediate actions that need to be taken to stop victimisation and criminalisation of migrants and refugees who have reached Europe, there is an urgent need for strong leadership in shifting the approach to migration as a whole. Without an evidence-based reform involving not only migration but social, health and labour market policies, more lives will be lost and more suffering will be inflicted. It is painstakingly clear that the current approach the EU has taken on migration is not only failing individual migrants and refugees but our societies as a whole.

PICUM and its members will aim to hold EU governments accountable to establish a new approach, moving away from securisation and criminalising migrants towards a human rights based, social and economic perspective, including more regular channels for refugees and migrants to reach Europe safely.

The statement is also available online in French, German, Italian, Spanish and Greek.

Operation “Mos Maiorum”: the EU-wide police hunt for #undocumented #migrants

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The EU-wide police operation ‘Mos Maiorum’ is taking place in most EU member states from 13 to 26 October 2014. This joint operation is coordinated by the Italian Ministry of Interior, in cooperation with Frontex. Its aim is to apprehend irregular migrants in the Schengen area and gather relevant information including how they were detected, their personal details, as well as the routes and means of transport used. During the operation, controls in the participating countries are expected to be intensified, particularly in airports and train stations, but may also include sweeps in selected areas. More information on the operation is available here.

What can you do?

To find out if your country participates in this operation and to what extent, you may contact your Ministry of the Interior or the police. They might not reveal much information but this could help you to better inform your network of what to expect.

You may also wish to contact the European Council and Italian Presidency directly to express your concern about the operation. If you wish to contact those responsible for its coordination at EU level, you may use the following contacts which were provided to EU member states:

- General Secretariat of the Council: gavriil.kampouroglou@consilium.europa.eu

- Italian Central Directorate for Immigration and Border Police: gruppo.frontiere@interno.it

You can also write to your MEP (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/map.html) asking them to take a strong stand against such control-based measures. The EEP group European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) has already condemned the operation in an open letter to the JHA Council which met on 9 October asking for the operation to be cancelled.

New PICUM´s Guide on Realities of Undocumented Migrants in Europe

As teachers welcome children in classrooms across the continent on the first day back at school, PICUM in which Pro Igual participates today launched a new guide to educate about the realities undocumented migrants face across Europe.

The teaching guide, which is available in English, French and Spanish, shows how PICUM’s web documentary “UNDOCUMENTARY” – which showcases the daily realities faced by undocumented migrants living in Europe – may be used in the classroom. It includes an introduction to the issue of irregular migration, detailed background information on featured characters, exercises and activities for school aged children of various age groups, university students and adults as well as foreign language students with different learning objectives, and a range of additional materials and suggested resources.

To view the full press release online, click here.

Undocumented, Not Illegal: New Campaign Advocates for Correct Terminology

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With the slogan “Words Matter!” the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) which Pro Igual joined recently launched its leaflet on accurate terminology.

The leaflet provides reasons why not to use the term ‘illegal migrant’ and instead the recognized “undocumented” or “irregular” migrant, as well as providing a lexicon with translations of the latter terms in all EU languages.

Besides being discriminatory and criminalizing, the term “illegal migrant” is also judicially incorrect, as a person cannot be “illegal” since irregular migration is an administrative, rather than a criminal offence.

For more information on PICUM’s work on terminology, click here.

La campaña por el cierre de los CIE realizará el 15J un jornada estatal de protesta

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La Campaña Estatal por el Cierre de los Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros (CIE), formada por diversas asociaciones y colectivos, está preparando una jornada de protesta para el próximo 15 de junio en todo el Estado con el fin de denunciar y difundir la existencia de este tipo de instalaciones y allanar el camino hacia su cierre definitivo. Se trata del segundo año consecutivo en el que se celebra la jornada. Leer mas…

For the Second Year Running, NGOs are Mobilizing on #15J for the Closure of #CIEs

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Watch this space for our initiatives!

See the campaign link (information in Spanish) at: http://15jdiacontraloscie.wordpress.com/

The Far Right and the 2014 European Elections in 7 Points

Source: HOPE not hate. | Monday, 26 May 2014


An analytical comment by Cas Mudde

It is clear: the far right “sweeps” Europe and causes an “earthquake” on the troubled continent. The media has spoken! Some even help us identify the “9 scariest far right parties now in the European Parliament.” Thanks Huffington Post UK! All newspapers focus on a select group of winners, mainly in the big countries (France and UK), which picked up large numbers of MEPs.

Let me summarize the far right results and their consequences in seven main points. I’ll start with the most ‘scary’ points, so as to not break too abruptly with the dominant media frame, and slowly work my way to a more balanced interpretation.

1. Far Right as Biggest Party in the Country

Depending on your definition, two or three far right parties became the biggest party in their country. The Danish People’s Party (DFP) and the French National Front (FN) gained 26.6 (+11.8) and 25.0 (+ 18.7) percent, respectively.

The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), which I do not (yet?) consider a far right party, is predicted to have scored 27.5 (+11.4) percent of the vote. This is the first time that far right parties come first in nation-wide elections in the European Union (EU) – the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) had been doing it in Switzerland since 1999.

2. Neo-Nazi Parties Will Enter the European Parliament

While the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI) has been elected to the European Parliament until it transformed into the National Alliance (AN) in 1994, the fascism of that party was more nostalgic than political, and it was not anti-Semitic or racist.

This is different for Golden Dawn (XA) in Greece, which was able to win almost 10 percent of the votes and 3 seats, despite being investigated for political violence and having its leaders in jail.

The National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), on the other hand, had a poor result (1 percent), but profited from the decision of the German Constitutional Court to abolish the three-percent electoral threshold, which gives the NPD one seat.

3. Far Right Parties Won… and Lost

Across the EU far right parties gained 15 seats, going from a total of 37 to 52 Members of European Parliament (MEPs). Given that the FN alone picked up 21 new MEPs, this already indicates important intra-European differences.

In fact, the far right won seats in as many countries as it lost: 6. It won seats in Austria (+2), Denmark (+2), France (+21), Germany (+1), Greece (+1), and Sweden (+2); it lost seats in Belgium (-1), Bulgaria (-2), Italy (-4), Romania (-3), Slovakia (-1), and the UK (-2).

Admittedly, this changes to 9 and 5, respectively, if you apply a very broad definition of ‘far right’, which includes The Finns (PS), the Latvian National Alliance (NA), the Polish Congress of the New Right (KPN), and UKIP.

4. Far Right Parties Remain Irrelevant in the Majority of EU States

As the media is reducing the EU to France and the United Kingdom, sometimes throwing in Austria and Denmark for good measure, it is important to remember that there are 28 EU member states, and the far remained irrelevant in the majority of them.

The next European Parliament will have far right MEPs from ‘just’ 10 countries (14 in case of a broad definition). That is to say that almost two-thirds of the EU states have no far right representation in the next EP. This is actually higher than in 2009, as four countries lost far right representation and only one gained it.

5. The Far Right Is Mainly a West European Phenomenon!

Ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the ‘return’ of the Central and Eastern European countries, formalized in their integration into the EU since 2004, the former communist part of Europe has been seen as the hotbed of the far right. While this was always at best a skewed view, it has become completely outdated in 2014.

Only one strong far right party remains in the East: the Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik), which got 14.7 percent of the votes and three MEPs, which was actually a loss of 0.1 percent compared to 2009 – and of 5.7 percent compared to last month’s national elections in Hungary!

Far right parties lost representation in Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovakia – the only West European country to loose far right representation was the UK, where the BNP was replaced by a less extreme but much stronger UKIP!

6. The Far Right Did Not Do Well in the Hardest Hit Crisis Countries

As I have argued in more detail elsewhere, the thesis that economic crises lead to the rise of far right parties does not really hold up under scrutiny. This was confirmed in the 2014 European elections, where only one of the ‘bailed out’ countries returned far right MEPs (Greece).

In fact, the highest electoral results of far right parties were almost exclusively in countries that were, in EU-perspective, little to medium affected by the crisis: Austria, Denmark, France, Netherlands, and Sweden. The only exception to this rule is Hungary, which has been hard hit by the crisis and had the fourth-highest score for a far right party.

7.More Far Right MEPs, But Continuing Fragmentation

Finally, although the far right has increased its representation in the European Parliament by 15 MEPs (or one-third), the much-discussed European Alliance for Freedom (EAF) of Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders is far from certain.

As discussed before here, the EAF has the number of seats but not the number of parties (or strictly MEPs). So far only the FN, Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), Northern League (LN), Party for Freedom (PVV) and Flemish Interest (VB) have committed to the EAF, which brings the current total at 38 MEPs – 13 more than the required 25 – in five countries – two less than required. The Slovak National Party (SNS) was expected to join, but failed to regain its seat in the EP.

This means that the EAF has two options: convince at least two other parties or wait for the inevitable implosion of party factions and pick up individual MEPs from at least two different countries. The latter is most likely, and the UKIP faction is the most obvious recruiting ground, but will mean that the EAF will not become a political group for several months.

During that period, both current commitment (e.g. LN and PVV) and possible future commitments (e.g. DF, SD) could choose money over loyalty and join another group (notably Europe for Freedom and Democracy, EFD).

Original link: http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/news/world/article/1948/the-far-right-and-the-2014-european-elections-in-7-points

Eat a banana against racism!

NoHateBanana

Express solidarity with Dani Alves! Eat a banana against racism now! Take a selfie and upload it to the No Hate Speech Movement website: http://www.nohatespeechmovement.org/join-the-movement.

#weareallmonkeys

#somostodosmacacos

CIDH Pro Igual es Asociación sin ánimo de lucro registrada en el Ministerio del Interior con el nº 595496.