Category: news

Child without a name

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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

EuropeNewFlag

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.

 

Suggested Amendments to the Proposal for an EU Regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard to strengthen compliance with fundamental rights

Credit: Banksy?

Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), in which Pro Igual participates, suggests the attached amendments to the proposal for a Regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard in order to strengthen compliance with fundamental rights in the proposal.

PICUM is a member of the Frontex Consultative Forum on Fundamental Rights which provides independent advice to the Agency’s Management Board as well as its Executive Director on fundamental rights matters. The Consultative Forum is composed of 15 organisations: The AIRE Centre, Amnesty International European Institutions Office, Caritas Europa, Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME), Council of Europe, European Asylum Support Office (EASO), European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Jesuit Refugee Service Europe (JRS), Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe/Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR), Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), Red Cross EU Office and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Summary of the suggested amendments is included below, while the full text is available here.

  • Fundamental rights as integral to role of the Agency and integrated border management

> E.g. Article 1, Article 4 (definition of integrated border management), Article 7 (tasks of the Agency)

> Risk analyses (Article 10) and vulnerability assessments (Article 12) should look at access to procedures and fundamental rights

> Operational cooperation with authorities on coast guard functions only in line with the tasks of the Agency and international and Union law (Article 52)

  • Fundamental rights safeguards before initiating operations

> Fundamental rights assessment prior to any operational engagement (Article 10, Article 12, Article 18, Article 27, Article 53)

> Return Office should not provide information on third countries of return, and should provide information to support only lawful deprivation of liberty (wording more likely to get in this way than saying ATD outright here) (Article 26)

> No Agency involvement in deportations from member states not implementing EU law on asylum and return (Article 27)

> No deportations from one third country to another (‘mixed return operations’) – this new activity is not compatible with fundamental rights and should be deleted (Article 27.4).

> Non-refoulement not only linked to international protection but all human rights law and more clearly defined (Article 33)

  • Fundamental rights safeguards during operations

> Detailed FR provisions in operational plans and link to power to suspend or terminate operations (Article 15)

> Power to suspend or terminate operations – criteria to be developed, FRO can suggest, should be for all operations (propose to move Article 36 General rules) (Article 24)

> Also operational plans with monitoring and complaints procedures, and FR safeguards, for return operations (Article 27) and operational cooperation with third countries (Article 53)

> Forced return monitors independent and report to Agency and FRO (Article 28); forced return monitors and escorts with child protection profiles (Article 28 and 29)

> Use of force must comply with international and EU human rights law, as well as national law (Article 39)

  • Complaints mechanism

> Officers wear visible numbers/ codes allowing individual identification (Article 39.4)

> Independence of the mechanism, involvement of competent bodies on national level, clear time periods and procedure, information about the procedure and support including for children, right to appeal decisions on admissibility, link to the civil and criminal process as well as disciplinary actions (Article 72)

  • Fundamental rights structure in the Agency

> Shared responsibility – includes responsibility for fundamental rights (Article 5)

> Fundamental Rights Strategy – stronger HR references, includes monitoring mechanism (was in previous Frontex Regulation, but weak here) and complaints mechanism, reference back to fundamental rights assessment prior to operations and in operational plans (Article 33)

> Stronger requirement to consider recommendations of the Fundamental Rights Officer and Consultative Forum and transparency (Article 33.4)

> Liability of the Agency – more information on liability, remedies, and legal aid (Article 59), also considering expanded competences of guest officers (Article 39.9) and taking into account relevant jurisprudence on immunity (Article 58)

> Consultative Forum – ensure independence (Article 60, Article 70), access to information and resources (Article 70)

> Fundamental Rights Officer – ensure independence (Article 60), reporting to the Consultative Forum and resources (Article 71)

> Evaluation – should include fundamental rights and be for all operations (propose to move to Article 37) (Article 25)

  • Search and rescue

> Should be part of integrated border management (Article 4) and the tasks of the Agency (Article 7)

  • Hotspots

> Should be coordinated by the Commission, involve FR and child protection experts, stronger on compliance with FR in all activities, including providing information on FR and procedures (under guidance of EASO and FRA) and referrals, providing for basic needs (Article 17)

  • Cooperation with third countries

> Nature of cooperation with third countries well defined and be made public (Article 53)

Detailed amendments have not been included on data protection. PICUM strongly urges that the recommendations of the Data Protection Supervisor be followed. The purpose and type of data to be accessed and processed must be specified at all times.

Further, the proposal will have significant legal, practical and financial implications, and so should not be adopted without due consultation with relevant stakeholders and an impact assessment, including an evaluation of the efficacy of measures proposed and necessary fundamental rights safeguards.

Progress for victims of #hatecrimes in Spain!

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We are pleased and proud to inform that after over two+ years of relentless advocacy by Pro Igual´s team, the Valencia police signed a formal agreement with the OSCE to start police training on hate crimes within the TACHLE program.

We believe this will be a major step towards practical implementation of rights of victims of #hatecrimes, who overwhelmingly tend to be from the most vulnerable groups: minorities, immigrants, undocumented persons, and so forth.

We also hope this pilot will be replicated across Spain and will continue working towards this goal.

Pro Igual Continues Surveying Hate Crimes in Spain in 2016

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Pro Igual continues its initiative to survey individual experiences with hate crime in Spain. If you were a victim or witness of a hate crime, or know someone who was, please help us raise awareness of the true scope of the phenomenon by taking part in our online survey on hate crimes in Spain, and sharing the link among your contacts and networks. The 2016 survey is available in Spanish. All responses are strictly confidential. Thank you for your help!

New Guide and Toolkit on How to Use the EU Victims’ Directive

PICUMguide

By November 16, 2015 all EU member states (except Denmark) have to implement the EU Victims’ Directive (Directive 2012/29/EU) establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, irrespective of their residence status. PICUM in which Pro Igual participates has published a Guide to the EU Victims’ Directive with resources for members and partners, to inform and to inspire action to advance the rights of undocumented victims of crime. Read more…

Pro Igual commentary on the Spanish draft law implementing the EU Victims´ Directive

AffordableJustice

Over 30 million people fall victim to crime in the EU every year. People who travel or live abroad are potential victims of crimes committed in a country other than their own and need access to justice. This can affect particularly harshly those who find themselves in an irregular administrative situation.

The EU Directive establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime was adopted on 25 October 2012. It replaces the 2001 Framework Decision and will ensure that victims are recognized and receive proper protection and support. The Directive considerably strengthens the rights of victims and their family members to information, support and protection as well as their procedural rights when participating in criminal proceedings. It also includes provisions that will ensure that professionals are trained on victims’ needs and encourage cooperation between Member States and awareness raising on victims’ rights.

All EU Member States must transpose the Directive into the national law by 15 November 2015. If implemented properly, the Directive could fill the important gap that currently exists with regard to protection of undocumented migrants who become victims of discrimination, hate crimes, and other crimes in the EU. The text of the EU Victims Directive is available here: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/criminal/victims/index_en.htm.

Spain is currently in process of transposing the Directive and the draft law has been made available for public consultations. Pro Igual prepared comments and recommendations on the draft law, available (in Spanish) here. We urge other Spanish civil society organizations working on rights of (undocumented) migrants to join in the effort to ensure justice for all victims, regardless of their administrative situation.

Decalogue of Principles for Police Training on Combatting Hate Crimes: Victims First!

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Hate crimes against ethnic minorities and undocumented foreigners have been one of the main issues of concern in Spain of the past decade. PRO IGUAL has developed the following set of recommendations to the police on detection and prevention of hate crimes in Spain. It is our hope that these recommendations may also be relevant for other countries facing similar problems as Spain.

1. Set up a hate crimes hotline.

There should be a national FREE hotline for hate crimes victims, similar to the hotline number for victims of gender violence in Spain (016). Alternatively, regional or local hotlines can be considered.

2. Do not ask victims for ID.

Some hate crimes victims are targeted because they are not, or perceived not to be, natives in that country. Some of the victims may be in an irregular administrative situation, punishable by law in Spain. For meaningful protection against hate crimes, it is important that such victims are not penalised even if they do not have appropriate documentation. International best practices of state support for victims of human trafficking may provide inspiration.

3. Have victim info readily available.

Ideally, hate crime victims should be aware of the protection mechanisms even before walking into the police station, via public information campaign. In each police station, there should be a visible poster with steps to take in case of hate-related attack and victim´s rights and/or brochures that victims can take with them.

4. Have a non-uniformed contact point.

The police uniform may have a deterrent effect on the victim. Each police station should have a non-uniformed staff member available to interview the victim and take their testimony, or be ready to have one of the officers to change out of uniform to that end.

5. Speak their language.

Some victims may not be fluent in the language. If there is nobody accompanying the victim or able to translate, it would be desirable to have a list/shared database of interpreters available for this task. If physical presence of the interpreter is impossible, at least telephone translation should be arranged.

6. Cooperate with medics.

Some victims of violent hate crime may not go police but to doctors instead. The local police should establish cooperation with local hospitals and health professionals so that the latter are able to detect hate crimes and are in a position to advise victims about how to report such crimes.

7. Public must know.

It is essential to inform not only victims but also general public, who should be aware about the phenomenon of hate crimes and the methods to report it. General public may be an additional resource for reporting such crimes and assisting the victims. Posters, TV and radio ads, and other publicity material must be developed to appeal to the public.

8. NGOs are partners.

Civil society organisations working in the field of monitoring hate crimes and/or victim assistance are an invaluable resource for the police providing an effective and cost-efficient resource in detecting, prosecuting and preventing hate crimes. Responsible police authorities should make every effort to contact and seek cooperation of such organisations.

9. An ounce of prevention.

Prevention of hate crimes by researching and targeting potential perpetrators can save many human and material resources entailed in subsequent prosecuting of hate crimes, repairing material damages and caring for victims. Some of the police resources currently used for preventing terrorism and/or ordinary crime (and often misused for racial profiling) should be re-directed for detecting and preventing hate crimes, specifically by conducting reconnaissance among known extremist right-wing and other hate groups.

10. Reach out to other hate crime victims.

When all the essential steps are taken to assist the victim of the case in hand, invite them to share support information with others, who may be in a similar distress but afraid to report hate crimes. Similarly to the electronic reporting mechanism for other crimes, the online resource for reporting hate crimes should be established and publicised.

European Action Day for the Victims of Hate Crimes

22July

The No Hate Speech Movement, in which Pro Igual participates, invites you to join the online and offline actions to commemorate the European Day for the Victims of Hate Crime on July 22. To remind, support and show solidarity with all those people that have suffered aggression because of their skin color, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, disability, religion and many other characteristics. We will also educate and raise awareness about the consequences of hate speech and hate crime on our societies!

WHAT TO DO?

1. Organise a public action or an educational activity for 22nd July. Here is a guide of what you can do and how. Please post information to this Facebook event about your action!

Don’t forget to REPORT your action with photos and videos on the No Hate Speech Movement platform: http://www.nohatespeechmovement.org/join-the-movement

2. We are launching a petition to establish 22 July as the European Day for the Victims of Hate Crime. It will be ‘live’ only until 9 November, so get busy helping to achieve this task! The petition addresses all the members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the members of the European Parliament! http://blog.nohatespeechmovement.org/petition/

SIGN it! Get your organisation to sign it! Inform others about it!
Write to your representative/s in these European bodies on July 22nd and ask her/him/zee to sign it and support it publicly!
Here’s where you can find their contacts details:
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: http://assembly.coe.int/ASP/AssemblyList/AL_DelegationsList_E.asp
European Parliament: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/map.html

3. Do you know of a case of hate crime? It is important not to be silent about it. Submit a story to action@nohatespeechmovement.org and on July 22nd we will feature it on the No Hate Speech Movement Platform. Please make sure to send us photos, if possible.

4. Have you witnessed hate speech that incites violence online? Then report it on Hate Speech Watch here: http://www.nohatespeechmovement.org/hate-speech-watch

5. Take action online! Join this event on Facebook! ‘Like’ the Facebook page of the Movement! Invite your friends to do the same!

Share and post the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/nohatespeech?fref=ts

Find out more and participate!
www.nohatespeechmovement.org
www.facebook.com/groups/combatinghatespeech
@nohate_speech #nohatespeech

What to do if you are a victim of discrimination in Spain?

discrimination

Have you ever been discriminated in Spain? If so, do you know what to do in order to defend yourself?

Pro Igual´s Anti-Discrimination Crisis Cards might help. They are available in Spanish, English and Romanian.

Watch this space for updates and do not hesitate writing to us with questions or for help: infoATproigual.org

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