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European Victims of Crime Day (22 February)

On the occasion of the European Victims of Crime Day (22 February 2019) Pro Igual reminds that all victims of hate crime in Spain, irrespective of their legal status, can anonimously share their experiences through its hate crimes survey. There [...]

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Pro Igual Resumes Surveying Hate Crimes in Spain

Pro Igual resumes 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 monitor the scope of the phenomenon by taking part [...]

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Deal or no deal: the rights that will be lost with Brexit

By Claudia Delpero in collaboration with Anthony Valcke, Founder and Supervising Solicitor of the EU Rights Clinic of which Pro Igual is a member. © All rights reserved. Available on: https://europestreet.news/deal-or-no-deal-the-rights-that-will-be-lost-with-brexit/ Deal or no deal? That is the question. Despite the [...]

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New social media campaign for European Day of Victims of Crime

Victim Support Europe (VSE) is preparing to launch a social media campaign in recognition of European Day For Victims of Crime with the overall aim – to make victims’ legal rights a reality on practice. The action seeks to improve the [...]

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Child without a name

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 [...]

 

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.

Pro Igual Continues Surveying Hate Crimes in Spain in 2015

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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 2015 survey is available in Spanish. All responses are strictly confidential. Thank you for your help!

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

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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.

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.

Let´s Say No to Hate!

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Three years ago Europe saw up close the ugly face of violent ‪#‎xenophobia‬ & ‪#‎racism‬. Let´s honor the victims of the Utoya massacre by say NO to ‪#‎hatecrimes‬ & ‪#‎hatespeech‬. Please sign the petition to make July 22 the European Day for Victims of Hate Crimes. This initiative is promoted by No Hate Speech Movement in which Pro Igual Participates. Click here to read more.

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.

Pro Igual Becomes a Member of PICUM

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Pro Igual is pleased to announce that our application to become a member of PICUM was formally approved by the PICUM General Assembly on 21 June 2014.

Pro Igual´s initiatives specifically regarding undocumented migrants include: campaign Save Hospitality! alongside other Spanish NGOs which succeeded in having the draft Penal Code amended so to avoid criminalizing any assistance to undocumented migrants. Also, our ongoing activities include domestic and international advocacy for closure of Centros de Internamiento para Extranjeros (CIEs).

We look forward to fruitful cooperation with all the Platform members and supporters to bring greater visibility to the issues surrounding undocumented migrants in Spain and to ensuring human rights for all persons, regardless of their administrative status.

On Occasion of #15J, Five Myths and Facts of Immigration in Spain

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Spanish NGOs across the country have dedicated June the 15th to actively campaigning for the closure of Internment Centers for Foreigners (CIEs). CIEs are prisons in all but name for foreigners who find themselves in an irregular administrative situation. Pro Igual has written about CIEs in the past and some of our advocacy activities are also related to human rights violations taking places in CIEs.

CIEs exist against a backdrop of the economic crisis and rise in xenophobia exploited by some political forces to gain votes. But declarations demonizing immigrants are not only harmful for social cohesion, they are also patently untrue. Here are 5 persistent myths v. facts regarding immigration in Spain.

Myth 1: Immigrants are “flooding” Spain.

Fact: For several years now Spain has experienced net out-migration, that is, more people leave than come to Spain. According to the figures of the Spanish Institute for Statistics (INE), not only Spanish citizens leave Spain in droves, but also more foreign (non-EU) nationals leave than come.

Myth 2: Immigrants are responsible for most crime in Spain.

Fact: Neither in terms of economic volume (that is, how much money they got through criminal activity), nor in terms of violence, do foreigners lead. In several major corruption cases uncovered in recent years and involving billions of euros, it was Spanish citizens, often holding public office, who were the perpetrators, not immigrants.

Myth 3: Immigrants burden Spanish social security.

Fact: Budget cuts of recent years have left without access to healthcare tens of thousands of immigrants who lost jobs and access to residence. That is despite the fact that immigrants were contributing to economy and social security while they had jobs. At the same time, troubled companies, primarily banks, received billions of public funding after causing economic damage to the country that affected all the rest. Sheer amounts of subsidies to banks dwarf all the (theoretical) welfare payments to Spaniards and immigrants combined.

Myth 4: Foreigners in CIEs are criminals and subject to deportation.

Fact: Less than a quarter of CIE detainees are charged with any infraction. Well over half are released following identification, after having suffered the trauma of de facto imprisonment and on occasion even abuse. There is no need to maintain these expensive and inhuman institutions to address the issues that present less danger to public than traffic violations.

Myth 5: CIEs are “residential centers” for foreigners.

Fact: CIE inmates are often subjected to human rights violations, prompting a nickname “Spanish guantanamos.” Just recently, the Spanish courts ruled against CIE guards accused of rape, beating and other forms of ill-treatment of inmates. And since inmates cannot leave, or for that matter be visited by family at their leisure, CIEs are effectively prisons. The only difference is: there needs to be a crime and a due process in order to throw a person in jail. To get into CIE, it is sufficient to “look foreign” and not have an ID.

So, today, Pro Igual joins with our friends and colleagues from other Spanish NGOs in calling for the immediate and complete closure of CIEs.

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…

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