Tagged: human rights

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.

Pro Igual Becomes a Member of PICUM

PICUMlogo

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

Imprimir

For the second year, 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

Imprimir

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…

The Treatment of Migrant Women in the Spanish Detention Centers for Foreigners

Pro Igual´s Intervention at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Working Session 3: Violence Against Women

The following are the summary and recommendations of the joint report by Spanish NGOs Pro Igual and Ferrocarril Clandestino on the situation of migrant women in Spanish Detention Centers for Foreigners. The full report is available here.

Detention Centers for Foreigners are prisons in all but a name. Both governmental institutions and civil society have decried the appalling conditions and violations of human rights there. What is important to note is that detainees have not committed any crime, but merely an administrative infraction of not having papers in order, which presents less danger for the public than incorrect parking.

While both men and women face violations of their human rights, female detainees face a number of specific concerns. These include: sexual harassment by the guards; ill-treatment of pregnant and breastfeeding women; separation of mothers from minor children; lack of access to general medical and gynecological care, and lack of adequate nutrition even for pregnant women. Victims of human trafficking get no support whatsoever, even though they may be eligible for residence on humanitarian grounds.

Many migrant women end up in detention centers because of police raids based on the controversial practice of ethnic profiling, condemned by a number of international human rights bodies.

On the basis of these findings, we would like to recommend to the Spanish authorities the following:

  • Human rights NGOs and monitors should be allowed to enter detention centers and privately interview inmates – this is often sabotaged by the centers´ directors.
  • All personnel of the detention centers must wear visible identification badges and face sanctions for failure to comply.
  • All allegations of ill-treatment, especially sexual abuse of female inmates, by the guards must be investigated and prosecuted.
  • All inmates should have access to independent legal counsel, and translation if necessary.
  • The authorities should declare a temporary moratorium on expulsions of migrant women, pending the review of their cases.
  • Women detainees in particular should have gender-sensitive healthcare and adequate nutrition.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should under no circumstances be detained or separated from their children and families.
  • Suspected victims of human trafficking should receive necessary legal, medical and other assistance.
  • The authorities should decisively end ethnic profiling practices by the police.

60th anniversary of entry into force of European Convention on Human Rights

The European Convention on Human Rights, signed in Rome on 1 November 1950, entered into force on 3 September 1953. Today we celebrate its 60th anniversary.

Interesting facts

  • Thanks to the Convention and the supranational court it established, human rights have for the first time in history gained precedence over national laws and practices.
  • The Convention was originally signed by 12 countries and its entry into force was triggered by the 10th ratification, which was deposited by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
  • Convention contains 59 Articles and was amended or supplemented by 14 Protocols.
  • Since 1953, over half a million human rights complaints have been brought under the Convention and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has delivered c. 16,500 judgments.

The CIE Archipelago: Inquiry into the Italian Centres for Identification and Expulsion

ArcipelagoCIE
CIEs are a shameful reality across Europe. The Italian NGO Medici per i Diritti Umani (MEDU) recently published a report “The CIE Archipelago: Inquiry into the Italian Centres for Identification and Expulsion.” The MEDU report includes an overview of the situation of 11 CIEs in Italy and a comparative analysis of CIEs elsewhere in Europe. The summary of the report is available here.

Take 1 minute to support a family forced to flee.

For years, many countries and regions have been holding their own Refugee Days and even Weeks. One of the most widespread is Africa Refugee Day, which is celebrated on 20 June in several countries. This year the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, continues its award-winning “1″ campaign with its first ever personal fundraising site, which asks us to Take 1 minute to support a family forced to flee.

Note: The UN General Assembly, on 4 December 2000, adopted resolution 55/76 where it noted that 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, and that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have International Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day on 20 June. The General Assembly therefore decided that 20 June would be celebrated as World Refugee Day.

Original link: http://www.un.org/en/events/refugeeday/

#15 in photos

Universidad de Almeria

Given many public services in Spain – including education, healthcare, as well as some recreation and leisure activities – are provided or supported by the state, by placing campaign promotional materials and posters in and around public institutions Pro Igual tried to target as many users – and providers – of public services as possible.

Here are some of the pictures taken in various municipalities of Almeria as part of #15J campaign. On the left: a notice board at the University of Almeria.

Immediately below: public hospital in El Toyo (province of Almeria).

Toyo

Ayuntamiento Lometico polideportivo Publicidad

Close CIEs Now! #15JCIErre

15Jnew

 

 

 

 

If you are reading this, then you can no longer say you did not know! Centros de Internamiento de Extranjeros (CIEs) are prisons in all but a name. People who are thrown there have committed no crime, they simply lack papers. As many as 25% of the detained may be eligible for asylum, but are not aware of their rights. Most detainees are summarily deported within 60 days without any possibility of appeal. People in CIEs have no access to a lawyer or even a phone call; some have been snatched in the street without as much as informing their closed ones as to where they are. Many detainees experience racist abuse and various violations of their basic human rights. Some mothers have been separated from their children; there are even pregnant women among detainees. People with chronic health conditions receive no medical attention. Inhumanity abounds…

Spanish civil society has decided that enough is enough. Today, June 15th is a day of awareness-raising and advocacy for closure of this shameful phenomenon, CIEs. Read about amazing initiatives taking place across Spain and help us spread the message!

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