Tagged: immigration

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.

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.

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

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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

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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/

Lecture on Social Rights in Europe, by Pro Igual Co-Founder

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Pro Igual is proud to announce that our Vice-President and Co-Founder, Dr. Daria Terradez, along with a member of the Valencian Parliament, Monica Oltra, and a law professor at the Valencian University, Enric Bataller, will be speaking on Social Rights in Europe, this coming Friday, April 11, at 20:00, at Castell de Betera.

Pro Igual and Ferrocarril Clandestino present a communication to the UN Commision on Women

FERROCARRIL

Within the framework of our work on the rights of (undocumented) migrants in Spain, Pro Igual has cooperated with Ferrocarril Clandestino and presented a joint communication to the UN Commission on the Status of Women on the Human Rights Violations of Migrant Women in Spain: Detention in CIEs.

The communication draws the UN Comission´s attention to singling out of migrant women through ethnic profiling and disproportionate use of deprivation of liberty for migrant women for mere administrative infractions, such as not having paperwork in order. Migrant women in CIEs suffer a range of human rights abuses, ranging from absent due process or legal counsel, to discrimination and sexual harassment, to separation from families and small children and lack of healthcare even for pregnant women.

Pro Igual and Ferrocarril Clandestino put forth recommendations to the Spanish authorities to remedy this situation.

The text of the submission is available here.

Salvemos la Hospitalidad · Respuesta Parlamentaria

hospitality

Respuesta parlamentaria emitida el 18 de junio de 2013 sobre la inclusión de la solidaridad en el Código Penal, dentro del borrador de la reforma de dicho documento que está elaborando el Gobierno.

#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

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