More than 60 Australian writers – including Nobel laureate JM Coetzee and Booker prize winners Thomas Keneally and Peter Carey – have written to the prime minister and immigration minister condemning the government’s offshore detention policies as “brutal” and “shameful”.
The Turnbull government has faced intense backlash over its offshore detention policies this week in the wake of a high court ruling paving the way for 267 asylum seekers – including 37 babies born in Australia – to be returned to the remote island of Nauru.
Following Wednesday’s high court ruling that it was constitutional for the government to send asylum seekers to the islands of Nauru and Manus in Papua New Guinea for processing, church leaders have openly defied the government, risking jail time by offering sanctuary to asylum seekers, while paediatricians have also risked prosecution by revealing conditions in detention and condemning them as “toxic” for children.
A series of protests, under the banner of Let Them Stay, have been held across the country, including sit-ins at the office of the prime minister.
Both Nauru and Manus detention centres have seen consistent reports of physical and sexual abuse of men, women and children, as well as acts of self-harm and attempted suicide, including by children as young as seven. Two asylum seekers have died in offshore processing since 2014.
The open letter was sent to the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and the immigration minister, Peter Dutton. Its 61 signatories include: Coetzee, a South African-born novelist and naturalised Australian who won the Nobel prize in 2003; Booker prize winners Peter Carey and Thomas Keneally; Helen Garner, Gail Jones, Michelle de Kretser, Alexis Wright, and Frank Moorhouse.
The writers asked the minister and prime minister: “do we wish to live under a government that routinely treats other humans cruelly? Can we be sure of our own immunity to cruel treatment when such practices are, we know, obviously common, no matter how secretive immigration authorities are about the entire detention system.”
“Not only does our current system bring shame to Australia, in its demonstration of brutal government power and disregard for human dignity it brings shame on us as a nation. We express our outrage at this in the strongest possible terms.”
Pour lire l'article en entier : http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/feb/06/asylum-policies-brutal-and-shameful-authors-tell-turnbull-and-dutton
L'Église catholique allemande appelle à réduire le nombre de réfugiés arrivant en Allemagne, estimant que le pays ne peut pas «accueillir tous les nécessiteux du monde», selon une interview parue samedi dans la presse allemande.
«En tant qu'Église aussi, nous disons que nous avons besoin d'une réduction du nombre de réfugiés», a déclaré le président de la Conférence épiscopale allemande, le cardinal Reinhard Marx, dans un entretien au quotidien régional Passauer Neue Presse.
L'Allemagne ne peut pas «accueillir tous les nécessiteux du monde», estime le cardinal Marx, selon qui cette question ne doit pas être traitée uniquement à l'aune «de la charité, mais également de la raison».
L'an dernier, le pays a accueilli 1,1 million de candidats à l'asile, un record absolu. L'Allemagne n'a jusqu'ici pas donné de prévision officielle du nombre attendu de réfugiés cette année.
Le cardinal Marx s'inquiète en outre d'une montée de la xénophobie en Allemagne, au moment où le parti populiste allemand Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) profite de la crise des réfugiés pour installer un discours de droite radicale, longtemps impensable dans le paysage politique allemand.
Pour lire la suite : http://www.lapresse.ca/international/crise-migratoire/201602/06/01-4947902-allemagne-leglise-catholique-appelle-a-freiner-les-arrivees-de-refugies.php
BAGHDAD — Night after night, Mohammed al-Jabiry tossed and turned in his bed at a refugee center in Finland, comparing life in Europe with life in Baghdad. After many sleepless nights, he decided to come home.
“In Iraq, I can find a girl to marry,” Mr. Jabiry, 23, reasoned. “And my mom is here.”
There were little things, too, that drove him to return, like the high price of cigarettes and the chillier weather. “In Europe, I was isolated,” he said. “Life in Europe was not what we were expecting.”
Last year, beckoned by news reports of easy passage to Europe through Turkey, tens of thousands of Iraqis joined Syrians, Africans and Afghans in the great migrant wave to the Continent. Now, thousands of Iraqis are coming home.
Many say they arrived in Europe with unrealistic expectations for quick success. Some also say the warm reception they received from Europeans last summer gave way to suspicion after the Paris terrorist attacks carried out by the Islamic State in November.
Many Iraqis have stayed in Europe, of course, especially those who were displaced from lands controlled by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. And others are still risking everything to cross the seas to get there. Last week, the bodies of five Iraqis who drowned in the Aegean Sea were returned to Kirkuk in northern Iraq.
The returnees largely reflect another segment of migration: those who left Baghdad for economic reasons, or merely out of curiosity after seeing so many reports of migrants arriving joyously on the shores of Europe.
When Mr. Jabiry left last summer, he said, “I was thinking, ‘I have no job here, and I never finished school.’ I thought of a better future there — that I would find a better job, that I could continue my studies, earn more money.”
He added: “I was crying the first day I arrived in Finland. Crying of happiness.”
As the days stretched into months — time he said he mostly spent working out at the gym, or aimlessly hanging out with other Iraqis in the refugee center — he realized it would be a long time before he could get a job or a home of his own.
Last summer, Facebook was filled with posts about making the trip. Now, some Iraqis in Europe are turning to social media to warn their countrymen away. One video posted recently shows an Iraqi man complaining of the food in Europe and saying, “I’m just waiting for my flight to Baghdad, and I will be back soon. I would advise everyone not to take the risk and come to Europe.”
Pour lire la suite : http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/05/world/middleeast/europe-migrant-crisis-reverse-migration.html
LONG lines of lorries once blotted the chocolate-box alpine landscape of the Brenner Pass, an important road link between southern and northern Europe. The Schengen agreement, which came into effect in 1995 and has now abolished border controls between 26 European countries, kept those lorries moving. But where trucks go, so do refugees. To stem the flow Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway and Sweden have temporarily reintroduced controls. Others have increased spot checks in border regions.
Open borders ease the flow of exports as well as individuals. Every year people make 1.3 billion crossings of the EU’s internal borders along with 57m trucks carrying €2.8 trillion ($3.7 trillion) of goods. As well as speeding the passage of Greek olives and German dishwashers, borderless travel allows hotels in the east of Germany to have their sheets cleaned in Poland, where wages are lower, and workers in Italy to commute to Switzerland (also in Schengen though not in the EU), where wages are higher.
Reintroducing controls such as checking passports and searching lorries is mostly an irritation, though the costs are mounting. A strategy unit of the French government estimates that in the short term border checks within Schengen would cost France €1 billion-2 billion a year by disrupting tourism, cross-border workers and trade. If Schengen collapses the economic consequences would be more serious, it says: curtailing the free passage of goods permanently would amount to a 3% tax on trade within Schengen. The overall effect of hampering cross-border activity would reduce output in the Schengen area by 0.8%, or €110 billion, over the next decade.
Not only will money have to be found to patrol long-abandoned frontiers. Around 1.7m Europeans cross a border to get to work and in some regions as much as a third of the workforce makes this trip daily. Malmo in Sweden and Copenhagen, the Danish capital, have in effect become one big city. Border controls at the bridge that connects them add around 30 minutes each way. A nuisance could become a deterrent to cross-border employment, reducing job opportunities and the pool of labour employers can draw upon.
The greatest pain will be felt by exporters. Over a third of road-freight traffic in Schengen crosses a border. Delays are creeping up. Around Salzburg in Austria lorries now sit for up to three hours before getting into Germany. Strict EU rules dictate that such waiting times still count as hours behind the wheel for drivers, who are obliged to rest when they hit an upper limit. If waiting becomes a permanent feature DSLV, a German association of shippers, puts the direct costs at €3 billion a year for the EU as a whole, based on a one-hour delay for every lorry.
Pour lire la suite : http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21690065-permanent-reintroduction-border-controls-would-harm-trade-europe-putting-up-barriers
REFUGEES are reasonable people in desperate circumstances. Life for many of the 1m-odd asylum-seekers who have fled Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other war-torn countries for Europe in the past year has become intolerable. Europe is peaceful, rich and accessible. Most people would rather not abandon their homes and start again among strangers. But when the alternative is the threat of death from barrel-bombs and sabre-wielding fanatics, they make the only rational choice.
The flow of refugees would have been manageable if European Union countries had worked together, as Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, has always wished (and The Economist urged). Instead Germany and Sweden have been left to cope alone. Today their willingness to do so is exhausted. Unless Europe soon restores order, political pressure will force Mrs Merkel to clamp down unilaterally, starting a wave of border closures (see article). More worrying, the migrant crisis is feeding xenophobia and political populism. The divisive forces of right-wing nationalism have already taken hold in parts of eastern Europe. If they spread westward into Germany, France and Italy then the EU could tear itself apart.
The situation today is a mess. Refugees have been free to sail across the Mediterranean, register and make for whichever country seems most welcoming. Many economic migrants with no claim to asylum have found a place in the queue by lying about where they came from. This free-for-all must be replaced by a system in which asylum applicants are screened when they first reach Europe’s borders—or better still, before they cross the Mediterranean. Those who are ineligible for asylum should be sent back without delay; those likely to qualify should be sent on to countries willing to accept them.
Order on the border
Creating a well-regulated system requires three steps. The first is to curb the “push factors” that encourage people to risk the crossing, by beefing up aid to refugees, particularly to the victims of the civil wars in Syria and Iraq, including the huge number who have fled to neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. The second is to review asylum claims while refugees are still in centres in the Middle East or in the “hotspots” (mainly in Greece and Italy), where they go when they first arrive in the EU. The third element is to insist that asylum-seekers stay put until their applications are processed, rather than jumping on a train to Germany.
All these steps are fraught with difficulty. Consider the “push factors” first. The prospect of ending Syria’s civil war is as remote as ever: peace talks in Geneva this week were suspended without progress. But the EU could do a lot more to help refugees and their host countries. Scandalously, aid for Syrians was cut in 2015 even as the war grew bloodier: aid agencies got a bit more than half of what they needed last year, according to the UN. Donors at a conference on Syria in London this week were asked for $9 billion for 2016—about as much as Germans spend on chocolate every year. Far more is needed and will be needed every year for several years.
Europe’s money should be used not only to feed and house refugees but also to coax host countries into letting them work. For the first four years of the conflict Syrians were denied work permits in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Recently Turkey has begun to grant them. Donors should press Jordan and Lebanon to follow. European cash could help teach the 400,000 refugee children in Turkey who have no classes.
Pour lire en entier : http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21690028-european-problem-demands-common-coherent-eu-policy-let-refugees-regulate
Le gouverneur de la province de Flandre-Occidentale était au cœur d’une polémique en Belgique, mercredi 3 février, après qu’il s’en est pris aux réfugiés qui ont quitté par dizaines les camps de Calais et Dunkerque à destination du port belge de Zeebruges, d’où ils espèrent rejoindre plus facilement l’Angleterre. « Ne nourrissez pas les réfugiés, sinon d’autres viendront », a lancé lundi sur une radio flamande le chrétien-démocrate Carl Decaluwé, représentant de l’Etat fédéral dans la province côtière de l’ouest du royaume.Le message s’adressait en particulier aux habitants de Zeebruges, dont certains avaient apporté de la nourriture à des migrants pendant le week-end. Son appel, qui a été comparé à une « interdiction de nourrir les canards ou les mouettes » par des médias belges, a visiblement eu un effet contre-productif puisque des bénévoles ont distribué mardi soir un repas chaud à quelque 35 migrants, selon le quotidien flamand Het Laatste Nieuws.
« Et la charité, ça ne compte plus pour un gouverneur qui s’est toujours présenté comme chrétien-démocrate ? », s’est interrogé Ronny Blomme, un habitant de Zeebruges cité mercredi par le journal. « Si nous ne les aidons pas, nous les poussons encore plus profondément dans l’illégalité et dans les mains des passeurs », a réagi Médecins du monde. « Decaluwé a raison. On ferait mieux de les envoyer à Bruxelles, sinon nous aurons un deuxième Calais à Zeebruges », a toutefois estimé un autre habitant du quartier, cité dans Het Laatste Nieuws.
Pour lire la suite : http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2016/02/03/en-belgique-un-gouverneur-appelle-a-ne-pas-nourrir-les-refugies_4858762_3214.html
The perilous flight of refugees continues, with some 67,000 asylum seekers traveling to Europe last month. Meanwhile, the European Union and international donors are poised to increase their aid to one desperate group: Syrians displaced by war.
The refugees keep coming.
Forced from their homes by war and economic deprivation, tens of thousands of migrants made the perilous journey to Europe last month.
These asylum seekers, the latest surge in a great tide of human movement, have braved winter weather, stormy seas and closed borders in their escape from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa.
On Thursday in London, the European Union and international donors are expected to pledge to increase their aid to Syrians displaced by war.
The toll, whether measured in lives or in dollars, is staggering.
More People, Fewer Choices
More than 67,000 migrants have arrived in Europe by sea since the start of the year. By comparison, 5,000 migrants made the journey across the Mediterranean in January 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration.
These newcomers join more than one million people who sought refuge in Europe last year. But more telling than the total number of migrants is the number who have been formally resettled: 190 in 2015, despite pledges to relocate almost 200,000.
“We have to go,” said Mohamed Salem Abrahim, a 17-year-old Afghan trying to make his way to Germany. Mohamed arrived in Greece two months ago after traveling through Iran and catching a leaky boat from Turkey. “What is the choice — to stay in our country and be killed, or come to Europe where we can be free?”
This year, 368 people have died making the journey across the Mediterranean, 60 of them children, migration figures show.
Since the beginning of the year 19,781 minors have arrived in Europe, almost one-third of the total number of people making the journey.
On Saturday, 10 children drowned when a boat carrying them and their families crashed on rocks near Ayvacik, a Turkish resort town. Photos of at least two of the children, their lifeless bodies on a rocky shore, were disturbingly similar to the photographs of the 3-year-old Syrian boy Alan Kurdi that circulated on the Internet in September. The public outcry over repeated images of smartly dressed children washed up on Europe’s shores has been muted.
Women and children now make up most of the migrants entering Europe, surpassing single men, who were once the majority of travelers, according to Unicef.
For children, the journey is far more dangerous than a single boat trip. At least 10,000 unaccompanied minors have disappeared in Europe over the past year, according to Europol, the European division of Interpol. Many of those children have slipped through the bureaucratic cracks and found shelter with family members, but the police warned that many others have likely been kidnapped by traffickers.
Pour lire l'article en entier : http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/02/04/world/europe/migrant-crisis-by-the-numbers.html?emc=edit_tnt_20160203&nlid=49063493&tntemail0=y&_r=0
Il est étendu sur le ventre, comme endormi, au ras de l’eau, sur une plage déserte… Ai Weiwei a osé « rejouer » la mort du petit Aylan Kurdi. Cet enfant syrien de 3 ans avait été retrouvé noyé début septembre 2015 et sa photo avait réveillé les consciences sur l’inhumaine réalité des routes de migration. Quatre mois plus tard, son « remake » par le très médiatique artiste chinois, publié le 30 janvier par le Washington Post, crée un nouvel émoi. Malaise face à un cliché de mauvais goût, ou face à ce qu’il nous répète : que rien n’a changé, au contraire, depuis ce moment d’empathie internationale ? Pour le seul mois de janvier, selon l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM), et pour la seule traversée de la mer Egée, le bilan était de 272 morts, dont de nombreux enfants.
Tandis qu’Aylan avait échoué côté turc, la photo d’Ai Weiwei a été prise sur l’île grecque de Lesbos, devenue la première porte d’entrée migratoire en Europe pour sa proximité des côtes turques. C’est l’onde de choc de la première photo qui avait décidé l’artiste à passer à l’action. Dès la mi-septembre 2015, il lançait à Londres une marche avec l’artiste britannique d’origine indienne Anish Kapoor, arborant un « symbole du besoin auquel font face 60 millions de réfugiés dans le monde aujourd’hui » : une couverture. « En ouvrant les esprits, un espace poétique, nous pouvons au moins espérer changer la façon dont nous abordons ce problème », déclarait alors au Guardian le duo d’artistes, qui rappelait à chacun : « D’une manière ou d’une autre, à un moment ou à un autre, nous sommes tous des réfugiés. »
Pour lire la suite : http://www.lemonde.fr/arts/article/2016/02/03/ai-weiwei-et-banksy-uvrent-pour-les-migrants_4858709_1655012.html
Sur EU Immigration and Asylum Law Policy : Hotspots and Relocation Schemes: the right therapy for the Common European Asylum System?
The Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and the Schengen travel area are in considerable jeopardy. The spontaneous arrival of approximately one million persons in 2015, 90% of them from the top refugee-producing countries of the world, has cruelly exposed their paradoxes and set in motion centrifugal forces that appear to threaten their very existence. The remedy proposed by the EU institutions includes as its centrepieces the “hotspot approach” and intra-EU relocation schemes. Great store is being placed in their implementation. Indeed, Greece is reportedly under the threat of exclusion from Schengen if it does not implement its “hotspots roadmap”. Hotspots and relocation also loom large in the debate on the future of the CEAS. The Commission has already proposed to include them permanently in the Union’s crisis toolbox and reportedly plans to replace Dublin with a permanent distribution key “quasi-automatically” allocating protection seekers to Member States.
While no one denies that the CEAS and Schengen urgently need therapy, it is worth asking whether the EU and its Member States are selecting the right one. I will offer my reflections on this after recalling the context in which hotspots and relocations schemes have been devised, their essential features, and the first experiences made to-date with their implementation.
The arrivals observed throughout 2015 have been concentrated in both Greece – accounting for more than 800,000 in 2015 alone – and Italy. These two “frontline” states, have been faced with the formidable logistical challenge of organising the first reception and identification of migrants. A full implementation of Dublin and EURODAC would have made the challenges even more difficult. Frontline states would have been responsible for fingerprinting all arriving persons, receiving their claims, and in most cases – given that Dublin assigns responsibility primarily to the state of first entry – processing them as well as organizing long-term reception or return.
Many of these responsibilities have remained virtual. A large number of those who arrived on Greek shores in particular have moved on to other Member States via the “Balkan route” without filing a claim or even being identified there. Failed identification in the first state of entry raised security concerns and rendered the Dublin system practically inapplicable vis-à-vis the frontline states – nothing new in respect of Greece, already “excised” from the Dublin system by the European Court of Human Rights in 2011. Destination and transit states reacted with a flurry of unilateral responses ranging from the temporary reintroduction of checks at internal borders, to the erection of barbed wire fences, to the announcement of national ‘caps’ on the number of persons who would be admitted to claim asylum.
The situation is quickly degenerating in a chaotic and acrimonious chacun pour soi, where refugees are literally left out in the cold at the borders of e.g. Greeceand Croatia. The very idea of common policies based on common rules, common interests, free travel, respect for refugee rights and solidarity (see Art. 77, 78 and 80 TFEU) is in tatters.
The ‘Hotspot approach’ and the Relocation schemes: essential features
As part of a package of ‘immediate actions’ to counter the unfolding crisis, the Commission announced a series of measures in May 2015, including the ‘hotspot approach’ and ‘relocation measures’. Both were endorsed by the European Council – nota bene in the perspective of ‘better contain[ing] the growing flows of illegal migration’ inter alia through the ‘reinforcement of the management of the Union’s external border’.
In the European Agenda on Migration, hotspots were presented as an initiative to ‘assist’ frontline states ‘to swiftly identify, register and fingerprint incoming migrants’ – or more enticingly as ‘comprehensive and targeted support by the EU Agencies to frontline Member States’. As per the official definition of the Commission, a “Hotspot” is a section of external borders characterized by “specific and disproportionate migratory pressure, consisting of mixed migratory flows”. The “hotspot approach” means that EU Agencies intervene there in a coordinated manner through “Migration Management Support Teams”, relying essentially on personnel and equipment to be made available by other Member States.
Subject to arrangements to be made on a case-by-case basis, the support that may be provided includes the identification, registration, and removal of apprehended migrants (FRONTEX); the registration of asylum claims, the preparation of files, and the relocation of claimants (EASO); the investigation and prosecution of crimes (EUROPOL and EUROJUST). Not included in this “comprehensive and targeted support” are the reception of claimants and the processing of claims. Returns also remain essentially in the hands (and on the budget) of the host state despite some funding and assistance being available from the EU. The host state must finally submit a “roadmap” setting out “complementary measures” to be adopted to manage the situation (e.g. building reception facilities).
On the whole, notwithstanding the “assistance” rhetoric, hotspots are clearly designed to shift back on frontline states all the responsibilities they (theoretically) shoulder under current EU legislation: to identify migrants, to provide first reception, to identify and return those who do not claim protection, and to channel those who do so towards asylum procedures in the responsible state – in most cases, none other than the frontline state itself.
This is where temporary relocation schemes come in. Established by the two Decisions of 14 and 22 September 2015 as temporary emergency measures under Art. 78(3) TFEU, relocation schemes constitute a derogation from Dublin: until September 2017, the responsibility for a number of applications (66,400 from Greece and 39,500 from Italy) should be transferred to other Member States. In conformity with the goal of the scheme – re-establishing EURODAC/Dublin “normality” in frontline states – applicants may only be relocated after applying for protection there, being properly fingerprinted, and after the responsibility of Italy and Greece under Dublin has been established (Art. 3(1) and 5(5) relocation Decisions). Furthermore, only applicants “in clear need of international protection” are eligible, i.e. those who possess a nationality for which the EU-wide recognition rate at 1st instance is 75% or higher (Art. 3(2) relocation Decisions). Very much in the Dublin tradition, the persons to be relocated have no right to choose the relocation state or to refuse relocation as such.
The policy link with the “Hotspot approach” is made explicit in Articles 7 and 8 of the relocation Decisions: relocation is to be accompanied by “increased operational support”, and may be suspended should the beneficiary state fail to comply with its “Hotspot roadmap”.
Pour lire l'article en entier : http://eumigrationlawblog.eu/hotspots-and-relocation-schemes-the-right-therapy-for-the-common-european-asylum-system/
Pays maghrébins classés «sûrs», obligation de résidence pour certains demandeurs d'asile, réduction des aides et limitation du rapprochement familial : le gouvernement allemand a approuvé mercredi des mesures devant rendre l'Allemagne moins attractive pour les migrants économiques.
Ce projet de loi, accepté dans son principe la semaine dernière après des mois de tractations par la coalition regroupant les conservateurs (CDU) d'Angela Merkel, ses alliés bavarois (CSU) et les sociaux-démocrates (SPD), a été validé en conseil des ministres et doit désormais être soumis au Parlement.
Outre les mesures phares déjà connues - Maroc, Tunisie, Algérie classés pays sûrs et rapprochement familial repoussé de deux ans pour certaines catégories de réfugiés -, d'autres ajustements visent en priorité à accélérer le traitement des demandes d'asile considérées comme n'ayant aucune chance d'aboutir.
Ainsi, les ressortissants des pays jugés sûrs, et donc sans grande chance d'obtenir le droit d'asile, les personnes faisant appel du rejet de leur première demande, celles ayant menti sur leur identité ainsi que les migrants pouvant «représenter un danger pour la sécurité et l'ordre publics» auront désormais une obligation de résidence. Objectif : faciliter leur expulsion une fois les recours épuisés.
La procédure d'examen et d'appel pour ces catégories de demandeurs d'asile doit être limitée à trois semaines.
Par ailleurs, l'Allemagne va limiter de manière draconienne les raisons médicales empêchant l'expulsion d'un demandeur d'asile débouté aux seules maladies mortelles ou graves.
Autre nouveauté, le gouvernement allemand va réduire les aides sociales versées à un demandeur d'asile. Et une personne ne pourra y prétendre que si elle s'est bien présentée au centre d'accueil que les autorités lui ont attribué et pas à celui de son choix.
Pour lire la suite : http://www.lapresse.ca/international/crise-migratoire/201602/03/01-4946789-lallemagne-veut-devenir-moins-attrayante-pour-les-migrants.php