Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
4.30 pm Personal Experiences of a Bhutanese refugee – Nirmala Sharma
4.50 pm ‘Eviction’ - Short film on Bhutanese refugees by Grady Walker
5.00 pm Participatory Research with Bhutanese Refugee Children: Reflections on Methodology and Presentation of Findings - Roz Evans
6.00 pm Food and drinks
7.00 pm Theatre performance by young refugees and asylum seekers involved in our London Project
7.20 pm Trustees’ report on Refugee Youth Project activities and AGM
RSVP by 27th May: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or telephone: 07846509842
Saturday, May 24, 2008
The records of Mr. Bah’s case were in a file marked “proprietary information” by the Corrections Corporation of America, a private company that has federal contracts to run many detention centers across the country. The company, which has thrived with the immigration crackdown, contributes to both political parties.
The number of people detained in immigration cases has more than tripled since 2001, government officials say. Many vanish into a system that has no resemblance to ordinary American legal procedures. There is no right to a lawyer, limited ability to contest evidence, and isolation from family or friends, who may themselves be vulnerable to deportation.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Low-lying coastal areas constitute only two percent of the total land surface of the earth, but contain 10 percent of the world’s current population. A policy paper by the UN University Institute for Environment and Human Security Section (UNU-EHS) noted that about 75 percent of all vulnerable people living in low-lying areas are in Asia.
The Maldives, threatened by rising sea-levels, has played a leading role in trying to create awareness of the issue for the past two decades. In March 2008 the UN Human Rights Council agreed to conduct a study on the effects of climate change on human rights, especially livelihoods. Maldives hopes the findings will inform the negotiation process between industrialised and developing countries at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (the Kyoto Protocol) on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
For any country to provide protection and a home to people fleeing natural disasters, the displaced need to have legal status. And it is here that policymakers are struggling with several key questions:
- How do you determine whether a person has been displaced by environmental factors?
- How do you define a person displaced by environmental factors?
- What do you call them?
- What kind of protection can be afforded to the person – short-term or long-term?
- Do those affected have to be relocated? Why not help them adapt to their changed environment?
- Who will pay for relocation or adaptation measures? Are the industrialized countries, who have been held responsible for global warming, morally obliged to pay?
The UNU-EHS is constructing a preliminary classification that would take into account the trigger and type of assistance available to help potential migrants cope in their own countries. ssentially, two kinds of displacement could potentially be caused by global warming: firstly, intensification of weather events, such as cyclones and droughts; secondly, rising sea-levels. But these raise conceptual problems on defining a potential migrant forced to flee. Some analysts argue that migration as a result of natural disasters, such as drought, could be seen as a coping strategy rather than a trigger.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Kazemi, 19, then sought asylum in Britain, but it was rejected, then in the Netherlands. The Netherlands' highest court rejected his claim in March, ruling that Britain was responsible for the case under European Union law because it was there that Kazemi first applied for asylum.
Britain's Home Secretary Jacqui Smith decided after that to reconsider the case, and there were appeals in the House of Lords that he be allowed to remain due to fears his life could be at risk in Iran.
Should the world change?
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Set in a mining town in the Australian outback, "Nights in the Asylum," is the story of three people seeking shelter. Stricken with grief and guilt following the death of her daughter, Miri flees the city for the quiet calm of Havana Gardens, a once fine but now dilapidated mansion built for her grandmother. On the road, she rescues Aziz, an Afghan refugee on the run from detention; then, in the attic of the old house, Miri discovers Suzette Moran and her baby daughter hiding, and grants them refuge.Slowly, in the hot confined spaces of the house, the three runaways unravel their stories, but when Suzette's policeman husband comes looking for her, it sparks a chain of events that will disrupt their already fragile peace.
"The children who were minor in 1971 or born after the independence of Bangladesh are citizens of Bangladesh," the High Court said in a ruling, over a petition by a group of Bihari Muslims pleading for Bangladeshi citizenship. With the ruling140,000 of them who were either born in Bangladesh or have expressed loyalty to the country would be granted citizenship.
The nearly 300,000 Bihirais in Bangladesh have been stateless since the 1971 civic war. They migrated to former East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) from India following the partition of the subcontinent in 1947 but sided with the Pakistan army during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence.
Pakistan has avoided the issue over decades despite repeated requests by Bangladesh, leaving the Biharis in crammed, squalid camps in Dhaka and other towns, run by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the Bangladeshi government.
But the new generation Biharis, who say they do not belong to Pakistan nor want to go there, have for years urged the Dhaka government to accept them as Bangladeshis -- despite objections from their parents and grandparents.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
"Progress towards a global standard prohibiting the military recruitment or use in hostilities of children is hampered by continued recruitment of under-18s into peacetime armies. At least 63 governments – including the United Kingdom and United States – allow voluntary recruitment of under-18s, despite the age of adulthood being set at 18 in many countries. Young recruits considered too young to vote or buy alcohol are subjected to military discipline, hazardous activity and are vulnerable to abuse. Active targeting of children, often from deprived backgrounds, raises questions on the depth of these governments’ commitment to child protection and whether such recruitment can be genuinely voluntary."
Australian Immigration Minister Chris Evans has said he has nearly finalised the cases involving a large number of long-term detainees who have been held for up to six years.
The scheme was set up by the previous Howard government, which negotiated with a number of neighboring countries in the Pacific region, including Nauru, to establish offshore detention centers.
Mr Evans has also announced that all refugees on temporary protection visas will be granted permanent residency.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
"They are operating on a law of their own," Dallaire told the House of Commons foreign affairs human rights committee yesterday. "The (trial in Guantanamo) is flawed, it is illegal, and we're letting it happen."
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
June 14 - Bristol @ Colston Hall, Colston Street, BS1 5AR @ 7:30 for 8pm. Followed with music by Israel-born double bass player Daphna Sadeh and her band the Voyagers. Tickets �8/6. To book: www.colstonhall.org
June 17 - Liverpool @ Quakers Meeting House, 22 School Lane, L1 3BT @ 6:30 for 7pm. Tickets �5 on the door. To book email: email@example.com
June 20 � Derby @ Derby Dance, Chapel Street, Derby, DE1 3GU @ 6:30 for 7pm. Tickets �4/3 on the door. To book call Derby Dance on 01332370911
June 22 � London @ Tricycle Theatre, 269 Kilburn High Road, NW6 7JR @ 6:15 for 6:30. Tickets: �7/5. To book: www.tricycle.co.uk
One of the main issues was whether to recognize traditional marriages, which are not registered with the Chinese government. Thus, couples who have children violate the population control policy and are often forced to have abortions or be sterilized.
Federal appeals courts have reached different conclusions on the legal marriage versus traditional marriage issue. Both the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco and Seventh Circuit in Chicago have recognized traditional marriages, while the Second Circuit in New York and 11th Circuit in Atlanta have not.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
"Even those in the group at highest risk—poor young women—tend to see trafficking as something that may happen to someone else, but not to them. In surveys, most Moldovans say that they don’t know anyone who’s been trafficked. That may be partly because women often conceal this experience, even from their own families. (Men, too, who have been trafficked, most commonly for construction or farmwork in Russia or Ukraine, are ashamed to admit that their emigration was an emasculating fiasco.) And most of those who go abroad do get where they’ve paid to go, and find jobs, for better or for worse. One estimate, accepted by the I.O.M., is that between one and two per cent of all Moldovan migrants may find themselves trafficked at some point. An unworldly, underemployed young person considering a vaguely dubious job offer overseas would probably not be stopped from migrating by those odds. Add desperate poverty and an unhappy household—the standard “push factors”—and the pipeline of likely trafficking victims out of Moldova never runs dry."
See Blattman's analysis
Friday, May 9, 2008
The book gives a historical account of deportation in American history outlining the tension between the country's identity as an "immigrant nation" and its policies towards immigrants. He traces everything from the Alien Sedition acts to the Native American Removal Act to what he thinks is the turning point in American history: Fung Yue Ting vs. U.S. in 1893, which stated that "the right to deport is as absolute as the right to prevent."
Kanstroom notes that there has been very little academic work done on deportation, and he is hoping to change that through developing a theory around it. He classifies two types of deportation: 1) Extended Border Control which is a form of deportation related to the nation-state and is based on the principles of sovereignty 2) Post Entry Social Control which is a form of deportation that deals with those in legal status who are subject to possible conduct that could get them deported. It is a form of social control to get rid of the most undesired.
He notes four recent trends: 1) There has been a shift in policy from extended border control to post entry social control. 2) Since 9/11 deportation has been aimed at particular groups 3) There has been an expansion of informal deportation mechanisms i.e expedited removal 4) There has been increased state/local involvement.
Deportation can happen to anyone that is not a U.S Citizen- Green card holders, those on student visas etc. The numbers are staggering. According to Kanstroom, there are well over 50 million people who can be deported. Since 1977, 34 million have been. Perhaps more disturbing is that deportation is largely under the raider of the law. Those who are subject to deportation are detained, do not have access to council, have minimal if any 4th amendment rights, no trial by jury or judicial review. Moreover, there is a retroactive aspect: an individual can be deported even if the crime that he/she committed was not a deportable offense at the time of its act.
In the June 2007 decision, the 2nd Circuit ruled that spouses and unmarried partners of women who face inhumane treatment under rigid Chinese laws do not automatically qualify for asylum whereas the 9th Circuit ruled that asylum protection includes the women and their spouses or partners.
The Bush administration is taking the position that the 1996 asylum law does not cover partners, even though Rep Chris Smith wrote the law intending for it to cover partners and spouses.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
The American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Jeremiah S. Johnson is suing the Peace Corps after Mr. Johnson was asked to leave the Peace Corps when the country director of the Ukraine discovered that he was HIV positive.
"Mr. Johnson, 25, who was HIV-negative when he joined the Peace Corps, had been teaching English to middle and high school students in Rozdilna, Ukraine, since December 2006. While in Kiev this past January for a Russian language program attended by other Peace Corps volunteers, Mr. Johnson received a midservice medical exam and consented to an HIV test. The results came back positive. He was given two days to shut down his work, pack up his belongings in Rozdilna and head back to Washington."
With all of work the Peace Corps does in dealing with HIV-AIDS around the world, it should know better than to discriminate against its own volunteers.
But, perhaps the Peace Corp is not doing enough in general as recipient countries want more skilled volunteers.
Surveys of voters leaving the polls this year show that youth turnout, the percentage of young people eligible to vote who participated in primaries and caucuses, rose in 15 states where comparisons with 2004 or 2000 were possible. It doubled in Louisiana and Massachusetts, CIRCLE (Center for Research and Information on Civic Learning and Engagement) says; tripled in Georgia, Iowa, Missouri and Texas; quadrupled in Tennessee.
• In five Gallup and USA TODAY/Gallup polls since mid-February, 57% of people under 30 said they have given "quite a lot" of thought to the election, up from 44% in 2004. And 87% said they plan to vote, up from 81% in 2004.
• One-quarter of voters under 30 in a recent CBS-MTV poll said they had worked on a campaign, joined a political club or attended a political rally or march. Nearly as many said a political campaign or group had contacted them about registering to vote.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently stated "The situation is not ideal. This is a tsunami that can grow and we need to take every measure in order to stop it," referring to the influx of refugees coming from Africa (over 2000 since January 2008). The Africans crossing into Israel are Muslims and Christians. They come mostly from Sudan and Eritrea but also from Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire, and Congo. Isreal fears that if it accepts thousands of asylum seekers from Africa, thousands more who are living in Egypt will follow. All developed countries worry about the effects of an influx of poor refugees. But the problem is especially delicate for Israel, which worries about someday losing its Jewish majority to the growing Palestinian population.
At present, the Israeli government is working to find a solution rather than its current ad hoc system. The country has given one-year temporary residency (which comes with medical benefits) to up to 600 Darfurians fleeing genocide and six-month working visas to about 2,000 Eritreans. Meanwhile, it has held thousands of others in desert detention centers while still others live in makeshift, slumlike quarters around the Tel Aviv bus station. This hodge podge policy is a result of a shift in policy from recognizing individual claims to group recognition.
Olmert is also talking both about erecting a border fence and establishing clear asylum procedures for assessing cases individually, which Israel currently doesn't really have.
But, Israel may have more reason than the United States or other developed countries to handle asylum seekers with fairness and decency for the sake of its international reputation as it has already received bad press and seen protests.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
The government produced the list after a Congressional hearing last fall into medical care and deaths in immigration custody. Representative Zoe Lofgren of California, the chairwoman of the House subcommittee that held the hearing, pressed for information on detainee deaths.
In January, the House passed a bill that would require states that receive certain federal money to report deaths in custody to their attorneys general. But the bill is stalled in the Senate, and it does not cover federal facilities.
The New York Times reports: "Along with 13 deaths cited as suicides, 14 as the result of various cardiac ailments and 9 related to H.I.V. and AIDS, the list includes cryptic causes of death like “unresponsive” and “undetermined.” The list does not mention the immigrants’ nationalities or where they lived in the United States. Some names and birth dates appear garbled."
In response to questions about deaths in its detention centers, Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued this statement:
"Immigration and Customs Enforcement takes great care to ensure the safety and well being for each of the 330,000 detained individuals who come through our detention facilities each year. ICE has established plans and processes in place with Division of Immigration Health Services medical professionals to provide care for all those detained, including those who may encounter a medical emergency while in custody. When a detainee is hospitalized, the hospital assumes medical decision-making authority, including the patient’s drug regimen, lab tests, X-rays and treatments. If a detainee passes away while in ICE custody, it is our policy to immediately notify the next of kin or the consulate of the respective country. In addition, ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility reviews the circumstances surrounding the death of a detainee and determines if further investigation is warranted. The Office of Professional Responsibility also informs the inspector general of Homeland Security of all detainee deaths, regardless of reason. The Office of Professional Responsibility determines whether the death necessitates investigation and coordinates appropriately with the inspector general. ICE also must notify state officials (coroner, for example)."
Monday, May 5, 2008
Environmental migrants have no international recognition or right to protection and very few people are thinking about them. See my earlier post April 11, 2008.
The answer is not to widen the scope of the 1951 Refugee Convention as the ratification process for a new protocol would be overwhelming and most countries would most likely not sign, which would result in a loss of protection.
Jean Lambert says "with environmental migration the world will be dealing with large groups of people who may never be able to return home because their land is under water or no longer inhabitable. The world needs to look at ways of creating resettlement programmes and opportunities, rather than focusing on conventional refugee protection."
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Davidson tells the story of Ouma's first journey back to Uganda since he fled to the United States in 1998.
A few weeks ago, Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers, wife of Congressman and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), erupted at Council President Kenneth Cockrel Jr. over some inconsequential, uninteresting slight, calling him "Shrek" and incoherently mumbling about his lack of "respect." David Freddoso links to this Detroit News video in which an unrepentant Mrs. Conyers attempts to justify her disgraceful behavior to a room full of pre-teen girls.
In response, "nine children from Courtis Elementary School were given the Spirit of Detroit award ostensibly for giving Monica Conyers, the City Council president pro tem, a lesson in civics and civility."