TABLE OF CONTENTS
ECRE DOCUMENTATION SERVICE
The following documents can be found at the website for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: http://stars.coe.fr/index_e.htm, then List of Texts Adopted at this Meeting under Assembly Winter Session (21-25 January 2002).
The Parliamentary Assembly welcomed the progress that has been made in the areas of human rights, electoral law, State institutions, education, and the rule of law. The Assembly requested that Bosnia and Herzegovina honour an extensive set of commitments dealing specifically with constitutional, legislative and judicial reform, human rights and co-operation with the international community. On the basis of these commitments the Assembly recommended on 22 January 2002 that Bosnia and Herzegovina be invited to become a member of the Council of Europe and be allocated five seats in the Assembly.
Following a report by the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (Doc. 9190) and an opinion by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights (Doc. 9225) in September 2001, the Parliamentary Assembly adopted the above Recommendation on 21 January 2002. The Assembly calls trafficking in women a ìmodern form of slaveryî that violates womenís right to dignity and integrity, their freedom of movement and, in some cases, their right to life. It noted that the main cause for trafficking in women is poverty, and the desire to earn money abroad. The Assembly called on European counties to develop common policies and actions covering all aspects of the problem. They would like to see the trafficking in women made a criminal offence under national law, the end of the practice of restricting the freedom of movement of women going to Western countries to study, work or for other legal objectives, and the establishment of bilateral agreements between countries of origin and destination countries that cover legal, humanitarian and rehabilitation aspects of the problem. The Assembly also called for specific protection to victims and witnesses wishing to testify, and for the granting of permanent residence permits for those willing to testify, and temporary permits for those unwilling to testify on humanitarian grounds. The Assembly recommended that a European observatory on trafficking be set up by the Council of Ministers for information, awareness raising, monitoring and campaigning.
Following a report by the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography on this issue (Doc. 9196, 10 September 2001), the General Assembly has adopted a recommendation to improve the procedures for foreigners being expelled from Council of Europe Member States. The Assembly believes that the increase in the number of incidents during expulsions shows that these are not isolated events, and that they only come to light by chance. There is concern that the police and security forces are used in enforcing expulsion orders, with limited involvement from professionals in both psycho-social support and humanitarian aid, or from lawyers, judges and doctors, and that carriers are given an inordinate amount of responsibility for expulsions. The Assembly believes that forced expulsions should only be used as a last resort for people who put up a clear and continued resistance, and that the need for forced expulsions can be avoided with personal assistance in preparing for their departure. It recommends that an in-depth study be undertaken by the Committee of Ministers, followed by periodical reports, on the procedures and practices used in Member States. It also recommends a joint working party be set up at European level to draw up a code of good conduct. Procedures need to be transparent, and those who felt that they had been ill-treated should be able to appeal on the territory of the expelling state. Trained and supervised personnel should carry out a humane procedure, including minimal detention, family unity and advance warning.
Recommendation Rec (2001)18 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on subsidiary protection, adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 27 November 2001 at the 774th meeting of the Ministersí Deputies
The Committee recognises that not everyone requiring international protection will be covered by the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol. They therefore call on member states in which legislative and administrative mechanisms do not exist for granting subsidiary protection, to introduce such mechanisms, either through legislation or practice. They recommend that this protection be available to those people who do not fulfil the criteria of the 1951 Convention, but face the risk of torture or inhumane treatment, or a threat to his/her life, security or liberty for reasons of indiscriminate violence or an armed conflict, in his/her country of origin. The Recommendation states that beneficiaries of subsidiary protection should enjoy a legal status and, if their stay is longer than five years, the host state should consider granting a long-term residence permit. This document is available at http://cm.coe.int/site2/ref/dynamic/recommendations.asp?L=2&S=19&Y=2001
The Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is carrying out research for a paper on the arrival of asylum seekers at seaports/coastlines. This will include a number of field trips. Trips to Bruges, Dover, southern Spain and Lecce in the south of Italy have already been arranged. There will be a conference in Lecce in May and the report is expected to be published in June 2002.
The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has published a document entitled ëPractical Examples in Combating Racism and Intolerance against Roma/Gypsiesí (CRI (2001) 28), October 2001. The document deals with Roma empowerment measures, their education, policing and various integration strategies in, amongst others, Hungary, Bulgaria, UK, and Spain. It also includes General Policy Recommendation No.3, which focuses on justice, participation and education. ECRI have also published a report titled ëActivities of the Council of Europe with Relevance to Combating Racism and Intoleranceí, (CRI (99) 56 final rev.) October 2001. This outlines activities undertaken by intergovernmental bodies, human rights co-operation and awareness programmes, and other information concerning the instruments and institutions that are responsible for protecting human rights standards. This document has a section on the recent work undertaken by the ad hoc Committee of Experts on legal aspects of territorial asylum, refugees and stateless persons (CAHAR). CAHAR is currently addressing the following questions: additional or subsidiary protection, detention of asylum seekers and membership of a particular social group. Please visit the website for a copy of this report: http://www.ecri.coe.int/.
The Regional Meeting in Oslo on 6 ñ 7 November 2001 discussed ëResettlement as a multifaceted tool and its relationship to migrationí. It focussed primarily on resettlement in the Nordic countries, with participation from Nordic governments, NGOs and UNHCR. It was concluded that the Nordic countries would like to see an expansion of resettlement through the participation of additional countries. They supported a diversification of resettlement options and using resettlement as part of a broader strategy for durable solutions. However, they recognised that an expansion of activities necessitates the need for additional resources. The report and conclusions from this meeting can be found on the UNHCR website at http://www.unhcr.ch/, then click on ëGlobal Consultationsí, then on ëDocumentsí.
The Summary Conclusions of the 4th Expert Roundtable meeting (2nd track), which took place on 8 ñ 9 November 2001, have been published. The two subjects were illegal entry (Article 31) and family unity (final act of the 1951 Conference). Please find them attached (p010202 and p010203).
The third track of the Global Consultations will be concluded on 22 ñ 24 May 2002, with discussion on the third and forth themes: the search for protection based solutions and protection of refugee women and children. The former will include resettlement as a specific issue. The use of flexible resettlement criteria in prima facie refugee situations is expected to be part of discussion and therefore the Working Group on Resettlement will meet to discuss this on 4 March at a special meeting. The final work schedule for the third track is available at http://www.unhcr.ch/prexcom/.
The first meeting of State Parties to the 1951 Convention took place in Geneva on 12 ñ 13 December 2001, during which 126 states adopted a Declaration reaffirming their commitment to the Convention and encouraged States not yet party to it to accede without reservation. The Declaration also calls for States ìÖto take or continue to take measures to strengthen asylum and render protection more effectiveÖî The first day of the meeting comprised of a plenary session during which States made statements on the subject of their experiences of asylum procedures and the problems that they have, and on their commitment to the Convention. On the second day of the meeting ministers participated in three roundtable discussions on: the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol framework: strengthening implementation; international cooperation to protect masses in flight (inter alia mass influx, burden and responsibility sharing, security and additional instruments); upholding refugee protection in the face of contemporary challenges involving mixed flows (inter alia asylum systems). Chairpersonís reports have now been published and are available on the UNHCR website, under Track 1, along with the Declaration and other background information on the meeting.
Out of the Global Consultations process a series of activities intended to strengthen refugee protection is emerging. This is entitled the Agenda for Protection and will be finalised after the completion of the Global Consultations process in 2002. Five main objectives for the activities have so far been identified as: strengthening the implementation of the 1951 instrument and its 1967 Protocol; ensuring better protection of refugees within broader migration movements; sharing the burden and responsibilities for refugees and asylum seekers more equitably among states; handling security-related concerns more effectively; increasing efforts to find long-lasting solutions for refugees. Two Information Notes on the Agenda for Protection are available at http://www.unhcr.ch/prexcom/ministerial.htm.
The Population Data Unit, Population and Geographic Data Section of UNHCR has published a compilation of the trends of asylum applications lodged in 37, mostly industrialized, countries, entitled ëAsylum Applications in Industrialized Countries: 1980 ñ 1999í. For further information please contact Bela Hovy, email. email@example.com.
The Population Data Unit has also published ëAsylum Applications Lodged in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, 2001í, dated 31 January 2002. Please note that the UK and Greece have only provided UNHCR with asylum data for the first nine months of 2001 and Italy only provides data annually, therefore these three countries are excluded from much of the analysis. Further information will be published when possible. The survey is limited to the applications for asylum and not those authorised to remain. The main trends emerging from the statistics are that the total number of applications submitted in the EU declined by 3% from 1999 to 2001, while the countries in Central and Eastern Europe experienced an increase in that time of 76%. Non-European countries are also recording an increase in this time of 65%. Six countries recorded a 50 ñ 100% increase in asylum applications during 1999-2001, the report identifies which countries received large numbers of claimants from specific countries. For more information please contact Bela Hovy (above) or download the report from the UNHCR website, the Refugee Statistics, then Asylum Trends.
The first Standing Committee Meeting of 2002 will take place from 5 ñ 7 March, in which Europe will be included as an agenda item. The second will take place from 24 ñ 26 June, during which the Agenda for Protection will be discussed. Another item on the programme is the economic and social impact of massive refugee populations on host developing countries, as well as other countries, and safety and security issues. The third Standing Committee Meeting takes place on 26 September, but will not include any relevant topics.
The Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement will take place on 27 ñ 28 June 2002.
At the meeting of the Resettlement Working Group on 10 December 2001 it was announced that Eva Demant will be the new Head of the Resettlement Section.
The Section is hoping to update the Resettlement Handbook, to include the minimum standards for the identification of refugees in need of resettlement. A draft should be ready by the ATC in June 2002.
A discussion on the NGO participation in the Resettlement Working Group concluded that the Group should continue to be structured as it is. NGO participation would be restricted to the meeting just prior to the ATC , as suggested by Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, as the agenda will be planned then. The USA alone supported NGO representative participation. This issue may be revisited in the future, and the Chair is able to invite NGOs as observers depending on the agenda.
Some updates from resettlement countries were given at the meeting, including:
The USA have set their ceiling for the fiscal year 2002 at 70,000, reportedly based on a decrease in need for resettlement in East Asia and Europe. Sweden has a quota of 1,285 for calendar year 2001 and as of 30 November 2001, 1,173 have been resettled. They are intending to reach their quota with 95 more arriving in December. Denmarkís quota for 2001 was 500 refugees, which they expect to fill mainly with Afghans and Africans. They expect a similar quota for 2002. Norway set their quota for 2001 at 1,400 refugees, of which 1,212 have so far been accepted. Their 2002 quota will be 1,500. Australia has a quota of 12,000 offshore and onshore for 2001-2002. The Canadian quota for 2001 was 10,000 and Finnish have resettled 750 refugees. Switzerland is considering re-establishing their resettlement programme, which has not been operational for many years. The UK is discussing with UNHCR the possibility of becoming a resettlement country.
The next meeting of the Working Group on resettlement will take place on 21 March 2002. This will be the meeting where the ATC issues/agenda will be discussed and where NGOs are invited to participate. The Chair requested that NGO participation be limited to a maximum of four participants.
The Department of International Protection commissioned a study to assess how the right to adequate housing can be better reflected in UNHCR's policy and in the design and implementation of its repatriation operations (published in the Refugee Survey Quarterly (RSQ), vol. 19, no. 3, 2000) entitled ëHousing and Property Issues for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons in the Context of Return ñ Key Considerations for UNHCR Policy and Practiceí by Scott Leckie. UNHCR have recently produced a memorandum on this due to relevant developments in the area of housing rights in the context of refugee repatriation operations. These developing legal standards should guide and inform UNHCR in the design, implementation and evaluation phases of its work in this important area. There is also a checklist for field officers on this issue. Please contact Areti Sianni (Asianni@ecre.org) for a copy of these documents.
EPAU have published their provisional work programme for the first six months of 2002. This includes projects on community services, protracted refugee situations, refugees in urban areas, refugee women, emergency preparedness and response, internally displaced populations, the bilateralization of humanitarian aid, and migration and asylum. For further information please check the UNHCR website or contact EPAU by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UN has set up a new unit to respond to the severe crisis of internally displaced persons. It will be located in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva, and will provide advice and support to Kenzo Oshima, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, in his role as the focal point on internal displacement. The Unit will also provide advice to the Inter-Agency Standing Committee. Kofi Asomani, as Director and Special Coordinator on Internal Displacement, will head it. The Unit will comprise of staff seconded from other UN agencies, such as UNHCR, UNICEF and UNDP, as well as staff from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and from the NGO community.
At the 24th Conference of the European Ministers of Justice in Moscow, 4-5 October 2001, the Council of Europe was requested to take immediate action to combat terrorism. This emphasised the need for a multidisciplinary approach, involving all relevant legal aspects. Following this, a meeting of the Committee of Ministers, at their 109th Session on 8 November 2001, ìagreed to take steps rapidly to increase the effectiveness of the existing international instruments within the Council of Europe on the fight against terrorism by, inter alia, setting up a Multidisciplinary Group on international action against Terrorism (GMT).î The first meeting of the GMT took place on 12-14 December 2001, during which two working parties were set up: the GMT-Rev which will be responsible for reviewing the operation of existing Council of Europe anti-terrorism instruments including the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, 1977 (ETS 090), and the GMT-Rap which will be responsible for preparing a report for the Committee of Ministers on possible additional actions that the Council of Europe could undertake. Both working parties met on 18-19 February 2002, followed by the second meeting of the GMT on 20-21 February. For more information please see http://www.coe.int/T/E/Legal_co-operation/Fight_against_terrorism/.
This text was adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly on 24 January 2002, and follows a report by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights (Doc. 9331). The Resolution defines the Council of Europe position concerning the means used to combat terrorism, starting with recognition that there is a need for further study of the causes of terrorism so that better ways can be found to combat and prevent it. It goes on to state that it is necessary to eliminate support and deprive terrorist organisations of funding, as well as improve living conditions in certain countries, to combat terrorism. However, it also notes that compliance with international and national law, and respect for human rights, must be ensured. It insists that Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights must not be contravened and therefore no one can be returned from a Member State if they will then be at risk of being subjected to ill treatment, to a trial that does not respect the fundamental principles of a fair trial, or to the death penalty. The Assembly also calls for the ratification of the Statute of the International Criminal Court, and that its competence be extended to acts of terrorism. It suggests that the European Arrest Warrant be extended to all Council of Europe Member States in so far as it applies to crimes related to terrorism.
Adopted at the same session as the Resolution above, this Recommendation calls for the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism to be updated to include a provision for refusing extradition in cases where there is a risk of the death penalty being applied. The Recommendation also welcomes the Multidisciplinary Group on international action against Terrorism, and recommends that it use the definition of terrorism set out in the European Council Common Position of 27 December 2001 on the application of specific measures to combat terrorism.
The Council of the European Union adopted four acts by written procedure on 27 December 2001. These are: Common Position on combating terrorism; Common Position on the application of specific measures to combat terrorism; Regulation on specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities; Implementing Decision establishing the list provided for in Article 2(3) of the Council Regulation. The purpose of these acts is to play a full part, in a coordinated manner, in the global coalition against terror. Many of the measures listed in the new acts have already been implemented. The Common Position on combating terrorism includes articles on the financing of terrorism, the cooperation between States to investigate terrorism, measures to stop terrorists from entering or moving around the territory and a call to States to implement the relevant international instruments. The Common Position on the application of specific measures to combat terrorism includes a full definition of all aspects of terrorism, and also covers funding of terrorist organisation and the assistance States must afford each other to prevent and combat terrorist acts. It also includes a list of people, groups and entities that the Act applies to. The Regulation details how the funding of terrorist organisations will be halted, and the Implementing Decision lists the organisations that the Regulation applies to. The Acts can be found at http://www.eurunion.org/partner/EUUSTerror/CounActsDec27.htm
The OSCE participating States pledged to reinforce and develop bilateral and multi-lateral co-operation within the OSCE, with the UN and other international and regional organisations, in order to combat terrorism, in a meeting of the Ministerial Council on 4 December 2001. They called for the rapid finalisation of negotiations for the Comprehensive United Nations Convention on International Terrorism. At this meeting they adopted the Bucharest Plan of Action for Combating Terrorism. The aim of the Plan of Action is to establish a framework for comprehensive OSCE action to be taken to combat terrorism, fully respecting international law. It seeks to expand existing activities that contribute to combating terrorism, facilitate interaction between States and, where appropriate, identify new instruments for action. It identifies immediate and long-term activities, focusing particularly on preventative action. It covers strengthening the rule of law, state authorities, and social, economic and environmental factors as regards countries with weak democratic institutions. It also commits the OSCE to working on preventing violent conflict and promoting peaceful settlements to disputes, and to promoting human rights, tolerance and multi-culturalism. The full document is available at http://www.osce.org/docs/english/1990-1999/mcs/9buch01j2e.htm
UNHCR have been producing a weekly Humanitarian update on the crisis in Afghanistan. These focus on what is taking place in and around Afghanistan, with reports from UNHCR field trips and permanent staff. The updates provide information on the relocations taking place, activities within camps and the movements of displaced people in the country. The updates can be found on the UNHCR website under crisis in Afghanistan.
UNHCR has also produced its second bulletin of the real-time evaluation of their response to the Afghanistan emergency. It focuses primarily on their response to the Afghan refugee influx into Pakistan since 11 September 2001, highlighting policy, protection and operational issues whereby immediate action can be taken to enhance the welfare of refugees. It also identifies lessons to be learnt from the crisis in relation to emergency preparedness and response capacity. There are sections assessing the Pakistan programme, repatriation planning, refugee protection, refugee women and children, the operational structure, human resources, procurement, security, visibility and assistance and standards. For a copy of this document please contact Asianni@ecre.org.
The British Agencies Afghanistan Group (BAAG) has published their monthly review for December 2001. It includes an evaluation of the challenges faced by the new interim administration in Afghanistan, information concerning the economic reconstruction and international donors supporting the administration and an update on US military action in the region. The humanitarian situation, particularly in relation to refugees and displaced people, is described; concluding that security throughout the country to support an economic regeneration process is of the utmost importance. For further information please contact Peter Marsden at BAAG, tel. +44 (0)20 7820 3098/7840 4400, email. email@example.com.
Please find attached ECREís Guidelines on the Treatment of Afghan Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Europe, and a comparative survey of the treatment of Afghan asylum seekers in selected European countries (P010204 and P010205).
The immigration quota of 8,280 residence permits obtained parliamentary approval on 20 December 2001. This is 238 less permits than the 2001 quota. Of the 8,280, 5,490 have been set aside for family reunification (the same as 2001). However, as there are some 12,000 cases of family reunification pending, at least half the applicants will have to wait another year to reunite with their families.
On 2 January 2001 Belgium introduced material reception conditions for asylum seekers in the admissibility stage. A modification has now been introduced by decree from Minister Vandelanotte. Since 7 January 2002, asylum seekers who lodge an appeal against a negative decision in the admissibility stage of the CGRA before the Conseil d'Etat are assigned to a new reception centre. Three reception centres (Kapellen, Sint-Truiden and Florennes) will provide the reception services. Asylum seekers can, during the procedure before the Conseil d'Etat, only obtain support in these centres. Of course, since the procedure before the Conseil d'Etat has no automatic suspensive effect, it is much easier for the government to organise repatriation from these three central places. There are exceptions, as the new system does not apply to medical cases, people who have signed a voluntary repatriation declaration, people who have a non-repatriation clause in their decision and unaccompanied minors. In reality, this new system may create a huge number of illegal migrants. Most asylum seekers refuse to go to these centres, as they are afraid they will be returned to their country of origin. Consequently they are then no longer entitled to material support. The new system is also problematic from the point of view of legal assistance. The decree forces people to provide evidence within a period of five days after the negative decision of the CGRA that they introduced an appeal before the Conseil d'Etat (that may be a declaration of intent from their lawyer). The Flemish Bar association has protested against this new rule and demanded that the decree be withdrawn. OCIV will introduce an appeal against the decree before the Conseil d'Etat, requesting that it be annulled.
Due to a sharp drop in asylum applications in Belgium (42,691 in 2000, to 24,549 in 2001) the Government has not considered it necessary to go ahead with announced reforms to the asylum law and administrative procedures. Organisations assisting asylum seekers have criticised the move, as they consider the proposed reforms an opportunity to develop procedures for unaccompanied minors and people fleeing civil conflict in need of temporary protection. The drop in asylum applications is being attributed to the ending of cash social security payments for asylum seekers at the beginning of 2001.
A new governing coalition was voted in at the general elections of 20th November, which includes the populist anti-immigration Dansk Folkparti. The new government has presented a list of measures aimed at reducing the number of foreigners coming to Denmark. These have been criticised for being very restrictive by national and international NGOs, and UNHCR. Development aid, including UNHCR funding, is expected to be cut to help fund promises made on welfare services. A draft law should be presented to the Parliament by 1 March 2002 to enable changes to the Aliens Law to be adopted in spring 2002. The governmentís main proposals ñ some of them still unclear at this early stage ñ are as follows:
1. The existing de facto status will be abolished. Applicants who do not meet the criteria of the Geneva Convention but cannot be sent to their country of origin due to reasons falling under the provisions of the European Human Rights Convention or the Convention on Torture, will be granted a subsidiary ìprotection statusî. The content of this new status has not yet been defined.
2. The number of ìsafe third countriesî will be increased.
3. It will no longer be possible to lodge a claim for asylum with a Danish embassy abroad.
4. Claims submitted by asylum seekers who do not present themselves to the authorities or abscond will not be processed.
5. The manifestly unfounded procedure will apply to a larger number of cases. The Danish Refugee Council remains involved in the procedure, but the Refugee Appeals Boardís chairman will have the possibility of deciding alone on cases vetoed by the DRC without referring them to a full Board. It will also be possible, under certain circumstances, to process a claim under the ìfast-track manifestly unfounded procedureî within one day as opposed to the current seven days.
6. The Danish Refugee Council will be excluded from the Refugee Appeals Board, which will be reduced to three members (1 judge, 1 representative of the Ministry of Interior and 1 representative of the Bar Association).
7. Rejected asylum seekers will no longer benefit from a 15-day time limit and will have to leave the country as soon as the final negative decision on their claim is rendered.
Refugeesí legal status
8. The qualifying period for permanent residence permit will be raised from three to seven years.
9. The asylum application of refugees visiting their home country during these seven years will be re-examined automatically.
10. If a refugee to whom status was granted on the basis of family links in Denmark gets married with a national from a third country, it will be possible to deport him/her to the spouseís country if it appears that the ìconnection to Denmark is no longer strong enoughî.
11. In addition to the current obligation of financially supporting the person coming to Denmark, foreigners applying for family reunion with their spouse will have to provide a support guarantee of Kr. 50.000 (EURO 6,667). A condition of the reunion will be that the person residing in Denmark has not received any social allowance in a certain period. Family reunion with refugees and persons with protection status will be subject to ìspecial rulesî, which have not yet been disclosed.
12. Unless the marriage took place before the refugee came to Denmark, family reunion with a spouse will require that both spouses be over 24 years of age.
13. Family reunion with a person residing in Denmark will only be authorised if the spousesí ìtotal connectionî is stronger to Denmark than to another country.
14. Family reunion with parents over 60 years of age will no longer be possible.
15. Marriage in Denmark will only be possible if both spouses reside legally in the country. Asylum seekers will no longer be permitted to marry while in Denmark.
16. Only foreigners (as well as Danish citizens) who have resided in Denmark for seven years within the last eight years will be entitled to full social welfare allowances. In the first seven-year period, the allowances granted will amount to 50% to 70% of the full rates.
17. Granting of citizenship will require a qualifying period of nine years in Denmark. This will be reduced to eight years for refugees and foreigners married to a Danish citizen.
18. The required knowledge of the Danish language and ìsociety, legal principles and valuesî will be reinforced. Persons over 65 years of age will no longer be exempt from the language requirement.
19. Foreigners that have been sentenced to over two-years imprisonment will no longer be entitled to citizenship. Those with a lower sentence will have to undergo a waiting period, the length of which will vary according to the gravity of the crime.
Arguing for the need to cut public expenses, the government also announced the suppression or reduction of financial support to certain organisations and institutions, some of them active in the refugee and immigration field. Accordingly, the Danish Centre for Human Rights will be dismantled, the Documentation and Advisory Centre on Race Discrimination will no longer receive any support, and funds allocated to the Danish Refugee Council and the Board for Ethnic Equality will be reduced. It is likely that these measures will reduce the lobbying capacity of the refugee assisting organisations and make it less easy for them to monitor the implementation of the new law. The Danish Refugee Council is preparing a detailed document on the governmentís proposals, which will soon be available. Further information can be obtained from the DRC: Fabrice Liebaut, email Fabrice.Liebaut@drc.dk.
The French National Assembly gave a first reading on 24 January 2002 to a Bill "strengthening the fight against the different forms of slavery that exist today" (Bill 3522). The Bill follows on from last year's Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into "modern slavery" and focuses on presenting a new definition of the offence of human trafficking, which is made punishable by seven years' imprisonment. The definition does not require a person to have been subjected to force, coercion or deception, but refers to anyone who is subjected to "conditions of work or lodging which are against his or her dignity", and anyone who is "procured" for exploitation in prostitution. The Bill includes a provision for victims who are willing to making a formal charge or to testify against the person responsible for committing an offence (such as trafficking) to be given a temporary right to remain in France at the request of a prosecution official, and for a temporary permit to be made permanent in certain circumstances. The Bill still has to be approved by the Senate, the upper chamber of France's legislature.
A French court ruled on 1 February 2002 that the Sangatte Red Cross Centre did not pose a sufficiently urgent or serious problem to warrant annulling a requisition order that allowed it to be opened in 1999. Eurotunnel have taken the issue to court before; an identical ruling was handed down in September 2001. The British government gave the International Organization on Migration EURO 213,000 ($190,000) to mount a campaign to encourage migrants in Sangatte to return home, with an offer of free transportation. A video "Dignity or Exploitation-the Choice is in Your Hands," warned that the migrants would not find refuge in the UK; 17 camp residents took up the offer.
The Federal Government presented its Immigration Bill to the Bundestag on 13 December 2001. Two major stumbling points for the Bill are the age limit of family reunification and the granting of protection to victims of gender-specific or non-state sponsored persecution. The CDU would like to see the former lowered to 10, but the government negotiated hard with their coalition partners, the Greens, to agree an age limit of 14. It is unlikely that the Greens would be willing to accept a lower limit. During a January 2002 hearing before the parliamentary committee for internal affairs, representatives from business, science and trade unions generally welcomed the draft immigration Bill. However, its fate will be decided in the upper house, the Bundesrat, which represents the states at the national level and will consider the proposal on 1 March 2002. The governing SPD-Greens do not have a majority in the Bundesrat. The opposition CDU/CSU held talks with the Government on how to reach a consensus on 24 January 2002, presenting fifteen proposed amendments.
The Federal Minister of Justice, Herta D”ubler-Gmelin, presented a new legislative initiative aimed at providing more effective protection against discrimination on 3 December 2001. Under the terms of the proposed text victims of discrimination would find it easier to prove their case, as when there are grounds to consider their complaint the burden of proof would no longer be placed on them. Moreover, they would be able to claim damages. It is hoped that the Bill will be translated into law during the current legislative period, which will probably end by September 2002.
The Greek government has announced plans to improve the process for foreigners applying for one-year residence and work permit during a second amnesty. These include additional staff and the opening of five new application centres. Applicants will no longer have to provide proof that they are contributing to one of the three social insurance foundations. They need only produce a document to show that they have registered. Applicants will also not be required to have a full medical examination, due to the long waiting lists at hospitals and clinics around Athens. Foreigners who fail to have their six-month permit replaced by the one-year permit will be given more time to do so and not be deported. However, so far there has been no indication of how long they will be given
A Bill to amend the current Aliens Act was presented on 21 January 2002 in order to take into account criticisms made by the national Ombudsman. The Bill includes an extension of the residence permit to five years for foreigners marrying a Greek national and their dependant children. Also, those who have applied for the legalisation of their stay in Greece and those who hold valid residence and work permits will be removed from the ëlist of undesirable personsí. The list includes those previously arrested for illegal entry, residence or employment and have been deported. The renewal of the three-month tourist visa will become more difficult under the terms of the Bill, and foreigners of Greek descent will be exempt from paying the fee when applying for citizenship. An Immigration Policy Institute (IMEPO) will be created within the Ministry of the Interior to carry out research on matters concerning immigration, and to assist the Government with new legislation on these issues.
Employers wanting to hire nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) have to prove that they have tried to look for an EEA national to fill the available post as from 1 January 2002. The same applies to an employer trying to renew the work permit of their third country employee. The maximum cost to obtain a work permit has increased from EURO 158.75 to EURO 400. The changes have been made as a result of growth in unemployment for the first time since 1986.
On 31 January 2002 Ireland signed a readmission agreement with Bulgaria to facilitate the return of rejected asylum seekers and those living illegally in Ireland. The agreement is aimed at combating the trafficking of people, terrorism and criminal activities, such as drug smuggling and money laundering. Ireland has similar agreements with Nigeria, Romania and Poland.
On 31 January 2002 the Moldovan Government deposited the instrument of ratification of the 1951 Geneva Convention and its 1967 Protocol with the Secretary General of the United Nations. The Convention enters into force 90 days after the instrument has been deposited.
The government has decided not to liberalise its labour migration policy and its position has been unanimously accepted by the members of the Lower House. There has been a suggestion by the government that it may be possible to grant entry to higher qualified workers trained in specific professions. However, the Lower House has expressed concern that this policy may result in a brain drain from developing countries. The government has assured the members that the Netherlands would immediately stop recruiting workers as soon as the authorities of a developing state made known the risk of a brain drain occurring.
On 18 January 2002 the Minister of Urban Policy and Integration Policy presented the note ëIntegration in the context of immigrationí to the Lower Chamber. The note is concerned mostly with the question of dual nationality, which the Government does not want to extend, despite a recommendation that it should, from the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR). There is also a proposal to tighten conditions for family reunion and formation, which will require those bringing family into the Netherlands to contribute towards the cost of their integration course. This could be for as much as EURO 6,000, although the proposal does not recommend a specific amount. There is a suggestion that this is to discourage people from looking for a marriage partner in their country of origin. The proposals will be discussed in the Lower Chamber in March or April.
Now that Norway is party to the Schengen Convention there have been reports that about 50% of foreigners who enter the country as visitors could be using the country as a transit point to go on to European Union Member States. It is now possible to travel from Norway to other states within the Schengen Area without being subject to further passport or identity checks. The border police monitored the cases of 790 foreigners who entered as tourists and only 326 left. They believe that many of the others have used Norway merely as a transit country.
UNHCR have published a regional overview of South Eastern Europe as of 1 November 2001. It includes an estimate of refugees and displaced persons (IDPs) and an estimate of major returns movements (registered returnees only). They estimate that there are 672,100 refugees and IDPs in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia mostly from Kosovo and Croatia; in Bosnia Herzegovina they estimate 504,000; in Croatia 45,160; in Macedonia 55,800; in Albania 280. The majority of returns have been to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (904,115). For a copy of this document please contact Daria Nashat, at the Stability Pact on firstname.lastname@example.org or Areti Sianni on Asianni@ecre.org.
As from midnight on 1-2 January 2002 Colombian nationals wishing to visit Spain for up to three months will require an entry visa. This is the end of the 1961 bilateral agreement, which granted Colombians visa-free travel to Spain. Colombians will be required to prove that they have a stable job, and medical insurance covering their period of stay in Spain, as well as a return ticket, a hotel reservation and at least EURO 2,266 to spend to enable them to apply for the visa and enter the country. This measure has provoked a strong reaction in Colombia, with many public figures issuing statements affirming that they will not travel to Spain as long as the measure remains in force. The Spanish government claims that it will allow more Colombians to enter Spain, as previously an average of 70 were refused entry every day.
As from January 2002 children seeking asylum shall have the right to full schooling. This legislation also covers children with the right to remain in the country while seeking residence permits on other grounds. Also included is the right for children aged 16 ñ 18 to access senior secondary education, and pre-school children to attend pre-school activities on the same basis as children permanently resident in Sweden. The municipalities will be responsible, and will then be reimbursed by the State on a per child basis.
The Migration Board has widened the basis for decisions in individual asylum cases for stateless Palestinians due to an increase in violence on the West Bank and Gaza. Swedish authorities in the area will obtain further information on the situation and on the assessments being made by other countries. In the meantime the current practice of cases being rejected only after an individual assessment of risks, humanitarian grounds and, where applicable, the best interests of the child, remains in place. No forced removals are currently taking place.
Asylum applications in Sweden increased 43 percent in 2001. Most are from Iraq and the Balkans. In September, the Swedish government passed an emergency budget increase for the Migration Ministry.
On 18 December 2001 all but two cantons voted against the proposal of the Federal Refugee Office to grant a residence permit to asylum seekers who have been living in Switzerland for six years with the status of temporary protection and have not committed any offences. This proposal is a part of the new Bill aimed at revising the asylum law, and is considered by refugee assisting NGOs to be the only positive measure of the text. The cantons main reason for blocking the proposal is that the cantons would have to take financial responsibility for those granted such a permit, as they would then be able to claim social welfare. The Federal government is responsible for those with the status of temporary protection. The number who would benefit from such a change, however, is thought to be no more than 1,500.
The Turkish Government has agreed to the publication of the report of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) on its ad hoc visits to Turkey in December 2000/January 2001 and April/May 2001. The report is published together with the Turkish Government's response. The CPT's visits were triggered by the hunger strike campaign, which began in October 2000, as a protest against the F-type prison project. The Committee's visits began in early December 2000, at the request of the Turkish authorities, in order to contribute to efforts underway aimed at finding a solution capable of bringing the hunger strikes to an end. During the subsequent visits, the CPT gathered information on the interventions by security forces from 19 to 22 December 2000 in those prisons where hunger strikes were taking place (in the course of which 32 persons died and a large number of persons where injured) and on related inquiries and investigations. The CPT report can be found at http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/states/tur.htm.
On 13 December 2001 the Home Office announced a new scheme to grant temporary entry to highly qualified workers. This will not be dependant upon people having received a firm offer of employment beforehand. The new scheme, which begins on 1 January 2002, is called the ëHighly Skilled Migrants Programmeí and is focussed on those whose qualifications, work experience, earnings and achievements meet demanding targets set by the Home Office. This will be worked on a point system, with points being allocated for past experience, for example, and level of education. Account will be taken of the income level in the home country of the applicant. The aim of the programme is to attract highly skilled, mobile workers with no ancestral ties to the UK, who would previously not have been able to enter the country to seek employment.
On 31 December 2001 the civil rights association, Liberty, announced that its application to the High Court for a judicial review of the decisions of British immigration officials, posted at the international airport in Prague, to deny six Czechs of Roma origin the right to board their flight had been declared admissible. Liberty, acting on behalf of six Czech citizens, claims that Roma passengers were subjected to ìdiscriminatory, humiliating and unlawful treatmentî. They all have a Czech passport and are therefore entitled to visa-free travel in the UK, and were singled out for stricter checks and questioning purely because of the colour of their skin. Some of the six did intend to apply for political asylum in the UK, but not all, and those intending to apply may have had well founded reasons. Liberty is also seeking to challenge a ministerial authorisation granted by the former British Minister for Immigration, Barbara Roche, on 2 May 2001 to allow immigration officials to subject certain nationalities or ethnic groups ìto a more rigorous examination than other person in the same circumstancesî. Kurds, Roma, Albanians, Tamils, Pontic Greeks, Somalis, Afghans and ethnic Chinese with travel documents issued by Malaysia or Japan are all singled out as would-be asylum seekers. The legal basis for this authorisation is the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000.
Changes made to the Immigration and Asylum Appeals (Procedure) Rules 2000 came into force in January 2002. They will affect two categories of asylum seekers: those whose claims are certified by the Secretary of State (for example, due to their claim being considered manifestly unfounded), where the adjudicator agrees with the certificate and dismisses the appeal; and those who have leave to appeal, but have been refused further consideration of their case by the Tribunal. In these circumstances, the applicant will no longer be informed directly by the appellate authority, but the Home Office will be notified instead. This will enable the immigration service to present the applicant in person with their negative appeal decision and remove them immediately, or detain them for a short period before removing them.
The government is preparing a code of conduct for employers in hiring foreign workers that they will have to abide to or face prosecution. Employers found to have been complicit in bringing illegal immigrants to Britain could face sentences of up to 14 years. Immigration ëhit squadsí will also concentrate on the hotel and catering, construction, clothes manufacturing, agriculture and information technology in attempt to treble the rate of removal of illegal immigrants and failed asylum seekers to 2,500 per week. This has provoked concern amongst business leaders and refugee support groups.
Application Registration Cards (ARC) for asylum seekers were launched on 31 January 2002. These will replace the Standard Acknowledgement Letter as a means of identification for asylum seekers. Dover, Gatwick and Heathrow will begin issuing the ARC by the end of March 2002 in a phased roll out that should be complete by Autumn 2002. Every new asylum seeker will receive the card, which has both a photograph and fingerprint information of the applicant, as well as their name, date of birth, nationality, the place and date of issue, information regarding any dependants, the language spoken, and whether the applicant is entitled to work. The card also includes a secure updateable chip for additional information, such as their address. Refugee support groups have cautiously welcomed the cards.
On 15 January 2002 the UK suspended removals of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe. This position will be reappraised on the conclusion of the elections in March. Each asylum claim will continue to be assessed on its own merits. This action follows the failed consultations that have taken place between Zimbabwe and the European Union, and Zimbabwe and the Commonwealth.
Government published a White Paper on asylum and migration in February 2002,
entitled ëSecure Borders, Safe Haven: Integration with Diversity in Modern
The Paper is intended to set out the challenges in developing
nationality, immigration and asylum policy, and the measures the Government is
taking to produce a coherent strategy.
The first section deals with Citizenship and Nationality, concluding
that: ìThe acquisition of British nationality is a bureaucratic exercise, with
almost no effort made to engage new members of the community with the
fundamentals of our democracy and societyî. Consequently the Paper proposes language teaching and a
simple examination for citizenship applicants, speeding up the process of
obtaining citizenship, ceremonies for celebrating the acquisition of
citizenship and reforming nationality legislation.
The second section, Working in the UK, sets out how current legal routes of entry are being enhanced and the procedures tightened. The introduction of the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (see above) and the regulation of advice and services regarding work permit applications are examples of this.
The third section focuses on asylum policy, detailing a managed system of induction, accommodation, reporting and removal centres to secure a coherent process. Here, the Government announces its intention to join the UNHCR resettlement scheme and confirms their intention to phase out the controversial voucher support system. The Government also focuses on unaccompanied children, appeals (see above), removals and integration as areas that require improved and streamlined strategies, some of which are included in the Paper.
The fourth section is concerned with tacking fraud, focusing on people trafficking, smuggling and illegal working. The Government is considering updating laws on trafficking, to increase penalties and to deal compassionately with the victims. The law on smuggling will be strengthened, and cooperation with other EU countries will be improved on this issue.
Section six outlines the measures taken to prevent unauthorised border crossing, such as posting UK immigration officials abroad, visa regimes, and developing technology to help locate those attempting to enter illegally.
chapter deals with marriage/family visits and war criminals. There is an intention to revise the
immigration rules for unmarried parents and simplify them for genuine cases of
marriage. The probationary period
for leave to remain on the basis of marriage will be increased to make bogus
marriages more difficult.
Legislation concerning war criminals will also be strengthened, and
coordination between departments and agencies will be improved in an attempt to
identify those using asylum as a way of avoiding justice for war crimes. For a copy of this document please
The British Refugee Council have responded to the White Paper, for a copy please go to http://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/
The final Conference Report of the Berlin Conference "Europe against Trafficking in Persons" organised by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is now available on the conference website, http://www.osce.org/odihr/europe-against-trafficking. The OSCE "Reference Guide for Anti-Trafficking Legislative Review" is on their website at http://www.osce.org/odihr/democratization/trafficking/. This Reference Guide aims at setting up a framework for comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation in order to assist law and policy makers in the entire OSCE region in their efforts to adopt or review anti-trafficking legislation.
ëSelected Bibliography on the Global Crisis of Internal Displacementí by Gimena S·nchez-Garzoli, published by the Brookings-CUNY Project on Internal Displacement. The bibliography includes various thematic categories, such as basic texts and sources of information, web resources, early writings on internal displacement, general overview of displacement caused by conflict and human rights violations, displacement caused by development projects, legal framework including the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, institutional framework, vulnerable groups, protection strategies, return, resettlement and reintegration, and development strategies. Geographical categories include region specific listings for Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Europe and 56 individual country listings. It is available in pdf format at www.brookings.edu/fp/projects/idp/idp.htm.
The Norwegian Refugee Council Global IDP Project, in association with USCR and the Brookings Institute, has produced a report entitled ëThe Need for a More Focussed Response: European Donor Policies towards Internally Displaced Personsí, by Philip Rudge. The report examines European donor policies to internal displacement in Colombia, Sudan, Chechnya/Ingushetia and Afghanistan, and focuses on the EU, the UK and Norway. It is available on their website, http://www.idpproject.org/.
A collection entitled ëFramework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities- Collected Textsí (2nd edition) (2001) is available from the Council of Europe. Its aim is to provide all those interested in the protection of national minorities a user-friendly compilation of the basic texts concerning the Framework Convention and texts pertaining to the monitoring mechanism in general and the Advisory Committee in particular. It costs EURO 11 and orders can be placed at http://book.coe.int/GB/CAT/LIV/HTM/l1810.htm.
Conference conclusions have been published by the Council of Europe publishers called ëThe protection of fundamental social rights in Europe through the European Social Charter - Proceedings, Sofia, July 2000í (Social Charter Monographs No. 11) (2001). The price is EURO 13 and it can be ordered from http://book.coe.int/GB/CAT/LIV/HTM/l1782.htm. It is also available in French.
The Canadian Human Rights Foundation has published ëA UN Roadmap: a Guide for Asian NGOs to the International Human Rights System and Other Mechanismsí. It is designed to suggest effective strategies which can be used by NGOs working to better promote and protect the rights of (women) migrant workers in Asia and identifies practical approaches which can be used both within and outside the formal mechanisms of the UN and ILO systems. It is available at http://www.chrf.ca/english/publications_eng/files/un-roadmap-intro.htm.
The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia has published its third report on developments in racism, xenophobia and Anti-Semitism in the EU Member States. The Annual Report 2000 can be downloaded from http://www.eumc.at/publications/ar00/index.htm.
The European Union Annual Report on Human Rights for 2000 ñ 2001 is available at http://ue.eu.int/pesc/human_rights/en/HR2001EN.pdf. The Report presents a global view of the EU human rights policy, concentrating on external relations and its international role. It also contains a section on human rights within the Member States, covering issues such as racism, asylum and immigration, trafficking in humans, and human rights and business.
Human Rights Watch have published their World Report 2002. This is their twelfth annual review of human rights around the world. The report can be downloaded from http://www.hrw.org/wr2k2/.
The Evaluation and Policy Analysis Unit (EPAU) at UNHCR have published new Working Papers from its New Issues in Refugee Research series. Number 48 is entitled ëArguing about asylum: the complexity of refugee debates in Europeí by Niklaus Steiner and Number 50 is ëThe state of asylum: democratization, judicialization and evolution of refugee policy in Europeí by Matthew Gibney. You can access these at: http://www.unhcr.ch/, then by clicking on Research/Evaluation, then Evaluation and Policy Analysis, then New Issues in Refugee Research.
ëThe Right of Refugee Childrení by Erich Peter is a new publication in German offering a systematic overview of the rights of refugee children in public and private law. Central to the discussion is the UN-Convention on the Rights of the Child, the agreement on child protection, the Haager agreement on the protection of minors, the definition of the welfare of the child and the basis of the jurisdiction concerning family law. Please contact Dankwart von Loeper for further information at Dvonloeper@ariadne.de.
The Irish Refugee Council have published a research paper called ëBeyond the Pale: Asylum Seeking Children and Social Exclusion in Irelandí by Dr Bryan Fanning, Dr Angela Veale and Dawn OíConnor. The report examines the experiences of poverty and social exclusion on dispersed asylum seeker children in Ireland, comparing these to the experiences of households in receipt of the full supplementary welfare allowance. It is available in word format at http://www.irishrefugeecouncil.ie/pub.html.
ëLearning for a future: Refugee education in developing countriesí, edited by Jeff Crisp, Christopher Talbot and Daiana B. Cipollone. The book examines a wide range of issues relating to refugee education, including education in acute emergencies, the quality of learning and attainment in refugee schools, education for peace, and vocational training programmes for refugees. The complete book can be downloaded from http://www.unhcr.ch/pubs/epau/learningfuture/learningtoc.htm.
The Refugee Claimants Support Centre in Brisbane, Australia, has produced a CD called ëScattered Peopleí, which has songs written and performed by asylum seekers and friends of the Centre. More information, and audio clips from the CD, are available on their website: http://www.refugees.org.au/fundrsr.html
iNexile magazine article. ECRE provided an overview of the experience in EU member states of providing reception services through reception centres in an article for the British Refugee Councilís iNexile magazine in December. A copy of the article is on the ECRE website, further information about iNexile is available from email@example.com or from http://www.ecre.org/eu_developments/reception.shtml
A report commissioned by the Jesuit Refugee Service - Europe has been published entitled ëOutside the Protection of the Law: The Situation of Irregular Migrants in Europeí, by Matthew J. Gibney of the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford. This report challenges many of the commonly held assumptions about irregular migration and highlights key aspects of the lives of those living with irregular migration status in Europe. The text can be downloaded in pdf. format from http://www.qeh.ox.ac.uk/rsc/Gibney6.pdf.
The UK Home Office have published a Research and Development Paper (Occasional Paper No. 75) called International Migration and the United Kingdom: Recent Patterns and Trends. The report brings together information on migrants within the UK, and flows to and from the UK. It examines characteristics such as citizenship, employment, occupation and skill level to provide a comprehensive picture of migrant impact on the UK labour market. The report can be found at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/occ75sub.html.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) published a handbook in association with JCWI in January 2002 to assist trade unionists respond to the issue of migrant workers in the UK. The handbook can be ordered from http://www.tuc.org.uk/.
The report of a conference entitled ëThe Future of Asylum and Migrationí has been published by the Society for International Development / Netherlands Chapter. The conference took place on 14 ñ 15 September 2001 in The Hague. Key speakers were Mr Ruud Lubbers, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Deputy Director General Ms Ndioro Ndiaye of the International Organisation for Migration, Mr Jakob Kellenberger, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Adrian Fortescue, Director General for Justice and Home Affairs, EU/EC. Please contact Dr. Frans Bouwen (secretary-coordinator) for a copy, Tel. + 31 (0) 70 338 32 87, email. firstname.lastname@example.org.
ëRecent demographic developments in Europeí is an annual Council of Europe publication presenting the latest available information on population developments in forty-six European states: size of the population, rate of increase, migration, marriage and divorce, fertility, mortality and foreign population. It is prepared by the European Population Committee, in co-operation with national statistics offices. New for this year is an accompanying interactive CD-Rom. The price is EURO 25 and it is available from http://book.coe.int/GB/CAT/LIV/HTM/l1834.htm.
A new website has been set up at www.asylumsupport.info to provide the latest information about UK asylum and immigration. The site carries all the National Asylum Support Service policy bulletins and provides access to the worldís latest immigration stories.
Migrant News have extended their web site by adding two pages. The first provides you with links to international and regional instruments and various documents from governmental, multilateral and non-governmental sources on trafficking of humans. It is currently only in English, but French and Spanish versions are being prepared. It can be found at
http://www.december18.net/traffickingconventions.htm. The second provides links to government sites that have immigration and labour legislation posted. The page is in English only, and can be found at
Refuge invites submissions on topics including but not limited to: comparative or case studies of state security-policy responses to post-September 11 and likely impacts on asylum-seekers as well as other migrants; the development of coordinated regional and international security approaches; the changes in the discursive environment with respect to forced migration policy; historical perspectives on the current security context; and new challenges facing asylum-seekers and their advocates following September 11. These will be included in an issue aimed at exploring the theme of international security and refugee protection with special reference to recent developments at the national, regional and international level. Contributions, not exceeding 7500 words, must be received by 15 April 2002. For more information please contact Lene Madsen, as above.
The European Parliament is looking for reports on human rights to include in their annual report on the situation of fundamental rights within the EU. Mrs Joke Swiebel, MEP, has been nominated rapporteur. This report is an analysis of the various rights enunciated in the European Charter for Funamental Rights. She is asking for submissions of any report or document (FR-EN) that, in the field of your activities, contains recommendations on the situation of one or more of the rights mentioned in the European Charter during the year 2001. The report needs to be adopted by the Committee on Citizen's Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs in June and then in plenary in July. Documents to be sent to: Sandrine Morozoff, ATR 7K62, rue d'Ardennes 2, B-1047 Bruxelles, Belgium, email@example.com.
United Nations University and World Institute for Development Economics Research are organising a conference on Poverty, International Migration and Asylum in Helsinki, Finland, on 27-28 September 2002. The conference will focus on two major themes: the economic consequences of immigration and issues associated with asylum migration, such as patterns and trends, modes and methods, implications for receiving states and countries of origin, and public policy responses. Selected conference papers, together with a policy summary, will be included in a conference volume, edited by Professor George Borjas (Harvard University) and Dr. Jeffery Crisp (Evaluation and Policy Analysis Unit, UNHCR). Please send applications by 30 April 2002. The application form can be downloaded from http://www.wider.unu.edu/.
The International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) is holding their 8th Biannual Conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on 5-9 January, 2003. The title is ëForced Migration and Global Processesí. Topics discussed will be organised around three sub-themes: forced migration and development; forced migration and human rights; forced migration and security. Each of these covers a broad range of global process that can be approached through a multitude of perspectives, such as anthropological, historical, or legal. Contributions are welcome from theoretical as well as empirical/applied perspectives, from academics, policy-makers and practitioners. The deadline for submissions is 30 June 2002. For more information please visit http://www.iasfm.org.
The Irish Centre for European Law is organising a conference examining all the main areas of refugee law practice, procedural and substantive. It will take place on 2 March 2002 in Dublin. For further information please contact Irish Centre for European Law, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Tel. 00353 (0)1 608 1845, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A regional conference is being organised jointly by UNHCR and IOM entitled ëAsylum and Migration in a Diverse Enlarging Europe: a Baltic Perspectiveí. It takes place on 14 ñ 15 March 2002 in Riga. For further information please contact Erik Slavenas, Programme Officer / Deputy RR IOM Helsinki Regional Office, Tel +358 9 684 11 522, email. email@example.com
The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London is organising a conference on 15 and 16 March. It is entitled ëEU Immigration and Asylum Lawî and will cover Enlargement of the EU & Immigration Law; Temporary Protection; Economic Migration and Integration; Irregular Migration and Border Controls; EU Asylum Policy; Gender Impact of Asylum Policy; Human Rights in EU Immigration & Asylum Law; EU Institutions and EU Immigration & Asylum Law. For further information please contact The AIRE Centre, 17 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4QH.
The London School of Economics is organising a one-day BSPS meeting on 26th March 2002, concerning forced migration: medium and long-term demographic outcomes. For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 7th Conference of European Ministers responsible for Migration Affairs will take place in Helsinki, Finland, on 16 ñ 17 September 2002. The Conference theme is ëEvaluation of the situation in the field of migrationí, with sub-themes of ëdevelopments in the policies for the integrationí and ëtrends in migration management strategiesí. The invitation list can be viewed at http://cm.coe.int/dec/2001/759/15.htm under point D.
ECRE DOCUMENTATION SERVICE
Please find attached a UNHCR summary of judgments and decisions of asylum-relevant case law of the European Court for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (July 2001-December 2001), Update No. 17. (annex L010201)
The European Court rules on the violation of provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights by Belgium as regards the expulsion of 74 Slovakian Roma that were seeking asylum in October 1999.
In a judgement on 5 February 2002 (Čonka v. Belgium, No. 51564/99), the European Court ruled that in expelling the Roma Belgium had violated Articles 5(1) (right to liberty and security), 5(4) (right to take proceedings by which lawfulness of detention shall be decided), Article 4 of Protocol 4 (prohibition of the collective expulsion of aliens), and Article 13 taken together with Article 4 of Protocol 4 of the ECHR.
The case concerned the expulsion of 74 Slovak Roma asylum seekers, including the applicants, J·n Čonka, his wife M·ria Čonkov· and their two children. On 18 June 1999 the Commissioner-General for Refugees and Stateless Persons upheld a decision of the Minister of the Interior declaring their applications for asylum inadmissible, and required that they leave the territory within five days. On 3 August 1999 the applicants lodged applications with the Conseil díEtat for a judicial review of the decision, and for a stay of execution under the ordinary procedure. They also applied for legal aid. On 23 September the Conseil díEtat dismissed the applications for legal aid on the grounds that they had not been accompanied by the requisite means certificate. On 30 September and 1 October 1999, local authorities in Ghent ordered a number of Romani asylum seekers to appear before the police. Many of the Roma were lured to the police station under the false pretext that they had to complete additional forms as a part of their asylum application, including the applicants. Once at the station, the Roma were immediately detained and served with another order to leave the territory, a decision for their removal to Slovakia and their detention for that purpose. They were transferred to a closed detention centre, where they remained until their deportation on 5 October. The Belgian governmentís decision to deport the Roma came despite a European Court of Human Rights decision that day requesting a stay of deportation for eight days to permit consideration of whether the deportation would violate the ECHR.
The applicants relied on Articles 5 and 13 of the Convention and Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 to complain, in particular, about the circumstances of their arrest and expulsion to Slovakia. The Court ruled that acts whereby the authorities sought to gain the trust of asylum seekers with a view to arresting and deporting them contravened the general principles stated or implicit in the Convention. The wording of the notice in this case was intended to facilitate a planned operation for the expulsion of aliens by depriving them of their liberty. Consequently there had been a violation of Article 5 (1). Article 5 (2) had not been violated as the applicants had been provided with sufficient information on their arrival at the police station, in a manner that they could understand. However, the Court judged that Article 5 (4) had been violated as the applicants had been unable to contact their lawyer, and the lawyer was informed of the position too late to enable an appeal to be lodged. The applicants were deported before an appeal would have been heard. The Court noted that the detention and deportation orders made no reference to the application for asylum made by the applicants, and, in view of the numbers of others deported at the same time, the Court could not eliminate all doubt that the expulsion was collective. This was reinforced by a series of circumstances that indicated that the personal situation of each asylum seeker concerned had not been genuinely and individually taken into account. The Court concluded that there had therefore been a violation of Article 4 of Protocol 4. The non-suspensive nature of a judicial review and its uncertain length made the implementation of a stay of execution under the ordinary procedure too uncertain to enable the requirements of Article 13 to be satisfied. Therefore the applicants did not have a remedy available that satisfied the requirements of Article 13 to air their complaint under Article 4 of Protocol No. 4. Accordingly, there had been a violation of Article 13 of the Convention. The judgement is not yet final, and is available in full on the Courtís website: http://www.echr.coe.int/Eng/Judgments.htm.
December 2001 judges at the European Court of Human Rights unanimously ruled to
strike out of the list the case of a former Chechen army commander versus the
Netherlands, application no. 58964/00.
The question of whether the Chechen
could be sent back to Russia and benefit from an internal flight alternative
was settled between the two parties.
During the CPTís periodic visit to Denmark they held talks with, among others, senior officials from the Ministry of Refugees, Immigration and Integration. The CPTís delegation reviewed measures taken by the Danish authorities in response to the Committeeís recommendations made after its 1990 and 1996 visits, in particular as regards the safeguards offered to persons detained by the police, regimes for prisoners and the situation of immigration detainees. They also visited Sandholm Foreignersí Detention Centre.
The visit to Bulgaria was carried out from 25 April ñ 7 May 1999. It includes a section on the conditions at Sofia Airport for accommodating passengers denied entry to Bulgaria. The CPT recommended that, although conditions in the facility are acceptable, foreign nationals should have more opportunity to take part in activities, particularly as regards exercise outside. Further, the CPT would like to receive information on the exact legal status of the facility and the legal safeguards applying to persons held there. The full report is available at http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/reports/inf2002-01en.htm.
The CPT published their report on conditions in the Slovak Republic on 6 December 2001. During the visit the CPT went to the detention centre for foreigners at Medvedíov. Although they were generally satisfied with conditions there they did recommend that the facilities for leisure activities be improved, and that better use be made of the outdoor area. Inadequacies concerning the languages information was displayed in were noted, as the European languages used were not always comprehensible to the non-European detainees. No allegations of mistreatment were made. The full report is available at http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/reports/inf2001-29en.htm.
This report was published on 22 November 2001. The report includes details concerning the Illegal Immigrant and other Unidentified Persons Accommodation Centre, Rīga, in which immigrants waiting to be expelled are detained. Detentions can last up to eight months. Detainees at the centre made no allegations of deliberate ill treatment, however, conditions were considered unsatisfactory. Due to this the delegation requested the immediate transfer of detainees to another more suitable establishment. Areas of concern were hygiene, cleanliness, staff training, exercise facilities, the quality of healthcare, information and legal assistance, and means of coercion in the context of expulsion procedures. The full report is available at http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/reports/inf2001-27en.htm.
The report, published on 18 October 2001, includes a section on the Foreigners Registration Centre in Pabradė. The delegation received some allegations of physical ill treatment of persons held at the Centre by custodial staff. The ill treatment alleged consisted of kicks allegedly inflicted on those detainees who had attempted to escape or refused to obey orders. Moreover, there were allegations of verbal abuse of detainees by members of staff. The CPT therefore recommended the proper training of staff and improved medical notes in such cases. They also recommended improved sanitary conditions and clear rules regarding disciplinary procedures. This report can be downloaded from http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/reports/inf2001-22en.htm - _Toc493473871.
During the periodic visit to Slovenia the CPT delegation met with éarko Bogunovič, Acting Director of the Office for Immigration and Refugees. An issue tackled for the first time in Slovenia was the situation of persons held under the alienís legislation. Two detention centres for foreigners were visited, in Ljubljana and Postojna. The report can be found at http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/press/20011002en.htm.
This visit was carried out within the framework of the CPT programme of periodic visits. The CPTís delegation reviewed developments concerning the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty by law enforcement agencies and conditions of detention in prison. It paid particular attention to the situation of persons held under alienís legislation. The CPT visited a number of Holding Centres for Aliens in Greece, particularly in the Attica region. The report can be found at http://www.cpt.coe.int/en/press/20011012en.htm.
The Austrian Higher Constitutional Court has upheld a complaint against the practice of fining carriers for transporting inadmissible passengers (Az:BvL 55/92). Three airlines, one foreign and two domestic, lodged the complaint against the provisions of the 1997 Aliens Act that impose strict financial liability on carriers who have transported third-country nationals lacking the documents necessary for admission. The Court took the view that these provisions do not clearly specify exactly what kind of obligation carriers are obliged to fulfil when transporting passengers to Austria and are thus in violation of Article 18 (1) of the Constitution. Further, they do not specify whether and how in fulfilling such obligations carriers have to take into consideration Austriaís commitments under the 1951 Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees. The Court therefore declared the provisions of the 1997 Aliens Act to be null and void on 1 October 2001. The Federal Government had argued that the obligations imposed on carriers are no more than what could be expected from the ìdiligence of a prudent businessmanî. However, the Court pointed out that it was unclear how far a carrier had to go to verify information and documents; whether it would have to make precautionary arrangements to ensure that documents produced prior to departure are not destroyed or substituted during the flight; with what precision and with the use of what technical equipment carriers are obliged to examine documents for forgery; whether it must also assume liability in cases where entry into Austria takes place with documents that are not the same as those presented by the passengers prior to embarkation; whether it is required to take measures that will enable it to answer questions as to the identity of specific passengers whom it (allegedly) transported to Austria if the name stated by the alien to the border authorities are different from those supplied to the carriers at check-in. The ruling does not put an end to the practice of fining of carriers in Austria as the government published amendments to the Aliens Act, including provisions on carrier sanctions, on 18 December. They are due to come into effect on 1 January 2002. Due to Article 18 (1) of the Constitution the new text will have to clearly specify the precautionary measures to be implemented by carriers. The amendments were published in the FLG I Nr. 142/2001, please also find them attached (p010201). The Austrian refugee-assisting agency, Asylkoordination, considers this to be a very positive result as the Court's decision shows that the State's obligation and authorization to control borders cannot be delegated that easily to private enterprises.
The Independent Senate of Appeal of Vienna decided on 24 January 2002 that the measures applied in the case of Marcus Omofuma, which lead to his death, were unlawful. The rejected Nigerian asylum seeker died on 1 May 1999 during an aborted attempt to expel him by force. The Independent Senate decided that gagging his mouth and attaching him by force to his seat constituted a violation of his human rights, independent of the fact that he finally collapsed and died. The Independent Senate also took the view that the police had begun to act unlawfully while the asylum seeker was being transported to the airport. A previous ruling on this case had been overturned as unconstitutional as it had concluded that only the victim of alleged state malpractice could complain. The new ruling of the Independent Senate will impact on the trial of the four policemen accused of ëtorturing a detainee, leading to his deathí, scheduled to begin on 4 May 2002. (Source: Migration News Sheet, February 2002)
The Supreme Court ruled that preconditions and procedural safeguards must be met in the case of a refugee at risk of deportation to a country where he faces torture.
In a judgement by the Supreme Court (Suresh v.Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), ,1 S.C.R.2002 SCC 1, 27790, 11 January 2002) the appellantís appeal was allowed, he is now entitled to a new deportation hearing and it was held that the impugned legislation (ss.53 (1) (b) of the Immigration Act) is constitutional.
Mr Suresh is a Convention refugee from Sri Lanka. In 1995 the Canadian government commenced deportation proceedings on security grounds, based on the opinion of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service that he was a member and fundraiser of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The LTTE is allegedly engaged in terrorist activity and their members are subject to torture in Sri Lanka. The Federal Court, Trial Division, upheld the s.40.1 security certificate as reasonable and an adjudicator, following a deportation hearing, ordered that Mr Suresh be deported. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration subsequently found Mr Suresh to be a danger to the security of Canada under s.53(1)(b) of the Immigration Act and issued the danger opinion on the basis of an Immigration Officerís memorandum. Although the appellant had presented written submissions and documentary evidence to the Minister, he had not been provided with a copy of the memo, nor was he provided with an opportunity to respond to it orally or in writing. The appellant applied for judicial review to the Federal Court, alleging that: 1. the Ministerís decision was unreasonable; 2. the procedures under the Act were unfair; and 3. the Act infringed ss.7, 2(b) and 2 (d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The application for judicial review was dismissed on all grounds. The Federal Court of Appeal upheld that decision.
The Supreme Court judgement held that deportation to torture may deprive a refugee of the right to liberty, security and life as protected by s.7 of the Charter. The Charter provision would apply also to torture inflicted abroad if there was sufficient causal connection to said torture and the Canadian Government. The Court held that in the case of Mr Suresh, such was the situation as ìwithout Canadaís action, there would be no risk of tortureî. This section of the Charter also provides for the information on which the Minister bases their decision to be provided to the refugee. The refugee must then be provided with an opportunity to respond in writing to the case and to challenge the Ministerís information. These procedural protections apply where the refugee has met the threshold of establishing a prima facie case that there may be a risk of torture upon deportation. Mr Suresh was held by the Court to have met this threshold, but was denied the procedural safeguards and consequently the case is remanded to the Minister for reconsideration.
The judgement stated that determination of whether deprivation of right to liberty, security and life is in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice and will require a balancing between Canadaís interest in combating terrorism and the refugeeís interest in not being deported to torture. The Court did not exclude the possibility of deportation to torture but it did state that this would only take place in exceptional circumstances. The full judgement is available at http://www.scc-csc.gc.ca/judgments/index_e.html
The new Czech asylum law came into force on 1 February 2002. This law contains restrictive measures, including a one-year employment ban on asylum seekers, an appeals system limited to points of law, and that all asylum seekers living outside the official reception centres will receive assistance for three months only.
On 1 January 2002 the new ìStatusî Law came into force. This law grants the 3.5 million ethnic Hungarians living in neighbouring countries a certain number of privileges, including the right to work, to education, and social security in Hungary as well as cultural privileges. The maximum number of foreign seasonal workers allowed has been set at 81,000, however, and 42,000 are already working in Hungary.
Since the coming into force of the New Aliens Act, the Council of State (Raad van State) is the highest judicial organ in asylum-cases. Its jurisprudence in some cases is, to say the least, controversial. In its decision of 8 November 2001 the Council overruled a long-standing line of case law under the old act with regard to rejected asylum seekers from Iraq. The supreme judicial organ under the old act had ruled in two cases that rejected asylum seekers from Central Iraq had to have family, social or political ties with Northern Iraq before an internal relocation alternative could be considered available to them in the Northern part of the country. Lower courts followed these decisions. As a result of the recent decision of the Council of State all rejected Iraqi asylum seekers are expected to return to Iraq. This can lead to exclusion from social welfare and eviction from housing in the Netherlands if the asylum seekers concerned refuses to cooperate with their return. In this context it is also noteworthy that the Dutch International Organisation for Migration has succeeded in returning only one Iraqi to northern Iraq through Turkish territory since 1 January 2002.
In another controversial decision the Council of State has taken a remarkable position as regards suspension of the deportation order. In its decision of 9 November 2001 the Council ruled that a suspension of deportation cannot be requested unless the date for actual repatriation is known. Under the old Act a suspension could be requested as soon as the Ministry of Justice declared that the asylum seeker could not remain on Dutch territory while his case is awaiting appeal. In some cases there is very little, if any, time to request such a suspension.
In another two recent cases the Council decided that a victim of rape is expected to mention the act of rape in her interview when applying for asylum. Feelings of shame and psychological problems do not relieve her of her obligation to present her motives for applying for asylum. During the interview, the Council considered, the victim was informed that she could speak freely and that all information would be dealt with confidentially.
In a ruling made public on 9 January 2002 the Federal Administrative Court ordered the immediate release of a detained rejected asylum seeker because the canton of Valais had not been diligent enough in trying to deport him. The asylum seeker claimed to be from Guinea-Bissau, but is supposed to be a national of Guinea, and has been placed under preventative custody. He was subsequently convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to six months imprisonment. Nevertheless, the Federal judges ruled that the different authorities should have collaborated from the time that it was decided to implement an expulsion order to ensure the execution of the order without delay. In this case the asylum seeker had been in detention for months with no action taken to expel him from the country. (Source: Migration News Sheet, February 2002)
This judgement follows one on the 15 November 2001 when the Supreme Administrative Court ordered the release of an Iranian women who had been detained since 12 October, pending her expulsion. The Court ruled that holding her in detention constituted a disproportionate measure. The woman and her two daughters had arrived in Switzerland on 26 September, and their request for political asylum had been denied on 8 October. The Aliens Police in Zurich had ordered her detention whereas her two daughters had been placed in a reception centre. Upholding the appeal the Court noted that the danger of her absconding was unlikely as she had arrived with her two children. The mere fact that she had told the authorities that she did not want to return to her home country did not, in itself, justify her detention. (Source: Migration News Sheet, December 2001)
Mr Justice Sullivan upheld a complaint by 50 haulage companies and lorry drivers who had complained against the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act, which holds them responsible for transporting stowaways, in the High Court on 5th December 2001 (International Transport Roth GMBH & others v. the Home Office). The Carrierís Liability Provisions were described by the drivers as ìunworkable in practice and unfair in lawî. The fine of £2000 per irregular migrant is levied regardless of whether the driver is aware of the presence of the stowaway. Mr Justice Sullivan ruled that the levying of such fines on lorry drivers constituted violations of the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular Article 6 on the right to a fair trial and Article 1 (1) on the protection of property. He noted that the drivers were on average fined £12,000, a sum that was ìruinous for many persons of ordinary meansî. Moreover, he pointed out that the lack of rapid access to an independent tribunal to appeal against the withholding of a vehicle for non-payment of a fine amounted to depriving drivers of their means of livelihood and temporary sleeping accommodation. The Home Secretary, David Blunkett, indicated that the government means to appeal the decision, the outcome of which should be known in February or March 2002.
The Home Secretary, David Blunkett, submitted an order to the House of Commons on 13 November 2001, declaring the UK to be in a state of ëpublic emergency threatening the life of the nationí. Consequently, in accordance with Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the UK derogated from its obligations under Article 5 in order to detain suspected international terrorists even where he/she can not be removed for reason of international law or other practical considerations. Such a person may be detained even if his removal is prevented temporarily or indefinitely. In a related development, on 1 February 2002, the Turkish Government informed the Secretary General of the Council of Europe of their decision to withdraw their derogation to Article 5 of the ECHR (right to liberty and security). This had been made in 1992 with respect to its provinces under emergency rule.
On 20 December 2001 Mr Justice Gibbs granted permission to a Palestinian asylum seeker to challenge the refusal of the authorities to move him to a safer place to live. The applicant, Mustafa Thiab, his wife and four children, live in Sighthill, Glasgow, near to the place that a Kurdish asylum seeker was stabbed to death on 5 August 2001. The National Asylum Support Service (NASS), the Home Office agency responsible for allocating accommodation to asylum seekers, refused Mr Thiabís request to move his family out of Sighthill, arguing that steps had been taken to improve the situation there and that the housing estate was now safe. Mr Justice Gibbs was not convinced, however, and felt that Mr Thiab had ìan arguable caseî in claiming that the refusal to relocate him and his family elsewhere was unreasonable and unlawful. The judicial review is expected to go to a full hearing before the end of March 2002. (Source: Migration News Sheet, January 2002)
ECRE DOCUMENTATION SERVICE
The first, networking phase of the ERF project ended on 31 January, with all the lead agencies having increased the numbers of contacts in their respective areas and holding well-attended expert meetings throughout the year.
In terms of advocating and lobbying on ECREís positions on reception and integration, the Secretariat participated and made presentations at various conferences and meetings throughout the year, including the 5th European Conference on the Integration of Refugees in Helsinki, and the 7th European Conference on the Reception of Asylum Seekers in Brussels, see attached report (ri010201). At the integration conference in Helsinki it was interesting to note that several speakers from governments, (e.g. Finland and Ireland) made statements closely reflecting ECREís policy position, indicating that we are getting our message across.
The work on networking with other actors outside the voluntary sector has gained momentum with all lead agencies inviting representatives from local authorities to their meeting. For example, the Stockholm City Council hosted the meeting on refugee employment / education that BRC and WUS organised. However, it was at the meeting CIR held with local authorities that most progress was done in this area and a real possibility for the establishment of a future network funded by municipalities and with NGO representation has been opened up. Currently, no such network of local authorities on immigration and asylum exists in Europe, but given the positive feedback from the first meeting, it seems that CIR can be the catalyst for such a network being established.
The refugee participation pillar in the project is being taken forward mainly through the set-up of the reception and integration forum, where a number of refugees and representatives from refugee community organisations will be involved. In addition, at all the expert meetings throughout the year, refugee participants have played an active and important role in the meetings. Finally, the ECRE Secretariat has continued to liaise with UNHCR and follow-up from the ìRefugee Perspectivesî meeting they organised in September 2001. For example, through ECREís involvement, a number of refugees attended the 5th European Conference on the Integration of Refugees.
Ongoing work is being carried out on contacting national ERF projects in the Member States. To date, contacts with the ERF projects in most Member States have been made, apart from Germany and Belgium due to the late start of national projects in these countries.
ECRE has updated our paper ìPosition on the Reception of Asylum Seekersî first published in June 1997, and a report on freedom of movement will be available shortly. This provides information on the different practices adopted by European states to restrict the movement of those who have applied for asylum within their borders. It looks in detail at procedures in Germany, UK and Sweden and assesses the impact of these for individuals, governments and the public. The report will present a framework for developing good practice in relation to freedom of movement, based on this research.
In its application to the European Refugee Fund, ECRE committed itself to:
ìestablish a forum of representatives in its membership who are most involved in training, best practice, policy and advocacy development in areas covered by its positions on reception and integration.î
Work is now underway to plan the development of this consortium. It is hoped to establish a small consultative group and to improve networking between small grassroots organisations. More effective advocacy on reception and integration, which promotes refugee participation, is a key aim of this initiative. The consortium will feature in the ECRE website. The project will be taken forward in discussions with ECRE members, the ECRAN network and representatives of ERF projects. An initial meeting of the consortium should be held in the next few months. Further information on ERIC will be available in the near future. Anyone requiring further information, or interested in getting involved, should contact Kate Smart, Policy Officer for Reception and Integration on KSmart@ecre.org.
The second analytical phase of the project started on 1 February, and involves four lead agencies analysing new initiatives in policy and practice related to refugee reception and integration, in the areas of education (WUS), traumatised refugees (Caritas), local authorities (CIR) and elderly refugees (Asylkoordination). The employment (BRC) and community centres (GCR) themes have not received continued funding, but to the extent that these lead agencies are continuing working on European reception and integration issues in their respective fields, it is ECREís intention to liaise with them closely.
The outcome at the end of this year is a set of Good Practice Guides in the areas of giving educational advice to refugees, working with elderly refugees and assisting traumatised refugees and victims of torture. These guides will also be fed into our policy positions on reception and integration. In the area of networking with local authorities the aim is to set up a website containing information on the role of local authorities in reception and integration of refugees and look at ways the voluntary sector best can co-operate with local authorities in providing reception support. The project runs for ten months until 30 November 2002, and it is our intention to hold a joint end-of-project conference in Vienna in mid-October.
For further information, please contact Henry MÂrtenson, Project Co-ordinator, Reception & Integration on Hmartenson@ecre.org
Presidency conclusions on the European Council Meeting in Laeken
The Laeken Declaration
The Laeken declaration was issued on Saturday 15/12/01. The most relevant paragraphs are the ones on Europe's new role in a globalised world and on European citizensí expectations. There are also some statements on human rights, the leading role of Europe in a globalised world and a moral framework for globalisation.
Please find the link to the full text under:
The Laeken Conclusions
The Laeken Conclusions reaffirm the European Council's commitment "to the policy guidelines and objectives defined at Tampere" but the emphasis placed on measures to ensure more effective control of external borders and fight illegal immigration is not counter-balanced by a firm commitment to guaranteeing access to and provision of international protection to those in need. There is no reference to integrating refugee protection, human rights and development concerns into the European Union's policy on migratory flows. Furthermore the Summit did not really succeed in indicating a solution to the current deadlock in the negotiations, nor in giving new impetus to the debate. Beside general recommendations to speed up the workings towards an EU asylum and immigration policy, the Council has required the European Commission to present a new amended proposals on minimum standards on procedures to grant and withdraw refugee status, on family reunification and on the Regulation replacing the Dublin Convention by the end of April. The mentioning of the Regulation replacing Dublin has been considered a mistake and currently the Commission is only working at the rewriting of the proposal on procedures and family reunification.
Please find attached the text of the conclusions in relation to asylum (b010201) and ECRE` s comments on it (b010202)
For further details please visit the following links
The Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on 28/2- 1/3/2002
The Justice and Home Affairs Council is meeting on February 28 and March 1, 2002. The Agenda includes the Spanish Presidency proposal for a 'comprehensive' plan to combat illegal migration and trafficking of human beings in the European Union, based on the plan included in the Commission Communication on illegal migration and on the Laeken Conclusions. The Plan, which proposes a series of guidelines, ends with a summary of measures to be adopted for all visas, information-exchange, border control, readmission and repatriation, and Europol. For visas the Plan proposes examining the parameters of these documents (bio-metricsÖ), the creation of common structures (possibly joint offices in third countries), and the development of an EU system for identifying visas. The Commission will be carrying out a large feasibility study, but is waiting for Member States to confirm that they want to move in this direction before actually starting it. Other Commission proposals would then follow. Italy has announced that its feasibility study into common border controls was ready to be discussed for the first time at the May JHA Council. Information would be available in March and a meeting of European chiefs of police would soon be organised, before the Council itself. The study looked at the preliminary stages, technical issues and the first pilot studies that should be launched.
At the margin of today's JHA Council, a meeting with the future members of the Union on external border control will be organized to consider recommendations and best practice concerning removal and readmission procedures of third country nationals from the external borders of the EU.
JHA Council of 16th of November and 6th of December 2001
The 16 November JHA Council was mainly devoted to reviewing progress made in preparing for a JHA instrument to strengthen judicial and police cooperation to combat terrorism and for the adoption of the European arrest warrant. Based on a Presidency note, this Council meeting also had an in-depth discussion on the upcoming Laeken Summit review of the implementation of the Tampere Conclusions. Ministers, in commenting on this note, focused particularly on the need to improve the Union's capacity to manage migration flows, inter alia through strengthened border controls, visa co-operation and Schengen co-ordination. Member States, in introducing amendments to national asylum and immigration laws, should aim at greater convergence with those of other Member States (the Presidency's proposal to call at Laeken for a stand-still clause was rejected). Judicial and police co-operation should be improved by making better use of instruments and bodies.
The 6/7 December JHA Council secured a political agreement on the Framework Decision on combating terrorism. It also adopted a Decision to create EUROJUST, the network of magistrates and judges. However, the Framework Decision on the fight against the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography could not yet be adopted as a result of ongoing general discussions on the required level of ambition in harmonizing elements of Member States' criminal law systems.
The Council also discussed a draft set of Conclusions on the Asylum Procedures Directive. The status of these Conclusions will have to be taken into consideration in the rewriting of the proposal on minimum standards on granting and withdrawing the refugee status (proposal on procedures) They focus on the following issues:
1) the field of application and structure of the directive: it should apply to requests for protection lodged within Member States under the 1951 Geneva Convention. Two questions remain open: the application of the directive to requests for asylum lodged at the border of a Member State and the compulsory application of the directive to other forms of protection;
2) the quality of the decision-making process for examining requests for asylum: according to the Council conclusions, the future instrument should notably guarantee: individual examination of each request for asylum, correct information to the asylum-seeker, the possibility of conducting a personal enquiry (with an interpreter if necessary), "reasonable" legal assistance, the possibility of communicating with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the protection of information contained in each file, the exclusion of the detention of a person simply for reasons of requesting asylum and special attention to the needs of vulnerable groups;
3) procedure matters (normal or accelerated) including, deadlines, number of appeals, nature and power of appeals bodies and the suspensive effect of appeals. It is in this latter area that delegations reportedly still quarrel over what was actually agreed at Ministerial level (particularly as regards suspensive effect of appeals in the regular vs. accelerated procedure) and the status of these Conclusions therefore remains uncertain
Priorities of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of EU in the field of asylum and immigration. The Presidency is focusing on the proposal for a directive on minimum standards of reception of asylum seekers and the draft regulation replacing the Dublin Convention. The Presidency would like to have a debate on the proposal on minimum standards of reception at the end of April.
ECRE has been following closely the negotiations which are underway on the proposed directive on minimum standards of reception of asylum seekers. To convey its views on issues under discussion, ECRE has produced short briefing papers for delegates of member states, on the topics of access to the labour market, social assistance and sanctions. These papers are available on the ECRE website: http://www.ecre.org/eu_developments/reception.shtml
Judging by the current progress in the negotiations of the Council it seems likely that it will be an agreement based on a seriously watered down proposal which will leave ample discretion to member states and little obligations is a realistic possibility.
As for the proposal for a Regulation replacing the Dublin Convention the plan is to have a ministerial discussion at the Council of June, but any agreement is not expected before the Danish Presidency.
On February 14th the Presidency submitted to the Council an action plan on illegal migration based on the Commission's Communication on illegal immigration. Political agreement should be reached at the JHA Council meeting of February 28 March. Improving border management and readmission agreements will also figure among the key activities of the Spanish Presidency.
On 22 January the Spanish minister of Justice, Mr. Acebes, presented the presidencyís agenda in the field of justice and home affairs before the European Parliament Committee of Citizensí Rights and Freedoms. Fight against terrorism will be the top priority in the Justice and Home Affairs European agenda. Moreover, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep PiquÈ has confirmed that the Spanish Presidency also wants to initiate the debate on combating terrorism among the tasks of the European Security and Defence Policy. MPs criticized the presidency for approaching the EUís anti terrorist strategy from a domestic point of view. Also, concerns where raised with regard to the future extradition agreement between the EU and the USA.
More information on the Spanish Presidency program is available on the presidency Website: www.eu2002.es
Denmark's opt-out decision puts the country in a peculiar position to chair the negotiations. It is currently presented by the Danish government as an advantage: since it is not affected by the decisions taken and therefore should not have a national agenda to push, should be in a better position to mediate. However, the countryís new right-wing government's bill on asylum does not sound very encouraging.
As usual, the Danish priorities on the asylum agenda will depend on the progress made by the Spanish Presidency, in particular in relation to the proposal on minimum standards of reception of asylum seekers and the new Regulation replacing the Dublin Convention. It is expected that the Spaniards will get agreement on the Reception directive while the adoption of the Regulation replacing Dublin should take place under the Danish Presidency. It is not clear yet what other priority will be set by the Danes: on the one hand the new amended proposals on family reunification and minimum standards of procedures will be on the table on the other the negotiations the refugee definition and subsidiary protection directive should also start.
The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a Council Directive on a residence permit for victims of action to facilitate illegal immigration or trafficking in human beings who cooperate with the competent authorities. The proposal seeks to combat the networks of people smugglers and traffickers by laying down arrangements for victims who lodge complaints or provide information to the police or the courts. The text, which was announced in the Commission Communication of 15 November 2001 on a common policy on illegal immigration (COM(2001)672 and features in the conclusions of the Laeken summit (paragraph 40), complements other initiatives about to be adopted by the Council.
For further information please visit:
Please find attached the provisional version of the Directive on the short-term residence permit issued to victims of action to facilitate illegal immigration or trafficking in human beings who cooperate with the competent authorities (b010203)
Please note that the Commissionís working document on ìThe relationship between safeguarding internal security and complying with international protection obligations and instrumentsî (issued on 5 December, 2001) is now available on the web under the following address:
The final Proposal on the refugee status and international protection (presented by the Commission in September 2002) has been published in the Official Journal of the European Communities on 26/2/2002, reference C51E/325. The proposal is also available on the DG Justice and Home Affairs Website in all EU official languages. Please see
Look for the Proposal for a Council Directive on minimum standards for the qualification and status of third country nationals and stateless persons as refugees or as persons who otherwise need international protection and choose the language.
This is the link for the English text. http://europa.eu.int/eur lex/en/com/wdc/2001/com2001_0743en01.pdf
The working document is the Commissionís response to conclusion 29 of the extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting of 20 September 2001, in which: ìThe Council invites the Commission to examine urgently the relationship between safeguarding internal security and complying with international protection obligations and instrumentsî.
Furthermore on December 3, 2002 the Commission adopted a Communication on the common asylum policy, introducing an open coordination method.
Five general European guidelines are being proposed by the Commission. They will be submitted for consultation with a view to the formal tabling of a Commission proposal.
1. Improving understanding of migratory flows linked to humanitarian admission
2. Developing an efficient asylum system that offers protection to those who need it, according to a full and inclusive application of the Geneva Convention
3. Improving the effectiveness of the policy on returns
4. Including matters relating to international protection in relations with third countries
5. Ensuring that policies are framed to promote the integration or inclusion of beneficiaries of international protection in a Member State
Please find more information on this communication under the Commission press releases:
And see the text in all official languages on: http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/justice_home/unit/immigration_en.htm
On November 15, the European Commission adopted a communication (through the written procedure) on clandestine and illegal immigration. This is the third part of the global "asylum-immigration" package, following its two communications launched in November 2000 on asylum and EC policy relating to migration and, in July 2001, the draft directive relating to lawful and economic immigration. In its new communication, the Commission proposes six priority areas where measures may be taken to prevent and combat the scourge of illegal immigration: - policy relating to visas; - infrastructure for information exchange; - border management; - police co-operation; - legislation on foreigners and criminal law; - return and readmission policy. In addition, the Commission would like to initiate a debate on:
(1) the return policy: the Commission will very shortly present a Green Paper on the subject;
(2) the creation of a European border-guard corps, sketching out the first measures to facilitate the process. The Commission will shortly publish a communication on the management of European borders;
(3) establishment of a European system of visa identification to allow for an exchange of information on visas issued in Member States. The Commission will undertake a feasibility study on the creation of such a system.
To read the text please go to: http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/justice_home/unit/immigration_en.htm
Strasbourg, 15/01/2002 - The Irish President of the Liberal group, Pat Cox, was elected President of the European Parliament for the next two and a half years (until the June 2004 European elections) in Strasbourg on 15 January. Ms Ana Palacio Vallersundi (Spanish Peopleís Party) is the new chair of the Committee on Citizens Rights. She is taking over Mr. Watsonís position.
On February 6 the European Parliament adopted its report on the anti terrorism proposals (Rapporteur Mr Watson - UK Liberal)
The European Parliament committee on citizens' rights and justice and home affairs has adopted the report by the British Liberal Democrat Baroness Sarah Ludford on the status of non-EU nationals living in the Community and the report by the German Social Democrat Margot Kessler concerning the draft directive on the criteria governing the freedom of movement of non-EU nationals in the Member States for a maximum of three months. For more information please go to:
Mr Hernandez Mollar's report on a proposal for a directive laying down minimum standards of reception for asylum-seekers was submitted on February 20 for a first exchange of views in the Parliamentary Committee. The draft report tries to strike a balance between an asylum seeker-friendly approach and the requests of the Spanish government in this field. The deadline to present amendments is March 4. ECRE has sent its comments and briefings to all the members of the parliament involved and their advisors, we expect that they will be taken into account in the drafting of amendments.
For the report please go to:
Mr Marinhoís report on a regulation replacing the Dublin Convention was also submitted to a first exchange of views on February 20. The committee set up the deadline to present amendments on February 26. The Green group has presented amendments based on ECRE comments.
For the report please see: http://www.europarl.eu.int/meetdocs/committees/libe/20020219/452947en.pdf
Both reports are due to be adopted in plenary by May.
Ms. Jean Lambert (Greens UK) has been appointed rapporteur on the proposal for a directive on the refugee status and subsidiary forms of protection.
After ECRE's bi-annual general meeting on Saturday and Sunday December 8 and 9, ECRE held its conference ìEurope & Refugees. Freedom, Security and Justice ?î on Monday December 10. Speakers included high-level representatives of the European Institutions, NGOs, the refugee communities, Ms Elisabeth Rehn (former UN Ambassador to Bosnia) on behalf of the signatories of ECRE Appeal and the South African Ambassador. The audience was mainly NGOs, government and EU institution representatives. At the meeting ECRE handed over to the Belgian Secretary of State for cooperation and development the ECRE appeal to European governments, which has been signed by hundreds of prominent personalities and ECRE key recommendations for Laeken. A special report on ECRE assessment on the progress made since Tampere and ECRE recommendations for the future (The Promise of Protection) was also launched on the same day. Finally ECRE issued a number of press releases related to this event and the Laeken summit.
For more information on this event please visit our special web site:
P010201 - Bundesgesetz: Ÿnderung des Fremdengesetzes 1997 (NR: GP XXI IA 532/A AB 880 S. 83. BR: AB 6509 S. 682.)
P010202 - Geneva Expert Round Table, 8 - 9 November 2001, Organized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Summary Conclusions on Article 31 of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees ñ Revised
P010203 - Geneva Expert Roundtable 8 - 9 November, 2001 Organized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Summary Conclusions on Family Unity
P010204 ñ ECRE Guidelines for the treatment of Afghan Asylum seekers & Refugees in Europe - February 2002
P010205 - Current Treatment of Asylum applications from Afghan Asylum Seekers
L010201 - UNHCR - Update No. 17 - Relevant Case-Law of the European Court for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (July 2001- December 2001)
RI010201 - Report on 5th European Conference on the Integration of Refugees
B010202 ñ Statement to the Laeken Summit by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles
B010203 - Proposal for a COUNCIL DIRECTIVE on the short-term residence permit issued to victims of action to facilitate illegal immigration or trafficking in human beings who cooperate with the competent authorities