Tag Archives: illegal migration

African Union Summit opens in Addis Ababa

The leaders of  African states gather for the annual African Union #AU summit which started its activities from February 7.

The refugees and internally displaced persons are in the focus of the Summit taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Nowadays Sub-Saharan Africa hosts more than a quarter of the world’s 25.4 million refugees, the UN agency for refugees UNHCR reports.

However that figure is considered to be a conservative assessment because of ongoing conflicts in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

According to the United Nations, 85% of the displaced people are located in developing countries, with three African countries – Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia  among the major hosts of refugees in the world.

The activists and campaigners for human rights insist there is an urgency for the African Union to undertake practical measures to address the issue of refugees on the continent.

The #AU will also discuss a standard passport for all African countries. There are expectations that the passports will bring the continent closer to free movement of people alike in the European Union, to promote a viable alternative to current illegal migration.

The AU’s Commission promised to announce the design, production, and issue a model of a passport during the Summit.

However the problem of passports is not limited to its design, or funding. There is no tradition, neither requirement to issue birth certificates in Sub-Saharan Africa, with an exception of some urban agglomerations. The date of birth in the overwhelming number of cases is unknown, which creates a considerable obstacle in identification of  an individual. The case of a notorious Ethiopian “junior” athlete Girmawit Gebrzihair,  causing an international scandal, is a recent example of difficulties the authorities meet, while producing passports for citizens without birth certificate, based only on their affidavit, the method lacking credibility. An alternative for establishing a correct age, can be in use of medical checks with a sophisticated modern equipment, however the are no funds available to engage in such a costly practice.

 

 

Marrakesh: leaders sign Global Compact

Speaking at the start of the UN conference in Marrakesh where  states gather to adopt the so-called Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the Secretary General Antonio Guterres promoted the initiative, insisting developed countries needed more migration due to their declining birth rates and aging populations.

In July all 193 UN members except the United States concluded the non-binding pact of a highly political nature. But since then, the text has come under scrutiny from right-wing European politicians who are convinced it could lead to an increase in migration flows, and the courts would lose the tool to extradite the illegal migrants as the difference between legal and illegal migration would disappear.

At least six European Union members – mostly in Eastern Europe – have shunned the accord. On Sunday, hours ahead of the conference, Chile was the latest country to pull out, while Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel faced collapse of the governing coalition, with resignation of his ministers.

Although depicted as an achievement, the Declaration continues to provoke criticism over its ambiguity not only from right-wing, but also from center right. The European Parliament did not adopt the Resolution of Global Compact in November plenary, the failure regarded as a blow to the image of the initiative. Subsequently the European Parliament delegation had a humble presence.

In spite of the ambivalence, and criticism the signature of Global Compact is a huge step forward to eliminate the concept of ‘illegal migrants’, and create a world without borders.

 

 

EU stands for “equal” partnerships with Africa

Today in Brussels at the European Council  the EU leaders will discuss the issue of migration  There will be a report on progress, as agreed in the June European Council conclusions.

While considering all elements and taking a comprehensive approach to migration, the leaders are expected to focus particularly on three aspects in their discussions:

  • cooperation with countries of origin and transit
  • the fight against people smuggling networks
  • the recent Commission proposals on returns, the Asylum Agency and the European Border and Coast Guard

The conclusions will also take into account the discussion already held at the informal leaders’ meeting in Salzburg on 20 September. The Austrian Chancellor is also expected to report on the reform of the Common European Asylum System and the prospects for progress on its various elements, also following the discussion held in the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 11-12 October.

“In the debate on migration, this has been a dead end in the conflict over quotas for many years. We now want to go the path of solidarity instead of obligatory quotas, where everyone contributes where they can. This is a very capable access” Austrian Cancellor Kurz said in his doorstep remarks.

There is still considerable pressure from the behalf of the Mediterranean flooded with migrants states to relocate them  along all EU members, and reform the Dublin regulation, imposing all responsibility onto the first receiving state.

However the consequent refusal of a number of the EU states to accept migrants should be compensated by the governments by allocation of  funds to share the burden to some extend.

While addressing migration issues the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini (pictured) called for “new equal political  partnership” with Africa.

 

 

 

EU top diplomats focus on Libya

“First of all, we will hold a discussion on Libya. I just met with the UN Special Envoy [for Libya, Ghassan] Salamé in Brussels a couple of days ago, and I will report to the Ministers about the state of play in Tripoli, in Libya”, said EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini upon her arrival to the Council for EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

The European Union will search for the ways to reinforce the  support to the United Nations, both in political process, but also on economic reforms and on security arrangements.

There will  be separate discussion on the external work on illegal migration together with the UN Refugee Agency and of the  International Organisation for Migration IOM, headed by the newly elected IOM Director General António Manuel de Carvalho Ferreira, who will  join ministers by video conference from Geneva. While Filippo Grandi will arrive to Luxembourg meeting.

“We will focus on the different strands of work we have been putting in place, also in view of the European Council that is meeting in Brussels later this week. We will prepare the ground for the Prime Ministers and Heads of States to review the work we are doing and indicate where Member States are ready to do more, in which fields of action, on the external side of migration” Mogherini underlined.

Central African Republic (CAR) will be the other point of agenda, assessing the possible ways for aid to the country in ‘difficult conditions”, the diplomat underlined.

Portugal offers employment to illegal migrants

A group of illegal migrants rescued from the Mediterranean in July by NGO vessel Aquarius have been re-homed in Fundao, a small Portuguese town 260 km north of Lisbon. (Image above: illustration, Fundao region),

The group of 19 migrants from Eritrea, Nigeria, Yemen and Sudan arrived in town to receive integration course, including classes in Portuguese language, and necessary skills to enter labor market.

The arrival of this group of migrants is a result of Portugal’s commitment to solidarity and European cooperation on migrants,” the government statement said.

These days Portugal joined with Spain, France and Germany in offering shelter and future to 10 people from this week Aquarius arrival  with the 58 illegal migrants on board.

The Portuguese unemployment rate fell to 6.7 % in the second quarter of 2018, while youth unemployment rate of those aged 15 to 24 is estimated 19.4%.

 

EU expects Arab League aid in handling migration

On 19 September the heads of state or government met for an informal working dinner on migration in Salzburg, Austria. Leaders discussed the latest developments in this area. They took note that the number of irregular arrivals has been reduced and is now even lower than in the years before the crisis.

The heads of state or government also agreed to strengthen cooperation with third countries, including Egypt.

Together with chancellor Kurz we have started a dialogue with the Egyptian President and now we can say that there is a backing from the European Council for this and similar dialogues” said president of the EU Council Donald Tusk, who will meet President Al Sisi in September to take the cooperation forward. In this context, the leaders also agreed to organise a summit with the League of Arab States in February 2019.

 

Illegal migrants storm fences in Spain

A several hundreds of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa entered Spain after storming a double barrier between Morocco and the Spanish territory of Ceuta, with some attacking security forces with quicklime, police reported.

The scramble over the barrier is the biggest in Ceuta since February 2017, when more than 850 migrants entered the overseas territory over four days. Today around 600 illegals migrantes participated in breaking into Spanish territory.

At present Spain becomes the number one destination for illegal migrants crossing the Mediterranean by boat, surpassing Italy with 19,586 arrivals so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

A spokesman for the Guardia Civil police force in #Ceuta told AFP the migrants managed to climb over the double barrier, which is covered in small blades, early on Thursday morning, June 26.

They scrambled over “all of a sudden, with much violence,” and some attacked police with quicklime they had in tubes and bottles.

As a result, “more than a dozen police” were injured, four of whom had to go to hospital for burns in the face and arms.

“There is no possible justification for an organized, illegal, massive and violent assault on a border like today’s : 600 young and strong men have wounded viciously and used quicklime against  22 agents. All my support and admiration for the Guardia Civil” – wrote in her Twitter microblog Beatriz Becerra, MEP, vice-chair of the Subcommittee of Human rights of the European Parliament.

Spanish citizens are waiting for the reaction of government on this outbreak of violence.

AMENDMENT: Spanish newspaper El Pais reports total more than “800 illegal migrants from sub-Sanitarian Africa without documents” early morning hours stormed the border between Ceuta and Marocco.

 

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