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Arkiveringsdatum 190609:

Human Rights Watch 19-05-16:

Italien/ Reject Anti-Rescue Proposals - Criminal penalties could deter saving lives till sidans topp

The Italian government should firmly reject a proposal to fine shipmasters up to €5,500 for every person they rescue and take to Italy, Human Rights Watch said today. Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has proposed this and other problematic anti-rescue measures in a decree to be examined by the government starting as early as today.

"Salvini's latest salvo in his war on humanitarian rescue puts a price tag on the right to life," said Judith Sunderland, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "The rest of the coalition government should reject this naked effort to discourage saving lives at sea, including by merchant vessels."

Since becoming interior minister, Salvini has repeatedly sought to further restrict the already extremely tight Italian policies on rescues at sea and disembarkation of people rescued at sea. Italy has cut back on search-and-rescue operations, delayed or refused taking people rescued at sea to Italy, and supported efforts by Libyan coast guard forces to interdict asylum seekers and migrants seeking to cross the Mediterranean to Europe and return them to abusive detention in Libya.

The first draft of the decree would impose fines of between €3,500 and €5,500 per foreigner rescued at sea and subsequently taken to Italy in the event the rescuing ship did not comply with "the operating instructions issued by the authorities responsible for the area in which the rescue operation takes place or by the respective authorities of the flag state" or the laws of the sea.

The flag state is the country that has licensed the ship. In cases involving ships flying the Italian flag, the decree allows for temporary suspension or revocation of the license of vessels whose instances of rescue and disembarkation in Italy are considered "grave or repeated."

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Arkiveringsdatum 190318:

ECRE 19-03-01:

Danmark/ 'Paradigm Shift' Takes Race to the Bottom to a New Low till sidans topp

The L 140 bill that is presented as a 'paradigm shift' was approved by the Danish Parliament on February 21 with support from the conservative liberal governing coalition, the leading opposition party of the Social Democrats and the far-right Danish People's Party. The bill introduces among other initiatives a principle of temporality of protection for all spontaneous asylum seekers as well as resettled refugees in Denmark, a potential cap on family reunifications and a substantial decrease of social benefits for refugees now renamed 'return support.'

The reform package that includes changes of several laws on foreigners, integration, repatriation and more will mean that anyone who arrives as a spontaneous asylum seeker regardless of status as well as people granted family reunification will only have their status renewed if not doing so would constitute a clear violation of Denmark's obligations under international law. Further, the Minister for Integration can introduce a cap on family reunification at a month notice in case of an increase of applications considered to put national authorities or municipalities under pressure, a reduction of social benefits for people granted protection or family reunification as well as a severe increase of the penalty for violating entry ban or failing the duty to report regularly to authorities.

According to Christian Friis Bach Secretary General for the leading Danish INGO and ECRE member the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) the organisation is: "saddened to see that Denmark takes part - and sometimes actually put itself at the front seat - in the European race to the bottom, when it comes to limiting rights for asylum seekers and refugees." Further, DRC an organisation with extensive long-term experience of integration of migrants and refugees in Denmark regrets that: "the political focus on temporality and return creates frustration among many of the refugees in Denmark," and "limits the incentive to begin an education, to take a job, to learn the language."

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Arkiveringsdatum 190302:

ECRE 19-02-15:

Australien/ Landmark "Medevac" bill passed in parliament, but not without backlash till sidans topp

The Australian government has suffered a historic defeat, as parliament voted on Monday to pass a bill that will make it easier for doctors to evacuate critically ill refugees from offshore processing centers on Manus and Nauru Island. However, in the same week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the government will reopen the Christmas Island detention centre in the Indian Ocean.

Australia's ruling Liberal government lost its first substantive vote on the floor of the House of Representatives since 1929, after Labour and the crossbench MPs supported a bill that will give doctors more power to recommend medical transfers of refugees and asylum-seekers confined to off-shore centres on the islands of Nauru and Manus. Having witnessed numerous suicide attempts, untreated illnesses, and cases of resignation syndrome within children, medical professionals said in November the health situation in these facilities was "beyond desperate."

Despite receiving widespread attention and condemnation by some as a risk to national security, in fact the bill is limited in scope- it will reportedly only apply to some 1,000 people who are already on the two islands, but not to any new people arriving by boat. Nor will it mean that those deemed in need of transfer will be free from detention- the legislation says that "any transitory person who is brought to Australia for a temporary purpose must be kept in immigration detention while in Australia".

The bill was passed in Australia's lower house by a vote of 75 to 74. Labor leader Bill Shorten said ensuring that people in offshore detention had access to proper medical treatment was a test of national character; "It is about how we treat sick people in our care." Liberal Scott Morrison argued that the bill would increase the number of deaths at sea by encouraging people to try to reach Australia by boat; "My job now is to do everything within my power, and the power of the government, to ensure that what the Parliament has done to weaken our borders does not result in boats coming to Australia".

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FRA 19-02-18:

Europa/ Tighter laws continue to hit migrants across the EU till sidans topp

Stricter migration laws and policies continue to take their toll on migrants' fundamental rights, finds the agency's latest report on migration-related fundamental rights concerns. It highlights the hardening political stance in Member States, difficulties in claiming asylum, and poor reception conditions during the cold winter months.

The report identifies changing migration laws that will make life harder for migrants.

For example, the Italian Parliament approved significant migration reforms. They replace humanitarian residence permits with more specific temporary permits. As a result significantly fewer people will qualify for protection. They widened the types of criminal offences that can revoke protection or reject asylum claims. In addition, the Italian approach to reception has changed: the national asylum seeker and refugee protection system, often cited as a good practice, will be restricted to only those who quality for protection; asylum applicants will be kept in lower quality facilities and greater limits will be placed on access to local services, such as training.

Elsewhere, in Croatia, a new law on immigration detention is restricting migrants' access to non-governmental organisations and lawyers, making legal aid harder to receive. In Germany, asylum law amendments oblige unaccompanied children and young adults to provide supporting identity and proof of age documents during repeal and withdrawal procedures. Not only could it complicate and lengthen procedures, it also means they now have to help authorities revoke their protected status. And in Austria, proposed social welfare cuts that link benefits to employability may disproportionately affect migrants who do not have the necessary language skills yet.

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ECRE 19-02-22:

Tyskland/ Draft bill to expand detention and target civil society till sidans topp

The German interior minister has submitted a ministerial draft bill that proposes measures for more effective implementation of deportations. Refugee right organisations are concerned the law could expand the use of detention and restrict the rights of people seeking asylum. The proposal is discussed amid further deportations from Germany to Afghanistan.

The draft bill for the "Geordnete-Rückkehr-Gesetz" (Orderly Return Law) presents the second round of measures to facilitate deportations of people obliged to leave the country, following a law passed in 2017. The proposal expands the use of detention making it easier for the government to detain people seen in danger of absconding. It shifts the burden of proof and the government no longer has to establish reasons why a person may abscond. The person affected has to prove the non-existence of such reasons.

The draft proposal also broadens the interpretation of reasons that substantiate a risk of absconding. Those having travelled to Germany via another EU country or not attending return counselling can accordingly be seen at risk of absconding and be legitimately detained. Under the proposed legislation, pre-deportation detention could be merged with criminal detention (which is prohibited by European law). As long as there are not enough places in pre-deportation detention facilities, people obliged to leave can be detained in public prisons.

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UNHCR 19-02-18:

Danmark/ UNHCR Observations on the proposed amendments to the Aliens legislation till sidans topp

/Utdrag:/

(...) UNHCR is concerned with the pace and scope of the restrictions the Danish Government has introduced in the areas of asylum, integration and family reunification. The adoption of increasingly restrictive asylum policies and unilateral measures by States risk to marginalize refugees, and make durable solutions, including successful integration more difficult. Good regional ande national asylum policies and practicies are important to shape how refugee situations are managed globally, and to show solidarity and shared responsibility.

(...)

One of the proposal's most significant changes is to UNHCR's understanding the introduction of regular review of the protection status upon extention of the residence permits granted to persons afforded protection under Article 7 and 8 of the Danish Aliens Act. (...)

UNHCR has long advocated that refugees are entitled to a secure and stable status, which should not be subject to regular review. Just as refubees, beneficiaries of subsidiary protection should also not have their status subject to regular review, Notably, in 2015, the UNHCTR Executive Committee, including Denmark, called on States to support refugees' ability to attain local integration through the timely grant of a secure legal status and residency rights, ant to facilitate their naturalization. The ExCom has thus recognized that short-term residence permits and frequent reviews are counter-productive to integration. Moreover, the 1951 Convention foresees a gradual attainment of rights, with the end of the continuum being naturalization in the country of asylum or the end of the refugee's protection needs and voluntary return, for example, as a result of fundamental and durable changes in the country of origin.

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Arkiveringsdatum 190209:

ECRE 19-01-25:

Island/ Equal reception conditions for resettled refugees and asylum seekers till sidans topp

This week, a new proposal was put forward by the Icelandic Minister of Social Affairs that would ensure that asylum seekers who have been granted asylum in Iceland are afforded the same reception conditions as refugees who have been resettled in the country as part of international agreements

Currently, resettled refugees receive housing, financial assistance, and community support services upon arrival to the country. However, asylum seekers who arrive through other means do not qualify for such services, even once they have been granted asylum. Municipal authorities and the Icelandic Red Cross have criticised the discrepancy in treatment of the two groups. Under the terms of the new proposal, drafted by a committee that was appointed to review the refugee reception process, local municipalities would shoulder more of the responsibilities related to refugee services and the role of the Multicultural Information Centre would also be enhanced. Additionally, the Directorate of Labor would ensure provision of Icelandic lessons and social education to newly arrived asylum seekers.

Ásmundur Einar Da?ason, the Minister of Social Affairs and Equality, said of the proposal; "the biggest changes are that individuals who receive [asylum status] through the Directorate of Immigration and have, up until now, been on their own, will go into the same system that the [resettled] refugees do, in which they have support in learning Icelandic, getting themselves settled, and adapting to society."

In May 2018, 55% of Iceland's residents who voted in the municipal election poll supported Iceland welcoming more refugees. The remaining votes in the poll were split between being neutral, 20%, or strongly against taking more refugees (21%).

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Arkiveringsdatum 190123:

UNHCR 19-01-18:

Etiopien/ UNHCR welcomes Ethiopia law granting more rights to refugees till sidans topp

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes Ethiopia's historic new refugee law which will now allow refugees to obtain work permits, access primary education, obtain drivers' licenses, legally register life events such as births and marriages and open up access to national financial services, such as banking.

Ethiopia's parliament adopted revisions in its existing refugee law on Thursday (17 January 2019), making it one of the most progressive refugee policies in Africa.

"The passage of this historic law represents a significant milestone in Ethiopia's long history of welcoming and hosting refugees from across the region for decades," said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. "By allowing refugees the opportunity to be better integrated into society, Ethiopia is not only upholding its international refugee law obligations, but is serving as a model for other refugee hosting nations around the world."

Ethiopia's revision of its refugee law comes just weeks after the UN General Assembly agreed to the Global Compact on Refugees on 17 December 2018. At the heart of this innovative new framework is a more comprehensive response to displacement in which refugees are included in national services like health and education, rather than setting up parallel systems. It also focuses on ensuring refugees have the opportunity to be self-reliant and can contribute to local economies in a way that also benefits their hosts.

UNHCR was involved in the drafting process of the refugee law revision, which was led by Ethiopia's Agency for Refugee and Returnee Affairs, ARRA. It replaces the 2004 Refugee Proclamation which also upheld the key principles of the 1951 Refugee Convention as well as the 1969 OAU Convention, which restricted some refugee rights, like freedom of movement and access to education, and made no mention of integration.

Ethiopia currently hosts over 900,000 refugees, primarily from neighbouring South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea, as well as smaller numbers of refugees from Yemen and Syria.

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Arkiveringsdatum 181125:

ECRE 18-11-16:

Italien/ Salvini decree approved by senate, amid protests and institutional criticism till sidans topp

On November 7, the Italian Senate approved the new Decree-Law on immigration and security, introducing significant amendments and restrictions to the current asylum framework, prompting protests in the capital and opposition from institutions and organisations.

The law includes amendments in qualification and reception provisions, abolishes the humanitarian protection status and restricts access to accommodation in SPRAR (Protection System for Refugees and Asylum Seekers) hosting facilities. Several detention and procedure-related amendments also predict significant changes in asylum standards and living conditions, while the decree includes provisions that make expulsion of aliens and citizenship revocation easier.

On Saturday, several thousand protesters participated in a march organised in Rome against the decree, which has been dubbed as the "Salvini decree" in reference to Matteo Salvini, the Interior Minister who is behind it. The protesters targeted the Minister's hostile stance on migrant and refugee rights which has been prevalent amid wider anti- EU rhetoric.

The decree has been widely criticised by local NGOs, with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) releasing a press statement concerning the destructive impact the measures could have on access to protection and the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. On Thursday, November 15, the High Council of the Judiciary issued an opinion on the content of the decree, stating that it violates the constitutional rights of refugees and migrants.

On the same day, Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, described the bill as a step back on migration and asylum that "raises several concerns regarding the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers" specifically noting the restriction of reception and integration standards.

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Se även:

Silvia Carta in EU Migration Law Blog 18-10-31: Beyond closed ports: the new Italian Decree-Law on Immigration and Security (Extern länk)

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Arkiveringsdatum 181108:

Human Rights Watch 18-10-30:

USA/ Make asylum accessible to people fleeing violence till sidans topp

Any policies adopted by the United States that result in returning people fleeing violence in Central America to persecution or torture would violate US obligations, Human Rights Watch said. President Donald Trump is expected to announce an executive order on October 30, 2018 that will reportedly use various methods to block people fleeing violence from accessing asylum in the US.

Extreme violence related to organized crime, and in some instances abusive security forces, is a major problem throughout much of Central America's Northern Triangle - Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Violence and threats, often targeted, have prompted increasing numbers of people from those countries to seek asylum in the region and around the world.

"Given how dangerous life at home has become over the past few years, more people from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador are claiming asylum in Mexico, the US, and beyond," said Clara Long, senior US researcher at Human Rights Watch. "The migrant caravan isn't increasing the flow in total numbers, but people told me that joining it was the safest way to escape. Traveling mostly on foot, with children, is dangerous and exhausting, and they hope for safety in numbers during the journey."

Refugee rights are human rights.

A total of 50,000 people tried to cross the Mexico-US border in September. But such surges are usually followed by much lower numbers in subsequent months. The US seems to be on target for the 25,000 for October that has been typical since 2009.

But even under flawed procedures for granting asylum, more Central American migrants are being recognized as refugees, not just in the US but regionally and globally. In 2009, Mexico granted asylum to just 15 Northern Triangle citizens, but in 2017, it recognized 1,910. US asylum grants to Central Americans have increased from 811 for the three countries in 2013 to 8,969 in 2017.

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Amnesty International 18-10-26: Amnesty International 18-10-26: President Trump must abandon plan to close southern border to Central Americans seeking asylum (Extern länk)

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AIDA 18-10-24:

Turkiet/: Constitutional Court pilot judgment on protection from refoulement till sidans topp

On 12 June 2018, the Turkish Constitutional Court delivered a pilot judgment in Y.T. concerning the prohibition of refoulement in light of the amendments introduced to the Law on Foreigners and International Protection by way of emergency decree in 2016.

An exception to the principle of non-refoulement in Turkish legislation was brought about by Emergency Decree 676 of 29 October 2016, which provides that a deportation decision "may be taken at any time during the international protection proceedings" against a person for reasons of: (i) leadership, membership or support of a terrorist organisation or a benefit-oriented criminal group; (ii) threat to public order or public health; or (iii) relation to terrorist organisations defined by international institutions and organisations.

The derogation from non-refoulement is applied in practice, bearing in mind that security-related codes are widely issued to foreign nationals by the Directorate General for Migration Management (DGMM) - the "YTS89" code issued to "foreign terrorist fighters" (Yabanci Terorist Savasci), for example, was applied to approximately 67,000 persons in 2017.

Although administrative courts have developed positive practice with regard to upholding the non-refoulement principle, the emergency decree specifies that appeals against deportation decisions on the aforementioned grounds have no automatic suspensive effect. Since the entry into force of the decree, the only effective recourse for preventing removal is a complaint before the Constitutional Court together with a request for interim measures.

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Arkiveringsdatum 181018:

ECRE 18-10-05:

USA/ New immigration policy set to restrict immigrants from using public benefits till sidans topp

The Trump government recently announced its plans to propose further restrictions on VISAS and green cards, for immigrants who are likely to use public aid benefits, including nutrition programmes, as well as housing and medical aid.

According to the policy, proposed by the Department of Homeland Security, immigrants who have received, or are likely to receive, public benefits might be excluded from permanent residence, under a new definition of the "public charge rule". This immigration rule targets people who depend on state aid for subsistence. It has been a long-standing requirement for US immigration officials to deny residence permit to people likely to depend on public benefits, but authorities had only applied this rule on cases where dependence on state aid was primary and direct.

However, under this new definition, the Trump administration would practically expand the scope of restrictions to also apply to a larger number of public assistance programs, even if the applicants are not solely dependent on them. As such, the proposed regulation will require immigration officers to review a number of personal circumstances related to the applicant's health, family situation, income and history of public benefits use.

As a result, US immigrants have reportedly begun to refrain from using public assistance programmes, out of fear that this new rule would interfere with their residence status. Rand, co-founder of Boundless Immigration, a technology company helping people navigate through the US immigration system, said the proposal was filled with small details "designed to ensnare hundreds of thousands if not millions of people who would otherwise have been perfectly eligible for green cards or other visas".

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ECRE 18-09-21:

Storbritannien/ Home Office to offer leave to Calais children, critics warn move is unfair till sidans topp

Minister for immigration, Caroline Nokes, announced on Thursday that the Home Office is to offer children who were brought to the UK when the 'Jungle' camp in Calais was demolished, an exceptional form of "Calais leave". This leave which will included the right to study, work, and have access to public funds and healthcare, with the option to apply for settlement after 10 years.

When the makeshift camp was demolished in 2016, approximately 750 unaccompanied children were brought to the UK. A total of 549 were to be reunited with family members, but after arrival it was decided that a small number of these did not qualify for refugee status under immigration rules, and would therefore have only been entitled to unaccompanied asylum child (UASC) leave which expires as soon as the child turns 18. Qualification for the leave is highly specific- it will be granted only to those that were brought over as part of the Calais clearance exercise in October 2016, who were under the age of 18 at the time and who had recognised family ties in the UK.

While the move has been welcomed, campaigners remain critical of what they call an 'arbitrary and unfair policy', which will still neglect vulnerable children who had left Calais just months before the demolition. At the same time it is criticised that those that are entitled to the leave will have to wait twice as long to apply for indefinite leave to remain as those who have been recognised as refugees via the regular procedure. Safe Passage have voiced concern over the effect this will have on the young people that have already "been suffering in limbo for two years" uncertain as to the future of their status.

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Amnesty international 18-09-25:

Spanien/ Repeal law allowing people to be expelled without due process till sidans topp

The Spanish authorities must urgently repeal a provision of the so-called "gag law" that allows people to be expelled without an opportunity to apply for asylum or an assessment of the risks they would face if returned from Ceuta and Melilla to Morocco, Amnesty International said. It issued the call as Spain's treatment of migrants and refugees comes under renewed scrutiny at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

The ECtHR will tomorrow begin hearing arguments in an appeal by the Spanish government against the Court's ruling in October 2017 that Spain violated the rights of two African men by expelling them to Morocco without following international standards.

"Spain's decision to legalize summary expulsions in 2015 completely disregards international law, which prohibits states from expelling people without considering their situation and returning them to countries where they may face torture and ill-treatment," said Francesca Pizzutelli, Amnesty International's researcher on migrants and refugees rights.

"Even though Spain's new government has committed to amending the law, we are deeply concerned by its decision to seek a revision of the ECtHR's ruling. This, combined with continuing collective expulsions of people to Morocco in recent months, raises serious questions about the Spanish authorities' willingness to end this illegal practice."

The individuals in question in the ECtHR case - an Ivorian and a Malian national - were crossing the border fence separating the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco in August 2014, when they were arrested by Spanish Guardia police and immediately pushed back to Morocco.

In violation of international law, they were denied the opportunity to apply for asylum and an assessment of the risks they would face if they were returned to Morocco. Their automatic rejection also deprived them of the possibility to appeal against the decision to expel them and access an effective remedy in Spanish courts.

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AIDA 18-09-26:

Italien/ Latest immigration decree drops protection standards till sidans topp

A Decree-Law on immigration and security approved by the Council of Ministers on 24 September 2018 introduces far-reaching restrictions to the Italian asylum system. The reform has been decried by civil society organisations for lowering protection standards, infringing constitutional and human rights guarantees and exacerbating social tension on migration.

The status of humanitarian protection under Article 5(6) of the Consolidated Act on Immigration (TUI) is abolished by the Decree-Law. This move follows previous efforts by the Ministry of Interior to limit the use of humanitarian status to prevent people from obtaining legal stay in the country. The reform affects a large number of persons, given that humanitarian protection is the main form of protection granted by Italy; 16,616 obtained the status in the first eight months of 2018.

The Decree-Law also restricts the System of Protection of Asylum Seekers and Refugees (SPRAR), a network of small-scale decentralised reception projects with 35,881 funded accommodation places at the moment, to beneficiaries of international protection and unaccompanied children. Asylum seekers and persons holding humanitarian protection status would thereby be excluded from SPRAR and have access only to first reception centres and temporary reception centres (CAS), where living conditions are often critical.

Among other measures, the Decree-Law also foresees detention for the purpose of establishing asylum seekers' identity and permits temporary detention in police facilities or at the border where the capacity of pre-removal centres (CPR) has been reached.

Following its publication, the Decree-Law has to be converted into law by the Parliament.

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Arkiveringsdatum 180926:

Human Rights Watch 18-09-15:

USA/ US reaches agreement in family separation cases till sidans topp

Families would be able to try again to seek aslyum in the US

After the Trump administration was slammed with lawsuits for separating migrant children and parents at the border, the US government has agreed to allow many of these parents, whose asylum claims were rejected, to reapply.

It's the official beginning of recognizing the ways this policy harmed parents and children.

In the hours and days after families were forcibly separated, immigration officials informed some traumatized parents that they would have to undergo interviews for the first step in the US asylum process.

Ariel P., from Guatemala, told me his interview took place after he had not seen or spoken to his son in over 20 days and did not even know where he was. "All I could think about was how he was and when I would see him again. Every night when I went to sleep, I would think about where he was sleeping.. . . . It was impossible for me to focus on anything else," he said.

The other separated parents I interviewed echoed these comments.

It's not surprising that many of the parents who went through these interviews weren't able to make their case for asylum, even when they had fled rape, other torture, or death threats. This settlement recognizes, and tries to remedy, this problem - for some.

But the proposed settlement doesn't correct all the harm inflicted on all families.

For example, the settlement generally excludes deported parents who were unfairly blocked from an asylum interview before deportation, or who believed immigration officials' lies that accepting deportation was the key to seeing their children again. Human Rights Watch interviewed deported parents in Honduras and El Salvador who were denied an initial asylum interview, which is not adequately remedied in the proposal.

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ECRE 18-09-15:

Spanien/ Undocumented immigrants regain the right to health till sidans topp

The Spanish Congress of Deputies has approved a legal decree that expands access to health to undocumented migrants. In 2012, the former government of Mariano Rajoy restricted access to health care for this group save in specificly determined cases.

On 6 September 2018, the Spanish Congress of Deputies approved a the decree, that foresees that from the first day that a person resides in Spain, she or he will get access to the healthcare system irrespective of whether or not this person has registered with a municipality. Social security cards, which can only be obtained with receipt of a labour contract, will also no longer be a prerequisite for access to health care. This will also assist Spanish citizens that do not contribute to Social Security due to not being in employment.

Undocumented migrants will be required to pay 40% of the cost of medicines that are prescribed to them. They will also not be able to access health care in a region different to that in which they were issued their health card - which is also the case for citizens - nor they will be able to use it outside of the country.

Médicos del Mundo estimates that 4755 persons have been excluded from the health system from 2012 in Spain.

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AIDA 18-09-11:

Frankrike/ Asylum and immigration reform codifies stricter conditions till sidans topp

Law n. 2018-778 introducing the latest asylum and immigration reform in France was published yesterday, following approval of most of its provisions from the Constitutional Court.

The law amends several articles of the French Code of Entry and Stay of Foreigners and the Right to Asylum (Ceseda), although not all new provisions enter into force immediately; the law sets out entry into force dates for some, while others are to be triggered by decree. A non-exhaustive list of key changes is included below:

Asylum procedure

+ Access to the territory: The right to protection from removal for a "full day" (jour franc) is no longer available to persons refused entry at land borders (Article L.213-2 Ceseda). This change has significant consequences, given that the vast majority of refusal of entry measures are taken at the French-Italian land border.

+ Accelerated procedure: Asylum applications lodged 90 days following entry into the territory, as opposed to 120 days prior to the reform, are channelled into the accelerated procedure. Moreover, as regards asylum seekers who pose a threat to public order or national security, OFPRA no longer has the possibility to re-channel the case into the regular procedure (Article L.723-2 Ceseda).

+ Appeal: The deadline to appeal Dublin transfer decisions is restored at 15 days, following a reduction to 7 days by Law n. 2018-187 of 20 March 2018. In relation to appeals against inadmissibility decisions and negative decisions under the accelerated procedures, the appeal no longer has automatic suspensive effect, so the asylum seeker's right to remain is no longer guaranteed automatically.

Reception of asylum seekers

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Arkiveringsdatum 180831:

AIDA 18-08-17:

Asylum seekers denied food following inadmissibility decisions till sidans topp

Following the entry into force of the latest asylum reform in Hungary, asylum seekers have their claims dismissed under a new inadmissibility ground introduced in Section 51(2)(f) of the Asylum Act, according to which an asylum application is deemed inadmissible if the applicant arrived through a country where he or she was not exposed to persecution or to serious harm, or if an adequate level of protection was available there. This provision is incompatible with the recast Asylum Procedures Directive and has formed part of the European Commission's latest infringement procedure against Hungary.

Asylum seekers whose claims are considered inadmissible on that ground are expelled from Hungary and ordered to remain in the transit zones, where they are denied food. According to the observations of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, this measure is taken with a view to deterring applicants from pursuing appeals against negative decisions on their claims and to pushing them to leave the transit zones and to return to Serbia.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee has successfully requested interim measures from the European Court of Human Rights in three cases. The Court has ordered the authorities to provide the applicants with meals during their stay in the transit zones.

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AIDA 18-08-22:

Cypern/ Reforms introduce administrative court and define "risk of absconding" till sidans topp

Last month, Cyprus adopted Law No 73(I)/2018 establishing an International Protection Administrative Court (IPAC), which will be competent for examining appeals relating to provisions of the Refugee Law. This includes appeals against negative decisions on asylum applications, Dublin transfer decisions or decisions reducing or withdrawing reception conditions.

According to the Minister of Justice and Public Order, the establishment of the IPAC will contribute to a more rapid examination of pending asylum appeals, against the backdrop of a rising backlog of cases before the Administrative Court; the latter only started operations at the beginning of 2016. Currently, appeals against asylum decisions take approximately two years to be decided.

The IPAC will be composed of three judges appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council, who shall have extensive knowledge of administrative law and international protection or proven experience in handling cases within the competence of the Court.

Another legislative reform published in July 2018, Law No 80(I) 2018, brings about an amendment to the Cypriot Refugee Law, which sets out a list of criteria for determining the existence of a "risk of absconding", allowing for detention in a Dublin procedure. Such criteria include: non-compliance with a return decision; non-compliance with or obstruction of a Dublin transfer, or a reasonably verified intention of non-compliance; provision of false or misleading information; previous expulsion or return; false statements on the person's address of usual residence; previous absconding; abandonment of a reception centre; unfounded statements in the course of the Dublin interview; deliberate destruction of identity or travel documents and failure to cooperate with the Cypriot authorities with a view to establishing identity or nationality.

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Arkiveringsdatum 180718:

ECRE 18-07-13:

Storbritannien/ Government brings back legal aid for unaccompanied children till sidans topp

Lucy Frazer, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Justice, announced yesterday the decision to amend the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offender Act to reinstate legal aid for non-asylum immigration cases for unaccompanied and asylum separated children.

The move comes following a judicial review brought by the Children's Society, who have campaigned on the matter since 2013 when new legislation revoking the rights to legal aid came into force. The Children's Society Chief Executive Matthew Reed said, "Legal aid is absolutely vital for ensuring that children can access justice. For children who are subject to immigration control and who are in this country on their own, it is an absolute life line. The government should be commended for this significant change for children and young people." The Children's Society estimates around 15,000 children have not been getting the legal aid they need.

Currently, legal aid is available in all asylum cases and immigration cases where a person is challenging a detention decision. For other immigration matters it is available via the Exceptional Case Funding (ECF) scheme, intended for when there is a risk of a breach of human rights, but only a small number of unaccompanied and separated children have been able to access this. Without access to legal advice and representation, children are at risk of being cut off from education, health care and other support - as well as at risk of detention.

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Arkiveringsdatum 180625:

Europarådet 18-06-22:

Ungern/ "Stop Soros" provision on illegal migration should be repealed till sidans topp

An opinion adopted today by the Council of Europe's Venice Commission criticises a key provision on illegal migration of the so-called "Stop Soros" legislation that the Hungarian Parliament adopted this week.

The new provision - Article 353A of the Criminal Code - introduces the offence of "facilitating irregular migration". EU directives from 2002 define and strengthen the penal framework to prevent facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence. The Venice Commission acknowledges that many European countries criminalise assistance to entry, stay or transit of irregular migrants against financial gain. Such a criminal offence is not necessarily contrary to international human rights standards - and may be considered to pursue the legitimate aim of preventing disorder or crime under Article 11 (freedom of assembly) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

But the Hungarian provision goes far beyond what is allowed under Article 11, as it unfairly criminalises organisational activities not directly related to the materialisation of illegal migration, including "preparing or distributing informational materials" or "initiating asylum requests for migrants." Criminalising such activities disrupts assistance to victims by NGOs, disproportionally restricting their rights as guaranteed under Article 11, and under international law. Furthermore, criminalising advocacy and campaigning activities - under the new provision - constitutes illegitimate interference with freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 10, according to the opinion.

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Se även

EP-parlamentet 18-06-25: Rule of law in Hungary: Parliament should ask Council to act, say committee MEPs (Extern länk)

TT / UNT 18-06-21: Människorättschef brännmärker ungersk lag (Extern länk)

Amnesty International 18-06-20: New laws that violate human rights, threaten civil society and undermine the rule of law should be shelved (Extern länk)

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Arkiveringsdatum 180614:

AIDA 18-06-12:

Schweiz/ Asylum Ordinances amended in last round of asylum reform till sidans topp

Last week, the Swiss Federal Council adopted the last set of measures towards an overhaul of the country's asylum procedure, following a referendum approving an acceleration of the procedure in June 2016. The amended Asylum Ordinances (AO) and Return and Expulsion Ordinance (OERE) will enter into force on 1 March 2019.

The main modification brought about by the reform is the provision of free legal assistance from the outset of the asylum process as a means of counterbalancing the very short time limits of the procedure.

However, the Swiss Refugee Council has expressed disappointment at the adopted measures for failing to properly incorporate the lessons learned from the pilot accelerated procedure (Testphase) implemented since 2014. According to the amended Asylum Ordinance on the asylum procedure (AO1), the time limits for crucial steps of the procedure become extremely short: the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) can inform legal representatives of asylum seekers of upcoming interviews no earlier than two days before the date of the interview, despite negative experience from the Testphase in this regard.

The Swiss Refugee Council has also criticised the absence of precise quality criteria for the designation of legal representatives in the Ordinance. These are to be defined by the bilateral agreements between the authorities and prospective legal aid providers.

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Arkiveringsdatum 180605:

UNHCR 18-05-29:

Ungern/ UNHCR urges Hungary to withdraw draft law impacting refugees till sidans topp

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is calling on the Government of Hungary to withdraw a package of laws set to be introduced in the Hungarian Parliament that would significantly restrict the ability of NGOs and individuals to support asylum-seekers and refugees. UNHCR is seriously concerned that these proposals, if passed, would deprive people who are forced to flee their homes of critical aid and services, and further inflame tense public discourse and rising xenophobic attitudes.

"Seeking asylum is a fundamental human right, it is not a crime," said Pascale Moreau, Director of UNHCR's Europe Bureau. "We are particularly concerned that the Government is targeting those who, in a purely humanitarian role, help people who are seeking asylum. We are calling upon the Government to halt any measures that would further increase the vulnerability of people who are simply looking for a safe haven."

The Government of Hungary today announced its intention to add further concerning restrictions to a package of laws first introduced to Parliament in February.

"UNHCR appeals to Hungary to remain committed to protecting refugees and asylum-seekers, including by facilitating the essential role and efforts of qualified civil society organizations," Moreau said. "Without their work, many refugees and asylum-seekers will inevitably suffer serious hardship as they would be deprived of important services such as medical and psycho-social care, housing, education, employment, access to information and legal aid. This will also ultimately negatively impact on the host communities."

Since January, Hungary has effectively closed its borders to almost all people wishing to seek international protection. On average, only two asylum-seekers a day are allowed to enter the country through the two "transit zones" at the border with Serbia and any asylum-seeker who attempt to cross the razor-wire border fences is automatically removed.

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Human Rights Watch 18-05-31: Hungary: Bill Makes Aiding Migrants a Crime (Extern länk)

The Guardian 18-06-04: No entry: Hungary's crackdown on helping refugees (Extern länk)

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AIDA 18-05-30:

Frankrike/ Acceleration of asylum procedure tested in Guiana till sidans topp

On 23 May 2018, the French government adopted a decree "experimenting certain modalities of processing of asylum applications in Guiana" with a view to testing an acceleration of the asylum procedure. Guiana is one of the main French overseas territories receiving significant numbers of asylum seekers, along with Mayotte.

Under the test procedure set out by the decree, asylum seekers will have 7 days to lodge their application with the French Office of Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA). They will only be able to lodge their claims in person and will receive their interview appointment on the same day. In contrast, asylum seekers in the rest of France have 21 days to fill in their application form and send it to OFPRA by registered mail.

OFPRA will have no more than 15 days to decide on the applications both in the regular and the accelerated procedure. This brings about a sharp reduction of the length of the asylum procedure, which is generally set at 6 months by law.

The introduction of this exceptional procedure comes against the backdrop of severe delays in access to the procedure in Guiana, where people may wait more than 4 months before accessing an orientation platform (PADA) and a few more months before getting an appointment with the Prefecture. The decree is likely, however, to serve as a blueprint for broader reform of the French asylum system.

The plan has been resisted by OFPRA experts who issued a negative opinion on the proposal prior to its adoption. The decree specifies that the test procedure shall be subject to an evaluation by the competent ministry no later than two months before its end.

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AIDA 18-06-01:

Frankrike/ Increase in allowance for asylum seekers without accommodation till sidans topp

Yesterday the French government adopted a decree to raise the level of the financial allowance granted to asylum seekers who have accepted to be accommodated but who are not yet given a reception place under the national reception scheme. This is granted in addition to the allowance for asylum seekers (ADA) available to all applicants.

According to the decree, asylum seekers who are waiting to be provided accommodation by the state are entitled to an extra 7.40 € per day in order to be able to secure private accommodation until a reception place is made available.

The previous decree of 29 March 2017, which had set the allowance at a daily amount of 5.40 €, was annulled by the Council of State earlier in 2018 on the ground that this sum was insufficient to guarantee asylum seekers housing in the private market. The Council of State had also annulled the previous iteration of the allowance, set at a daily rate of 4.20 € by a decree of 21 October 2015.

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Källor: Informationen på denna sida är hämtad från följande källor (externa länkar): EU (kommissionen, ministerrådet, parlamentet och domstolen), Europarådet (mr-kommissionären, domstolen, kommittén mot tortyr), FN:s flyktingkommissariat UNHCR, FN:s kommitté mot tortyr m.fl. FN-organ, svenska media via Eniro och pressmeddelanden via Newsdesk, utländska media främst via I Care och IRR, internationella organisationer som Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, ECRE, ENAR, Statewatch, Noborder och Picum, organisationer i Sverige som Rädda Barnen, Röda Korset, Svenska Amnesty, FARR, Rosengrenska och InfoTorg Juridik (betaltjänst) samt myndigheter och politiska organ som Migrationsverket, Sveriges domstolar, JO, Justitiedepartementet m.fl. departement och Sveriges Riksdag.

Bevakning: Josefin Åström, Hjalte Lagercrantz, Karin Nilsson Kelly, Sanna Vestin. Sammanställning: Sanna Vestin. Asylnytt är ett ideellt projekt.