ECRE Comments on the reform of the Migration Statistics Regulation

ECRE has published its Comments on the European Commission proposal for an amendment to the Migration Statistics Regulation, which sets out Member States’ obligations to collect and transmit statistics on international protection, return and residence permits to Eurostat. The proposal responds to a “real need” to improve statistics in order to provide an adequate evidence base to debate policies on asylum and migration management. However, as per its Explanatory Memorandum, it adopts a minimalist approach to reform by proposing “very precise improvements” to the Migration Statistics Regulation and by targeting data “already generally available in the national authorities’ administrative sources”. The revision of the Migration Statistics Regulation offers a real opportunity for reflection and thorough analysis of statistical gaps in the EU legal framework, however. In line with its consistent recommendations for better data collection on the Common European Asylum System, ECRE urges the European Parliament and the Council to engage in an ambitious and in-depth reform of the Regulation so as to set the necessary foundations for a clear, detailed understanding and evidence-based debate of Member States’ responses to the plight of people seeking protection. ECRE’s recommendations to co-legislators include: a clear distinction between admissibility and merit-related rejections of asylum claims in statistics; more frequent data on the Dublin system; and obligations to collect statistics on additional areas such as accelerated and border procedures, age assessment of unaccompanied children, detention and family reunification with beneficiaries of international protection. The European Commission is also set to publish a report on the implementation of the current Migration Statistics Regulation by August 2018, following the previous implementation report released in July 2015.

The Belgian Council of Alien Law Litigation rejects suspension of Dublin transfer of an asylum seeker to Greece

On June 8 the General Assembly of the Belgian Council of Alien Law Litigation rejected the suspension of Dublin transfer of a Palestinian asylum seeker from Belgium to Greece meaning that the person will be transferred. While the judgment notes that there are remaining problems in the asylum procedure and reception conditions in Greece, it establishes that they no longer qualify as systemic deficiencies and that the applicant does not run a risk of ill-treatment.

Out of sight: migrant women exploited in domestic work

The stories of the domestic workers FRA interviewed for this paper reveal appalling working conditions and fundamental rights abuses in private homes across the EU. These stories indicate that, seven years on from FRA’s first report on domestic workers in 2011, little has changed in terms of the risks and experiences of severe labour exploitation domestic workers in the EU face.

DR Congo: The Bemba Earthquake

The ICC’s acquittal of Jean-Pierre Bemba comes at a critical point in DR Congo elections. President Kabila and his opponents will have to recalibrate strategies ahead of Bemba’s likely return. Outside powers should keep pressing Kabila to stand down and allow opposition candidates to participate.

Leave No Girl Behind in Africa: Discrimination in Education against Pregnant Girls and Adolescent Mothers

This report draws on extensive Human Rights Watch research on the rights of girls in Africa. Human Rights Watch examined national laws, policies, and practices that block or support pregnant girls’ and adolescent mothers’ right to primary and secondary education in all African Union (AU) member countries. Africa has one of the highest rates of adolescent pregnancy in the world. African governments should urgently adopt laws and policies to ensure that schools allow and suppopregnant girls to stay in school and to return to school after having a child.

Situation of the world’s human rights defenders: submission to the United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders: report to the 73rd session of the un general assembly

Amnesty International welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Questionnaire on the situation of human rights defenders sent by the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur. Despite the many efforts made by different UN entities, as well as by some states, civil society organizations, human rights defenders and other relevant stakeholders during the last 20 years, Amnesty international considers that there is still a lot to be done in order to ensure the full implementation of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and guarantee a safe and enabling environment for all those who defend human rights.

Turkey’s Election Reinvigorates Debate over Kurdish Demands

Ahead of Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 June, opinion polls suggest a tighter race than many anticipated. The country’s Kurds could be kingmakers, prompting politicians of different stripes to court their votes and opening much-needed debate about longstanding Kurdish demands.

Honduras: protest prohibited: use of force and arbitrary detentions to suppress dissent in Honduras

The Honduran security forces used excessive force to suppress the wave of demonstrations that followed the elections on 29 November 2017. They detained hundreds of people. Several of those arrested for crimes allegedly committed during the protests face criminal proceedings and are being denied their right to due process, including by being held in pre-trial detention. This document exposes some of the methods used by the Honduran authorities to suppress demonstrations and discourage people from taking part in them. It also highlights the consequences for those deprived of their liberty of being held in pre-trial detention.

U.S. disengagement could jeopardize fragile stability in northeast Syria

The United States and other donors have an important opportunity to consolidate stability in northeast Syria, which has been largely liberated from the Islamic State. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have begun to return home, but much work remains to be done with major population centers like Raqqa still riddled with explosive devices and basic services still to be restored. Actions by the Trump administration, however, threaten to unravel fragile progress on the ground.

Switzerland: asylum ordinances amended in last round of asylum reform

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.