Daily Archives: Friday, May 24, 2013

A Spanish Truth Commission?

SAA's Human Rights Archives Roundtable

Written by Joel Blanco-Rivera, Assistant Professor of Archives at Simmons College

One of the most important events in human rights in the past decades was the arrest of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in London in October 1998. Using the principle of universal jurisdiction, Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón of Spain’s National Court issued the arrest warrant. While Pinochet never stood trial, this action opened the doors for other investigations in Spain, including the genocide case against Guatemalan former president General Efraín Ríos Montt. During the time of the Pinochet investigation, the National Court was also investigating human rights violations during Argentina’s military junta years (1976-1983).

But what about Spain’s own past? From 1936 to 1975 Francisco Franco ruled the country and his dictatorship produced tens of thousands of deaths and disappearances. Estimates put the number of disappeared around 130,000. In 1977, Spain’s government signed an Amnesty Law that is still in…

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UK Border Agency | Calls for evidence for balance of competences reviews

Calls for evidence for balance of competences reviews

14 May 2013

The Government is carrying out a review of the balance of competences between the EU and the UK. This is an audit of what the EU does and how it affects the UK and will be carried out over four semesters between Autumn 2012 and Autumn 2014.

The Home Office is leading on two reports in the second semester, which runs from Spring 2013 to Winter 2013, in the following areas:

  • Asylum and Immigration; and
  • Free Movement of Persons

The Free Movement of Persons report is being jointly led with the Department for Work and Pensions.

Calls for Evidence for both reports were launched on 15 May 2013 giving both individuals and interested groups the opportunity to contribute their views. The closing date for evidence is midday on 5 August 2013. For more information, and to find out how to submit evidence, please go to Gov.uk.

Article via UK Border Agency | Calls for evidence for balance of competences reviews.

Rejected from refuge: Displaced Malians face eviction from apartments they can no longer afford

Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC)

Forced from their homes in the north and weary of months of living in limbo, displaced Malians who sought refuge in the southern cities are in an ever deteriorating situation. With no employment opportunities, and their savings exhausted, many are facing the threat of being forced to flee again.

MDG : Humanitarian snapshot of Mali

The high cost of refuge as a startling reality

When I visited Bamako in October 2012, when the country was nine months into the crisis, the families who agreed to speak with me all shared a similar story. They had fled the violence that had engulfed the north, and then sold what was left of their belongings in order to pay for safe transport and refuge in one of the major towns in the country’s south.

Still shaken by the fear of what they had run from, worried about their lack of money to buy food and other essential goods and…

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Cyclone in Myanmar uproots violence-displaced in Rakhine State yet again

Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC)

Right now, deadly weather is battering the people of Bangladesh and Myanmar as Cyclone Mahasen made landfall yesterday. With seven confirmed dead and one million people in Bangladesh ordered to evacuate, some of Myanmar’s most vulnerable, those who have already fled violence in the country’s north-west, have had to move again due to yet another disaster.

Ahead of the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction next week in Geneva, the situation of Myanmar’s violence-displaced adds ever greater urgency to the need for governments to improve disaster risk reduction efforts for IDPs vulnerable to further displacement.

A perfect storm of risk factors

Disasters often add to a perfect storm of risk factors that leads to escalating displacement figures. IDMC’s annual report on disaster displacement, released this week, highlights that one in four of all countries reporting new disaster displacement in 2012 are also conflict- or violence-affected. These people struggle against physical…

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Guardian comment piece: creating new narratives for migration and climate change | UK Climate Change & Migration Coalition

Guardian comment piece: creating new narratives for migration and climate change

May 21, 2013

This article by the UKCCMC project manager originally ran in the Guardian on 17th of May.

This week the Guardian has been running a major series on “climate refugees” about the village of Newtok in Alaska, which faces an imminent threat to its existence from erosion.

The term “climate refugee” is problematic for a number of reasons. The first being that people who are facing movement do not like the term. The word “refugee” brings to mind a number of (not always accurate) images: tented camps, long lines of people walking, dangerous boat crossings. People facing the prospect moving hope that they will have some choice in the timing and circumstances of their movement and that when they arrive they will find work and become active members of their new communities. Their hope is that they will move with dignity.

President Anote Tong of Kiribati, an island nation in the Pacific, told Australia’s ABC Radio that the people of Kiribati do not want to leave as refugees but as skilled migrants. Similarly, Ursula Rakova, a campaigner from the Carteret Islands is highly critical of the “climate refugee” narrative: “Our plan is one in which we remain as independent and self-sufficient as possible. We wish to maintain our cultural identity and live sustainably wherever we are.”

Apart from people’s own rejection of the “climate refugee” term there are also several other problems. It’s clear that there are connections between climate change and the movement of people, but the connections are not as clear as the “climate refugee” narrative suggests. The phrase conjures images of large numbers of people moving en masse over long distances and crossing international borders and possibly continents. It seems unlikely that climate change will produce this kind of human movement.

What seems more likely is that climate change might reinforce existing trends in short-term, short distance migration. For example, as subsistence farmers find it increasingly difficult to make a living in rural areas they may move to nearby cities to find work. Whole towns or villages will not move together: in fact, families may not even move together. Far more likely is that one or two household members will move, find work elsewhere and send money home to their community. This statement collected by the EACH-FOR research project from a farmer in Hueyotlipan, Mexico gives a sense of this kind of movement: “Times have changed … the rain is coming later now, so we produce less. The only solution is to go away, at least for a while. Each year I’m working for three to five months in Wyoming. That’s my main source of income.”

Full article via Guardian comment piece: creating new narratives for migration and climate change | UK Climate Change & Migration Coalition.

Healthcare of undocumented migrant children