Daily Archives: Monday, January 5, 2015

Conference: National Refugee Women’s Conference on SET HER FREE and the campaign against detention

National Refugee Women’s Conference on


and the campaign against detention

14 January 2015

at the Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre, London EC2A 3EA, 10.30 to 4pm

Hear from inspirational speakers including:

Meltem Avcil, ex-detainee and campaigner (below at the Summit to End Sexual VioIMG_0273lence in Conflict); Nimko Ali, anti-FGM campaigner; Diana Nammi, campaigner against honour killing and Woman of the Year at the Women on the Move Awards, Zrinka Bralo of the Migrant & Refugee Communities Forum

Join the energy of the London Refugee Women’s Forum, Women Asylum Seekers Together Manchester, Women Asylum Seekers Together London, Hope Projects, Embrace, Why Refugee Women – groups at the forefront of the campaign against detention

Find out what we have done in the campaign so far and how we can work together to end detention

Workshops include campaigning with the arts, working with the media,

Download Conference Flyer (JPG File)

Download Conference Flyer (JPG File)

campaigning online and organising protests

Performances from the London Refugee Women’s Forum and WAST Manchester

Includes the launch of our brand new research on the treatment of women in detention

You don’t have to be a refugee woman to come to this conference – this is open to everyone who supports justice and solidarity with women seeking sanctuary

Book here for a day of hope, passion and action

Further details on the Set Her Free Campaign can be found here:  http://refugeewomen.com/campaign/


New Article: Kenya’s harsh new security laws put hundreds of thousands of refugees at risk

Kenya’s harsh new security laws put hundreds of thousands of refugees at risk

By Neil James Wilson, Visiting Lecturer, Department of International Politics at City University London

Image Copyright: The Conversation website at: https://theconversation.com/

Kenya has passed a controversial amendment to the country’s existing security laws, days after heated debates led to brawling on the floor of the Kenyan Parliament. Despite the fracas, the bill was passed with only minor changes, to the dismay of observers at home and abroad.

Domestic and international attention has mainly focused on the impact the bill would have on the period of detention without charge, the tapping of communications without court consent, the erosion of media freedom and the limitations placed upon the right to protest. But the world has paid less attention to the severe implications the new amendments have for refugees in Africa’s second-largest refugee-hosting country.

For Kenya’s half a million refugees, many of whom have escaped diabolical threats across the Somali border, this is very bad news indeed.

Round them up

The Security Laws (Amendment) Act 2014 changes Kenya’s 2006 Refugee Act in two vital ways: it seeks to limit the number of refugees and asylum seekers in the country to 150,000, and it further enforces an encampment policy, limiting refugees to the country’s two sprawling, remote camps in Dadaab and Kakuma.

The United Nations’ Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that over the next year the current number of 500,000 refugees in Kenya is will rise. With continuing conflict in Somalia and South Sudan, placing strict limits on the number of people who can access state protection will endanger lives.

A strict encampment policy also bucks a recent trend of moving away from refugee camps as a means of addressing refugee situations. In July 2014 UNHCR released a new policy that embraced alternatives to camps, with the aim of helping refugees “exercise rights and freedoms, make meaningful choices regarding their lives and have the possibility to live greater dignity, independence and normality as members of communities.”

Read the full article on The Conversation website at:  https://theconversation.com/kenyas-harsh-new-security-laws-put-hundreds-of-thousands-of-refugees-at-risk-35789


Is International Criminal Justice Coming to South Sudan?

Justice in Conflict

The following is a guest-post by Patryk I. Labuda on the potential of pursuing international criminal justice in South Sudan. Patryk is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva who has worked in South Sudan, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Displaced children gather at a UN compound in Juba, South Sudan. (Photo: Ben Curtis / AP) Displaced children gather at a UN compound in Juba, South Sudan. (Photo: Ben Curtis / AP)

In July 2011, after decades of armed struggle against the regime in Khartoum, South Sudan became the newest member of the community of nations. Led by President Salva Kiir, the South Sudanese government embarked on an ambitious program of state building, including economic development, security sector reform and the drafting of a new constitution. But just two years later, discussions about democracy and reform in South Sudan were overtaken by a more pressing concern: war.

In December 2013, an old personal rivalry between Kiir and his…

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Solidarity actions in front of detention centers


December 13, Paranesti detention center, Greece

(more images here)


November 30, Amygdaleza detention center, Greece

November 29, Ježevo detention center, Croatia

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Turkish Coast Guard Reports Intercepting 12,872 Migrants in Aegean Sea in 2014; Some Migrants Pushed-Back into Turkish Territorial Waters


“A total of 12,872 migrants trying to cross into Greece from Turkey over the Aegean Sea were captured by Turkish Coast Guard Command teams in 524 separate incidents in 2014, while 74 people were also arrested on charges of smuggling migrants, Anadolu Agency has reported. The number of migrants who were captured in 2013 was 8,047, including 6,937 on the Aegean Sea. The total number of migrants captured by authorities across Turkey in 2012 was 2,531. The official number in 2011 was 546, which means that the number of captured migrants has increased 24-fold since then. …”

An unspecified number of the intercepted migrants were reportedly subjected to push-back practices where the affected migrants were returned to Turkish territorial waters [“Yasa dışı göçmenlerin bir kısmı da ‘geri atma olayı (gittiği ülkeden Türkiye karasularına geri gönderilme)’ olarak arz edilen olaylar sonucu yakalandı.”].

The push-backs were presumably carried out by…

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Frontex: Preliminary Figures Indicate 270,000 Irregular Migrants and Asylum Seekers Reached EU in 2104 – Double Previous Record Set in 2011


In an interview with EFE, “Frontex Deputy Executive Director Gil Arias Fernandez said the numbers for 2014 nearly doubled the previous record of 141,000 that was registered in 2011 and attributed to spillovers from the Arab Spring. … [Arias Fernandez] noted that the number of immigrants fleeing their countries seeking international protection has increased. ‘A few years ago, immigration for economic reasons was estimated at 50 percent and the same percentage for political refugees, while in 2014 about 80 percent of immigrants to the EU will be asylum seekers,’ he said. Although Frontex will not reveal specific details until mid-January 2014, [Arias Fernandez] said the total figure will likely exceed 270,000 people, as about 260,000 migrants were recorded till November….”

Click here (EN) or here (ES) for articles.

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Record Number of Migrant Deaths at Sea Off Yemen in 2014


From Al Jazeera: the UNHCR estimates that over 82,000 people reached Yemen from the Horn of Africa in 2104, compared to 65,000 in 2013. “The number of Africans who perished off Yemen’s coast this year is bigger than the last three years combined, the UN said…. The yearly tally for 2014 reached 223, exceeding the combined total for the previous three years of 179, according to UN figures.”

Click here for article.

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Frontex Update on Incident Involving Ezadeen Cargo Vessel


Frontex press statement: The cargo vessel was carrying 360 migrants and had departed from Turkey. “People smugglers began using cargo vessels like Ezadeen last summer, and it has now become a new method of bringing migrants to Europe. These decommissioned freighters, up to 75-metre long, depart from Turkey and head for the Italian cost. Some 15 incidents involving cargo ships have taken place since August 2014.”

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Winter journeys a new migration scenario?

Postcards from ...

Ezadeen Cargo ship, 2015 Ezadeen Cargo ship, 2015

The rescue of hundreds of migrants on Ezadeen and Blue Sky cargo ships in the last few days has captured media attention especially for the size of the vessels involved – no longer old fishing boats but freighters up to 100m long – and smugglers’ tactic of leaving the boat unmanned in open sea. The boats have immediately set off alarm bells as the new arrivals have been taken as evidence of a change of scale of ‘human smuggling inc’ in the Mediterranean. A part for the size of the ships and the tactics, two additional elements seem to confirm this change: firstly, the emergence of a new route from Turkey – a sign, on the one hand, that the political situation in Libya has become far to dangerous and unstable even for smugglers, on the other, that Turkey may be less keen in combatting unauthorised migration for…

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UNHCR: Urgent European Action Needed in Mediterranean


Statement by Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR Europe Bureau Director, on new boat arrival in Italy:

“The use of larger cargo ships is a new trend, but it is part of an ongoing and worrying situation that can no longer be ignored by European governments. We need urgent European concerted action in the Mediterranean Sea, increasing efforts to rescue people at sea and stepping up efforts to provide legal alternatives to dangerous voyages. Without safer ways for refugees to find safety in Europe, we won’t be able to reduce the multiple risks and dangers posed by these movements at sea.

UNHCR thanks the Italian authorities for their response to these latest incidents, despite the phasing down of the Mare Nostrum operation. We have expressed concerns over the ending of this operation without a similar European search-and-rescue operation to replace it. This will undoubtedly increase the risk for those trying to find safety…

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