Tag Archives: deportation

News: Greece on brink of chaos as refugees riot over forced return to Turkey

News from The Guardian (UK):

Greece on brink of chaos as refugees riot over forced return to Turkey

A woman feeds pigeons at the port of Piraeus near Athens where migrants are camped out. Photograph: Yorgos Karahalis/AP Image Copyright: Guardian and Associated Press.

The Greek government is bracing itself for violence ahead of the European Union implementing a landmark deal that, from Monday, will see Syrian refugees and migrants being deported back to Turkey en masse.

Rioting and rebellion by thousands of entrapped refugees across Greece has triggered mounting fears in Athens over the practicality of enforcing an agreement already marred by growing concerns over its legality. Islands have become flashpoints, with as many as 800 people breaking out of a detention centre on Chios on Friday.

Some 750 migrants are set to be sent back between Monday and Wednesday from the island of Lesbos to the Turkish port of Dikili.

“We are expecting violence. People in despair tend to be violent,” the leftist-led government’s migration spokesman, Giorgos Kyritsis, told the Observer. “The whole philosophy of the deal is to deter human trafficking [into Europe] from the Turkish coast, but it is going to be difficult and we are trying to use a soft approach. These are people have fled war. They are not criminals.”

Barely 24 hours ahead of the pact coming into force, it emerged that Frontex, the EU border agency, had not dispatched the appropriate personnel to oversee the operation. Eight Frontex boats will transport men, women and children, who are detained on Greek islands and have been selected for deportation, back across the Aegean following fast-track asylum hearings. But of the 2,300 officials the EU has promised to send Greece only 200 have so far arrived, Kyritsis admitted.

Read Full Article: Greece on brink of chaos as refugees riot over forced return to Turkey.

News – Migrant crisis: Greece starts deportations to Turkey

From the BBC News Service:

Migrant crisis: Greece starts deportations to Turkey

First group of returned migrants were welcomed by Turkish officials in Diki. Image Copyright: BBC.

The first boat carrying migrants being deported from Greece has arrived in Turkey as part of an EU plan aimed at easing mass migration to Europe.

Scores of migrants boarded ferries on the Greek island of Lesbos and arrived in Dikili, western Turkey.

Frontex, the EU’s border agency, told the BBC that most of the 136 people who left Lesbos on Monday were Pakistanis.

Meanwhile, the first group of 16 Syrian migrants has arrived in Germany from Turkey, officials say.

Under the deal, for each Syrian migrant returned to Turkey, the EU is due to take in another Syrian who has made a legitimate request.

However, Greek authorities said the first deportees were those who had not applied for asylum, and included citizens from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Morocco.

And Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkir said there were no Syrians among the first group of migrants sent from Greece.

Another ferry carrying migrants to Turkey is also due to leave the Greek island of Chios on Monday.

The returns were carried out calmly, despite a small protest at the gate of Lesbos port, where activists shouted ‘No to deportations’ and ‘EU shame on you’, the BBC’s Sarah Rainsford at the scene said.

Read Full Article – Migrant crisis: Greece starts deportations to Turkey.

See Also – ReliefWeb: Turkey prepares for up to 500 migrants from Greece on Monday

FMR 44 now online – Detention, alternatives to detention, and deportation – plus Syria crisis mini-feature

Forced Migration Review issue 44, entitled ‘Detention, alternatives to detention, and deportation’, is now online at www.fmreview.org/detention

Asylum seekers and refugees – men, women and even children – are increasingly detained and interned around the world, as are numbers of other migrants. Sometimes detained indefinitely and often in appalling conditions, they may suffer not only deprivation of their liberty but other abuses of their human rights too. Detention may appear to be a convenient solution to states’ political quest to manage migration (often as a precursor to deportation) but it is an expensive option and has lasting effects on those detained. In the search for a more humane – and cheaper – approach, agencies and government authorities have trialled a variety of alternatives to detention.

FMR 44 includes 36 articles on immigration detention, alternatives to detention, and deportation, plus a mini-feature on the Syria crisis and a selection of other articles.

The full list of contents, with web links, is given at the end of this email.

FMR 44 will be available online and in print in English, French, Spanish and Arabic.

An expanded contents listing for this issue is available at www.fmreview.org/detention/FMR44listing.pdf

If you do not regularly receive a print copy of FMR and would like to receive a print copy of FMR 44 or FMR44 Listing for your organisation, or multiple copies for onward distribution or for use in training or at conferences, please contact us at fmr@qeh.ox.ac.uk

We are very grateful to the Oak Foundation and UNHCR for funding this issue.

See www.fmreview.org/forthcoming for details of forthcoming FMR issues.


Re-blog: Feature: Monitoring Failed Asylum Seekers

This posting circulated by Elisa Mason on the incredibly useful: Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog.  Further details can be found on the website at:  http://fm-cab.blogspot.co.uk/

Feature: Monitoring Failed Asylum Seekers

Very little information is available about what happens to failed asylum-seekers after they are deported to their countries of origin.  Some may actually have had genuine claims for refugee status but for various reasons (e.g., problematic asylum procedures, poor legal assistance, etc.) were denied; their subsequent deportation could therefore potentially amount to refoulement.  The Post-Deportation Monitoring Network was launched last fall by the Fahamu Refugee Programme as a mechanism for monitoring deportees after their return, to provide assistance and protection, and to document human rights violations.

For more information about the need for such a network, read:

  • “Avoiding Refoulement: The Need to Monitor Deported Failed Asylum Seekers,” Oxford Monitor of Forced Migration, vol. 2, no. 2 (Nov. 2012) [text]
  • Monitoring the Unknown: Improving Adherence to the Principle of Non-refoulement through a Proposed ‘Monitoring Network’, Working Paper, no. 4 (Univ. of Cape Town Refugee Rights Unit, 2012) [text]

Here are a few other related resources that either document mistreatment post-return or discuss policy approaches to take towards asylum-seekers whose claims for asylum have been rejected:

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Dilemma Facing Refused Asylum Seekers (Refugee Council, Dec. 2012) [text]

Broken Futures: Young Afghan Asylum Seekers in the UK and on Return to Their Country of Origin, New Issues of Refugee Research, no. 246 (UNHCR, Oct. 2012) [text]

Comparative Study on Best Practices in the Field of Forced Return Monitoring (European Commission, Nov. 2011) [text]

Deported to Danger (Edmund Rice Centre, 2004-2006) [access]
– A research project that investigated the fate of rejected asylum-seekers deported from Australia. Includes link to a documentary called “A Well-Founded Fear.”

Following Them Home: The Fate of the Returned Asylum Seekers (Black Inc. Books, 2005) [info]

No Direction Home? The Politics of Return for Refused Asylum Seekers, PAFRAS Briefing Paper no. 8 (PAFRAS, Jan. 2009) [text via Statewatch]

“Nowhere to Run: Iraqi Asylum Seekers in the UK,” Race & Class, vol. 54, no. 2 (Oct.-Dec. 2012) [abstract]

The Removal of Failed Asylum Seekers: International Norms and Procedures, New Issues in Refugee Research No. 145 (UNHCR, Dec. 2007) [text]

The Return of Persons Found Not to Be in Need of International Protection to Their Countries of Origin: UNHCR’s Role, Protection Policy Paper (UNHCR, Nov. 2010) [text]

Safe Return: How to Improve What Happens When We Refuse People Sanctuary (Independent Asylum Commission, June 2008) [text]

“Uganda: The Silent Practice of Deportations,” Pambazuka News, no. 480 (May 2010) [text]

Unsafe Return: Refoulement of Congolese Asylum Seekers (Justice First, Nov. 2011) [text]

Vol spécial (Fernand Melgar) [info]
– Documentary on the forced deportations of failed asylum-seekers in Switzerland.

For additional information, search in Refworld on, e.g.,  >failed asylum seekers< or >rejected asylum seekers<.

Call for Papers: FMR Special Issue on Detention and Deportation

Call for Papers: FMR Special Issue on Detention and Deportation

Deadline for submission of articles: April 15th

Link: http://www.fmreview.org/detention

Detention is used by many states in dealing with different categories of migrants, including refugees and stateless people, migrants who are undocumented or in an irregular situation, asylum seekers awaiting the outcome of their asylum application and failed asylum seekers awaiting removal.

There are practical, political, financial, moral and legal reasons for (and against) detention in the context of immigration/asylum-seeking. States cite a variety of reasons to justify this practice; irregular migration in particular is seen by some as a national security problem or a criminal issue. Many states regard detention as a deterrent against undesired migratory flows, although research by UNHCR and the International Detention Coalition has found that there is no empirical evidence that detention deters irregular migration or discourages persons from seeking asylum. The practice of the use of detention is often linked by commentators and critics either to a state’s more general lack of respect for human rights or to an agenda of securitisation in response to perceived threats. The practice of detention is often linked to the practices of forcible return and deportation for irregular or illegal migrants and failed asylum seekers.

Detention or restricted movement arrangements for the purposes of migration control can take many forms, including detaining people in penal institutions, specialised detention centres or closed camp settings. In some countries detention in such situations is mandatory, and can be for prolonged or indefinite periods. In other countries detention can be arbitrary or otherwise contrary to the relevant international standards or international legal instruments accepted by the states concerned.

People in detention are at risk of emotional and psychological damage, and are in effect criminalised often without legal recourse. In some countries children and trafficked persons and other vulnerable people are also confined in detention. The consequences for the cognitive and emotional development of children may be lifelong. The media and civil society are routinely denied access to detention centres, meaning that it is very difficult for the world to know about or understand the plight of children in detention in particular.

There are increasingly widespread claims that detention and removal are not only damaging to the individuals concerned, abusive and possibly illegal but that they are more expensive than community-based alternatives; that detention is not effective in deterring asylum seekers, refugees and irregular migrants; that it is counterproductive in achieving compliance with final decisions on asylum; and that there are humane, reliable and cost-effective alternatives to detention and to deportation. Yet some states are even intensifying their detention and deportation practices.

UNHCR has announced that in the years ahead it will embark on a global campaign to promote alternatives to the detention of asylum seekers and refugees, and humane reception conditions, and that this will be one of its priorities for 2013. UNHCR is launching its revised guidelines on detention at its Executive Committee meeting at the end of 2012.

This issue of FMR will provide a forum for practitioners, advocates, policymakers and researchers to share experience, debate perspectives and offer recommendations. In particular, the FMR Editors are looking for practice-oriented submissions, reflecting a diverse range of experience and opinions, which address questions such as the following:

  • Under what circumstances is detention legally permissible and with what consequences?
  • What are the impacts of detention on children and other particularly vulnerable people?
  • What are the practical and political reasons for restricting the freedom of movement of refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants, and what are the human rights issues at stake?
  • What are the experiences in states developing alternatives to detention in these circumstances? What civil society-led initiatives are there? What pilots have there been? How can they be promoted?
  • What evidence is there of the effectiveness of alternatives to detention in meeting the needs and aims of states and the wellbeing and dignity of individuals? What prevents governments from seeking or implementing alternatives?
  • What examples exist of alternatives to detention in transit contexts?
  • Could the processing of asylum seekers externally bring an improvement over current practices of detention and deportation?
  • What factors are necessary for the success of alternatives to detention?
  • What resources are available to support states and civil society in advocating against detention or for alternatives?
  • If detention as a policy continues, what scope is there for improving the rights of detainees, the conditions of detention and the monitoring of detention facilities?
  • What is the political and/or legal relationship between detention and deportation and various statuses such as temporary or exceptional right to stay?
  • What mechanisms and processes are in place to monitor the fate of deportees after deportation? Can the evidence from such monitoring be used to change states’ deportation practices?

We are particularly keen to reflect the experiences and knowledge of communities and individuals directly affected by detention and/or deportation.

Please email the Editors at fmr@qeh.ox.ac.uk if you are interested in contributing or have suggestions of colleagues or community representatives who may wish to contribute.

Please consider writing for us even if you have not written an article before. We would be happy to work with you to develop an article about your experience.

If you are planning to write, we would be grateful if you would take note of our Guidelines for Contributors at: www.fmreview.org/you/writing-fmr .

Maximum length: 2,500 words.

Please note that space is always at a premium in FMR and that published articles are usually shorter than this maximum length. Your article, if accepted for publication, may well be shortened but you will of course be consulted about any editing changes.


New Publications on Statelessness; Asylum Law; Detention; Europe; MENA

Details of the following reports and publications are courtesy of the Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog.

Burning Homes, Sinking Lives: A Situation Report on Violence against Stateless Rohingya in Myanmar and their Refoulement from Bangladesh (Equal Rights Trust, June 2012) [text]
– See also related blog post.

Global Statelessness (Pulitzer Center, 2012) [access]
– Map application, using UNHCR data.

Guidelines to Protect Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention (Equal Rights Trust, July 2012) [text]

Law Talks: Laura Bingham on Statelessness (Open Society, June 2012) [access]
– Podcast interview.

The Right to a Nationality: Women and Children, UN Human Rights Council Doc. No. A/HRC/20/L8 (UN General Assembly, June 2012) [text]

Statelessness at the UN: Reaffirming the Right to Nationality (Open Society Blog, July 2012) [text]
– See also related blog post with video.

Asylum Law or Criminal Law: Blame, Deterrence and the Criminalisation of the Asylum Seeker, Research Paper No. 12-04 (University of Westminster School of Law, Dec. 2011, posted May 2012) [text]
“I’d rather be in prison”: Experiences of African in Immigration Detention in the UK (African Health Policy Network, 2012) [text]
– See also summary report.

Punishment without a Crime: Detention of Migrants and Asylum-seekers in Cyprus (Amnesty International, June 2012) [text]

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, François Crépeau, UN Doc. No. A/HRC/20/24 (UN Human Rights Council, April 2012) [text via Human Rights First]
– Focus is on detention; see also related press release.

ECRE Recommendations to the Cypriot Presidency of the EU (ECRE, July 2012) [text]

Hate on the Streets: Xenophobic Violence in Greece (Human Rights Watch, July 2012) [text]

“Key Priorities of the Cyprus Presidency of the European Union in the Fields of Immigration and Asylum Policy,” Interview with Eleni Mavrou, Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Cyprus (Eurasylum, July-August 2012) [text]

No Duty to Snitch on Another EU Country’s Asylum Conditions (UK Human Rights Blog, July 2012) [text]

Schengen and Solidarity: The Fragile Balance Between Mutual Trust and Mistrust (European Policy Centre, July 2012) [text]

UNHCR Comments on the European Commission’s Amended Recast Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and the Council Laying Down Standards for the Reception of Asylum-seekers (UNHCR, July 2012) [text]

Number of Syrian Refugees Triples to 112,000 since April (UNHCR, July 2012) [text]

Syria Crisis: The Humanitarian Response, London, 15 June 2012 [text]
– Round-table report now available.

Syria Refugees Create Humanitarian, Security Crisis (Oxford Analytica, June 2012) [text via ReliefWeb]

Syrian Refugees: Anxious Neighbors Stretched Thin (Refugees International, July 2012) [text]

Syria Regional Refugee Response: Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey (UNHCR, July 2012) [text via ReliefWeb]

Other recent MENA items include:

Migration, Displacement and the Arab Spring: Prospects for the Next Year (Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement, July 2012) [text]

Palestinian Refugees under Attack in Iraq (Euro-Mid Observer, July 2012) [text]

“Understanding the Impact of Conflict on Health Services in Iraq: Information from 401 Iraqi Refugee Doctors in Jordan,” International Journal of Health Planning and Management, vol. 27, no. 1 (January/March 2012) [free full-text]

UNHCR Operation Iraq – Overview – 2011 (UNHCR, 2012) [text via ReliefWeb]