EU Borders and beyond

Updated 31 July 2022: Spiegel International: Classified Report Reveals Full Extent of Frontex Scandal

The EU’s anti-fraud office has found that the European border agency covered up and helped to finance illegal pushbacks of asylum-seekers in Greece. The report, which DER SPIEGEL has obtained, puts pressure on the EU Commission – and could also spell trouble for Frontex’s new leadership.

The contents of the investigative report from OLAF, the European Union’s anti-fraud agency, are classified. Members of the European Parliament are only granted access under strict security measures, and normal citizens are not allowed to see it. But Margaritis Schinas, the vice president of the European Commission, who is responsible, among other things, for migration, is allowed to. And perhaps he ought to do so as well. At the end of the day, it relates to a sensitive issue that also happens to fall within his area of responsibility.ANZEIGE

Investigators have taken 129 pages to document the involvement of Frontex, the EU’s border agency, in the illegal activities of the Greek Coast Guard. Border guards systematically dump asylum-seekers adrift at sea  in the Aegean – either in rickety boats or on inflatable life rafts. 

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Open letter to the Heads of Commonwealth countries:

25 July 2022: Welcome to Birmingham 22

The Commonwealth Games welcomes you to Birmingham 22 – but the Government with its ‘hostile environment’, its laws and Immigration Rules prevents your citizens from staying

The 2022 Commonwealth Games, officially known as the XXII Commonwealth Games and commonly known as Birmingham 2022, is an international multi-sport event for members of the Commonwealth to be held in Birmingham between 28 July – 8 August 2022.

People from over 30 countries are coming to compete.

In UK your citizens are welcome as athletes, administrators, trainers and supporters.  However, many people who have lived here for decades have been subject to deportation orders. Others live a precarious existence. We ask all Commonwealth Heads to support our call for equal rights and grant indefinite leave to remain for all Commonwealth Citizens irrespective of the status of your nation. We also request an end to deportations.

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‘Independent’ review of Border Force

Note: At a time when the Home Secretary, Priti Patel has been stalling to publish a report by the Government’s own ICIBI David Neal, she had sought an ‘independent review’ that would fully support the intensification of this hostile environment. #ICIBI

20 July 2022: Independent review of Border Force by Alexander Downer, commissioned by The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, Secretary of State for the Home Department.

Alexander Downing’s report is here – note the language he uses, and his recommendations that will intensify the hostile environment, for example:

10.3 Third country processing should be fully implemented People that have entered the UK should be moved to a third country rapidly for assessment under the UN Convention and other relevant legislation. The rapid movement of people that have entered the UK illegally to a third country reduces the risk of the removal process being frustrated. The eligibility for removal should embrace all cohorts of people who enter the UK illegally.

The lessons from Australia’s experience on this issue suggest that the pace with which people are moved, along with avoiding a running commentary on numbers, is useful in achieving success. The discussion of numbers at various stages of operational implementation will potentially look like the odds are still in favour of attempting dangerous, illegal migration journeys and the deterrent effect is lost.

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There will never be another Mo Farah

18 July 2022: Open Democracy: There will never be another Mo Farah

As terrible as these revelations are, what’s more shocking is that he’d never receive that level of compassion today Francesca Humi

Last Wednesday, Mo Farah revealed in a new BBC documentary that he had not come to the UK as a refugee. He had, in fact, been trafficked to the UK to be a domestic worker when he was a child.

In his heart-breaking testimony, he describes being forced to cook, clean, and care for the children of his employers. He explains how he confided in his PE teacher at school, who then referred him to social services. The documentary shows that Farah’s school repeatedly petitioned the Home Office to grant him British citizenship, so that he could represent Great Britain in international running competitions. And in a particularly powerful segment, he is advised about the potential legal repercussions of sharing his true identity and story. Even now, he learns, the Home Office could revoke his citizenship if it wanted to.

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Our Place is Here – campaign for the rights of Domestic Workers

“Our place is here”, a campaign for the rights of domestic workers by Status Now Signatory Kanlungan
Since the official launch of the hostile environment policy in 2012, domestic workers were stripped of their rights to switch employers and apply for extension of stay and settlement. With the change to the Overseas Domestic Workers (ODW) visa introduced in that year, stays are limited to six months and migrant domestic workers have become tied to individual employers as sponsors. They are denied the freedom to switch employer even in cases where a worker is a victim of modern-day slavery or human trafficking. The impact of this change on the life of dozens of thousands people has been devastating. A  survey conducted in 2019 by the Voice of Domestic Workers found that 77% of migrant domestic workers experienced physical, verbal or sexual abuse; 51% reported that they were not given enough food; 61% were not given their own space in employers’ houses.

To mark a decade since the Government revoked the rights of domestic workers, Kanlungan — a signatory of SNN — has started a new partnership with FDWA-UK (Filipino Domestic Workers’Association)Kalayaan, and The Voice of Domestic Workers to campaign for the rights of migrant domestic workers in the UK.  Together, we have developed our campaign ‘Our Place Is Here’ centred on advocating for migrant domestic workers’ belonging to the UK and their right to work and live here. We are joining together to call for the government to restore the rights of domestic workers.
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StatusNow4All newsletter July 2022

Welcome to this edition of SNN Newsletter!
We are covering a number of items in this issue that will be of interest to everyone involved in migrant and refugee solidarity work.

First up is the report on our campaign for better asylum seeker accommodation. Our SNN colleagues in the North West are particularly active in this area and after a first online event during Refugee Week are now planning new initiatives to fight for better provision of safe and decent homes for people in the asylum system.

The second article is dedicated to the campaign “Our place is here” developed by Kanlungan together with other organizations in defense of the rights of domestic workers.

The third item reports on the SNN event organised during Refugee Week which assembled a roundtable of activists to discuss where we have got to with the campaign against the hostile environment and the steps that need to be taken for this to go forward.  The key idea is the project underway to organise a People’s Tribunal on Migration Justice over the course of the next 12 months which will draw on the evidence of violation of the rights of migrant people to indict Government policies and help forge the sort of alliances we will need to bring about change.

The appalling news about the deaths of at least 37 people at the border between the Spanish enclave of Melilla and Morocco is the subject of our fourth feature. In response to this massacre at the hands of the Spanish civil guard and the Moroccan police authorities the Transnational Migrant Platform has launched an appeal for solidarity and action to force an inquiry into how the tragedy happened. 

Finally, our fifth article focuses on the important role assumed by the Union, particularly by the Public Services and Commercial Union (PCS), in the fight against the Rwanda offshore plan and stresses the need to fight all together for the rights of migrant and native workers in the UK.

In addition to these items we also have information on the call for a public demonstration outside the Royal Courts of Justice on 19 July to coincide with the opening of the judicial review hearing on the legality of the Home Office’s Rwanda refugee removal plan.  Do join us at this protest if you can. 
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In solidarity with the family of those who have died at the borders of Melilla on 24 June 2022

1 July 2022 :Transnational Migrant Platform – Europe: Massacre of Migrant and Refugee people at Europe-Africa border (Communique working group of the 45th session Permanent Peoples Tribunal)

In solidarity with the family of those who have died at the borders of Melilla on June 24 2022 and with those who organized the actions on July 1 in Rabat and in Melilla

This massacre in Melilla of 29 persons on Friday June 24th is the latest most visible instance of the unacceptability of Europe’s border externalization and militarization policy and its outsourcing of its responsibility in immigration and refugee policy to its neighbouring countries. 

A Relentless spiral of deaths

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