Launch of network on stateless in Europe
The following is adapted from a press release by the Equal Rights Trust.
The European Network on Statelessness (ENS) is a new civil society alliance committed to address statelessness in Europe. ENS started as a joint initiative of Asylum Aid, the Equal Rights Trust, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the Open Society Justice Initiative, Praxis, and the Statelessness Programme at Tilburg University.
Statelessness affects more than 12 million people around the world and at least 600,000 in Europe alone. To be stateless is to not be recognized as a citizen by any state. It is a legal anomaly that often prevents people from accessing fundamental civil, political, economic, cultural and social rights. In Europe, statelessness occurs both among recent migrants and among people who have lived in the same place for generations. Most countries in the region frequently encounter stateless persons in their asylum systems. In the Balkans and elsewhere many Roma remain stateless as a result of ethnic discrimination. Statelessness is also a continuing reminder of the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Despite the scale of the problem, most European countries have no framework to effectively deal with statelessness and tackling this requires major law and policy reform. ENS is dedicated to strengthening the often unheard voice of stateless persons in Europe and to advocate for full respect of their human rights.
ENS encourages regional and international institutions to address statelessness within their respective mandates. We also urge countries in the region to adopt policies to prevent and reduce statelessness, and to provide protection to stateless persons.
In order to build capacity among policy makers and civil society organisations in Europe, ENS provides training and expert advice, as well as a forum for dedicated research, monitoring and exchange of information on statelessness.
The Network is open to non-governmental organisations, research centres, academics and other individuals. For further information, send an email.
Amnesty International launches campaign on migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Europe
Amnesty International has launched the When you don’t exist campaign for the human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Europe and at its borders. A short report, SOS Europe: Human Rights and Migration Control, accompanies the launch. The report examines the human rights impact of European migration control policies, looking in particular at the agreements between Italy and Libya and their consequences. It calls for all border control policies to be consistent with human rights obligations, and for transparency from all governments on agreements on migration control. It also raises concerns about serious failures in relation to rescue-at-sea operations, which require further investigation. The campaign video can be viewed in English, Spanish and French. Follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.
Numbers of refugees around the world in 2011
On 18 June 2012, UNHCR released its Global Trends report for 2011. According to the report, the numbers of people crossing borders to seek protection in 2011 were the highest since 2000: 15.2 million, in addition to 895,000 asylum seekers. 2011 also saw the internal displacement of 26.4 million people. Afghanistan continues to top the list of refugee-producing countries, with 2.7 million refugees, followed by Iraq at 1.4 million, and Somalia at 1.1 million. A great majority of the world’s refugees continue to flee to neighbouring countries: Pakistan hosts 1.7 million refugees, Iran, 886,500, and Kenya, 566,500. Germany hosts the most refugees among industrialised countries, with 571,000, while South Africa continues to be the largest recipient of individual asylum applications, with 107,000 lodged last year.
British newspaper The Guardian took this data and produced an interactive map, launched on their website on World Refugee Day (20 June 2012). By clicking on a country, it is possible to see the number of refugees produced by them and hosted there, as well as how many ‘people of concern’ to UNHCR live there, the percentage of those people who are under the age of 18, and how many refugees returned to live there last year. It is an interesting and quick way to get facts for different countries, which can be surprising — for example, in addition to hosting over 250,000, the US produced 3,778 refugees in 2011.