Sunday, November 1, 2009
Here are some odds and ends in Migration News from the past week or so
African Unit Summit Results in Historic IDP Convention
-A recently wrapped conference in Kampala, Uganda brought about a major convention on the rights of IDPs, known now as the "Kampala Convention" (Text available in sidebar.) The African Union planned for the conference, which ended on Oct. 23rd, to address strategies and best practices in dealing with internal displacement, as well as enhance partnerships between states and work together to prevent the causes of large-scale internal displacement. According to theAU the Convention is the first of its kind in the world.
Obama Lifts AIDS Immigration Ban
-On Friday, Pres. Obama lifted a U.S. travel and immigration ban on people infected with HIV or AIDs. The ban has been in place 22 years and put the US in the company of only a handful of other states that had such bans, including Libya, Russia, South Korea and Armenia.
UNHCR Human Trafficking Event Highlights Victims
-A Conference hosted by the UN last week hosted former victims of human trafficking from a variety of different backgrounds and told some of their appalling stories. Particularly jarring was the accusation by one former victim that some US contracting firms, including KBR, were involved in a human trafficking scheme forcing Nepalese men in Iraq to work on US military bases. If true, this would follow a highly publicized case where an American KBR employee was allegedly gang-raped by her co-workers and held hostage when she threatened to go to authorities. So basically, KBR is potentially even more terrible than previously thought.
Human Rights Watch Publishes Report on Unaccompanied Migrant Youth at Paris CDG Airport
-A new report by Human Rights Watch, published last week, condemns France's system of dealing with unacccompanied Migrant youth who end up at Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport. Essentially, migrant children are treated as though they are in a "transit zone" rather than in France, and are therefore denied rights that they would normally have in France. The report, which can be found in full here, alleges that this system puts children at great risk. As researcher Simone Trollier says, "in the airport transit zone, children end up being treated like adult migrants. French authorities should stop pretending this place is not in France and grant children the protection they are entitled to."
Sri Lankans Protest Australian Immigration System
-A group of 78 Sri Lankan refugees off the coast of Australia are refusing to disembark from their ship, the Oceanic Viking, until they are granted refugee status.(See photo above.) The protesters have evidently been in limbo for several years, accepted as refugees by UNHCR, but unable to settle in either Australia or Indonesia. The stand-off comes at a time when Australia is engaged in a heated debate in how they deal with an influx of Asylum Seekers.