With the upcoming Roma Summit on 4 April in sight, the national Roma contact points network have convened their fourth meeting, discussing progress and challenges concerning Roma integration at the local level. Since the 2011 Commission Framework for national Roma integration strategies, the Commission has been actively monitoring Roma integration efforts in its Member States. This has been followed up by a Council recommendation in December 2013 on effective Roma integration measures in the Member States.
European Commissioner Viviane Reding addressed this issue in an EC Memorandum on Roma integration on 13 February 2014 stating that: “After the unanimous adoption of the first ever legal instrument on Roma at the end of 2013, the European Commission called on all Member States to put words into action. We cannot remain idle as entire communities of people are marginalised from society and the economy.”
The upcoming Summit will show what progress has been made and what challenges lie ahead in facilitating Roma inclusion in the Member States. At the dawn of a new Parliament and Commission, this Summit is key in providing an up-to-date overview of Roma integration efforts in the European Union and raising awareness on hurdles that have yet to be taken.
During a visit to Italy in December, Katrin Goring Eckardt and Luise Amtsberg – both Members of the German Government- met several Italian politicians, Coast Guards officials and members of NGOs that work in the field of Refugees and Migration. The visit sought to better understand the Italian Welcome system, and its problems – especially after the Lampedusa tragedy occurred on the 3 October.
The visit included the Welcome Systems in Mineo – the biggest European CIE- and in Siracusa. A visit to a Refugee Center in Rome was included. The German Delegation met Father Mussie Zerai - Director of Agenzia Habeshia- and EEPA Director Mirjam van Reisen who was in Rome for the launch of the Report The Human Trafficking Cycle: Sinai and Beyond.
The German officials concluded that there is a the need for changes in the system established under the Dublin Agreement in order to provide for a common European humanitarian protection. They also highlightied the urgency for a Refugee relocation programme among all the European countries.
The call for stronger solidarity among EU Member States to effectively address needs of refugees is also a conclusion of ‘The Human Trafficking Cycle: Sinai and Beyond’.
To read the Report in Italian, click here
For the German Version, click here: here
To read the Human Trafficking Cycle:Sinai and Beyond
February 2014 - Human Right Watch publishes its Report “I wanted to Lie Down and Die” against Human Trafficking in Sinai.
The report highlights that Egyptian officials have denied the abuses and tortures in Sinai and HRW calls both the Egyptian and Sudanese Government to intensify security control in the Peninsula, to investigate military and police collusion with traffickers; to prosecute people suspected of trafficking, including officials’ cooperation. Moreover, HRW also asks the donors governments and League of Arab States and African Union to push the Sudanese and Egyptian Governments to investigate and prosecute traffickers.
By collecting interviews both with Eritreans and with NGOs which work with Refugees in Egypt, Human Right Watch exposes the inhumane treatments of people who try to fly their countries of origin and who end up in being tortured in Sinai.
The Report joins the chorus of indignation against the violation of basic human rights in Sinai.
In December 2013 EEPA published its second Report on Human Trafficking in Sinai “The Human Trafficking Cycle: Sinai and Beyond”, by presenting it and by raising awareness on the Sinai human crisis not only at the European Parliament in Brussels but also in Cairo, Lampedusa, London, Rome and Tel Aviv.
A common action among all the actors involved is needed; a common policy against human trafficking in Sinai is an International duty.
EEPA reiterates its commitment against the inhumane conditions of refugees from Eritrea and Sudan and it is glad that the interest about human trafficking in Sinai is increasing, as the last HRW Report demonstrates.
To read HRW Recommendations click here: http://www.hrw.org/node/122893/section/4
To read the full Report: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2014/02/11/i-wanted-lie-down-and-die
Last monday, for the first time, the Security Council adopted a resolution devoted specifically to kidnapping for ransom by terrorists. The Security Council called for international cooperation in order to tackle this issue and recognized the need to continue expert discussions on kidnapping for ransom. Ambassador from the UK, Mark Lyall Grant, stated that “It is therefore imperative that we take steps to ensure that kidnap for ransom is no longer perceived as a lucrative business model and that we eliminate it as a source of terrorist financing,” he said, adding: “We need to break that cycle.”
Even though this resolution doesn't mention the Human Trafficking and it's focused on kidnapping by ransom by terrorists, little to litle, the issue of the Human Trafficking in places like the Sinai would be, if we all achieve to keep pressuring the institutions and rasing awareness, in the International political agenda.
There is still a lot of work to to in order to finish with the Human Trafficking in the Sinai. More than 25000 Eritreans have been kidnapped and more than 600 millions dollars haven been paid as ransoms.
African migrants's suffering doesn't finish after they reach Israel. Migrants who try to enter in Israel have to go through a harsh journey until they enter in Israel. For istance, a lot of them, specifically Eritreans, are kidnapped in the Sinai, where they are held hostage until the ransom is paid. Once there, they are tortured and killed, until they scape or the kidnappers decide to realease them. There are more risks. Egyptian army shoot at them if they try to enter Israel, and besides that, the new fence separating the two countries difficult their way and cause injuries to the migrants that try to go through it.
Therefore, after a dangerous long journey, migrants expect to see their human rights respected, but this is not the case. Once in Israel, they are treated as "illegal infiltrators". Most of them are jailed or send into detention camps, where their basic needs are not coverered. And besides that, they have the risk to be deported. We can't forget that most of the Africans refugees living in Israel came from countries, like Soudan or Eritrea, where if they come back, they would be punished by their governement and they can even risk their life.
For that reason, last week, around 30.000 African migrants protested in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem asking Israel governement to change its asylum and security policy. They asked Israeli governement to respect their human rights. Israel treats migrants like infiltrators, and when they are jailed or persecuted, they don't take into account that some of them, like a large number of Eritreans, have been held hostage in the Sinai. Israel attitude shows that the Human Trafficking its a cycle, and that the suffering for african migrants that have been victims of Human Trafficking doesn't finish after they are released. Israel governement needs to switch its policy and grants asylum to these migrants in order to respect International Law.
To read the full article: Refugees demonstration in Israel