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Vulnerability of unaccompanied and separated child migrants

26-04-2021

The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) has estimated that the number of migrant children increased from 24 million during the 1990–2000 period to 33 million in 2019. In 2019 alone, some 33 200 children arrived in southern European countries, of which some 9 000 (27 %) were unaccompanied or separated from family member(s) on the journey. There are various reasons why a child may be unaccompanied or get separated, including persecution of the child or the parents; international conflict and civil ...

The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) has estimated that the number of migrant children increased from 24 million during the 1990–2000 period to 33 million in 2019. In 2019 alone, some 33 200 children arrived in southern European countries, of which some 9 000 (27 %) were unaccompanied or separated from family member(s) on the journey. There are various reasons why a child may be unaccompanied or get separated, including persecution of the child or the parents; international conflict and civil war; human trafficking and smuggling, including sale by parents; accidental separation from the parents over the course of their journey; and searching for better economic opportunities. Despite the existence of a comprehensive international legal framework on children's rights and their protection, irregular migrant children, especially those who are unaccompanied or who have been separated from their parents over their journey, face numerous obstacles and challenges during and after the migration process. Several international and European organisations have identified a number of protection gaps in the treatment of such children, including that they face greater risks of, inter alia, sexual exploitation and abuse, military recruitment, child labour (including for foster families) and detention. In many countries, they are routinely denied entry or detained by border or immigration officials. In other cases, they are admitted but are denied access to asylum procedures, or their asylum claims are not handled in an age and gender-sensitive manner. The vulnerable situation of unaccompanied and separated children worldwide, and the threats they face need to be addressed, particularly in view of the constant increase in their number. European Union asylum law offers special protection to such children, and the European Union has adopted numerous instruments and identified key actions for the protection of all children in migration, including those who are unaccompanied and separated. This briefing is an update of a 2016 briefing by Joanna Apap.

The traumas endured by refugee women and their consequences for integration and participation in the EU host country

19-04-2021

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee. The study focuses on the trauma that refugee and asylum-seeking women suffer when reaching their host country. Drawing on an extensive survey of scientific literature, international organisations’ reports, websites, press, and discussions with relevant experts, it highlights survivors' different needs and the structural, cultural and psychological ...

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee. The study focuses on the trauma that refugee and asylum-seeking women suffer when reaching their host country. Drawing on an extensive survey of scientific literature, international organisations’ reports, websites, press, and discussions with relevant experts, it highlights survivors' different needs and the structural, cultural and psychological barriers to their resettlement in the EU. It argues for coordinated, gender- and culture-sensitive policies, EU collective responsibility in managing the refugee crisis and multi-level interventions from an intersectionality perspective.

Awtur estern

Dr Konstantina DAVAKI

The external dimension of the new pact on migration and asylum: A focus on prevention and readmission

07-04-2021

The challenges posed by migration have put EU Member States' solidarity to the test. Responding to a European Council request, in September 2020 the European Commission proposed a new pact on migration and asylum, to reinforce solidarity among the Member States and to strengthen EU migration management and asylum procedures, while also making them more consistent. The proposed pact has an external aspect as well: building on current EU migration partnership frameworks, it aims to reinforce international ...

The challenges posed by migration have put EU Member States' solidarity to the test. Responding to a European Council request, in September 2020 the European Commission proposed a new pact on migration and asylum, to reinforce solidarity among the Member States and to strengthen EU migration management and asylum procedures, while also making them more consistent. The proposed pact has an external aspect as well: building on current EU migration partnership frameworks, it aims to reinforce international partnerships with a view to ensuring effective returns, combating migrant smuggling more effectively, and developing legal migration channels. In the context of migration, the EU's external policy has among its objectives to help third countries tackle the root causes of irregular migration or quests for asylum. The European Parliament often emphasises this point, while warning at the same time that security and migration management concerns should not result in diverting funds from core EU development cooperation objectives. This is also a concern among academia and non-governmental organisations dealing with migration issues: several have pointed out that the Commission's proposals for the above-mentioned pact and the working document, recommendations and legislative proposals accompanying it put a lesser emphasis on pathways to legal migration than on measures aimed at incentivising third countries to retain possible irregular migrants or to accept returns.

Data on returns of irregular migrants

23-03-2021

The Return Directive is the main piece of EU legislation governing return procedures. In general terms, under this directive, Member States must issue a return decision (an administrative or judicial decision imposing an obligation to leave the territory) for every third-country national found to be irregularly present on their territory. A proposal to recast the EU Return Directive is currently under discussion in the European Parliament and in Council. This infographic sets out the key data relating ...

The Return Directive is the main piece of EU legislation governing return procedures. In general terms, under this directive, Member States must issue a return decision (an administrative or judicial decision imposing an obligation to leave the territory) for every third-country national found to be irregularly present on their territory. A proposal to recast the EU Return Directive is currently under discussion in the European Parliament and in Council. This infographic sets out the key data relating to EU return policy.

Pushbacks at the EU's external borders

08-03-2021

In recent years, the migration policy of the European Union (EU) has focused on strict border controls and the externalisation of migration management through cooperation with third countries. Although states have the right to decide whether to grant non-EU nationals access to their territory, they must do this in accordance with the law and uphold individuals' fundamental rights. Not only do the practices and policies of stopping asylum-seekers and migrants in need of protection at or before they ...

In recent years, the migration policy of the European Union (EU) has focused on strict border controls and the externalisation of migration management through cooperation with third countries. Although states have the right to decide whether to grant non-EU nationals access to their territory, they must do this in accordance with the law and uphold individuals' fundamental rights. Not only do the practices and policies of stopping asylum-seekers and migrants in need of protection at or before they reach the European Union's external borders ('pushbacks') erode EU values as enshrined in the EU Treaties, they may also violate international and European humanitarian and human rights laws. National human rights institutions, international bodies and civil society organisations regularly report cases of pushbacks at the European Union's land and sea borders. According to those reports, pushbacks often involve excessive use of force by EU Member States' authorities and EU agencies operating at external borders, and degrading and inhuman treatment of migrants and their arbitrary detention. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for Member States and EU agencies to comply with fundamental rights in their activities to protect the EU's external borders. Several international organisations and other stakeholders have condemned or filed legal actions against the practice of pushbacks carried out at the EU's external borders. In September 2020, the European Commission presented a pact on migration and asylum, including a proposal on pre-entry screening of third-country nationals at EU external borders, in a bid to address these potential breaches of fundamental rights.

Understanding EU action against migrant smuggling

19-01-2021

Around 90 % of those who cross the external European Union (EU) borders illegally do so with the assistance of migrant smugglers. Furthermore, the facilitation of irregular migration is a highly profitable criminal activity, in particular when compared with the relatively low risks incurred. Even though detections of illegal border crossings are currently at their lowest level since 2013, the migrant smuggling business shows sustained high levels of demand. This demand is not only due to the fact ...

Around 90 % of those who cross the external European Union (EU) borders illegally do so with the assistance of migrant smugglers. Furthermore, the facilitation of irregular migration is a highly profitable criminal activity, in particular when compared with the relatively low risks incurred. Even though detections of illegal border crossings are currently at their lowest level since 2013, the migrant smuggling business shows sustained high levels of demand. This demand is not only due to the fact that people in severe distress – whether for economic reasons or because of a genuine fear for their lives – keep trying to reach the EU, by irregular means if necessary. Demand is also high because illegally crossing borders has become harder, due to increased external border controls and other measures put in place to prevent irregular migration. This is where migrant smuggling networks step in. Migrant smugglers are among some of the most agile criminals. They go to great lengths in order not to get caught, quickly adapting the routes they use to smuggle migrants into the EU and their means of travel. They avoid direct contact with their victims, instead using the latest digital communication technologies and involving different intermediaries along a migrant's journey. The facilitation of irregular migration is a complex crime, interconnected with many other criminal activities, such as document fraud, trafficking in human beings or other types of illicit smuggling. Although people willingly pay smugglers to help them cross borders, they do so at great personal risk. Too many lose their lives, or are at risk of serious harm or exploitation. Therefore, preventing and combatting migrant smuggling and related crimes is one of the key priorities of the EU's action against irregular migration and organised crime. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for more and better operational cooperation, data sharing and legal migration channels, and insisted on better implementation of relevant EU legislation.

Search and rescue in the Mediterranean

12-01-2021

International law imposes an obligation to render assistance to persons and ships in distress at sea, which must be provided regardless of the persons' nationality or status or the circumstances in which they are found. These rules have to be applied without prejudice to the obligations deriving from international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including in particular the prohibition of refoulement. Search and rescue (SAR) and disembarkation activities of EU Member States are ...

International law imposes an obligation to render assistance to persons and ships in distress at sea, which must be provided regardless of the persons' nationality or status or the circumstances in which they are found. These rules have to be applied without prejudice to the obligations deriving from international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including in particular the prohibition of refoulement. Search and rescue (SAR) and disembarkation activities of EU Member States are currently not covered by a common EU legal framework, except for those activities carried out in the context of Frontex-led joint operations at sea. In recent years, a significant proportion of migrants and asylum-seekers in distress at sea have been rescued by EU naval operations, EU agencies and non-governmental organisations in the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, over the last couple of years, the Mediterranean Sea has also been the backdrop for the largest number of casualties and missing people. Lack of coordination in search and rescue activities, solitary action by individual countries and criminalisation of non-governmental organisations active in SAR in the Mediterranean lead to migrants being forced to stay for several days and sometimes weeks on boats. EU Member States and EU agencies (Frontex) have also been accused of pushbacks of asylum-seekers and other migrants to the high seas and towards Libya and Turkey. Individual actors dealing with boats of migrants have been a subject of strong criticism and legal action. Their accountability is, however, not always clear, the reason being varied application and interpretation of different bodies of international law. One solution, proposed by academics, could be the harmonisation of the fragmented legal regime for maritime interceptions.

Intra-African Migration

28-10-2020

This study provides a broad perspective of the main trends in intra-African migration, emphasising its regional variations and complex drivers. The analysis is focussed on mapping and describing the structures – routes, hubs, settlements and sites of migration within the continent – as well as identifying the relevant infrastructures that facilitate these movements – ranging from road, railway and transportation networks to social connectivities and brokerage. The analysis not only of spaces and ...

This study provides a broad perspective of the main trends in intra-African migration, emphasising its regional variations and complex drivers. The analysis is focussed on mapping and describing the structures – routes, hubs, settlements and sites of migration within the continent – as well as identifying the relevant infrastructures that facilitate these movements – ranging from road, railway and transportation networks to social connectivities and brokerage. The analysis not only of spaces and flows, but also of infrastructure within these networks shows that there is a multiplicity of interrelations, interconnections and interdependences that need to be captured and understood in order to address both the potential and problems for intra-African migration. By grasping the ‘big picture’ of intra-African migration, policies and activities generated by both the African Union and the European Union will be capable of providing comprehensively integrated and tailored responses. Recommendations are directed towards: improving knowledge of the many structures and infrastructures, along with their articulations and functioning; identifying the negative and positive aspects of migration conducive to sustainable development; and addressing the present Africa-Europe polarisation of views through diplomacy and monitoring.

Awtur estern

Cristina UDELSMANN RODRIGUES, Jesper BJARNESEN

Hotspots at EU external borders: State of play

25-09-2020

The 'hotspot approach' was presented by the European Commission as part of the European Agenda on Migration in April 2015, when record numbers of refugees, asylum-seekers and other migrants flocked to the EU. The 'hotspots' – first reception facilities – aim to improve coordination of the EU agencies' and national authorities' efforts at the external borders of the EU, in the initial reception, identification, registration and fingerprinting of asylum-seekers and migrants. Even though other Member ...

The 'hotspot approach' was presented by the European Commission as part of the European Agenda on Migration in April 2015, when record numbers of refugees, asylum-seekers and other migrants flocked to the EU. The 'hotspots' – first reception facilities – aim to improve coordination of the EU agencies' and national authorities' efforts at the external borders of the EU, in the initial reception, identification, registration and fingerprinting of asylum-seekers and migrants. Even though other Member States also have the possibility to benefit from the hotspot approach, only Greece and Italy host hotspots. In Greece, the hotspot approach remains the key strategy in addressing migratory pressures. The EU-Turkey Statement of March 2016, closely linked to the implementation of the hotspot approach in Greece, led to a considerable drop in irregular migration flows from Turkey to the EU. However, returns of irregular migrants to Turkey – a cornerstone of the agreement – are low. The deteriorating relationship between Turkey and the EU is putting the agreement under increasing pressure. The hotspot approach was also set up to contribute to the temporary emergency relocation mechanisms that – between September 2015 and September 2017 – helped to transfer asylum-seekers from Greece and Italy to other EU Member States. Even though 96 % of the people eligible had been relocated by the end of March 2018, relocation numbers were far from the targets originally set and the system led to tensions with Czechia, Hungary and Poland, which refused to comply with the mechanism. Since their inception, the majority of the hotspots have suffered from overcrowding, and concerns have been raised by stakeholders with regard to camp facilities and living conditions – in particular for vulnerable migrants and asylum-seekers – and to gaps in access to asylum procedures. These shortcomings cause tensions among the migrants and with local populations and have already led to violent protests. On 8 September 2020, a devastating fire in the Moria camp, on Lesvos, only aggravated the existing problems. The European Parliament has called repeatedly for action to ensure that the hotspot approach does not endanger the fundamental rights of asylum-seekers and migrants. This briefing updates two earlier ones published in March 2016 and in June 2018.

The need for solidarity in EU asylum policy

23-09-2020

In early September 2020, a fire in the over-crowded migrant camp of Moria in Greece pushed thousands of people onto the streets, exacerbating the already dire conditions faced by asylum-seekers and migrants. The incident also shows the need to find a solution to a crisis of solidarity in EU asylum policy that has remained unresolved since the unprecedented influx of migrants into the EU in 2015. The European Commission presented a new Pact on Asylum and Migration on 23 September 2020. In that, it ...

In early September 2020, a fire in the over-crowded migrant camp of Moria in Greece pushed thousands of people onto the streets, exacerbating the already dire conditions faced by asylum-seekers and migrants. The incident also shows the need to find a solution to a crisis of solidarity in EU asylum policy that has remained unresolved since the unprecedented influx of migrants into the EU in 2015. The European Commission presented a new Pact on Asylum and Migration on 23 September 2020. In that, it puts forward a compromise on solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility for asylum-seekers among EU Member States.

Avvenimenti fil-ġejjieni

25-10-2021
European Gender Equality Week - October 25-28, 2021
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FEMM AFET DROI SEDE DEVE BUDG CONT ECON EMPL ITRE TRAN AGRI PECH CULT JURI PETI
25-10-2021
Capacity for proper expenditure controls of the increased budget of the MFF and NGEU
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CONT
25-10-2021
Ninth meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group on Europol, 25-26 October
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LIBE

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