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Asylum applications in industrialized world soar to almost 900,000 in 2014

March 30, 2015 Comments off

Asylum applications in industrialized world soar to almost 900,000 in 2014
Source: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

The UN refugee agency reported on Thursday that the wars in Syria and Iraq, as well as armed conflicts, human rights violations and deteriorating security and humanitarian conditions in other countries, pushed the number of asylum applications in industrialized countries to a 22-year high last year.

The Asylum Trends 2014 report puts the estimated number of new asylum applications lodged in industrialized countries throughout the year at 866,000, a 45 per cent increase from 2013, when 596,600 claims were registered. The 2014 figure is the highest since 1992, at the beginning of the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Protection in Crisis: Forced Migration and Protection in a Global Era

March 26, 2015 Comments off

Protection in Crisis: Forced Migration and Protection in a Global Era
Source: Migration Policy Institute

More than 51 million people worldwide are forcibly displaced today as refugees, asylum seekers, or internally displaced persons. According to the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, to be recognized legally as a refugee, an individual must be fleeing persecution on the basis of religion, race, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group, and must be outside the country of nationality. However, the contemporary drivers of displacement are complex and multilayered, making protection based on a strict definition of persecution increasingly problematic and challenging to implement.

Many forced migrants now fall outside the recognized refugee and asylum apparatus. Much displacement today is driven by a combination of intrastate conflict, poor governance and political instability, environmental change, and resource scarcity. These conditions, while falling outside traditionally defined persecution, leave individuals highly vulnerable to danger and uncertain of the future, compelling them to leave their homes in search of greater security. In addition, the blurring of lines between voluntary and forced migration, as seen in mixed migration flows, together with the expansion of irregular migration, further complicates today’s global displacement picture.

This report details the increasing mismatch between the legal and normative frameworks that define the existing protection regime and the contemporary patterns of forced displacement. It analyzes contemporary drivers and emerging trends of population displacement, noting that the majority of forcibly displaced people—some 33.3 million—remain within their own countries, and that more than 50 percent of the displaced live in urban areas. The author then outlines and assesses key areas where the international protection system is under the most pressure, and finally examines the key implications of these trends for policymakers and the international community, outlining some possible policy directions for reform.

2014 Annual Report of the Government of the United States of America for the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights Initiative

March 19, 2015 Comments off

2014 Annual Report of the Government of the United States of America for the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights Initiative
Source: U.S. Department of State

Each member of the VPs Initiative is required to report to VPs Initiative participants annually on their efforts to implement the VPs. The U.S. Government has prepared this public report in line with our commitment to make our participation in the VPs Initiative as transparent as possible.

The VPs Initiative is a multi-stakeholder initiative made up of governments, companies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that promotes the implementation of a set of principles that guide oil, gas, and mining companies in providing security for their operations in a manner that respects human rights. Specifically, the VPs guide companies in conducting a comprehensive human rights risk assessment in their engagement with public and private security providers to ensure human rights are respected in the protection of company facilities and premises.

Amnesty International — State of the World 2014/2015

March 18, 2015 Comments off

State of the World 2014/2015
Source: Amnesty International

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones.

Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world’s politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

International humanitarian law – the law that governs the conduct of armed conflict – could not be clearer. Attacks must never be directed against civilians. The principle of distinguishing between civilians and combatants is a fundamental safeguard for people caught up in the horrors of war.

And yet, time and again, civilians bore the brunt in conflict. In the year marking the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, politicians repeatedly trampled on the rules protecting civilians – or looked away from the deadly violations of these rules committed by others.

15 Minutes to Leave: Denial of the Right to Adequate Housing in Post-Quake Haiti

March 2, 2015 Comments off

15 Minutes to Leave: Denial of the Right to Adequate Housing in Post-Quake Haiti
Source: Amnesty International

Five years on from a devastating earthquake in Haiti, tens of thousands of people remain homeless as government policy failures, forced evictions and short-term solutions have failed many who lost everything in the disaster.

The new report, “15 Minutes to Leave” – Denial of the Right to Adequate Housing in Post-Quake Haiti, documents worrying cases of people being forcibly evicted from temporary, make-shift camps. The report also explores how the influx of development aid that came in the wake of the disaster failed to be transformed into long-term, secure housing solutions.

According to the latest data, 123 camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) remain open in Haiti, housing 85,432 people. While the number of those in camps has reduced significantly since 2010, more than 22,000 households are still without adequate housing.

Conditions in many IDP camps are dire. A third of all those living in camps do not have access to a latrine. On average 82 people share one toilet.

Forced evictions from camps are a serious and ongoing problem. More than 60,000 people have been forcibly evicted from their shelters in makeshift camps since 2010. The vast majority were not offered any alternative locations where they could resettle, pushing them again into poverty and insecurity.

EU’s opposition to the death penalty

February 18, 2015 Comments off

EU’s opposition to the death penalty
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

The death penalty is prohibited by law in all Member States of the European Union (EU). The ban is laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Charter) and European Convention on Human Rights (Convention) and its Protocols, particularly Protocol 6 and 13. All Member States have ratified the Convention and all of them have ratified its Protocols 6 and 13. Protocol 13 provides for the total abolition of the death penalty.

In addition, the Treaty on European Union (TEU) states in article 6 that the EU recognises the rights, freedoms and principles set out in the Charter and that the EU (as a whole) shall accede to the Convention.

As one of the conditions for accession to the EU, every candidate country must ensure respect for fundamental rights and EU citizens’ rights, as guaranteed by the acquis (all current EU rules) and by the Charter – this entails also the abolition of the death penalty.

EJI’s new lynching report documents an era of racial terrorism

February 12, 2015 Comments off

EJI’s new lynching report documents an era of racial terrorism
Source: Equal Justice Initiative

The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) today released Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, which documents EJI’s multi-year investigation into lynching in twelve Southern states during the period between Reconstruction and World War II. EJI researchers documented 3959 racial terror lynchings of African Americans in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia between 1877 and 1950 – at least 700 more lynchings of black people in these states than previously reported in the most comprehensive work done on lynching to date.

+ Report Summary (PDF) (Was unable to locate full report on website.)

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