Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 35 n°30

Posts Tagged ‘refugee’

Refugee & Migrant International Conference

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 26 settembre 2022

Rome – September 26th to 28th Pontifical Gregorian University. An international gathering of university administrators, faculty, and education practitioners as well as leaders of NGO’s, international agencies, and humanitarian organizations who are committed to enhancing and expanding educational opportunities for refugees and displaced peoples. The conference is taking place at a time of tremendous disruption and major challenges.Participants will include UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi; Thomas Smolich SJ, Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service International; Card. Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development; Anthony J. Cernera, Ph.D., Founder of RME Network; Inna Sovsun, Member of Ukraine Parliament and Former First Deputy Minister of Education and Science; as well as numerous experts, international education workers and education officers from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The conference was designed to leave plenty of room for networking and collaboration to explore initiatives, opportunities and ideas for collaboration, and to find strategies to respond to today’s crises. One of the plenary will be focus on Ukranian Refugee education crisis, but many other topics will be addressed in presentations and workshops. What have we learned in the post-pandemic? How/if we will return to normalcy, and how will we approach the future? What was the impact of Covid 19 on refugee education? How can we better understand the root causes of forced migration? What can be the best practices for amplifying refugee voices in academics? How to respond to today’s crisises?

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Caritas Internationalis on World Refugee Day: the dignity and rights of every displaced cannot be ignored

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 21 giugno 2022

Every person has the fundamental right to seek and enjoy asylum, and on World Refugee Day 2022, Caritas Internationalis is raising its voice and expressing concern about the lack of international solidarity in welcoming refugees and asylum seekers without discrimination. The calls for safety and for a life in dignity for the refugees has mostly remained unheard, and Caritas Internationalis will not be deaf to the cry of the poor of our world or be silent about their plight and their resilience in rebuilding their lives.In the first months of 2022, more than 100 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide due to persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations, and climate disasters, the highest levels of displacement on record. Today we see also how these factors become co-causes of displacements and cannot be considered separately. From 2019-to 2021, more than 8,436 migrants, including asylum seekers, have lost their lives, and 5,534 migrants have gone missing in transit. In addition, the safety, dignity, and human rights of asylum seekers are at risk due to agreements that created physical and legal walls through the externalisation of regional border controls and outsourced asylum processes. Through the Humanitarian Corridors, European, Middle East, and African Caritas Confederation Members have assisted, jointly with other faith-based organizations, vulnerable asylum seekers fleeing from conflicts and violence to reach safe destinations and welcoming communities where they can restart their lives. They have advocated for rescue and safe and secure disembarkation of people at risk of their lives in the Mediterranean and all across the world. Through these actions, Caritas Confederation stands with refugees and asylum seekers to save their lives and nurture a culture of encounter, non-discrimination and sharing. Providing all refugees and asylum seekers with access to basic services, vocational training and work opportunities both in the countries of transit and of destination, without any discrimination, is key to restore their dignity and their aspiration for a peaceful life. This is evident in the dedicated work of Caritas staff and volunteers who, in the wake of the outbreak of war in Ukraine, were ready at the borders to support the thousands of vulnerable people fleeing in search of safety in neighboring countries. Caritas also stands by those who find themselves obliged to live for long periods in precarious settings like refugee camps. Caritas South Sudan and Caritas Uganda are particularly active in refugee and IDPs camps with educational programs and distribution of pieces of land to refugees living in camps, in collaboration with UNHCR, to allow them to restart living from their work. In Jordan, where 83% of Syrian refugees currently reside, Caritas are working in collaboration with the government to find sustainable humanitarian solutions to alleviate the burdens faced by millions of men, women and children who are victims of war. It is important to keep before our eyes the face, story and pain of each person affected by conflicts and violence, fleeing their home to seek safety. Therefore, Caritas Internationalis wishes to recall on this World Refugee Day the fundamental right of everyone to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution in other countries, as enshrined in article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in line with the 1951 Convention.

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Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh: Victims four times over

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 30 giugno 2020

“One of the key measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic is social distancing. But if you live in a refugee camp, you don’t have the luxury of space to do this,” said Inmanuel Chayan Biswas, the Communications Officer for Rohingya Response Programme of Caritas Bangladesh based in Cox’s Bazar. In refugee camps in Bangladesh, the Rohingya community face not only the challenge of living in overcrowded and flimsy shelters with up to ten or more people in one room, but they also use communal latrines and water facilities and space is limited where they receive food distributions. They cannot maintain the proper distancing or hygiene measures to provide effective prevention against the spread of the coronavirus.
The first case of COVID-19 was found in the Rohingya settlements on 14th May 2020. As of 21st June 2020 there was a total of 4 deaths and 45 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Rohingya population. “But we don’t know how accurate these numbers are as there is a lack of expertise in the testing centres. The medical facilities in the Rohingya camp are not really enough considering the size of the population and only primary health care facilities are available in most cases. The Bangladeshi government has limited the activities in the camps since 25th March,” Biswas said.Initially, Rohingya who were critically ill with COVID-19 were referred to Ukhiya General Hospital or Cox’s Bazar Medical College. Now it is not possible because these hospitals are facing challenges to provide treatment facilities to the local people.
Inside the camps, far too few people have the proper information COVID-19. Therefore, Caritas Bangladesh is working across the country and in Cox’s Bazaar camps to provide prevention messaging to tens of thousands of people as well as soap and hygiene kits to thousands of families. They have also installed handwashing stations in public places and near toilets.
“They know that they need to wash their hands frequently, but a big challenge is the poor water supply and sanitation facilities at the camp.” Meanwhile, heavy rainfall is weakening the shelters where the Rohingya take refugee, there is a high fear of landslide and flood.Rohingya people have expressed serious concerns about the rainy season causing a deterioration in camp roads, paths, and stair networks thereby impacting access to necessary services and amplifying a multitude of protection issues such as physical and sexual abuse. Annual monsoon preparations in the camps were made more challenging this year by the spread and risks posed by the COVID-19.

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Refugees on the Greek islands: MEPs demand urgent measures to improve conditions

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 19 novembre 2019

MEPs pointed on Thursday to the dire conditions in the refugee camps on the Greek islands, more worrying as the winter approaches, and complained for the lack of solutions.In a debate with Commissioner Avramopoulos and the Finnish Presidency, many speakers stressed that this will be the fourth winter with thousands of asylum-seekers living in unacceptable conditions on European soil. MEPs described the situation in places such as the Moria camp as “explosive” and “shameful”, and urged the Greek authorities to speed up transfers to the mainland, giving priority to the most vulnerable people.The lack of solidarity of EU member states with Greece was also raised during the discussion. Some MEPs blamed the Council of the EU for not being able to reach an agreement for a new common European asylum legislation, which should contribute to alleviate the pressure on Greece.
In a separate debate, MEPs referred to the terrible conditions in which asylum-seekers are living at the Bosnian camp of Bihać, close to the border with Croatia. They underlined that the overcrowded facility lacks minimum services, such as running water, sanitation and electricity, demanded its immediate closure and the transfer of the refugees and migrants to adequate reception centres.Many of the speakers also denounced illegal pushbacks of asylum-seekers at the Croatian border and called on the European Commission to investigate the numerous allegations of violence by the Croatian police against those attempting to request asylum in their territory.

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Humanitarian visas to avoid refugees’ deaths

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 12 ottobre 2018

EU countries should be able to issue humanitarian visas at embassies and consulates abroad, so people seeking protection can access Europe without risking their life.With 39 votes to 10, the Civil Liberties Committee agreed on Wednesday to ask the European Commission to table, by 31 March 2019, a legislative proposal establishing a European Humanitarian Visa, giving access to European territory – specifically to the member state issuing the visa – for the sole purpose of submitting an application for international protection.MEPs stress that despite numerous announcements and requests for safe and legal pathways for asylum-seekers into Europe, the EU lacks a harmonised framework of protected entry procedures. They underline that, due to insufficient legal options, an estimated 90% of those granted international protection reached the European Union through irregular means.
According to the committee, humanitarian visas would help to address the intolerable death toll in the Mediterranean and on the migration routes to the EU (at least 30 000 persons have died at EU borders since 2000), to combat human smuggling, and to manage arrivals, reception and processing of asylum claims better.This tool should also contribute to optimising member states’ and the EU’s budget for asylum, law enforcement procedures, border control, surveillance and search and rescue activities, MEPs say.Beneficiaries will have to prove well-founded exposure to or risk of persecution and not be in a resettlement process already. The assessment of the application should not involve a full status determination process, but before issuing the visa, each applicant should be subject to a security screening, through the relevant national and European databases, “to ensure that they do not pose a security risk”.

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MEPs to discuss global strategy for better management of migration and refugee flows

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 27 febbraio 2018

Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, representatives of international organisations (UNHCR, OIM), the European External Action Service and the Bulgarian Presidency as well as members of EU national parliaments, will participate in the debate.The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2016, marked the beginning of multilateral negotiations for the adoption of two global compacts on refugees -with the objective of a fairer sharing of the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting refugees worldwide- and for safe, orderly and regular migration, aimed at ensuring adequate treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations.The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was tasked to develop the practical aspects of the Global Compact on refugees. A final text of the Global Compact on Refugees will be proposed by the High Commissioner for adoption by the UN General Assembly in 2018. Mr Volker Türk, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, will present to the committee the progress achieved so far. The discussions for the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration are conducted through intergovernmental negotiations, chaired by two co-facilitators (Mexico and Switzerland). Both the Mexican and Swiss Ambassadors to the UN, H.E. Juan José Gómez Camacho and H.E. Jürg Lauber, respectively, will attend the meeting. The European Parliament as a whole plans to vote on a resolution on the UN Global Compacts in the March plenary session, in Strasbourg.

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Terrorist threat and refugee crisis: French and German answers/Menace terroriste et crise des réfugiés : réponses franco-allemandes

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 24 gennaio 2017

tribuneOn the anniversary of the Franco-German Treaty of the Elysée we issue a declaration from the “Think Tanks Tandem”, series of meetings organised between representatives of French and German think-tanks.
The challenges created by the threat of terrorism and the migrant crisis are so important that they could affect Franco-German relations, on a governmental level as well as on citizen level, especially if the the populist and anti-European actors from the two countries manage to provoke closure reflexes using these challenges in interior politics.
The necessity for tight cooperation is therefore more obvious today than ever before. If our two countries become closer the cooperation in the face of these challenges could consolidate not just Franco-German relations, but also the cohesion of the European Union.
Tribune par Yves Bertoncini, Gilles Finchelstein, Marcel Grignard, Julie Hamann, Ronja Kempin, Guillaume Klossa, Nicole Koenig, Martin Koopmann, Jean-Paul Maulny, Marc-Olivier Padis, Sophie Pornschlegel, Dominic Schwickert, Stefan Seidendorf, Hans Stark
Texte intégralTexte intégral. À l’occasion de l’anniversaire du traité franco-allemand de l’Elysée, nous vous adressons une déclaration issue du “Think Tanks Tandem”, série de rencontres organisées entre des représentants de think tanks français et allemands.
Les défis que représentent la menace terroriste et la crise des réfugiés sont à tel point importants qu’ils pourraient affecter les relations franco-allemandes, tant à l’échelon gouvernemental qu’à celui des citoyens. A fortiori si les acteurs populistes et anti-européens des deux pays parvenaient à attiser des réflexes de repli en instrumentalisant ces défis sur le plan de la politique intérieure.
La nécessité de coopérer étroitement est donc plus évidente aujourd’hui que jamais. Si nos deux pays font un pas l’un vers l’autre, la coopération face à ces défis pourra consolider non seulement les relations franco-allemandes, mais aussi la cohésion de toute l’Union européenne.(photo: tribune)

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Resettlement of refugees from third countries to the EU

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 15 novembre 2016

Female refugeesThe proposal for a new law setting up an EU Resettlement Framework will be debated at a hearing in the Civil Liberties Committee on Monday afternoon 15.00-17.00. MEPs will be presented with a study on resettlement programmes across member states and statements on the proposal by the UN refugee agency UNHCR, International Organisation for Migration, IOM, and NGOs.The aim of the Commission’s proposal, presented on 13 July 2016, is to provide a unified procedure for resettlement across the EU by establishing a common set of standard procedures for the selection and treatment of resettlement candidates, and set broad geographical priorities from where the resettlement will take place. Member states will still be able to decide how many people will be resettled each year. The Commission proposes to provide €10,000 from the EU Budget for each person resettled. The proposal is part of the Commission’s strategy for an European Agenda on Migration communicated on 13 May 2015. Parliament’s rapporteur is Malin Björk (GUE-NGL, SV). A delegation from the Civil Liberties Committee in September visited Lebanon on a fact finding mission in relation to the Committee’s legislative work on the Resettlement Framework.

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Refugee and migrant families risk being split up during the journey to the EU

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 18 settembre 2016

jovan-vitanovskOver a third of new arrivals in the past year were children, who often arrive unaccompanied as they become separated from their family. The latest FRA summary report on migration-related fundamental rights throws the spotlight on how the present situation is affecting family tracing and reunification.
Access the focus section on family tracing and reunification and the monthly data collection highlights. Respect for family life is a fundamental right guaranteed in the EU. Family reunification is an important enabler of this and facilitates the longer-term integration of migrants into society. However, the current situation is putting this right to the test as some Member States have made reunification more difficult.This report looks at the challenges and good practices related to family tracing and reunification that can help the development of effective rights-compliant solutions at EU and national level. Some of the main findings include:
Most Member States use the Red Cross’ fundamental rights-compliant tool ‘Trace the Face’ to search for family members. Refugees and migrants mainly use social media networks, online databases and the Red Cross tool to trace family members.
However, practical obstacles impede family tracing. These include a lack of documentation among migrants, errors in processing names, the speed with which migrants move between countries, and the slow identification of those who have died crossing the Mediterranean. In addition, although national offices of the Red Cross play a leading role in family tracing, in most Member States there is no NGO specifically responsible for this.
Displaced People At Dadaab Refugee Camp As Severe Drought Continues To Ravage East AfricaThere are no systematic and reliable data on how many asylum seekers arrive with or without their family, nor on the exact number of requests for family reunification.
Some Member States have reduced the timeframe for applying for family reunification or have made the process more complicated. The dissemination of information about family reunification also varies from Member State to Member State. Additional obstacles include the length of proceedings, the absence of valid travel documents, the cost of processing documentation including translation, and limited access to legal assistance.
Under the EU’s Dublin Regulation for determining which Member State is responsible for examining asylum applications, family considerations such as keeping families together can be taken into account. However, practical, legal and administrative obstacles can impede such considerations. These include a lack of information about the process, the absence of proof of family relationships, and long and complex procedures with no chance to appeal decisions, etc.
Overall, family reunification seems to have become more difficult due to the recent changes in Member States’ policies and practices. Family tracing, which is often the necessary first step before applying for family reunification, is complicated for various reasons, despite some promising practices. More precise and specific data would be needed to better assess national practices on family reunification and family tracing and to develop effective solutions in line with fundamental rights at EU and Member State levels.The European Commission asked FRA to collect data about the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in Member States, particularly affected by large migration movements. The countries covered are: Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Sweden.FRA has published overviews since September 2015. Each overview covers different issues including:
initial registration and asylum applications;criminal proceedings initiated for offences related to irregular border crossing;
child protection;reception conditions for new arrivals;access to healthcare;public response such as rallies of support, humanitarian assistance or voluntary work;
racist incidents such as demonstrations, online hate speech or hate crime.
While this month has a section looking specifically at family tracing and reunification, last month’s focus was on migrants with disabilities and victims of torture. Next month will review the most important fundamental rights issues from the past year that still require priority action. (photo: Jovan Vitanovsk)

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Fundamental Right Forum

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 11 giugno 2016

Fundamental RightThe Fundamental Rights Forum 2016 is fast approaching with only 10 days left until the event begins on 20 June in Vienna. Over the course of four days, participants will look from different perspectives at three burning issues: refugee protection, inclusion and the digital age.During the event thought leaders, decision makers and grassroots representatives will come together to explore innovative approaches to fundamental rights, the laws and policies that can better protect and promote rights, ways of empowering rights holders as well as ensuring fundamental rights compliant sustainable growth. The end goal: to formulate commitments and decisions that will result in meaningful change; change in the promotion, protection and respect of fundamental human rights for everyone across the EU.
At the event, participants can also visit the market place of ideas to get inspiration from the many practical initiatives to promote fundamental rights. The magdas HOTEL offering jobs and training to former asylum seekers and the Rombus educational bus for Roma children in Austria are just two examples.
Already the Forum website offers a flavour of what to expect. There are blog posts from leading experts such as ‘The right to a future’ by Morten Kjaerum, Raoul Wallenberg Institute Director and ‘The Question of Belonging’ by Dr Brian Klug, Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University. In addition, video trailers are setting the scene for some of the engaging discussions that are likely to take place. (photo: Fundamental Right)

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Summer School on Human Rights: Human dignity doesn’t have gender or age

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 8 giugno 2016

europeThe Conference of European Churches, in partnership with the Theological School of Aristotle University, organised the 3rd Annual Summer School on Human Rights “Stand up for Women’s and Children’s Rights!” last days in Thessaloniki. More than 90 people, from different countries and representing a number of denominations, participated in the opening of the Summer School. Speakers included experts from Council of Europe, NATO, European universities and many CEC Member Churches and Organisations in Partnership. The situation of women and children was highlighted and discussed from legal, theological, and practical angles. In many situations, women and children are discriminated or denied their fundamental rights, such as the right to food, shelter, education, access to health care, participation in society and so on. In some European countries one of three women are victim or a potential victim of different forms of violence, including sexual violence and harassment. Children often face various types of violence and abuse on a daily basis, including bullying in schools. With regard to refugee women and children, the situation is direr still.Participants agreed that a common response is needed by states, societies, churches and other religious organizations, as human dignity does not have gender or age. The summer school facilitated the exchange about best practices on how to promote gender equality and the rights of the child in church and society.Summer School participants learned about international, European, and national legal frameworks on the protection of the rights children and women. The United Nation’s Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC) and monitoring systems related to it are especially important for child-centred responses and safeguarding their best interests. Close analysis of biblical passages and traditional teachings of the churches helped shape discussions. There was a call for a self-critical theology that takes children as a starting point and gives them a voice. There were several study trips, including to the Centre for Roma Minors, to the premises to the NGO NAOMI, and to the refugee relocation center Diavata. The students who attended the summer school had also possibility to pass the exam from this subject and receive credit for their studies. (photo: conference)

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Fate of 10,000 missing refugee children debated in Civil Liberties Committee

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 22 aprile 2016

migrants05How to protect unaccompanied minors and cooperate across borders to find missing children fast were the key issues in an emotional Civil Liberties Committee debate on Thursday about the fate of 10,000 refugee children who have gone missing in Europe.
Representatives of the Europol law enforcement agency, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency and the NGO Missing Children Europe briefed MEPs on the numbers and reasons why the children are believed to have gone missing.It is feared that some of these children are being exploited by criminal gangs, due to the often close ties between human smugglers, who facilitate travel for around 90% of the migrants, and criminal networks. These children may be sexually exploited, used for begging or forced to commit crimes. However, children may also disappear in search of friends or family in other EU countries or out of sheer desperation caused by cumbersome asylum procedures or detention in reception centres. MEPs quizzed the invited speakers for facts and stressed the need to step up protection of unaccompanied minors so as to ensure their safety, as well as improving cross-border cooperation to find children who have gone missing and might have travelled on to another country.

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The refugee crisis: A European call for action

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 26 marzo 2016

refugee crisisThe leaders of the seven think tanks and foundations that are involved in the Vision Europe initiative have addressed an open letter to the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and to the Prime Ministers of the 28 EU member states to stress the need to act in unity at the European level as a matter of urgency.The Jacques Delors Institute takes part to the Vision Europe project, a consortium of think tanks and foundations collaborating to address some of the most pressing public policy challenges facing Europe. Through research, publications and an annual summit, we aim to be a forum for debate and a source of recommendations to improve evidence-based policy-making at both a national and EU level and to foster as appropriate European integration. In 2015 we commonly worked on “The Future of the Welfare State”; for the year 2016, the Vision Europe initiative will developing innovative policy recommendations on how to improve the response to the crisis of migrants and refugees in Europe.(photo: refugee crisis)

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Turkey: more needs to be done for refugees living outside camps, Civil Liberties MEPs say

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 11 febbraio 2016

turchia-ist3The efforts of the Turkish government to care for the high number of Syrian refugees living in refugee camps in the country must be recognised, members of the Civil Liberties Committee visiting Turkey said on Wednesday. But they also stressed that the situation for refugees outside the camps is precarious and that more needs to be done to ensure health, food, education and employment.The seven-MEP strong delegation led by European Parliament vice-president Sylvie Guillaume (S&D, FR) on Tuesday visited a refugee camp in Nizip, close to the Syrian border, as well as families living outside the camps. They also met with representatives of local authorities, UN organisations, international NGOs and others to get a full picture of the situation of refugees.
High standard in Turkish camps, but more must be done for refugees outside. MEPs praised the commitment of the Turkish government and its efforts to provide shelter, food, healthcare and education in the refugee camps, in particular the container ones. However, they also stressed that only around 10% of the refugees live in the camps and that more urgent efforts are needed for the other, more than 2.5 million refugees in Turkey.”There is a very clear difference between the conditions for those in the container camps and those who live out-of-camp. The situation for refugees outside the camps is highly precarious and they are in urgent need of help, especially in terms of schooling and employment opportunities”, Sylvie Guillaume (S&D, FR) said.”We have seen a lot of children in the camps and taking into account that this is going to be a long-standing conflict, more efforts should be made in schooling and integrating those children, who clearly have a need, but also hopes for a proper and decent future”, Peter Niedermüller (S&D, HU) added.Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE, FR) said: “Having seen first-hand how a large number of Syrian refugees live outside the camps, it is clear that the 3bn euros need to be targeted so that the money actually goes as close as possible to these refugees “.
Tanja Fajon (S&D, SI) also stressed the urgency of the situation: “We need a large-scale resettlement of Syrian refugees from Turkey, closer cooperation between Greece and Turkey instead of new walls and fences in the Southern Balkans. It would save lives”.
MEPs also sought information on the tens of thousands of refugees currently gathering at the Syrian-Turkish border and seeking to escape the bombardments in Aleppo.”I welcome that the border with Syria is being opened and call on Turkey to let in the people fleeing the hell of Aleppo”, said Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (EPP, SE). “The EU also has to do more to support Turkey in receiving refugees. The EU funds must be agreed and disbursed fast and the UN and NGOs must be fully funded”.Jozsef Nagy (EPP, SK) said: “Turkey has to guard its borders, but also has to let in refugees. The EU should assist them with this to help the refugees stay as close as possible to their home countries”. “A lot could be done for significant numbers of refugees close to their homes if the international community gave a little more than comforting words. Turkey’s own capacities are not endless”, warned Frank Engel (EPP, LU).

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Azerbaijan’s centrality in the geopolitical and geostrategic role of the Caspian highlighted in Paris

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 24 ottobre 2015

In the context of the refugee crisis and changing relationships between the West with Russia and Iran – both of which are neighbours of Azerbaijan – this is a pivotal time for the South Caucasus powerhouse to demonstrate its importance to the region. On 21 October these were highlighted during a panel discussion in Paris at L’Hôtel de l’Industrie, headquarters of the Société d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale (SEIN), located near the Sorbonne University and the centrepiece of French industry since 1852. The conference was organised by TEAS, the International Geostrategic Maritime Observatory (IGMO) and SEIN, and attended by over 60 delegates, including H.E. Elchin Amirbayov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to France; H.E. Aurelia Bouchez, incoming French Ambassador to Azerbaijan; and diplomats from the Iranian, Georgian, Russian and Turkish embassies, amongst others.Azerbaijan is currently in the midst of an energy revolution. The development of the Shah Deniz II full-field development has led to the 3500km, $45bn Southern Energy Corridor, which ill see gas piped through the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP), Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to an Italian interconnector, thereby representing supply diversity for much of Europe, away from overreliance on Russian resources. This will initially see up to 16bn m3 (bcm) of gas pumped to Turkey per year, and then Europe, by 2018 and 2020, respectively. The corridor is being constructed at over-capacity, and has the potential to carry up to 31bcm, augmenting Azerbaijani Caspian supplies with those from Central Asia – and possibly Iran – and transforming Azerbaijan into both a supply and transit country.After Gilles-Henri Garrault, Vice-President: International Relations, SEIN, opened the event, Ellen Wasylina, President, IGMO, presented the special edition of the Geostrategic Maritime Review, which focuses on the Caspian region.Marie-Laetitia Gourdin, Director, TEAS France commented: “This is an important time to hear about the strategic importance of the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan is a major partner of the EU, located in the Caspian, and it has established many business and commercial relationships with EU member countries. This publication is a very important addition to the available literature on the country.”Gulmira Rzayeva, Senior Editor of the Geostrategic Maritime Review – The Caspian Sea; Associate, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Strategic Studies (SAM) under the President of Azerbaijan said: “It is necessary to raise awareness of the countries around the Caspian Sea by organising events of this type in Paris and other capitals in Europe.”She continued: “Energy is certainly the most important issue in the Caspian region. In the publication, we tried to cover the Caspian from different angles. We included such topics as the Trans-Caspian Pipeline, which has geopolitical implications, in addition to the demarcation of the legal status of the sea. EU countries are key customers for Azerbaijan16, as it reduces their reliance on Russian gas. Azerbaijan is developing the Southern Energy Corridor, and this represents an alterative energy source to Russian Gazprom. Liquiefied Natural Gas (LNG) will be particularly important in the future. Iran has the resources, but it will need to produce more gas and oil.”Dr Efgan Niftiyev, Expert, Hazar Strateji Enstitüsü, who moderated the panel discussion, reiterated this, saying: “The Caspian is taking centre-stage in global geopolitics and is central to the former Soviet space. The West is interested in collaborating with the region in terms of energy security and has been primarily responsible for the development of resources in the region. Now we are seeing local companies involved in the development of the Shah Deniz field and construction of the Southern Energy Corridor.”Oktay Tanrisever, Professor at METU-Turkey, specialising in Regional Security, Energy and Environment and Turkish Foreign Policy, commented: “The development of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) since 2012 has resulted in Russia unleashing its power in the region, and Russia and Kazakhstan – two littoral states in the Caspian Region – are members of the EEU. However, Baku has demonstrated its ability to pursue an independent policy.”Slavtcho Neykov, Chairman, Energy Management Institute, Bulgaria, said: “All presentations today have focused on security of energy supply. It is also important to take into account the security of demand and infrastructural security. The Southern Energy Corridor will play an important role, but it will initially carry only 16bcm per annum, whereas total EU consumption is 530bcm.”Sonja Lekovic, Energy Analyst, International Energy Agency, explained: “The Caspian Sea has an important role to play in the world of energy. Azerbaijan continues to pursue an independent policy, is achieving its 2020 objectives, and has achieved a greater reduction in energy intensity of any country in the region, partly due to the replacement of oil with natural gas and the adoption of new, energy-efficient technologies.”Jane Amilhat, Deputy Head of Russia–CIS Unit, DG Trade, European Commission, continued: “We are in favour of greater economic integration, but this doesn’t really exist in the Caspian Region. The countries need to be integrated with the world monetary market, and Azerbaijan is coming closer to this. The EU is seeking market integration, energy security and supply diversification and hence the Caspian Region is particularly important to us.”Agathe Thomas, ENGIE Representative in Baku, concluded: “Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan account for 13 per cent of the world’s gas reserves. With around 18 per cent of total reserves – making it the top potential supplier of gas ­– Iran has the potential to become a major export country, and this will be a gamechanger. Azerbaijan is an oil producer with huge ambitions for gas and has the potential to produce 30bcm per annum.”The evening concluded with a question-and-answer session and cocktail reception for more informal discussions.

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European filmmakers deliver refugee crisis appeal to European Parliament

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 22 ottobre 2015

European Parliament President Martin-schulz, Civil Liberties Committee Chair Claude Moraes and Culture Committee Chair Silvia Costa received an appeal today by European filmmakers on the current refugee crisis in Europe – “For A Thousand Lives: Be Human”.The delegation of European film directors and actors of various nationalities called on the European Union to take measures to ensure that member states respond to the refugee crisis by acting jointly, in solidarity, and with humanity, in accordance with the EU’s founding values.After receiving the filmmakers’ appeal, President Schulz said: “I welcome very warmly this initiative. The majority of Europeans favours helping refugees. With this initiative and many others by civil society, we show that we stay mobilized to find a fair solution in a spirit of solidarity and humanity”.”European filmmakers came to the Parliament today because they understand the power of images and that the European Union is also a Union of values in the midst of the refugee crisis. For this reason, they are right to speak out on refugees, as the winter sets in, to call on member states to shake off their complacency and populism, and focus on a practical, organised, compassionate action in place of inertia”, added Civil Liberties Committee Chair Claude Moraes. “Cinema, creativity and culture have a crucial role in raising citizens’ awareness and the responsibility of national and European institutions. We are delighted to have received at the European Parliament the call from directors and actors who, with their valuable work, can give a voice and eyes to the dramatic situation of refugees. We share with them the goal of a more cohesive and inclusive Europe”, concluded Culture Committee Chair Silvia Costa.
Claude Moraes and Silvia Costa held a press conference at 14.30 with French director Michel Hazanavicius (5 Oscars, 6 Césars, 7 Baftas, and 3 Golden Globes for “The Artist”), Italian actress and director Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, German cinema icon Hanna Schygulla, French director Laurent Cantet (Palme d’or for “Entre les murs”), and Polish actor Andrzej Chyra.

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Refugee crisis: Humanitarian concerns as winter draws nigh raised by Civil Liberties Committee Chair Claude Moraes

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 7 ottobre 2015

rifugiati“The tough period starts now, difficult decisions must be taken to make the commitments of the Council a reality on the ground”, said Mr MoraesThe humanitarian situation of refugees within the EU and neighbouring countries was the focus of a plenary debate with Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Luxembourg’s minister responsible for relations with the European Parliament during the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Nicolas Schmit, on Tuesday morning.The Chair of the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, responsible for migration and asylum, Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), said:”The tough period is now, we can expect to see an increase in refugee flows before we are fully into the winter months. This is also a time when difficult decisions have to be taken to ensure the hotspots are fully implemented and the budget is made available for the very EU responses the Council has committed to.
The Commission must keep us fully informed of the implementation of the hotspots in Italy and Greece, which will in turn enable the relocation mechanism. Council should also make all the necessary preparations should the civil protection mechanism need to be triggered over the winter period.The refugee crisis will not simply be forgotten, we cannot allow ourselves to become used to the images we see – this will remain high on the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee agenda and we will keep insisting on a coordinated, humanitarian EU response to the refugee crisis”.Migration will also be high on the agenda of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 8-9 October and of the next European summit on 15-16 October.

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University of the People to offer tuition-free degrees to Syria’s lost generation

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 9 settembre 2015

pasadena(Pasadena, CA. University of the People (UoPeople) has announced that it will accept 500 Syrian refugees to study tuition-free toward bachelor degrees in Business Administration or Computer Science at the university’s virtual campus.
“Looking at the intolerable situation today, it is clear that the hardships these people have experienced cannot be reversed; through education, however, their futures can be transformed,” said President Shai Reshef. The ambitious project builds on UoPeople’s previous experience with providing refugee assistance programs with UNHCR, whereby a special policy, approved by the university’s US accrediting agency, DEAC, has been established in order to admit refugees and asylum seekers in cases where official transcripts and documents cannot be obtained.The university has established a special scholarship fund for refugees who can’t afford the university’s modest $100 examination fees ($4,000 for a full four-year degree). The first major donation has been received yet the university is seeking immediate further funding to accommodate the need.UoPeople has been described as a “university in a box,” wherein education can be tapped into, picked up and taken with students wherever they go. In spite of their transitory circumstances, whether refugee students remain in their host countries, relocate again or return home, students can pursue coveted higher education, provided they have a qualified level of English, high school diploma and access to computers with internet.The non-profit, tuition-free, accredited American online university is reaching out to the least upwardly mobile population who are most in line with the institution’s mission, to open the gates to higher education to qualified students and those most in need of education in order to overcome other barriers.“We all care about the immediate needs of these people, such as health, shelter and food, but the only way to make a lasting difference in the future lives of the individuals, their families, communities and host countries, is through education. This is even more so if they are ever able to return to rebuild Syria.” Said Reshef.“After three months of studying at Yarmouk University in Damascus, Syria, my life was turned upside down and my family and I were forced to flee in 2012, leaving everything I knew behind,” said Omar A., 21, a refugee student currently residing in Turkey and studying at UoPeople towards a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. “Unlike most of my countrymen, I was fortunate to find work with a nongovernmental organization, with an income to support my family, but if I want a better position or career, I have to have a degree. When I found UoPeople, I knew it would change my life. I felt like I was the very person the university was created for, with its belief in the right of education and its belief in people just like me.”According to Emeritus Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University Prof. Sir Colin Lucas, a UoPeople President’s Council member and head of its Syrian Refugees Initiative, “UoPeople was created to serve the most qualified people who don’t have access to higher education. History will not forgive us for forsaking Syria’s lost generation if we don’t do something now to stand up and save them – we’re talking about not only their future, but all our collective future as well. The key to change is education.”
University of the People (UoPeople) is the world’s first non-profit, tuition-free, accredited online university dedicated to opening access to higher education globally. Using open-source technology, Open Educational Resources and the assistance of academic volunteers, UoPeople is designed to provide access to college studies for qualified high school graduates, despite financial, geographic, societal or personal constraints.

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Immigrati:Europa assente

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 3 ottobre 2013


Lampedusa (Photo credit: lucasiragusa)

“Dopo l’ennesima spaventosa tragedia di Lampedusa nessuno può più rimanere indifferente: il governo deve farsi promotore di una risposta europea, forte e immediata, al problema dell’immigrazione che colpisce le nostre coste. Dobbiamo essere vicini con i fatti al sindaco e a tutta la cittadinanza di Lampedusa, che fanno dell’accoglienza e della solidarietà un impegno di vita”. Lo dichiara il ministro per la Pubblica Amministrazione e la Semplificazione, Gianpiero D’Alia.

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Report: Hamas torturing 250 Eritreans in Egypt

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 31 dicembre 2010

Tel Aviv. Approximately 250 Eritrean refugees have been held captive and tortured for the past month by Hamas in northern Sinai, human rights organization EveryOne reported. The Italian-based organization sent an urgent plea to the Egyptian government last Thursday, claiming that the refugees, who were making their way to Israel to seek asylum, were captured by human traffickers. The issue of illegal refugees infiltrating through the Egyptian border has been dominating the news in Israel in recent months, but it appears that many meet a dreadful fate even before reaching the Jewish state. The humanitarian aid group reported that the refugees in question encountered Hamas operatives along the route, who promised to smuggle them into Israel for a payment of $2,000. Instead, they were placed in a detention facility on the outskirts of Rafah, an Egyptian town on the Gaza border, demanding their families in Eritrea pay a $10,000 ransom for their release.
According to Roberto Malini, who heads EveryOne, the NGO is able to communicate with the Eritreans, some of whom arrived in Italy a few months ago but were sent back to Libya, where they were held for three months. During their stay in Italy they were given cell phones so that they can keep the humanitarian aid group updated along the journey. The captors let the prisoners use the phones to request money from their families. The refugees were thus able to relate the poor conditions in which they were being held, and describe their location – a house located near a government building, surrounded by a fruit orchard – and even send photographs of the detention facility.
According to refugees who survived similar journeys and reached Israel, once the ransom is paid, the traffickers escort the prisoners to certain points along the border. Those who are unable to gather the funds will meet a bitter end.EveryOne officials claim that despite their repeated efforts to inform the Egyptian authorities of the dire situation, no action has been taken to remedy it, primarily because terrorist groups are behind the atrocities.

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