United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

24-25 May 2012

Thursday 24 May to Friday 25 May 2012

Hunger strike expands into church

Denmark  

The number of rejected asylum-seekers who are on hunger strike is increasing, with over 60 currently participating. The numbers have been swelled by 10 Christian Iranians starting a hunger strike inside of a church. This has led to an internal conflict within the Danish Church as to how it should respond. The Iranian hunger strikers say they fear death penalty if deported back to Iran.

Danish Peoples Party: remove hunger strikers from Church

Denmark  

The Danish Peoples Party’s immigration spokesperson, Martin Henriksen, says he does not see that there is a valid reason for the hunger strikers to reside in the church. Instead, he argues they should be removed and subsequently deported.

Amnesty International criticises Denmark

Denmark  

In a new report, Amnesty International criticises Denmark for its deportation of 500 Iraqis, despite the risk of them being tortured upon return. The report also criticises Denmark’s treatment of stateless Palestinians, as well as accusing the country of providing insufficient protection to rape victims. 

Estonia gets 55 new citizens

Estonia  

The government has granted Estonian citizenship to 55 individuals. Estonian citizenship was granted to 42 nationals from Russia, six from Ukraine and one from Belarus, Morocco, Georgia, Kazakhstan, India, Tajikistan and Finland. Citizenship was granted under the condition that they are released from their previous citizenship.

  • Baltic News Service 24 May 2012 (in English)

Finnish Refugee Council pleads for municipality places

Finland  

At the event ’Markets of Possibilities’ in the city of Kuopio and the city of Savonlinna, the Finnish Refugee Council will advocate for more municipality places for quota refugees. The events take place on Saturday 26 May. Finland has committed to receive 750 quota refugees per year. However, the quota has not been filled since it is difficult to find municipality placements for the refugees. People will be encouraged to sign a petition in support of refugees still awaiting municipality places.

Finnish Immigration Service collaborates with police

Finland  

The Finnish Immigration Service is going to place two senior inspectors in the police department in the city of Turku this summer. The collaboration is hoped to speed up the asylum process. If the project is successful, senior director of the Finnish Immigrant Service Jorma Vuorinen hopes that closer collaboration will be practiced all over Finland.

Finland is criticized for treatment of asylum seekers

Finland  

In its new report, Amnesty International criticizes Finland for its treatment of asylum-seekers. According to the report, asylum-seekers’ rights are not granted due to the faster preparation of asylum applications. Asylum-seekers have been sent back to Iraq regardless of the risk of them being persecuted.  

Increasing death rates in asylum centres

Norway  

According to new statistics from the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, the number of people dying in asylum centres has increased steadily during the past years. During the first five months of 2012, 10 people have lost their lives. Suicide, accidents involving children and manslaughter are the most common reasons of death.

Report argues that immigration is expensive for society

Norway  

A report from Statistics Norway (SSB) states that immigration will weaken the Norwegian economy over time. According to the report, immigration gives an increase in revenues during the first years, but after that immigrants cost more than they contribute. This pattern is also found when investigating traditional work immigration. The State Secretary at the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion, Ahmad Ghanizadeh, says that one always needs to be cautious when predicting the future. – The most important lesson to be learned is that a well-functioning integration policy is profitable, states Ghanizadeh.

Swedish Democrats want to increase aid to UNHCR

Sweden  

The party leader of the Swedish Democrats, Jimmie Åkesson, has stated in an interview that he wants to increase UNHCR’s funding in order to concentrate help to those refugees who are in the immediate vicinity of conflict zones.

Red Cross: a quarter of asylum-seekers have been subject to torture

Sweden  

According to the Red Cross, a quarter of asylum-seekers has been subjected to torture or has experienced severe trauma from war.

Amnesty International criticises Sweden

Sweden  

In a new report, Amnesty criticises Sweden’s deportation and asylum policies. The organisation is especially critical to the forced deportation of Iraqis and Eritreans. Lise Bergh, the general secretary of Amnesty Sweden, says that UNHCR shares their view concerning the risks that Iraqis and Eritreans face in their home countries. Consequently, she argues people should not be deported to said countries. Amnesty also criticises Sweden for not providing Roma an asylum process which is in accordance to the rule of law.

Thousands fleeing the war in Congo

UNHCR in the news  

The unrest in eastern Congo has intensified since the presidential elections last November. Lately the situation has deteriorated further since General Bosco Ntaganda left the government forces. According to the UN, there is proof that extensive recruitment of children and men is taking place. Bosco Ntaganda is most likely again the person in charge of this crime against children. This is the same crime that he is sought-after for by the International Criminal Court, says Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior researcher at UNHCR.

3000 people per month fled Eritrea last year

UNHCR in the news  

Eritrea is under the rule of a dictatorship which is failing to distribute humanitarian aid to its population, as well as keeping thousands of political prisoners in jail. In combination with severe drought affecting the region, UNHCR estimates that 3000 people fled the country per month last year.

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