|Immigrant Council Deplores “Tragic Milestone" as 2016 Death Toll in the Mediterranean Sea Passes 3,000||26 Jul 2016|
|Immigrant Council Welcomes Online Appointments System for GNIB Office at Burgh Quay||22 Jul 2016|
|Immigrant Council Highlights Heroic Role of Irish Navy in Rescue Missions in the Med||15 Jul 2016|
|HESTIA project partners are preparing for ambitious anti-trafficking activities||28 Jun 2016|
|World Refugee Day an opportunity for increased action to save lives||20 Jun 2016|
|Government must repond as children at risk experiencing rape, trafficking and exploitation||16 Jun 2016|
Immigrant Council Deplores “Tragic Milestone," as 2016 Death Toll in the Mediterranean Sea Passes 3,000
Over 3,000 people have now lost their lives in 2016 crossing the Mediterranean to seek refuge in Europe. That’s according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
Commenting today (26.07.16), Brian Killoran, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council, said: “Figures released this week show the number of people missing and dead in the Mediterranean region this year now stands at 3,034.
“Passing the 3,000 mark in this deplorable death-toll is a tragic milestone, and one we should never have reached.
“This is the equivalent of a 747 Airliner plunging into the Mediterranean Sea every month this year. If that were happening, there would be global grief and action, yet this milestone is passed silently, and with little reaction from EU governments.
“The Mediterranean has become a graveyard, and will continue to be so unless EU policies and attitudes change.
'It is obvious that the approach of seeking to push people back into Turkey and other countries is a failed strategy and is neither a sustainable nor a humanitarian response. Safe and legal routes into Europe are the only way to curb this increasing list of fatalities. Until we provide safe passage to those making this journey, men, women and children will continue to lose their lives.”
Mr. Killoran said the first six months of this year saw 93 recorded deaths of children crossing the Mediterranean.
“However, the true number of children who have died is unknown, as most bodies are never recovered,” he said.
“The Immigrant Council of Ireland has called upon the Irish public to make their voices heard and to demand that the Irish and EU member state governments formulate a sustainable, human-rights-based response to this tragic loss of life.
“At its heart, what is happening is a vast human tragedy: the children losing their lives could be our children; the drowned could be our brothers, sisters and parents. How would we want to be treated if this was us?
“Let us end this dark chapter in human history by returning to the key fundamental values of this continent: human rights, dignity, respect for human life – not just our lives, but also the lives of those who come to us seeking sanctuary,” added Mr. Killoran.
Full data and further information on the number of fatalities in the Mediterranean is available at: http://migration.iom.int/europe/.
Immigrant Council Welcomes Online Appointments System for GNIB Office at Burgh Quay
Council says online facility makes Ireland more welcoming to new arrivals; calls for system to be rolled out nationwide in advance of peak demand
The Immigrant Council of Ireland has welcomed the introduction of an online booking system for the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) office at Dublin’s Burgh Quay. The Council has been calling for such a system for a number of years.
The new system is due to operate from Monday (25.07.16), and will enable people registering with immigration to book an appointment for a time that suits them. Up to now, those registering have had to queue in person – often for very long hours – to get a ticket for an appointment time.
Commenting today (22.07.16), Brian Killoran, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council, said: “For far too long, people in need of work, study or re-entry visas have had to queue for hours on end to get an appointment at Burgh Quay.
“Every summer, we’ve seen the inhumane spectre of families queuing overnight and heard stories of people who’ve been in the queue for 12 hours or more, without getting an appointment time.
“The introduction of online booking for immigration appointments is long overdue. We’ve been making calls for such a system for years, in response to ever-growing concerns about the impact of the current queuing methods.
“Ireland prides itself on having a 21st Century economy and a thriving digital industry, so reports of babies and toddlers with their parents kept waiting outside in the cold, from as early as 2am, are simply not acceptable. This is needless hardship on people, and can now be easily resolved using online tools.
“We’re coming into the busiest time of year for immigration, due to the numbers of international students that arrive here every August and September. We’re delighted that online booking is finally being introduced for Burgh Quay, and we would like to see a similar system being rolled out to all GNIB offices nationwide.”
Immigrant Council Highlights Heroic Role of Irish Navy in Rescue Missions in the Med
– LÉ James Joyce expected to reach Libyan waters tomorrow –
As the LÉ James Joyce continues its journey to the Mediterranean this weekend, the Immigrant Council of Ireland has highlighted the key role played by the Irish Navy in rescue missions in the region.
Commenting today (15.07.16), Brian Killoran, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council, said: “The Irish Navy saved over 8,500 lives in the Mediterranean Seas in 2015 alone.
“The LÉ James Joyce is expected to arrive in the waters off the Libyan coast tomorrow, taking over from the LÉ Róisín, which saved 1,263 lives over its 10-week rescue mission.
“Those on board the LÉ James Joyce can be proud to continue this legacy of ground-breaking humanitarian action: the Irish public continue to be proud of their professional and heroic response. In a week that is likely to see the 2016 death toll on the Mediterranean pass 3,000, the Irish Navy is playing a key role in saving the lives of men, women and children fleeing war, violence and fear.”
According to Mr. Killoran, in addition to the Navy’s work, the Government must prioritise other measures to address the refugee crisis.
“The Government has committed to welcoming 4,000 refugees, and has stated that current deadlines will be met ahead of time,” he said. “This progress is promising, but we must remain flexible and ensure we are doing all we can, as a nation, to respond to the refugee crisis as it continues to unfold.
“We must continue to examine the ways in which we provide safe passage to those making this journey.
“We know that the push factors far outweigh the dangers faced on the waters. The work of the Irish Navy is exemplary, but safe and legal routes into Europe are the only way to truly curb the increasing list of fatalities and ensure that no one has to risk their life, nor that of their children, at the hands of smugglers.”
Mr. Killoran noted that the Irish Government is currently in the process of co-organising a high-level United Nations Summit on Refugees and Migrants in New York in September of this year.
“This is our opportunity for Ireland to show leadership as a nation and call for a new response to this emerging migration reality – one based on human rights, dignity and firm leadership, which extols the reality of the positive impacts that migration brings to us all,” he said. “Ireland must speak for the voiceless as we have so many times in the past. We must use our diplomatic influence to call for a sustainable, human-rights-based response to the plight of refugees”.
HESTIA project partners are preparing for ambitious anti-trafficking activities
Implementing the project "Preventing human trafficking and sham marriages: A multidisciplinary solution" (HESTIA) on 28 – 30 June 2016 project partners from Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Ireland and Finland met at the project’s coordination meeting in Bratislava (Slovak Republic) hosted by the project’s Slovak partner – Ministry of the Interior.
The meeting was opened by Ms Petra Barnova, Head of the Secretary of the Governmental Council for Crime Prevention who highlighted the importance of cross-border cooperation and inter-governmental support to address trafficking in human beings efficiently and more targeted.
During the meeting the main focus was put on two topics – development of the Research Report and Multidisciplinary Training: development of training methodology and materials.
European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control of the United Nations (HEUNI) presented the preliminary findings of the research and the draft research report which will be made publicly available during the anti-trafficking week when the European Union Anti-Trafficking Day is marked in all EU Member States. The HESTIA Research Report will be officially published on the 18th of October. The Research Report contains the research and five national reports done by Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania and the Slovak Republic and it focuses very much on the commonalities and differences related to exploitative sham marriages in the project partner countries, terminology, conceptual and methodological issues. Particular topics – recruitment tactics, target groups, perpetrators, forms of exploitation and control, role of organized crime – are explored in the research.
The Training Methodology developed by the society “Shelter “Safe House”” and the State Police (LV) in cooperation with HEUNI was discussed in details to be sure that it provides understanding and guidance for counter-trafficking activities for trainees about the topic of sham marriages and trafficking in human beings and could be further adapted by every EU Member States to provide anti-trafficking trainings for practitioners.
Autumn 2016 is approaching with a set of anti-trafficking measures – pilot trainings for multi-disciplinary groups, awareness raising campaigns marking the EU Anti-Trafficking Day and debriefing meetings in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovak Republic and Ireland. Finishing the project Latvia will host an international conference on 14 – 15 November and the results, conclusions and recommendations will be presented at a meeting of the European Union Informal Network of National Rapporteurs or Equivalent Mechanisms on Trafficking in Human Beings in December in Brussels.
HESTIA project partners: Ministry of the Interior (Latvia), NGO "Shelter “Safe House"" (Latvia), NGO "Mittetulundusühing"" "Living for Tomorrow" (Estonia); NGO "Caritas Lithuania" (Lithuania); Immigrant Council of Ireland (Ireland); Ministry of the Interior of Slovak Republic (Slovakia); European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control of the United Nations (HEUNI) (Finland). Project associated partners: The State Police (Latvia), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Latvia), Department of Justice and Equality (Ireland).
Project "Preventing human trafficking and sham marriages: A multidisciplinary solution" (HESTIA) is being implemented by Directorate General of Home finance of European Commission (EC) "Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme". Grant Agreement Nr. HOME/2013/ISEC/AG/THB/4000005845. An implementation of HESTIA project was launched on 1 January 2015. #HESTIA_THB
Information prepared by: Rasa Saliņa, Public Relations Specialist of the project HESTIA, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Irish Navy a source of national pride but government must combat ongoing danger of exploitation by smugglers and traffickers”
Ireland stands as an ally to the thousands losing hope in the face of abuse and fear
Statement by the Immigrant Council of Ireland
World Refugee Day (20 June 2016) comes at a time when 65 million people in the world are displaced by war, hunger and human rights abuses.
We must do more to support those in need while working to stop smugglers and traffickers seeking to profit from human misery, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland.
The need for sustainable policies was highlighted at the Council’s recent conference ‘A Call to Action’ (9 and 10 June 2016), with frontline workers and international experts joined by the President of Ireland in seeking a unified, humanitarian response to the crisis.
Speakers highlighted the need for human rights based migration policies and called for flexibility in the interpretation of family reunification and Relocation policies to end the wait faced by thousands of unaccompanied children in refugee camps today.
Brian Killoran, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council, said:
“On World Refugee Day we must reflect on how we, as a society, are responding to the needs of those fleeing war and terror.
The Irish Navy is a continued source of pride for our people. The LÉ Roisin has saved nearly 800 lives since beginning its humanitarian search and rescue operation on May 11th, including 111 saved on the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday of this week.
It is time for the Irish Government to follow the will of the people by taking action.
As a frontline service provider and Independent Law Centre we are calling for long-standing political promises to be delivered to halt unnecessary suffering.
The Government must:
- · Set out a firm timeline for the arrival of 4,000 refugees into Ireland, with a comprehensive integration plan which involves local communities in welcoming refugees.
- · Use its voice to ensure the EU has humanitarian needs at the very top of its agenda by calling for safe and legal passage for those risking their lives for safety.
- Respond to reports of increases in trafficking of children for sexual exploitation by enacting the Sexual Offences Bill to ensure that Ireland is not seen as a soft target by human traffickers.
There is a great need for political leadership and we will work with the government to ensure that men, women and children find solidarity and hope in Ireland.”
Children experiencing rape, exploitation and fear must be offered safety
Increased death tolls show current responses to be inadequate
"Government must act as thousands of children are arriving to Europe alone and at risk"
Statement by the Immigrant Council of Ireland
One in ten children arriving on the deadliest route to Europe are unaccompanied, according to the findings of recent UNICEF ‘Child Alert’ report. (See Note to Editors)
The Immigrant Council of Ireland is calling for an immediate response to protect and support unaccompanied children entering Europe, whose immediate safety needs are not being met by European authorities.
Brian Killoran, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council of Ireland said:
“The Child Alert is a wake-up call that we are not doing enough to meet the basic needs of unaccompanied children arriving in Europe seeking safety and support.
The Report findings mirror the experiences of unaccompanied minors met by our legal team during overseas mission to camps in Calais and Dunkirk.
This report tells of children fleeing violence, poverty or forced marriage only to be used as hostages, raped or trafficked for labour or sexual exploitation and then abandoned by the very authorities they looked to for a new life.
A marked increase in fatalities along the Central Mediterranean route highlighted in the Child Alert shows that in an attempt to discourage smugglers the current European response is allowing the lives of men, women and children to be sacrificed. These lives mean little to the criminals, with reports of the smugglers force their ‘human cargo’ into the water to avoid arrest.
We must increase our efforts to reach out to these children, and hold the smugglers, traffickers and criminals to account.”
Catherine Cosgrave, Legal Manager with the Immigrant Council added:
“All European nations have a duty to protect and support unaccompanied children. We are calling on the Irish government to:
· Use legal migration avenues to immediately offer sanctuary in Ireland to unaccompanied children in refugee camps
· Call on the EU to dramatically speed up and properly resource plans to resettle and relocate 160,000 refugees as agreed last September
· Provide a voice of leadership in Europe which emphasises the need for child protection measures to be to the centre of the European response”
For more details contact:
085 864 0682
NOTE TO EDITORS: The UNICEF Child Alert report, ‘Danger Every Step of the Way’, can be accessed at http://www.unicef.org/emergencies/childrenonthemove/files/Child_Alert_Final_PDF.pdf