On implementing EU-Turkey agreement

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On getting to the US

An excellent, if unsettling, snapshot of the current process of resettlement to the US: Eliza Griswold’s Why is it so difficult for Syrian refugees to get into the US? in the NYT Magazine.

Relatedly, Intelligence Squared US just held a debate: “The US Should Let in 100,000 Syrian Refugees” —

22.02.2016 update: The US Promised Refuge to 10,000 Syrians–We’ve Let in 841.

On more proposed changes to Norwegian asylum and immigration policy

[05.04.2016 update: tracing the debate of the updated proposal can be found here.]

New innvandrings- og integreringsminister Sylvi Listhaug (Frp) put out a 150 page (! document available here) document outlining proposed changes to the Norwegian asylum and immigration policy today, including 40 major + minor changes to laws and regulations. Debate will is scheduled to conclude by 9 February, with proposals presented to Stortinget soon after.

The proposals include (via NRK) —

  • Tightens rules governing family reunification so that a person must have four years of work or education in Norway before family reunification can take place.
  • The government will issue payment cards to refugees instead of giving them cash. The aim is to prevent refugees sending money to family back home.
  • Asylum seekers arriving by transit visas across the border from Russia will not be able to get asylum.
  • Restricts visa freedom for asylum seekers. This means that asylum seekers are not entitled merits of his application for asylum in Norway, can be expelled from the border.
  • Creating a regulatory authority that gives right to grant temporary residence permits without taking a final decision on the need for protection. The temporary residence permit does not give the right to permanent residence, and does not provide a basis for family immigration.
  • It is proposed that the basis for permanent residence will lapse if the need for protection lapses within a period of five years.
  • The Government will reintroduce the distinction between people who are entitled to stay for the UN Refugee Convention, and those who are entitled to protection against return to their homeland after the human rights returning ban.
  • Unaccompanied minors seeking asylum to be given protection until the age of 18 years. It should then be re annual assessment, which determines whether an alien fulfills conditions for protection or stay in Norway on other grounds.
  • That an applicant shall be entitled to a permanent residence permit in Norway, the foreign national must sit the final examinations in Social Studies in a language he or she understands, as well as a final exam in Norwegian, indicating they master a minimum of spoken Norwegian.
  • Ministry wants to change Introduction Act so that people between 55 and 67 years of age must undergo training in Norwegian and social studies.
  • Permanent residence shall be refused if the applicant can not determine their own identity, or failure to obtain travel documents when it has prevented the return, or that the need for protection due to the applicants’ own actions after the applicant left the country of origin, and that the main purpose of these actions has been to obtain a residence permit.
  • The Government proposes that the appeal deadline is reduced from three weeks to one week in cases where the Directorate of Immigration (UDI) considers it obvious that an applicant does not meet the conditions for protection or protection against return.
  • The Government also proposes to make certain changes to the rules on legal aid in immigration cases, and proposes to remove the right to free legal advice in rejection cases under the Immigration Act.
  • It is proposed that the police should get store fingerprints of asylum seekers for 10 years.

Tracking public discussion:

On refugees after Paris, et al.

General:

USA:

Europe:

On countering rape

Elisabeth Jean Wood and Dara Kay Cohen published an op-ed in the NYT on how to counter rape during war,

Last year, at a global conference on sexual violence during war, many speakers agreed that the best way to deter such crimes was prosecution, and they called for more of it. But prosecutions are not enough. We must work to reduce sexual violence by armed groups during wars — not just act afterward.

First, we have to better understand it. Although rape during war is an ancient crime, it’s only in the last decade that social scientists have begun to study the patterns in which soldiers and rebels rape. The findings may be surprising: It’s not more likely to occur in particular regions, countries with greater gender inequality or during ethnic conflict; men may be victims, and women can be perpetrators.

But while rape is tragically common in war zones, it’s not an inevitable part of war. In fact, we have found that a significant percentage of both armies and rebel groups in recent civil wars were, surprisingly, not reported to have raped civilians. That’s because commanders have options: They can choose to order, tolerate or prohibit rape. A deeper understanding of their behavior offers the hope of mitigating the problem.

(links and italics in original text)

I found it difficult to read this and not immediately jump back to the dialogue I observed 9 September 2015 at PRIO, with FOKUS, on Bosnia 20 years after the war — the point was repeatedly made that sexual violence in conflict must be studied proactively and be reduced during wars (not just prosecuted afterwards, if at all).

On catching up

After two weeks in the US, there is lots to catch up on:

On the EU internal quota relocations

25.01.16: updated statistics: 257 relocated from Italy, 157 from Greece

23.01.16: Building on the Lessons Learned to Make the Relocation Schemes Work More Effectively – UNCHR

05.01.16: Member States’ Support to Emergency Relocation Mechanism [hint: things aren’t looking so good]

01.12.15: EU to relocate asylum seekers currently in Sweden

09.11.15: 5 reasons relocating refugees is a nightmare

The fear is that if too many other countries want to send refugees away and too few want to take them in, a domino effect could collapse the whole process, which is already proving a nightmare to implement.

04.11.15: 116 relocated of 160,000. [EU Commission press release with updates.]

04.11.15: 30 refugees in Greece will be sent to Luxembourg.

Lisa de Bode at Al Jazeera America notes that the first 20 individuals are being relocated to Sweden from a camp in Italy under the EU refugee quota system.

Lithuania offered to resettle 1,105 refugees in the next two years but doesn’t appear to have any takers yet.

[updates as I hear of more relocations.]