New database catalogs human rights violations for the Caribbean’s vulnerable communities
- The Shared Incidents Database (SID) will document violations affecting people with HIV, sex workers, people with substance addiction, gay and bisexual men, trans people, vulnerable youth, migrants, and the incarcerated.
- The database is a collaboration between the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) and the Centro de Orientación e Investigación Integral (COIN), based in the Dominican Republic.
- Human rights and social justice organizations across the Caribbean are being trained in the use of SID, which creators envision as a tool in program development, policy creation, petitioning, and reporting.
“Caribbean’s first online human rights database launched” (The Jamaica Observer | May 2017)
“New Database Aims to Track Rights Violations of Caribbean’s Most Vulnerable Communities” (Global Voices | May 2017)
“Caribbean’s First Online Human Rights Incidence Database Launched” (Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition | May 2017)
The Enduring Exploitation of Italy’s Grape Harvesters
Two years after the plight of its grape harvesters crashed into the global consciousness, Italy continues to struggle to uproot the labor practices that have been called “modern-day slavery” by human rights and labor rights advocates. Recent legislation has prioritized the eradication of exploitation, but underground organizations continue to take advantage of the dire conditions of Italy’s most vulnerable. Overworked, underpaid, and subject to extortion by recruiting and transportation agencies, the migrants and poor Italian women enduring the strenuous work of picking and cleaning grapes continue to struggle with difficult choices between precarious work, personal health, and acquiescence in a system designed for their failure.
“A Woman’s Death Sorting Grapes Exposes Italy’s ‘Slavery’” (The New York Times | April 2017)
“Fire kills two in Italy migrant farm workers’ ‘ghetto’” (Reuters | March 2017)
(Image Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen/The New York Times)
Death of Vietnamese man in Japanese immigration center renews concerns about immigration protocols
- Van Huan Nguyen died in the East Japan Immigration Center in Ibaraki prefecture northeast of Tokyo.
- Nguyen had originally come to Japan as one of more than 11,000 refugees the country took in in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, though the cause of his detention has not been stated.
- Nguyen’s death is one of more than a dozen in immigration detention facilities since 2006 and comes as Japan’s at times suspicious and unwelcoming treatment of migrants and asylum-seekers—including poor medical care in detention, familial separation, and its provisional release conditions—has faced renewed international scrutiny.
“Vietnamese detainee dies in Japan’s immigration center: sources” (Reuters | March 2017)
“Japan forces a harsh choice on children of migrant families” (Reuters | November 2016)
“Inmates on hunger strike at Japanese immigration detention centre” (Reuters | July 2016)
(Image Credit: Yuyu Shino/Reuters)
Calais mayor bans gatherings at site of closed refugee camp
- The ban will prohibit charity organizations from distributing food, clothing, and other survival resources to migrants and refugees attempting to travel to the United Kingdom from France.
- Police have reportedly begun using teargas to break up attempts at food distribution at the site of the former camp, which was dismantled in October 2016.
- Mayor Natacha Bouchart accused such gatherings of ratcheting ethnic tensions among migrants and endangering public safety.
“Calais mayor bans distribution of food to migrants” (The Guardian | March 2017)
“Charities slam Calais ban that could halt food aid for migrants” (Reuters | March 2017)
“Outcry after Calais mayor bans food handouts to migrants” (AFP via France24 | March 2017)
(Image Credit: Matt Dunham/AP, via The Guardian)
Tanzania president seizes passports of Indian workers for project delays
- President John Magufuli ordered the seizure of the passports of employees of Overseas Infrastructure Alliance until the water project they are overseeing is complete.
- The project, based in the southern town of Lindi, was originally set to be completed by March 2015.
- The seizure comes as the president has aggressively pursued measures to cut wasteful spending and target corruption while courting foreign businesses.
“Tanzania’s Magufuli orders seizure of expatriate construction workers’ passports” (Reuters | March 2017)
Hundreds storm gate to Morocco-Spain border at Ceuta exclave
- The autonomous Spanish enclave of Ceuta, one of only two land borders between Africa and Europe, saw some 850 sub-Saharan migrants and asylum-seekers scaling barbed wire fences along the five-mile border between Morocco and Spain to reach the immigration center inside.
- The city, located on the northwest coast of Morocco, has long been the site of attempts to cross into Europe, although strong security forces have kept most attempts at bay.
- The event follows a similar—though unsuccessful—one from New Year’s Day, when more than 1,000 attempted to breach the gate.
“Los saltos en la valla de Ceuta se duplican tras la amenaza de Marruecos” (El País | February 2017)
“Morocco uses migrant crisis as leverage in EU free trade dispute” (France24 | February 2017)
“Risking Injury and Arrest, African Migrants Storm a Gate to Europe” (The New York Times | February 2017)
(Image Credit: Jesus Moron/Associated Press, via The New York Times)
Italy rescues almost 2,500 asylum-seekers in Mediterranean over three days as trips and deaths surge
- The Italian Coast Guard pulled 1,100 from nine vessels in one day following the rescue of 1,360 in the previous two days as migrant deaths are up by more than 330% over 2016.
- More than 10,700 have crossed the Mediterranean in the first months of 2017, an increase of a third over 2016.
- Recently, Italy and the U.N. agreed to fund migrant camps, Coast Guard training, and anti-smuggling efforts in Libya to stem the flow of migrants into southern Europe, a move criticized by humanitarian groups because of Libya’s political insecurity and harsh treatment of migrants.
“Italy says 2,500 boat migrants rescued at sea in three days” (Reuters | February 2017)
“Migrant Fatalities Surge on Libya-Italy Mediterranean Route” (Voice of America | February 2017)
“Can E.U. Shift Migrant Crisis to the Source? In Libya, the Odds Are Long” (The New York Times | February 2017)
(Image Credit: Reuters, via Voice of America)