FECL 27 (September 1994):

DOCUMENTS AND PUBLICATIONS

The use of international conventions to protect the rights of migrants and ethnic minorities

Papers presented at the CCME seminar, 8-9 November 1993, in Strasbourg; edited by Julie Cator and Jan Niessen, 136 p.

The emphasis in this book is on European conventions. It looks at how these conventions and other instruments of various international bodies are related, how they reinforce one another and how they can be used in a complimentary way. This is in particular necessary in cases where European conventions restrict their application to nationals of European states which are contracting parties to these conventions.

Part one of the book gives detailed information on the kind of protection various instruments offer and how they can be used in national situations to protect the rights of migrants and minorities. Part two deals with policy matters such as influencing and standard setting process, the need to improve the existing body of international instruments, the role of the two European courts and the obligation of governments to make reports on the implementation of Conventions. Part three contains the conclusions and recommendations presented to the Council of Europe's Committee on Migration.

Contributions by: C. Boothman, R. Brett, J. Cator, D. Gomien, E. Guild, K. Huber, S. Hune, D. Johnson, G. Kojanec, H.C. Krüger, H. de Lary de Latour, J. Niessen, W. Strasser, A. Woltjer.

Available at: CCME, 174 Rue Joseph II, B-1040 Brussels; Tel: +32/2 2302011, Fax: +32/2 2311413.

 

Liberty in Britain: 34-94, by Brian Dyson, ed. Civil Liberties Trust, London.

Written to commemorate Liberty's (the British National Council of Civil Liberties) 60th anniversary, the book provides a lively portrait of civil liberty issues in the UK from the 1930s to the 1990s and it is also an authoritative history of the organisation. It outlines the vital civil liberties campaigns and events in the organisation's history, including: the rise of fascism, opposition to the Sedition Bill and controversy over 'non-flam' films in the 1930s; conscientious objectors and censorship of the press and civil servants in the 1940s; the rights of mental health patients in the 1950s; the plight of reluctant servicemen and travellers in the 1960s; campaigns for women's rights and for lesbian and gay rights in the 1970s; the miners' strike, the banning of trade unions at GCHQ and miscarriages of justice in the 1980s. The final section highlights the ongoing activities of the 90s - in particular, the campaign for a Bill of Rights and the continuing pressure to bring Britain in line with international human rights law.

Available at: Civil Liberties Trust, 21 Tabard Street, London SE1 6BP; Tel:+44/71 4033888, Fax: +44/71 4075354 (Price:  6.99 excl. postage).

 

Migration, Socialism and the International Division of Labour - The Yugoslavian experience, By Carl-Ulrik Schierup; ed. Avebury, August 1990, 352 p.; Publ. no: 1 85628 063 2.

A pioneer study of international migration and labour relations in a socialist society with importance for a general understanding of contemporary confrontations in 'the Other Europe'. The author departs from a critical study of the strategies of international organisations and Yugoslav migration policy endeavouring to set up international migration as 'development aid'- an element of 'international partnership'. The materialisation of this partnership in a growing fragmentation of the Yugoslav economic and political system during the 1970s and 1980s exposes the discriminatory nature of a changing international division of labour as well as inherent weaknesses in socialist reform policies.

Through an exploration of the complex intersection of ethnicity, class and nationality with processes of regional and international development as they are framed by pervasive processes of crisis and reform, the discussion transcends most of the topical debate about ethnic relations in socialist states.

Although written before the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia and the outbreak of the war, this book is an invaluable source of information for anyone wishing to learn more about the roots of the present tragedy in the Balkans.

Available at  35 (p & p extra) at: Wildwood Distribution Services, Gower House, CroftRoad, Aldershot, Hants GU11 3HR, UK; Tel: +44/252 331551, Fax: +44/252 344405

 

'Fortress Europe' - The Inclusion and Exclusion of Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees, by Mike King; Occasional Paper No. 6 in the Crime, Order and Policing series of the Centre for the Study of Public Order (CSPO), University of Leicester, 30 p.

In the view of the author, Fortress Europe "has been mainly depicted as a citadel whose drawbridge is raised or a geopolitical area whose perimeter wall-doors are firmly closed or even as a the perimeter consisting of a 'ring of steel'". Mike King suggests that the reality of Fortress Europe is far more complex, to the extent that "one can even question the blanket exclusionary nature of Fortress Europe per se". He stresses the need for a reconceptualisation of the 'Fortress' assessment on the basis of "dynamic processes of inclusion and exclusion".

However, while the paper undoubtedly contributes to a better understanding of the complexity of the phenomenon 'Fortress Europe' as a dynamic process including elements of flexibility and inclusion, it does not question the "blanket exclusionary nature of Fortress Europe per se" as King seems to suggest in his introduction. The author quotes Hargreaves: "...Even if the countries of Eastern Europe eventually cross the threshold, the European Union looks likely to become an even more stoutly defended fortress against the world's poor" and draws the conclusion that "this fear lies at the root of the 'protectionist' inclusionary and exclusionary layering of Europe as a Fortress."

Available at: CSPO, University of Leicester, The Friars, 154 Upper New Walk, Leicester LE1 7QA, UK; Tel: +44/533 522489, Fax: +44/533 523944

 

THE HUMANITARIAN LAW FUND

- Violation of Freedom of Expression: Spotlight report no. 12, Belgrade, June 1994, 14 p.

Based on a number of particular cases the report deals with the violation of the freedom of expression in the FRY (Serbia and Montenegro) in the following ways:

Violations of the law and internal regulations by the media organisations themselves; The illegal adoption of regulations that directly affect freedom of expression and the exchange of information; Undemocratic laws that create or maintain the monopolistic control of the ruling political party over certain media companies and associations; Economic pressures on non-government media; Political pressure in the form of statements and actions by representatives of the regime.

- The Case of the Radio Amateurs: Spotlight Report No. 13, Belgrade, June 1994.

On the banning of radio amateur broadcasts in the FRY. The Humanitarian Law Fund concludes that "the Serbian and the Montenegrin Ministries of Transport and Communications have a duty to remove the obstacles to the broadcasting of humanitarian messages in accordance with the law and without any political limitations".

Reports available at: The Humanitarian Law Fund, Terazije 6/III, 11000 Belgrade, FRY; Tel: +38/11 658430, Fax: +38/11 646341, Email: HLF_BG@ZAMIR-BG.ZTN.ZER.DE.

 

UNHCR: Current situation in Zaire - Eligibility of Zairean asylum seekers and problem of return of rejected cases; Geneva, February 1994, 4 p.

The note summarises information concerning the situation in Zaire and provides guidance for UNHCR Branch Offices dealing with the eligibility of Zairean asylum seekers for refugee status and international protection, as well as for requests for advice by governments on the forcible return of asylum seekers whose application has been turned down.

After a factual analysis of developments in the country the UNHCR holds that "a number of Zairean refugees could qualify for refugee status under the 1951 Convention definition". The UNCHR further states that in the Shaba and Kivu regions, the mere fact of being a Luba or a Banyarwanda could trigger persecution by local ethnic groups, thereby warranting granting of Convention refugee status on a group basis. However, it goes on, "the concept of Convention refugee status granted on a prima facie basis to a group of people with the same background of persecution is generally alien to the current practice in western countries. Against this background, when resort to the 1951 Convention proves problematic, the protection of Zairean asylum seekers could still be ensured through the granting of humanitarian status or the application of domestic legal or administrative arrangements as necessary".

The note also warns against a tendency among Western governments to justify summary rejections with the alleged existence of an "internal flight alternative". "It is precisely the common ethnic origin and socio-economic background that are the basis of human settlements in Zaire, which means that if people try to settle down in an environment other than their own they will not only be unable to integrate, but may also put their life or physical safety in as much jeopardy in the new location, as a result of the existing situation in that country".

The UNHCR's comments both on the implicit abolition of the practice of prima facie recognition of groups of refugees and the introduction of the negative criteria of the internal flight alternative by Western governments deserve attention not only with regard to Zaire, but also for many other countries, such as e.g. Turkey and Sri Lanka.