The concept of free movement of persons came about with the signing of the Schengen Agreement in 1985 and the subsequent Schengen Convention in 1990, which initiated the abolition of border controls between participating countries. Being part of the EU legal and institutional framework, Schengen cooperation has gradually been extended to include most EU Member States as well as some non-EU countries. England s not a member of the Schengen.
The right to asylum shall be guaranteed with due respect for the rules of the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 and the Protocol of 31 January 1967 relating to the status of refugees and in accordance with the Treaty establishing the European Community.
The text of the Article has been based on TEC Article 63, now replaced by Article 78 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which requires the Union to respect the Geneva Convention on refugees. Reference should be made to the Protocols relating to the United Kingdom and Ireland, annexed to the Treaties, and to Denmark, to determine the extent to which those Member States implement Union law in this area and the extent to which this Article is applicable to them. This Article is in line with the Protocol on Asylum annexed to the Treaties. Here are some principle characteristics of the law:
Non-refoulement is a key facet of refugee law, that concerns the protection of refugees
from being returned or expelled to places where their lives or freedoms could be threatened. Unlike political asylum, which applies to those who can prove a well-grounded fear of persecution based on membership in a social group or class of persons, non-refoulement refers to the generic repatriation of people, generally refugees into war zones and other disaster areas.
The principle of "refoulement" was officially enshrined in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and is also contained in the 1967 Protocol and Art 3 of the 1984 UN Torture Convention.
Article 33 of the 1951 Convention contains the following two paragraphs that define the prohibition of the expulsion or return of a refugee:
1. No Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
2. The benefit of the present provision may not, however, be claimed by a refugee whom there are reasonable grounds for regarding as a danger to the security of the country in which he is, or who, having been convicted by a final judgment of a particularly serious crime, constitutes a danger to the community of that country.
Asylum request can only be made at the first border of entry into the EU territory and cannot be made twice or in another country.
Every asylum seeker has the right to protection and liberty until his application is answered. If the answer is positive his papers/passport is valid in any of the EU member States otherwise the “Questore” can issue a temporary stay permit on Humanitarian ground, or invited to leave the country.
A good number of Nigerians are in various EU States as refugees.
Other interesting things to know on Immigration: terms, definitions, rights, etc. (OIM – International Organization for Migration)
Migrant: A person who, intentionally and for personal reasons, will move from his place of origin to a particular destination with the intention to establish his residence without being forced to do it.
Voluntary migration: Based on the voluntary decision of the individual to migrate.
Forced Migration: non-voluntary movement of a person to escape armed conflict, situations of violence, harassment, violation of rights, a natural disaster or man-made disaster.
Regular migrants: Migrants who have proper documents for travel or other form of permit to enter and reside in another country.
Irregular migrants: Migrants in an irregular situation in a country of transit or host due to illegal entry or expiration of the visa. Also known as "undocumented migrants", "illegal immigrants", "illegal immigrants" or "migrants in an irregular situation."
Migrant worker: Migrant who will be engaged, engaged or has been engaged in a remunerated activity in a State of which he is not a citizen
Refugee: is a person who by well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country, or to return there: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/StatusOfRefugees.aspx
Asylum Applicant: is a person who has crossed an international border in search of protection as a refugee and has not yet received a final answer to his application for refugee status.
Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings: People who are victims of recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or reception, by threats, use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or payment in respect of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.
Rights of migrant workers.
Migrant workers and members of their families are enabled by the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families to a wide range of rights. The main ones are the following:
Right to life (art. 9)
Prohibition of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (Article 10)
Prohibition of slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labor (Article 11)
Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Article 12)
Freedom of opinion and expression (Article 13)
Prohibition of arbitrary or unlawful interference in private life, family, home, (Article 14)
Prohibition of arbitrary deprivation of property (Article 15)
Right to liberty and security of the person and the prohibition of arbitrary arrest or detention (art. 16)
Right to be treated, if deprived of their liberty with humanity and respect for the dignity of the human person of their cultural identity (Article 17)
Prohibition of collective expulsion (Article 22)
Right to resort to diplomatic or consular protection and assistance (Article 23)
Recognition everywhere as a person before the law (art. 24)
Right to be paid as the citizens of the country of residence (Article 25)
Right to join trade unions (art. 26)
The right to obtain social security and therefore the treatment accorded to nationals (Article 27)
Right to emergency medical care (Article 28)
Right, for the son of a migrant worker, to have a name to be registered and have a nationality (Article 29)
Right of access to education for the children of migrant workers (Article 30)
Respect for cultural identity (art. 31)
Right to transfer their earnings, personal savings, effects and goods (Art. 32)
Right to be informed by the State of origin, the State of employment or the State of transit on their rights and obligations (art.33)
Rights of Victims of Trafficking
Migrants who have been subject to human trafficking shall be authorized by international instruments to receive special protection and have special rights because of their status as victims of the crime of human trafficking:
Right to be respected in their dignity
Right to physical security and protection
Right to protection of privacy and identity
Right to health care physical and psychological support
Right to safe and adequate shelter and housing
Right to legal assistance
Right of access to justice, protection legislation; compensation
Right of access to diplomatic and consular representatives
Right to security and, where possible, voluntary return
Right to residence
Right to education, training and employment
Right to information and consent
Right to self-determination and participation
There is no organism of international law or customary law, which governs the obligations of migrants to the State that corresponds to the law on human rights.
Immigrants are obliged to respect the authority of the States, and according to international law, immigrants are required to comply with the national law of the host country.
What is a smuggling offence under EU law?
A person who directly or indirectly helps a non-EU citizen to enter or live in an EU country will be guilty of smuggling. People who participate in or instigate a smuggling offence will be equally guilty.
How are smugglers punished?
There are EU-wide laws for penalties for convicted smugglers in 26 EU countries, excluding Denmark who has decided not to participate.
Under these laws, convicted smugglers can be:
- Imprisoned, in cases where the smuggler has received financial benefits;
- Removed from the EU country;
- Banned from carrying out the job they were doing at the time of the offence.
Any vehicle used for the offence can be confiscated. On top of the EU-wide rules, individual EU countries may also have additional penalties for convicted smugglers.
What risks could I face if I am smuggled into an EU country?
If you are smuggled into an EU country, you will not have the right to be there.
You may have to pay fines and may be returned to your home country. Each EU country sets its own penalties for unauthorised entry or stay.
If you are staying in the EU without permission, you may also face difficulties in getting a job, a place to live and accessing education and health care. This could lead to further risks and possible exploitation.
Residence permit for victims of human trafficking
This directive introduces a residence permit intended for non-European Union (EU) nationals who are victims of trafficking in human beings or (optionally) the subject of an action facilitating illegal immigration. The purpose of the residence permit is to encourage these non-EU nationals to cooperate with the competent authorities and to provide victims with adequate protection.
(A cura di Blessing Sunday Osuchukwu)