“I’m not a humanitarian.” Search and rescue captain rebukes Paris’ highest honour

Pia Klemp, the search-and-rescue captain who saved migrants in the Mediterranean and is being prosecuted by Italian courts, has refused a medal from Paris Mayor Anne Hildago due to the treatment of migrants in the French capital. The Socialist Mayor prides herself on taking a more humanitarian approach to that of the French central government, and wanted to award Ms Klemp and Carole Rackete – another captain who has been pursued by Italian courts – for their search-and-rescue work. But …

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Migrant Rights as Civil Rights

Sipho Sibanda is a migrant rights activist in Northern Ireland. Progress since the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland should not be understated. The decline of religious discrimination in areas such as employment, housing, voting rights, and education is considered one of the crowning achievements of the last 50 years. However, asylum seekers and migrants in Northern Ireland today face a host of curtailments to their rights. Many of these rights are the same as those which were at the crux …

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Government recalcitrance over refugee resettlement in early 1990s #20YearRule

Between 1989 and 1992, local civil servants responded to two requests for Northern Ireland to offer accommodation for refugees from two regions of the world: Vietnam and the former Yugoslavia. In the second instance, the internal response lacked enthusiasm with officials unwilling to state publicly that they were willing to accept in families to NI as part of the UK-wide programme.

Between a rock and a hard place: Syria’s women refugees #IWD16

The BBC’s Lyce Doucet is reporting a ‘rare moment of quiet’ in Syria amid the cessation of violence after five years of bloody civil war. Only the most churlish would refuse to celebrate the momentary calm after the storm. Only the most hopeful would expect it to lead directly to permanent peace. Meanwhile, the civilian population will continue to bear the brunt. Here, in advance of International Women’s Day, my colleague, Liz McKean, Amnesty International UK’s Programme Director for Women’s …

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Mother Angela & her Children

Addressing a special event in Brussels yesterday evening to mark a quarter century of German re-unification at he German President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz criticised Hungary’s government for their miserly role in Europe’s current refugee crisis and for re-erecting some of the border fences which most Germans had hoped had come-down with the Berlin Wall (he made no mention of Belfast’s “peace-lines”). The subsequent film at the event showed a montage of images on how the unified Germany …

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Attacking Islamic State vs protecting civilians in Syria?

With the start of US-led air strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria this week, and Parliament due to vote today on British military action in neighbouring Iraq, attention is once again focused on the conflict which has cost so many lives since 2011. When G8 leaders met in Fermanagh last year, they committed themselves to helping to bring peace to Syria. The soaring death toll in the sixteen months since, at the hands of Syrian state military, opposition forces and …

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POTD – Pitched tents and makeshift shelters on a football pitch

Haven Partnership who build homes in Haiti, are the charity of choice for the Big Political Quiz this Thursday. In the run up to Thursday night i’ll be posting photographs from my trip to Haiti in mid April to early May. Here a football pitch has been enveloped by a makeshift tented camp. Across Port-au-Prince, camps sprung up in the aftermath of the earthquake on any suitable flat areas. Most public parks, football pitches and the like have some sort …

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