Climate Adaptation and Human Rights Newsletter #5
Climate Adaptation and Human Rights Newsletter #5
Preventable Surprises is a New York-based ‘think-do’ tank that facilitates difficult conversations and seeks to drive behavior change within the investment sector to help prevent major market dysfunctions. In an increasingly complex and polarized world, they work with positive mavericks – professionals who share aspirations for a sustainable and ethical financial system – to challenge the status quo and propose ambitious solutions.”
Company news roundup
Mitie. Protest at Mitie-run migrant detention facility in the UK. The Guardian reports on chaos at the Harmondsworth detention centre, run by border and surveillance outsourcing giant Mitie. Detainees are protesting following soaring temperatures, dangerous conditions and a lack of access to healthcare.
Capita PLC. UK Home Office extends a year-long trial of GPS tagging of migrants by another six months because they haven’t found any evidence that it works yet. There is mounting evidence of the physical and psychological trauma and damage to employment prospects it produces among those subjected to it.
LexisNexis continues providing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with tools to target people who may potentially commit a crime – before any actual crime takes place, according to The Intercept.
Meta research shows how border authorities engage on social media to intimidate migrants. New Lines Magazine reports on a new data release from Meta that shows how UK border authorities use personal data to profile migrants and show them fear-based messages of danger and death in a bid to discourage movement.
Microsoft. Private sector flagged as a key stakeholder in delivering the International Organisation for Migration’s mission. Amy Pope, the Incoming director of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), announced her intention to look to the private sector for support in addressing migration challenges, following a meeting with Microsoft. The announcement builds on past collaborations with Microsoft and other tech industry partners.
Biden administration officials continue to claim that the tools behind their digitised immigration enforcement approach, including the CBP One app, are humane and effective. Amnesty International reports on how asylum seekers applying to enter the US are forced to install the application on their mobile devices, which enables US Customs and Border Protection to collect data about their location by ‘pinging’ their phones.
Canada opens the way for around 166,000 Ukrainian refugees to settle permanently in the country. CBC reports on Canadian government plans for a permanent residency pathway in October for refugees from Ukraine living on temporary visas and their family members. So far, Canada‑Ukraine authorisation for emergency travel has enabled about 166,000 Ukrainians to receive visas giving residency and work rights for three years.
The EU’s Migration Pact was agreed in June. The Pact focuses on limiting access to asylum, but Hungary and Poland opposed it on anti-migration grounds while four other countries opposed it for more nuanced reasons. The European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) reports on details of what is covered. Meanwhile, Bulgaria and Romania will receive significant new funding from the EU for border surveillance.
Europol identifies migration policy advocates as “left-wing terrorists” in annual security policy review. Europol, the EU’s policing agency, has named Abolish Frontex activists among other border critics in its annual European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend report 2023, in a list of “left wing terrorist” groups. Abolish Frontex recently coordinated an open letter from hundreds of civil society figures and organizations demanding a better response to the Messenia tragedy.
European Parliament approves AI Act. The AccessNow NGO coalition describes a “victory for fundamental rights” as the European Parliament approved an improved Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act) in a plenary vote, enshrining some protections for people crossing borders against surveillance and security industry exploitation. There remain shortcomings, which campaigners are looking to tackle during upcoming trilogue negotiations.
Report on the beleaguered state of Italy’s migration management system. The New Humanitarian reports on a system that has been made ineffective by political neglect.
UK courts reject government policy on deportation of migrants to Rwanda: The UK government’s Rwanda deportations scheme suffered a setback as campaigners and asylum seekers won a Court of Appeal challenge. In December, the High Court ruled that the policy was lawful; however, on 29 June three judges overturned the previous ruling which stated that Rwanda could be considered a “safe third country”.
UK Home Office figures show that costs of third country border externalisation are high and policy may not be workable. The Rwanda deportation scheme championed by the government will have a £169K per person price tag, and may not even work to deter migrants, according to the Home Office’s own analysis.
Middle East & Africa
Refugees and war in the Sudan. The Washington Post reports on a number of refugees from Sudan’s Darfur region who said they were subjected to targeted ethnic violence by a paramilitary group, sparking fears of a repeat of the 2003 genocide. Survivors arriving in camps in Chad described mass killings and burnings of villages by fighters linked to RSF in areas predominantly occupied by the Masalit ethnic group. As the civil war in Sudan deepens, expect more challenges and asylum seekers from this country of 45 million.
North Africa remains unsafe for migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa. Al Jazeera reports on Libyan border guards who claim to have rescued more than 50 refugees and migrants abandoned by Tunisian authorities in the desert without food and water. Hundreds of sub-Saharan Africans were forcibly taken to inhospitable areas on Tunisia’s borders with Libya and Algeria after a wave of racial violence in the Tunisian port of Sfax last month.
The EU shovels money at Tunisia to enable an externalised border regime. Al Jazeera reports on how the European Union is considering offering Tunisia €900 million to support its economy. Among these discussions is a €100 million proposal for expanding border control – this being offered to a regime whose sharp and racialised anti-migrant turn has helped create a lethal humanitarian crisis at its coast over the past months. Meanwhile, the EU-Tunisia deal to outsource migration celebrated as a model by Ursula von der Leyen., per a Reuters reports
Expansion of deportations of Syrian refugees by Turkey and Lebanon. The Guardian reports on increased deportations of Syrians and opens with the story of a man who found his brother had been deported to Syria, drafted into the military and sent to the frontline of the civil war near Aleppo.
World’s largest refugee camps in Bangladesh exposed to acute climate impacts: Al Jazeera reports that “climate experts in Bangladesh have expressed concern about massive refugee camps – some of the largest in the world – being located in an extreme-weather hot zone,” prone to cyclones, wildfires, and landslides. Without prompt climate mitigation action and investment, Bangladesh’s coastal population and the estimated one million Rohingya refugees it accommodates are under severe threat. Will investors identify a blended finance solution?
Australia closes down Nauru detention centre but maintains architecture of offshore migration detention. The Guardian reports on the last detainee leaving the Australian funded detention camp on Nauru Island, site of a long-running and scandal-hit offshoring programme.
Views expressed in this guest post are those of the authors.