LPRC and ICJ hold training on protection of migrants rights in Kazakhstan

LPRC and ICJ hold training on protection of migrants rights in Kazakhstan

Today, the ICJ and LPRC began a series of online seminars on international human rights mechanisms for the protection of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers for 44 Kazakh defense lawyers and human rights defenders of NGOs.

The seminars took plance via online communication on 28 and 29 of August and 12 of September. The event was of particular importance given the impact of COVID-19 on migration processes in Kazakhstan and Central Asia region.

The seminar lectures were delivered by prominent international experts in the field of migration from the International Commission of Jurists, representatives of the UNHCR Complaints Division, the European Council for Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) and the Greek National Human Rights Commission.

The participants discussed international principles and fundamental documents on expulsion, detention and protection, briefly overviewed  the economic, social and cultural rights of migrants, and considered the hierarchy of legal acts in Kazakhstan, the relationship between international law and national legislation. The training program consisted of theoretical and practical components to strengthen the gained knowledge and develop practical skills for the protection of migrants at the international level. A training module was prepared for the participants with an overview of access to international human rights mechanisms.

This seminar complements previously conducted trainings for 105 defense lawyers and human rights defenders of non-profit organizations on strategic judicial protection of migrants and ensuring the exchange of best practices and strategies between Kazakhstani and European lawyers.

The seminar was organized by the Legal Policy Research Center (LPRC) in cooperation with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the International Commission of Jurists – European Institutions (ICJ-EI), with financial support from the European Union under the project “Strengthening Legal Protection of Migrants’ Rights in Kazakhstan”. The project aims to improve the access of migrants to national and international instruments for the protection of human rights in Kazakhstan, as well as to stimulate professional training and cooperation between specialized lawyers from Kazakhstan and their European counterparts.



Greece’s treatment of migrant children subject to legal challenge before the European Committee on Social Rights

Greece’s treatment of migrant children subject to legal challenge before the European Committee on Social Rights

A legal challenge to the violations of migrant children’s social rights on mainland Greece and its North Eastern Aegean islands has been lodged by the ICJ and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) before a European body specialized in the protection of social rights at the European level.

The legal action, taken in the form of a collective complaint to the European Committee on Social Rights, catalogues the numerous instances of Greece failing its child care and protection obligations towards migrant children by leaving them in conditions of squalor, insecurity and violence.

The complaint to the Committee, an impartial body which oversees the protection of certain economic and social rights by assessing the conformity of domestic law and practice with the European Social Charter, has been supported by the Greek Council for Refugees and includes reports from Médecins Sans Frontières on health and living conditions of migrant children in Lesvos.

Amongst the most blatant infringements of migrant children’s rights described in the complaint has been the systematic and ongoing absence of sufficient accommodation facilities and the lack of an effective guardianship system for unaccompanied children in Greece, exposing them to significant protection risks, including homelessness and placement in detention.

Such severe deficiencies in basic care facilities has led to dire living conditions which deprive children of their most fundamental rights.

Overcrowded, insalubrious and dangerous conditions prevail most obviously on the North Eastern Aegean islands where the standards of human dignity and special protection accorded to children by virtue of their particular status under international human rights law are repeatedly violated.

The complaint notes that the dearth in basic care facilities for migrants in Greece extends to medical services, particularly on the islands, which has a serious knock-on effect on hygiene, sanitation and substantive physical and mental health care and treatment for children.

In addition, mixed living arrangements, limited, if not non-existent security patrols and deficient guardianship systems have led to numerous reports of sexual abuse, violent assaults, harassment and humiliation of migrant children in camps on the Greek islands.

The consequences of the conditions listed in the complaint have been, in certain locations, children self-harming and even attempting suicide.

“Greece’s deference to the violations being committed against migrant children on its territory has gone on for far too long without any foreseeable improvement on the horizon.

Transfers of migrant children and vulnerable persons from the islands to the mainland are paralysed by a shortage of places on the mainland and administrative encumbrances.

All the while, children are left to languish in a forgotten environment of impoverishment and destitution.

This legal challenge to Greece’s indifference will hopefully pave the way for institutional condemnation and for substantive change in the protection of society’s most vulnerable” says Amanda Taylor, Senior EDAL Coordinator at the European Council on Refugees and Exiles.

“As signatory of the European Social Charter, Greece is under an international obligation to ensure that migrant children in its jurisdiction have access to basic economic and social rights. Particularly in the case of migrant children, who find themselves in a vulnerable situation, remaining even for a short period of time in such terrible conditions as currently exist in Greece, is likely to result in irreparable harm and injury and have a detrimental and non-reversible impact on their development,” said Karolína Babická, Legal Adviser for Europe and Central Asia with the ICJ.

“This complaint refers to two of the most pressing protection issues in Greece; the protection of unaccompanied minors and the conditions prevailing on the Greek islands after the launch of the EU-Turkey Statement, where migrant children are stranded. In December 2018, almost two out of three unaccompanied children in Greece were deprived of a place in long-term accommodation facility for minors. At the same time, 30% of the 14,600 persons remaining on the Greek islands were children. Thus, the procedure initiated before the European Committee of Social Rights can significantly contribute to guaranteeing the respect of migrant children’s rights in Greece,” said Alexandros Konstantinou, member of the Legal Unit of the Greek Council for Refugees.

The complaint awaits examination and determination by the European Committee on Social Rights.

As part of the complaint and in order to immediately alleviate the situation which migrant children face in Greece, ECRE and ICJ have urgently requested Greece to remove migrant children from unsuitable and overcrowded camps on the islands; to provide them with adequate and age-appropriate facilities, sufficient food, water and medical care, and with effective and competent guardians; and to remove unaccompanied migrant children from detention and place them in tailored accommodation suitable for their age.

Read the full complaint here.

Human Rights Committee General Comment on the right to liberty

Human Rights Committee General Comment on the right to liberty

During a half-day of general discussion held today by the Human Rights Committee, the ICJ supported the establishment by the Committee of a General Comment on the right to security and liberty of the person under article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

As an update to its General Comment No 8 of 1982, the Human Rights Committee (the Committee) has commenced a process to develop a new General Comment on article 9 of the ICCPR. Responding to a list of issues prepared by the Committee for potential expansion within the General Comment, the ICJ supported the initiative and called for clarification of certain issues in this work.

The ICJ’s submission and statement also called on the Committee to give express consideration to the following thematic issues within the General Comment:

  • The meaning of ‘arbitrary’ deprivation of liberty;
  • Application of article 9 in international and non-international armed conflicts, including in the context of administrative detention;
  • Control orders and other mechanisms involving restrictions of movement and the extent to which such mechanisms might interfere with liberty rights;
  • Detention of asylum-seekers and irregular migrants; and
  • The role and accountability of legal entities.

The Committee is scheduled to consider and adopt a first draft of the General Comment during its session in March 2013. The ICJ intends to make substantive submissions on this first draft.

ICJ-HRCttee-GCArticle9-IssuesStatement-non-legal submission (2012) (download in PDF)

ICJ-HRCttee-GCArticle9-IssuesSubmission-non-legal submission (2012) (download in PDF)

HumanRightsCommittee-Issues-Article9 (download in Word)

ICJ/UNHCR workshop on non-refoulement and right to an effective remedy

ICJ/UNHCR workshop on non-refoulement and right to an effective remedy

On 3-4 July, the ICJ and UNHCR organised a workshop for lawyers across Europe on the principle of non-refoulement and the right to an effective remedy.

On 3-4 July, the ICJ and UNHCR organised a workshop for lawyers across Europe on the principle of non-refoulement and the right to an effective remedy. The workshop, which took place at the European Court of Human Rights’ premises, focussed on the Strasbourg Court’s jurisprudence and on the practice and procedure related to interim measures before the court.

Europe-ICJUNHCRtraining-agendaICJ-2012 (download the agenda of the workshop)

Photo credit: © Stabilisation Unit/DFID (the DFID has no involvement in nor does support this event)


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