I CARE - Newsarchive June 2000

Nine employees of the Provincial Traffic arrested, suspected of transferring ownership of vehicles and carrying out other transactions without complying with the legal requirements.
Police believe that in exchange for sums of money which varied between 5,000 and 100,000 pesetas, these employees would arrange for certain transactions to be carried out without the relevant taxes being paid, and they maintained contact with gestorias, assessors and scrap yard managers who provided them with this type of business.
Some of the transactions uncovered included the falsification of the date of a vehicle's ITV test, taking a vehicle out of circulation without the appropriate tax being paid, and manipulating computer information so that vehicles could be transferred from one name to another without the legal documentation being produced.
It is believed the matter has been going on for several years, and some 40,000 illegal transactions may have been carried out during that time.
© Town Crier

A year after a court sentenced Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan to death for treason, the Turkish government is dealing with the hundreds of thousands of Turkish Kurds whose homes were destroyed by the military in a brutal campaign to depopulate areas considered havens for rebels, reports AP.
The government's solution: heavily garrisoned "central villages" away from the mountains where Ocalan's Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, once operated.
Human rights groups have criticised the project and are calling on the government to allow refugees to return to their own villages and pay them compensation.
A camp at Yeni Arslanbasar is not surrounded by a fence, but soldiers stand guard in a concrete bunker outside the village and record the names of people leaving or entering. Non-residents must have military permission to enter.
According to Amnesty International, about 3 million people were scattered when 3,000 villages and hamlets were destroyed during the fighting. Most were razed by the military, although the rebels did burn villages that did not support their cause.
Many Kurds fled to western Turkey or to shantytowns that formed outside major cities in the southeast. Others, like the residents of Yeni Arslanbasar, were sent to central villages
© Refugees Daily

The row between Austria and its 14 European Union partners over the far-right's role in government is likely to be resolved by a panel of three wise men, EU officials said yesterday, reports Reuters.
The EU and Austria have been seeking a face-saving way out of a standoff created on January 31, when the 14 imposed diplomatic sanctions on Austria for bringing Joerg Haider's far-right party into government.
The 14 would ask Luzius Wildhaber, President of the European Court of Human Rights, to choose three personalities to assess Vienna's "commitment to common European values, in particular concerning the rights of minorities, refugees and immigrants."
The wise men would also be commissioned to examine "the evolution of" Haider's Freedom party.
© Refugees Daily

Seven people are to appear before a Dutch court on Friday charged with the manslaughter of 58 Chinese illegal immigrants found dead in the back of a lorry in Dover.
Dutch detectives have revealed they made the arrests following the discovery of a harbour-side warehouse where they believe the immigrants were loaded into the Dover-bound lorry.
Menngs Garretsen, a spokesman for the Dutch Illegal Human Trafficking Unit, said: "All seven suspects will be charged with manslaughter and people smuggling on Friday.
Customs officers discovered 58 bodies - and two survivors - in a sealed lorry container at the port in Kent just before midnight on June 18.
An inquest heard how they had suffocated in the back of the sealed lorry which had its refrigeration unit turned off on one of the hottest days of the year.
The men, one of whom, is a 24-year-old owner of a transport company, are from Rotterdam, Vlaardingen and two are from Capelle ann de IUssel.
Another suspect is still on the run and an international arrest warrant has been issued for him. A 55-year-old suspect was earlier released by police.
The arrests in Holland come days after 32-year-old Dutch lorry driver Perry Wacker appeared before Folkestone Magistrates Court similarly charged with manslaughter and smuggling the illegal immigrants.
Wacker is due to appear before the court again on Friday.
Dutch detectives believe the Chinese people were brought to the warehouse at Waalhaven Zuidzijde in delivery vans. Matching traces of unspecified materials were found in the warehouse and the lorry that brought the 60 people to the UK.
© Ananova

Portugal's proposal for ending a political row between Austria and its 14 European Union partners hit a stumbling block, apparently on differences over deadlines, Portuguese officials said on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Antonio Guterres, battling to produce an acceptable plan by the end of Portugal's EU presidency on June 30 to restore relations between the 14 and Vienna, told journalists there was still no agreement on how to proceed.
"As of now, no common position exists among the 14 member states," he said, adding that contacts were continuing.
On Tuesday, Belgium and Denmark said the 14, which froze bilateral ties with Vienna in protest at the entry of the far right into government in February, had virtually sealed a deal.
Under the plan a panel of three experts would be asked to draw up a report on political developments in Austria.
Portuguese government officials said the issue of whether to set a deadline for the panel to complete its work was one of the difficulties in finding agreement.
"The timeframe is a problem," one senior official told Reuters, without giving further details.
The panel, to be named by the head of the European Court of Human Rights, would assess Austria's commitment to "common European values," in particular the rights of minorities, refugees and immigrants.
It would also examine the behaviour of the Freedom Party, once headed by firebrand Joerg Haider, which the other EU governments regard as racist and xenophobic.

On the basis of the panel's report, the 14 would decide what to do about sanctions which would remain in force until then.
Danish Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, whose country is one of the strongest advocates of an end to the freeze, said he hoped relations could be normalised within months. But the Portuguese blueprint avoids dates.
In Vienna, officials said that conservative Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel's government would only agreed to a plan that included a deadline for the sanctions to be lifted.
"For us it is important that there should be a timeframe and that Austria is included in the discussions," one official told Reuters.
Austrian Vice-Chancellor Susanne Riess-Passer, who replaced Haider as Freedom Party leader last month, said on Tuesday that an indefinite delay would be unacceptable.
Although the row with Vienna has not yet had much impact on EU business, diplomats fear that it will if not resolved soon.
France, which along with Belgium has taken the toughest line against Vienna, is anxious that the issue be resolved before it begins its EU presidency on July 1, EU diplomats say.
Under France's stewardship, the EU needs to take a number of difficult decisions that require the unanimous approval of all 15 states, including Austria.
Foremost amongst them are steps to reform the way the bloc works to prepare for the entry of up to 13 new members.
The European Court for Human Rights confirmed its Swiss-born President Luzius Wildhaber had been in contact with the Portuguese since Monday on the question of choosing the panel, dubbed "wise men."
But Wildhaber would not formally consider the request until it was agreed by all 15 EU members -- including Austria -- and put into writing to the court, a spokesman said in Strasbourg.
© Reuters

Dozens of Russian skinheads giving Nazi-style salutes rampaged through central Moscow on Wednesday, smashing cars and clashing with police.
Police said one officer was injured and eyewitnesses said at least four cars were badly damaged, one with blood spattered on the bonnet. Dozens of people were detained at police stations.
The skinheads poured through streets north of the city center after a rock concert and were confronted by police who fired into the air but failed to stop them.
The group then surged into adjoining areas where they were confronted by police reinforcements dispatched to the scene.
"There were at least 50 of them aged 12 to 16. They were making Hitler-type salutes and tossing empty bottles at the police," Ivan Bondarenko, a caretaker at a church in the district, told Reuters Television. "They were pounding on nearly every car they came across. I had three girls come here pleading for help."
A Reuters Television cameraman saw several of the detained skinheads giving Nazi salutes as they were taken away from a police station in a bus.
Extreme right-wing groups have a measure of influence among some groups of disaffected young people in turbulent post-Soviet Russia. Interest in many groups focuses on cult rock groups, some performing in Nazi regalia.
© Reuters

Serious failings in financial and management controls lay behind the collapse of an international conference organised by the commission for racial equality and backed by Tony Blair that was supposed to showcase the government's anti-racist achievements, according to an official inquiry report published last night.
Tory MPs last night described the report by the new CRE chairman, Gurbux Singh, as identifying a "devastating catalogue of incompetence and mismanagement" within the CRE, the Home Office and GCDC 2000 Ltd, the company set up to run the global cultural and diversity congress which was to be held in Cardiff in March this year.
Several senior CRE figures including the acting chairman, a commissioner, its chief executive and its chief press officer, are among the directors of the company. The congress had been planned to coincide with the first anniversary of the Lawrence inquiry report and Nelson Mandela had been invited to speak alongside government ministers from Australia, Canada and China.
Mr Singh said the collective responsibility for its collapse only a month before it was scheduled is shared between the company, CRE and the Home Office.
He said: "Many factors con tributed to the final outcome: limited assessment of the risks facing the congress and GCDC, over-optimistic projections about income; cashflow and other resourcing difficulties; poor financial challenge and oversight; the inexperience of key staff; and a lack of systems or failing to apply correctly the systems that did not exist."
Mr Singh said the CRE should now appoint a finance director to strengthen its financial controls and ensure appropriate Home Office oversight of its management. Among the basic failings identified by the Singh report was the appointment of Diane Morley as congress director without any proper consideration of whether she had any suitable experience.
At one point the board was told 1,200 delegates had pre-registered during 1999 but these turned out to only be expressions of interest by people who had no idea they faced a delegate fee of £595 each.
In the Commons yesterday, the Conservative home affairs spokesman, David Lidington, said it was not adequate to say nobody was responsible for a the devastating catalogue of incompetence.
But while the Home Office minister, Mike O'Brien, confirmed there would be losses as a result of the collapse of the congress, he insisted there was no evidence of impropriety.
It is thought the losses could be as high as £750,000.
© Guardian

artikel hierAn Austrian psychiatrist accused of murdering children in a Nazi clinic appears set to escape trial after medical tests said he lacked the ability to follow a conversation.
The trial of 84-year-old Heinrich Gross was adjourned in March after tests showed he was not able to follow proceedings in the case, centred on euthanasia experiments involving disabled children in Nazi-occupied Vienna.
But the judge ordered new examinations after the defendant gave apparently lucid television interviews immediately after the trial was suspended. Now a Swiss psychiatrist from the University of Basel has backed the original verdict.
Dr Gross, who became a leading psychiatrist after World War II, was charged with complicity to murder nine children. He faced 20 years in prison if found guilty. Questions have been asked as to why the trial was not held earlier.
Survivors of the Vienna euthanasia clinic said Dr Gross had avoided justice because after the war he became a member of the Social Democrats, in power for most of the last 50 years. Burial
Now that proceedings have ended, the brains taken from scores of children still lying in a vault under the hospital where they were murdered around 60 years ago will be released for burial. One of those joining the mourning will be Professor Waltraud Haupl of Vienna who will be burying the remains of her sister Anna-Marie, murdered at the age of six.
Dr Gross took photographs of Anne-Marie, who died under his care.
After the war Dr Gross was charged with manslaughter and served only a few months in prison. Afterwards he became Austria's leading forensic psychiatrist and did research on the brains of some of the children he is alleged to have killed.
After retirement, he developed a reputation as a leading court-appointed psychiatrist, including for the Vienna court where he was to face trial.

Young immigrants are being excluded to such a degree that France should review its "egalitarian Republican model", a Council of Europe report published Tuesday said.
Immigrants were being being excluded from education, housing and even public places such as night clubs, said the 30-page report, written by the European Committee against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI).
The problems that young second-generation immigrants faced in such situations were deeply disturbing, it added. The committee was equally critical of the way French police treated young immigrants.
The ECRI asked France to rethink its "egalitarian philosophy" written into the constitution, which rejects any official statistical classification of people into ethnic or racial groups.
The French system also prevents the collation of precise figures measuring racial discrimination and social indicators identifying the position of certain groups of the French population.
But the report suggested that France's egalitarian Republican model, the declared aim of which is the cultural integration of all its citizens, effectively limited the rights of ethnic minorities.
ECRI also expressed concern about the persistent level of anti-semitism in France and the plight of travelling Gypsies, or Roma, who often had nowhere stop and park their caravans.
© The Tocqueville Connection

Europe's strongly growing economies need immigrants, its prosperous citizens are wary of immigration and its cautious leaders are struggling to find ways to square this circle.
The shocking deaths of 58 Chinese trying to sneak into Britain in a refrigerator truck has highlighted the fact that migrant labourers are streaming into Europe despite all the barriers that governments have tried to erect to block them.
And they will continue to arrive for years to come, drawn by a growing demand for labour in the European Union as local populations age, economies expand and trade unions and voters do their best to slow the downsizing of their welfare states.
While politicians have seized on the tragedy to demand ever tougher measures against human smuggling rings, policy experts are asking not whether but how many immigrants the EU will need to keep its high standard of living and how to take them in.
In several EU countries, some leaders have cautiously begun proposing immigration quotas and "green card" labour permits for sought-after skilled workers such as computer experts.
At the same time, worried voters have opted for far-right parties, especially in Austria and Belgium, and racist attacks have occurred as far away as Ireland. Mobs in southern Spain chanted "Out with the Moors!" as they burned down homes of North African workers in February.
British public concern over immigration and race relations has risen to its highest level in over 20 years, according to a survey published in April.

The political solution to this challenge is as hard to find as the demographic dilemma is easy to describe.
"When will we admit that there is a scandalous contradiction between the immigration policies of rich countries, especially Europe, and the social dynamic spawned by globalisation?" Sami Nair, a European Parliament deputy who is a French citizen of Algerian origin, asked in the Paris daily Libation on Friday.
"Let's admit that migration will continue and we're just at the start of a cycle," he wrote. "We have to foresee these potential migrations and try to organise them."
A United Nations study last March showed in stark terms the economic challenge EU countries faced from the ageing of their populations and the growing burden of their welfare states.
Italy, with one of the lowest birth rates in the world, would need to take in up to 2.2 million migrants a year by 2050 just to maintain its current standard of living, it said.
Without immigration, Spain will have 43 percent of its population over the age of 60 by 2050, Italy 41 percent, Germany 32 percent, Britain 31 percent and France 30 percent.
To keep their economies and social security systems running at the same level as today, they must raise retirement age to well over 70 and cut pensions and other benefits for the aged or open their doors wide to young migrants, it suggested.
"There is no way you can solve the problem of an ageing population with migration alone," Peter Hicks, an expert on the challenge of ageing to developed economies, told Reuters.
"The numbers would be astronomical," said Hicks, who works at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.
A Council of Europe study released this week disputed the bleakest scenarios in circulation, saying Europe still had large untapped reserves of labour among women and the unemployed.
"Thanks to new technologies, there are still possibilities to boost productivity gains to reduce the burden of pensioners," said Aiden Punch, one of the study's authors.

But since immigration is both needed and unavoidable, some leaders in the EU have begun considering a quota system like those used in the United States, Canada or Australia.
"Quotas go against our sensitivities (but) when thinking about this, we should not rule out anything," French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine ventured on Thursday.
In Germany, leaders of the opposition Christian Democrats have begun proposing quotas after their campaign against Berlin's plan for 20,000 "green cards" for Indian computer experts got the thumbs down from voters and business.
Hicks said developed countries were also responding to the demographic shift by changing their pension schemes, forcing employees to work longer to gain the same benefits they would have got under the generous systems set up after World War Two.
Convinced an ethnically diverse workforce is inevitable, a vanguard of about 40 European companies has begun working together to promote integration as a sound business practice.
"We know migration will occur and we have to invent new measures to manage diversity," Jan Noterdaeme of the European Business Network or Social Cohesion told
© Reuters

German President Johannes Rau called on Monday for a system of rules to govern the Internet to combat the rise in Web sites promoting racism and xenophobia.
"We need a framework that sets boundaries for the use of modern information technology," Rau said at the start of a two-day conference in Berlin on hate-speech on the Internet.
"We cannot just stand by and watch while opponents of human rights and those contemptuous of democracy exploit these new technological possibilities," said Rau, whose office is primarily ceremonial.
The conference's co-organisers, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center named after the Austrian Nazi hunter, said while there was just one Web site promoting hate in 1995, there were now over 2,000.
In Germany alone the number of extreme right-wing homepages has jumped to 330 this year, about 10 times more than four years ago, the country's internal security watchdog says.
Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin told the conference Germany was very worried about the trend.
"To stop hate on the Internet we need European initiatives, but also action that reaches beyond Europe," she said.
European Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Antonio Vitorino agreed. "The Internet is an international phenomenon in every sense of the word and any effective response will hinge on high levels of international cooperation," he said.
Vitorino said there was still a worrying level of racism and xenophobia in Europe and said neo-Nazi groups had moved their home pages to servers outside the continent to sell their books and insignia and promote far-right theories.

Vitorino told the conference he hoped a draft European convention on crimes in cyberspace would be completed by the end of this year and said the Commission would also propose an initiative against child pornography on the Internet and discuss similar moves against hate promoted on the Web.
Robert Cailliau, the co-inventor of the World Wide Web, repeated calls for all Internet users to be licensed.
"I am opposed to censorship by the industry itself, but sites and authors should be registered," said Cailliau, who designed the Web with Briton Tim Berners-Lee in 1990.
"The legal framework must be global," he added. Ulrich Sieber, professor of information law at Munich University, agreed for the need for a global approach, but noted it could be difficult given the strength of the clause in the U.S. constitution protecting free speech.
"The Internet is a global medium so we need global strategies," Sieber said.
"Most of the countries in Europe have gone further than the United States. I respect the U.S. constitution, but you would think they could do more to try and find common minimum standards," he said.
On Tuesday Germany's Daeubler-Gmelin is due to propose a declaration suggesting an international minimum standard for the legal treatment of racial hatred and xenophobia in cyberspace as well as a draft code of conduct for the Internet community.
© Reuters

The British government said on Friday it would deport Kosovan refugees, who fled their war-torn region last year, if they outstayed their welcome.
"Overstayers will be liable for deportation," a spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Blair told reporters.
After a slow start, Britain took in about 4,300 Kosovans who were displaced by the forces of the Milosevic regime last year. They were given permission to stay for 12 months.
Of those, some 1,700 have already returned home, nearly 400 have not yet been in Britain for a year and nearly 1,000 have sought an extension or have asked for asylum. A scheme to register to return to the Balkans closes on Sunday. Some 700 refugees have signed up but that still leaves hundreds of people unaccounted for.
"Overstayers" will be classed as those who had not made an official submission to remain.
Officials admit they may be hard to track down because Kosovo Albanians were free to travel around Britain without registering any move with the authorities.
The government, gripped in a party political battle about asylum and immigration, offered a 400 pound ($602) grant per family to refugees who signed up by June 10 for flights back to the Kosovo capital Pristina.
© Reuters

Crowds of protesters angry over the stabbing death of a young Spaniard attacked the homes and cars of gypsies in the latest outbreak of racial violence in southern Spain, news reports said on Wednesday.
Local officials and community leaders condemned the attacks carried out overnight in Almoradi, a community of 15,000 people about 400 km (250 miles)southeast of Madrid, state radio said. About 1,000 Spaniards had gathered in Almoradi on Tuesday night to demonstrate against alleged drug dealing in a gypsy neighborhood where a 22-year-old Spaniard was killed on Saturday. A 36-year-old gypsy man was arrested in the case.
Angry protesters then converged on a gypsy shantytown, burning two unoccupied homes and damaging several cars.
A town meeting was held on Wednesday in an effort to ease tensions.
The attacks bore similarities to clashes in the nearby town of El Ejido in February when mobs shouting "out with the Moors" set fire to homes of Moroccan farm workers and ransacked immigrant-owned businesses after the killing of a local woman blamed on a Moroccan man.
Sporadic attacks have continued in El Ejido, which is about 100 km (65 miles) south of Almoradi near the Mediterranean coast.
© Reuters

Interior Minister Otto Schily wants to cut the number of people seeking asylum in Germany in order to favour immigration which is in the German interest, he said in an interview appearing yesterday, reports AFP.
The aim should be to encourage immigration "which corresponds to our interests" and "hinder immigration which is contrary to our interests," the Social Democrat minister told the Berliner Zeitung.
According to Schily, out of 100,000 people a year who request asylum in Germany, 80% "in the final analysis have no basis on which to demand refuge."
Schily indicated he would like a change in the asylum and immigration laws in order to discourage "economic refugees" as distinct from those fleeing political persecution or a state of war.
© Refugees Daily

A fourth soldier charged in connection with the death of a man in an alleged racist attack outside a nightclub has been remanded in custody.
David White, 22, from Cleveland, was charged with the murder of Glyne Agard, 34, of Reading, Berks.
He has been remanded in custody until June 28 by Chippenham magistrates, Wiltshire. Three other members of The Green Howards Regiment, based in Wiltshire, have been remanded until the same date.
Wayne King, 20, from Yorkshire, faces a murder charge and two counts of causing grievous bodily harm.
Thomas Myers, 20, of Hartlepool, and a 17-year-old from the town have both been charged with two counts of causing grievous bodily harm.
Myers is also charged with using threatening and abusive behaviour likely to incite racial hatred. The inquest into the death of Mr Agard, who died outside the club in Westbury, Wilts, on Sunday morning was opened and adjourned today.
His brother Stephen, 32, was injured and a friend left concussed in the attack.
© Ananova

Belgium has acknowledged it carries out only perfunctory checks on trucks leaving ports to see if they carry illegal aliens.
Interior Minister Antoine Duquesne's testimony to parliament showed Belgium leaves it largely to Britain to ensure trucks entering its territory carry no illegals.
Britain - along with Denmark, Ireland, Sweden and Finland - is not part of a EU open-borders accord. As British police retraced the route of 58 Chinese immigrants found dead in a Dutch truck in Dover this week, Belgian officials deflected criticism they had not done enough to monitor such human trafficking.
Belgium has come under fire for lax procedures since it emerged 60 Chinese immigrants were detained by police two months ago, then released. It is not known if members of this group ended up on the doomed truck in Dover.
The 58 victims, along with two survivors, aged in their 20s, were discovered on Sunday at the English Channel port.
They had been stowed with a cargo of tomatoes in an airtight container during a five hour crossing from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge.
Duquesne told parliament four policemen, on duty the day the truck with the immigrants left Zeebrugge, were called away to help sort out a dispute on a ferry involving four British soccer hooligans returning from Euro 2000. But he added that since the truck was Dutch, any check would have only involved verifying the identity papers of the driver and vehicle.
Erika Thijs, a member of the opposition Christian Democrats, denounced that. "He (Duquesne) says the police were called away. That is unbelievable. It should not have happened," she said.
"No single check was made on the truck at all. It is a fact that far too few police officers were present at the dockside. How can you do (content) checks with two police officers if you know that Zeebrugge-Dover is a major smuggling route."
Belgian officials have said under the European Union's open-borders treaty, their first priority is to check people entering the country. Ten EU nations signed that pact in 1995. It removed border controls among those countries, cutting costs and time for travellers.
© Ananova

A day after police found the corpses of 58 illegal immigrants who tried to enter Britain, police in Spain announced they had come across a load of 36 others seeking asylum in Europe.
Police said they had stopped an overloaded van on a highway in southern Spain and found the illegal immigrants hidden inside, including six children.
Some of the African immigrants were exhausted from lack of food and water when they were discovered Monday night, the Civil Guard said.
Some told police they had not eaten for four days. They were taken to the town of Fuengirola for medical treatment.
The Civil Guard said 32 of the immigrants, all male, were from Morocco and four were from Algeria. Part of a Smuggling Ring?
The van's driver, a 31-year-old Spaniard from the southeastern town of Lorca, was detained for questioning.
His name was not immediately released. Police said he had past criminal records for robbery and driving under the influence of alcohol.
Police were also reportedly trying to track down other members of a suspected immigrant smuggling ring behind the operation.
Police said the immigrants would remain in police custody until their home countries can be determined. Some of the immigrants were wearing wet clothes.
Police believe they reached Spanish shores only hours earlier after crossing the narrow Strait of Gibraltar that separates the Iberian Peninsula from northern Africa.
Police did not say how long the immigrants had been in the van, which was heading to the northeastern city of Barcelona. They said the back door of the van had been forced by the immigrants, who were trying to get some air inside the vehicle.
Every year, thousands of people fleeing poverty and unemployment in North Africa try to sneak into Spain, the backdoor entrance to the rest of Europe. Some come in makeshift boats, while others hide in or under freight trucks brought over on ferries.
According to figures from Dutch-based migrant support group UNITED, 120 people drowned in the first four months of this year trying to cross the treacherous Strait of Gibraltar from North Africa.
© Reuters

Many Lebensborn children were put in psychiatric hospitals after the war Norway's outcasts from Nazi past For fifty years they have been Norway's outcasts. They grew up in shame, believing they were outsiders and bearing their guilt in silence.
They were the children born during the Nazi occupation whose mothers were local women and whose fathers were German soldiers. The Nazis classified everyone in terms of race and Aryan Norwegians were highly prized.
Those born of German fathers and Norwegian mothers were considered first-class Aryans. The Norwegians called them "Krigens Barn" (War Children) and treated them with suspicion and prejudice.
Women who had personal relationships with Germans during the war were frowned upon in Norway. There was also official hostility against such women as the Norwegian government in exile in the UK, via the BBC, broadcast that "things would grow unpleasant for them after the Germans left Norway". They were right. Thousands of women were jailed after the war.
During the German occupation of Norway some of the children were separated from their mothers and cared for in so-called "Lebensborn" clinics ("Fountain of Life" clinics).
They were to be raised as the conqueror's racial elite, part of Heinrich Himmler's Aryan inspired ideology of using eugenics to createb racial purity. After the Germans retreated from Norway at the end of the war, many of these children were subjected to humiliation and degradation.
Some found themselves in childrens' homes and orphanages where they were bullied and tormented and even sexually abused. Others were classified as "Retarded" and shut away in mental institutions due to the bizarre theory that their mothers must have been mad to have slept with a German - by definition, subnormal too. Official silence is breaking
The official silence on Lebensborn children is beginning to break down as people like Werner Thiermann trace their parents and undertake legal action to gain compensation for their mistreatment. Many of those children born to German fathers and Norwegian mothers face a continuing struggle over their identity and still feel misfits in Norwegian society. Today many feel they will never really fit in their own society unless they get justice.
The Norwegian Prime Minister publicly apologised last New Year to the Lebensborn children for the way they had been treated.
After fifty years Norway has begun to acknowledge the terrible consequences of the Nazis' genetic ambitions. The case of compensation for the Lebensborn children is still awaiting trial.

Security has been stepped up at the asylum-seekers' centre in Athlone following a protest by local Travellers who occupied two of the new mobile homes, claiming they were not being given equal treatment by the authorities.
Some 100 new mobile homes have been placed on a site at Blackberry Lane, on the outskirts of Athlone, to cater for asylum seekers.
It adjoins a site where 27 Travelling families have been living for years. However, on Tuesday a large number of Travellers, mainly women and children, entered the site and locked themselves in two of the mobile homes.
A Garda spokesman said they had been called to the site and had spoken to the group which had occupied two mobile homes. He said that following a discussion with the group the protest ended and the group left the site peacefully.
When it was learned that the site was to be used for asylum-seekers, the Travellers and locals objected to the density of the site, the lack of access to it and the lack of consultation with them.
The Travellers, who had stressed they had no problem with asylum-seekers, said they wanted to be treated properly. A spokeswoman for the group said they had carried out the protest because they were told by people on the site that they would be getting 10 mobile homes.
Community workers yesterday met the Travellers to discuss the situation.
© The Irish Times

London mayor Ken Livingstone wants the Metropolitan Police to offer the family of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence generous compensation.
The Lawrences are reported to have been offered £100,000 to settle out of court a claim that the police operation into their son's murder was bungled because of police racism. They are understood to be claiming compensation of around £500,000.
Mr Livingstone met Stephen's mother Doreen Lawrence on Monday and now wants to meet Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens.
Mr Livingstone has responsibility for the force and his intervention in the Lawrence case will be his first high-profile move to use his new powers.
During his election campaign he said that improving relations with London's ethnic minorities was one of his key goals for the police and he is understood to feel that the outstanding dispute with the Lawrences is standing in the way of this.
Following the meeting with Mrs Lawrence, Mr Livingstone told the London Evening Standard: "Mrs Lawrence came to make representations about the inordinate length of time it has taken to conclude the question of damages and liability.
"I will be taking this up with the Commissioner and it will be interesting to hear the Commissioner explain why this has been dragging on for so long."
His adviser on race relations, Lee Jasper, said that the Lawrences should be given "public and generous" compensation for the way in which the police failed them.
Mr Jasper said: "Ken Livingstone remains convinced that it is in the best interests of the police and the Lawrence family, and indeed in the interest of all Londoners, that this whole tragic affair is concluded speedily."
The Lawrences launched an action last August under the Race Relations Act against 23 officers.
© Ananova

Fresh controversy flared around scandal-ridden former Chancellor Helmut Kohl on Thursday after he compared his treatment by Germany's ruling Social Democrats with the Nazi persecution of the Jews.
Kohl said calls by a leading SPD politician for a boycott of his fundraising efforts to pay for fines imposed for his acceptance of secret political gifts as chancellor resembled the Nazi-era boycott of Jewish shops.
"This is horrendous," said Christian Stroebele, a Greens party member of the parliamentary committee investigating whether Kohl actually took bribes while in power.
"It shows the man is completely out of touch with reality." Volker Neumann, the SPD politician chairing the long-running committee hearings which are due to take further testimony from Kohl next week, said the remarks were "incredibly embarrassing."
Referring to one of the financial scandal's more infamous episodes, Neumann said the remark reminded him of efforts by Kohl's party allies in Hesse state to pretend that money held in foreign slush fund accounts came from grateful Holocaust survivors.
References to Nazi persecution of the Jews still have the power to unleash huge rows in Germany more than half a century after the end of World War Two and the Holocaust.
Kohl, who was sacked as honorary chairman of his own conservative Christian Democrats over the funds affair, has complained bitterly that members of the ruling centre-left coalition are using the matter to ruin his historical legacy.
© Reuters

France willN ask countries seeking European Union membership to speed up legal reforms to ensure they can enforce a proposed joint EU policy to control illegal immigration, Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said on Wednesday.
The 58 Asian immigrants found dead in a truck this week at a British port had passed through eastern European countries -- some of them EU candidates -- on their ill-fated trip to Britain, he said.
v "To prevent tragedies, we must control immigration," he told France 2 television. "Each government of the Union, and each country candidate for membership can do better on this. "This is not a warning, it is part of the negotiations."
France takes over the six-month EU presidency next month. The EU summit in Portugal earlier this week asked members to work for a joint immigration policy.
Vedrine said candidate countries had to improve their legislation, administration and immigration services in order to be able to participate in a joint EU immigration policy.
"We are going to speed this up under our presidency...We must go on to a new stage," he said. Criminal rings smuggling illegal immigrants from the Middle East and Asia to western Europe frequently sent their human cargo through the former Soviet Union into Poland and the Czech Republic, two EU applicants, to reach Germany.
Other popular routes run through Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania -- three more EU hopefuls -- and the territory of former Yugoslavia into Austria and Italy.
Once inside the Schengen area of visa-free travel, they can circulate freely to France and the Benelux countries and try their luck dodging British immigration controls.
French Interior Minister Jean-Pierre Chevenement said he would propose EU interior and justice ministers meeting in Marseille on July 29 new steps to fight smuggler networks and penalties for those who transport illegal
© Reuters

A police officer with the Strathclyde force, who was dismissed after making a racist remark, has been reinstated.
Pc Kenny Orr was sacked after he admitted entering Maryhill police station in Glasgow and making racist comments.
His comments were made in front of a colleague from an ethnic background and Pc Orr, 37, lost his job following an inquiry by Strathclyde Police.
He was asked to resign and did so at a disciplinary hearing headed by Assistant Chief Constable Martin Papworth on May 26.
The report said Chief Constable John Orr - no relation - decided to reinstate the officer after he lodged an appeal and made a full apology.
A Strathclyde Police spokesman said: "A police officer has appealed against the findings of an misconduct hearing and as a result was reinstated by the Chief Constable."
The report added that Pc Orr would be fined a week's wages for his comments.
© Ananova

The Bosnian Serb entity has implemented an agreement with Croatia on returning 2,000 refugees from each side, a refugee official said yesterday, reports AFP. Republika Srpska's deputy minister of refugees Petar Dzodan said Prime Minister Milorad Dodik and Croatian Foreign Minister Tonino Picula announced March 9 an agreement to provide for the return of 2,000 refugees from each side within three months.
Dzodan said 328 Bosnian Croat families returned to the Serb entity within these three months, 78 families had their homes released and sealed, waiting for them to return any time, while 391 families are in the process of recovering their property.
"Altogether this makes 2,370 persons, so I can say that the RS has implemented the Dodik-Picula agreement from its side, which cannot be said for the other side (Croatia) where many questions, keys to more significant returns of Croatian Serbs, remain open", he said.
Croatian authorities' information that some 65,000 Serbs had returned so far to Croatia since the end of the 1991-95 war "is not true," no more than 25,000 actually returned, he said.
Meanwhile the UN Security Council voted yesterday to keep the NATO-led peacekeeping force and the UN mission in Bosnia for another year. It also welcomed positive steps taken by Croatia to implement the Dayton agreement, emphasising that the return of refugees "continues to be crucial to lasting peace." The Financial Times carries a survey into Croatia's refugee problems.
© Refugees Daily

British customs found the corpses of 58 Far Eastern illegal immigrants crammed in a truck at a port on Monday, victims of a human smuggling scam that went horribly wrong. It was not clear exactly how the victims of Britain's biggest illegal immigrant tragedy had died, though suffocation or hypothermia seemed most likely.
``The lorry was stopped at about midnight whereupon they found 58 dead -- 54 men and four women.
There are two male survivors. No children,'' a Home Office (interior ministry) spokesman said. ``They all seem to be Oriental (east Asian) and if you were to look through the numbers of people claiming asylum in this country, the most common Oriental group are Chinese.
But this has to be confirmed,'' he told Reuters. He said the bodies were found in the rear of a Dutch-registered vehicle at Britain's main port Dover about midnight.
The driver was arrested and the two survivors were taken to hospital, where they are expected to survive.
Prime Minister Tony Blair, speaking from a European summit in Portugal, said the tragedy underlined the dangers of the organized traffic in asylum seekers.
``What's important is to try and stamp out what is an evil trade in bringing people into this country,'' he said. Foreign Secretary Robin Cook urged European Union police to cooperate further to end the traffic in asylum seekers.
``We plainly must do more,'' he told Reuters Television News at the European Union summit conference in Portugal.
Shipped As Tomatoes
The lorry left the Belgian port of Zeebrugge on Sunday evening and was searched by customs officials a few hours later at Dover. Its journey has so far been traced back to Rotterdam and police across Europe are coordinating their investigation into events leading to the largest death toll of a group of immigrants being smuggled into Britain.
London's Evening Standard newspaper said the victims were shipped registered as a consignment of tomatoes.
``This particular incident is now subject to a major police investigation. The government is determined to continue to crack down on the evil trade in such trafficking, whose perpetrators have no regard for human life,'' Home Secretary (interior minister) Jack Straw said in a statement.
Individual asylum seekers have been known to die on their journey to Britain, often after jumping from a moving train to avoid detection, but police said they were stunned by the scale of their overnight discovery.
``The numbers speak for themselves. The scale of the find is something that officials here have not found previously and it has had a huge and very distressing impact on anyone who has been involved in it,'' Mark Pugash of Kent police told Sky television.
The two survivors have not yet been questioned. ``Their condition is not thought to be life-threatening. They are currently in hospital and they will obviously be a very important part of this criminal investigation,'' Pugash said.
The government spokesman said it was unclear if the lorry's refrigeration system had been turned on, which might have frozen the passengers, or switched off, possibly suffocating them on what was Britain's hottest day of the year so far.
Dover, a major landing point for ferries from France and Belgium, has been a popular entry point for asylum-seekers, many of them from eastern Europe.
The British government introduced fines earlier this year for people who try to smuggle illegal immigrants into the country in a bid to stamp out the lucrative practice.
Immigration has since become a contentious political topic and human rights groups have accused the Labor government of cracking down on refugees in a bid to win votes.
``This is a terrible tragedy,'' said Nick Hardwick of the Refugee Council. ``They are ordinary people in extraordinary situations and the fact that they are willing to take these risks suggest there must be something powerful motivating them to leave their own country.''
© Reuters

Austria's 14 colleagues in the European Union once again said sanctions would remain in place to punish Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel for forming a government with the far right Freedom Party.
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres told Schuessel on Monday there is no enthusiasm among the other 14 EU nations to end the sanctions. Portugal now holds the EU presidency.
``There is no reason to change the rules,'' Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt told reporters late Monday, the summit's opening day.
Austria also figured in another dispute: It opposed a 20 percent tax on interest income Europeans earn on savings in other countries. EU leaders, who will revisit the issue Tuesday, said a deal was at hand to end years of stalemate.
Mindful of the setbacks of bringing stability to Kosovo, the EU leaders agreed to put together a police force of 5,000 specially trained policemen to go to hot spots on short notice.
Javier Solana, the EU's foreign and security policy chief, reported to the 15 EU leaders Monday that efforts to create an EU military force of 60,000 troops, separate from NATO for peacekeeping and humanitarian crises, was proceeding well but that more must be done for the civilian side of crisis management.
In Kosovo, the NATO-led military intervention went smoothly last summer but the U.N. civilian administration suffered for months for lack of well-trained police officers to maintain order.
``The shortage of high quality police officers, of judges and prosecutors as well as the overall shortfall in staffing continue to undermine the work of (the United Nations) in key areas,'' Solana said in his report.
Belgium, France, Portugal and Luxembourg are the harshest critics of Schuessel, a mainstream conservative who invited the far right Freedom Party - widely seen as opposing a multicultural society - to form a government last February.
``It was the formation of the Austrian government that led to the sanctions,'' Verhofstadt said. ``We need to see a change from the Austrian government'' before the sanctions are dropped.
The sanctions are minor measures, such as bans on cultural and sports events or secondary military cooperation accords, but they have served to spoil the atmosphere at EU meetings and summits.
Austria warned its partners are driving it to veto the EU's eastward expansion. ``Enlargement cannot be debated when inside the EU there is no constructive cooperation,'' Finance Minister Karl-Heinz Grasser said .
He added the same was true for the difficult debate about reforming EU institutions ahead of enlargement that is expected to happen by 2005 or 2006.
EU leaders spent much time Monday trying to reach a deal means to tax interest income Europeans earn on savings in other countries, eradicating a cross-border tax dodge that costs EU countries billions in lost revenue.
Germany initially led calls for a common 20 percent withholding tax on interest from savings accounts held in banks anywhere in the EU.
After long debate, 14 EU nations now prefer countries to send information about accountholders' interest to their home countries so they can be taxed there. Austria remained a holdout, but was expected to give in.
© Associated Press

Deepening a rift between two Jewish groups vying for influence in Russia, the Ministry of Culture signed an agreement Monday boosting the status of the smaller, upstart group.
The new Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, founded in December, is seen as favored by the Kremlin but opponents claim it represents only a minority of the country's Jewish community. The ministry agreement officially recognizes the group and raises its status to equal that of the Russian Jewish Congress.
The agreement came after last week's election of former New York resident Berl Lazar as Russia's chief rabbi, which triggered accusations of Kremlin meddling in Jewish affairs.
The agreement also followed last week's arrest of media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky, president of the Russian Jewish Congress. He was released Saturday, after having been arrested in connection with business dealings unrelated to his charitable Jewish work.
The agreement signed Monday allows the new federation a say in the use of Jewish cultural valuables, such as manuscripts and historic synagogues, according to Mikhail Gluz, president of the federation.
It does not override a similar agreement signed in the early 1990s with the Jewish Congress, said Alexei Barkhatov, director of the ministry's consulting department.
Both groups are to be consulted on important questions, he said. ``The ministry does not interfere in confessional affairs,'' he said. ``We have an agreement with two independent organizations.''
But Adolf Shayevich, Russia's chief rabbi since the 1980s, insisted again Monday that he remains the only legitimate head of the nation's Jewish religious community. He said he objected to the government allowing what he says is a minority group to represent them.
Shayevich represents mainstream Orthodox Jews in Russia, while Lazar heads the ultra-Orthodox Chabad Lubavitch movement. Most of the estimated half-million Jews in Russia are nonobservant, but the rival religious groups are competing for funding and influence.
The agreement Tuesday ``won't bring anything good to the Jewish community of Russia,'' Shayevich said.
Zalman Shmotkin of the Lubavitch headquarters in New York dismissed Shayevich's concerns and insisted that the new federation represents the majority of Russia's Jewish groups.
``Jews and people familiar with the situation ... welcome Rabbi Lazar's appointment,'' he said by telephone.
© Associated Press

Hundreds of celebrities are backing a new campaign aimed at rooting out racist abuse at work.
The TUC is launching a telephone hotline to collect information from victims and offer advice on how to tackle racism in the workplace.
The hotline is the latest campaign from a taskforce set up by the union organisation following the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.
Doreen Lawrence, Stephen's mother, will help launch the helpline with TUC general secretary John Monks.
He said: "Every worker should have the right to equal treatment and respect to get a job, be treated fairly and have the chance of promotion and progression."
Celebrities who have backed the campaign include actors Bob Hoskins and Emma Thompson and singers Sting and Joan Armatrading.
The hotline, 08000 320033, will be open from Monday June 19 until Friday June 23.

© Ananova

Gay soldiers will be able to live together in army barracks as "man and wife" if a German government plan goes ahead.
Gay couples will also be entitled to the same allowance as heterosexuals.
An army spokesman says the move will not have a negative impact on the army's image. He said: "We don't discriminate against anyone."
But The Daily Express reports some serving soldiers do not support the controversial move. One recruit said: "I don't think our army looks strong if everyone knows soldiers are living with other men."
© Ananova

The first man to be convicted in the UK of Nazi war crimes has lost his final bid for a new hearing.
Retired British Rail ticket collector Anthony Sawoniuk was given two life sentences last year after being found guilty of two murder charges.
The House of Lords has turned down his application for leave to appeal against his conviction. In February, the Court of Appeal ruled that his murder convictions were safe.
Sawoniuk, 78, denies murdering Jews in his home town of Domachevo, Belarus, 57 years ago. He was serving in a local police force controlled by the Germans at the time.
© Ananova

The number of asylum seekers in France is rising for the first time in almost 10 years, reports Le Monde. OFPRA, the government refugee agency, said 30,907 sought asylum in France in 1999, a 38% increase on the previous year.
So far in 2000, the increase has risen to 68.5%, said OFPRA's annual report published last week.
"This is like a slap in the face for those who want at all costs to reduce the number of refugees in France," said UNHCR representative Philippe Lavanchy.
However, the number of people accepted has not grown. OFPRA, facing a mounting backlog, dealt with 24,000 cases in 1999, and granted Convention refugee status to only 4,659. At a rate of 19.4%, this is little different from the previous year, says OFPRA.
While the government believes asylum is used by economic migrants to avoid entry restrictions, a look at countries of origin suggests multiple factors are at play.
Some applicants - like Chinese and Malians, may be economically motivated. But applicants have also increased from countries suffering violent conflicts. These include Turkey, Sri Lanka, Algeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The increase has also overwhelmed the asylum system, with 24,000 cases pending. The rate of interviews has again dropped from 40% in 1998 to 37% last year.
Waiting periods for a decision have also grown dramatically, worrying refugee advocates. Some say the asylum system is in collapse.
© Refugees Daily

More than 2,000 asylum seekers have died in and around Europe since 1993 due to the continent's hardening stance on immigration, Dutch-based migrant and refugee support group UNITED said Monday.
The discovery of 58 corpses -- believed to be Chinese -- crammed in the back of a truck arriving at the British port of Dover was the latest example of people risking their lives in a bid to penetrate immigration controls, UNITED said.
Accusing European governments of seeking to erect a "Fortress Europe" against would-be immigrants, UNITED said people were taking ever graver risks to seek sanctuary in Europe.
"Instead of finding a safe place and a better perspective for their life people have drowned, suffocated, been beaten to death by racist attackers, gagged to death by policemen or committed suicide in despair," the group said in a statement.
It cited the recent suicide of an Algerian at Frankfurt airport and the drowning of 120 people in the Strait of Gibraltar during the first four months of this year as some of the more prominent examples of the plight of would-be immigrants.
© Reuters

Metropolitan says today's demonstration (15.06.2000) will be conducted in peaceful manner
PREPARATIONS were in full swing last night for a mass demonstration to be staged this evening in Thessaloniki to protest the issue of new identity cards which will break with long-standing practice by not declaring their holders' religious affiliation.
The semi-official Athens News Agency (ANA) quoted church authorities as saying they expected half a million to attend.
But in a joint statement at a protest held yesterday outside the Macedonia and Thrace ministry, Pasok, Left Coalition, its breakaway AEKA "modernisers", and representatives of trade unions and other professional associations expressed support for the government on the ID issue and said they believed tonight's rally would harm the image of Thessaloniki.
New Democracy distanced itself from the statement, as did the Greek Communist Party (KKE), which said the ID debate clouded other more significant issues of national interest.
Patriarch Diodoros of Jerusalem yesterday joined Albania's Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana in supporting "the Orthodox faithful of Greece in their just struggle for the right to the option of declaring religious affiliation on their identity cards".
Meanwhile cars hired by the Thessaloniki diocese and equipped with megaphones were cruising through the city streets yesterday calling on the Orthodox faithful to turn out in strength for tonight's meeting, while door-to-door distribution of leaflets urging participation was being undertaken by volunteers.
Reports from the northern port city yesterday stated that the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Greece was going ahead with the protest in the absence of any last-minute indication from the government of Prime Minister Costas Simitis that it was predisposed to compromise on the issue.
Metropolitan Kallinikos, who has spoken out on the issue, said he would attend the event although there were no plans to bus supporters from his Piraeus diocese to Thessaloniki.
But church organisations in association with diocesan authorities in Thessaloniki told ANA that they had chartered over 600 buses to transport the faithful to the mass protest in the city's Aristotelous Square, scheduled to start at 7pm with slogans and music and to wind up by 9pm.
Metropolitan Anthimos of Alexandroupoli, who is organising the protest but who vehemently distanced himself from the authors of a leaflet widely distributed yesterday in Thessaloniki bearing the title "We are at war", said that the demonstration would be conducted in a peaceful manner in close coordination with the police to ensure that no unruly elements were allowed to disrupt the proceedings. Since early yesterday work has been in progress to erect the large rostrum where Archbishop Christodoulos is to deliver the keynote address this evening.
Thessaloniki police are reportedly on the alert to prevent parallel expressions of wrath by extremist elements. Meanwhile, residents woke yesterday to see that hundreds of posters calling on the devout to attend the demonstration had been ripped by opponents.
Next Wednesday, the faithful are expected to descend upon Athens' city centre for the second of two major protests planned by the church

Six North African immigrants died and another 23 were rescued when the inflatable vessel in which they were travelling sank in the Straits of Gibraltar early on Friday morning.
The boat was approaching the Spanish coast between Tarifa and Algeciras at 5.40 a.m. when it overturned, and although some of the occupants managed to reach the shore, six people, including a 16 year old girl, drowned.
This was the third and worst accident of its type in the area in the past fortnight.
The President of the immigrant assistance association Algeciras Acoge, Fernando García, afterwards blamed the Spanish and Moroccan governments and European immigration policy for the deaths.
He urged people not to accept the fact that many North Africans lose their lives while attempting to reach the Spanish mainland, and said these incidents can't be classed as accidents as these people are being used as political pawns.
The Guardia Civil off Almería detained another 23 immigrants early on Friday morning after radar showed a small boat travelling at moderate speed without lights at approximately half past six..
© Town Crier

Amnesty says new laws are having an adverse effect on refugees The government has been accused of "abuse" by the human rights group Amnesty International following its implementation of new laws on asylum seekers. In its annual report Amnesty said the Immigration and Asylum Act had been "severely detrimental to refugee rights".
A political row has blown up over asylum seekers in recent months with the Conservatives urging the government to take a tougher line, while the Liberal Democrats protested at the tone taken by the two main parties and referred them both to the Commission for Racial Equality.
The UK Director of Amnesty, Kate Allen, also criticised the climate created by the political debate over asylum seekers in the UK.
She said: "The approach to them by the UK is a debate about whether to lock them up or not. Now we do need to change that, and we do need a lead from politicians on this."
Ms Allen added politicians should spend "more time talking about the situations people left from" rather than concentrating on detaining them as a matter of course.
Torture on the rise Amnesty's report also suggested that the number of countries torturing people had risen by 6% last year.
Last year the group received reports from 132 countries where torture was used on prisoners held by police or security forces compared to 125 the year before.
In Europe, the human rights campaigners noted that the most common abuses were often racially motivated. Torture and ill-treatment of prisoners by police was also highlighted.
Deaths in custody The report underlined three deaths in police custody in the UK - Roger Sylvester in January, Sarah Thomas in August and Barry Stanley in November - as having "disputed circumstances".
The organisation said it was "concerned" that it again had to include UK in its annual report. The murder of human rights lawyer Rosemary Nelson in Northern Ireland after a string of death threats from loyalist terrorists was one case cited by the report.
Researcher Halya Gowan said: "It is a fact that Rosemary Nelson was killed after the UN issued a serious report about the abuse of defence lawyers in Northern Ireland and called for their protection, including protection for her."
Racist murders Police investigations into the racist murders of Michael Menson and Ricky Reel caused "extreme concern", said Ms Gowan.
"Police were found to fail in their primary duty which is to assess evidence and find those responsible for the murders," she said.
Turning to the global survey the report said the major states responsible for torture included Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Turkey and China.
Politically-motivated torture resurfaced in Zimbabwe for the first time this year since the late 1980s, Amnesty said.

Warsaw, 05.06.00
Letter of the Chechen hunger strike committee to Polish Minister of Internal Affairs.
The escalation of warfare in Chechnya has caused a wide wave of refugees to flee to neighbouring republics (Ingushetia, Daghestan, Georgia and Azerbaijan). The total number of refugees amounts 350 thousand people.
Only about 200 of them - including children - have managed to cross hostile territory and the Polish borders.
From the moment of their arrival on Polish soil, refugees were faced with new problems. Statistics show that nearly all of the Chechen families were denied access to Poland on their first attempt.
This applies to all of the border crossings, especially those of Terespol, Przemysl, and Mamonowo.
Refugees were able to enter Poland only after 2nd or 3rd attempt, only after the intervention of TV and newspaper journalists and the human rights commission. But the behaviour of border police has not changed since then.
The second and most important group of problems faced by the refugees are the conditions of life in the refugee centers in Dembak, Podkowa-Lesna, Smoszewo and Lublin.
The refugees are anxious because of their uncertain legal status. Despite numerous pressure actions by Polish citizens groups, no decisions were made by the state administration. The newcomers were simply registered and given a place in the centers.
It needs to be stressed that the legal status of refugees is a crucial one: without official refugee status, they are unable to continue education, to work and to move freely.
Another thing are the conditions of life in the refugee centers. Many of them have been given unappropriate rooms.
For example: a 9 person family has been forced to live in a room of 15 square meters. Health care, sanitary conditions and the food supply are far from satisfactory. Chechens are Muslims, and they do not eat pork meat. The administration of the Dembak center has ignored the issue despite numerous requests. Pork meat has not been replaced with cheese and milk products.
There have been cases, when the center personel has bathed dogs in the sinks meant for cleaning dishes, and fed them from the same dishes used by refugees.
The security of the refugees is another question. Women and children have been assailed in broad daylight in Lublin by local inhabitants.
One of the women was hit with a rock on her head, and was hospitalised. Another woman being pregnant has been kicked in her belly.
The Chechen children who witnessed the incident will doubtlessly be marked durably by it. Because of the scandalous situation of the refugee centers, individual refugees attempt to cross the border to Germany.
Polish and German border police are extremely cruel and unhumanitarian for those who are caught. At the beginning of may, this year, Albika Akbulatova has been imprisoned 5 days in a closed isolation cell. Akbulatova was in a state of mental shock. After seven days, she was transfered to a psychiatric clinic in Radom.
Despite the requests of her husband and of other arrestees, the border police of Szczecin (the district where she was caught) have earlier denied medical aid to Albika, under the pretense she was "simulating".
Currently Akbulatova is in a psychiatric clinic in Warsaw, on Nowowiejska street 27. Ignoring letters sent by parlamentarians, the district court of Szczecin have not released Albika's husband from the deportation arrest in Leszno-Wola. The meeting with her husband would have a beneficial effect on the suffering woman. The small number of Chechens arrived in Poland during the first Russian aggression on the republic have still not been given status of political refugee. At the same time, many citizens of other countries receive each year refugee status in Poland.
With regard to the above mentioned facts, it needs to be stated that the Polish state is not respecting the Geneva Convention of 1951: The status of refugees", and the New York Protocol of 1967.
We demand an energetic intervention of the Polish Minister of Internal Affairs in the case of war refugees from Chechnya, who have to suffer humiliations in a supposedly friendly country.
We appeal to the Internal Affairs Minister, Marek Biernacki, to open the Polish borders for the Chechen victims of war. We demand that the senseless discrimination ceases now, and that those who managed to survive war be granted decent living conditions. The practices of the Internal Affairs Ministry are a disgrace to us all.
Participants of the hunger strike:
Said Baudinov,
Ahmed Edilsultanov,
Marek Kurzyniec
On saturday 9th june, the hunger strike has been suspended after the 9th day, because of the bad health of the participants.
Other actions will follow, as the Polish government has remained ignorant of the issue.

The attack took place near the Royal Gwent Hospital Three men and a woman have been charged with murder after a man died in an attack at a south Wales hospital Indonesian-born Jan Marthin Pasalbessi, 48, had taken his daughter to the Royal Gwent Hospital for treatment on Monday evening when he was allegedly set upon and beaten to death. Gwent Police charged the four suspects at 2300 BST on Thursday.
They will remain in custody overnight and will appear before Newport Magistrates Court on Friday morning.
Police are treating the attack as a racist incident.
Mr Pasalbessi had taken his daughter Christina to the hospital after she was the victim of a separate assault, also said to be racially motivated.

THE Libyan leader, Col Gaddafi, has told Europe to get over its obsession with the Second World War and condemned sanctions against his "friend" Jörg Haider and Austria's Freedom Party.
Col Gaddafi said: "No one should interfere. Was Haider active during the Second World War? Was he a member of the Nazis? When crimes were committed against the Jews, these were carried out by Hitler or Mussolini and by the people of those times.
But where is the crime of the people of today? "To treat Germany as if it was still Nazi Germany or Italy as Fascist Italy is a type of blackmail. Europe . . . should have its eyes on the interests of its people and not those of the Zionist system.
It must not be the case that the interests of the people of Europe are sacrificed to the advantage of a certain clique of people."
Sanctions were imposed by European Union member nations after Mr Haider's party was included in Austria's coalition government in February.
Col Gaddafi told the Austrian magazine News: "If it was the will of the Austrian people to vote for Haider, this has to be accepted."
© Telegraph Group Limited

The racially motivated assault of an English tourist in Dublin city centre last weekend has provoked calls for the close monitoring of such hate crimes. Gardaí do not have records of racially motivated crimes, which anti-racism groups say would help in planning how to tackle them.
A recently published survey by the African Refugee Network found that more than a third of African refugees in Dublin had experienced verbal or physical abuse. The National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism said the analysis of data from the monitoring of racially motivated hate crimes could provide "invaluable information" on their extent.
The committee, which advises the Government on anti-racist initiatives, said responses to address such crimes could be based on the information gathered through a monitoring programme.
Its director, Mr Philip Watt, said the Government should review existing criminal legislation to see whether it was sufficient to cope with racially motivated crime.
"The Garda's PULSE data collection system has the potential to categorise crimes on a racially motivated basis and we would urge its implementation as soon as possible," he said. The committee's calls were echoed by the Irish Refugee Council.
The Minister for Justice, Mr O'Donoghue, last night condemned the attack on Mr David Richardson on Pearse Street, and expressed his regrets to his relatives and friends.
He said he would "ensure that the Garda Commissioner is given all the resources necessary to bring to justice the perpetrators of such mindless acts of violence".
The leader of the Labour Party, Mr Ruairí Quinn, said the "appalling and mindless attack" was "a slight on us all".
Neither our education system nor our civic culture had prepared people for immigration. "They must do so in the future. Increasingly our Irishness will have to be presented in a broader and more global context."
The Anti-Nazi League has organised a rally today at 6 p.m. in Pearse Street in protest at the attack on Mr constant stream of false information and hysteria over immigration has created a climate where physical attacks on immigrants are rising at a disturbing rate," a league spokesman, Mr Simon Basketter, said.
© Reuters

Worried that U.S.-German talks over a nearly $5 billion fund for Nazi-era slaves might fall apart, U.S. class-action lawyers on Friday said they were preparing to press their claims in court.
U.S. class-action lawyers, whose billion-dollar lawsuits against leading Germany companies pushed that country to try to settle charges the firms profited from Nazi war crimes, will renew their battle Thursday in court.
They will argue before a federal court in Philadelphia that a lower court was wrong when it ruled that their lawsuits were blocked by a series of U.S.-German treaties, including one signed in 1921.
'When the court acts on the appeal, it could be very devastating to the other side; we've already lost in the court below, so the defendants have already had the advantage of our losing,' said New York-based lawyer Mel Weiss.
He is one of the attorneys who sued German firms, such as Volkswagen < >VOWG.F>, DaimlerChrysler < >DCXGn.DE> and Deutsche Bank < >DBKGn.DE>, arguing they made money from the brutal toil of slave and forced laborers or helped the Nazis loot Jews of their assets. U.S. and German negotiators tried but failed to resolve a disagreement over Berlin's a historic compensation accord on June 2 when he was in Berlin.
Ed Fagan, a New York lawyer who has brought suits on behalf of Holocaust survivors and heirs, said the lawyers in part agreed to settle their claims for almost $5 billion, and no more, because they were told this would help make sure payments were made while Holocaust survivors still were alive.
Germany initially wanted to begin payments by Sept. 1, 1999, the 60th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland, which set off World War II.
But Fagan said that because a final agreement was not reached on June 2, 2000, class-action lawyers were considering whether to demand a bigger settlement.
Most Holocaust survivors are quite elderly -- some 10 percent to 15 percent die each year, so Germany is under pressure to speed payments.
The top U.S. and German negotiators, Treasury Deputy Secretary Stuart Eizenstat and Germany's Otto Lambsdorff, next meet on Monday in Washington.
© Reuters

Minority residents are excluded from Kosovo society because they are confined to virtual ghettos by the risk of violence, a full year after international authorities took charge of the province. That was the verdict of a joint report by the United Nations refugee agency and Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe report published in the Yugoslav region on Friday.
"Regrettably violence continues to be a prominent feature of minorities' everyday lives," it said. "Even against a backdrop of steadily falling crime rates, minorities remain victims of crime at levels disproportionate to their numbers." The survey, the fifth in a series, covered the February-May period.
It did not take into account a recent spate of attacks on minority Serbs by extremists in the ethnic Albanian majority.
Serbs have suffered from pervasive violence by ethnic Albanians avenging years of repression under Serbian rule, which ended when Kosovo came under the control of the United Nations and the NATO-led KFOR peace force in June 1999.
Groups regarded by ethnic Albanians as Serb collaborators during their 1998-99 rebellion in pursuit of independence, notably Roma (Gypsies), have also been targeted.
There has been an upsurge in violence in the period leading up to the anniversary of the June 12 arrival of international peacekeepers to Kosovo, still legally part of Yugoslavia.
Last week, eight Serbs -- including a four-year-old boy and two elderly women -- were killed. A grenade attack on Tuesday in the Serb monastery town of Gracanica injured five people.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a separate report to the Security Council late on Thursday that attacks against Serbs appeared to be an orchestrated campaign of violence.
The UNHCR/OSCE report said Serbs were victims in 105 incidents of arson, 49 incidents of aggravated assault and 26 of murder reported between January 30 and May 27.
At least 150,000 Serbs and others have fled Kosovo to Serbia proper since the end of NATO's 78-day bombing campaign last year, conducted to halt Belgrade's military crackdown on ethnic Albanians.
Many of those who remain -- estimated at roughly 100,000 -- live isolated and need KFOR help to travel around. "In the worst cases, minority populations remain trapped in their enclaves or even in their homes, unable to venture out without a heavily armed escort," said the report.
"The long term effect of lack of freedom of movement is that many minority populations are sidelined, confined to their enclaves, and excluded from society as a whole," it said.
Divisions within Kosovo were strikingly clear when looking at access to basic services such as health care and education. "For many communities, we see the continuation of essentially two societies, separate from one another in almost all aspects of life," the report said.
In contrast to the previous 10 years, when ethnic Albanians were the victims of discrimination, Serbs and other minorities are now unable to access necessary services in a normal way.
"The degree to which minorities are able to enjoy their rights and participate in society will be a primary measure of success in the international stewardship of Kosovo, with important implications for regional stability," it said.
© Reuters

A man has been charged with helping to smuggle illegal immigrants into the country.
Neil Acourt, 24, was charged with facilitation - assisting illegal entry - after a joint investigation by Kent Police and the Immigration Service into an incident on December 10 1999, a spokesman says.
Jobless Acourt, of Dutton Street, Greenwich, south-east London, has been bailed to appear at Folkestone Magistrates' Court on June 14.
Another man, John Anthony Caetano, 26, of Dickson Road, Eltham, south-east London, has already been charged with assisting illegal entry in relation to the incident.
No charges will be brought against three other men who were arrested in connection with the incident in March, the spokesman added.
© Ananova

Two stowaways who died in the wheel bay of a Danish transatlantic airliner lay undiscovered for two days while the aeroplane made 40 flights.
The men, believed to be from the Dominican Republic, hid in a small compartment behind the plane's rear wheels.
Despite several stops over the course of the two days, nobody found their bodies. Authorities say the pair probably died from exposure to freezing conditions as the plane reached high altitude on the way to Copenhagen from the Dominican Republic. The Premair Airbus 330 then made a total of 40 flights in two days, including 36 "educational flights" and trips CNN.com.
The dead men were only found when technicians checked the aircraft when it landed at an airport north of the Swedish capital Stockholm after a flight from Greece. A Stockholm police spokesman said the incident raised serious security concerns. "If these men could get aboard, so could explosives," said Mats Nylen.
Although it's not been established how the men did get on to the airplane, a Premair official suggested that the men were employed at the Dominican Republic's Peurto Plata airport or they had help from somebody working there.
© Ananova

Up to 2,500 Kosovo refugees who fled to Britain last year have "disappeared" and cannot be traced, the government said yesterday, reports Reuters.
More than 4,000 Kosovars were given sanctuary in Britain last April. Unlike other asylum seekers, they did not have to register where they were staying. A Home Office spokesman said: "We very much hope that having enjoyed the hospitality of this country, the remainder will return voluntarily when their leave expires."
But refugee and aid charities said many refugees want to stay in Britain and some will already be working illegally.
BBC News adds the situation is potentially embarrassing for Home Secretary Jack Straw who had promised all Kosovo refugees would be returned home once their 12-month leave to stay ended.
Shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe said the situation proved the need for all asylum seekers to be detained on entering the country.
By 1 June this year the Home Office said 1,527 refugees had gone back to Kosovo under a government-funded voluntary repatriation programme.

Mystery surrounds death of punk killed in eastern German town Eberswalde, Germany - Police in this eastern German town are still looking for a motive for the killing of a 22-year-old punk who died last Thursday after being pushed in front of a moving taxi. The incident happened when the victim was fighting with a 27-year-old man known to have links with the extreme right-wing scene.
A huge poster near the bus stop where Falco L. died could have been placed there as a comment on the death: "Stop the ostrich syndrome." The message from a group called the White Ring exhorts people to come to the aid of victims of violence.
In November 1990, neo-Nazis beat unconscious a 28-year-old Angolan worker, Amadeu Antonio Kiowa, not far from the same bus stop; Kiowa died a few days later. Directly next to the bus stop is a building that once housed asylum seekers. The home was closed in 1992 after an arson attack.
Subsequently, the building was for some years a meeting place for right-wing youths.
The alternative scene in Eberswalde is small. Many of its members knew Falco L. The talk revolves around one question: was his death politically motivated? Police spokeswoman Annegret Klett says it was not. Forty-eight hours after the death, a man (in line with German legal requirements, full names are not used), Mike B., was arrested on charges of assault with fatal consequences. Klett said the arrested man denies any political motive.
She added that Mike B. felt insulted by Falco L. and, in the ensuing argument, accidentally pushed him in front of the taxi.
Police say that, while Mike B. might look like a skinhead, he was known to police as someone who liked a fight rather than a person bent on acts of right-wing violence.
Police also point out that the victim himself was violence-prone. Marc F. - who is afraid to give his real name - had been on the bus with the dead man and Mike B. before their fatal fight. Marc F. says that as the three were boarding the bus, Falco L. made some comments to Mike B. about his obviously right-wing tattoos.
According to the eyewitness, a skinhead with Mike B. started to hit Falco L. while the bus was still moving. Despite that, Falco L.
continued to talk to Mike B., allegedly explaining to him, "why it's dumb to be right-wing." The eyewitness and his friends have no doubt that the ensuing fight was politically motivated.
Marc F. says Mike B. was not a neo-Nazi but he had been part of the right-wing scene which used to meet at the youth centre near the bus stop until it was closed. Nike B had also professed right-wing views, the eye-witness said.
Kai Wendell works with a statewide group called Victims' Perspectives which provides support and counselling for victims of right-wing violence in the state of Brandenburg. Wendell sees Falco L.'s death mainly as an expression of a turn of events which has become normal and which a large part of the population has simply learned to live with.
"The case shows what absolutely trivial things today can trigger rightist violence leading to death," Wendell says.
© Frankfurter Rundschau

Since 31 May 2000, Saint Mery church in Paris is being used as a refuge for people from China, Turkey, the Maghreb and other parts of Africa. The occupants, a group of sans-papiers who lived in hiding for four years, are still waiting for a regularisation of their situation. The church occupation is organised by the Third Collective, consisting of more than a thousand sans papiers from 27 different nationalities.
Those resident in France for more than 10 years had unsuccessfully attempted to regularise their legal situation under the Chevenement law of 10th May 1998.
This failure shows the arbitrariness of the law, since hundreds of others in similar situations were, in fact, granted regularisation of papers.
Several appeals to the authorities in the Ministry of the Interior were turned down, resulting in more than 300 members of the Third Collective being refused legalisation.
Of the applications submitted to the state mediator, 53 are singles and the rest are made by families with children born in France. Moreover one third of the applications are from people who have been resident in France for at least 9 years. Despite all his efforts the mediator could obtain regularisation papers for only ten persons so far.
An increasing number of sans papiers, of whom there are an estimated 60 000 in France, are beginning to organise themselves in their struggle for legalisation. The Third Collective of the sans-papiers of Paris is not the first to occupy a church, currently others are also being used as a refuge.
Further information :
the full history of the movement since 18 March 1996 on a well-documented site with many links
the Third Collective site
the Chevenement law

'Destroyed a commemorative tablet in memory of the Jews died during the Holocaust'

BARCELONA. Some unknown people have destroyed one of the three tablets located at the 'Fossar de les moreres', in the cemetery of Montjuïc of Barcelona, dedicated to the memory of the six million people killed by the nazis during the Holocaust, as reported yesterday the Jew community in the Catalonian capital.
The outrage affected only to one commemorative tablet, and did not provoke any other damage to the rest of the tombs that compose the complex dedicated to the memory of the executed politician Lluís Company, president of the Generalitat of Catalonia during the Republic.
This act took spokesmen of the Jew community to think about an outrage with a "purely anti-Semite character".
Spokesmen of the Jew communities Atid Catalonia and Macabi Barcelona to express in a press note their "deep consternation" for the vandal incidents, at the same that the are afraid "not to have repaired the damage nor investigate who were the authors".
Sergio Rodríguez

Letter from the Co-ordination Team in Paris
European Thematic Network in Political Science
The TN is publishing the following statement at the request of the Austrian
Political Science Association:
Statement by the Austrian Political Science Association:

Political scientist in Austria convicted Anton Pelinka, a Professor of political science at the University of Innsbruck, has been convicted by the Viennese Criminal Court for having defamed the former FPÖ leader Jörg Haider.
The suit was filed by Haider's lawyer Dieter Böhmdorfer who is now Austria's minister of justice. In an interview with the Italian television station RAI (broadcast on May 1, 1999), Pelinka had stated: "In his career, Haider has repeatedly made statements which amount to trivializing National Socialism. Once he described death camps as penal camps.
On the whole, Haider is responsible for making certain National Socialist positions and certain National Socialist remarks more acceptable." (In German: "Haider hat in seiner Karriere immer wieder Aussagen gemacht, die als Verharmlosung des Nationalsozialismus zu werten sind. Er hat einmal die Vernichtungslager Straflager genannt. Insgesamt ist Haider verantwortlich für eine neue Salonfähigkeit bestimmter nationalsozialistischer Positionen und bestimmter nationalsozialistischer Äußerungen.")
International media have reported about this case (e.g., New York Times, International Herald Tribune).
Furthermore, the Swedish prime minister, in a parliamentary speech, stated the Pelinka case to be "one of the best illustrations" to why the Swedish government applies different sorts of action against the Austrian government.
Finally, scientists and human right organisations, such as The Chronicle of Higher Education and the International Helsinki Federation, are concerned by the conviction of Anton Pelinka.
"Everything Professor Pelinka said was consistent with normal public discussion about political figures in a democracy.
If one can be convicted of libel for such a statement, we must wonder if there is freedom of expression in this country," stated Aaron Rhodes, Executive director of the IHF.
The Austrian Political Science Association is deeply concerned by the present development in Austria. It is unacceptable to restrict the freedom of expression and the freedom of science by means prosecution demanded by political parties.
Hence, we request the international scientific community to keep in view the further development in Austria.
European Thematic Network - Political Science

The human rights organisation, Amnesty International, has accused Nato of committing war crimes during its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia a year ago. In a new report, Amnesty says Nato forces violated the rules of war, which resulted in the unlawful killing of civilians.
Nato Secretary-General George Robertson rejected the allegations as "baseless and ill-founded".
The international war crimes tribunal has already ruled out an investigation. Amnesty called on Nato to review how it selected its targets and to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law.
"Nato scrupulously adhered to international law, including the law of war, throughout the conflict and made every effort to minimise civilian casualties," Lord Robertson said. He acknowledged that "in a few cases mistakes were made ... leading to civilian deaths or injuries".
But he said such incidents "must be weighed against the atrocities that Nato's action stopped".
The bombing, which ended on 7 June last year, resulted in a withdrawal of Serb forces from Kosovo and the deployment of a Nato-led peacekeeping force in the southern Serbian province.
Last week, the international war crimes prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, rejected Yugoslav allegations that Nato had committed war crimes.
She told the UN Security Council that there was no basis to open an investigation into the bombing campaign.
The Amnesty report looks at a number of attacks carried out over Yugoslavia last year and concludes that Nato did not always respect the rules of war in selecting its targets.
It called on Nato to review how it selected its targets and to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law.

Á crowd of self-declared vigilantes staged a nighttime attack on an Athens strip club on Tuesday, expressing a determination to stand up to criminal gangs who sexually exploit migrant women.
An estimated 30 Greeks and foreigners broke into the venue on central Michalakopoulou St, causing extensive damage, and warned that they will strike again.
The Ladies strip club had been shut down by police in May after a raid discovered six Romanian women were allegedly being held captive and sexually exploited by the venue's management.
In a written statement, the group said it would take similar action against other establishments involved in the illegal procurement of foreign women, which they described as "a crime against migrants".
Members of the vigilante group are being sought by police. In May 3 police arrested two men employed at the Ladies club who were allegedly holding six Romanian women captive in an apartment in the northern Áthens suburb of Çalandri. The men reportedly forced the women to strip and have sex with clients at the club.
The pair were identified as 25-year-old Ìiltiadis Grammatikos and Mikolaos Ñetrekis, 41, who have been charged. The owner of the establishment, 41-year-old Dimitris Glastros, is still being sought by authorities. Police believe Glastros heads a prostitution ring.
Thousands of women from eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East enter the country illegally in search of work here and in other European Union countries.
Many are deceived by members of prostitution rackets who promise them legal employment then force them into working as prostitutes.
According to a recent police study, nine in 10 prostitutes working illegally in Greece are women from the former Soviet Union.
Many of them, including young girls and teenagers, are taken from their families and smuggled into Greece against their will.
Statistics show that the majority of female migrant prostitutes currently in Greece have been smuggled in from Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, Russia and Ukraine.
Migratory prostitution began in the 1990s when organised prostitution rings began to bring young women from the Balkans and the former Soviet Union into Greece.

Dutch lawmakers continued their political infighting this week in parliamentary debates on a new asylum law, while experts yesterday questioned what improvements the law could bring, reports Het Financieele Dagblad.
The new policy, which the justice ministry hopes will go into effect on January 1, 2001, aims to shorten the asylum request procedure.
"There are too many procedures. They are too complicated and they take too long," immigration minister Job Cohen said. "Everyone knows the consequences: backlogs and people stuck in procedures and refugee centres for years."
Cohen's new policy stipulates that only one kind of permit, as well as one kind of asylum status, will be given to genuine applicants, instead of the three different categories of status at present. The appeal system will also be curtailed.
But experts were adamant that the new policy is hardly an improvement. "This is a missed opportunity to really solve the asylum problem," said Claartje van Ette of the Dutch Refugee Council. She said the new policy would make it harder for people to seek asylum, and is unlikely to shorten procedures.
Instead, the backlog will likely increase, she said. "The ministry is thinking how to stop the influx of refugees instead of answering the question of how to offer protection to those who really need it," she stressed.
Official figures show 39,299 asylum requests were made last year in the Netherlands, some 13% less than in 1998.
© Refugees Daily

The immigration service confirmed last night it is to deport tens of thousands more asylum seekers as the number of people claiming refuge in Britain and being held in detention centres quadruples.
Almost a third of those who are refused asylum in Britain are vanishing in an attempt to stay in the country, according to Home Office figures.
Of the 10,685 asylum seekers refused permission to stay last year, 7,645 people left voluntarily or were deported, leaving 3,040 missing, according to official figures.
Ian Boon, the immigration service's director of enforcement, said last night that officials aim to increase the number of deportations from 9,000 last year to 12,000 this year, rising to 30,000 in 2001-2 and eventually to 57,000 each year.
A Home Office spokesman confirmed it intends to tighten the system. The move reflects the government's anxiety seekers.
"It is important to the integrity of the asylum system that while we speed up the decision-making process it is clear to people whose claims are proved to be unfounded that they are very likely to be removed at the end of that process," the spokesman said.
The number of asylum seekers held in detention centres - a policy espoused by the Conservative party - will increase building of new detention centres at Thurleigh, Bedfordshire, and Manston, Kent. Eventually 4,000 asylum seekers will be held while their applications are processed.
The 100,000-case backlog in decision-making on asylum has been cut in recent months, with an increasing proportion of applicants turned down.
© Guardian

Forced out of their homes by racists who threatened to kill them, Eastern European Gypsies are still not considered genuine refugees by the British government, reports Jake Bowers-Burbridge in the Guardian.
They are a people without a state, or even an effective international organisation to defend them. And they are the ultimate scapegoats to be abused with impunity as 'bogus' asylum seekers.
The 1951 UN convention relating on refugees supposedly guarantees protection to any person who has fled their country 'owing to a well-founded fear of persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, membership of a social group or political opinion'.
But Home Office guidelines to magistrates refuse to recognise Romany persecution, despite its continuing documentation by Amnesty International, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the US state department.
Of the 5,000 Romany asylum seekers to have arrived in Britain, only three have been granted leave to stay - dramatically lower than for other asylum seekers.
Figures from the Refugee Council state that 54% of asylum applications are granted on their first hearing.
© Refugees Daily

Nearly 40 percent of Germans in the formerly communist east think there are too many foreigners living in the country, according to a survey published on Wednesday after a wave of violence against non-Germans. The Forsa polling institute found this feeling was more prevalent in the east than in the west, where one in three agreed.
The east, marked by pockets of poverty and high unemployment, has been the scene of numerous attacks against foreigners during the 10 years since unification, even though relatively few foreigners live there.
Forsa found 39 percent of eastern Germans and 33 percent of westerners felt there were too many foreigners.
Western Germans, mindful of the Nazi past, have tried to atone for the racist regime with a more tolerant outlook towards foreigners. Communist East Germany did not tackle the past with the same rigour.
The survey of 1,010 Germans in both parts of the country also found that 17 percent of the easterners and 11 percent of the westerners supported the ideology of far-right extremists. About nine million foreigners live in Germany out of a total population of 82 million. Turks are the largest group, with about two million. There are also large numbers of Poles, Yugoslavs, Albanians and Italians.
Most of the assaults on foreigners since reunification have been in the east. Nearly 10 percent of the population in the west is foreign-born, and less than two percent in the east. while trying to escape from a band of neo-Nazis chasing him.
Some conservative politicians have tried to capitalise on anti-foreigner sentiment by calling for restrictions on immigration.
© Reuters

Seven Asylum seekers who had been in jail since May 10th were released to day on conditional bail. Prior to the court hearing this morning Kent County Council admitted they had not followed correct procedure in withdrawing support for the seven and reinstated the support.
The seven have been moved to another hostel in a different town. They are due to reappear in court on June 19th 2000. North East Campaign for Asylum rights said that though today Kent County Council had restored support after they failed to follow correct procedure by not listening to the refugees side of the story.
They are worried that if KKC do not change their minds when they have heard the refugees side of the story the seven will be back in jail.

The top United Nations administrator in Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, urged Switzerland and Germany on Wednesday to go slow in returning refugees to the Yugoslav province.
"It is not helping us a bit," Kouchner told a news conference when asked to comment on Switzerland's plans to repatriate some 4,000 refugees a month.
Germany wants all its roughly 160,000 Kosovo Albanian refugees to return by the end of the year to the province, where Serbs and ethnic Albanians fought until a NATO-led bombing campaign forced Serb forces to withdraw last June.
Kouchner, a Frenchman, said he had no legal means to stop these repatriations and he praised both countries for having taken so many refugees from the conflict in the early 1990s.
"But when there are difficulties taking in these people, I will call for a moratorium. I am not asking that today," he said, adding he hoped the number of refugees returning from Switzerland would be smaller than now planned.
Kosovo air controllers would not accept unannounced charter flights and would send them back, he said.
Returning refugees would further exacerbate the situation in Kosovo, which is still rebuilding after the war and already has an unemployment rate of some 50 percent. Kouchner said it was far too early to judge his nearly one-year-old mission there but said June 15 municipal elections would be very important.
There was as yet no security in Kosovo and he expected more incidents in the run-up to the elections. In the latest incident, a gunman killed three Serbs, including a four-year-old boy, and wounded two. "The important thing is that the perpetrator has been apprehended," Kouchner said.
He said political cooperation in Kosovo was starting to work and elections would be a further step to restoring democracy.
"Democracy is the best answer to Mr (Slobodan) Milosevic. Democracy will really hurt him, not violence, not the climate of hatred," Kouchner said, referring to the Yugoslav president.
He said he had no illusions about solving the simmering ethnic conflict in Kosovo, which has roots going back some 13 centuries. "I'm not trying to get conciliation, I am working on co-existence," he said. "I'm not in charge of miracles."
© Reuters

Vladan Batic, who is one of the leaders of the Alliance for Change in Serbia, said in an open letter that Bernard Kouchner, who is the UN's chief administrator in Kosova, should resign if he is unable to better defend the interests of the province's Serbs, "Danas" reported on 5 June.
Batic added that resigning is the only morally appropriate thing for Kouchner to do if he cannot better protect all the inhabitants of the province, as he promised to do in 1999 when he arrived in Kosova.

Czech police have charged the publisher of a Czech version of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" with spreading racism and begun confiscating the books.
"The publisher has been accused of the criminal act of supporting and spreading a movement that leads toward the suppressing of rights and freedoms of citizens," a police spokeswoman said Monday.
Publisher Michal Zitko sold out in mid-March of an initial print run of 10,000 copies of the edition, which contains the original text with no commentary, and reprints have followed. News agency CTK reported Monday that police had raided one of Zitko's distributors and seized 300 copies of the book.
The police spokeswoman said remaining copies would also have to be withdrawn and that police had asked the publisher to hand over its list of distributors.
The book has ignited a sharp debate in a country where the battle for free speech played an important role in toppling the communist government in the bloodless 1989 revolution.
Police said they acted after receiving complaints from individuals and organizations, many recalling the horrors of Nazi occupation of the Czech lands in the 1940s. If Zitko is found guilty of the charges, he could receive a sentence of up to eight years in jail, CTK said.
A poll in May showed slightly more Czechs opposing the free sale of the book than those not objecting.
Zitko has said he also plans to publish a Czech version of Karl Marx's communist thesis, "Das Kapital."
© Reuters

Some 200 Indian, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan immigrants staged a peaceful protest in St Peter's Square Friday shortly after Pope John Paul II celebrated a Holy Year mass for migrants, witnesses said.
The protesters waved banners asking the Italian government to grant permits allowing all immigrant workers to stay.
During the mass, the pope had said discrimination was incompatible with the teachings of the Catholic Church and urged respect for human rights.
"Unfortunately, closed-door attitudes as well as denial continue to exist in the world, caused by unjustified fears as well as concentrating on one's own life," the pope said. "These discriminations are not compatible with belonging to Christ and the Church."
He told pilgrims gathered in a sun-baked St Peter's Square that a culture of tolerance and welcoming needed to be coupled with "prudent and far-sighted laws and norms."
"Knowing what the Church has done and is doing for immigrants in Italy, the protesters wanted to hand in a document to the Vatican with all their requests," Chief Vatican Spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said in a terse statement. He gave no details. The protest ended peacefully later.
Thousands of illegal immigrants, many from the Balkans and north Africa, land on Italy's long coastline each year. The center-right opposition is urging the government to take tougher measures to combat the influx.
In 1999, the government granted permits allowing 123,000 immigrants to stay and become legalized out of a total of 250,000 requests. Under a stricter law passed last year, only 63,000 permits will be handed out in 2000.
© Reuters

Alvaro Gil-Robles, who is the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner, met on 4 June with Chechen refugees now living temporarily in Georgia's Pankisi gorge, which borders on Chechnya, Interfax reported. Some of the refugees complained that the humanitarian aid they receive is inadequate.
Local residents have complained that the so- called refugees included Chechen fighters. On 2 June, former Georgian Defense Minister Tengiz Kitovani warned that the presence of Chechen fighters on Georgian territory could provoke Moscow to launch air strikes against Georgia, Interfax reported. He claimed those fighters engage in abductions and drug trafficking.

A NAZI sympathiser killed three people after starting a campaign of nail bombings aimed at starting a race war and venting his hatred of homosexuals, the Old Bailey was told yesterday.
David Copeland, a loner who lived with his pet rat in a bedsit decorated with swastikas, planted two bombs in centres of London's black and Asian communities, said Nigel Sweeney, QC, prosecuting.
His third and most devastating explosion, at a gay pub in the West End, killed three customers and injured 70 others.
Copeland, who appeared in court in an open neck blue shirt and dark trousers, learned to make the bombs via the internet.
He primed them with explosives from £1,500 worth of fireworks and packed each with up to 1,500 nails.
"These were plainly hate crimes: the motivation for the first two political and the last personal," Mr Sweeney told the jury.
Copeland, 24, an engineering worker, from Cove, near Farnborough, Hants, denied murder. He admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but the Crown refused to accept the plea, saying that what he did was "plainly murder".
For the first time, proceedings at an Old Bailey trial were transmitted live outside the building. More than 100 relatives and victims wanted to attend the trial and only 40 could be accommodated in the courtroom.
So a room for the others was set aside at nearby Snow Hill police station where they could listen to the proceedings via a live audio link.
The bombs exploded in a 13-day period in April last year. Copeland told police that he wanted to cause "murder, mayhem, chaos, damage - to get on the news as the top story, really. The aim was to spread fear, resentment and hatred through this country."
Mr Sweeney said that he admitted planning to explode as many bombs as he could, "one per week". He said: "Having planted bombs in Brixton and Brick Lane, home respectively to large numbers of black and Asian people, he had lined up Southall as his next target."
Copeland told police: "I am a national socialist, or Nazi, whatever you want to call me. I believe in a ruling master race;
I believe in race and country first, with the white race as the master race and Aryan domination of the world. I am not a religious person, but I believe in God and regard the Bible as against racial mixing."
Mr Sweeney said: "He believed that British people had a right to ethnic cleansing, like the Serbs. He thought the bombs would be the spark to set fire to this country, stirring up a racial war."
Copeland hoped that they would create a backlash among ethnic minorities, "causing whites to vote for the British National Party". Explaining the third bomb, he said he planted it at the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho because the bar was frequented by gays.
Mr Sweeney said: "He said he hated gay men, although not gay women. He targeted gays because this was his personal reaction to his 'strange' parents who had put him through mental torture as a child - probably just stupidity on their part rather than malicious. He did not elaborate on his reasons."
Copeland described gay men as "perverted degenerates" of no use to society and said that they should be put to death, claiming that the Bible and the Koran supported his belief. "Even as a racist, I would prefer the company of a black or Asian to a gay white man," he told police.
© Telegraph

Britain and France have signed a landmark deal stepping up the fight against illegal immigrants using Eurostar train services to reach the UK.
The accord, described as "a major step forward" by Home Secretary Jack Straw, will allow British immigration officers to patrol French railway stations and check trains on the journey from Paris.
Once the deal is ratified, which could take a year, UK immigration officers are also likely to be installed permanently at the Gare du Nord in Paris, the departure point for the Eurostar to London.
France has also pledged to step up its efforts to prevent illegal immigrants getting aboard trains bound for London. French officials could also check passengers' documents at the two Eurostar stations at London's Waterloo and Ashford, Kent, although in practice the flow of people is almost entirely from the continent to the UK.
. In the last three years 9,000 asylum seekers entered the UK by the route. "The result of this signing will be that British immigration officials will be able themselves to check people's passports and other credentials as they board the Eurostar trains in Paris, Calais, and Lille," Mr Straw told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
The deal is expected to be followed later in the day by British agreement to new cross-border cooperation between EU police forces, sharing information on crime, the counterpoint to the opening up of the EU's internal borders. Britain, however, is insisting on retaining full national frontier controls.
© Ananova

More than 1,000 women seeking a new life in Britain are forced into prostitution each year. Those fleeing Eastern Europe are most at risk of becoming trapped in sexual slavery by racketeers running illegal trafficking operations, a Home Office study shows.
The desperate victims have often handed over thousands of pounds to gangsters in return for being smuggled into Britain, say researchers.
But on arrival they find themselves forced to work as prostitutes to pay off previously unmentioned "debts". The study, reported in The Guardian and due to be published on Friday, is set to urge major changes in police tactics and laws to tackle the problem, which is growing with the boom in illegal trafficking.
It comes as secret service agents are poised to target gangs illegally smuggling asylum seekers into Britain.
The Home Office plans to use MI6 and MI5 to infiltrate human trafficking rings thought to bring 90% of illegal immigrants in to Britain.
Home Office minister Barbara Roche has described the problem as "deeply worrying", adding: "This is a growing problem, and a very serious activity.
Vulnerable people, including in some cases children, are being trafficked." Some estimates suggest three-quarters of women working in the Soho sex trade, Britain's red light capital, are from overseas.
Trafficking is thought to be on the increase in cities and towns across the UK and there are fears the problem could spark violent turf wars between rival gangs.
© Ananova

Jack Straw, the home secretary, last night acknowledged that refugees seeking asylum in Britain were forced to break the law to escape the threat of persecution in their native country.
In a debate on the asylum system, sponsored by the Observer at Church House, central London, Mr Straw said that a fundamental ambiguity at the heart of the 1951 convention on refugees had led to an atmosphere of hostility against asylum seekers.
Under this convention "everyone has the right to make a claim, but there is no obligation on any country to admit them to make the claim."
As a long-term strategy he would seek to reform it, working with other governments to remove the ambiguity. "There is a need for us to develop a new system in the world for how we entertain asylum seekers."
He told the audience: "I do not think the system is fully fair. Are we going to make it more fair? Yes, we are."
He added: "It has to be the most difficult issue in terms of ethical dilemmas I have had to deal with. I do not suggest we always get it right, but it is about getting a balance between fair and firm."
Mr Straw earlier clashed with the shadow home secretary, Ann Widdecombe, who described the system of processing asylum applications as "incompetent and chaotic". It was not fair to the person for whom it was designed to help, the refugee facing terrible persecution. Britain was a target for fraudulent asylum claimants, she said. The Conservatives' proposed reforms, primarily the automatic detention of applicants in secure reception centres, would reduce non-genuine claims.
"I want to send a message that says that if you come to Great Britain you will be put in reception centres, you will be dealt with quickly, and if your claim is genuine you will be most welcome."
© Guardian

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