NEWS - Archive June 2006

Headlines 30 June, 2006


30/6/2006- France will not immediately begin deporting school-age illegal immigrants despite the expiration Friday of a moratorium on expulsions, a lawyer mediating the dispute said. Thousands of parents have been queueing outside government offices in recent days to take advantage of new regulations that would allow many illegal immigrants with young children who have attended school in France to obtain residency papers. "Families have till August 13 to lodge a dossier, there will be no child hunt ... there will be no expulsions this summer," Arno Klarsfeld told Sud radio. Klarsfeld -- the son of Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld -- was named by Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy earlier this week to coordinate case-by-case reviews of thousands of potential deportees. The appointment was in reaction to a nationwide protest movement to stop expulsions slated to begin after the end of the academic year on Friday, with campaigners vowing to hide foreign schoolchildren in their homes. The children are from families who entered France illegally and who would normally be expelled along with their parents, but campaigners say that most of them know no other country and that deportation would be inhumane.

Bowing to pressure last week, Sarkozy told prefects -- state-appointed local governors -- to reconsider cases on the basis of new criteria, such as whether a child has "strong ties" to France. "The minister's circular is generous. Nicolas Sarkozy has told the Senate that sending back children with strong ties (to France) would be suffered as an expatriation, an uprooting," said Klarsfeld. "Children whose parents have lived in France for at least two years, who were born in France or those who came before the age of 13 and have been at school here since September 2005 -- these can be given residence papers," he said. "On the other hand someone who arrives with a child of 15, puts him straight away into a lycee and then plays a game of tag with the authorities saying you cannot touch me -- these cannot be given papers. Otherwise you open the borders to everyone," he said. French schools are obliged to take in children regardless of whether they are in the country legally. Government supporters say that blanket regularisation of all pupils from "paperless" families will encourage illegal immigration. In Paris this week thousands of parents -- mainly Chinese -- have queued up outside four processing centres in the hope of qualifying for residence papers under Sarkozy's new criteria. The Education Without Borders Network (RESF), which has coordinated the protest campaign, said it mistrusts the government's latest moves and has organised a demonstration in Paris Saturday.
The Tocqueville Connection


The Launch
On Thursday June 29 2006 the Campaign has been launched during the June session of the Parliamentary Assembly. The first event has been the official launch inside the debating chamber, with speeches from Parliamentary Assembly President Rene van der Linden, Russian Education and Science Minister Andrey Fursenko (to be confirmed), Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis, EU Commission representative Pascal Lejeune and European Youth Forum’s Vice-President Bettina Schwarzmayr. Young people from all over Europe gathered outside the Council at 1 pm to launch the campaign with balloons and music. Music, theatre, dance, food and an exhibition on campaign activities were the theme from 18.30 onwards, when the European Youth Centre was the backdrop for an evening to celebrate the campaign.

Why the Campaign?
In 1995 the Council of Europe marked the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War with one of its most successful campaigns – All Different, All Equal. It mobilised the young people of Europe around a common aim – to stop racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and intolerance. Ten years later new issues face Europe – and a whole new generation is taking up the challenge. The new All Different - All Equal campaign launches in June 2006 – and this time the horizons are wider. This campaign aims to highlight diversity – celebrating the richness of our different cultures and traditions. It has its roots in the Council of Europe’s main mandate – to spread and protect human rights. And it will work through participation allowing everyone to play a part in building a better Europe – a Europe where everyone has the right to be themselves – to be different and equal.

Frequently Asked Questions
The “All Different, All Equal” campaign launches in June 2006 and will run for over a year. What are its aims?
“All different, All Equal” is a political campaign run by young people in the 49 countries of the Council’s Cultural Convention (designed to develop mutual understanding and diversity, open to other countries than the 46 Council of Europe member states). The aim is to mobilise young people behind a message – that all people, everywhere, have the right to be themselves and be treated with fairness and justice. The Campaign highlights the values that have driven the Council of Europe for more than 55 years – that every European has a right to a democratic voice, that human rights must be a living principle and that social justice is at the heart of a modern society.

Why is the campaign important now?
Recent events in Europe have shown that young people need not only employment and social inclusion, but that there is also a need for human rights education to cut levels of discrimination. It is also essential that young people participate in their world, in urban environments, in schools and universities and in the workplace. Too often young people feel they have no say.

Spreading the message over 48 countries is a vast undertaking. How is the Council of Europe hoping to achieve this?
The Campaign is being spearheaded by the Council of Europe from its headquarters in Strasbourg, guided by experts within the European Youth Centre who devote their lives to youth issues. But most importantly, it is backed and resourced by the governments of Europe. Each country will be carrying out a national campaign – tailoring the messages to their own particular reality. That means that the campaign will really touch the grassroots.

“All different, All Equal” is one of the slogans adopted by the Council and used for some time now. Why is it being used again?
The slogan was adopted for a major campaign in 1995, and was so successful that it became a by-word for efforts to stamp out all forms of discrimination and intolerance.

What is new about this campaign?
The 1995 campaign concentrated on fighting racism, anti-semitism, xenophobia and intolerance. This campaign is much broader. Our message is that we are all of us, all different, all equal, no matter what the colour of our skin, our culture, our religion, our physical or mental abilities or our sexuality.

Why does the campaign need to be repeated? Does it mean that 1995 was not a success?
On the contrary, the 1995 campaign was one of the most successful at European level. But in ten years much has changed: there are new challenges in Europe, and a whole new generation that can be mobilised in the fight for diversity, human rights and participation and against intolerance and discrimination.

The Campaign’s three pillars are diversity, participation and human rights. Why are they so important?
One of the great strengths of the Council of Europe is to build a Europe around core values of democracy and human rights whilst respecting difference and enjoying the richness that exists in the cultures and traditions of Europe. Nobody wants a Europe where everyone looks and acts the same, eats the same food and has the same laws. Diversity and difference are important, and should be cherished. Equally, real democracy means that everyone’s voice is heard, that everyone has a say in their lives and the world around them. That is true participation, and it is especially important for young people – many of whom are not comfortable with traditional politics. As for human rights, that is the Council’s first priority – building a Europe that respects the rights of everyone, no matter who they are, where they live or how they chose to live their lives.

Website "All different, all equal"
Council of Europe



With their crackdown on advocacy groups and international media organizations in Uzbekistan, the authorities in Tashkent have effectively stemmed the teaching of English to much of the population.
by Paul Bartlett

29/6/2006- As organizations such as the BBC, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Internews, IREX, Freedom House, and the Open Society Institute have left the country, so have many opportunities for ordinary Uzbeks to learn and hear English. The private sector has stepped in with new classes, but at up to $5 per hour they’re difficult for all but a small percentage of Uzbeks (who make on average $45 per month) to afford. The authorities seem reconciled to this consequence of their crackdown and have since reemphasized Russian instruction in schools. But learning English is associated with prosperity for many in the world, and the dwindling opportunities could have implications for the country’s future.

Thwarting reform
Since Uzbekistan became independent in 1991, international organizations such as the British Council, the U.S. Embassy’s public affairs section, and the Open Society Institute have played a major role in assisting reforms in the education sector in Uzbekistan. These reforms have often been implemented through the medium of English – via language training or subject-specific teacher training, or the development of educational materials fostering civil society. But fostering civil society is not high on the agenda these days, and these groups have become inconvenient for the regime, leaving the authorities in a dichotomous position. On the one hand, they recognize the importance of English for modernization and letting the country play an active role in an increasingly globalized world; on the other hand, they do not want people to be exposed to some of the values that English-teaching groups have traditionally promoted, such as democracy, freedom of speech, and respect for human rights. These attempts by the Uzbek authorities to curb the activities of organizations working in the education sphere are likely to keep many people from learning English to an effective level. In Uzbekistan English ranks a distant third behind Uzbek, the state language, and Russian, which has no official status but has recently been experiencing a revival in Uzbek schools, as reported in TOL by Mansur Gulomov. With increased time being given over to Russian, teaching hours need to be taken away from other foreign languages. Increasingly, to learn English to an effective level means hiring private tutors or studying abroad, options beyond the means of the vast majority of people. The result is likely to be a privileged elite with a good working level of English who will have access to the best jobs and the fruits of international trade while the mass of the population will be isolated and cut off from such chances and from the prosperity that knowledge of English can bring.
Color revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine, and, uncomfortably close to home, Kyrgyzstan, have unnerved the regime in Tashkent and led it to increase steps to suppress organizations dedicated to promoting democracy, freedom of speech, and respect for human rights. The Uzbek authorities have pursued a policy that has led to them becoming increasingly isolated from the West. The final rupture came in July 2005, when the Uzbeks served the Americans with six months’ notice to vacate the airbase at Khanabad, which they did on 23 November. Harassment of NGOs in Uzbekistan has a longer history, dating to the spring of 2004, when the OSI became the first organization to fall foul of the Uzbek authorities. The official reason given for its closure was failure to submit the necessary paperwork for registration. In the lead-up to this ruling, the Uzbek authorities had claimed that educational materials funded by the OSI for Uzbek universities distorted “the essence and the content of socioeconomic, public, and political reforms conducted in Uzbekistan” and that these materials aimed to harm the reputation of the Uzbek government. Prior to being barred, the OSI had been the country’s largest private donor, providing $22 million in assistance since 1996. The OSI had awarded a contract to Westminster International University in Tashkent in spring 2004 to provide English-language training to local NGO workers. The materials developed for the course would have been used by local English teachers to work with NGOs outside Tashkent, giving staff in this underfunded sector access to free English instruction. The project folded when the OSI was forced to shut down in April 2004. Another casualty of the shutdown were plans like those of an Uzbek woman who received OSI funding to study in the United States for her master’s degree in English teaching. As part of the deal, the teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, was to work for the OSI for two years on ESL programs. She is now working for a private language school in Tashkent rather training her peers.

Strong demand
Despite the expulsion of international organizations, demand for learning English remains strong in Uzbekistan. One organization that did not want to be identified reported that the number of its students preparing for the International English Language Testing System exam, a qualification used for university entrance in a number of English-speaking countries, quadrupled, from 95 to 245 in the first quarter of this year. The number of candidates remains high as students compete for a diminishing number of overseas scholarships and places at Tashkent’s Westminster International University, an affiliate of Westminster University in London. Into this picture of undiminished demand chasing limited supply has stepped Macmillan Publishers, a major publisher of books for English learners. The company opened a store in Tashkent in 2004 and recently launched its own language school. The school has managed to build up a cadre of students by undercutting its rivals’ prices. It’s impossible to know how many fewer English-language learners there are in Uzbekistan compared with a year ago, but it’s certain the opportunities are much fewer. In the long term, however, these attempts to stifle English-speaking organizations whose views run contrary to the authoritarian Uzbek regime will hamper the country’s development. By clamping down on foreign NGOs, many of whom were offering valuable assistance in the sphere of education, and by isolating the mass of the population from learning English effectively, the Uzbek authorities are creating a situation where the country as a whole is becoming uncompetitive in the global marketplace. Knowledge of English, as suggested last year by linguist David Graddol in the Guardian Weekly, is becoming “positioned as a generic learning skill, alongside basic literacy and maths.” By limiting access to learning English, the Uzbek authorities hope to stop the spread of ideas they describe as alien, such as democracy, freedom of speech, and respect for human rights. But at the same time they risk turning the country into an uncompetitive backwater with a workforce unable to partake in and benefit from the increasingly globalized world economy.

Paul Bartlett is a freelance teacher trainer and writer based in Almaty, Kazakhstan. He formerly worked as a lecturer at Westminster International University in Tashkent.
Transitions Online



Difficulties prevail for the National Police to attract would-be officers with immigrant backgrounds

29/6/2006- Years of recruitment efforts to attract young people with immigrant backgrounds to police forces have had little effect. In the group of 200 students set to begin their police training 1 August, only four have an ethnic background other than Danish. Peter Ibsen, head of the Police Union, is disappointed with the numbers. 'I know that there have been significant resources used to attract young people with immigrant backgrounds to create a police force that mirrors society's make-up,' said Ibsen to daily newspaper MetroXpress. While Ibsen said there is room for improvement, he warns against loosening acceptance requirements for people with non-Danish backgrounds. In order to be accepted into training, all prospective applicants have to pass both a physical test and a Danish language test, among others. 'All officers have to meet the same requirements, and that shouldn't be changed. We don't need to meet a certain quota of immigrants, therefore it is neither in their interest, the public or the police's interest to lessen the requirements,' said Ibsen. Anne-Marie Meldegaard, MP for the opposition Social Democrats, has previously suggested a special course created to help immigrants pass admittance tests, however. 'We should also ease up on the language test, so that it isn't the Danish language that keeps us from having more police officers of ethnic backgrounds,' said Meldegaard. 'If we are serious about wanting to attract more immigrants, then we need to accept that the language will follow once candidates are in school and on the job. It's on the job where true integration takes place.' The National Police force had aimed to have at least one in every 25 persons accepted into training come from an immigrant background, but in the newest cohort, the ratio is half of that.
The Copenhagen Post



Friday saw the Dutch Prime Minister tender his government's resignation to head of state Queen Beatrix after a controversy centered around a Somali-born former member of parliament who lied on her asylum application.

30/6/2006- The Dutch government led by Jan Peter Balkenende resigned Thursday after losing the support of its junior coalition partner in a row triggered by controversial Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, in a move that may result in early elections for the country. The reformist D66, the junior coalition party with just three of a total of 25 ministers and junior ministers in government, effectively pulled the plug on Balkenende's government when it withdrew its support in the debate over Verdonk's handling of the controversy surrounding the citizenship of Somali-born Islam critic and former lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Verdonk, nicknamed "Iron Rita" for her tough stance on immigration, announced in May that Hirsi Ali, who admitted publicly that she lied in 1992 about her name and birth date on her asylum application, could not keep her Dutch citizenship. Hirsi Ali, 36, gained international attention in 2004 after Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim extremist. Van Gogh had produced a controversial film written by Hirsi Ali about the treatment of women in Islam.

After enormous political pressure from parliament, Verdonk softened her hardline position on Hirsi Ali. On Tuesday she announced that Hirsi Ali, who has since stepped down as a member of parliament and is moving to the US to work for a think tank, could keep her Dutch passport. Verdonk used complicated legal reasoning to justify her turnaround, concluding that Hirsi Ali actually lied about lying about her name because she could legally use the name Ali under Somali law. The minister also produced a declaration signed by Hirsi Ali in which she said that she was actually to blame for the situation and wrote she did not reproach the minister anything. However, Hirsi Ali later told Dutch media that she signed the document under pressure because she wanted the affair to be over and needed a valid Dutch passport to complete her move to Washington, where she has a job at a conservative policy institute. The mea culpa letter was the straw that broke the camel's back for the D66 party, which had already had several clashes with Verdonk. The D66 Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economic Affairs Laurens Jan Brinkhorst told the Dutch parliament that his party's ministers "could no longer bear responsibility for the policies of the immigration minister."

The resignation of the government is likely to lead to new elections in October rather than the planned date next May -- and renewed debate on the Netherlands' position on the future of the EU after the public's surprise rejection of the European Constitution in a referendum last year. "The voters have to express themselves, preferably already in autumn," said main opposition Labour party leader Wouter Boss. However, there is also a slim chance the coalition parties will try to cobble together a minority government supported by various small opposition parties.
Deutsche Welle



29/6/2006- The Dutch coalition government is in crisis after junior partner D66 sided with a motion of no confidence in Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk. Out-going D66 parliamentary party leader Lousewies van der Laan said on Thursday morning that her party would collapse the government if Verdonk doesn't resign. Van der Laan told parliament her party was not trying to bring down the government but Verdonk could not stay on after her "performance" in relation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Verdonk was supported by her own Liberal Party (VVD) and the Christian Democrats (CDA) of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. The Cabinet is to announce its reaction to the D66 demand at 2pm. Balkenende faces the untimely demise of his second government if both sides stick to their guns. His first fell apart after 87 days in 2002. The current crisis arises from Verdonk's handling of the Ayaan Hirsi Ali naturalisation affair. Somali-born Hirsi Ali, a staunch critic of Islam, resigned as a Liberal MP in mid-May when Verdonk cast doubt on her right to hold a Dutch passport. Hirsi Ali announced she is moving to the US. The Netherlands faced severe criticism in the international press for what was presented as an attempt to silence her. The green-left GroenLinks (GL) tabled the motion of no confidence after a marathon debate that started on Wednesday night and ran to 5.30am. D66, Labour (PvdA), the Socialist Party (SP) and small Christian group ChristenUnie sided with the motion because they was not satisfied with Verdonk's defence of her actions. It was suggested Verdonk was more concerned about saving face than sorting out the political mess she created. The Liberal Party (VVD) said resignation by Verdonk was "completely unacceptable". Out-going leader Willibrord van Beek indicated her departure would only come about with the collapse of the entire government. "Together out, together home," he said. His CDA counterpart Maxime Verhagen agreed resignation was "unthinkable". The motion was defeated 79-64.

The debate was called after Verdonk's letter on Tuesday to announce Hirsi Ali is a Dutch citizen. An attached statement, written by Verdonk's staff but signed by Hirsi Ali, absolved Verdonk of any blame for suggesting in May that Hirsi Ali's naturalisation in 1997 was invalid. Verdonk based her initial judgement on a two-day investigation sparked by a documentary in which Hirsi Ali repeated an earlier confession that she used a misleading name and date of birth to get asylum in the Netherlands in 1992. Her name is actually Ayaan Hirsi Magan. Ali was the name of her grandfather. She is known in the Netherlands and around the world as Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In the first marathon debate on the issue in May, Verdonk insisted she had no option but to "observe" Hirsi Ali's naturalisation was invalid because of the incorrect name. MPs of most parties disagreed and passed motions calling on her to ensure Hirsi Ali remained a Dutch citizen. Verdonk was campaigning to become parliamentary party leader of the VVD at the time. She lost. Following a further investigation and a meeting of top ministers, Verdonk sent the letter and statement to say Hirsi Ali is Dutch but it was all her own fault that this had been in doubt. Left-wing MPs were critical of Verdonk in the first portion of Wednesday's debate, while the government MPs limited their contributions to asking for clarification on certain issues. But when Verdonk's turn came to speak she angered the Left further by continuing to deny she had done anything wrong. Balkenende told parliament that he supported Verdonk's letter and the drafting of the statement for Hirsi Ali because of its legal significance. Then, he accidentally dug a deeper hole for his minister when he inadvertently suggested Hirsi Ali's statement had to be one Verdonk "could live with". Later in the morning he said he had misspoken.
Expatica News



28/6/2006- The Somali-born Dutch MP and critic of Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, is to be allowed to keep her passport and nationality despite falsifying her asylum application 14 years ago. Six weeks after announcing plans to strip Ms Hirsi Ali of her citizenship, an international outcry forced the country's hardline Immigration Minister, Rita Verdonk, to reverse the decision, which had split the Netherlands. To make matters worse, Ms Hirsi Ali's neighbours sought to have her evicted from her home, complaining about the inconvenience caused by the security needed to guarantee her safety. Once a devout Muslim, Ms Hirsi Ali lives under 24-hour guard after a death threat against her was pinned to the chest of her ally, the film-maker Theo Van Gogh after he was murdered in 2004. The former MP was an outspoken critic of fundamentalist Islam and worked with Van Gogh on the film Submission, which featured veiled women with texts from the Koran written on their flesh. The passport controversy burst into life after a television documentary publicised the fact that Ms Hirsi Ali falsified information on her asylum application in 1992. Fleeing to the Netherlands to escape an arranged marriage, Ms Hirsi Ali gave a false name and birthday - a fact she had acknowledged publicly before accepting a parliamentary seat. The naturalisation process was completed in 1997 and Ms Hirsi Ali became a member of parliament in 2002. Ms Verdonk's attempt to remove her citizenship caused uproar in parliament, prompting criticism even from political allies. In the storm that followed, Ms Hirsi Ali quit parliament and tearfully announced plans to speed up a planned emigration to the US to take up a job at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute think-tank. But the foreign media criticised the Netherlands for its failure to support a woman who had faced death threats for her criticism of fundamentalist Islam. The Netherlands parliament also passed motions calling on Ms Verdonk to ensure that Ms Hirsi Ali remained a Dutch citizen, whatever the nature of her misdemeanour. The minister paid a direct price, failing in her attempt to win the leadership of the VVD Liberal Party, despite being the favourite.

Yesterday, in a letter to the Parliament, Ms Verdonk found a figleaf to cover her change of heart, arguing that it had been legitimate for Ms Hirsi Ali to use her grandfather's name rather than her father's name, Hirsi Magen. She said: "Taking everything into consideration, I have reached the conclusion that the naturalisation decision of 1997 identifies Ayaan Hirsi Ali sufficiently and thus she did indeed correctly receive Dutch citizenship. Had it not been for the investigation I carried out, the facts that were decisive in reaching this conclusion would not have come to light." Ms Hirsi Ali, 36, said she regretted admitting lying since the name she adopted was legitimate. She said: "The name Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the name that I was permitted to use according to Somalian law and custom and which may therefore serve as the basis for the official registration of my name in the Netherlands." The minister's letter may not be the end of the matter as Ms Verdonk's many critics will seek to exploit her political difficulties. Left-wing politicians want to know if the ruling could affect the cases of at least 60 others stripped of their nationality for giving a false name during the asylum process. Yesterday's announcement followed a cabinet meeting in The Hague late on Monday. Gerrit Zalm, the Deputy Prime Minister and an ally of Ms Hirsi Ali, said he had "good hope" that the case could be finalised. Mr Zalm was leader of the VVD when Ms Hirsi Ali was recruited to run for parliament. She told him at the time that she had given a false name to get asylum in the Netherlands in 1992.
Independent Digital



28/6/2006- More than half of the Swiss population are xenophobic, according to a survey designed to allow the country to compare itself with the rest of Europe. The study, which measures the development of xenophobic attitudes and rightwing extremism, also revealed that 77 per cent of those tested want foreigners to be better integrated. Up to seven per cent find rightwing behaviour attractive, while 90 per cent reject it. Michele Galizia, head of the anti-racism unit of the interior ministry, welcomed the study, which was conducted by Geneva University with the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation.  "We had no data on rightwing extremism and had to rely on media surveys. Now we can finally face our European colleagues and even the United Nations Council on Human Rights," Galizia said. Are the Swiss more or less xenophobic than their neighbours? "Like for everything else, they are in the middle," said Simone Prodolliet of the Federal Foreigners Commission. After 3,000 interviews, professor Sandro Cattacin's team divided 85 per cent of the Swiss and non-Swiss population into four categories. There was the "creative class" accounting for 37 per cent, who were tolerant in the face of difference and opposed to violence and intolerance. Politically leaning towards the left, its members were urban, cultured and likely to be young.

Xenophobic and misanthropist attitudes dominated the "conservative nationalists" (23 per cent). Politically to the right, they were less cultured and worried about the future. When dealing with society, they wanted order and would recourse to violence. "Liberal business people" (16 per cent) were scared of foreigners but accepted differences and were not misanthropist. They were in favour of justice and order, leaned towards the right and believed in the market economy. Finally, many "disorientated traditionalists" (nine per cent) held xenophobic and misanthropist views but their members were not politically active, were scared of the future and could imagine using violence as a means to an end. According to Cattacin, this last group posed a problem because they consisted of people who are often cut off from society. Furthermore, 23 per cent admitted to being anti-Semitic, which Cattacin says is a result of criticism of Switzerland's handling of the dormant accounts held by victims of the Holocaust era but also a reflection of the current political situation in the Middle East.

While half the interviewees could be termed as xenophobic, 77 per cent wanted foreigners to be better integrated and 55 per cent wanted naturalisation to be eased. "This figure perfectly reflects Swiss ambivalence to other people," explains Prodolliet. Cattacin has another explanation for the apparent paradox. "It reveals a maturity which proves they are familiar with the migratory phenomenon. Despite their fear of outsiders, they recognise that foreigners helped to build Switzerland," said Cattacin. The ball is now in the political court. According to Galizia, the next step is "to analyse this study and see how a proper monitoring could be carried out to establish points of comparison". Cattacin would like the study to be carried out every two years, rotated among the various surveying institutes, and even the creation of a centre of competence. Galizia also said that it was necessary to find a way to share the costs of such systematic and regular monitoring among different government departments.



28/6/2006- More than 300 illegal immigrants currently detained in a detention centre on Malta escaped on Tuesday (26 June) with the aim of marching to the Prime Minister's office in Valletta. Tuesday's break out was the second time in less than a week that irregular immigrants at Safi detention centre succeeded in pulling down the boundary fences and running out of the detention centre. Those taking part in the protest were carrying banners saying "we want freedom" and "EU release us from our bondage". A large number of police officers and soldiers, some also wearing riot gear, had to intervene to control the riots and push the immigrants back to the centre. During the riots three police officers and two soldiers were injured. Five of the immigrants also suffered slight injuries. Malta currently detains illegal migrants for up to 18 months, in an attempt to discourage further landings of African immigrants on the island. Early on Wednesday (28 June), another 266 illegal immigrants landed in the southeast of Malta. In a statement the Maltese army (AFM) said that the immigrants "refused assistance since they intended to proceed towards Italy, but the boat was encountering mechanical problems." But eventually army personnel persuaded the occupants of the boat to accept their assistance. "At the end 266 were embarked and rescued by the AFM, which consisted of 263 men and 3 women from Morocco and Egypt, all in good health," added the statement. This group is the biggest one to arrive on the Mediterranean island this year. This also means that more than 600 illegal immigrants have already landed on Malta this year - a large number for an island of just 400,000 inhabitants. In other EU member states a similar picture is emerging this summer. Last weekend the Italian Coast Guard also detained nearly 600 illegal immigrants who arrived at or were near the island of Lampedusa. More than 250 immigrants, including minors, landed in the Spanish Canary Islands on Tuesday.



26/6/2006- National Roma Centrum from Kumanovo is launching a pre-election education campaign called ODJAN(translated as GO). The campaign has an aim to educate and motivate Romani voters to go and vote on 5 July 2006. We are organizing the campaign through educative meetings, messages and materials trying to teach Roma citizens that they should use their right to vote at the elections and that participation at fair and democratic elections is the real way to the European integration. Election process as an important moment where freedom of expression and the will of the citizens SHOULD BE respected and promotion of mutual
understanding, tolerance and raising awareness that Roma can be equal participant in this process SHOULD BE A FACT.

Our second idea is to promote tolerance and fair elections via organizing football matches as part of our campaign. The football matches together with the young Roma football players are there to promote fair and responsible participation in the election process. Through out our campaign, we want to spread a very powerful and very important message: Stop with the manipulation of roma voters and their votes. In the frames of the campaign we will visit Macedonian cities where Roma are larger number of the population.

The football competitions will be organized in Crnik, Vinica, Shtip, Skopje, Kumanovo and Prilep and distribution of the raising awareness materials for active participation of Roma voters will be disseminate in Skopje, Kumanovo, Tetovo, Gostivar, Bitola, Prilep, Resen, Kicevo, Ohrid, Strumica, Gevgelija, Valandovo, Negotino, Gradsko, Kavadarci, Veles, Radovish, Kocani, Berovo,
Crnik, Pehcevo, Delcevo, Vinica, Shtip, Probishtip, Kratovo, Kr. Palanka i Sv. Nikole.
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