Posts Tagged ‘asylum-seekers’

Life (and death) in refugee camps

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Behind the wheel – An occasional series by Michael de Laine

Do Mr and Mrs Average really know what life is like in refugee camps – in terms of accommodation, food, work, learning, the effects of weather and the impact of armed conflicts?

And why people flee their homes to find a refugee camp in another country, when that country itself has problems similar to those they fled from?

My daughter, who came home in March after 18 months in South Sudan for first the Danish Refugee Council and then Save the Children – Denmark, has sent me this recent video and website link – – to work done by the Jesuit Refugee Service, in particular at Maban in northern South Sudan, close to the border with Sudan.

Here, refugees from Sudan make up more than two-thirds of the local population. The refugee camps at Maban are home to about 130,000 people.

In comparison, some 107,000 refugees have landed on the shores of Greece already this year, which no-one denies has great economic problems and which great problems dealing with these refugees.

South Sudan is in a far worse economic situation than Greece. The work there of aid organisations includes education and child protection, but it is hampered by the weather and recurrent armed conflicts, both resulting in breakdowns in food supplies and transport.

These refugees are alive – to understand a little of what some go through and die doing, read:

Danish government cuts transfer incomes for new immigrants

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

By Michael de Laine, Copenhagen, 3rd July 2015

The new Venstre minority government today tabled a bill introducing new rules for transfer incomes to newly arrived immigrants with the aim of making it less attractive for immigrants to come to Denmark, and more attractive for them to work and contribute to Danish society. Further restrictions are expected.

Inger Støjberg, the minister for immigration, integration and housing in the new Venstre (Liberals) minority government, has agreed with the Danish People’s party, Liberal Alliance and the Conservatives to introduce new rules for transfer incomes to people who have not resided in Denmark for at least seven of the past eight years.

The actual target group is defined as “newly arrived foreigners and Danes who have not resided in Denmark for at least seven of the past eight years and who cannot be accorded the status of migrant workers or self-employed people under EU legislation”.

The new rules, to take effect on 1st September 2015, aim at making it less attractive for immigrants to come to Denmark, and more attractive for those already in Denmark to work and contribute to Danish society.

The level of the so-called integration transfer income to immigrants will be cut to match the transfer income given to university students.

In addition, the principle that refugees must earn the right to child benefits will be re-introduced (it was abolished by the previous government), and the current special rules for refugees to acquire pension rights will be abolished.

As examples, the ministry says that a single person without children will in future receive an integration transfer income of DKK 5,945 a month before tax, compared with DKK 10,849 today, while a couple over 30 years old, with children, will receive DKK 16,638 in integration transfer income a month before tax, compared with DKK 28,832 today.

Immigrants proving their wish to integrate into Danish society by passing an examination in Danish can receive DKK 1,500 a month in addition to the integration transfer income.

“We must tighten our regime and get the flow of asylum-seekers to Denmark under control,” Støjberg said. The bill “will give a pronounced tightening of the conditions for foreigners wanting to come to Denmark. This is the first in a series of restrictions that the government will introduce to get the area of aliens under control again.”