EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Archive for September 6th, 2014

The Beslan Massacre – 10 years on

Posted by Info on 06/09/2014

The deadliest terror attack in modern Russia’s history led to the deaths of 334 hostages, most of them children.

On the morning of September 1, 2004, teachers, students and their families gathered in front of School Number One in the town of Beslan to celebrate the start of the new school year.

The Beslan hostage crisis turned out to be the deadliest terror attack in modern Russia’s history. The rebels took approximately 1,200 children and adults hostage at the school, without providing food or water for three days. On the first day, they executed a man in front of his two children and the other hostages. Later they took a group of men at gunpoint in a classroom on the first floor, shot them and threw their bodies out of the window.

The attackers demanded the recognition of Chechnya’s independence from Russia and the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the region. On September 2, the hostage-takers agreed to negotiate with Ruslan Aushev, the former president of the adjacent republic of Ingushetia, allowing him to enter the school and release 26 hostages.

On the third day of the standoff, local authorities received permission from the attackers to remove bodies lying in front of the school. But when medical workers approached the building, two of them were shot dead, followed by two explosions 20 seconds later.

The explosions caused the roof of the gym to collapse, killing many. After the first blast, hostages began to run out of the school, and Russian special forces stormed the building trying to rescue the rest.

The siege ended with 334 hostages dead, more than half of whom were children. The only attacker caught alive was sentenced to life in prison.

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The EU asylum system

Posted by Info on 06/09/2014

Since 2003, European countries – the 28 EU Member States and Schengen zone countries including Switzerland, Norway and Iceland – have implemented a harmonised asylum policy that was called the Dublin Regulation. Under this legislation, asylum seekers must apply for asylum in the first country that collects their fingerprints and if found in another state, they face expulsion back to their point of entry.

When this regime was created, one of the aims was to prevent so-called asylum shopping, when one person applies in more than one country or only applies to countries with stronger welfare benefits for refugees. Since 2013, fingerprints of all applicants have been collected and stored in a common database calledEURODAC. This has led migrants to burn their fingertips once they have been fingerprinted in Italy or Greece in order to apply in countries like Sweden or the UK.

This system has placed an unfair burden on the southern and eastern European nations, such as Greece, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and even Turkey. Prior to the Dublin Regulation, many of these states were known as transit countries through which migrants passed on their way to the North.

Roughly two-thirds of applications for protection status are refused. Ironically, many of the wealthier countries that accept the highest number of applicants are beyond the buffer zone. For example, five countries (Sweden, Germany, France, Italy and the UK) welcome 70 percent of asylum seekers, while Sweden, Switzerland and Austria grant the most protection status per population.

 

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