International brief ~ Spain begins amnesty program for illegal immigrants News
International brief ~ Spain begins amnesty program for illegal immigrants

[JURIST] In Monday's international brief, Spain [government website] has began an amnesty program that will allow a large portion of its illegal immigrant population to apply for legal resident status. The new legislation, promulgated by the ruling Socialist party, requires a work contract, registration with the local town hall and the social security office. Applicants have three months to fulfill these requirements before facing deportation. The legislation is anticipated to bring in as many as 800,000 residents in Spain's leading industries: agriculture and construction. Critics have argued that the legislation is too rigid however, and provisions have already adjusted the length of work contract needed in agriculture due to the recent cold snap in southern Spain that has shortened much of the agricultural season. BBC News has more.

In other international legal news …

  • An official from the Russian Foreign Ministry [government website; English version] announced Monday that Russia plans to actively participate in the UN peacekeeping mission to Sudan. The announcement follows the signing of a resolution [JURIST report] last Thursday by Russian President Vladimir Putin, authorizing the use of Interior Ministry [official website, English version] troops for the UN peacekeeping mission. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson declared Russia's full support for the 10,130 peacekeeping force that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is requesting. The proposed force must still be approved by the Security Council. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the text of the statement.
  • The preliminary results of Sunday's election in Thailand [government wesbsite point to the country's first ever democratically elected, single-party government. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [official profile] and his Thai Rak Thai [official website in Thai] party won a landslide 375 seats out of 500 seats in parliament. The large majority means that Shinawatra need not form a coalition with other parties to maintain control of the parliament for passing legislation. Opposition parties have claimed that they are concerned about 'parliamentary dictatorship' under single party rule. Shinawatra has responded that the mandate will actually enforce government responsibility, as his Thai Rak Thai party could not shift blame onto other coalistion parties. The Democrat Party [official website in Thai], the largest opposition party, fared very poorly in the election, and the leader of the party, Banyat Bantadtan, announced his resignation from leadership Monday. The Bangkok Posthas local coverage.
  • The new Nepalese government has reportedly extended an offer to Maoist rebels for negotiating demands released by the leaders of the uprising. The offer, reported by the state controlled media source, comes after last weeks sacking of the government by King Gyanendra [BBC profile] reportedly for failure to deal with the Maoist uprising. The rebels had earlier stated that they would only negotiate with representatives of the King himself. King Gyanedra also announced Monday more restrictions on the press, following the complete ban last week of criticism of the government [JURIST report]. The new restrictions include any criticism of the security forces of the government 'likely to have negative impact on their morale'. Independent newspapers have been discretely challenging the ban however, by calling for the government to reconsider the implementation of its emergency provisions without directly opposing the King's decree. AFP has more.