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  News & Views Monday 16th April to Sunday 22nd April 2018  


Barly Koyangbwa Belongs to Manchester

A petition calling upon the Home Secretary to uphold Barly Koyangbwa’s claim for asylum in the UK.
Why is this important?

Barly Koyangbwa is a great helper. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Barly fled to the UK to seek refuge in 2013 after his family was targeted and members of his family were killed by the Kabila regime. Barly is a leading member of APARECO, the resistance movement against Kabila developed by Congolese refugees. He is named on the APARECO website as the representative in charge of mobilisations and strategy in Manchester, and as the Second Urban Representative of APARECO North West and most recently APARECO’s Executive appointed Barly as President of the Liverpool Branch. The Home Office accepts that those belonging to the categories of leader, office bearer and spokesperson for APARECO “are at real risk of persecution” and yet, on March 19th 2018 the Home Office refused Barly’s asylum claim.

Read more here: http://rapar.org.uk/barlybelongshere

Please sign and share petition: https://is.gd/mJDtKb


The Condemned - Women and Children Isolated, Trapped and Exploited in Iraq

In the aftermath of three years of armed conflict involving the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS), thousands of Iraqi women and children with perceived ties to IS have been condemned for crimes they did not commit. They have been stigmatized and punished for factors outside their control – such as being related, however distantly, to men who were somehow involved with IS, or for fleeing from areas believed to be IS strongholds.

Amnesty International’s research has revealed that, in camps for displaced persons across Iraq, these women and children are denied food, water and health care; blocked from obtaining the civil documents they need to work and move freely; subjected to sexual harassment, rape and sexual exploitation; and prevented from returning home. This treatment has left these families desperate, isolated and with a deep sense of injustice.

Amnesty International concludes that women and children with perceived ties to IS have been subjected to serious human rights violations and collective punishment.

Read more: Amnesty International, https://is.gd/NgEkAm



UK Removed Legal Protection For Windrush Immigrants In 2014


The government quietly removed a key protection from the statute books for some British residents of the Windrush generation who could face deportation, the Guardian has learned. The Home Office said the clause was not included in the 2014 Immigration Act because adequate protections were already in place for people who were initially granted temporary rights to remain in the UK and have stayed for decades. The Labour party, lawyers and charities are urging the government to reinstate the clause to ensure all longstanding Commonwealth residents are protected from enforced removal, not just those who have gained “settled” status.

The onus is on individuals to prove they were resident in the UK before 1 January 1973, the date the 1971 Immigration Act came into force. However, a key clause from 1999 legislation, which had provided longstanding Commonwealth residents with protection from enforced removal, was deleted from the 2014 Immigration Act. The government did not announce the removal of this clause, nor did it consult on the potential ramifications.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian, https://is.gd/ZtjXms

Background:
Arrests as Stansted Anti-Deportation Protesters Lock Themselves To Plane



AS (Safety of Kabul) Afghanistan CG [2018] UKUT 00118 (IAC)

Risk on return to Kabul from the Taliban

(i)A person who is of lower-level interest for the Taliban (i.e. not a senior government or security services official, or a spy) is not at real risk of persecution from the Taliban in Kabul.

Internal relocation to Kabul

(ii)Having regard to the security and humanitarian situation in Kabul as well as the difficulties faced by the population living there (primarily the urban poor but also IDPs and other returnees, which are not dissimilar to the conditions faced throughout may other parts of Afghanistan); it will not, in general be unreasonable or unduly harsh for a single adult male in good health to relocate to Kabul even if he does not have any specific connections or support network in Kabul.

(iii)However, the particular circumstances of an individual applicant must be taken into account in the context of conditions in the place of relocation, including a person’s age, nature and quality of support network/connections with Kabul/Afghanistan, their physical and mental health, and their language, education and vocational skills when determining whether a person falls within the general position set out above.

(iv)A person with a support network or specific connections in Kabul is likely to be in a more advantageous position on return, which may counter a particular vulnerability of an individual on return.

(v)Although Kabul suffered the highest number of civilian casualties (in the latest UNAMA figures from 2017) and the number of security incidents is increasing, the proportion of the population directly affected by the security situation is tiny.  The current security situation in Kabul is not at such a level as to render internal relocation unreasonable or unduly harsh.

Previous Country Guidance

(vi)The country guidance in AK (Article 15(c)) Afghanistan CG [2012] UKUT 163 (IAC) in relation to Article 15(c) of the Qualification Directive remains unaffected by this decision.

(vii)The country guidance in AK (Article 15(c)) Afghanistan CG [2012] UKUT 163 (IAC) in relation to the (un)reasonableness of internal relocation to Kabul (and other potential places of internal relocation) for certain categories of women remains unaffected by this decision.

(viii)The country guidance in AA (unattended children) Afghanistan CG [2012] UKUT 00016 (IAC) also remains unaffected by this decision.

https://is.gd/9jmPJ3



Information for Commonwealth Citizens (Known as ‘Windrush’ Cases)


Guidance: Undocumented Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK

This information is for Commonwealth citizens (known as ‘Windrush’ cases) who are long-term residents of the UK and do not have documents to demonstrate their status. It explains their position and what they need to do next.

This page is not a substitute for immigration advice. You can find out how to contact an immigration adviser on GOV.UK. If you have difficulty affording legal advice you may wish to contact Citizens Advice.

1. Legal background

Recent changes to the law mean that if you wish to work, rent property or have access to benefits and services in the UK then you will need documents to demonstrate your right to be in the UK. The government believes this is a proportionate measure to maintain effective immigration control.

We recognise that this is causing problems for some individuals who have lost documents over the long period of time they have been in the UK. We want to help you to obtain new documents and are asking you to come forward so we can do this.

We are clear that no one with the right to be here will be required to leave. There will be a solution available for your situation.

2. Check your status to remain in the UK

If you entered the UK before 1 January 1973 then the chances are you are entitled to live here permanently. Your status is only broken following a long period outside of the UK (2 years).

A “no-time limit” biometric residence permit is a card that shows that you are entitled to live here permanently, if you were given indefinite leave to remain. Upon confirmation of your status you may be eligible to apply for British citizenship. You can apply for a “no-time limit” biometric residence permit and upon confirmation of your status you may be eligible to apply for British citizenship.

Find out how to apply for a “no-time limit” biometric residence permit.

Find out about British citizenship.

If you entered the UK after 1 January 1973 then you are not likely to have automatic status here but you may have been granted leave to enter, leave to remain in the UK and then indefinite leave to enter or remain.

A “no-time limit” biometric residence permit is a card that shows that you are entitled to live here permanently, if you were given indefinite leave to remain. You can apply for a “no-time limit” biometric residence permit and upon confirmation of your status you may be eligible to apply for British citizenship.

Find out how to apply for a “no-time limit” biometric residence permit.

Find out about British citizenship.

If you entered the UK after 1 January 1973 and have been here for a number of years but are concerned that you have never applied to the Home Office, no one has ever applied on your behalf or your status has lapsed, then you may need to apply for leave to remain on the basis of your long residence and life here.

Find out how to apply to extend your stay in the UK.

3. Evidence to support your application

We understand that many people are unlikely to have documents that are over 40 years old but you should send as much information as possible in support of your application.

To help you build a picture of your life in the UK, think about:

  • where you went to school
  • where you might have studied
  • where you have worked
  • whether you have family here
  • where you have lived while in the UK

Documents that can help support your application:

  • exam certificates
  • employment records
  • your National Insurance number
  • birth and marriage certificates
  • bills and letters

 




Government Thwarted in Second Bid to Deport
Opelo Kgari

A 27 year old woman named Opelo Kgari, who arrived in the UK with her mother from Botswana when she was 13, has had her removal halted for the second time. Opelo has been on hunger strike whilst in detention in support of detainee rights. Her mother, Florence, was also detained in Yarl’s Wood and was recently served with a removal notice as well. In Botswana Florence was a victim of torture and gender-based violence which recognises her as a vulnerable individual as defined in Shaw’s Adults at Risk policy.

In spite of this, the Home Office served both Florence and her daughter a removal notice. Shortly before her daughter, Opelo, was removed she had her phone taken from her and was unable to speak to her solicitor. Opelo was then taken to Heathrow airport with the intention to remove her to Botswana. She was at the airport when the injunction came through and her removal has been deferred. In Florence’s case, her solicitor, Bahar, was able to secure an injunction against her removal not two hours after she was informed that she was being taken to the airport, on the basis that she is a vulnerable individual.

Read more: Ravi Kaur Mahey, Duncan Lewis, https://is.gd/3Xa0ui



Court’s Strict Approach to FGM Imposes 16 Year Travel Ban

A recent High Court case imposed a 16 year travel ban on ‘X’, due to concerns that X is at risk of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The girl was born in 2016 to a white English mother and an Egyptian father. The father who currently resides in Egypt has been unable to join the mother and X in the UK because of issues with acquiring a visa.

X’s mother expressed concern that her daughter may be at risk of FGM to a health visitor who made a referral to the Local Authority (LA). The LA issued proceedings and the matter was heard in the High Court before Ms Justice Russell who made an FGM protection order (FGMPO) on 15 November 2017, prohibiting X’s parents from ‘removing, seeking to remove, or instructing or encouraging any other person to remove the child from the jurisdiction of England and Wales’ until 22 August 2032.

The case was unique as the Judge made the order knowing that there was a chance the father would not see his child as he remained ineligible to apply for a visa.

FGM is where the female genitals are deliberately cut without any medical reason. The procedure is carried out for cultural, religious and social reasons in the mistaken belief that it will benefit the girl, e.g. to prepare for marriage or preserve virginity. In addition to being extremely painful, FGM can cause life-long health problems. The practice is a criminal offence under the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 and it is illegal to take a girl out of the UK to have this done.

Read more: Ravi Kaur Mahey, Duncan Lewis, https://is.gd/A31asR



Caribbean Nations Demand Solution to 'Illegal Immigrants' Anomaly


Caribbean diplomats have condemned the Home Office’s treatment of many long-term Commonwealth-born UK residents as “illegal immigrants”. They have called on the UK government to resolve an immigration anomaly that has left many people being denied health services, prevented from working, and facing destitution, detention and possible deportation despite having lived in the country for decades. At an unprecedented meeting of high commissioners from all the Caribbean Commonwealth nations, diplomats called on the UK government to adopt a more compassionate approach to individuals who arrived from Caribbean countries as children in the 1950s and 1960s and were never formally naturalised. Thousands are encountering serious immigration problems because they have no documents.

Guy Hewitt, the high commissioner for Barbados to the UK, said: “I am dismayed that people who gave their all to Britain could be seemingly discarded so matter-of-factly.”  As preparations are made to mark the 70th anniversary of the Windrush generation of people who moved from Caribbean countries at the invitation of the British government, he said: “It is regrettable to find people who came in that era facing a struggle to remain in this country, which should be their right. It’s an awful predicament. “Seventy years after Windrush, we are again facing a new wave of hostility. This is about people saying, as they said 70 years ago, ‘Go back home.’ It is not good enough for people who gave their lives to this country to be treated like this.”

Read more: Amelia Gentleman, Guardian, https://is.gd/xUXgDS



From Land Day to the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, Palestinians Have Plenty to Protest


The murderously disproportionate violence meted out against demonstrating Palestinians is only the latest in a long series of deadly responses to popular protests.

Refugees comprise nearly 90 percent of Gaza’s 1.9 million population. They live under a crippling decades-long economic blockade enforced by Israel and Egypt that has created conditions of permanent crisis. Poverty stands at 65 percent. Unemployment hovers around 45 percent.

Public health conditions in Gaza have deteriorated. An estimated 96 percent of the groundwater supply is undrinkable. Making matters worse, the Trump administration cut more than half of funding to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees - funds that have long provided life saving nutritional and medical support.

Palestinians have the right to protest these conditions peacefully yet continue to be shot down as they do so. The murderously disproportionate violence meted out against demonstrating Palestinians is only the latest in a long series of deadly responses to popular protests. 

Israeli defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has refused to allow an investigation into the use of live ammunition by its military. He has the support of the Trump Administration who continues to block the U.N. resolution calling for an inquiry. Eleven Democratic members of U.S Congress who recently returned from Israel have remained silent.

The viscerally shocking killings in Gaza have recaptured international attention, even securing sympathetic air-time on MSNBC, a major U.S cable news outlet. The spotlight provides an opportunity to redirect focus to the more insidious side of Israeli occupation, like land grabs and Israeli settlements -- well-funded, fortified hilltop cities built in Palestinian territories.

The expropriation of Palestinian land continues unabated, and the development of Israeli settlements has intensified. Just a few months ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved building plans for 3,736 new settlement units,announcing in the West Bank “we are here to stay.” Almost 600,000 Israeli citizens currently reside in settlements - a population growing at a rate two times higher than that within Israel.

Read more: Open Democracy, https://is.gd/0auGP6




Enhanced Protection Against Expulsion: Person Concerned Must Have a Right of Permanent Residence

It is a prerequisite of eligibility for enhanced protection against expulsion that the person concerned must have a right of permanent residence

The requirement of having ‘resided in the host Member State for the previous ten years’, which is also a prerequisite of eligibility for that enhanced protection, may be satisfied where an overall assessment of the citizen’s situation leads to the conclusion that, notwithstanding his detention, the integrative links between the citizen and the host Member State have not been broken

Under the directive on free movement and residence,1 EU citizens who have resided legally for a continuous period of five years in a Member State other than their own (the host Member State) are to acquire a right of permanent residence in that State. In that context, the host Member State may not take an expulsion decision against an EU citizen who has acquired a right of permanent residence on its territory, except on ‘serious grounds of public policy or public security’.

In addition, an EU citizen who has resided in the host Member State for ‘the previous ten years’ enjoys an even higher level of protection, and an expulsion decision may not be taken against him unless it is based on ‘imperative grounds of public security’.

European court of Justice - Judgment in Joined Cases C-316/16 and C-424/16: https://is.gd/GrOKQS



Early Day Motion 1163: Violence Against Protestors In Gaza

That this House is gravely concerned by recent developments on the Israel-Gaza border and the killing and injuring of Palestinian protestors; affirms the right to peaceful protest and the right to freedom of expression; deplores the actions of those who seek to exploit peaceful protests to engage in violence; notes that Israel's effective control of access into and out of the territory means Gaza remains under occupation, that the health system is on the verge of collapse and that the recent influx of casualties has put the health system under even more pressure; supports the calls by UN Secretary General, António Guterres, and EU Foreign Affairs representative Federica Mogherini for an independent and transparent investigation into the killing and injuring of Palestinians in Gaza during the protests; and urges the Government to call for and support an independent investigation, and, where breaches of international law and international humanitarian law are identified for those responsible to be held to account.

https://www.parliament.uk/edm/print/2017-19/1163


Stansted 15 Who Stopped a Charter Flight – Need Your Help

Dear All,

I've posted previously on the Stansted 15 case, relating to the prosecution for terrorism-related offences of a group of activists who bravely stopped a charter flight to Nigeria and Ghana in March last year.  Their trial started on the 25th March but the jury was discharged the following day,  and the case rescheduled for 1 October 2018.

We have just found out that one of the approximately 60 detainees whose removal was prevented has been granted leave to remain. We are hopeful that others will be granted leave soon as well. The actions of our clients allowed many people who were due to be on the flight to buy the extra time needed to instruct representatives and get their cases into court, which the charter flight process is obviously intended to prevent.

A Freedom of Information Act response has disclosed that at least 11 people who were scheduled to be on the flight are still in the country, but we've only been able to definitively account for 5 of them. We are very keen to speak to the representatives of any of the 6 or so others who remain unaccounted for. We seek to use them remaining in the country to demonstrate the necessity of our clients' actions.

If anyone on this list is in contact or knows of anyone on the flight and is still in the UK, please contact, Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors, rchada@hja.net

Best wishes,

Stephen Knight
Barrister
1 Pump Court Chambers