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News & Views Monday 20th May to Sunday 26th May 2019

 

Modern Slavery

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sajid Javid)

Today I am laying before the House the final report of the independent review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (CP 100). Copies of the report will be available from the Vote Office and it will also be published at: www.gov.uk.

Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), the UK has transformed its response to modern slavery over the last five years. The Modern Slavery Act 2015 was the first legislation of its kind in the world. The Act provided law enforcement with new tools and powers to apprehend perpetrators, new duties on businesses to publish transparency in supply chains statements, enhanced protections for victims and created the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner role. The impact of the Act is evident: more victims than ever before are being identified and supported, more offenders are being prosecuted and convicted and thousands of companies have published transparency statements and are taking action to prevent slavery and trafficking in their supply chains.

Alongside the Act, this Government are delivering a comprehensive programme of policy measures to tackle modern slavery. We are reforming the national referral mechanism (NRM) to improve the support available to ?victims and to streamline the decision-making process. We are continuing to hold businesses to account on their obligations to publish transparency statements and central Government Departments will publish a transparency in supply chains statement this year, to set out the steps we are taking through public procurement to prevent the risks of modern slavery in our supply chains. We are also working with international partners to drive action to address modem slavery risks in supply chains and public procurement.

We continue to play a leadership role internationally, pushing for co-ordinated action to deliver the sustainable development goals on modern slavery, supported by a commitment of £200 million of UK aid, as well as building partnerships with countries from where the UK receives high numbers of victims. To build on this work, the Government recently awarded a further £5 million in grants to seven organisations through the modern slavery innovation fund to trial new and innovative approaches to tackle this heinous crime.

However, this Government are not complacent, and we are determined to lead global efforts to eradicate modern slavery, particularly as the methods used by criminals to exploit vulnerable people and our under- standing of the crime evolves. That is why in July 2018 I commissioned right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Frank Field), right hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mrs Miller) and the noble Baroness Butler-Sloss GBE to conduct an independent review of the Modern Slavery Act. The review considered four themes relating to provisions in the Act: the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, transparency in supply chains, legal application and the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. The final report has made a total of 80 recommendations.

I am grateful to the reviewers and all those who contributed to the review for their commitment and comprehensive analysis. The Government intend to consider all recommendations in depth, before making a formal response in summer 2019.

House of Commons, 22 May 2019, http://bit.ly/2HxlP7h



Online Petition” Somer and Areeb Must Stay in the UK

Grant immediate asylum to Somer, Areeb and their parents in order that they remain in Glasgow, safe from the threat of violence in Pakistan

Why is this important?

Somer, 15 and his brother Areeb, 13, are terrified that they will be murdered by Islamic extremists if they are forced to leave Scotland - the country they love and call home - and deported to Pakistan.
They fled the country to Glasgow with their parents, Maqsood and Parveen, in 2012 following death threats because they are Christians.

The brothers, who think of themselves as Scottish and are both thriving at secondary school where they have lots of friends and play a full part in community life, have lived in limbo for more than six years.

The Home Office have rejected the Bakhsh family's applications for asylum because officials do not accept their lives are at risk in Pakistan, despite the fact it is a country where Christians are persecuted and blasphemy carries the death penalty.

The catalyst for the family’s move to Scotland was the murder of two of Maqsood Bakhsh's Christian friends who were gunned down outside a court, while in police custody, in the Pakistan city of Faisalabad in July 2010.

Maqsood Bakhsh claims the people responsible for their deaths have targeted him, know exactly who he is and would kill him and his family if they had the chance.

Four of his friends have been killed by Islamic extremists, his sister in law’s brother is serving life in jail because of Pakistan’s blasphemy law and his nephew was kidnapped last month.

An uncle of Maqsood was murdered on his doorstep in Pakistan, shortly after he returned to the country after living for nearly 20 years in the USA.

Once you have been marked by people who mean you harm, you are forever marked.

The family feel safe in Scotland and want the chance to stay and make a full contribution to society.

How it will be delivered

Petition will be - Hand Delivered to the Home Office

https://is.gd/Wnmwmc



Migratory situation in April – Fewer migrants reach Europe

In April, the number of detections of illegal border crossings on Europe’s main migratory routes fell by 19% from the previous month to 4 900, mainly due to a drop in the Eastern Mediterranean. The total for the first four months of 2019 was 27% lower than a year ago at around 24 200.


UNHCR’s online Protection Manual

A repository of policy and guidance documents that is updated whenever a new protection policy or guidance document is published and can thus be relied upon to represent the current state of UNHCR protection policy and guidance. UNHCR guidance and policy documents are organized by theme/subject, as reflected in the Protection Manual's Table of Contents. Subjects include legal topics (For example, UNHCR guidance on the different elements of the refugee definition) and operational protection guidance (for example, on 'asylum-seekers at sea', or 'age, gender and diversity'). Under each heading, documents are arranged in reverse chronological order with each document individually accessible through a hyperlink.



UNHCR Country of Origin Information Experts

Our list of country of origin (COI) experts  and organisations that provide COI will be of use to legal assistance providers in need of expert reports to support asylum cases and other refugee-related legal proceedings.


Accessing Regional Human Rights Bodies: A Guide

States and their institutions can often fail to provide adequate help for refugees and asylum seekers. When a decision reached by a State is considered to be in breach of regional rules regarding the adequate treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, it is possible to challenge that decision before regional human rights bodies.  Please see below to find information on each region:




Asylum: Religion: Written Question

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what training is provided to all asylum decision-makers on how to assess religious and belief-based persecution claims.

Caroline Nokes: The Home Office has been working closely with the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Asylum Advocacy Group (AAG) for many years, to help improve their approach to religious based claims and have recently worked with them recently to develop and produce a specialist training package.

The Asylum Learning and Development Team started to deliver the specialist training package on religious claims on Monday 8 April 2019, which will be mandatory for all asylum decision-makers.

The aim of this course is to ensure that where religion or belief is raised in an asylum claim, decision makers appropriately consider all the available evidence in accordance International, European & Domestic law and Home Office policy, when interviewing asylum seekers and making decisions on their claims.

In order to alleviate any concerns about the way in which vulnerable claims are dealt with, a review has been commissioned to investigate the way claims based on religious grounds and LGBT+ are assessed. The aim and approach of the Review will be to ensure that empathy and religious literacy is considered by Decision Makers when assessing these highly complex claims, acknowledging the impact of their decision whilst ensuring appropriate rigour is applied as these routes can be open to fraudulent claims.

House of Commons 22/05/2019 https://is.gd/eZFiOB



Applying For An Unmarried/Same-Sex Partner Visa? The Basics You Need To Know

Are you in a genuine and subsisting relationship with your British or settled partner but neither married nor in a civil partnership? Do you wish to join them in the UK or make the UK your home?

The Unmarried Partner visa route gives long-term partners that reside together in a relationship akin to marriage the opportunity to stay in the UK for 30 months, with an option to extend the visa at the end of this period for another 30 months. This route is available to both unmarried and same-sex partners. The Unmarried Partner route can lead to settlement after 5 years and subsequently British citizenship, should further requirements be satisfied.

It is important to take account of the financial requirements for this category, along with the other criteria required for an Entry Clearance or Leave to Remain applications. The key issues to consider before making an application relate to the following criteria:

  • Relationship must be genuine and subsisting, meaning that the applicant and the settled person have resided in a relationship for at least the last 2 years before the application and not have an intention of ending it.

  • The financial requirements must be satisfied.

  • There is adequate accommodation for both the applicant and the settled person in the UK, which will not be overcrowded.

  • The applicant meets the knowledge of the English language requirement.

If you are already in the UK and hold valid leave, you may be eligible to switch into the Unmarried Partner route, as long as you satisfy the above requirements and are not in the UK as a visitor.

Posted by: Gherson Immigration, https://is.gd/Luu43e



UK: Welfare Cuts Mean Families Go Hungry

Government Policy Failings Exacerbate Food Poverty, Violate Right to Food

Government cuts to welfare over the past decade have resulted in tens of thousands of poor families in England left without enough food to eat, a clear breach of the government’s duty to ensure adequate food, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
The 115-page report, “Nothing Left in the Cupboards: Austerity, Welfare Cuts, and the Right to Food in the UK,” examines how deep, austerity-motivated cuts to the welfare system, exacerbated by the introduction of the Universal Credit system and other changes, have left many families with children in England going hungry and dependent on food aid from charities. Many of these families are single parent households led by women. Human Rights Watch found that the UK government is failing to meet its duty under human rights law to ensure the right to adequate food.

“The way the UK government has handled its reduction in welfare spending has left parents unable to feed their children in the fifth-largest economy in the world,” said Kartik Raj, Western Europe researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The UK government should ensure everyone’s right to food rather than expecting charities to step in and fill the gap.”

Human Rights Watch focused on three areas in England with high deprivation levels in Hull, Cambridgeshire and Oxford. Human Rights Watch conducted 126 interviews, including with families affected by food poverty, volunteers, and staff in food banks and pantries, and community center and school staff; analyzed official data and statistics; and reviewed information from the UK government and local authorities.

Read more: Human Rights Watch, https://is.gd/Sd2vsg



EDM 2400: International Day Against Statelessness

That this House welcomes the launch of a new campaign for the International Observatory of Human Rights on statelessness and citizenship deprivation; believes that their call for the UNHCR to enact an International Day Against Statelessness is vital in raising awareness for the issue that affects approximately 10 million people globally; understands that those who find themselves stateless often experience a protection gap leading to violations of their rights; recognises that stateless persons often suffer from health issues, lack of education, restricted movement and social alienation; and encourages anyone who is concerned about the issue of statelessness to support the International Observatory of Human Rights in calling for an International Day Against Statelessness.

House of Commons, 20/05/2019, https://is.gd/a5D5Lu



Pro Bono
 Legal Assistance Providers and Providers of Other Services


UNHCR is attempting to put each of it Country Offices online.  It so far has only a few, but it could be  worthwhile your checking their sites: See http://help.unhcr.org/.  A number of UNHCR operations can be contacted through Facebook and Messenger.

Our list of pro bono legal assistance providers is a directory of organizations, lawyers, and others who are able to assist refugees free-of-charge in legal matters and help secure refugee rights. This list may also be of use to legal providers assembling and arguing cases elsewhere in the world for information on country of origin, case development, and other help.


Legal instruments and tools