Priti Patel’s Detention Policies Found to Breach Human Rights Rules
A landmark court ruling has held the home secretary, Priti Patel, accountable for failures in ensuring that deaths in immigration detention centres are properly investigated. Two judges in the immigration court ruled on Wednesday that three of the home secretary’s detention policies breached human rights rules and that she could not frustrate or undermine inquiries into these deaths. The ruling relates to two friends, Ahmed Lawal and Oscar Lucky Okwurime, both from Nigeria, who were in Harmondsworth immigration removal centre when Okwurime was found dead in his cell there on 12 September 2019.
Lawal proved to be a key witness, but the Home Office tried to deport him five days after the death before he could provide any evidence. He took the case to the high court and a judge halted his removal. Lawal gave evidence in person at the inquest in November 2020. The inquest jury found that Okwurime had died unnaturally, as a result of neglect following a subarachnoid haemorrhage, which can rupture due to hypertension. His blood pressure reading on 22 August 2019 showed hypertension. The jury found that this reading was not repeated as a result of multiple failures to adhere to healthcare policy. Given these opportunities to repeat this basic medical test on a vulnerable person, neglect contributed to the death.
Read more: Diane Taykor, Guardian, https://is.gd/4dR5ic
Rough Sleeping Deportation Immigration Rule Must Be Repealed
The UK government has recently, and quietly, reintroduced a scheme that works with councils and homelessness charities to obtain personal data on migrant rough sleepers that may result in their deportation. This scheme follows the introduction of a rough sleeping rule in the beginning of December 2020, which would allow rough sleeping to be grounds for the refusal or cancellation of a migrant's permission to remain within the UK.
In recent weeks, Priti Patel's 'new plan for immigration' has furthered these changes by very quietly reviving a programme that was exposed in 2018 by 'The Observer' that aimed to obtain data on migrant rough sleepers. This programme uses councils and homelessness charities to obtain personal data about migrant rough sleepers that risks their right to remain in the UK.
It is thought that two charities and six councils have already signed up to this scheme in the past few months. However, when approached about their involvement, Single Homeless Project immediately withdrew from the scheme stating that 'it wanted to avoid putting rough sleepers at risk'.
Through the scheme, rough sleepers are presented with a 19-page form by services they approach, which informs them that deportation is a potential outcome of their situation. Experts and charities have questioned the ethics of this process, indicating that the vulnerability of migrant rough sleepers means personal information could be extracted from them by caseworkers with ease. Julianne Morrison, a barrister specialising in data protection stated, "The person giving them this form is not someone who has Home Office or Border Force written on their tabard. It is somebody who they've turned to for help."
Read more: Aaron Gates-Lincoln, Immigration News, https://is.gd/GL6b66
Confirmed: No Right of Appeal Where Limited Instead of indefinite Leave is Granted
When someone applies for indefinite leave to remain in the UK, but is granted limited leave to remain instead, that decision does not attract a right of appeal. So held President Lane of the Upper Tribunal last year in the case of Mujahid  UKUT 85 (IAC), discussed by Colin here.
In a judgment handed down on 31 March 2021, the Court of Appeal has upheld the Upper Tribunal’s finding. In summary, the reasoning is that, by granting leave to remain to Mr Mujahid, the Home Office accepted that it would be a violation of his human rights to remove him from the UK. The Home Office was not, therefore, refusing a human rights claim. And if there is no refusal of a human rights claim, then there is no right of appeal.
A different finding would have been surprising, with the immigration tribunals going to great lengths to shrink rights of appeal recently. For what it’s worth, I do agree with Mr Mujahid’s argument that this leads to an odd result: the stronger an applicant’s Article 8 grounds, the less likely it would be that there could be an appeal to the FTT against the refusal to grant indefinite leave to remain [paragraph 34].
Read more: Freemovement, https://is.gd/DFhEAQ
Justice For Osime Brown - Protest to Stop His Deportation
Friday 16 April from 1 pm at the Home Office, 2 Marsham St, London SW1P 4DF
Labour Campaign for Free Movement activists will support a new Justice for Osime Brown protest, demanding the threat of deportation be lifted, on Friday 16 April from 1 pm at the Home Office, 2 Marsham St, London SW1P 4DF. Previous campaigning headed off the danger of Osime being deported as soon as he was released from jail, but he is still not safe.
75 MPs have signed a Early Day Motion (EDM) - That this House acknowledges 21-year-old Osime Brown's autism and the behavioural challenges that come with it; further acknowledges the Home Office's plans to deport Osime to Jamaica where he has not lived since he was four years old and has never returned to;
notes Osime's mother's words that if they deport him, he'll die; further notes that, although a friend testified that Osime was not directly involved with the crime, Osime is currently in prison where he is self-harming to the point that he has hundreds of scars on his body; recognises the Citizen's Advice Bureau's advice which states that if one is detained despite being vulnerable, one should apply for bail;
calls on the Government to acknowledge Osime's autism, dyslexia, learning disabilities, and PTSD; further calls on the Government to release Osime on bail rather than being moved to a holding facility that is not properly equipped to meet his needs, remove the call for Osime's deportation, and see that Osime finally receives the support he needs for his disabilities.
UK Asylum System and Asylum Seekers’ Mental Health
The Mental Health Foundation has found that the increased vulnerability to mental health problems that refugees and asylum seekers face is linked both to their pre-migration and post-migration experiences. People who have fled persecution, violence and war hope to find safety and security in the UK. Tragically, the current UK asylum system often exacerbates their suffering, with long waits for asylum decisions, poor accommodation and a ban on working all contributing to this situation.
The asylum system in this country is failing. In the year ending September 2020, the number of people waiting for an initial decision on their asylum claim reached 60,548, a record high, and 76% were waiting six months or more. The Home Secretary recently said that our asylum system is broken. She is right, although it is perhaps worth remembering who has been running it for the last 11 years. However, it is broken, above all, for those who come to this country seeking refuge, and too often it breaks them. The Government’s new plan for immigration encapsulates the approach of Ministers, framing asylum seekers as the problem rather than addressing the problems they face, dehumanising those who seek the refuge provided under international law and the treaties to which we are proud signatories, and talking about them as illegal migrants.
Read more: Parliament, https://is.gd/FIwnec
Oppose Mandatory Minute Silence for Prince Philip
Saturday 17th April should be a celebration for the working class, in that another privileged royal is to be buried. Scotland has been under British rule since 1296. Celtic fans boasted 'Do not Let the Crown Get You Down' as they let off fireworks during Prince Philip silence at Parkhead last Saturday. Wales invaded in 1066 and still under British occupation, as is part of Ireland.
England has a multi-national population; non-British ethnicities make up about twenty-Five per cent; their Homelands were invaded over the centuries by order of the Kings and Queens of England. Tens of thousands of their citizens, murdered by British soldiers. Their lands and way of life destroyed their natural resources, plundered and shipped back to the UK, all in the name of British Royalty.
Millions of people in the UK live in poverty; they have known no other way of life. Despite their hardship, when they buy anything, part of that money is gathered as tax (VAT), which pays for the royals' opulence. None of whom have ever known hardship or taken menial jobs to keep as they say body and soul together.
Tens of thousands of asylum seekers/migrants trying to make life in the UK live in straitened circumstances; many face deportation, hundreds of them in detention. As you read this mail, dozens of asylum seekers have been moved to Napier Barracks despite concerns from health officials and government watchdogs about its suitability.
So, give some serious thought to what you will do on Saturday 17th April at 3:00 pm!
Asylum Seekers 'Removed From Britain Without Having Cases Properly Heard'
Legitimate asylum seekers face being removed from Britain without having their cases properly heard, an LBC(Leading Britain’s Conversation) investigation has found. Figures seen exclusively by LBC show that over half of the people removed by the Home Office on specially arranged charter flights over the summer did not have a lawyer on record. The Home Office has repeatedly criticised "activist lawyers" for frustrating its ability to remove people. But our findings raise fears that a significant percentage of the people being removed do not have access to adequate legal representation. LBC has shared our findings with charities and immigration lawyers who have raised fears that there may be people on these planes with legitimate asylum claims, including potential trafficking victims.
Last summer, the Home Office began a faster pace of deportations and removals, and figures provided to LBC under the Freedom of Information act show that of the 71 people removed in August and September, 37 of them did not have a lawyer on record. Removal flights continued at pace until December, when the UK left the European Union. So if these findings are even broadly representative, they could signal a systemic issue.
Read more: Matthew Thompson, LBC, https://is.gd/9X3kAT
Amnesty International Unimpressed and Government Care Home Guidance “Grossly Discriminatory”
Amnesty have released their 2020/21 report on the state of the world’s human rights. Amnesty’s UK director, Kate Allen, has called for an inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic and said “the government is now shamefully trying to strip away our right to lawfully challenge its decisions, no matter how poor they are.”
The report highlighted human rights concerns related to the government’s response to COVID-19, including health, immigration, domestic abuse and housing. There were also concerns around police conduct around racial discrimination and excessive use of force against protesters; during the first national lockdown in May, 10,000 of 43,644 recorded stop and searches conducted against young black men.
Several legal developments were criticised for falling short of human rights standards, including the Immigration Act, the Gender Recognition Act, the Domestic Abuse Bill, the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill, the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill, which would create a “presumption against prosecution” for members of the British Army accused of overseas crimes, including torture, committed more than five years earlier.
Read more: UK Human Rights Blog, https://is.gd/m2uyCn