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No-Deportations - Residence Papers for All
Monday 15th January to Sunday 21st January 2024

An unprecedented 108.4 million people around the world have been forced from their homes - every 2 Seconds a Person is Displaced according to UNHCR

Rishi Sunak Rebuked by Stats Watchdog Over Misleading Asylum Backlog Claim

Rishi Sunak has been rebuked by the UK's statistics watchdog over his claim to have cleared the backlog of asylum claims. The Home Office claimed earlier this month to have cleared a "legacy" backlog of 92,000 applications lodged before July 2022. The prime minister then posted on social media to say "the backlog of asylum decisions" had been cleared.

But the watchdog said people may have felt "misled" by his language. Official figures show a decision had not been reached in 4,537 of the "legacy" cases highlighted by the Home Office. And they also showed that there are still 98,599 cases in the overall backlog where an initial decision has yet to be made.

In a letter to opposition MPs who had complained, the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) said Mr Sunak's claim had been "presented without context". The boss of the watchdog, Sir Robert Chote, added that the episode "may affect public trust when the government sets targets and announces whether they have been met" in other areas. He also criticised the Home Office for not detailing the 4,537 legacy cases without a decision when it initially made its announcement in an embargoed press release to journalists. This prevented reporters from being "able to scrutinise the data when first reporting it," he added.

Read more: Nick Eardley & Paul Seddon, BBC News, https://shorturl.at/kwyB6

Inadmissibility Process and the Three New Asylum Backlogs

The latest statistics from the Home Office break down the “flow” backlog (i.e. asylum claims made on or after 28 June 2022) into three separate groups. It is important to understand the different ways that they are treated, all of which involve the inadmissibility process in some way.

Taking them in chronological order and ignoring the 4,537 legacy cases which are currently being processed, we have the Nationality and Borders Bill backlog, the Illegal Migration Bill backlog, and the Illegal Migration Act backlog. Below, we look at why each of these backlogs exist and what is happening with them.

Conclusion: The government claims to be concerned about the costs of asylum accommodation and proposes the Rwanda scheme as a way to resolve this. A far more realistic approach to reducing those costs would be to abolish the use of the inadmissibility process, which is currently achieving nothing but human misery and financial waste.

Read more: Freempvememt, https://shorturl.at/vDT36

Scientific Age Testing of Children Becomes Law

The Immigration (Age Assessments) Regulations 2024 providing for the use of scientific age testing of children have come into force on 10 January 2024. A reminder of the response from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to these proposals:

Evidence shows that using x-rays to determine age can be widely inaccurate and the practice is ultimately unethical. It is appalling to see that the Government is persisting with these plans, which hinge life-changing decisions for some of the most vulnerable young people in our society on unspecific scientific outcomes and includes exposing them to radiation.

We have covered these regulations extensively, from when the drafts were first published, to when the relevant section of the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 was brought into force, when the House of Lords’ Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee raised concerns and when the regulations were voted on by Parliament.

Read more: Freempvememt, https://shorturl.at/xQS57

Asylum Accommodation to be Excluded From Social Housing Landlords Crackdown

Accommodation used to house tens of thousands of asylum seekers, often the worst in the UK when it comes to damp and mould, will be excluded from a crackdown on landlords managing social housing, the Guardian has learned. According to the latest Home Office data, 118,800 asylum seekers were in receipt of accommodation and support from the Home Office and their contractors as of September 2023.

Following the death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak from prolonged exposure to black mould in his family’s home, the government agreed to introduce new rules – known as Awaab’s law – to force landlords to fix damp and mould problems in social housing. This accommodation is a mix of shared housing provided by landlords in the private rented sector and hotel accommodation. The Guardian has reported on problems of mould, damp and vermin infestations in such properties and many claim their poor living conditions have made them ill, particularly with lung conditions such as asthma.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian, https://shorturl.at/jlTUZ

Global Rights Crises Deepen as World Leaders Shy Away

“The international system that we rely on to protect human rights is under threat as world leaders look the other way when universal principles of human rights are violated,” said Tirana Hassan, executive director at Human Rights Watch. “Every time a country overlooks these universal and globally accepted principles, someone pays a price, and that price is sometimes peoples’ lives.”

Global leaders have failed to take strong stands to protect human rights during 2023, a year of some of the worst crises and challenges in recent memory, with deadly consequences, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2024. Governments should stop engaging in transactional diplomacy and do their utmost to uphold universal human rights principles.

The year 2023 was the hottest since global records began in 1880 and the onslaught of wildfires, drought, and storms wreaked havoc on communities from Bangladesh to Libya to Canada. Economic inequality rose around the world, as did anger about the policy decisions that have left so many people struggling to survive.

Renewed armed conflict between the Israeli government and Hamas caused tremendous suffering, as did conflicts in Ukraine, Myanmar, Ethiopia, and the Sahel.

Read more: Human Rights Watch, https://shorturl.at/djloE



High Court Quashes Unlawful Policy on Vulnerable People in Immigration Detention

In a judgment handed down on 12 January 2024 the High Court allowed a judicial review brought by the charity Medical Justice to a policy which allowed the Home Office to seek a second medical opinion in respect of vulnerable people in immigration detention when they have submitted an ‘external’ medical report - produced by Medical Justice or another independent medical professional - as to their vulnerability to harm in immigration detention. This delays consideration of the available evidence concerning the likely harm to the vulnerable person of continued detention for several weeks or more.

What does the Court’s decision mean for people in immigration detention?
The Court’s decision means that the Home Office cannot apply the Second Opinion Policy to people currently in immigration detention and will need to be withdrawn. This will mean that vulnerable people – potentially hundreds annually - who would otherwise have been detained because of the application of the Second Opinion policy will be released where the available medical evidence and the application of the Adults at Risk Statutory Guidance requires this.

Read more: Doughty Street Chambers, https://shorturl.at/swzK6

Greece: Coastguards Use of Force Against Migrants Violation of Article 2

In Chamber judgment in the case of Alkhatib and Others v. Greece (application no. 3566/16) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

a violation of Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights under its procedural head, and

a violation of Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights under its substantive head.

The case concerned a serious gunshot wound sustained by a member of the applicants’ family on 22 September 2014 near the island of Pserimos, when a vessel was intercepted transporting people illegally to Greece. Under the procedural aspect of Article 2, the Court noted that there had been numerous shortcomings in the investigation conducted by the national authorities; this had led, in particular, to the loss of evidence, and had affected the adequacy of the investigation. Among other things, it had been impossible to determine whether or not the use of potentially fatal force was justified in the particular circumstances of the case.
Under the substantive aspect of Article 2, the Court noted, firstly, that the respondent State had not complied with its obligation to introduce an adequate legislative framework governing the use of potentially lethal force in the area of maritime surveillance operations. It then considered that the coastguards, who could have presumed that the boat being monitored was transporting passengers, had not exercised the necessary vigilance in minimising any risk to life. The coastguards had thus used excessive force in the context of unclear regulations on the use of firearms. The Court considered that the Government had not demonstrated that the use of force had been “absolutely necessary” within the meaning of paragraph 2 of Article 2 of the Convention.

Human Rights Watch Report on the UK for 2023

Global leaders have failed to take strong stands to protect human rights during 2023, a year of some of the worst crises and challenges in recent memory, with deadly consequences.

The UK’s human rights record is in significant decline. It has introduced laws that violate rights and aim to dismantle the international protection framework.  The government is attempting to send asylum seekers who arrive to the UK irregularly, to Rwanda, a country that is not safe, and has proposed draconian immigration legislation that bans most asylum seekers from even claiming asylum. Rising food, rents, and energy prices, and inadequate social protections threaten the rights of people on the lowest incomes, including to food and housing. The UK government’s efforts to act multilaterally to promote human rights obligations in some contexts, was undermined by its aggressive domestic anti-rights agenda and refusal to acknowledge its serious violation of rights in colonial contexts such as its ongoing crimes against humanity against the Chagossian people.

The report covers 12 areas.

Rule of Law and Human Rights
Asylum and Migration
Right to Social Security, Adequate Standard of Living
Right to Food
Right to Safe and Adequate Housing
Conflict-Related Abuses
Women’s Rights
Racism and Ethnic Discrimination
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Foreign Policy

The UK government in 2022 adopted laws that violate rights and proposed significantly weakening human rights protections in domestic law. The government signed an agreement to transfer asylum seekers who arrived irregularly in the United Kingdom to Rwanda, putting them at risk. Rising food, rents, and energy prices, and inadequate social protections threatened the rights of people on the lowest incomes, including to food and housing. The government failed to take meaningful steps to address institutional racism including in policing. Although the UK government worked with partners to press other states failing to uphold their human rights obligations, it did not consistently prioritize human rights in its foreign policy agenda and undermined international standards.

Rule of Law and Human Rights
Four laws adopted in a single week in April raised grave human rights concerns: an immigration law that dismantles key aspects of existing asylum and refugee protections, replacing them with a discriminatory system; a police law that restricts and increases penalties for protests; an election law requiring voter identification, likely to create disenfranchisement based on race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status, and reducing the independence of electoral oversight; and a law limiting people’s rights to judicially review social security, and immigration tribunal decisions.

In June, following a flawed consultation process, the government announced legislation to repeal the Human Rights Act, which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into domestic law, replacing it with a weaker Bill of Rights. The proposals sought to diminish the influence of the European Court of Human Rights on domestic courts, to reduce public authorities’ obligations to protect rights, and to limit the responsibility of the UK authorities to protect rights outside UK borders. The proposed legislation attracted widespread criticism, including from domestic civil society groups, United Nations experts, and the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights. At time of writing, the status of the plans was unclear following changes to the prime minister and cabinet ministers in September and October.

Asylum and Migration
In April, the UK and Rwandan governments signed an agreement, allowing migrants and asylum seekers arriving by irregular means into the UK to be sent to Rwanda where their cases would be determined, undermining the refugee protection system. In June, the European Court of Human Rights issued three decisions temporarily halting the UK’s plans for the first such transfer flight. The plan’s legality was subject to a court challenge at time of writing.

The Nationality and Borders Act, enacted in April, discriminates against and criminalizes those seeking asylum through irregular routes, provides for pushbacks at sea and offshore processing, and increases powers to strip citizenship. It was roundly criticized by the UN Refugee Agency, UN experts, and more than 200 domestic civil society groups.

The UK continued to lack a time limit on immigration detention.

Right to Social Security, Adequate Standard of Living
People with lower incomes were particularly hard hit by a cost-of-living crisis precipitated by sharp increases in energy and food prices, and slow government efforts to mitigate these impacts. Inflation reached a four decade high of 10.1 percent in July, with single-parent households (overwhelmingly women-led), households led by a Black, Bangladeshi or Pakistani person, and single pensioners worst affected. A study projected that inflation would reverse the modest decrease in child poverty recorded the previous year.

Restrictive social security policies continued to negatively impact the right to an adequate standard of living, to food, and to housing for families with children and other recipients of social security support, including many people in paid employment. An overall cap on the amount of social security support a household can receive affected 123,000 families, while a cap on social security payments to larger families affected around 400,000 households and 1.4 million children.

A below inflation increase in social security support levels in April’s budget and a failure to reverse a 2021 cut to the main social security program left people who rely on social security worse off in real terms. The government refused to review disability-linked benefits, ignoring a July recommendation made by a parliamentary committee.

Right to Food
The country’s largest food bank network, the Trussell Trust, said in March that it had distributed 2.1 million emergency food parcels to people in need, an 81 per cent increase since 2017. The Independent Food Aid Network reported in October that 91 percent of its member organizations had experienced an increase in demand since July, and that one in four was reducing the size of food parcels because their supplies had been affected.

Official data on food security published in March showed single-parent households, households led by Black people, and people in social housing were more likely to be food insecure.

Survey data gathered by the Food Foundation showed that nearly one in 25 adults now reported that they or someone in their household had gone a whole day without eating. People with disabilities and people receiving social security support were nearly four times more likely to be food insecure.

Right to Safe and Adequate Housing
Homelessness numbers rose, after pandemic mitigation measures such as eviction bans and increased support to house rough sleepers ended. Data from England and Scotland showed the end of the eviction ban in June 2021 and reduced support networks contributed to increasing homelessness. Data from England, published in July, showed that “no fault evictions,” a legal provision allowing a private landlord to evict a tenant without providing a reason, had increased dramatically during 2022. In response, the government published a consultation paper in June, which proposed ending the “no fault” loophole, among other measures that could better protect housing rights.

Local authorities in England, particularly in Greater London, continued to over-rely on substandard “temporary accommodation,” including over the medium- to long-term, to address the shelter needs of people who would otherwise be completely unhoused. The overreliance on temporary accommodation is in part exacerbated by cuts to affordable housing programs.

An official inquiry into the June 2017 Grenfell Tower fire that killed 71 people concluded its public hearings and began preparing its final report. The government passed building safety legislation in April, and fire safety regulations for high rise residential buildings in May, implementing many recommendations from the inquiry’s first phase, including greater oversight of building safety during planning, making landlords responsible for replacing dangerous cladding, and greater retrospective liability where homes are found to be unfit for habitation. However, the government refused to include a legal requirement for people with disabilities living in high-rise buildings to have personal evacuation plans, prompting strong criticism and legal action considering the deaths of 15 of the Grenfell Tower’s 37 residents with disabilities in the fire.

Conflict-Related Abuses
Legislation relating to killings during the conflict in Northern Ireland continued to make its way through parliament. Rights groups and the Council of Europe’s Commissioner of Human Rights raised serious concerns, particularly about proposals for a conditional amnesty for killings, and the inadequacy of a proposed review mechanism to satisfy human rights obligations to investigate killings.

Legislation introduced in June to replace the Human Rights Act would ban all human rights claims relating to UK armed forces acting overseas, including abuse by soldiers, and by soldiers trying to enforce their human rights. The bill was suspended following the appointment of a new prime minister in September.

Women’s Rights
In July, the UK ratified the Istanbul Convention, but did so with reservations that exclude from protection migrant women who depend on their abuser—leaving them without access to crucial support and a pathway to escape violence—and limit the possibilities of prosecution for violence committed outside UK territory. The convention took effect on November 1.

Women and girls in Northern Ireland continue to face significant obstacles and variation between hospital trusts in accessing abortion services.

In August, Scottish legislation came into force requiring local authorities and education providers to ensure availability of free products to manage menstruation for all.

Racism and Ethnic Discrimination
An April government policy paper on race and ethnic disparities, asserting that institutional racism had disappeared, received widespread criticism from anti-discrimination groups.

During the year, multiple reports evidenced the negative impact of institutional racism in various areas of life, including at work (particularly for women of color), in pre-natal and maternity care, the broader medical system, sport, policing, and mental health detention.

The independent police oversight mechanism for England and Wales published recommendations in April for police to address the disproportionately discriminatory use of “stop and search” powers, citing data that Black people were seven times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people.

In April, Parliament approved new anti-trespass powers specifically linked to informal settlements, likely to negatively impact Roma, Gypsy, and Traveller people.

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The UK dropped from 10th to 14th in ILGA’s 2020 European ranking reflecting the negative climate for transgender people, with trans and non-binary people continuing to face an often-hostile environment in the media and public debate, as well as inadequate legal protections.

An independent review into health services related to gender identity for children and young people in England published an interim report in February, indicating a need to improve the quality of care and increase capacity.

In March, Scotland’s authorities proposed legislation to make it easier to obtain legal gender recognition without the medical diagnosis and two-year wait required elsewhere in the UK. UK national government plans to reform gender recognition are stalled.

A public inquiry into the UK authorities’ handling of the Covid-19 pandemic began preliminary public hearings in October. The inquiry is tasked with identifying lessons learned to inform future pandemic responses. At time of writing, more than 200,000 people had died of Covid in the UK.200,000 people have died of Covid in the UK.

The United Kingdom is among the top 20 emitters of the greenhouse gases responsible for the climate crisis, which is taking a growing toll on human rights around the globe. 

Prior to hosting the 2021 UN climate conference, the UK embraced ambitious emissions reduction targets—through its national climate plan commitment to reduce emissions by 68 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, and a legislated target to reach a 78 percent reduction by 2035 compared to 1990 levels. According to the Climate Action Tracker, the UK's 2030 target is aligned with the Paris Agreement goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

However, current programs are not on track to reach net-zero targets. The UK still produces over 40 percent of its electricity from gas, despite significant renewable energy potential. The reliance of UK homes on gas for heating and insufficient government programs to increase energy-efficiency measures are exacerbating the climate crisis and putting the right to an adequate standard of living at risk for millions of low-income people.

In July, temperatures in the UK exceeded 40°C for the first time on record, leading to a surge in hospitalizations and fires. Scientists calculated the July heatwave was made at least 10 times more likely by climate change. According to the UK's climate advisory body, the UK's climate adaptation efforts have not kept pace with the country's increasing climate risks, including risks of heat-related health impacts and climate impacts on infrastructure and food security. 

More than a year after a regulation was adopted by Parliament to restrict imports of agricultural commodities linked to illegal deforestation or the violations of laws pertaining to the ownership or use of land, the government is yet to determine essential aspects of the legislation’s implementation such as enforcement mechanisms and the commodities that are covered. Results from a public consultation, which were released in June, show overwhelming support from the public for the legislation to be implemented promptly and ambitiously.

Foreign Policy
The UK has shown its commitment to addressing several key issues, including taking concerted action with partners to press states failing to uphold their human rights obligations. However, in the face of competing policy interests, the UK has failed to consistently prioritize human rights in its foreign policy agenda and undermined international standards.

The UK continued to take coordinated action in response to violations committed by the military junta in Myanmar. In 2022, it sanctioned 6 individuals and 12 entities, and joined its G7 partners in condemning the junta’s executions of 4 pro-democracy activists. In August, the UK took an important step to tackle impunity by announcing its intention to intervene in The Gambia’s case before the International Court of Justice alleging Myanmar’s atrocities against the Rohingya violated the Genocide Convention. As penholder on Myanmar at the UN Security Council, the UK proposed a resolution responding to abuses stemming from the February 1, 2021 military coup.

The UK continued to lead in seeking to hold the Chinese government accountable for its ongoing violations and crimes. It consistently pressed China to grant the UN high commissioner for human rights full and unfettered access to Xinjiang, and called on UN member states to, at minimum, debate the Commissioner’s long-awaited report on Xinjiang. The UK also joined the G7 in underscoring its grave concerns with the erosion of civil and political rights in Hong Kong; but has not yet sanctioned implicated officials.

The UK responded robustly to Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, supporting accountability efforts, including mobilizing countries to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court prosecutor for investigation, imposing sanctions, and establishing a Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine scheme. However, it failed to waive visa requirements for those fleeing Ukraine and replicate the schemes for Afghans. The resettlement schemes for Afghans are still not functioning properly, with many at-risk Afghans unable to find safety in the UK.

The April agreement between the UK and Rwanda allows the UK to expel people there, despite most never having set foot in Rwanda and it not being a safe third country for asylum seeker transfers. In June, the UK prime minister attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda and failed to publicly raise any human rights concerns.

Through its Gulf Strategy Fund, the UK provides support and funding to several regimes involved in egregious human rights violations, including Bahrain.

The UK played a largely positive role at the Human Rights Council, including leading on Sri Lanka, tabling a resolution ensuring continued reporting on Sudan, supporting the establishment of a commission of inquiry to investigate abuses in Ukraine, a special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Russia and a group of experts on Nicaragua, and joining a statement on China. It supported a resolution on women and girls in Afghanistan and renewal of the independent expert on sexual orientation and gender identity. However, it continues to oppose the Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, and voted against the resolution on racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia.

The UK played an obstructionist role at the World Trade Organization on a proposed waiver of intellectual property rules for the Covid-19 response. The text adopted in June 2022 failed to address barriers to increasing Covid-19 vaccine production and excluded tests and treatments.

Read the full report: https://shorturl.at/tyGM7



Thanks to Positive Action in Housing for Supporting the Work of No Deportation's

Positive Action in Housing - Working Together to Rebuild Lives

An independent, Anti-Racist Homelessness and Human Rghts Charity Dedicated to

Supoorting Refugees and Migrants to Rebuild Their Lives.


Opinions Regarding Immigration Bail

36 Deaths Across the UK Detention Estate

UK Human Rights and Democracy 2020

Hunger Strikes in Immigration Detention

Charter Flights January 2016 Through December 2020

A History of

Immigration Solicitors

Judicial Review

Villainous Mr O