Best Interests of the Child: A Right
A Principle and A Rule Of Procedure
1. Article 3, paragraph 1, of the Convention on the Rights of the Child gives the child the right to have his or her best interests assessed and taken into account as a primary consideration in all actions or decisions that concern him or her, both in the public and private sphere. Moreover, it expresses one of the fundamental values of the Convention. The Committee on the Rights of the Child (the Committee) has identified article 3, paragraph 1, as one of the four general principles of the Convention for interpreting and implementing all the rights of the child,1 and applies it is a dynamic concept that requires an assessment appropriate to the specific context.
2. The concept of the "child's best interests" is not new. Indeed, it pre-dates the Convention and was already enshrined in the 1959 Declaration of the Rights of the Child (para. 2), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (arts. 5 (b) and 16, para. 1 (d)), as well as in regional instruments and many national and international laws.
3. The Convention also explicitly refers to the child's best interests in other articles: article 9: separation from parents; article 10: family reunification; article 18: parental responsibilities; article 20: deprivation of family environment and alternative care; article 21: adoption; article 37(c): separation from adults in detention; article 40, paragraph 2 (b)
(iii): procedural guarantees, including presence of parents at court hearings for penal matters involving children in conflict with the law. Reference is also made to the child's best interests in the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (preamble and art. 8) and in the Optional Protocol to the Convention on a communications procedure (preamble and arts. 2 and 3).
4. The concept of the child's best interests is aimed at ensuring both the full and effective enjoyment of all the rights recognized in the Convention and the holistic development of the child.2 The Committee has already pointed out3 that "an adult's judgment of a child's best interests cannot override the obligation to respect all the child's rights under the Convention." It recalls that there is no hierarchy of rights in the Convention; all the rights provided for therein are in the "child's best interests" and no right could be compromised by a negative interpretation of the child's best interests.
Read more: <> UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
Demonstration to Save Immigration Justice
Tuesday 4th June 2013
Ministry of Justice
102 Petty France
London SW1H 9AJ
(Nearest Tube, St James Park)
Protest against Ministry of Justice proposals for legal aid cuts that will
- make government bodies less accountable
- exclude vulnerable individuals including migrants and prisoners from accessing justice
- destroy quality of criminal defence
Speakers: Dinah Rose QC, Stephen Knafler QC, Nick Armstrong (Matrix), Chidrens' Society, Deepti Patel (Kids Co), Liberty, Sue Willman (Deighton Pierce Glynn).
Demonstration Supported by: Fahamu Refugee Programme Garden Court Chambers, Wilson Solicitors, Liberty, Matrix Chambers
Rafaa v. France - Violation of Article 3
(in the event of the applicant's expulsion to Morocco)
(application no. 25393/10)
The applicant, Rachid Rafaa, is a Moroccan national who was born in 1976 and lives in Metz (France). The case concerned his extradition to Morocco, which he claimed would jeopardise his life and safety. After arriving in France illegally from Morocco, where he alleged he had been detained and tortured by the secret services because of his support for the Sahrawi cause, Mr Rafaa was apprehended and placed in administrative detention. When the Moroccan authorities issued an international arrest warrant against him for acts of terrorism, he was imprisoned with a view to his extradition in 2009. The French courts approved the extradition. The applicant appealed but his appeal was dismissed in 2010. The French authorities issued a decree with a view to his extradition, and his appeal to the Conseil d'État was rejected in 2011. In the meantime Mr Rafaa had also applied for asylum, but that application was rejected in 2010, as was his application for legal aid to appeal on points of law. The applicant alleged in particular that his extradition to Morocco would expose him to risks of treatment contrary to Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment).
Violation of Article 3 (in the event of the applicant's expulsion to Morocco)
Interim measure (Rule 39 of the Rules of Court) - not to expel Mr Rafaa - still in force until judgment becomes final or until further order.
Just satisfaction: The applicant did not submit any claim for just satisfaction.
Judgement only available in French
Vince Cable, Immigration Panic 'Puts Off Overseas Students,'
Public "panic" over immigration is causing harm to the economy, the Business Secretary has warned. Vince Cable said overseas students were being deterred from studying at British institutions and tight visa controls were causing difficulties for foreign experts working here. Overseas students were being caught up in the "very torrid and emotional" argument about the number of immigrants, he said.
Official figures just released reveal that, in the year to September 2012, net migration fell, with a 22 per cent decrease in the number of foreign students.
Mr Cable said: "When the numbers decline, this is a great triumph for immigration control, which is quite absurd and, unfortunately, is seriously distorting the debate on sensible university policy and, indeed, sensible immigration policy. "I just want to make absolutely clear, as far as the Government is concerned, we have no cap on the number of overseas students, we don't propose to introduce one." There had been a "substantial" reduction in the number of Indian students, he added.
David Hughes, Indpendent, <> Wednesday 29 May 2013
Surviving the First Day: State of the World's Mothers 2013
The birth of a child should be a time of wonder and celebration. But for millions of mothers and babies in developing countries, it is a dance with death. Every year, nearly 3 million babies die within the first month of life, most from preventable causes. More than a third of these babies die on their first day of life – making the birth day the riskiest day for newborns and mothers almost everywhere.
Every year, 287,000 women die during pregnancy or childbirth, and 6.9 million children die before reaching their fifth birthday. Almost all these deaths occur in developing countries where mothers, children and newborns lack access to basic health care.
Top ten worst countries to be a mother:
DR Congo, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Niger, Central African Republic, Gambia, Nigeria,
Chad, Côte d'Ivoire
(United Kingdom could only come 23rd as the best place to be a mother, well behind most European Union Countries)
Nearly two-thirds of all newborn deaths (2 million out of 3 million each year) occur in just 10 countries. Many of these countries have very large populations (such as China and Indonesia) and others have high percentages of newborns dying (Afghanistan, DR Congo, Ethiopia and Tanzania). Several have both large populations and high newborn mortality rates (Bangladesh, India, Nigeria and Pakistan). These are places where mothers are also at high risk of death during pregnancy and childbirth – 59 percent of maternal deaths occur in these same 10 countries.
Download the full report: Refworld 29/05/13
Children In and Out of Detention: Q1 2013
In the first quarter of 2013, 37 children entered detention, a decrease of 16 on the first quarter of 2012, this fall coinciding with the closure of Tinsley House from 18 January to 20 March 2013 to new entrants due to an infectious illness.
Of the 38 children leaving detention in the first quarter of 2013, 24 were removed from the UK and the remaining 14 (37%) were granted temporary admission or release. Of those leaving detention, 34 had been detained for less than three days, three for between four and seven days and one had been detained, in Campsfield House, for between two and three months. The percentage of children removed from the UK on leaving detention has risen from 41% in 2010 to 48% in 2012 and 63% in the first quarter of 2013.
Adults In and Out of detention: Q1 2013
As of the end of March 2013, 2,853 people were in detention, 6% fewer than the number recorded at the end of March 2012.
Length of detention: Of the 7,093 leaving detention during the first quarter of 2013, 4,420 (62%) had been in detention for less than 29 days, 1,209 (17%) for between 29 days and two months and 912 (13%) for between two and four months. Of the 552 (8%) remaining, 56 had been in detention for between one and two years and 18 for two years or longer.
Of the 2,534 detained for seven days or less, 1,743 (69%) were removed and 735 (29%) were granted temporary admission or release. Of the 74 detained for 12 months or more, 24 (32%) were removed, 17 (23%) were granted temporary admission or release, 30 (41%) were bailed and 3 (4%) left for other reasons.
In the year ending March 2013, 28,735 people entered detention, an increase of 4% compared with the previous year (27,596). Over the same period there was an increase of 6% in those leaving detention (from 27,163 to 28,761). Of those leaving detention, 60% were removed from the UK.
Figures presented here do not include those held in police cells, Prison Service establishments, short-term holding rooms at ports and airports (for less than 24 hours) and those recorded as detained under both criminal and immigration powers and their dependants.
Top Ten Nationalities entering detention Q1/2013
Sri Lanka 199
Source Verbatim: <> Immigration Statistics Q1 2013
detention tables dt 01 q, dt 04 q and dt 09 q.
Judgment in Case C-534/11
An sylum seeker may, on the basis of national law, be detained for the purposes of removal on the ground of illegal stay where the application for asylum has been made with the sole aim of delaying or jeopardising enforcement of the return decision
The national authorities must, however, examine on a case-by-case basis whether that is the case and whether it is objectively necessary and proportionate to keep the asylum seeker in detention in order to prevent him from definitively evading return
. . . . . In today's judgment the Court of Justice finds, first, that an asylum seeker has the right to remain in the territory of the Member State responsible for examining his application at least until his application has been rejected at first instance. Consequently, he cannot be considered to be illegally staying in that State during that period. The Court points out in this respect that Member States may even extend that right by allowing asylum seekers to remain in their territory until a final decision has been given on their application.
. . . . Finally, the Court states that the mere fact that an asylum seeker, at the time of the making of his application, is the subject of a return decision and is being detained does not allow it to be presumed that he has made that application solely to delay or jeopardise the enforcement of the return decision. Whether the application for asylum is an abuse must therefore be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The national authorities must also assess whether it is objectively necessary and proportionate to keep the asylum seeker in detention.
Court of Justice of the European Union
Protest at G4S AGM
Thursday 6th June 2013
4 Fore Street
London EC2Y 5DE
The last twelve months have seen G4S voted third 'Worst Company of the Year' in the global Public Eye awards, they also face a UK parliamentary inquiry into their disastrous handling of an asylum housing contract and will soon give evidence at the inquest into the death of Jimmy Mubenga who died while being restrained by G4S staff. Not that you would know it from the self-congratulatory tone of G4S' latest Corporate Responsibility Report.
Across Europe, G4S are becoming a pariah company as trade unions, charities and faith groups take a public stand in opposing its drive to put private profit above human rights. Organisations in the Middle East have called for a boycott of G4S due to their complicity with Israel's repression and detention of Palestinians including children. On June 6th the company returns to the City of London for its annual corporate jamboree.
Stop G4S is calling for a (Europe-wide) demonstration of outrage as G4S congratulate themselves on another year of profiteering at the expense of human dignity.
Bring banners, flags and drums; bring yourself and your friends. Refuse to be taken in by their whitewashing of abuses, join us at the AGM to hold G4S to account.
Called by the Stop G4S Campaign
Stop G4S is a UK-based network of various grassroots activist groups, campaigns, NGOs and trade unionists that have a shared interest in holding G4S to account for its track record of human rights abuses across the world and in stopping the company from taking over public services or being given any more control over our lives.
Garden Court Chambers - Immigration Law Bulletin - Issue 326
UKBA: Operational Guidance Note: Burma (Myanmar)
Removals and Voluntary Departures Q1/2013
Asylum voluntary/ enforced removals Q1/2013 - 3,306
Note: Voluntary departures are now exceeding forced departures
Total asylum enforced removals 1,232
Total asylum voluntary departures 1,037
Asylum: Assisted Voluntary Returns 733
Asylum: Notified voluntary departures 155
Asylum: Other confirmed voluntary departures 149
Figures in this topic relate to numbers of people, including dependants, leaving the UK either voluntarily when they no longer had a right to stay in the UK or where, in the main, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has sought to remove individuals. While individuals removed at a port of entry have not necessarily entered the country, their removal requires action by UK Border Force and UKBA, such as being placed on a return flight (That is Refused & Removed).
Enforced removals from the UK decreased by 5% to 14,120 in the year ending March 2013 as compared with the previous 12 months (14,806).
The number of passengers refused entry at port and who subsequently departed has fallen 9% in the year ending March 2013 to 13,606 from 14,966 for the previous 12 months. This continues an ongoing overall fall in these figures, with considerable decreases in 2009.
In the year ending March 2013, there was an increase of 4% in total voluntary departures to 28,309 compared with the previous year (27,136). This increase can be explained by the low quarterly figure in the second quarter of 2011 (at the start of the year ending March 2012). This category has represented the largest proportion of those departing from the UK since the end of 2009.
Total Applications for Asylum Q1/2013 - 5,625
Top Ten Nationalities Q1/2013
Pakistan 883 / Iran 630 / Sri Lanka 412 // Syria 330 / Albania 308
India 257 / Bangladesh 249 / Nigeria 234 //Afghanistan 244 / China 193
In the year ending March 2013, there were 22,592 asylum applications, a rise of 2,786 (+14%) on the previous 12-month period. This follows a smaller increase the previous year (+8%). The number of applications remains low relative to the peak number of applications in 2002 (84,132), and similar to levels seen since 2005. This increase in the latest year is driven by rises in applications from a number of nationalities, particularly nationals of Pakistan (+811), Syria (+686), Albania (+484), India (+458) and Bangladesh (+292).
The number of initial decisions on asylum applications has increased by 4% (+691) to 17,706 in the year ending March 2013 on the previous 12-month period. The rise is driven by increases in the first quarter of 2013 and in particular coincides with the large proportionate increase in the number of applications from Syria since the outbreak of civil war.
The proportion of initial decisions that are grants of asylum, a form of temporary protection, or another type of grant has increased to 37% (6,596) in the year ending March 2013, the highest proportion in the current series of published data available from 2001. The increase has been driven by increases in grants of asylum; in the year ending March 2013 there were 5,719 asylum grants, the highest since the year ending June 2003.
At the end of March 2013, 14,225 of the applications received since April 2006 from main applicants were pending a decision (initial decision, appeal or further review), 24% more than at the end March 2012.
Human Rights Know No Borders - Amnesty 2013 Report
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." Martin Luther King Jr., "Letter from Birmingham Jail", 16 April 1963
The Amnesty International Report 2013 documents the state of human rights during 2012. Human rights defenders, often themselves living in precarious situations, battled to break through the walls of silence and secrecy to challenge abusers. Through the courts, in the streets and online, they fought for their right to freedom of expression, their right to freedom from discrimination and their right to justice. Some paid a heavy price. In many countries, they faced vilification, imprisonment or violence. While governments paid lip service to their commitment to human rights, they continued to use national security and concerns about public security to justify violating those rights.
The report bears witness to the steadfast and rising clamour for justice. Regardless of frontiers and in defiance of the formidable forces ranged against them, women and men in every region stood up to demand respect for their rights and to proclaim their solidarity with fellow human beings facing repression, discrimination, violence and injustice. Their actions and words show that the human rights movement is growing ever strong and more deep-rooted, and that the hope it inspires in millions is a powerful force for change.
Download the full report <> here . . . . .
AI 2013 Report - Another Anti-Deportation Tool
Lavida and Others v. Greece
School placements for Roma children must not amount to ethnic or racial segregation
In today's Chamber judgment in the case of Lavida and Others v. Greece (application no. 7973/10), which is not final, the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
a violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights in conjunction with Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention (right to education).
The case concerned the education of Roma children who were restricted to attending a primary school in which the only pupils were other Roma children. The Court found that the continuing nature of this situation and the State's refusal to take anti-segregation measures implied discrimination and a breach of the right to education.
Judgement only available in French