Austerity Measures Across Europe Have Undermined Human Rights
?"Many governments in Europe imposing austerity measures have forgotten about their human rights obligations, especially the social and economic rights of the most vulnerable, the need to ensure access to justice, and the right to equal treatment. Regrettably, international lenders have also neglected to incorporate human rights considerations into many of their assistance programmes," said today Nils Mui~nieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing a research paper about the impact of the economic crisis on the protection of human rights.
The Commissioner points out that austerity measures have undermined human rights in several ways: "National decisions on austerity measures and international rescue packages have lacked transparency, public participation and democratic accountability. In some cases, onerous conditionalities have prevented governments from investing in essential social protection, health and education programmes. When the EU as a central actor in the crisis makes decisions about economic governance in member states and when the Troika sets conditions for rescue packages and loan agreements, the impact on human rights should be better taken into account."
Read More: Nils Muiznieks, 04/11/13
Anatomy of a Failed Rendition - Isa Muaza
Over the weekend, just before Amazon sucked all the air out of rational discourse with its absurd PR flim-flam about drone deliveries, a far more sinister aerial story was developing. On Friday, the British Home Office announced that it had deported Ifa Muaza aboard a private jet.
The apparently unusual move of deporting detainees on private jets is not a first for the Home Office, which has previously used private aircraft to spirit contentious cases out of the country. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, who is currently looking for ways to strip Britons of their citizenship in contravention of British and international law, has used the tactic at least twice, including in the deportation of Abu Hamza, the fundamentalist cleric rendered to Jordan despite the clear threat of torture which should have stopped the process, again under both British and international law.
I wanted to know more about this journey. I find the shadowy technological aspects of these abominations against the person to be revealing of the underlying moral bankruptcy of the perpetrators. Technology is politics reified in electromechanical systems. When the government is deleting from the internet its own speeches promising greater transparency, consider this another kind of seeing through the cloud: an exercise in OSINT (Open Source Intelligence), using the tools of the network against its darkest masters.
- Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - November 2013
6 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and two improved in December 2013, according to CrisisWatch N°121
Bangladesh, Central African Republic, China/Japan, Lebanon, Thailand, Yemen
Download the full report: <>CW124.PDF
Central African Republic is now on the brink of collapse. Violence pitting ex-Seleka rebel fighters against civilians and self-defence groups is on the rise and assuming an ever more intercommunal and religious dimension. The national authorities are powerless to tackle growing insecurity as reports of massacres emerge. France has begun deploying troops, but as the country slips further into chaos, the risk of much larger-scale violence and spillover to neighbouring countries, Cameroon in particular, is growing (See our commentary and letter to UNSC).
Lebanon a suicide bomb attack on the Iranian embassy claimed by the al-Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigade, aimed at forcing "Iran's Hizbollah [to] withdraw from Syria", left 26 people killed and scores injured. Attacks against Alawites continued to multiply in Tripoli, including an incident in which Sunni militiamen beat and shot passengers riding on a bus transporting Alawite workers. Sectarian tensions were further inflamed after Internal Security Forces issued a search warrant for Alawite Arab Democratic Party (ADP) members, including General Secretary Ali Eid, charged with aiding a suspect in the August Tripoli bombings. Intensifying fighting in Syria's Qalamoun region threatened to deepen the war's spillover into Lebanon, forcing over 10,000 Syrian refugees to cross the border (See our recent report on the impact of the Syria confict on Lebanon's stability).
Yenem: Violence between Huthis and various adversaries intensified in Yemen's northern provinces, leaving over a hundred dead in the first half of November. Fighting was concentrated around the Dammaj Salafi religious institute in the Zaydi heartland, which Salafis claim fell victim to an unprovoked Huthi attack. Huthis claim self-defence, particularly against an influx of foreign fighters. Despite mediation efforts, an enduring ceasefire has proven elusive. In an ominous sign that fighting may continue or spread, a Huthi-affiliated MP participating in the National Dialogue was assassinated in Sanaa on 22 November. Days later, Southern Conference leader Mohammed Ali Ahmed withdrew from the talks. Though the dialogue is drawing to a close there has as yet been no agreement on the structure of the state, nor on the specifics of implementing dialogue outcomes and moving forward with a transition beyond February 2014 (See our recent report and commentary on the question of Southern secession).
China/Japan: Tension escalated between China and Japan after China announced it was creating an "East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone" containing the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, and said it would take defensive measures against aircraft not complying with Chinese flight regulations. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described it as a "dangerous" move, while the U.S. called it "destabilising" and South Korea also protested. On 28 November China sent military aircraft to patrol the area after Japan, South Korea and the U.S. all flew military aircraft through the area without informing China. The U.S. advised its civilian airlines to observe China's air defence zone while asserting this would not indicate its acceptance, while Japan told its commercial flights to disregard China's new rules (See our latest report on tensions over the East China Sea).
In Thailand, a controversial amnesty bill that would have allowed exiled former PM Thaksin Shinawatra to return to Thailand ignited a wave of protests that swelled into a movement to unseat Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's Pheu Thai Party-led government. Suthep Thaugsuban, a former member of the opposition Democrat Party, is leading the largest protests in Bangkok since 2010 in an attempt to end the "Thaksin regime" and demanding formation of a "People's Council" to govern. Protesters have occupied ministries and government buildings. The government invoked the Internal Security Act in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces, while insisting that its security forces would exercise maximum restraint. At least two people were killed and dozens injured in protest-related violence on 30 November. On 1 December, police fired tear gas at protesters attempting to breach security barriers at Government House while the PM was forced to flee a police complex which came under siege.
Bangladesh's political crisis deepened as the opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) continued to reject what it calls a "one-sided election" and refused to join an "all-party" interim cabinet established to supervise forthcoming polls, in protest at an earlier constitutional amendment by the government to remove the requirement that a caretaker government be installed to govern during election season. Clashes between supporters of the BNP and the ruling Awami League and security forces claimed further lives during the month as the BNP escalated its street protests and shutdowns in an attempt to increase its leverage.
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bolivia, Bosnia, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India (non-Kashmir), Indonesia, Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korean Peninsula, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Caucasus (Russia), Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Western Sahara, Zimbabwe
Improved Situations: DR Congo, Iran
Iran: After nearly a decade of deadlock, Iran and the P5+1 group of countries reached an historic interim agreement on Iran's nuclear program on 24 November (see our statement). The agreement defines a "peaceful Iranian nuclear program" as the two sides' common objective. It begins with details of confidence-building measures which suspend the most troublesome aspects of Iran's nuclear program in return for some targeted and reversible sanctions relief, and outlines the main elements of the final step that will include the normalisation of Iran's nuclear dossier and removal of all nuclear-related sanctions. Momentous challenges remain, particularly in negotiating a comprehensive agreement in the next six months, as major differences remain and the deal faces considerable opposition, led principally by Israel and Saudi Arabia (See our latest report and recent commentary in French).
Democratic Republic of Congo's central government, supported by UN peacekeeping forces, deployed state services to the eastern provinces following last month's defeat of the M23 rebellion. Efforts focused on restoring a measure of state authority to the insecurity-wracked region, while steps towards tackling longstanding impunity were made as soldiers accused of mass rape in Minova in 2012 were put on trial. UN and Congolese officials now plan to turn their efforts towards neutralising the FDLR.
December 2013 Outlook
Conflict Risk Alert: None
Conflict Resolution Opportunity: None
Plane Carrying 'Near To Death' Asylum Seeker Forced Back to UK
Theresa May under fire for bid to fly out hunger striker Ifa Muaza
Home Office officials were refusing to comment on Saturday evening on an apparently botched effort to deport a seriously ill man from Britain by private plane. A jet chartered by the government was forced to return to the UK with Nigerian Ifa Muaza and immigration officials still on board, after a 20-hour flight that saw the plane prevented from entering Nigerian airspace. It diverted to Malta, where an angry dispute broke out with the authorities over the plane's right to use its airstrip.
The aircraft then had to return to Britain, landing at Luton, where Muaza, a failed asylum seeker who was said last week to have been near death after a 100-day hunger strike, was taken off by stretcher and returned to Harmondsworth detention centre near Heathrow. The flight is estimated to have cost the Home Office £95,000- £110,000. Muaza was the only detainee on board, according to sources.
On Saturday night lawyers and supporters of 47-year-old Muaza, who has won support from numerous politicians, human rights groups and celebrities, were trying to stop a second deportation. "It's an unbelievable fiasco and we are very worried about his health. He is very weak," said one.
Read more: Tracy McVeigh, The Observer, <> Saturday 30 November
Isa Muaza - and - Secretary Of State For The Home Department
IM ("the appellant") is a Nigerian national aged 45. He entered the United Kingdom in July 2007 and became an over-stayer on 23 January 2008 following the expiry of his six months' visitor's visa. He applied unsuccessfully for leave to remain under Article 8 ECHR in May 2011. He attended the respondent's asylum screening unit to make an asylum claim on 25 July 2013 and was then taken into immigration detention. His asylum claim was rejected and certified as clearly unfounded on 7 August 2013. On 27 August 2013 he began to refuse food and has continued to do so save for a brief interruption in October and on a few isolated occasions. He has been refusing fluids intermittently.
On 4 October 2013 he issued an application for permission to apply for judicial review, maintaining, at that stage, that his continued detention was unlawful inter alia because it was a breach of the respondent's published policy on detention as his serious medical condition could not be managed satisfactorily in detention and because it was a breach of Articles 2 and/or 3 ECHR.
Interim relief in the form of release was refused by Stewart J. on 17 October 2013 in a reserved judgment and by Collins J. on 28 October 2013. Collins J. ordered a rolled-up hearing of the application for permission and, if granted, the substantive application. That hearing took place on 13 and 14 November before Ouseley J. who, on 19 November, in a very detailed judgment granted permission but refused the substantive claim. He also granted leave to appeal to this court.
On 21 November this court (Maurice Kay, Moore-Bick and Ryder L.JJ.) refused an application for interim relief and ordered that the substantive appeal be heard on 25 November.
Following the hearing before this constitution on 25 November we announced that the appeal would be dismissed and that our judgments would be delivered at a later date. Delivered 05/12/13
'The purpose of any human rights protection is to protect the rights of those whom the majority are unwilling to protect: democracy values everyone equally even if the majority do not'
What's the Point of Human Rights?
Lady Hale, Warwick Law Lecture 28 November 2013
The British used to be proud of their record on human rights. We are, after all, the land of the Magna Carta, signed by King John at Runnymede in 1215. The doors into the library of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom are engraved with a facsimile of the copy kept in the British Library, with one of its two most important clauses picked out: 'To no man shall we sell, or deny, or delay, right or justice' (article 40). The other is: 'No free man shall be taken or imprisoned or dispossessed, or outlawed or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor shall we go upon him, nor shall we send against him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land' (article 39): clear precursors here of articles 5 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Thus it became the King's duty to uphold the rule of law. Thus it is that the writ of habeas corpus, and other remedies controlling the abuse of public power, were and still are issued in the name of the monarch. In the revolutions of the 17th century, culminating in the Bill of Rights of 1689, it was established that the monarch alone could not make or change the law. Only the King or Queen in Parliament could do that.
Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Volume 68
This document provides an update of Country Guidance case law and UKBA publications and developments in refugee producing countries between 19th November and 3rd December 2013 - Volume 68 <> here . . .
Garden Court Chambers - Immigration Law Bulletin - Issue 351
End This Gutter Debate About Britain's Immigration Policy
It's been a depressing week for British politics as it takes another sordid step into the stinking gutter of xenophobia. It was hard to believe the immigration debate could become any more rancid. But once again we see our posturing political parties jostling to outdo each other in their desperate desire to demonstrate hostility to foreigners seeking to come here.
Many leading lights across the political divide privately loathe this tone, which is economically, socially and culturally corrosive for this country. They dislike the deliberate attempt to create a hostile climate to deter potential immigrants. They know many of the ugly arguments they parrot in public fly in the face of facts. But their defence is simple: we must respond to voters' concerns.
Read more: Ian Birrell, The Guardian, <>Friday 29 November
ARC: Commentary UKBA January 2013 Nigeria OGN
This commentary identifies what the 'Still Human Still Here' coalition considers to be the main inconsistencies and omissions between the currently available country of origin information (COI) and case law on Nigeria and the conclusions reached in the January 2013 Nigeria Operational Guidance Note (OGN) issued by the UK Home Office. Where we believe inconsistencies have been identified, the relevant section of the OGN is highlighted in blue.
This commentary is a guide for legal practitioners and decision-makers in respect of the relevant COI, by reference to the sections of the Operational Guidance Note on Nigeria issued in January 2013. Source: Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) Access the report <> here . . . .