EDM 202: Victims Of Rape In Situations Of Armed Conflict
That this House notes that victims of rape in situations of armed conflict are defined as wounded and sick under international law; further notes that as such they are entitled to non-discriminatory medical treatment, including counselling and abortion services; observes that UK aid funding should respect the supremacy of international law in respect of the rights of women who have suffered rape in conflict zones; and calls on the Government to review all funding to aid agencies operating in conflict zones to ensure that all aid providers in receipt of UK monies facilitate access to counselling and abortion services for all women and girls impregnated by rape.
Sponsors: Clark, Katy/ Corbyn, Jeremy / Dobson, Frank / Hopkins, Kelvin / Huppert, Julian / Leech, John <> House of Commons: 06.06.2013
Early Day Motion 203: Disappearances In Mexico
That this House is deeply alarmed at the findings of Amnesty International's publication Confronting a Nightmare, Disappearances in Mexico; notes with concern that figures produced by the Mexican government indicated that 26,000 people were reported missing or disappeared in Mexico between 2006 and 2012 and that in 152 cases documented by Amnesty International it has found evidence of involvement by public officials in over half of them; believes the failure to conduct investigations into enforced disappearances has allowed a culture of impunity to develop; acknowledges the distress which forced disappearances have caused families of those affected and notes with deep concern that many of those who seek information on what has happened to loved ones are subject to threats and violence; supports the work of Amnesty International in this area; and calls on the Government to urge the Mexican government to accept the recommendations made in the Confronting a Nightmare report including the introduction of a general law on enforced disappearance, ensuring that officials who fail to properly investigate forced disappearances are held to account and strengthening the rights and protections of relatives of those who have disappeared.
Sponsors: Clark, Katy - House of Commons: 06.06.2013
HR Violations In Occupied Palestinian Must not be Distorted
A United Nations independent expert today drew attention to the human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory and stressed that attempts to distort the facts cannot mask the reality that Israel's actions are endangering Palestinians' lives every day.
"Neither Israel nor its proxies can justify the facts on the ground in occupied Palestine," Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, said, "so they distract, distort and defame to allow the violations to go on."
In a news release, Mr. Falk underlined that "irresponsible and dishonest smear campaigns to discredit those who document these realities do not change the facts on the ground 46 after Israel launched the war that began its occupation of Palestine."
According to Mr. Falk, Israel is actively confiscating Palestinian water and land, having seized an additional 60,000 square meters of land near Nablus just this week.
Read more: <> UN News Centre, 06/06/13
Protection Interrupted: EU Rules Impede Asylum Protection
Asylum seekers in Europe are often faced with EU rules that hinder their ability to seek asylum in an EU country where they would feel most protected. This is according to a new JRS Europe report, Protection Interrupted, released today. The report is based on interviews with 257 asylum seekers and migrants in nine EU countries.
"In June, the EU will adopt a new Common European Asylum System, and the 'Dublin Regulation' is a centrepiece of this system. But for an asylum seeker, this regulation is a key source of frustration, anxiety and thwarted access to protection".
Read more: Jesuit Refugee Service, 04/06/13
NGOs Concerned About New DR Congo Intervention Brigade
Nineteen international NGOs have sent a joint letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to express concern over the peace process in the DR Congo and future military operations by a new UN Intervention Brigade.
The brigade of 3,069 troops from Tanzania, South Africa and Malawi, which the UN peacekeeping department says should be operational by mid-July, has been given a more offensive mandate than any previous contingent with a UN peacekeeping mission. UN Security Council Resolution 2098 empowers it to carry out "targeted and robust offensives… with a view to neutralizing and disarming armed groups", whilst "taking into account the necessity to protect civilians and reduce risks".
The NGOs' letter asks Ban for his leadership "in ensuring that the operations of the Brigade… are clearly linked to the realization of the PSCF" and that it "is part of a broad, comprehensive approach to achieve long-term peace and stability".
Read more: <> Refworld, 31/05/13
Iraq's May Death Toll 1,045 is Worst since 2008
The United Nations mission to Iraq says more than 1,000 people were killed in violence in the country last month - the highest monthly death toll in years. The figures released today showed 1,045 civilians and security personnel killed in May. That surpassed the 712 killed in April, the deadliest month recorded since June 2008. More than half of those killed were in the capital district of Baghdad.
Tallies of Iraq casualties have long been the subject of debate, and the UN total is considerably higher than that reported by news agencies in the country. The Associated Press counted at least 578 Iraqis killed in May, based on reports from Iraqi officials. The UN says its totals are based on direct investigation and accounts from credible outside sources.
UN Committee Against Torture Say UK Not So Squeaky Clean on Human Rights
Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of the United Kingdom, adopted by the Committee at its fiftieth session (6-31 May 2013)
UK practice highlighted ;
* Amending the 2010 UKBA EIG allowing detention of people with mental illness unless it cannot be managed in detention
* Conduct an immediate independent review of the application of Rule 35
* Review screening process for admin detention of asylum-seekers upon entry
* Lowering the evidential threshold for torture survivors
* Deportations to Sri Lanka
* Restraint of children
<> Read the full report here . . . .
UKBA: Operational Guidance Note: India
This document provides UK Border Agency caseworkers with guidance on the nature and handling of the most common types of claims received from nationals/residents of India, including whether claims are or are not likely to justify the granting of asylum, Humanitarian Protection or Discretionary Leave. Caseworkers must refer to the relevant Asylum Instructions for further details of the policy on these areas.
<>Published on Refworld, 31/05/13
EDM 169: Salvation Army Family Tracing Service
That this House recognises the great work that the Salvation Army family tracing service has done in seeing 16,000 members of families reunited annually; thanks them for their tireless work and the support they give to those who can be reunited with loved ones and those who cannot be reunited due to death; and also thanks them for making their service available to all constituencies through their informational leaflet sent to each hon. Member and constituency office.
Sponsors: Shannon, Jim / Greatrex, Tom / Ritchie, Margaret - House of Commons: 03.06.2013
EDM 163: Anniversary Of Imprisonment Of Iranian Baha'i Leaders
That this House notes that 5 to 15 May 2013 marks the five year anniversary of the imprisonment in Iran of the seven Baha'i leaders, also known as the Yaran; and urges the Government to bring to bear all diplomatic and political pressure on the government of Iran to release these individuals.
Sponsors: Hopkins, Kelvin / Bottomley, Peter / Durkan, Mark / Halfon, Robert / Hancock, Mike / Ritchie, Margaret
- <> House of Commons: 03.06.2013
Take Action For Conrad, Torture Victim From Cameroon
Conrad Aime Kwate, a forty-year old torture victim from Cameroon, is scheduled to be removed from the UK on Thursday June 6th. If this deportation goes ahead, he is highly likely to be subjected to further persecution and torture, while his partner is left here powerless to stop it.
Why did they do this to him?
Conrad has been a member of the opposition political party, the Social Democratic Front (SDF) since 1991. In February 2008 he was part of a march where roughly 100 protesters were shot and killed by the army and the police. Amnesty International reported that many were shot at point blank range, with no attempt made to arrest them. This kind of abuse is a typical response to dissent in Cameroon. According to Tawanda Hondora, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for Africa:
What You Can Do: See Stanley's NCADC campaign page <> here . . .
Asylum Support (Rates Adequate and Frozen for Current year)
The Minister for Immigration (Mr Mark Harper): The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 enables the Home Office to support asylum seekers while their application to remain in the UK is determined, and some failed asylum seekers who temporarily are unable to return home. Under these arrangements we provide the claimant and any family members with free fully furnished and equipped housing with no bills to pay, as well as modest rates of financial support to meet their essential day to day living needs.
I have carefully considered whether those rates of financial support are adequate for the purpose set by Parliament, which is to meet the essential living needs of those asylum seekers and their dependants who would otherwise be destitute. I have concluded that they are, and so I am announcing today that the rates will be frozen for the current year.
House of Commons / 6 Jun 2013 : Column 119WS
Abdul Released from Detention, but Not Out of the Woods Yet...
At 6.30pm on Thursday 29th May, Abdul Ghafar Rajabali was released from detention and is now back home in Leicester with his adopted family, friends and supporters.
We would like to say a huge thank you to each and every one of you for your support. We have no doubt that your help in giving Abdul's case such a high profile has greatly contributed to his release
Campaign Continues: Although we've all managed to halt the last deportation, Abdul is still at risk of further detention and possible deportation. So we now have to work on his asylum claim to prevent the same thing happening to him in another few months. That means, the case and the campaign are not over and we still have work to do to get him permanent residence here,
That said, Abdul is very happy and once again, we'd like to say a big thank you to all of you. Your support so far has really helped make a difference!
Background: Release Abdul Ghafar Rajabali and Halt his Deportation
Afghanistan: Over Half A Million People Displaced by Conflict
The return rate of Afghan refugees for the first five months of 2013 amounts to only 15 per cent of the total returns in 2012. Increasing displacement and fewer returns are indicative of heightened conflict and uncertainty.
Garden Court Chambers - Immigration Law Bulletin - Issue 327
Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Volume 58
This document provides an update of Country Guidance case law and UKBA publications and developments in refugee producing countries between 21/05/2013
and 03/06/2013 - Volume 58 <> here . . .
Human Trafficking and Forced Labour
Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Attorney-General what steps the Director of Public Prosecutions is taking to raise awareness amongst prosecutors on how to recognise cases of forced labour and human trafficking; and what assessment he has made of whether the current legislation is being used to prosecute such cases effectively. 
The Solicitor-General: Legal and policy guidance is issued by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) which is updated and provides advice on the relevant legislation and evidential requirements to support the prosecution of the criminal offences of human trafficking, slavery and forced labour. In addition, the CPS published an e-learning programme for prosecutors in March 2013 on all criminal conduct associated with human trafficking and slavery, forced labour and domestic servitude.
The CPS was also consulted about amendments to human trafficking offences following a review of the legislation led by the Home Office in 2012. The amended offences which came into force on 6 April 2013 under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 extend territorial jurisdiction to enable prosecutors to prosecute cases of trafficking where the victims have been trafficked anywhere in the world.
House of Commons / 3 Jun 2013 : Column 774W
Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - May 2013
6 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and 1 improved in May 2012, according to the new issue of CrisisWatch
Deteriorated Situations: Bahrain, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Madagascar, Syria
Download the full report: <> Crisis Watch 118
Syria: crisis continues to draw in its neighbours, threatening to set off a wider regional conflict. Israel launched its first major strike inside Syria, sending jets reportedly to target Iranian missiles bound for Hizbollah. The Syrian regime threatened to retaliate immediately and harshly to any further attack, and to turn the Golan Heights into a new front against Israel. The EU lifted its arms embargo on Syria but said there were no immediate plans to arm the rebels. Russia's decision to honour its 2010 contract to deliver S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to the Assad regime prompted calls from the U.S., France and Israel to reconsider. Israel's defence minister suggested Israel could resort to force to prevent delivery of the weapons. The U.S. and Russia agreed to convene a new peace conference in Geneva in June, but it remains uncertain whether the parties will come to seek compromise. (See our recent commentary in French).
Lebanon is becoming ever more deeply implicated in the Syrian conflict. Hizbollah extended more overt and extensive military support to the Syrian regime, including fighting against rebels in al-Qusayr near the Lebanese border, and for the first time openly declaring its military support to the regime. Lebanese Sunni Islamists are increasingly backing Syria's rebels. Tensions increased within Lebanon, with sectarian violence between Sunnis and Alawites in Tripoli reaching levels not seen since the country's civil war.
Iraq more than a thousand people were killed in sectarian attacks and bombings fuelled by the country's deepening political crisis, making May the country's deadliest month in five years. Hopes for a political breakthrough faded as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and parliamentary speaker Osama al-Nujaifi blamed each other for mounting violence. The government's crackdown on Sunni protesters continued to spur a re-emerging insurgency and retaliatory attacks, leaving the country again teetering on the brink of civil conflict.
Bahrain the Shiite opposition al-Wifaq announced its withdrawal from the National Dialogue for two weeks after government security forces raided the house of the most prominent Shiite cleric Issa Qassem. In the face of political impasse, al-Wifaq called for intensified protests ahead of polls scheduled for next year. Political climate deteriorated during month: opposition suspended its participation in National Dialogue for 2 weeks in protest against 17 May security forces' raid on house of senior Shiite cleric Eissa Qassem, reiterated its initial demands including media access, adequate representation of opposition. Raid sparked mass protest 24 May. Al-Wifaq general secretary 12 May called for intensifying protests in run up to 2014 polls. 7 police wounded in home-made bomb attack in Bani Jamri 29 May. Parliament 8 May proposed draft law on rallies which would require organisers to deposit $53,000 to gain licence to demonstrate. King 10 May defended previous reforms, said "terrorists" in country "losing steam". Govt 27 May banned political groups from contact with Hizbollah. Repression continued including: 28 May arrest of 22 for role in anti-govt protests; 6 Twitter users sentenced to one year's jail for remarks against king; man sentenced to 3 months' jail for hanging flag from truck during 2011 protest.
Madagascar, presidential elections scheduled for July and intended to end four years of political deadlock were postponed after transitional president Andry Rajoelina refused to step down ahead of polling, violating the electoral law. The September 2011 transition roadmap appeared to be unravelling as former first lady Lalao Ravalomanana, Rajoelina and former president Didier Ratsiraka all announced that they would contest the election, and the electoral court validated their applications. Rajoelina and Ratsiraka had pledged not to run, while Lalao Ravalomanana's candidacy is widely viewed as a proxy for her husband, former president Marc Ravalomanana, who had also promised not to compete. The African Union and the Southern African Development Community said they would not recognise the outcome of the elections should any of these candidates win, and the UN said its continued support is contingent on compliance with the roadmap.
Kyrgyzstan: Protests against Kyrgyzstan's largest gold mine escalated and took a violent turn in late May. Protesters demanding an end to alleged environmental pollution from operations at the mine and calling for it to be nationalised blocked the road to the mine and cut off power. The government declared a state of emergency after police clashed with some 3,000 protesters who were attempting to storm mining company offices. The mine is one of Kyrgyzstan's biggest sources of foreign earnings, and disruption to its operations could damage the country's faltering economy. Despite the protesters' environmental demands, much of the unrest appears to have been organised by the nationalist Ata Jurt party. Protestors in the southern city of Jalal-Abad seized government buildings demanding the release of three jailed Ata Jurt members.
Myanmar the government and the Kachin Independence Organisation agreed a seven-point peace pact at the end of the month. The talks, convened for first time in the government-controlled capital of Kachin state, had previously been in deadlock. The deal means that in principle hostilities with all major armed groups in the country have stopped. Crisis Group identifies a Conflict Resolution Opportunity for Myanmar. The month also saw the Rakhine State government announce it was reactivating an earlier local directive imposing a two-child limit for families in Muslim-majority areas of the state, prompting local and international condemnation. There was a further outbreak of Buddhist-on-Muslim violence at the end of the month, this time in the northern town Lashio; one person was reported killed (see our recent blog post and commentary).
Afghanistan, Algeria), Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China/Japan, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India (non-Kashmir), Indonesia, Iran, Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somalia, Somaliland, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Venezuela, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zimbabwe
June 2013 Outlook
Conflict Risk Alert: None
Conflict Resolution Opportunity: Myanmar/Burma
Columbia: In a boost to Colombia's peace process, the government and the FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, announced on 26 May that they had reached an agreement on rural development, the first agenda item in peace talks which began over six months ago (see our recent blog post). President Juan Manuel Santos said that the four main points include access to and use of land, rural development programs, health and education for the rural poor, and food security. The talks will now turn to political participation. Hopes that peace talks with Colombia's second guerrilla group the ELN (National Liberation Army) would begin in May suffered a setback, however, when the ELN killed eleven soldiers in an ambush in Norte de Santander.