United Nations Bans Female Genital Mutilation
The United Nations General Assembly has unanimously passed a resolution banning the practice of Female Genital Mutilation. This significant milestone towards the ending of harmful practices and violations that constitute serious threat to the health of women and girls was taken by the 194 UN Member States, who approved five General Assembly resolutions today on advancing women's rights, including one on intensifying global efforts for the elimination of female genital mutilations (FGM).
Read more: UN Women, 20/12/12
Citizens UK – For The People Or The State?
Is a human rights charity working too closely with UKBA?
There is no doubt that Citizens UK has made some very important political interventions but now it appears to be succumbing, like a number of other voluntary sector groups, to state blandishments. Other examples include Barnardo's, which provides welfare services at Cedars, the family friendly detention centre for families with children in Crawley and Refugee Action, which runs the Choices Assisted Voluntary Return Service. This new contract culture into which charities are being beguiled raises important questions about the nature of charitable organisations and their demarcation from state agencies.
Read more: by Harmit Athwal for IRR, 10/01/13
Sri Lanka (House of Lords)
This debate is about the LLRC, as I will call it in shorthand. It is not about the Supreme Court and what has happened there, although I will allude to that later in my contribution. A war lasting 30 years or thereabouts is a very long war. A number of colleagues in the House came through the Second World War, which lasted only five years. Change is inevitable when a war ends and Sri Lanka is no different from anywhere else in that respect. However, one thing was different in Sri Lanka. I remember the sheer joy of VE Day, as I am sure do others. Initially, there was a sense of sheer joy in Sri Lanka but it was very quickly clouded by allegations of war crimes and allegations that Sri Lanka had abused certain other international laws. My analysis leads me to the conclusion that one of the key reasons why this happened was that although the Tamil Tigers were defeated on the ground in Sri Lanka, the network that they had set up across the world was still intact, many of the senior operatives were still in place, certainly vast funding was still available, and the propaganda machine was alive and well in the sense that the propaganda was still being pumped out. That affected particularly the million or so members of the Tamil diaspora who had left because of the conflict. They were clearly leant on-we know this from the evidence gathered in many countries-and as a result western Governments understandably felt that they had to listen. Whether or not they felt that they had to act is another matter.
Read more: House of Lords / 8Jan 2013 : Column GC13
Sri Lanka (House of Commons)
I called this debate in response to last November's publication of the United Nations investigation of its handling of war crimes in Sri Lanka, which concluded that the response from the international community to the tragedy of the Tamils was inadequate. According to the internal review, UN staff in Colombo and New York simply did not perceive prevention of the killing of civilians as their responsibility. Despite the International Committee of the Red Cross reporting an "unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe", the UN suppressed information on casualty figures and hid the Sri Lankan Government's responsibility for the lives lost. Following intimidation and threats from the Government, the UN unquestionably relocated its staff away from the fighting.
Rather than trying to stop the atrocities, the international community turned a blind eye. Tens of thousands of people were being massacred, yet at the time the international community pretended that it was not happening. Oppression on a barely imaginable scale took place. Thanks to the fearless reporting of a small number of journalists, the truth is out. Channel 4's documentary, "Sri Lanka's Killing Fields", deserves special praise. Anyone who doubts why we need justice should watch that astonishing documentary. The images broadcast by Channel 4 are among the most harrowing ever to appear on television. They showed what the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings concluded was evidence of "definitive war crimes" and what the UN Secretary-General's panel of experts admitted was "a grave assault on the entire regime of international law".
Read more: House of Commons Hall/8Jan 2013 : Column 2WH
Deportation: Sri Lanka
Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations she has received from human rights groups on the UK's returns policy to Sri Lanka. 
Mr Harper: Representations have been made by Freedom from Torture who have made allegations as to mistreatment of Tamil returnees to Sri Lanka from the UK.
Similar representations and allegations have been made by Human Rights Watch and Tamils against Genocide.
Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent consideration she has given to the UK's returns policy to Sri Lanka. 
Mr Harper: The alleged mistreatment of returnees to Sri Lanka has been fully considered by the UK Border Agency. Guidance was issued in a country policy bulletin for Sri Lanka, published on the UK Border Agency website in October 2012. Following consideration of the evidence published by Freedom from Torture, Human Rights Watch and Tamils against Genocide it was concluded that it did not support the assertion that a change in the UK Border Agency's policy on returns to Sri Lanka is warranted.
House of Commons / 8Jan 2013 : Column 230W
Financial Appeal for Standing Orders/Donations - 2013
At present 'No-Deportations' has no funding of any kind, so are appealing to recipients of 'No-Deportations' mailings for standing orders /donations.
'No-Deportations' provides 'Signposting' to any one in the UK subject to UK immigration controls and does not want to leave the UK, for whatever reasons. Whether they fear return to their country of origin for political reasons, fear of religious/ethnic persecution, would face persecution for their gender preferences, or wish to remain in the UK for economic reasons, in that they can get a better standard of living for their families/themselves, can send remittances back to their families in country of origin.
To this end 'No-Deportations' sources up to date reports on conditions in countries, which are a source of people travelling to the UK for asylum/political/gender/religious/economic reasons.
Provides up to date UK immigration case law, rulings of UK Immigration Courts/Tribunals, UK Supreme Court, European Court of Human Rights, European Court of Justice that may benefit those UKBA are trying to remove/deport from the UK.
Where those subject to UK immigration controls, fallen foul of those controls and are required to leave the UK. 'No-Deportations' helps families/individuals/campaigners set up Anti-Deportation Campaigns, will try to find alternate legal avenues for them to remain in the UK.
We do not give legal advice or provide legal advice, but will read persons UKBA documents refusing them leave to remain in the UK and 'signpost' accordingly.
All information is provided freely to anyone seeking help without fear or favour.
Take out a 'Standing order' to 'No-Deportations'
'Standing orders' are the best way to support 'No-Deportations', as this provides regular monthly income.
Download 'Standing order' form here . . . . , just fill in and return to your bank.
If you take out a standing order please notify ''No-Deportations' of date standing order is to start and amount.
You can donate to 'No-Deportations' by cheque:
We have kept the 'Freemovement' bank account
Make cheque out to 'Freemovement' and post to"
C/o 22 Berners Street
John O for 'No-Deportations'
Assessment Of Good Character In Citizenship Applications
From 13 December 2012 changes were made to the Nationality Instructions that affect anyone applying for citizenship on or after that date. The main changes deal with criminality and how it is assessed in terms of the good character requirement in citizenship applications. Some of the main amendments are summarised below:
Applications made on or after 13 December 2012 which feature a criminal conviction will no longer be assessed against the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Instead they will be measured against a new set of sentencing limits.
Where an application features a sentence of 4 years or more in prison this can never fall outside a sentencing threshold. Such an application for citizenship will likely be refused.
Police cautions will be looked at in determining whether someone meets the good character requirement.
There will be greater scope to discount some disciplinary military offences when deciding nationality applications from serving and former members of HM Forces.
For full details of the changes that have been made in terms of the assessment of good character, please see the following updated guidance on this website.
Asylum Support [No increase this year]
Sarah Teather (Brent Central) (LD): When she expects to announce the asylum support rates for 2013-14.
The Minister for Immigration (Mr Mark Harper): There are no current plans to change the asylum support rates, but we do of course keep the matter under constant review.
Sarah Teather: The Minister's Department has not made a decision on the asylum support rates in this financial year. He has therefore frozen the rates by default, without coming to the House to announce that decision. I understand from an announcement made in another place that a review is ongoing, but does he accept that kicking the matter into the long grass for a further year simply will not do?
Mr Harper: I said in my answer that we keep the matter under review. There is no statutory provision to make an annual uprating, but we keep this under review and look at the figures. I have listened carefully to what the hon. Lady has said and I will consider the matter.
House of Commons / 7 Jan 2013 : Column 17
Early day motion 880: International Land Grabs
That this House is concerned about the growing practice of international financial land grabbing, particularly in third world nations by foreign investors who are causing many third world citizens to lose their homes, land and access to the resources they depend upon to be able to grow, eat and sell their products to sustain themselves; and believes the Government can and must do something to stop this occurring including calling upon the World Bank to institute a six month freeze on agricultural lending which involves large scale acquisitions and use the 2013 G8 Presidency to promote global action to develop transparency in land acquisitions, improve governance and help poor people into sustainable lives.
Sponsors: Meale, Alan / Durkan, Mark - House of Commons: 07/01/2013
Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Volume 48
This document provides an update of Country Guidance case law and UKBA publications and developments in refugee producing countries between
18/12/2012 and 04/01/2013 - Volume 48 here . . .
Garden Court chambers - Immigration Law Bulletin – Issue 306
ECtHR Guide On Article 5 - Right To Liberty And Security
The European Court of Human Rights have launched a new series of studies on its case-law relating to particular Articles of the Convention. The first covers Article 5.
Downlaod the guide here . . . .
10 Conflicts to Watch in 2013
Sudan, Turkey/PKK, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mali, Nigeria, DR Congo, Kenya, Syria and Lebanon
Louise Arbour, for International Crisis Group, 27th December 2012
Every year, around the world, old conflicts worsen, new ones emerge and, occasionally, some situations improve. There is no shortage of storm clouds looming over 2013: Once again, hotspots old and new will present a challenge to the security of people across the globe.
Read More: here . . . .
IMB Refute POA Claims on Morton Hall IRCDisturbance
Post on Morton Hall IRC, last Wednesday has been refuted by Independent Monitoring Board the board being very critical of Prison Officers Association (POA) version. May be worth remembering David Ramsbotham's opinion of the POA when he was HMCIP.
A culture of cynicism among senior officers pervades the prison service and stifles progress, the culture was apparent in the cynical way officers viewed the introduction of new programmes and changing work practices. It was most noticeable among older staff, but even new recruits who began with enthusiasm were ground down "by domination and intimidation" which he described as "a pernicious way of influencing colleagues". The problem was exacerbated by, but not entirely due to, uneasy industrial relations with staff associations, the biggest of which is the Prison Officers' Association.
Staff talked openly of the ability of POA to keep managerial decisions in check, or even, on occasions, to have the power of veto over them. All expressions of the will of staff, and its authority, were seen to come through the POA, and, as a result, the relationship between management and the POA was not, in our view, a working partnership. Many staff expressed the view that they could take little action without the authority of the POA,
But what concerns me, as far as the future, in particular, is concerned, is that managers appeared to lack the support and authority of the Prisons Board which is essential to enable them to tackle these attitudes, and those who profess them, effectively. What is more, the attitude of automatic challenge to any manifestation of management has clearly not grown up overnight, but been allowed to develop and survive for a number of years. It is now part of the unwritten culture of HMPs, and represents what good staff, and all decent minded people, know to be profoundly wrong, and in need of elimination. The question is 'how?'
Sir David Ramsbotham, Circa 1999
Morton Hall Riot Was 'exaggerated', Independent Board Claims
Claims of rioting at an immigration removal centre have been "exaggerated", its independent board has claimed.
Officers were hurt during four days of disturbances at Morton Hall in Lincolnshire over the Christmas period.
Prison officers union, the POA, said five members of staff had been hurt, and added it feared one of its members would get killed.
But Rod Booth, who chairs the Independent Monitoring Board, denied there were full scale riots.
He said he had looked at CCTV footage and the POA's version of events had been exaggerated.
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-20909296>Read more: BBC News, 4 January 2013
95,344 Peope Behind Bars in the UK on Friday 28th December 2012
Prison population UK/Scotland/N.Ireland Friday 28th December 2012
Figures do not include person held in police cells
Morton Hall IRC Detainees/Officers Hurt During Violence
Several prison officers are reported to have been injured during a serious disturbance at the Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre on Christmas Eve. One prisoner is said to be in a serious condition in hospital with a head injury. Between 30 and 40 Prisoners are believed to have started a peaceful protest against conditions [there was a serious water supply failure, before the incident, all toilets blocked, no running water whatsoever, no cooked meals, detainees given sandwiches and cold drinks] within the facility, and refused to return to their cells when instructed to.
Despite the UK border agency playing down the incident, the POA (Prison Officer Association) claim that around 50 individuals were involved in serious violence that included the use of home-made knives, pool-cues, and snooker balls. They also claim that there was a serious escape attempt thwarted on Christmas day.