Release Evenia Mawongera from Detention
Evenia Mawongera is 55 years old. She lives in Leicester and is from Zimbabwe. She has been living in Leicester with her daughters and grandchildren, all of whom are British citizens, for close to 10 years. The Home Office wants to remove her to Zimbabwe where she is at risk of arrest, persecution and extremely serious ill-treatment.
Online petition: You can add your name <> here ...
Five Steps To Increase Women's Safety
Violence against women is one of the most widespread and serious human rights violations occurring every day in Europe. Only in the last three weeks more than five women have been killed in different countries, including Austria, Italy, Spain and Ukraine.
These murders are only the tip of a much larger iceberg of thousands of cases happening all over the world. Although there is a lack of comprehensive data, it is conservatively estimated that more than 60,000 women and girls die yearly in the world due to violent causes. This death toll is higher than those of some pandemic flus, like the swine flu, and yet violence against women has so far not received the same attention and resources the international community has dedicated to the influenza pandemic.
If one includes non-lethal violence against women in the tally, it becomes clear that change is urgent.
As reported by the World Health Organisation on June 20, one out of three women is a victim of physical and psychological violence, resulting in in severe and long-lasting negative health consequences. By taking into account other forms of violence, including stalking, other studies indicate that 45% of women have experienced some sort of violence during their life. Initial data analysis of an EU-wide survey carried out by the Fundamental Rights Agency confirms this dreadful trend.
These studies unequivocally show the magnitude of the problem, but progress is too slow, even in Europe. An example is the slow pace of ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. This Convention helps frame the work of national and local authorities, including police and health officials, around four key principles of the fight against violence: prevention, protection, prosecution and integrated policies. Open to signature since May 2011, it has been so far ratified only by five countries: Albania, Italy, Montenegro, Portugal and Turkey. Five more countries have to ratify it before it can enter into force. Austria has declared its intention to follow suit and I hope more countries will do the same.
However, ratifications alone will not solve this complex phenomenon. Concrete and concerted actions must follow. I see in particular five key areas where gender sensitive measures should be reinforced. First, political leaders, opinion makers, public personalities, in particular men, must take the lead in condemning violence against women and use their influence on public opinion to promote a cultural shift in which nobody turns their eyes away from violence against women.
In addition, prosecution of offenders should be made more effective. Women victims of violence are not safe as long as the offenders are free to offend again. In many cases ending in death, the victims had already suffered and denounced previous violence perpetrated by the same offender without receiving adequate protection.
This is where two other key actors come into play: the police and health professionals. As they are usually the first to encounter situations of violence against women, they need constant training to recognise it and to provide women with gender sensitive help and care. Special attention should be paid to the particular vulnerability of migrant women who are less likely to report an incident to the police for various reasons, including their residence status and previous bad experience with foreign police.
The last element, arguably a pivotal one, is education. European States have to invest more in all forms of education and awareness raising, starting from early childhood, if they really want to come to terms with the root causes of violent male behaviour, which is often based on cultures of machismo and ingrained patterns of patriarchy. Without education, all other measures aimed at stamping out violence against women cannot succeed.
This change will not take place overnight, but the longer we wait, the more violence women will have to endure. This has to stop.
Jimmy Mubenga Unlawfully Killed, Inquest Jury Finds
Jimmy Mubenga, 46, died aboard a plane at Heathrow airport that was bound for Angola in October 2010. At the end of an eight-week inquest, a jury of seven men and three women recorded a majority verdict of nine to one of unlawful killing after four days of deliberations.
The inquest heard that Mubenga had been calling out for help as the three guards - Stuart Tribelnig, Terry Hughes and Colin Kaler - heavily restrained him for more than half an hour. Several passengers said they heard him shouting that he could not breathe and that he was crying out: "They're going to kill me."
As the plane began to taxi on to the runway the guards said Mubenga became tired and stopped shouting. The guards said they realised something was wrong and the plane returned to the stand and paramedics were called. Mubenga was pronounced dead a short time later.
Read more: <>
Matthew Taylor, Paul Lewis, Guy Grandjean, guardian.co.uk, 09/07/13
Theresa May - Stays Decisions on Financial Requirements
UKBA Statement on Minimum Income Judgement
On 5 July 2013 the High Court delivered its judgment on a legal challenge to the minimum income threshold for spouses/partners and children applying in the family route.
The Home Office has paused decision-making on some spouse/partner and child settlement visa and leave to remain applications to enable us to consider the implications of the judgment.
The pause applies to applications made under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules where the application would be refused solely because the rules relating to the minimum income threshold are not met, including where relevant the evidence requirements in Appendix FM-SE.
The same approach is being applied to a small number of adoption cases which would be refused on this ground alone.
Applications which meet the Rules or which fall to be refused on other grounds, such as requirements for English language or a genuine and subsisting relationship, will continue to be processed and decided as normal. A further announcement will be made in due course.
UKBA Press Release 05/07/13
Minimum Income Requirement for Spouses Judgement -
Judgement was handed down by Mr. Justice Blake, Friday 5th July 2013 it is a mixed bag, he upholds the 'Minimum Income Requirement' but is emphatic that as applied a combination of the 5 features of the new rules are 'so onerous in effect as to be an unjustified and disproportionate interference with a genuine spousal relationship.' further 'there is substantial merit in the contention that the interference represented by the combination of the five factors in the family life of the claimants on the assumed facts is disproportionate and unlawful. Read more here . . . .
Early Day Motion 358: G4S & Palestinian Prisoners
That this House condemns G4S for providing services to Israeli prisons to which Palestinian prisoners are illegally transferred in serious violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and also, in the case of child prisoners, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; further condemns G4S for being associated with treatment of Palestinian prisoners, including children, who are routinely subjected to violence and inhumane treatment at G4S-serviced prisons in Israel and Palestine; and urges the Government not to renew any contracts with G4S while it continues to support Israel in its breach of human rights, UN resolutions, international law and the Geneva Convention.
Primary sponsor: Russell, Bob - < > House of Commons: 04.07.2013
Gaza [Blockade Of Gaza Constitutes Collective Punishment]
Baroness Tonge to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have taken legal advice as to whether the blockade of Gaza constitutes collective punishment.
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): In accordance with longstanding convention followed by successive Governments we are not in a position to comment on the detail of legal advice. However, we are clear that the Israeli restrictions on movements of goods and people, including on access to agricultural and fishing areas, do tremendous damage to the economy and living standards of ordinary people in Gaza. In close co-ordination with our European Union partners and the Office of the Quartet Representation, we continue to press the Israeli government at ministerial and official level to ease access restrictions. <> House of Lords / 9 July 2013 : Column WA29
Israel and Palestine
Baroness Tonge to ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions on military accountability they have had with the government of Israel following the reported shooting of Atta Muhammad Atta Sabah on 6 June.
Baroness Warsi: We are very concerned by incidents in which Palestinian civilians have been injured and killed by the Israel Defence Force (IDF) this year. We have raised these cases with the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the National Security Council and with the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the Israeli authority for the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We most recently raised the issue of investigations into the killing of Palestinian civilians by the IDF with the Israeli Attorney General on 20 June.
House of Lords / 9 July 2013 : Column WA34
Early Day Motion 403: Anti-Muslim Violence In Burma
That this House expresses deep concern at the growing anti-Muslim violence in Burma; is concerned that the government of Burma has still not taken action against those inciting and organising violence; is further concerned by growing Buddhist nationalism in the country and that other religious minorities could also be targeted; is further concerned that, despite Muslims being the majority of the victims of violence, they also make up the vast majority of those being charged with violent offences; calls on the Government to significantly increase support for programmes promoting religious tolerance in Burma; and further calls on the Government to mobilise and co-ordinate an international task force to help address religious violence in Burma.
Sponsors: Corbyn, Jeremy / Doran, Frank / Hemming, John / Qureshi, Yasmin
<> House of Commons: 11.07.2013
Early Day Motion 402: Rights Of Women and Girls in 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: Williams, Mark - <> House of Commons: 11.07.2013
SM & Anor v SSHD
[Impact of section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 upon the consideration by the SSHD of applications by children, made outside the scope of the Immigration Rules, for leave to remain in the United Kingdom]
1. These claims, which were effectively consolidated, concern the impact of section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 upon the consideration by the Secretary of State for the Home Department of applications by children, made outside the scope of the Immigration Rules, for leave to remain in the United Kingdom. All the claimants applied for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). All were granted discretionary leave (DL) for a period in each case of three years. They say that if the Secretary of State had correctly applied section 55 and lawfully considered their applications she would, or at any rate might, have granted them the requested ILR. Such applications are decided by officials of the UK Border Agency by reference to a policy document and instruction entitled "Discretionary Leave". The version of that policy relevant to the present case is that issued with amendments on 27 October 2009.
2. As all counsel agreed towards the end of the hearing, there are essentially two issues in the case.
i) Is that policy document and instruction capable of being read and applied in a way which is compliant with section 55 and the associated jurisprudence? If not, the policy is not lawful, and the decisions under review, which were taken by reference to it, should be reconsidered.
ii) If the policy is capable of being read and applied in a way which is compliant with section 55 and the associated jurisprudence, did the actual decision maker fail to read and apply it in that compliant way? If he did, the decisions should also be reconsidered.
Conclusions and outcome
57. In my view the relevant 2009 Discretionary Leave policy and instruction document is unlawful. It effectively precludes case specific consideration of the welfare of the child concerned in making the discretionary decision whether to grant limited DL or ILR. Further, and contrary to the submissions of Ms Broadfoot, that is the way senior officials at the UKBA intend the policy to be applied, at all events save in an "exceptional case" which "very rarely arises if at all." The policy and instruction fail to give proper effect to the statutory duty under section 55. Even if the policy can be read in the way contended for by Ms Broadfoot (but not by the senior official, Mr Gallagher), that is not the way in which the actual decision maker, Mr Harrison, read and applied it. He, too, would graft on a need for exceptional or compelling features.
58. These reasons, separately or cumulatively, render the actual decisions in the case of each claimant unlawful. I will allow the claims for judicial review and order the Secretary of State to reconsider each claim with a fresh mind and properly applying section 55.
59. The Secretary of State issued a new policy and instruction on Discretionary Leave on 6 April 2013. This new policy primarily reduces the maximum period of a grant of discretionary leave to 21/2 rather than 3 years at a time, and requires from 9 July 2012 that an applicant has completed a total of 10 years, or four successive periods of DL of 21/2 years, before being eligible for ILR. It does describe the position in relation to children in different language in the Introduction at paragraph 1.2 from the language used in the 2009 policy and instruction. However "Transitional Arrangements" under section 10 of the policy make plain that "Those who, before 9 July 2012, have been granted leave under the Discretionary Leave policy in force at the time will continue to be dealt with under that policy through to settlement …" The effect of the Transitional Arrangements is, therefore, that the 2009 policy will continue to apply to a considerable, if diminishing, number of applicants for several years to come. The 2009 policy will require amendment to make it lawful in relation to children in the light of this judgment. I deliberately do not express any view as to the lawfulness of the new 2013 policy, which does employ some different language and which has not been the subject of detailed argument or indeed close consideration by myself. Whether the Secretary of State might consider it wise to review also the lawfulness of the 2013 policy, insofar as it relates to children, in the light of this judgment is entirely a matter for her.
<> Published on Refworld: 10/07/13
EU Adopts 'Asylum Package': All Eyes Turned on Implementation
After five years of negotiations, on June 12, the European Parliament has voted on the remaining legislative pieces of the 'asylum package', which encompasses the recast Asylum Procedures and Reception directives, and the Dublin and Eurodac Regulations, as well as the recast Qualification Directive already adopted in 2011.
Improvements introduced through the asylum package include among others, mandatory personal interviews for all asylum seekers; better representation for unaccompanied children; allowing asylum seekers in an accelerated procedure to request in court to stay in the territory while they appeal against a negative decision on their case; and further approximation of the content of rights granted to beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and refugees in areas such as access to employment and to health care.
However, some provisions may have the effect of undermining the overall aim of achieving harmonised and high standards of protection across Europe. In particular, there is a risk that the broad definition of grounds for asylum detention will increase its use, making it the norm rather than an exception.
Read more: <> European Council of Refugees and Exiles
Garden Court Chambers - Immigration Law Bulletin - Issue 332
ILPA Update 54 and Four New Information Sheets
[In this message you will find the most recent Update and most recent Information Sheets provided by ILPA's Information Service (see below). The Service provides information of interest in immigration, asylum and nationality law, policy and practice, and is designed for non-lawyers (although many lawyers also use the information). Updates set out on one page a very short note of recent developments.]
Children's Best Interests Number 4
This is the latest in ILPA's series of Information sheets on 'Children's Best Interests' and looks at General Comment No. 14 produced by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child regarding Article 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Download <> here . . . .
Family Migration - the Rules Revisited
The immigration rules relating to family migration were amended with effect from 9 July 2012 to limit entry
for family members. By the Government's own estimate, almost 18,000 British people would be prevented
from being reunited with their spouse or partner in the UK every year as a result of the 'new' rules.
On 10 June 2013, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration published a report of their inquiry into
these changes. The All Party Parliamentary Group concluded that the changed requirements have resulted
in the separation of families.
Download <> here . . . .
Rights of Unaccompanied Migrant Children
Unaccompanied migrant children are those who arrive in the United Kingdom separated from their parents and other relatives or who are not being cared for by an adult with the legal or customary responsibility for doing so. Some of those children have been trafficked but many have fled violence, have been subjected to abuse and exploitation and have often faced a traumatic journey to the United Kingdom. Responsibility for their care falls to local authorities although the duty to put their 'best interests' at the forefront of decision-making lies with all public authorities.
Download <> here . . . .
This information sheet explains who requires a medical examination and/or a certificate confirming they are free from active pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) when applying to enter (or return to) the United Kingdom other than as a visitor seeking to enter or remain in the United Kingdom for private medical treatment.
Download <> here . . . .
ILPA Update 54 <> here . . . .
Regards: Alison Harvey, General Secretary ILPA