Fastrack: UKBA Refuse to Adopt UN guidelines
Lord Roberts of Llandudno to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the Detained Fast Track programme in the light of Guideline IV of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' Guidelines on the Applicable Criteria and Standards relating to the Detention of Asylum-Seekers and Alternatives to Detention 2012 that detention "must be an exceptional measure".[HL662]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: A specific review of the Detained Fast Track (DFT) processes in light of Guideline IV is not planned. The Home Office works closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and has consulted with its representatives on a number of occasions regarding DFT policy. The 2012 guidelines were brought to the attention of policy officials following publication, at which time they were carefully examined. Guideline IV of the UNHCR document lays out a number of limited bases in which it considers asylum applicants may be detained. The Guideline does not admit the basis under which DFT has consistently operated.
The Home Office has considered the Guidelines and we continue to believe that where applied carefully, on a case by case basis and in circumstances limited by law and our published policy, the detention of asylum applicants for a short period while their need for protection is assessed is fair, lawful and appropriate.
<> House of Lords / 13 Jun 2013 : Column WA261
10.5 Million Children Worldwide in Forced Domestic Labour
With an estimated 10.5 million children worldwide working in people's homes in hazardous and often slavery-like conditions, the United Nations labour agency today called for an end to child labour in domestic work and urged decent working conditions for adolescents who can be legally employed.
"There is no place and no excuse for child labour in domestic or any other form of work," UN International Labour Organization (ILO) Director-General, Guy Ryder, said in his speech in Geneva to mark World Day against Child Labour.
According to the latest figures in ILO's report, Ending child labour in domestic work, released to coincide with the Day, of the 10.5 million underage workers, an estimated 6.5 million are child labourers aged between five and 14 years of age. More than 71 per cent are girls, some of whom work as a result of forced labour and trafficking.
Read more: <> UN News Centre, 12/06/13
Children Seeking Asylum Should 'Be Better Cared For' by the State
Hundreds of children who travel by themselves to Britain seeking asylum every year should be better cared for by the state, a parliamentary human rights committee has concluded, noting that currently the state does not always have their best interests at heart.
The report by the joint committee on human rights (JCHR) warns that the system designed to identify which children have been trafficked into the UK is flawed, and as a result many children who have been brought here by traffickers, usually to work or for sexual exploitation, are not helped. As a result, the system is failing to prevent child victims of trafficking from endingup in the criminal justice system, accused of committing a crime.
Read more: Amelia Gentleman, <> Guardian, 12/06/13
Handbook on European Law - Asylum, Borders and Immigration
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) are today launching a second practical guide to European law. The Handbook on European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration builds on the experience of the first joint project between the two institutions which led to the publication of the Handbook on European non-discrimination law in 2011. Today's handbook is the first comprehensive guide to European law in the areas of asylum, borders and immigration, taking into account both the case-law of the ECtHR and that of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). It also contains the relevant EU Regulations and Directives, as well as references to the European Social Charter (ESC) and other Council of Europe instruments.
The handbook focuses on law covering the situation of third-country nationals in Europe and covers a broad range of topics, including access to asylum procedures, procedural safeguards and legal support in asylum and return cases, detention and restrictions to freedom of movement, forced returns, and economic and social rights. The guide is aimed at lawyers, judges, prosecutors, border guards, immigration officials and others working with national authorities, as well as non-governmental organisations and other bodies that may be confronted with legal questions in the areas covered by the handbook.
Download the handbook <> here . . . .
UKBA: Operational Guidance Note: Afghanistan
This document provides UK Border Agency (UKBA) caseworkers with guidance on the nature and handling of the most common types of claims received from nationals/residents of Afghanistan, 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, <>Tuesday 11th June 2013
UKBA: Country of Origin Information Report - Somalia
This Country of Origin Information (COI) Report has been produced by the COI Service, United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA), for use by officials involved in the asylum/human rights determination process. The Report provides general background information about the issues most commonly raised in asylum/human rights claims made in the United Kingdom. The main body of the report includes information available up to 1 November 2011. The 'Latest News' section contains further brief information on events and reports accessed from 2 November 2011 to 17 January 2012. The report was issued on 17 January 2012.
Published on Refworld, <> Tuesday 11th June 2013
AZ (Asylum-'Legacy' Cases) Afghanistan v. SSHD
(i) Where an appellant in an asylum appeal had previously been informed that his case is being considered as a 'legacy case' but no decision under the process had been made, a subsequent immigration decision following a rejection by the Secretary of State of his asylum claim is not rendered unlawful by reason of the failure to make a decision under the legacy process.
(ii) There is no obligation on a Tribunal to adjourn an asylum appeal so as to allow for a decision to be made under the legacy process.
<> Published Refworld: 10/06/13
Immigration Act 1971 (Amendment) Bill [HL] - First Reading
A Bill to make provision for amending the Immigration Act 1971. The Bill was introduced by Lord Roberts of Llandudno, read a first time and ordered to be printed.
Ivo Kuka Wins the Right to Remain!
Ivo Kuka fled his homeland after being tortured and sexually assaulted in Cameroon for membership of the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC), who call for independence for English-speaking Southern Cameroon from French-speaking Republic of Cameroon.
Let down by the fast-track detention system and his previous solicitors, Ivo was given the chance to appeal his asylum refusal, having already been threatened with removal.
Finally able to explain why he needed protection in the UK (and why the screening and asylum interviews had failed to give him this opportunity), and with good legal representation, strong backing from his supporters and the intervention of Amnesty International, the court recognised his asylum claim!
This is great news for Ivo, and for all Cameroonian asylum seekers trying to decision makers, and the public, to understand the level of risk to political activists in Cameroon.
Source: <> NCADC News, 07/06/13
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
Garden Court Chambers - Immigration Law Bulletin - Issue 328
Published Monday 10th June 2013
MA & Ors v SSHD  EUECJ C-648/11
Article 6 of Council Regulation (EC) No 343/2003 ('Dublin II Regulations') for establishing the criteria for determining the Member State responsible for examining an asylum application lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national should be interpreted as meaning that; where an unaccompanied minor with no member of his family legally present in the territory of a Member State has lodged asylum applications in more than one Member State, the Member State in which that minor is currently present, after having lodged an asylum application there, is to be designated the 'Member State responsible'.
For the full judgment click <> here . . . .
ZZ v Secretary of SSHD  EUECJ C-300/11
The requirements under Article 30(2) and Article 31 of Directive 2004/38/EC ('the Citizens Directive') that a reasoned refusal should be given when a decision to refuse a right of entry on public policy grounds under Article 27 is made, can be limited to what is necessary and in a manner which takes due account of the confidentiality of the evidence that formed the basis of the decision.
For the full judgment click <> here . . . .
Mohammed v Austria 2283/12 Chamber Judgment  ECHR 516
A Sudanese asylum seeker successfully relied on Art3/13 of the ECHR to resist the Austrian Government's reliance on an historical transfer order to Hungary, for his asylum claim to be considered there, under the provisions of Council Regulation (EC) No 343/2003. The ECtHR found that following a fresh claim for asylum in Austria, the Austrian Government were obliged to consider whether a further transfer order was appropriated, particularly in light of new evidence regarding detention conditions for asylum seekers, and other failings in processing asylum applications, in Hungary.
For the full judgment click <> here . . . .
Hasanbasic v. Switzerland (no. 52166/09) - Violation of Article 8
The applicants, Nusret Hasanbasic and lazenka Hasanbasic-Zucko, are nationals of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mr Hasanbasic was born in 1956 and lives in Bosnia and Mrs Hasanbasic-Zucko was born in 1951 and lives in Berne (Switzerland). In 1979 Mrs Hasanbasic-Zucko obtained a settlement permit for Switzerland. In 1982 Mr Hasanbasic had a child with her, and they married. He initially held a temporary residence permit, then a settlement permit. In August 2004 he informed the authorities that he intended to return permanently to his country of origin, and his settlement permit expired. He returned in December 2004 on a tourist visa, then left Switzerland following a Federal Court judgment against him. His wife submitted a request for family reunion in favour of her husband, but that request was rejected. That decision was upheld by the Federal Court, which noted that the first applicant had been convicted on criminal charges, that the couple had acquired debts, that they had received significant amounts in welfare assistance, and that it was probable that they would live on state benefits in the future. Relying on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life and for the home), the applicants alleged that the authorities' refusal to grant Mr Hasanbasic a settlement permit in Switzerland had been disproportionate and had not been "necessary in a democratic society".
Violation of Article 8: Just satisfaction: The applicants did not claim compensation for the damage suffered; the Court awarded them EUR 9,000 jointly in respect of costs and expenses.
Harmondsworth: Detainees freed After Near-Fatal Hunger Strikes
An increasing number of asylum seekers are being released from detention after almost starving themselves to death, the Guardian has learned.
On Monday (10/06/13) alone, four men were freed from Harmondsworth immigration removal centre after refusing food for weeks, according to sources both inside the centre and at the Home Office. As many as 17 inmates were on hunger strike at the centre last month, the Harmondsworth source said.
Security staff say they are placed in an impossible situation as more detainees refuse food as a means of obtaining their release. "We do not want detainees to die, but releasing them may encourage other detainees to go on hunger strike. It is a lose-lose situation," said the Harmondsworth source, who asked not to be named for fear of losing their job.
The four asylum seekers released on Monday had been assessed as medically unfit for detention weeks earlier, the centre source said, but the Home Office refused to release them until this week when one of them was at "death's door". The centre's watchdogs said they were "amazed that a doctor's judgment is overruled".
Read more: Eric Allison/Helen Pidd, guardian.co.uk, 14//06/13
No Time Limit on Separation of Families in Detention
Lord Roberts of Llandudno to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have plans to introduce (1) a time limit on the separation of families within immigration detention, and (2) procedures for carrying out best interests assessments on children as recommended by the Bail for Immigrant Detainees' Fractured Childhoods report.[HL663]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Where a parent is detained under immigration powers pending removal and thereby separated from their family, the Home Office aims to ensure that detention is kept to a minimum and that removal takes place promptly. There are no plans to introduce a time limit on such separations.
Neither are there are any plans to introduce best interest assessments as recommended in the Bail for Immigration Detainees' report. However, the Home Office already considers children's best interests at relevant stages whenever immigration functions are carried out.
<> House of Lords / 13 Jun 2013 : Column WA261
North-West Pakistan - 1.1 Million People Internally Displaced
Counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations and violent clashes between non-state armed groups continue to lead to major, rapid movements of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Pakistan's volatile north-west. Within the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Khyber and Kurram agencies are currently the worst-affected areas. More than 415,000 people were newly displaced in 2012, and at least 131,000 more have fled their homes since mid- March this year
Read more: <> Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC)
Rakhine and Kachin State (Human Rights)
In June 2011, the Burmese army in Kachin state broke a 17-year ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Organisation, and for the past two years it has pursued a brutal war against the Kachin people, targeting civilians and violating international law. The United Nations special rapporteur has documented widespread abuses, which constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. Rape and gang rape, torture, executions, arson, mortar bombing of civilian villages, beatings and the use of child soldiers are commonplace. The UN Human Rights Council resolution on Burma, passed in March 2013, highlighted serious human rights abuses that violate international law, including arbitrary detention, forced displacement, land confiscations, rape and other forms of sexual violence, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, as well as other violations of international humanitarian law. None the less, the Government of Burma still deny that human rights abuses have taken place, and when asked about the abuses in a recent interview.
Read more: House of Commons / <> 12 Jun 2013 : Column 72WH
Detaining Pregnant Women Seriously Damages Their Health
Stillbirth, miscarriage and acute psychosis are amongst the problems experienced by pregnant women held in immigration removal centres, according to a disturbing new report,Ê'Expecting Change: the case for ending the immigration detention of pregnant women', released Tuesday June 11th by the charity Medical Justice. It exposes the injustice and ineffectiveness of detaining pregnant women for immigration purposes.
<> Read More: Medical Justice
Freedom of Information Request - Longest Lengths of Detention Q1/2013
'No-Deportations' has requested information on the longest recorded lengths of time for people who are in detention under Immigration Act powers, by gender, as at 31 March 2013. This falls to be dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
As at 31 March 2013, National Statistics show that of the 2,853 people currently detained solely under Immigration Act powers in immigration removal centres, short term holding facilities and pre departure accommodation the 10 longest recorded lengths of detention are:
3.3 years 1,207 days 1 Female / 3.2 years 1,186 days 1 Male
2.8 years 1,025 days 1 Male / 2.6 years 979 days 1 Male
2.6 years 969 days 1 Male / 2.6 years 961 days 1 Male
2.5 years 916 days 1 Male / 2.3 years 870 days 1 Male
2.2 years 803 days 1 Male / 2.1 years 795 days 1 Male
Asylum Seekers: Deportation [Reducing the Number of Appeals]
16. Stephen Phillips (Sleaford and North Hykeham) (Con): What plans she has to speed up the deportation of those refused asylum in the UK.
The Minister for Immigration (Mr Mark Harper): We want to continue to deport those who have no right to be in the United Kingdom, whether they are failed asylum seekers or foreign national offenders. Increased use of detained fast track and our national removals centre will reduce the risk of absconding, as well as being more successful in deporting people.
Stephen Phillips: One of the frustrations felt by all our constituents about the asylum and wider immigration system is the seemingly endless ways in which failed asylum seekers and immigrants are able to keep on appealing. I hope that the Minister and my right hon.
Friend the Secretary of State will use the forthcoming immigration Bill to clamp down on the many rights of appeal.
Mr Harper: I am pleased to be able to tell my hon. and learned Friend that that is exactly what we are going to do. The immigration Bill plans to reduce the number of decisions it takes to remove someone who has no right to be in the country. Reducing the number of appeals will make the process easier and swifter.
<> House of Commons / 10 Jun 2013 : Column 16
Egypt [Situation of Religious Minorities]
Baroness Cox to ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the situation of religious minorities in Egypt since the Arab Spring.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, Egypt has witnessed an upsurge in sectarian violence during the transition period. Foreign Office Ministers have been clear throughout the events in Egypt that have taken place since the revolution that the freedom of religious belief needs to be protected and that the ability to worship in peace is a vital component of a democratic society. We continue to urge the Egyptian authorities to promote religious tolerance and to revisit policies that discriminate against anyone on the basis of their religion. We are also in contact with representatives of the Coptic Church and other religious groups.
Baroness Cox: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his sympathetic reply. Is he aware that since the downfall of President Mubarak there have been attacks on Sufi shrines, the marginalisation of the Baha'is, hostility towards Muslim secularists and a massive escalation of assaults on Christian communities, including the Coptic cathedral, when security forces stood by doing nothing to deter the violence? In what specific ways have Her Majesty's Government encouraged the Egyptian Government to create an environment of social cohesion, reduce tensions and promote mutual respect between adherents of different faiths so that they can live together as equal citizens in a nation that recognises their rights and values their citizenship?
<> Read more: House of Lords / 10 Jun 2013 : Column 1400
Kyrgyzstan: 3 Years After Violence, a Mockery of Justice
Justice for crimes committed during the ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010 remains elusive and the authorities' commitment to accountability is in doubt. Many people have gone on trial in connection with the violence. But the justice process has been seriously flawed from arrest to conviction, and has led to lengthy prison sentences based on unsound convictions.
Criminal investigations into the June 2010 violence have been marred by widespread arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment, including torture. Unchecked courtroom violence and other egregious violations of defendants' rights have blocked the accused from presenting a meaningful defense. Human Rights Watch has documented how investigations disproportionately and unjustly targeted ethnic Uzbeks, and how this group has a heightened risk of torture in custody.
Read more: Human Rights Watch, <> 08/06/13
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
Announced Inspection of Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre
Inspection 28th January to 8th February 2013 by HMCIP, report compiled April 2013, published Tuesday 11th June
Colnbrook is one of the more secure and 'prison-like' facilities in the IRC estate. It holds just over 400 mainly adult male detainees, as well as a small number of women. Provision for women was due to expand. Serco had decided not to re-tender to run the centre at the imminent conclusion of its current contract. Colnbrook had been on a consistent path of improvement and was safer than inspectors had found it in the past.
'Some of Colnbrook's difficulties were structural – for example, the prison-like character of the institution – but others just required attention by managers, like cleanliness, diversity management and removing unnecessary impediments to communication. A more serious rethink was needed about the use of the 'first night last night unit', and there were too many cases of damaging long-term detention, which needed urgent resolution by UKBA. These are important shortcomings. Nick Hardwick
Inspectors were concerned to find that:
- UK Border Agency services were too limited at the time of our inspection.
- Ventilation too was problematic. Unquestionably, the worst unit environmentally and in terms of regime was the cramped and dirty 'first night last night unit
- There was a small separate dormitory for short-stay women detainees, but if no space was available there, they were held in the inadequate FNLNU alongside men, which was unacceptable.
- Detainees with disabilities, in particular, were poorly provided for.
- there was still significant evidence of constant low-level anxiety and fear among detainees, linked to the uncertainties of lengthy immigration processes, exemplified by a notable number of detainees who had been held for extended periods without resolution of their cases;
- although the centre was relatively new, the cleanliness and decorative state needed improvement, and the worst environment was the cramped and dirty 'first night last night unit';
- welfare support was reasonable, but not administered systematically, meaning the needs of individuals could be missed;
- the use of the 'first night last night unit' and processes in managing the removal of the most complex cases and most vulnerable detainees were in many cases disproportionate;
- the reasons why websites or foreign news media were blocked were unclear to both detainees and staff.
- use of the FNLNU and processes in managing the removal of the most complex cases and most vulnerable detainees was in many cases disproportionate.
- Inspectors made 79 recommendations
Introduction from the report
Colnbrook is an immigration removal centre (IRC) adjacent to Heathrow Airport and one of the more secure and 'prison-like' facilities in the IRC estate. Currently managed under contract by Serco, the centre holds just over 400 mainly adult male detainees, as well as a small number of women. We learnt during the inspection that provision for women at Coin brook was to be expanded. Serco had decided not to re-tender to run the centre at the imminent conclusion of its current contact.
The view of local managers was that Coin brook had been on a consistent path of improvement in recent years. This was not an unreasonable assessment. The centre was safer than we have found it in the past and many key indicators - such as levels of violence, the amount of administrative separation and the use of force - had been steadily reducing. Initiatives were in place to assist the resolution of conflict, and peer support structures were a help. Security was now more proportionate and many of the excessive restrictions we saw at the last inspection had been lifted.
However, there was still significant evidence of constant low-level anxiety and fear among detainees. Much of their frustration and vulnerability was linked to the uncertainties of lengthy immigration processes, exemplified by a notable number of detainees who had been held for extended periods without resolution of their cases. Reasonable legal support and access was facilitated, but UK Border Agency services were too limited at the time of our inspection.
The centre was relatively new but the cleanliness and decorative state needed improvement. Ventilation too was problematic. Unquestionably, the worst unit environmentally and in terms of regime was the cramped and dirty 'first night last night unit' (FNLNU). There was a small separate dormitory for short-stay women detainees, but if no space was available there, they were held in the inadequate FNLNU alongside men, which was unacceptable.
Relationships between detainees and staff were constructive but this strength was not exploited to its best advantage. Personal officer work and the promotion of diversity, for example, were surprisingly weak. Detainees with disabilities, in particular, were poorly provided for. Formal complaints, in contrast, were properly addressed, and health care had improved significantly.
Access to recreational facilities for men was reasonable and there was enough paid work for those who wanted it. Some good one-to-one coaching was offered in education. The shop provided an improved service but, as with all activity and service provision, access was significantly worse for women and those in the FNLNU. Food quality was poor.
Welfare support for detainees was reasonable but not administered systematically, meaning the needs of individuals could be missed. Detainees' access to communication was adequate, although mobile phones were not always easy to obtain. The reasons why some websites or foreign news media were blocked were unclear to both detainees and staff. Some work was being done to provide information about support in potential countries of destination. However, the use of the FNLNU and processes in managing the removal of the most complex cases and most vulnerable detainees was in many cases disproportionate.
Some of Coin brook's difficulties were structural- for example, the prison-like character of the institution - but others just required attention by managers, like cleanliness, diversity management and removing unnecessary impediments to communication. A more serious rethink was needed about the use of the FNLNU, and there were too many cases of damaging long term detention, which needed urgent resolution by UKBA. These are important shortcomings, but overall this report describes improving outcomes in a generally well managed centre that has made noticeable progress since the last inspection.
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons