DR Congo (Violence Against Women and Girls )
Naomi Long: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment she has made of (a) the situation of women in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and (b) their exposure to sexual violence; and what humanitarian intervention the UK is making to improve the safety and security of women in DRC. 
Justine Greening: DFID recently undertook an assessment of the situation of women and girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Women and girls suffer high levels of poverty and have limited access to formal employment and economic assets such as cash and credit. Violence against women and girls is widespread yet prevention mechanisms and services for survivors are limited outside conflict-affected areas.
House of Commons / 14 Feb 2013 : Column 824W
Stop the Deportation of Hassanat and her Three Young Daughters
Early Day Motion 1085: Burmese Army in Kachin State
That this House notes the actions of the Burmese army in shelling Kachin which has killed civilians including children; further notes the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities; calls on the Burmese government to cease attacks on civilians and to actively protect Christians from persecution; and calls on the UK Government to influence and promote true religious freedom throughout Burma.
Sponsors: Shannon, Jim /Campbell, Gregory / Connarty, Michael / Donaldson, Jeffrey / Russell, Bob / Simpson, David
House of Commons: 13/02/2013
Sri Lankans Expelled From UK Allege Torture After Deportation
Freedom from Torture finds 15 failed asylum seekers later won refugee status but Tory minister says torture claims are unproven. In a freedom of information (FoI) request, the Home Office revealed that between the end of the island's civil war in 2009 and September 2012, 15 failed asylum seekers managed to escape back to Britain after being removed by the agency, the UKBA. They subsequently won refugee status after giving evidence to officials saying they were tortured in Sri Lanka.
Read more: Shiv Malik, The Guardian, Tuesday 12 February 2013
Early Day Motion 1058: Human Trafficking
That this House recognises that human trafficking represents a form of modern-day slavery and that many victims are held under conditions of enforced or bonded servitude whilst being exploited for their labour; urges the Government fully to implement the Council of Europe's Convention on Human Trafficking, including appointing an independent rapporteur or ombudsperson and to work closely with other EU member states to adopt an effective regime to combat this appalling practice; notes that, as well as sustaining the criminal economy, human trafficking infiltrates the mainstream economy and the high street; further recognises that many innocent consumers buy products and use services that have been in some way produced or sustained by human trafficking or modern-day slavery; and calls on the Government to introduce a framework for UK companies to audit their supply chain in order to eradicate any trace of human trafficking or modern-day slavery from their goods and services.
Sponsors: Ritchie, Margaret / Bottomley, Peter. Connarty, Michael / Durkan, Mark / Meale, Alan House of Common: 11/02/2013
Asylum Seeker Alleges Excessive Force By Escort Guards - Video
Marius Betondi says he was repeatedly punched by private security guards before passing out as he was forced into a potentially lethal position during a failed deportation. Details of the allegations come just days before the high court is due to hear a judicial review of the techniques used to restrain detainees during deportation
The Guardian: Guy Grandjean and Matthew Taylor
Garden Court Chambers - Immigration Law Bulletin - Issue 311
Illegal Immigrants Living In 'beds In Sheds' Arrested In Clampdown
Immigration Minister Mark Harper witnessed first hand the work being done by the UK Border Agency to crack down on the problem of illegal immigrants living in 'beds in sheds'. Acting on intelligence, and with assistance from Ealing Council and the Metropolitan Police Service, officers entered seven properties in Southall, West London, around 6:00 am today. Rogue landlords often target vulnerable people, placing them in overcrowded or poor quality accommodation. In some places people are living in squalid outbuildings or makeshift accommodation – known as beds in sheds.
Read more: UKBA Press Release, Thursday, 07 Feb 2013
In poverty you may still preserve the nobility of your inborn feelings, but in destitution no one ever does. For destitution, one does not even get driven out of human company with a stick; one is swept out with the broom.
Fyodor Dostoevsky - Crime and Punishment
Early Day Motion 1019: Asylum Support Rates
That this House believes that Britain can rightly be proud of its history of welcoming those fleeing persecution and war; welcomes the cross-party parliamentary report on asylum support for children and families; notes with concern the finding of that report that current asylum support levels are leaving up to 10,000 children destitute or in severe poverty; further believes that section 4 support rates are especially austere and that cash less payments impose damaging restrictions on how families buy essential items; further notes that asylum support rates have not been increased since April 2011; regrets that the previous Government broke the historic link between support rates for asylum seekers and income support; calls on the Government to increase asylum support rates so that they are at least equal to 70 per cent of income support and to up-rate support rates annually; and further calls on the Government to abolish section 4 support and implement a single cash-based support system.
Sponsors: Teather, Sarah/ Bottomley, Peter / Corbyn, Jeremy / Dobbin, Jim/ Durkan, Mark / Sharma, Virendra House of Commons: 05/02/2013
Put your MP to work demand they sign EDM 1019
You can contact your MP for free, through: WriteToThem.Com
Deportation: Syria (UKBA extensions of leave)
As a result of the exceptional situation the UK Border Agency has allowed Syrian students in the UK to extend the period of their visas or switch visa route where the immigration rules would have otherwise prevented them from doing so.
House of Commons / 4 Feb 2013 : Column 23W
Divided We Fall: Intolerance In Europe Puts Rights At Risk
An Afghan migrant is stabbed in the heart on the streets of Athens. Black-shirted paramilitaries linked to Hungary's third-largest political party march through a Roma neighborhood shouting, "You will die here." A neo-Nazi gang commits a string of murders of Turkish immigrants in Germany. An ideologue driven by hatred of "multiculturalism" kills 67 mostly young people on a Norwegian Island.
It may be comforting to see these incidents as isolated, disconnected or driven by local events. But the truth is more discomforting: hatred and intolerance are moving into the mainstream in Europe.
Intolerance in Europe manifests itself in support for extremist parties and violence and discrimination against minorities and migrants. Rather than tackling the problem head on, Europe's leaders often downplay the problem or blame the victims. But concerted steps are needed to stop the violence and discrimination and curtail the corrosive influence of racist parties, without limiting freedoms of speech and association.
Read more: Human Rights Watch, February 14, 2013
Save Fozia And Nawaz From 'Honour' Crime
Fozia and Nawaz are a married couple in grave danger of so-called 'honour killing' if returned to Pakistan. They face extreme violence from Fozia's family and community persecution because they have crossed the faith divide. Yet UKBA is intent on deporting them .
Fozia is a Syed Shia , Nawaz a Sunni. Well-established and successful in business, the professions, and politics across Pakistan, Syed are regarded as an elite caste. Syed girls are not allowed to marry outside the kinship group, and certainly not to a Sunni.
Sign there online petition here . . . .
EDM 1073: Ogaden (serious human rights abuses against civilians)
That this House expresses its concern at recent reports that the Department for International Development is considering tenders to train security forces in the Somali region of Ogaden, which include the Liyu police who, according to Amnesty International, have been implicated in serious human rights abuses against civilians, including extrajudicial killings, rape, torture and the destruction of villages; and calls on the Secretary of State for International Development to halt this expenditure of up to 15 million and meet with representatives of the Ogaden community in Britain to hear their anxieties about this proposed programme.
Primary sponsor: McDonnell, John House of Commons: 12/02/2013
EDM 1074: Council Of Europe And Azerbaijan
That this House is appalled by the failure of the Council of Europe (COE) to protect human rights in Azerbaijan by surrendering to the intense lobbying of the Azeri government's agents; is shocked that all but one of the Conservative UK delegates rejected the COE Rapporteur's report on Azeri political prisoners; notes that the leader of the UK delegation criticised the rapporteur, Christoph Strasser, for failing to visit Azerbaijan, ignoring the repeated refusals of the Aliyev regime to grant him a visa; accepts the integrity of Christoph Strasser's report rather than the tainted opinion of those who have been royally entertained by the Aliyev regime in Azerbaijan; condemns the re-imprisonment of human rights campaigner and blogger Emin Milli and the persecution of the writer Akram Aylisli and his family; calls on the Conservative delegation to reassess its close links in the European democratic group with oppressive anti-democratic delegates including Aliyev's and Putin's stooges; regrets the damage done to the reputation of the COE as a defender of human rights; and looks to the European Union to use its new resources to insist on acceptable international standards of democratic conduct.
Primary sponsor: Flynn, Paul House of Commons: 12/02/2013
USA: Deportation's Forgotten Children
As Congress looks toward meaningful immigration reform, we must take care not to neglect one of the most heartbreaking problems within the current, broken system: what happens to children when their parents or guardians are deported.
Currently, according to the Applied Research Center's report "Shattered Families," at least 5,000 children of immigrants live in U.S. foster care because their parents were detained or deported. If the current trends hold, the center estimates, 15,000 more children over the next five years will be ripped away from their mothers and fathers as a result of federal immigration enforcement actions.
In the wake of immigration arrests, law enforcers often don't allow detained immigrant parents the opportunity to make proper arrangements for the care of their children. Kids can come home from school, only to find their mothers and fathers gone.
By Karen Bass and Lucille Roybal-Allard, LA Times
Iraqi Kurdistan: Free Speech Under Attack
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) should stop arbitrarily detaining journalists, activists, and political opposition figures, and end its prosecution of journalists for insulting or defaming public figures. The Asayish – the Kurdistan Security Agency – and police arrested without warrants journalists and others who published articles criticizing public officials, and detained them without charge or trial for periods ranging from several weeks to a year.
Read more: Human Rights Watch, 10/02/13
Women's Asylum News: Issue No. 115, January/ February 2013
Leading Article: Claiming Asylum on the Basis of Your Sexuality: The Views of Lesbians in the UK. Legal Issues, Sector Update, National News: Download here . . . .
Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Volume 50
This document provides an update of Country Guidance case law and UKBA publications and developments in refugee producing countries between
20/01/2013 and 05/02/2013 - Volume 50 here . . .
Hazara Community (Pakistan)
Persecution of the Hazara community by Afghan rulers started, I am afraid, under the British Empire, and it has been a consistent problem in Afghanistan ever since. Many Hazaras have left Afghanistan, and over 100 years ago many settled in and around Quetta, which in due course became part of Pakistan. We are all familiar with the recent waves of refugees from Afghanistan to Pakistan, some of whom have eventually made their way here, where they have sought and been granted asylum.
However, the Hazaras that I am talking about today are part of that much longer-established community in Quetta who are not refugees but Pakistani citizens. For a long time, they lived free from persecution in Quetta, thriving educationally and economically. As citizens, they are entitled to full support from the Pakistani state. Since the late 1990s, however, their situation has changed dramatically. The killings started in 1999. Since then, more than 1,000 Hazaras have been killed in Quetta, 3,000 or more have been injured, and 55,000 or so have been forced to flee to Europe or Australia. All of those came from a population of between 500,000 and 600,000.
The perpetrators are a banned Sunni militant al-Qaeda-affiliated group called Lashkar-e-Jhangvi—the LEJ. The Taliban and the LEJ have both issued fatwas against the Hazaras. After the recent violence, an LEJ spokesman was reported as saying that the Hazaras had been warned in 2012 that they should leave Balochistan, the province in which Quetta sits, and that as many had not done so, the LEJ will not allow Shi'as to leave alive in 2013.
Read more: House of Commons / 4 Feb 2013 : Column 85
Garden Court Chambers - Immigration Law Bulletin - Issue 310