Cameroon Gay Rights Activist Found Tortured and Killed
A prominent gay rights activist in Cameroon has been found tortured and killed in his home, amid claims the authorities have systematically ignored similar attacks in the country. The body of Eric Ohena Lembembe, an activist and journalist in the capital Yaoundé, was discovered by friends on Monday night. They had been unable to reach him by phone for several days.
Witnesses told civil rights organisation Human Rights Watch that they could see Lembembe's body lying on the bed through the window. When the police arrived and broke down the door, they found his feet broken, and his face, hands and feet burned. The organisation said it was not yet clear whether the authorities would take action to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Read more: <> Afua Hirsch, guardian.co.uk, Thursday 18 July 2013
EU Guidelines On Israeli Settlements Send Out Powerful Message
European policy guidelines are composed of small print and impenetrable bureaucratic language that are the product of long hours of wrangling in committee rooms in Brussels, but they can still send out a powerful signal. The furious reaction of the Israeli government underlines an important point about the world's most intractable conflict: Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territory are not considered part of the state of Israel under international law.
This explicit restatement of the EU's position is intended to force an end to the ambiguity that has helped Israel to maintain and expand its presence beyond the old "green line" border since the 1967 Middle East war - without incurring significant costs.
<> Ian Black, Independent, guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 16 July 2013
DR Congo [Renewed fighting in the eastern regions]
. . . . There has been renewed fighting in the eastern DRC, not just in one area but across much of the region and involving, it appears, many different groups. Publicity this week will no doubt focus on the clashes between the M23 and the FARDC-the Congolese army-which now appear to be battling outside Goma, yet again, for control of parts of that area. Fighting appears to have begun at the weekend, involving a group called the ADF, which is at least alleged to be mainly made up of Ugandan-based rebels and which appears to have some links with Islamist extremists from elsewhere in the continent.
There has been a growing trend over recent weeks, which again appears to have been shown over the weekend, for the FDLR-a former Rwandan rebel group-and other smaller groups to use the fact that the main focus appears to be on the M23 around Goma to execute all kinds of attacks on local villages. There have been kidnaps and in some cases rapes and deaths. Yet again today we see an outbreak of accusation and counter-accusation from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwandan Governments, which will no doubt heighten tensions in the area and in the region as a whole. I have received a series of e-mails over recent days documenting the horrors that this means on the ground for local people who are living in small communities. To be honest, they are too painful to read out tonight.
<> House of Lords / 16 July 2013 : Column 713
Report on an Announced Inspection of Morton Hall IRC
Managed by the Prison Service on behalf of UKBA
Some practices were inappropriate for an establishment where people were not held because they have been charged with a criminal offence. Detainees were locked in their rooms at 8.30 in the evening, staff carried batons inappropriately and all detainees were handcuffed if they had to be taken out of the centre.
Inspectors were concerned to find:
- what caused most anxiety and stress for detainees was concern about their immigration status and potential removal and some people had been held for very long periods - one for almost three years; and
- we were told detention was justified in some cases because there was a high risk the detainee would reoffend if released, but there was nothing detainees could do, as they could have done in a prison, to demonstrate their risk of reoffending had reduced.
- UK Border Agency maintained that some detainees were held because they were failing to cooperate with immigration processes. In these cases UKBA should have forced the issue by either using its powers to prosecute the individuals concerned for non-compliance or releasing them.
- the food was of poor quality - this had been a significant cause of discontent in the past and needed to be improved
- there was very little attention for the needs of young adults under 21, who made up 7% of the population
- Inspectors made 72 recommendations
Garden Court Chambers - Immigration Law Bulletin - Issue 333
Commemoration of the Roma Genocide - Friday 2nd August
Assemble 5:00pm Holocaust Memorial Stone Hyde Park, London
Move at 6.30pm to:
London SW1X 7JT
For protest against present-day deportations and the rise in Neo-Nazi attacks on Romani communities in Europe.
On the the night of 2/3 August 1944 nearly 3,000 prisoners in the Zigeunerlager [Gypsy Camp] at Auschwitz were taken away in lorries by the SS to be killed. In previous weeks, these last men, women and children of this so-called family camp had fought off the camp guards and resisted extermination to the last. The number of Roma murdered in the genocidal policy of the Nazi regimes across Europe probably totalled more that half a million.
For the first time the traditional 2 August Commemoration of the Nazi genocide against the Romani people will be linked with an event at Hiroshima. Roma holocaust and atomic bomb victims will be remembered together at a ceremony in Hiroshima on that day organized by the Buraku League Liberation League and IMADR, the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism.
Let us know if you will participate.
For more information contact:
8th April Movement
EU Refugee FLaw - LGBT Orientation A particular Social Group'
Applicants for refugee status claiming to be persecuted for their homosexual orientation may form a 'particular social group' under EU refugee law
Advocate General's Opinion in Joined Cases C-199/12, C-200/12, C-201/12 X, Y, Z v. Minister voor Immigratie, Integratie en Asiel
While the criminalisation of homosexual activity in the home country does not per se constitute an act of persecution, the national authorities must, however, examine whether a particular applicant is likely to be subject to acts that qualify as such
X, Y and Z are nationals of respectively Sierra Leone, Uganda and Senegal. All three men are homosexuals and are seeking refugee status in the Netherlands, claiming they have a well-founded fear of persecution in their home countries based on their sexual orientation. In this regard, homosexual acts are criminal offences in all three countries and can lead to severe punishments, ranging from heavy fines to imprisonment, in some cases up to life.
Under a European directive1, that refers to the provisions in the Geneva Convention2, a third country national who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, is outside the country of nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country can claim refugee status. In this context, such acts of persecution must be sufficiently serious by their nature or repetition as to constitute a severe violation of basic human rights.
The Dutch Raad van State, which is hearing the case at final instance, made three requests for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice on the assessment of applications for refugee status under the provisions of the directive. The national court asks the Court whether third country nationals who are homosexual form a particular social group within the meaning of the directive. Furthermore, it asks how national authorities should assess what constitutes an act of persecution concerning homosexual activities within this context, and whether the criminalisation of those activities in the applicant's country of origin, which can lead to imprisonment, amounts to persecution.
In today's Opinion, Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston proposes that the Court declare, first of all, that applicants for refugee status who have a homosexual orientation may, depending on the circumstances in their country of origin, form a particular social group within the meaning of the directive. In her opinion, the wording of the directive shows that the EU legislator has given the clearest possible indication that persons with a shared characteristic of sexual orientation may indeed be members of a particular social group. Subsequently, the national court has to assess whether such a group has a 'distinct identity', in each applicant's country of origin, 'because it is perceived as being different by the surrounding society'.
According to Ms Sharpston, the criminalisation of homosexual activity does not per se constitute an act of persecution for the purposes of the directive. Rather, it is for the competent national authorities to assess whether a particular applicant is likely to be subject either to acts which are sufficiently serious by their nature or repetition as to constitute a severe violation of human rights, or to an accumulation of various measures, including violations of human rights, which is sufficiently severe similarly to affect the applicant. In the light of the circumstances pertaining in the applicant's country of origin, the national authorities must take into account the risk and frequency of prosecution, the severity of the sanction normally imposed, and any other measures and social practices to which the applicant may reasonably fear to be subjected.
Finally, in the context of the assessment whether criminalisation of the expression of a sexual orientation is an act of persecution, the Advocate General is of the opinion that the directive does not draw a distinction between such an expression in public or in private. Moreover, an applicant for asylum cannot, according to the Advocate General, be expected to exercise restraint or conceal his sexual orientation in order to avoid persecution in his home country. Furthermore, she states that it would lead to arbitrariness to suggest that a distinction should be made between different types of expression of a person's sexual orientation or indeed instances of expression that are not sexual acts or acts of affection. Finally, in a case where the alleged acts of persecution in the home country apply to both homosexuals and heterosexuals, it is for the national authorities to consider whether the applicant is specifically likely to be targeted by acts of persecution or an accumulation of various measures, that are sufficiently serious by their nature or repetition to constitute a severe violation of basic human rights. Full text <> here . . . .
Israel: Excessive Force Used on Protesters Opposing Deportations
Members of Israel security forces used excessive force against demonstrators on July 15, 2013 in two Israeli cities. Five witnesses told Human Rights Watch that police used excessive force against demonstrators protesting a draft law that would facilitate the forced displacement of thousands of Bedouin residents of Israel's southern Negev region. Mounted police, border police, and riot police violently dispersed nonviolent demonstrations in Sakhnin, in northern Israel, and riot and border police beat demonstrators in Beer Sheva.
Read more: <> Human Rights Watch, 18/07/13
UK Exports £12bn in Arms to Countries with Poor Human Rights
More than 3,000 current export licences for arms and military equipment worth more than £12bn have been approved for 27 countries classified by the Foreign Office as "of concern" because of their poor human rights record, a cross-party group of MPs reveals on Wednesday.
Countries for which significant sales have been approved include Israel - the destination of the bulk of the arms sales - Saudi Arabia, China, and Zimbabwe, according to the arms export controls committee's annual report, drawn up by MPs from four separate select committees.
The chairman of the committee, the former Conservative defence minister Sir John Stanley, said: "The scale of the extant strategic licences to the FCO's 27 countries of human rights concern puts into stark relief the inherent conflict between the government's arms exports and human rights policies." Government should apply more cautious judgments when considering arms export licence applications:
Richard Norton-Taylo, <> Guardian, Wednesday 17 July 2013
EU Directive (Categories of Migrants) [UK Won't Opt In]
The Minister for Immigration (Mr Mark Harper): The Government have decided not to opt in at this stage to the Commission's proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, pupil exchange, remunerated and unremunerated training, voluntary service and au pairing.
The proposed directive would repeal and replace existing directives 2004/114/EC and 2005/71/EC which are concerned with the entry and stay of third country students and researchers. The UK has not opted into the existing directives.
The Government consider that policies regulating the admission of students, researchers and other categories of migrant covered by the new proposal are best determined at national level. They have concerns that the new proposal may undermine the reforms of the immigration system which the Government have undertaken in order to reduce abuse of the student route and protect the labour market while continuing to ensure that the United Kingdom continues to be an attractive destination for students from overseas. The measures may therefore undermine the UK's ability to control immigration in the national interest.
It would be possible for the UK to seek to participate in the directive after its adoption if this were to change.
<> House of Commons / 16 July 2013 : Column 84WS
Solidarity Vigil for Rose Akhalu
Assemble 12.30 pm Thursday 18 July
Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber),
IA Field House,
15 Breams Buildings,
On Thursday Rose will appear in court yet again, as the Home Office tries to overturn earlier decisions by two judges to let her stay.
Rose Akhalu left her Nigerian home to pursue a university scholarship in the UK, but was diagnosed with end stage renal failure--which meant certain death unless she received a kidney transplant. The NHS granted Akhalu the life-saving kidney transplant. But now, the UK Border Agency is threatening to deport Akhalu, which would effectively guarantee her death.
Her doctors say she will die within four weeks if she is returned to Nigeria. The Home Office don't dispute this fact. They accept it. Yet still they relentlessly pursue Rose's deportation as if medical evidence and judicial rulings count for nothing. As if hers is just one more scalp in the continuing propaganda war against 'benefits tourism' and 'health tourism'.
The UK's National Kidney Foundation called Akhalu's situation "cruel and unjust." It said that her deportation case severely undermines the life of a transplant patient, stands in the way of medical resources, and jeopardizes the trust and purpose of the entire kidney transplant system.
Tell Ms. May: Don't stand in the way of a kidney transplant patient's recovery by requiring unjust and deadly deportation!
Over 17,000 people have signed an online petition, add your signature <> here . . .
<>Yorkshire community defends Rose Akhalu from deportation and death
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
British Citizenship Applications (War Crimes)
The Minister for Immigration (Mr Mark Harper): I have made the Equality (War Crimes etc.) Arrangements 2013 and the Race Relations (Northern Ireland) (War Crimes etc.) Arrangements 2013 to enable the Minister to subject applications from certain nationalities for British citizenship to more rigorous scrutiny than others for the purposes of determining whether the applicant has committed, been complicit in the commission of, or otherwise been associated with, the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.
The Equality (War Crimes etc.) Arrangements 2013 are made under paragraph (l)(l)(d) of schedule 23 to the Equality Act 2010, and replace the Equality (War Crimes etc.) Arrangements 2011. The corresponding Race Relations (Northern Ireland) (War Crimes etc.) Arrangements 2013 are made under article 40 paragraph 2(c) Race Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 and replace the Race Relations (Northern Ireland) (War Crimes etc.) Arrangements 2011.
The condition for subjecting these applications to more rigorous scrutiny is that the applicant is a national of a state specified on a list approved personally by the Minister for the purpose of the arrangements.
I have now reviewed and approved this list. I am satisfied that the conditions set out in the arrangements are met in respect of the countries on the list.
The arrangements will remain in force until revoked. I will review the arrangements and the list annually.
I am placing copies of the arrangements in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.
<> House of Commons / 16 July 2013 : Column 83WS