Concerns Over Plans To Return Unaccompanied Children
State authorities must never forget that migrant children, including those who are asylum seekers, are first of all children. Children's rights must always have priority and all actions should be based on the best interests of the child. In other words: immigration control should never override the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Return houses: high risk projects
Several European governments are currently considering a solution to facilitate the return of unaccompanied children. Authorities in the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, with Denmark as an observer, are trying to set up an institution in Afghanistan with the name "Welcoming Centre". The coordinator, Sweden, is currently negotiating with authorities in Afghanistan for specific premises. The idea is that the children shall stay at the centre until they can be reunited with their families.
Local and international NGOs as well as bodies within the UN and the Council of Europe have expressed concern about the plan. An experts report concerning this issue underlines that family tracing in Afghanistan is all but impossible. The – so far limited – experience of sending children to return houses in war-torn countries has also shown that such procedures place children at a very high risk of trafficking for sexual and military purposes and in general at a risk of persecution in the return country. Most of the children have disappeared a few days after return.
The principle of non-refoulement proscribes the forced return to places where one's life or freedom is threatened. It is a core principle that children should never be returned to places where their safety and well-being are at risk. Returning states are thus responsible for the further fate of the returned children.
Deportations are often traumatising
Forced return decisions concerning migrant children often fail to fully take into account the best interests of the child. Some deportation proceedings involve the use of force – even if force is used in respect of adult members of the family, it is traumatising for the children.
These decisions also frequently lead to a period of detention of minors, with or without family. Thousands of migrant children are detained every year in Europe, although they have not committed any crime. This practice continues to occur in many countries, even where it has been banned. France is an example of this, although cases of detention of migrant minors are no longer routine as used to be the case before a ban in 2012.
Forced returns can lead to the separation of families, for instance when parents have different nationalities and are sent back to different countries, or when one or both parents are expelled, but not the child.
Deportation decisions are sometimes taken even if an unaccompanied migrant child does not have adequate access to asylum procedures – especially in countries without an effective guardianship system, such as Greece. A guardian who can represent the interest of the child in the asylum procedure must always, and rapidly, be designated.
Sent to unknown countries
Several thousand persons have been forcibly returned to Kosovo* and other Balkan countries by western European states in recent years, mainly from Austria, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. Some of the children involved were born in the host country and have no ties whatsoever to the place their parents fled from.
They end up in a country whose language they do not speak, where they face substandard living conditions and often have limited opportunities for schooling. Many of the returnees belong to minorities, in particular Roma. It is easy to imagine the tragedy for a child to be uprooted from country, school and friends.
Best interests of the child
Detention, separation, the use of the contested method of X-ray tests to determine age, hasty deportation decisions. Migrant children are indeed exposed to a heightened risk of violations of their human rights. Those who are separated from their families are obviously at particular risk.
It is time to review the policies towards migrant children. Children are first of all children and state authorities in Europe should always act with their best interests at heart. Forced returns to countries where the child's best interests may not be served should end.
Nils Muiznieks, Commissioner for Human Rights, <>19/09/2013
UKBA: Country Of Origin Information - Syrian Arab Republic
This Country of Origin Information (COI) Report has been produced by the COI Service, Home Office, 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 Report includes information available up to 31 July 2013. The Report was issued on 11 September 2013.
Published on <>Refworld, 18/09/13
G4S/Serco Fail to Report On Australia's Asylum Centre Conditions
Freedom of information requests reveal that key reports from companies that run detention centres do not exist: Widespread failures by global security companies Serco and G4S to report on Australia's detention centres are raising concerns about whether the quality of care provided to asylum seekers is being accurately monitored by the Department of Immigration (Diac).
A freedom of information (FOI) investigation by Guardian Australia has revealed that key reports from Serco and G4S, the companies that run detention centres on Australia's mainland, and the regional processing centre on Manus Island, do not exist.
Read more: Paul Farrell and Oliver Laughland,
<> theguardian.com, 16/09/13
Evenia Mawongera Belongs to Leicester - Help Stop Her Deportation
Leicester grandmother Evenia Mawongera has been detained - again! She is currently being held at Colnbrook Immigration Detention Centre pending deportation to Zimbabwe.
She was detained on Friday, 13 September at the Loughborough Immigration Reporting Centre where she has been going to report every Friday since July. When she got there she was taken to a side room and told that the further submissions she made on 16 August had been rejected and that she was being detained pending transfer to a detention centre and then on to Zimbabwe.
When she was detained Evenia was not given the chance to go over the reasons for refusal with her solicitor.
Her detention comes 3 weeks after she received a special commendation in the Good Neighbour Awards in recognition of her contribution to the community in Leicester .
What You Can Do:
1. Ask all your contacts to Sign the Petition <> here . . . .
2. Ask your MP to take up Evenia's case with Home Secretary Theresa May.
3. Write to the Home Secretary . Ask her to let Evenia stay.
4. Write to the Minister for Immigration, Mark Harper . Ask him to let Evenia stay.
5. Ask Maggie Atkinson, the Children's Commissioner for England, to investigate why the Home Office is not giving due regard to the best interests of the children involved in this and similar cases .
From: Campaign for Evenia Mawongera <email@example.com>
Jails are Being 'Used as Holding Pens' For Foreign Ex-Offenders
Ministers have been accused of using jails as "holding pens" for foreign ex-offenders after it emerged that on a single day last month nearly 1,000 foreign nationals were behind bars despite completing their prison sentences.
The Independent has seen new Home Office figures from three weeks ago which show that in late August, jails in England and Wales were holding 937 people awaiting deportation – an increase of two-thirds in less than a year. As a result the prisoners are denied the legal advice and contact with family to which they are entitled.
Read More: Nigel Morris, <>Indpendent, Sunday 15 September 2013
UKBA: Country of Origin Information Report - Bangladesh
This Country of Origin Information (C OI) report has been produced by COI Service, Home Office, for use by officials involved in the asylum and human rights determination process. The report provides background in formation about the issues most commonly raised in asylum/human rights claims made in the United Kingdom (UK). The main body of the report includes information available up to 31 July 2013. The report was issued on 31 August 2013. <> Published on Refworld, 20/09/13
UKBA: Operational Guidance Note: Bangladesh
This document provides Home Office caseworkers with guidance on the nature and handling of the most common types of claims received from nationals/residents of Bangladesh, 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.
1.2 Caseworkers must not base decisions on the country of origin information in this guidance; it is included to provide context only and does not purport to be comprehensive. The conclusions in this guidance are based on the totality of the available evidence, not just the brief extracts contained herein, and caseworkers must likewise take into account all available evidence. It is therefore essential that this guidance is read in conjunction with up to date country of origin information (COI) and any other relevant knowledge. <> Published on Refworld, 16/09/13
Moses belongs to Glasgow - Facing Deportation Thursday
Moses was detained in August and is threatened with removal to Zimbabwe on 19 September on Ethiopian Airlines flight ET701 at 21.00hrs.
We urgently need you to help Moses today.
Campaign from Unity, in Glasgow more details <>here . . . .
Bukola Elizabeth Moses and Children are Back in Leeds
The family were snatched on Wednesday 4th September and taken to Cedars, but further legal action stayed the removal and all were released and returned to Leeds.
Many thanks to all who responded to the alert.
Detainees at Yarl's Wood IRC 'Facing Sexual Abuse'
A former detainee at Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre has alleged that women held there have been subjected to unwanted sexual advances and abuse by security guards and other officials.
Testimony seen by the Observer and now with police, "Tanja", a 23-year-old Roma woman released from Yarl's Wood last March, describes having had sexual contact with three male guards. Tanja – not her real name – said attempts were made to deport her within days of her informing Yarl's Wood's management of the incidents. She also claims one security guard had inappropriate relations with at least four women.
The claims raise fresh questions over the treatment of vulnerable women at the Bedfordshire site, which is Britain's largest immigration removal centre for women and can house up to 400 people. Sources at Yarl's Wood say that more cases are likely to come to light following Tanja's testimony, as women have been too fearful to come forward until now.
Mark Townsend, <>The Observer, 14/09/13
Online Petition: "Making Asylum Decisions Safe"
We call on the Home Secretary to ensure that:
(1) the prime motivation of the asylum process is to identify victims of torture and those in danger in their countries.
(2) the government policy of destitution is ended. This is coercive, causes great suffering and has no place in a civilised society
(3) people who have been illegally working because they have been forced into destitution by government policy, do not have their protection needs compromised.
(4) the system is robust and credible and all stages are independently monitored (which at present they are not)
(5) nobody is returned to persecution by the UK
Please sign the petition <> here . . . .
From: Pol Yates <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Court of Justice: Judgment in Case C-383/13 PPU
G and R v Staatssecretaris van Veiligheid en Justitie
A failure to respect the rights of defence in a decision extending detention for the purpose of removal does not automatically bring about the lifting of the detention
The national court must assess whether such an infringement has actually deprived the party relying thereon of the possibility of better arguing its defence to the extent that the outcome of the administrative procedure that led to the decision maintaining the detention could have been different
<> Court of Justice Press Release 10/09/11
G4S Occupation Activists Acquitted
At the end of August, at Horsham Magistrates' court, two campaigners were acquitted of aggravated trespass – an eight-hour occupation of the roof of the G4S Surrey HQ in July 2012.
Chris Osmond and Shiar Youssef, from No Borders and the Boycott Israel Network, occupied the roof of the G4S HQ in leafy Surrey to highlight the security giant's track-record of unlawful activities and human rights abuses, in UK immigration detention centres run by G4S where unlawful restraint techniques are reportedly used, and in Israeli prisons serviced by the company where Palestinian political prisoners are held and allegedly tortured in breach of international law.
Read more: <> IRR News 12/09/13
Religious Riots Displace 10,000 In Northern India
Around 10,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in northern India since religious riots erupted five days ago, the Times of India reported on Thursday, in a sign of rising tension between Hindus and Muslims ahead of a general election due by May.
More than 31 people were killed in clashes in Muzaffarnagar district, 130 km (80 miles) northeast of New Delhi in the state of Uttar Pradesh, which were reported to have broken out on Sept. 7 after a meeting of thousands of Hindu farmers calling for justice over the killing of three men who had objected to a woman being harassed by a Muslim.
Read more: <>Alert Net, 12/09/13
100 Women Arrested at US Capitol Pro-Immigration Rally
The women, wearing white arm bands and red T-shirts that read, "Women for Fair Immigration Reform," held a rally and then joined hands and sat down in a circle on Independence Ave., which runs between the Capitol and House members' offices.
They chanted slogans including "Yes we can!" and "Si se puede" as police began handcuffing them and loading them into vans. Organizers said some two dozen of the women are in the U.S. illegally.
The protest came as immigration legislation remains stalled in the GOP-led House months after the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a sweeping bill in June with billions for border security and a path to citizenship for millions. Lawmakers returned to Washington this week after a five-week summer recess with no clear way forward on the issue.
Read more: <>USnews.com, 12/09/13