News & Views Monday 4th July to Sunday 10th July 2016  
EU Nationals in the UK – You Are Very Welcome Here

That this House notes that there are approximately three million nationals of other EU member states living in the UK; further notes that many more UK nationals are related to nationals of other EU member states; rejects the view that these men, women and children should be used as bargaining chips in negotiations on the UK’s exit from the EU; and calls on the Government to commit with urgency to giving EU nationals currently living in the UK the right to remain.
This debate directly affects the lives of millions of people living in this country, so let me start by inviting the House to join me in sending a very clear message to the EU nationals living in the UK, which I think they need to hear right now from this Parliament: you are truly valued members of our society, and you are very welcome here.

Let us remember that the people affected are the mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, and grandmas and grandads of British children such as mine. They are our friends and our neighbours; valued members of local communities; doctors and nurses who look after us when we are ill; teachers who educate our children; and people who run companies employing thousands of British workers. To throw any doubt over their right to remain here in the future is to undermine family life, the stability of our public services, our economy and our society.

But, sadly, that is what the Home Secretary has done. Instead of showing leadership and sending out an immediate message of reassurance in the aftermath of Brexit, she has added to the uncertainty that many people were already experiencing, and she has left them feeling like bargaining chips in the Brussels negotiations.

Parliamentary debate:

Early Day Motion 290: Violence Against Ahmadi Muslims in Asia

That this House notes with concern that recently members of the Ahmaddiya faith have been targeted in religious hate crimes across Asia; recognises that an Ahmadi mosque was attacked and destroyed in Central Java, which local media claims was the 114th attack on Ahmadis in Indonesia since 2007; further recognises that in Pakistan, at least two Ahmadi Muslims have been murdered in target killings in Karachi, both widely reported as being religiously motivated; condemns in the strongest possible terms all forms of racism, sectarianism and religious hatred; highlights the fact that Ahmadi Muslims are a peaceful strand of Islam, with their UK community abiding by the motto Love for All, Hatred For None; and on a cross-party basis calls on the Government to use its diplomatic channels to make representations to the Pakistani and Indonesian authorities to try to eradicate such violent acts.

House of Commons: 05.07.2016,

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EDM 290 -

Poland v Kulig : High Court Overturns Article 8 Discharge

Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects the right to respect for an individuals private and family life. Extraditing an individual abroad is a dramatic step for the court to take and in almost every case will have a major impact on an individual's family life. Families may be left without the principal provider in the household or may need to relocate to an unfamiliar country. The impact can be particularly great where children are involved. Parents may be removed for long periods of time and children may be taken out of school or even into care.

After the Supreme Court decision in HH in 2012 there was a huge increase in the number of extradition cases in which Article 8 was argued. Indeed it became the dominant argument in many European Arrest Warrant cases, often argued on its own as the sole defence to extradition. Mindful of this dramatic increase (and the consequential increase in appeals to the High Court) in 2015 in the case of Poland v Celinski and others the High Court clarified the correct approach to Article 8 in extradition cases in the Magistrates' Court and gave guidance as to how district judges should make the assessment.

Read more: Gherson Immigration,

Civilians More Likely to be Killed by CIA Drones Than US Air Force

Official estimates show civilians more likely to be killed by CIA drones than by US Air Force actions. The reality is likely far worse: Targeted killings or assassinations beyond the battlefield remain a highly charged subject. Most controversial of all is the number of civilians killed in US covert and clandestine drone strikes since 2002. The new White House data relates only to Obama’s first seven years in office – during which it says 473 covert and clandestine airstrikes and drone attacks were carried out in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya.

The US claims that between 64 and 116 civilians died in these actions – around one non-combatant killed for every seven or so strikes. That official estimate suggests civilians are significantly more likely to die in a JSOC or CIA drone attack than in conventional US airstrikes. United Nations data for Afghanistan indicates that one civilian was killed for every 11 international airstrikes in 2014, for example.

But for Obama’s secret wars, the public record suggests a far worse reality. According to Bureau monitoring, between 2009 and 2015 an estimated 256 civilians have died in CIA drone strikes in Pakistan. A further 124 civilians are likely to have been slain in Yemen, with less than 10 non-combatants estimated killed in Somalia strikes. Similar tallies are reported by the New America Foundation and the Long War Journal.

Read more: Bureau of Investigative Journalism,

Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees – Crisis Watch Issue 155 – June 2016

Deteriorated Situations: Central African Republic, Niger, Nigeria, South Sudan, Turkey

Improved Situations: Colombia

July 2016 Outlook - Conflict Risk Alert: South Sudan - Conflict Resolution Opportunity: None

While an upsurge of crises continued to test the international order, amid growing mass displacement and the spread of transnational terrorism, the UK's divisive vote on 23 June in favour of leaving the European Union brought a new dimension to global political and economic uncertainty. Jean-Marie Guéhenno, President & CEO of the International Crisis Group, said: “the Brexit crisis increases the risk of an inward-looking EU consumed with sorting out its own problems at a time when the world needs a Europe that is globally engaged".

The month saw security deteriorate in several countries in Africa. In South Sudan fighting escalated and the peace deal threatened to unravel, while Boko Haram increased deadly attacks in Niger. Insecurity also rose in Nigeria’s Niger Delta where militants fighting for a greater share of the region’s oil revenues stepped up attacks on oil and gas facilities, and communal and criminal violence spiked in the Central African Republic. In Turkey, a terrorist attack believed to be the work of Islamic State killed more than 40 people on 28 June. In a significant step forward, Colombia’s government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed agreements bringing the 52-year armed conflict closer to an end.

In South Sudan, fighting erupted in several places and conflict parties failed to make progress in implementing the peace deal signed in August 2015, instead appearing to prepare for a return to war. Forces allied to the former rebels, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition led by Vice President Riek Machar, launched attacks mid-month to demand places in the planned army integration or disarmament processes. Crisis Group has called on the peace guarantors to act urgently, ahead of the African Union summit on 10-18 July, to salvage the agreement and prevent the country from returning to full-scale war.

Meanwhile, in West Africa, armed violence in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta worsened and threatened to spread, while Boko Haram insurgents in the north east continued to attack security forces and civilians. These crises, alongside the killing of about 59 people by Fulani herdsmen on 18-19 June, painted a picture of deepening insecurity across the country. As Crisis Group argued in a new report “The Challenge of Military Reform”, if the government is to defend its citizens it needs to take action including an overhaul of the defence sector, drastically improving leadership, oversight and administration.

Niger also suffered deadly attacks by Boko Haram in south-eastern Diffa region on the border with Nigeria. On 3 June insurgents overran Bosso town on Lake Chad, killing 26 soldiers. Similar attacks were reported on 9 and 16 June against an army-held town and barracks. In the Central African Republic, violence spiked in several parts of the country in the first major deterioration in security since a newly elected government took office in April. In the capital, Bangui, clashes between Muslims and Christians on 11 June left four dead, and fighting hit the north west.
In Turkey a gun and suicide bomb attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport on 28 June killed 44 people and injured over 200. The government said it believed Islamic State (IS) was responsible, with official sources reporting that the three attackers were from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia’s North Caucasus. The attack comes as the government continued its clampdown against domestic IS networks and stepped up measures to prevent IS rocket attacks from Syria and seal off a 70km stretch of the border. Meanwhile clashes between the Kurdish PKK insurgency and Turkey’s security forces continued in the south east, with fighting increasingly moving from urban to rural areas.

On a positive note, the Colombian government and FARC signed agreements on the “end of conflict” on 23 June, providing the strongest assurance yet that the 52-year conflict is finally coming to a close. The agreements spell out how the ceasefire and cessation of hostilities will work, as well as how FARC guerillas will put down their arms and transition to civilian life. The parties also agreed on how to hold a referendum to approve the final peace deal. Crisis Group commended the work of both delegations and those involved in the negotiations, and applauded the inclusion of victims in the talks.

Source: Crisis Watch,

Early Day Motion 291: Status of EU Nationals in the UK

That this House expresses strong concern that the Government has not guaranteed the rights of EU nationals to stay in the UK after the country leaves the EU; notes that there are three million EU nationals currently living, working or studying in the UK; further notes that many of them have developed strong family and business ties to the UK; believes that a refusal from the Government to give all these people a guarantee about their long-term status throws their lives into great uncertainty; further believes that all these EU citizens, including families and children, should not be used as bargaining chips to negotiate the terms of a deal under which Britain will leave the EU; urges the Government to consider the strong implications for families, public services and the economy if many EU nationals start to or are forced to leave the UK; and calls on the Government to remove this uncertainty, recognise the huge contribution that EU nationals have made to Britain and, in line with the cross-party consensus, immediately guarantee the rights of all EU nationals already in the UK.

House of Commons: 05.07.2016,

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Sign EDM 291 -

Asylum: Deportation – Charter Flights - Preparations for Removal

1) Chris Law: [41178]: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether it is her Department's policy to prepare for the removal of asylum seekers from the UK before they have exhausted all legal remedies in their claim for asylum.

James Brokenshire: Section 77 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 prevents a person from being removed from the UK whilst a claim for asylum is pending, and section 78 of the 2002 Act has the same effect where an appeal is pending. In both cases this does not prevent the giving of directions for the person’s removal or the taking of any other interim or preparatory action. Where a person has claimed asylum and the claim has been refused preparations for removal can be made. Those preparations may involve gathering relevant information and applying for an emergency travel document.

2) Chris Law: [41177]: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people have been forcibly removed on chartered flights in 2016 to date; and how many of those people had a criminal conviction in the UK.

James Brokenshire: Home Office records indicate that 718 individuals have been forcibly removed on charter flights in 2016. In at least 194 of these cases the primary reason for return was a criminal conviction in the UK. This is provisional management information that is subject to change. It has not been assured to the standard of Official Statistics.

Home Office records indicate that there were at least 1999 foreign nationals who, having been detained in a UK prison, were removed on charter flights in the past 5 years; 367 in 2012, 424 in 2013, 498 in 2014, 486 in 2015 and 224 in 2016 to date.

3) Chris Law: [41217]: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her Department's policy is on over-booking flights chartered for people being forcibly removed from the UK.

James Brokenshire: Charter flights are routinely overbooked to ensure the flight is fully utilised and delivers value for money. We reassess attrition rates for each flight on a monthly basis to ensure the number of individuals booked onto the flight who ultimately do not travel is kept to a minimum.

4) Chris Law: [41218]: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her Department's practice is for the number of security guards per detainee aboard mass deportation charter flights.

James Brokenshire: Prior to each charter a risk assessment is undertaken for each detainee. This assessment will take into consideration many factors including history of non-compliance and
medical issues. This information will be shared with the Home Office’s overseas escort provider, Tascor, who will make a decision on the necessary detainee to escort ratio.

5) Chris Law: [41221]: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the cost to the public purse of deportation by chartered flights has been in each of the last five years.

James Brokenshire: Home Office records indicate that the cost of chartering aircraft for removal flights over the past 5 years is as follows:
2011/12 - 8.5 million
2012/13- 13.8 million
2013/14 - 12.7 million
2014/15 - 13.2 million
2015/16 -  9.1 million

6) Chris Law: [41223]: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many flights for the purposes of deporting people whose asylum or human rights claims were refused were chartered by the Government in each of the last five years.

James Brokenshire: Home Office charter flights are used to remove individuals who have been refused asylum in the UK, but also individuals who have committed other immigration and criminal offences. Home Office records indicate that there were:
45 charters in 2012,
48 charters in 2013,
46 charters in 2014,
38 charters in 2015
18 to date in 2016.

In addition to charter flights the Home Office also removes people via scheduled commercial services.

Hansard House of Commons Monday 4th July 2016 page 58 through 60

Five of the Worst Atrocities Carried Out by the British Empire

At its height in 1922, the British empire governed a fifth of the world's population.

1. Boer Concentration Camps - During the Second Boer War (1899-1902), the British rounded up around a sixth of the Boer population - mainly women and children - and detained them in camps, which were overcrowded and prone to outbreaks of disease, with scant food rations. Of the 107,000 people interned in the camps, 27,927 Boers died, along with an unknown number of black Africans.

2. Amritsar massacre - When peaceful protesters defied a government order and demonstrated against British colonial rule in Amritsar, India, on 13 April 1919, they were blocked inside the walled Jallianwala Gardens and fired upon by Gurkha soldiers. The soldiers, under the orders of Brigadier Reginald Dyer, kept firing until they ran out of ammunition, killing between 379 and 1,000 protesters and injuring another 1,100 within 10 minutes.

3. Partitioning of India - In 1947, Cyril Radcliffe was tasked with drawing the border between India and the newly created state of Pakistan over the course of a single lunch. After Cyril Radcliffe split the subcontinent along religious lines, uprooting over 10 million people, Hindus in Pakistan and Muslims in India were forced to escape their homes as the situation quickly descended into violence. Some estimates suggest up to one million people lost their lives in sectarian killings.

4. Mau Mau Uprising - Thousands of elderly Kenyans, who claim British colonial forces mistreated, raped and tortured them during the Mau Mau Uprising (1951-1960), have launched a £200m damages claim against the UK Government. Members of the Kikuyu tribe were detained in camps, since described as "Britain's gulags" or concentration camps, where they allege they were systematically tortured and suffered serious sexual assault. Estimates of the deaths vary widely: historian David Anderson estimates there were 20,000, whereas Caroline Elkins believes up to 100,000 could have died.

5. Famines in India - Between 12 and 29 million Indians died of starvation while it was under the control of the British Empire, as millions of tons of wheat were exported to Britain as famine raged in India. In 1943, up to four million Bengalis starved to death when Winston Churchill diverted food to British soldiers and countries such as Greece while a deadly famine swept through Bengal. Talking about the Bengal famine in 1943, Churchill said: "I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits."

Source: Independant,

Refused Family Reunion Applications Shoot up Since Abolition of Legal Aid

More than four our of 10 applications (41%) are not successful with 4,006 applications refused out of the 8,881 received in the year ending March 2016 (here). Between March 2015 and March 2016 alone, the number of refused applications increased by 70%. In the year ending March 2012, the percentage of applications refused in the ‘Family: other’ category (vast majority are family reunion applications) was less than one in five (19%). Legal aid was abolished for refugee family reunion applications in April 2013 by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment Offenders Act 2012. The Government at the time believed that family reunion applications were straightforward enough not to require legal assistance.

Read more: Caterina Franchi, Justice Gap,

Future of EU Nationals in UK More Uncertain After May Comments

Serious concerns over the legal status of the 3 million EU citizens living in Britain have been fuelled by Theresa May’s confirmation on Sunday that she regards their future as part of Brexit negotiations. May’s Tory leadership rival Andrea Leadsom issued a rapid riposte, pledging during her campaign launch that their futures should be not “used as bargaining chips” in those negotiations. The threat that the future in Britain of the 3 million EU nationals might be used “as hostages in the negotiations”, to be traded to safeguard the position of the 1.2 million Britons living in Europe was first made explicit by the former Ukip leader Lord Pearson last Wednesday. To criticism from all sides, he told the Lords: “Do the government agree however, that if the EU were to get difficult with our nationals living there, it is we who hold the stronger hand if we retaliate, because so many more of them are living here?”

Read more: Alan Travis, Guardian,

Last updated 15 July, 2016