News & Views Monday 8th August to Sunday 14th August 2016  
Revealed Scale of Abuse of Children in Australian Offshore Detention

The devastating trauma and abuse inflicted on children held by Australia in offshore detention has been laid bare in the largest cache of leaked documents released from inside its immigration regime. More than 2,000 leaked incident reports from Australia’s detention camp for asylum seekers on the remote Pacific island of Nauru – totalling more than 8,000 pages – are published by the Guardian today. The Nauru files set out as never before the assaults, sexual abuse, self-harm attempts, child abuse and living conditions endured by asylum seekers held by the Australian government, painting a picture of routine dysfunction and cruelty.

Read more: Guardian,

Asylum Policy Instruction Sexual Orientation in Asylum Claims

Purpose of instruction
This instruction explains how caseworkers should consider claims made on the basis of sexual orientation. This is to make sure that the relevant information is obtained in order to make a balanced decision so that we grant protection to those who face persecution because of their sexuality and refuse protection to those who do not.

In all interviews, caseworkers as representatives of the Home Office are expected to maintain high professional standards and treat claimants with respect and sensitivity throughout.

This instruction must be read in conjunction with the main asylum policy instructions, in particular: • Asylum interviews • Assessing credibility and refugee status • Considering and deciding a claim • Gender issues in the asylum claim • Gender identity issues in the asylum claim This instruction applies to all Home Office staff who interview and consider asylum claims brought on grounds of sexual orientation.

Published by UKHO,

New Home Office API on Gay Asylum Claims: Not Fit For Purpose

The new Asylum Policy Instruction on Sexual Orientation Issues in the Asylum Claim, published last Wednesday, marks an unwelcome retrograde step for the Home Office, which still continues to apply the ‘voluntary discretion test’ to gay asylum claims, even though this has been held to be unlawful, as a matter of EU law, since July 2015. Having made positive strides with respect to the quality of decision-making since the public outcry over the sexually explicit methods of questioning gay asylum seekers in February 2014, in August 2016 this API will lead to sub-standard and unlawful decisions by the Home Office, and arguably Courts and Tribunals who rely on the API, leading to devastating outcomes to those returned to countries where they will suffer persecution.

Read more:  S Chelvan, Freemoement

Uganda: Police Attack LGBTI Pride Event

(Kampala) – Ugandan police unlawfully raided an event late in the evening of August 4, 2016, the third night of a week of Ugandan LGBTI Pride celebrations, brutally assaulting participants, seven human rights groups said today. The event was a pageant in Kampala’s Club Venom to crown Mr/Ms/Mx Uganda Pride. Police claimed that they had been told a “gay wedding” was taking place and that the celebration was “unlawful” because police had not been informed of the event. However, police had been duly informed, and the prior two Pride events, on August 2 and 3, were conducted without incident.  “We strongly condemn these violations of Ugandans’ rights to peaceful association and assembly,” said Nicholas Opiyo, a human rights lawyer and executive director at Chapter Four Uganda. “These brutal actions by police are unacceptable and must face the full force of Ugandan law.”

Read more: Human Rights Watch: 05/08/2016,

UKHO CIG: Eritrea: National (incl. Military) Service

1.1 Basis of claim
1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by the state because of the:
(a) Treatment and/or conditions likely to be faced by person during national/military service; and/or
(b) Open-ended nature of national service; and/or
(c) Penalties likely to be faced by the person’s refusal to undertake or their evasion or desertion from, national/military service.
1.2 Points to note
i. National service: terminology
1.2.1 An explanation of the terms used in this document:
(a) ‘National service’ means the complete requirement that an Eritrean will serve in line with Article 2 of National Service Proclamation 82/1995 – i.e. compulsory military training followed by either military service and/or a civilian posting (see Legal Framework and Duration of National Service).
(b) ‘Military training’ means the initial compulsory period of training of three to six months at Sawa or elsewhere that all Eritreans are required to undertake as part of national service.
(c) ‘Military service’ means a posting to the military upon completion of compulsory military training.

Home Office Publication 04/08/2016


50% of Immigrants Held in US 'Priority' Program Have No Criminal Conviction

A program intended to prioritize the deportation of immigrants who officials call “the worst of the worst” is missing its target, according to a new report. An analysis of requests by federal officials for local jails to keep immigrants suspected of violating US immigration law in custody found half of the so-called “holds” were placed on people who had been arrested but actually had no criminal conviction. Some had been picked up during traffic violations, or had their charges dropped. But their arrest triggered a process that ended with their federal immigration detention, and in many cases led to deportation proceedings.  Just one quarter had committed the most serious types of offenses, such as murder or sexual assault, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which is based at Syracuse University and obtained the records through an open records request. The most common conviction was for drunk driving, followed by miscellaneous assaults and simple traffic offenses.

Read more: Renée Feltz, Guardian,

Uganda: Minister's Remarks Against LGBTI People Amount to Advocacy of Hatred

Reacting to threats by Uganda's Minister of Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo that he will suppress the activities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights activists and "rehabilitate" LGBTI people, Amnesty International said: "The minister's remarks coming only a few days after police assaulted peaceful attendees at a private LGBTI Pride event in Kampala are hugely irresponsible and are tantamount to advocacy of hatred and incitement to discrimination," said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International's Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes. "The Ugandan government should be working to bring to account those responsible for the criminal attack that left one person hospitalised with serious injuries, and dozens more injured, instead of condoning these attacks and inciting further hostility against LGBTI people."

Background: In his remarks today 08.08/2016 in Kampala, Lokodo publicly backed the police raid on 4 August on a nightclub last Thursday in which LGBTI people were beaten and undressed. Lokodo told journalists that his office was also developing a programme to "rehabilitate" LGBTI people "with the ultimate aim of giving them a chance to live normal lives again".

Source Refworld: 08/08/2016,

UN Human Rights Chief Deplores Mass Executions in Iran

5 August 2016 – The United Nations human rights chief today deplored the execution of 20 people in Iran this week for purported terrorism-related offences. “The application of overly broad and vague criminal charges, coupled with a disdain for the rights of the accused to due process and a fair trial have in these cases led to a grave injustice,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a news release. Reports suggest that most, if not all, of those executed were from a minority group – Sunnis from the Kurdish community. In many of the cases, there were serious doubts about the fairness of the trials, respect for due process and other rights of the accused. A man who was hanged yesterday, Shahram Ahmadi, had allegedly been beaten and coerced into signing a blank piece of paper on which his false confession was recorded. His family members were unable to visit him before he was executed, and were reportedly directed to the cemetery instead of Rajai Shahr Prison west of Tehran. Mr. Zeid also condemned the execution last month of Hassan Afshar, a 19-year-old who was 17 when he was arrested and convicted of rape. “The execution of juvenile offenders is particularly abhorrent,” Mr. Zeid said, urging Iran to respect the strict prohibition under international human rights law against this practice.

Source UN News Centre:

CPS Upholds Decision Not to Charge Over MI6 Role In Libyans' Rendition

Families’ lawyers claim ‘stitch-up’ after failure to overturn decision not to bring charges over abduction of dissidents: Prosecutors have rejected an attempt to overturn their decision not to charge anyone over the involvement of the British intelligence agency MI6 in the kidnapping of two Libyan dissidents in a joint operation with the CIA. Lawyers for the two families accused prosecutors of a “complete stitch-up” after failing to quash the decision not to bring any charges over the abduction of the dissidents and their families, including a pregnant woman and children.

The Crown Prosecution Service announced in June that, after a Scotland Yard investigation lasting four years, it did not have enough evidence bring criminal charges. Detectives had compiled a 28,000-page file on how the CIA and MI6 had collaborated to abduct the families of the two prominent dissidents, Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Sami al-Saadi, and fly them to the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s prisons in 2004.  Documents that came to light in 2011 after the toppling of Gaddafi revealed the UK’s participation in the abduction of Belhaj and his pregnant wife, and al-Saadi and his wife and four young children, from south-east Asia.

Read more: Rob Evans, Guardian,