News & Views Monday 9th May to Sunday 15th May 2016  

EU Immigration Has No Negative Impact On British Wages, Jobs or Public Services

The report, by the London School of Economics, has dispelled a number of ‘myths’ or misconceptions about the impact of immigration on the UK. It has been published as part of a series of research publications to be released between now and the EU referendum on 23 June. Key findings have included that wage variations for British workers have little correlation to immigration rates and are instead primarily linked to overriding economic factors such as the global economic crisis. The report’s authors also state that rather than being a burden on resources, immigrants pay more in taxes than they use in public services and play a vital role in reducing the budget deficit.

Report author Jonathan Wadsworth said: “The bottom line, which may surprise many people, is that EU immigration has not harmed the pay, jobs or public services enjoyed by Britons. EU immigrants pay more in taxes than they use in public services and therefore they help to reduce the budget deficit.  “So, far from being a necessary evil that we pay to get access to the greater trade and foreign investment generated by the EU single market, immigration is at worse neutral and at best, another economic benefit.”

Read more: Siobhan Fenton, Independent,

Petition: Government Should Not Proceed With Plans To Increase Immigration Court Fees

The Government has proposed a massive increase in the fees that immigrants and asylum seekers pay to have their immigration/asylum cases heard in court. This huge rise in fee (eg. from £140 to £800 for a hearing in court) will prevent individuals from being able to take their cases to court.

If the Home Office makes an incorrect decision on someone's case, this can usually be appealed in court. The fee increase will make people unable to challenge such decisions, leading to severe disruption in their personal/family lives.

Only rich people will be able to access courts, as the proposed amounts are impossible for most immigrants and asylum seekers to pay. This is unacceptable.

You can sign this petition here . . . .

UKHO Country Information Guidance (CIG) Pakistan: Christians and Christian Converts

1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by the state or non-state actors because the person is a Christian, or has converted to Christianity from Islam.

1.2 Other Points to Note

1.2.1 Decision makers should be aware that there are a number of Christian denominations, each with varying beliefs and practices. For a brief overview, see BBC: Christianity.

Published on Refworld, 11/05/2016

 UKHO Country Information Guidance (CIG) Pakistan: Ahmadis

 1.1  Basis of Claim

 1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by the state or non-state actors because the person is an Ahmadi.

 2. Consideration of Issues

 2.1 Credibility

2.1.1 The first question the decision-maker must consider is whether the claimant genuinely is an Ahmadi. Currently available country information is consistent with the country guidance case MN and others (Ahmadis

– country conditions - risk) Pakistan CG [2012] UKUT 389 (IAC) (14 November 2012). In this case the Upper Tribunal held that:

 - decision makers must reach their conclusions based on all the evidence as a whole giving such weight to aspects of that evidence as appropriate. This is likely to include enquiring whether the claimant was registered with an Ahmadi community in Pakistan and worshipped and engaged there on a regular basis (paragraph 122);

 - post-arrival activity will also be relevant. Evidence likely to be relevant includes confirmation from the UK Ahmadi headquarters [Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK] regarding the activities relied on in Pakistan and confirmation from the local community in the UK where the claimant is worshipping (paragraph 122); and
 - a sur place claim by an Ahmadi based on post-arrival conversion or revival in belief and practice will require careful evidential analysis. This will probably include consideration of evidence of the head of the claimant’s local United Kingdom Ahmadi Community and from the UK headquarters [Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK], the latter particularly in cases where there has been a conversion. Any adverse findings in the claimant’s account as a whole may be relevant to the assessment of likely behaviour on return (paragraph 126).

Published on Refworld, 11/05/2016

Alarming' Reports of Major Violations in South-East Turkey

The United Nations human rights chief today 10th May 2016, reported having received a succession of alarming reports about violations allegedly committed by Turkish military and security forces in south-east Turkey over the past few months, and urged the Turkish authorities to give independent investigators, including UN staff, unimpeded access to the area to verify the veracity of such reports.  “More and more information has been emerging from a variety of credible sources about the actions of security forces in the town of Cizre during the extended curfew there from mid-December until early March,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said in a press release.  He added that the picture that is emerging, although still sketchy, is “extremely alarming,” and strongly condemned violence and other unlawful acts committed by the youth groups and other non-state agents, allegedly affiliated with the PKK , in Cizre and other areas.

Read more: United Nations, 10/05/2016

Turkey: Border Guards Kill And Injure Asylum Seekers

Turkish border guards are shooting and beating Syrian asylum seekers trying to reach Turkey, resulting in deaths and serious injuries, Human Rights Watch said today. The Turkish authorities should stop pushing Syrian asylum seekers back at the border and should investigate all use of excessive force by border guards. During March and April 2016, Turkish border guards used violence against Syrian asylum seekers and a smuggler, killing five people, including a child, and seriously injuring 14 others, according to victims, witnesses, and Syrian locals interviewed by Human Rights Watch. Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Ministry maintains the country has an “open-door policy” for Syrian refugees, despite building a new border wall. “While senior Turkish officials claim they are welcoming Syrian refugees with open borders and open arms, their border guards are killing and beating them,” said Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Firing at traumatized men, women, and children fleeing fighting and indiscriminate warfare is truly appalling.”

Read more: Human Rights Watch, 10/05/2016

Kenya to Close All Refugee Camps and Displace 600,000 People

The country's government said it was shutting down the camps due to “very heavy” economic, security and environmental issues. Those due to close include Dadaab, the largest refugee camp in the world, home to more than 300,000 people on the Kenya-Somalia border. Karanja Kibicho, Kenya’s secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, cited the influence of terror group Al-Shabaab as among the risks of keeping the camps open. Mr Kibicho said in a statement: "Kenya, having taken into consideration its national security interests, has decided that hosting of refugees has come to an end. "The Government of Kenya acknowledges that the decision will have adverse effects on the lives of refugees and therefore the international community must collectively take responsibility on humanitarian needs that will arise out of this action."

Read more: Peter Yeung,  Independent, 09/05/2016

Right to Remain For Victims of Domestic Violence

An EU wide survey which assessed the extent of violence against women across the European Union showed one in three women have reported some form of physical or sexual abuse since the age of 15. However until very recently, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) had not had the opportunity of considering how such incidents may affect the right to remain/reside of family members of EEA nationals, in circumstances where the perpetrator of the abuse may have left that country and/or divorced them. In the NA (Pakistan) Case (C-115/15), which is a reference from the Court of Appeal, the CJEU has been asked to consider this very scenario. Article 13(2) of the Citizen’s Rights Directive 2004/38 sets out the circumstances in which a non-EEA national family member can retain rights of residence in the event of divorce, annulment of marriage or termination of a registered partnership. These include where prior to initiation of the divorce, termination or annulment proceedings the marriage or registered partnership has lasted at least three years, including one year in the host Member State, and where retention of the right of residence is warranted by particularly difficult circumstances such as having been a victim of domestic violence while the marriage or registered partnership was subsisting.

Read more: Saadiya Chaudary, Justice Gap, 10/05/2016

Important Tools for Anti-Deportation Campaigns – 'State of Religious Freedom World Wide'

U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has released its 2016 Annual Report. This year’s report, the 17th since the Commission’s creation in 1998, documents religious freedom violations in more than 30 countries, makes country-specific recommendations, and assesses the U.S. government’s implementation of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA).
 “By any measure, religious freedom abroad has been under serious and sustained assault since the release of our commission’s last Annual Report in 2015.   From the plight of new and longstanding prisoners of conscience, to the dramatic rise in the numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons, to the continued acts of bigotry against Jews and Muslims in Europe, and to the other abuses detailed in this report, there was no shortage of attendant suffering worldwide. [These] are crises in their own right which cry out for continued action on the part of the international community, including the United States.   To be effective, such action must recognize the unmistakable fact that religious freedom is a common thread in each of these challenges, and deserves a seat at the table when nations discuss humanitarian, security, and other pressing issues.  The United States and other countries must fully accord this right the respect it deserves and redouble their efforts to defend this pivotal liberty worldwide.”

In its role as an independent U.S. federal government advisory body, USCIRF recommends that the State Department add eight more nations to its list of “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs, where particularly severe violations of religious freedom are perpetrated or tolerated.  These countries are: • Central African Republic  • Egypt • Iraq • Nigeria • Pakistan • Syria • Tajikistan • Vietnam

Read more: USCIRF

Babajanov v. Turkey (no. 49867/08) - Forced Illegal Deportation to Iran Unlawful

The case essentially concerned the alleged forced illegal deportation of an Uzbek asylum seeker from Turkey to Iran. The applicant, Mohammad Kuranbay Babajanov, is an Uzbek national who was born in 1975 and lives in Turkey.

Mr Babajanov entered Turkey illegally in November 2007, having fled Uzbekistan in 1999 out of fear of persecution because he is a Muslim. Travelling via Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, he eventually settled in Zahedan in Iran from 2005 to 2007 before fleeing for Turkey. On arrival in Turkey he applied for refugee status to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as well as to the Turkish authorities. He was given a temporary residence permit until 24 September 2008 and ordered to report to the police station three times a week for signature.

Mr Babajanov claims that on 12 September 2008, when going to the police station for signature, he was placed in detention along with 29 other asylum seekers. They were driven to the border the same evening and forcibly deported to Iran. Captured by people smugglers and made to pay a ransom, they eventually managed a few days later to enter Turkey illegally again. He submits that, since then, he has been living in hiding in Turkey. His application for refugee status from the UNHCR is still under consideration and he has not received any information from the Turkish authorities as to his asylum request.

The Government submit that Mr Bajanov was deported to Iran, a safe third country, in accordance with domestic law following an assessment of his asylum claim. Furthermore, if he was still in Turkey, it was open to him to claim international protection under new legislation which had entered into force in April 2014 (the Foreigners and International Protection Act, Law no. 6458).

Relying in particular on Article 3 (prohibition of torture and of inhuman or degrading treatment), Mr Babajanov complained about his summary deportation to Iran in September 2008 without an assessment of his asylum claim and without a deportation order, despite the fact that he had had a valid residence permit. He also alleged under Article 3 that he was currently still under a threat of deportation to Iran or Uzbekistan where he would be at a clear risk of death or ill-treatment on account of his political opinions and religious beliefs. Mr Babajanov further made a number of complaints under in particular Article 5 §§ 1 and 2 (right to liberty and security), namely that his detention prior to his removal on 12 September 2008 had been unlawful and that he had not been informed of the reasons for his detention pending deportation.

Violation of Article 3 – on account of Mr Babajanov’s deportation to Iran on 12 September 2008, Violation of Article 5 § 1

ECtHR, 10/05/2016

Asylum Seeker Dies in Australia From Self-Inflicted Burns

A 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker who set himself on fire at Australia's detention centre on the island of Nauru has died.  Australia's immigration department confirmed the man died at Brisbane Hospital on Friday. His actions were a "political protest", according to the Nauruan government. Australia sends asylum seekers it intercepts for processing at offshore locations, including Nauru, a small Pacific Island nation.

The man, known as Omid, set himself on fire at the Nauru detention centre on Tuesday and was airlifted to Brisbane Hospital in Australia with severe burns to his torso. A statement from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said it was providing "appropriate support" to the man's wife and friends.  Graphic video footage of the incident, which reportedly occurred during a United Nations visit to the island, has been published on Australian news websites.

Read more: BBC News, 29/04/2016

Report Back Detention Centre Protests

On Saturday 7th May 2016 over 20 Simultaneous protests throughout the UK and around the world to end immigration detention centres. Thousands of activists took part in a coordinated transnational day of solidarity with detainees. A coalition of groups from the UK and around the world joined Saturday 7th May 2016 a mass simultaneous protest in 15 detention centres, calling to end immigration detention centres. An international coalition joined forces with groups from all around the UK as well as groups from the US, Spain, Greece, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Iceland, N. Ireland, Belgium, France and Italy. In the UK, thousands took part in the protest in solidarity with the 30,000 adults and children in detention. Protesters held demonstrations at St Pancras train station, held noise demonstration in various detention centres, flew kites so detainees can see them beyond the high walls, danced, sang songs and called for the immediate release of those held against their will without judicial oversight, a time limit, or adequate access to legal support, translation, and healthcare.

In Harmondsworth detention centre, 190 people announced a hunger strike as on the day and refused to eat lunch, and 50 people occupied the yard in protest. In Morton Hall, demonstrators came to support Fredrick Igbinedion, who has been on hunger strike for 13 days now. Igbinedion has been living in the UK since 2004 and has a 5-year old-son here. According to reports from Morton Hall, he has already collapsed several times since starting his hunger strike.

A mother of a past detainee in Morton Hall spoke at the demonstration and said: “my son was detained four times. He was abused quite a lot. We are here today because we think that the way our asylum seekers are treated is inhumane, is wrong and is degrading”. People inside various detention centres reported today that this show of solidarity meant a lot to them, and in many demonstrations detainees were answering the protest with their own chanting in call for freedom.

Source: End Detention Now, 08/05/2016

Last updated 13 May, 2016