News & Views Monday 12th September to Sunday 18th September 2016  
Revealed: Homeless Charities 'Complicit' in Rough Sleeper Deportations

Two well-known homeless charities are accused of being 'complicit' with the deportation of foreign rough sleepers from the UK, can reveal. Leading homelessness charities St Mungo's and Thames Reach worked on a scheme to tackle 'entrenched' rough sleeping in London, which also involved immigration enforcement teams removing people from the country against their will. Documents released by the Greater London Authority suggest the charities supported the 'administrative removal' of some foreign rough sleepers. Administrative removals are deportations carried out against people who may have breached the conditions of their stay in the UK. Under government guidance announced this year, just being seen sleeping rough is considered a breach.

Campaigners today hit out at the charities for being 'complicit' with deportations. "Homeless individuals are sitting ducks for immigration enforcement," Rita Chadha, the chief executive of Ramfel, a refugee and migrant group, said. "The fact that some homelessness charities can be complicit in such work is to our collective shame. People need to start questioning where their donations to some homeless charities are going. Are they really helping individuals or are they subsidising state-sanctioned enforcement?" Former mayor of London Boris Johnson asked the homeless charities to work on a 'payment by results' basis, in order to help fulfil his promise to eradicate rough sleeping from London's streets.

Read more: Natalie Bloomer, Politics UK,

Number of People Displaced by Conflict 'Equivalent To UK Population of 65m'

The World Bank and the United Nations have highlighted the impact of conflicts on civilians in a report showing that the number of displaced people around the globe is equivalent to the UK’s population of 65 million. A study launched jointly by the Bank and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) shows that the root of the problem are 10 conflicts responsible for the majority of forced displacement every year for the past quarter of a century. The report said the issue was emerging as an important development challenge that threatened a backlash against refugees.  “Extreme poverty is now increasingly concentrated among vulnerable groups, including people who had to flee in the face of conflict and violence, and their presence affects development prospects in the communities that are hosting them,” the report said.

Read more: Larry Elliott, Guardian,

Dismantle Destitution! - Two Asylum Campaigns in Manchester

Between them Dianne, from Zambia, and Mohamed, from Libya, have been living in Manchester for twenty two years. They are both destitute – because they've been failed by the UK immigration system.

Mohamed Albendago is a Libyan national and Christian convert who has been seeking asylum in the UK since 2006. His last asylum application was mismanaged by legal aid solicitors, who were instructed to apologise and pay him compensation by the Legal Ombudsman. When he was due to marry his Danish fiancée, he was accused of a sham marriage, an accusation he has not had the financial means to contest; but he has continued his relationship with his fiancée and they are now expecting a baby. Although he has been destitute since 2012, he plays an active role in British life in Manchester, volunteering with a range of community organisations. Read more and find the link to his petition here.

Dianne Ngoza has been in the UK for fourteen years. She has worked in the UK as a nurse, and is also a qualified electrical engineer. Due to repeated errors by her lawyers, her leave to remain has not been granted. As a result, she has been left destitute for the last six years. Dianne is a tireless community activist who volunteers with many different organisations fighting for human rights. Read more and find the link to her petition here.

March/Demonstration Saturday 17th September - Refugees Welcome Here

Assemble 12:30 pm, Hyde Park, Southbound Carriageway of Park Lane march to Trafalgar Square.

Why march/demonstrate? Women, men and children around the world are fleeing war, persecution and torture. They have been forced into the hands of smugglers and onto dangerous journeys across the sea in rickety old boats and dinghies. Many have lost their lives. Those who have made it often find themselves stranded in makeshift camps in train stations, ports or by the roadside. And still, politicians across Europe fail to provide safe and legal routes for people to seek asylum.

March/Demonstrate to tell the Prime Minister Theresa May that The Government must do more to help refugees. Lead the way towards a more human global response to the millions fleeing conflict. Offer safe passage to the UK for more people who have been forced to flee their homes. Do more to help refugees in the UK rebuild their lives

Help Reunite Refugee Families, Faith Leaders Urge May

More than 200 religious leaders have urged the UK to relax immigration rules so refugees from Syria and other areas can be reunited with their families. In a letter to the prime minister, they say close relatives of Britons and refugees already in the country are living abroad in "desperate conditions" and should be given a legal route in. People are now making "unsafe" journeys with "avoidable tragedies", they say. Ministers say the UK has been at the head of the response to the crisis. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is among representatives from the Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh faiths to have signed the letter to Theresa May. The signatories, who are acting in a personal capacity, also include Baroness Rabbi Julia Neuberger and Muslim Council of Britain secretary general Harun Rashid Khan. The letter calls on the government to "urgently revise its policy" to help refugees fleeing Syria, Iraq and other areas of conflict "by adopting fair and humane family reunion policies".

Read more: BBC News,

Greece: Migrant Children Held in Deplorable Conditions

(Athens) – Greek police routinely lock up unaccompanied children in small, overcrowded, and unhygienic cells for weeks and months, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.

The 27-page report, “‘Why Are You Keeping Me Here?’: Unaccompanied Children Detained in Greece,” documents arbitrary and prolonged detention of children in violation of international and Greek law. Children are held in unsanitary conditions, sometimes with unrelated adults, in police stations and detention centers where they have little access to basic care and services. The report is based on interviews with 42 children who were or had been detained, as well as visits to two police stations and two detention centers in mainland Greece.

“Greece says it has to detain children for their own protection, but being locked up in cramped and filthy cells is the last thing these kids need,” said Rebecca Riddell, Europe fellow at Human Rights Watch. “We’re talking about kids who are all alone and who fled their countries, often to escape violence. Greece and the EU should do a better job giving these vulnerable children the care they need and deserve.”
Read more: Human Rights watch,

Early Day Motion 434: International Student Visas

That this House notes the important role of international students in the UK higher education sector; further notes that 68,550 international students studied in the UK in 2015; recognises that international students contribute a net value of £2.3 billion a year to the economy, along with a great cultural investment; is concerned about reports of mass deportations of international students; is further concerned that current policy is making the UK a less welcoming place for international students; urges the Government to halt any ongoing programmes of such deportations; and calls on the Government to reassess the criteria by which it grants student visas.

Date tabled: 12.09.2016 - Primary sponsor: Sharma, Virendra


UK Immigration and Asylum Tribunal Fees to Rise By 500%

The government is to press ahead with increases of up to 500% in court fees for immigration and asylum cases, despite a consultation in which all but five of 147 responses opposed the move. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) confirmed the decision on Thursday, saying it was grateful for the responses to the consultation, but the policy remained that, where fees were charged to access public services, they should be set at such a level to recover the full cost. The decision means that fees for an application to the first-tier tribunal dealing with immigration and asylum cases will increase from £80 to £490 for “a decision on the papers,” and from £140 to £800 for an oral hearing.  Fees are to be introduced for the first time for appeals to the upper tribunal: £350 for applications and £510 for the appeal hearing.

Alan Travis and Owen Bowcott, Guardian,

CJEU: Judgments in Case C-304/14 SSHD v CS

 and Case C-165/14  Alfredo Rendón Marín vAdministración del Estado and

EU law does not permit a national of a non-EU country who has the sole care of an EU citizen who is a minor to be automatically refused a residence permit or to be expelled from the territory of the European Union on the sole ground that he has a criminal record

In order to be capable of being adopted, an expulsion measure must be proportionate and founded on the personal conduct of the national of a non-EU country and that conduct must constitute a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat adversely affecting one of the fundamental interests of the society of the host Member State

Because of their criminal records, two nationals of non-EU countries were, respectively, refused a residence permit and served with a deportation order by the authorities of the host Member State – the State of nationality of minor children of whom they have sole care and who possess citizenship of the Union. Alfredo Rendón Marín has sole care and custody of a son, who has Spanish nationality, and a daughter, who has Polish nationality. The two minor children have always resided in Spain. CS is the mother and sole carer of a child of British nationality who resides with her in the United Kingdom.

Members of the press should note that Case C-304/14 was brought before the Court of Justice anonymised by the referring United Kingdom tribunal, which had made an anonymity order so as to protect the interests of CS’s child.

The Tribunal Supremo (Supreme Court of Spain) and the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) (United Kingdom) asked the Court of Justice whether the existence of a criminal record may in itself justify refusal of a right of residence or expulsion in the case of a national of a non-EU country who is the sole carer of a minor who is an EU citizen.

By its judgments delivered today, the Court holds, first, that EU law precludes national legislation under which a national of a non-EU country who has the sole care of a minor who is an EU citizen is automatically refused a residence permit, or must be expelled, on the sole ground that that national has a criminal record where the refusal or expulsion obliges the child to leave the territory of the European Union.

Read the full briefing: Curia,

New Immigration Detention Policy For ‘Adults At Risk’ Needs Urgent Review

More than 30,000 people are held under immigration powers in the UK each year without time limit. Indefinite detention is damaging to mental health, and Home Office policy stipulates that vulnerable people should not be detained. However, many are, and in the last few years there have been five court findings of “inhuman and degrading” treatment of detainees.

In response to mounting criticism, the government commissioned Steven Shaw to carry out a review of the welfare of vulnerable detainees. This found that protections for vulnerable people were inadequate and made 69 recommendations that were broadly accepted by the government. Ministers promised “significant and transformative” change, but have now proposed a new “adults at risk” policy, which comes into effect on 12 September.

Leading organisations have voiced concerns that the new policy may lead to a worsening of protection for vulnerable people in detention. The policy limits the definition of torture, meaning that those tortured at the hands of Isis, Boko Haram and others may no longer be included. The policy increases the burden of evidence on vulnerable people and balances vulnerability against a wider range of other factors. We fear this will lead to more vulnerable people being detained for longer.
The guidance was laid before parliament the day before summer recess and will come into effect one week after recess, meaning there has been no opportunity for meaningful debate. Considering the potential for significant harm to vulnerable detainees, we call for an urgent review before this policy is implemented.

Theresa Schleicher Acting director, Medical Justice
Adrian Berry Chair, Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association
TJ Birdi Executive director, Helen Bamber Foundation
Paul Dillane Executive director, UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group
Ali McGinley Director, Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees
Saira Grant Chief executive, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
John Hopgood Policy and research manager, Bail for Immigration Detainees
Wayne Myslik Chief executive, Migrants Resource Centre
Bella Sankey Policy director, Liberty

Failing Another Generation: The Travesty of Roma Education in the Czech Republic

Roma children in the Czech Republic are funneled into so-called “practical schools”—dead-end institutions where they are taught a limited, low-level curriculum. The experience leaves students unqualified for all but the most basic jobs and traps generations in a cycle of poverty and hopelessness.

In 1999, 18 children from the eastern Czech city of Ostrava challenged the system before the European Court of Human Rights. Their case, known as D.H. and Others v. Czech Republic, argued that Roma children were being targeted for discrimination and denied their basic right to quality education.

In 2007, the European Court of Human Rights agreed. In a landmark judgment, the court demanded that the Czech government stop the segregation and redress its effect.

But victory in court and real change are two different things. Roma children still face discrimination in the Czech school system. Most still end up in inadequate, third-rate schools.

On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the judgment, the Open Society Justice Initiative commissioned photojournalist Stephanie Sinclair to collect the stories of the children who won the case. She found they now have children of their own—and they face an all too familiar fate.
Download the full report: