News & Views Monday 12th December to Sunday 18th December 2016  
UK to Help Fast-Track European Deportations of Asylum Seekers

Britain is to step up efforts to fast-track European deportations of migrants from Iraq, Afghanistan and Eritrea. At the European council in Brussels, Theresa May is expected to pledge an extra 40 staff over winter to help Greek border officials with asylum claims that Downing Street says are “likely to be deemed inadmissible”. Greece is currently trialling a system to fast-track deportations with the aid of UK staff. “Rather than going into the asylum case flow they go into a faster process to return them [more quickly],” a Downing Street source said, adding that the 40 staff would have a number of specialists with experience of deportations. “It is exactly about that deterrent effect … The message is that you will be sent back.”

Read more: Jessica Elgot, Guardian,
Turkey Country Report - Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC)

This report presents country of origin information (COI) on Turkey up to 7th October 2016 on issues of relevance in refugee status determination for Turkish nationals, in particular since the failed Coup d’état and the introduction of the State of Emergency.

The COI presented is illustrative, but not exhaustive of the information available in the public domain, nor is it determinative of any individual human rights or asylum claim. All sources are publicly available and a direct hyperlink has been provided. A list of sources and databases consulted is also provided, to enable users to conduct further research and to conduct source assessments. Research focused on events after January 2015, particularly those which occurred between15th July 2016 to 7th October 2016 and all sources were accessed in October and November 2016. Limited COI which pre-dates the cut-off point for research has been included to provide historical context where necessary or to illustrate changes in the post-coup environmentand the following sources have been included which post-date the cut-off point given their relevance to the issues addressed in this report:

Download the full report:, 15 December 2016,

ECtHR Accepts Complaints About Curfew Measures in Turkey

The European Court of Human Rights (the ECtHR) has decided to communicate various complaints to the Turkish Government in 34 applications concerning the curfew measures taken in Turkey since August 2015 and has asked them to submit their observations. The complaints which have been communicated are related, among other things, to allegations of: unlawful killings and failure to take steps to protect the right to life; ill-treatment; and, unlawful deprivation of liberty on account of some of the applicants' confinement to their homes for extended periods. They rely on Article 2 (right to life), Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) and Article 5 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights. Some of the applicants also complain about the arrest and detention in prison of their legal representative and the Government's alleged failure to comply with a number of interim measures under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, in breach of Article 34 (right to individual application).

The ECtHR started receiving these 34 applications in December 2015, including more than 40 requests for interim measures from (or on behalf of) over 160 persons in the context of the curfews imposed by local governors in certain towns and villages of south-eastern Turkey (see also the press releases of 13 January 2016 and 5 February 2016). Most of the requests concerned incidents that had taken place in the towns of Cizre and Sur.

Notably, five of those requests for interim measures were subsequently accepted and the ECtHR indicated to the Turkish Government to take all measures within their powers to protect the lives and physical integrities of five injured applicants who were waiting to be taken to hospitals. Following the deaths of four of the applicants, allegedly because of the Government's failure to comply with the interim measures to take them to hospital, and the taking into hospital of the fifth applicant, the ECtHR lifted the interim measures.

A further 43 persons in six of the applications, claiming to have been injured and trapped in the basements of three buildings in Cizre at the time of the introduction of their applications, lost their lives shortly afterwards, allegedly when the buildings in which they had taken refuge were bombed by members of the security forces. Relatives of some of those deceased persons expressed their wish to pursue the applications.  In the context of its examination of the requests for interim measures, the ECtHR decided to give priority treatment to the majority of these 34 applications in accordance with Rule 41 (order of dealing with cases) of the Rules of Court.

Seeking Economic Asylum is what Moves the World to Move

What moves the world to move whether internally or to other lands is not in the main political oppression and ethnic/religious violence, though there is plenty of that. But economic need and therefore those seeking Economic Asylum should not be treated as undesirables to be repelled from every border in the affluent west in particular the European Union and if managing to cross those borders, hunted down and expelled.

France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom all members of the European Union (EU). Ruthlessly, economically raped Africa, Asia, South America, etc, throughout the 16th to 20th centuries. And though they have long since given up physical control of these territories the banks, big business of the EU, still have massive financial interference in their former colonies.

Somalia, Chad, Sudan, Zimbabwe, DR Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Central African Rep, Guinea, Pakistan are the worlds worst 10 'Failed States', unable/unwilling to protect their citizens from themselves or others, unable/unwilling to provide them with a duty of care, massive internal conflict, forced internal/external displacement. All of these countries were at one time or the other colonies of countries of the EU.

The vast majority of people who make it to the UK, seeking Economic asylum come from former British Colonies. Countries that the UK plundered of natural resources and when forced to depart, left most of the countries in political/economic turmoil the ramifications of which still bedevil these countries today. The legacy of European colonialism MUST be front and centre when we make arguments about the right to seek Economic Asylum in the UK or anywhere else in the EU. In the UK our tables are always full and we have clothes on our backs and a roof over our heads. There are tens of thousands in the UK who suffer deprivation (destitute refused asylum seekers and migrants without papers are even worse off) but that is in main caused by the political economic decisions of the government, that is only concerned with keeping the pockets of capitalism full, especially the bankers.

Read more:

Boris Calls for Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants Who Have Been in the UK 10 Years

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson has called for illegal immigrants to be granted amnesty in the UK in the run up to Brexit. He originally stated these plans during the referendum campaign but has restated his plans in a cabinet meeting chaired by Theresa May. The amnesty plan would give those who had been in the UK illegally for more than 10 years legal status in the UK so they can work legally and pay income taxes. The plan would essentially grant immigrants who have been in the UK for longer than 10 years indefinite leave to remain, meaning they could live and work legally, and contribute through income taxes.

This isn’t the first time Johnson has raised the possibility of an amnesty for illegal immigrants who have been in the country for an extended period of time. He first raised the idea in 2008 and then repeated it during his time as the Mayor of London.  During a leave rally in June of this year, Johnson said: “I’m not only pro-immigration, I’m pro-immigrants. And I am in favour of an amnesty of illegal immigrants who have been here for more than 12 years, unable to contribute to this economy, unable to pay taxes, unable to take proper part in society. I’ll tell you why. Because it is the humane thing to do, it is the economically rational thing to do.” Home Secretary Amber Rudd has indicated support for the amnesty plan, but there are also concerns that the move could anger those who voted for Brexit in order to control immigration. One minister present at the cabinet meeting described the plan as insane, going on to say it would make ordinary Brits furious.

Source: Immigration Advisory Service,
Afghanistan: Torturer’s Deportation from UK Poses Threat to Witnesses

The deportation of Commander Faryadi Zardad from the UK to Afghanistan on December 14 poses a clear danger for witnesses who testified against the former warlord in his 2005 conviction for torture and hostage taking, Human Rights Watch said today. The UK government should take immediate measures to protect witnesses, including by expediting asylum procedures and relocation outside Afghanistan. The Afghan government should impose parole restrictions on Zardad, and the UK and Afghan authorities should scrupulously monitor his compliance in order to protect those witnesses who remain in Afghanistan.

“Zardad’s trial and conviction in the UK was a landmark case – demonstrating that torturers cannot find safe haven by fleeing to another country,” said Patricia Gossman, senior researcher on Afghanistan. “But by failing to take measures to protect witnesses, the UK government risks betraying those who made that conviction possible. They owe it to them to take immediate steps to protect those most at risk.”

Read more: Human Rights Watch,

EHRC Calls on UK Government to Set a Time Limit of 28 Days for Immigration Detention

A greater effort is needed to protect Britain’s position as a global leader in human rights as the development of a new British Bill of Rights, a rise in hate crime in recent years and changes to social security provide an uncertain future for society’s most vulnerable and marginalised, according to human rights chiefs. The warning follows the publication of a report to the United Nations, where the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) gives a "worrying assessment" of human rights protections across Britain. After carrying out an analysis of available data, the commission has outlined 12 priority areas where more work needs to be done. These range from the most essential everyday worries around equal access to healthcare and a proper education, to better protection for child migrants when they come to Britain.

The report acknowledges important progress made in some areas. The UK government’s Modern Slavery Act and the Scottish government’s Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act have "done much" to tackle the spread of sexual exploitation and forced labour. A reduction in the use of stop and search in England and Wales is another area "for cautious optimism". However, a black person is still five times more likely to be stopped and searched than a white person, the EHRC said.

The report calls on the UK government, along with the Scottish and Welsh governments where issues are devolved, to immediately implement 30 recommendations, which can help address some of these complex issues. Important actions include:

  • ensuring that a new British Bill of Rights does not weaken the legal protections people currently enjoy through the Human Rights Act  
  • using new research to tackle hate crime and encourage the police and the courts to work together to stop it
  • carrying out detailed analysis of spending decisions to look at the overall impact on groups such as disabled people and children
  • ensuring that all unaccompanied and separated children entering the UK are assigned an independent guardian to help protect their interests
  • setting a time limit of 28 days for immigration detention and put an end to the detention of pregnant women
  • ensuring that in the youth justice system restraint is only used as a last resort, to prevent injuries and not used deliberately to inflict pain
  • The report has been produced as part of the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. The UPR places a country’s human rights record under the international microscope every five years. The UK government is due to be examined next spring and the commission’s report will be used to inform the process. 

Read more: Scottish Legal News,

Belgium Refuse Entry to Refugee Family - Ordered to Pay £4,000 a Day Until it Does

EU court to rule on humanitarian visas - Is an EU country obliged to grant humanitarian visas to people who are not yet on its territory? The answer to that question will be decided by the European Court of Justice after a Belgian body filed a case in an emergency procedure, it emerged this weekend. The foreigners' claims council in Belgium has asked for an EU court ruling in the case of a Syrian family of four who filed a request for a three-month humanitarian visa in the Belgian embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. The family requested a visa to go to Namur, where a family is ready to welcome them. The Belgian government has so far refused to grant visas to the family. On 20 October, the foreigners' claims council ruled that the visa should be granted. Last Wednesday (7 December), a court of appeal upheld the council's decision and said the Belgian government would have to pay €1,000 per member of the family and per day until it abided by the decision.

Read more: Euro Observer,
Urgent Action: Make Sure  Your MP Helps Reunite Refugee Families in the UK

Young refugees should be able to be reunited with their parents so they can begin to rebuild their lives safe from persecution, as a family, here in the UK. However, unaccompanied refugee children's lack of family reunion rights leaves refugee children without the support of their parents, forced to be looked after in the care system, and leaves families torn apart by war, violence and persecution.  Whilst adult refugees can sponsor their partners and young children (under 18) to join them here, unaccompanied refugee children living in the UK cannot bring their parents to safety. 

Next year, the Department for Education will publish a strategy for the safeguarding of unaccompanied children. Reuniting refugee families is central to protecting and safeguarding refugee children in the UK. And on Monday 19th December, MPs will have the chance to raise this issue in Parliament when Ministers from the Department for Education answer questions in the House of Commons.
You can use this opportunity to ensure unaccompanied refugee children's family reunion rights are at the top of the agenda.  City of Sanctuary and the Refugee Council have written a Parliamentary Question that you can ask MPs to table. The deadline for MPs to submit questions in advance is next Tuesday 13th December at 12.30pm, so we need to act fast!
Download our model letter and email your MP today! 

Regional Asylum Activism <>

50% of Immigration Detainees in UK Have no Representation Because of Legal Aid Cuts

Cuts in legal aid have reduced the estimated number receiving legal help from 80 per cent to 50 per cent, meaning that thousands of people waiting to find out if they will be granted the right to remain in the UK are doing so without any legal help at all. According to the Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) survey, the impact of reductions in legal aid for immigration detainees made in April 2013 also mean that one in five have never received any legal assistance at all. Growing numbers of detainees are now held in prisons, where only one in 20 has access to any kind of independent legal advice about their case. Only a quarter of people in immigration detention now have access to legal aid. Most of the rest cannot afford the fees. BID’s Policy & Research Manager John Hopgood said: “The situation described by detainees underlines the bleak situation that people being held in immigration detention face – made pointlessly and unjustly worse by the Government’s ill-conceived cuts to legal aid.

Read more: Tom Peck, Independent,

ARC Country of Information Update Vol. 138

This document provides an update of UK Country Guidance case law, UK Home Office publications and developments in refugee producing countries (focusing on those which generate the most asylum seekers in the UK) between 29 November and 12 December 2016.

Download the full report: