News & Views Monday 13th June to Sunday 19th June 2016  
Ethiopia: Protest Crackdown Killed Hundreds

Ethiopian security forces have killed more than 400 protesters and others, and arrested tens of thousands more during widespread protests in the Oromia region since November 2015. The Ethiopian government should urgently support a credible, independent investigation into the killings, arbitrary arrests, and other abuses.

The 61-page report. “‘Such a Brutal Crackdown’: Killings and Arrests in Response to Ethiopia’s Oromo Protests,” details the Ethiopian government’s use of excessive and unnecessary lethal force and mass arrests, mistreatment in detention, and restrictions on access to information to quash the protest movement. Human Rights Watch interviews in Ethiopia and abroad with more than 125 protesters, bystanders, and victims of abuse documented serious violations of the rights to free expression and peaceful assembly by security forces against protesters and others from the beginning of the protests in November 2015 through May 2.

Read more: Human Rights Watch,

ECJ Rules Illegal Migrants Cannot Be Jailed

On Tuesday 7 June 2016, in the case of Ghanaian National, Selina Affum the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") ruled that foreigners could no longer be imprisoned as a result of illegal entry. Ms Affum was apprehended in France on 22 March 2013, after being caught trying to travel into England using false documentation. France requested the Court to return Ms Affum to Belgium as she was using a false Belgian passport. The EU court, ruling on Affum's appeal against her detention, said the French request was contrary to the EU's laws on deporting migrants and in particular, Directive 2008/115/EC, the "Return Directive[JS1]". The purpose of the Return Directive is to systematise the process for returning non-EU nationals, who have entered a country illegally, to their country of origin.

The ECJ found that the Directive, which applies to those countries within the Schengen area, prevents states from imprisoning non-EU nationals who have entered their territory without permission. The Schengen area is a group of European countries that have abolished the need for passports and any other type of border control at their mutual borders. It encompasses most EU States, except for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom.

The primary reason given for their ruling was that to imprison them would undermine the effectiveness of EU law i.e. it would ultimately slow down the return of illegal migrants. The Judges felt that implementing the Return Directive gives migrants a chance to go home voluntarily. They did however, grant four possible situations were imprisonment might be justified:

  • The individual has committed a separate crime while in that country.
  • The individual has continued to stay illegally after the process of deportation
  • The individual has returned illegally after deportation
  • Processing the illegality could be "compromised"

The ECJ stated that "if there is a risk of the removal being compromised[JS2]", e.g. if it appears that the individual is likely to flee during the deportation process, it may be acceptable to detain them. The ECJ made it clear that this should not prevent States from placing such individuals in "administrative detention" while the legal status of their entry into the country was decided. Given the current migration crisis across, it will be interesting to see how this decision impacts Europe, and if there will be any ramifications.

Posted by: Gherson Immigration [JS1]Hyperlink:

Families Separated For Immigration Purposes

Last year 32,446 people subject to immigration control in the UK were detained by the government. Some had entered the country irregularly and were quickly removed. Others were detained pending removal or deportation. More than half of them were released back into the community, meaning that their detention had served no purpose. But what many people don’t know is that many of those detained were ordinary people, many of whom had lived in the UK for decades and, until they were detained had been quietly going about their everyday lives with their partners and children.   Some have never known any other home, and have husbands and wives, sons and daughters, jobs, homes, lives right here in Britain. Decisions to detain pay no heed to the impact of such a decision on the wider family. Parents are removed without warning from the heart of the family.

Read more: UK Human Rights Blog,

Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Volume 127
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 31 May and 13 June 2016.

Nigeria: Human Rights

Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the scale and frequency of human rights violations by Nigeria’s security forces in their actions against Boko Haram. What is their assessment of the credibility of investigations conducted in Nigeria into allegations of human rights violations committed by the Nigerian security forces.  What is their assessment of the scale and frequency of extrajudicial killings in Nigeria.  What representations they have made to the government of Nigeria regarding the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. What representations they have made to the government of Nigeria about the use of schools by its military and security forces, given that Nigeria has endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration, which explicitly prohibits such use.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: There are credible reports that human rights violations have been committed by Nigerian security forces during its operations against Boko Haram. We welcome President Buhari’s commitment to overhaul the Nigerian armed force’s rules of engagement, to investigate credible allegations of human rights violations and to take appropriate action. We understand that there are a number of investigations currently underway. It is important that these investigations are comprehensive and credible, and we are monitoring these closely.

We regularly stress to the Nigerian authorities the importance of protecting civilians in conflict and detention, and that, whilst we support their fight against terrorism, this fight should be in full compliance with human rights standards and international law. Any member of the Nigerian security forces found to have been involved in human rights violations must be held accountable.

There are credible reports that human rights violations, including extra-judicial killings, have been committed by Nigerian security forces during its operations against Boko Haram. We welcome President Buhari’s commitment to overhaul the Nigerian armed force’s rules of engagement, to investigate credible allegations of human rights violations and to take appropriate action. We regularly stress to the Nigerian authorities the importance of protecting civilians in conflict and detention, and that, whilst we support their fight against terrorism, any action taken by the Nigerian Security Forces should fully comply with human rights standards and international law. Any member of the Nigerian security forces found to have been involved in human rights violations must be held accountable.

LGBT People: We have made clear to the Nigerian authorities that the UK opposes any form of discrimination on the grounds of sexuality and any form of legislation that persecutes people on the basis of their sexuality. This has included opposition to Nigeria’s Same Sex Marriage Bill which we believe infringes on the fundamental rights of expression and association, guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution and by Nigeria’s international treaty obligations. Along with other EU Member States, opposition to this Bill has formed part of our dialogue with the Nigerian authorities. Where we have been made aware of specific arrests or harassment founded on the basis of the Same Sex Marriage Bill, we have made representations to the authorities on behalf of those who have been subject to discrimination.

We are concerned by reports that the Nigerian military are using schools in north east Nigeria for military purposes. The UK fully supports UN Security Council Resolution 1998 which urges all parties involved in armed conflict to refrain from actions that impede children’s safe access to education.  We regularly stress to the Nigerian authorities the importance of protecting civilians in conflict and continue to call on Nigeria to ensure that its security forces respect and act in accordance with International Humanitarian Law.

House of Lords: 14th June 2016


Commission v United Kingdom - Judgment in Case C-308/14

The UK can require recipients of child benefit and child tax credit to have a right to reside in the UK

Although that condition is considered to amount to indirect indiscrimination, it is justified by the need to protect the finances of the host Member State

The regulation on the coordination of social security systems1 lays down a series of common principles to be observed by the legislation of the Member States in that sphere so that the various national systems do not place at a disadvantage persons who exercise their right of freedom of movement and of residence within the EU. One of the common principles that the Member States must observe is the principle of equality. In the specific field of social security, the principle of equality takes the form of prohibiting any discrimination on grounds of nationality.

The Commission received numerous complaints from non-British EU citizens resident in the UK. They complained that the competent UK authorities had refused to grant them certain social benefits on the ground that they did not have a right to reside in the UK. Since the Commission took the view that the UK legislation does not comply with the regulation, it brought an action for failure to fulfil obligations against the UK. The Commission stated that under UK legislation it must be verified that persons claiming certain social benefits – including family benefits such as child benefit and child tax credit,2 which the present case concerns – are lawfully resident in the UK. According to the Commission, that condition is discriminatory and contrary to the spirit of the regulation since the regulation has regard only to the claimant's habitual residence.

In response to those arguments, the UK, which relies on the judgment in Brey,3 maintains that the host State may lawfully require that social benefits be granted only to Union citizens who fulfil the conditions for possessing a right to reside in its territory, conditions which are, essentially, laid down in an EU directive.4 Furthermore, while acknowledging that the conditions conferring entitlement to the social benefits at issue are more easily satisfied by its own nationals (as they have, by definition, a right of residence), the UK maintains that in each case the condition requiring a right of residence is a proportionate measure for ensuring that the benefits are paid to persons sufficiently integrated in the UK.

Source: Court of Justice of the European Union

Being Detained Indefinitely

A Day of Thought, Performance and Action

Sunday 3 July 2016
10am – 8pm
Keynes College 
University of Kent

Refugee Tales 2016 will open with a Day of Thought, Performance and Action on the subject of Being Detained Indefinitely. Speakers will include: Ali Smith, Angie Hobbs, Ben Okri, Carol Watts, Cornelius Katona, David Herd, Jerome Phelps, Marina Warner, Maurice Wren, Sarah Turnbull, Patrick Kingsley, Shami Chakrabarti and Steve Collis.

The purpose of the day will be to seek to understand what it means to be indefinitely detained; to explore how the issue of detention touches on wider human themes; and to work out how the practice of indefinite detention can be brought to an end. People who have experienced indefinite immigration detention in the UK will be joined by support workers, campaigners, writers, academics, theorists, journalists and policy makers. Through a series of talks, lectures, discussions and performances the day will explore the human and political implications of this unsustainable practice, and will show how the act of story telling and listening to stories is crucial to a change of view. The ideas articulated during the day will become the basis for discussion as the Refugee Tales project moves north towards Westminster, making the event the first stage of a traveling forum.

The UK remains the only country in Europe that detains people indefinitely under immigration rules, with periods of detention lasting months and sometimes years. The forum will explore what such detention means for those who experience it and for the culture within which it operates, while also considering the increasingly harsh realities of post-detention existence. It will weigh the costs of the practice, whether human or financial, and will consider how the language that informs such practice can be made to change. The day will conclude with a series of talks and performances committed to the act of transforming the debate.
David Herd, University of Kent

You will need to book for the Forum – here
Programme for the day – here  
or download a pdf of the Forum Programme

UKHO CIG:  Pakistan: Prison Conditions

 1.1 Basis of Claim

 1.1.1 Fear of being imprisoned on return to Pakistan and that prison conditions are so poor that they amount to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

 1.2 Other points to note

 1.2.1 This guidance is concerned solely with whether prison conditions are such that the removal of a person who faces a real risk of imprisonment would be a breach of Article 3 ECHR. If so, they should be granted Humanitarian Protection or Discretionary Leave. If the person would be imprisoned for a Convention reason or subject to harsher treatment or punishment for a Convention reason they may be entitled to a grant of Refugee Leave.

Published on Bailii, 10/06/2016

R.D. v. France -  Violation of Article 3 – in the event of Ms R.D.’s removal to Guinea

The applicant (application no. 34648/14), Ms R.D., is a Guinean national who was born in 1993 and lives in Neuilly-sur-Seine (France). The case concerned the procedure for her deportation to Guinea. She is married to a Christian and has endured all sorts of violent reprisals on the part of her Muslim father and brothers.

Ms R.D., who is from Conakry (Guinea), states that her family are Muslim and her father an imam. In 2010 she met X, who is a Christian, and they kept their relationship secret. In March 2012 X asked for her hand in marriage. R.D.’s father categorically refused to allow his daughter to marry a non-Muslim. R.D.’s father and brothers threatened to kill her if she continued the relationship. Ms R.D. ran away from home and took refuge at X’s house. They married in November 2012, when she was three months’ pregnant. In December 2012 her father, brothers and half-brothers burst into the house she shared with her husband, X. They beat her up and brought her back to her father’s house by force. The police, who had been alerted by the neighbours, went to the house and found her tied to a tree. She was released and taken to hospital where she learnt that she had lost her child. She was kept in hospital for two months. She then took refuge with an uncle in a town 800 km from Conakry. Meanwhile, her father, an influential imam, had her husband arrested. Her in-laws’ house was wrecked. When threatened with being discovered at her uncle’s house, Ms R.D. fled. She left Guinea for France.

After arriving in France in February 2014 she sought help from associations in Reims in obtaining an address for administrative purposes so that she could lodge an asylum application. After being alerted by compatriots and fearing that her father would find her in France, she attempted to escape and was arrested at the gare du Nord in Paris. On 28 April 2014 the authorities served her with an order for her immediate removal to Guinea and an administrative detention order. She unsuccessfully sought judicial review in the Paris Administrative Court. On 30 April 2014 she lodged an asylum application which was processed under the fast-track procedure and rejected. An appeal by Ms R.D. is still pending. On 13 May 2014 the Court decided to indicate to the Government, under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court (interim measures), not to deport R.D. to Guinea for the duration of the proceedings before it.

Ms R.D. alleged that enforcement of her deportation to Guinea would expose her to a risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights. Relying on Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention taken in conjunction with Article 3, she complained that, owing to the examination of her asylum application under the fast-track procedure, she had not had an effective remedy under French law by which to assert her complaint under Article 3.

Violation of Article 3 – in the event of Ms R.D.’s removal to Guinea

No violation of Article 13 taken in conjunction with Article 3

Interim measure (Rule 39 of the Rules of Court) - not to deport Ms R.D.– still in force until this judgment becomes final or until further order.

Just satisfaction: The applicant did not submit a claim for just satisfaction

Source: ECtHR,

Last updated 17 June, 2016