News & Views Monday 19th December to Sunday 25th December 2016  
Merry Christmas From G4S, You’re Evicted

After constant failures and abuse of asylum housing tenants over nearly five years, and serious jail riots at a G4S managed Birmingham prison it is still business as usual as G4S (and Serco, and Clearsprings) are given lots more taxpayers money to continue their disastrous asylum housing contracts for another two years to 2019. 
This week just before Xmas two G4S asylum tenants went to the weekly Drop In session in a Sheffield city centre chapel and told the workers for ASSIST, a charity working for destitute asylum seekers, that one of them had been told that because he had lost an appeal on his asylum claim he would lose all support from the Home Office and G4S would evict him on 21 December. Another man told ASSIST he had a similar letter for his eviction on 28 December. Catherine a volunteer with ASSIST told me “We have some temporary shelters and emergency housing for destitute asylum seekers but we would never dream of asking people to leave over Xmas.G4S have some discretion – they could postpone the evictions – but of course they would lose money then, not getting their contract payment from the Home Office for a few days.”

Just before Xmas in 2011 the UK Home Office announced, amongst the festive news trivia, a bombshell – that G4S the largest security company in the world was its ‘preferred bidder’ for a chunk of the £620 m contracts for asylum housing for the 23,000 asylum seekers waiting for the outcomes of their claims across the UK. G4S had no experience of housing but it did have a dubious record in managing prisons and detention centres in the UK and worldwide.

Read more: John Grayson, SYMAAG,
Home Office Criticised For Opaque Child Refugee Transfer Process

Human Rights Watch has condemned the Home Office for its “non-transparent and arbitrary” process for transferring unaccompanied child refugees to the UK. In a scathing attack, the campaign group said the process was so ill-considered that the government had ended up separating siblings, in breach of the Dubs amendment to immigration laws, which pledged to give some unaccompanied children refuge in Britain. In the case of two boys from Ethiopia, a 12-year-old was transferred to the UK while his 15-year-old brother was left behind.  In another case, Human Rights Watch said a boy and his half-sister were separated when the girl was reunited with an uncle, but the boy was not because he was not directly related to the adult.  The group based its criticism on interviews with 41 unaccompanied child refugees from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Syria and Afghanistan in reception centres in France.

Read more: Lisa O'Carroll, Guardian,
Grand Chamber Judgment Reshapes Article 3 Case Law on Expulsion of Seriously Ill Persons

Mr. Paposhvili, a Georgian national living in Belgium, was seriously ill. He claimed that his expulsion to Georgia would put him at risk of inhuman treatment and an earlier death due to the withdrawal of the treatment he had been receiving in Belgium. He died in Belgium last June, while his case was pending before the Grand Chamber. The Court did not strike his application out of the list. It found that “special circumstances relating to respect for human rights” required its continued examination based on Article 37 § 1 in fine ECHR (§ 133). The Court held that there would have been a violation of Article 3 if Belgium had expelled Mr. Paposhvili to Georgia without having assessed “the risk faced by him in the light of the information concerning his state of health and the existence of appropriate treatment in Georgia.” It found a similar violation of Article 8 if Belgium had expelled him without having assessed the impact of his return on his “right to respect for his family life in view of his state of health.”

Read more:

Update11:55am 23/12/2016: Virgin Atlantic have informed 'No-Deportations' that the Home Office have contacted VA, with the following message: 'The Home Office have informed us (VA) that no deportees will be flying on VS651/23Dec.

Lawrencia Emenyonu Must Stay - Deportation No Way

This Call for Action – From Movement for Justice

Lawrencia is a bisexual woman from Nigeria, a country with some of the most draconian anti-gay laws in Africa. She has lived in the UK for 14 years. She arrived here, like many women fleeing persecution, as a victim of trafficking. She has been in a long-term relationship for several years, but was taken from her north London home last month and detained in Yarl's Wood for the second time.

Now the Home Office wants to deport her two days before Christmas. She has no connections or support in Nigeria; her life is London - deportation is a life sentence of destitution and persecution.

Her forced removal to Nigeria is scheduled for 11.35pm on Friday 23 December on Virgin flight VS651

What you can do...

1. Tell Virgin Atlantic Not to Collude in This Racist Deportation:
Virgin Airways has the right and duty to protect the safety of its passengers and staff. Lawrencia is being forcibly deported - she will resist because she is fighting for her life and the experience of being forcibly removed is terrifying. The escorts are well known for their brutality, causing the death of Jimmy Mubenga and the brutalisation of many more. To ensure the health and safety of their passengers and staff Virgin Airways can and must refuse to fly Lawrencia - they may say this is not their decision, but it is. There is also the question of whether they want to be complicit in the deportation of LGBT people to countries where they face persecution and abuse. You can ask to speak to someone senior or a press officer if you are not getting much luck with the first person you speak to. Often your will not get any satisfactory response, but with hundreds of people calling in - it gets noticed and we have got tickets cancelled this way previously, especially a company like Virgin who are so concerned about their public image.

Virgin Headquarters: 0344 8110 000
Virgin Atlantic Reservations (UK - Open 24 hrs) 0344 209 7777
@VirginAtlantic - Twitter

2. Contact the Nigerian High Commission and demand that they stop their collusion with the Government's racist policies and refuse to provide travel documents for Lawrencia. She has lived in the UK for 13 years, her whole life is here

3. Demand the Home Office stop its harassment of Lawrencia and cancel her deportation. (Home Office ref: E1090469/005)
"Treat Official" <>

In any correspondence give the full name, Lawrencia Emenyonu and quote her Home Office reference E1090469/005

Please copy Lawrencia's MP Catherine West into any email -

Movement for Justice - What we stand for...

We march today, we march tomorrow, and we keep marching to build a new Britain: diverse, integrated and equal. We aim to win. We tell the truth about racism, sexism and anti-gay bigotry and the growing inequalities within our society. We believe that every human being is entitled to a job, to education, to food, shelter and the other necessities of life, so that every one of us can live in dignity, proud to be who we are, encouraged and able to fulfil our hopes and aspirations

Movement for Justice <>

End of Year Message From Dianne Ngoza

Dear all,
As we approach the end of the year, I would like to wish all my supporters much joy and happiness over the festive period.

I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all my supporters for your contribution towards my release from Yarl’s Wood and my current situation, whereby I am once again safe in the north of England, reunited with my daughter and able to continue my campaign to secure a future for us both.

I was extremely concerned about the situation of the other detainees in Yarl’s Wood, because the majority of them, as it was in my case, are unfairly detained. The treatment of detainees there is inhumane. People mysteriously disappear from there all the time – they come in the night, and in the morning, they are no longer there. I am determined to continue fighting for the rights of all those who are unfairly treated and who lack a voice to defend themselves.

I could never have imagined how much I was going to miss my daughter while in Yarl's Wood.  The thought of not being able to be there for my daughter was one of the most turbulent periods of my life.  I was so delighted to see my daughter after almost 3 weeks and it was such a relief to be with her and talk about my experience.

At this moment, I would like to let you, my supporters know that my legal fight is not over yet until I am given my status in this country.

Please contact if you want to get involved.

Many thanks,
Dianne Ngoza
Zambian Born NHS Nurse Granted Bail After Being Detained by the Home Office

On 16 November 2016 Dianne Ngoza, a Zambian national, was detained at Dallas Court Reporting Centre in Salford. She informed the Home Office that she had submitted a further leave to remain application which was received same day with proof, yet Ms Ngoza was detained. The Home Office’s position was that Ms Ngoza should be removed to the country of her origin, Zambia, as a result of residing in the UK illegally. Dianne had not been to her country in 22 years.

Ms Ngoza was detained in the Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre and her removal directions were set for 30 November 2016 at 5pm. Our client is a vegan and due to the poor diet there she lost 10 pounds in 17 days. Duncan Lewis was instructed to obtain her release. The aim for Duncan Lewis was to stop Dianne Ngoza’s removal and apply for bail at the First-Tier Tribunal, after the refusal of temporary admission. Removal was stopped by applying for a Judicial Review on 30 November 2016 when the Home Office failed to confirm that her removal would be deferred whilst her application was pending, despite parliamentary intervention.

Dianne Ngoza came to UK from The Republic of South Africa in 2002 and entered legally through a work permit and visa. For the next two years she was employed by the NHS as a nurse and was joined by her 11 years-old daughter. Ms Ngoza was told that her daughter would have to return to South Africa and apply to join her mother, this presented several difficulties. Fearful of losing her daughter she did not re-apply for her own visa and stayed in the country without valid leave.

Since then, Dianne attempted to legalise her stay several times. Her efforts were initially jeopardised by previous representatives, against whom she had to file a complaint in the Legal Ombudsman. Since then Ms Ngoza sent several applications which were never addressed by the Home Office. During her stay in the UK Ms Ngoza was not only attempting to make her stay legal but also became active in several charities helping refugees. Over the time she became a prominent public speaker and gained recognition as a campaigner and Human Rights activist. In Manchester had become involved in a variety of organisations: Women Asylum Seekers Together (WAST), Manchester City Of Sanctuary, United For Change, Migrant Solidarity Group, Revive and, most recently, RAPAR. Through this activity and recently had been nominated for a Spirit of Manchester 2016 award.

On 6 December during the bail hearing, Judge Ruth decided to grant bail, agreeing with Duncan Lewis’s arguments that Ms Ngoza does not present any threats to the public and there is no risk of absconding considering her previous exemplary behaviour. After listening to the statements made by two credible sureties, who are recognised and respected members of the community, and after listening to Ms Ngoza’s statement the Judge decided that our Client should be released. It was emphasised that although the petitions supporting Ms Ngoza’s release, signed by several hundred people, were not influencing the decision directly, due to the nature of how popular and recognisable our client is there was no risk of potential absconding. Ms Ngoza, who after 22 years spent in the UK defines herself as British, received overwhelming support not only from the campaigners and local community but also was from various religious groups and members of Parliament.

This case seems to be another instance illustrating the one-size-fits-all merciless modus operandi of the Home Office and proves the importance of good representation at all levels of the immigration process. Fortunately she was able to obtain legal advice for Duncan Lewis.

Author and solicitor with lead conduct in this case, Mervyn Cross, is a consultant solicitor with Duncan Lewis’ Public Law department. Mervyn provides advice in Nationality Law, Asylum and EU Law matters as well as specialising in Detained Asylum Casework matters, and matters concerning unaccompanied asylum seeking minors. He routinely represents clients in tribunal appeal proceedings at the Immigration and Asylum Chamber.

Duncan Lewis: 19/12/2016,
Immigration Appeal Delays ‘Shocking’ as Backlog Reaches 63,000

MPs have said the immigration appeals system is on the verge of a crisis as delays continue to plague the process. Hackney South MP Meg Hillier has told the Gazette that the number of people reporting problems with the immigration appeals process has reached record levels. Her Labour colleague Keith Vaz, MP for Leicester East, last week told parliament that appeals to bring a spouse into the country now take up to 18 months just to get a tribunal hearing date. The Gazette reported in October that immigration appeal hearings were being put back by up to nine months and that HM Courts and Tribunals Service had drawn up a list of ‘priority’ cases to ensure the most urgent issues were dealt with. Statistics published by the Ministry of Justice earlier this month reveal the caseload in the First-tier Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber was 62,900 at the end of September – an increase of 20% compared to the same time in 2015. The tribunal disposed of 18,000 appeals from July to September this year – down 13% on the same period in 2015. The mean age of a case at disposal in the FTTIAC was 48 weeks in the third quarter of 2016 – 15 weeks longer than last year.

Read more: John Hyde, Law Society Gazette,
HO Implementation of ‘Sham Marriage’ Law - Problematic, Indicating Lack of Proper Planning

With effect from 2 March 2015, the Immigration Act 2014 extended the period of notice for couples intending to marry in order to give the Home Office time to investigate the genuineness of the relationship of those it suspected may be sham. Couples who fail to comply with a Home Office investigation are not permitted to marry. Compliant couples who are assessed as sham may marry, but the Home Office will seek to refuse any future application to remain in the UK based on that marriage.

The inspection found that the initial implementation of the new provisions was problematic, indicating a lack of proper planning:
  • the Home Office did not communicate effectively with registrars about its new way of operating, where it no longer attended register offices and prevented ceremonies from proceeding
  • new processes were cumbersome and weakened by their reliance on fragmented IT and by the limited operational support received from local enforcement teams, with the result that cases were not being determined within the extended time limit.

Read more: Chief Inspector Borders & Immigration,

Sudanese Children Stage Protest in France as UK Reject Asylum Claims

Sudanese children staying in France who have had their applications for asylum rejected by the UK have staged a demonstration to mark their anger at the Home Office’s decision. The teenagers, who had previously been dispersed from Calais and are staying at a centre in Biscarrosse in south-west France, tried to get into the town centre to launch their protest but were prevented from doing so by the police. They received the news that the UK Home Office had rejected their claims on Friday. After the police intervention they demonstrated close to their accommodation with placards saying: “Stop racism, we are locked in a cage” and “Please help us, one child wants to sucide” (sic). Another read: “This is not fair some are accepted, some are not. We all have families in the UK. This is a crime against humanity.”

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian,
Hundreds of Calais Child Refugees Have UK Asylum Claims Rejected

Hundreds of child asylum seekers in France who had been expecting to come to the UK have been told that the Home Office has rejected their claims. The children and teenagers dispersed from Calais in October have been advised to lodge their applications in France instead. The Home Office confirmed that the transfer of children previously in the Calais camp and now in French reception centres had ended, and said those it had decided could not come to the UK had been given advice about how to claim asylum in France. A spokeswoman said more unaccompanied children were undergoing initial screening in Italy and Greece and may also be brought to the UK.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian,
Early Day Motion 825: Gambia

That this House is alarmed by the post-election situation in the Gambia and the refusal of former President Yahya Jammeh to respect the democratic will of the people; notes that former President Jammeh initially indicated acceptance of the election's outcome before changing his position and questioning the validity of the vote; further notes the UN security council has called for the former President to respect the outcome of the election; is deeply concerned that the Gambian security forces have seized the offices of the Electoral Commission and considers this to be dangerous to democracy; is aware that leaders in neighbouring countries have urged all sides to recognise the result; welcomes the fact that the winner of the election Adama Barrow is using peaceful means to urge former President Jammeh to step down after losing the election; recognises the concerns and campaigning efforts of Gambians across the UK, especially in Glasgow; and calls on all sides to respect the democratic decision of the Gambian people.

House of Commons: 16/12/2016 - Sponsors: McLaughlin, Anne, Grady, Patrick Monaghan, Carol Robertson, Angus McDonald, Stewart Docherty, Martin

Country Policy and Information Note - Gambia: Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

1.1 Basis of claim 
1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by non-state agents either because: 

(a) the person will be subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM); or 
(b) the person is the parent of a minor child who is opposed to the procedure in a place where there is a real risk of it being carried out. 

Published on Refworld, 15/12/2016

Country Information and Guidance Note - Ethiopia: Oromos and the 'Oromo Protests'

1.1 Basis of claim
1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm from the Ethiopian state due to the person’s Oromo ethnicity and/or their actual or perceived involvement in the ‘Oromo Protests’ of 2014 and/or 2015/16.

Published on Refworld, 15/12/2016

Country Information and Policy Note - Ethiopia: Opposition to the Government

1.1 Basis of claim
1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by the state because of a person’s actual or perceived support for a political party in opposition to the government.

Published on Refworld, 15/12/2016

Country Policy and Information Note - Eritrea: National Service and Illegal Exit

1.1 Basis of claim
1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by the state because the person evaded or deserted from national service and / or left Eritrea illegally (i.e. without an exit visa).

1.2 Points to note

1.2.1 Within this note:
(a) ‘National service’ means compulsory military training followed by either military service and/or a civilian posting (see Legal Framework and Duration of National Service).

(b) ‘Military training’ refers to the initial compulsory period of training of 3 to 6 months at Sawa or another camp 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.

Published on Refworld, 15/12/2016

Operational Guidance Note: Egypt

 1. Introduction 
1.1 This document provides Home Office caseworkers with guidance on the nature and handling of the most common types of claims received from nationals/residents of Egypt including whether claims are or are not likely to justify the granting of asylum, humanitarian protection or Discretionary Leave. Caseworkers must refer to the relevant Asylum Instructions for further details of the policy on these areas. 

1.2 Caseworkers must not base decisions solely on the country of origin information in this guidance; it is included to provide context only and does not purport to be comprehensive. 

1.3 The conclusions in this guidance are based on the totality of the available evidence, not just the brief extracts contained herein, and caseworkers must likewise take into account all available evidence. It is therefore essential that this guidance is read in conjunction with the relevant COI Service country of origin information and any other relevant information. 

Published on Refworld, 15/12/2016

Country Policy and Information Note - Afghanistan: Fear of Anti-government Elements (AGEs)

1.1 Basis of claim
1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by anti-government elements (AGEs) because of the person’s actual or perceived association with, or support for, the government and/or international military forces.

1.2 Other points to note

1.2.1 Within this note, AGEs include those who identify as “Taliban”; the Haqqani Network; Hezb-e-Islami; Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan; Islamic Jihad Union; Lashkari Tayyiba; Jaysh Muhammed; and groups identified as ‘Daesh’ (Islamic State), and other militia and armed groups pursuing political, ideological or economic objectives including armed criminal groups directly engaged in hostile acts on behalf of a party to the conflict.

1.2.2 This guidance concerns targeted risk from AGEs as opposed to a generalised risk of indiscriminate violence under Article 15(c) of the Qualification Directive or Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. For consideration of such claims see the country policy and information note on Afghanistan: Security and humanitarian situation.

Published on Refworld, 15/12/2016

Country Policy and Information Note - Afghanistan: Women Fearing Gender Based Violence

1.1 Basis of Claim
1.1.1 Fear of gender-based persecution or serious harm by the state and/or non-state actors because the person is a woman.

1.1.2 For the purposes of this instruction, gender-based persecution or serious harm includes domestic violence, sexual violence including rape, “honour” and “moral” crimes; fear of targeted attack or assassination; fear of kidnapping.

1.2 Other points to note
1.2.1 For further information and guidance on assessing gender issues, see the Asylum Instruction on Assessing Credibility and Refugee Status

Published on Refworld, 15/12/2016

HO CPIN - Bangladesh: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

1.1 Basis of Claim
1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by state or non-state actors due to a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation/gender identity.

1.2 Other points to note
1.2.1 For the purposes of this instruction, sexual orientation or gender identity includes gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) persons though the experiences of each group may differ.

Published on Refworld, 22/12/2016