News & Views Monday 30th October to Sunday 5th November 2017  
More Than 140,000 Told by UK Immigration They Face Removal

More than 140,000 people, including 60,000 declared as “absconders”, have been told by UK immigration authorities that they face detention and removal from Britain, an official watchdog has revealed. Two reports from the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration give the first official indication of the number of people in Britain without legal status and who are to face action forcing them to leave. The reports by David Bolt, which have only just been published after being delivered to the home secretary in May, deliver a severe blow to the Home Office’s claims to be creating a “hostile” environment for illegal immigrants in Britain. The inquiry by the chief inspector concludes that the practical difficulties involved in asking 80,000 people to report regularly to a Home Office centre or a police station has seriously compromised any value in trying to secure their removal from Britain.

Read more: Alan Travis, Guardian, http://bit.ly/2gYS6pp



"Children and Their Rights to British Citizenship"

If your child was born in the UK and at the time of the birth either of her/his parents were:

• British citizens themselves or • Settled in the UK (that means had indefinite leave to enter or remain or, if they were EEA citizens, had permanent residence) then your child was automatically born a British citizen, and you can apply to the British Passport Office for a British passport for him or her. You will need the child’s full birth certificate and the proof of the parent(s)’ British citizenship or settled status at the time of the birth. The current child passport application fee is £46.

If your child was born in the UK but at the time of the birth neither of his parents were British or settled, then s/he was not born British. - But - There are ways in which your child can register to become British.

Download: PRCBC Leaflet FINAL.pdf

Source: Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens (PRCBC)



Ending Restrictions on Family Reunification: Good for Refugees, Good for Host Societies

Many refugees have to leave family members behind when they flee their homes. This adds more hardship to the trauma of exile. Once they have found safety in Europe, being reunited with their family members is often the first priority of refugees. It takes little imagination to realise how horrible it is for them to be deprived of this possibility. Unfortunately, thousands of refugees and persons with other forms of international protection status in Europe face long-term separation from their spouses, children and other loved ones. This is due to increasingly tough laws and policies restricting family reunification, which are often incompatible with the letter or spirit of human rights standards and need to be addressed urgently.

Family Reunification as a Right For Refugees - When states adopted the UN Refugee Convention in 1951 they stressed in their Final Act that the unity of the family is an essential right of the refugee. The European Court of Human Rights has underlined the importance of family unity for refugees and that family reunification is a vital element in enabling persons who have fled persecution to resume a normal life. It has made clear that the decision-making process should guarantee flexibility, promptness and effectiveness in order to secure refugees’ right to respect for family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Tanda-Muzinga v. France, 2014). The European Social Charter (ESC), in its Article 19, paragraph 6, provides for the contracting states’ obligation to facilitate the family reunion of migrant workers who reside legally in the country. The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) has noted that this is also applicable to refugees. This requires states to provide for “the liberal administration of the right to family reunion” (ECSR Conclusions 2015).

Read more:
Nils Muižnieks, EU Commissioner for Human Rights, http://bit.ly/2yL82pZ



LGBT Rights Expert Warns of ‘Global Crisis’ as Homophobic Crackdowns Continue

This year there have been a number of crackdowns against the gay community in a string of separate countries across the world. Human rights monitors in Russia have warned about a homophobic purge in the autonomous Chechnya region, with dozens of gay men reportedly killed by authorities and vigilantes while many others were forced to flee. More recently authorities in Egypt launched a crackdown on the gay community, sparked by a ‘moral panic’ over the waving of a rainbow flag at a music concert. Since the concert, Egyptian authorities began a ‘purge’ targeted at the country’s gay community, raiding homes and arresting more than 60 people. The state has also banned local media from mentioning the issue. Tanzania also this month clamped down on the LGBT community, raiding a summit and arresting legal experts who had had been discussing a proposed legal challenge to an anti-LGBT government policy.

The country has since outlawed the human rights charity behind the summit, accusing it of “promoting homosexuality”. There has also been a recorded rise in anti-LGBT sentiment in other countries across the world, including Indonesia, In a landmark address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, a UN expert on LGBT issues warned about a “crucible” of rights violations.

Read more: Pink News, http://bit.ly/2yRcmE4



As Bad as it Gets': Thousands of Children Starving in DR Congo

Hundreds of thousands of children in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will starve to death in the next few months without emergency food aid, a UN official has said. About 7.7 million people are on the verge of starvation in the DRC, of which 3.3 million are in Kasai, an eastern province where 1.4 million have been forced to flee their homes over the past year after clashes broke out between the Kamwina Nsapu armed group and security forces. More than 3,300 people have been killed in the violence. "It's about as bad as it gets," David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP), told Al Jazeera on Saturday from the regional capital, Goma.

"If we don't receive funds, food and access immediately, hundreds of thousands of children will die over the next couple of months." Earlier this week, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said about 710,000 people had gone back to the Kasai, only to "find their property in ruins and family members killed". Farmers in Kasai have missed two consecutive planting seasons because of the violence. The WFP has appealed for $17.2m to distribute food aid in the Kasai from September to December 2017. So far, it has only raised one percent of that figure. "We are asking donors to step up, and to step up now," Beasley told Al Jazeera. The onset of the rainy season will increase the cost of delivery of food by up to 17 times as aid will have to be flown in due to impassable roads, he said. "The situation in the Kasai is desperate," he said. "All because of nothing but man-made conflict. And it is wrong, it's unacceptable."

Read more: Al Jazeera, http://bit.ly/2zX4uyA


Hate Crime Offences

In 2016/17, there were 80,393 offences recorded by the police in which one or more hate crime strands were deemed to be a motivating factor. This was an increase of 29 per cent compared with the 62,518 hate crimes recorded in 2015/16, the largest percentage increase seen since the series began in 2011/12.

The increase over the last year is thought to reflect both a genuine rise in hate crime around the time of the EU referendum and also due to ongoing improvements in crime recording by the police. The Office for National Statistics have stated that increases in recent years in police recorded violence against the person and public order offences have been driven by improvements in police recording. Around nine in ten hate crime offences recorded by the police are in these two offence groups.

There was a further increase in police recorded hate crime following the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack on 22 March 2017.

The number of hate crime offences in 2016/17 for the five centrally monitored strands were as follows:

62,685 (78%) were race hate crimes;

9,157 (11%) were sexual orientation hate crimes;

5,949 (7%) were religious hate crimes;

5,558 (7%) were disability hate crimes; and

1,248 (2%) were transgender hate crimes.

Hate Crimes England/Wales 2016/2017
http://bit.ly/2zfyJzE


Leave Granted for Judicial Review of Deportations of Homeless EU Citizens

Dungannon-based PA Duffy & Co. Solicitors is acting for a man challenging the Home Office's policy of deporting homeless EU citizens.

Solicitor Conal McGarrity (pictured) is acting for Tadeusz Stach in his judicial review against the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Department of Communities.

Mr Stach is challenging:

  1. The Home Office “rough sleeping” policy relating to EEA nationals where homeless EEA are served with a deportation notice and are thereafter removed from the UK;
  1. The Home Office decision to remove the Applicant from the United Kingdom;
  1. The refusal of DOC by its decision dated 10 February 2017 to grant the Applicant Job Seekers Allowance;
  1. Article 10(5) of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2014, a provision of domestic law which was allegedly responsible for the Applicant being “street homeless” from May to 07 September 2017 which excludes all EEA nationals who are in receipt of JSA from access to Housing Benefit

The case is due to be listed short for full hearing. 

A spokesperson for PA Duffy & Co. Solicitors told Irish Legal News: "This is a wide ranging challenge that if successful will have serious implications for the UK Government against the backdrop of Brexit and in particular signal a key defeat to their ‘hostile environment’ policy which targets EEA national immigrants.

"We say that there has been a manifest breach to our client’s rights under Articles 18 and 45 (TFEU); Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 in respect of Articles 2, 3 and 8 ECHR; Section 6 Human Rights Act 1998 ground invoking Article 14 ECHR in tandem with Articles 2, 3 and 8; The section 75 NIA Act 1998."

Source: Irish Legal News, http://bit.ly/2z8nz0A



Early Day Motion 492: Impact of Two Child Restriction on Families

That this House recognises the damaging effects that the two-child restriction on universal credit and child tax credits is having, and will continue to have, on families across the UK; notes that the impact will be particularly acute in Northern Ireland where, according to Office for National Statistics data, the average family size is 2.96, the largest of any of the UK countries; further notes that as of 2015 it was estimated that there were 122,400 families with three or more children; is concerned that women in Northern Ireland face a specific risk applying for a non-consensual sex exemption, due to the Criminal Law Act 1967 stating that third-party referrers are legally obliged to disclose that a woman has been raped when completing paperwork, and that doing so can lead to women being placed in danger of violence and sexual assault; welcomes that the British Medical Association has offered to support members if they do not wish to comply with the third-party referral mechanism; acknowledges that the Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers and Women's Aid Federation Northern Ireland, have serious concerns about the policy and have vehemently opposed it; and calls on the Government to scrap the two-child restriction without further delay and to end the suffering of thousands of families across the UK.

35 Sponsors: House of Commons, 01/11/2017
http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2017-19/492

Put Your MP to Work – Demand They Sign EDM 492    

To find your MP go here: https:///www.writetothem.com


Women ‘Still Locked up in Yarl's Wood IRC

Severely traumatised survivors of sexual violence are being routinely locked up at the notorious Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre, in breach of the UK government’s own policies. A year ago, in response to widespread concerns about immigration detention, the Home Office introduced a new “adults at risk” policy, which stated that people most likely to be harmed by detention, including women who have experienced sexual and gender-based violence, should not normally be locked up. But research by the charity Women for Refugee Women, released on Wednesday 1st November 2017, shows this policy is not working in practice.

Read more: Amelia Hill, Guardian, http://bit.ly/2hvcAa1



Patricia Simeon Has Been Released From Detention


Thank you to everyone who has campaigned tirelessly for the last few days. Your collective action has meant we have been able to set her free. Each signature on the petition, each retweet, letter and phone call has meant so much to Patricia, her friends and all who have worked incredibly hard securing her release.

Patricia is out of detention but still under threat of deportation.

Patricia still has a fresh asylum claim to submit on the 7th November. Although she is no longer in detention we ask you to continue to support her and those working with her in order to fight for her right to remain.

Patricia's unlawful detention once again exposes the abuses of power The Home Office employs to detain and deport asylum seekers. We are standing with all people who are in detention at this time and the cruel and degrading treatment they so often are victim to.

Lucy on behalf of LASS (Lesbian Asylum Support Sheffield)

http://bit.ly/2yZHyRb


Mexico’s Record Violence is a Crisis 20 Years in the Making

The forces driving violence in Mexico, which is now on track for its worst year in decades, were first set in motion 20 years ago by two events that were, at the time, celebrated as triumphs. First, Colombia defeated its major drug cartels in the 1990s, driving the center of the drug trade from the country into Mexico. Then, in 2000, Mexico transitioned to a multiparty democracy. This meant that the drug trade moved to Mexico just as its politics and institutions were in flux, leaving them unable to address a problem they have often made worse.

Since then, a series of bad breaks, missteps and self-imposed crises have led to an explosion of violence. Last year there were more than 20,000 killings. This year is on track to be worse, exceeding the 2011 record, which was thought to be the drug war’s apex. “Drug trafficking is not this violent in other countries,” Guillermo Valdés, a former leader of CISEN, the civil national security intelligence service, said in an interview in Mexico City. “It makes me desperate,” he said, shaking his head at his country’s missteps, “because this violence, it’s increasing.” In 2006, a new president and a new drug cartel both took extreme actions, the consequences of which are still unfolding.

Read more:
Max Fisher and Amanda Taub, New York Times, http://nyti.ms/2iJHG17


Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Vol. 158

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 17 and 30 October 2017.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2ii9iqg