News & Views Monday 2nd October to Sunday 8th October 2017  
Britain Accused of Unlawfully Deporting Afghan Asylum Seekers

Britain and other European countries have been accused of breaching international law, as it emerged that the number of asylum seekers forced to return to Afghanistan has tripled at a time when civilian casualties in the country are at a record high. According to a report by Amnesty International, unaccompanied children and Christian converts at risk of persecution, torture and death – a status that should legally guarantee asylum – have been removed from European countries. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of people returned by European countries to Afghanistan nearly tripled, from 3,290 to 9,460. This corresponds to a marked fall in recognition of asylum applications, from 68% in September 2015 to 33% in December 2016, official EU statistics show. 9,460 Afghans were returned to Afghanistan from European countries in 2016 - an increase of nearly 300% on the previous year.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has reported that 2016 was the deadliest year on record for civilians in the country, with 11,418 people killed or injured. In the first six months of 2017 alone, UNAMA documented 5,243 civilian casualties in attacks by armed groups, including the Taliban and the so-called Islamic State.

Read more: Daniel Boffey, Guardian,

Ranks of World's Refugees Swell as Asylum Space Shrinks

More than 2 million people fleeing wars or persecution have joined the ranks of the world’s refugees this year, but often face more restrictive asylum policies, including in Europe and the United States, the top U.N. refugee official said on Monday. They include 650,000 from South Sudan and 500,000 Muslim Rohingya who have escaped violence in Myanmar for Bangladesh over the past five weeks, many of the latter stateless, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said. “So far in 2017, more than 2 million people have fled their countries as refugees,” Grandi told the UNHCR Executive Committee which opened a week-long meeting in Geneva. “They often arrive sick, traumatized and hungry, in remote border locations, in communities affected by poverty and underdevelopment. Many have urgent protection needs – children separated from their families, men, women, girls and boys exposed to sexual and gender-based violence,” he said. At the end of last year, 17.2 million refugees fell under UNHCR’s mandate, but some of them have returned and others have been resettled, and there is no updated total. An additional 5 million Palestinian refugees are cared for by UNRWA. Grandi voiced concern that the refugee issue has been increasingly instrumentalized in local and national policies.

Read more: Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters,

Diane Abbott Promises A ‘New Order’ For Refugees and Migrants Under Labour

A Labour government would end indefinite immigration detention. Speaking before this week’s Brighton conference, the shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott declared the current refugee and asylum process to be a ‘bureaucratic mess’ and has promised that Labour would create a ‘more humane system’. Abbott also called for an end to mass deportation flights, calling them ‘a particularly brutal way of responding to the current immigration panic’. Deportees who have been forced onto planes chartered by the Home Office as part of the mass deportation flights have compared the planes to ‘slave ships’, and many are reported to have been restrained by handcuffs, as well as leg and waist restraints – despite the independent watchdog for charter flight deportations condemning the use of force and restraint in the deportation process.

Aside from denouncing deportation on such flights, Abbott expressed her concern that the process prevented immigrants from being able to fully exercise their rights. ‘The nature of the process means that people can be bundled out of the country when they have not yet exhausted all the avenues of appeal and gone through due process.’

Abbott complained of ‘people who had been deported to Nigeria who are not actually Nigerian. Many people are deported to Jamaica who are not actually Jamaican. It’s when they arrive in Jamaica, they find that they are not Jamaican,’ she added. ‘This speaks to the hurried and thoughtless nature of the process.’

While Abbott’s attack was mostly levelled at Conservative Party policy, she also hit out at New Labour policies which lead to the introduction of immigration detention. Speaking about her reaction to immigration detention when the process was introduced, she stated, ‘Myself, Jeremy Corbyn, and others pointed out the lack of transparency and the lack of due process around immigration detention and we were told that we should not concern ourselves.’

Read more: Hannah Wilson, The Justice Gap,

CPIN Ukraine: Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk

1.1 Basis of claim

1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by state or non-state actors as a consequence of the general security and human rights situation in Crimea or in the so-called Luhansk and Donetsk ‘People’s Republics’ (the Donbas).

1.2 Points to note

1.2.1 Where a claim is refused, it must be considered for certification under section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 as Ukraine is listed as a designated state.

Published on Refworld, 0210/2017

Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Vol. 156

This document provides  an  update of UK Country  Guidance  case  law, UK  Home  Officepublications  and developments  in  refugee  producing  countries (focusing  on  those  which  generate  the  most  asylum  seekers  in the UK) between 19 September and 2 October 2017.

Source ARC:

Hundreds of Immigrants Arrested in Sanctuary Cities Across US

The Trump administration’s immigration enforcement division arrested hundreds of people in raids across “sanctuary” cities in recent days, in an operation directly targeting communities that are resisting the president’s aggressive deportation agenda. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) announced Thursday that it had arrested 498 people in a four-day operation and that it was dedicating more resources to the liberal jurisdictions that limit police cooperation with federal agents. The raids, which hit major cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, New York and Philadelphia, sparked harsh criticisms from human rights campaigners who said the arrests were cruel and vindictive and would only hurt public safety by disrupting families and instilling fear in communities.

“Persecuting cities because they are following the constitution and making sure they don’t violate people’s rights takes it down to a new level of low,” said David Leopold, an immigration attorney and former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “This makes communities less safe.” Since he made anti-immigrant policies a cornerstone of his presidential campaign, Trump has repeatedly attacked sanctuary cities, which have regulations preventing local police from enforcing certain immigration laws and restricting law enforcement collaboration with Ice. Some progressive cities like San Francisco have sued the Trump administration over his efforts to withhold federal public safety grant money due as punishment for their sanctuary status.

Read more: Sam Levin, Guardian,

Naturalisation as a British Citizen: Concepts and Trends

In 2016, just over 149,400 foreign nationals naturalised as British citizens. This is an increase on 2015 – which saw the lowest annual number since 2002 – but it is lower than the period between 2009 to 2013.

8% of citizenship applications were rejected in 2016. The majority of refusals since 2002 have been because of failure to meet either the residence or the ‘good character’ requirements. English language requirements and the Life in the UK test account for a small percentage of rejected naturalisation applications but may deter additional potential applicants.

52% of naturalisations in 2016 were of foreign nationals who have lived in the UK for the required five years, plus one additional year as a settled resident. Most of the other 48 per cent is split between spouses and civil partners of British citizens and minor children registering as citizens.

Amongst those naturalising in 2016 the largest groups in terms of previous citizenship were from India (16% of the 2016 total), Pakistan (11%), Nigeria (7%), and South Africa (3%). Only 12% of grants were to EU nationals, though applications from EU nationals were at their highest.

Source: Migration News,

Investigation Begins After Jamaican Detainee Dies in Morton Hall IRC

An investigation has been launched into the death of a 38-year-old immigration detainee after the Home office confirmed that a Jamaican man died on Tuesday 3rd October, while he was being held at Morton Hall immigration removal centre in Lincoln. It is the third such death in less than a month and human rights campaigners have expressed alarm at the incident. The prisons and probation ombudsman has begun an investigation. A Home Office spokesperson said:

Celia Clarke, director of the charity Bail for Immigration detainees, said: “We are horrified at the news of yet another death in detention barely two weeks after the last one. The devastating impact of detention on individuals is plain to see. It is unacceptable to punish people in this way for the purpose of immigration control. Detention is, after all, a form of punishment. It is time this inhumane and unnecessary system is ended once and for all. How many more deaths will it take before something is done?”

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian,

Human Rights Can’t be Conditional on a Work Permit

It is no surprise that the right to work features prominently in human rights law. Work promotes important values. People feel dignified when they work because they earn income that helps them meet their needs and desires. Work also promotes people’s self-fulfillment. Society values working people, and discredits the idle. Work promotes social inclusion, while unemployment has a stigma attached to it. People form friendships and other social relations at work. It is an important component in people’s identity; this is why one of the first questions that we ask when we meet someone is what work they do. In protecting work as a human right, the international community has recognised the value of work. But the right to work is also very often conditional upon citizenship as legal status, rather than one’s status as a human being: only a country’s nationals or certain categories of migrants have a legal right to work. Immigration law sets restrictions to the universality of the human right.

The exploitation of certain categories of migrant workers by employers who take advantage of their vulnerability created by immigration law is troubling. That the state sometimes creates this vulnerability through immigration rules is morally repulsive. It also violates their right to work, if this right is understood as a right to work in fair and just working conditions or a right to non-exploitative work. To the extent that certain labour rights are human rights, these cannot be made conditional on a work permit. Immigration rules should not be enforced in breach of human rights. If immigration control is the aim of restrictive regulations, then they will probably be counterproductive: the more employers know that they can exploit undocumented workers, the more they will seek to employ these workers. Most importantly, it is problematic as a matter of principle, and it breaches the right to non-exploitative work, which is implicit in human rights law.

Read more: Virginia Mantouvalou, Law Gazette,

Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - October 2017

 Deteriorated Situations: Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Korean Peninsula, Myanmar, El Salvador, Iraq

Outlook for October 2017
Conflict Risk Alerts: Cameroon, Spain
Resolution Opportunities: Colombia
Improved Situations: Mali

In Asia, the continuing security crackdown in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State prompted over half a million Rohingya civilians to flee, and North Korea conducted its largest nuclear test to date. At least 50 people were killed in Ethiopia in clashes between ethnic Somalis and Oromos, while Cameroon’s increasingly violent standoff between the government and minority Anglophones risks worsening. The main political players in Kenya locked horns over an upcoming rerun of the August presidential vote, and in both Iraq and Spain confrontation mounted over contested independence referendums. El Salvador saw a spike in murders blamed on criminal gangs. In positive news, secessionist rebels and pro-unity factions in Mali agreed to stop fighting, and Colombia’s second guerrilla group signed a ceasefire agreement with the government.

Read more: International Crisis Group,

Spain’s Collective Expulsion of Foreign Nationals Breach of Article 4

The immediate return to Morocco of sub-Saharan migrants who were attempting to enter Spanish territory in Melilla amounted to a collective expulsion of foreign nationals, in breach of the Convention

In today’s Chamber judgment in the case of N.D. and N.T. v. Spain (application no. 8675/15) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 (prohibition of collective expulsions of aliens) to the European Convention on Human Rights, and a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) taken together with Article 4 of Protocol No. 4.

The case concerned the immediate return to Morocco of sub-Saharan migrants who had attempted on 13 August 2014 to enter Spanish territory illegally by scaling the barriers which surround the Melilla enclave on the North-African coast.

The Court noted that N.D. and N.T. had been expelled and sent back to Morocco against their wishes and that the removal measures were taken in the absence of any prior administrative or judicial decision. At no point were N.D. and N.T. subjected to any identification procedure by the Spanish authorities. The Court concluded that, in those circumstances, the measures were indeed collective in nature.

The applicants’ version of the attempt to scale the barriers towards Melilla was corroborated by numerous statements, gathered by various witnesses and journalists as well as by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees or by the Human Rights Commissioner. Lastly, the Court noted the existence of a clear link between the collective expulsion to which N.D. and N.T. were subjected at the Melilla border and the fact that they were effectively prevented from having access to a remedy that would have enabled them to submit their complaint to a competent authority and to obtain a thorough and rigorous assessment of their requests before their removal.

Read the full judgment:

Rise in Detention and Deportation of EU Citizens Under Scrutiny

The UK’s increased detention and deportation of EU citizens from Britain is being examined by the European Commission, which has warned it will take “appropriate action” if necessary. Enforced removals and detention of EU citizens have risen abruptly in the wake of the Brexit vote. The EU’s Brexit negotiating team referred a complaint over the detention of EU nationals in Britain to the Commission’s Directorate General for Justice and Consumers. A spokesman for the Commission confirmed the complaint was “being analysed” and that action would be taken against Britain if it was found to be flouting EU law.

Celia Clarke, director of the legal charity Bail for Immigration Detainees (BiD), said: “If other European countries were targeting British expats in this way, there would be justified outrage.” “The warm sentiments expressed in the Prime Minister’s Florence speech are at odds with the actions of Home Office officials, who appear to be riding roughshod over EU citizens’ rights to free movement,” said Ms Clarke. “The government has a callous disregard for EU nationals’ rights to live and work in the UK.” BiD said EU citizens were being detained and deported for minor crimes including driving offences.

It added that many EU nationals had been removed from the UK before being allowed to bring a legal challenge. Records show that 5,301 EU nationals were removed in the year ending June 2017, the highest since records began and a rise of 20 per cent on the previous 12 months. A Home Office spokesperson said: “We have toughened our response to foreign nationals who abuse our hospitality by committing crimes in the UK. "In addition, those who are encountered sleeping rough may not have a right to reside in the UK and be liable for removal. No one should come to the UK with the intention of sleeping rough.”

Source: Scottish Legal News,