News & Views Monday 4th September to Sunday 10 Septembert 2017  
UK High Court Blocks Deportation of Man Who Accuses G4S of Abuse

A high court judge has made an 11th-hour intervention to prevent an immigration detainee who claims he has been abused by G4S from being forcibly removed from the UK. The asylum seeker from Ivory Coast, who has been accepted by the Home Office as a survivor of torture in his home country, was due to be forcibly removed from the UK on a commercial flight at 11.35am on Thursday 7th September after officials decided it was now safe for him to return to his home country.
However, just before midnight on Wednesday 6th September, a high court judge made an order preventing the Home Office from removing him after an emergency out-of-hours application by the man’s lawyers. In their submission, his lawyers said: “The claimant is a victim of the abuse perpetrated by G4S staff at the immigration removal centre at Brook House. The claimant is a potential witness to any internal and external investigation or inquiry conducted by Her Majesty’s government/inspectorate into alleged widespread abuse by G4S staff against detainees at Brook House committed over a significant period of time and in the immigration detention estate more widely. “Moreover, the claimant is also a potential witness to any criminal proceedings that may flow from the abuse reported and evidenced at Brook House and/or which he himself endured.”Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian,

Canada Has Quietly Granted Asylum to 31 LGBT Chechens

Thirty-one gay and bisexual Chechen men and women have been granted asylum in Canada following a violent crackdown on LGTB people in the Russian republic. They are being brought to Canada as part of an under-the-radar collaboration between human rights groups and the federal government. In April, reports of abductions, detentions, disappearances, torture and deaths targeting gay and bisexual men in Chechnya began making international headlines. The Chechen government denied that security officials had launched an anti-gay purge, saying that gay men "simply don't exist in the republic". It was a claim repeated in July by authoritarian Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who denied in an interview there were gay men in Chechnya.Read more: BBC News,

Brian White Here to Stay: Zimbabwe-Born 'Genius' Wins Battle to Remain In UK

A Zimbabwe-born student who faced losing his place at Oxford University amid deportation fears has won his battle to stay in the UK and begin studying. Brian White, from Wolverhampton, had to delay starting at the prestigious university last year after being told he did not have indefinite leave to remain in the country.
He was brought up in an orphanage in Zimbabwe until he was six-years-old. He was then adopted by his parents – one of whom is a British citizen - and spent several years with them in Botswana before the family moved to the UK when Mr White was 15. But he was not granted indefinite leave to remain by the Home Office, meaning he could have been deported back to his country of birth.

A petition supporting his bid to remain in the UK and attend Oxford to study chemistry was backed by more than 111,988 people – including celebrities Philip Pullman and Caitlin Moran who gave their support to the "genius". The Home Office today 04/09/201, revealed that Mr White, now aged 21, has been granted permission to stay in the UK.

Read more: Tom Powell,

MPs Used Immigration Hotline to Report Hundreds of Constituents to Home Office

MPs have reported more than 480 people over immigration concerns to a Home Office hotline in the past two years, it has been revealed. The Home Office confirmed it had received scores of tip offs from parliamentarians between 2014 and 2016 after freedom of information requests from The news prompted questions over whether MPs could be sharing information about constituents who may have asked for help over their immigration status.

The Green Party said the figures pointed to a “fundamental betrayal of trust” between MPs and their constituents, and called on MPs involved to disclose how they received the information. Co-leader Jonathan Bartley said: “This appears to be a fundamental betrayal of trust and duty of care if elected representatives have been tipping off the Home Office about people they suspect to be undocumented migrants. “Members of Parliament should support, defend and advocate for all those living in their local communities, not have them dragged away to indefinite detention and potential deportation.”

Read more: Lizzy Buchan, Independent,

Boko Haram – Palpable Fear, Conspiracy Theories, A Deepening Crisis

The fear is palpable in northeast Nigeria as Boko Haram intensifies its war on civilians. The military’s regular claim that the jihadists are on the run is patently false, and provides no comfort to anyone.

Instead, this is the reality. – Since January, there have been at least 83 suicide bombings by children – a figure four times higher than last year. – Of the four roads leading out of Maiduguri, the main city in the northeast, only the Maiduguri-Damaturu-Kano road is adjudged safe. – In rural areas, people are not able to venture more than four kilometres out of the main towns in each local government area because of insecurity. – In Maiduguri’s mosques, people now pray in relay. As one group prays, another keeps watch to guard against suicide bombers. The death tolls are startling. In the last two months, high-profile Boko Haram raids have included: – An attack on oil workers and soldiers prospecting in the Lake Chad Basin in which more than 50 reportedly died. – The shooting and hacking to death of 31 fishermen on two islands in the Lake Chad Basin. In response to the rising tempo of attacks, acting President Yemi Osinbajo ordered the deployment of all his military chiefs to Maiduguri in July. It hasn’t stopped the violence.

Read more: IRIN,

No Drownings Migrant Statistic is Bittersweet

The International Organization for Migration announced this week that no migrants have drowned in the past 20 days while attempting to cross from Libya to Europe. That’s a good thing, right? Not so fast. The news comes hot on the heels of a report that Italy is paying militias involved in human trafficking to stop migrants from making it to the Mediterranean, potentially enriching and empowering traffickers and armed groups (often one and the same). The Italian Foreign Ministry has since denied the claims, saying: “Italy does not deal with traffickers”. But Libyan forces, including some on the coast, are keeping migrants in overcrowded detention centres in conditions Médecins Sans Frontières on Friday described as “neither humane nor dignified”. The EU’s Operation Sophia has been knocked for failing to get a handle on Libya’s migrant crisis. So, what is the best policy solution? Stay tuned for a closer look from IRIN at what might, in all honesty, be a bunch of bad options.

Source IRIN:

Australian Court Approves A$70m Compensation Payout For PNG Detainees

A compensation payout of A$70m (£43m; $56m) by the Australian government to asylum seekers detained in Papua New Guinea has been approved by a judge.
Canberra offered the settlement in June after 1,905 men alleged they had suffered harm in detention on PNG's Manus Island. The government said it was "prudent", but denied wrongdoing. Australia sends asylum seekers arriving by boat to PNG and Nauru. The deal is believed to be Australia's largest human rights settlement. The Supreme Court of Victoria upheld the payout on Wednesday when Justice Cameron Macauley said he was satisfied that A$70m was an appropriate sum. More than 1,300 of the now 1,923 people who are part of the class action have registered for the settlement. The class action represents the majority of asylum seekers and refugees detained on Manus Island since 2012. The lawsuit alleged that detainees had been housed in inhumane conditions below Australian standards, given inadequate medical treatment and exposed to systemic abuse and violence. It also claimed their detention was illegal, pointing to a decision by PNG's Supreme Court.

Read more: BBC News,

All the Relief Money in the World Won't Rebuild Houston - Undocumented Workers Will

As the waters recede, Houston families and insurance agents are surveying the damage to the city: water-logged homes, ruined appliances, sagging roofs, and streets littered with debris. Now the city faces this question: Who is going to rebuild the nation’s fourth-largest city as construction companies nationwide struggle to find workers?

Unauthorized immigrants were crucial to rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. And they are likely to be desperately needed as Texas rebuilds to clean streets, demolish buildings, and reconstruct homes and offices.

But it’s a hostile time to be undocumented in Texas. Even beyond the Trump administration’s harsh rhetoric and actions on immigration, Texas leaders are engaged in a crackdown on unauthorized immigrants, passing a slew of laws to make it harder for them to live and work in the state. In such an environment, these laborers might not stick around for the work that will be needed. "This could have a chilling effect on the community," said Laurel Fletcher, a law professor at the University of California Berkeley who studied the working conditions of laborers in New Orleans after Katrina. "A lot depends on what the climate will be like for Latinx and undocumented residents in the greater Houston area."

Read more: Vox News,

EU Court Dismisses Complaints by Hungary and Slovakia Over Refugee Quotas

The European Union’s top court has dismissed complaints by Slovakia and Hungary about EU migration policy, dealing a blow to the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, and his allies in central Europe over the bitterly contested policy of refugee quotas. In an important victory for the EU, judges threw out a challenge against its mandatory relocation scheme, which aims to relocate 120,000 asylum seekers around the bloc. The victory has sharpened tensions between the EU and Hungary’s combative PM, who has made opposition to EU asylum policy a core theme of his “Stop Brussels” campaign. It will also raise tensions with Poland, which lent its support to the failed legal campaign.

Budapest condemned the court ruling as “appalling and irresponsible”. The foreign minister, Péter Szijjártó, said: “This decision jeopardises the security and future of all of Europe. Politics has raped European law and values.” The European court of justice (ECJ) said it had dismissed “in their entirety the actions brought by Slovakia and Hungary”, vindicating the EU decision-making process that created a scheme to re

Read more: Jennifer Rankin, Guardian,

Don't Deport Faizan Ahmed. No Detentions! No Deportations

We are calling for indefinite leave to remain for Faizan Ahmed (Home office reference number A1453538/4), who was detained on 31 August and was not told what will happen to him. Faizan has been living in Britain for 13 years. In that time, he has made lots of friends and tried to carve out a life for himself. He is a valued part of the community with lots of friends and involvement in the community, such as in groups at a church and mosque. He no longer has any ties in Pakistan.

For some time now, Faizan has been living with no recourse to public funds and has been destitute, sleeping on some friends’ sofa. The whole experience has negatively affected his health, both mental and physical. For 6 years he has been depressed and experienced kidney and heart pains due to the stress of his situation. What he wants most in the world is leave to remain so that he can work and, in his own words, ‘contribute’.

The lack of support he is currently receiving from the state has been a disaster for Faizan’s mental health and his wellbeing. Detention can only be worse. A lot of research has been conducted showing how disastrous immigration detention is for mental health. The 2013 report by Medical Justice, for example, states:

Evidence and experience shows that mental illness is the greatest health issue for detainees. The safeguards to prevent the detention of those with serious mental illness are not working. The rate of mental illness is already high in those who are subject to detention, in part due to the stresses in their life journey to that time. Detention serves to increase that mental illness and distress, so that the majority of those studied report significant symptoms… The indeterminate nature of immigration detention adds to the distress. This can include illness at the highest level of severity, such that transfer for compulsory treatment in a mental hospital may be regarded as appropriate.

Equally, deportation would be devastating for Faizan. To send him back to a country where has no support networks would tear his life apart. The only way that Faizan could lead any kind of life would be if he was granted leave to remain in Britain.

Sadly, Faizan is only one of thousands of people in Britain in situations like this, all for nothing more than being born abroad. We call for the release of Faizan Ahmed from detention, indefinite leave to remain for Faizan, and an end to all forced deportations.

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- Get in touch and support the campaign Telephone: 07746559033

UK Treatment of Disabled People A ‘Human Catastrophe

Theresa May’s government has been condemned by a UN Committee over declining living standards of disabled people following cuts to care budgets. The new report says the government has “failed to recognise living independently and being included in the community as a human right”, while also attacking the failure to provide adequate education support for disabled pupils, with particular concern placed on the rising numbers attending ‘special schools’. Alongside rising poverty levels among disabled people, bullying in integrated schools is also endemic, in spite of the government’s repeated commitments to an inclusive society and education policy. Commenting on the findings, chairwoman of the UN committee Theresia Degener described it as a “human catastrophe”

Austerity Leading to Inequality - “The austerity measures that [the government] have taken – they are affecting half a million people,” she added. “Each disabled person is losing between £2,000 and £3,000 pounds per year, people are pushed into work situations without being recognised as vulnerable, and the evidence that we had in front of us was just overwhelming”. The report calls for a review of benefit sanctions, a policy which has reinforced poverty and made independent living harder to achieve for disabled individuals.

Read more: Human Rights News,

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