News & Views Monday 11th September to Sunday 17th Septembert 2017  
Second Attempt to Deport Samim Bigzad Fails

The British Government's second attempt to deport an Afghan asylum seeker threatened with beheading by the Taliban has failed. Samim Bigzad was granted his first dramatic reprieve last month when the pilot of a passenger plane due to remove him to Kabul via Turkey refused to take off. Relatives were informed on Tuesday morning that the 22-year-old had been forced onto another Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul - but lawyers have successfully applied for a last-minute injunction requiring the Home Office to transport Mr Bigzad back to the UK.

Campaigners had travelled to Heathrow Airport in August to alert passengers and crew to the fact Mr Bigzad would be on board, resulting in concerns reaching the captain, but were not able to mount the same action on Tuesday because of the short notice given ahead of his removal.  After his flight took off for Istanbul, lawyers continued their efforts to stay the deportation in a 10-hour window before Mr Bigzad was due to travel onwards to Kabul. They managed to obtain a last-minute injunction to prevent Mr Bigzad being put on a connecting flight to Afghanistan that was supposed to take off shortly after midnight local time. A legal representative said the order would force the Home Office to return him from Turkey to the UK pending the “proper examination” of his case.

Read more: Lizzie Dearden, Independent,

Polish Man Dies at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre

An investigation is to be conducted into the death of a Polish man at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre, The Independent has learned. The 28-year-old allegedly hanged himself on Sunday afternoon 3rd September and was taken to hospital. The Home Office today confirmed that a man who had recently been held at the facility, near Heathrow airport, died yesterday, Friday 8th September, in intensive care after life support was withdrawn. A spokesperson had previously denied any knowledge of the incident, which comes in the same week the BBC broadcast undercover footage showing the alleged mocking and "choking" of detainees by guards at one immigration centre.

SOAS Detainee Support (SDS), who organise visits to immigration removal centres around London, said several detainees reported the death to them earlier in the week. “Multiple people that SDS are in contact with have told us that a man from Poland hanged himself during lock-up after lunch on Sunday, and was taken away in an ambulance," a spokesperson told the Independent. She added the incident had caused “unfathomable distress and anxiety amongst detainees in Harmondsworth and has contributed further to the creation of a toxic and harmful environment for the 400 men held in this centre". She said: "Many SDS visitors have expressed strong concern regarding the people they are acting in solidarity with – some of whom have not slept or eaten properly since the harrowing incident on Sunday."
Read more: Charlotte England, Independent,

This was the 11th death associated with Harmondsworth IRC
Alois Dvorzac 2013 - Prince Kwabena Fosu 2012 - Bereket Yohannes 2006 - Sergey Barnuyck 2004 - Olga Blaskevica 2003 - Robertas Grabys 2000 - Kimpua Nsimba 1990 - Siho Iyiguveni 1989 - Jakana Chowdhury 2012 - Unnamed Homeless French man 2011

30 Deaths Across the UK Detention Estate - Suicide/Murder/Undetermined Plus 5 Deaths Following Release From Immigration Detention
Remember the Dead - Justice for the Living - End Immigration Detention Now

EDM 269: MPs Reporting Constituents to the Home Office For Deportation

That this House is concerned by recent Freedom of Information reports revealing that on 482 occasions between 2014 and 2016 hon. Members of the House have been informing the Home Office of undocumented migrants; believes that to inform on a constituent would be a fundamental betrayal of trust, acting against the interests of those it is an hon. Member's duty to represent, as well as a failure of confidentiality and a potential breach of the Data Protection Act 1998; is further concerned by the Home Office response that hon. Members would only be identified as an MP if they declared themselves on the form, which allows someone remain anonymous; further believes that the risk that this is but the tip of iceberg; and notes that this information comes amid a year and a decade when the Home Office has been increasingly hostile to those who have chosen to make the UK their home.

Sponsors: Gavin Newlands, Tommy  Sheppard, Carol Monaghan, Drew Hendry, Philippa Whitford, Hannah Bardell.

House of Commons 05/092017.

Put Your MP to Work – Demand They Sign EDM 289   

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Early Day Motion 255: Flight of Rohingya Refugees From Burma

That this House notes with concern the increasing number of Rohingya refugees crossing from Burma into Bangladesh, with over 100,000 having fled violence, allegedly triggered by an attack by Rohingya militants on police posts, since the end of August; is very concerned about reports from many of those who have fled describing troops and Rakhine Buddhist mobs razing their villages and attacking and killing civilians in a campaign to drive them·out; notes that a million Muslim Rohingya people in Burma have faced years of mistreatment at the hands of the Burmese Government, which does not recognise them as citizens; calls on the de facto Burmese leader Aung San Sui Kyi to condemn the military campaign and allow independent observers access into the region immediately; and calls on the Government to continue urging the Burmese Government to end the violence and take robust action against hate speech, discrimination and incitement, as well as to continue assisting with the humanitarian response to displaced populations.

Sponsors: Ann Clwyd, Ali Rushanara

House of Commons 05/092017.

Put Your MP to Work – Demand They Sign EDM 255   

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Early Day Motion 240: Persecution of Rohingyas

This House expresses its deep concern at recent developments in Myanmar; condemns the murderous attacks by militants against Burmese border posts but also the completely disproportionate response of the Burmese military against the Rohingyas who the UN consider are the most persecuted minority group in the world; further condemns the brutal assaults from the Burmese state and military over many years burning down Rohingya villages and carrying out multiple murders and rapes; calls on President Aung San Suu Kyi as a holder of the UN Peace Prize to speak out for the human rights of the Rohingyas and to allow access for aid agencies and journalists to the affected areas; and further calls on the international community to condemn Myanmar's army chief General Min Aung Hlaing, gather evidence for possible war crimes charges against him and his generals, and to impose strong sanctions against them.

Sponsor: John Grogan

House of Commons 05/092017.

Put Your MP to Work – Demand They Sign EDM 240   

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Early Day Motion 305: UK Arms Sales to Repressive Regimes

That this House notes the Government has officially invited Governments with records of serious and systematic human rights abuses, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Turkey, to the Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition this week in London; is concerned that such Governments are 2017-18 priority markets for the Government's arms export agency, the Department for International Trade's Defence and Security Organisation; is particularly dismayed with the continued licensing of arms exports to Saudi Arabia, given that air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen are continuing to result in civilian deaths in violation of international humanitarian law; believes that by licensing arms exports to repressive regimes, or where they could be used to exacerbate internal conflicts or in contravention of international humanitarian law, the Government gives international credibility to the recipients, and could be violating its international commitments; and calls on the Government to end arms export promotion to such Governments and adopt a presumption of denial when considering licence applications for exports to them.

Sponsors: Ann Clwyd, Caroline Lucas, Grahame Morris, Lady Hermon, Martyn  Day,
House of Commons: 12/09/2017,
Put Your MP to Work – Demand They Sign EDM 305
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Most Europe-Bound Refugee, Migrant Children Face Abuse

A joint study by the U.N. Children’s Fund and International Organization for Migration says up to three-quarters of refugee and migrant children and young people trying to reach Europe are abused, exploited and subject to trafficking. The study, based on 20,000 interviews, 11,000 with refugee and migrant children, describes in detail the appalling levels of human rights abuses to which people on the move are subjected.

It finds children and young people traveling on the central Mediterranean route are at a particularly high risk of exploitation and trafficking. U.N. Children’s Fund spokeswoman Sarah Crowe told VOA those moving along this route are mainly young Africans traveling across the Sahara from the Ivory Coast, Gambia, Nigeria, or other West African countries. “We also see from this report that the children who have less education and who are coming from sub-Saharan Africa have got a greater risk of being exploited, beaten and discriminated against at every step of the way, but specifically in Libya,” Crowe said. The report says most of the migrants and refugees passing through Libya are exposed to lawlessness, militias and criminality. A spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, Leonard Doyle, said the young people, ages 14 to 24, pay smugglers between $1,000 and $5,000 for their perilous journey.

Read more: Lisa Schlein, VOA News,

School Segregation Still Deprives Many Children of Quality Education

“The right to education is a fundamental human right. Yet, many European countries still deny thousands of children, including children with disabilities, Roma children and refugee or migrant children, equal access to it by keeping them in segregated schools. This is a violation of children’s human rights with far-reaching negative consequences for our societies. Member states have an obligation to secure the right of every child to quality education without discrimination”, said today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, while releasing a paper on tackling school segregation through inclusive education.

The paper first provides an overview of school segregation in Council of Europe member states, as well as its main causes. It then reviews the risks that separate education entails and outlines the key principles that should underpin any policy to eradicate segregation and promote inclusive education. Finally, the report sets forth twelve recommendations to develop more inclusive education policies, in particular through improved anti-discrimination legislation, school desegregation strategies and better regulation of school admissions.

“School segregation harms children’s learning opportunities and is a clear injustice against minority and other vulnerable groups of people, which also perpetuates their marginalisation”, says the Commissioner. “States should adopt a combination of strong anti-discrimination measures and policies that promote more inclusive education systems where all children learn together. This is not a utopian project, but an achievable goal that can ensure more equal treatment of all children and, in the long term, improve social cohesion”, says Commissioner Muižnieks.

Read more: Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe,

The Birth of ‘Illegal’ Immigration

Until the late 19th century, there wasn’t any such thing as “illegal” or “legal” immigration to the United States. That’s because before you can immigrate somewhere illegally, there has to be a law for you to break. American immigration didn’t really begin until the late 1700s, when the United States became an independent nation. Before that, Africans had unwillingly entered the Americas as enslaved peoples and Europeans had entered as settlers—which is something totally different. While immigrants are beholden to the laws of the land they migrate to, settlers come to disrupt the current system and implement their own laws, write the scholars Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang.

But once the U.S. made its Constitution the new law of the land, immigrants flocked to the country with few restrictions. This didn’t mean that they were welcomed in the “New World.” In the beginning, when immigrants came mostly from northern and western Europe, anti-Irish and anti-Catholic sentiment were rampant. By the mid- to late-19th century, people from southern and eastern Europe as well as China were coming over, and Americans resented the presence of Chinese, Italians, and more Catholics.

Read more: Becky Little, History,

Early Day Motion 294: Enforced Disappearances

That this House is concerned by continued enforced disappearances around the world, used frequently as a strategy to spread fear, and the effects such disappearances have on families, communities and wider society; is further concerned for the tens of thousands of Syrians who remain unaccounted for under President Assad's regime; notes the disappearance of 28-year old Argentinian human rights activist Santiago Maldonado, last seen being arrested during a protest for indigenous groups in Patagonia in August 2017; further notes reported enforced disappearances in Rwanda in the lead up for the 2017 Presidential elections in that country, including the disappearance of opposition activist Illuminée Iragena in March 2016; notes the disappearance of Porlajee "Billy" Rakchongcharoen, an ethnic minority Karen human rights defender, who was last seen in the custody of Kaeng Krachan National Park officials in April 2014; recalls the UN's categorisation of enforced disappearances as a crime; welcomes the opportunity that International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on 30 August provides to reaffirm a commitment to ending impunity for the crime of enforced disappearance and to promote accountability; and calls on the Government to mark this day by ratifying the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and by urging other governments to ratify and fully implement that Convention.

Sponsor: Ann Clwyd
House of Commons: 07/09/2017,
Put Your MP to Work – Demand They Sign EDM 294     
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Early Day Motion 293: Immigration Detention

That this House welcomes the undercover journalism that led to the harrowing and disturbing footage broadcast during the BBC Panorama programme, Undercover: Britain's Immigration Secrets, on 4 September 2017; urges G4S to fully investigate any and all incidents of abuse and mistreatment by its staff towards people detained at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre; is concerned that the UK remains the only country in Europe not to have a maximum time limit on the length of time an individual can be detained, despite the evidence that indefinite detention has a deleterious impact on the mental health of those detained; notes that in a Written Statement made in response to Stephen Shaw's report into the welfare in detention of vulnerable persons on 14 January 2016, the then Immigration Minister set out a number of reforms that would lead to a reduction in the number of those detained, and the duration of detention before removal, in turn improving the welfare of those detained; further notes that in the year to June 2017, the Government detained 27,819 solely for immigration purposes, and more than 200 were detained for longer than one year; and calls on the Government urgently to implement reform of the use of immigration detention, introducing the introduction of a 28 day time limit and greater use of community-based alternatives to detention.

Sponsor: Stuart McDonald
House of Commons: 07/09/2017,
Put Your MP to Work – Demand They Sign EDM 293     
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Early Day Motion 300: Removal of Israeli Citizenship From Negev Bedouin

That this House recognises the injustice faced by hundreds of Negev Bedouin who have had their Israeli citizenship revoked without adequate explanation or warning due to claims that their original citizenship was issued in error; is concerned that this is a policy to remove the legitimate citizenship rights of the Bedouin and leave them stateless; notes the considerable barriers to re-obtaining citizenship, once lost, including cost, time, extensive documentation and language requirements; and calls on the Government to put pressure on the Israeli Government to end this discriminatory policy.

Sponsors: Philippa Whitford, Tommy Sheppard, Carol Monaghan,  Alan Brown, Chris Law, Stewart McDonald, 

House of Commons, 11/09/2017,

Put Your MP to Work – Demand They Sign EDM 300
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