News & Views Monday 17th July to Sunday 23rd July 2017  
Tories Use 'Take Out the Trash' Day to Dump Controversial Reports

Theresa May has been accused of an “absolute affront” to democracy after dumping dozens of official documents online on parliament’s last day of term, showing the police force numbers have dropped to a 30-year low and the number of soldiers has fallen by 7,000.

The government has published very little for weeks after the election but about 22 written statements and dozens of Whitehall reports were released on Thursday, just as MPs embark on their long summer break.

The tactic – known as “take out the trash day” – means MPs will not be able to scrutinise the information properly while parliament is away for the next seven weeks. The statements included a damning human rights assessment of the UK’s ally Saudi Arabia, the cancellation of the electrification of a key railway and a decision to opt into some new EU regulations on crime-fighting, even though the UK is heading for Brexit.

Read more: Rowena Mason, Jessica Elgot and Rajeev Syal,
Amnesty for Survivors Without Immigration Status of the Grenfell Tower Fire

The government has failed to offer full amnesty to migrant survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire. Please join us in demanding that the government grant full and indiscriminate amnesty to all survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire who do not have regularised immigration status.

This open letter is specifically intended for organisations and community groups who work with migrants, asylum seekers, and detainees, and other organisations who fight against immigration controls. To add your organisation or group’s signature to the letter, please follow the link below:

If you know of any other organisations who may be interested in signing, please do forward our letter.

In solidarity, Radical Housing Network 

Early Day Motion 190: Asylum Support

That this House notes with deep concern the findings of the recent research report by Refugee Action, Slipping Through The Cracks, that a failure by the Home Office to follow its own guidance for supporting those seeking asylum in the UK is resulting in vulnerable people being wrongly denied assistance or suffering long delays to get the support they are entitled to, and that this is making vulnerable people homeless and leaving them unable to feed their families; further notes that the Refugee Action report follows highly critical reports on the asylum support system by the Home Affairs Committee in January 2017, and the Public Accounts Committee in April 2014; considers it vital that Home Office policy and practice adequately supports all asylum seekers while taking account of the particular needs of the most vulnerable, including victims of torture and trafficking; and calls on the Government urgently to commit to applying existing policy and guidance in all cases, including making decisions on support as quickly as possible, to put into practice a transparent approach to decision-making on asylum support, and to take urgent action to improve the standards and monitoring of asylum accommodation.

Sponsors: Caroline Lucas - Naseem Shah - Peter Bottomley - Stuart McDonald - Tim Farron -  Liz Saville Roberts

House of Commons:17.07.2017 -

Put Your MP to Work – Demand They Sign EDM 192    
To find your MP go here:

CPIN Kenya: Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

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

(a) the person will be subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM); or 

(b) the person is a parent who is opposed to the procedure being carried out on their minor child in a place where there is a real risk of it being carried out. 

Published on Refworld, 17/07/2017
Withdrawn or Not Withdrawn

ZEI & Ors (Decision Withdrawn - FtT Rule 17 – Considerations Palestine) (Rev 1) [2017] UKUT 292 (IAC) (8 May 2017)

Rule 17 clearly envisages that in general the appeal is to be treated as withdrawn.  It will continue only if a good reason is identified for allowing it to proceed despite being an appeal against a decision that will not have effect in any event. The appellant needs the opportunity to advance a case why he considers an appeal should not be treated as withdrawn, and the SSHD needs the opportunity to respond. The Tribunal has no power to require the Secretary of State to give (or even to have) a good reason for her decision.

The list below cannot and should not be regarded as a comprehensive account of all reasons that might be urged on judges, but we trust that as well as giving guidance on the arguments discussed the reasoning may be adapted to other cases.

(i)      The following are not likely to be considered good reasons:

-          The parties wish the appeal to proceed.

-          The applicant is legally aided and if he has to appeal against a new decision, he will not (or will probably not) be legally aided because the legal aid regime has changed. 

-          The withdrawal is for reasons the judge considers inappropriate is very unlikely to be a good reason to proceed. An example is that of a Presenting Officer who seeks adjournment of a hearing and when that is refused, withdraws the decision. 

-          The witnesses are ready to be heard and can only with difficulty or expense be gathered again.

(ii)     The following are likely to be capable of being a good reason.

-          The appeal regime has changed since the first decision, so that if a new decision is made in the same sense, the rights of appeal will be reduced.

-          Undue delay by the respondent.

-          The appeal turns on a pure point of law that the judge thinks that even after argument is certainly or almost certainly to be decided in the appellant’s favour.
-          If there has already been a considerable delay in a decision the appellant is entitled to expect, the fact that children are affected.
Notice of decision

The decision of the First-tier Tribunal treating the appeal (numbered AA/11525/2014) as withdrawn is set aside. We remit the case to the First-tier Tribunal for a fresh decision on whether to treat the appeal as withdrawn as a result of the notice by the Secretary of State to withdraw the decision under appeal. It is conceded by the Secretary of State that AA/11525/2014 should continue in the First-tier Tribunal. Accordingly, our decision sitting as judges of the First-tier Tribunal is that appeal numbered AA/11525/2014 is not to be treated as withdrawn and this appeal (and the related appeals) together with AA/00643/2016 remain pending before the First-tier Tribunal for determination.

 Published on Bailii, 17/07/2017

Self Harm in Immigration Detention  - January To December 2017   

1st Quarter January/February/March

Total Jan Feb Mar
Brook House 16 3 10 3
Campsfield House 5 1 2 2
Colnbrook 21 13 3 5
Dungavel 0 0 0 0
Harmondsworth 16 9 2 5
Morton Hall 29 7 13 9
The Verne 12 3 4 5
Tinsley House 0 Closed Closed Closed
Yarl's Wood 33 6 12 15
Larne 0 0 0 0
Pennine House 0 0 0 0
Subtotal   132 42 46 44

Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (HC 290)

The Minister for Immigration (Brandon Lewis)

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is today laying before the House a statement of changes in immigration rules (HC 290).

The purpose of the changes is to give effect to the Supreme Court judgment in MM (Lebanon) & Others, handed down on 22 February 2017.

The changes, together with changes to the Secretary of State’s guidance to decision makers, are intended to give effect to the judgment’s findings in respect of, first, the income sources which may be relied upon to meet the minimum income requirement in specified exceptional ?circumstances; and, secondly, the duty to have regard to the welfare of children under section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009. They also make other minor amendments and clarifications to the family immigration rules.   [HCWS95]

House of Commons, 20/07/2017,

UK has Serious Concerns About Human Rights in 30 Countries

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has published its 2016 Annual ‘Human Rights & Democracy Report’. The report covers the period from January to December 2016 and for the first time includes a dedicated section on modern slavery - a key UK Government priority.

The report assesses the human rights situation in 30 countries which FCO has designated as its human rights priority countries. These are: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burma, Burundi, Central African Republic, China, Colombia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Libya, Maldives, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

Download the full report:
Protest Against Turkey Attacks on Afrin To Regain Influence in Syria

Protest Saturday 22nd July 2017

The Mound, Off Princes Street, Edinburgh At 11:00 Am. 

Turkey Has Mobilized Thousands Of Troops To Combat The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) In Afrin, Syria, And Made Sure Those Moves Were Well-Publicized. Afrin Has A Population Of 1.5 Million, 200.000 Of Whom Are Refugees. The Attack On Afrin Will Be Catastrophic And Create Further Instability And War That Will Cause People To Migrate To Elsewhere. We Call On The Turkish Government To Halt All Attacks On Afrin And To Support The Involvement Of All Forces Fighting ISIS In The Peace Processes. I Have Included the Facebook Link Below.

We Appreciate Any Assistance. 

Many Thanks, Roza Salih: Co-Convenor Scottish Solidarity With Kurdistan

Early Day Motion 208: Humanitarian Crisis in the Gaza Strip

That this House is deeply concerned about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip; notes that the blockade of Gaza by the Israeli and Egyptian authorities has been in place for 10 years, violates international law and continues to impoverish civilians in Gaza; recognises that Gaza remains under Israeli occupation and that Israel's military controls Gaza's land and maritime borders; notes that the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights has said Gaza will be unliveable for its 1.8 million inhabitants by 2018; expresses grave concern at the combination of Israeli, Egyptian, Palestinian Authority and Hamas policies that have made the situation in Gaza acutely worse over the past month; condemns the Israeli decision of 19 June to cut electricity supply to Gaza on the request of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas; further notes that on 12 July the sole power plant in Gaza shut down due to lack of fuel; expresses concern that inadequate supply of power will result in critical services, including hospital intensive care, being shut down; calls on all parties urgently to engage in talks to resolve the electricity crisis; and calls on the Government to apply pressure to the Israeli and Egyptian authorities so as to ensure the basic needs of civilians in Gaza are met.

House of Commons: 18.07.2017 - Primary sponsor: Caroline Lucas

Put Your MP to Work – Demand They Sign EDM 208    
To find your MP go here:

Torture by Sri Lankan Police Routine, Says Human Rights Lawyer

The use of torture by Sri Lankan security services has become routine, a UN special rapporteur has concluded following a visit to the country. The four-day visit by Ben Emmerson QC was conducted with the full cooperation of the Sri Lankan government, but the British lawyer found that the country’s judicial system, and tolerance of torture, is a “stain on the country’s international reputation”.  Government explanations for the state of the judicial system were entirely inadequate and unconvincing, said the independent expert, who was appointed by the Human Rights Council.

Emmerson’s report also concluded that the coalition government’s plans for a path to reconciliation after a 26-year internal war, has “ground to a virtual halt”. Draft revised anti-terror laws prepared by the government, he warned, will leave unchecked the routine police use of torture to extract confessions.  “The use of torture has been, and remains today, endemic and routine, for those arrested and detained on national security grounds,” the report stated. “Since the authorities use this legislation disproportionately against members of the Tamil community, it is this community that has borne the brunt of the state’s well-oiled torture apparatus.”

Read more: Patrick Wintour, Guardian,
CPIN: Somalia (South and Central): Fear of Al Shabaa

Basis of claim

1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by members of Al Shabaab because of a person’s actual or perceived political or religious opposition to the group.

1.2 Point to note

1.2.1 This note looks at targeted risks from Al Shabaab. For claims based on the general security and humanitarian situation, see the country policy and information note on Somalia: Security and humanitarian situation in South and Central Somalia.

Published on Refworld, 19/07/2017
295 Days Unlawful Detention £40,000 Damages

Belfken, R (On the Application Of) v SSHD [2017] EWHC 1834 (Admin) (19/07/2017)

  1. The Claimant is a 27-year-old Moroccan national. On 5 March 2005, at the age of 15, the Claimant entered the United Kingdom. Shortly after his arrival, he claimed asylum. This claim was refused, but the Claimant was granted Discretionary Leave to Remain until his 18th birthday. For reasons which I explain below, on 4 February 2008, the Claimant was made subject to a deportation order.The Secretary of State detained the Claimant, pursuant to immigration powers, from 12 July 2016 until 3 May 2017. This is an application for judicial review of the lawfulness of this period of detention. Permission was granted by Sir Wyn Williams, sitting as a High Court Judge, at an oral hearing on 2 March 2017.
  2. In these proceedings, the Secretary of State has acknowledged that from 7 September 2016 onwards the Claimant's detention was unlawful. This concession has been made on the basis that the Secretary of State accepts that, throughout the period from 7 September 2016 to 3 May 2017, there was no realistic prospect of removal of the Claimant within a reasonable period.
  3. In light of this concession, the remaining issues between the parties are (i) whether the Claimant's detention between 12 July 2016 and 7 September 2016 was lawful; (ii) whether the Claimant should only be entitled to nominal damages in respect of his unlawful detention between 2 March 2017 and 3 May 2017, in view of his expressed wish to remain in detention until suitable bail accommodation was available for him; and (iii) the quantum of damages that should be awarded.
  4. The Claimant has an appalling offending history. Prior to the Secretary of State's decision on 4 February 2008 to make a deportation order against him, the Claimant had been convicted of the following offences:
  5. The Claimant's custodial sentence came to an end on 8 February 2008. He remained in immigration detention for a period of three years and one month, until his release on bail on 9 March 2011. The only barrier to the Claimant's removal has been his lack of travel documentation.

As I have explained above, the Claimant has been uncooperative and obstructive. But I would not put the degree of obstruction he has displayed in the same category as the claimant in NAB. The Claimant has attended three interviews with the Moroccan authorities. He has taken part in a language analysis assessment. Although there is reason to believe that he may well be able to demonstrate his Moroccan nationality if he wished to do so, it cannot be said as starkly as it was in NAB that the Claimant chose detention in the UK over freedom in Morocco.

In my judgement, the appropriate compensatory award in this case should be £40,000. This reflects the length of his unlawful detention; the lack of any aggravating factors, or any egregious conduct on the part of the Secretary of State; and the overall justice of the case, bearing in mind the facts I have described above and the degree to which the Claimant has been uncooperative and obstructive.

H. Conclusion

For the reasons I have given, this claim for judicial review is allowed. The Claimant was unlawfully detained from 12 July 2016 to 3 May 2017. The Secretary of State is liable to pay the Claimant damages in the sum of £40,000.

Published on Bailii, 19/07/2017