News & Views Monday 1st May to Sunday 7th May 2017  
Asylum Limbo: The Woman Who Can't Stay in Britain, But Can't Leave Either

Paradzai Nkomo’s emailed description of her situation is succinct and shocking. She is Zimbabwean and has been in Britain for 15 years. First her application for asylum was rejected and then her request to be deported home was also refused, leaving her stuck in limbo. “It’s difficult to integrate as I am not permitted to work. Conversation becomes repetitive because of not doing anything apart from looking out of a damp, drenched window day after day. Hiding malnutrition under borrowed clothes,” she writes. “A quest for freedom has now turned into a hellish nightmare. I feel as though death may be the only way out of this.” Last year she spent four months in a hospital in Leeds, accommodated there for an extended period, apparently because charity workers were unable to find her anywhere else to stay. . “They dumped me in a hospital, where they housed me out of pity,” she says in an interview in a cafe in the city.

Desperate to end the protracted fight for asylum, Nkomo, 34, applied for a UK-funded voluntary return scheme, deciding it would be best to return to Zimbabwe. She was told she was not eligible owing to a puzzling technicality, and instructed to submit a new asylum claim, which she has done. While she waits for a decision, she relies on Leeds charities to find her places to sleep, hoping every morning that someone will volunteer a bed in their home that night. She is not allowed to work and has no money for anything – food, toiletries, clothes.  Nkomo’s status is not some absurd one-off. There are at least 4,900 people in Britain whose asylum cases were rejected but for one reason or another cannot be returned home. Their fate is a dead-end void in which it is impossible to work, plan, or build any sort of life.
Read more: Amelia Gentleman, Guardian,
Theresa May's 'Poisonous Propaganda' About Immigrants Fuels Violent Hate Crime

Tim Farron has accused Theresa May of peddling “poisonous propaganda” about immigrants that leads directly to hate crimes, as he condemned the Prime Minister’s focus on limiting the number of people entering Britain from overseas. In an exclusive interview with The Independent, the leader of the Liberal Democrats said Ms May was “playing the immigration card” at the general election by sticking to her target to reduce migration despite opposition even from several of her ministers. Mr Farron has endorsed the Drop the Target campaign by The Independent and the Open Britain group against the Government’s goal to reduce net migration below 100,000 a year. Although some ministers want the figure to be omitted from the Tory manifesto on the grounds that it will never be achieved, Ms May has restated her personal commitment to it. Mr Farron said Ms May “remains a Home Secretary at heart more than a Prime Minister, she is utterly obsessed by the headline figure for immigration”.  He was “disgusted” by her stance, which meant that Drop the Target was “needed more than ever”.

Read more: Andrew Grice, Independent,
USCIRF 2017 Report on International Religious Freedom

“The Commission has concluded that the state of affairs for international religious freedom is worsening in both the depth and breadth of violations.  In the 2017 report, the Commission calls for Congress and the administration to stress consistently the importance of religious freedom abroad, for everyone, everywhere, in public statements and public and private meetings.”

The International Religious Freedom Act requires the U.S. government to designate as a “country of particular concern,” or CPC, any country whose government engages in or tolerates particularly severe religious freedom violations that are systematic, ongoing, and egregious. To fulfill USCIRF’s mandate to advise the State Department on which countries should be designated as CPC, the Commission researches and monitors religious freedom conditions abroad and issues an annual report on countries with serious violations of religious freedom.
This year’s report calls on the Secretary of State to designate Russia as a CPC partly due to its continued use of its “anti-extremism” law as a tool to repeatedly curtail religious freedoms for various faiths, most recently the Jehovah’s Witnesses.  “The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ right to religious freedom is being eliminated through a flawed application of this law," commented USCIRF’s Chair, Thomas Reese, S.J.  “The recent Russian Supreme Court ruling bans the legal existence of the group throughout Russia.”

In 2017, USCIRF recommends that the State Department again designate the following 10 countries as CPCs: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. USCIRF also finds that six other countries meet the CPC standard and should be so designated: Central African Republic, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam.

Read more: USCIRF,

Country Policy and Information Note - Ukraine: Military Service

1.1 Basis of claim

1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by the state because of:

(a) the treatment and/or conditions likely to be faced by the person during compulsory military service duties; and/or

(b) the penalties likely to be faced by the person’s refusal to undertake, or their desertion from, military service duties.

1.2 Points to note

1.2.1 Unless otherwise stated, this note refers to the position in the government-controlled areas of Ukraine. For other areas of Ukraine, decision makers should see the country policy and information note on Ukraine: Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk and, if necessary, seek further country information and guidance on a case-by-case basis in the normal way.

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

Published on Bailii, 01/05/2017

Country Policy and Information Note - Ukraine: Prison Conditions

1.1 Basis of claim

1.1.1 Fear of being imprisoned on return to Ukraine and that prison conditions are so poor as to amount to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

1.2 Points to note

1.1.1 This note is concerned solely with whether prison conditions breach Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and warrant a grant of humanitarian protection. Prison conditions which are systematically inhuman and life-threatening are always contrary to Article 3 ECHR. However, even if those conditions are not severe enough to meet that threshold, Article 3 may be breached if, due to a person’s individual specific circumstances, detention would amount to inhuman or degrading treatment.

1.1.2 If the prison sentence or the prison regime, irrespective of its severity, is discriminatory or being disproportionately applied for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, the person may qualify as a refugee.

1.1.3 Unless otherwise stated, this note refers to the position with regard to prisons in the government-controlled areas of Ukraine. Decision makers should seek country information and guidance on prison conditions in other areas of Ukraine on a case-by-case basis in the normal way.

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 Bailii, 01/05/2017

Home Office Receiving Details of Undocumented Migrants From NHS

Charities and medical organisations have spoken out against a government guidance allowing the Home Office to access details of undocumented migrants seeking medical care. The agreement was published in January by the government and NHS Digital – which stores patient information – and the agreement states that the NHS Digital is legally obliged to hand over non-clinical details including addresses and dates of birth to the Home Office. The Home Office’s access to NHS data enables immigration officers to locate, arrest and deport undocumented migrants and individuals who have overstayed their visa.

Doctors of the World is an independent humanitarian movement working to empower excluded people to access to healthcare. Their #StopSharing campaign is working to raise awareness of this deal and offer healthcare professionals advice on how to defy the data-sharing deal. In order to outline the practical methods that doctors can use to keep patients’ addresses off NHS records, Doctors of the World has produced a “safe surgeries” toolkit, informing on how to circumvent the Home Office memorandum of understanding on data sharing. The kit informs medical staff that they do not have ask for a passport, proof of identity or proof of address when registering patients, and provides GP surgeries with posters informing patients that they are not legally obliged to provide such information.

Read more: Duncan Lewis,
Myanmar: Some Humans Have More Rights Than Others

When Aung San Suu Kyi was finally able to collect her Nobel peace prize in 2012, the committee’s chairman described how her “firmness of principle” in the struggle for human rights and democracy had made her “a moral leader for the whole world”. Since taking power in Myanmar, the former political prisoner’s moral credibility has been vastly diminished if not demolished by her failure to even acknowledge the brutal persecution of the Rohingya minority in Rakhine state. A dozen fellow Nobel peace laureates have lamented her inaction faced with “a human tragedy amounting to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”.

On Tuesday, the increasing gulf between her and her long-time international supporters was exposed again when she appeared alongside the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. The EU rightly backs the United Nations human rights council’s decision to dispatch a fact-finding mission over allegations of murder, rape and torture by military and security forces. She insisted the decision was “not in keeping with what is really happening on the ground” and would make matters worse.

Read more: Guardian Editorial,
Early Day Motion 1194: Zambrano Carers

That this House calls on the Government immediately to grant Zambrano carers the right to remain in the UK; notes the 2012 ECJ judgement in the case Zambrano v Office national de l'emploi provided non-EU nationals with primary caring responsibilities (Zambrano carers) the right to reside in the Member State of which their dependent child or adult is a national; further notes that such rights derived from EU case law will be revocable through primary legislation following the Government's Great Repeal Bill; is concerned that current Zambrano carers or individuals in a similar position in the future may lose their right to remain in the UK; and demands that the Government now makes an immediate and unequivocal guarantee that Zambrano carers can remain in the UK with the same rights which they currently enjoy.

Sponsors: Stephen Gethins, Carol Monaghan, Chris Law, Stewart Hosie, Eilidh Whiteford,  Stuart McDonald,

House of Commons 26/04/2017 -

A 'Zambrano' carer is a person from a non-EEA state whose residence is required in order to enable a child or dependant adult, who is British, to live in the UK (or the rest of the EEA). If the child is a UK citizen, a parent or parents with sole care of the child also have a right to reside and work in the UK.

Put Your MP to Work – Demand They Sign EDM  1194   
To find your MP go here:

TM (EEA Nationals - Meaning; NI practitioners : Zimbabwe) [2017] UKUT 165 (IAC) (14 March 2017)

[ 1.     Schedule 1, paragraph 1 (d) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/1547) amended the definition of EEA national to exclude those who are also British Citizens, but that change was subject to the transitional provisions set out in Schedule 3 of those regulations.   Similar provisions were added to the Immigration    

(European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 by the Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/1) which amended schedule 6 of the 2016 Regulations by adding a new paragraph 9. 

2. Although the reg 1 (2) of the 2016 regulations revoked the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, they are preserved for the purposes of appeals, as are the rights of appeal by an amendment to Schedule 4 of the new EEA Regulations made by the Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/1).

3. While the representatives regulated by OISC and members of the Bar of Northern Ireland are both entitled under section 84 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 to provide immigration services, section 11 of the Code of Conduct of the Bar of Northern Ireland precludes barristers from taking instructions from persons other than lawyers who are governed by a professional body (which does not include OISC).  ]

Decison & Reasons

1. The appellant appeals with permission against the decision of First-tier Tribunal Judge S T Fox, dismissing his appeal under the Immigration (European Area) Regulations 2006 (“the 2006 EEA Regulations”) against a decision made by the respondent on 6 February 2015 to refuse to issue him with a residence card as confirmation of his permanent right of residence as the spouse of an EEA citizen.

2. The appellant is a citizen of Zimbabwe. He is married to CM who holds dual Irish and British citizenship.  It is his case that she was exercising Treaty rights as an EEA national, from February 2009 until September 2014, and that as he had been married to her during the whole of that period, he was entitled to a residence card pursuant to reg. 15 of the 2006 EEA Regulations. 

Remaking the decision

16.   By the time that the appeal came before me again, the 2006 EEA Regulations had been superseded by the new EEA Regulations. Although the new regulations revoked the 2006 EEA Regulations by operation of reg 1 (2), (and seemingly revoked all the appeal rights thereunder) they are preserved for the purposes of appeals, as are the rights of appeal by an amendment to Schedule 4 of the new EEA Regulations made by the Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/1) which introduces the following provision into Schedule 4:

Summary of Conclusions

1. The decision of the First-tier Tribunal involved the making of an error of law. I set it aside.

2. I remake the decision by allowing the appeal under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006.

Signed Date: 16 March 2017 - Upper Tribunal Judge Rintoul

Published on Bailii, 03/05/2017

New Trustees Needed for Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group (GDWG

Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group (GDWG) are currently looking for new trustees to join our board.  More details are here.  We have a small current board and could potentially recruit several new trustees.  We are looking for a broad range of applicants and would particularly welcome those with personal experience of detention or of the asylum process, with experience of other roles in the asylum and migration sector, or with a legal background. 

 There will soon be more people detained (indefinitely) in Brook House IRC and Tinsley House IRC the two immigration removal centres at Gatwick, than ever before.  Despite influential reports calling for the opposite, the detention of people who are particularly vulnerable and should be nowhere near detention appears to be increasing.  Sadly the need for our work – for befriending, for casework, for campaigning for a 28 day time limit through Detention Forum and through our Refugee Tales project – is greater than ever.  Do consider joining us and helping us plan the way ahead. 

If you are interested Email:
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