|Someone Forced to Flee Their Home Every Second in 2016
Refugees have special status in international law, but if you're forced from your home and stay within your country's borders, you're classified as an "internally displaced person" – an "IDP" – with no guarantee of protection or assistance. There are at least twice as many IDPs as refugees at any given time, but internal population movements are fluid, of varying duration, and hard to track. Humanitarian support to IDPs often lacks the resources of better-recognised refugee operations.Read more: IRIN, http://tiny.cc/ndicly
Conflict forced another 6.9 million people from their homes in 2016. Syria has a huge number of internally displaced people, according to the estimates, but it's not the fastest-growing displacement crisis. Last year, more people were newly displaced in the Democratic Republic of Congo than in Syria. According to estimates by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, natural disasters forced 24 million people to move in 2016. Seven million of those were in China alone.
Germany Approves Deportation of Asylum Seekers Legislation
The German parliament has passed legislation making it easier to deport failed asylum seekers and monitor those deemed dangerous in a move that has been slammed by opposition parties and rights groups as an assault on the rights of refugees. In legislation passed by the Bundestag late on Thursday, German authorities will be able to detain refugees due for deportation for 10 days rather than four, and monitor by ankle bracelet those deemed potentially dangerous.The legislation also restricts freedom of movement for all failed asylum seekers. It grants the federal refugee agency BAMF and other government bodies more leeway to use and share data retrieved from migrants' mobile phones.
Refugee organisation Pro Asyl criticised the measures, saying that they robbed refugees of their right to privacy. "The agreed package of measures for tougher deportation policies is a programme that will deprive asylum-seekers of hope for protection in Germany and is aimed at discouraging them," the organisation said in a statement.
Read more: Aljazeera, http://tiny.cc/57ebly.
Who Does the Burden of Proof Sit With in Alleged Sham Marriage Cases?
Sadovska and Another (Appellants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) On appeal from the Court of Session (Scotland)
The issue in this appeal is whether the Inner House erred in failing to hold that, in cases where the respondent intervenes to stop an alleged marriage of convenience and makes a removal order on that basis, the evidential burden of proof rests with the respondent and requires to be discharged on the balance of probabilities.
The first appellant is a European Union national and the second appellant is a national of Pakistan. Their wedding ceremony was interrupted by the respondent’s officers at the Registry Office. The officers told the appellants that they were being investigated in relation to whether they had committed any offences under the Immigration Acts. The appellants were interviewed separately. Following the interviews, the respondent ordered the removal of the appellants from the United Kingdom on the ground that they had attempted to enter a marriage of convenience. The respondent’s order withdrew the right of the first appellant to remain in the United Kingdom as a European Union national under Article 35 of the Directive 2004/38/EC and rejected the second appellant’s claim for leave to remain based on his right to a family life.
The First-tier Tribunal stated that the burden of proof in immigration appeals is on the appellant and the standard of proof is the balance of probabilities. It found that the appellants had attempted to enter into a marriage of convenience for the purpose of enabling the second appellant to make an application to remain in the United Kingdom. Therefore, the respondent was justified in revoking the residence card of the first appellant and ordering her removal. The second appellant did not have a claim on the basis of protection of family life in those circumstances. The Upper Tribunal refused the appellants’ appeal.
The First Division of the Inner House held that the First-tier Tribunal did not err in relation to the burden or standard of proof. The First-tier Tribunal was entitled to reach a conclusion of fact as to the relationship between the appellants, having regard to the evidence put forward and attaching such weight to the evidence as it deemed appropriate.
Refugee Convention Applies Directly to British Sovereign Base Areas ["SBAs"] in Cyprus
Bashir & Ors, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 397 (25 May 2017)
· The Claimants are six heads of household representing a group of refugees resident in one of the British Sovereign Base Areas ["SBAs"] in Cyprus. The appeal and cross-appeal arise from the judgment of Foskett J given on 28 April 2016, reported as R (Bashir and others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  1 WLR 4613. For clarity, I will refer to the parties as Claimants and Defendant.
· In 1998 the Claimants were rescued from a dangerous Lebanese fishing boat in the Mediterranean. They were intending to go to Italy, but were taken to one of the SBAs in Cyprus. The Claimants and their families have (with very limited exceptions) now lived in former forces' accommodation known as Richmond Village in the Dhekelia SBA for many years. Although the Defendant has for long accepted the Claimants to be refugees within the meaning of the Refugee Convention, there has been a very extended dispute as to the rights and obligations flowing from that status, as to whether the United Kingdom owes these obligations, and in particular as to whether they must be permitted to move to the United Kingdom.
· On 25 November 2014, the Secretary of State refused the Claimants admission to the United Kingdom. It was said the Claimants had no strong ties to the United Kingdom, and there were "no reasons for treating them exceptionally". Relocation of the Claimants from the SBAs to the Republic of Cyprus was a "demonstrably durable … decision". This letter of refusal evidences the decision challenged. Foskett J quashed this decision on the basis that it had been taken without considering the views of the UNHCR, expressed in their letter of September 2013, that re-settlement in the Republic of Cyprus was no longer "a desirable or practical option". It is this conclusion that is the subject of the Defendant's cross-appeal.
· Much of the dispute turns on the particular factual and legal position of the SBAs. It is agreed that the accommodation in Richmond Village is very dilapidated and indeed hazardous. Both sides agree that the Claimants and their families should leave. However, put very broadly, the Defendant's position is that the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (1951) does not extend to the SBAs. Nor does the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights. Hence, says the Defendant, she does not owe the refugees the obligations which would arise if those instruments did apply.
· Moreover, the Defendant has, she says, made arrangements with the Republic of Cyprus which are in fact suitable for the Claimants and their families, and which would satisfy the obligations (or at least the "spirit" of the obligations) under the Refugee Convention, if the Convention did apply. The Defendant argues that the Claimants and their families have no right, whatever legal basis is invoked, to move to live in Britain.
· The Claimants argue that the Refugee Convention does extend to the SBAs in Cyprus, and that the United Kingdom owes them the full suite of obligations arising under the Convention. Since those obligations cannot be discharged within the SBAs, the consequence is they must be permitted to migrate to Britain where the obligations can be discharged. The Claimants say that the arrangements made with the Republic of Cyprus do not divest the United Kingdom of its legal responsibilities to them, and are in any event uncertain, unreliable and unacceptable to them. The Claimants argue that, even were the Refugee Convention held not to apply directly to them, identical or similar obligations (necessitating the same outcome) arise, because the Defendant took critical decisions intending conformity with the obligations under the Refugee Convention and cannot now depart from that. Alternatively, the European Charter applies, with the same effect. As a further alternative, if the Defendant fails to treat the Claimants as she would refugees in another British Overseas Territory ["BOT"], that would represent unlawful discrimination against the Claimants and their families.
· The principal issues in the case are whether the Refugee Convention applies, and if so, whether that requires the Defendant to permit the refugees to move to Britain.
Read the full judgment:
Boko Haram: Down But Far From Out
The Nigerian government has declared victory over the Boko Haram insurgency. The capture at the end of December of Camp Zero in Sambisa Forest, the last stronghold of the jihadists, seemed to herald the formal beginning of the post-insurgency phase in northeastern Nigeria. The government and its development partners are already starting post-war reconstruction in the three most affected states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. Humanitarian conditions remain dire, but houses and schools are being rebuilt, seedlings distributed, and empowerment training schemes launched.
Amid all this optimism, it is important to acknowledge lingering causes for concern. While Camp Zero has been dismantled, the reality is that Boko Haram is an adaptable foe. It is reportedly both forming new enclaves in the Lake Chad Basin and melting back into civilian communities. The rumours are of profitable business partnerships being formed – especially in the fish and cattle trade. Some fishermen, for example, are supplying their catch to Boko Haram middlemen who sell on their behalf. And Boko Haram’s network is far deeper than commonly realised. The State Security Service is regularly turning up insurgents across northern Nigeria, and in one case as far away as the western state of Ekiti. Boko Haram is known for its attacks on civilians and suicide bombings. So far in May there have been 12 suicide bombings (by nine women, three men) – a tempo that suggests the insurgency is far from over.
Read more: IRIN, http://tiny.cc/ol0dly
Damages for Unlawful Detention £10,500
Chaparadza, R (Application Of) v SSHD  EWHC 1209 (Admin) (24 May 2017)
· By this claim for judicial review, the Claimant, a Zimbabwean national, seeks to challenge the following acts/decisions of the Defendant:
a) The Defendant's failure to serve notice of a decision made in October 2011in respect of an application to vary his leave to remain. The Claimant claims that the result of that failure is that his leave to remain continued by the operation of s.3C of the Immigration Act 1971 ("the 1971 Act") up to and beyond a period of detention to which he was later subject. I shall refer to this as "Ground 1";
b) The Defendant's refusals to treat his submissions in support of a subsequent asylum claim (which claim was rejected in 2013) as a fresh claim. The Claimant contends that these decisions are flawed in that they were based on an erroneous assumption that the Claimant's leave to remain had ended. I shall refer to this as "Ground 2"; and
c) The lawfulness of his detention from 11 April 2014 until 20 June 2014. The Claimant says that his detention could not have been lawful because he continued to have leave to remain pursuant to s.3C of the 1971 Act and he claims damages. I shall refer to this as "Ground 3"
· The Defendant accepts that notice of the decision made in October 2011 was not given at the time. However, she contends that the making of the asylum claim in 2013 varied the earlier application to vary leave to remain so as to supplant the original purpose for seeking leave to remain. This meant that the decision on the asylum claim was all that was necessary and determinative of the Claimant's status. As such, the Defendant says, the failure to serve notice of the 2011 decision was irrelevant, the detention was not unlawful and no damages are due.
Published on Bailii, 24/05/2017
· For these reasons, it is my judgment that the Claimant's claim for judicial review in respect of Grounds 1 and 3 is allowed and that damages for unlawful detention in the sum of £10,500 are awarded.
DR Congo - Bad Year is About to Get Worse
For a country that has witnessed millions of deaths, brutal colonial rule, and devastating dictatorship, the past year in the Democratic Republic of Congo still stands out as a bleak one. Civilian massacres, decapitated police officers, bloody crackdowns, and resurgent armed groups, were fed in part by a national political crisis. The resulting instability has sparked fears of triggering the kind of regional war that scarred central Africa at the turn of the century, and has sent ordinary Congolese scrambling for safer pockets of the country.
Read more: IRIN, http://tiny.cc/0d9cly
“DRC’s largely forgotten crisis in central Africa superseded all other crises in terms of the number of people forced to flee their homes,” Ulrika Blom, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s country director in Congo, said in a statement. “Even Syria or Yemen’s brutal wars did not match the number of new people on the move in DRC last year.” More than 922,000 Congolese were internally displaced due to conflict in 2016 – the highest recorded globally, according to a report published by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center on Monday.
Prison Service Boss Hired to Manage Troubled G4S Detention Centres
G4S has hired the man in charge of negotiating private contracts for government prisons to run its troubled detention services division. Paul Kempster is expected to join the outsourcing firm later this month and will oversee the five prisons G4S manages for the Government, as well as two immigration removal centres and a secure training centre for young people.
Mr Kempster is currently head of custodial services contract management at Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, the part of the Ministry of Justice which manages prisons in England and Wales. As part of his role, he has been responsible for awarding contracts to private firms including G4S, Serco and Sodexo to run prisons in the UK. Work to privatise British prisons began in the Nineties.
However, outsourcing the running of offender services to private companies has not been without controversy. G4S has suffered amid high-profile scandals, including losing control of HMP Birmingham in December, which resulted in the most serious prison riot since inmates revolted at Strangeways in 1990. The incident caused an estimated £2m of damage and around 500 prisoners had to be moved. Last year it was revealed that G4S had been fined at least 100 times for breaching its prison management contracts, which it has held since 2010.
Read more; Rhiannon Bury, Telegraph, http://tiny.cc/pekbly
Lack of Solidarity Dogs EU Asylum Reform
European solidarity was in short supply in Brussels on Thursday (18 May) amid ongoing disagreement on how to overhaul asylum laws. Interior ministers met in the EU capital to discuss reform of the so-called Dublin law that determines which member state is responsible for processing an asylum seeker's claim. The Maltese EU presidency, which is steering the bill through the Council, representing member states, aims to reach consensus by the end of June, when its term at the EU helm expires. Malta's interior minister Carmelo Abela told reporters after Thursday’s talks that there was agreement on stepping up returns of rejected asylum seekers back home. But he added that “further work is clearly needed” on the rest of the file and that “we will be returning to the issue in June, evidently compromises are needed from all sides”. The meeting took place in an informal format, designed to help people gel, but Abdela said the talks were “frank” in nature, which is diplomatic code for prickliness and discord. "There is still no consensus in the Council. I don't hide to tell you I expressed my disappointment on that," said EU commissioner for migration Dimitris Avramopoulos. The European Commission tabled the Dublin reform bill last year, but Malta is looking increasingly unlikely to deliver an outcome.
Read more: Nikolaj Nielsen, EU Observer, http://tiny.cc/k4ebly
UNHCR Protection Manual
The Protection Manual is UNHCR's repository of protection policy and guidance. The Protection Manual is updated whenever a new protection policy or guidance document is published, and can thus be relied upon to represent the latest UNHCR protection policy / guidance. The Protection Manual is organized by theme/subject. Under each heading, the documents are arranged in reverse chronological order and are accessible through a hyperlink. Documents from external sources are generally not included (unless they provide guidance on protection-related topics that also applies to or has specifically been endorsed by UNHCR, such as interagency guidance). At the end of each subject heading, relevant related sources are listed, containing older guidance and documents which serve as background reading.