Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - August 2018
Deteriorated Situations: Cameroon, Somalia, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Pakistan, Nicaragua, Haiti, Israel/Palestine, Iraq, Yemen
Conflict Risk Alerts: Zimbabwe, Israel/Palestine, Yemen
Improved Situations: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Philippines
?Resolution Opportunities: Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Yemen
In July, fighting rose between Israel and Hamas and could quickly escalate into a new Gaza war, while in Yemen, as violence intensified on several fronts, a UN plan offered hope that a battle for Hodeida city could still be averted. Al-Shabaab stepped up attacks in Somalia, Cameroon’s Anglophone conflict spread to new areas, and tensions rose within Côte d’Ivoire’s ruling coalition. Violence marred elections in Pakistan and disrupted voting in Mali. Zimbabwe’s first general election since former President Mugabe’s ouster went largely peacefully; wide endorsement of the results could pave the way for the country’s recovery, but their rejection could spark turmoil. Violent protests erupted in southern Iraq over poor services and unemployment, and in Haiti over a proposed hike in fuel prices. Deadly clashes between protesters and pro-government forces in Nicaragua continued with hundreds now reported killed. On a brighter note, Ethiopia and Eritrea took further steps to cement peace, South Sudan’s warring leaders agreed to share power, and in the Philippines, the Bangsamoro Organic Law, a long-awaited step to implement peace in Mindanao, was finally signed into law.
Source: Crisis Watch, https://is.gd/JVNDCr
Guardian View on the UK and Child Refugees: Unfair, Unlawful, Inhumane
Few are more vulnerable than unaccompanied child refugees and the dire conditions of those in camps in Calais were well known by the time of clearances in 2016. Yet the Home Office treated hundreds of them unfairly and unlawfully in how it rejected their applications for entry to Britain for family reunion, the court of appeal has found. Safe Passage, the charity which brought the case, says many have since gone missing.
Expediting the Calais cases suggested the UK was at least trying to do the right thing and the high court had judged the process fair: although children were given sparse grounds for their refusal, this was due to French demands and time pressures. Now it has emerged that France requested further information – fearing precisely that rejected children might simply vanish if given no incentive to continue engaging with the system. The information was so minimal that children had no realistic prospect of challenging the decision, for example by correcting inaccuracies. But the Home Office refused to provide fuller grounds, because it feared it might face legal challenge.
This is of a piece with the hostile attitude towards all those who do or might arrive upon British shores. The government was forced by parliament into the only other humane gesture – the Dubs scheme to accept unaccompanied child refugees – and then closed it, having provided 480 places instead of the 3,000 envisaged by MPs. (Lord Dubs is challenging the decision.) Only 220 have so far been filled. The lack of a humane, effective approach has done children an injustice and pushed some into risking their lives to get here. The court of appeal said the Home Office made a “serious breach in its duty of candour and cooperation” in the original case, but added that this was not deliberate. Its treatment of these children, however, was shameful and entirely intentional.
Guardian, Editorial, https://is.gd/03vjZO
World Democracy in Crisis
Political rights and civil liberties around the world deteriorated to their lowest point in more than a decade in 2017, extending a period characterized by emboldened autocrats, beleaguered democracies, and the United States’ withdrawal from its leadership role in the global struggle for human freedom. Democracy is in crisis. The values it embodies—particularly the right to choose leaders in free and fair elections, freedom of the press, and the rule of law—are under assault and in retreat globally. A quarter-century ago, at the end of the Cold War, it appeared that totalitarianism had at last been vanquished and liberal democracy had won the great ideological battle of the 20th century.
Today, it is democracy that finds itself battered and weakened. For the 12th consecutive year, according to Freedom in the World, countries that suffered democratic setbacks outnumbered those that registered gains. States that a decade ago seemed like promising success stories—Turkey and Hungary, for example—are sliding into authoritarian rule. The military in Myanmar, which began a limited democratic opening in 2010, executed a shocking campaign of ethnic cleansing in 2017 and rebuffed international criticism of its actions. Meanwhile, the world’s most powerful democracies are mired in seemingly intractable problems at home, including social and economic disparities, partisan fragmentation, terrorist attacks, and an influx of refugees that has strained alliances and increased fears of the “other.”
Read more: Freedom House, https://is.gd/xmfApq
Three Updates from The Court of Justice of the European Union (CURIA)
1) Assessment Of Detention Conditions
An assessment of detention conditions in the issuing Member State made prior to the execution of a European arrest warrant must be limited to the prisons in which it is actually intended that the person concerned will be held
The fact that the person concerned can challenge the conditions of his detention in the issuing Member State is not sufficient to rule out a real risk of inhuman treatment
2. Clarification on Execution of European Arrest Warrants
A judicial authority called upon to execute a European arrest warrant must refrain from giving effect to it if it considers that there is a real risk that the individual concerned would suffer a breach of his fundamental right to an independent tribunal and, therefore, of the essence of his fundamental right to a fair trial on account of deficiencies liable to affect the independence of the judiciary in the issuing Member State
3. Clarification: A Palestinian Cannot Transfer Refugee Status if Protected by UNRWA
A Palestinian who has refugee status from United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees cannot obtain refugee status in the EU while receiving effective protection or assistance from that UN agency
As regards an applicant for asylum who has fled the Gaza Strip, the Court also sets out specific criteria for handling applications for asylum lodged by Palestinians
Home Office Unlawfully Nullifies British Citizenship In Hundreds Of Cases
New figures obtained from the Home Office show that hundreds of British citizens have unlawfully had their citizenship nullified since 2013. A freedom of information request has revealed that there were 262 decisions to nullify British citizenship between 2007 and 2017, with 176 of these occurring in 2013 alone.
The Home Office can either nullify a person’s citizenship or deprive them of it. Nullification of citizenship has immediate and retrospective effect and can be used in more cases than deprivation. Nullification is far more difficult to challenge and has no right of appeal.
Deprivation cases generally involve national security issues or deception leading to the acquisition of citizenship. The procedure for the deprivation of citizenship is governed by the British Nationality Act 1981 and is strictly regulated.
Nullification of citizenship is an obscure common law declaration. The Home Office can nullify citizenship if it can be proved that the applicant impersonated another person in order to obtain British citizenship. The person who loses his/her citizenship is considered never to have been British. Therefore any family members, who have obtained their British citizenship through them, will lose their citizenship as well.
In the Supreme Court case of Hysaj  UKSC 82 the Home Office itself conceded that nearly all of the nullification decisions were unlawful. A team of civil servants from the Status Review Unit is now reviewing these historic decisions.
It is believe that most of the historic nullification cases are based on identity fraud, for example, providing an incorrect name, date of birth or other information at the time of the initial citizenship application. It remains unclear as to why the Home Office opted for the nullification procedure rather than the deprivation procedure in these cases.
Posted by: Gherson Immigration, https://is.gd/dS7Pph
Glasgow 'Blindsided' as Destitute Refugees Face Mass Evictions
Hundreds of asylum seekers are to be locked out of their homes in a shock move officials fear will cause a humanitarian crisis on Scotland’s streets. A private firm housing thousands of refugees in Glasgow says it will start evicting up to 300 people who have been told they cannot stay in Britain. Serco will issue a first six “lock change” notices on Monday 30th July 2018, giving residents a week to get out with nowhere else to go.
Distraught council officials in Glasgow said they had been given no meaningful warning about a change that could leave large numbers of people on the city’s streets with no means of survival. The council is barred from housing failed asylum seekers and charities who are legally allowed to do so simply lack the capacity to put so many people up.
Jennifer Layden, who speaks for Glasgow City Council on equalities and human rights, said: “We have been completely blind-sided by this sudden announcement which will potentially leave many people destitute in the city. “It is clear from their correspondence that Serco plans to start this policy without proper consultation or engagement. The council is legally prevented from providing accommodation for people with No Leave to Remain and No Recourse to Public Funds. The city’s voluntary sector is completely unprepared for a sudden surge in people needing accommodation. This is an appalling situation for all affected.”
Serco wrote to charities and local authorities on Friday morning announcing the new lock-out change and suggesting it came after a lengthy period of ‘working closely” with the council. Asked by The Herald, Serco on Sunday said this close work included the new policy. Glasgow City Council disputes the accuracy of this claim.
Read more: David Leask, The Herald, https://is.gd/0tXWvj
Detainees Under Escort - Charter Flight to France and Bulgaria – 13/14th March 2018
Immigration removal flight – efficient operation marred by use of restraint belts with little justification
‘The Home Office responded to the evidence presented in our first report with an ill-informed defence. It soon became clear that senior managers were unaware of the shortcomings in their own internal assurance mechanisms.’
Number of detainees escorted 23. Number of escort staff Seventy-four escort staff were on the flight. A further 30 escort staff assisted but did not fly.
The UK is party to the Dublin Convention, a European Union law that determines which EU member state is responsible for considering an asylum claim, and allows member states to transfer an asylum seeker to the responsible state.2 The Home Office’s Third Country Unit (TCU) manages such removals to and from the UK. Many detainees are returned to third countries using scheduled flights, but in February 2017 the Home Office started to use charter aircraft to remove groups of detainees.
This report covers our second inspection of a TCU charter removal. Our first inspection of a TCU charter took place a short time before this one, in January 2018. The current report should be read alongside the report on the earlier inspection, when we identified serious concerns about the excessive use of restraints. During that removal, nearly all detainees were placed in waist restraint belts for the entire journey, usually without justification. We raised these concerns with the Home Office and its contractor, Tascor, shortly after the inspection.
We conducted the inspection reported on here soon after the first, in order to establish what, if any, action had been taken to address the concerns that we had raised. We found that practice had improved but was still poor. Many detainees who presented little or no obvious risk were placed in belts, with little justification, and stayed in them for very long periods. This seriously marred what was otherwise a generally efficient operation, during which we saw some good practice. Escort staff have a difficult role to perform, but there can be no compromise on their duty to treat detainees in a dignified and proportionate way while they are being removed from the country.
The role of independent scrutiny is to produce an objective account of what is observed during the course of an inspection, to identify good practice and to make recommendations for improvement. HM Inspectorate of Prisons uses independent human rights-based criteria to inform our judgements, and is not a regulator inspecting against self-generated policies. Regrettably, the Home Office responded to the evidence presented in our first report with an ill-informed defence. It soon became clear that senior managers were unaware of the shortcomings in their own internal assurance mechanisms. The complacency of this initial response has latterly been replaced with an acceptance of the evidence and an assurance that things will change. We will judge in due course whether this more constructive approach leads to better outcomes for detainees.
Peter Clarke CVO OBE QPM May 2018 HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
Full report: https://is.gd/uDG2KW and Press briefing https://is.gd/kwwy19
Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) Regulations 2018: An update
James Ritchie, McGill & Co, https://is.gd/0MEAbO
The Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 amend the 2016 Regulations with a view to implementing the effects of judgments passed by the Court of Justice. The changes involve free movement rights, the processes and procedures for EEA applications, and the criteria required to be a qualified person. This blog will provide a brief explanation of what has changed.
Regulation 9A of the 2018 Regulations was enacted with a view to bringing the Court of Justice judgment of Lounes, into law. The change relates to EU nationals who naturalise as British citizens, the effect being that they will retain their free movement rights under EU law, if:
the dual British and EEA national exercised free movement rights in the UK as a worker, self-employed person, self-sufficient person or student, or had a right of permanent residence in the UK prior to the acquisition of British citizenship;
subsequently acquired British citizenship, while also retaining their nationality of origin;
the dual British and EEA national continues to exercise Treaty rights or holds a right of permanent residence.
Deportation or exclusion order
Anyone who has been issued with a deportation or exclusion order will now be subject to a higher degree of restriction to their rights as an EEA national. Under Regulations 11 to 15, those individuals will no longer benefit from a;
right of admission to the UK;
initial right of residence;
extended right of residence;
right of permanent residence.
Primary carers of EEA nationals
Regulation 16 of the 2018 Regulations now omits the requirement for a primary carer’s partner to not be an ‘exempt person’. An exempt person in this instance is anyone who is an EEA national or has indefinite leave to remain. Previously, carers of EEA nationals were not allowed to obtain a right to reside under EEA Regulations, unless they were the sole carer or they shared the responsibility of caring with another who was not an “exempt person”. This is no longer the case.
Self-Employed Qualified Persons
Similar to Regulation 9A, the amendment found in Regulation 6 was added to reflect the judgment by the Court of Justice in the case Gusa, relating to self-employed EEA nationals. The Regulation outlines the criteria person where an EEA national is no longer in self-employment and may continue to be treated as self-employed provided that the person:
is temporarily unable to engage in activities as a self-employed person as the result of an illness or accident;
is in duly recorded involuntary unemployment after having worked as a self-employed person in the United Kingdom for at least one year provided the person—
has registered as a jobseeker with the relevant employment office;
entered the UK as self-employed or to seek self-employed work, or seeking employment after having enjoyed a right to reside in the UK due to being either self-employed, self-sufficient, or a student;
provided evidence of seeking employment or self-employment with a “genuine chance of engagement”.
is involuntarily no longer in self-employment and has embarked on vocational training; or
has voluntarily ceased self-employment and has embarked on vocational training that is related to the person’s previous occupation.