News & Views Monday 5th November to Sunday 11th November  

Charter Flights (Escorts and Removals) Q3 July/August/September 2018

1. Number of males removed

2. Number of females removed

3. Number of escorts

4. Number of flights in total

5. Number flights to each country / number removed to each country

6. Number of children, if any

1. Number of males removed in July, August and September 2018. - 378.

2. Number of females removed in July, August and September 2018. - 16.

3. Number of escorts in July, August and September 2018. - 904.

4. Number of flights in total in July, August and September 2018. - 11.

5. Number flights to each country / number removed to each country in July, August and September 2018.

Albania 5 flights 268 Returnees

France/Switzerland 2 flights 28 Returnees

Ghana/Nigeria 2 flights 49 Returnees

Pakistan  2 flights 49 Returnees

6. No children were returned.

EU Settlement Scheme Pilot: More Information Released

On 30 October 2018 the Home Office released more information on the new EEA ‘settled status’ pilot scheme.

The scheme will allow EEA nationals residing in the UK before the Brexit transition period ends to apply to continue to reside in the UK after December 2020. The government intends it to be fully open to EEA nationals and family members of EEA nationals on 30 March 2019. However, certain categories of applicants may already take advantage of the pilot scheme, provided they are eligible to take part in the first phase of the pilot scheme running from 1 November 2018 to 21 December 2018.

The scheme provides two application routes, set out in the Appendix EU of the Immigration Rules:

Settled Status

Individuals who have resided in the UK for five years continuously (although in certain circumstances, this can be less than five years) can apply for settled status, which will allow them to reside in the UK indefinitely, subject to certain conditions. The length of time that an individual would have to spend outside of the UK before losing their settled status is currently under review by Parliament.Pre-Settled Status

Individuals who have not yet resided in the UK for five years will be granted ‘pre-settled’ status. Anyone with pre-settled status can then apply for settled status as soon as they have lived in the UK for five years continuously, subject to certain conditions.

Unlike previous documents for EEA nationals, applying for settled status or pre-settled status is compulsory. The deadline to apply will be 30 June 2021.

On 30 October 2018, the Home Office released more information on the scheme. Although it will be fully open to the public in 2019, there are a number of people who are already eligible to apply under the pilot scheme, which has been open for 15 specific NHS Trusts or the 3 universities since 1 November 2018.

From 15 November 2018, individuals who are employed or work at higher education institutions or overseas higher education institutions in the UK will be eligible to apply, along with children under the age of 18 who are under the care of local authorities involved with the pilot. Additionally, individuals who receive support from one of the community organisations involved in the pilot will also be eligible to apply.

Individuals employed by an organisation in the health or social care sector will be eligible to apply from 29 November 2018.

All individuals who fall under the above categories will have to satisfy certain eligibility requirements. People outside these categories will most likely have to wait until March 2019 to apply.

Posted by: Gherson Immigration

Stansted Protesters Believed Deportees Were at Risk of Death, Court Told

Fifteen people on trial for blocking the take off of an immigration removal charter flight from Stansted were acting to protect the human rights of passengers who were at risk of persecution, torture, serious injury or death if they were deported, a court has heard.

At the opening of their defence at Chelmsford crown court on Monday, the defendants began making the case that they had acted out of conscience to protect those on the flight not just from persecution in their destination countries, but also from abuse of process in the UK.

All 15 are on trial for endangering the safety of an aerodrome by chaining themselves together around a Titan Airways flight chartered by the Home Office to remove 60 people to Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. If convicted, the maximum possible sentence is life in prison.

Read more: Damien Gayle, Guardian,

Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - November 2018

Deteriorated Situations: Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somaliland, Angola, Comoros Islands, Zimbabwe, Guinea, China (internal), Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, South China Sea, Bosnia And Herzegovina, Kosovo, Russia/North Caucasus, Ukraine, Honduras, Israel/Palestine, Saudi Arabia.

Outlook for November: Conflict Risk Alerts - Sri Lanka, Yemen

In October, a resurgent Taliban heavily disrupted Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections, and a constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka could trigger violence. A new initiative to start peace talks among Yemen’s warring parties offers hope for November. One of the protagonists, Saudi Arabia, drew fire after the tragic murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Political tension mounted in Guinea, Zimbabwe and Cameroon, where presidential elections deepened societal fractures. Deadly violence rose in neighbouring Chad, where the fight against Boko Haram intensified, eastern DR Congo, north east Angola, the Comoros Islands, in a territory disputed between Somaliland and Somalia, and at the Gaza-Israel border. In East Asia, criticism grew over China’s detention of mostly Uighur Muslims in mass internment camps, and strategic competition between the U.S. and China stepped up – while relations between Japan and China improved. Honduras faced more political instability. Hostilities worsened in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, and tensions grew in the Western Balkans and Russia’s North Caucasus. On a positive note, Armenia and Azerbaijan’s new communication channel to manage incidents on their border and in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone started operating.

International Crisis Group:

CPIN: Albania: Blood Feuds

Basis of claim
1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by state or non-state actors owing to the person's religious belief or rejection of a belief in God / gods (atheism).

1.2 Points to note

1.2.1 This note focuses primarily on the situation for Ahmadiyya Muslims (Ahmadis), Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and atheists/secularists.

1.2.2 Definitions: Atheism – Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods; Secularism – The principle of separation of the state from religious institutions.

Published on Refworld, 01/11/2018

Trial of the 'Stansted 15' - Days 21 & 22

Day 21: After a morning of legal arguments, the jury was invited in at 12.35 to add a couple of pages of information to their jury bundles. These concerned Air Traffic Control recordings at Stansted on the night of 28th March 2017. ATC deals with the safe movement of aircraft, and keeps records for 30 days unless a ’serious incident or accident’ occurs (such as a ‘runway incursion’). No runway incursion was recorded on 28/3, so they did not record an ‘unsafe situation’ and did not keep the records.

They also learnt that neither Nathan Clack nor Helen Brewer has any previous convictions or warnings. They went out again after 20 minutes
Court reopened at 2.30, and the jury came back in. The prosecution made efforts to show the jury the video made from the top of the tripod during the action, but the technology defeated then and they closed their case.
Read on:     
Day 22: The Prosecution continued to cross-question Ben Smoke, and established that Kristian Buus had probably taken the video showing Mr Thacker running round the tripod. Ben tried to explain that his whole focus at the time had been on the job in hand, so he hadn’t noticed what was happening on the distant taxiway, or even seen what the others were doing behind him. (Defence later asked him to confirm that he was not being obstructive in failing to give clear answers to detailed questions such as Who made the T-shirts you wore on the night?, and he replied that he truly couldn’t remember, if he’d known he would have said so.)

Prosecution then considered all the ways that he could have alerted the authorities to the crimes he believed were about to be committed. He replied he’d pursued every avenue without success. And yes, he hadn’t told the police who were arresting him about the crimes he believed were about to be committed on the plane – he didn’t think there would be much point. 

Read on

Andy Burnham Criticises 'Mounting Chaos' of UK's Asylum System

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, has become the latest leader to threaten to stop housing new asylum seekers as the government came under pressure to listen to the concerns of northern communities. Burnham said there was “mounting chaos” in the government’s dispersal system, which was facing “catastrophic failure”. He said the region’s public services could not continue to support “disproportionate” numbers of people compared with elsewhere in the country. However, in a letter to Yvette Cooper, seen by the Guardian, the Home Office has resolutely stood by its position.

Cooper, the chair of the home affairs select committee, published a scathing critique of the asylum dispersal system earlier this year following an inquiry, and described some of the conditions that refugees were housed in as a “disgrace”. Cooper wrote to the immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, about the issue on 3 October.

In response, the Home Office showed no plans to shift its position and outlined its commitment to the current scheme with the intention to source mainly or only in the private rental market.

Read more: Nazia Parveen, Guardian,

Unlawful Detention Claim of Detainee with Mental Health Problems Succeeds

On 27 December 2017, Mr. Bah was referred to Duncan Lewis by Medical Justice, with preliminary medical evidence suggesting that he may have been unable to adequately ventilate his protection claim in the United Kingdom due to severe mental illness. Despite that, he was to be removed to Sierra Leone on 29 December 2017.

On 28 December 2017, Duncan Lewis obtained injunctive relief against Mr. Bah’s removal, in addition to applying on Mr. Bah’s behalf for permission to appeal against the decision to dismiss his protection claim. This was subsequently granted, albeit out of time.

Throughout January 2018, Duncan Lewis challenged the lawfulness of Mr. Bah’s continued detention. The Defendant was presented with independent medical evidence confirming that Mr. Bah had a psychotic disorder and complex PTSD, with a conclusion that detention had already caused his conditions to deteriorate. Despite this, the Defendant attempted to justify detention throughout the course of these proceedings. As such, the substantive hearing in this claim was expedited by the Administrative Court. In expediting this claim, Deputy High Court Judge Jonathan Swift QC stated that there was “a serious issue to be tried”.

The Defendant belatedly released Mr. Bah the day before the substantive hearing in this case, which took place before Deputy High Court Judge Andrew Thomas QC on 2 March 2018. Mr. Bah remained in immigration detention for 23 months in total.

Read more: Duncan Lewis,

Councils 'Failing Children in Care With Immigration Issues'

Children in care with unresolved immigration issues are being let down by local authorities, severely restricting their opportunities in life and increasing the risk they will be unfairly deported, lawyers and campaigners have warned. Councils are supposed to offer support to those with irregular immigration statuses, but many are failing to identify these children and deal with their issues in a timely manner, the experts said.

Rapid turnover of social workers, heavy workloads and funding cuts are leaving young people to navigate the UK’s complex immigration system alone, they added. Kamena Dorling, the head of policy and public affairs at Coram Children’s Legal Centre, said: “When they turn 18, they miss certain routes that are available to children only.” Young care leavers are “suddenly finding themselves unable to work, have a driving licence or a bank account”, she added. Diana Baxter, a partner and immigration specialist at Wesley Gryk Solicitors, said local authorities are not “acting promptly and quickly enough” to resolve the immigration issues of young people in care.

Read more: Aamna Mohdin, Guardian,

CPIN: Iraq: Internal Relocation, Civil Documentation and Returns

Key considerations

1.1.1 Whether a person:

(i) can, in general, reasonably relocate elsewhere in Iraq if they are unable to return to their registered place of origin; and

(ii) is at risk of serious harm sufficient to breach Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) / Article 15(b) of the Qualification Directive as result of their lack of documentation; and

(iii) can feasibly return to Iraq (they have the requisite travel documents).

Published on Refworld, 01/11/2018

CPIN: Bangladesh: Religious Minorities and Atheists

Key considerations

1.1 Basis of claim
1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by state or non-state actors owing to the person's religious belief or rejection of a belief in God / gods (atheism).

1.2 Points to note

1.2.1 This note focuses primarily on the situation for Ahmadiyya Muslims (Ahmadis), Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and atheists/secularists.

1.2.2 Definitions: Atheism – Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods; Secularism – The principle of separation of the state from religious institutions.

Published on Refworld, 01/11/2018