News & Views Monday 7th May to Sunday 13th May 2018  

Suicide Attempts in Immigration Detention 2017 – Reach All Time High

446 detainees attempted to take their own lives, January through December 2017, this is the highest number, since the present method of recording these horrendous statistics began in 2007.

Morton Hall had the highest number with 113 attempts, followed closely by Harmondsworth with 100, Yarl’s Wood and Colnbrook both recorded 59 attempts, Brook House had 53.

Self-Harm Attempts, 2008 through 2017,

1,021 detainees went on Hunger Strike Hunger Strike January through December 2017

1, 563 forcibly deported on 35 Charter Flights, January through December 2016 at a cost of £5,465 per person removed

Freedom of Information request (our ref. 43000): ICO Case Reference FS50709186

You will have seen the decision notice of 13 April 2018 from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), on your complaint about our response to your Freedom of Information request of 24 February 2017 for information about the cost of chartered flights.

In accordance with paragraph 3 of the decision notice, I can confirm that the cost of the charter programme in 2016 was £8,542,153.26.

461 removed on HO Charter Flights Jan/Feb/March 2016 - 10 flights

354 removed on HO Charter Flighst Q2 April/May/June 2016 - 8 flights

384 removed on HO Charter Flights Q3 /July/August/September 2016 - 10 flights

364 removed on HO Charter Flights Q4 Oct/November/December 2016 - 7 flights

Caroline Nokes: Minister of State Immigration – No Charter Flights to Jamaica During May

 We do not routinely comment on operational matters in respect of the Home Office charter flight programme.

I can confirm that the UK Government will not be chartering an aircraft for deportations to Jamaica in May.

Women: The Hidden Face of War

In war and its immediate aftermath, it is easy to forget those who are voiceless or invisible in the public space. Yet, countless reports show that time and again women and adolescent girls are at higher risk of sexual and gender-based violence during and after conflict – putting at risk their reproductive health. With health infrastructure destroyed and information about sexual and reproductive health missing, they may also face a higher risk of dying due to pregnancy-related complications.

Maternal death, when a woman dies during pregnancy or in the weeks after, and maternal morbidity, long-lasting health problems during and after pregnancy, rarely feature when we speak about the effects of deadly conflict. Yet, the number of women and girls dying during pregnancy or childbirth is often high in conflict-affected areas, while many suffer from chronic illnesses.

Over half of the world’s maternal deaths occur in countries torn apart by armed violence and in fragile states. According to recent estimates, four out of the ten countries with the highest rates of maternal mortality face deadly conflict: the Central African Republic, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Somalia. Two are at risk of deadly violence or civil war: the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. And three others have been marked by devastating wars: Sierra Leone, Chad and Liberia. In Afghanistan, despite years of international aid, the maternal mortality ratio is still at 396 deaths per 100,000 live births or, according to recent studies, possibly twice as high. Each context carries its own dynamics with a set of social, cultural and economic factors at play. Yet, like battlefield deaths, maternal deaths are for the most part preventable.

Read more: Isabelle Arradon, International Crisis Group:

Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Vol. 170

This document provides an update of UK Country Guidance case law, UK Home Office publications and developments in refugee producing countries (focusing on those which generate the most asylum seekers in the UK) between 25 April and 7 May 2018.

Are Home Office Staff Paid Bonuses for Deporting Undocumented Migrants?

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether bonuses have been paid to officials in his Department in relation to the targets for the removal of illegal immigrants.

Caroline Nokes Secretary of State for Immigration

Bonuses are a part of the Home Office appraisal process. Our Performance Management procedures allow for individuals to receive a bonus at the end of the performance year if they receive a top marking for their overall achievements during the year. In addition, we have several ways available to reward members of staff or teams during the year for going above and beyond what is expected of them in their roles, such as thank you vouchers and special bonuses.

House of Commons Written Answers:

Crisis Group’s Early-Warning Watch List 2018

Identifies up to ten countries and regions at risk of conflict or escalation of violence. In these situations, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, would generate stronger prospects for peace. It includes a global overview, regional summaries, and detailed analysis on select countries and conflicts.

The Watch List 2018 includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh/Myanmar, Cameroon, Colombia, Egypt, Iraq, Sahel, Tunisia, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.

For Europeans who have chafed at the embrace of U.S. hyper-power, resented being relegated to the part of bankroller-in-chief, and longed for a more assertive European role on the world stage, now would seem the moment. Disengaged from some areas, dangerously engaged in others, and disconcertingly engaged overall, the U.S. under President Donald Trump provides the European Union (EU) and its member states with a golden opportunity to step up and step in. The challenge is doing so without either gratuitously antagonising or needlessly deferring to Washington.

Read more: International Crisis Group,

Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis: How the Catholic Church Can Promote Dialogue

What’s new? Fighting is spreading between security forces and militants from Cameroon’s English-speaking minority. The government largely rejects Anglophone grievances, while armed militants appear inclined to continue fighting. The Catholic Church, representing nearly a third of Cameroonians, could be an arbitrator, but its clergy have taken divergent positions on the crisis.

Why does it matter? Other than the Catholic clergy, there are few prospective peacemakers. If no one fills that role, the separatist sentiment already voiced by many Anglophones will continue to grow, fuelling further violence and exacerbating the ongoing insurgency in the Anglophone regions, with elections in late 2018 a flashpoint.

What should be done? The Church should bridge its divides and state its impartiality on the thorniest question facing Anglophone regions – federalism versus decentralisation. A clergy able to project a position of neutrality could work with other trusted actors to mediate between Anglophone leaders and the state, and stem a dangerous and growing crisis.

Read more: International Crisis Group,

NHS Will No Longer Have to Share Immigrants' Data With Home Office

Ministers have suspended controversial arrangements under which the NHS shared patients’ details with the Home Office so it could trace people breaking immigration rules. The government’s U-turn on a key element of its “hostile environment” approach to immigration came after MPs, doctors’ groups and health charities warned that the practice was scaring some patients from seeking NHS care for medical problems.

Margot James, a minister in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, announced the rethink during a parliamentary debate on the data protection bill. She confirmed that the government had decided to suspend “with immediate effect” the memorandum of understanding (MOU) under which NHS Digital, the health service’s statistical arm, shared 3,000 NHS patients’ details with the Home Office last year so they could check those people’s immigration status. Patients had given their details when attending GP and hospital appointments.

In future, Home Office immigration staff would only be able to use the data-sharing mechanism to trace people who are being considered for deportation from Britain because they have committed a serious crime, James made clear to MPs.

Read more: Denis Campbell, Guardian,