News & Views Monday 8th October to Sunday 14th October  

Revealed: Sick, Tortured Immigrants Locked up for Months in Britain

The survey of almost 200 detainees held in seven deportation centres in England as of 31 August showed almost 56% were defined as an “adult at risk”. Such individuals are only supposed to be detained in extreme cases, suggesting that Home Office guidelines on detention have been breached.

The survey – conducted in association with 11 law firms and charities that work with those facing deportation – also found that a third had dependent children in the UK, and 84% had not been told when they would be deported – implying open-ended incarceration.

Almost half the detainees had not committed a crime, but the average detainee in the sample had been imprisoned for four months. The majority had lived in the UK for five years or more and some had been in the country for more than 20 years.

Read more: Diane Taylor and , Guardian,

To Fix the Climate Crisis, We Must Face Up to Our Imperial Past

The invading civilization[s] confused ecology with idolatry. Communion with nature was a sin worthy of punishment… Nature was a fierce beast that had to be tamed and punished so that it could work as a machine, placed at our service for ever and ever. Nature, which was eternal, owed us slavery’ (1) – Eduardo Galeano
There are many ways to see colonialism. A breakneck rush for riches and power. A permanent pillage of life. A project to appropriate nature, to render it profitable and subservient to the needs of industry.

We can see colonialism as imposition, as the silencing of local knowledges, and erasure of the other. Colonialism as a triple violence: cultural violence through negation; economic violence through exploitation; and political violence through oppression (2).

Colonialism was not a monolithic process, but one of diverse expressions, stages and strategies. Commercial colonialism, centred around ports, differed from settlement colonialism. But its common factor is that colonialism took states to seek access to new lands, resources and labourers. Impelled by God, fortunes or fame, with almost limitless ambition, countries and companies scrambled to acquire control of land. New territories were seen as business enterprises. Local inhabitants were either obstacles to be removed or workforces to be subjugated.

The colonial-imperial era is fundamental to an understanding of how we have arrived here. As Eyal Weizman notes: ‘the current acceleration of climate change is not only an unintentional consequence of industrialization. The climate has always been a project for colonial powers, which have continually acted to engineer it’ (3).

Read more: Open Democracy,

Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - October 2018

Deteriorated Situations: Cameroon, Ethiopia, Somalia, Burkina, Faso, Georgia, Guatemala, Yemen, Libya

Conflict Risk Alerts for October: Cameroon, Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen

In September, Cameroon’s Anglophone separatists and security forces stepped up attacks and violence could rise around the 7 October presidential vote, while Afghanistan’s parliamentary polls are likely to be marred by violence and their results contested. Yemen missed an opportunity as Huthi rebels refused to take part in UN-led consultations and fighting resumed outside Hodeida, boding ill for October. Militia fighting worsened in Libya’s capital, militant attacks rose in eastern Burkina Faso, and Ethiopia’s capital saw a spate of ethnic violence. Al-Shabaab carried out ambitious attacks in Somalia’s capital and regional states cut ties with the federal government, risking worse political divisions and violence in coming weeks. In Syria, a Turkey-Russia deal seems to have averted a major offensive on rebel-held Idlib, but it needs to take root in October. Djibouti and Eritrea agreed to work toward normalising relations, and a surprise electoral result in the Maldives gave hope for a peaceful political transition. In Guatemala, the president’s attempt to dismantle a UN-backed anti-corruption body prompted a political crisis, while a significant confidence-building measure in Georgia’s conflicts with its breakaway republics broke down. In East Asia, a summit between the leaders of North and South Korea opened up prospects for denuclearisation.

Nationality Document Return Service

The Nationality Document Return Service (NDRS) is for applicants applying online to naturalise as British citizens or for those under the age of 18 who wish to apply to register as a British citizen. The service allows applicants to take their original documentation to their local authority, where the documents are copied and once the applicant leaves, sent to the Home Office, allowing the applicants to keep their original documents whilst the application is being considered.

To attend an appointment the applicant needs to contact their local authority directly and well in advance of the date they wish to submit their documents. There are mandatory documents that must be provided in their original format. There are 24 Nationality Document Return Services in Greater London and the fees vary according to the location.

One key benefit of this service for the applicant is that in many cases it is possible to also apply for a first British passport. If, for example, you were applying by post, the applicant would not be able to apply for their first British passport.

Once the appointment has been attended, the Home Office may contact the applicant to request additional documentation for their application. This could either be due to the applicant not submitting all the required documents or further evidence being required for the application. If these documents are not submitted by a set deadline, the application may be refused and the application fee may not be refunded. Therefore it is vital that all the required documents are included to avoid complications and delays.

Use of this service does not guarantee that the applicant’s application will be successful. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that they have submitted the right documentation and meet the requirements before submitting the application using this service. The benefits of the NDRS are the retention of original documents whilst a decision is pending and the option to submit a nationality and first British passport application at the same time.

Posted by: Gherson Immigration,

Sajid Javid 'Taking UK Down Dangerous Road' by Expanding Citizenship Stripping

The Home s Secretary, Sajid Javid, is taking the UK down a “very dangerous road” with plans to expand powers to strip dual citizens of their British citizenship, a leading human rights group has warned. Suspected terrorists have previously had their UK citizenship taken away – most often while they are abroad – and the move does not require prior approval from a judge or parliament. Javid proposes extending the reach of the power to cover serious criminals, citing child grooming gangmasters as an example.
In his conference speech, Javid said: “The home secretary has the power to strip dual citizens of their British citizenship. It is a power used for extreme and exceptional cases. It should be used with great care and discretion – but also determination. “In recent years we have exercised this power for terrorists who are a threat to the country. Now, for the first time, I will apply this power to some of those who are convicted of the most grave criminal offences. This applies to some of the despicable men involved in gang-based child sexual exploitation.”

Read more: Jamie Grierson, Guardian,

Sajid Javid Announces Changes to Immigration Process

Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has revealed the Government’s proposals concerning new immigration policies set to come into force ahead of Brexit.

In brief, the Government proposals are:
  • To change to current Life in the UK Test for those applying to settle and naturalise as a British citizen in the UK;
  • To strengthen the English language Requirement;
  • To increase protection for victims of forced marriage;
  • To introduce a single immigration system which will give highly skilled workers priority to work and live in the UK;
  • To scrap the cap on the number of highly skilled migrants as part of the post-Brexit plan (the limit is currently 20,000); and
  • To enforce the requirement that highly skilled migrant applicants must meet the minimum salary threshold which current stands as £30,000 (there are hints that this may be reviewed).

Whilst criticising the current Life in the UK Test, calling it a “pub quiz”, the Home Secretary added: “Citizenship should mean more than being able to win a pub quiz. We need to make it a British values test – and that’s exactly what I will bring in.” Mr Javid also confirmed that he would strengthen the English language requirements for all new citizens. In his interview with The Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner, he pointed out that over 700,000 people currently residing in the UK do not speak English, having previously acknowledged that his own mother did not learn English until a decade after she moved to the UK. He stated: “I’m determined to break down barriers to integration wherever I find them. Take, for example, the most basic barrier of all: language.”

Speaking with Viner, the Home Secretary said he was not concerned by the thought that under such a regime his father, who arrived from Pakistan in 1961 with £1 and no skills, would be barred from entry. When his father came, Mr Javid said, the entry system was very different as the governments of the time “wanted, needed, a route for low-skilled migration”.

Mr Javid also said that he would offer greater support to those who have been a victim of forced marriage and to revoke visas of their spouses if they were forced into marriage. When these proposals come into force, victims of forced marriage will be able to block their abusers from entering Britain. This comes two months after a Times investigation exposed practices wherein Home Office officials, who knew a case concerned a forced marriage, were turning a blind eye and issuing visas to known abusers.

UK Asylum Seekers May Have Been Detained Unlawfully, Rules Court

Thousands of people may have been unlawfully held in immigration removal centres in recent years, the court of appeal has ruled. In a test case brought by five asylum seekers who were challenging the provisions of the Dublin III regulations, the appeal court judges ruled that the detained people could not be held indefinitely. Under Dublin III, asylum seekers must claim asylum in the first safe country they arrive in. If they arrive in the UK and claim asylum and the Home Office discovers that they have passed through another safe country first, the Home Office can send them back to that country. There is no time limit on immigration detention in the UK. However, senior judges have ruled that the Home Office unlawfully held many asylum seekers who passed through a safe country before reaching the UK. While discussions between the Home Office and the other European country take place, the asylum seekers may be locked up indefinitely. It is this practice that has been ruled unlawful.

Affected people may now be able to claim damages from the Home Office for false imprisonment. Krisha Prathepan, of Duncan Lewis Solicitors, who represented two of the five men, welcomed the ruling. “This landmark judgment has huge implications for those who were detained under the provision in the Dublin regulation [Dublin III]. “It is deeply concerning that the Home Office’s unlawful conduct may have led to the detention of so many people without any lawful basis. In effect, the Home Office has unlawfully detained hundreds or even thousands of individuals seeking international protection.” The judges said in their ruling: “There is no doubt that all the necessary ingredients for the common law cause of action for false imprisonment are satisfied in the case of each of the appellants.”

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian,

People Traffickers Jailed After Exploiting Vulnerable and Homeless People

A gang of human traffickers, including six members of the same family, have been jailed for more than 24 years’ for trafficking and exploiting vulnerable and homeless people. Between 2007 and 2013, members of the Cisar family coaxed a number of Slovakian men and women to travel to the north of England with the promise of better work and better lives. Several of the victims were homeless when they were lured to Leeds for work. The Cisar family, along with Aurunngzeb Naseem and Mohammed Naseem, exploited the victims when they arrived, making them renovate and clean properties in return for pitiful wages – in one case, around £4 a day. When the victims arrived, bank accounts were set up for them but they were forced to hand over account details, cards and PIN codes. The gang would then keep their wages for themselves, while also claiming benefits in their victims’ names. One victim was paid just £3,000 for work over a three to four year period. They were convicted on 17 August following a ten week trial at Leeds Crown Court.

David Holderness from the CPS said: “These victims were promised a better life in England with safety, security, and decent wages. Instead they found themselves living in a nightmare, being forced to work for next to nothing, and housed in very poor conditions while others exploited them without a single thought for their wellbeing. “Exploitation was a lucrative family business for the Cisars. They lived comfortably off the forced labour of others, who they deliberately targeted knowing their victims were desperate to improve their lives. “The victims were lured to this country, isolated by their inability to speak English, and intimidated into becoming a source of cheap labour. The CPS is immensely grateful for their support of this prosecution as without their testimony, both in person and by video evidence, today’s convictions would not be possible.”