News & Views Monday 15th January to Sunday 21st January 2018  

Deportation of Foreign Criminals: Out of Country Appeals Still Lawful

The Court of Appeal has refused a judicial review application and permission to appeal in two cases where the applicants were required to pursue their challenges to deportation “out of country” rather than in the UK.  Where the Secretary of State has rejected a human rights claim, and deportation is considered in the public good – because the deportee is a foreign criminal – there has been debate about the effectiveness of an out-of-country appeal

The facts of this case are similar to the case of R (Kiarie) v Secretary of State for the Home Department; R (Byndloss) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWCA Civ 1020. In each case, the appellant was threatened with deportation as a result of offending, but he contended that deportation would be in breach of his right to private and/or family life under article 8 of the ECHR. We posted on Kiarie and Byndloss here.  The Court of Appeal held in that case that the Secretary of State could properly proceed on the basis that an out-of-county appeal would meet the procedural requirements of article 8 in the generality of deportation cases, because such an appeal met the essential requirements of effectiveness and fairness.   The Supreme Court reversed  the ruling on the specific facts of the case before them. But their conclusion – that in the cases of Kiarie and Byndloss, the out-of-country appeal procedures were inadequate – does not affect all cases thus certified. All questions of adequacy of evidence and video links have to be considered on a case by case basis, taking into account the efforts made by the individual applicant to advance their case. Not all decisions depriving people of the right of appeal from the UK will be unlawful; it depends on the facts. 

Read more: UK Human Rights Blog,

Home Office Pays Out £15,500 to Asylum Seeker Over Data Breach

The Home Office has paid out £15,500 in compensation after admitting handing over sensitive information about an asylum seeker to the government of his Middle East home country, a move which could have endangered his life and that of his family. The settlement relates to confidential proof of his persecution in his home country which was wrongly shared with the authorities there. The case has similarities to celebrity phone hacking cases where public figures such as Sadie Frost and Paul Gascoigne received six-figure sums following data breaches.
Although the payout is less than in the celebrity phone hacking cases, arguably the risk to the life of the asylum seeker involved is greater. The Home Office shared the sensitive documents with the authorities in the man’s home country in a bid to authenticate the information he had given them to prove he had been persecuted at home. The man’s solicitor Dan Carey, of Deighton Pierce Glynn, said that when the asylum seeker discovered what the Home Office had done it had “a considerable impact on him”.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian,

Destitute UK Asylum Seekers Get Paltry 80p Rise in Subsistence Payments

Nearly 40,000 destitute asylum seekers are to receive a “paltry” 80p increase in their weekly subsistence payments based on Home Office calculations that expect them to be able to feed and clothe a baby for just £28.94 a week. The Home Office announced on Monday that the current weekly subsistence payment of £36.95 paid to destitute asylum seekers, who are banned from working for their first 12 months, would rise to £37.75 from 5 February. The 80p increase follows an annual review required by a 2014 high court ruling that challenged a Home Office decision in 2011 to freeze the weekly rate to meet the essential needs of asylum seekers at £36.62 a week. Refugee groups said the small rise was welcome after no increase for the past three years, but said it left many struggling to survive on little more than £5 a day and should have been increased to at least 70% of social security benefit rates.

Read more: Alan Travis, Guardian,

MPs Criticise Error-Hit 'Hostile Environment' For Illegal Immigrants

The government needs to end its reliance on its error-hit “hostile environment” policy towards illegal migrants because it is not only deeply distressing to those involved but also undermines the credibility of immigration enforcement, MPs have said. The Commons home affairs select committee says the longstanding lack of any official analysis of the scale and nature of illegal immigration has allowed anxiety over the issue to grow unchecked, and it calls for the publication of an annual estimate based on exit check data.

The cross-party committee’s report is the strongest parliamentary criticism of the Home Office’s “hostile environment” measures, which include denying access to rented accommodation, revoking driving licences and closing the bank accounts of those listed as illegal immigrants. It cites a 10% error rate in a Home Office list of “disqualified people”. Some people have been refused a new bank account because they were wrongly included on the list of those at risk of being told to leave the country. The MPs say recent high-profile reports of the Home Office threatening to deport individuals based on inaccurate and untested information and before an independent appeal process risk undermining the credibility of the whole immigration system.

Read more: Alan Travis, Guardian,

Charter Flights Q2 April/May/June 2017

You asked for information regarding charter flights during April/May/June 2017. The answers to your questions fall to be dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

1. Number of males removed - 329
2. Number of females removed - 20
3. Number of escorts - 788
4. Number of flights in total - 10
5. Number flights to each country / number removed to each country
6. No children were returned

7. Destination  Number flights to each country / number removed to each country
Albania                 4                                                      149
Germany              2                                                        43
Nigeria/Ghana     2                                                       84
Pakistan               2                                                        73
Shut Down Morton Hall Immigration Detention Centre

There have been FOUR deaths at Morton Hall in a year, the most recent 38-year-old Jamaican man Carlinton Spencer died on 2 October, and the death of a 27-year-old Iraqi Kurdish man Shadad Zraw Aziz on 19 November. Since 2000 the death toll of those who have died in immigration detention or shortly after release stands at 43 (Medical Justice). Morton Hall IRC is run by the Prison Service for the Home Office and can detain 392 people. The Prisons Inspectors on 21 March reported on Morton Hall: “Nearly half the detainees told the inspectors they felt depressed or suicidal on arriving at Morton Hall.”

Assemble outside Morton Hall IRC

Saturday 20th January 2018 – 12:00 Noon to 3:00pm

Source: Stuart Crosthwaite
Secretary, South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG)

Dungavel IRC Slave Labour Detainees Paid £1 an Hour

An American firm that gave hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Trump campaign is paying asylum seekers in Scotland just £1 an hour in wages. The GEO Group is one of America’s top private prison companies and saw its share prices soar when Trump became President.

There are 64 detainees working up to 30 hours a week in Dungavel. The jobs include cleaning, hairdressing and gardening - much of it vital for the running of the detention centre. New figures reveal that the detainees received just £130,919 for 128,742 hours worked between November 2014 and April last year. Paying detainees the minimum wage, which rose from £6.50 to £7.05 for over 21s, would have cost an estimated £727,607 extra.

Read more: Duncan Lewis,

Democracy in Crisis - 12th Consecutive Year of Decline in Global Freedom

Democracy is under assault and in retreat around the globe, a crisis that has intensified as America’s democratic standards erode at an accelerating pace, according to Freedom in the World 2018, the latest edition of the annual report on political rights and civil liberties, released today by Freedom House.  The report finds that 2017 was the 12th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.  Seventy-one countries suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties in 2017, with only 35 registering gains. Once-promising states such as Turkey, Venezuela, Poland, and Tunisia were among those experiencing declines in democratic standards.  “Democracy’s basic tenets—including guarantees of free and fair elections, the rights of minorities, freedom of the press, and the rule of law—are under siege around the world,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president.

Read more: Freedom House,

UNHCR Protection Manual- as of January 2018

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.