News & Views Monday 1st July to Sunday 7th July 2019


Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - June  2019

Deteriorated Situations: Mali, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Sudan, Malawi, Guinea, Georgia, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Kazakhstan, Honduras, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Tunisia.

Conflict Risk Alerts: Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Algeria.

Resolution Opportunities: None

Global overview: In June, Iran-U.S. tensions continued to climb, raising the risk of a military conflagration. Yemen’s Huthi forces, seen as Iran-backed, increased the pace of strikes in Saudi Arabia, which in turn stepped up bombing in Yemen. Attacks on U.S. assets in Iraq multiplied, and protests erupted in the south. High-level assassinations rocked Ethiopia, and Sudan’s security forces reportedly killed over 120 protesters. Major ethnic violence hit north east DR Congo and Mali’s centre and could escalate in both places. In Cameroon, violence raged in Anglophone areas and Boko Haram upped attacks. Political tensions rose in Guinea, Malawi and Tunisia, and Algeria could enter a constitutional void in July, possibly inflaming protests and repression. In both Honduras and Haiti, anti-government protests turned deadly. In the Caucasus, killings in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone pushed up tensions, and in Georgia anti-Russian sentiment fuelled major protests. Widespread repression marred Kazakhstan’s elections. In a positive step, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Trump agreed to restart talks on denuclearisation.

CrisisWatch a global conflict tracker, designed to help decision-makers prevent deadly violence by keeping them up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace.

Read more: International Crisis Group,

Difference Between Refugee Status and Humanitarian Protection

On the face of it, refugee status and humanitarian protection seem like two sides of the same coin. Both are a form of international protection granted to a person in need. Both result in a grant of five years of limited leave to remain in the UK on a path to settlement after that. They give most of the same rights to work, study and access benefits.

But as we shall see, they are underpinned by very different legal frameworks, and refugee status is undoubtedly superior to a grant of humanitarian protection in a number of ways.

The Home Office is the government department that assesses an asylum seeker’s claim to international protection in the UK. It uses a hierarchical consideration process. First, officials will assess whether refugee status can be granted. If it cannot, they move on to assess whether humanitarian protection can be granted. Finally they move on to see whether leave to remain should be granted either under human rights laws or on a discretionary basis.

Read more: John Vassiliou, McGill & Co,

EDM 2582: Turkey - Treatment Of Kurdish People

That this House expresses its grave concern at the Turkish state’s intensified aggression against the people and territory of northern Iraq/southern Kurdistan and military occupation of that region; condemns the use of Turkish warplanes to bomb and kill civilians in northern Iraq in violation of international law, human rights and the basic principles of sovereignty; and notes that the Turkish state does this with the aim of occupying Kurdish people’s lands, changing the demographics of those territories and the suppression of Kurdish identity and the Kurdish people’s aspiration for democratic representation.

House of Commons, Tabled 04 July 2019,

Home Office Advice on Trafficked Women From Nigeria Sparks Outrage

Home Office officials have provoked outrage by stating that trafficked women from Nigeria can return to the country “wealthy from prostitution” and “held in high regard”. The comments are found in an official policy and information note on the trafficking of women from Nigeria, which is used by Home Office decision-makers handling protection and human rights claims.

The guidance has been updated to include a paragraph on the prospects of trafficked women if they return to Nigeria, citing EU and Australian reports that make similar observations, which was not in the last version published in November 2016. The paragraph reads: “Trafficked women who return from Europe, wealthy from prostitution, enjoy high social-economic status and in general are not subject to negative social attitudes on return. They are often held in high regard because they have improved income prospects.”

Dr Charlotte Proudman, a human rights barrister who represents women and girls in cases of gender-based violence, particularly female genital mutilation, said: “The Home Office’s deplorable policy on the trafficking of women in Nigeria shows the hostility that women victims face in claiming asylum in the UK. Suggesting that trafficked women are wealthy and enjoy a [high] socioeconomic status is fundamentally wrong.

Read more: Jamie Grierson, Guardian,

Combating Violence in all its Forms Against Migrant Children

The Assembly today expressed its concern about the “serious threats” faced by migrant children on their way to Europe and important gaps in the policies and procedures, which limit the legal opportunities for migration in Europe. "Once in Europe, migrant children can also be subject to abuse in detention centres or transit zones, sexual assault and violence, or live on the streets to avoid deportation. They are also at risk of being sexually exploited or of being exploited as undocumented workers,” the parliamentarians said.

In a resolution unanimously adopted on the basis of the report by Rósa Björk Brynjólfsdóttir (Iceland, EUL), the Assembly proposed a number of means at the legislative level and as regard policy implementation, to prevent violence against migrant children. In particular, it called on States to “create channels for safe, legal and regular migration”, prohibit the detention of migrant children, and provide legal safeguards for their access to asylum procedures. National legislation should also protect them from all forms of exploitation and prohibit invasive age-assessment practices.

Read More: Council of Europe,

Immigration Comes to the Forefront of Tory Leadership Race

Boris Johnson’s latest pledge in the Conservative Party leadership race is to tackle immigration. His solution – an Australian-style points based system. This is a curious suggestion by Mr Johnson when the UK already has a points based immigration system. The points based system was first introduced to the UK in November 2008.The system was separated into Tiers, numbered 1-5, with each Tier gradually being introduced to the UK Immigration Rules (with the exception of Tier 3 which never opened). The system was intended to deliver on successive governments' promises to control migration to the UK, with a focus on encouraging highly skilled migrants to the UK. Since its introduction, the system has gradually seen an erosion of the points based aspect of the system, with the Home Office introducing subjective ‘genuineness’ tests. Furthermore, certain migration routes within the system have been closed, less than 10 years after being introduced. As prospective Prime Minister, it would not be unreasonable to expect Mr Johnson to be aware of the immigration systems already in place in the UK. And it is a shame he cannot come up with some new ideas to improve the system both for migrants coming to the UK to work and for those employing them rather than trying to rehash old ideas, already in force.
Bindmans Solicitors,