News & Views Monday 9th April to Sunday 14th April 2019


Fund for Peace - Failed States Index 2019

Top ten worst countries: Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, DR Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, Sudan, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe.

Failed state:  A state having little or no governance, endemic corruption, profiteering by ruling elites, very poor Human Rights, the government cannot/will not protect the population from others or itself, massive internal conflict, forced internal/external displacement, institutionalised political exclusion of significant numbers of the population, progressive deterioration of welfare infrastructure (hospitals, clinics, doctors, nurses) not adequate to meet health, needs, progressive economic decline of the country as a whole as measured by per capita income, debt, severe child mortality rates, poverty levels.

Though the index will show that some countries have moved down the index, this does not mean that conditions have got better; just that they have been replaced by countries with deteriorated conditions moving up the index.

The Failed States Index ranks 178 countries using 12 social, economic, and political indicators of pressure on the state, along with over 100 sub-indicators. These include such issues as Uneven Development, State Legitimacy, Group Grievance, and Human Rights. Each indicator is rated on a scale of 1-10, based on the analysis of millions of publicly available documents, other quantitative data, and assessments by analysts. A high score indicates high pressure on the state, and therefore a higher risk of instability.

Weak and failing states pose a challenge to the international community. In today's world, with its highly globalized economy, information systems and interlaced security, pressures on one fragile state can have serious repercussions not only for that state and its people, but also for its neighbors and other states halfway across the globe.

States have erupted into mass violence stemming from internal conflict. Some of these crises are ethnic conflicts. Some are civil wars. Others take on the form of revolutions. Many result in complex humanitarian emergencies. Though the dynamics may differ in each case, all of these conflicts stem from social, economic, and political pressures that have not been managed by professional, legitimate, and representative state institutions.

Fault lines emerge between identity groups, defined by language, religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, class, caste, clan or area of origin. Tensions can deteriorate into conflict through a variety of circumstances, such as competition over resources, predatory or fractured leadership, corruption, or unresolved group grievances. The reasons for state weakness and failure are complex but not unpredictable. It is critically important that the international community understand and closely monitor the conditions that create weak and failed states-and be prepared to take the necessary actions to deal with the underlying issues or otherwise mitigate the negative effects of state failure.

Read the full report: Fund for Peace

Judicial Review Granted for Vulnerable Victim  of Modern Slavery 

The Claimant, a vulnerable woman who had been forced to act as a drugs mule for an organised criminal gang, had been failed by the SSHD on more than one occasion. This is due to the inadequacies and misapplication of the SSHD’s own policies for vulnerable clients in detention.

Despite the Claimant’s history of modern slavery, she was held in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) pending removal by the SSHD. An interim injunction was obtained to stop the Claimant’s removal from the UK and she was subsequently released from Yarl’s Wood IRC, following more than 8 months in detention.

The initial Reasonable Grounds decision of the SSHD was negative, meaning the SSHD did not accept to the lower standard of proof stating “I suspect, but cannot prove,” that she is a victim of modern slavery. We challenged the decision by way of Judicial Review - the only remedy available – arguing that the decision was irrational and not in keeping with the SSHD’s own Modern Day Slavery guidance. Sadly, this guidance is all too frequently misapplied by the SSHD. During the Pre-Action Protocol stage and even after the issue of proceedings, the SSHD maintained that the Claimant’s modern slavery claim lacked credibility. However, we argued that the Claimant’s history of sexual abuse was a strong indication of her vulnerability and her susceptibility to coercion.

The Claimant’s complex immigration history, coupled with her vulnerability in detention, caused her severe stress and anxiety. Her asylum claim had been decided prior to her trafficking claim, meaning that matters arising therein were not taken into consideration, further highlighting the SSHD’s failings in promptly identifying vulnerable actual and potential victims of trafficking in detention. It was not until we took the matter on that concerns were raised and the Claimant was identified as a potential victim of trafficking; the SSHD had missed every opportunity to identify her as such, from the date of her asylum claim and detention.

Read more: Duncan Lewis,

Government Immigration Database 'Deeply Sinister', Say Campaigners

The Home Office is developing a database that could provide quick immigration checks to outside organisations amid criticism from campaigners, who call it “deeply sinister” and say it could amount to a “secret digital IT system”.

The human rights organisation Liberty expressed concern about the Status Checking Project, which was detailed in an independent inspection report published by the Home Office.

The inspection report outlined that the department was planning “to establish a system that obtains and shares an individual’s immigration status in real time with authorised users, providing proof of entitlement to a range of public and private services, such as work, rented accommodation, healthcare and benefits”.

While the Home Office has not yet been specific about bodies that could access the information, a previous trial allowed right-to-work details to be shared with employers.

In a letter to the home secretary, Sajid Javid, and to Caroline Nokes, the MP for Romsey and Southampton North, Liberty said it had grave concerns about the project becoming a database containing a large amount of information about large sections of the population.

Read more: Sarah Marsh, Guardian,

Women Seeking Asylum: Safe From Violence In The UK?

If a woman seeking asylum seeks to leave an abusive relationship she is likely to be wholly dependent on the asylum support system for accommodation and financial support.

People seeking asylum in the UK are not entitled to mainstream benefits and the vast majority are not allowed to work. If they are destitute while waiting for a decision on their asylum claim, the only form of state support available to them is via a parallel housing and benefits system known as asylum support which provides a basic subsistence payment of £37.75 a week and ‘no choice’, usually shared, accommodation. This system is administered by the Home Office, with subcontractors such as G4S and Serco in charge of the housing provision.

This research report explores the extent to which this system ensures the safety of women who are facing domestic abuse and other forms of gender-based violence. The findings are based on data from an online survey (158 respondents), semi-structured interviews with professionals (14 respondents), and interviews with women seeking asylum (2 respondents).

Read more: Asylum Appeals Support Project,

Domestic Violence Concession

Victims of domestic violence, who have been admitted to the UK as the spouse/partner of a British citizen can apply for leave to remain under the domestic violence concession. They must be able to show that the relationship has permanently broken down as a result of the DV.

Those who are unable to support themselves and face destitution are able to apply for short term leave under the destitute domestic violence concession using this application form. Leave will be issued for a period of 3 months giving access to public funds .

The full application for indefinite leave to remain is made on application SET(DV).The applicant must show that they are physically present in the UK and meet all eligibility requirements.

Only those who have had leave to remain as the partner of a British citizen or a settled person, or those previously granted 30 months leave to remain under the domestic violence rule, are eligible to apply. Those with leave not granted under Appendix FM will not be able to apply under these rules. Partners of members of the armed forces can apply under the similar domestic violence rules in Part Six of Appendix AF (for “armed forces”).

The domestic violence rules do not apply to the spouse, unmarried partner or registered civil partner of a sponsor who has only limited leave to enter or remain in the UK ,  fiancé or fiancées or proposed civil partners , people seeking asylum in the UK , the spouse or civil partner of a foreign or Commonwealth citizen who is serving, or has served, in Her Majesty’s (HM) forces and who has not completed a minimum of 4 years’ reckonable service. Individuals in these groups are not eligible to apply under the domestic violence rules because they were not admitted to the UK, or originally given leave in the UK, as the partner of someone who already has the right of permanent residence in the UK. They have come to the UK as the dependant of someone who does not have settled status in the UK, and who may never have settled status, and should have no expectation of remaining in the UK outside that relationship.

Read more: Mcgill & Co,