News & Views Monday 11th February to Sunday 17th March 2019


Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - March 2019

Deteriorated Situations
U.S./Russia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Somalia, Sudan, Angola, Nigeria, Kashmir, Russia/U.S, Venezuela, Haiti, Libya

Conflict Risk Alerts
South Sudan, Sudan, Nigeria, Kashmir, Ukraine, Yemen, Libya

February saw a dangerous escalation between India and Pakistan. In Yemen, the warring parties took a small step to cement a ceasefire in Hodeida, but a breakdown of talks could trigger new clashes. Fighting in Libya’s south intensified and could worsen, and Chad called in French airstrikes to halt a rebel advance.

Al-Shabaab stepped up deadly attacks in Somalia, and in South Sudan a government offensive against rebels in the south is picking up steam. Sudan’s President al-Bashir took a harder line against persistent protests. Suspected jihadists stepped up attacks in Burkina Faso; violence escalated in Cameroon’s Anglophone region; and Angola’s separatists announced a return to arms.

In Nigeria, election-related violence rose and could flare again around polls to elect governors in March, while there are growing concerns around Ukraine’s upcoming presidential vote. The confrontation hardened between Venezuelan President Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

In Haiti, anti-government protests turned violent. U.S.-Russia relations deteriorated further in a worrying development for the future of arms control. On a positive note, Taliban and U.S. officials resumed talks on a deal for Afghanistan, negotiations aimed at ending the Western Sahara conflict are planned for March, and Nicaragua’s government resumed dialogue with opposition leaders, raising hopes for an end to the political crisis.

Read more: International Crisis Group,

Asylum Seekers in Glasgow 'Could be Cleared to Work in Six Months'

Asylum seekers who are placed in Glasgow could be allowed to work six months after their claim to stay in the UK has been submitted. The move is one of a series of changes which Glasgow City Council hopes to introduce in a UK pilot scheme. It would mean people could hold down a job until a final determination on their application is made.  The council insists its proposals would not lead to more people coming to Glasgow "as dispersal would still be managed by the Home Office". Glasgow hopes to introduce measures to make the process easier for asylum seekers and councils following a row over lock-change evictions. Housing provider Serco was criticised last summer after it announced plans to evict about 300 people who were refused the right to stay in the UK. The company later put the evictions on hold and has since lost its asylum accommodation contract for Scotland.

The Home Office has not agreed to the plan but said it was "carefully considering the recommendations".
Glasgow currently has the highest number of asylum seekers in any UK local authority area.

Source: BBC News, Scotland,

Extended Family Members of EEA nationals

The Upper Tribunal recently issued a judgement addressing the rights of extended family members of EEA nationals in the UK. The case is Kunwar (EFM – calculating periods of residence) [2019] UKUT 63 (IAC).
It clarifies and confirms the well established distinction between direct family members (such as spouses and children under the age of 21) and extended family member (such as an unmarried partner, dependant relative, or member of the EEA national’s household). Extended family members do not have an automatic right to reside in the UK and must be issued with a document by the Home Office before they can begin accumulating time towards permanent residence.

Despite the UK’s impending departure from the EU, the case will still be of relevance to EEA nationals in the UK as, under the Government’s settled status scheme, extended family members must have been issued with a document under the current EEA Regulations in order to meet the definition of family member. In the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit such family members will need to have been issued with a document before 29 March 2019 in order to benefit from the settled status scheme. Any extended family members without a residence document should therefore apply for one as soon as possible.

McGill & Co, Brexit & EU Migration, Iain Halliday

CJEU: Member States Can Deprive Dual Nationals of EU Citizenship

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has affirmed that EU member states can, where certain conditions are met, remove citizenship from dual nationals even if that would lead to them losing their EU citizenship status.

European judges said EU law does not preclude the loss of nationality of a member state and, consequently, the loss of citizenship of the EU, where the genuine link between the person concerned and that member state is durably interrupted.

However, it added, the principle of proportionality requires an individual examination of the consequences of that loss for the persons concerned from the point of the view of EU law.

The Grand Chamber handed down the ruling today in relation to a case brought by four Dutch nationals who all have a second, non-EU nationality, following the refusal of the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs to examine their applications for renewal of their Dutch passports.

The minister's refusal was based on Dutch nationality law, which provides that an adult loses that nationality if he also possesses a foreign nationality and if, after attaining his majority, he has his principal residence for an uninterrupted period of 10 years outside the Netherlands and the EU.

However, that 10-year period is interrupted if the person concerned has his principal residence in the Netherlands or in the EU for a period of no less than one year. Similarly, the period is interrupted if the person concerned applies for the issue of a declaration regarding the possession of Netherlands nationality, a travel document (passport) or a Netherlands identity card. A new 10-year period starts to run as from the date of issue one of those documents.

Read more: Irish Legal News,



Immigration Removals Stopped by Injunction

Hundreds of immigration removals are in doubt after the High Court ordered the Home Office to stop using a controversial "no warning" tactic. A charity defending detainees has won an injunction after saying the policy breached the right to access justice.

Medical Justice said the policy prevented immigrants having a fair chance to put their case before they were put on a plane out of the country. It said the policy had affected a huge range of people living in the UK. These include members of the Windrush generation and victims of torture, it said.

Ordering the injunction, Mr Justice Walker told the Home Office to stop the removals, pending a full review of their lawfulness.

The decision means the Home Office must immediately cancel 69 removals scheduled for the coming days but during the hearing, the court heard that hundreds, if not thousands, of people were probably subject to the policy in any one year.

The charity's challenge relates to a policy known as the "Removal Notice Window" in which an individual is given three days' notice that they will be removed on any day after that.
The individual can then be detained with no further warning - to all intents keeping secret the date of their removal and preventing many of them mounting an effective challenge.

Read more: Dominic Casciani, BBC News,

Home Office Under Fire Over Man’s Death in Immigration Detention

The Home Office is under fire about how a “gentle and polite” man lost his life to a killer with a history of violence and mental health problems after officials locked them both up on the same wing in immigration detention.

An inquest which opened on Monday11/03/2019,  at west London coroner’s court is to explore the role of the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice, health professionals and detention centre subcontractors in the death of Tarek Chowdhury, 64, from Bangladesh, who was killed by Zana Assad Yusif, 33, from Iraq, at Colnbrook immigration removal centre near Heathrow in December 2016.

Yusif, who was well known to mental health services and had 16 previous convictions for 33 different offences, beat Chowdhury to death just two days after the latter arrived in Colnbrook. Chowdhury had lived in the UK for 13 years and was detained by the Home Office as an overstayer when he attended a regular reporting session. Yusif arrived in the UK in the back of a lorry at the age of 17.
Concerns have been raised about the management of detainees in Colnbrook at the time of the killing and the quality of healthcare Chowdhury received immediately after the attack.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian,

Meeting on the Domestic Abuse Bill and Migrant Women

Date: Monday, 18 March 2019 - Time: 2:pm – 4:pm

Venue: Committee Room 11, Houses of Parliament, Westminster SW1A 0AA

Speakers include:
Southall Black Sister
Latin American Women's Rights Service
Carolyn Harris MP
Jess Phillips MP
Dr Philippa Whitford MP
Dr Ravi Thiara, Associate Professor at University of Warwick
Dr. Cathy McIlwaine, Professor of Development Geography at Kings College London and others (tbc)

The government published its long-awaited Domestic Abuse Bill earlier this year. But what protection does it offer migrant women subject to abuse and the 'no recourse to public funds' requirement?

Southall Black Sisters and the Latin American Women's Rights Service are jointly hosting a public meeting to urgently discuss the failure of the Domestic Abuse Bill to properly include migrant women from state protective measures for abused women. What we have is a draft Bill that utterly fails to deliver anything of substance, especially for migrant women. Only two pages out of the 196-page government response are devoted to migrant women. As things stand, abused migrant women who are at risk of the most serious and prolonged forms of abuse, slavery and harm cannot access justice or protection if they have unsettled immigration status. They are effectively excluded from the few protective measures that are contained in the Bill.

This deeply disappointing Bill comes at a time when the government is seeking to ratify The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence 2011 ('the Istanbul Convention'). Yet by excluding migrant women from the scope of protection, the government stands in breach of potential human rights violations contained in the Istanbul Convention and other domestic and international human rights standards.

SBS has prepared a briefing paper in which we call for a series of amendments to the Bill to ensure that abused migrant women have the same rights to safety and dignity as other abused women. These amendments seek to:
* extend eligibility under the DV Rule;
* extend the timeframe for which the DDVC is available; and
* compel the government to put forward a comprehensive strategy to support and protect migrant women suffering abuse – regardless of migration/refugee status – before Parliament within a specified timeframe

(Our full briefing paper is available on request)

It is vital that no abused woman is left behind when seeking protection and this must be enshrined in the Domestic Abuse Bill.

Please show your support for these amendments and for our campaign #ProtectionForAll to ensure that migrant women are included in the Domestic Abuse Bill.

Help us say no more. No more must migrant and refugee women be treated as second class human beings. No more must migrant and refugee women be afforded lesser rights and protections than other abused women in society. No more should the basic human right to be safe from domestic abuse and torture be dependent on visa status.

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