News & Views Monday 24th June to Sunday 30th June 2019


Home Office Ordered to Facilitate Return of Ugandan Lesbian Unlawfully Deported Back to the UK

    This is a claim for judicial review by PN relating to the determination of her claim for asylum and her detention in an immigration centre between 22 July 2013 and her removal to Uganda on 12 December 2013. In brief, the claimant claimed asylum on the basis that she is a lesbian and will suffer a real risk of persecution in Uganda. The defendant rejected that claim and considered that the claimant is not a lesbian but accepted that if she were and wished to live openly as a lesbian in Uganda she would suffer a real risk of persecution. Her appeal was dismissed by the First-tier Tribunal on 30 August 2013 and the claimant exhausted her rights of appeal on 10 September 2013. The claimant's asylum claim, and her appeal against the refusal of the claim, was processed within what was known as the Detained Fast Track Scheme.
    In brief, the claimant contends that:

            (1) permission has been granted to challenge the determination of 30 August 2013 and that determination is unlawful as the processing of the appeal within the time limits prescribed by fast track process led to unfairness in her case as (a) she was unable to obtain (a) evidence of lesbian relationships with women in Uganda and (b) a medical report prior to the appeal hearing;

            (2) the decision to remove her on 12 December 2013 was unlawful;

            (3) a remedy should be granted to quash the determination, and the removal decision, and requiring the defendant to use his best endeavours to facilitate her return to the United Kingdom to enable her to continue with an appeal against the refusal of her asylum claim; and

            (4) her detention between 22 July 2013 and 12 December 2013 was unlawful.

    The determination of the First-tier Tribunal to dismiss the claimant's appeal against the refusal of her asylum claim was reached by a process which was procedurally unfair as it did not give her sufficient opportunity to obtain evidence from Uganda to support her claim. The determination will be quashed and the defendant will be ordered to use his best endeavours to facilitate the return of the claimant to the United Kingdom to enable her to continue with her appeal. The claimant was lawfully detained from 21 July 2013 to 6 August 2013 and from 10 September 2013 until her removal to Uganda on 12 December 2013. The claimant was unlawfully detained from (and including) 6 August 2013 up to 10 September 2013. I will hear submissions on the appropriate means of calculating damages for that period.

All African Women's Group - Action Alert - Protest Family Separation

Ask the Home Office to Give Ms Mohammed’s Son Permission to Join His Mother and Sister in the UK

Ms Mohammed was given full refugee status in 2016 because of the homophobic violence and persecution she suffered in Pakistan. Her husband found out she is a lesbian and tried to kill her. Considering how difficult it is to win asylum in the UK, the fact that Ms Mohammed was quickly granted refugee status shows how serious the threat to her life was.

Ms Mohammed has three children who she was forced to leave behind when she fled. Tragically, her oldest daughter has since disappeared, possibly at the hands of Ms Mohammed’s ex-husband.

Ms Mohammed applied for family reunion through an international programme but she was told she couldn’t include her son.  Reunion was granted for her youngest daughter.

Her son is in grave danger in Pakistan. Ms Mohammed’s ex-husband had planned a forced marriage for his daughter in revenge against Ms Mohammed for leaving. Her son defied his father’s authority and helped his sister escape and now he has been cast out from the family, severely abused and is destitute living underground. The father is a supporter of the ruling party and therefore has additional power in society. Her son showed enormous courage in standing up to his father and the family. Ms Mohammed’s application for him to join her here should be fast tracked so that he gets immediate protection as his life is at risk.

Read more:

Serco Given New Asylum Housing Contracts Despite £6.8m Fines

The outsourcing firm Serco was awarded new contracts to house vulnerable asylum seekers despite having been fined nearly £7m for previous failings, the Guardian can reveal. Responsibility for housing people seeking asylum in the UK was taken away from local authorities in 2012 and given to the companies Serco, G4S and Clearsprings under deals with the Home Office known as Compass contracts. Despite concerns by leading charities that outsourcing the service had resulted in “squalid, unsafe, slum housing conditions”, in January he Home Office awarded Serco, Clearsprings and the company Mears new contracts to provide housing for asylum seekers for 10 years from September. Figures released following freedom of information requests and a parliamentary question show that £6.8m worth of “service credits” were imposed on Serco between April 2013 and December 2018. The figures do not include the month of March 2016.

Read more: Frances Perraudin,

UK Government Could Make £5m Profit on Syrian Refugee Children’s Citizenship Fees

The fee they must pay, regardless of whether or not their application is successful, stands at £1,012. This is despite the cost of processing each application being just £372, as revealed in a 2018 parliamentary debate. If all child refugees apply for citizenship, the government could make more than £5.6m, the IOHR estimates. The group’s director, Valerie Peay, said: “Let’s be clear, unlike any other EU country, the UK government is choosing to profit £640 on every child who is entitled to apply for British citizenship. “This action puts huge pressure on families. “It can impact a child’s right to education support, the right to vote, freedom to travel and cause psychological damage when they find out they are not the same as their classmates.” She added: “It can’t be right that a family with three kids will be expected to pay out £5,448 to try and secure a safe future, with nothing guaranteed at the end of the process

Read more: Human Rights News,

Cameroon: Worsening Human Rights

Lord Judd: To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, both multilaterally and unilaterally, to respond to abuses and human rights abuses by the government and separatists in Cameroon; and what assessment they have made of reports that 450,000 people have been displaced since 2016.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: ?The British Government is deeply concerned about the worsening human rights and humanitarian situation in the Northwest and Southwest (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon. We continue to raise these concerns at the highest levels. Based on UN reports we assess that over 530,000 people have been internally displaced with 35,000 UN registered refugees in Nigeria. The Minister of State for Africa raised concerns directly with the Government of Cameroon in a meeting on 30 April with Cameroon's High Commissioner to the UK and directly with the Prime Minister of Cameroon on 5 March. On 21 March the UK made a joint statement with Austria, supported by 37 other countries, at the UN Human Rights Council urging the Government of Cameroon to establish a credible dialogue to tackle root causes of the conflict. The UK welcomed the visit to Cameroon by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in May and continues to call for unhindered humanitarian access to affected populations, an end to violence and investigations into all reports of human rights violations and abuses.



Hundreds of Children Wait Years For Asylum Decisions

Almost 1,400 child asylum seekers have waited for more than five years for an initial decision about their right to remain in the UK, the BBC has found. Home Office figures obtained by the BBC show delays have almost tripled since January 2014, when 484 children had been waiting for more than five years. In May the government said it was abandoning a six-month wait target for most asylum applications. The Home Office said cases involving children "can take longer to resolve". In 2014, the Home Office introduced a target to process 98% of straightforward asylum claims within six months.

In a freedom of information request the BBC asked for the number of children under the age of 18 at the time of their asylum application who had been waiting for an initial decision on their asylum claim for more than six months, more than 12 months, and for more than five years in both 2014 and 2018. In September 2018, there were 6,214 dependant children who had been waiting more than six months for an initial decision - almost a 47% rise in four years compared with January 2014.
The number of children waiting more than five years increased at an even steeper rate - rising from 484 in 2014 to 1,396 in September 2018.

Read more: BBC News,

Serious Concerns Remain Over Treatment of Immigration Detainees In UK Law

Immigration detention is the practice of holding foreign nationals in custody for the purpose of immigration control. Its use is limited to administrative purposes. In most cases the reason is to effect an individual’s removal from the UK. But detention can also be used to establish someone’s identity, or where there is reason to believe they will abscond, and even when release is not considered to be ‘conducive to the public good’.

A key feature of immigration detention, however, is that it is not a criminal procedure (it is an administrative one) and, therefore, should not be punitive. In this sense, immigration detention is completely different to imprisonment and public authorities can only resort to detention in cases where it is necessary or a specific lawful purpose (such as facilitating removal) and there are no reasonable alternatives to detention.

Whatever the circumstances, being held in prison-like conditions for people who in most cases have not committed a crime, without a time limit, causes extreme anxiety and distress. Many detainees already have traumatic backgrounds, and the psychological impact of being held is highly and potentially permanently damaging. The 28-day detention plan being advocated by both Parliament and the Independent Monitoring Board for the Heathrow IRC may be a step in the right direction, but is little comfort to those currently enduring years in detention. In the short term and at the very least, urgent and decisive measures must be put in place to address the weak administrative process and the serious lack of judicial oversight of the decision to detain which currently affects the UK immigration regime and blemishes the reputation of the UK as a fair and compassionate society as a whole.

Read more: Gherson Immigration,

UK Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia Unlawful

Campaigners have won a legal challenge over the UK government's decision to allow arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which is engaged in the war in Yemen. Campaign Against Arms Trade argued the decision to continue to license military equipment for export to the Gulf state was unlawful. It said there was a clear risk the arms might be used in a serious violation of international humanitarian law. Judges said licences should be reviewed but would not be immediately suspended.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said the government would not grant any new licences for export to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners while it considers the implications of the judgment. A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Theresa May said the government was "disappointed" and would be seeking permission to appeal against the judgment.

Under UK export policy, military equipment licences should not be granted if there is a "clear risk" that weapons might be used in a "serious violation of international humanitarian law". Giving judgment at the Court of Appeal in London, Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton said the government "made no concluded assessments of whether the Saudi-led coalition had committed violations of international humanitarian law in the past, during the Yemen conflict, and made no attempt to do so". He said the government "must reconsider the matter" and estimate any future risks.

BBC News,

Sudanese National’s Unlawful Detention Claim Settled For £35,000

The Claimant is a Sudanese national who was granted indefinite leave to remain (IRL) under the UKVI legacy in 2009. In 2013, he was convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to eight years imprisonment and was also served a deportation order.

The Claimant applied for a bail address under section 4(1)(c) NASS but unfortunately the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) had some difficulties in finding the Claimant suitable accommodation that could be approved under the conditions of his licence. On 13thFebruary 2018, he was granted bail in principle, subject to him residing at accommodation approved by his offender manager.

Despite several requests, the SSHD failed to provide suitable accommodation for the Claimant and he was subsequently detained until 9th May 2018. An application for Judicial Review was issued with the Administrative Court whilst he was detained, and following a grant of permission, the claim was transferred to the County Court.

Read more: Duncan Lewis,

Asylum Research Consultancy Country of Information Update Vol. 197

This document provides an update of UK Country Guidance case law, UK Home Office publications and developments in refugee producing countries (focusing on those which generate the most asylum seekers in the UK) between 11 June and 24 June 2019.

Download the full document:  

Parliamentary Debate - Hostile Immigration Policy

That this House regrets that the outgoing Prime Minister’s legacy will be her hostile environment policy and her unrealistic and damaging net migration target; calls for a fundamental change in the Government’s approach to immigration, refugee and asylum policy to one based on evidence, respect for human rights and fairness; welcomes the contribution made by migrants to the UK’s economy, society and culture; rejects regressive Government proposals to extinguish European free movement rights and to require EU nationals in the UK to apply for settled and pre-settled status; and recognises that a migration policy that works for the whole of the UK will require different policy solutions for different parts of the UK, particularly given Scotland’s demographic and economic profile.

Read the full debate: