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Monday 9th to Sunday 15th January 2023

Human Rights Watch Issues Damning Verdict for UK

World Report 2023 Says UK Policies Raise 'Grave Human Rights Concerns'

“In 2022, we saw the most significant assault on human rights protections in the UK in decades,” said Yasmine Ahmed, UK director at Human Rights Watch. “From your right to protest to your ability to hold institutions to account, fundamental and hard-won rights are being systematically dismantled.”

Human Rights Watch highlighted several laws introduced in 2022 that had the effect of significantly weakening human rights protections. The UK government introduced laws that stripped rights of asylum seekers and other vulnerable people, encouraged voter disenfranchisement, limited judicial oversight of government actions, and placed new restrictions on the right to peaceful protest.

The government also proposed the repeal and replacement of the Human Rights Act, which gives life to the European Convention on Human Rights in the United Kingdom, with a so-called Bill of Rights. Human Rights Watch said the bill, if adopted, would fundamentally undermine human rights protections in the UK.

As these rights were being stripped away.

Read more: Human Right Watch

Home Secretary Ordered to Increase Asylum Support Rates Immediately

In a powerful judgment given on 21 December 2022, the High Court ordered the Secretary of State for the Home Department to immediately increase the weekly support payments made to asylum seekers to £45. This is the largest ever single increase in the rate of asylum support and is made to reflect the increase in the cost of living during 2022. The case is R(CB) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWHC 3329 (Admin).

The decision by the High Court to make an order with wide-ranging financial consequences for the government is constitutionally unusual. It is justified by the clear advice given by civil servants in the Home Office that such a rise is necessary to ensure that asylum seekers can meet their essential living needs.

Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/v1cqoa

US Asylum Absurdity

Imagine you’re fleeing persecution by your country’s tyrannical government. You look to the US for political asylum, but at the land border you are immediately turned away. However, the US authorities say, you can come to the US by plane. All you need is a plane ticket, a US-based financial sponsor, and a valid passport… a passport issued by the abusive government you are fleeing. This is the Catch-22-inspired system the Biden administration put in place for Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans last week, building on a similarly absurd policy for Venezuelans established in October.

It is a bizarre slap in the face for people trying to access life-saving protection in the US. How is a person fleeing for their safety supposed to obtain a passport or wait in their country of origin while their applications are processed? What’s more, international refugee law and international human rights law prohibit discrimination in accessing asylum, including based on financial means. Everyone has a right to seek asylum, not just those who can afford an airplane ticket. The Trump Administration was roundly and rightly criticized for its harsh asylum policies. This latest absurdity by the Biden Administration sadly shows we’re still waiting for a humane policy in Washington.

Source: Human Rights Watch, http://www.hrw.org/

Migrants With No Recourse to Public Funds Unable to Afford A Healthy Diet

Two reports released last month by The Food Foundation and the University of Hertfordshire highlight how migrants in the UK with 'no recourse to public funds' (NRPF) due to their immigration status are being left unable to afford or access sufficient amounts of quality food.

As the reports note, there are approximately 1.4 million people in the UK with NRPF as a condition of their valid visa. Previous research has found that families on low incomes are disproportionately affected by NRPF policies, and this impact is further exacerbated for black and ethnic minority populations, those with disabilities, single parents, women and children.

The Food Foundation says the research revealed that not only were families with NRPF struggling to access healthy food, but they were also unable to access a sufficient amount of any food, a circumstance which was having "devastating effects on quality of life."

Read more: EIN, https://rb.gy/b3scmq

Attacks on Civil Society in Europe

One of the foundations of democracy is respect for the fundamental right to meet and associate with the people you want to and to be able to work together on issues of mutual concern. As long as this is done peacefully, no democratic government should interfere. And yet, in Europe, this core concept is under threat. That it’s disappearing in increasingly authoritarian Hungary and Poland is well known.

But it may come as a surprise to some that the problem has also been emerging in France, Greece, Italy, and the UK. Civil society organizations, including groups that work to protect human rights, are under growing pressure across Europe. We see government ministers and officials openly attacking these groups, imposing legal restrictions and using the criminal justice system to prosecute and intimidate activists. Regulators limit or threaten groups, and governments and ruling parties try to influence the activities of publicly funded organisations through funding or board membership. All this is clearly to curb the actions of those with ideas ruling authorities don’t like. The ability of independent groups to work freely is a measure of the health of our democracies. We ignore these curbs at our peril.

Source: Hukan Rights Watch








Campaign for Human Rights Defender Family Seeking Asylum

Hello, we are Aisha and Shay, Human Rights defenders from Balochistan who are seeking asylum in the UK and are members of RAPAR.

For the last six months, since June 2022, we have been trying to secure help so that the human rights abuses that we have reported, along with many other residents of a SERCO run hotel in Stockport, are properly investigated and stopped.

Unfortunately, so far, Serco and Migrant Help (who are meant to investigate complaints) have refused to open investigations or to shelter us and our child somewhere safe and within travel distance of our daughter’s school. Now, this Crowdfunder – Crowdfunding to enable Shay Babagar and RAPAR to build on Shay’s 35-day hunger strike to challenge Serco’s treatment of 'hotel' residents seeking asylum. on JustGiving - is to raise enough funds so that we can continue to campaign for these human rights while living in Stockport and our child carries on at her school.

Read more: RAPAR, https://rb.gy/giihty

The Misguided Allure of Deterrence Policy

It’s hard to know how to start a piece on the issue of Channel crossings in the weeks following the tragic death of at least 4 people in the freezing waters between the UK and France. There is grief, anger, frustration, a feeling of injustice; so many emotions jostle for space on the page. Both sides of the debate, when reaching for a solution to the repeated tragedies in the Channel, draw on moral arguments to defend their position. And the deaths continue.

Everyone agrees that the deaths must stop, that the Channel is a dangerous and ill-suited route for those seeking protection in the UK. But any effort to find a solution that actually reduces the peril faced by people taking this journey to safety is stymied by a relentless commitment to an approach that has proven, over many decades to fail: a policy of deterrence.

Over the decades, deterrence has taken the form of destitution, dispersal, status insecurity, prohibition on working, detention, but was finally formalised with the Conservative’s Hostile Environment measures. In recent years, it has taken a more public and aggressive turn with the ‘let them drown’ policy, use of barracks as accommodation, and by denying access to the asylum process, culminating in the measures brought in by the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 including pushbacks, criminalisation, offshoring and a two-tiered asylum system. The Rwanda removals scheme is the most high profile of recent deterrent measures introduced to halt small boat arrivals. What started out as an attempt to make life unbearable for people seeking sanctuary in the UK, has become a punitive regime of exclusion.

Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/czi57i

Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - January 2023

Deteriorated Situations: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Somaliland, South Sudan, Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict, Bolivia, Peru

Improved Situations: Eritrea, Sudan, Niger,

Outlook for This Month January 2023 - Conflict Risk Alerts None - Resolution Opportunities None

Deteriorations in December.

Taliban authorities in Afghanistan banned women from attending university and working in NGOs, disrupting one of the world’s largest humanitarian responses as tens of millions struggle to survive amid economic hardship and a severe winter.

Fears of a looming humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh grew after Azerbaijan-backed protesters began blocking the Lachin corridor, a vital transport link connecting Armenia with the enclave.

In the first clash in two-and-a-half years, Indian and Chinese soldiers fought hand-to-hand along the disputed Line of Actual Control, injuring dozens.

In Peru, a failed attempt to dissolve Congress ended the brief presidency of Pedro Castillo, prompting widespread protests that turned deadly amid a fierce security crackdown.

Fighting wreaked havoc in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state while violence perpetrated by armed youth killed dozens and displaced thousands in Jonglei state.

In Somaliland, clashes between security forces and protesters left at least 20 people dead in a contested area near Somalia’s Puntland region.

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2023
1. Ukraine 2. Armenia and Azerbaijan 3. Iran 4. Yemen 5. Ethiopia 6. Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes 7. The Sahel 8. Haiti 9. Pakistan 10. Taiwan

Source: Internatinal Crisis Group, https://rb.gy/uerrfx


















Opinions Regarding Immigration Bail

36 Deaths Across the UK Detention Estate

UK Human Rights and Democracy 2020

Hunger Strikes in Immigration Detention

Charter Flights January 2016 Through December 2020

A History of

Immigration Solicitors

Villainous Mr O