UK returns 36 asylum-seekers to Sri Lanka
A judge from the Queen's Bench division of the high court deliberated for more than six hours on an application for a mandatory order to force the aircraft to turn around. The judge reportedly described it as "a momentous decision" but in the end refused the application. The judge said the matter should be referred to the court of appeal.
Earlier, another high court judge, Mr Justice Eady, had granted a stay of removal on the basis that he deemed the safety of the individual in question could not be guaranteed. Two leading human rights groups, Human Rights Watch and Freedom from Torture, have called on the British government to call an immediate halt to further removals to Sri Lanka and undertake a serious policy review.
Mr Justice Eady cited as his reason for over-ruling the removal order a Human Rights Watch Report documenting the torture of recent returnees. Lawyers believe this judgement may have wider application - hence legal efforts to have the plane turned back.
Read more: Channel 4 News, 01/06/12
Demonstration in Support of Hunger Strikers @ Campsfield IRC
Friday 1 June at 6:00 pm *Carfax, Oxford,
Called by the local Sudanese community and various campaigning and human rights organisations. All are welcome.
13 men from Darfur region of Sudan have been on hunger strike for 6 days at Campsfield Immigration Removal Centre in Kidlington, near Oxford.
They are all being held in detention without time limit and without any idea as to what will happen to them or when they will be released or removed. They have been held for varying periods of time; the longest being six months. They are demanding that they all be released and granted asylum, but would rather they were removed (to a safe place) than held arbitrarily with no time limit. They have also complained of their treatment inside the centre, saying that they came here asking for refuge, and instead have been locked up and badly treated. One man who was on hunger strike has already been released.
Tamil Asylum-Seekers to be Forcibly Deported
As our royals welcome Sri Lanka's President to the Jubilee pageant, dozens of Tamils will be forcibly removed from Britain on a secretive deportation flight today despite credible evidence that they face arrest and retribution on their return.
A chartered plane, PTV030, is due to take off at 15.30 from an undisclosed London airport and fly direct to Colombo. Human-rights organisations have called on the UK Border Agency to halt the flight on the grounds that Tamils who are known to be critical of the Sri Lankan government have been brutally treated following their return.
Read More: Jerome Taylor, Independent, 31/05/12
Call for routine asylum screening in UK Border Agency regions
The Refugee Women's Strategy Group believes that people seeking sanctuary in the UK should not have to endure a further enforced journey to Croydon in order to make an application for asylum.
We believe that asylum screening should be routinely available in UK Border Agency regions to ensure that those presenting in different parts of the UK are guaranteed the protection and support the Government is obliged to provide in accordance with international, European and domestic law.
You can sign the online petition here . . . . .
Women's Asylum News: Issue No. 110 - Now online
Leading Article: Gender-related asylum claims in Europe: A comparative analysis of law, policies and practice in nine EU Members States
Asylum Aid, 30/05/12
America's murderous drone campaign is fuelling terror
More than a decade after George W Bush launched it, the "war on terror" was supposed to be winding down. US military occupation of Iraq has ended and Nato is looking for a way out of Afghanistan, even as the carnage continues. But another war Ð the undeclared drone war that has already killed thousands Ð is now being relentlessly escalated.
From Pakistan to Somalia, CIA-controlled pilotless aircraft rain down Hellfire missiles on an ever-expanding hit list of terrorist suspects Ð they have already killed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of civilians in the process.
Read more: Seumas Milne, guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 29 May 2012
UN chooses Mugabe as a 'leader for tourism'
Never mind that Robert Mugabe is under a travel ban for his cruel stewardship of Zimbabwe since independence. The United Nations, in its wisdom, has designated him a "leader for tourism" and chosen the Victoria Falls, shared with Zambia, as the venue for a holiday industry conference next year. At the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), based in Madrid, the thinking seems to be: "If the old man can't visit us then we should visit him."
Kumbi Muchemwa, a spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said: "I can't see any justification for the man being an 'ambassador'. An ambassador for what? The man has blood on his hands. Do they want tourists to see those bloody hands?"
Read more: David Usborn, Indpendent, 30/05/12
Serco failures contributed to death of asylum seeker
Neglect by immigration detention centre staff contributed to the death of a Pakistani asylum seeker after he suffered a heart attack, an inquest jury has found. Staff at Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre, near Heathrow airport, failed to call 999 soon enough, to administer CPR or have a working defibrillator available, an inquest at West London coroner's court, found.
Muhammad Shukat, 47, a driver from Islamabad, died following a cardiac arrest last July. His 19-year-old roommate Abdul Khan pressed the emergency buzzer 10 times over a period of almost two hours, trying but failing to get Shukat, a man he called "uncle", help.
The UK Border Agency, which commissions Serco to run the centre, said the verdict was "deeply worrying" and demanded radical action to address the problems.
Read more: Diane Taylor, guardian.co.uk, Friday 25 May 2012
Serco investigated over claims of 'unsafe' out-of-hours GP service
(Yarl's Wood/Colnbrook IRCs are managed by Serco + 6 prisons)
A leading private health company, poised to win much of the new wave of NHS outsourcing contracts, is under investigation for allegedly providing an "unsafe" out-of-hours GP service, and over claims that it manipulated results where it failed to meet targets.
Serco, which runs a large range of outsourced services for the government and local authorities, was subject to an unannounced inspection by NHS watchdogs in Cornwall last month in response to whistleblowers.
Read more: Felicity Lawrence, Independent, guardian.co.uk, 25/05/12
EDM 143: Treatment Of Religious Minorities In Egypt
That this House notes the meeting held in the House of Commons on 15 May 2012 at which the problems of Coptic Christian women in Egypt being abducted were highlighted; further notes that the Egyptian Union for Human Rights has monitored 800 such cases since 2009; expresses concern over a number of reported cases where authorities have failed to give families of abducted women their full assistance; and calls on the Government to make strong representations to the Egyptian government to encourage them to take concrete steps to protect Coptic women and to make every effort to thoroughly investigate such cases and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to trial.
Sponsors: Bruce, Fiona Date tabled: 24/05/2012
New Removal Directions for Roseline Akhalu
Roseline is loved and respected by her fellow parishioners and many people in the wider community who have formed close friendships with her over the past four years. In spite of her health problems, Roseline has volunteered tirelessly in the parish and is actively involved in a number of community based groups.
On Saturday 26 May 2012 Roseline Akhalu ("Rose"), currently detained in Yarl's Wood IRC was served with removal directions by Charter Flight to Lagos, Nigeria on Thursday 7th June 2012.
Online Petition: We, the undersigned, are asking that Roseline Akhalu (Home Office Reference Number A1344782) be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
You can sign the petition here . . . .
The Human Spur to Action on Asylum
Some clear facts and figures have been put into the public domain, thanks to a new report, Refused: the experiences of women denied asylum in the UK. In this research, 48% of women seeking asylum in Britain had been raped in their home countries. Half had experienced arrest or imprisonment. The vast majority were refused asylum in the UK. None felt able to consider returning to their home countries, as they were too scared of what would happen to them if they went back. Of those refused, more than half were made destitute – left with no means of support or housing. A quarter were detained. And the emotional impact of refusal was also revealed: more than half of women refused asylum had contemplated suicide.
These figures have received a certain amount of attention. But how urgently do figures communicate the need for change? Can you see the human faces behind the facts? This is always the problem when we talk about human rights abuses and persecution. Whether we are looking at massacres or mass rapes elsewhere, or homelessness or detention in this country, it is too easy for people to disappear behind statistics.
Read more: Natasha Walter, guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 29 May 2012
Border Force Britain - Treats Migrants as Criminals
The government's rebranding of the UK Border Agency (UKBA)'s operational arm from immigration service to Border Force encapsulates the approach which treats migrants as criminals.
Suddenly, there were all these references to 'border force' officials on the news. Border Force. The name brands the organisation as somehow more powerful, hard-hitting, but also and contradictorily tells us this is all about image. It could be (and started out as) the title of one of those gritty reality TV shows. It certainly tells us what the agency's priorities are, suggesting as it does that migrants are all potential criminals who must be watched closely and strictly controlled to stop them causing mayhem.
 The UKBA actually funded the Sky television series, Border Force, to the tune of £400,000, which was ultimately given back after an Ofcom investigation, for further information read Jon Burnett, 'PR and the selling of border controls', IRR News, 21 May 2009.
Read More: Frances Webber for IRR, May 24, 2012
DR Congo: Humanitarian Situation Deteriorates in the Kivus
As clashes continue near the border in the eastern part of North Kivu, fighting has been escalating in the Walungu, Shabunda and Kalehe territories of South Kivu, and more recently in the Walikale and Masisi territories of North Kivu, causing many deaths and injuries and much displacement.
"Most of the victims are civilians, some of whom are very young children, elderly people or women. The fighting has forced the inhabitants of entire villages to flee, worsening an already precarious situation.
Read more: Reliefweb 25/05/12
EDM 144: Treatment of Religious Minorities in Pakistan
That this House notes the meeting held in the House of Commons on 15 May 2012 at which the serious problems facing women from religious minorities in Pakistan were highlighted; expresses concern and regret that women from these minority communities frequently experience sexual harassment or are raped and are regularly denied even basic rights like access to clean water; and calls on the Government to make robust representations to the Pakistan High Commission to ensure that everything possible is done by the Pakistan government to ensure that women from religious minorities are protected.
Sponsors: Bruce, Fiona Date tabled: 24/05/2012