UK asylum ruling on Zimbabwe can be challenged
It is significant and pleasing to note that the UK Court of Appeal has granted permission to appeal against the current Zimbabwe Country Guidance case which had brought so much misery to Zimbabweans who have been seeking permission to regularise their stay in the UK.
The decision known as EM and Others (Returnees) Zimbabwe which was decided as a country guidance case was being heavily relied upon by the UK Border Agency to deny appeals and applications made by Zimbabweans. This case deemed it safe for Zimbabweans to return to most parts of the country.
In a new decision, JG and CM (Zimbabwe), just published on January 11, 2012, the Court of Appeal concluded that there was an arguable error of law in the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)Õs country guidance. The Tribunal had erred that there had been a well established and durable change for the better in Zimbabwe since the previous country guidance in RN.
Read more: Vitalis MadanhiImmigration, Bake & Co Solicitors
Asylum support for women who are victims of domestic violence
Factsheet 13 provides advice to asylum-seeking and refused asylum-seeking women about applying to the UKBA for accommodation if they are experiencing domestic violence in their homes. It is aimed at women who are already living in accommodation provided by the UKBA and to those who are living in other accommodation, such as privately rented, who need to leave due to domestic violence.
Definition of domestic violence: The government defines domestic violence as: 'any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality'. This includes issues of concern to black and minority ethnic (BME) communities such as so called honour killings. Research shows that domestic violence is more commonly experienced by women than men. (See www.womensaid.org.uk) Although the UKBA's policy on domestic violence applies to both men and women, this factsheet (Attached) is aimed at women.
Asylum Support Appeals Project
UKBA snatch Lydia and Bernard for 4th time
Decision taken on 23 December to refuse their protection claim kept from couple and their lawyer until today
Lydia, who was broadcast live on Women's Hour in September, now locked up and without critical medication prescribed following emergency eye treatment
Bernard grabbed off Bury street today by 11 police officers
Neither family nor lawyer given reasons for refusal before detention
At 09.30 yesterday morning, the writer and playwright Lydia Besong reported to the UKBA at Dallas Court in Salford, in line with previously agreed arrangements. She was immediately detained - for the fourth time. 15 minutes later and 12 miles away in Bury, 11 police officers grabbed her husband Bernard off the street just after he had left the family home in Kestrel Drive. Neither Bernard nor Lydia have been accused or convicted of any crime whatsoever, but now, Bernard is now in Morton Hall prison in Lincoln and Lydia is in Yarl's Wood detention centre in London.
Read full Press Release @ RAPAR
Immigration does not cause unemployment
Study refutes claim that foreign nationals are depriving British-born workers of jobs. There is no link between rising immigration and rising unemployment, independent economists have found Ð contradicting persistent claims from anti-immigration activists and politicians that an influx of foreign nationals into the UK in recent years has led to more British-born workers on the dole.
The respected National Institute of Economic and Social Research found that there was "no association" between higher immigration and joblessness Ð even at times of recession or low growth of the sort that Britain is experiencing at the moment.
In fact, the Institute's researchers suggested that the opposite might be the case and that immigration acts as an economic stimulus, pushing total employment levels higher and dole claimant numbers lower than they would otherwise have been.
"Perhaps surprisingly," their economists said, "the interaction between migrant inflows and GDP emerges as positive, indicating that during periods of lower growth, migrant inflows are associated with ... slower [dole] claimant growth than would otherwise have occurred." The researchers did concede that the stimulating effects of migration on the overall labour market at a time of recession are likely to be small.
Ben Chu, Independent, 10/10/12
Ay family, Kurdish refugees from Turkey, win six-figure payout from the Home Office eight years after childhood ordeal
Four children who were incarcerated in detention centres for 13 months – the longest time children have ever been locked up in the UK – have won a six-figure compensation payout from the Home Office more than eight years after their release. The Ay family: Dilovan, now 20, Newroz, 21, Beriwan, 23, and Medya, 16 - who was just seven when the family were held in one room in Dungavel immigration removal centre in Scotland.
Through the media the children documented the damaging effect that being locked up was having on them. "The government and the police in the UK broke our hearts," said Beriwan.
The children showed signs of trauma while they were in detention and more than eight years after being released they are still living with the effects.
Read more: Diane Taylor and Simon Hattenstone, Indpendent 06/01/12
Bomb attacks leave 70 dead across Iraq as Shia are targeted
Bomb attacks in mainly Shia Muslim areas of Iraq killed more than 70 people and wounded scores yesterday, police and hospital sources said, demonstrating increased sectarian strife across the country.
The largest single attack was beside a police checkpoint west of Nasiriya in the south, where a suicide bomber targeting Shia pilgrims killed 44 people and wounded 81, said Sajjad al-Asadi, the head of the provincial security committee in Nasiriya. Photographs showed relatives hugging the bodies of young men lying face down on the ground covered in blood and with the pilgrims' belongings strewn around them.
Read More: Kareem Raheem, Indpendent, 06/01/12
Iraq and the Pretense of Control
When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, its chest was swelled with self-confidence: A new democratic state would rise and prosper once Saddan was ousted. Nine years later, we know how unfounded that optimism was. The future of Iraq will not be controlled from Washington but by the sectarian forces unleashed after the invasion.
In invading Iraq in March 2003, the United States intended to create a tabula rasa on which it could erect a new state, friendly to US interests, a reliable buffer against Iran, an investment paradise especially in the energy sector, and equipped to set off a democratic domino effect throughout an autocratic neighbourhood. However, in ignoring and failing to grasp the nature of Iraqi society, with its deep fractures, bottled-up grievances, and a political command culture inculcated by decades of tyrannical rule, the administration of George W. Bush accomplished something quite different.
It created a political, managerial and security void that was filled by militias with competing agendas and by former-exile politicians who were distrusted and resented by ordinary Iraqis. It unleashed countervailing social forces that engendered extreme ethno-sectarian polarisation and civil war. And after it finally took action to reduce violence, it established a political system that invited all political actors around the table in a dysfunctional national unity government, which could barely see beyond each groupÕs partisan interests, was defined more by what divided them than what brought them together, and utterly failed to govern.
Read More: Joost Hiltermann, The European, 12 Jan 2012
EDM 2589: Christians In Nigeria
That this House notes the continued frenzied attacks onChristians in Nigeria; condemns those who are choosing to attack people based on their region; calls on the Government to apply any diplomatic pressure available to ensure there is support and aid available for those who have been burned out of their homes or left widowed and orphaned; and further calls on the government of Nigeria to take dedicated action to protect those who are being persecuted because of their beliefs.
Primary sponsor: Jim Shannon, date tabled: 11/01/2012
Iran (Human Rights)
This debate draws attention to Iran's horrendous human rights record. The abuses affect a wide range of people—women, gay people, dissidents and the human rights lawyers who try to defend those people, including the lawyer Abdolfatah Soltani, held since September 2001 for creating propaganda against the system. Last September, three Iranian men were executed after being found guilty of charges relating to homosexuality. Last week, the daughter of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former President of Iran, received a six-month jail sentence for allegedly spreading propaganda against the regime. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman who was due to be sentenced to death by stoning for alleged adultery, may now be hanged; we are told that the change of punishment from stoning to hanging is some kind of progress.
However, I wish to focus on an area of persecution that has received too little public notice and attention: the long-standing and ongoing persecution of the Baha'is, adherents of the Baha'i religion founded in Iran in the mid-19th century. The persecution is not widely acknowledged, although it is pervasive and is escalating dangerously. There are thought to be more than 300,000 Baha'is in Iran and 188 Baha'i communities worldwide.
House of Commons / 11 Jan 2012 : Column 109WH
EDM 2583: Human Rights In Iran (No. 2)
That this House is concerned by the practice of execution by stoning in Iran; notes that stoning is a particularly repugnant and cruel form of execution; is concerned that stoning is mandatory under the Iranian Penal Code for the offence of `adultery while married' for both men and women; is alarmed that since 2002 six people that Amnesty International is aware of have been executed by stoning and at least14 people are presently at risk of execution by stoning; commends Amnesty International's campaign which seeks to end this appalling practice; is encouraged that the Iranian authorities are currently undertaking a review of whether stoning should be included in the penal code; and calls on the Government to do all it can to ensure that stoning is removed from Iran's penal code.
Primary sponsor: Mark Williams, date tabled: 11/01/2012
Serco Officer suspended for Anti-Muslim comments
Serco the company that runs immigration detention in Australia (and manages Yarl's Wood and Colnbrook IRCs in the UK), has stood down an officer who posted Facebook comments saying Muslim children in detention did not deserve Christmas presents and male detainees taught their children it was acceptable to beat wives.
The Serco officer, who has direct contact with asylum seekers held at the Darwin Airport Lodge, posted the Facebook comments on Monday, after an incident in which Christmas presents for 200 children were not handed out by officers until 12 days after Christmas. ''A member of Serco Immigration Services staff has been suspended pending the outcome of an internal investigation,'' a spokesman for the company said yesterday.
Read More: Kirsty Needham, The Age, 11/01/12
Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI update volume 25
This document provides an update of Country Guidance case law, UKBA publications and developments in refugee producing countries between 28/11/2011 and 12/12/2011. Download volume 25 here . . .
Gladys needs your help once more
Gladys Mabvira, a Zimbabwean activist who has been detained in Yarl's Wood for nearly 4 months, has once again received removal directions, this time for 12th January.
Gladys has been an active member of opposition group ZAPU UK (Zimbabwe African People's Union). Her open and public participation with this group, particularly her online blogging, would put her at risk if she was returned to Zimbabwe. As elections are likely to take place in the new year in Zimbabwe, political tensions will rise and repression of opponents to the Mugabe regime will increase. A recent International Crisis Group report highlighted that violence and repression continue in Zimbabwe, despite the existence of the unity government.
UKBA have refused Gladys' application for further leave to remain in the UK, despite her having lived here for 9 years. She has been an active and positive presence in her local community, for example through her leading role at Destiny House Church.
Campaign material available NCADC
Fresh Church attacks in Nigeria leave at least 27 worshippers dead
A fresh wave of violence against churchgoers in Nigeria has left at least 27 people dead and heightened fears over security in Africa's most populous country. The religiously motivated massacres, three in as many days since Thursday, targeted Christians in Mubi and Gombe, both towns in the north-east where a state of emergency was declared by President Goodluck Jonathan last week. Some 17 other deaths have been reported in other regions.
Read more, Tracy McVeigh, guardian.co.uk, 07/01/12
Free Training: Asylum Support Appeals
Asylum Support Appeals Project (ASAP) is running a day's training session in Newcastle in January on asylum support appeals. The training aims to help advisers carry out the best possible appeals for their service users and increase awareness about the appeals process.
The training will be led by ASAP Solicitor Michael Spencer. The course focuses on appeals to the First-tier Tribunal (Asylum Support), but will also cover eligibility criteria for Section 95 and Section 4 support and the application process in general.
What will it cover?
• Introduction to asylum support
• Section 95 support for asylum seekers
• Section 4 support for refused asylum seekers
• Appealing to the First-tier Tribunal (Asylum Support)
• Proving destitution and eligibility for support
• Issues facing vulnerable appellants
• Key developments in the last six months.
Who is it for?
The session is aimed at advice agencies, legal advisers and refugee community groups, particularly those who help asylum seekers and refused asylum seekers appeal against decisions to refuse or withdraw support. However, advisers who generally support on these issues but don't carry out appeals would also find the session useful.
This course assumes some pre-existing knowledge of asylum support. It is not suitable for advisers who are completely new to the sector or who are looking for a general introduction to support options for asylum seekers.
Dates, times and venue
Places are available on either of the following two dates:
Thursday 26 January 2012, 10am – 4pm OR
Friday 27 January 2012, 10am – 4pm
The training will take place at:
University of Newcastle
How do I sign up?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to book a place or have any questions. Please let us know if you have any special requirements.
ASAP is a legal advice charity that specialises in asylum support law. We provide free representation for asylum seekers appealing decisions to refuse or discontinue their support. We also run an advice line for advisers and training sessions on asylum support issues throughout the year. For more information, please visit our website <http://asaproject.org/web/index.php>www.asaproject.org
Asylum Support Appeals Project
Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green, London E2 5HG
Tel 020 7729 3056 Fax 020 7033 4030 www.asaproject.org.uk
Company limited guarantee no. 04763838, Registered charity no. 1105625