EDM 2252 Bahrain Human Rights
That this House notes the very precarious political climate currently existing in Bahrain due to ongoing human rights violations and the disturbing elements stirring up sectarian violence with the potential for spreading beyond Bahrain and to her neighbours; calls on the Government to make representations to the government of Bahrain to release the medical professionals who have been sentenced to up to 15 years without any solid evidence or access to a legal team, to investigate the death of a young boy who was killed by shotgun as well as raising the issue of the imprisoned opposition leaders, many of whom were tortured and have no access to medication including a Mr Hasan Mushaima, who is suffering from cancer requiring immediate attention, and to restore rights to the large number of workers who have lost their jobs due to peaceful protests calling for reform.
Primary sponsor: Jeremy Corbyn, Date tabled: 13/10/2011
Violence against women: Prevent, Protect and Provide Justice
"Pervasive, widespread and unacceptable; that's violence against women throughout the world," said United Nations Special Rapporteur Rashida Manjoo at the UN General Assembly today, presenting a key thematic report on violence against women, its causes and consequences.
"Whether it occurs in times of peace and conflict, the various forms and manifestations of violence against women are simultaneously causes and consequences of discrimination, inequality and oppression," Ms. Manjoo stressed. The report brings together the expert views of Ms. Manjoo and two of her predecessors charged with monitoring and reporting on violence against women.
Check the report by Special Rapporteur Rashida Manjoo: http://www.un.org/Docs/journal/asp/ws.asp?m=A/66/215
Egypt: Cairo riots leave at least 24 Coptic Christians dead
Military police blamed for using excessive force as protest march by Coptic Christians over church attack erupts into violence. At least 24 people have been killed and more than 200 injured in the centre of Cairo after a protest over an attack on a church erupted into the worst violence since the 18-day uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak as president of Egypt in February.
Jack Shenker and Barry Neild, guardian.co.uk, 09/10/11
Thousands of Kurds could awaken against Syrian regime
Syria's insurgency took a dangerous turn over the weekend after the assassination of a prominent Kurdish opposition leader heightened tension and threatened to turn a once quiescent minority against President Bashar al-Assad.
More than 50,000 mourners marched through the streets of Qamishli, a city in the Kurdish northeast, to mark the funeral of Mashaal Tammo, who was killed on Friday when masked gunmen burst into his flat.
Anger over the death of one of their most popular leaders turned to rage after Syrian security forces opened fire on the funeral procession on Saturday, killing at least five of the mourners.
Mr Tammo's death prompted widespread calls from senior figures in the Kurdish community to join the civilian uprising against Mr Assad, a development that could seriously weaken the president given the challenges he is already facing elsewhere in the country.
The Telegraph, 09/10/11
Asylum Procedures and Reception Conditions Directives
The Minister for Immigration (Damian Green): The Government have decided not to opt in to the European Commission's amended proposals for asylum procedures and reception conditions directives.
The Government have grave concerns about the way in which the provisions in the amended reception conditions directive would allow asylum seekers to work after six months if a decision at first instance has not been reached and would place stringent restrictions on member states' ability to detain asylum seekers in exceptional circumstances. These restrictions are unnecessary in a system such as ours where detainees have the right to apply to the courts for release on bail, or to bring a legal challenge against their detention.
The amended procedures directive would place restrictions on accelerated procedures, and on the making of asylum appeals non-suspensive (where a right of appeal can be exercised out of country only), which would endanger a number of systems that the UK operates to manage straightforward asylum claims effectively—in particular our detained fast track which provides speedy but fair decisions for any asylum seekers whose claims are capable of being decided quickly.
Unfortunately, rather than giving us the correct means by which to consider asylum claims effectively and to deter abuse, both directives subject member states' asylum systems to unjustified regulation and focus excessively on enhancing the rights of all asylum seekers whether their claims are valid or not. This would have significant cost implications for the UK.
The Government will continue to approach forthcoming legislation in the area of justice and home affairs on a case-by-case basis, with a view to maximising our country's security, protecting Britain's civil liberties and enhancing our ability to control immigration.
House of Commons / 13 Oct 2011 : Column 45WS
Let Lorna Live in Peace! - Only hours left to Act
Investigative journalist Lorna Kamotho was detained when reporting at the Home Office on Tuesday. She has been given removal directions for 21:00 hrs Friday evening.
Lorna trained as a journalist at the University of Nairobi and then worked as Communications Manager for the African Economic Research Consortium as well as Regional Communications Manager with Save the Children before coming to the UK to study for a compulsory module for her MBA which she had to study at Imperial College in August 2010. After finishing the module she came to Glasgow to stay with friends and then she claimed asylum shortly after her visa ended in March 2011.
Before coming to the UK Lorna had been working on trying to investigating paedophile rings in Kenya that included churches and people in her own family. She believes that some powerful people are involved and that they will track her down and cause her harm.
Since claiming asylum Lorna has been very involved in the local community. She has worked as a journalist for the Southside News and with the on line radio station Radio Kilamanjaro where she presented programmes and helped with translations into Swahili.
It is imperative that Lorna is not removed to Nairobi where she could face persecution and great personal danger.
What you can do immediately to help Lorna:
Fax/Email/Phone the Home Secretary -
Download model letter here . . . .
Rt. Hon Theresa May, MP
Secretary of State for the Home Office,
2 Marsham St London SW1 4DF
Fax: 020 7035 4745
(00 44 20 7035 4745 if you are faxing from outside UK)
"CIT - Treat Official" <CITTO@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk>
Email/Phone Virgin Airways - Download model letter here . . .
Contact Virgin Airways Head Office: 0844 811 0000
Email the Virgin customer relations:
Passenger Information 0844 209 8703
Flight Information 0844 209 7770 (Open 24 hours/day)
Please let UNITY know of any actions taken:
The UNITY Centre
30 Ibrox Street
0141 427 7992
Khethiwe, still detained - No case progress - Support Demo Thursday
Hi everyone, we are still waiting for news about Khethiwe, she is still detained in Yarl's Wood. The court had asked for documents to be given in by Friday, they were, so we had expected to hear something on Friday and it's Wednesday now and still no news.
So, whatever the decision . . . . we want as many people as possible to come to:
Thursday October 13th
Assemble 1:30 pm for 2:00 pm
To make it clear that "Khethiwe Must Stay" - Campaigning and protesting have already prevented her deportation to Zimbabwe, which was originally scheduled for Thursday 29 September. We hope Khethiwe will be given the opportunity to put her case properly and be freed from Yarls Wood ... and even be there to welcome us all on Thursday.
If not, we must be her voice to speak out for justice and for her safety. If you are local to Bristol then we hope you will join us on Thursday.
If you can't attend you can still help by telling and encouraging your friends within your networks to come.
Thank you for your support.
Khethiwe Must Stay Campaign
Khethiwe Mashavave Belongs to Bristol - Not Robert Mugabe
Why don't UKBA believe Ugandan asylum seeker Proscovia is a lesbian?
Proscovia is appealing the decision to refuse her fresh claim, her appeal hearing is on Wednesday. She has been active in the fight for immigrant and LGBT rights as a member of 'Movement for Justice', and she is determined to see that other lesbians do not go through what she has gone through.
Online Petition - Please sign it today
Demonstration at Proscovia's next Asylum Appeal Hearing:
Wednesday 12th October 2011, 9:00 am
London, EC1R 4QU
(Short Walk from Angel tube)
Like so many other lesbians in African nations where homosexuality is illegal, Proscovia faced a constant pressure to conform, to marry, to have a boyfriend.
In 1996, she was pressured into a relationship with a man who became her rapist. Despite all of the pressure she had several lesbian relationships, from one with another girl in boarding school in her teens to maintaining a relationship with a woman for a year and a half in 1998.
Her sexuality had to be hidden, her relationships secret; a constant fear of discovery accompanied her daily.
UK Immigration decision makers and judges in Proscovia's case have shown a complete disdain for lesbian relationships, in one case accusing Proscovia's long term girlfriend of "exaggerating the lesbian aspect of their relationship".
The original decision maker found that the fact Proscovia used a contraceptive implant as proof that she must be lying about her sexuality. In fact Proscovia was both terrified of being raped again and also wanted to regulate difficult periods (there are many reasons for women to use contraceptive). This sexist and demeaning view of lesbian sexuality is not just confined to Proscovia's case; it is all too common.
Reports of judges/decision makers commenting on women's appearance as proof they are not really lesbians, refusing to accept witness statements from partners and stating that if a woman has ever had sex with men she can't really be a lesbian. This is part of a general approach the immigration authorities have adopted in order to circumvent the Supreme Court's ruling that the Home Office could no longer justify deporting LGBT people to countries where they face torture/imprisonment by arguing that they can live 'discretely'.
This approach imposes extra obstacles on lesbians making asylum claims, because to survive as a lesbian in countries where you are expected to be married young, many have to live double lives, most have been raped, most have had to seek the help of men who demand payment in sex just to escape to safety. Often lesbians fall into these same abusive relationships in the UK because dealing with that kind of trauma and abuse is no easy process, believing that you are free to live as a lesbian is not easy, especially as, to survive in the UK, women often end up in the same national communities they escaped from.
In 2002 in Uganda Proscovia was taken into custody following a claim of theft at the army medical centre where she worked. Held in custody for about a month, she was subjected to beatings and rape, she heard that one of her colleagues who had been taken into custody with her had died because of the severity of the beatings.
"Most of the severe beatings took place when I was resisting being raped. Once I stopped resisting, the beatings became less severe and less frequent".
She managed to escape this nightmare with the help of a guard who took pity on her. On the run, she stayed at friends' and relatives' houses before managing to obtain a student visa and being able to flee to the UK in 2003.
On arrival in the UK, Proscovia found herself in the grips of severe depression; when her photograph was published in a college prospectus she became fearful of discovery and left her course. At that time there was a lot of discussion and rumours in the Ugandan community about a man called Mr Guma who was a Ugandan national working at UKBA ensuring that all Ugandan asylum claims were refused. For this reason she was scared of claiming asylum and had no idea that she could apply for asylum based on her sexuality. Mr Guma was exposed, the rumours proved true and the story reached the news in December 2008.
Her hand was forced when she was discovered in a routine stop by police and taken into detention 24 April 2010. Despite an obviously very complicated case and being a victim of torture, Proscovia was placed on 'Fast Track', given just days between each stage in the process.
Proscovia's initial claim for asylum was refused with just three short paragraphs making the decision not to believe that she is a lesbian.
"You failed to disclose you were a lesbian when asked why you could not return to Uganda during your screening interview and only disclosed it during your asylum interview. This late disclose of evidence is considered to undermine your claim."
"You claim that you have been in a relationship with Miss M since 2008, however you have not provided any evidence to substantiate this part of your claim. You have provided a passport for Miss M by fax along with a witness statement, however it is considered that this witness statement could have been produced by anyone and is completely self serving."
"It must also be noted from your medical records that you have a contraceptive implant and that since you arrived in the UK in 2003 you have had four contraceptive injections a year that were administered by the NHS. It is considered that if you were a lesbian you would not have had a contraceptive injection for the past seven years nor would you have recently had a contraceptive implant."
The appeal (held 10 days later) went even further to uphold the previous decision, despite Proscovia's long-term girlfriend appearing as a witness.
"I am not persuaded to the appropriate lower standard that she and the appellant enjoy a same sex relationship. I accept that they are very fond of each other and meet regularly, but they do not live together for reasons that were never explained. I find Ms M was exaggerating the lesbian aspect of their friendship in order to assist the appellant."
Proscovia was scheduled for removal to Uganda 15 June 2010; she switched solicitors because she found out that the solicitor advising her throughout her claim was a central leader of the Ugandan President Museveni's NRM party in the UK and Ireland. The NRM is the party initiating and driving through the 'kill gays bill'. Her new solicitor was able to secure her release pending a Judicial Review claim of the decision to deport.
You would think that having had a representative of the ruling party in Uganda as your solicitor would completely undermine the Appeal Tribunal's decision and lead to allowing a fresh claim - but no! On 2 September 2011 Ms Proscovia's Fresh Claim was refused.
Despite 12 witness statements, including a statement from an ex-girlfriend, a bar manager who could testify that Proscovia went there with her girlfriend, and many photographs of her at gay events - the UKBA still maintain their disbelief that Proscovia is a lesbian.
On the question of Proscovia's previous solicitors leading involvement in the NRM, they found that there was no evidence that he would disclose details of her claim for asylum to the Ugandan authorities. No mention was made of the fact that he did not disclose his involvement in the NRM to her and therefore it was at the very least a serious conflict of interest, compromising her case.
By Karen Doyle for LGTB Asylum News
How the Home Office is misusing law in gay Ugandan asylum seeker case
UK Home Office again saying Uganda safe to return LGBT asylum seekers to
EDM 2245: Protection Of Coptic Christians In Egypt
That this House notes with alarm the sectarian violence directed at Coptic Christians in Egypt; believes that the Egyptian authorities have failed to investigate or prosecute those responsible for these attacks on Christians and their places of worship; further believes that Egyptian military and police appear to have played a role in the violence; and calls on the Government to fulfil its legal and moral responsibilities to ensure that the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination on Religion or Belief is adhered to by pressuring Egyptian authorities to provide a prompt, thorough and impartial inquiry conducted by independent judicial authorities, leading to accountability and the better protection of Egypt's Coptic Christian minority.
Primary sponsor: Adrian Sanders, Date tabled: 13/10/2011
Immigrants saved my family and are crucial to Britain
One unexpected aspect of life as the parent of a profoundly disabled teenager is that at times it is almost like running a small business, with a raft of people helping provide round-the-clock care. They must all be trained, trustworthy and pleasant, since they spend so long in your home and with your child.
In recent days we have been trying to find people for night work. It is never easy: caring for a child with a life-threatening condition is challenging, the hours anti-social and the pay far from brilliant. As ever, the vast majority of applicants came from abroad to join a team that includes Colombians, South Africans, Slovakians and Poles.
But it is becoming harder. The backlash against immigration leads to constant tweaking of the rules and ever-tighter restrictions, driving away people who fill such employment gaps. Nurses from the Philippines studying here, for example, can only work 10 hours a week instead of 20, so it is hardly worth training them to understand our daughter's complex needs.
Ian Birrell,London Evening Standard, 11 Oct 2011
Follow-up inspection of Haslar IRC
31 May to 3 June 2011 by HMCIP, report compiled July 2011, published Wednesday 12th October 2011
Inspectors were concerned to see that:
- none of our previous recommendations on immigration casework - central to a detainee's predicament - had been achieved by the UK Border Agency (UKBA); and in particular
- we concluded that insufficient progress had been made on safety overall.
- It was of particular concern that procedures to safeguard the most vulnerable detainees, those who might be children and those who might not be fit to be detained, potentially as a result of torture, were not robust.
Read more here . . . .
Barriers to Support Appeals for Asylum- Seeking Women
Please find attached a recent briefing published by ASAP's women's project which documents some of the particular difficulties women experience when appealing to the Asylum Support Tribunal (AST) . The briefing is based on interviews we conducted with 22 women attending the tribunal, as well as interviews with six agencies providing advice on asylum support appeals. The findings may partly explain why there are such low numbers of women lodging appeals at the Asylum Support Tribunal . A snap-shot survey of the tribunal listings over a three month period in 2010 showed that only 13% of those scheduled to attend were women. The report includes some recommendations which we hope will help improve the uptake of appeals by women
You can download the report here . . . .
Vigil for Jimmy Mubenga
Friday 14 October 2011, 12:00 noon to 1:30pm
Crown Prosecution Service
2 Southwark Bridge
London SE1 9HS
A vigil to mark the one-year anniversary of the death of Jimmy Mubenga
A year after his death Jimmy's family are still waiting for the police to finish their investigations and for the CPS to consider bringing charges against the three G4S guards arrested in connection with his death.
The three men were recently re-bailed by police until December. Jimmy died on 12 October 2010 after an attempt to deport him to Angola on a BA flight after allegedly being restrained by three guards from G4S, a company contracted (at the time) by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) as escorts.
Please bring candles
Called by the Justice for Jimmy Mubenga Campaign, supported by INQUEST, Medical Justice and NoBorders.
For further information email:
or phone 07972 850 143
Asylum Aid's legal advice line extended
Asylum Aid offers free, confidential and independent legal advice and representation.
Asylum Aid's Advice Line: 0207 354 9264 or email <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com
Our advice line offers free one-off legal advice to asylum-seekers, refugees as well as individuals or organisations working with them.
The Advice Line operates
Tuesdays between 1.00 pm – 4:00pm
Thursdays 10am -12.30pm
The information that callers give us and the advice that we give is confidential.
To ensure that our advice is accurate we usually ask callers questions about their immigration status in the UK. If you call, please be prepared to answer detailed questions, although we will not tell anyone the information you give us.
If you do not speak English, it would be best if you have someone with you who can interpret. Asylum Aid cannot provide telephone interpretation for Advice Line calls.
Asylum Aid is currently unable to take referrals. If you would like advice, please contact our advice line on the number below.
Asylum Aid's Legal Team is currently made up of 2 solicitors, a non-practising barrister, 4 caseworkers, a casework assistant, a casework volunteer and a manager. The team's aim is to provide the highest quality advice and representation. We have a very high success rate and also pride ourselves on high levels of client care.
Our solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors' Regulation Authority. The other members of the team who work directly with clients are regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner and have all gained Law Society accreditation as Senior Caseworkers. All our legal representatives have extensive experience in asylum and immigration law.
Asylum Aid website
DR CONGO, 1.7 million internally displaced people (IDPs)
IDPs need further assistance in context of continued attacks and insecurity
There were an estimated 1.7 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as of July 2011, the vast majority of them in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu. This included over 128,000 people newly displaced in the first quarter of 2011. Most fled their homes to escape fighting between rebel groups and the Congolese armed forces, while others were victims of direct attacks and violence perpetrated by the warring parties or by other armed individuals. The UN peacekeeping mission has provided some support to the army in its fight against rebel groups, and has led short operations too.
R (on the application of Quila and another) & R (on the application of Bibi and another)
The Supreme Court, by a 4-1 majority, dismisses the Secretary of State's appeal, on the grounds that the refusal to grant marriage visas to the Respondents was an infringement of their rights under Article 8 ECHR. Lord Wilson gives the leading judgment; Lady Hale gives a concurring judgment. Lord Phillips and Lord Clarke agree with Lord Wilson and Lady Hale. Lord Brown gives a dissenting judgment.
Read the Supreme Court decision here . . . .