EDM 646: Iran Persecution Of Bahá'i Community In Semnan
That this House is deeply concerned by reports of the worsening of state-sponsored attacks against the Bah'icommunity in Iran; believes that in light of the increased cases of arrests, vandalism, arson, violence against school children and incitement to hatred in the city of Semnan, that that town has become a testing ground for refining the persecution of the Bah'icommunity; further believes that these alarming attacks are part of an effort to eliminate the Bah'icommunity asa viable entity within Iran; and callson the Government to take appropriate action to make it known to the Iranian government that their actions are being closely monitored and that they are accountable for their appalling treatment of their Bah'icitizens.
Sponsors: Durkan, Mark / Ellman, Louise / Evans, Jonathan / Long, Naomi / Williams, Mark Date tabled: 26/10/2012
Unemployment: Ethnic Groups
Black/African/Caribbean/Black British 52%
Bangladeshi and Pakistani 23%
Other Asian(1) 22% / Other ethnic minority groups(2) 33%
(1) Includes respondents identifying themselves as 'Indian', 'Chinese' or another Asian background. (2) Includes respondents in Northern Ireland identifying themselves as 'Irish Traveller" and respondents in all UK countries identifying themselves as 'Arab', or with a 'Mixed/multiple' background. Source: Labour Force Survey
House of Commons / 24 Oct 2012 : Column 941W
Monday 8 October 2012, 557 immigration detainees held in prison
EDM 628: Kurdish Hunger Strikes
That this House notes that on 25 October 2012 the Kurdish hunger strike in Turkey reached its 43rd day; further notes that 63 Kurdish political prisoners have been on hunger strike for the whole of this time and have now been joined by several hundred more; observes that the demands of the strikers include the release of Abdula Ocalan in order to negotiate a political settlement of the Kurdish question in Turkey and that Kurdish language rights in the public sphere be recognised; further notes that a letter has been sent to the Prime Minister on behalf of the Kurdish Federation of the UK asking the Government to do everything in its power to apply political pressure on the Turkish government to solve the Kurdish question; further notes that the Turkish Minister of Justice is reported to have met some of the hunger strikers and hopes that this significant move is a step towards meeting the fundamental rights of Kurdish people by the Turkish government; and calls on the Government to do all it can to support the rights of Kurdish people in Turkey.
Sponsors: Corbyn, Jeremy / Bottomley, Peter / Russell, Bob
House of Commons / Date tabled: 24/10/2012
Russia's North Caucasus Region Europe's Deadliest Conflict Today
574 deaths already this year, and the killing is unlikely to end soon. Ethnic grievances, exclusionary historical narratives and competition over land and decision-making fuel tensions in a number of multi-ethnic republics in the North Caucasus, especially Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria and Stavropol Krai. These unresolved tensions are already causing hate crimes, protests and clashes. With the recent revival of national movements, changes in the political party law and the return of elections of regional leaders, they could lead to further ethnic unrest.
Read more: International Crisis Group
Sri Lankan Asylum Seekers' Deportation Halted at Last Minute
The high court has ordered that the imminent deportation to Sri Lanka of a number of Tamils be halted amid claims they may be tortured on their return.
Three solicitors' firms have confirmed to the Guardian that a number of their clients had been given last-minute reprieves and would no longer be flown out of the country on a specially chartered UK Border Agency (UKBA) flight that was expected to be leave on Tuesday afternoon. It is understood that a further 10 to 12 firms have also lodged last-minute appeals on behalf of their clients.
Read more: Shiv Malik, guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 23 October 2012
Announced Inspection of Cedars Pre-Departure Accommodation
Inspection 30 April – 25 May 2012, report compiled July 2012, published Tuesday 23rd October 2012
Inspectors were concerned to find that:
- inconsistencies in the application of detention criteria were highlighted by the fact that most families arrived from the north of the country
- although considerable efforts were made to avoid force at the point of removal, it had been used against six of the 39 families going through Cedars;
- force had been used to effect the removal of a pregnant woman using non-approved techniques;
- most work from family escort staff was commendable, but inspectors observed unprofessional behaviour by an officer on a different escort in the hearing of children.
- specialist provision for those with mental health problems was limited
Inspectors have made 35 recommendations including:
Force should never be used to effect the removal of pregnant women or of children. It should only ever be used in relation to such vulnerable groups in order to prevent harm.
At the point of initial arrest parents should have adequate time to prepare themselves and their children for their journey, and UKBA teams should conduct the arrest as sensitively, calmly and quietly as possible.
Inspectors were pleased to find that:
- most of the work from Reliance escort staff was commendable and families were, in general, complimentary about their treatment during escort, even during the stressful removal stage;
- most of what inspectors saw from the point of arrival at the centre was good and it was clear that it had been designed around the needs of children and families;
- children were well occupied and said they enjoyed the care and stimulation they received at the centre;
- the level of care provided by the enthusiastic staff group was exceptional;
- the physical environment was clean, well maintained and attractive; and
- parents said that if they were to be removed forcibly, they would rather be held in Cedars for a short time, both to provide time for applications for judicial review, and to help them settle and prepare their children.
Introduction From the report
This is our first inspection of the Cedars pre-departure accommodation, where families are detained for up to a week immediately before removal. It has largely replaced the detention of children in Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre'. Given the uniqueness of this unit, inspectors spent four weeks speaking to detained families, accompanying them during in country escort journeys, examining documentation and speaking to Cedars staff and other involved agencies in the community.
Apparent inconsistencies in the application of detention criteria were highlighted by the fact that most families arrived from the north of the country. Most of the work we saw from Reliance escort staff was commendable and families were, in general, complimentary about their treatment during escort, even during the stressful removal stage. However, as at some previous inspections, we also observed unprofessional behaviour, not by one of the family escort team, but by an officer on a different escort in the hearing of children.
Most of what we saw from the point of arrival at the centre was good and it was clear that it had been designed around the needs of children and families. Families were welcomed and their immediate needs were met. Children were well occupied and told us they enjoyed the care and stimulation they received at the centre. The physical environment was clean, well maintained and attractive, and the level of care provided by the enthusiastic staff group was exceptional. Health care staff were accessible, though specialist provision for those with mental health problems was limited. Families told us they felt safe in the centre and had confidence in staff. Barnardo's staff played an important role in the centre and their involvement was a major factor in securing the safety and wellbeing of children while they were held.
The initial arrest, the point of removal and the use of force to effect removal were the main causes for concern. These were times of stress and upset for all family members and the behaviour of arrest teams was criticised. Although considerable efforts were made to avoid force at the point of removal, it had been used against six of the 39 families going through Cedars. We were very concerned to find that force had been used to effect the removal of a pregnant woman, using non-approved techniques. There is no safe way to do this while protecting the unborn child and it is simply not acceptable to initiate force for such purposes.
The circumstances of detention and removal were clearly traumatic for parents and their children but, unlike our consistent finding at Yarl's Wood, the conditions and length of detention at Cedars could not be said to cause distress to children and parents. In fact, parents told us that if they were to be removed forcibly, they would rather be held in Cedars for a short time, both to provide time for applications for judicial review, and to help them settle and prepare their children.
The attractive environment and caring ethos of Cedars contrast with the inevitable fear and uncertainty among families undergoing the removal process to create a sense of dissonance for visitors. It is an exceptional facility and has many practices that should be replicated in other places of detention. However, it is also, when said and done, a place that precedes a traumatic dislocation for children who have, in many cases, been born in this country or been here for much of their lives. It is to the considerable credit of staff at Cedars that children held in these circumstances were, in general, happily occupied, and that parents were able to concentrate on communication with solicitors, family and friends. This inspection found conditions and treatment that exceed by some distance what families have previously experienced before removal. For that reason, staff at Cedars deserve great credit for what has been achieved in circumstances that are never less than sad.
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons
1 Another new family unit at the nearby Tinsley House immigration removal centre also holds families with children for short periods. These families have been refused access and detained at the border, and are awaiting return flights. We have yet to inspect that facility.
Revocation of Deportation and Leave to Remain Judgment
The Court of Appeal held (in a majority 2:1 judgment), in Fitzroy George v Secretary of State for the Home Department that whilst the making of a deportation order invalidates a person's leave to remain, any subsequent revocation of the deportation order (for example as a result of a successful appeal against the making of the deportation order, or against a refusal to revoke a deportation order) results in the leave to remain automatically reviving. The Secretary of State could then decide to revoke that leave to remain, but that would be an appealable immigration decision".
Solicitor:Jovanka Stojsavljevic of Sutovic & Hartigan solicitors
Iran persecution of Non State Religions
The systematic and aggressive manner in which the Baha'is are persecuted is reflected in wider persecution of other religious and cultural minorities in Iranian society.
The human rights situation in Iran has worsened in recent years, and the specific treatment of religious minority communities, including Sunni Muslims, Christians and Baha'is, has deteriorated further, as exemplified by the sentence of capital punishment threatened against Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, an Iranian Christian. That deterioration is also documented in the recent UN "Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran". It details the treatment of Iranian Baha'i, Christian and Dervish communities. Members of all three religious minorities have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention and the curtailment of their freedom of assembly. Members of the Dervish communities have also undergone torture and prosecution, with their property being attacked and confiscated by the authorities. I therefore contend that the protection of human rights, especially the freedom of religion and of conscience sought by the Baha'is, would also benefit other minority religious traditions.
Read more: House of Commons / 24 Oct 2012 : Column 309WH
Guidelines on International Protection No. 9:
Claims to Refugee Status based on Sexual Orientation and/or Gender Identity within the context of Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Convention and/or its 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees
Inspection of Escort and Removals to Afghanistan
by HMCIP, published Wednesday 24th October 2012
Inspectors made 23 recommendations, including
Escorts should not lay hands on detainees without specific cause. They should not be subject to any form of touch or compulsion while being escorted through secure areas except on the basis of individual risk assessment.
Detainees should not be subject to repeated searching or long waits on coaches outside terminals.
Handcuffs should only be used for the minimum possible time, and the length of time they are used accurately recorded.
Unless individual risk assessment indicates otherwise, detainees should be able to use the toilet with full privacy, consume hot drinks and use pillows and blankets during flights.
All escorting staff should receive full accredited training for the use of force in any situation which may arise.
An interpreter should be available up to the point of arrival in the destination country.
Introduction from the report
This report refers to a charter flight removal of 40 detainees to Afghanistan during our third overseas escort inspection. We used the final version of expectations piloted on our first two inspections. Inspectors observed the process from immigration removal centres (IRCs) to the point of disembarkation in Kabul, and also reviewed documentation and video footage from three previous charter flight removals to Kabul.
The journey from the IRC to the destination country took over 18 hours and the process was clearly exhausting for all concerned. Some detainees were happy to return home, but others were resigned, angry or fearful about what awaited them. In such circumstances, there is a greater risk of tensions rising quickly, and strong procedures and well trained staff are vital.
In general, we saw a removal that was well planned and efficiently managed. We found a number of improvements when compared to our previous inspections. Extra staff were appropriately stood down to maintain an approximate staff-detainee ratio of two to one, and some efforts were made to avoid unnecessary crowding of detainees. Importantly, we heard none of the inappropriate and abusive language that was previously evident. Most staff made good attempts to relate to detainees, and behaved in a polite fashion. However, they were hindered by the lack of interpretation. It was hard to understand why this was not used at any point to allay the obvious anxiety felt by some detainees and to explain what was happening. Some basic elements of respectful treatment were also lacking, such as being able to use a toilet in privacy.
There was still evidence of some risk-averse and heavy-handed practices which served to escalate rather than calm tensions; and evidence from previous flights also showed excessive use of handcuffs and some unprofessional and even goading behaviour by a small number of staff. It is a particular concern that more than a year after our first inspections, there remains no accredited training for use of force in the confined space of an aircraft. Indeed, some staff were clearly making up some untested techniques ad hoc.
The preparation of detainees for arrival was generally weak with information given out that was irrelevant to most. There was no particular focus on help that might be available for detainees on arrival.
These are all weaknesses that need to be addressed by the UK Border Agency and by the escort contractors. But overall, this overseas escort was handled efficiently and more respectfully than previously, and showed encouraging improvements. We will expect ongoing incremental improvements as we continue this programme of work.
Inspection 25 – 26 June 2012 by Inspectors: Hindpal Singh Bhui, Martin Kettle, Colin Carroll
Garden Court Chambers - Immigration Law Bulletin - Issue 297
Nigeria: Religious Violence Continues Unabated
Hundreds of residents of a northeastern Nigerian city were fleeing Sunday after three days of Islamist attacks that left at least 31 dead and many buildings and properties razed, witnesses said. The troubled city of Potiskum had been under security lockdown since Thursday with troops patrolling the streets and residents keeping in-doors for fear of new attacks. Security was relaxed Sunday morning and hundreds of residents took advantage to flee the restive city.
Read more: Reliefweb 21/10/12
Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Volume 43
This document provides an update of Country Guidance case law and UKBA publications and developments in refugee producing countries between 06/10/2012 and 20/10/2012 - Volume 43 here . . .
E-Petition: Recognition of Genocide Against the Kurds in Iraq
We urge the Government to recognise formally the Genocide against the people of Iraqi Kurdistan and to encourage the EU and UN to do likewise. This will enable Kurdish people, many in the UK, to achieve justice for their considerable loss. It would also enable Britain, the home of democracy and freedom, to send out a message of support for international conventions and human rights. The Genocide perpetrated over decades, known collectively as the Anfal, began with the arabisation of villages around Kirkuk in 1963. It involved the deportation and disappearances of Faylee Kurds in the 1970s-80s, the murder of 8,000 male Barzanis in 1983, the use of chemical weapons in the late 1980s, most notably against Halabja, and finally the Anfal campaign of 1987-88. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people perished, families were torn apart, with continuing health problems, and 4,500 villages were destroyed between 1976 and 1988 undermining the potential of Iraqi Kurdistan's agricultural resources.
Created by: Nadhim Zahawi MP, You can sign here . . . .
Use of the Person Escort Record with Detainees at Risk of Self-Harm
The two key issues that emerge from the report are familiar from other settings where different agencies have to co-operate to fulfil a duty of care – maintaining quality in large-scale processes where risks might be infrequent but serious for the individuals concerned, and ensuring communication between the operational staff involved is effective and informed by a good understanding of each others' needs.
A thematic review by HMCIP October 2012
Police, courts, escorts and prisons need to work together to improve the quality and flow of information shared between them about detainees at risk of self-harm, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons, publishing the report of a thematic inspection on the use of the Person Escort Record (PER).
The report, The use of the person escort record with detainees at risk of self-harm, was completed at the request of the Independent Advisory Panel of the Ministerial Board on Deaths in Custody. It describes the processes by which information about a person's risk of self-harm is transferred and used as they move between police custody, court and prison and on other external journeys. The main vehicle for conveying this information is the person escort record (PER). It is, therefore, a crucial part of how the state fulfills its duty of care for vulnerable people in custody.
Inspectors found that often PERs contained vague statements like 'may try to kill himself in prison'. For the prison to be able to manage the risk, its staff would need to know why the custody officer wrote that - for example, had the detainee tried to kill himself before, or had he told custody staff he would try to do that.
Inspectors recommended that:
- the training of staff involved in recording self-harm information needed to be improved, as many staff, despite their best intentions, had little knowledge of how it would be used at its destination and how important it could be in helping to safeguard vulnerable people;
- improved quality assurance by police forces could mean that more first-hand information is picked up and included on PERs to give a fuller and more helpful picture; and
- changes in the design of the PER and its accompanying documentation and improvements in how information is stored and disseminated in establishments could ensure better use of that information.
Nick Hardwick said: "This report explores two key issues in detail - maintaining quality in large-scale processes where risks might be infrequent but serious for the individuals concerned, and ensuring communication between the operational staff involved is effective. It makes recommendations that we hope will be helpful in achieving improvement. The research that underpins the report also inevitably touched on wider issues concerning the care of people at risk of self-harm in custody and suggests some further work that might help improve that care overall."
Stop Charters Flights to Death!
Protest 10:00 am - Tuesday 23rd October
Harmondsworth & Colnbrook IRCs
Colnbrook by Pass
On Tuesday, the British government will try to deport up to 60 people to Sri Lanka, where many of them are at serious risk of arrest, torture and even death.
Despite overwhelming evidence of torture, mass deportations to Sri Lanka were resumed last year at the height of the genocide against the Tamils in the country.
Since then, three attempts to deport people to Sri Lanka have been disrupted by a combination of legal action and direct action at the detention centres. We have physically stopped the coaches from leaving while lawyers won final-hour injunctions in court. During the last charter on 26th September – check date, a person locked themselves to the coach surrounded by supporters, holding it up for hours while 35 people gained injunctions stopping their deportations throughout the afternoon.
Together we have the power to stop deportations. If we keep up the pressure we can stop the charters to Sri Lanka. Join us on Tuesday to show solidarity to the deportees and fight the deportation machine.
From: Chiara Lauvergnac <email@example.com>
In the financial year 2011-2012 there were 36 Charter flights, which removed 1,040 Failed asylum seekers and 291 Foreign national offenders.