Somalia [25,000 + children starved to death in 2011]
As the House will well know, Somalia today is not stable or peaceful, and that is the matter that we are going to consider today. It presents the most acute symptoms of state failure seen anywhere on the globe, even relative to Afghanistan, which we have just been discussing. It has had no properly functioning central Government for 20 years now, and it is the scene of some of the worst humanitarian suffering that the modern world has known. I will say more about that shortly, but I start with the single heart-rending, staggering and deplorable fact that between 50,000 and 100,000 people starved to death in Somalia last year, half of them children. Somalia's problems present a growing threat to its own people, its neighbours and the security of Britain and our allies around the world.
House of Commons / 9 Feb 2012 : Column 509
13th attempt to Remove Patrice Ndjonssy
Say no to his deportation - Removal set for Monday 13th February
Patrice Ndjonssy is a 40-year-old Cameroonian national is currently detained at Brook House IRC. Patrice fled to the UK in 2008, to escape persecution in Cameroon. His safety is at severe risk, should he be removed.
UKBA plans to remove Patrice on Air France flight AF1481 from Heathrow to Paris, Charles de Gaulle (CDG) - France @ 8:20 hrs on Monday 13th February 2012, and then from Paris, Charles de Gaulle (CDG) - on Air France flight AF900 @ 13;30 to Yaoundé, Cameroon. This will be the 13th attempt to remove Patrice.
None of the facts of his case have changed and can be viewed here . . . .
Attached model letters have been updated for the 13th
Please act quickly for the 13th timeto save him from this unjust removal.
What you can do to help
1) Please fax/phone/email, Mr Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, Chief Executive Officer, Air France and urge him not to carry out the forced removal of Patrice Ndjonssy - Download model fax PatriceNdjonssyAF.doc (you can copy/amend/write your own version - if you do, please include the following details:
UKBA plans to forcibly remove Patrice Ndjonssy on Air France flight AF1481 from Heathrow to Paris, Charles de Gaulle (CDG) - France @ 8:20 hrs on Monday 13th February 2012, and then from Paris, Charles de Gaulle (CDG) on Air France flight AF900 @ 13:30 to Yaoundé, Cameroon. This will be the 13th attempt to remove Patrice, many of these flights were booked with Air France.
Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 0845 084 5222 option 2 ~~~ Fax: 020 8782 8175
Please do this immediately. Even if you can't fax - please phone and leave a message or email saying you are concerned about Constant's health and well being.
2. Please fax/phone/email, Secretary of State for the Home Office, Rt. Hon Theresa May, MP. Ask her to exercise her discretionary powers to stop the flight, ands release Patrice Ndjonssy from detention and to grant him protection in the UK. You can download model letter Patrice NdjonssyTM.doc or alternatively write your own one. Please remember to quote Patrice's Home Office Reference number in any correspondence: N1142890/2
Rt. Hon Theresa May, MP
Secretary of State for the Home Office,
2 Marsham St
London SW1 4DF
Fax: 020 7035 4745
"CIT - Treat Official" <CITTO@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk>
Please let the campaign know of any actions:
January floods mark the beginning of the disaster year
Floods that began in January and which continue to heap misery on communities in Africa, the Americas, Australia and the Pacific, are a strong indication that over 100 million people will again be affected by floods this year in line with long-term trends.
"Widespread floods in January are in keeping with long-term disaster trends which show that floods are the most dominant disaster category when it comes to the numbers affected. Over the last ten years annual averages of 106 million people have had their lives disrupted by floods.
"The frequency and impact of the storms and floods last month should encourage local governments in coastal and riverside areas to put in place the budgeting and infrastructure necessary to reduce the impact of floods and prevent the significant loss of life and livelihoods which comes with them".
David Singh, UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
South Sudan [deaths and displacement of civilians]
Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have assessed the situation in South Sudan's Jonglei State; who they believe to be responsible for the deaths and displacement of civilians; and what discussions they have had with the Government of South Sudan about the restoration of order.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are very concerned about the conflict in Jonglei state, which has displaced an estimated 168,000 people. The causes of conflict in Jonglei are complex, with resource competition between different tribal groups having been complicated by the increased availability of arms and activities of rebel militias in recent years. Past grievances and the desire for revenge further fuel the spiral of violence. Protection of civilians should be the first priority, and we support the efforts of the Government of South Sudan, supported by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, in that regard. It is important now to prevent reprisals and break the cycle of violence. Our Ambassador in Juba has met the South Sudanese Vice President and the Acting Defence Minister to discuss the Government's plans for a reconciliation and peace process in Jonglei involving the church, local and central leadership and civil society. We continue to urge the Government of South Sudan to redouble efforts to defuse tension and find permanent means of resolving differences between communities.
House of Lords / 6 Feb 2012 : Column WA22
Sudan [continued lack of humanitarian access]
Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will be assisting any efforts by the United States to deliver humanitarian assistance to South Kordofan and Blue Nile.[HL15026]
Baroness Northover: We are deeply concerned at the continued lack of humanitarian access in the conflict areas of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile State, and the impact this is having on the large numbers of displaced people in these areas. We particularly welcome the UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs' engagement on the issue, and are working with her team to support her efforts. We are also working closely with our international partners, including the US, on a lasting solution for the delivery of humanitarian aid, and will continue to exert pressure to achieve humanitarian access with direct contact with the Sudanese Government.
House of Lords / 6 Feb 2012 : Column WA28
Can Criminal Convictions Affect your Ability to Settle in Britain?
The Immigration Rules were amended on 6 April 2011 to include a new tougher criminality threshold. The key difference is that as of this date any unspent conviction will lead to a mandatory refusal of a prospective application to be granted settlement in the UK under the working and the family route. The new threshold is a much stronger requirement that the "good character" found at paragraph 322 of the Rules which sets out the general ground of refusal.
Thus, to assess your eligibility for settlement, it's important to have an good understanding of the 1974 Rehabilitation of Offender Act which stipulates when a conviction can be deemed "spent". In particular, a conviction becomes 'spent' after a specified rehabilitation period. This time depends on two key variables:
(1) the sentence imposed and not the offence committed and
(2) the age of the offender at the time of conviction.
Read more: February 3, 2012 By MigraCo
Civilian deaths in Afghanistan at highest level in a decade
A string of bigger and more complex suicide attacks by insurgents in Afghanistan have pushed civilian deaths to their highest level in a decade a United Nations report says.
The number of civilians killed in the conflict rose eight per cent last year to reach 3,021 – with more than three-quarters caused by attacks from the Taliban-led insurgency.
The findings that on average more than eight Afghans a day are being killed are at odds with Nato assessments that violence is falling. Deaths from suicide attacks rose more than 80 per cent to 431 over the year. The number of suicide attacks did not rise, but "the nature of these attacks changed, becoming more complex, sometimes involving multiple suicide bombers, and designed to yield greater numbers of dead and injured civilians" the report found.
Read more: Ben Farmer, Telegraph, 04/02/12
ECtHR: I. M. v. France - violation of Article 13
First-time asylum seeker not given effective remedy under fast-track procedure for examination of his case
[France: Applications under the fast-track procedure account for 24% of the overall number of applications, and 62.5% of fast-track procedures relate to first-time applications ] Full judgment is available only in French
Chamber judgment in the case I. M. v. France (application no. 9152/09), which is not final", the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
A violation of Article 13 (right to an affective remedy) taken together with Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights
The case concerned the risks the applicant would face in the event of his deportation to Sudan and the effectiveness of the remedies available to him in France in view of the fact that his asylum application was dealt with under the fast-track procedure. Read more . . . .
Lies, damned lies and racism
The numbers game around immigration statistics has turned into a bloody battle.
There is a sense in which debates which solely contest the statistics of immigration miss many of the points of anti-racist campaigning. Behind the statistics, are unsavoury politics. The political polls are suggesting the Con-Dem Coalition is, thus far, successful in both creating and exploiting commonsense racism and xenophobia. Such a climate would, of course, encourage a new wave of dangerous extremist violence. In the short term, though, lies, damn lies and statistics seem to be a useful marketing strategy for the far-right populist party British Conservatives are becoming.
<http://www.irr.org.uk/2012/february/ha000011.html>Read the full article: By John Grayson, IRR, 9th February 2012
Nigeria: Child Lead Poisoning Crisis
Thousands of children in northern Nigeria need immediate medical treatment and dozens of villages remain contaminated two years into the worst lead poisoning epidemic in modern history. Four hundred children have died, according to official estimates, yet environmental cleanup efforts have not even begun in numerous affected villages. Artisanal gold mines are found throughout Zamfara State in northwestern Nigeria, and high levels of lead in the earth and the use of rudimentary mining methods have resulted in an epidemic of lead poisoning among children.
Read more: Human Rights Watch, 07/02/12
Iraq: 65 Executions in First 40 Days of 2012
Iraqi authorities should halt all executions and abolish the death penalty, since the beginning of 2012, Iraq has executed at least 65 prisoners, 51 of them in January, and 14 more on February 8, for various offenses.
"The Iraqi government seems to have given state executioners the green light to execute at will,"said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "The government needs to declare an immediate moratorium on all executions and begin an overhaul of its flawed criminal justice system."
Human Rights Watch, 09/02/12
Uganda anti-gay bill resurrected in parliament
An anti-homosexuality bill described by Barack Obama as "odious" has been resurrected by the Ugandan parliament. But according to the politician who reintroduced the bill, it no longer contains a provision for the death penalty and proposes reduced proposed prison sentences for homosexual acts instead of a life sentence.
David Bahati, a member of Uganda's ruling partyput his bill, first tabled in 2009, before parliament to a standing ovation and cheers from fellow parliamentarians, shouting "our bill, our bill".
There was some confusion about what exactly the text presented to parliament contained, but reaction from activists was swift, with Amnesty International condemning the bill's revival, and a Ugandan campaigner describing its reception in parliament as "shocking".
Read more: Clar Ni Chonghaile, guardian.co.uk, 08/02/12
Immigration [Zambrano ruling]
Lord Laird to ask Her Majesty's Government what effect the Zambrano ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union in March 2010 on the granting of citizenship to "third country" parents of EU citizen children has had in the United Kingdom; and how many such parents have been granted residency here as a result.[HL15247]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) handed down the judgment in the case of Ruiz Zambrano (C-34/09) in March 2011. The Home Office is considering the implications of this judgment and its effect on the rights of third country nationals with a dependent Union citizen and is in the process of finalising its policy, including possible changes to the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 ('the Regulations) that would be required in order to enable the issue of documentation on this basis. To date no documentation confirming a right of residence on the basis of the Ruiz Zambrano judgment has therefore been issued.
However, a certificate of application (CoA) will be issued to persons who can demonstrate that they potentially meet the scope of the judgment. This will in turn enable a person to work and reside in the UK whilst their application is pending and final Home Office policy is established.
House of Lords / 6 Feb 2012 : Column WA14
Forget About Him, He's Not Here
Israel's Control of Palestinian Residency in West Bank and Gaza
This report describes the arbitrary exclusion by the Israeli military of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians since 1967 and documents the impact that exclusion continues to have on individuals and families. The way IsraelÕs military has exercised its control over the Palestinian population registry Ð the list of Palestinians whom it considers to be lawful residents of the West Bank and Gaza territories Ð has separated families, caused people to lose jobs and educational opportunities, barred people from entering the Palestinian territories, and trapped others inside them. Egypt also has problematic policies on Palestinians trying to enter Gaza that are based on the Israeli-controlled population registry.
Human Rights Watch, February 5, 2012
G4S and asylum seekers' housing
By IRR News Team, 2 February 2012
Below we reproduce a letter signed by academics in the Yorkshire region expressing concerns over the awarding of a housing contract to a private company.
As researchers and university teachers in the fields of housing and immigration in the Yorkshire region we oppose the plans of the Coalition government, through the UK Border Agency (UKBA), to award national contracts of around £135 million for managing asylum seeker social housing to the three multinational security companies who manage most immigration detention centres, and forcible deportations in the UK; G4S, Serco, and Reliance.
Read the full article here . . . .
High court issues damning judgment on 'widespread unlawful use of restraint' in child prisons run by G4S and Serco
The children and young persons sent to [secure training centres] were sent there because they had acted unlawfully and to learn to obey the law, yet many of them were subject to unlawful actions during their detention. I need, I think, say no more - Judge Mr Justice Foskett
Children's Rights Alliance, 11/01/12