G4S/Serco: 'Place Asylum Seekers In Sub-Standard Housing'
Private security firms G4S and Serco have placed asylum seekers in sub-standard properties, according to a report by the National Audit Office. A report on contracts awarded by the Home Office also criticised the length of time taken to house asylum seekers. Three providers - G4S, Serco and Clearel - signed contracts in March 2012 to find housing for destitute asylum seekers.
The move was intended to save around £20m a year over seven years. But the NAO has found that in 2012-13, it achieved a saving of only £8m. G4S and Serco were singled out for particular criticism, after struggling to get their contracts up and running because of "negotiating difficulties" with the existing housing suppliers.
Read more: BBC News, < >09/01/14
Jeyaseelan - Safe For The Moment
The good news is that after twice refusing, and after numerous heated email and fax exchanges, the Home Office have deferred the removal of Jeyaseelan to allow time for the judicial review to be heard.
This is excellent news, and a real tribute to all the work that you who have Emailed/Faxed and his legal team put in. But we do not know yet for how long the Home Office is going to defer the removal, so this may not be the end of the story.
But at least he will not be returned to Sri Lanka today.
The Sri Lanka Campaign.
Jeyaseelan's amazing legal team, working for free and against the clock, managed to submit a 300 page fresh claim for asylum on Friday. This claim contained fresh witness statements, independent verification of his arrest in Sri Lanka, photographic and medical reports from Sri Lanka, a psychiatric report by telephone assessment, a letter from his treating counselor, medical records from the detention health care team, a short expert report, and statements in support from the British Red Cross, the Sri Lanka Campaign, and Act Now. The Home Office dismissed this claim out of hand in a pro forma letter which disregarded much of the evidence offered.
A.A. v. Switzerland - Violation of Article 3 if Expelled to Sudan
The case concerned the threatened expulsion of a failed asylum seeker from Switzerland to Sudan. The applicant, A.A., is a Sudanese national who claims that he was born in 1985 in Zalingei, a village near the town of Kutum in the region of North Darfur, Sudan. He arrived in Switzerland in August 2004, claiming that he had had to flee his village in Sudan when it had been attacked by Janjaweed, the local militia, during which his father and many other villagers had been killed and he had been mistreated. Since his arrival in Switzerland he has become an active member of the Sudan Liberation Movement-Unity and was appointed its human rights officer in 2009. The Swiss authorities dismissed his asylum requests twice, in 2004 and in 2012, because they had doubts about his origins (notably they were not convinced that he came from Darfur), because they found that his story about his flight from Sudan lacked credibility and because he was not at any great risk of persecution if returned as he did not have a high profile as a political activist. Moreover, the Government believed that he had only become a political activist in Switzerland to avoid being expelled to Sudan.
The applicant currently lives in the Canton of Zurich (Switzerland) pending an expulsion order against him, the enforcement of which was stayed following an interim measure granted by the European Court (under Rule 39 of its Rules of Court) in which it requested the Swiss Government to not expel the applicant pending the outcome of the proceedings before it.
Relying on Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment), he alleged that, if expelled to Sudan, he would be detained, interrogated and tortured on account of his political activities in Switzerland. He also complained under Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) in combination with Article 3 that he had no effective remedy before the Swiss courts to assert his claims that he originated from Darfur.
Violation of Article 3 – in the event of the applicant's being expelled to Sudan
No violation of Article 13 in combination with Article 3
Interim measure (Rule 39 of the Rules of Court) – not to expel the applicant to Sudan – still in force until judgment becomes final or until further order
Just satisfaction: The applicant did not submit a claim for any just satisfaction. The Court awarded him EUR 8,500 (costs and expenses)
Judgement in full: <>58802/12
Pragmatic Public Wants Immigration Mended, Not Ended
It shouldn't come as surprise that people's anxieties about immigration aren't eliminated by being told it's good for the economy. The British Social Attitudes data may offer some important clues as to how those who want to defend the benefits of migration might best engage with public anxieties.
Supporters of immigration do more harm than good to their own cause if their main response is to suggest that people haven't yet understood the economists' graphs properly. Evidence should matter for policy-making – but appeals to the facts rarely change minds to settle contested debates. This is especially true on immigration. Successive governments have acknowledged that the immigration system is not fit for purpose. The public are less likely to trust official statistics to tell the full story, especially if they compete with their lived experience.
Read more: Sunder Katwala, Indpendent, <>Tuesday 7 January 2014
Sunnis against Shias: a Strategic Absurdity
The Middle East is in the grip of a war neither side can win. The conflict in the region between Sunnis and Shias, from Lebanon to Iraq, is a strategic absurdity, which makes the death toll even more tragic than it would otherwise be.
If anything can be said for certain about those who died in the recent explosions in Beirut, in last week's fighting in Fallujah and Ramadi, or in the latest bombing raids on Aleppo, it is that their deaths will serve no rational purpose.
The minds of the men on the ground, intimately involved in this carnage, are muddled by fear, prejudice, passion, and the desire for revenge – excuses of sorts. But what of those who preside over this bloodshed from distant capitals?
No reference here to Washington: while America bears much responsibility for triggering Sunni-Shia rivalry by its invasion of Iraq, and continues to try to influence the contest, it is not the driver of it.
Read more; Guardian <> 05/01/14
Campaign Against the 'Immigration Bill'
It seems the government are now in a state of paralysis over the Immigration Bill. The announcement of future business of the House of Commons today has not scheduled the report stage of the Bill, so it is unlikely to make further progress before February. Cameron and May have three fronts to defend on the Bill; their own right wing backbenchers insisting on using the Bill as a way of attacking the UK's membership of the EU and freedom of movement, the growing expressions of discontent of their Coalition partners the LibDems and the opposition from professional bodies from the health and property renting, education and human rights sectors.
We want to keep the pressure up. Therefore, the parliamentary meeting will go ahead as planned next week to explain the opposition to the Lords but it is now being opened up to MPs as well so they can hear our point of view before the Report/Third Reading.
The meeting will be hosted by John McDonnell MP and will take place on
Wednesday 15 January 2014 at 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Committee Room 12, House of Commons,
Palace of Westminster
· John McDonnell MP
· Baroness Ruth Lister of Burtersett
· Lord Alf Dubs
· Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA
· Alison Harvey, ILPA
· Daniel Corradi Stevens, NUS
· Leander Neckles, Race Equality Foundation
· Sailesh Mehta, Society of Asian Lawyers
· Adeline Trude, Bail for Immigration Detainees
· David Price, South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group
· Sheffield University Student Union
Please invite your own networks of supporters and members and others who want to participate in the resistance to stop this vicious piece of legislation. Please request that they <http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/stop-the-immigration-bill-house-of-lords-meeting-tickets-8279623577>register their attendance here.
Please also invite any parliamentarian you have contacts with.
Attached is also a flyer for use on websites and by email.
Guy Taylor / <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Campaigns & Communications
JCWI, 115 Old Street, London EC1V 9RT
Support For Claimants Under Immigration & Asylum Act 1999
That this House is concerned that support rates under section 4 and section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 are very austere;
notes that a maximum payment of £35.39 per person per week is barely half the sum of income support and is often not sufficient to cover essential medical, food and transport costs;
deems the maximum level of support of just £5.06 per person per day as a strong driver of asylum seekers' social exclusion in society;
urges the Government to raise the support rates under section 4 and section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 to a minimum of £45.44 per person per week, representing 80 per cent. of income support, for single adults;
recognises that the cashless payment methods under which section 4 benefits are issued place detrimental limits on how families and individuals can buy fundamental goods and services and access transport;
believes that restrictions on the use of the cashless payment method unfairly favour just nine of the UK's largest retailers, which damages local businesses;
supports a move towards cash methods for distributing support payments; and urges the Government to reassess the conditions used to determine granting of support rates under section 4 so that they include people who are currently being refused or withdrawn from support but who clearly have substantial health needs as was the case previously.
Sponsors: Sheerman, Barry/ Bottomley, Peter / Ritchie, Margaret / Durkan, Mark <>House of Commons: 06.01.2014
Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Volume 70
This document provides an update of Country Guidance case law and UKBA publications and developments in refugee producing countries between 17 th December 2013 and 7 th January 2014 -
Volume 70 </>here . . .
30,000 African Migrants March Against Israeli Asylum Policy
Up to 30,000 asylum seekers, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, held a silent march in the city's Rabin Square demanding changes to new government measures designed to restrict their movements and ability to work. In Eilat, at the northern tip of the Red Sea, around 300 asylum seekers held a protest on Sunday morning outside the interior ministry building.
"Yes to freedom, no to prison!" protesters chanted. "No more deportation. We are refugees, we need asylum". An Israeli police spokeswoman said the protests were peaceful. The asylum seekers are calling for official refugee status and demanding a change to the Israeli government's policy of holding them for long periods in the new Holot detention facility in the Negev desert in southern Israel.
Read more: International Business Times,<> 05/01/14
UKBA: Operational Guidance Note - Iraq
This document provides Home Office caseworkers with guidance on the nature and handling of the most common types of claims received from nationals/residents of Iraq, including whether claims are or are not likely to justify the granting of asylum, Humanitarian Protection or Discretionary Leave. Caseworkers must refer to the relevant Asylum Instructions for further details of the policy on these areas.
1.2 Caseworkers must not base decisions on the country of origin information in this guidance; it is included to provide context only and does not purport to be comprehensive. The conclusions in this guidance are based on the totality of the available evidence, not just the brief extracts contained herein, and caseworkers must likewise take into account all available evidence. It is therefore essential that this guidance is read in conjunction with the relevant COI Service country of origin information and any other relevant information.
Published on Refworld, <> 06/01/14