Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - April 2014
4 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and one improved in April 2014, according to CrisisWatch N°129
Deteriorated Situations: Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Ukraine
Ukraine: The crisis deepened as pro-Russian separatists seized control of over a dozen towns and cities in the east. Several people were killed in clashes with Ukrainian troops as Kyiv failed to reassert control, amid continuing allegations that Russian security forces are assisting separatists – claims that Russia denies. Police in several major regions refused to take orders from the central government. An agreement reached between the U.S., the EU, Russia, and Ukraine to de-escalate the crisis quickly broke down. At the month's end acting President Olexander Turchynov announced that the government no longer controlled large parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. There are increasing fears that violence will spread and that central control over key areas of the country will continue to shrink, further complicating prospects for elections scheduled for 25 May.
South Sudan: The peace appears increasingly distant amid fears the conflict is taking on an increasingly ethnic dimension: both the government and SPLM in Opposition (SPLM-IO) continued to accuse each other of violating the current ceasefire, and thus far attempts at talks have secured little progress. The killing of over 200 people during the SPLA-IO's capture of Bentiu town drew international condemnation and allegations that civilians had been targeted on the basis of their ethnicity, and the UN rapidly threatened sanctions. Scores were also killed mid-month in an attack on an UNMISS base in Jonglei that was sheltering nearly 5,000 displaced civilians. (See our recent report and video series on the conflict.)
Somalia: Al-Shabaab retaliatory attacks gathered momentum as the joint military operation led by AMISOM and Somalia's army (SNA) progressed. Al-Shabaab also began to leverage its control over much of rural south-central Somalia to blockade government-controlled towns, a move which will only increase humanitarian needs and further challenge the government's attempts to stabilise the country.
Nigeria: Violence escalated in northern Nigeria. Over 500 were killed in attacks by Boko Haram Islamist militants during the first half of April, and over 200 schoolgirls abducted in an attack in Borno state. Security concerns were further heightened when a bomb blast struck a bus station on the outskirts of the capital Abuja, killing over 70. (See our recent report on Nigeria's Boko Haram insurgency.)
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China (internal), China/Japan, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India (non-Kashmir), Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Jordan, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korean Peninsula, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nepal, Niger, North Caucasus (Russia), Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Somaliland, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zimbabwe
Improved Situations: Lebanon
Security forces in Lebanon started implementing a security plan agreed by the country's main political factions to stem worsening violence, including checkpoints and patrols, arrests, weapons seizures and raids on militiamen. Thus far the plan has been successful, however a security-based approach is unlikely to offer a sustainable solution while socio-economic grievances mount, sectarian divisions deepen, and political representation remains unaddressed. There are also concerns about the fragility of the political truce underpinning the plan, perceptions of an anti-Sunni bias, and reports that members of the political elite have helped protect favoured militia leaders.
May 2014 Outlook
Conflict Risk Alert: Ukraine
Conflict Resolution Opportunity
Court of Justice of the European Union - Three Opinions
1) The requirement of having a basic knowledge of the German language, which Germany imposes for the grant of a visa for the purposes of family reunification of spouses who are third-country nationals, is contrary to EU law
That requirement, introduced in 2007, is compatible with neither the standstill clause under the Association Agreement with Turkey nor the Directive on family reunification
Advocate General's Opinion in Case C-138/13 Naime Dogan v Federal Republic of Germany
2) Advocate General Mengozzi considers that the age limit laid down by EU law for those seeking family reunification with their spouse may also be reached after the relevant application has been submitted
Pursuit of the legitimate objective of limiting the incidence of forced marriage must not adversely affect the right to family reunification of genuinely married couples
Case C-338/13 Marjan Noorzia
3) According to Advocate General Bot, a Member State may not, except in exceptional circumstances, rely on the lack of specialised centres in part of its territory in order to detain in prison a third-country national awaiting his removal, even with the consent of that third-country national
Joined Cases C-473/13 and C-514/13 and in Case C-474/13
Full court digests can be found <> here . . . .
Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Volume 78
This document provides an update of Country Guidance case law and UKBA publications and developments in refugee producing countries between 13th April 2014 and 28th April 2014. - Volume 78 <> here . . . .
Detention of Children Down 82%!
Cedars Pre-Departure Accommodation - Only 5 Kids Held in Q1/2014. No children were detained at the 'Cedars' in March 2014, four in January and one in February. 28 children were detained in the same period last year
Crocodile Tears From Barnardo's - But Continue to Take UKBA Money
Barnardo's, which has helped run Cedars, a purpose-built centre near Gatwick airport, since it opened in 2011, says the children should be separated from their parents only if there are welfare concerns. The centre accommodates families in their last 72 hours in Britain before their flight out. Barnardo's deputy director of strategy, Alison Worsley, said almost one in six families ended up being separated at some point, often before or after they were held at Cedars. "Some for very legitimate reasons," Worsley said. "For example, if a parent is a danger to their child." But in its new report, Cedars Two Years On, Barnardo's claims some family splits "are often a plan or contingency in response to actual or potentially" non-compliant behaviour. The report states: "As a child welfare organisation this concerns us, as we do not think a family split should be used for the purposes of effecting immigration enforcement."
Read more: Jamie Doward, Observer <> 26/04/14
Online Petition: Afusat Saliu Facing Deportation to Nigeria
An asylum seeker is to be sent back to Nigeria in a matter of days despite fears that her two young daughters will be circumcised in the country against their will by members of her own family. Almost 79,540 people have signed a petition calling on the Home Office to reconsider their decision to deport 31-year-old Afusat Saliu, herself a victim of female genital mutilation [FGM], and her two daughters, Bassy, three, and Rashidat, one, to Nigeria. The family currently live in Leeds but have been asked to leave the country by Friday.
Solicitor Ben Davison, head of immigration advice at Ison Harrison Solicitors said he had written directly to the Home Office on Tuesday, "setting out why we believe their decision to remove Afusat and her daughters is wrong in law." Leeds MP Greg Mulholland and FGM campaigner Leyla Hussein are amongst those supporting her campaign. Read more: Independent, <>22/04/14
You can sign the petition <> here . . . .
Mohammed v Ministry of Defence & Ors  EWHC 1369 (QB)
'Decisions [in Afghanistan] were thus made to adopt a detention policy [of Afghan Nationals] and practices in pursuit of military objectives which went beyond the legal powers available to the UK. The consequence of those decisions is that the MOD has incurred liabilities to those who have been unlawfully detained"
Introduction and Summary
1) The important question raised by this case is whether the UK government has any right in law to imprison people in Afghanistan; and, if so, what is the scope of that right. The claimant, Serdar Mohammed ("SM"), was captured by UK armed forces during a military operation in northern Helmand in Afghanistan on 7 April 2010. He was imprisoned on British military bases in Afghanistan until 25 July 2010, when he was transferred into the custody of the Afghan authorities. SM claims that his detention by UK armed forces was unlawful (a) under the Human Rights Act 1998 and (b) under the law of Afghanistan.
Read the full transcript here . . . .
Case For Judicial Review Changes Not Made
The government has not demonstrated the necessity for its planned changes to judicial review, an all-party committee of MPs and peers said on Wednesday. And proposals by the justice secretary, Chris Grayling, called into question his very role.
In a measured and well-researched report, the joint committee on human rights said that Grayling had not made the case for his claim that challenges to public authorities in cases not involving immigration had "expanded massively" in recent years. Immigration claims are no longer heard in the high court, the committee pointed out, and when these cases are excluded from the figures the number of claims has remained remarkably steady.
Read more Joshua Rozenberg, theguardian.com, <> 30/04/14
ILPA May Immigration Update and Information Sheets
· Update 59
· Information Sheet: Legal Aid 17 – the Residence Test
· Information Sheet: Asylum Support levels Ruled Unlawful
· Information Sheet: New contracts for asylum seekers' accommodation
Regards, Shauna Gillan / Legal Officer ILPA
Early Day Motion 1287: Human Rights In Gambia
That this House congratulates the UK Campaign for Human Rights in The Gambia on raising public awareness about the human rights situation in Gambia; recalls with repugnance the biggest single attack inflicted by the security forces of President Yahya Jammeh on Gambian students for peaceful demonstration on 10 and 11 April 2000, killing 14, and maiming many including Yusupha Mbye, Sainey Senghore and others who were left paralysed and disabled for the rest of their lives; is appalled that security forces and senior government officials involved in this massacre have been indemnified by the Gambian government; notes that the Gambian government has refused to implement recommendations from the coroner inquest after the incident; believes that there should be an immediate international investigation of this massacre by independent international monitors; further believes that the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs should demand a full account of the events on 10 and 11 April 2000 from the Gambian government; urges the Government to work with others in the UN to establish a database for evidence with a view to future justice and accountability; and further urges the Government to actively consider every possible mechanism for accountability of this massacre and other reported killings since 1994, including the establishment of an ad hoc tribunal and to impose targeted sanctions against President Jammeh and his immediate circle, including asset freezing, visa bans and the imposition of an arms embargo on arm sales to the Gambian government and to encourage EU countries to adopt similar measures.
Primary sponsor: Katy Clark / House of Commons: <>10.04.2014
Afusat Saliu - Removal Stayed After Intervention by MP
A a last-minute intervention from her MP, George Mudie, has enabled her to stay temporarily in the UK. Mudie has written twice to James Brokenshire, the security and immigration minister, asking him to intervene. The Home Office has told Mudie that Brokenshire will be writing to him about Saliu's case. "The assumption is that this is a pause," said Mudie. "I would be extremely disappointed if they tried to detain her while this is still going on. This is so important and sensitive. [Brokenshire] has got to satisfy himself that he is absolutely certain that these children are not in danger. It would be unforgivable if anything happened to these children if they go back." The move to deport Saliu comes during a national campaign against female genital mutilation by the home secretary, Theresa May, in which victims are urged to come forward to talk to police. A London doctor also faces trial for allegedly carrying out FGM on a woman.
Read more: Sandra Laville, The Guardian, <>25/04/14