Could Jimmy Mubenga's Death Have Been Prevented?
As we await the publication of a new Home Office manual on deportations, IRR News has gleaned evidence from a number of Freedom of Information requests suggesting that the death of Jimmy Mubenga during deportation could have been prevented.
Jimmy Mubenga died on 12 October 2010. A number of Freedom of Information requests into the government's use of force during deportations have revealed that recommendations made two years earlier in a 2008 report, commissioned by the UK Border Agency and entitled Project Status Report: UKBA Restraint on Aeroplanes, were never implemented.
Read more: Harmit Athwal for IRR, <>13/02/14
Early Day Motion 1081: Human Rights In Bahrain (No. 2)
That this House notes the ongoing deterioration of the human rights situation in Bahrain as observed by multiple international human rights organisations, most recently Human Rights Watch in its 2014 World Report; is concerned by the continued culture of impunity and failure of the Bahraini government to hold individuals accountable for torture, extrajudicial killing and other abuses; believes that the Bahraini government has failed to implement the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry and that this, along with the continued imprisonment of 13 high-profile activists who are serving long-term sentences for making peaceful calls for reform, undermines the chances of a political solution; further notes the recommendations of the recent report by the Foreign Affairs Committee (Fifth Report of Session 2013-14, The UK's Relations with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, HC 88), in particular the recommendation in paragraph 214 of that report that Bahrain should be designated as a country of concern, if there is no significant progress by the start of 2014; further believes that this progress has not been made; and urges the Government to designate Bahrain as a country of concern and to make strong representations to the Bahraini government to end its human rights abuses, hold individual human rights offenders accountable and release all prisoners serving sentences that relate to their exercising their rights to free expression and association.
Sponsors: Clark, Katy/ Durkan, Mark / Ritchie, Margaret / Jackson, Glenda / Russell, Bob - House of Commons: 12.02.2014
UK Citizenship [Diane Abbott, Clause 60 is Wrong-Headed]
Ms Diane Abbott (Hackney North and Stoke Newington) (Lab): I am grateful for the opportunity to air this issue in the House this afternoon. Although the power to deprive British nationals of citizenship, amplified in clause 60 of the Immigration Bill, might seem to some a mere legal technicality, important issues lie behind it. Clause 60 is wrong-headed, and I hope that airing the issues this afternoon will lead people in another place to throw the clause out of the Bill.
The clause provides for the Secretary of State to render a person stateless by depriving him or her of their nationality where citizenship has been gained through naturalisation and where
"the Secretary of State is satisfied that the deprivation is conducive to the public good because the person, while having that citizenship status, has conducted him or herself in a manner which is seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the United Kingdom".
First, I would remind the House that we are talking about terror suspects. Nowadays in Parliament, saying that someone is suspected of terrorist activity is enough for the political class to assume that that person does not deserve due process. It is worth reminding the House that those people have not actually been convicted of any crime. Sadly, I have to say, the currency of political debate about terrorism has been so debased, first under Tony Blair and now under the coalition, that alleged terrorists are now routinely deemed to be the only category of alleged criminal who are not allowed due process-even alleged paedophiles have to have due process, but not alleged terrorists.
My view is that if someone is suspected of terrorism, the obvious step is to put them on trial. I am supported in that view by no less a person than the late Lord Kingsland, the former Conservative shadow Lord Chancellor, who said in 2002:
"If we identify someone as a person proposing to commit a serious terrorist offenceŠsurely the obligation is on us to deal with that person. If we simply deport him, we shall be handing onŠthis terrorist problem to another state which may not have the same capability of dealing with itŠIt cannot be a proper response to the terrorist threat to refuse to deal with it ourselves".-[Official Report, House of Lords, 9 October 2002; Vol. 639, c. 277-278.]
That was the view of the Conservative party in 2002, but clearly things have changed in the intervening time.
Being realistic, we know that the security services have always resisted trial for many suspected terrorists because-this is my understanding-they do not want to make public their wire-tapping and other surveillance methods. I have always found that argument dubious, and it is even less credible post the Snowden revelations, which have revealed to us all more about state surveillance than we ever wanted to know. Instead of due process, the security services and their political adherents in both parties prefer secret courts, detention without trial and now this attempt to strip away citizenship.
That leads me to one of the big problems with clause 60 of the Immigration Bill: it creates two different classes of British citizenship. There are those, such as myself, who are British citizens because we were born here, and there are those, including some of the people who work for me, who are British citizens by naturalisation. We will have two classes of British citizens. That is a dangerous road to go down. In support of that view I quote no less a person than the hon. Member for North East Somerset (Jacob Rees-Mogg), who, as I think most people know, is a Conservative MP and not someone who could be described as a bleeding-heart liberal. On Report, when clause 60 was added to the Immigration Bill, he said:
"I am perhaps rather romantic in my view of what it means to be a British subject. I always though that Palmerston got it right on the Don Pacifico affair-the 'civis Romanus sum' principle. Once any one of us has a passport that says we are British, we are as British as anybody else, whether they were born here or got their passport five minutes ago. It is incredibly important that there is equality before the law for all Her Majesty's subjects who are living in this country and have right of residence here.
I worry that if we give the Government the ability to take passports away from a certain category of British subject but not from others, it will create a potential unfairness and a second category of citizen."-[Official Report, 30 January 2014; Vol. 574, c. 1086.]
That goes to the heart of one of the problems with the legislation.
We should not have, as it were, class A and class B British citizens. In communities such as mine, the fear will be that although this has started with suspected terrorists, where will it end, once the state decides that British citizenship is not indivisible? The Home Secretary has said, rather unfortunately, that citizenship is a privilege, not a right, but citizenship is not a privilege or a right; it is a fact. Deciding that it is not a fact and that the state can chop and change when it comes to the light in which it regards someone's citizenship, is, I believe-as does the hon. Member for North East Somerset-a dangerous road to go down.
Another problem with the proposal is that in stripping a terrorism suspect of their nationality, there is a danger that we could render them stateless. That problem was raised on Report. The Secretary of State argued that
"we are talking about a situation in which they"-
that is, the person deprived of citizenship-
"would be able to acquire statehood from somewhere else."-[Official Report, 30 January 2014; Vol. 574, c. 1040.]
However, even the most cursory glance at clause 60 reveals that the provision is not limited in that way, but allows individuals to be rendered stateless without reference to the possibility of securing citizenship elsewhere. The Home Secretary said:
"The whole point of the measure is to be able to remove certain people".-[Official Report, 30 January 2014; Vol. 574, c. 1043.]
That assertion raises a number of important questions. I am interested to hear from the Minister how the Government will remove people who have no nationality and no travel documents.
House of Commons / 11 Feb 2014 : <> Column 255WH
Renewal of the Immigration Concession for Syrian Nationals
The Government has renewed the immigration concession for Syrian nationals for another year, until 28 February 2015. This concession gives greater flexibility to Syrian nationals who are in the UK on a visa, by offering them more ways to extend their stay in the UK. If you are a Syrian national and your permission to stay in the UK (leave to remain) is about to expire, or has expired in the last 28 days, and you wish to stay in the UK this concession means that there are two options available to you:
Read more: UKBA 13/02/14
Appalling Prospect of Man Losing Citizenship for Third Time
An immigration judge warned a tribunal last week of the Ôappalling prospectÕ of a man losing his British citizenship three times, under legislation being debated today in the House of Lords. Iraq-born Hilal al Jedda won a six-year battle to regain his British citizenship in October, when the Supreme Court ruled the decision illegally made him stateless. But rather than return his passport, three weeks later the Home Secretary Theresa May issued removed his citizenship again. This left him at the beginning of the appeals process, where he had been six years ago. Under the British Nationality Act, the Home Secretary can remove the UK citizenship of individuals if she feels their presence in the UK is Ônot conducive to the public goodÕ. The only restriction is that she cannot make individuals stateless, so in practice the orders can only be used against dual nationality individuals.
More: Alice K Ross ,Bureau of Investigative Journalism, < >10/02/14
Lessons Of Morecambe Bay Have Not Been Learned
Ten years ago this week, 23 men and women lost their lives searching for cockles in Morecambe Bay. Memories of the tragedy may have faded in the public mind. Work on Morecambe's cockle beds has ceased, and at the time action was promised to prevent such a tragedy happening again. Yet many of the underlying causes, and especially the role of gangmasters, remain unresolved.
Read more: Hsiao-Hung Pai, The Guardian
Garden Court Chambers Immigration Bulletin – Issue 358
Colnbrook and Harmondsworth IRCs Get New Manager
Mitie, the FTSE 250 strategic outsourcing company, has been awarded a new contract with the Home Office, valued at £180m over eight years. With a potential further three year extension, the contract would have a total value of up to £250m.
Mitie's Care and Custody business, which specialises in custodial management services, will be responsible for managing and maintaining Colnbrook and Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centres near Heathrow. The new contract, commencing in September 2014, will bring together two previously separate centres and will offer considerable savings to the taxpayer by consolidating the operation of the two establishments.
Mitie will care for over 900 immigration detainees providing full centre management, including all custody services, welfare, regime and recreational activity. This partnership will see Mitie becoming the largest single private sector provider of immigration detention services to the Home Office, less than three years after entering the market.
Set Her Free: Shine a Light
A peaceful gathering to demand the release of refugee women and to shine a light on Yarl's Wood and indefinite detention in the UK.
Thursday 13 February 2014, 6:00pm
Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF
Bring torches, candles and bike lights.
Meltem Avcil (ex-detainee and campaigner)
Kate Smurthwaite (comedian and activist)
Shami Chakrabarti (director of Liberty)
Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan up 14% Last Year
According to a new report released on Saturday by the United Nations, also found that it was the worst year since 2009 in terms of the number of women and children killed or injured as a result of conflict-related violence.
The 2013 Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, produced by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), recorded a total of 8,615 civilian casualties with 2,959 civilian deaths and 5,656 injured last year.
The figures mark a 7 per cent increase in deaths and a 17 per cent increase in injuries as compared to 2012, the Mission said in a news release. Since 2009, the armed conflict has claimed the lives of 14,064 Afghan civilians and injured thousands more.
Read more: UN News, <> 08/02/14
Immigration Bill Passes Through Commons
Written by Frances Webber for IRR
The progress of another punitive Bill which strips away legal protection from migrants and will increase homelessness, ill health and destitution, seems for now to have tri-partisan support.
The Immigration Bill finished its passage through the House of Commons on 30 January. The third reading ought to have been a last chance for MPs to consider seriously the devastating impact of the removal of the right to appeal wrong immigration decisions, the enormous accretion of powers to the executive, without whose consent judges may not grant bail in certain circumstances, or consider new grounds of appeal; the transformation of residential landlords into immigration enforcers, the denial of all shelter to those without papers. And principled opposition to the Bill, and particularly to the removal of appeal rights, the exclusion of undocumented migrants from the rental market, the introduction of policing duties for landlords and the extension of charges for NHS care, has poured in to the Bill's parliamentary scrutiny committee from professional associations, housing charities and experts.
However, the level of scrutiny given to these careful, considered and reasoned arguments was derisory, and the level of parliamentary opposition pathetic. A small group of MPs, with Jeremy Corbyn, Caroline Lucas and Sarah Teather at its core, fought doggedly but in vain to rouse their fellows. Instead, the third reading became a battle among the wings of the Tory party as to which could be the toughest and which of the Right's whipping-boys would be the targets – the foreign criminals, the suspected terrorists or the Romanian and Bulgarian 'scroungers'. Provisions which turn migrants into outlaws, without remedies against illegal decisions and excluded from fundamental rights of shelter and health care, were nodded through.
Read more: IRR, 07/02/14