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                               News & Views Monday 10th November to Sunday 16th November 2014

Asylum-Seekers 'Wrongly Deported' On Drug Smuggler'S Evidence
Theresa May is facing fresh embarrassment amid allegations that the Home Office has for years been relying on the work of a convicted drug smuggler who lied about his qualifications to help it determine sensitive asylum cases – which may have resulted in hundreds of people being wrongly deported.

The unnamed individual works as a language analyst for Sprakab, a Swedish firm which since 2000 has been paid by the Home Office to study audio recordings of people claiming asylum in Britain. It often uses the firm's judgements – which are based on 20-minute telephone interviews – to support its rejection of asylum applications.

Allegations have now surfaced in Sweden suggesting that the man is a convicted criminal who fabricated parts of his CV. Several independent linguistic experts have also cast doubt on the quality of his work, which earlier this year was criticised by the UK's Supreme Court as offering "wholly inappropriate" views on whether an asylum-seeker sounded convincing.
Read more: Chris Green, Indpendent, 13/11/14

Somalian Deportees Thwarted by Their Unusual Dialect
Every year hundreds of Somalis claim asylum in Britain, many of whom are fleeing the threat of Islamic militants. The UK Government acknowledges that the country remains too dangerous to return people to areas outside the capital, Mogadishu, but even there the situation is far from safe. The Home Office's own guidance states that the city's four main hospitals treated 4,412 people for weapons injuries last year.

Some of those fleeing Somalia are Bajunis, who live on the islands off the country's south coast. As they speak a specific dialect, Swedish linguistics firm Sprakab has often been called in to determine whether those claiming to come from the islands are genuine. ecause the Bajuni dialect is very unusual, they have trouble communicating with Sprakab's analysts, who may assume they are lying. A faulty analysis may result in them being mistakenly deported to Tanzania or Kenya.
Read more: Chris Green, Indpendent, 13/11/14

Asylum Seekers: Mental Health
Lord Roberts of Llandudno (LD): I am grateful to the Minister for his Answer. However, does he not agree that we are all very much aware of the stress and tension that are caused when someone cannot find a job, which sometimes lead to suicide? Will he consider that asylum seekers, who are not allowed even to apply for a job for 12 months, face stress even worse than that faced by others? We know that there have been cases of suicide because of the prohibition against allowing them to work for that first 12 months. Would it not be a humanitarian gesture for us to reduce that 12 months to six months, so that asylum seekers have less time to wait until they can apply for work?

Lord Bates: It is a very difficult situation. Of course, we have every sympathy with the people who come here. However, the reality is that, if they are allowed to work while they are not here legally, we are saying that they are able to compete in the labour market with people who are here legally. That would be unfair. It is not the case that they cannot work; they are able to volunteer in the community and they are getting support, with all their accommodation covered and access to education and health care, including mental health care if they need it.

Baroness Lister of Burtersett (Lab): My Lords, the denial of the right to paid work, as well as the inadequate asylum support system, can lead to severe poverty or even destitution. Last week, the Joint Committee on Human Rights heard evidence that women, many of whom have fled violence, are thereby made vulnerable to further violence and sexual exploitation. What steps are the Government taking to prevent this as part of their strategy to end violence against women and girls?
Read the full debate: House of Lords, 10/11/14

Nigeria School Assembly Bombing Kills at Least 48
The children were preparing for morning assembly at the Government Science Secondary School. Moving among them, however, was a suicide bomber. When the explosion came, at around 7.30am, the bodies of the gathered students, estimated to have been between 11 and 18 years old, were mutilated, and dozens were instantly killed. Many more were wounded and last night being treated in hospital.

Outside the school, the Nigerian soldiers sent to secure the scene in Potiskum, the largest commercial town in Yobe state in NigeriaÕs north-east, were reported to have been pelted with rocks. In a region where Boko HaramÕs murderous bid to establish an Islamic ÒcaliphateÓ has been keenly felt, this was another in a long line of atrocities.
Read more: Sam Masters, Indpendent, 10/11/14

Serco: Fresh Allegations Over its Running of Yarl's Wood IRC
The National Audit Office (NAO) is looking into fresh allegations over the way a private sector company has run Yarl's Wood, the UK's largest detention centre for women facing deportation. Parliament's independent financial watchdog has been alerted to allegations that Serco, the government contractor that has managed the facility since 2007, has inflated certain figures and failed to carry out mental health assessments for groups of asylum seekers. The NAO is understood to have just started preliminary discussions with some of those who have made the claims and will soon decide whether to launch a full inquiry.
Read more: Mark Leftly, Indpendent, 09/11/14

Rome Evacuates Children From Immigrant Centre as Violence Mounts
Rome's mayor ordered the evacuation on Thursday of 45 children from a centre for immigrants that has been under attack for four days by local people. Mayor Ignazio Marino said the building, which houses around 70 people including a few homeless Italians, had been "seriously damaged" and the children were no longer safe there. The centre in Tor Sapienza, a poor neighbourhood on the eastern outskirts of the capital, has become the latest focus for resentment that has built up over years when Italians have struggled with falling incomes and rising unemployment.

Violence erupted on Monday night when protesters shouting insults at the immigrants threw stones at the centre and set rubbish skips outside the building alight. A heavy police presence has failed to quieten residents, who accuse the migrants of drug trafficking and prostitution. Protesters have continued to hold marches and throw stones and bottles.
Read more: Alert Net, 13/11/14

Forced Marriage Protection Orders
Lord Lester of Herne Hill to ask Her MajestyÕs Government how many Forced Marriage Protection Orders have been issued since the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 came into force.[HL2469]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): Forced marriage is an appalling crime and should not be tolerated. Since the 2007 Act came into force on 25 November 2008 and up to the end of June 2014, 719 Forced Marriage Protection Orders have been made.

We have also created a new criminal offence that will enable faster and more effective action to be taken against those who breach forced marriage protection orders by forcing someone to get married against their will. This offence is designed to prosecute individuals who force someone to get married against their will; the person who has been forced to get married will not be prosecuted.
House of Lords / 11 Nov 2014 : Column WA25

Economically inactive EU citizens who go to another Member State solely in order to obtain social assistance may be excluded from certain social benefits

European Court of Justice Judgment in Case C-333/13

Social Rights Violations in the Netherlands
Access to emergency social assistance for homeless people and irregular migrants in the Netherlands is not in line with the country's commitments under the European Social Charter, according to two decisions published today by the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR). In relation to a complaint from the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless (FEANTSA), the ECSR concluded that legislation and practice in the Netherlands does not ensure sufficient access to shelter for those in need or guarantee sufficient quantity and quality of shelter to vulnerable groups, including children.

The committee also found that arrangements on access to emergency shelter are in breach of the authorities' obligation under the charter to prevent poverty and social exclusion. Furthermore, emergency shelter is not provided to everyone with a valid claim to it, including migrants in an irregular situation, and migrant workers and their families have insufficient access to accommodation.
Read more: Council of Europe 10/11/14

UK Needs More Immigration - But Managed Much Better
The intense debate over BritainÕs immigration reforms is generating more heat than light. Vital questions of migration and border management have descended to the level of partisan squabbling and short-term fixes based on arbitrary numerical targets. This is counterproductive: it will undermine the growth and dynamism of the British economy and current policies such as caps on migrants will fail both to control population dynamics and to promote British jobs and economic growth.
Read more: Ian Goldin, Observer, 09/111/14

38% of Incarcerated Young Offenders are Black/Asian/Minority Ethnic
Mr Shailesh Vara: Overall crime and proven offending by young people has fallen in recent years. Fewer young people have entered the criminal justice system, and as a result fewer young people have ended up in custody. The average number of young people in custody fell from 2,418 in 2009/10 to 1,233 in 2013/14, a decrease of 49%.

The proportion of offenders in youth custody who are black, Asian and minority ethnic averaged at 38%, in the years - 2012/2013 and 2013/2014.

Source: House of Commons Written Answers / Friday 7th November 2014

Last updated 15 November, 2014