No-Deportations - Residence Papers for All

News & Views Monday 29th June to Sunday 5th July 2015

Women in Yarl's WoodIRC Demand Freedom

Following the Court of Appeal ruling (26 June) suspending the discredited Detained Fast Track (DFT), women in Yarl's Wood IRC faxed a petition signed by over 80 women of different nationalities calling for their freedom:

"We demand to be unconditionally released - everyone on the Detained Fast Track and all other vulnerable asylum seekers must be released back into the community NOW!? NO Bail, No Tags".

Rosie from All African Women's Group speaking for many former ex-detainee members said: "Many inside have almost been driven mad by their experiences, but are determined to speak out. Serco cannot hide the truth - their guards are racist brutes who have raped and abused women."

Cristel Amiss from Black Women's Rape Action Project, which has just published a dossier documenting widespread and ongoing rape and sexual abuse of women detainees by guards commented: "Hundreds of vulnerable women, many of who are survivors of rape and other torture have been victims of the DFT - an inhuman and discriminatory system which left no time for detainees to gather evidence of the persecution they suffered. We know of several women who have been deported and suffered further rape and other torture on arrival, others have disappeared and may be dead. The court ruling must be implemented immediately and women released."

30,000 people a year are held in immigration detention without charge or conviction, without time limit, deprived of legal support, translation facilities or healthcare.

Demands for the closure of detention centres are coming from many quarters, including parliamentarians.  The main impetus for its continuation appears to be massive profits made by private companies like Serco which runs Yarl's Wood. Serco covered up rape and abuse by guards, yet its eight year £70 million contract was renewed in November 2014.

More information:
All African Women's Group
Black Women's Rape Action Project
Women Against Rape
To interview women: 020 7482 2496, 07456525227

Asylum Research Consultancy COI Update Volume 105
This document provides an update of Country Guidance case law and UKBA publications and developments in refugee producing countries between 17th 2015 and 30th June 2015 - Volume 105  <>here . . .

Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - June 2015

Deteriorated Situations: Afghanistan, Chad, Kuwait, Myanmar, Tunisia

Extremist violence again dominated the month, with deadly attacks hitting Tunisia, Kuwait and Chad, while in Afghanistan the Taliban made further territorial gains and launched an unprecedented number of attacks. Burundi's political crisis deepened as its ruling party held parliamentary elections despite widespread domestic and international objections. A rejection of Myanmar's Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) text by armed group leaders threatened to halt progress on the country's peace process for the coming year. Nepal, meanwhile, made a significant step forward in its long-delayed constitution drafting process, a major part of its 2006 peace deal.

In Afghanistan the Taliban captured and maintained control of district administration centres in northern Afghanistan for the first time since the beginning of the insurgency. The losses increase military pressure on government positions near Kunduz city, and underscore the intensity of the 2015 fighting season, in which the number of violent incidents has surpassed all records since 2001. Crisis Group's new report urged the Afghan government, faced with the rising insurgency, to avoid cheap and dangerous fixes such as expanding the Afghan Local Police (ALP) and pro-government militias to address rural insecurity. Instead, rogue elements within the ALP should be disarmed and disbanded, while effective units should be integrated into the regular security forces and be subjected to strengthened oversight.

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) claimed responsibility for two high profile terrorist attacks on 26 June: in Tunisia, where 38 tourists were killed in an attack on a hotel in a resort on the east coast, and in Kuwait, where a Shiite mosque was targeted by a suicide bomber leaving 27 dead and over 200 injured. Crisis Group's reporting on Tunisia has long warned about the risks posed by the intermingling of criminality and jihadi groups, notably in urban peripheries and border areas neglected by the state. The recent attack makes it all the more urgent that Tunisia's government ensures professionalisation of the security forces and avoids politicisation of their management, and steers clear of discourse and measures that could renew political and social polarisation.

Chad's capital N'Djamena suffered its first terror attack in years when on 15 June suspected Boko Haram assailants detonated suicide bombs, killing at least 30. Burundi continued to teeter on the brink of civil war as the ruling party pushed ahead with parliamentary elections on 29 June despite an opposition boycott and calls for a delay from the international community. As the country prepares for presidential polls on 15 July, Crisis Group has stressed the need for swift measures to restore the political and security conditions necessary for peaceful and fair elections, and to avoid the country's further descent into violent conflict.

In Myanmar, a summit of ethnic armed group leaders rejected the NCA text agreed in March, making it almost certain that the agreement will not be signed before the country goes to elections later this year. This makes it highly unlikely that there will be further progress on talks to end the decades-long conflict for the next twelve months, and increases the risk of armed conflict over the coming year. It also means more areas could be declared too insecure for elections to take place.

On a positive note, after nearly twelve months of discussions on transitional justice, negotiators from the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced on 4 June they had agreed on establishing a truth commission once a final peace deal has been reached. Coming amid a dramatic escalation of violence following the collapse of FARC's ceasefire in May, the agreement has provided a much needed respite for the increasingly beleaguered negotiations. Lastly, Nepal's long-stalled process of formulating a new constitution – a condition of the 2006 peace deal – received a major boost as the Drafting Committee endorsed the first draft of a new constitution to be deliberated by the Constituent Assembly. The draft, which describes the country as "secular, inclusive and multi-ethnic", followed an agreement between the country's major political parties on 8 June envisioning eight federal provinces.

Improved Situations: Nepal

July 2015 Outlook

Conflict Risk: Alert Burundi

Conflict Resolution Opportunity: None

Download the full report <>here . . . . .


Home Office Statement Suspension of DFT

In light of these issues, I have decided to temporarily suspend the operation of the detained fast track policy. I hope this pause to be short in duration, perhaps only a matter of weeks, but I will only resume operation of this policy when I am sure the right structures are in place to minimise any risk of unfairness.

The Minister for Immigration (James Brokenshire): The United Kingdom has a long and proud tradition of providing safe haven to those who genuinely need our protection and this Government take that commitment very seriously. But for an asylum system to offer help to those who genuinely need it, it must be capable of managing a high volume of applications by making quick decisions wherever possible.

The UK has operated a detained fast track policy for cases that can be decided quickly, including those that have very weak claims, since 2000. The decision to detain a person seeking asylum is never taken lightly, but the courts have been clear over the past decade in upholding the principle that an accelerated process for asylum seekers while detained, operated with certain safeguards, is entirely lawful.

Just over 30,000 asylum claims were made in the UK last year-close to the average for the last 10 years. The majority of applicants are provided with accommodation and support by the Home Office or find their own accommodation. Most decisions on asylum claims are made within 3-6 months. Many, including from countries such as Syria, are accepted as refugees and granted permission to stay.

But a fast track process, including for those that have very weak or spurious claims, with decisions normally made within a matter of weeks and subject to an accelerated appeals process, is an important part of our immigration system and ensuring that our help is rightly focused on those who truly need it.

It is vital that we deal robustly with unfounded or abusive claims in the asylum system. It is also vital, however, that we can identify vulnerable applicants, including victims of trafficking or torture, to ensure that they can receive a fair hearing.

The Government are committed to the underlying principles of the detained fast track (DFT) and believe that for the most part it is operating well and is removing back to their own countries those whose asylum claims are clearly unfounded. But we must be satisfied that our safeguards for dealing with vulnerable applicants throughout the system are working well enough to minimise any risk of unfairness-as we have always striven to do.

Recently the system has come under significant legal challenge, including on the appeals stage of the process. Risks surrounding the safeguards within the system for particularly vulnerable applicants have also been identified to the extent that we cannot be certain of the level of risk of unfairness to certain vulnerable applicants who may enter DFT.

In light of these issues, I have decided to temporarily suspend the operation of the detained fast track policy. I hope this pause to be short in duration, perhaps only a matter of weeks, but I will only resume operation of this policy when I am sure the right structures are in place to minimise any risk of unfairness.

This decision does not mean that we will cease to detain people for immigration reasons. Immigration powers and policies relating to detention remain in place and we will continue to use them across the immigration system, including for removing illegal immigrants and protecting the public, wherever necessary.

We will continue to exercise the right to detain or keep in detention illegal migrants who have claimed asylum, where their specific circumstances warrant it.

In the meantime, every individual who was detained under the DFT policy and remains detained will have their detention urgently reviewed at senior level. Those who meet the general criteria for detention will not be directly affected by the decision to suspend DFT. Many are already detained under these powers, for example because they are at risk of absconding and face imminent removal. Only if detention can no longer be justified outside a DFT process will applicants be released to continue their asylum claim in the regular asylum system.

Asylum seekers who face removal to a safe third country or who come from a country designated as being generally safe, those who pose a risk to the public, those who are foreign national offenders, or those who otherwise face the likely prospect of removal are still liable to be detained or remain detained. Their cases will be prioritised under existing general rules.

We will urgently review all the evidence we have about any possible unfairness in the DFT system and address any shortcomings identified. In the meantime, we will continue to consider all asylum cases very carefully, granting protection to those that need it and refusing and removing those that do not. Asylum must not be used as a means to avoid legitimate immigration control and we will continue to be robust in ensuring that it is not.

This decision is in keeping with the Government's wider work to ensure that we are doing everything we can to safeguard the welfare of those whom we detain. In February this year, the Home Secretary asked Stephen Shaw, the former Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, to conduct a review into the welfare of people detained for immigration purposes, including those detained under the DFT policy. When he reports we will take his findings seriously and use them to continue to improve whatever processes are in place.

It is vital that our asylum policy ensures that safe haven is provided to refugees and that our systems are fair and offer good value to the tax payer. It is also important that if a case can be determined quickly, it should be so determined, and that no immigration advantage can be obtained by making a spurious or opportunistic claim. That is why the Government remain committed to the principles of a detained fast track system and will re-introduce one as soon as we are satisfied the right structures are in place to ensure it operates as it is supposed to.


Last updated 3 July, 2015