News & Views Monday 30th November to Sunday 6th December 2015
Home Office Criticised Over £830m 'Failed' Borders Scheme

The e-borders scheme was meant to collect and analyse data on everyone travelling to and from the UK before they arrive at ports and airports. But the National Audit Office says checks remain "highly manual and inefficient", and IT systems outdated. The Home Office says all UK arrivals are checked against watch lists. The e-borders scheme has been dogged by problems since its launch in 2003, and in 2014, the head of the UK Border Force, Sir Charles Montgomery, told MPs it had been "terminated" in its current form.  By collecting advanced passenger information (API), such as passport numbers and nationalities, it was meant to allow officials to "export the border" by preventing people from embarking on journeys to the UK where they were considered a threat.
Read more: BBC News, 03/12/2015

10 Longest Lengths of Detention Q3 2015 all Male detainees

1,972 days – 5. 4 years - 1,304 days -  3.5 Years
1,156 days -  3.1 Years - 1,104 days -  3.0 Years
1,051 days -  2.8 Years - 999    days -  2.7 Years
964    days -  2.6 Years - 959    days -  2.6 Years
958    days -  2.6 Years - 925     days -  2.5 Years

Ain’t No Border High Enough –To Keep us Out of Here

Protest at Home Office Leeds

Monday 14th December 12 noon to 1:30pm

Waterside Court, 471 Kirkstall Road, LS4 2QB

Refugees welcome! Open EU Borders Now! No More Deaths!

We stand in solidarity with migrants & asylum seekers everywhere. We call for freedom of movement for everyone. No to racist immigration controls! No borders, no nations, stop deportations!

Asylum seekers must sign here either weekly, monthly or every 2 months and for many people there is a real fear of being detained so each visit is loaded with anxiety.

No Borders, No Nations, Stop Deportations!

Source: Leeds No Borders, 01/12/2015

Rule 35(i) Reports Individuals in Immigration Detention

Thank you for your email dated 13 November 2015 regarding reports made under Rule 35 (1) of the DC Rules 2001 in immigration removal centres (IRC). Your request has been handled as a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. You have asked for the following.

‘Rule 35 (1) reports submitted in Q3/July/August/September 2015, number of detainees related to Rule 35 (1) reports and the number of detainees released as a result of Rule 35 (1) reports.’

The data requested is outlined in the table below. Table 1: Rule 35(i) reports made by a medical practitioner to the Home Office on individuals in immigration detention

Quarter 3/2015

Rule 35(i) reports made by Medical Practitioner to Home Office

Number of detainees Rule 35(i) reports relate to

Of which, number of Rule 35(i) releases from detention





UKHO CIG: Burma: Opposition to the Government

1.1 Basis of Claim

1.1.1 Fear of persecution by the state authorities, due to the person’s actual or perceived political opposition to the Burmese government.

2. Consideration of Issues

2.1 Is the person’s account credible?

2.1.1 For guidance on assessing credibility, see sections 4 and 5 of the Asylum Instruction on Assessing Credibility and Refugee Status.

2.1.2 Decision makers must also ensure that each asylum application has been checked to establish if there has been a previous UK visa or other application for leave. Asylum applications matched to visas should be investigated prior to the asylum interview. (See Asylum Instruction on Visa Matches, Asylum Claims from UK Visa Applicants).

2.1.3 Decision makers should also consider the need to conduct language analysis testing. (See Asylum Instruction on Language Analysis).

Published on Refworld, 02/12/2015

A Thousand March to Welcome Refugees to Scotland

The annual St Andrew's Day march, organized by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), was attended by more than 1,000 demonstrators who marched from Glasgow Green through the streets of the city centre, despite pouring rain, with banners bearing messages such as ‘Refugees welcome’ and ‘Love Glasgow, Hate Racism.’  A rally was also held at Glasgow Film Theatre, where refugees who have made their home in Scotland spoke about their experiences.

Speaking ahead of the event, Grahame Smith, STUC general secretary, said: “With a humanitarian tragedy unfolding, it seems appropriate to use the annual anti-racist St Andrew’s Day march and rally to send a clear message that Scotland welcomes refugees and that we are ready to provide space in our country for all those who need it.”  A rally was also held at Glasgow Film Theatre, where refugees who have made their home in Scotland spoke about their experiences.

Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Volume 114
This document provides an update of Country Guidance case law and UKBA publications and developments in refugee producing countries between 17th November and 30th November 2015 - Volume 114  here . . .

“Protecting Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention”

The immigration detention of stateless persons is one of the silent tragedies of our globalised world that plays out behind closed doors, away from the gaze of the media, but with significant, irreparable human cost. It is a tragedy that is completely preventable, but due to a lack of will and attention, continues to harm thousands of lives all around the world every year.

- Evidence shows that in many countries holding stateless migrants in detention for long periods – sometimes indefinitely -  is a disturbing trend in Europe. Because there is no country to return the person to, once detained, the detention is likely to be arbitrary, repeated and prolonged leaving people in limbo and exposed to the emotional and psychological stress of lengthy detention.
- The failure of immigration regimes to deal with the phenomenon of statelessness, identify stateless persons and ensure they don’t discriminate against them often results in detention. Yet stateless person are seldom recognised as victims of injustice and often are unfairly labelled as refusing to cooperate with the state.

The toolkit “Protecting Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention” is intended as a resource for all those who come into contact with stateless persons – including lawyers, NGOs and stateless detainees themselves, as well as legislators/policy makers and officials or judges responsible for reviewing immigration detention. Information is categorised by issue and by type of resource/jurisdiction (UN, Council of Europe and EU) – all of which are hyperlinked, along with easy to use checklists for practitioners.

This resource is the most recent in a series of publications forming part of a Europe wide research and advocacy effort by the European Network on Statelessness to investigate the law, policy and practice related to the detention of stateless persons. This practice is happening despite the fact that protection against arbitrary detention is well entrenched under international and regional law. ENS is committed to raising awareness and to working with a range of partners to effectively address this problem, and to ensure proper protection and respect for human rights.

Read more: European Network on Statelessness, 30/11/2015

84 Women Have Held Hunger Strikes in Yarl’s Wood IRC This Year

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many women detained in Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre went on hunger strike in 2015.

James Brokenshire: For the period 1 January 2015 to 30 June 2015 provisional management information shows that 84 women were recorded as refusing food or fluid at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre (IRC).
Written Answers, House of Commons, 02/12/2015

Charter Flights Q3 July Through September 2015

There were 10 charter operations between 1 July 2015 and 30 September 2015.

Destination countries: Afghanistan, Albania, Ghana, Nigeria and Pakistan

Number of Flights to each country: 1 flight to Afghanistan, 3 flights to Albania, 2 flights to Ghana/Nigeria and 4 flights to Pakistan

Number removed to each country: 11 returned to Afghanistan, 137 returned to Albania, 27 returned to Ghana, 85 returned to Nigeria and 164 returned to Pakistan.

In total 400 males and 24 females were returned. No children were returned on charter flights.

UKHO CIG: Iran: Christians and Christian Converts

1. Introduction

1.1 Basis of Claim

1.1.1 Fear of ill-treatment amounting to persecution at the hands of the Iranian authorities due to :
- their religion; or
- their conversion to Christianity; or
- because they actively seek to convert others to Christianity.

2. Consideration of Issues

2.1 Is the person’s account credible?

2.1.1 For information on assessing credibility, see sections 4 and 5 of the Asylum Instruction on Assessing Credibility and Refugee Status.
2.1.2 Decision makers must also check if there has been a previous application for a UK visa or another form of leave. Asylum applications matched to visas should be investigated prior to the asylum interview (see the Asylum Instruction on Visa Matches, Asylum Claims from UK Visa Applicants).
2.1.3 Decision makers should also consider the need to conduct language analysis testing if there is reason to doubt an individual’s true place of origin.

Published on Refworld, 03/12/2015

Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - November 2015

8 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and two improved in November 2015, according to CrisisWatch 148

Deteriorated Situations: Bangladesh, France, Kosovo, Lebanon, Nepal, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela

November saw further military escalation and setbacks in Syria, particularly after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane it claimed had violated its airspace. Meanwhile, several countries faced extremist attacks claimed by the Islamic State (IS), including in Lebanon, France and Bangladesh. Violence also rose in Turkey between the state and Kurdish insurgents. In Venezuela, political tensions and violence increased ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for 6 December and could worsen, while both Nepal and Kosovo faced deepening political crises. In a positive step forward, Burkina Faso and Myanmar experienced peaceful and openly-contested elections last month.

Despite another round of diplomatic efforts to find a resolution to the Syrian conflict during talks in Vienna on 11-14 November, the shooting down by Turkey of a Russian military plane on 24 November, which it alleged had illegally entered its airspace and ignored warnings, was a further sign of how internationalised the Syrian war has become, and how dangerous it can still get. Throughout the month, Russia continued its military escalation, deploying jets and launching cruise missiles simultaneously against rebels on multiple fronts. Crisis Group has long argued that all regional and international parties to the conflict must come together on a compromise solution to calm the Syrian war, not add fuel to its flames.

Turkey's downing of the Russian jet triggered a diplomatic standoff between the two countries, with Russia announcing a series of sanctions against Turkey on 29 November. Meanwhile, within Turkey, violence between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Turkish security forces increased following the 1 November snap general elections, with some 24 civilians, seventeen security forces members and nineteen PKK insurgents reported killed in clashes. On 4 November, President Erdo?an underscored the government's decision to shun negotiations with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and opt for continued military operations against the Kurdish group.

Elsewhere, IS or its backers managed to strike violent attacks in Lebanon, France and Tunisia. In Lebanon, at least 40 people were killed and over 200 injured in a double suicide bomb attack on 12 November in the predominantly Shiite neighbourhood of Bourj al-Barajneh in Beirut's southern suburb. IS claimed responsibility, triggering renewed fears about the ability and intent of jihadi groups to expand operations in Lebanon, and for many observers highlighting the limitations of the government's "security plan".

In France, 130 people were killed and hundreds injured in Paris following coordinated terrorist attacks on 13 November claimed by IS. French President Hollande declared France was at war with IS, and launched several airstrikes on IS strongholds in Syria and Iraq. On 17 November, Russian President Putin ordered the Russian army to coordinate with the French military as "allies" on a joint action plan. On 20 November, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling on countries around world to take "all necessary measures" to fight IS. Crisis Group's President and CEO has warned that while military action "needs to be taken", the goal must also be to encourage Arab countries "to stop the polarisation and the wars that are critical to the violent Islamists' success" and, where appropriate, to "convince outside powers like Iran and Saudi Arabia to support more inclusive regimes".

Bangladesh also faced violent extremist attacks amid a continued deterioration in law and order. The government continued its crackdown on dissenting views, and executed two prominent opposition figures convicted by the controversial International Crimes Tribunal of committing war crimes during the 1971 war of independence.

Political tensions also rose in Venezuela, Nepal, and Kosovo. As Venezuelans prepare to vote in parliamentary elections on 6 December, the country remains deeply polarised with very little space afforded to the opposition to campaign. On 25 November, local opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) alliance political leader Luis Manuel Díaz was killed during a campaign event, one of several campaign incidents involving firearms and activists allegedly from President Maduro's ruling party. Crisis Group has warned that the Maduro government is creating conditions in which violence can easily recur, and has called upon the international community, particularly Venezuela's neighbours, to insist on adherence to widely recognised electoral standards.

In Nepal, Madhesi groups continued their protests over provisions in the new constitution, while the blockade on the border with India continued. On 22 November, four protestors were killed by police, bringing the total of protest-related deaths since August to 49. Talks on 18 November between the government and the coalition of Madhes-based parties ended inconclusively. Meanwhile, opposition parties in Kosovo continued to block the work of parliament in protest against the August EU-backed agreement with Serbia on Serb-majority municipalities.

In contrast, and in a positive step forward, Burkina Faso's presidential and legislative elections were held peacefully on 29 November, and Myanmar held its first openly-contested general election in 25 years on 8 November. Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy secured majorities in both upper and lower houses. The election was widely regarded as credible, although hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingyas and a similar number of ethnic minority voters in conflict-affected areas were excluded from the polls.

Improved Situations: Burkina Faso, Myanmar

Conflict Risk Alert: Venezuela

Read the full report here . . . . .

Last updated 4 December, 2015