Global Day of Action the Right to Strike - Wednesday 18th February
Early Day Motion 802: Right to Strike
That this House notes that 18 February 2015 is Global Day of Action for the Right to Strike; further notes that the Canadian Supreme Court on 30 January 2015 handed down a judgment proclaiming that the right to strike was a fundamental right inherent in the fact that freedom of association is guaranteed by the Canadian charter of Rights;
observes that in stark contrast the right to strike is not enshrined in UK law;
is deeply concerned by the recent report of the European Committee of Social Rights that the UK is not in conformity with the Articles of the European Social Charter 1961 which it has ratified;
is appalled at the extent of non-conformity with the Charter in relation to the right to organise, the right to bargain collectively, the right to just conditions of work and the right to a fair remuneration, amongst others;
is further concerned that the UK, which was the first country to ratify the International Labour Organisation Convention 87, remains in breach in relation to the absence of the right to strike;
condemns Conservative Party proposals to place yet further legal restrictions on industrial action as another move away from internationally-agreed standards;
congratulates the Trades Union Congress and the Campaign for Trade Union Freedom on their work to defend and promote trade union rights; and calls on the Government to immediately fulfil its international obligations regarding trade union rights including those under the European Social Charter and ILO Convention 87.
Sponsors: McDonnell, John / Corbyn, Jeremy / Lavery, Ian
House of Commons: <>12.02.2015
UK Severe Breaches of Workers Rights 10 Conclusions of Non-Conformity
Singh v SSHD  EWCA Civ 74 (12 February 2015)
[There may be no reason why the old Rules cannot be interpreted on the basis that the meaning of the concept of the public interest is dynamic, and not static, and that on its true interpretation "the public interest" means the public interest as the decision-maker properly considers it to be at the time of her decision on the application. That public interest may also, in particular circumstances, be articulated in the new Rules.]
These two appeals concern aspects of the changes made to the Immigration Rules by a Statement of Changes (HC 194) promulgated on 13 June 2012 and taking effect from 9 July 2012, and by a further Statement of Changes (HC 565) promulgated on 5 September 2012 and taking effect the following day. The changes were multifarious, but we are concerned only with those addressing the approach to be taken to applications for leave to enter or remain on the basis of an applicant's private or family life. I set out the relevant changes in detail below, but it will be convenient to give an overview at the start. I will refer to the Rules incorporating the changes made by HC 194 as "the new Rules" and to the previous version as "the old Rules".
77. I would dismiss both appeals.
Lord Justice Lewison:
78. I agree that the appeals should be dismissed for the reasons given by Underhill LJ.
Lady Justice Arden:
79. I also agree that these appeals should be dismissed, but with the following qualification. I respectfully would not go so far as my Lords in paragraph 40 above and would not say that the distinction made by Mr Blundell is necessarily without foundation or that the reasoning of Jackson LJ necessarily goes so far as to decide that the Secretary of State can never rely on the new Rules in determining an application of the kind referred to in the implementation provision (as defined in paragraph 7 above). For my own part I would urge circumspection about those parts of the old Rules which we have not expressly considered, and leave them open to argument in an appropriate case when they arise.
80. In Edgehill this court decided that a provision in the old Rules that a person should be entitled to indefinite leave to remain ("ILR") after 14 years' continuous residence applied to an application to which the implementation provision applied to the exclusion of a provision in the new Rules increasing the minimum period of years of residence to 20 years. That was the question which Jackson LJ posed at the start of the relevant passage and the question which he answered at the end of it. That ruling must apply to other specific provisions which are different in the new Rules from those in the old Rules.
81. But suppose that the old Rules provide that a person may be entitled also to ILR if he has had only 10 years' continuous residence in the UK where, having regard to the public interest, there is no reason why it is undesirable he should be given ILR having regard to his long residence, age etc. The Rules would in this example refer to the public interest. There may be no reason why the old Rules cannot be interpreted on the basis that the meaning of the concept of the public interest is dynamic, and not static, and that on its true interpretation "the public interest" means the public interest as the decision-maker properly considers it to be at the time of her decision on the application. That public interest may also, in particular circumstances, be articulated in the new Rules.
82. To use the new Rules in this way would not as I see it involve a departure from the implementation provision. (Nor does the implementation provision shut the applicant out from relying on some ground for ILR which was not contained in the old Rules if that ground is available to him.)
83. The observations of Jackson LJ in Edgehill did not address the meaning of the concept of public interest: the argument before this court then was that either all Article 8 applications were outside the Rules or they had by their nature to be determined on the basis of the Rules as they stood at the date of the decision. As Mr Blundell submits, it is difficult for the Secretary of State to have more than one view of what the public interest requires on a particular matter at any one time, that is, one view of the public interest on that matter for the purposes of the current Rules and another one on the same matter for the purposes of the former Rules.
Sudan: Mass Rape by Army in Darfur
Sudanese army forces raped more than 200 women and girls in an organized attack on the north Darfur town of Tabit in October 2014, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU) should take urgent steps to protect civilians in the town from further abuses.
The 48-page report, ÒMass Rape in Darfur: Sudanese Army Attacks Against Civilians in Tabit,Ó documents Sudanese army attacks in which at least 221 women and girls were raped in Tabit over 36 hours beginning on October 30, 2014. The mass rapes would amount to crimes against humanity if found to be part of a widespread or systematic attack on the civilian population.
Read more: Human Rights Watch, 11/02/15
Discarding Democracy: Return to the Iron Fist
Freedom in the World 2015 - Freedom House Annual Report
[Third bulletin: Important Tools for Anti-Deportation Campaigners - 2015]
The number of countries designated by Freedom in the World as Free in 2014 stood at 89, representing 46 percent of the world's 195 polities and nearly 2.9 billion people-or 40 percent of the global population. The number of countries qualifying as Partly Free stood at 55, or 28 percent of all countries assessed, and they were home to just over 1.7 billion people, or 24 percent of the world's total.
A total of 51 countries were deemed Not Free, representing 26 percent of the world's polities. The number of people living under Not Free conditions stood at 2.6 billion people, or 36 percent of the global population, though it is important to note that more than half of this number lives in just one country: China.
In a year marked by an explosion of terrorist violence, autocrats' use of more brutal tactics, and Russia's invasion and annexation of a neighboring country's territory, the state of freedom in 2014 worsened significantly in nearly every part of the world.
Discarding Democracy: Return to the Iron Fist
For the ninth consecutive year, Freedom in the World, Freedom House's annual report on the condition of global political rights and civil liberties, showed an overall decline. Indeed, acceptance of democracy as the world's dominant form of government-and of an international system built on democratic ideals-is under greater threat than at any point in the last 25 years.
Even after such a long period of mounting pressure on democracy, developments in 2014 were exceptionally grim. The report's findings show that nearly twice as many countries suffered declines as registered gains, 61 to 33, with the number of gains hitting its lowest point since the nine-year erosion began.
This pattern held true across geographical regions, with more declines than gains in the Middle East and North Africa, Eurasia, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and the Americas, and an even split in Asia-Pacific. Syria, a dictatorship mired in civil war and ethnic division and facing uncontrolled terrorism, received the lowest Freedom in the World country score in over a decade.
The lack of democratic gains around the world was conspicuous. The one notable exception was Tunisia, which became the first Arab country to achieve the status of Free since Lebanon was gripped by civil war 40 years ago.
By contrast, a troubling number of large, economically powerful, or regionally influential countries moved backward: Russia, Venezuela, Egypt, Turkey, Thailand, Nigeria, Kenya, and Azerbaijan. Hungary, a European Union member state, also saw a sharp slide in its democratic standards as part of a process that began in 2010.
There were also net declines across five of the seven categories of democratic indicators assessed by the report. Continuing a recent trend, the worst reversals affected freedom of expression, civil society, and the rule of law. In a new and disquieting development, a number of countries lost ground due to state surveillance, restrictions on internet communications, and curbs on personal autonomy-including the freedom to make decisions about education and employment and the ability to travel freely.
Read more: Freedom House, <>03/02/15
Early Day Motion 804: Migrants' Deaths At Sea
That this House expresses alarm at yet another tragic loss of life at sea when 300 migrants were feared drowned in the Mediterranean trying to escape through Libya; notes the wholly inappropriate tendency of many to blame the people-traffickers; acknowledges that thousands have died in the Mediterranean fleeing war, poverty and oppression from all over the middle east and north Africa; further acknowledges that current search and rescue operations are underfunded and wholly inadequate; requests that the Prime Minister raise this issue in all relevant forums including the imminent European Council; and further acknowledges the need for reinstating and fully funding such vessels as the Mare Nostrum, and the call on the EU by organisations such as the UNHCR, Save the Children and Amnesty International to expand Triton's operations closer to the Libyan coast in order that they might do the right and honourable thing and save people from peril on the sea.
Sponsor: Corbyn, Jeremy - House of Commons: 12.02.2015
Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Volume 95
This document provides an update of Country Guidance case law and UKBA publications and developments in refugee producing countries between 27th January and 9th February 2015 - Volume 95 <> here . . .
Discord Between Immigration Bodies Weighing on Detainees
[Although all immigration removal centres have 24 hour healthcare cover, it is not possible to provide the full range of services to treat mental health conditions that would be available to patients in hospital or in the community.
The relationships between policy makers, managers, detention centre custody staff, healthcare staff and caseworkers may sometimes be characterised by a degree of mutual defensiveness.
Mutual antagonism and suspicion operate in the relationships between the Home Office and some non-governmental organisations (NGOs), official oversight bodies and voluntary organisations operating in the sector.
Vulnerable detainees may deteriorate in a detention situation where caseworkers, sub-contractors, solicitors and other agencies are often in disagreement with one another and thus feeding the detainees' sense of powerlessness, hopelessness and fear of the future.
Because of the underlying defensive dynamic, the current 'culture/s'1 in the IRCs will likely continue unchanged. The provision of training, more staff, different providers and other inputs, will likely be incorporated into the existing defensive culture/s. Therefore no real change is likely to take place. ]
A highly critical official review into mental health issues in immigration removal centres has finally been published a year after it was delivered to the home secretary, Theresa May. The review by the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations says the relationship between the Home Office and those advising detainees and campaigning on their behalf "has all but broken down in some instances". It says healthcare staff in immigration detention and removal centres report being overwhelmed and exhausted by the volume of cases and demands made on them.
The report, commissioned by the Home Office in January 2013, says "mutual antagonism and suspicion" characterises relationships between immigration officials, campaigning bodies, official watchdogs and voluntary organisations working in the field. Vulnerable detainees may deteriorate in a detention situation where caseworkers, subcontractors, solicitors and other agencies are often in disagreement with one another and thus feeding the detainees' sense of powerlessness, helplessness and fear of the future."
Read more: Alan Travis, Guardian, <> 09/02/15
Review into the Welfare in Detention of Vulnerable Persons
SSHD Theresa May: I have today commissioned an independent review into the Home Office policies and operating procedures that have an impact on immigration detainee welfare. Immigration detention plays a key role in helping to secure our borders and in maintaining effective immigration control.
The Government believe that those with no right to be in the UK should return to their home country and we will help those who wish to leave voluntarily. However, when people refuse to do so, we will seek to enforce their removal, which may involve detaining people for a period of time. But the wellbeing of those in our care is always a high priority and we are committed to treating all detainees with dignity and respect.
I want to ensure that the health and wellbeing of all those detained is safeguarded. Following the work I commissioned into the welfare of people with mental health difficulties in police custody, I believe it is necessary to undertake a comprehensive review of our policies and operating procedures to better understand the impact of detention on the welfare of those in immigration detention. The purpose of this wider-ranging review is to consider the appropriateness, and application, of current policies and practices concerning the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people in immigration detention, and those being escorted in the UK. I am committed to considering any emerging findings made by the review and to taking action where appropriate.
I have asked Stephen Shaw CBE, the former Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales, and a widely respected expert in this field, to lead the review. The terms of reference can be found on the Home Office website and copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
House of Commons: 9 Feb 2015 : Column <> 29WS
Download the 'Terms of Reference <>here . . . .
Bangladesh: End Deadly Cycle of Crimes by State and Others
With no end in sight to politically motivated violence and other abuses in Bangladesh, state authorities need to ensure their response respects the rights of all and avoids arbitrary use of force, arrests, and disappearances, Human Rights Watch said today.
Over the past month, nearly 60 people have been killed, hundreds injured, and thousands arrested across the country. All political leaders should give clear statements that their supporters should not use unlawful violence.
"All parties should cooperate to stop the cycle of violent crimes and ensure those responsible for all crimes are arrested and prosecuted," said Brad Adams, Asia director. "The violent crimes being committed by some members of the opposition cannot justify killings, injuries, and wrongful arrests by the government."
Read more: Human Rights Watch, 06/02/15