News & Views Monday 9th November to Sunday 15th November 2015

Shameful, Barbaric Behaviour of Home Office Resumes in Glasgow

Dawn raids scaled up and Chinese mother handcuffed and split from her tiny children, her husband Kefei Lin is devastated tonight and cried and begged the evening times reporter on his knees to save his family. The mother Min Lin received removal directions of her asylum case only a few hours before a heavy handed team of immigration officers burst into their home at dawn and handcuffed the mother in front of her babies on an escorted removal to Beijing. The children were removed from her, her five year old daughter and her baby boy. Her daughter is especially close to her mother and screamed when she was woken in the morning and man handled by immigration officers as she clung to her mother. His lawyer said "the father has an ongoing asylum appeal so it was a wrong decision by the home office."

Positive Action is extremely worried about the mistreatment of the family, in particular the heavy-handed treatment in handcuffing a mother in front of her two children and forcing her onto a flight without any opportunity to challenge a wrong decision. The family are victims of human trafficking and especially vulnerable. We are also worried that the home office is ramping up the harassment of refugee families by denying them access to lawyers when they decide to remove vulnerable people within hours of a removal direction being issued which gave their lawyer no opportunity to challenge the decision.
Read more: Robina Qureshi, PAIR, 12/11/2015

Hunger Strikes Spread in Immigrant Jails in US Southwest

Immigrant detainees have launched several hunger strikes in detention centers in California and Texas to protest the terrible living conditions they have to face. In Adelanto, California, more than 300 men stopped eating meals on October 30 at a detention center run by the for-profit prison company, GEO Group. In recent weeks there have been other major hunger strikes in Texas and Louisiana as well, involving hundreds of immigrants. At the Adelanto Detention Facility immigrants come mostly from Central America, which has suffered from decades of crime, corruption and brutal US-backed wars. Many have applied for asylum only to be locked up in jail for months, if not years, before they are deported back to their countries of origin.

The hunger strikers at Adelanto have demanded better medical care and a grievance counselor who does not work for GEO Group. The strikers have also called on GEO Group to provide dental care, better food instead of “slices of cold turkey,” and to be treated with respect. In a three-page handwritten note, they state, “We are detainees and not prisoners. We are humans who have the misfortune of being detained. We also respectfully and humbly ask that no retaliation be taken upon any of us detained here in Adelanto by any GEO or ICE staff in our right to unite for a common cause and to protect one another in our peacefull [sic] protest and demonstration.” The Adelanto facility has a long history of abuse, with reports of at least four instances of extreme physical abuse by GEO staff, including a confirmed death and a miscarriage.
Read more: World Socialist Web Site, 10/11/2015

Obama's Executive Actions on Immigration Blocked
A US federal appeals court upheld a block on President Obama's executive actions on immigration, leaving over 4 million undocumented immigrants in a precarious legal state. The US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit maintained a challenge brought on by Texas and 25 other states headed by Republican governors that argued the president did not have the authority to protect a third of the country's undocumented immigrants with an executive order.
The 2-1 ruling from the New Orleans-based court is a fatal blow to Obama's immigration plan that now leaves the Supreme Court to make the final decision on whether or not his executive orders are legal before the end of his term in office. According to Politico, the timing of the appeals court's decision has become an increasing concern for the Obama administration and immigration activists.
Read more: Nicole Rojas, International Business Times, 10/11/2015

Risk to Followers of the Sikh and Hindu Faiths in Afghanistan

(i) Some members of the Sikh and Hindu communities in Afghanistan continue to suffer harassment at the hands of Muslim zealots.

(ii) Members of the Sikh and Hindu communities in Afghanistan do not face a real risk of persecution or ill-treatment such as to entitle them to a grant of international protection on the basis of their ethnic or religious identity, per se. Neither can it be said that the cumulative impact of discrimination suffered by the Sikh and Hindu communities in general reaches the threshold of persecution.

(iii) A consideration of whether an individual member of the Sikh and Hindu communities is at risk real of persecution upon return to Afghanistan is fact-sensitive. All the relevant circumstances must be considered but careful attention should be paid to the following:

a. women are particularly vulnerable in the absence of appropriate protection from a male member of the family;

b. likely financial circumstances and ability to access basic accommodation bearing in mind

- Muslims are generally unlikely to employ a member of the Sikh and Hindu communities

- such individuals may face difficulties (including threats, extortion, seizure of land and acts of violence) in retaining property and / or pursuing their remaining traditional pursuit, that of a shopkeeper / trader
- the traditional source of support for such individuals, the Gurdwara is much less able to provide adequate support;

c. the level of religious devotion and the practical accessibility to a suitable place of religious worship in light of declining numbers and the evidence that some have been subjected to harm and threats to harm whilst accessing the Gurdwara;

d. access to appropriate education for children in light of discrimination against Sikh and Hindu children and the shortage of adequate education facilities for them.

(iv) Although it appears there is a willingness at governmental level to provide protection, it is not established on the evidence that at a local level the police are willing, even if able, to provide the necessary level of protection required in Refugee Convention/Qualification Directive terms, to those members of the Sikh and Hindu communities who experience serious harm or harassment amounting to persecution.

(v) Whether it is reasonable to expect a member of the Sikh or Hindu communities to relocate is a fact sensitive assessment. The relevant factors to be considered include those set out at (iii) above. Given their particular circumstances and declining number, the practicability of settling elsewhere for members of the Sikh and Hindu communities must be carefully considered. Those without access to an independent income are unlikely to be able to reasonably relocate because of depleted support mechanisms.

(vi) This replaces the county guidance provided in the cases of K (Risk - Sikh - Women) Afghanistan CG [2003] UKIAT 00057 and SL and Others (Returning Sikhs and Hindus) Afghanistan CG [2005] UKAIT 00137.



Home Office Criticised Over Delays in Immigration Cases

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman investigated 158 complaints against the Home Office and agencies last year, and upheld 69% of them.  That is more than double the average for the public sector. In one case, a teenage refugee had to wait nearly 10 years before he was allowed to stay. The Home Office said it would consider the report's findings. According to the report, the main problem the watchdog identified with the Home Office concerned immigration casework, where procedural errors, delays and poor decisions meant people had to endure "prolonged uncertainty".
Read more: BBC News, 10/11/2015

Source and Scope of Civil Resistance

“Civil Resistance” is much more than protests, marches and civil disobedience. Those tactics are among hundreds that can form the repertoire of independent political strategies for the people of any nation to plan, so that together they can act to win their rights, obtain justice, stop corruption and other abuses of power, and establish or reform democracy. The failure of many governments to enforce basic rights and make good on the promises of power-holders has, right across the world, impelled people to seek another means by which they may not only demand but also instigate the changes they desire.

The periodic or continual failure of governments – whether or not they espouse worthy beliefs – to enforce basic rights and make good on the promises of power-holders has, right across the world, impelled people to seek another means by which they may not only demand but also instigate the changes they desire.
Read more: Open Democracy, November 2015

HO Appeal Against Findings of Unlawful Detention – Rejected

1   On 22 July 2014, Mr Simon Picken QC, sitting then as a deputy High Court judge, declared that VS had been unlawfully detained by the Home Office on 2 July 2012 from 17.50 until 19.10 hours ("the first period of unlawful detention") and from 17 July 2012 until 10 August 2012 ("the second period of unlawful detention"). The context of the declaration was a claim by VS for damages against the Home Office for unlawful detention. The assessment of the quantum of damages was left for a later date.

2 ·  The judge set out the facts, the law, and his reasoning for his decision in a substantial judgment entitled VS v The Home Office [2014] EWHC 2483 (QB) which can be found on

3 ·  The Home Office appealed against the findings of unlawful detention with permission from Maurice Kay LJ. For the purposes of this judgment, I will refer to it as the defendant and to VS as the claimant.

4 ·  The particular focus of the appeal is the detention, in the immigration context, of those who are, or possibly are, minors. It is now accepted that VS was, in fact, a minor at the time of his detention, but there were times in the past when he was thought to be, and was treated as, an adult.

5 ·  As so often happens in cases of this type, the position has moved on since the events with which we are concerned. One of the developments is that a new "Age Assessment Joint Working Guidance" has been agreed between the Home Office and the Association of Directors of Children's Services, replacing a Joint Working Protocol drafted in 2005. The claimant argued that the appeal had become academic in the light of this and invited the defendant to withdraw it, but the invitation was declined and was not developed into any sort of formal application for the appeal to be brought summarily to an end. It should be noted also that there have been amendments to the Enforcement Instructions and Guidance ("EIG") which features in the appeal, and that the version addressed in this judgment is no longer current.

52 ·  I am not persuaded that the judge was wrong in finding a breach of the defendant's independent duty. I agree that, as he found, the defendant was unable properly to discharge this without more information from the local authority than was contained in the Age Assessment Results document. In so far as Mr Tam submitted that paragraph 5.3 of the Age Assessment guidance is to the effect that the defendant is entitled to rely on the local authority's assurance without more, I do not accept that. On the contrary, in my view it is clear from the EIG and the guidance that the defendant must have more than a simple assurance. It is implicit in the wording of paragraph 5.3 itself. It also emerges from a consideration of paragraph 5.2, as the form used by the local authority in this case provided insufficient material to enable the case owner to comply with the requirement of paragraph 5.2 of the EIG that he or she "should carefully consider the findings of the local authority" and discuss the matter with the local authority if, for example, the findings did not appear to be supported by evidence or it appeared that the case was finally balanced or that the general Merton principles had not been adhered to.

53 ·  In short, therefore, I would endorse the judge's decision that the material available to the defendant from the local authority was not sufficient to meet the requirements of the Age Assessment guidance and therefore of the EIG, or to enable the defendant to carry out its independent duty. It follows that his finding as to the second unlawful detention period stands. It is unnecessary, in the circumstances, for me to address the argument raised in the respondent's notice that a decision to treat a person as over 18 for detention purposes on the basis of an age assessment by a local authority can only properly be taken if the defendant is in possession of a full written Merton-compliant age assessment document.
54 ·Having rejected the defendant's challenge to the judge's determinations in respect of both periods of detention for the reasons I have set out, I would dismiss the appeal.

Riot at Australian Detention Centre After Asylum Seeker's Death

Australian opposition politicians on Monday demanded that the government disclose the extent of destruction caused by ongoing riots at a controversial immigration detention centre following the death of an asylum seeker. Fences at the facility on the remote Australian outpost of Christmas Island were torn down and fires were lit, forcing guards to abandon the facility and allowing access to vulnerable inmates by other detainees, according to reports. Christmas Island segregates detainees seeking political asylum, many of whom have fled from war-torn regions in the Middle East and Asia, from foreigners facing deportation for a variety of crimes. Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told parliament that the unrest began around 11 p.m. local time Sunday following the death of an inmate who had escaped on Saturday.
Read more: CBC News, 09/11/2015


Last updated 13 November, 2015