News & Views Monday 14th September to Sunday 20th September 2015

Stop the Forced Removal of Muhammad Sajjad

Urgent Action Needed -

Muhammad Sajjad has been detained by the Home Office and has been told he will be removed on Monday 21 September to Pakistan, where he fears for his life. He is currently being held at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre.

Muhammad is a victim of trafficking and forced labour. He also suffers serious mental and physical health difficulties and has a history of suicide attempts. It is the opinion of medical experts that he is not fit to fly and that no services exist in Pakistan to meet his mental health needs. These facts have been discounted by the Home Office.

Home Office detention policy states that “those suffering from serious mental illnesses which cannot be satisfactorily managed in detention” should only be detained in the most exceptional of circumstances (of which there are none in this case). Muhammad’s mental health is not being satisfactorily managed at Harmondsworth.

Muhammad was badly beaten up and left for dead due to his dad’s political allegiances. His family sold their land to pay people to take him to “a better life” in the UK. The people were traffickers and he ended up in slavery and debt bondage in Manchester, before finding out he could apply for asylum.

Muhammad’s case has never been properly considered by the Home Office. They have refused to take into account expert evidence saying that he exhibits all the signs of having been trafficked into forced labour. Not only this, but Muhammad has serious mental and physical health problems. Doctors have said that he is unfit to fly and that there are no available services in Pakistan to meet his mental health needs. He has on four occasions been driven to suicide attempts by his past experiences and by the level of disbelief and accusation from the Home Office.

Muhammad’s solicitor was preparing to apply for judicial review, the next stage in appealing the Home Office’s decisions. But instead he was detained and taken to Harmondsworth ‘Immigration Removal Centre’ (aka prison). We have visited Muhammad there and it is a truly appalling place that shames Britain, where his mental health cannot possibly be adequately looked after.

Muhammad dreams of safety and stability in his life; of having a home to welcome people to; of one day opening a restaurant and using his skills as a chef.

Muhammad was incredibly touched when we told him about all your expressions of positivity and compassion following the Guardian article. He now needs your support more than ever.

Act now: Please click here to sign and share a petition urging Theresa May to help keep Muhammad safe

[Last week, in an article about families offering their spare rooms to asylum seekers, G2 featured on its cover a man called Muhammad Sajjad. The 30-year-old from Pakistan had been staying in the spare room of Yoshiko Stokoe and her partner Jack Palmer and with another couple in Leeds. He had since left their home, having begun to receive an asylum seeker’s allowance of just over £5 a day on a prepaid card, along with a room in a shared house, paid for by the Home Office. He was trying to manage his mental health after a number of suicide attempts and was waiting for his solicitor to put together an application for judicial review challenging a decision from the Home Office in May to refuse him asylum.]

Thank you for your support!

Leeds No Borders
For general enquiries & media: 07784194431
For signing or detention support: 07466699812

Leeds No Borders is a grassroots campaign & support group fighting racist immigration controls. We believe that everyone should have the right to freedom of movement and call for an end to deportations and detention. We are all volunteers and rely on donations.

UKHO CIG:  Afghanistan: Prison Conditions

1. Basis of Claim
1.1.1 Fear Of Being Imprisoned On Return To Afghanistan And That Prison Conditions Are So Poor As To Amount To Torture Or Inhuman Or Degrading Treatment Or Punishment.

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).

House of Commons Debate on ‘Immigration Detention’

“In prison, you count your days down, but in immigration detention you count your days up.”

£76 million a year is wasted on the long-term detention of migrants who are subsequently released, and, between 2011 and 2013, £10 million was spent on compensation for unlawful detention.

The problems have been well documented, but Parliament has never taken a systematic and comprehensive look at how we use detention, so we thought there was a need for that wider piece of work. We held three oral evidence sessions and received nearly 200 written submissions, and I pay tribute to all those who submitted evidence, particularly those who shared their often painful and harrowing experiences as detainees themselves. I am delighted that some are in the Gallery today.

As the use of detention has expanded rapidly over the last two decades, so has the size of the estate. In 1993, there were just 250 detention places; by 2009, that had risen to 2,665; at the beginning of this year, it was 3,915. The number of people entering detention in the year to June 2015 was just over 32,000—up 10% on the previous year. By contrast, in 2013, Sweden, despite receiving three times the number of asylum applications we do, detained just 2,893, and Germany detained just over 4,300. The Home Office policy states clearly that detention must be used sparingly.

The UK is alone in the EU in not having a maximum time limit on detention. That lack of a time limit was a constant theme in the evidence we received during our inquiry and one on which we received some striking testimony. Time and again we were told that detention was worse than prison, because in prison people know when they will get out. As one former detainee said:

“The uncertainty is hard to bear. Your life is in limbo. No one tells you anything about how long you will stay or if you are going to get deported.”

A team leader from the prisons inspectorate told us that the lack of a time limit also encourages poor working.
Although they are called immigration removal centres, we found that most people who leave detention do so for reasons other than being removed from the UK. That is an important point. According to the latest immigration statistics, more than half the detainees released are released back into the country, so this is not just about the impact on those detained; it is also about cost and the good use of public money. It costs some £36,000 a year to detain somebody for 12 months, so a huge amount of taxpayers’ money is being spent on detaining people who we will eventually release into the UK anyway.

Our central recommendation is for a maximum time limit set in statute, not simply to right the wrong of indefinite definition, but to change the culture endemic in the system. We settled on 28 days, not only because it reflects best practice from other countries, but because it is workable for the Home Office, given that in the first three quarters of 2014 only 37% of people were detained for longer. It also reflects the evidence of the mental health impact on those detained for more than a month. We also recommended that decisions to detain should meet the aims of the Home Office’s own guidance—that is, taken more sparingly and only genuinely as a last resort to effect removal. Deprivation of liberty should not be a decision taken lightly, nor should it be taken arbitrarily. Currently, decisions are taken by relatively junior Home Office officials, with no automatic judicial oversight. With no time limit, it has become too easy for people to be detained for months on end, with no meaningful way of challenging their continued detention.
Resolved,: That this House supports the recommendations of the report of the Joint Inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration, The Use of Immigration Detention in the United Kingdom; has considered the case for reform of immigration detention; and calls on the Government to respond positively to those recommendations.

Download the Joint Report here . . . .

Source: 10 Sep 2015 : Column 559

Number of Incidents of Self-Harm Requiring MedicalAattention

Q2/2015 April May June Total
Brook House 1 4 8 13
Campsfield House 0 0 0 0
Colnbrook (incl. STHF) 4 7 10 21
Dover 8 4 2 14
Dungavel 0 0 0 0
Harmondsworth 4 8 3 15
Morton Hall 2 1 0 3
The Verne 7 7 6 20
Tinsley House 1 1 10 12
Yarl's Wood (incl. STHF) 6 2 5 13
Larne 0 0 0 0
Pennine House 0 0 0 0
Cedars 0 0 0 0
Subtotals 33 34 44 111

Number Being Managed as Having a Risk of Self-Harm

Q2/2015 April May June Total
Brook House 21 27 27 75
Campsfield House 22 6 4 32
Colnbrook (incl. STHF) 26 24 16 66
Dover 14 7 9 30
Dungavel 9 9 9 27
Harmondsworth 24 31 28 83
Morton Hall 21 6 6 33
The Verne 27 25 29 81
Tinsley House 5 5 7 17
Yarl's Wood (incl. STHF) 34 31 37 102
Larne 0 2 1 3
Pennine House 0 1 1 2
Cedars 0 2 1 3
Subtotals 203 176 175 554

There has been one death within the detention estate during Q2. This occurred at Yarl’s Wood IRC in April 2015.

Three children detained in the Cedars were deemed to be at risk of Self-Harm.

Q2/2015: Rule 35(i) reports made by a medical practitioner to the Home Office on individuals in immigration detention

Rule 35(i) reports made by Medical Practitioner to Home Office - 20

Number of detainees Rule 35(i) reports relate to - 18

Of which, number of Rule 35(i) releases from detention - 4

UKHO CIG: Sri Lanka: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

1. Introduction
1.1 Basis of Claim
1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by the state and/or non-state actors because of the person’s actual or perceived:
(a) sexual orientation (i.e. that the person is, or is perceived to be, a lesbian, a gay man or bisexual).

(b) gender identity (i.e. that the person is, or is perceived to be, transgender).

(c) gender recognition (i.e. that the person is, or is perceived to be, transsexual).
1.1.2 For the purposes of this guidance, unless specified, the above are collectively referred to as ‘LGBTI persons’.

1.1.3 In addition to the guidance in this section, decision makers should also refer to the Asylum Instructions on Sexual Identity Issues in the Asylum Claim, Gender Identity Issues in Asylum Claims; and Gender Recognition in Asylum Claims.

2. Consideration of Issues
2.1 Is the person’s account a credible one?
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 an application for 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 (see the Asylum Instruction on Language Analysis).

Published on Refworld, 17/09/2015

Sri Lanka: Journalists, Media and Human Rights Activists at Risk

Home Office Country Information and Guidance

This document provides guidance to Home Office decision makers on handling claims from – as well as country of origin information (COI) about – journalists (incl. internet-based media), media professionals and human rights activists from Sri Lanka. This includes whether claims are likely to justify the granting of asylum, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave and whether – in the event of a claim being refused – it is likely to be certifiable as ‘clearly unfounded’ under s94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

Decision makers must consider claims on an individual basis, taking into account the case specific facts and all relevant evidence, including: the guidance contained with this document; the available COI; any applicable caselaw; and the Home Office casework guidance in relation to relevant policies.

1. Introduction
1.1 Basis of Claim
1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm at the hands of the Sri Lankan authorities because of the person’s actual or perceived political opinion as a result of their activities as a journalist (including internet-based media), media professional or human rights activist.

1.2 Summary of Issues to Consider
- Is the person’s account a credible one?
- Are journalists, media professionals and human rights activists in Sri Lanka who are perceived by the authorities to be in opposition to the government at real risk of persecution or serious harm?

- Are those at risk able to seek effective protection?

- Are those at risk able to internally relocate within Sri Lanka?

Download the full report here . . . . .

Enforced Removals by Country of Destination
  2012 2013 2014 total
Bangladesh 881 603 651 2135
Poland 372 415 579 1366
Romania 463 705 829 1997
Nigeria 707 698 506 1911
Albania 473 613 823 1909
China 617 512 423 1552
Afghanistan 518 496 398 1412
Vietnam 589 468 296 1353
Italy 297 366 377 1040
France 286 327 397 1010
Lithuania 193 324 425 942
Jamaica 306 287 284 877
Brazil 339 261 131 731
Sri Lanka 364 164 185 713
Ghana 229 186 158 573
Ireland 214 178 106 498
Turkey 133 122 68 323
Iraq 55 99 42 196

Download full list here . . . .

Last updated 18 September, 2015