News & Views Monday 21st September to Sunday 27th September 2015

The Cause of Human Rights is Also the Cause of Social Justice
Human rights are founded on the recognition, on the belief that all human beings have equal worth, and that all of us are entitled to the same fundamental protections and freedoms.  And so today I want to talk about the importance of the protections granted by the European Convention of Human Rights and by the Human Rights Act. In doing that, I am going to make three, what I consider to be, fundamental points.
The first is that repealing or weakening the provisions of the Human Rights Act - as the current UK government says that it intends to do - would be a monumental mistake. It would remove important protections from people within the UK, but it would also deeply damage the UK’s reputation overseas
Secondly, I will talk about how the Scottish Government will respond to any UK Government proposals. I will explain how we will seek to ensure that human rights protections are retained in Scotland, and how we will do everything we can to ensure that they are retained across the UK.
And finally, I will point out that – far from being a burden on government - the European Convention of Human Rights sets out minimum standards for civilised societies that we should actually be looking to build on.

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, 23/09/2015

Asylum Research Consultancy COI Update Volume 109 
This document provides an update of Country Guidance case law and UKBA publications and developments in refugee producing countries  between 8th September and 21st September 2015. Volume 109  here . . .

US Civil Rights Report Condemns Abuses Against Detained Immigrants
Commission on Civil Rights calls for immediate release of families held in detention facilities, pointing to violations of constitutional rights. A scathing report from the Commission has criticized the government’s treatment of immigrants in detention facilities and called on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to immediately release families held in such centers. The 130-page report, released on Thursday 17th September 2015, detailed a litany of abuses against immigrants in government and private-contracting facilities, from the denial of proper medical care to possible violations of legal and constitutional rights.
“While these immigrants migrate to the United States to escape harsh living conditions,” the report’s authors wrote, “once they cross the US border without authorization and proper documentation, the federal government apprehends and detains these individuals in conditions that are similar, if not worse, than the conditions they faced from their home countries.”
Read More: Scott Keyes, Guardian, 21/09/2015

Sofia Kalu: Trials and Tribulations Finally Come to an End
Hi my dear friends and supporters offer the past years I would like to thank all of you for all the hard work and the encouragements. I would like to share some good news with all of you that the Home Office has finally decided to give me my status in line with my husband Johnson Kalu.

Circa 2011: Sofia Kalu - Captured, Removal Directions Set
Sofia was captured by UKBA, yesterday morning when she went to sign at Dallas Court. She has been served with removal directions for Friday 9th September 2011, on Virgin Atlantic flight VS601 from London Heathrow @ 20:30 hrs to Johannesburg. Her partner Johson Kalu has not been arrested or detained and is still in Manchester; where both have been very active amongst the Manchester immigration community. Sofia is currently in Yarl's Wood IRC.

Circa 2012: Sofia Kalu - Back Behind the Wire @ Yarl's Wood
Hi everyone I am back in Yarl's Wood IRC. UKBA served me with RDs for Wednesday 18th July but my solicitor has managed to stay my flight. I am having severe pains in my head. I arrived on Friday at Yarl's Wood IRC and due to my blood pressure the nurse at Penine House refer me to health Care and when I arrive here the nurse who sees me tell the officers to take me to hospital when I arrive at Bedford hospital my blood pressure was 231/118 (this is about as severe as it can get) and I was admitted in hospital until Saturday afternoon.
On June 22nd Sofia reported that Johnson Kalu her partner had been detained and had gone on hunger strike, he was released from detention on Wednesday 27 th June.

EU: Leaders Duck Responsibilities on Refugees
European Union leaders meeting on September 23, 2015, focused on how to stem the flow of asylum seekers instead of strategies for a responsible, humane response to the crisis at its borders. The meeting produced a statement that makes a nod to full implementation of the common European asylum system – a set of binding laws to ensure harmonized procedures, recognition rates, and reception conditions. But the reality is that asylum seekers face a protection lottery in the EU due to wide disparities in standards and conditions.
Read more: Human Rights Watch, 24/09/2015

Woman Awarded £184k in 'First Caste Discrimination' Case
Permila Tirkey, 39, was discriminated against because of her "low caste", her lawyers said, describing it as the first successful case of its kind. She worked 18-hour days, having been recruited because her employers wanted someone "servile", a tribunal heard. The employment tribunal upheld a number of claims against her employers. Ms Tirkey's barrister Chris Milsom said she could now receive a substantial amount in compensation.
Read more: Daily Mirror,23/09/2015

Nabil and Others v. Hungary (no. 62116/12)

The applicants, Ahmad Mohamed Nabil, Saleh Ali Isse, and Mohamud Addow Shini, are Somali nationals who were born in 1984, 1974, and 1985 respectively and live in Bicske (Hungary).

The case concerned the applicants’ detention pending their eventual deportation to Serbia. Originally coming through Greece, the three applicants entered Hungary via Serbia in November 2011. They were intercepted and arrested by the Hungarian border police and transferred to a border station. On 6 November 2011 the authorities, considering the applicants to be illegal border crossers without identity documents, ordered their expulsion to Serbia and their detention with a view to their eventual deportation. 

Their detention was subsequently reviewed by the domestic courts on five occasions between 8 November 2011 and 3 March 2012, and extended essentially on the grounds that the applicants had entered Hungary illegally and without ID and that there was a risk that they might frustrate their expulsion. In the meantime, on 9 November 2011 the applicants had applied for asylum in Hungary. Their asylum application was dismissed on 19 March 2012.

However, having been granted subsidiary protection in the asylum proceedings, they were eventually released on 24 March.

Relying in particular on Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security), the applicants complained about their detention without appropriate judicial review, alleging in particular that it had no longer been justified to detain them under domestic law once they had filed their asylum request.

Violation of Article 5 § 1 – concerning the period from 8 November 2011 to 3 March 2012

Just satisfaction: EUR 7,500 to each applicant (non-pecuniary damage) and EUR 3,395 to the applicants jointly (costs and expenses)

Playing Cricket with the Afghans
It doesn’t take long to get here. Dover is closer than you think. The ferry crossing to Calais lasts only slightly longer than the time it takes to locate the food hall. Five minutes from the port, down quiet suburban streets and past huge water towers, there’s an anonymous-looking industrial estate. On one side of the road are an unlikely collection of buildings: a dog agility centre, a beer factory, a Hells Angels-style motorbike club headquarters. And on the other side, their unwelcome neighbour: a vast, sprawling migrant camp. Welcome to the Jungle.
Pulling up at the roadside, the people who massed around our cars asked if we were there to help. An eviction was imminent, and they were hurriedly abandoning the Jungle and moving their belongings a few miles away to a new camp. Our van – full of tents, sleeping bags, clothes and food – would be more useful empty, ferrying people and their things up and down the road. So, though it seemed a shame not to be able to distribute the things ourselves, we took our donations to be stored elsewhere and set about trying to be helpful.
Read more Lucie Boase, Justice Gap

NA and VA Pprotection: Article 7(2) Qualification Directive)

India [2015] UKUT 432 (IAC)

[Obiter: The word generally in Article 7(2) of Council Directive 2004/83/EC (the Qualification Directive) denotes normally or in the generality of cases. Thus the operation of an effective legal system for the detection, prosecution and punishment of acts constituting persecution or serious harm and access to such system by the claimant may not, in a given case, amount to protection. Article 7(2) is non-prescriptive in nature. It prescribes neither minima nor maxima. The duty imposed on states to take reasonable steps imports the concepts of margin of appreciation and proportionality.]

Last updated 25 September, 2015