News & Views Monday 6th April to Sunday 12th April 2020

Corona  Aftershocks: Secondary Impacts Threaten More Children's Lives Than Disease Itself

As many as 30 million children are at risk of disease and death because of the secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. World Vision’s Aftershocks report considers what would happen if the devastating secondary impacts of the 2015-2016 Ebola outbreak on children were replicated in the 24 most fragile countries covered by the UN’s COVID-19 humanitarian appeal.

“We are wrong if we think this is not a children’s disease. Experience tells us that when epidemics overwhelm health systems, the impact on children is deadly. They are the most vulnerable as other diseases and malnutrition go untreated,” says Andrew Morley, World Vision International President and CEO. “COVID-19 has become a devastating pandemic, but the secondary impacts will likely be a lot worse for children in fragile contexts.”

Read more: World Vision,

Questions Immigrants Need Answered in Light of  Coronavirus Pandemic

(1) Will people in immigration detention be released now that removal is no longer possible?

Answered: The Home Office have indicated that they will not be releasing immigrants from detention despite the fact that removal is no longer imminent due to the pandemic. Anyone in detention should consider making a bail application in order to challenge this policy position.

(2) Will people who currently have immigration bail need to continue reporting regularly to the Home Office?

Answered: No. All reporting has been suspended.

(3) Do visitors, of any nationality, currently in the UK need to apply for discretionary leave or will an automatic extension of leave be granted as was the case with Chinese nationals?

Answered: Visitors can make a request to stay until 31 May 2020 via the Coronavirus Immigration Team. If a response has not been received before the expiry of your visit visa, an application for discretionary leave to remain should be made before expiry to avoid becoming an overstayer.

(4) Will my application be invalidated if I do not attend a Visa Application Centre to provide my biometric information?

Answered: No. Applications will not be invalidated due to failure to provide biometric information. Applications can continue to be made online and will be placed on hold until the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service centres re-open and applicants can provide their biometric information (i.e. fingerprints and photograph).

(5) Will immigration and asylum hearings at the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal continue?

Answered: Appeals will continue to be processed by the Tribunal, with decisions made without a hearing wherever possible. Where a hearing is required, this will be held remotely.

(6) Do Chinese nationals who benefited from the February 2020 policy need to apply for further leave to remain before 31 March 2020?

Answered: A request can now be made, via the Coronavirus Immigration Team, for an extension until 31 May 2020. This is not automatic. If you have not yet received confirmation that your leave has been extended, you should make an application for discretionary leave to remain today to avoid becoming an overstayer.

(7) Do people overseas who have been granted entry clearance need to apply for a new 30 day vignette if they cannot travel to the UK?

Unanswered: When a person’s application for entry to the UK is granted, they have 30 days to travel to the UK. This will become increasingly difficult as more and more countries go in to lockdown and international travel becomes a rarity. It continues to be unclear whether those who cannot travel need to apply for a new 30 day visa vignette (at a cost of £154) or will they be permitted to travel after expiry of the 30 day period?

Source: McGill & Co,

Domestic Abuse in the Time of Coronavirus

[Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić has expressed concern about an increase in domestic violence during the lockdowns due to the corona virus. Reports from member countries in the past few weeks already have shown that women and children are now at greater risk of abuse within their own homes.]

Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse regardless of sex or gender identity, cultural heritage or ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or belief, or disability. There are different kinds of abuse that can happen in different contexts. The most prevalent type of domestic abuse occurs in relationships, but the definition of domestic abuse also covers abuse between family members, such as adolescent or adult child to parent violence and abuse and abuse between siblings.

People with disabilities are more vulnerable to domestic abuse for longer periods of time, and experience more severe and frequent abuse than non-disabled people.

Perpetrators are not all the same and the factors that lead them to using violence and aggression in their intimate relationships can be as individual as the people themselves. There is an increasing understanding that domestic abuse is a child safeguarding issue, and the damaging effects that either witnessing or experiencing it can have on children are well documented.

Domestic Abuse Isn’t Caused By Coronavirus – We’ve Been Ignoring Women For Years

It starts small, with employers assuming that female employees can’t trusted to work from home, or governments advising women to avoid “nagging” during lockdown. It ends with a “domestic abuse surge” which is blamed, not on perpetrators and the choices they make, but on the unique circumstances in which they find themselves (somehow these circumstances are always “unique”). As Annie Brown writes, “domestic abuse was an epidemic long before we heard of coronavirus”. What the current pandemic has done is place it into sharper focus, since families in isolation are more at risk than ever.

Lockdown is not a cause of abuse, but a means by which it is made visible, its consequences suddenly accelerated. It’s a distinction we need to make clear – for the our ability to deal with it now relies on an understanding of its roots. Right now, we are witnessing a particular urgency in efforts to support victims of domestic abuse. Priti Patel, the home secretary, has announced that victims may leave their homes during lockdown to seek help at refuges; domestic abuse experts are calling on the UK government to provide emergency funds to house those in need; in France, the government is pledging to house victims in hotels.

Read more: Independent,

Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - April 2020

Deteriorated Situations: Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Somalia, Mozambique, Guinea, Korean Peninsula, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Ukraine, Guyana, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Libya.

Conflict Risk Alerts: Yemen - Resolution Opportunities: None

The 200th edition of Crisis Group’s monthly conflict tracker highlights deteriorations in March in seventeen countries, including fresh tit-for-tat attacks in Iraq between Iran-backed militants and the U.S. In Chad, Boko Haram's deadliest attack on security forces to date left nearly 100 soldiers dead. Amid ongoing jihadist violence in Burkina Faso’s north, deadly attacks on civilians by security forces and self-defence groups increased, targeting the Fulani community in particular. In Afghanistan, the Taliban resumed their intense military pressure on security forces in rural areas, ending a spell of reduced violence in February.

CrisisWatch notes improvements in two situations. In Syria’s Idlib province, a Russia-Turkey ceasefire agreement froze the regime’s offensive toward Idlib city, halting much of the fighting, and after long delays EU leaders gave the green light for North Macedonia to start formal accession talks.

Looking ahead to April, we warn that violence could intensify in Yemen as warring parties prepare to battle for control of Marib governorate. At the same time, the UN’s proposed ceasefire gives all parties an opportunity to de-escalate. With COVID-19 threatening to compound an already dire humanitarian crisis, conflict parties can demonstrate with a ceasefire their commitment to the people they purport to represent.

Read more: International Crisis Group,

European Convention on Human Rights: New Free Online Training Course

The Council of Europe has launched an updated version of its free online “Introduction to the European Convention on Human Rights”, a five-hour interactive training course aimed at legal professionals, public authorities, civil society and students. “Europe has the strongest system of international human rights protection anywhere in the world, thanks to the European Convention on Human Rights. For the system to fulfil its potential, we need lawyers, judges, government officials, NGOs and other professionals across Europe to learn how it functions and to use that knowledge in their daily work,” said Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić.

The updated course is part of the Council of Europe’s extensive HELP programme of Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals. It contains modules on the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights and – for the first time – the execution of judgments from the Strasbourg court.

The updated course is now available in English, with several other language versions due to be released in the coming months.