Home Office Refuses to Reveal Results of Consultation on Nationality and Borders Bill
Freedom from Torture has made an urgent appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to secure the release of vital consultation reports before the Nationalities and Borders Bill becomes law. The Bill, which implements aspects of the Government’s controversial New Plan for Immigration (NPI), is due to have its Third Reading in the House of Commons this week.
However, Freedom from Torture is extremely concerned that MPs will be voting on the Bill without having seen the results of a major consultation exercise into the NPI, because the Home Office has refused to release the results. The Home Office commissioned Britain Thinks, an “insight and strategy consultancy”, to run a six-week consultation into the NPI in Spring 2021, prompting 8,590 responses to an online questionnaire. Usually, the Home Office follows up such an exercise by sharing a “consultation grid” to explain which aspects of submissions will or will not be taken on board. However, in this case the Government published a 22-page document after the Bill had been introduced, setting out only its own broad brush response to the consultation. It did not provide any detail of other consultation responses or set out the basis for its own response.
Read more: Leigh Day, https://rb.gy/nhe78r
Victim of Brutal Domestic Abuse Loses Appeal Against Deprivation of British citizenship
A mother of three British children has lost her appeal against the decision of Amber Rudd to take away her British citizenship in 2017. The judgment of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) makes for very grim reading. The woman, anonymised as “U3”, was born in the UK with British and Moroccan citizenship. Her dual nationality would turn out not to be an asset, but a perilous liability that would ultimately render her a second-class citizen who could be banished and left in exile.
U3 spent her entire childhood in the UK. In 2011, at the age of 18, she married her husband (“O”) against her family’s wishes. She became a mother at the age of 19, gave birth again the following year and by the time she turned 21, found herself crossing the border from Turkey into ISIL-controlled territory with her husband and children. U3 gave birth to her third child in Syria in 2016. In April 2017, then Home Secretary Rudd deprived U3 of her citizenship on the basis that it was conducive to the public good to do so.
U3 was assessed as having travelled to Syria, being aligned to ISIL and presenting a threat to UK national security. U3’s deprivation order was just one of a record 104 such orders signed by Rudd that year. In May 2018, U3 appealed the decision to SIAC. In 2019, U3’s children were repatriated to the UK but her own application to join them the following year was refused by Priti Patel. SIAC heard her appeals against both the deprivation decision and the refusal to grant entry clearance to the UK towards the end of 2021.
Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/
If an Asylum Applicant is Murdered their Appeal is Also Murdered
Deported man murdered by Taliban: An immigration appeal is over if the appellant dies, the Upper Tribunal has held. The case is FZ (human rights appeal, death, effect) Afghanistan  UKUT 71 (IAC). The man known only as FZ lived in the UK from 2000 to 2016 before being deported to Afghanistan for petty criminality. In September 2018, while his appeal trying to overturn the deportation order was pending, he was murdered by the Taliban.
FZ’s widow and children wanted the immigration tribunal to decide the appeal even though the protagonist had died. It is unclear from the judgment whether they expected any practical benefit from a positive outcome, or if it was more about posthumously vindicating his reputation. Either way, the First-tier Tribunal declined to make findings of fact as requested, and the Upper Tribunal agreed. The appeal legislation, the judges said, is premised on the person being alive. Interpreting it otherwise under the Human Rights Act would involve “radical re-writing” for which there was “no justification”.
Official Government Line - Where an applicant has made a human rights appeal and subsequently dies, the appeal no longer exists and should be formally recorded by the Tribunal as having come to an end.
Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/psg9ll
Refugee Convention was Designed for a Crisis Like the Invasion of Ukraine
With all the talk of “bespoke” humanitarian schemes, Home Secretary Priti Patel’s refusal to use the word “refugee” and the rejection of the international system for the protection of refugees we see in the Nationality and Borders Bill currently before Parliament, you would be forgiven for thinking the Refugee Convention is out of fashion. It shouldn’t be. The Refugee Convention was designed by refugees for refugees for exactly this kind of situation. But it was cleverly and thoughtfully constructed to be of wider use as well. The convention is intended to meet the basic needs of refugees but also recognises the desire of nation states to control their borders.
Origins of the Refugee Convention: There have been refugees as long as there have been war, famine and cruelty, but international refugee law first emerged after the First World War. Millions of refugees fled from revolution, persecution then famine in Soviet Russia. With the entrenchment of the nation state model in Europe, it was no longer possible for them to simply leave one country and settle in another as refugees always had in the past.
No right to asylum, only to non-return
The Refugee Convention did not then and does not today include a right to enter a country in order to claim or get asylum. This is despite the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, agreed in 1948, stating that everyone “has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution” (Article 14). But not to enter as such, you may note, nor to get asylum.
Read more: Freemovement, https://rb.gy/ozooya