Our guest the asylum seeker

Raza was left destitute after he was refused asylum. But then Hannah Atkins came to his rescue – by offering him her spare room

The journey to the warmth and safety of this end-of-terrace house in Manchester has been a very difficult one for Raza, a Kurd from a small village in Iran. He fled in 2007, arriving in northern England with no money and speaking no English. After his case for asylum was refused, he lost entitlement to any support and then spent a bitter winter sleeping in a park and seeking shelter in a church.
Last week, we wrote about four asylum seekers who were living in barely imaginable destitution after their cases were refused. Many readers expressed their horror and wondered how to help. There are charities that work with destitute asylum seekers, though, of course, their funds are minimal, and there are not enough to help all the people who are rejected by Britain’s asylum system. Continue reading

Call for detention reform – letter to the government 23 June ’10

27 organisations across the UK called for an urgent review the country’s immigration detention system.  The letter sent to Damien Green and Theresa May on 23 June ’10 continues: ‘We believe that a sensible option is a moratorium on the opening of further immigration removal centres until an independent inquiry has fully examined the current use of detention’.

The letter was co-ordinated by Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees, Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group and London Detainee Support Group, who are Steering Group members of the Detention Forum. Continue reading

Send in letters about RMJ in support of fair legal representation

I am sure many of you have heard that Refugee and Migrant Justice have gone into administration as a result of the new legal aid payment system.

As co-ordinators of End Child Detention Now, we think that whatever the outcome of the current review into child detention, it will mean very little to asylum seeking children and their families if they are denied access to legal representation and a fair outcome to their asylum application.  We are working to publicise as widely as possible, the impact the collapse of RMJ will have on asylum seekers, refugees and migrants across the country.

We have contacted charities working with refugees and asylum seekers and other law organisations to ask for quotes we can use in this work but it would be great if any members of this group – who have been represented by RMJ, have a friend or family member who has been represented by RMJ or who has worked for the organisation could give us a quote they would be happy for us to use in our publicity (we can do this anonymously if you would like, please just let us know).

If you would be happy to give a quote telling us very briefly how RMJ helped you and what difference did they make to your case

With many many thanks,
Mary
End Child Detention Now

email: ma_mccormack@yahoo.co.uk
If you wish to discuss this further please telephone Kathleen Commons on 0787 216 1271.

Yarl’s Wood immigration centre treated children in a shameful way

It’s clearer than ever that this centre must be closed, says Malcolm Stevens.

A shameful account of institutional incompetence is delivered by a report published this week about Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre. The treatment of children detained there had already caused the Children’s Commissioner and the Chief Inspector of Prisons to express concern, and now it’s clearer than ever that this centre must be closed. Continue reading

Alternatives to Child Detention

Hansard 17 Jun 2010 : Column 211WH
Westminster Hall

[Mr Mike Weir in the Chair]

Alternatives to Child Detention
Motion made, and Question propo
sed, That the sitting be now adjourned.-(Mr Goodwill.)

2.30 pm

The Minister for Immigration (Damian Green): I am delighted to have the opportunity today to draw attention to the issue of children in immigration detention. The UK’s policy of detaining children with families in order to effect their removal from the UK is an area of long-standing concern for many organisations that take an interest in immigration and asylum, and for organisations that work on behalf of children. Those concerns are significant, and the Government have, very early on, set out their commitment to ending the detention of children for immigration purposes. We want to replace the current system with something that ensures that families with no right to be in this country return in a more dignified manner. Continue reading

End detention of children – tell the UK Border Agency what you think!

We wanted to update you with what’s been happening since the new Government pledged to end the immigration detention of children. As we reported last time, this does not mean that detention of children has ended – we’re not there yet! Instead, the Immigration Minister, Damian Green, has now started a “comprehensive review” into ending the immigration detention of children, which is due to be completed on 9 July – after which, they are due to announce how they will fulfil their pledge to stop detaining children. Continue reading

Refugee and Migrant Justice goes into administration- Demonstrate Against Likely Closure of Refugee and Migrant Justice – Defend Legal Aid Refugee and Migrant Justice (RMJ)

Demonstrate Against Likely Closure of Refugee and Migrant Justice – Defend Legal Aid Refugee and Migrant Justice (RMJ), the largest provider of specialist legal advice for asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants in England and Wales, went into administration on June 16 2010. This is a result of cuts in Legal Aid over recent years and changes in the way in which Legal Aid providers are paid. RMJ used to get paid monthly, but is now only paid after each case is closed – many cases last many months or even years. No charity can be expected to wait that long for payment and many law centres are finding it difficult to cope with the new payment system. Continue reading

BEDFORDSHIRE LOCAL SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN BOARD Publishes highly critical report

BEDFORDSHIRE LOCAL SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN BOARD
Publishes highly critical report today 14 JUNE 2010
Bedford LSCB 090610unprotected(2)

6. RECOMMENDATIONS
6.1 The review made detailed recommendations to all the participating agencies and to the Bedford Borough Council Local Safeguarding Children Board that have been accepted and each agency has produced an improvement plan to respond to the review. The high-level recommendations are below and form the basis for a multi-agency action plan, which is being monitored by all the LSCB partner agencies. Continue reading

UK plans Kabul ‘reintegration centre’ for boys

The Refugee Council raised concerns about the safety of AfghanistanThe UK Border Agency is planning a £4m “reintegration centre” in Afghanistan so that failed Afghan child asylum seekers can be returned home.

An organisation is being sought to run the centre in the capital, Kabul, which would aim to help their resettlement.

The goal would be to assist 12 boys a month, aged 16 and 17, and 120 adults.

Refugee groups have questioned whether the UK should be considering sending unaccompanied children back to a country that is not safe.

Home Office figures from March this year show there are about 4,200 unaccompanied child asylum seekers in Britain supported by local authorities. Continue reading

Save RMJ update

Dear All,   I’m just writing with a quick update on the progress of the Save RMJ campaign so far. First of all, many many thanks for you kind support. It really means a lot to everyone here that you have all offered your support.   Media:   RMJ’s plight has been fairly extensively covered in the media, both mainstream, and on blogs. After the initial coverage on Sunday, and in the week, after we released the joint letter that was so kindly signed by so many of you, and which managed to get coverage on the BBC, and Guardian, among many others, we have managed to keep up the momentum. Look out for more in the near future. We’re also starting to get more mentions on twitter:   Mainstream media:   End this inhumane and expensive asylum system
The Guardian Continue reading