The rights of women seeking asylum: a charter

Every single woman, the new campaign under the Women’s Asylum Charter focuses on the disparity in the treatment of women who are seeking asylum compared with women settled in the UK.

We believe a change of culture designed to produce a genuinely gender sensitive asylum system is urgently needed to ensure that women seeking asylum receive a comparable standard of treatment to women in similar situations who are settled here already. Continue reading

‘Inhumane’ act of taking deportation reserves to airport condemned

Prisons inspector Nick Hardwick says ‘objectionable practice’ by escort staff at Gatwick airport should cease immediately
The chief inspector of prisons has condemned the immigration authorities for “a distressing and inhumane practice” of taking detainees to the airport as “reserves” for others being deported.

Nick Hardwick says the “objectionable practice” by overseas escort staff at the G4S-run Tinsley House removal centre at Gatwick airport should stop immediately. Continue reading

Report on an announced inspection of Tinsley House IRC 7 – 11 February 2011

The family unit was in the process of refurbishment and was designed to house up to eight families with children. These plans to hold children in the IRC sit uneasily with the government’s stated commitment to end child detention for immigration purposes. We were told two types of family might be held at Tinsley House: those detained from aircraft and awaiting a flight back to their home countries, and families judged unsuitable for the new  ‘predeparture accommodation’ currently under construction nearby. We will return to inspect and report on both these family facilities once they open.
Activity provision had improved and most detainees had something to do to fill their time, including an increased amount of paid work. There were reasonable opportunities for those needing to learn English, but little for those who were already fluent. There was a good library and reasonable access to PE, although instructors were unqualified.
Preparation for release was very good, with an impressive welfare service and important support from the Gatwick Detainee Welfare Group. Communication with the outside world was well facilitated with good visit facilities and access to phones, fax and the internet, although some legitimate internet sites were unnecessarily blocked. Support to prepare detainees for removal had begun to be developed. However, we identified an objectionable and distressing
practice of overseas escort staff taking additional detainees as ‘reserves’ to the airports for charter flights in case illness or appeal prevented a removal. This inhumane practice should cease.
Tinsley House had improved considerably since our previous visit, with more dedicated management attention and improvements in most key areas. Admittedly, at the time of the inspection the IRC held no single women or families with children whose treatment we have previously highlighted with great concern. Nevertheless, the improvements are to be warmly welcomed and staff and managers appropriately commended.

 

Nick Hardwick  May 2011, published 26 July 2011
HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

Report on an announced inspection of Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre 7 – 11 February 2011 by HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, FULL REPORT HERE: http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/publications/inspectorate-reports/hmipris/tinsley-house-report2011.pdf

 

Demonstrate against new family detention centre in Sussex 30 July 2011

Croydon NoBorders is calling for a demo in Haywards Heath from 1pm on Saturday 30th July to protest against a new detention centre for children and families which is due to open in late summer at nearby Pease Pottage.

Haywards Heath is the home of Mid Sussex Council which granted planning permission for the former Crawley Forest School to be converted into a migrant prison.

The migrant prison, known euphemistically as a “pre-departure accommodation centre”, will be run by the infamous security firm G4S, who are facing charges for corporate manslaughter following the death of deportee Jimmy Mubenga on a BA flight in November. The prison will “normally” hold families for up to 72 hours but they could be held for up to a week in “exceptional circumstances”. Continue reading

UK Border Agency needs to adopt a consistent approach to the use of country of origin information

The UK Border Agency needs to adopt a consistent approach to the use of country of origin information (COI) as it plays a vital role in establishing if an asylum claim is well founded, said John Vine CBE QPM, the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency, publishing his thematic inspection report on how the Agency uses COI in deciding asylum applications.

The inspection took place between October 2010 and May 2011 and looked at how COI affected decisions to grant or refuse asylum.

At the time of inspection, the Chief Inspector found evidence that case owners were familiar with, and used, sources such as COI reports which were available for the countries from where most asylum applications in the UK were made. Continue reading

Amnesty calls for complete overhaul of enforced removals by private security companies

UK: Ill-trained, dangerous and unaccountable- Amnesty calls for complete overhaul of enforced removals by private security companies
Posted: 07 July 2011
The UK Government must conduct a complete and radical overhaul of the current system of enforced removals from the UK, according to a new briefing and campaign launched today (7 July) by Amnesty International UK.

Private security companies, contracted by the UK Government, have reportedly used dangerous and improper control and restraint techniques. In the 2010 case of Jimmy Mubenga at least, these appear to have resulted in someone’s death. One such technique was nick-named by contractors “Carpet Karaoke”, as it involved forcing an individual’s face down towards the carpet with such force that they were only able to scream inarticulately ‘like a bad karaoke singer’. It involves the seated detainee being handcuffed, with a tight seatbelt through the cuffs and their head pushed down between their legs. There is a serious risk of death by positional asphyxia when this technique is used. Continue reading

Immigration Advisory Service (“IAS”) is in Administration

The Immigration Advisory Service (IAS), the largest provider of publically funded immigration and asylum legal advice, advised today that it had been placed into administration. The IAS, a registered charity, has been in existence for 35 years, and employs 300 staff at 14 locations across England and Scotland. It is renowned for a large number of important legal precedent cases which have been taken through the Courts, including to the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights. Continue reading

A selection of articles on complaints and harm on removal

UKBA Guidance Manual – Handling of Complaints in detention & during escort – June 2011
Handling of Complaints in immigration removal centres, short term holding facilities, holding rooms and during escort – guidance manual for UKBA staff and contractors.  Download the manual.
Detention Services Order 01/2011 – Commissioning of investigations and management review into incidents

Immigration Advisory Service goes into administration

The Immigration Advisory Service (IAS) has gone into administration, BBC News has learnt.

The IAS, which employs 300 people, has closed its 14 branches.

One employee told the BBC that staff had been told to clear their desks and that administrators were already in the central headquarters in London.

The free service is one of the leading charities giving legal advice and representation to immigrants and asylum seekers in England and Scotland. Continue reading

HoL Children in Detention; prison inspection reports

Immigration: Children in Detention:

Lord Roberts of Llandudno: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many children were detained for immigration purposes in each month of 2011.[HL10595] [HL10595]

Baroness Browning: Monthly figures are not available. Information on the number of children in detention is collected on the last day of each quarter. The latest published information shows that as at the 31 March 2011 there were no children recorded as being in detention. The table below shows the number of children entering detention, held solely under Immigration Act powers, by month, January to May 2011. Continue reading