Glasgow: POSITIVE ACTION IN HOUSING WINTER APPEAL 2011

CRISIS PAYMENTS, FOOD, WINTER NIGHT SHELTER, SURVIVAL PACKS AND WARM CHILDRENS CLOTHING FOR DESTITUTE (OR POTENTIALLY DESTITUTE) ASYLUM SEEKERS & THEIR DEPENDENTS IN GLASGOW OVER CHRISTMAS PERIOD
 WHEN: Tuesday, 20th December 2011, 10.00 HRS to 14:00 HRS
WHERE: 98 West George Street, Glasgow G2 1PJ
 (See below how to donate to this appeal  – please forward and circulate) Continue reading

What do we do? Network members own experiences

QARN members are all Quakers, some are members and others are attenders.

We have wide experience that we bring to the Network, and have identified the following as examples of what we as individuals and with our Meetings have been involved in:

  • I worked 22 yrs in European Commission. Last 5 yrs i.c. anti-racism action development, and welfare questions for extra-European migrants in the E Union.
  • Founded Brussels Q meeting, and founder member and some-time treasurer of Quaker Council for European Affairs [QCEA].
  • Since retirement, some 12 yrs visiting detainees in Dover Immigration Removal Centre as member of Dover Detainees Visitor Group, and standing as bail security for detainees at release request hearings.
  • Some lobbying of MPs.
  • My main activity over the past 18 months has been the Bail Observation Project of the Close Campsfield Campaign and that is likely to continue as we intend to do another study, and I have offered to work on the analysis of the data as I did for our first report.
  • I now attend the Detention Forum meetings for QARN.
  • I am on Quaker United Nations Committe, Geneva [QUNC], and I am part of the reference group – Refugees and Human Rights.
  • My local meeting contributes food for destitute asylum seekers and I collect it and ensure that it goes to Asylum Welcome
  • Founder and coordinator of Merseyside Churches’ ecumenical fund for destitute asylum seekers
  • Chair of charity giving psychotherapeutic support through horticulture to traumatised asylum seeking families
  • Former Chair (10 years) of Liverpool’s only open access drop-in centre for asylum seekers and refugees (also offering food, English language classes, housing, immigration and employment advice)
  • Trustee of Merseyside Refugee Support Network
  • Member of steering group of Churches’ Refugee Support Network (an informal network of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland)
  • Convenor of trustees of Quaker Concern for the Abolition of Torture (Q-CAT).
  • Turning the Tide Resource Person,
  • Msc Social Policy and Planning,  European MA in Migration, Mental Health and Social Care, Past research worker at UEL on the survival strategies of migrants in East London.
  • Retired social worker, community worker and voluntary organisation manager.
  • Initiator and member responsible for development,and administration, Spare Room for forced destitute migrants.
  • Member London Hosting Development Team, NACCOM. Caseworker Refugee and Migrants Project Newham.
  • Committee Member Assoc. of Families Adopting from Abroad from 1995 to  its amalgamation with OASIS – 2012
  • 2001-2004, first Chair – Yarls Wood Befrienders,  2005-2011 on the Committee as Fundraiser
  • Visited and supported assorted Detainees, and ex-detainees,  continuously, since 2001.  2004-8 I set up and ran a four-year project mini-hostel (4 beds) for homeless, destitute, ex-Yarls Wood women. I raised funding from local charities, Mothers’ Union, and individuals.
  • Luton & Leighton AM has accepted my concern to get children fully innoculated before removal.
  • Since 2004 I have been mentor to an Afghan man and later his family as well, who now all have settled status (through a project entitled “Mentoring Refugees into Employment” run by Leeds Met Univ/St George’s Crypt/Refugee Council/Leeds City Council).
  • I have been volunteering on the Teaching English at Home  project run by Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network (LASSN).
  • I write lobbying letters to my MP and other relevant people as issues arise.
  • I support Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network [LASSN] financially
  • As a Quaker Meeting we are providing financial support to Solace, an organisation doing mental health work with asylum seekers and refugees in Leeds
  • Hosting destitute asylum seekers in my home
  • Running a winter night shelter for destitute asylum seekers one night a week – other churches cover the other 6 nights
  • Visited and supported detainees, and ex-detainees,  continuously, since 2001.  2004-8 I set up and ran a four-year project mini-hostel (4 beds) for a group of 9 or 10 people.
  • Local Meetings keep in touch about asylum issues. Most are involved in support, visiting, fundraising or campaigning in association with 5 different local organisations.
  • I represent QARN on Still Human Still Here, the national campaign to end destitution among asylum seekers.
  • We have face to face contact, an email group, and occasional business meetings. We take asylum and immigration matters to our local business meetings, organise our food collections for destitute asylum seekers, and from time to time hold other events to maintain awareness about asylum issues.
  • I was trained up as an accredited immigration/asylum lawyer in around Jan 2008 (which is different from a solicitor) with Refugee Legal Centre, which then became Refugee Migrant Justice.
  • Throughout I have had friends in the system, and have been involved in supporting them in various ways with their anti-deportation campaigns; finding solicitors; aspects of their cases including accessing legal reps and expert witnesses for judicial review and appeals;  mental health breakdowns; housing issues; raising funds for a mobility scooter; Refugee Week activities; homelessness; detention; giving birth; family deaths; and also joyous singing and performing at music festivals; and involvement in an episode of Secret Millionaire (that was a surprise)  etc etc
  • I’m not really active on refugee issues at the moment, no longer volunteering at the Red Cross and my Spare Room guest has moved out after 2.5 years. Still interested but my time is mainly on other issues.
  • I work with the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, a Quaker trust which makes grants for work promoting rational and humane migration and asylum policies benefitting both migrant and settled communities in West Yorkshire; at national level in the UK; and across Europe

A thematic inspection of how the UK Border Agency manages foreign national prisoners

Executive Summary
1.The UK Border Agency is responsible for deciding, in accordance with the law, whether foreign national prisoners should be deported from the UK. Where deportation is being considered, it also decides whether a person should be detained at the end of their prison sentence or released into the community with a requirement to report to the Agency if deportation has not occurred prior to the end of the prison sentence. This inspection assessed the effectiveness and efficiency of the Agency in managing foreign national prisoners. Continue reading

Mapping Statelessness

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The research maps the number and profile of stateless persons in the UK and puts a human face on their situation. It also examines the UK’s legal obligations to stateless persons under international law and analyses the impact of current policy and practice. Based on these findings the report makes recommendations for improvement. While the work owes a debt to previous studies, this is the first time that this hidden issue has been subject to such comprehensive quantitative and qualitative research.

The 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons defines a stateless person as “a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law”. Continue reading

Sample letter: Transparency of UK BA decision-making regarding detention

Dear                                                                    MP,

Transparency of UK BA decision-making regarding detention

I am writing, as your constituent, to deplore UK BA’s use of detention in the immigration system of this country. It is, in my view an infringement of the individual’s rights as a human, and ultimately a threat to all our liberties. It is wrong to lock people up with neither a suspicion nor a conviction of a crime, without time limit. Continue reading

The use of country of origin information in deciding asylum applications: A thematic inspection

Executive Summary

1. The UK Border Agency is responsible for considering asylum applications. In order to do so effectively the Case Owner must fully take into account relevant information from the applicant’s substantive interview and any evidence submitted on their behalf. This is then reviewed in conjunction with available country of origin information, relevant case law and the credibility of the applicant’s statements before a decision can be made on whether the applicant qualifies for protection. Continue reading

Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency is inviting stakeholders’ views

The Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency  is inviting stakeholders’ views on  development of his inspection plan for 2012-13

Views should be sent to: chiefinspectorUKBA@icinspector.gsi.gov.uk  or to the postal address: Attn: Inspection Plan Consultation, Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency, 5th Floor, Globe House, 89 Eccleston Square, London, SW1V 1PN by30 November 2011.

Still Human Members are encouraged to propose the asylum support system for review, including: Continue reading

Introducing fee charges for appeals in the Immigration and Asylum Chambers of the First-tier Tribunal

The purpose of this letter is to inform you about the Government’s intention to introduce appeal fee charges for some asylum and immigration appeals on 19 December 2011. The Fees Order which prescribes the fee to be paid has now been approved in both Houses of Parliament.

Fees will be payable by the majority of individuals who wish to bring an appeal against a Home Office decision in the Immigration and Asylum Chambers in the First-tier Tribunal to refuse them either:  Continue reading

NCADC information

Xenophobia in UK Politics

The debates about lost cases, strong borders and foreign criminals seem to overlook that immigrants are human. We had considered writing more about xenophobia in current mainstream immigration politics. Someone else has done it for us, though.

Writing for the Institute for Race Relations yesterday, John Grayson maps the shift to the right taken by our political parties. He argues that ideas that once belonged to the BNP have been used by the Conservatives and the Labour party in an attempt to win votes. Continue reading

What are Quakers doing?

Quakers are involved in many ways to address concerns  relating to the asylum process, and in a variety of different ways to welcome and bring some relief to those people who are subjected to these processes. 

Extract from our Survey of Friends’ asylum and refugee work in Britain Yearly Meeting in 2007

In June 2007, the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network decided to conduct a survey of Quaker Meetings to try to build a picture of the work done by Friends in support of asylum-seekers and refugees. All PMs were sent a copy of a questionnaire and, as well as this, many meetings were sent e-mails. The letter pages of The Friend were also used to encourage responses.

The members of the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network are aware that the  activities listed below are likely to be an under-estimate of the level of Quaker activity in this area.

The main type of activities are listed below along with the number of times they were mentioned in the reports:

Befriending 20

Conversation and social activities (including holidays) 13

Asylum seekers supported by meeting 7

Provision of  mid-, long-term or emergency accommodation 7

Fundraising and financial support 24

Collecting items 9

Meeting House used 8

Teaching English 6

Visiting detention centres (including airports)  10

Accompanying asylum seekers to court 2

Political activity  13

Awareness-raising amongst Friends 2

Regular public witness 1

Ecumenical & interfaith activities 13

Trustee / board member in asylum-related charity 5

Action in other pressure groups and charities 27

Employment (including legal) 9

Work related to asylum-seekers’/refugees’ health (physical and mental) 8

Publicity (photography project) 1

Local campaigning 1

Some examples of Quaker activity:

Some meetings in rural areas provide short breaks and holidays for asylum-seekers. One meeting hosts an annual summer party on the beach.

Meetings which are based near detention centres (including airports) make regular visits to support the detainees.

Several Friends have a great deal of individual professional expertise. One Friend has written 35 expert opinions on asylum cases, and others have been active in setting up and running advice centres.

One meeting has maintained a fortnightly vigil in support of asylum-seekers outside the local cathedral since November 2006, with some support from other churches.

Several meetings have befriended individual asylum-seekers, used the meeting house for accommodation, and accompanied them when they need to sign on or attend court.

Several Friends are committee members or trustees of organisations which support asylum-seekers and refugees.

Several Friends offer short-term or long-term accommodation to asylum-seekers in their homes.

One meeting has supported a Friend who has invested in two houses in their city to be used for accommodation for asylum-seekers. Meeting has helped by providing furniture and equipment and paying utilities bills.

Two meetings are involved in “City of Sanctuary” projects.

One meeting provides a library for the local Refugee Centre and Peace House.

We received supportive comments from some Meetings which do not have asylum-seekers in their geographical area. We would like to suggest to those Meetings that they can perform a valuable service by keeping themselves informed of developments and writing to their MPs and other decision-makers.

It is the intention of the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network to produce a directory of the main Quaker activities throughout our Yearly Meeting. This is an ongoing project and will be undertaken in consultation with Local Meetings. Those meetings or individuals who are willing to have their details included in such a directory should reply to our e-mail address info@qarn.org.uk.