Look out for QARN at Yearly Meeting Gathering 2014

qarn logo smLook out for us at BYM: we are planning:

A joint QARN session with QUNO: the session title is ‘Refugees: national and international developments and challenges’ – Hear about the work of Quaker United Nations Office and Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network on human rights, refugees and asylum seekers. How can Quakers encourage the development of policies based on justice and compassion?

2 x  ‘journey’ sessions on destitution and indefinite detention

1 x  evening ‘option’ session for  Friends to share their experiences. 
We will also be at the Groups Fair
More information to follow …

Asylum seekers in the UK: Let them work and let them eat

open democracyROGER ROBERTS AND RUTH LISTER 19 March 2014

A new Bill would remove most grounds of appeal for immigration decisions, turn landlords into immigration police and extend charges for NHS care. On Monday Peers challenged the government to exercise some humanity.
  • The Immigration Bill, having passed through the Commons, is being scrutinised in the House of Lords again (Clare Sambrook writes). On Monday 17 March the Liberal Democrat Roger Roberts (Lord Roberts of Llandudnoand Labour’s Peer Ruth Lister (Baroness Lister of Burtersett) were among those urging amendments that would give asylum seekers the right to work (if the Home Office took more than six months to decide upon their asylum claim), and end the policy of enforced destitution for failed asylum seekers. 
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  • Lord Roberts of Llandudno Our progress as humanity has always been a continuous struggle to overcome discrimination and inequality. One can name Wilberforce, Lincoln, Pankhurst, Gandhi, Mandela and so many others who have contributed to ensuring that nobody suffers because of discrimination. All people are of equal value. The struggle continues. People are people wherever they are, and should be treated with respect and dignity.

However, there are some failed asylum seekers who cannot be returned home. . .about 3,000 such people living in the United Kingdom. They cannot work. They have no access to benefits and would, in many cases, be destitute were it not for support from government and voluntary agencies. This Section 4 support from the Government is entirely separate from normal asylum support for people whose claims are pending. Under Section 4, a person will receive £5 per day, or about £36 per week. Out of this, they must pay for food, clothing, toiletries and other essential living needs. We are glad that housing and utilities are provided separately. [Technicalities explained in the end note]. Continue reading

Why the Jimmy Mubenga trial matters. By ex-Chief Inspector of Prisons Lord Ramsbotham

Open Democracy – DAVID RAMSBOTHAM 21 March 2014

On Thursday the Crown Prosecution Service announced that three former G4S guards, Stuart Tribelnig, Terry Hughes and Colin Kaler, would stand trial for the manslaughter of Jimmy Mubenga on a BA plane in October 2010. Long before Mubenga’s death, Lord Ramsbotham was among those who warned repeatedly that Home Office contractors used dangerous methods of restraint.

When, in 2012, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that it had decided not to bring any charges against the three G4S detainee custody officers, under whose restraint Jimmy Mubenga, who was being returned to Angola, died in an airliner at Heathrow, I described the decision as ‘perverse’.

I did so because, at the time, I was chairing a National Independent Inquiry into Enforced Removals, during which we had been told that the restraint techniques used on Jimmy Mubenga, had also been used by G4S staff in Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre, resulting in the death of 15 year old Gareth Myatt in 2004.  Continue reading

UN: Syria asylum claims in rich nations more than double in 2013

UN Human Rightssm21 March 2014 – A new report issued today by the United Nations refugee agency found a sharp rise in asylum claims in 44 industrialized countries over the course of last year, driven primarily by the crisis in Syria.

According to “Asylum Trends 2013,” 612,700 people applied for asylum in North America, Europe, East Asia and the Pacific last year – the highest total for any year since 2001.

Afghanistan, which in the previous two years was the world’s principal country of origin for asylum-seekers, ranked third in terms of new claims behind Syria and Russia, a news release issued by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) pointed out.

Among the top 10 countries of origin, six are experiencing violence or conflict – Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia, Iraq and Pakistan. Continue reading

Deaths in the custody of immigration detention services

G4SChannel 4 : “Left to die in British detention: who was Alois Dvorzac?” – 18/03/14
“Until now we only knew a name: Alois Dvorzac. But who was the man behind the tragedy? … It went on to explain that despite being declared unfit for detention he ended up dying, in handcuffs, while still in detention two weeks later. … “.  Read the article in full and see the news-clip
Channel 4 :”Vaz wants ‘full inquiry’ into detention centre death” – 18/03/14
It is shameful that 84-year-old Alois Dvorzac died in handcuffs at a UK detention centre, and there needs to be a full inquiry, says Keith Vaz MP, chair of the home affairs select committee. See the news clip
CPS : “Death of Jimmy Mubenga – Charging decisions following inquest” – 20/03/14
In accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, the decision now is that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Colin Kaler, Terrence Hughes and Stuart Tribelnig to be prosecuted for manslaughter.  Read the article in full
 
INQUEST – “CPS to prosecute G4S guards for manslaughter following death of Jimmy Mubenga” – 20/03/14
Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST said: “This decision reiterates the importance of legal aid for families to be represented at inquests. It is legal aid that ensured a robust examination of all the evidence, which has ultimately resulted in today’s welcome decision.  The cuts to legal aid mean that cases like this in the future may well not receive this kind of scrutiny.” Read the article in full

ILPA: monitoring legal aid changes

ILPAWe have two monitoring sheets, one for legal representatives and one for NGOs, to monitor and record details of people they are unable to help due to the changes to legal aid. They can be used for your own purposes and/or also ILPA will be delighted to receive any that you do complete or even part complete.

The forms can be found here.

Update 57

31 January 2014

  • Immigration Bill moves to the Lords
  • Good news: challenge to residence test gets the go ahead
  • New EU Regulation ‘Dublin III’ now applicable
  • Bulgaria in crisis
  • New Bill to tackle Trafficking and Slavery
  • Plans afoot to charge migrants for healthcare
  • New countries subject to TB screening
  • Pending consultations

SHSH: What you can do

Still human still hereTake actionStill Human is calling on the Government to give asylum seekers permission to work if they have been waiting for more than six months for their cases to be concluded, or if they have been refused asylum but cannot be returned home through no fault of their own (e.g. because removals have been suspended).

This will prevent vulnerable people being left in a state of limbo for prolonged periods of time, will reduce the burden on the taxpayer and allow a small number of asylum seekers to support themselves and their families while contributing to the economy. Those who are allowed to stay in the UK, will find it much easier to become part of British society if they have been given the chance to work. Continue reading