Some reactions to the APP Inquiry into Immigration Detention

March 4, 2015 by  
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2015 March 3 Immigration detention
Time For a Time Limit – Parliamentarians call for a 28 day maximum time limit on immigration detention to be introduced

A cross-party group of MPs and Peers has recommended that the next government should introduce a maximum time limit of 28 days on the length of time anyone can be detained in immigration detention. The call comes in a report published today following a joint inquiry into the use of immigration detention in the UK by the APPG on Refugees and the APPG on Migration. Read more

The Report of the Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention in UK

March 4, 2015 by  
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2015 March 3 APPI reportA Joint Inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees & the All Party Parliamentary Group on Migration

Key Recommendations

• There should be a time limit of 28 days on the length of time anyone can be held in immigration detention.

• Detention is currently used disproportionately frequently, resulting in too many instances of detention. The presumption in theory and practice should be in favour of community-based resolutions and against detention.

• Decisions to detain should be very rare and detention should be for the shortest possible time and only to effect removal.

• The Government should learn from international best practice and introduce a much wider range of alternatives to detention than are currently used in the UK. Read more

Time4aTimeLimit

February 28, 2015 by  
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time4atimelimitIt’s #Time4aTimeLimit on immigration detention

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The UK is the only country in Europe without a time-limit on detention.  Migrants can be imprisoned indefinitely, solely for bureaucratic convenience, often for many months and even many years.

Britain has a long tradition of legal protection for civil liberties. This tradition is undermined every day that migrants are detained without time limit. Many people experience long-term damage to their physical and mental health. Their families also experience the distress of separation. Detention without time limit damages the UK’s international reputation for defending human rights.

Souleymane, who has experienced the trauma of indefinite detention, has said that:

In prison, you count the days down [till your release].  In detention, you count the days up.

Time4aTimeLimitAs Detention Action’s recent report on the State of Detention in the UK shows, the statistics on indefinite detention are disturbing and yet even they do not paint the full picture:

In 2013, 904 migrants left detention after spending more than six months locked up; 237 more were still in detention at the end of the year, suggesting that 1,141 people went past six months in detention during the year. However, these statistics are misleading, as they arbitrarily exclude migrants whom the Home Office chooses to detain in prison, although their legal status is no different. Read more

Campaign to Close Campsfield

February 23, 2015 by  
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Campaign to Close CampsfieldThe current plans are to double the size of Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre – IRC.  The Home Office and Ministry of Justice are pressing ahead before the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Immigration Detention has made its recommendations, and at a time when the Home Secretary is concerned about conditions in IRCS.  There is unanimous opposition locally and across all parties.

Quakers in Oxford signed a joint letter with 20 other organisations expressing concern. Read more

Health regulations – and – Change to Azure card

February 21, 2015 by  
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Still human still hereThe new health regulations have now been now been published (see last update for a summary).  The full details can be accessed at: 
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/238/contents/made. 
The Home Office has announced that the £5 carryover limit for users of the Azure card will be removed from Monday 23 February 2015. This is a welcome change that we have been pressing for some time and will allow asylum seekers to carry over unspent money from one week to the next if they become ill or if they are trying to save for particular items. Azure Card users should receive a mail-shot to inform them of the change shortly
See the rules: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/351369/Azure_Card_Carrier_2014.pdf
see also: http://www.redcross.org.uk/en/About-us/Advocacy/Refugees/Azure-payment-card

Update on health charges

February 19, 2015 by  
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Still human still hereThe Department of Health met with a range of agencies on 12 February to update and discuss the implementation of the charging regime for overseas visitors (a note of key points from the meeting is attached).  The Dept of Health is moving forward with Phases 1-3 of the programme: improving cost recovery from the current charging system, improving identification of those who are eligible/exempt from charging, and implementing the migrant surcharge (the surcharge will come into force on 6 April at a cost of £200 to migrants and £150 to students). The extension of charging to primary and A&E care (phase 4) has been de-prioritised in order to focus on phases 1-3. Any extension of charging to these areas will be subject to a further consultation, which is not likely to take place before the Autumn of 2015. Read more

Greece pledges to shut immigrant detention centers

February 17, 2015 by  
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SyrizaReuters: Greece’s new left-wing government pledged on Saturday to close down detention centers for illegal immigrants that have long been criticized by rights groups as inhumane.

A Pakistani man had died overnight at the Amygdaleza detention center in western Athens in a suspected suicide.

“Detention centers – we’re finished with them,” Deputy Interior Minister Yannis Panousis, who is in charge of public order and civil protection, told reporters on Saturday when he visited the center. Read more

Churches Refugee Network Conference – 21 March 2015

February 14, 2015 by  
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CRNProviding sanctuary in an age of austerity- a Christian response

Churches Refugee Network Conference – 2015

In partnership with London Churches Refugee Network

 11.00am to 3.30pm (Registration from 10.30am) 

Saturday 21st March 2015 Read more

Over 300 people feared dead at sea

February 14, 2015 by  
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ECRE save livesEurope needs to step up search and rescue in the Mediterranean -http://www.ecre.org/

Some 300 people are now confirmed missing and believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean according to reports gathered by UNHCR following the rescue of some 100 people by the Italian Coast Guard on Monday.

Survivors said that four dinghies left from a beach near Tripoli on Saturday. Twenty-nine migrants died, most of them of hypothermia, after they were rescued from an inflatable dinghy carrying 106 people. Only two people were recovered from a dinghy which, according to survivors, had departed with 107 passengers and only seven people survived on another which had carried 109 people. A fourth boat with approximately 100 people is missing.

UNHCR and NGOs have repeatedly warned that ending Italy’s rescue operation Mare Nostrum, launched following the Lampedusa tragedy of 2013, without replacing it by a well-resourced European search and rescue initiative would mean more deaths at sea.
“There can be no doubt left after this week’s events that Europe’s Operation Triton is a woefully inadequate replacement for Italy’s Mare Nostrum,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. “The focus has to be about saving lives. We need a robust search and rescue operation in the Central Mediterranean, not only a border patrol.”

“If a well-resourced European search and rescue initiative is not put in place, more people will die in their attempt to reach our shores. It’s a question of life or death and the EU needs to engage now to save lives”, said ECRE’s Secretary General Michael Diedring.

The Italian Council for Refugees (CIR) has urged the EU to modify the regulation of the EU Border Agency Frontex to include search and rescue at sea in its mandate or to establish a Search and Rescue Agency.

According to IOM, more than half of the 76 survivors rescued at sea on Monday are from the Ivory Coast (39), followed by Mali (18), Senegal (7), Guinea (7), Gambia (2) and Niger (2). Three of them are unaccompanied children. It is reported that most people who died were also Ivorians. 3,528 migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean during January, according toItaly’s Ministry of the Interior. The main country of origin was Syria, with 764 people, followed by Gambia (451), Mali (436), Senegal (428), Somalia (405) and Eritrea (171).

For further information:

Further submissions update

February 14, 2015 by  
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RtRFurther Submissions in Liverpool update – legal challenge delays implementation

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On 15 January we reported that the UK Home Office had announced a change in procedures for lodging further submissions on asylum and human rights applications, after a refusal of an asylum claim. All further submissions were now to be made in person, in Liverpool, rather than at the applicant’s local Immigration office.

The new process, announced without notice or consultation, was scheduled to start on 26 January. However, the Home Office made a further announcement that this was to be delayed. Read more

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