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
• 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
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.
As 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
The 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
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 – 2015
In partnership with London Churches Refugee Network
11.00am to 3.30pm (Registration from 10.30am)
Saturday 21st March 2015 Read more
Europe 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:
- UNHCR, UNHCR urges Europe to recreate a robust search and rescue operation on Mediterranean, as Operation Triton lacks resources and mandate needed for saving lives, 12 February 2015
- UNHCR, Update: Major tragedy in the Mediterranean confirmed, 300 migrants and refugees are missing, 11 February 2015
- UNHCR, UNHCR appeals to EU for beefed up Mediterranean search and rescue capacity as at least 29 deaths are reported off Lampedusa, 10 February 2015.
- ECRE, Over 300 migrants feared dead in new tragedy in Mediterranean – ECRE’s reaction, 11 February 2015
- IOM, IOM Fears Over 300 African Migrants Drown En Route to Europe, 11 February 2015
- IOM, Migrants Die of Hypothermia Off Lampedusa as Smuggling Season Gets Underway, 10 February 2015
- BBC News, Interview with Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks, 12 February 2015
- European Commission, Statement by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans on deaths in the Mediterranean, 11 February 2015
- Italian Council for Refugees (CIR), Frontex inadequate, must change. Europe is responsible for the deaths at sea, 11 February 2015
- Italian Council for Refugees (CIR), Yet another tragedy, same responsibilities, 10 February 2015
- Amnesty International, EU ‘burying heads in the sand’ as hundreds more migrants die at sea off Italy, 11 February 2015
- Jesuit Refugee Service Europe, Lampedusa: Another Tragedy, Europe Must Act, 11 February 2015
- Pro Asyl, How many more dead? A European sea rescue service now!
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