Some Key Questions on Forced Migration.

Why are people forced to migrate? The causes are many and complex.  Each persons reasons for migration are a unique combination.

One example. A couple with their two children who fled from Eritrea to Sudan, Eritrea has one of the most oppressive regimes in the world.. He is a member of a Pentecostalist church which is not registered with the state. Only Churches that are registered are allowed to practice. He went ahead of the family to seek sanctuary in the UK. His application for asylum was refused. The Home Office immigration officer did not believe he had faced persecution because of his religion. The office of the lawyer who had advised him had closed.  He lost his minimal asylum support payments and was homeless. He was forbidden to work.  When I met him he was sleeping in train stations, churches and occasionally with friends. He was under Hammersmith Hospital for diabetes.   Continue reading

What’s it like to be a child refugee?

Three teenagers who came to Britain as child refugees discuss their experiences on
Woman’s Hour, 17/08/2010. You can listen to the interviews here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p009g9d7

These are the young people — Gervelie, Hamzat and Mohammed — whose stories feature in the terrific Frances Lincoln series : REFUGEE DIARIES
http://www.franceslincoln.com/index.php?page=results&series=192&c=1

In celebration of ordinary lives – Shining a light on refugee children’s experience

Say the word ‘refugee’ to yourself. Without thinking, what images and notions enter your mind?

Now, think about it.

The last Saturday of Refugee Week 2010 was an important day in the lives of four refugee children and their families – a celebration of childhood regained.

We have told their stories in a series of books for children, the Refugee Diaries. At the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, these children’s lives were celebrated. This was a marker for them and all those who have supported and cheered them on – a day to celebrate the longed-for ordinariness of their lives. Continue reading

A High Court judge ordered the UKBA to stop removing foreign nationals from the UK with little or no warning

Written by Emma Ginn
Update on Medical Justice Judicial Review

A High Court judge ordered the UKBA to stop removing foreign nationals from the UK with little or no warning after individuals were denied access to justice in the process.

Immigration officers have descended on vulnerable people late at night and transported them under guard to early morning flights a few hours later.  Medical Justice, a charity that provides independent medical advice to immigration detainees, claims that some people were not able to contact a legal representative and challenge their removal. Mr Nyam, a seriously ill man, was arrested last month for removal to Cameroon in a manner that a judge described as “completely unconscionable” (see case-study below). Continue reading

Our guest the asylum seeker

Raza was left destitute after he was refused asylum. But then Hannah Atkins came to his rescue – by offering him her spare room

The journey to the warmth and safety of this end-of-terrace house in Manchester has been a very difficult one for Raza, a Kurd from a small village in Iran. He fled in 2007, arriving in northern England with no money and speaking no English. After his case for asylum was refused, he lost entitlement to any support and then spent a bitter winter sleeping in a park and seeking shelter in a church.
Last week, we wrote about four asylum seekers who were living in barely imaginable destitution after their cases were refused. Many readers expressed their horror and wondered how to help. There are charities that work with destitute asylum seekers, though, of course, their funds are minimal, and there are not enough to help all the people who are rejected by Britain’s asylum system. Continue reading

A matter of conscience: hunger strikers at Yarl’s Wood

Frances Laing reports on the women’s hunger strike that started on 5 February

Activists show their solidarity with the hunger strikers. | Frances Laing

On Friday 5 February women detained at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre in Bedfordshire started a hunger strike. It involved over eighty women who were locked up at the centre.

The following Monday the Black Women’s Rape Action Project – who support women at Yarl’s Wood – published a report that alleged that the hunger strikers had suffered brutal recriminations and had been beaten by guards and subjected to racist abuse:

‘Over fifty women are currently trapped in an airless hallway in Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre. On Friday 5 February they began a hunger strike. Today they were herded into the hallway where they have been left there for over two hours without access to water or toilets. Four women, including an asthma sufferer, have fainted. Around 1.30 the guards came into the hallway and started to beat women. As we spoke to one woman she told us that someone was bleeding. One of the managers told the women they would regret what they have done; she called the Chinese women monkeys, and the Black women black monkeys. Four other women have been locked in other rooms for three hours, and have been told by room mates that their belongings have been packed. They are worried they face immediate removal even though their cases are still being considered. Fifteen women have been locked up in “Kingfisher”, the punishment wing. Continue reading

The voices of the hunger strikers

Frances Laing spoke to some of the hunger strikers over the weekend

Activists show their solidarity with the hunger strikers | Frances Laing

Denise McNeil is from Jamaica. Her brother was murdered there and she fears for her family. The mother of two spoke to me on the telephone from Yarl’s Wood Kingfisher segregation block on Saturday 20 February.

Denise seemed very weak and tired. She told me she was ‘so depressed’ and hadn’t been outside for two weeks. Sanitary conditions are ‘disgusting’ she said. ‘No water in the tap’, and the toilets were ‘not flushing’. She had been placed on suicide watch. As we spoke a male officer stood at the door. There were no proper medical facilities. Continue reading

Removal and HIV

The following comes from UKBA policy documents and instructions, and below is caselaw followed by a link to the BHIVA recommendations .

The Article 3 threshold
Applicants may claim that their removal from the UK would constitute a breach of Article 3 on account of their medical condition. Recent caselaw, both at domestic and Strasbourg level, has confirmed that the circumstances in which such a breach could be established will be exceptional. For guidance
please refer to the IDIs Chapter 1 Section 8 Paragraph 3.4.
[ which reads: 3.4. Human Rights Act. This paragraph has been withdrawn for updating. Claims that removal from the UK would breach Articles 3 and/or 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights because of the claimant’s medical condition should be considered in accordance with the House of Lords judgment in the case of N v SSHD (2005) UKHL31 and other relevant case law. http://www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/policyandlaw/IDIs/idischapter1/section8/section8.pdf?view=Binary] Continue reading

Mojirola Daniels – Speaks Out Full summary of the treatment that I received at Yarl’s wood center

I am one of the ladies on hunger strike at Yarl’s wood center. On Monday 8th February 2010 around 11 45am GMT time, some group of women stood at the center of a hall in the center. We were protesting about the condition at the center and the length of time we spend in here. An officer approached the group and informed us that an immigration official would like to see us all to discuss the issues that we have raised.

The officer told us to follow him down the corridor to the immigration office. We proceed down to the end of the corridor. When we got to the very end, the officer asked that we should go inside the office 4 ladies at a time. They allowed 4 women to enter and told us that they will let 4 more in when those 4 inside gets out. One of the manager of the center ( a lady manager called Viv Moore) came from the long corridor and asked us if we wanted to go back to our rooms. We told her that we were waiting to see the immigration. She said we are just wasting our time and that nothing is going to be achieved from our protest. She then asked the officers in the room to come with her and as soon as they got to the door, the last officer looked the door on us. They all stayed outside watching us through the door window. Continue reading

Women held after immigration centre protest

Four women have been detained by police after a group of mothers at an immigration removal centre protested at being separated from their children.

Officers were called to the Yarl’s Wood centre in Bedfordshire yesterday, where more than 80 women were said to be on hunger strike in protest against their detention and conditions.

Bedfordshire Police detained four women for offences under the Immigration Act last night following the disturbance, they said today.

They were taken to Greyfriars Police Station in Bedford at about 7.30pm and will be handed over to the UK Border Agency later today.

They have not been arrested or charged with any criminal offences, a spokeswoman said. Continue reading