Asylum and Refugees
 

Diary (Asylum & Refugees)



Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Immigrants

Asylum for Refugees is a gospel responsibility which sees Christ suffering in the distress of others and requires us to do something more than consider self interest.
The responsibility to offer refugees hospitality, solidarity and assistance lies first of all with the local Church... Her task takes on various forms: personal contact; defence of the rights of individuals and groups; the denunciation of the injustices that are at the root of this evil; action for the adoption of laws that will guarantee their effective protection; education against xenophobia; the creations of groups of volunteers and of emergency funds; pastoral care. 
                        Refugees: A Challenge to Solidarity (1981), 26

2017

Image: Death in Detention Emergency Demonstration Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees

 

On Tuesday morning a Chinese man was found dead at Dungavel Detention Centre. This is the second suicide at a detention centre in the last fortnight. It also comes hard on the heels of the Panorama expose of conditions within Harmomdsworth Detention Centre. 
An emergency demonstration has been organised for Saturday 24th September.

Dungavel House Immigration Removal Centre
Strathaven ML10 6RF
12:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Further details on Facebook
 

    

Image: Scotland's commitment shown through Syrian resettlement statistics

It is two year's since the photograph of 3 year old Alan Kurdi prompted moral outrage and political reaction.  The Prime Minister at the time, David Cameron, announced that the UK would offer direct resettlement to up to 20,000 vulnerable Syrians living in refugee camps over a five year period reports SFAR.     Read More...

Image: Vatican urges refugee response

Scottish Faith Action for Refugees are reporting in their current newsletter how His Holiness Pope Francis has issued a message in preparation for the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees on 14 January 2018, Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants and refugees.   Read More...

Image: Lord Dubs appeals for action on child refugees before new Immigration Bill

The Independent Catholic News reports that the future for lone child refugees in Europe “surrounded by sex traffickers and people smugglers” looks grim unless the British government acts quickly. 

Read the full report and please take action.

Safe Passage   

Image: Destitution is routine': refugees face homelessness even after gaining asylum

People granted asylum in the UK are routinely driven immediately into homelessness and destitution according to research conducted for the Guardian.

Read the full article.

    

Image: Justice and Peace Scotland : two new videos

There are two new J&P videos available on our YouTube channel.

Give me Five Campaign. This is the campaign to petition the Scottish government to add £5 per week per child to Child Benefit. This short video covers the main points of the campaign,
 

Responding to Refugees and Migrants.  As you know, Pope Francis has issued a 20-point action plan to governments on refugees and migrants. This short video puts these points into an easily accessible format.


    

Image: Calais: Nobody should live like this Report from Westminster J&P visit

 

On a wet, cold, end-of-August day, four members of Westminster Justice and Peace left London for the Catholic Worker house in Calais.

Read their experiences   

Image: Safe Passage UK

Last week Safe Passage UK showed Lord Alf Dubs around Calais,  the first time he has visited since the Jungle was demolished 10-months ago.

He was shocked to still find 100s of unaccompanied minors still sleeping rough with the constant threat of police violence. 

Watch the interview with him

    

Image: One Big Picnic

Community groups brought together by the Interfaith Food Justice Network in Glasgow invite you all to come along to George Square on Sunday 3rd September to share some free food and a blether at One Big Picnic!

This is a free event open to the general public to celebrate the diversity of Glasgow’s residents and bring people from all different backgrounds together.

The event is being organised by a group of local people from diverse backgrounds including Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Humanist, Buddhist and non-religious who are working together to deliver One Big Picnic in order to promote dignity, community and food justice.   

Image: Pope Francis: prioritise migrants' dignity over national security

The Guardian reports that Pope Francis has issued a 20-point action plan to governments on refugees and migrants to try to galvanise their response to an issue seen by the Vatican as one of the biggest global challenges of the 21st century.

Click on linbk for the text of the Action Plan

 

    Read More...

Image: World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2018: Pope's Message

Pope Francis' message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees was released on Monday 21st August.


In the message the Holy Father says that providing aid to migrants and refugees is a "great responsibility, which the Church intends to share with all believers and men and women of good will, who are called to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom and foresight, each according to their own abilities."

Text of Message   

Image: Government fails unaccompanied children in Europe

By closing the Dubs scheme, the Government has left unaccompanied children at the mercy of traffickers.   Read More...

Image: Refugee-led Community Organisations Contact List

Scottish Refugee Council have produced this very helpful list of Refugee-led community organisations across Scotland with details on how you can be in touch with them.  Please share with community groups where you live.  

List of Refugee-led Community Organisations

 

 

 
 
  
Image: Like living in  Hell Police abuses against child and adult migrants in Calais.

 

Nine months after French authorities closed the large migrant camp on the edge of Calais, between 400 and 500 asylum seekers and other migrants are living on the streets and in wooded areas in and around the city.

A report by Human Rights Watch documents their conditions. It is based on interviews with more than 60 asylum seekers and migrants in and around Calais and Dunkerque, and with two dozen aid workers working in the area. It reports police abuse of asylum seekers and migrants, their disruption of humanitarian assistance, and their harassment of aid workers.

Download report   

Image: Nobody deserves to live this way!

Report from the Human Trafficking Foundation into the situation of child refugees. It makes for grim reading and concludes that instead of protecting children who have fled to Europe for safety, the Government is failing them. Police violence has taught these children to fear the authorities who should be protecting them, leaving the way open for smugglers and those who want to exploit them, including traffickers.

Download the report here.   

Image: Calais: Update on refugee crisis from Seeking Sanctuary

A report by Seeking Sanctuary in the Independent Catholic News outlines the current situation in France and encourages supporters to keep the pressure on government to address the situation with more compassion.

For more information and what you can do to help, please see the Seeking Sanctuary website   

Image: Indefinite detention is dehumanising for refugees. This practice must end

In our interconnected world, it is such a truism that everyone has a story to tell that we rarely ask to hear them. We should. Both sides would benefit.   Read More...

Image: UK accepts fewer than half the child refugees it promised to take under Dubs Amendment

A new article in The Independent highlights that several children granted rights to live in the UK are "leading a hand to mouth existence wandering around France"   Read More...

Image: Homeless, penniless, stateless and destitute

An independent advocacy service could be a first step in a new preventative approach to tackling the destitution facing asylum seekers in Scotland.   Read More...

Image: Solidarity on World Refugee Day 2017

What is World Refugee Day?
Every year on June 20, people around the world get together to mark World Refugee Day. It is a powerful way to come together with others to show that we care about refugees and that we want people seeking refugee protection to be treated fairly and with dignity.   Read More...

Image: Destitute Immigrants in the UK are threatened with having children removed

Homeless immigrants are being told they can secure housing for their children but not themselves, effectively forcing them to break up their family or sleep rough with their children.   Read More...

Image: Letter from Calais - Appeal for Volunteers

Phil Kerton from Seeking Sanctuary visited Calais on 30 May, taking clothing, cash and bedding donated by various groups and individuals. He found a situation that was superficially calm, yet worrying: worries that have since been confirmed as correct.   Read More...

Image: MSPs call for new anti-destitution strategy


“Destitution is built into the UK asylum process”. This is the stark message of a report issued today by MSPs on the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee.  The Committee is calling for a Scottish anti-destitution strategy to alleviate the situation of hundreds of people with insecure immigration status in Scotland. Destitution that often results in exploitation, ill health and misery.   Read More...

Image: Anniversary for Catholic Charity Dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima

As the Church celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions – Aid to the Church in Need, an international Catholic charity dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima is celebrating its 70th anniversary.   Read More...

Image: Care4Calais Report

Care4Calais was founded by a group of volunteers with the aim of supporting the people of the Calais refugee camps, providing fresh meals, warm clothing, heating and important legal and medical support.

In Its latest report, it comments there are no signs of improvement to the refugee crisis.

    Read More...

Image: Scottish Imam talks refugees and religion with Pope Francis

An Edinburgh Imam who met Pope Francis last Month has said the Holy Father is building a friendship between Christianity and Islam.   Read More...

Image: UK to take 130 more lone refugee children

Peer criticises ‘shocking mistake’ as ministers say ‘administrative error’ meant they underestimated available places.   Read More...

Image: Pope Francis - The media need to tell the whole story on migration

When it comes to solving the immigration crisis, the media need to stop perpetuating negative stereotypes and start explaining the big picture, shedding light on the causes behind migration.   Read More...

Image: Right to Remain Toolkit

The Right to Remain Toolkit is a guide to the UK immigration and asylum system. It gives an overview of the legal system and procedures, with detailed information on rights and options at key stages, and actions you can take in support of your claim, or to help someone else.   Read More...

Image: Pope urges more action on human trafficking

In a message to the Alliance against Trafficking in Persons Conference in Vienna, Pope Francis called Human Trafficking "a form of slavery, a crime against humanity, a grave violation of human rights, and an atrocious scourge"

Text of Message   

Image: Europe's Treatment of Child Refugees Risks Radicalisation

Highly critical report from Council of Europe says current system is unable to cope with sheer number of children fleeing conflict   Read More...

Image: Calais - Things Have Never Been So Tough

News from those working in Calais is that things have never been so tough. The French 'welcome centres' distributed across the country may have provided a solution for some people, but for those where it didn't, conditions are worse than the Jungle ever was.   Read More...

Image: Dungavel Solidarity Gathering

The next solidarity gathering at Dungavel will take place on Sunday 26th March, Mothering Sunday.  We are gathering at the bottom of the driveway leading to Dungavel at 12.45.    Read More...

Image: Beyond The Headlines

Trying to understand what happened in the news?

We go beyond the headlines to try and make sense of the issues.
This time – what was happening in Hungary last week”   Read More...

Image: Women For Refugee Women - new report

Women for Refugee Women challenges the injustices experienced by women who seek asylum in the UK. Latest report.   Read More...

Image: Flame Biggest Catholic Youth Event Set to Light Up Wembley Arena

This Saturday, 11 March, up to 10,000 Catholics will attend Flame 2017 and share stories of faith and hope from across the world.  Our Social Justice Co-ordinator, Danny Sweeney, will be there.  Look out for picutres and updates from Danny.   Read More...

Image: Housing: Crackdown On ‘Illegal’ Immigrants Leading to Discrimination Against Ethnic Minority Britons

Foreigners and British citizens without passports, particularly those from ethnic minorities, are being discriminated against in the private rental housing market as a result of the Right to Rent scheme designed to crack down on irregular immigration, according to a new report by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI).   Read More...

Image: One Day Without Us National Day of Action.

1 Day Without Us is a National Day of Action on 20th Feb 2017 to celebrate the contribution of migrants to the UK, to coincide with UN World Day of Social Justice.

For 24 hours, migrants from inside and outside the European Union, and everyone who supports them, are invited to celebrate the contribution that migrants make.

Details of Scottish events here   

Image:  UK failing to protect refugee children

The UK is failing in its responsibility to protect some of the world's most vulnerable people, says the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Independent Catholic News

Cardinal Vincent Nichols Statement

    

We were shocked and disappointed to learn that the UK Government intends to terminate the implementation of Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 – the “Dubs amendment” to resettle unaccompanied asylum seeking children from Europe. To have stopped this programme at fewer than 12% of the original commitment of 3,000 children is reprehensible.   Read More...

Image: Refugee Scheme Closes After Accepting Just 350 Children

The Government has decided to terminate the implementation of Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 – the “Dubs amendment” to resettle unaccompanied asylum seeking children from Europe. 

  
Image: English Bishops denounce Trump Travel Ban


On Sunday, 5 February, Cardinal Vincent, spoke on the BBC Radio 4 Westminster Hour about the executive order issued by President Trump which suspends the refugee acceptance programme for 120 days, prioritises refugee claims of religious-based persecution and imposes a travel ban on nations from a countries of 'particular concern' (seven, predominantly Muslim, countries have been named).

Full details on Independent Catholic News website

And the the lead bishop for migrants, Bishop Paul McAleenan, an auxiliary of Westminster Diocese, called on Catholics to oppose Trump’s ban.

Full details in The Tablet   

Image: Dungavel to remain open

The Home Office has abandoned plans to replace the immigration removal centre at Dungavel House

Details on BBC website   

Image: President Trump's Executive Order on Immigration

Statement by Justice and Peace Scotland on the Executive Order 'Protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States'   Read More...

US Catholic Bishops respond


President Donald Trump's executive memorandum intended to restrict the entry of terrorists coming to the United States brought an outcry from Catholic leaders across the US.

Read more in The Tablet

    

Image: After the Jungle burnt… Danny Sweeney, the Social Justice Coordinator for J&P Scotland reflects on his experiences in the Calais refugee camp
  Read More...
Image: Holyrood Committee to investigate state’s role in helping destitute asylum seekers

Ways in which Scottish public services can help asylum seekers facing destitution are to be investigated by MSPs on Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee. The committee is asking people to submit their views on what more can be done to tackle the issue. 

Further information.

Call for Evidence   

Image: I was a stranger and you welcomed me In our blog, Alison Clark, Bute resident and former teacher, offers a personal view on the settlement of refugees

 

As I write, it’s exactly a year since our new Syrian residents arrived here on the Isle of Bute. The families celebrated the anniversary by cooking a fabulous lunch for everyone who has been involved in helping them settle, both statutory agencies and volunteers.     Read More...

Image: Alarming number of trafficked children going missing from care

Trafficked and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are going missing from UK care at an “alarmingly high” rate, leading charities ECPAT UK and Missing People have said in a new report. The report, entitled Heading back to harm: A study on trafficked and unaccompanied children going missing from care in the UK, has found that more than a quarter of all trafficked children and over 500 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children went missing at least once in the year to September 2015, while 207 have not been found.

 

Read the Report   

Image: World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 15th January, 2017

On January 15, 2017, the Catholic Church observes the 103rd World Day of Migrants and Refugees. This year, Pope Francis focuses on refugee children, who are often unaccompanied, vulnerable, and voiceless.  

 

Message of Pope Francis for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

Refugees and Migrants: are they part of our common good? Monsignor Robert J. Vitillo, Secretary General of International Catholic Migration Commission.   

Image: Refuweegee Welcome Pack Appeal

Refuweegee is a community led project set up to ensure that all refugees arriving in Glasgow are welcomed to the city in true Glaswegian style.  The project should also provide everyone who wishes to make a difference, the opportunity to do so.

The aim is to provide every Refuweegee who arrives in the city with a community built welcome pack.  Each pack will contain three categories of items; essentials, Glasgow welcome and ‘letters from the locals’ and as a result of the final category, each pack will be completely indivdual.

Further details on website.   

Image: Dungavel -  what next? In our first blog of 2017, Margaret Donnelly, J&P Commissioner for the Diocese of Galloway, gives a personal reflection on a long standing campaign

 

The photo shows Justice and Peace activists at Dungavel   Read More...

2016

Image: Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees – A Silver Lining in the Black Clouds of Anti-Refugee Rhetoric? A personal reflection by Grace Buckley

 

Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees – SFAR for short – a bit of a mouthful perhaps but a straightforward title for a network of faith communities seeking to act in support of refugees in Scotland.  It tries to do what it says on the tin.   Read More...

Image: Buy a bus pass for a refugee

The Refugee Survival Trust has launched a special festive appeal for their bus pass programme.

As you'll be aware, something as simple as access to public transport can be the reason that a refugee or asylum seeker is able to attend important meetings, go to the food bank, or even to meet friends. Being mobile is crucial to the asylum application process and to integration into life in Scotland. These bus passes are especially important in winter, when Scotland's notorious weather is at its worst!


Please consider donating a £6 bus pass.    

Image: Challenge the rhetoric Pensioner presents every MP with collection of refugee stories

 

The Guardian newspaper features Michaela Fryson who has given 650 copies of the anthology A Country of Refuge to UK politicians in a bid to soften the hostile tone of public debate   

Image: Lost in a sea of strangers In our blog, Patricia Ferguson, Outreach Manager for SCIAF, looks at the refugee situation in Lebanon
  Read More...
Image: Peace Stories New initiative from Pax Christi

 

Pax Christi International recently convened a team of 10 young people from all over the world, to train to become peace journalists and report about the lives of refugees and asylum seekers. The training and discussions took place exclusively online. Following their training, each team member interviewed a person in their hometown or area who had to flee their home country.

Details on the Pax Christi website.   

Image: Asylum Seekers Living Conditions In Scotland Continue To Deteriorate

New report from W-ASH, Asylum Seeker Housing Project.

The research confirms that living conditions for asylum seekers from 2015 to 2016 have not improved but worsened.   Read More...

Image: Statement from Bishop Toal on Dungavel replacement


On hearing of the proposed replacement  centre for Dungavel it struck me that the description of it as a "short term holding facillity" indicated an intention to get asylum seekers out of Scotland quickly. If this is the intention it is indeed very worrying and perhaps detrimental to them being given a proper chance to have the necessary legal representation and protection. I add my voice therefore to those who question this proposed new holding centre and it's probable detrimental effects on asylum seekers who have sought refuge in Scotland.

With all good wishes 
+ Joseph Toal

Photo shows Justice and Peace activists at their regular Dungavel solidarity gathering. 
Photo courtesy Carol Clark   
Image: UK Immigration Centres Record 218 Hunger Strikers in Three Months An article in the Guardian states that figures obtained through FoI reveals the scale of desperation among asylum seekers in UK.   
Image: Restrictions on Processing Asylum Claims from Unaccompanied Minors

Seeking Sanctuary has published a briefing on the Home Office Guidance on young people.  The government has retrospectively changed to criteria for processing their claims. More than half of them will not even see a start to consideration of their situations. For more information and how to take action, see the Seeking Sanctuary website.   

Image: Creating a safe haven for all: Refugees and human dignity A statement from the European Justice and Peace Commissions
Europe is at a crossroads: Will it show leadership based on its commitment to the values of human rights and solidarity, or will it choose to exclude refugees from access to dignified and safe life, giving way to nationalist and populist agendas? The Conference of European Justice and Peace Commissions (“Justice and Peace Europe”) is calling upon the European institutions, EU Member States and other European countries to take responsibility in granting refugees access to asylum and a decent standard of living.   Read More...
Image: Mediterranean death toll soars, 2016 is deadliest year yet With two months still to go, deaths of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean so far this year have hit a record high, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR detailed today. Expressing alarm at the situation, UNHCR reported that 3,740 lives had been lost so far in 2016, just short of the 3,771 reported for the whole of 2015. (UNHRC 25/10/16)   Read More...
Image: Britain ‘Ignored Plea by France’ to Aid Stranded Calais Child Refugees The Home Office has refused to respond to official requests from the French authorities to accept unaccompanied child refugees stranded in Calais who are eligible to come to Britain, the British Red Cross has said. With the planned demolition of Calais’s refugee camp only weeks away, the Red Cross says the Home Office is turning down “take charge” requests by the French on often pedantic grounds. (Mark Townsend, Guardian)   Read More...
Image: Concrete Walls and Bureaucratic Barriers Deny Access to Justice for Migrants Work recently began on a wall in Calais, funded by the UK government, to prevent migrants and asylum seekers from crossing the Channel to Britain. Nearly simultaneously, the government announced that it would increase immigration tribunal fees by over 500%, erecting a different type of barrier—to access to justice. It was claimed that doing so would bring in an estimated £34 million in income annually and preserve the functioning of the tribunals. (Justine Stefanelli, UK Human Rights Blog)   Read More...
Image: Asylum Seekers in UK 'Face Longest Wait For Work Permit In Europe’ Britain is one of the worst countries in Europe at integrating asylum seekers into the labour market, unnecessarily increasing their dependency on the welfare system, a report has found. (Patrick Kingsley, Guardian,)    Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees – September 2016 Ten situations deteriorated in August 16 according to the latest CrisisWatch report. Deteriorated Situations:  CAR, DR Congo, Zimbabwe, Mali, Korean Peninsula, Kashmir, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Azerbaijan, Syria, Libya   Read More...
Image: Asylum seekers in Scotland at risk of being moved to England Closure of Dungavel centre and lack of planning mean people will be taken away from support networks, campaigners say. Vulnerable asylum seekers are at risk of being “funnelled” out of Scotland and away from family, friends and legal representation under detention plans that are being challenged by politicians and campaigners. (Libby Brooks, The Guardian, 29 Sept)   Read More...
Image: ‘It’s Time to Think Again About Immigration Detention’ In early September, the new Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill announced the closure of Dungavel, the only detention centre in Scotland.  The centre will be replaced in late 2017 by a short-term holding facility at Glasgow Airport, where migrants will be held for a few days just before removal. (Jerome Phelps, Justice Gap,)   Read More...
Image: New Asylum Seeker Housing Plans Announced by Home Office It has been announced that the Home Office is re-evaluating the national ‘dispersal’ scheme after calls from local councils that it is not operating fairly enough. If successful, it should result in refugees being dispersed more evenly across different areas of Britain.   Read More...
Image: Closure of Dungavel Statement by Justice and Peace on the closure of Dungavel Removal Centre   Read More...
Image: Red Cross called in amid allegations over housing for asylum seekers in Glasgow
The Red Cross has been drafted in to act as a middleman between the Home Office and vulnerable asylum seekers being housed in 'horrific' conditions in Glasgow.  Many are too scared to speak out about their accommodation, described as the worst in the UK. So the British Red Cross has now had to step in as a go-between, MPs have been told. (Kate Devlin, Herald, Scotland)
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Image: Greece: Migrant Children Held in Deplorable Conditions Greek police routinely lock up unaccompanied children in small, overcrowded, and unhygienic cells for weeks and months, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.  The 27-page report, 'Why Are You Keeping Me Here?’: Unaccompanied Children Detained in Greece,' documents arbitrary and prolonged detention of children in violation of international and Greek law.   Read More...
Image: Dungavel closure 'worsens plight' of asylum seekers ASYLUM seekers face rapid removal from Scotland and restrictions on their right to appeal deportation under plans to replace the notorious Dungavel holding centre with a "short-term" unit near Glasgow Airport, campaigners warn. (Kate Devlin, Herald Scotland)    Read More...
Image: Scottish Refugee council statement on Dungavel closure announcement The Home Office has announced that it is to close Scotland's Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre in 2017 and that it will build a new short-term holding facility near Glasgow Airport. Gary Christie, Scottish Refugee Council's Head of Communications, said: "Indefinite detention for immigration purposes is a UK scandal. While we are pleased to hear that this will no longer take place in Scotland, an end to long-term immigration detention must happen across the whole of the UK.   Read More...
Image: Dungavel to close!!! The years of campaigning to get Dungavel closed have finally paid off. Great news!  We'll need to keep a close eye on its replacement holding centre near Glasgow Airport, though.  Anything designed to make deportations quicker and easier has to be legally and morally dubious.  Reading between the lines, it looks like a cost-saving exercise by the Home Office rather than anything designed to make their treatment of asylum seekers any less oppressive.   Read More...
Image: UK Minister Confirms Work to Start On £1.9m Calais Wall Work is about to begin on 'a big, new wall' in Calais as the latest attempt to prevent refugees and migrants jumping aboard lorries heading for the Channel port, the UK’s immigration minister has confirmed. Robert Goodwill told MPs on Tuesday that the four-metre high wall was part of a £17m package of joint Anglo-French security measures to tighten precautions at the port. (Alan Travis and Angelique Chrisafis, Guaridan)   Read More...
Image: Early Day Motion 401: Children Displaced by War Please ask your MP to sign this EDM
That this House is aware of UN estimates that approximately 17,000 children in our world are forced to flee their homes everyday due to wars, in the process experiencing haphazard and dangerous refuge, often having to miss out on their schooling, social welfare and health needs;   Read More...
Image:  Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees – August 2016 Nine Situations Deteriorated in August 16: Central African Republic, Gabon, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey, Syria, Yemen. Improved Situations: Philippines, Colombia

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Image: New Guidance Issued to Housing Staff Working With Refugees A new guide to ensure refugees’ right to quality accommodation is upheld has been issued to housing professionals. Published by the Scottish Refugee Council with the support of the Scottish government and the Chartered Institute of Housing Scotland, the updated guide aims to ensure that all refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland are treated with dignity and fairness.   Read More...
Image: Migrants and refugees at the heart of Pope's new 'Motu Proprio' Pope Francis has created a new Dicastery to better minister to the needs of the men and women the Church is called to serve. The new “Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development” was instituted in a Motu Proprio published on Wednesday in the Osservatore Romano. The dicastery will come into effect as from 1 January 2017 and will be especially “competent in issues regarding migrants, those in need, the sick, the excluded and marginalized, the imprisoned and the unemployed, as well as victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, and all forms of slavery and torture”. (Vatican Radio)   Read More...
Image: Asylum Statistics Q2 April-May-June 2016 Asylum applications in the UK from main applicants increased by 41% to 36,465 in the year ending June 2016, the highest number of applications since the year ending June 2004 (39,746). Numbers of asylum applications in the first two quarters of 2016 (8,228 in January to March and 7,810 in April to June) have been considerably lower than in the last two quarters of 2015 (10,231 in July to September and 10,196 in October to December), although still higher than the same quarters a year earlier.   Read More...
Image: Will you stand #WithRefugees? Please sign the UNHCR petition
Each day war forces thousands of families to flee their homes. People like you, people like me.
To escape the violence, they leave everything behind – everything except their hopes and dreams for a safer future. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency believes that all refugees deserve to live in safety. Add your name to the #WithRefugees petition to send a clear message to governments that they must act with solidarity and shared responsibility.
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Image: Destitute refugee families told their children must go into care to get help Destitute asylum-seeking and migrant families are increasingly being told that their young children and babies can only be accommodated if they are taken into care, according to charities working to support them. (Karin Goodwin, The National)   Read More...
Image: Child refugees in limbo in Calais 'because of Home Office delays' Labour MP Yvette Cooper has written to the home secretary about the plight of child refugees at risk in French camps. Around 20 of the estimated 88,000 unaccompanied child refugees in Europe have so far arrived in the UK, a tiny figure that has prompted harsh criticism. (Jessica Elgot the Guardian)   
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Image: Out of sight, out of mind? Europe's migrant crisis still simmers A year after hundreds of thousands of refugees snaked their way across South Eastern Europe and onto global television screens, the roads through the Balkans are now clear, depriving an arguably worsening tragedy of poignant visibility. Europe's migrant crisis is at the very least numerically worse than it was last year. More people are arriving and more are dying. But the twist is that, compared with last year, a lot of it is out of sight. (Reuters)   Read More...
Image: SNP and Labour MPs call on May to visit 'horrific' asylum seekers’ accommodation SNP and Labour MPs have called on Theresa May to visit asylum seekers’ accommodation in Glasgow, following allegations vulnerable people are being housed in "horrific" conditions. In her six years as Home Secretary the Prime Minister did not inspect any of the properties used across the UK. Now members of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee have urged her to make the journey before a multi-million pound contract is extended. (Kate Devlin, The Herald)   Read More...
Image: MPs call for lone child refugees to be reunited with parents A new report published by the Home Affairs Select Committee, on 27 July 2016, an influential group of MPs have backed the Refugee Council’s call for child refugees who have reached Britain by themselves to be allowed to reunite with their parents.   Read More...
Image: The Degrading Restriction on an Asylum Seeker’s Right to Work Most asylum seekers arrive in the UK to escape their country of origin for fears of persecution, where the idea of state protection is unrealistic and or internal relocation is a possibility. Many have no intent or motive to come to the UK and only consider where they will be safe away from their perpetrators. They hope for a better future but instead, some spend their years in the UK stuck in an inefficient administrative process, in receipt of minimal support and suffering from emotional stress as a result of their traumas coupled with their inability to ever return to a life of normality. (Sangeetha Vairavamoorthy)
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Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees – July 2016
Eight situations deteriorated in July 2106: South Sudan, Mali, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Kashmir, Armenia, Turkey, Syria.  July saw protracted conflicts intensify, attempts to resolve them derail and political crises erupt or deepen.
  Read More...
Image: Refugee housing firm rakes in £192,000 profit
A housing firm accused of providing asylum seekers with “horrific” accommodation has raked in nearly £200,000 profits. Orchard and Shipman, which has a £60million contract from Serco to provide accommodation on behalf of the Home Office, yesterday published accounts that revealed it made £192,911 in the 18 months from April 2014 to the end of September 2015. (Karin Goodwin, The National)
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Image: Migrant Children Are Being Failed by UK The UK is shirking its responsibility to care for thousands of unaccompanied migrant children, dismissing them as “somebody else’s problem”, a report has concluded. Unaccompanied migrant children have been systematically failed by the EU and its member states, including the UK, and as a result, thousands are living in “squalid” conditions, treated with suspicion by authorities and preyed upon by traffickers and people smugglers, according to the House of Lords EU home affairs subcommittee report. (Amelia Gentleman, Guardian)   Read More...
Image: Broken Pledge: Children to be Sent Back to Immigration Detention One of the Coalition government’s first - and best - policies was to end the detention of children in immigration removal centres. But now it looks like May’s government is about to reverse that process. A written ministerial statement yesterday announced the closure of Cedars, a removal centre for families run by the charity Barnardo’s. Instead, the people who would have been sent there will be moved to a “discrete unit” at Tinsley House removal centre, near Gatwick. Discrete or not, the children of those families will be back in an immigration detention centre.   Read More...
Image: UK Destitution on the Rise Among Refugees and Asylum Seekers Almost 5,600 refugees and asylum seekers have been destitute in the UK in the first half of this year, according to British Red Cross figures released on 8 July. The number of people supported by the charity’s destitution services, which include the provision of food parcels, clothing and small amounts of emergency cash, has risen by 16% since the same period in 2015, during which 4,679 people were helped.   Read More...
Image: The forgotten children Last month, the High Court made an important ruling which could transform the futures of unaccompanied children arriving in the UK. Refugee Council Policy Manager Judith Dennis explains what happened and why the ruling is so important.
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Image: Exodus, the shocking documentary that puts you on the sinking ship Shot by refugees fleeing to Europe to be broadcast on BBC 2, 11-13 July at 9pm.
A ground breaking new documentary gives cameras to refugees fleeing to Europe. The resulting three-part film takes you with them every step – from suburban flat to leaky dinghy to suffocating container. (The Guardian)   Read More...
Image: Minister to investigate reports of mistreatment of Glasgow asylum seekers A Conservative minister has pledged to investigate reports of the ill-treatment of asylum seekers in Glasgow. Home Office minister James Brokenshire said that he would probe claims that some cannot lock the doors of their accommodation. The vow came as SNP MP Chris Stephens raised concerns about what have been described as 'horrific' conditions. (Kate Devlin, The Herald Scotland)   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees – June 2016 Five situations deteriorated in June 16: Central African Republic, Niger, Nigeria, South Sudan, Turkey. Improved Situations: Colombia    Read More...
Image: UN Calls for ‘Humane Solution’ for Refugees and Migrants In Paris on 25 June 2016, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the countries of Europe as well as the international community at large to work towards a compassionate and humane solution to the problem of refugees and migrants, emphasizing that he counts on the European Union and Britain to continue as strong partners of the UN on development and humanitarian issues. (Human Wrongs Watch)   Read More...
Image: What Brexit means for... the refugee crisis Much has been made of the impact the Brexit vote is likely to have on EU migrants and their free movement in and out of Britain. But the impact on refugees, often the most vulnerable migrants of all, should not be ignored. (Lucy Gregg Politics.co.uk)   Read More...
Image: The child refugees being unlawfully detained by the Home Office
Anyone who's ever worked in a pub knows it can be pretty impossible to always guess someone's age correctly just by looking at them. But that's exactly what the Home Office has been trying to do to unaccompanied child refugees and the consequences have been calamitous. (Judith Dennis Politics.co.uk)
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Image: Global forced displacement hits record high UNHCR Global Trends report finds 65.3 million people, or one person in 113, were displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution in 2015.
Wars and persecution have driven more people from their homes than at any time since UNHCR records began, according to a new report released today by the UN Refugee Agency. The report, entitled Global Trends, noted that on average 24 people were forced to flee each minute in 2015, four times more than a decade earlier, when six people fled every 60 seconds.
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Image: International Refugee Day - 20 June 2016 A joint statement from Scotland’s faith communities
On International Refugee Day 2016 we offer our solidarity to those seeking sanctuary, and we encourage and commend faith communities who work with refugees to provide hospitality and to seek to build mutual understanding.   Read More...
Image: Human Rights and Migration Justice and Peace Europe

Grace Buckley J&P Scotland's European Representative, recently took part in a Working Party on Human Rights and Migration, in Athens. This was two days of work and discussion and a day of visits to Caritas Greece/Athens refugee projects. Here Grace tells of one aspect of the visit

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Image: Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - May 2016 Deteriorated Situations: Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Turkey, Venezuela.  Improved Situations: None   Read More...
Image:  Addressing the needs of  unaccompanied asylum seeking children  and child refugees in Scotland
The Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre has published a timely new Briefing that sets out concrete recommendations for addressing the needs of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children and Child Refugees arriving in Scotland.  

 
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Image: MPs raise concerns on treatment of refugees and asylum seekers A group of MPs has made a series of recommendations calling on the Government to improve the support and protection it gives to asylum seekers and refugees. In its latest commentary on the quarterly immigration statistics, the Home Affairs Select Committee make a number of criticisms of the way the Government is currently treating asylum seekers and refugees. Among these criticisms is a call for the Home Office to rethink the way they treat unaccompanied asylum seeking children when they reach 18, with the Committee saying children should not be sent back to dangerous countries. (Ekklesia)   Read More...
Image: Immigration Statistics Q1 January/February/March 2016 Published Thursday 26th March 2016
Asylum applications from main applicants increased by 38% to 34,687 in the year ending March 2016, the highest number of applications since the year ending September 2004 (36,305). The largest number of applications for asylum came from nationals of Iran (4,305), followed by Eritrea (3,321), Iraq (2,805), Sudan (2,769), Pakistan (2,669) and Syria (2,539). Including dependants, the number of asylum applications increased by 30% to 41,563 in the year ending March 2016. There was around 1 dependant for every 5 main applicants.   Read More...
Image: Immigration Bill becomes an Act On 12 May 2016, the Immigration Bill 2015-16 received Royal Assent, which means it now becomes the 2016 Immigration Act. In those words, a great deal is bound up. What’s been won, and what’s been lost. Read the 'Right to Remain' blog on the Immigration Act.   Read More...
Image: Government Should Not Proceed With Plans To Increase Immigration Court Fees Please sign the petition to the UK Govt.
The Government has proposed a massive increase in the fees that immigrants and asylum seekers pay to have their immigration/asylum cases heard in court. This huge rise in fee (eg. from £140 to £800 for a hearing in court) will prevent individuals from being able to take their cases to court.
If the Home Office makes an incorrect decision on someone's case, this can usually be appealed in court.   Read More...
Image: Groups line up to damn way asylum system lets kids down THE “scandal” of refugee children made destitute after winning the right to stay in Scotland has been laid bare in new figures.  The Refugee Survival Trust (RST) awards lifeline grants to asylum seekers and refugees cut off from support. (Kirsteen Paterson, The National)   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees April 2016 Deteriorated Situations: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Gambia, Iraq, Macedonia, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Republic of Congo, Syria. April saw fighting escalate again in Syria and Afghanistan, and erupt in Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenian-backed separatists and Azerbaijani forces.   Read More...
Image: David Cameron announces concessions on Syrian child refugees Campaigning does work - thanks to all who emailed their MP and signed the petition
PM climbs down, saying he will not stand in way of amendment for UK to take in unaccompanied children already in Europe. David Cameron has given in to calls for the UK to accept unaccompanied refugee children from Greece, Italy and France in a bid to avoid defeat in the House of Commons. (The Guardian)   Read More...
Image:  Child refugees: new proposal  returns to House of Commons Please email your MP
After a narrow defeat in the House of Commons by 18 votes on Monday 25 April, an amendment to the immigration bill will return to the House of Commons most probably the week beginning 9 May. Please email your MP immediately asking them to support this amendment, which will ask the Government to resettle “a specified number” of children in consultation with local councils.   Read More...
Image: Britain must not turn its back on child refugees in Europe Please sign this petition as a matter of urgency. The Government should accept the call to give sanctuary to child refugees who are alone and at risk in Europe.   Read More...
Image: A Safe Haven? Thirteen aid and development agencies have come together to say that 'while the UK government has been a leader in providing assistance to countries hosting large numbers of refugees, it has fallen short of its moral responsibility to provide safe routes to protection for people seeking refuge in the UK, and has failed to advocate for an approach that protects the rights of all people on the move'.   Read More...
Image: Council of Europe Condemns EU's Refugee Deal With Turkey Europe’s leading human rights body has issued a stinging indictment of the EU’s refugee deal with Turkey, which it said at worst exceeds the limits of what is permissible under international law. A report from the Council of Europe’s assembly listed numerous concerns on human rights, from keeping migrants in overcrowded and insanitary detention centres on the Greek islands to inadequate legal protection for people seeking to appeal against rejection of an asylum claim. (Jennifer Rankin, Guardian, 20/04/2016)   Read More...
Image: Refugees don’t need our tears. They need us to stop making them refugees

In the desert, the smugglers lace their water with petrol so the smuggled won’t gulp it down and cost more. Sometimes the trucks they’re packed into stall crossing the Sahara; they have to jump out to push, and some are left behind when the trucks drive off again.  (Anders Lustgarten The Guardian)   Read More...

Image: Immigration Bill detention amendments  Contact your MP to ask them to support two key Lords Amendments on detention
The Immigration Bill continues to make its way through Parliament and on 25 April returns to the House of Commons where MPs will consider amendments made during its passage through the House of Lords. There are two key amendments regarding detention: Lords Amendment 84 and 85. (Scottish Detainee Visitors)   Read More...
Image: Fourfold Rise as 95,000 Unaccompanied Children Claim Asylum in Europe in 2015 At least 95,000 unaccompanied children applied for asylum in Europe last year, four times the numbers for 2014, Bureau research can reveal. The huge increase was discovered by the Bureau during an investigation into the level of migration among unaccompanied under-18 year olds in Europe and the stark inconsistencies in the way they are treated. (Source: Bureau of Investigative Journalism)   Read More...
Image: Home Office deports three times more teenagers to war-torn countries than previously admitted The Government has deported three times as many teenagers to countries ravaged by war and poverty than ministers have previously admitted, figures seen by The Independent reveal. Charities and politicians have warned the 'life or death' decisions of whether to deport young people are being mishandled by a 'callous' Home Office without a grip on the facts. (Jon Stone The Independent)    Read More...
Image: Help End the Detention of Pregnant Women! - contact your MP The Home Office has proposed a new policy to protect vulnerable people including pregnant women (‘Adults at Risk’ policy), but there are concernsthat it is very similar to the previous policy, which failed to protect pregnant women. We believe the only way to make sure pregnant women are not detained is to implement Stephen Shaw’s recommendation and to introduce an absolute ban on them being detained.   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees – March 2016 Eight Deteriorated Situations in March 2016:  Belgium, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Libya, Pakistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Western Sahara   Read More...
Image: Scottish Refugee Council launches Scottish Parliament elections manifesto The Scottish Refugee Council is calling on politicians to build a better future for refugees in Scotland. Their recently published manifesto, sets out five recommendations for the new Scottish Government to be elected in May 2016.   Read More...
Image: The UK Government will not #LetThemFly At the recent  special summit on Syrian refugees, the UK Government shamefully failed to respond to the UN’s call to offer more Syrian families safe passage. But it’s not over yet.   Read More...
Image: Council of Europe Commissioner condemns anti-migration rhetoric The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights has published a Memorandum addressed to the UK Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire, in which he condemns the use of anti migrant language and rhetoric by Ministers including David Cameron and Theresa May, criticises discriminatory and disproportionate measures against migrants and expresses disappointment with the UK’s lack of solidarity with other EU Member States   Read More...
Image: Let them fly: ask the Government to offer safe passage to Syrians Email your MP now
Imagine you and your family were fleeing war and terror but you had no legal way to escape your country and find safety. No other country would give you a visa for travel and that would mean you couldn’t simply get on a plane and escape. This is the reality many refugees searching for safety are faced with. They have virtually no options for safe, legal international travel.   Read More...
Image:  Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees – February 2016 Eight Deteriorated Situations in February 2016: Afghanistan, Chad, Korean Peninsula, Mozambique, Somalia, Turkey, Venezuela, Zimbabwe   Read More...
Image: Stand Up To Racism March and Rally - Glasgow March 19 Join Justice and Peace at the Stand Up To Racism March and Rally on March 19th. Assemble at 11am at George Square, Glasgow. There will be a number of speakers on the day.   Read More...
Image: Asylum seekers allegedly locked out of homes Asylum seekers in Scotland have allegedly been locked out of their homes in breach of agreed eviction guidelines. An ex-employee of housing provider Orchard & Shipman (O&S) said this "brutal" practice can leave them destitute and homeless. BBC Scotland has also seen company emails instructing staff to "remove individuals" from specific addresses. The housing company has strongly denied breaching guidelines. (BBC Scotland)   Read More...
Image: Early day motion 1156: Independent Investigation into Compass Asylum Contracts Please ask your MP to sign this EDM
That this House expresses its serious concern about the allegations in The Times Scotland on Thursday 18 February of dehumanising treatment, neglect and poor standards of accommodation for those seeking asylum in the UK who have been dispersed to Glasgow; notes that these allegations pertain to Orchard and Shipman in particular, who have been sub-contracted by Serco, itself under contract from the Home Office   Read More...
Image: Immigration Statistics Q4 October/November/December 2015 Detention/Adults: The number of people entering detention in 2015 increased by 7% to 32,446 from 30,364 in the previous year. Over the same period there was a 12% increase in those leaving detention (from 29,674 to 33,189). As at the end of December 2015, 2,607 people were in detention, 25% lower than the number recorded at the end of December 2014 (3,462). The fall may be partially attributed to the closure of Dover IRC in October 2015 and changes to the detained fast track asylum process.   Read More...
Image: Restrictive measures adding to refugee hardship says UN The United Nations refugee agency has expressed concern at recent restrictive practices adopted in a number of European countries that are placing additional undue hardships on refugees and asylum-seekers across Europe, creating chaos at several border points, and putting particular pressure on Greece as it struggles to deal with larger numbers of people in need of accommodation and services. (Ekklesia)    Read More...
Image: Inquiry Call Over Treatment of Glasgow Asylum Seekers The Scottish Refugee Council has called for an investigation into allegations about the way asylum seekers are treated and housed in Glasgow. It follows claims in The Times newspaper that refugees have been kept in dirty and dangerous homes and have felt threatened and humiliated. The allegations include the case of a mother and baby housed in a cockroach-infested property in Glasgow.   Read More...
Image: Safe Routes Save Lives: Student Action for Refugees Epetition Ask David Cameron to save lives by giving refugees safe routes to protection
3,772 people drowned last year while trying to find safety in Europe and 410 have died already in 2016. Refugees in Europe are stuck at borders in the freezing cold waiting for protection, families are separated and 10,000 children have gone missing. The world is facing the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War and the number of refugees worldwide is continuing to rise.   Read More...
Image: Thousands of child asylum seekers deported back to war zones, Home Office admits Thousands of young people who sought refuge in Britain as unaccompanied child asylum-seekers have been deported to repressive regimes and countries partly controlled by Isis and the Taliban, the Home Office has admitted. Over the past nine years 2,748 young people – many of whom had spent formative years in the UK, forging friendships and going to school – have been returned to countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria. (Maeve McClenaghan, The Independent)   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees – January 2016 Deteriorated Situations: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Korean Peninsula, Yemen   Read More...
Image: Pope Francis’ message for The World Day of Migrants and Refugees - 17 January 2016 In our time, migration is growing worldwide. Refugees and people fleeing from their homes challenge individuals and communities, and their traditional ways of life; at times they upset the cultural and social horizons which they encounter. Increasingly, the victims of violence and poverty, leaving their homelands, are exploited by human traffickers during their journey towards the dream of a better future. If they survive the abuses and hardships of the journey, they then have to face latent suspicions and fear.   Read More...
Image: Immigration Detention: Vulnerable Persons (Government Response to Shaw Report) First, the Government accept Mr Shaw’s recommendations to adopt a wider definition of those at risk, including victims of sexual violence, individuals with mental health issues, pregnant women, those with learning difficulties, post-traumatic stress disorder and elderly people, and to recognise the dynamic nature of vulnerabilities. It will introduce a new “adult at risk” concept into decision-making on immigration detention with a clear presumption that people who are at risk should not be detained, building on the existing legal framework.   Read More...
Image: UK Must Drastically Reduce Use of Detention, Says Shaw Immigration Report An independent review into the welfare of immigration detainees commissioned by the home secretary has called for ministers to reduce “boldly and without delay” the 30,000 people detained each year. The report by Stephen Shaw, the former prisons and probation ombudsman, calls for a complete ban on the detention of pregnant women in immigration centres such as Yarl’s Wood. He says there should also be a “presumption against detention” of victims of rape and sexual violence, people with learning difficulties, and those with post-traumatic stress disorder.   Read More...
Image: Record Number of Asylum Seekers in UK Destitute A record number of asylum seekers in Britain are being left destitute, and planned legislation could plunge thousands more into poverty,  according to the British Red Cross.The charity said it had supported more than 9,000 refugees and asylum seekers who were destitute last year, compared with 7,700 in 2014. The youngest was less than one year old and the oldest was 81   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - December 2015 5 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in December 2015, according to CrisisWatch 149. Deteriorated Situations: Afghanistan, Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Niger   Read More...

2015

Image: International Migrants Day Friday 18th December  The United Nations' (UN) International Migrants Day a global observance is annually held on December 18 to recognize the efforts, contributions and rights of migrants worldwide. The number of international migrants has increased from 75 million to about 200 million in the past 30 years and migrants can be found in every part of the world. This year, 2015, marks the 25th anniversary of the UN's International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (commonly referred to as the Migrant Worker’s Convention or Migrant Rights Convention). It was approved by the UN General Assembly on Dec. 18, 1990.   Read More...
Image: Immigration Bill Bad News for Families The 2015 Immigration Bill, which is currently making its way through parliament, could have grave implications for asylum-seeking families if passed without amendment. One of the central proposals is to remove all means of welfare support from families refused asylum. (Katie Bales, Open Democracy)   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - November 2015

Eight actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and two improved in November 2015, according to CrisisWatch 148. Deteriorated Situations: Bangladesh, France, Kosovo, Lebanon, Nepal, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela   Read More...

Image: Immigration/ Migration/ Asylum/ Deportation Statistics Q3 July/August/September 2015

Children in Detention: The number of children entering detention in the year ending September 2015 increased slightly to 154 from 151 in the previous year. This was an 86% fall compared with the beginning of the data series in 2009 (1,119). In the third quarter of 2015, 31 children entered detention, compared with 32 in the third quarter of 2014 and 72 in the third quarter of 2013. Of the 31 children, 14 were initially detained at Tinsley House (Family Unit) immigration removal centre (IRC), 7 at Cedars pre-departure accommodation (PDA) and 10 at other IRCs and short-term holding facilities (STHFs).   Read More...

Image: Home Office Criticised Over Delays in Immigration Cases The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman investigated 158 complaints against the Home Office and agencies last year, and upheld 69% of them.  That is more than double the average for the public sector. In one case, a teenage refugee had to wait nearly 10 years before he was allowed to stay.   Read More...
Image: Ask your MP to vote to reunite refugee families - email action On the 1st of December MPs will be voting on making changes to the rules which would which would allow more refugee families to live together. Ask your MP to support the reunion of refugee families.  Please email your MP before 1st December   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - October 2015 Deteriorated Situations: Central African Republic, Israel/Palestine, Macedonia, Republic of Congo, South China Sea, Turkey. As armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere continued to inflict much suffering and instability around the world, the heads of the UN and International Committee of the Red Cross issued an unprecedented joint warning about the impact of today’s conflicts on civilians and called on states to redouble their efforts to find sustainable solutions to conflicts   Read More...
Image: STUC St Andrew’s Day Anti Racist Rally 2015 Saturday 28 November - Glasgow
Gather Glasgow Green 10:30, March off 11.00 Rally GFT 12noon   Read More...
Image: Early Day Motion 561: Family Reunification For Refugees Please ask your MP to sign this EDM
That this House notes that refugees have a legal right under UK and international law to be reunited with their families; further notes that refugees seeking reunion are often faced with extreme levels of stress and anxiety, which are only worsened by separation and isolation from their loved ones who remain frequently in desperate and dangerous circumstances overseas;   Read More...
Image: Top 10 questions refugees ask us when they arrive in Europe: Hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war-ravaged Syria and other countries in crisis are making desperate choices to seek safety in Europe. More than half of them are landing by boat on the Greek island of Lesbos. (International Rescue Committee)   Read More...
Image: What changes are proposed in the Immigration Bill 2015-16 The Commons Library has produced a briefing paper reviewing the provisions of the Immigration Bill which is due to have its second reading in the Commons on 13 October 2015.  The Bill sets out proposed changes relating to access to services, facilities, licences and work.   Read More...
Image: Theresa May Announces Drive to Limit Right to Claim Asylum A major drive to limit the right to claim asylum in Britain has been announced by the home secretary, Theresa May, prompting criticism from some business leaders and refugee groups. Outlining her “tough new plan for asylum”, May made clear that asylum claims for people affected by war and oppression should be processed in neighbouring countries, rather than the UK offering asylum to those wealthy and fit enough to make it to the country. (Alan Travis, Guardian, 06/10/2015)   Read More...
Image: Scotland Welcomes Refuges The Refugee Council and the Scottish Government launch new online hub for people who want to help with refugee crisis   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - September 2015 10 Actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and 3 improved in September 2015, according to CrisesWatch 146. Deteriorated Situations: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Mozambique, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Yemen. Conflict Risk Alerts: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic   Read More...
Image: EU: Leaders Duck Responsibilities on Refugees European Union leaders meeting on September 23, 2015, focused on how to stem the flow of asylum seekers instead of strategies for a responsible, humane response to the crisis at its borders. The meeting produced a statement that makes a nod to full implementation of the common European asylum system – a set of binding laws to ensure harmonized procedures, recognition rates, and reception conditions. But the reality is that asylum seekers face a protection lottery in the EU due to wide disparities in standards and conditions.  Human Rights Watch, 24/09/2015   Read More...
Image: Early day motion 480: Glasgow Welcomes Refugees Please ask your MP to sign this EDM
That this House is pleased to note the vigil in George Square, Glasgow, which took place on 12 September 2015 to show solidarity with refugees fleeing Syria; considers that those attending the vigil also called for the Government to increase vastly the number of refugees it proposes to settle in the UK who have fled conflict and an increasingly desperate humanitarian crisis;   Read More...
Image: Refugees Are Welcome Here public meeting - Glasgow Tuesday, 29 September 2015 from 19:00 to 21:00 (Doors will open at 18.00 for refreshments before the event. Sir Charles Wilson Building, 1 University Avenue, G12 8NN Glasgow.   Read More...
Image: Catholic Bishops offer support to refugees

In a letter to Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, the President of Scotland’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference has offered to assist the Scottish Government in accepting refugees. Archbishop Philip Tartaglia has written in support of the First Minister’s response and "inspired by Pope Francis" to "offer the assistance of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland in any plans that may emerge in the months to come to support and assist the new arrivals to our country"   Read More...

Image: Early day motion 374 - Tackling the Refugee Crisis Please ask your MP to sign this EDM
That this House notes with extreme concern the ongoing refugee crisis being witnessed in Europe and across the Mediterranean Sea; understands that the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) estimates that more than 350,000 migrants have attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea between January and August 2015; considers it a tragedy that over 2,600 refugees and migrants have died or gone missing whilst undertaking this perilous journey and that at least a further 1,000 have lost their lives along various other migration routes, including the Sahara Desert and South Asia's Bay of Bengal;   Read More...
Image: Reflections on the Refugee Crisis

It is natural to be moved by the sight of thousands of displaced people clamouring to get away from war and oppression. It is natural but it is not enough. It takes more than a disorganised sense of compassion to arrange to care for and to help these people. The undoubted good will and energy needs to be mobilised and channeled for optimum effect. The immediate needs of charity, however, also need to be balanced by looking at the root causes of these events in the structures of injustice which have given rise to this displacement.   Read More...

Image: EU: Five Steps to Tackle Refugee Crisis The European Union and its 28 member states should act immediately to address the human rights crisis resulting from years of mismanaging migration and asylum, Human Rights Watch said today. With a humanitarian crisis on the Greek islands, a dysfunctional asylum system in Hungary, thousands of new arrivals in need of protection, and many deaths at EU borders, bold steps are needed at an EU summit on September 14, 2105.   Read More...
Image: Action and Prayer for Refugees The images we have seen in recent days of the plight of refugees trying to seek asylum in Europe have been heart breaking. Justice and Peace Scotland suggests that we continue to ask the Westminster Government to respond in a humane way to the situation, and to continue to pray for all those whose lives are endangered, whose homes are lost, and whose quest to find safety for their families is thwarted by bureaucracy and a less than compassionate reaction from some governments.   Read More...
Image: Where are you from In light of recent events, we share the editorial of our current magazine.   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - August 2015 9 Actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and 3 improved in August 2015, according to CrisisWatch 145. Deteriorated Situations: Afghanistan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Colombia/Venezuela, Guatemala, Kashmir, Lebanon, Nepal, Yemen   Read More...
Image: Europe Can Do More To Protect Refugees For many years European countries have been warned about the inadequacy of their immigration and asylum systems. Now, with increased refugee arrivals and more frequent tragedies, this system is showing all its weaknesses. But refugee arrivals are not the real cause of this collapse. The real reason is political. Nils Muižnieks, EU Commissioner for Human Rights  02/09/2015   Read More...
Image: The Detention Forum: Consultation on support for failed asylum seekers The Home Office has put out a consultation reforming support for failed asylum seekers and 'illegal migrants'. Contrary to the media reporting which has so far focused on families with children, it appears that migrants in detention are one of the key targets of these cuts.  The proposal is to abolish support under Section 4(1) of the 1999 Act, which is the provision that allows people in detention to access bail addresses.   Read More...
Image: Refugees in Legal Limbo as UK Cuts Scots Immigration Courts

Refugees in Scotland face waiting up to a year for their asylum applications to be heard after the UK government slashed the number of cases which can be heard at Scotland's only immigration court.  Immigration lawyers say the number of courts sitting has been reduced from five or six a day to only two following moves by the Ministry of Justice.  (Herald 16/08/2015)   Read More...

Image: Yarl's Wood IRC - Not Meeting the Needs of Vulnerable Women - HMIP Report "Yarl's Wood has deteriorated since its last inspection and the needs of the women held have grown. In my view, decisive action is needed to ensure that women are only detained as a last resort. Other well-respected bodies have recently called for time limits on administrative detention, and the concerns we have identified provide strong support for these calls." said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons as today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) in Bedfordshire.   Read More...
Image: 'Cruel' cuts to asylum-seekers' support payments will push children into poverty, claim charities

The charities have joined forces to claim the cuts would make it almost impossible for refugees to afford to feed and clothe their families. Tens of thousands of asylum-seekers with children will be pushed deeper into poverty by “cruel” cuts to their support payments which come into force on 10 August, leading charities including the British Red Cross are warning. (The Independent 10 August 2015)   Read More...

Image: Don't Believe the Press - Britain is Far From a Refugee Magnet There is little sympathy for the refugees languishing in inhumane conditions in Calais, either from the mainstream press or much of British public opinion. "Migrant Runs 30 Miles Through Channel," booms the Express, referring to a Sudanese refugee who almost made it through the entire Channel tunnel. "We kept out Hitler," offers the ever level-headed Daily Mail. "Why can't our feeble leaders stop a few thousand exhausted migrants?" (Owen Jones, Guardian, 07/08/2015)   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - July 2015 Deteriorated Situations: Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, Kashmir, Turkey, Yemen. July saw a worsening of the situation in Yemen, where nearly 2,000 civilians have been killed since the war started in March, while in Turkey a dramatic escalation in violence led to the collapse of the state's two-year-old ceasefire with Kurdish insurgents   Read More...
Image: Early Day Motion 344: Allowances For Asylum Seeking Children Please ask your MP to sign this EDM
Parliament is now in recess, but your MP might be able to sign the motion electronically, or can sign it when Parliament resumes. That this House condemns the 30 per cent cut in the daily allowance of asylum seeking children from £7.50 to £5.20; notes that this cut goes against the High Court judgment of 9 April 2014 that the Government assessment omitted the cost of essential items such as nappies; deplores this disregard for children's welfare.   Read More...
Image: Asylum Seekers With Children to Have Support Payments Cut Thousands of asylum seekers with children will have to live on £73.90 a week from August as a result of cuts of up to 30% in their support payments, the UK Home Office has announced. Ministers said the cuts, which would affect more than 27,800 destitute asylum seekers, were being made because the current payment system resulted in families with children in particular receiving "significantly more cash than is necessary" to meet their essential living needs.   Read More...
Image: Dungavel IRC - Report of unannounced inspection Report of an unannounced inspection
A report by the UK's chief prison inspector has highlighted concerns about the detention of vulnerable asylum seekers at Dungavel immigration removal centre. Good outcomes have been maintained for detainees at Dungavel and detainees were positive about their treatment but there were concerns about casework processes, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons. The report of an unannounced inspection of the immigration removal centre was published  on Tuesday 7th July 2015   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - June 2015 Deteriorated Situations: Afghanistan, Chad, Kuwait, Myanmar, Tunisia. Extremist violence again dominated the month, with deadly attacks hitting Tunisia, Kuwait and Chad, while in Afghanistan the Taliban made further territorial gains and launched an unprecedented number of attacks.   Read More...
Image: High Court Ends Fast Tracking of Asylum Appeals! The Court of Appeal on Friday 26th June 2015, finally brought to a halt the Detained Fast Track appeals process for asylum-seekers in detention. The Court of Appeal has lifted with immediate effect the stay on the High Court Order of 12 July 2015 ruling that the Fast Track appeals process is unlawful.   Read More...
Image: 30 Million Children Displaced by Conflict in 2014 Almost 60 million people worldwide were forcibly uprooted by conflict and persecution at the end of last year, the highest ever recorded number, the U.N. refugee agency said on Thursday, warning that the situation could deteriorate further. More than half the displaced from crises including Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia were children, UNHCR said in its annual Global Trends Report. (Joseph D'Urso, Thomson Reuters Foundation)   Read More...
Image: Immigration: Battening Down the Hatches According to an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, in just the ten years to 2013, 3.4 million people were displaced by World Bank-funded projects around the globe: land grabs, dam projects, mines, power plants which leave a trail of broken livelihoods and broken promises of resettlement. These refugees of globalisation, along with refugees from war and persecution, make up the hundreds of thousands who, denied visas, denied boarding on any safe or legal means of transport, are risking their lives on the migrant boats in the Mediterranean in search of security and dignity in Europe. Verified deaths in the Mediterranean went from 600 in 2013 to 3,419 in 2014 and over 1,800 so far this year.   Read More...
Image: Two Early Day Motions: EDM71 Dawn Raids EDM 72 Dungavel Please ask your MP to sign these EDMs
Early Day Motion 71: Dawn Raids By Border Agency Staff. Early Day Motion 72: Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre. House of Commons: 02.06.2015   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - May 2015 10 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and 2 improved in May 2015, according to CrisisWatch N°142.  Deteriorated Situations: Afghanistan, Burundi, Colombia, Korean Peninsula, Macedonia, Pakistan, South China Sea, South Sudan, Tajikistan, Yemen   Read More...
Image: Call on the Prime Minister to protect refugees in the Mediterranean

The world is in the grip of the greatest refugee crisis in recent memory. Shamefully, our leaders’ response has been to build the walls of fortress Europe ever higher, leaving desperate people dying disgracefully on our doorstep in the Mediterranean Sea. On the 25th of June, European leaders have the chance to take decisive action to save lives and stop the smugglers in their tracks by offering refugees another route to safety. TAKE ACTION TODAY   Read More...

Image: Dungavel Demonstration 30th May Saturday 30 May: Demonstration outside Dungavel removal centre. 12 noon. The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) has criticised the Home Office after it refused to allow a delegation of political and religious leaders access to Dungavel detention centre following reports of a hunger-strike. A demonstration has been called for Dungavel on the 30 May which has the support of trade unions, churches and campaign groups. Please join Justice and Peace at this demonstration   Read More...
Image: Immigration Statistics - Asylum - April 2014  to March 2015 There were 25,020 asylum applications in the year ending March 2015, an increase of 5% compared with the previous year (23,803). The number of applications remains low relative to the peak number of applications in 2002 (84,132).  In the year ending March 2015, the largest number of applications for asylum came from nationals of Eritrea (3,552), followed by Pakistan (2,421) and Syria (2,222).   Read More...
Image: British Media Reporting on Migrants Causing International Concern The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, has urged the UK to take action following a recent article in the Sun responding to the huge loss of human life of those attempting to make the crossing to Europe. The Sun article in question compares migrants to cockroaches and refers to them as 'feral humans.' Zeid is now calling on authorities, media and regulatory bodies to curb incitement of hatred.   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - April 2015 8 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and one improved in April 2015, according to CrisisWatch N°141. Deteriorated Situations: Burundi, Chad, Colombia, Kashmir, Nepal, South Sudan, Ukraine, Yemen   Read More...
Image: Dungavel latest: Detainees in Scotland paid just £1 an hour by Guantanamo Bay firm

People held in Dungavel detention centre in South Lanarkshire are paid only £1 an hour for work, it has been revealed. Figures obtained by investigative campaign group Corporate Watch and reported in the Sunday Herald show that detainees at the centre in South Lanarkshire worked a total of 52,858 hours over 12 months between 2013 and October 2014 and were paid £52,858 over the same period. The work undertaken includes cooking, cleaning and laundry with detainees doing work to get money to pay for phone credit in order to call legal advisers and friends.   Read More...

Image: Religious and Refugee Groups Denied Access to Dungavel The Home Office has refused to allow religious and refugee representatives into the controversial Dungavel immigration centre in Scotland amid reports of detainees on hunger strike, it is claimed. An emergency motion before the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) AGM on Tuesday condemns the decision and calls for an end to detention within the asylum system.   Read More...
Image: Draconian changes to applications to renew Discretionary Leave to Remain  On 6 April (Easter Monday) a sinister revolution took place in the renewal of Discretionary Leave to Remain. Until 5th April all applicants for renewal had to fill a form with about 15 pages in it, most of them redundant if the person had committed no offences over the 2½ or 3 years since they had been granted DLR. There was no fee - only the postage cost. Overnight applicants have to fill in a 32-page form and also have to pay £649 per individual, including dependant infants, plus a further £600 per person for a brand new "Immigration Health Surcharge".   Read More...
Image: Go Home Mapping the unfolding controversy of Home Office immigration campaigns
In July 2013, the UK Home Office launched a series of high-profile initiatives  aimed at directing public attention to what the government was doing to control ‘illegal immigration’. The most controversial of these was a billboard which asked ‘In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest’, which was mounted on a van driven around London boroughs. Our research project is about studying the impact and implications of these initiatives.   Read More...
Image: Immigration Detention: Signs of Spring, or False Dawn? Campaigners have welcomed signs of movement around immigration detention - but celebration may be premature. In March 2015, the All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) on Refugees and Migration produced a strong report whose main recommendation, that immigration detention be severely curtailed and strictly time-limited, echoed the demands made for decades by detainee groups, campaigners and international human rights bodies.   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - March 2015

3 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and 4 improved in March 2015, according to CrisisWatch N°140.  Deteriorated Situations: Burundi, South Sudan, Yemen. Improved Situations: Colombia, Guinea-Bissau, Myanmar, Nigeria   Read More...

Image: Theresa May urged to investigate Dungavel concerns HOME secretary Theresa May has been urged by the Scottish Government to investigate conditions at Dungavel following hunger strike protests. (Sunday Herald 29 March)   Read More...
Image: Fairness Not Fares in Our Asylum System Sign the online petition
The new Home Office rule, coming into force on March 30th, will force asylum seekers to travel to Liverpool if they want to submit new evidence for their case. What's more, there won't be any help for those who can't afford the journey.   Read More...
Image: UPDATED 19 MARCH - Hunger Strike at Dungavel There are protests including hunger strikes in the following UK Immigration Removal Centres: Dungavel, Harmondsworth, Colnbrook, Dover. There are about 70 people protesting in Dungavel. They are refusing to go to the kitchen to eat. The only news we have of this is from inside the detention centres. The National ran this article on 18 March   Read More...
Image: Early Day Motion 900: Protests in Detention Centres Please ask your MP to sign this EDM
That this House notes with serious concern that protests, demonstrations and hunger strikes by detainees have taken place in detention centres around the country, including Harmondsworth Detention Centre; and calls on the Home Secretary to launch an independent public inquiry into the grievances of the detainees which have sparked these protests and to bring forward a report on the use of detention overall.   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - February 2015

8 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in February 2015, according to CrisisWatch N°139. Deteriorated Situations: Libya, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, Yemen   Read More...

Image: Time For a Time Limit – Parliamentarians call for a 28 day max time limit on immigration detention Parliamentary Inquiry into the Use of Immigration Detention Concludes
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 on 3 March 2015 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...
Image: Immigration Policy Led to 'New Forms of Racism' The Government's tough rhetoric on immigration is alienating migrant communities and causing 'new forms of racism' to break out across the country, a major study will warn today (2 March). Controversial policies such as the use of billboard vans warning illegal immigrants to “go home or face arrest” and the posting of pictures on Twitter showing suspects being led away by officials has led to legal migrants being subjected to racial prejudice, it concluded. (Independent , 01/03/15)   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - February 2015

8 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in February 2015, according to CrisisWatch N°139.  Deteriorated Situations: Libya, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, Yemen   Read More...

Image: Immigration Statistics, Q4 October to December 2014 Published 26 February 2015 - Summary Points: October to December 2014
Detention: The number of people entering detention in 2014 fell slightly to 30,365 from 30,418 in 2013. Over the same period there was a fall of 1% in those leaving detention (from 30,030 to 29,655).   Read More...
Image: Early Day Motion 804: Migrants' Deaths At Sea Please ask your MP to sign this EDM
That this House expresses alarm at yet another tragic loss of life at sea when 300 migrants were feared drowned in the Mediterranean trying to escape through Libya; notes the wholly inappropriate tendency of many to blame the people-traffickers; acknowledges that thousands have died in the Mediterranean fleeing war, poverty and oppression from all over the middle east and north Africa; further acknowledges that current search and rescue operations are underfunded and wholly inadequate;   Read More...
Image: Theresa May Announces Review Of Immigration Detainees' Welfare The home secretary, Theresa May, will today (9/2/15) announce a wide-ranging independent review of the welfare of immigrants held in detention centres or set for escort, including prior to deportation. The review, to be led by Stephen Shaw the prisons and probation ombudsman until 2010, comes as May prepares to publish a highly critical but more narrowly drawn report on the mental health of detainees, prepared for her by the Tavistock Institute. (Patrick Wintour, Guardian, 08/02/15)   Read More...
Image: EU's Asylum System Dysfunctional The European Union needs to grant asylum to more refugees and members must share the responsibility of hosting them more equally, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, said on Tuesday 3 February. With wars raging in Syria, Iraq and other countries, 50 million people are displaced worldwide due to conflicts and persecution, the highest number since World War II, according to the UN agency.   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - January 2015 8 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and 1 improved in January 2015, according to CrisisWatch N°138. Deteriorated Situations: Bangladesh, Lebanon, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Sudan, Ukraine, Yemen   Read More...
Image: Faith leaders join call on PM to take in more Syrian refugees

Senior British faith leaders are calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to increase the number of Syrian refugees resettled in the UK in response to ‘one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes of our time’. In an open letter to the Prime Minister, Bishop Declan Lang, chair of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales’ Conference Department of International Affairs along with other faith leaders to express support for the UK to do more to help Syria’s refugees find safety here. (Ekklesia)   Read More...

Image: Asylum: Finance - Azure Cards - Credit Can be Carried Over

Lord Bates: Practical arrangements to remove the restriction that prevents Azure card users from carrying over more than £5 credit on the card from one week to the next are imminent. Card users with children are already allowed to carry over unlimited credit. We expect to complete the work by the end of February. Card users will be notified of the change by letter and there will be appropriate changes to our website information about the card.   Read More...

Image: Asylum Seekers: Women Lord Hylton to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to consult Asylum Aid about ways to improve protection and fairness for women asylum applicants and support provided for those who have suffered gender-based harm.   Read More...
Image: Early Day Motion 714: Change to Rules on Submitting New Evidence in Asylum Cases Please ask your MP to sign this EDM
That this House expresses concern that the Home Office has made a rule change, due to be enforced on 26 January 2015, that asylum seekers who have been refused leave to remain will have to submit evidence in person in Liverpool regarding their case, regardless of where they are living;   Read More...
Image: Refused Asylum Seekers Fighting to Stay Must Pay for Own Travel

In a rule change to be enforced by the Home Office from January 26, refused asylum seekers will no longer be permitted to submit new evidence that could help their case at local Immigration Reporting Centre. Instead they will have to travel to Liverpool to present any new submissions. Claiments will have to make their own travel arrangements and pay the full cost, including if they cannot return to their home town the same day, overnight accommodation.   Read More...

Image: Immigrants: Detainees [Government Will Not Limit Length of Detention]

Lord Roberts of Llandudno  to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to place time limits on detention for immigration purposes.  Lord Bates: The Government has no intention of introducing a fixed time limit on immigration detention in the UK. Lord Roberts of Llandudno to ask Her Majesty's Government on what ground an individual can be detained for immigration purpose for periods in excess of 30 days.   Read More...

2014

Image: Detention of Asylum Seekers Not at Risk of Absconding Unlawful The Court of Appeal ruled Tuesday 16th December 2014 that a second element of the Home Office's detained asylum process is unlawful.  The Court found that the detention of asylum seekers who are not at risk of absconding whilst their appeals are pending is unlawful.  The ruling is the second Court of Appeal defeat in a week for the government's immigration policy, following Monday's ruling that the guidance on legal aid for immigration cases is unlawful   Read More...
Image: Early Day Motion 565: Immigration Checks On Private Sector Tenants Please ask your MP to sign this EDM
That this House notes the introduction on 1 December 2014 of the pilot scheme of the requirement for private sector landlords to conduct immigration checks on their tenants; believes that this will lead to new fees from letting agents to all of Britain's nine million private tenants on moving to conduct these checks; considers that almost no undocumented migrants will be caught, as they will move into illegal tenancies, and in so doing will create a new market for illegal and exploitative landlords;   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - November 2014 4 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and one improved in October 2014, according to CrisisWatch N°136. Deteriorated Situations: Afghanistan, Colombia, Egypt, Kenya   Read More...
Image: Immigration statistics, July to September 2014 Asylum: There were 24,257 asylum applications, an increase of 2% compared with the previous 12 months (23,805), but low relative to the 2002 peak (84,132). The largest numbers of applications were from Eritrean (2,932), Pakistani (2,891), Iranian (1,999) and Syrian (1,802) nationals.   Read More...
Image: Serco Given Yarl's Wood IRC Contract Despite 'Vast Failings' The Home Office has been condemned after it renewed a private security giant's contract to run a controversial women's immigration detention centre where staff have been accused of sexual misconduct. The decision to pay £70m to Serco to operate Yarl's Wood in Bedfordshire over the next eight years was attacked by MPs, refugee groups and penal reformers.Yarl's Wood, Britain's largest detention centre for women facing deportation, has suffered a succession of damaging allegations since Serco began managing the facility in 2007. (Independent, 24 Nov)   Read More...
Image: For Syria’s 3.2 million refugees, winter is closing in - ask your MP to act Nearly a year ago, under pressure the UK Government offered a safe haven to some of Syria’s most vulnerable refugees. But sadly, since the Government set up its special resettlement scheme for Syria’s refugees, very few people have actually arrived. Worse still, the Government has said it only anticipates resettling ‘several hundred people’ over a three year period. This is pitiful. We can and should be helping so many more people.   Read More...
Image: Destitution, Intimidation . . . How Britain Shirks its Obligations to Asylum-Seekers In the North of England there are dozens, probably hundreds of Syrians, some with children, who over the past year have waited and waited for their first interview, dumped in overcrowded slum housing on a meagre income. This rise in numbers comes at a time when politicians and the media have constructed a toxic discourse around immigration. For the first time for many years the term 'asylum seekers' is again being demonised alongside 'illegals, 'migrants', 'foreigners', or 'immigrants'. (John Grayson, Open Democracy, 19/11/14)   Read More...
Image: Home Office under fire for multiple failings MPs committee condemns Home Office for extended delays in reaching decisions on asylum claims

A new report by the Public Accounts Committee condemns the Home Office for multiple failings and delays in the processing of asylum claims. The report identifies a range of failings within the Home Office’s new UK Immigration and Visas Department since its creation just eighteen months ago, including the use of outdated data and information, poor quality IT resources and the loss of 120 experienced caseworkers. (Scottish Refugee Council)   Read More...

Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - October 2014

8 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in October 2014, according to CrisisWatch N°135. Burkina Faso; Central African Republic; Yemen; Lebanon; Venezuela; Mexico; Kasmir. Iraq   Read More...

Image: This politics of denial over immigration is feeding a growing inhumanity The cowardice and dishonesty of politicians means we now talk about people as if they were a virus
We are indeed swamped. By stories about immigration. Someone somehow has decided that stories about immigrants are top of every news agenda at every hour. (Suzanne Moore, The Guardian,  29 October 2014)   Read More...
Image: More Respect, Less Criminalisation For Migrant Workers The lack of political will to stand up for migrant workers' rights remains the greatest challenge to the protection of this "very vulnerable" group of human beings, an independent United Nations expert has affirmed   Read More...
Image: Ten Myths About Migration The overwhelming majority of migrants living in Britain do not need to learn English, they already speak it. As the most recent 2011 census showed only 138,000 of the 7.5 million non-UK born population in England and Wales cannot speak any English. It is true that the main language spoken by 4 million people living in Britain is not English or Welsh but Polish, Punjabi or Urdu in that order. But 1.7 million can speak English very well, a further 1.6 million can speak it well and 726,000 can get by in conversation but have difficulties with written English. (The Guardian)   Read More...
Image: Why so Much Hostility to Immigrants in the UK? "It is not prejudiced to worry about immigration," Ed Miliband suggests. Possibly. But no one is worried about immigration. Yes, 77% of people in the UK want immigration reduced, and 56% want it "reduced a lot" - but this is not worry or concern, rather a hardening anti-immigrant consensus. As to whether this is prejudiced, the evidence is clear: polling shows that most people have a negative opinion of immigration, despite them not having any negative experience of it. In fact, people in areas with most immigrants are least likely to express anti-immigrant sentiment. (Richard Seymour, theguardian.com, 14/10/14)   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - September 2014

4 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in September 2014, according to CrisisWatch N°134. Deteriorated Situations: Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen   Read More...

Image: Detention Centres: Children - Policy to separate families will continue Lord Foulkes of Cumnock to ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the recommendations made by Barnardo's in its report of April 2014 on the treatment of children in the Cedars facility; which, if any, of the recommendations have been acted upon; and what actions have been taken.   Read More...
Image: Tamil Asylum-Seekers Deported From UK Despite Evidence of Torture The UK continues to deport Tamils seeking political asylum to Sri Lanka, despite strong evidence that the security forces systematically use torture against those suspected of dissident activity five years after the end of the country's civil war. A new report by the Freedom From Torture advocacy group, based on medical evaluations of victims, found that many were subjected to branding and two thirds of those examined suffered rape or other sexual torture. (Julian Borger, Guardian 23/09/14 )   Read More...
Image: No Place to go - Unnecessary Delays in Granting Bail Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) has been carrying out research this year to identify precisely where delays in the Section 4(1)(c) application process take place, how long the delays are, and why they are occurring.  They have already shared their interim findings with the Home Office. Their final research report, 'No place to go: delays in Home Office provision of Section 4(1)(c) bail accommodation' is now published.   Read More...
Image: The Extent and Impact of Asylum Accommodation Problems in Scotland Asylum housing report rings alarm bells

Leaking ceilings, infestations, people with no keys to their building, subject to racist abuse and whose concerns are routinely ignored... Our latest report raises serious concerns about the quality of asylum housing in Scotland and calls for an urgent review.   Read More...

Image: Asylum Seekers Locked Out of Homes Vulnerable asylum seekers are being locked out of their homes and left destitute without warning. Campaigners claim that Orchard & Shipman, the housing provider which works on behalf of Serco and the Home Office, is routinely performing lock changes on the homes of people who have been refused asylum. In documents seen by the Evening Times, Serco protocol says a legal process to secure an eviction order should be followed. However, campaigners say they are concerned that this is not being followed, and are calling for action to stop the lock changes. (Glasgow Evening Times 09/09/14)   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - August 2014

12 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in August 2014, according to CrisisWatch N°133. Deteriorated Situations: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Kashmir, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen   Read More...

Image: Biased and Unjust : The Immigration Detention Complaints Process The report 'Biased and Unjust : The Immigration Detention Complaints Process' (published 27 Aug), examines complaints - that Medical Justice assisted detainees to make - nearly half of which were escalated to an Ombudsman, illustrating the failure of the Home Office to investigate adequately. Though not accused of a crime, 30,000 immigrants each year are detained indefinitely.   Read More...
Image: 17 Hundred Percent Growth in Immigration Detention Since 1997

In 1997 Campsfield IRC the first UK Immigration detention centre opened with 200 places.  As of August 2014 the number of places had grown to 3,690 an increase of 17 hundred percent. On the 30th June this year 3,079 of those places were occupied, another 580 places in HMPs were occupied by persons solely detained under immigration rules, bringing the total of immigration detainees to 3,659. As Mitie becomes the Home Office's largest provider of immigration detention this month, merging Colnbrook and Harmondsworth into a super-size 'Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre', Corporate Watch takes a look at the company's track record at Campsfield House, the only detention centre it has run before.   Read More...

Image: Unlocking Detention Immigration detention centres: Out of sight, out of mind?
Unless you know somebody personally who is detained, you are very unlikely to ever visit an immigration detention centre, know where they are, or be able to imagine what conditions are like for people in detention.   Read More...
Image: Immigration Statistics, April to June 2014 Published 28 August 2014

Removals and Voluntary Departures: There were 12% fewer (-1,744) enforced removals from the UK in the year ending June 2014 (12,415), the lowest figure since the series began in 2004. However there was a much larger, 3,940 increase (+12%) in total voluntary departures, to 37,216. Over the same period the number of passengers refused entry at port and who subsequently departed increased by 3% (+424) to 14,671.   Read More...

Image: Private firms 'are using detained immigrants as cheap labour' G4S and Serco saving millions by paying detainees as little as £1 an hour to cook and clean, claim campaigners
Home Office figures showed that in May this year, detainees in centres run by Serco, G4S and other contractors did nearly 45,000 hours of work for a total of nearly £45,500 in pay. Had they been paid at the national minimum wage, the cost would have been more than £280,000"  (Kevin Rawlinson, The Guardian, 22 August)   Read More...
Image: Home Office - asylum support rates will remain unchanged following review, despite legal challenge The Home Office  announced on 12 August, that the cripplingly low level of support paid to people seeking asylum in the UK will remain unchanged. This decision follows a landmark legal battle by Refugee Action which resulted in the High Court ordering the Home Office to review the level of support. Refugee Action is warning that this disappointing decision will continue to push some of the most vulnerable individuals and families in our society further into poverty. Thousands of people who are banned by the government from working are being forced to live on as little as £5.23 a day.   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - June 2014

7 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in July 2014, according to CrisisWatch N°132. Deteriorated Situations: Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan   Read More...

Image: Catholic MP blasts “awful” British immigration policy at J&P Conference “Many asylum seekers in Britain are at near destitute levels because the government doesn’t want to be seen to be soft on asylum seekers,” Sarah Teather MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees, told the annual gathering of the English and Welsh National Justice and Peace Network (NJPN) on Sunday.   Read More...
Image: UNHCR Calls for UK to End Detention of Asylum-Seekers and Refugees The UN refugee agency has issued a new global strategy aimed at helping countries move away from the detention of asylum seekers, refugees and stateless people worldwide. Detention of asylum-seekers and refugees has become routine in a number of countries. It has serious lasting effects on individuals and families. UNHCR is concerned about the growing use of immigration detention, particularly of children.   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - June 2014 6 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in June 2014. Deteriorated Situations: Iraq, Kenya, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Yemen   Read More...
Image: Why We Should Outlaw the Word 'Illegal' It makes no more sense to call someone an 'illegal migrant' than an 'illegal person.'
Despite that, the term pops up again and again in the mainstream media. The New York Times recently reported on the 'surge of illegal migrants from Central America across the South Texas border.' The BBC and other European media outlets are similarly reporting on 'illegal migrants' in the Mediterranean and at the EU's external borders. (Human Rights Watch)   Read More...
Image: Deportation escorts to be trained in safer restraint methods New guidelines on 'safer' restraint include a section on restraining pregnant women. The advisory panel accepts that restraint will cause pain.
Training to start four years after death of Jimmy Mubenga who had been restrained by G4S guards on a plane at Heathrow. Private security staff who carry out immigration deportations could soon be required to wear body cameras as an additional safeguard during removals. ( Alan Travis, The Guardian, Thursday 26 June 2014)   Read More...
Image: Refugee Council

Today  (24 June) a parliamentary committee will be asking the bosses of G4S and Serco to explain reports of mismanagement at some of the UK's most notorious immigration removal centres. To coincide with the hearing, tonight BBC Radio 4 will broadcast a special investigation into claims of sexual abuse and poor treatment of women at Yarl's Wood. Undoubtedly worth a listen:   Read More...

Image: Sanctuary for Syrians Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, over 2.5 million refugees have fled Syria, including nearly a million in neighbouring Lebanon, and 6.5 million people have been internally displaced.   A number of reports show that, for many, finding refuge in Europe has been a task even more daunting than fleeing the war. The increase of illegal push-back at European borders, ill-treatment and torture performed by guards in refugee camps, is a breach of human rights that the international community and the European governments cannot ignore   Read More...
Image: Early Day Motion 99: High Court Judgment On Asylum Support Please ask your MP to sign this EDM

That this House notes the High Court judgment of 9 April 2014 (Refugee Action v Secretary of State for the Home Department) which states that the Government's assessment of the amount needed by asylum seekers to meet their essential living needs is flawed and further notes the Government's decision not to appeal this ruling; is concerned as stated in the judgment, that asylum support rates have not been increased since April 2011 and that the majority of those on asylum support receive just £5.23 a day to pay for essentials such as food, clothing and toiletries; further notes that asylum seekers spend an average of 18 months on this support and are almost never allowed to work;   Read More...

Image: This is Refugee Week Check out all that is happening in Scotland for Refugee Week   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - May 2014

5 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and two improved in April 2014, according to CrisisWatch N°130.  Deteriorated Situations Kenya, Libya, South China Sea, Thailand, Yemen.   Read More...

Image: Immigration Statistics, Q1 January to March 2014

There were 23,731 asylum applications in the year ending March 2014, a rise of 1,101 (+5%) compared with the previous 12 months. The number of applications remains low relative to the peak number of applications in 2002 (84,132), and similar to levels seen since 2006 (23,608). The number of initial decisions on asylum applications has decreased by 14% to 15,209 in the year ending March 2014. Of these decisions, 36% (5,433) were grants of asylum, a form of temporary protection or other type of grant.   Read More...

Image: Hundreds of asylum cases set for appeal Good news for future applicants but bad news for those who have already been removed from the country on the basis of language evidence . . .

Hundreds of cases could be submitted for appeal after a panel of five of the UK's most senior judges found serious fault with the Home Office's use of reports compiled by Swedish firm Sprakab, which analyses the language and dialect of asylum applicants. The Supreme Court judgment focused on the case of two asylum seekers in Scotland. It calls for immigration officials to review the practice as too much weight had been given to the reports in asylum hearings. (Victoria Weldon, The Herald, 22 May)   Read More...

Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - April 2014

4 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and one improved in April 2014, according to Crisis Watch N°129. Deteriorated Situations: Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Ukraine    Read More...

Image: Asylum Housing Scheme 'Badly Managed', say MPs A "badly managed" Home Office scheme resulted in asylum seekers being placed in "unacceptably poor" housing, the Public Accounts Committee has said. Three firms - G4S, Serco and Clearel - were awarded contracts in March 2012 to find accommodation for asylum seekers. But a report by the Commons committee concluded that G4S and Serco had lacked the required experience for the task. The Home Office said, while it accepted there were "challenges" with contracts, it was "disappointed" by the findings. (BBC News, 24/04/14)   Read More...
Image: UN Inspection of Yarl's Wood Blocked, Claim Campaigners Rashida Manjoo United Nations Special rapporteur, who travelled across the UK during a 16-day fact-finding mission into violence against women, said she was barred at the gates of Yarl's Wood immigration detention centre on instructions "from the highest levels of the Home Office". She told reporters she was deeply concerned at her exclusion "because if there was nothing to hide, I should have been given access".  Manjoo had received reports of violations at the privately run Yarl's Wood centre, near Bedford, before her visit to the UK and wanted to verify allegations of abuse. Last month a Jamaican woman, Christine Case, 40, died at the centre, which holds about 400 women. (Theguardian.com)   Read More...
Image: Asylum Seekers by the Numbers Only Tell Part Of The Story Last week the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon hit 1 million. That would be the equivalent of 18 million refugees arriving suddenly in Germany or 73 million arriving in the United States. Politicians in many well-to-do countries speak in exaggerated terms about being threatened by potential hordes of refugees as they make populist appeals that feed on fears and prejudices. The truth is that the less-developed countries, many of them with significant problems of their own, bear a much heavier burden. The United Nations refugee agency's new annual statistical report, "Asylum Trends 2013," highlights the challenges asylum seekers present to what it characterizes as industrialized countries.'   Read More...
Image: Children's Commissioner says 'Children let Down by Asylum System' A report published on the 10th April by the Office of the Children's Commissioner reveals that some children who arrive alone in the UK seeking asylum face a struggle to get their voices heard in a system designed to deal with adults. Children and young people who claim asylum are placed in the care system until they turn 18 but if their claims fail they are then required to leave the UK. This interrupts their education and disrupts their lives. Having learned English and settled in the UK, they are then asked to return to countries they have not seen since childhood, where languages are spoken which they may not be able to write. (Ekklesia)   Read More...
Image: Asylum support rates ruled unlawful

Refugee Action's case against the Government which argued that the amount paid to destitute asylum seekers is unlawful because it is insufficient to meet their essential living needs or to provide a dignified standard of living was heard on 11 to 13 February 2014. On the 9 April, Mr Justice Popplewell handed down his judgement. In a landmark decision, the judge stated that the Secretary of State’s decision to freeze the rates of support for asylum seekers was ‘flawed’ and that: “She [Secretary of State for the Home Department] failed to take reasonable steps to gather sufficient information to enable her to make a rational judgment in setting the asylum support rates for 2013/2014.”   Read More...

Image: Parliamentary debate - Yarl’s Wood Immigration Centre (Detainee Death)

Yvette Cooper (Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford) (Lab) -(Urgent Question): To ask the Home Secretary to make a statement about Yarl’s Wood. (31/03/2014) Read the debate.   Read More...

Image: Impact Of Immigrants on British Workers 'Negligible' An unpublished government-wide review has rebuffed repeated claims by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, that immigration has consigned large numbers of British workers to the dole queue. The potentially explosive report concludes that there is "very little evidence" of such job displacement when the economy is growing. One Whitehall source told The Independent the review found immigration had a "negligible" impact on British workers. (Independent 06/03/14)   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - February 2014

10 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and one improved in February 2014, according to CrisisWatch N°127. Deteriorated Situations: Burundi, Central African Republic, Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, Thailand, Ukraine, Venezuela, Syria, Libya   Read More...

Image: Children in Detention October/November/December 2013 In the fourth quarter of 2013, 63 children entered detention, compared with 65 in the fourth quarter of 2012 and 45 in the fourth quarter of 2011. Of those children entering detention in the fourth quarter of 2013, 30 were initially detained at Cedars PDA, 29 at Tinsley House (Family Unit) IRC, one at Campsfield House IRC, one at Morton Hall IRC, one at Tinsley House (Non Family Unit) IRC and one at Larne House STHF.   Read More...
Image: Tragic Truth Of Syria's 500,000 Refuge Children The conflict that has torn Syria apart has raged for almost three years, left more than 100,000 people dead in its wake and driven nine-and-a-half million from their homes. It took intense political pressure to get the British Government to agree to offer hundreds of the "most needy people" in Syrian refugee camps a home in this country.  Sarah Morrison, Indpendent, 23/02/14    Read More...
Image: Immigration Statistics Q4, October to December 2013

Asylum: There was an 8% increase in asylum applications in 2013 (23,507) compared with 2012 (21,843), although well below the peak number of applications in 2002 (84,132). The increase in 2013 was particularly driven by rises from Syria (+681), Eritrea (+649) and Albania (+507). While Syria saw the largest increase in applications, it remains fourth for overall numbers of asylum applications. Read the full report

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Image: Immigration Bill Passes Through Commons

The Immigration Bill finished its passage through the House of Commons on 30 January. The third reading ought to have been a last chance for MPs to consider seriously the devastating impact of the removal of the right to appeal wrong immigration decisions, the enormous accretion of powers to the executive, without whose consent judges may not grant bail in certain circumstances, or consider new grounds of appeal; the transformation of residential landlords into immigration enforcers, the denial of all shelter to those without papers. (Written by Frances Webber for the Institute of Race Relations)   Read More...

Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - January 2014 12 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and two improved in Janary 2014, according to CrisisWatch N°126. Deteriorated Situations: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), South Sudan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Ukraine.   Read More...
Image: Ask your MP to vote in support of Syrian refugees Over 2.3 million people have now fled Syria’s bloody conflict. It's the fastest outflow of refugees from a country since the Rwandan genocide. So far the UK has refused to resettle a single Syrian refugee. But after months of campaigning, we’ve just had a breakthrough. In Prime Minister’s Questions this week David Cameron indicated he was willing to look at the possibility of offering protection to some of Syria’s most vulnerable refugees. On Wednesday 29 January there will be an important vote on the issue in Parliament. We need you to ensure your MP votes for the UK to take part in the UN’s global resettlement programme for refugees fleeing Syria. We did it! UK Accepts Syrian Refugees‏   Read More...
Image: Fears raised over Immigration Bill

Ten Scottish organisations including Scottish Refugee Council issue a joint statement expressing concerns about the Immigration Bill. Ministers in Scotland must intervene to prevent “inappropriate” and “unworkable” UK Government proposals on immigration taking effect in Scotland, a cross-sector group of organisations has warned. In a statement going to Immigration Minister Mark Harper and Deputy FM Nicola Sturgeon, representatives from Scotland’s housing, health, migrants’ rights and refugee sectors raise concerns about the UK Government’s Immigration Bill, yet to come before the House of Commons at report stage, which proposes landlords must check tenants’ immigration status, while temporary migrants could be charged for NHS services. (Alan Robertson, Holyrood Magazine)   Read More...

Image: 'Conversion of attitudes' needed towards migrants, says Pope Francis Pope Francis has chosen 'towards a better world' as the theme for the Catholic Church's World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which took place on 19 January 2014. Hospitality, cooperation and justice should characterise the response of communities and nations to displaced people, the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics declared. This must include an end to treating migrants and refugees as 'pawns', to scapegoating, stereotyping and exclusion.  (Ekklesia)   Read More...
Image: Ask your MP to sign EDM 905: Support For Claimants Under Immigration & Asylum Act 1999

That this House is concerned that support rates under section 4 and section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 are very austere; notes that a maximum payment of £35.39 per person per week is barely half the sum of income support and is often not sufficient to cover essential medical, food and transport costs; deems the maximum level of support of just £5.06 per person per day as a strong driver of asylum seekers' social exclusion in society; urges the Government to raise the support rates under section 4 and section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 to a minimum of £45.44 per person per week, representing 80 per cent. of income support, for single adults;   Read More...

Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - December 2013

11 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in December 2013, according to CrisisWatch N°125, Deteriorated Situations: Bangladesh: , CAR. China/Japan, DR Congo, Egypt, Korean Peninsula, Lebanon, North Caucaus (Russia), South Sudan, Thailand, Yemen   Read More...

Image: Immigration Bill Could Create 'Climate Of Ethnic Profiling'

The UN refugee agency has condemned David Cameron's proposed immigration laws over fears they could stigmatise foreigners, deny housing to people in need and create a 'climate of ethnic profiling'. In a highly critical document, the office of the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, António Guterres, raised concerns that the immigration bill will damage communities and lead to the marginalisation of refugees and asylum-seekers. It comes after Tories reacted angrily to the UN's special investigator on housing, Raquel Rolnik, who warned earlier this year that the bedroom tax was causing 'shocking' hardship in parts of the UK. (The Guardian, Thursday 26 December 2013)   Read More...

2013

Image: Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees Annual Festive Season Toys Appeal The annual appeal for festive season gifts for asylum seeker children is more urgent than ever. This year the campaigning against the evictions and absolute destitution of refused refugees continues and we have seen off the ‘Go home’ vans and posters, but there are still some 2000 refugees in Glasgow waiting resolution of their cases living in legally enforced penury. One small way we can help allay their distress and affirm our sympathy and support is by giving a festive season gift to an asylum seeker child. Gifts will be distributed to seasonal parties organised by local community bodies supporting asylum seekers. Please leave presents unwrapped though donations of wrapping paper, gift tags etc. are welcome. Details from glascamref@gmail.com  Margaret 07870 286 632 or Jock 07896 877 315   
Image: Immigration Statistics Quarter 3, July to September 2013 Detention Q3: At the 30th September, 4,094 people were detained under immigration laws, 3,115 in Immigration Removal Centres and 979 persons detained in prisons. In the third quarter of 2013, 65 children entered detention. Of the 63 children leaving detention in the third quarter of 2013, 28 were removed from the UK and the remaining 35 were granted temporary admission or release.   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - November 2013

Six actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and two improved in November 2013, according to CrisisWatch N°121. Deteriorated Situations: Bangladesh, Central African Republic, China/Japan, Lebanon, Thailand, Yemen   Read More...

Image: 'Close to death' hunger striker faces imminent deportation after court defeat - take action Contact Virgin Atlantic
STOP PRESS 28 November: Lawyers were engaged in a frantic behind-the-scenes battle to save a Nigerian asylum seeker today, after a last-minute reprieve won him another two days in the UK. Isa Muazu has not eaten in 90 days and now weighs just 50 kilograms. He is no longer able to see or stand. He was due to be deported yesterday evening on a Virgin Atlantic flight to Nigeria but the removal was delayed until Friday. A man who is "close to death" after being on hunger strike in immigration detention for three months could be sent back to Nigeria on Wednesday after his case failed in the Court of Appeal. Isa Muazu says he is willing to die rather than return home. His case that he was being held unlawfully was rejected in the Court of Appeal today after a High Court bid for his release from Harmondsworth immigration removal centre failed last week. . (The Independent Tuesday 26 November 2013)   Read More...
Image: Hunger strike asylum seeker Isa Muazu removed from UK.

STOP PRESS Isa is back in the UK! The plane carrying him was prevented from entering Nigerian airspace and had to return to the UK. He's back in Harmondsworth. 

Teresa May under fire                                            

Lawyers for a failed asylum seeker who was on hunger strike have said the Home Office has confirmed his removal from the UK

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Image: Dungavel Solidarity Gathering Sunday 24 November, 1 pm. Meet outside the gates

  
Image: Stop the Immigration Bill: a “regime of harassment for migrants” Read about the Immigration Bill's second reading in Parliament, MPs' response (or lack of) and how you can have your say before 19 November. On 22 October, the new Immigration Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons.  At this stage of a new bill, MPs are given the opportunity to debate the general principles and, afterwards to oppose it if they wish.  Of great concern was the Labour Party’s stance on the Bill:  most Labour MPs abstained from voting on the Bill, which passed by a massive 303 votes to 18.   Just six Labour MPs voted against the bill. (NCADC blog)   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - October 2013 3 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in October 2013, according to the new issue of Crisis Watch. Deteriorated Situations:  Bangladesh, Kashmir, Mozambique   Read More...
Image: Home Office Accused of 'Fixing' Asylum Figures

Asylum seekers with strong cases are being pushed to the back of the Home Office queue so that officials can reject at least 60% of applications, according to lawyers. Those with clients at the appeal stage say that it has become common Home Office practice to withdraw powerful cases at the last minute to protect the 60% target, described internally as the "win rate". They say the alleged tactic is adding to a backlog of half a million unresolved cases and causing suffering to those who have a right to be here but who are stranded in limbo, sometimes for years. (The Observer, 26 October 13)

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Image: Announced with hateful rhetoric, what does the Immigration Bill actually mean?

Described variously as “ugly, divisive politics” (Sarah Teather MP), a “valuable tool for racist landlords” (Maurice Mcleod), “meandering popularism” (John Harris) and “immigration policy that has lost even any semblance of correlation with reality” (Dave Stamp of ASIRT), there’s a lot to digest (or spit out, disgusted) in the new Immigration Bill. NCADC’s legal volunteer analyses the major policy changes, and the responses they have provoked.

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Image: Home Office 'go home' vans banned over misleading figures Advertising watchdog rules that campaign was unlikely to cause widespread offence but used misleading arrest statistics
A government advertising campaign that used billboards on vans to tell illegal immigrants to "go home" has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for using misleading statistics. The campaign, which saw the vans drive around six London boroughs in July this year, drew 224 complaints to the ASA, including some from groups representing migrants in the UK. 'Go home' vans banned because the figures used were misleading, not because they were offensive. But at least they're banned . . . '  Scottish Detainee Visitors.
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Image: Immigration Bill  2013 -2014 A system of identity checks for all, including British citizens, would have to be introduced to enforce the government's moves to curb access for illegal migrants to privately rented housing and to tackle alleged health tourists, leading immigration lawyers have told the home Secretary. Lawyers say plans for checks before access to housing and health would be 'intrusive, bullying, ineffective and expensive' Read full article the Guardian 10 Oct   Explanatory notes  to the Immigration Bill. These explanatory notes relate to the Immigration Bill as introduced in the House of Commons on 10th October 2013. They have been prepared by the Home Office in order to assist the reader of the Bill and to help inform debate on it.    Read More...
Image: UK Media Needs to Stop Referring to Refugees as "Illegal Immigrants" In a society where inequalities are increasing the struggle over scarce resources, the arrival of new groups of poor economic migrants or destitute refugees can put increased pressure on the poorest communities. One way media coverage could respond to this might be to focus on the struggle faced by new arrivals and pressure policymakers to target appropriate resources to meet their needs and reduce tensions in local areas. But coverage can also exploit the potential tensions created by these movements for a boost in sales. This negative coverage often forces asylum seekers to join a long list of convenient scapegoats including the unemployed, those claiming benefits and those registered as disabled, and can be very damaging indeed. Emma Briant, New Statesman, 28/09/13   Read More...
Image: Help Syria’s refugees Email your MP

Seventeen countries agreed to help Syrian refugees by providing a safe haven to some of the most vulnerable fleeing the violence. But the UK is not one of them. Only 0.1% of the 2 million people who have fled Syria have found safety in the UK. The vast majority - 97% - are surviving in harsh conditions in the neighbouring countries. With temperatures plummeting as winter approaches and more than half a million Syrian children living in temporary shelters and camps, we’re deeply concerned about how they and others will cope. Please send an urgent email to your MP now? (Refugee Council)

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Image: Concerns Over Plans To Return Unaccompanied Children Decisions concerning migrant children must always be based on their best interests
Migrant children are particularly vulnerable - especially if they are unaccompanied, travelling without parents or relatives. Many have been traumatised and abused before arriving in Europe. They must be met with care and with respect for their rights. Yet, there are many accounts of harsh treatment.   Read More...
Image: Forced Migration: Alternatives to Detention, and Deportation Asylum seekers and refugees - men, women and even children - are increasingly detained and interned around the world, as are numbers of other migrants. Sometimes detained indefinitely and often in appalling conditions, they may suffer not only deprivation of their liberty but other abuses of their human rights too. Detention may appear to be a convenient solution to states' political quest to manage migration (often as a precursor to deportation) but it is an expensive option and has lasting effects on those detained. In the search for a more humane - and cheaper - approach, agencies and government authorities have trialled a variety of alternatives to detention. (Forced Migration Review)   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - September 2013 4 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in September 2013, according to the new issue of Crisis Watch. Deteriorated Situations: Central African Republic, Kenya, Philippines, Sudan   Read More...
Image: Immigration Detention - Pregnant women will continue to be detained Lord Hylton to ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the effectiveness of detaining pregnant women, and (2) the views on that matter of the organisations which signed Asylum Aid's Charter of Rights of Women Seeking Asylum.[HL2191] The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Detention is a vital and effective tool in supporting the enforced return of persons with no lawful basis of stay in the UK who choose not to leave voluntarily. This applies equally to pregnant women.   Read More...
Image: Ask your MP to sign EDM 488: Home Office Returns Pilot Scheme

That this House deplores the recent Home Office poster campaign running in UK Border Agency offices in Glasgow and London advising people seeking advice to 'go home'; believes that this poster campaign is an insensitive and ineffective way of dealing with illegal immigration and is unlikely to encourage voluntary returns; notes that this is not the only instance of this type of campaign following the heavily criticised vans carrying similar messages; further notes that charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have expressed their concerns about the campaign; further believes that this scheme is likely to undermine its stated aims whilst creating an environment of fear; and urges the Government to halt immediately this pilot scheme and to work with local authorities, community groups and NGOs to encourage voluntary returns in a more effective, liberal, sympathetic and humane manner.

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Image: 'Go Home Poster' two Scottish Parliament Motions ask your constituency and list MSPs to sign them Motion S4M-07552: James Dornan, Glasgow Cathcart, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 30/08/2013 Condemning the Home Office's Go Home Poster Pilot.   Motion S4M-07587: Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 04/09/2013 Condemning the Home Office's Go Home Campaign.... read the motions in full     Read More...
Image: Refugees Struggle With EU Asylum 'Lottery' The process of seeking asylum in Europe amounts to little more than playing the lottery, a group of refugee charities said on Friday. Twelve years after committing to unify asylum policies, the European Union (EU) remains far from achieving its goal and, as a result, the chances of being granted refugee status vary wildly from country to country, the European Council on Refugees and Exile (ECRE) said in a report. The report highlights big differences in the decisions, procedures and rules relating to asylum seekers in 14 different EU countries - from access to accommodation, legal aid and jobs to the use of detention. (Thomson Reuters Foundation,  06/09/13)    Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - August 2013 10 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and nine improved in August 2013, according to CrisisWatch N°121. Deteriorated Situations: Central African Republic, DR Congo, Egypt, Iraq, Kashmir, Lebanon, Libya, Rwanda, Syria, Yemen   Read More...
Image: Asylum Poster Campaign - Please contact your MP Positive Action in Housing has been made aware of a new poster campaign begun by the UK Borders Agency in Glasgow’s Brand Street.  Giant posters depict a destitute refugee in the UKBA Brand Street offices in Glasgow. It says “Is life here hard? Going home is simple”.  On every single chair in the large waiting room, there are large stickers saying “Ask about going home” to reinforce the hostile message to asylum seekers reporting daily or weekly there.  A similar London based poster campaign is being investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority. (Robina Qureshi PAIH)   Read More...
Image: Immigration Statistics Q2 April/May/June 2013 Children/Adults Entering/Leaving Detention Q2 - In the second quarter of 2013, 38 children entered detention. Removals and Voluntary Departures Q2 - In the year ending June 2013, there were 4,948 enforced removals who had sought asylum at some stage, down 9% from the previous 12-month period   Read More...
Image: Campaign to end the detention of pregnant women - contact your MP

Richard Fuller MP has secured an adjournment debate on pregnant women in immigration detention for 5th September 2013.  Could you please ask an MP to participate.  You can download the Briefing for MPs together with text for a cover-letter. The Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Psychiatrists Working Group on Mental Health of Asylum Seekers and Refugees, together with Medical Justice, are recommending the end of the immigration detention of pregnant women.

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Image: Swiss Introduce Apartheid-for Refugees Seeking Asylum Switzerland's local authorities have introduced draconian restrictions which ban asylum-seekers from frequenting public places such as school playgrounds, swimming pools and libraries in a move angrily denounced by human rights groups as intolerable and racist. In the town of Bremgarten west of Zurich, where a new centre for asylum-seekers opened last month, officials said refugees would not be allowed to "loiter" in school playgrounds and would be banned from visiting public swimming pools, playing fields and a church. A total of 32 "exclusion zones" have been drawn up. Mario Gattiker, the head of Switzerland's Federal Office of Immigration which endorsed the apartheid-style restrictions, justified the move to journalists saying: 'We need rules to ensure a peaceful and orderly coexistence of residents and asylum-seekers.' (Indpendent, 07/08/13)
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Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - July 2013 6 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in July 2013, according to the new issue of Crisis Watch 120. Deteriorated Situations: Bangladesh, DR Congo, Egypt, Iraq, South Sudan, Tunisia   Read More...
Image: Asylum Seekers 'Evicted For Rent Arrears' After Failures by G4S Claims that vulnerable asylum seekers have been evicted from their homes after failures by contractors working for G4S, the world's biggest private security firm, are to be investigated by a parliamentary watchdog. At least three women are alleged to have been expelled from properties because of rent arrears that had arisen because G4S subcontractors had not paid landlords. A letter from Margaret Hodge, chair of the public accounts committee, seen by the Observer, admits that the Home Office "is aware of general concerns around the contracts in operation" and that a review into asylum accommodation by the NAO will form part of a wider look at the delivery of public services by private sector contractors, including G4S. (Mark Townsend, The Observer, 21 July 2013)
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Image: Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - June 2013 8 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in June 2012, according to the new issue of Crisis Watch.  Deteriorated Situations: Egypt, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Somalia, Syria   Read More...
Image: EU Adopts 'Asylum Package': All Eyes Turned on Implementation After five years of negotiations, on June 12, the European Parliament has voted on the remaining legislative pieces of the 'asylum package', which encompasses the recast Asylum Procedures and Reception directives, and the Dublin and Eurodac Regulations, as well as the recast Qualification Directive already adopted in 2011.  Improvements introduced through the asylum package include among others, mandatory personal interviews for all asylum seekers; better representation for unaccompanied children; allowing asylum seekers in an accelerated procedure to request in court to stay in the territory while they appeal against a negative decision on their case; and further approximation of the content of rights granted to beneficiaries of subsidiary protection and refugees in areas such as access to employment and to health care. European Council of Refugees and Exiles   Read More...
Image: Jimmy Mubenga Unlawfully Killed, Inquest Jury Finds Jimmy Mubenga, a 46 year old Angolan father, died onboard a British Airways plane at Heathrow airport. The inquest heard that Mubenga had been calling out for help as three G4S guards heavily restrained him for more than half an hour. Several passengers said they heard him shouting that he could not breathe and that he was crying out: "They're going to kill me." Full background including a comprehensive briefing on the death of Jimmy Mubenga from Inquest.   Read More...
Image: No Time Limit on Separation of Families in Detention Lord Roberts of Llandudno to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have plans to introduce (1) a time limit on the separation of families within immigration detention, and (2) procedures for carrying out best interests assessments on children as recommended by the Bail for Immigrant Detainees' Fractured Childhoods report.[HL663].  Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Where a parent is detained under immigration powers pending removal and thereby separated from their family, the Home Office aims to ensure that detention is kept to a minimum and that removal takes place promptly. There are no plans to introduce a time limit on such separations. Neither are there are any plans to introduce best interest assessments as recommended in the Bail for Immigration Detainees' report. However, the Home Office already considers children's best interests at relevant stages whenever immigration functions are carried out. House of Lords/13 Jun 2013: Column WA261   Read More...
Image: Caritas Europa: Statement on the occasion of the World Refugee Day – 20 June 2013 On the occasion of the World Refugee Day, Caritas Europa calls on the EU and its Member States to fully ensure access to family reunification for all refugees. To Caritas Europa, the right to family life is one of the pillars of human rights. Access to family reunification is an essential element in ensuring the protection and integration of refugees. To improve access to family reunification for refugees, Caritas Europa calls for better implementation of EU rules. The purpose of these rules is to assist families to enjoy family life in one country, but some EU Member States have repeatedly failed to apply accordingly.   Read More...
Image: This is Refugee Week Refugee Week Scotland 2013 17 - 23 June
This  week-long festival – with over 100 arts & cultural events, including music, comedy, theatre, literature, community celebrations events in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Perth and as far afield as Mull and New Galloway - will celebrate the contributions refugees have made to Scotland and  the communities that have welcomed them. Download the programme and find out more   Read More...
Image: Pope Francis: We see the face of Christ in refugees Pope Francis has spoken about World Refugee Day , which falls Thursday June 20th, making an impassioned appeal for people and institutions around the world to come to the aid of the countless families forced to flee their homelands because of violence and persecution. (Vatican Radio)   Read More...
Image: Asylum Support (Rates Adequate and Frozen for Current Year) The Minister for Immigration (Mr Mark Harper): The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 enables the Home Office to support asylum seekers while their application to remain in the UK is determined, and some failed asylum seekers who temporarily are unable to return home. Under these arrangements we provide the claimant and any family members with free fully furnished and equipped housing with no bills to pay, as well as modest rates of financial support to meet their essential day to day living needs.  I have carefully considered whether those rates of financial support are adequate for the purpose set by Parliament, which is to meet the essential living needs of those asylum seekers and their dependants who would otherwise be destitute. I have concluded that they are, and so I am announcing today that the rates will be frozen for the current year. House of Commons / 6 Jun 2013 : Column 119WS   Read More...
Image: UN Committee against Torture criticises UK immigration detention UN Committee against Torture report May 2013. Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of the United Kingdom, adopted by the Committee at its fiftieth session (6-31 May 2013). UK practice highlighted; Amending the 2010 UKBA EIG allowing detention of people with mental illness unless it cannot be managed in detention; Conducting an immediate independent review of the application of Rule 35; Reviewing the screening process for administrative detention of asylum-seekers upon entry; Lowering the evidential threshold for torture survivors; Deportations to Sri Lanka; Restraint of children.   Read More...
Image: Immigration Statistics, January to March 2013 Children In and Out of Detention: Q1 2013. In the first quarter of 2013, 37 children entered detention, a decrease of 16 on the first quarter of 2012, this fall coinciding with the closure of Tinsley House from 18 January to 20 March 2013 to new entrants due to an infectious illness. Adults In and Out of detention: Q1 2013. As of the end of March 2013, 2,853 people were in detention, 6% fewer than the number recorded at the end of March 2012.   Read More...
Image: Glasgow Asylum Evictions - First Battle Lost, Ready for Next One In Glasgow Sheriff Court  (17/05/13) the Sheriff ruled in favour of the YMCA in their eviction proceedings against one of the refused refugees. There were two grounds: 1 The YMCA's advocate argued that the consequence of eviction in this case was not destitution as the defendant still had recourse to Section 4 Hard Case Support. This appears technically to be true in this case but as all those who have experience of Section 4 applications knows it is a brutal and humiliating experience resulting in most cases in failure.    Read More...
Image: Don't Let the Home Secretary Load The Dice Over Human Rights There is no justification for the new immigration bill - and it's a move guaranteed to harm unpopular minorities. In the Queen's Speech the Government announced plans to limit the use of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The changes are likely to be popular, thanks to longstanding campaigns by some newspapers to restrict the rights of foreigners who have committed crimes here. But there are reasons why we should be very wary about this proposal, as it could greatly alter the balance of power between judges and the Executive.
(Adam Wagner, New Statesman, 08/05/13)   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - April 2013 7 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and two improved in April 2013, according to CrisisWatch.  Deteriorated Situations: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Venezuela   Read More...
Image: UKBA Criticised For Separating Children From Parents Children are being placed at risk of serious harm by the detention of parents on immigration grounds, a charity BID has claimed. Two hundred children were separated from their parents between 2009 and 2012 by the UK Border Agency. The charity's report found that these children suffered adverse effects including weight loss, nightmares, insomnia and "extreme isolation". Most of the children stayed with another family member or guardian, but 85 were taken into care when a single parent was detained. The report found that children endured emotional distress in both scenarios and some of those put into care were 'moved between unstable care arrangements, neglected, and placed at risk of serious harm'. The 111 parents involved were detained for an average of 270 days, but in 92 cases the parents were eventually released. In 15 cases, parents were deported or removed from the UK without their children (Neil Puffett, Children Young People Now, 19/04/13)   Read More...
Image: Children entering detention under Immigration Act powers 37 Children Entered Detention January/February/March 2013, at the following centres
Cedars - 28, Tinsley House - 6,  Other IRCS - 3
Source: UKBA Statistical data set   
Image: Scale of UK Asylum Decisions Overturned on Appeal The number of decisions overturned on appeal is testament to on-going problems with the asylum decision-making process, Amnesty International and the Still Human Still Here coalition said as they published a new report. The report 'A question of credibility: Why so many initial asylum decisions are overturned on appeal in the UK' examines why so many initial decisions to refuse asylum are being overturned by Immigration Judges. Home Office statistics show 25% of initial decisions to refuse asylum are being overturned on appeal. Read the report

 
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Image: Evicted Refugees Court Case Begins Adjourned till 17 May
Just after 2.00pm, on 16 April in Glasgow Sheriff Court, the case defending refused refugees from eviction into destitution began.  YMCA Glasgow's advocate made the case – very briefly that the Y are not a public  body and therefore human rights conventions don't apply, that responsibility lies with the Secretary of State and not the Y and that it is legally incorrect that they will suffer destitution if evicted because they can apply for Section 4 support.  Time ran out and the case was adjourned till Fri 17 May when we expect to hear the refugees' advocate make their case. Further information from Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees,  c/o Fire Brigades Union,
52 St Enoch's Square, Glasgow G1 4AA   
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - March 2013 7 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and two improved in March 2013, according to CrisisWatch. Deteriorated Situations: Central African Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Myanmar, North Korea, Syria   Read More...
Image: Glasgow's destitute asylum seekers: The people who 'don't exist' They have been described as "invisible people" - asylum seekers who have been refused refugee status, but who have not returned home. The Home Office says it wants them "to experience an increasingly uncomfortable environment" so they will leave, but critics say that they are just being forced into destitution. Glasgow is the first city in the UK to criticise this policy officially. (Catrin Nye, BBC)
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Image: Immigration Fears Are Being Stoked By Politicians, says Anglican Bishop David Walker, Bishop of Dudley, in an interview with the Observer said: "Public fears around immigration are like fears around crime. They bear little relationship to the actual reality. "The tone of the current debate suggests that it is better for 10 people with a legitimate reason for coming to this country to be refused entry than for one person to get in who has no good cause. It is wholly disproportionate as a response. "Studies show that the vast majority of new arrivals to the UK enhance and enrich our society, both economically and culturally. The true threats to our national wellbeing lie not with those who come to visit or make their lives here but with the increasing gap between the rich and poor among us."  Toby Helm, The Observer, 23 March 2013   Read More...
Image: Stateless Children - Under the Radar and Under Protected There are an estimated six million stateless children around the world - children without a nationality who don't belong to any country - whose lives are insecure and futures uncertain. Many stateless children are denied access to education and health care. They are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, including being trafficked, forced into hazardous labour and sexual exploitation, locked up alongside adults and deported. Addressing statelessness is a vital step towards ensuring that millions of children can escape the cycle of marginalization and claim their rights to build better futures. Yet, despite these dangers and the risks that stateless children face, few international or national child protection systems include stateless children in their programming. This needs to change. There is an urgent need to address Stateless Children's Rights. Refworld 21/03/13   Read More...
Image: Some Asylum statistics for 2012

Children Entering/Leaving Detention January Through December 2012. Altogether 226 children entered and left detention January through December 2012.  Removals and Voluntary Departures January through December 2012. In 2012, the number of enforced removals from the UK decreased by 4% to 14,435 from 15,063 in 2011.

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Image: Suspension of removals of Tamil failed asylum seekers. After years of challenging charter flights deporting Tamil people to Sri Lanka, the High Court finally ordered a suspension of removals for all Tamil failed asylum seekers. The success came about due to the hard work of barristers and solicitors, as pressure and evidence grew from  charities and the media.  They successfully argued that that Tamil failed asylum seekers are at threat of torture or ill treatment from the Sri Lankan authorities when they are returned by the UK. (guardian.co.uk/uk) 
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Image: Immigration Detention Statistics 2012 In 2012, 28,909 people entered detention, an increase of 7% compared with the previous year (27,089). Over the same period there was an increase of 5% in those leaving detention (from 27,181 to 28,538). Of those leaving detention, 60% were removed from the UK. 40% were returned to the community.   Read More...
Image: Another Dawn Raid in Glasgow A Nigerian Family were dawn raided in Glasgow. UKBA immigration officials burst into their home in Whiteinch, Glasgow yesterday (27 Feb) and detained the husband in front of his three young children and pregnant wife. The Unity Centre in Glasgow have issued a statement.
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Image: UKBA's Dispersal Policy 'Puts Pregnant Asylum Seekers at Risk' A report published on Monday 25th February by the Maternity Action and the Refugee Council says that the immigration authorities are endangering the health of pregnant asylum seeking women and their babies by moving them to accommodation around the country and so removing them from essential healthcare and leaving them isolated. It also outlines cases of women who have been separated from the father of their child and left to give birth alone in a new area with no access to interpreters and others who have been moved several times during their pregnancies. The report also says that midwives are not always informed when their patients were moved and spent time searching for them. Scans and tests also had to be repeated in the new areas.
(Alan Travis, guardian.co.uk, 25/02/13)   Read More...
Image: Ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 1019: Asylum Support Rates That this House believes that Britain can rightly be proud of its history of welcoming those fleeing persecution and war; welcomes the cross-party parliamentary report on asylum support for children and families; notes with concern the finding of that report that current asylum support levels are leaving up to 10,000 children destitute or in severe poverty; further believes that section 4 support rates are especially austere and that cash less payments impose damaging restrictions on how families buy essential items........   Read More...
Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - January 2013 7 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and 2 improved in January 2013, according to the new issue of CrisisWatch. Deteriorated Situations: Egypt, Iraq, Kashmir, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, North Korea, Sri Lanka   Read More...
Image: More Women Forced Into Slavery After Change To Immigration Law The number of women suspected of being trafficked to perform housework in embassies and private houses in Britain has increased amid warnings that vulnerable workers have been denied an escape route from domestic servitude by new immigration rules. The rise in domestic servitude comes amid a 25 per cent increase in the number of trafficking victims reported in 2012 to the national referral mechanism. The authorities say the increase to nearly 1,200 people could be attributable to both better detection of trafficking rings and an increase in the crime. (Paul Peachey, Indpendent, Sunday 03 February 2013)
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Image: Asylum-Support System Pushing Families Into Severe Poverty, Say MPs

Thousands of children and their families who have sought refuge in the UK have been pushed into severe poverty by the low levels of asylum support, a parliamentary inquiry has revealed, concluding that the support system for asylum seekers is in urgent need of reform. The inquiry found evidence of children being left destitute and homeless, without state support, and forced to rely on food parcels. (Amelia Gentleman, The Guardian, 30/01/13)

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Image: 1,000s of immigrants, caught up in UKBA forgotten box farce blunder More than 2,000 immigrants, including many who want to join husbands or wives already in Britain, have been waiting up to 10 years to learn whether they will be allowed to stay in this country because of a bureaucratic blunder.  John Vine, the Independent Chief Inspector for Borders and Immigration, raised further doubts over the UK Border Agency's ability to cope in a report published today. (Nigel Morris,Indpendent, Thursday 24 January 2013)   Read More...
Image: UK Border Agency rejects calls to stop using force on pregnant detainees

Government document outlines recommendations by prison inspectors as one detainee claims she was 'dragged like a dog. The UK Border Agency has rejected a call by prison inspectors to stop using force on pregnant women and children it is trying to remove from the UK, according to an internal government document seen by the Guardian. The document contains UKBA's response to recommendations for improvement at the government's new child detention facility, Cedars, near Gatwick airport, by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons. (The Guardian, Friday 11 January 2013)

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Image: Between a Rock and a Hard Place: the dilemma facing refused asylum seekers This report discusses the ongoing human rights abuses and persecution taking place in five countries from which a high number of asylum seekers in the UK come from, and fear returning to when they are refused asylum here. The report also highlights the situation for those who remain in the UK because the situation that caused them to flee their country remains a reality. The UK government expects  people who are refused asylum here to return voluntarily, or be returned forcibly - but this often does not happen. Instead, those who stay are often forced into destitution
and risk, as they are left unsupported and unprotected by the UK government.   Read More...
People living legally in the UK have been incorrectly told to leave the country by a firm working for the government. Capita were contracted by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in September to track down 174,000 illegal immigrants. Among those contacted by text and email were a woman with a UK passport, and a man with a valid visa who had invested £1m in a UK business. Capita said some of the information provided by the UKBA may be inaccurate. (Angus Crawford BBC News, 03/01/13)
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Image: Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees - December 2012 4 actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and none improved in December 2012, according to the new issue of CrisisWatch. Deteriorated Situations: Central African Republic, China/Japan, North Korea, Syria   Read More...

Resources


Image: Justice and Peace Scotland : two new videos

There are two new J&P videos available on our YouTube channel.

Give me Five Campaign. This is the campaign to petition the Scottish government to add £5 per week per child to Child Benefit. This short video covers the main points of the campaign,
 

Responding to Refugees and Migrants.  As you know, Pope Francis has issued a 20-point action plan to governments on refugees and migrants. This short video puts these points into an easily accessible format.


 



Image: World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2018: Pope's Message

Pope Francis' message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees was released on Monday 21st August.


In the message the Holy Father says that providing aid to migrants and refugees is a "great responsibility, which the Church intends to share with all believers and men and women of good will, who are called to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom and foresight, each according to their own abilities."

Text of Message



Image: Refugee-led Community Organisations Contact List

Scottish Refugee Council have produced this very helpful list of Refugee-led community organisations across Scotland with details on how you can be in touch with them.  Please share with community groups where you live.  

List of Refugee-led Community Organisations

 

 

 
 




Image: Like living in  Hell
28/07/2017
Like living in Hell
Police abuses against child and adult migrants in Calais.

 

Nine months after French authorities closed the large migrant camp on the edge of Calais, between 400 and 500 asylum seekers and other migrants are living on the streets and in wooded areas in and around the city.

A report by Human Rights Watch documents their conditions. It is based on interviews with more than 60 asylum seekers and migrants in and around Calais and Dunkerque, and with two dozen aid workers working in the area. It reports police abuse of asylum seekers and migrants, their disruption of humanitarian assistance, and their harassment of aid workers.

Download report



Image: Calais: Update on refugee crisis from Seeking Sanctuary

A report by Seeking Sanctuary in the Independent Catholic News outlines the current situation in France and encourages supporters to keep the pressure on government to address the situation with more compassion.

For more information and what you can do to help, please see the Seeking Sanctuary website



Image: Nobody deserves to live this way!

Report from the Human Trafficking Foundation into the situation of child refugees. It makes for grim reading and concludes that instead of protecting children who have fled to Europe for safety, the Government is failing them. Police violence has taught these children to fear the authorities who should be protecting them, leaving the way open for smugglers and those who want to exploit them, including traffickers.

Download the report here.



Image: Women For Refugee Women - new report

Women for Refugee Women challenges the injustices experienced by women who seek asylum in the UK. Latest report.



Image: Alarming number of trafficked children going missing from care

Trafficked and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are going missing from UK care at an “alarmingly high” rate, leading charities ECPAT UK and Missing People have said in a new report. The report, entitled Heading back to harm: A study on trafficked and unaccompanied children going missing from care in the UK, has found that more than a quarter of all trafficked children and over 500 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children went missing at least once in the year to September 2015, while 207 have not been found.

 

Read the Report



Image:  Addressing the needs of  unaccompanied asylum seeking children  and child refugees in Scotland
The Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre has published a timely new Briefing that sets out concrete recommendations for addressing the needs of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children and Child Refugees arriving in Scotland.  

 




Image: Biased and Unjust : The Immigration Detention Complaints Process
The report 'Biased and Unjust : The Immigration Detention Complaints Process' (published 27 Aug), examines complaints - that Medical Justice assisted detainees to make - nearly half of which were escalated to an Ombudsman, illustrating the failure of the Home Office to investigate adequately. Though not accused of a crime, 30,000 immigrants each year are detained indefinitely.



Image: The Azure Payment Card -  The Humanitarian Cost of a Cashless System
The Red Cross have released some UK wide research on the impact of the Azure Card on asylum seekers. The report concludes that the Azure Card and Section 4 support does not allow refused asylum seekers to meet their basic needs and live with dignity, and calls for the abolishment of the Azure payment card with the replacement of an integrated cash based form of support.



Image: UNHCR Handbook on Protection of Stateless Persons
As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights makes clear, everyone has a right to a nationality. Without nationality, individuals face an existence characterised by insecurity and marginalisation. Stateless people are amongst the most vulnerable in the world, often denied enjoyment of rights such as equality before the law, the right to work, education or healthcare. Despite the actions of many States to prevent or reduce statelessness through measures such as reform of their nationality laws, new cases of statelessness continue to arise. Stateless persons can be found in almost every country. Indeed, some families have been stateless for generations.



Image:  A Record 33.3 Million Internally Displaced in 2013

An annual report on forced displacement released on Wednesday says that a record 33.3 million people were internally displaced at the end of 2013 due to conflict and violence, up a staggering 4.5 million from a year earlier.  The Global Overview 2014, published by the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and covering internal displacement in 2013, reported that 63 per cent of these internally displaced people (IDPs) were from just five countries: Syria, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Sudan. Including figures for Nigeria for the first time, the report documents that an astounding, 3.3 million Nigerians have been displaced by conflict.



Image: Medical Justice Annual Report for financial year 2013 (1st Feb 2012 - 31st Jan 2013).
A few highlights in FY2013 included; * Reached 570 vulnerable, sick detainees, most of whom were later released and are recovering in the community. * Published "The Second Torture" dossier exposing systemic failings in safeguards to protect torture victims in detention. * Co-ordinated and provided evidence for 5 linked Judicial Reviews by torture survivors, all found to have been detained unlawfully. * Research on pregnant women in detention found most are not deported, suffering detention needlessly. * Assisted detainees in a legal challenge resulting in the outlawing of the use of force against pregnant women and children.




Image: Between a Rock and a Hard Place: the dilemma facing refused asylum seekers
This report discusses the ongoing human rights abuses and persecution taking place in five countries from which a high number of asylum seekers in the UK come from, and fear returning to when they are refused asylum here. The report also highlights the situation for those who remain in the UK because the situation that caused them to flee their country remains a reality. The UK government expects  people who are refused asylum here to return voluntarily, or be returned forcibly - but this often does not happen. Instead, those who stay are often forced into destitution
and risk, as they are left unsupported and unprotected by the UK government.



UNHCR Policy Development and Evaluation Service

Paper by Catherine Gladwell and Hannah Elwyn on Afghan young people who are appeal rights exhausted after seeking asylum as unaccompanied minors in the UK, examining why they make the choices they do, the risks they then face, and what happens to those who are forcibly removed.

 



This document provides an update of Country Guidance case law and UKBA publications and developments in refugee producing countries



Research Report: Morag Gillespie, September 2012




Image: Refused: the experiences of women denied asylum in the UK
A new report compiled by Women for Refugee Women. For the report, Women for Refugee Women interviewed more than 70 women who had claimed asylum in the UK, finding that half of them had experienced imprisonment or arrest as a part of the lives they were fleeing. Half of them had experienced rape, and that two thirds had suffered gender-related persecution. The report points fingers at the Home Office, speaking of routine disbelief of women recounting their harrowing experiences and the proportion of them who are left destitute and street homeless as a result of being failed by the system supposedly designed to protect them.



Image: Migrants take care of our children and elderly – we should take care of them
‘Migration is an opportunity, but is treated as a threat. Care is a need, but is neglected. People are the highest value, but property is more valued. We need a caring society for all,’ said Fr. Erny Gillen, President of Caritas Europa, at the network’s annual Regional Conference, held in Warsaw 10-12 May.




Image: The Second Torture
23/05/2012
The Second Torture
The immigration detention of torture survivors
Victims of torture are routinely being held in immigration detention centres in breach of the government’s own rules, a new investigation has revealed. '“The Second Torture”: the immigration detention of torture survivors', a report from the charity Medical Justice, finds that Rule 35, which should prevent torture victims being locked up in all but exceptional cases, is routinely flouted.



An estimated 120,000 children living in the UK without legal immigration status are at risk of destitution, exploitation and social exclusion because of contradictory and frequently changing rules and regulations which jeopardise their access to healthcare, education, protection by the police and other public services, a new report published today by the University of Oxford shows.
The report “No Way Out, No Way In: Irregular migrant children and families in the UK” is published by the ESRC Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS)
at the University of Oxford. It shows that irregular migrant children – more than half of whom were born in the UK and have lived here their entire lives – are being trapped between laws protecting children and the enforcement of migration control.



Image: Coping With Destitution: Survival and livelihood strategies of refused asylum seekers living
An Oxfam publication
Coping with Destitution uncovers how the hundreds of thousands of refused asylum seekers currently living in the UK, with no access to legitimate means of securing a livelihood, survive on a day-to-day and longer-term basis.



Published 26 May 2011, at the Home Office website
The number of applications for asylum, excluding dependants, was 11 per cent higher in Q1 2011 (4,845) compared with Q1 2010 (4,355). This represents the first quarter since Q2 2009 for which the number of applications is higher than the quarter a year earlier.



A new report on detention of children by BID and The Children's Society
The report is based on detailed research into the cases of 82 families with 143 children who were detained during 2009, and uses data from 82 clients' case files, interviews with 30 family members and 27 legal representatives, and full Home Office files for 10 families.



UN High Commissioner for Refugees, April 2011
The widespread and growing use of immigration detention has come under considerable scrutiny in recent years on pragmatic (practical and functional) as well as human rights/legal grounds. This study articulates the current state of international law governing detention and its alternatives, and provides a critical overview of existing and possible alternatives to detention (A2Ds) options drawn from empirical research. Research visits were conducted to five countries, namely Australia, Belgium, Canada, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom.



A new report by medical Justice




Image: New report: '21 Months - Destitution and the Asylum System'
Now available to download at the Glasgow Destitution Network website
21 Months Destitution and the asylum system. later is a follow-up to the Refugee Survival Trust and Red Cross joint research, 21 Days later, published in January 2009. The 21 days referring to the time period from refusal of asylum claim to support ending, and the report explored the causes and  extent of destitution experienced by asylum claimants  and refugees in Scotland based on analysis of more  than five years worth of data



Survival and livelihood strategies of refused asylum seekers living in the UK
Oxfam warns of a hidden crisis on the streets of Britain, as thousands of refused asylum seekers face destitution. The new report uncovers how the hundreds of thousands of refused asylum seekers currently living in the UK, with no access to legitimate means of securing a livelihood, survive on a day-to-day and longer-term basis.



Image: Azure Card - Joint Report 2010
Two independent reports on this card were published in 2010. Both come up with many of the same conclussions.
This joint report by the Scottish Refugee Council, the Refugee Council, the Welsh Refugee Council, and the North of England Refugee Service criticises the Azure payment card, which leaves many living in hunger and deprivation.



Image: Azure Card Report - Glasgow Citizens for Sanctuary
Two independent reports on this card were published in 2010. Both come up with many of the same conclussions.
A Glasgow Citizens for Sanctury monitoring report on the introduction of the Azure payment card.



Image: Review into ending the Detention of Children for Immigration Purposes
Submission from the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Church in Scotland. June 2010



Obtained through a Freedom of Information Act 2000 request, the statistics show that in this period every 2.3 days a detainee self-harmed requiring medical treatment. The previous year 157 detainees were hospitalized after self-harming, 1,517 were put on 'Formal Self-Harm at Risk'







Image: The Detention of Children in the Immigration System
House of Commons Home Affairs Committee




Image: Short thematic report by HM Inspectorate of Prisons
Detainee escorts and removals: A thematic review




Image: 10 Ways for Citizens to Save Sanctuary
CITIZENS for Sanctuary have published a colourful and exciting new resource for campaigners. It is very easy to read, with simple things anyone with and ounce of humanity can do.



Image: Justice & Peace Scotland Handbook




Deserving Dignity is the third and final report of the Independent Asylum Commission. It builds on the previous publications 'Safe Return and Saving Sanctuary', all of which are downloadable. If you are interested in joining one of the Regional Action Teams to take forward the findings of and recommendations of the Commission, please contact them.



Image: The Rights of Women Seeking Asylum: A Charter




Reported in Hansard
Serious concerns about refugee wefare at Heathrow Airport



Image: Take Action to End Asylum Destitution
Campaign Action Pack from Positive Action in Housing




Image: The Treatment of Asylum Seekers
House of Lords / House of Commons, Joint Committee on Human Rights








Image: Justice and Peace Scotland Priorities Statement




Image: Victims of Intollerance
UNHCR report on Asylum Seekers








HM Chief Inspector of Prisons




Image: The Disposessed
09/11/2004
The Disposessed
A brief guide from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales