Asylum Update December 9th 2008



Journal article: Evidentiary Standards of Inquisitorial versus Adversarial Asylum Procedures in the Light of Harmonization by Staffans, L. L. in European Public Law Vol 14 No 4.


Since August the Home Office’s Country of Origin Information Service has published new Country Reports on Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Eritrea, India, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Kosovo, North Korea, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Turkey and Zimbabwe.


Policy and law


The Border, Immigration and Citizenship Bill has been brought forward. According to the UK Border Agency it will simplify and thereby replace all current immigration legislation. It will also “strengthen border controls, by bringing together customs and immigration powers, and to ensure that newcomers to the United Kingdom earn the right to stay”.  


The Refugee Council has published a briefing on the Home Office’s management of ‘case resolution’ cases – the backlog of asylum claims previously known as legacy cases, which fall outside of those dealt with under the New Asylum Model and are now shared between the Case Resolution Directorate and Enforcement Teams.

An editorial in medical journal The Lancet has warned that children held in detention centres are not getting access to the healthcare they need. See also BBC News


The European Commission has proposed to amend within the next two years three of the legislative instruments of the Common European Asylum System: the Dublin Regulation, which determines the Member State responsible for an asylum application; the Directive on Reception Conditions for asylum-seekers; and the Eurodac Regulation, a database with the fingerprints of asylum seekers used to apply the Dublin Regulation. See also current ECRE newsletter for commentary and further background.




A Cameroonian woman has been awarded £38,000 damages for unlawful detention in Yarl’s Wood, on the basis the Home Office had mishandled her asylum claim after she informed them that she was a torture victim.


The Runnymede Trust has published Tell Me What I Need to Know – a guide for parents, especially from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME), Refugee, Asylum-seeking and Traveller communities to enable them to support their children’s education better.


The Refuge and the Fortress is a new book by Jeremy Seabrook marking the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA)’s 75th anniversary. It charts British reactions to refugees from 1915 to the present, and highlights the work of refugee academics in the UK. See press review here

Asylum Update – December 3rd 2008



The Refugee Women’s Resource Project (RWRP) has published Relocation, Relocation: the impact of internal relocation on women asylum seekers by Claire Bennett.


The International Journal of Refugee Law Vol 20 No 4 features an article by Robert Thomas on Consistency in Asylum Adjudication: Country Guidance and the Asylum Process in the United Kingdom


New Human Rights Watch report: Stuck in a Revolving Door: Iraqis and Other Asylum Seekers and Migrants at the Greece/Turkey Entrance to the European Union


Ethnic Conflict and Minority Refugee Flight from Post-Soviet Ukraine, 1991-2001 by Jeffrey Burds in The International Journal of Human Rights, Vol 12, No 5.


 Policy and Law


The housing charity Shelter has published a new policy discussion paper – No Place Like Home? Addressing the issues of housing and migration which covers the needs of asylum seekers amongst other groups.


HM Chief Inspector of Prisons has published a Report on an unannounced full follow-up inspection of Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre based on a visit made in May 2008. See also the official summary



A right to a voice: Survival English for Asylum Seekers – launch of the NIACE Campaign. Wednesday 10 December, London.


Imkaan provides support to BAMER (black, asian minority ethnic and refugee) women’s refuges across the UK.  They will hold their 10th anniversary AGM in London on Thursday 11th December – email to reserve a place. In September Imkaar produced the briefing paper A Matter of Life and Death: The loss of specialist services for BAMER women and children experiencing violence




The Children’s Legal Centre has updated its Guide to Higher Education Entitlements for Refugees and Asylum Seekers


New Londoners: Reflections on Home is a collection of photographs and writing by 15 young refugees supported in their work by leading London photographers.

Asylum Update – November 28th 2008



Accommodate – better together is a summary of the final evaluation report of ‘Accommodate’ – a refugee housing partnership project led by the Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust (hact).


Mental healthcare of asylum-seekers and refugees by Helen McColl, Kwame McKenzie, and Kamaldeep Bhui in Advanced Psychiatric Treatment Vol 14 No 6.


Politics of Exception and Unease: Immigration, Asylum and Terrorism in Parliamentary Debates in the UK by Huysmans, J.and Buonfino, A. in Political Studies Vol 56 No 4.


Women’s Right to Asylum: Protecting the Rights of Female Asylum Seekers in Europe? by Freedman, J. in Human Rights Review Vol 9 No 4.


Policy and law


UNHCR have published a new Guidance Note on Refugee Claims relating to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity


The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) has with a recent decision reviewed the existing country guidance on Democratic Republic of Congo and extended the ‘risk categories’ to members of the Hema tribe. This immediately follows the AIT’s review of country guidance on Zimbabwe, with similarly profound implications for asylum seekers in the UK. See transcripts of DRC and Zimbabwe decisions, and Immigration Advisory Service statement on both decisions.


The Conclusions of the Asylum Conference held in The Hague on 22-24 October under the auspices of GDISC (General Directors’ Immigration Services Conference) have been published. The GDISC is an EU Member State Initiative aimed at improving the European asylum process and increase cooperation between member states on the issue.



“The DRC, a Forgotten Emergency.” Saturday 29th November, 10:30-13:30 at Burngreave Vestry Hall, 2 Burngreave Road, Sheffield S3 9DD. Speakers include Meg Munn, Sheffield MP, and Noel Mbala, a former DRC minister.


The Evelyn Oldfield Unit, which provides specialist support for refugee organisations, is looking for a Chair. Its AGM will be held on 4th December.

In Defence of Learning: Past and Present is a two day conference on 3-5 December hosted by the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics in London. In addition, on December 4 there will be an evening ‘conversation’ with 4 refugee academics from Sudan, Iraq, Algeria and Kurdistan. Booking via email

The Refugee Council’s Inclusive Secondary Schools action research project is hosting a national event on ‘Supporting refugee communities in secondary schools’ on December 12 in London. This follows its regional workshops. Contact Susanna Siddiqui for details and booking.




Border Country by Melanie Friend is a book of photographs and an accompanying audio CD documenting Britain’s Immigration Removal Centres and the voices of asylum seekers and other detainees held in them. See press review  


The General Teaching Council for England has updated its Resource file on supporting asylum seeker and refugee learners


The Equality and Human Rights Commission has commissioned a new interactive map of minority groups in Britain. 


The BASIS project has set up an e-forum for the exchange of information about refugee community organisation (RCO) fundraising.


New Philanthropy Capital has published a new downloadable report entitled Heads Up (Mental Health for Children and Young People – a Guide for Charities) which highlights the situation of young refugees and asylum seekers, amongst other vulnerable groups.

Asylum Update – November 20th 2008



The UK Borders Agency has published Asylum Performance – 2007 in which it compares performance to targets, particularly in relation to removals. The report claims the number of refugee claims is at its lowest level since 1993. 


At the same time the Home Office has published its quarterly immigration statistics including asylum for the third quarter of 2007, with supplementary tables also available. See also press release including Ministerial comments.


Papers Please: The Impact of the Civil Penalty Regime on the Employment Rights of Migrants in the UK is the first report in the Migrant Rights Network’s new Migration Perspectives series. See also article in Equal Opportunities Review.

Supporting disabled refugees and asylum seekers: opportunities for new approaches is a new research report produced by ICAR for the Metropolitan Support Trust and the GLA. See also press release, executive summary and launch event report


Journal articles

One Day We Had to Run?: The Development of the Refugee Identity in Children’s Literature and its Function in Education by Julia Hope, in Children’s Literature in Education Vol 39 No 4.

‘The new Europeans’: the image of the African refugee in European literature by Sissy Helff, in African and Black Diaspora Vol 1 No 2.


The Right to Seek – Revisited. On the UN Human Rights Declaration Article 14 and Access to Asylum Procedures in the EU by Gammeltoft-Hansen, T. and Gammeltoft-Hansen, H. in the European Journal of Migration and Law, Volume 10, Number 4.



Policy and law


In the latest Zimbabwean Country Guidance case, the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal has ruled that Zimbabwean asylum seekers in the UK unable to demonstrate loyalty to their current government will be at risk of persecution if removed.
The outcome of a Democratic Republic of Congo country guidance case is currently awaited.


A joint response to the draft Immigration and Citizenship Bill has been submitted by the Refugee Councils of England, Scotland and Wales. See also press coverage of evidence submitted by housing charities and the British Medical Association, all highlighting the potential impact on asylum seekers. 


The Refugee Council and the Refugee Legal Centre have submitted a joint response to the Government’s proposals to create a new Tribunal structure for asylum appeals.

See also press coverage on expert witnesses at appeals.




New immigration minister Phil Woolas has criticised lawyers and advocacy groups acting on behalf of asylum seekers in a national newspaper interview. A number of such organisations have responded, including the Immigration Advisory Service 


City Hall launch of ICAR research on disabled refugees and asylum seekers

ICAR’s new research into levels of support for disabled refugees and asylum seekers was launched at London’s City Hall on 14 November. The research was commissioned by the Metropolitan Support Trust (MST) and supported by the Greater London Authority (GLA).


A full house of 100+ participants including many of the organisations and individuals who participated in the research, spanning central and local government, statutory providers, and disabled, refugee and BAME organisations. The event was chaired by ex Minister for Immigration Barbara Roche, now chair of MST.


ICAR director Neil Amas introduced the research and highlighted two key findings: the gap in support for this group from mainstream disability organisations, with the strain being picked up largely by refugee community organisations; and the profound effect a disabled person’s immigration status has on the level of support they receive.


Claire Glasman, representing the women’s disability organisation WinVisible, raised her organisation’s concerns that many disabled asylum seekers experience extreme hardship due to restrictions in income, prevention from employment, denial of services and discrimination.


Jhon Marulanda for refugee community organisation the Latin American Disabled Peoples Project focussed on the difficulties users of the Project had in accessing statutory services such as GPs and Job Centres. He claimed that staff at these places often do not understand the rights and entitlements of disabled refugees and asylum seekers. 


Disabled asylum seeker Iman Saab described the hardships of not being allowed to work, and instead having to get by on supermarket vouchers and subsistence payments from social services as opposed to normal disability benefits.


According to deputy mayor Richard Barnes, the research findings would ‘frame our vision’ in regard to the GLA’s equalities agenda. He also confirmed that in March 2009 the new four year Refugee Integration Strategy for London would be ready and, following regional policy elsewhere, a London Strategic Migration Partnership would replace the old Board for Refugee Integration in London.


In the discussion a number of the research findings were revisited, such as the effect of status on access to support, as evidenced by the recent Slough judgement on local authority support for disabled asylum seekers with no recourse to public funds, and by the increase in passport checks at GPs’ surgeries. Culturally appropriate training for frontline staff was one strongly supported recommendation, especially for NHS staff. Contributors to the discussion included social workers, the chair of NHS London Strategic Health Authority, and advocacy and campaigning groups. 


Finally the participants broke up into workshops to discuss three of the report’s main recommendations, around refugee and asylum seeker access to mainstream disability organisations; relevant training across different types of organisations; and a proposed review of Home Office policies.



Press release


Executive summary

Full report

Asylum Update November 12th 2008



Trafficking in Persons in Afghanistan is a new report from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on trafficking both in and from Afghanistan, based on research conducted last year in Kabul and nine border provinces.  

Moving Up Together is a new study by the Institute of Public Policy Research examining ‘why some migrant and minority communities in the UK are falling behind’ and relevant policy interventions. It focuses on people born in Bangladesh, Iran, Nigeria and Somalia.

The European Journal of Migration and Law Vol 10, No 3 contains:

Whose Rights and Which Rights? The Continuing Story of Non-Refoulement under the European Convention on Human Rights by Maarten den Heijer and Must EU Borders have Doors for Refugees? On the Compatibility of Schengen Visas and Carriers’ Sanctions with EU Member States’ Obligations to Provide International Protection to Refugees by Violeta Moreno Lax.


Environment and Planning D Vol 26 No 5 contains Domopolitics and disease: HIV/AIDS, immigration, and asylum in the UK by Ingram, A.


Child Care Health and Development Vol 34 No 6: Social support in unaccompanied asylum-seeking boys: a case study by Mels, C.; Derluyn, I; Broekaert, E.



Policy and law


The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the future priorities in the field of Justice and Home Affairs policy, which covers asylum and refugees.
Meanwhile the European Civil Liberties Network has produced its own alternative questionnaire.


New Home Office minister Phil Woolas has stated that it would be disproportionately expensive to collate statistics on the number of people with exceptional leave to remain who have been refused settlement in the UK and whether having a criminal conviction in Britain was a reason for said refusal.




Sir John Waite, co-chair of the Independent Asylum Commission, will give the 9th Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture entitled ‘Asylum: a new perspective.’ It is hosted by the Refugee Studies Centre and will take place in Oxford on Wednesday 19 November. Email Katherine Salahi to book a place.


‘Mental Health Matters: Issues for Asylum Seekers and Refugees’ features key note speakers from organisations like the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, Gofal, Mind Cymru and AWETU. It takes place at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea on Wednesday 10th December 2008.


Launch of research report: ‘Relocation, Relocation – The impact of internal relocation on women asylum seekers’ by RWRP/Asylum Aid on November 27 at Garden Court Chambers, London, 6-8.30 pm. Email if you wish to attend.


The Refugee Council is hosting a series of regional workshops in November and December as part of the Inclusive Secondary Schools Project, which aims to encourage partnership work between schools and Refugee Community Organisations (RCOs).




A Congolese demonstration in Manchester protested against deportations to the DRC and the worsening situation in that country.

See also: Cameroonian returned to UK after passenger protest


The Border Agency plans to open a new immigration detention centre near Arncott, Bicester, would open in 2012 and house 800 people.

Asylum Update 4th November 2008


Refugee Schooling: how the education needs of certain vulnerable groups are not being met by Dorling, K. in ChildRIGHT No 250.

Conflict and the Refugee Experience: Flight, exile and repatriation in the Horn of Africa, by Assefaw Bariagaber Earney, C. and Between vulnerability and assertiveness: Negotiating resettlement in Kakuma refugee camp, by Kenya Jansen, B. J. both appear in African Affairs Vol 107 No 429.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the Right to be Granted Asylum in the Union’s Law in Refugee Survey Quarterly Vol 27 No 3 by Law Gil-Bazo, M.

The housing charity Shelter has published a new policy discussion paper – No Place Like Home? The paper examines the debate on housing and migration, including the housing needs of asylum seekers.

The July-September 2008 Accessions List for the Refugee Studies Centre Library is now available and contains details of new publications received by the Library.

Policy and law

The government has announced a pilot scheme to end the detention of families currently kept in Dungavel detention centre inn Scotland. See BBC and The Scotsman coverage.

The Refugee Council have published a response to the Department for Work and Pensions Green Paper, “No one written off: reforming welfare to reward responsibility.” It has also along with Scottish and Welsh Refugee Councils responded to the UK Border Agency’s Consultation on ‘Strengthening the Common Travel Area’.

The Impact of the EU Qualification Directive on International Protection is a new ECRE study of the impact of the directive, which seeks to establish minimum standards for granting international protection in the European Union.


‘Promoting integration of vulnerable migrant groups’ on Monday 24 November in London is the third in a series of seminars based on the findings of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Immigration and Inclusion Programme. New ippr research on the integration of Bangladeshi, Iranian, Nigerian and Somali migrants will be made available.

‘Supporting disabled refugees and asylum seekers: opportunities for new approaches’ is the title of the launch of new research commissioned to ICAR by Refugee Support, the refugee arm of the Metropolitan Support Trust. It will take place on Friday 14 November at City Hall, London.


Shelter has published a new guide: Asylum seekers and refugees: Accessing accommodation and housing support

Migreurop have updated their map of immigrant detention centres and camps in Europe.