Asylum Update – 29nd February 2008

Quarterly asylum statistics
The BIA has issued the asylum statistics for the final quarter of 2007and an accompanying press release.
See also BBC coverage and Refugee Council response

Integration and cohesion
This document is the second of three parts to the government’s response to the report Our Shared Future published in 2007 by the Commission on Integration and Cohesion.

Refugee Council
The Refugee Council has added to its website a guide to external policy/strategic papers which they have either contributed to or supported, and a book review section.

Journal article
Ethical issues in research with unaccompanied asylum-seeking children by Peter Hopkins in the February 2008 edition of Children’s Geographies.

International Journal of Refugee Law
New issue available here

Children’s rights conference
Human Rights for Every Child: 15 March 2008 at Clore Management Centre, Birkbeck College, London WC1. Organised by UNISON and the British Association of Social Workers and looking at refugee, asylum seeker, migrant and trafficked children. Email for details.

Keeping cultures conference
Museum in Docklands, 13/14 March 2008. Conference on how museums and refugees can work together on approaches to identity and heritage. Speakers include UNCHR Deputy Representative to the UK. Findings of a four year programme with London refugee communities will also be presented.

Call for films
Refuge in Films 2008 is now receiving submissions of new films about refugees and immigration matters. Last year the festival screened 30 films, from refugee community productions to mainstream films. Deadline: 21 March 2008. Email for further information.


Earning citizenship (2) – why now?

I didn’t pick this up at the time of my previous post on this, but why are the government making these proposals now, just a few months before Lord Goldsmith reports on the findings of his independent citizenship review for the Ministry of Justice? Is it pre-empting the findings? What if the findings are contradictory to this new approach?

Asylum Update – 22nd February 2008

Citizenship and asylum
A recent House of Lords debate has raised the issue of the implications for asylum seekers and refugees of the government’s proposed ‘contract’ for foreign nationals becoming citizens. The government’s announcement followed close on the heels of the publication of the Green Paper containing the results of the BIA’s consultation on citizenship.

Commissioning community organisations
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published a report for the Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust (HACT) entitled: ‘More responsive public services? A guide to commissioning migrant and refugee community organisations’.

Children and destitution
The Children’s Society has published a new report entitled: ‘Living on the edge of despair: destitution amongst asylum seeking and refugee children’.

Children’s Legal Centre

The Centre has relaunched its Refugee and Asylum Seeking Children’s Project to provide legal information about this area of children’s rights. To receive monthly updates contact Kamena Dorling

BIA complaints
The BIA has published ‘The Independent Police Complaints Commission oversight of Border and Immigration Agency incidents and complaints – analysis of responses’ and an accompanying policy statement

CSJ asylum enquiry
The Centre for Social Justice has recently launched an Asylum Policy Group, which will be looking at the issue of destitution and highlighting some of the problems within the system. Contributions should be sent to Katie Garner

Journal article
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies – Places of Exclusion and Inclusion: Asylum-Seeker and Refugee Experiences of Neighbourhoods in the UK, by Neil Spicer.

The Institute of Race Relations is holding a one-day workshop for refugee and community organisations on how to work with the media on Friday 29 February 2008.

The end of a 3-year research project on community theatre among refugees will be marked by a two-day conference at the University of East London on 7-8 March 2008.

Integration and community cohesion is a workshop on 10 March 2008 in London hosted by the Community Development Foundation and the ESRC Identities and Social Action Programme. Topics include ‘how the ‘disrupted’ identities of refugees, asylum seekers and new migrants can be helped to develop and integrate with receiving communities‘.

‘Refugees, new migrants and economic inclusion: challenges and solutions’, organized by Advantage West Midlands and the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies at the University of Birmingham. Birmingham Business School, 14th March 2008. Admission free. For more details contact Yvonne Harley

The IOM/European Refugee Fund-backed IntegraRef project has begun presenting its research findings on the integration of refugees in Europe through a series of e-newsletters, and will host an international conference in Rome on 13th and 14th March 2008.

Earning citizenship

Today’s Home Office proposals to reform the migrant’s route to British citizenship reflect a recent trend in rebalancing the emphasis of the rights and responsibilities of those coming to the UK. As a previous post discussed, the new proposals develop further a more communitarian (rather than libertarian) approach to rights. Jacqui Smith makes clear that migrants will have to ‘demonstrate their contribution to society beyond simply working and paying taxes’. Whether you agree that this is moral/practical/necessary or not, those migrants that see their future in the UK will not find such a commitment hard to demonstrate, as I am finding out in research with refugees in London for ICAR’s refugee rights and responsibilities project.
The proposals also apply to those whose presence may be more transient, with temporary labour migrants being able to pay into a public services fund for a period of ‘probationary citizenship’. For these individuals, it seems, a demonstration of anything more than an economic commitment is not required. What is less clear is how more migrants with long-term ambitions in the UK will be required to ‘prove’ their integration into society or whether these proposals will be underpinned by the more formal framework of a Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.

Asylum Update – 15th February 2008

Keeping children safe from harm
is a BIA code of practice consultation paper is to seek a range of views on how to improve the way that children are handled within and by the immigration system. The deadline for responses is Friday 25 April 2008. More details here

ECRE paper
Defending Refugees’ Access to Protection in Europe is a new policy document produced by the European Council on Refugees and Exile.

Compas working paper
Libyan Nationals in the United Kingdom: Geo-political considerations and trends in asylum and return. Available here

Older refugees
This Refugee Council working paper brings together two earlier reports – a literature review and analysis of interviews with refugees.

Healthcare in countries of origin
Information on Treatment and Healthcare Accessibility in Countries of Origin (ITHACA) provides “information on the medical situation in countries of origin in support of the asylum process.”

Child Rights and Child Protection Training
Zuhra Bahman and Associates are offering a variety of one day workshops across the UK in February and March. Topics include Working with Young Refugees. Contact

Anti-Poverty Network England AGM Tuesday 19th February 12noon – 3pm: Launch of research on migrant and refugee integration. Amnesty International Human Rights Centre, London. Further information here

Medecins du Monde seminar on “Proposed Changes on access to primary healthcare for undocumented migrants”. Speakers: Susan Wright, MdM UK director and Adam Hundt, Pierce Glynn Solicitors. 6pm, 21 February 2008 at Clifford Chance, 10 Upper Bank Street, London E14 5JJ Booking essential.
See also press coverage here

Refuge in Israel

This article provides further insight into the situation of sub-Saharan African refugees in Israel. We have blogged previously on this issue and the plight of refugees in countries that are both geographically adjacent to asylum-migration routes out of African conflicts but also underdeveloped in terms of service provision and institutional protection for refugees. This leads to the bizarre position identified by the article in which Sudanese, Eritreans and refugees from Cote d’Ivoire have varying forms of permission to be physically within Israeli borders but with few rights or assistance beyond that are reduced to sleeping in temporary shelters.

Asylum Update – 8th February 2008

UNHCR news
– New Country Briefing Folders on Somalia and Eritrea
– Statement on Subsidiary Protection under the EC Qualification Directive for people threatened by indiscriminate violence published here. A response to questions presented by the Dutch highest Administrative Court to the European Court of Justice, the Statement seeks to ensure EC law on subsidiary protection matches international standards.
– An independent evaluation has been commissioned to look at UNHCR’s role with regard to sexual and gender-based violence in situations of forced displacement. The evaluation will visit various field locations, including Colombia, DRC, Georgia, and Nepal. Interested parties are invited to make submissions which address the issues set out in the Terms of Reference.

European Court ruling on detention of asylum seekers
On January 29 the European Court on Human Rights ruled that the United Kingdom’s policy of detaining asylum seekers who arrived lawfully and present no risk of absconding, but whose claims are processed speedily, does not violate the right to freedom as enshrined in article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights. See also coverage in The Independent.

Reception Directive
The Select Committee on European Scrutiny has responded to the European Commission’s Commission report on the implementation of the Directive 2003/9/EC laying down minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers, which claimed that in a number of areas the UK was not properly applying the Directive.

Citizens Speak
Citizens Speak has been launched by the Independent Asylum Commission to allow ordinary citizens to contribute to their public consultation on asylum. The closing date for responses is 30 March 2008.

Human Rights in the UK
In its first annual report, the Joint Committee on Human Rights calls on politicians not to use the Human Rights Act as a scapegoat for unpopular decisions.

Refugee Council publications

The Refugee Council has published its response to the Community Cohesion and Migration Inquiry by the Communities and Local Government Committee. It has also published a report on the November 2007 conference Building Communities: equality and diversity in action and a policy paper based on a survey of asylum seekers’ experiences of the New Asylum Model conducted with clients at Refugee Council One Stop Services

Refugee Studies Centre
The Refugee Studies Centre Library Accessions List for October-December 2007 has now been added to the RSC website. The Library, based in Oxford, is the largest resource of its kind on the subject of forced migration.

Updated Iraq Research Guide
The Forced Migration Online research guide on Iraq has been updated to reflect rising levels of displacement and other recent developments. The accompanying resource summary highlights various web-based resources that focus on Iraq.

BIA Statistics Review
The Border and Immigration Agency is reviewing what statistics are produced and published and the frequency of publication. Comments are invited by 20 February. Further details here

Europe-wide research
Eurasylum has just published its new monthly policy interview, featuring Prof. Philippe De Bruycker, Coordinator of the Academic Network for Legal Studies on Immigration and Asylum in Europe (Odysseus), on: ‘Current research and educational priorities on immigration and asylum in Europe’.

Final Call for Papers
Beyond camps and forced labour: current international research on survivors of Nazi persecution. Third international multidisciplinary conference, London, 7-9 January 2009.Themes anticipated include DPs in post-war Europe, Reception and resettlement, and Exiles, émigrés and refugees in the reconstruction process. Contact