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