Asylum Update – July 30th 2008

Research

Good Intentions: A review of the New Asylum Model and its impact on trafficked women claiming asylum is a new joint research report by the POPPY Project and Asylum Aid.

Birmingham: A City in Need of Hope? analyses the situation of asylum seekers and refugees living in the West Midlands, using the Independent Asylum Commission’s Interim report as a point of departure. The report is written by Lizzy Sharman for Hope08Birmingham.

More Destitution in Leeds by David Brown builds on the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust’s 2007 Destitution Inquiry reports by surveying the same five agencies to see what has changed. See also BBC and Community Care coverage

 

Policy and law

A ‘UNHCR-NGO Joint European Advocacy Statement on Resettlement’ has been signed in order to encourage governments to support resettlement programmes, promote NGO-UNHCR partnerships in areas of resettlement, and argue for a more active role for NGOs in the resettlement process.

Ten independent human rights experts of the Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council have expressed their concerns regarding the EU Returns Directive in a letter to the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Events

What is a Good Asylum system? National conference in Leeds on 18th October 2008 organised by Leeds Asylum Seekers’ Support Network and both the universities in Leeds. It will “explore the asylum system in the UK from political, practical and academic view-points to see how it could become fair and just.”

Resources

The Refugee Council has published two new free multilingual leaflets: ‘Schools for children – information factsheet for refugee parents’ and ‘Sexual health – information factsheet’

The Department for Communities and Local Government has issued a guide to cohesion policy and how it can be implemented locally, drawing on the work of the independent Commission on Integration and Cohesion.

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Asylum Update – July 23rd 2008

Research

The House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee has published Community Cohesion and Migration – the results of its inquiry into the effects of migration on local communities and cohesion in England and actions to address these effects.

See also BBC coverage

Integration and Diversity in the UK is a summary of work to date and in progress by the Institute for Public Policy Research on migration, equalities and citizenship. The research project in progress is called ‘Moving up together: promoting equality and integration for the UK’s diverse communities’, and looks at socio-economic disadvantage among some migrant and minority communities.

The Emotional Well-being of Young People Seeking Asylum in the UK by Elaine Chase, Abigail Knight and June Statham presents findings from a study of the perspectives and experiences of children and young people arriving unaccompanied to seek asylum in the UK.

Groups vulnerable to financial exclusion, including refugees and asylum seekers, are the main focus of Financial inclusion in the UK: Review of policy and practice  – a new study from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Institutions for the Management of Ethnopolitical Conflict in Central and Eastern Europe is a new book examining the work of eight different international organisations which have become involved in trying to prevent or resolve ‘ethnopolitical’ conflicts.

Policy and Law

The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee has published its Human Rights Annual Report 2007, which looks at the work of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in relation to human rights worldwide and contains individual country chapters and recommendations.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said the government is “actively looking at what we can do to support Zimbabweans in this country who are failed asylum seekers, who cannot work and who are prevented from leaving the UK through no fault of their own.” This possible policy shift comes in the wake of media coverage about how destitution and removal affect Zimbabwean asylum seekers.

Meanwhile the European Court of Human Rights ruled on 17 July that a Tamil man denied asylum in the UK could not be deported to Sri Lanka because he would risk torture there. The verdict could set a legal precedent, affecting similar pending cases, as the ECHR had asked Britain to suspend 342 procedures pending their ruling.

See ECHR press release and BBC and newspaper coverage

Finally, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has rejected calls for a moratorium on the deportation of failed Iranian asylum seekers, particularly those fearing persecution on grounds of sexual orientation. See press coverage

 

Events

Exploring Integration: Third Country Migrants in the EU Seminar. Middlesex University, Hendon. Friday 25th July, 10.30-4.30pm. Two new research projects will be launched at this seminar and presentations will look at both the UK situation and recent developments in the EU. Email Rosemary Sales for details.

Resources

The British Red Cross has launched ‘Wee Positive Images’ – a new interactive educational toolkit in Scotland to help primary school children better understand asylum and refugee issues and experiences in their classrooms.

Asylum Update – July 16th 2008

Research

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published Community engagement and community cohesion, a new report which looks at whether engagement and cohesion initiatives take into account the views of new communities, such as refugees or migrant workers, and how they may be affected by changes in local government structures.

On a similar note it has also published Immigration and inclusion in South Wales, which looks at the implications for community, integration and cohesion of new migration in south-east Wales.

‘Outsourcing Abuse: The use and misuse of state-sanctioned force during the detention and removal of asylum seekers’ is a new research report by Birnberg Peirce & Partners, Medical Justice and NCADC, based on nearly 300 claims of assault during removal.

‘Disabilities among Refugees and Conflict-Affected Populations’ is a new research report published by the Women’s Commission of the International Rescue Committee.

Journal article: ‘`I had to cry’: exploring sexual health with young separated asylum seekers in East London’ by Sinha, S; Uppal, S; and Pryce, A. in Diversity in Health and Social Care Vol 5 No 2 

Policy and law

The Immigration and Citizenship Bill has been published in draft form pending further consultation and is described by the government as the biggest set of changes ever to the immigration system. The focus of the measures ranges from tighter border controls and powers of expulsion to ‘selective migration’; new prerequisites for obtaining citizenship; bail conditions for detainees; illegal working; asylum reforms aimed at vulnerable groups and migrants’ contributions to local services.

The government has completed the Visa Waiver Test announced in March 2007as part of the ‘Securing the UK Border’ strategy. The review recommends adding by the nationals of 11 new countries to the list of those requiring visas for short-term visitors in early 2009 unless the ‘risk’ they present is reduced before then.

The Independent Asylum Commission has published its Third and Final Report of Conclusions and Recommendations: Deserving Dignity. It calls for a full review of detention policy, and an end to the detention of children, and makes 90 recommendations on the treatment of asylum seekers. 

EU Justice and Home Affairs Ministers have signed the draft ‘Immigration and Asylum Pact’. Presented by the French Presidency of the EU, the Pact seeks to reform immigration rules across the union adopted officially in October. The modified proposals include an opposition to large-scale amnesties; a European asylum agency without decision-making power; and common EU-wide asylum procedures by 2012. See BBC coverage

‘Some progress’ amidst ‘mixed results’ is the European Commission’s assessment of the progress of the aforementioned move towards a common European asylum system in its third annual report on the implementation of the Hague Programme – a five-year programme setting out the aims in Justice and Home Affairs policies at EU level from 2005 to 2010. See also EC press release 

The Home Office has resumed its ban on the deportation of asylum seekers to Darfur, which was temporarily lifted earlier this month, whilst it awaits the outcome of an Asylum and Immigration Tribunal case which is expected to provide country guidance on the safety of returns to Sudan.

Events

‘Good Intentions: A review of the New Asylum Model and its impact on trafficked women claiming asylum’ is a joint research report by the POPPY Project and Asylum Aid. Following a date change it will now be launched from 9.30-11am on Thursday July 24 2008 in London. Email to book and receive further details.

International Conference on the European Governance of Migration: The Political Management of Mobility, Economy & Security. September 17-19 2008 in Berlin. Organized by the Heinrich Boell and Robert Bosch Foundations, the British Council, and the U.S. and Canadian Embassies. Register and see more details here

Resources

The Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford’s Department of International Development has issued its Library Accessions List for April – June 2008.

Refugees and home country politics

To what extent do refugees and asylum seekers in the UK maintain interest in the political situation ‘back home’? A great deal, if the impassioned contributions from the floor at a recent public debate on the state of the war in Colombia are anything to go by. But research on this question currently appears thin on the ground: a special issue of Ethnic and Racial Studies this year on the subject notably lacks any case study from the UK, and this working paper on the transnational political engagement by Colombian migrants in the UK and Spain appears to be an exception to this rule. ICAR’s ongoing research into refugee rights and responsibilities seeks to cover this issue amongst many others.

Asylum Update – July 9th 2008

Research

The Independent Asylum Commission has published its second report of Conclusions and Recommendations entitledSafe Return: how to improve what happens when we refuse people sanctuary.’ Press coverage here and here

‘Mauritania: “Nobody wants to have anything to do with us” ‘ is a new report from Amnesty International focussing on the arrests and removals of Mauritanian refugees attempting to enter Europe.

‘Because I am a Girl: The State of the World’s Girls 2008’ is a new report from Plan International highlighting the experiences of women and girls in conflict situations worldwide.

The International Crisis Group publishes CrisisWatch, a monthly update on conflict situations across the world. Five ‘actual or potential’ conflict situations are deemed to have deteriorated in June 2008: Chad, Djibouti/Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Nigeria.

Forced Migration Review is seeking submissions for a special issue in December to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the submission of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement to the UN Human Rights Commission, to follow an international conference on the same theme in Oslo in October.

Better outcomes for unaccompanied or separated children seeking asylum: a case where putting one’s money where one’s mouth is? by Neil Cobb in Child and Family Law Quarterly, Vol 20 No 2.

Finney, N. and Simpson, L. Internal migration and ethnic groups: evidence for Britain from the 2001 Census ‘ in Population, Space and Place No 14.

Finney, N. and Robinson, V. ‘Local press, dispersal and community in the construction of asylum debates’ in Social & Cultural Geography Vol 9 No 4.

The July issue of International Journal of Refugee Law is now available online.

Policy and law

In a decision that reverses recent case law, the Law Lords have ruled that asylum appeals based on the right to family life should not generally be turned down on the grounds that the appellant should first return to their home country to seek entry clearance.

See Time Law Reports on Chikwamba v Secretary of State for the Home Department.

The Equality Standard for Local Government (ESLG) has produced a draft Equality Framework for Local Government and is running a consultation until October 10. Respondents are also invited to fill an accompanying online survey

The Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement at the end of June saw representatives from 34 countries, NGOs and UNHCR experts discuss “the coordination of international efforts towards refugees who continue to be at risk in the countries where they have sought asylum.”

News

A Court of Appeal judge has accused the government of threatening judicial independence by obliging judges to use a rule in the 2004 Immigration and Asylum Bill to dismiss the story of any asylum-seeker who left their home country using a false passport. See press coverage

The Refugee Women’s Resource Project at Asylum Aid, in consultation with various refugee, women’s and human rights organizations, has produced a Charter of rights of women seeking asylum in order to influence the UK Border Agency.

Resources

Reluctant Refuge: the asylum experience in Britain is a new book by Edie Friedman and Reva Klein and published by the British Library. It charts refugee experiences and attitudes towards refugees in Britain from the early 20th century to the present day.

Asylum Update – July 2nd 2008

Research

Positive Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (PAFRAS) have released a briefing paper on racism, destitution and asylum, examining links between racial victimization and destitution.

A warm welcome? Public services and managing migration in London is a new report by Michael Bell Associates for the London Asylum Seekers Consortium commissioned “as a scoping exercise to explore the management of public services and migrants in London.”

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) have produced No Choice, a report on the dangers faced by Somali and Ethiopian refugees crossing the gulf of Aden.

The Spanish Commission for Refugee Support’s yearly report covers both Spain and Europe, and focuses on access to protection, resettlement and the border externalisation process. The conclusions are available in English.

The new issue of the International Journal of Refugee Law (Vol 20 No 1) features ‘EU Refugee Qualification Directive: a Brave New World?’ by Hugo Story.

Global Governance Vol 14 No 2 contains articles by Alexander Betts on North-South Cooperation in the Refugee Regime: The Role of Linkages and Beth Elise Whitaker on Funding the International Refugee Regime: Implications for Protection

Policy and law

The Home Office and Department for Children, Schools and Families have announced that the Borders Agency has a legal duty to keep children from harm, to be enshrined in the Immigration BiIl going before parliament in 2008-9. This follows an earlier consultation over a code of practice. See also Children’s Society response

The European Council on Refugees and Exiles has presented a Memorandum to the incoming French EU Presidency, entitled “Seizing the opportunity to create a meaningful Common European Asylum System”. It proposes six actions to protect refugees. The French Presidency will present its proposed `European Pact on Immigration and Asylum’ to Justice and Home Affairs Ministers on 6/7 July.

New UNHCR documents include:

Events

The Independent Asylum Commission will have finished reviewing the UK asylum system and making recommendations for reform by the end of August 2008.

  • On July 10 it launches its Third Report of Conclusions and Recommendations at the Refugee Rights and Realities Conference (Swansea University).
  • On July 16 and July 22 it will launch its Conclusions and Recommendations in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.

Resources

A podcast is now available of the lecture by Lord Malloch-Brown, Minister of State for Africa, Asia and the UN, for the Refugee Studies Centre on ‘Reputational Hazard: Rescuing Refugees in the Era of Illegal Immigration and Terrorism’.

The Children’s Society Leading Edge initiative aims to improve the experience of young refugees in education. It provides support to parents and carers, homework clubs and anti-bullying projects, and raises awareness of the needs and experiences of young refugees.