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.

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