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 – 9th October 2008

Refugee Children: Towards the Next Horizon
Health and Social Care in the community
2008 16(5)
C, Watters and Dennis, J.

Unaccompanied refugee children and adolescents:
The glaring contrast between a legal and a psychological perspective
International Journal of Law and psychiatry
2008 31(4)
Derluyn, I and Broekaert, E.

The housing and neighbourhood impact of Britain's changing ethnic
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
October 2008
Perry, J.
Policy and Law
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has produced
a report that criticisesthe UK Government for failing to meet
international standards on the treatment of children.

Following a six-month Home Office review of the
general reservation on immigration and citizenship to the UN
Conventionon the Rights of the Child (CRC) the UK government
has announced that the reservation will be withdrawn. This means
that vulnerable children who are subject to immigration control will
now be entitled to the fundamental human rights set out in the

UKBA have published a consultation on proposed reforms to the
immigration appeals process.

Children's Service Network Conference
‘Are Asylum Seeking Children Safe in the UK?'
The conference is to be held on Tuesday 14th October in London.
It will examine the "tension between asylum legislation and policies
designed to support and protect vulnerable children", with speakers
from UKBA, IOM and other bodies.

The Home Office has launched an investigation into the alleged abuse
of asylum seekers during their detention and removal from the UK: 
Under the Freedom of Information Act the Home Office has released
information on: 'Deportation of asylum seekers failed due to
disruptive behaviour by the passenger'.

The Chief Inspector of Prisons has published a Report on an
announced inspection of Tinsley House and Yarl's Wood Immigration
Removal Centre carried out in March 2008.
The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and the Housing 
Associations'Charitable Trust (HACT) have launched the first housing 
rights website to be specifically aimed at answering housing rights 
queries for new migrants.

Asylum Update – September 12th 2008


A summary has been published on research by the Institute of Education into the emotional wellbeing and mental health of unaccompanied young people seeking asylum in the UK.

Policy and law

The European Parliament has adopted a report critiquing the Dublin system and will propose amendments to the Dublin Regulation later this year.


The Electronic Immigration Network is holding a conference on Immigration and asylum law on 25 September 2008. Email for more information.

On Tuesday 14 October 2008 in The British Library the International Library and Information Group will host a half day seminar on Information Services for Migrants and Refugees. Email for more information.


United Nations Committee on the ‘Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women’ (CEDAW) has criticised the United Kingdom for its treatment of immigrant women and women asylum-seekers and has observed that they may be subject to multiple forms of discrimination. A report was published by the Committee on 29 August.

The New Statesman has launched a campaign against the detention of children for immigration reasons.

According to Home Office figures, incidences of self-harm in immigration detention centres rose 73 per cent in the first six months of this year.


The Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust and the Chartered Institute of Housing have launched the first housing rights website to be specifically aimed at answering housing rights queries for new migrants.

Asylum Update – August 6th 2008


Earned Amnesty: Bringing Illegal Workers out of the Shadows is a new report from the CentreForum think-tank which in arguing for an ‘earned amnesty’ states that asylum seekers to make up a ‘significant proportion’ of undocumented migrants in the UK. See list of press coverage here

Unreasonably Destitute is a new report from the Asylum Support Appeals Project focussing on the nature of access to Section 4 support for refused asylum seekers seeking to leave the UK.

Journal article: EU Immigration and Asylum Policy – The Hague Programme and the way forward by Richard Plender, in ERA-Forum Vol 9 No 2.

The Home Office’s Country of Origin Information Service has published new Country Reports on Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe (the latter with a later Bulletin update) and Key Documents on Burundi, Georgia and South Korea.


Policy and law

The UK Border Agency’s Section 4 Transition to Target Contracts project has ended with all c7,000 asylum seekers supported under Section 4 now in accommodation provided by those public and private organizations awarded regionally-based 5-year ‘target contracts’ to accommodate asylum seekers in 2006. In the project’s final phase 400 Section 4-supported asylum seekers were moved out of London.

The Home Office has released information on ‘Families in Immigration Detention’ under the Freedom of Information Act. The data covers numbers of adults, families and children detained in three centres between September and December 2007.

The August issue of Migrants Rights News carries a ‘critical review’ of The Communities and Local Government Department’s two strategy papers published in July, which covered the local management of migration impacts and its integration policies.

In this recent article, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg tackles the question of limits on refugee family reunification in the light of international agreements.

The EU Commission has begun a consultation on the role of education in supporting the migrant integration of migrants and how migrant children can achieve more. The deadline for comments on the current Green Paper is 31 December 2008.

UNHCR’s Refworld website has created a one-stop access page to the key legal documents, declarations and resolutions from the UN relating to human rights, and major UNHCR policy documents.



Following on from a three-year community project operated by Refugee Action in Liverpool, Nottingham and Bristol, the Refugee Awareness Project has launched an interactive website “for people who support refugees in their communities and want to make their voices heard.”

“Maliamu” is a 15 minute docu-drama which explores the link between managed migration policy and destitution. The film is designed to help small organisations with fundraising and education and is available from the director

Asylum Update – July 30th 2008


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.


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.”


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.

Asylum Update – July 23rd 2008


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



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.


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 – 18th June 2008


UNHCR has released its annual report “2007 Global Trends: Refugees, Asylum-seekers, Returnees, Internally Displaced and Stateless Persons”, showing refugee numbers rising for second year running.

The Red Cross have publicized the findings of a survey of British perceptions of refugees and asylum seekers. The survey was conducted by ICM with 2,068 adults in May 2008.

The Home Office’s Country of Origin Information Service has published new country reports on Albania, DRC, Eritrea, Somalia and Key Documents on Nepal and South Africa.

Figures obtained by the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns show 48 incidents of self-harm requiring medical treatment in UK immigration removal centres in the first quarter of 2008, an increase of 54% on the last quarter of 2007.

The Mentoring and Befriending Foundation’s annual conference in May launched a new report, Mentoring and Befriending, in which refugee and refugee organisations feature strongly. The report focuses on the relationship of mentoring and befriending to cohesion and cross cultural issues

Policy and law

Home Office Minister of State Liam Byrne has provided a written answer to the Shadow Minister for Home Affairs stating that it is not feasible to distinguish how many Iraqi asylum claims had been granted on the basis of work for British forces, and that the resettlement scheme operated from Iraq does not include the granting of asylum. 

  • See also recent parliamentary debates on situations in countries of origin of UK asylum seekers.

Statewatch have published “The Returns Directive: 9 June 2008” and a supplementary analysis: “The Returns Directive – the final stages?” Both are by Professor Steve Peers of the University of Essex and look at the directive in terms of human rights and asylum and immigration law.

  • See also: European Parliament approves Returns Directive


The Centre for Migration Policy Research (CMPR) at Swansea University will host a conference on Refugee Rights and Realities in Wales on 10 July. It is supported by the Welsh Refugee council and places are free for refugee and not-for-profit organisations.

Nigel Harris will speak on “Refugees, economic migration and the future of the world economy” at the Royal Society in London on 26 July, as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA).


In a special feature for Refugee Week (16-22 June) hosts MigrantVoice on refuge, a “debate on the issues that matter for refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.”