Justice & Security for the Famakinwa Family!
Abiola Famakinwa, mother of three children, 14, 12 and 6, is a Biomedical Scientist who was sadly widowed when her husband, a renowned journalist in Nigeria – Samuel Oluwasanmi Famakinwa died after being invited to Borno State by its controversial former governor who is said to have links to Boko Haram. Before this, the family had been subjected to a series of threats from anonymous quarters. A number of other journalists in Nigeria have been killed or died in mysterious circumstances. Two years ago, the newspaper Abiola's husband worked for was bombed by Boko Haram. .
When Abiola's husband disappeared, she told the authorities that he had travelled to Borno State to meet the former governor and she demanded a full inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Samuel's death. This did not happen and Abiola fled to the UK to safeguard the lives of herself and her children . Meanwhile, Samuel Famakinwa's death has gone unanswered for and journalists and their families continue to face persecution in Nigeria.
The Home Office has denied the Famakinwa family asylum and plans to return them to Nigeria, which would undoubtedly expose them to danger yet again. Samuel's death, as well as the threat of deportation, has had a detrimental effect on the health and well-being of Abiola and her children. They must be given leave to remain in the UK where they have the support of their friends and community and will not face persecution for their pursuit of justice for Samuel.
Read more: Rapar <>26/08/14
G4S/Serco Using Detained Immigrants as Cheap Labour
Ralph Ojotu, who works as a cleaner in Harmondsworth detention centre, said that it was hypocritical of the British government to ban him from working to support his two children in the outside world, but to allow him to be employed on around £1 an hour in a detention centre run by its contractor GEO.
Campaigners have criticised private firms for using immigration detainees as cheap labour inside detention centres after research suggested this saves them millions of pounds. Some detainees said they were being paid as little as £1 an hour to cook and clean.
Home Office figures showed that in May this year, detainees in centres run by Serco, G4S and other contractors did nearly 45,000 hours of work for a total of nearly £45,500 in pay. Had they been paid at the national minimum wage, the cost would have been more than £280,000.
Over 12 months, the figures suggest that the firms – which also include Mitie and GEO – could have saved more than £2.8m, according to research group Corporate Watch, which obtained the data, and said firms were "exploiting their captive migrant workforce".
The Home Office insisted, however, that detainees had a choice whether or not to work and that inspectors had praised the practice of allowing them to work while they await removal from the UK.
Read more: Guardian, <> 22/08/14
£25,000 Compensation for Detained Under Age Asylum Seeker
UKBA detained the male youth in Dover IRC for 25 days, after he was found in the back of a lorry in 2012. When he was interviewed, he told immigration officers he was 16 and they correctly referred the case to social services in Kent. He even handed over his birth certificate, national identity card and school certificate, which showed he was 16. But social workers decided he was not telling the truth and classed him as an adult. In court, Judge Simon Picken QC ruled that he was entitled to compensation. "I am satisfied the claimant was unlawfully detained after completion of the booking-in process." UKBA invited to comment, refused!
PO & Ors, R (Application Of) v Council of Borough of Newham
 EWHC 2561 (Admin) (28 July 2014)
1) This is a claim for judicial review brought by three children, who are Nigerian nationals, about the level of financial assistance that the Defendant, the Council of the London Borough of Newham, provided under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 to meet the subsistence needs which they and their mother had (as they were destitute) while the Secretary of State for the Home Department was considering whether or not they and their mother should be granted leave to remain in this country.
2) After permission to make this claim was granted by David Elvin QC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) on December 2nd 2013, the Claimants and their mother were granted leave to remain here by the Secretary of State on January 20th 2014. Thereafter they were eligible for assistance with their housing, and to the benefits, that others in this country normally are. The Council has also acknowledged, in the skeleton argument filed by Mr Bryan McGuire QC (who appeared on its behalf), that it made three errors when dealing with the Claimants' case and it has offered to reconsider the adequacy of payments made to them and whether to backdate any additional sum which they should have received. The Council proposes to do this in accordance with its "Policy and practice guidance in respect of those with no recourse to public funds" ("the NRPF Policy").
3) The Claimants contend, however, that any decision made in accordance with the NRPF Policy would be unlawful. In the circumstances as they now are, that remains the only issue, among the many raised by Ms Shu Shin Luh (who appeared on behalf of the Claimants), with which it is necessary to determine.
Accordingly, for the reasons I have given, in my judgment it would be unlawful for the Council to apply its NRPF Policy as it stands, or to treat the standard rates of payment which it contains as appropriate to meet the normal subsistence needs of a family, in any reconsideration of the Claimants' case without first reconsidering what standard rates would provide an appropriate level of financial support to meet the normal subsistence needs of destitute families.
UKHO Country Information and Guidance: Albania: Trafficking
This document provides guidance to Home Office decision makers on handling claims made by nationals/residents of – as well as country of origin information (COI) about – Albania. This includes whether claims are likely to justify the granting of asylum, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave and whether - in the event of a claim being refused - it is likely to be certifiable as 'clearly unfounded' under s94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.
Decision makers must consider claims on an individual basis, taking into account the case specific facts and all relevant evidence, including: the guidance contained with this document; the available COI; any applicable caselaw; and the Home Office casework guidance in relation to relevant policies.
Within this instruction, links to specific guidance are those on the Home Office's internal system. Public versions of these documents are available here . . . . .
Ugandan Lesbian Asylum Seeker's Deportation Postponed
The deportation of a Ugandan lesbian asylum seeker Joan Tumwine who said she was not given a chance to submit evidence to support her case, has been temporarily postponed. A petition, by Out and Proud Diamond Group African LGBTI, said Joan Tumwine was not given a fair opportunity, with proper legal representation to present her case, and that she is currently detained and had been due to be deported last Friday.
Many thanks to all who took actions to Stay the Removal
Burma: 20,000 People Have Risked Lives Crossing the Indian Ocean
In its Irregular Maritime Movements report, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has revealed that an estimated 87,000 people have embarked on dangerous journeys across Southeast Asian waters since July 2012 in order to escape the violence in BurmaÕs Rakhine State. 53,000 are thought to have journeyed in the 12 months ending June 2014, an increase of 61 per cent.
Many of these asylum seekers are Rohingya, an Islamic ethnic group who were victim of riots in Burma that left over 100,000 displaced, and who are paying up to $300 to board overcrowded vessels at the Bay of Bengal. Bangladeshis are also embarking on what the UN calls this Òdangerous journey in search of safety and stabilityÓ. Most are men, but there are growing number of women and children seeking asylum.
Read more: Indpendent, <> 25/08/14
India's "Low castes" Still Forced to Clean Human Excreta
Hundreds of thousands of impoverished "low caste" Indians are being forced to clean human excreta from dry toilets and open drains, despite a ban on the discriminatory and undignified practice, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Monday.
India has since Independence in 1947 enacted laws aimed at ending the practice of manual scavenging, which include commitments to modernise sanitation to end the manual disposal of faeces as well as outlawing employing anyone to do so. But centuries-old feudal, caste-based customs have allowed manual scavenging to persist, with communities facing barriers such as threats of violence, eviction and the withholding of wages if they try to leave the practice. Successive Indian government attempts to end caste-based cleaning of excrement have been derailed by discrimination and local complicity.
Read more: Human Rights Watch, <>25/08/14
Enforced Poverty Amongst Asylum Seekers and Refugees
A new Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) Working Paper has been published which analyses the link between poverty and refugees and asylum seekers in the UK from the 1980s to the present. Focusing on three main groups: asylum seekers; refugees; and refused asylum seekers, it also examines the impact on women, children, unaccompanied asylum seeking minors, families, elderly people, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) people, disabled people and members of cultural and religious minorities.
The working paper looks at the evidence on the livelihoods of asylum seekers and refugees, through issues such as their access to asylum support; the difficulties with their refugee status determination, their right to work and survival strategies and the difficulties accessing the labour market. It examines the reduction in support over the years Ð currently asylum support rates have fallen to between 50-60 per cent of Income Support levels Ð whilst refugees are not subject to the curtailing of rights and are entitled to the same benefits as British citizens. However, with the reduction in English as an Additional Language (EAL) classes and other support systems refugees too live in poverty and isolation. The review discusses the impact of housing deprivation and insecurity experienced by refugees and asylum seekers as well as their health status and their access to healthcare.
Read more: IRR News, <> 21/08/14
UKHO CIG: Iraq: Security Situation in the 'Contested' Areas of Iraq
This document provides guidance to Home Office decision makers on handling claims made by nationals/residents of Iraq as well as country of origin information (COI) about Iraq. This includes whether claims are likely to justify the granting of asylum or humanitarian protection owing the general security situation and escalation of violence in the northern and central governorates. Decision makers must consider claims on an individual basis, taking into account the case specific facts and all relevant evidence, including: the guidance contained with this document; the available COI; any applicable caselaw; and the Home Office casework guidance in relation to relevant policies.
Refworld: <> 26/08/14
UKHO: Operational Guidance Note - Iraq
This document provides Home Office caseworkers with guidance on the nature and handling of the most common types of claims received from nationals/residents of Iraq, including whether claims are or are not likely to justify the granting of asylum, Humanitarian Protection or Discretionary Leave. Caseworkers must refer to the relevant Asylum Instructions for further details of the policy on these areas. Caseworkers must not base decisions on the country of origin information in this guidance; it is included to provide context only and does not purport to be comprehensive.
Refworld, <> 26/08/14
UKHO CIG: Uganda: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
This document provides guidance to Home Office decision makers on handling claims made by nationals/residents of – as well as country of origin information (COI) about – Uganda. This includes whether claims are likely to justify the granting of asylum, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave and whether – in the event of a claim being refused – it is likely to be certifiable as 'clearly unfounded' under s94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. Decision makers must consider claims on an individual basis, taking into account the case specific facts and all relevant evidence, including: the guidance contained with this document; the available COI; any applicable caselaw; and the Home Office casework guidance in relation to relevant policies.
Refworld: <> 26/08/14
Grant Sushilananda Sraman Leave to Remain in the UK
Campaigners are calling on, the Right Honourable Teresa May, Home Secretary to consider the case of Sushilananda Sraman (HO: S1445819) for protection in the UK under the 1951 Refugee Convention or for Humanitarian Protection, or consideration outside the usual immigration rules as a matter of the utmost urgency.
Sushilananda is a Buddhist monk from Chittagong Bangladesh. At Sonaichori Raj Pihara temple, Sushil was Bikkhu in charge, a role governed by a strict code of conduct. He undertook multi-faith social work and provided education for girls and boys of all religions. He was targeted by fundamentalists between 1992 and 2004 when on the advice of his devotees he fled for safety to the UK on his own visa and passport.
Sushilananda had been issued with UK visas three times and had visited numerous other developed countries as the leader of his community and related to the multi-faith work he was undertaking. Owing to his activities benefiting all faiths, and being of a non-partisan nature he has been considered to be not a political or religious refugee, but we ask you to consider this now. Sushilananda is due to be deported to Bangladesh on 28th August 2014 and we understand the authorities in his country have been made aware of his claim, contrary to promise made by the Home Office ahead of his interviews. If deported, his life will in danger and his Human Rights, outlined in ECHR articles 2, 3 and 6, will be undermined. Furthermore, his family are in immediate danger in Bangladesh and this danger is increasing the longer the public campaign for his safety continues.
Sushilananda is a valued member of the Sheffield community and volunteers to improve the lives of others and to raise awareness in our schools and communities about the dangers of extremism. Please afford him the humanity and dignity he has made his life's work to provide for others.
Please sign the Online Petition <> here . . . .