Ain’t No Border High Enough – Refugees are Welcome Here
Protest at Home Office Leeds
Monday 14th December 12 noon to 1:30pm
Waterside Court, 471 Kirkstall Road, LS4 2QB
Refugees welcome! Open EU Borders Now! No More Deaths!
We stand in solidarity with migrants & asylum seekers everywhere. We call for freedom of movement for everyone. No to racist immigration controls! No borders, no nations, stop deportations!
Asylum seekers must sign here either weekly, monthly or every 2 months and for many people there is a real fear of being detained so each visit is loaded with anxiety.
No Borders, No Nations, Stop Deportations!
Source: Leeds No Borders, 01/12/2015
Lobby Against the Immigration Bill, Tuesday 1 December
The 2015 Immigration Bill reaches report stage in the House of Commons on 1 December. This is the last chance to protest to your MP before the Bill moves to the House of Lords.
The All African Women's Group (a self-help group of women asylum seekers) and Black Women's Rape Action Project (which campaigns and provides services) invite you to join us in Parliament from midday to tell our MPs why we object to this dangerous legislation. Please call your MP beforehand to make an appointment to see her/him (details below).
This Bill will have a devastating impact on women and people of colour in particular. Measures on housing, destitution and employment will increase racism and make people more vulnerable to exploitation and violence. Other measures will see people seeking asylum being deprived of a fair hearing and deported back to danger in their country of origin.
Key parts of this Bill include:
· Deport first, appeal later. Removing the right to appeal in the UK will mean that those of us who have lived in the UK and built a family and are applying to stay on human rights family life grounds will be told to go back to our country of origin and appeal from there. Legal aid is not available for these cases. Families will be torn apart and thousands more people will be deported without hope of a fair hearing. Most of the 70 women who regularly attend the AAWG meetings would have been deported by now if this had been in place. Of the handful of women who have been sent back, who have managed to keep in touch with Black Women's Rape Action Project, all have either been raped or suffered other violence.
· Increasing destitution including of families. Once someone's asylum claim is refused they won't be entitled to support unless they can show that there is a "genuine obstacle" to their being deported. Again, there is no legal aid to challenge this. People seeking asylum are already suffering from an apartheid system of income and housing and get only 50% of poverty line benefits. Over the summer the government cut support to the children of asylum seekers by 30% (see EDM 344). A 2009 survey of destitute people seeking asylum found: half survive on one meal a day; many live on around £5 per week; over a third continue to suffer from the physical effects of the torture from which they fled; more than a third of the women who lived on the streets reported sexual assaults, including rape. Children are increasingly taken away from destitute mothers and families. And this in the fourth richest country in the world. Unless stopped, this heralds in the age of the workhouse where 90% of children died of neglect.
Deliberate destitution imposed by law and policy has now been extended from asylum seekers to others via benefit sanctions which can leave people without any income for weeks. Forty percent of street sex workers in Doncaster are there because their benefits have been sanctioned.
· Criminalising landlords for letting premises to people without papers. This will foster racism by singling out people of colour for worse treatment. Women will be made more vulnerable to exploitation, rape and other violence – many women in the AAWG are homeless and describe the abuse they have to endure to get a bed for the night. Fast-track powers for landlords to evict people without papers without needing a court possession order have been criticised by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Already "42% of landlords said they were less likely to rent a property to someone who does not have a British passport" if they were forced to do immigration status checks. It also puts all tenants at risk as courts can order possession of the entire property rather than the eviction of the particular tenant without papers.
· A new offence of "driving when unlawfully in the UK" which gives police powers to enter and search premises and search individuals for a licence. This will be a green light for the police to increase "stop and search" and all the racist persecution that goes with that. Black people are 28 times more likely to be stopped than white people. Considering that the police have officially been found to be "institutionally racist" extra powers are likely to be used in a discriminatory way. People of colour and immigrant people will likely be unfairly targeted by banks given powers to do immigration status checks and freeze or close accounts of people without status.
· Criminalise people who work without papers with a sentence of up to six months in prison on conviction. Police would have powers to seize wages and savings under the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002). This law is already used against sex workers and under it women can have their home, savings, car . . . seized even though they haven't been convicted of a crime.
· Further penalise international students. Visa controls and a 300% increase in charges over the last five years have led international students to feel "unwelcome" in the UK despite contributing £7.9 billion to the economy. Forty percent said in a recent survey that landlord checks would "negatively impact their decision to study in the UK". More and more international students face detention and deportation the minute they finish their studies.
We fear that if this Bill is passed it will unleash unrestrained racism similar to that of the 1960s against immigrant and settled communities. Islamaphobic attacks have risen by 70% in London. Following the Paris attacks Muslim women and girls in Britain suffered a staggering 300% increase in hate crimes. Women, especially mothers, made destitute and/or homeless, will suffer the anguish of not being able to care, feed and protect their children and exploitation, rape and other violence will increase across the board.
There is a new spirit of determination in the UK. The compassionate response to the mass movement of people in Europe fleeing war and poverty, with one in three (31%) contributing to the relief effort, indicates that people won't endure brutality from government and are refusing to stand by while their neighbours are targeted.
We can stop this Bill and/or make it unworkable. Join us to press our MPs to do the right thing and vote against these horrifying proposals. Hope we see you at Parliament on 1 December.
All African Women's Group Black Women's Rape Action Project
1. Find out who your MP is by going to this website or by calling the House of Commons information service on (020) 7219 3000.
2. Call and ask if they will meet you on Tues 1 December in the Central Lobby so you can tell them why you are opposed to the Immigration Bill.
3. If you can't come on Tuesday, either write a personalised letter and post or email it to them or call them at their constituency office or parliamentary office to tell them why you oppose the Immigration Bill. MPs are particularly interested in how legislation will affect their constituents or their local area. Find out what party they belong to and whether they have done any work on immigration issues before calling them. Get their office number here or call the House of Commons information service on (020) 7219 3000 and ask to be put through.
A Thousand March to Welcome Refugees to Scotland
The annual St Andrew's Day march, organized by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), was attended by more than 1,000 demonstrators who marched from Glasgow Green through the streets of the city centre, despite pouring rain, with banners bearing messages such as ‘Refugees welcome’ and ‘Love Glasgow, Hate Racism.’ A rally was also held at Glasgow Film Theatre, where refugees who have made their home in Scotland spoke about their experiences.
Speaking ahead of the event, Grahame Smith, STUC general secretary, said: “With a humanitarian tragedy unfolding, it seems appropriate to use the annual anti-racist St Andrew’s Day march and rally to send a clear message that Scotland welcomes refugees and that we are ready to provide space in our country for all those who need it.” A rally was also held at Glasgow Film Theatre, where refugees who have made their home in Scotland spoke about their experiences.
“Protecting Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention”
The immigration detention of stateless persons is one of the silent tragedies of our globalised world that plays out behind closed doors, away from the gaze of the media, but with significant, irreparable human cost. It is a tragedy that is completely preventable, but due to a lack of will and attention, continues to harm thousands of lives all around the world every year.
- Evidence shows that in many countries holding stateless migrants in detention for long periods – sometimes indefinitely - is a disturbing trend in Europe. Because there is no country to return the person to, once detained, the detention is likely to be arbitrary, repeated and prolonged leaving people in limbo and exposed to the emotional and psychological stress of lengthy detention.
- The failure of immigration regimes to deal with the phenomenon of statelessness, identify stateless persons and ensure they don’t discriminate against them often results in detention. Yet stateless person are seldom recognised as victims of injustice and often are unfairly labelled as refusing to cooperate with the state.
The toolkit “Protecting Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention” is intended as a resource for all those who come into contact with stateless persons – including lawyers, NGOs and stateless detainees themselves, as well as legislators/policy makers and officials or judges responsible for reviewing immigration detention. Information is categorised by issue and by type of resource/jurisdiction (UN, Council of Europe and EU) – all of which are hyperlinked, along with easy to use checklists for practitioners.
This resource is the most recent in a series of publications forming part of a Europe wide research and advocacy effort by the European Network on Statelessness to investigate the law, policy and practice related to the detention of stateless persons. This practice is happening despite the fact that protection against arbitrary detention is well entrenched under international and regional law. ENS is committed to raising awareness and to working with a range of partners to effectively address this problem, and to ensure proper protection and respect for human rights.
Read more: European Network on Statelessness, 30/11/2015