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                               News & Views Monday 26th Janary to Sunday 1st February 2015

Important Tools for Anti-Deportation Campaigners - 2015
This month and through to June, many NGOs, Amnesty International', 'Human Rights Watch', Fund for Peace and 'US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor', US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) will be publishing their annual reports on Human Rights Abuses in 2014. These reports will cover political, economic, ethnic and religious persecution in every country in the world. 2014 saw another alarming rise in extremely violent religious sectarianism a rise that is expected to continue throughout 2015.

These annual reports are essential tools not only for campaigning against deportations but are "authoritative" sources for compiling reports for asylum/immigration/migration hearings, making a fresh asylum claim.

'No-Deportations' will post these reports as they come out, below is the first this year.

UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UKFCO)
Published on the 21st of January reports on 27 countries that UKFCO have criticized as severely restricting the Human Rights of their citizens. Though UKFCO are clear about the Human Rights abuses/violations that are occurring in these countries, they are removal destination countries for the Home Office.

UKFCO Countries of Concern @ January 2015: : Central African Republic - Cuba - Eritrea - China - Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) - Colombia - Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) - Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) - Fiji - Iran - Iraq - Libya - Pakistan - Russia - Somalia - South Sudan - Saudi Arabia - Sri Lanka - Sudan - Syria - Turkmenistan - Uzbekistan - Vietnam - Yemen - Zimbabwe -
Individual reports on all the countries above can be found <>here . . . .


Asylum: Finance - Azure Cards
Lord Bates: Practical arrangements to remove the restriction that prevents Azure card users from carrying over more than £5 credit on the card from one week to the next are imminent. Card users with children are already allowed to carry over unlimited credit. We expect to complete the work by the end of February. Card users will be notified of the change by letter and there will be appropriate changes to our website information about the card.
House of Lords, 26/01/15


Asylum (Time Limit) Bill 2014-15 - Gone to Happy Hunting Ground

This Bill has been withdrawn and will not progress any further.

This Bill was presented to Parliament on 7 July 2014. This is known as the first reading and there was no debate on the Bill at this stage. The second reading was on 16 January 2015 but was withdrawn at the end of the debate.

If the bill had passed, asylum claims in the United Kingdom would have to have been lodged within three months of the claimant's arrival in the United Kingdom, and that persons who had already entered the United Kingdom and wished to make an asylum claim would have had to do so within three months of the passing of the Act.


Unaccompanied-Asylum Seeking Children
The Minister for Security and Immigration (James Brokenshire): The UK has opted in to the regulation that amends a single article in the Dublin Regulation (EU) No. 604/2013 ("Dublin III") concerning its application to unaccompanied children. The amendments concern the position of unaccompanied children who are applicants for international protection and who have no family member, sibling or relative present in the states covered by the Dublin Regulation. They are being made to reflect the Court of Justice of the European Union's ruling in the case of MA and others (C-648/11) that the best interests of the child are generally best served by an asylum claim being considered in the state of the most recent application rather than, if different, the state where a child first lodged an application. The basic approach in the proposal is one that we and other states participating in the Dublin Regulation have been following since the court's ruling in June 2013, so opting in will have no additional impact on current practice.

The Government are fully committed to the system created by the Dublin Regulation, which determines which participating state is responsible for examining an application for international protection. The UK has opted in to all earlier proposals concerning the Dublin Regulation and the related Eurodac Regulation. Opting in to this single issue proposal concerning unaccompanied asylum seeking children is consistent with our strong support for the Dublin system as a whole, which has been of great benefit to the UK, enabling the removal of over 12,000 asylum individuals since 2003 to other participating states (Member states of the European Union, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein).

The Government will continue to consider the application of the UK's right to opt in to forthcoming EU legislation in the area of justice and home affairs on a case by case basis, with a view to maximising our country's security, protecting Britain's civil liberties and our ability to control immigration.

House of Commons: 23 Jan 2015: Column 14WS


BB, PP, W, U & Ors v SSHD - Grounds of Appea

i) SIAC reached a legally unsustainable conclusion when holding that the treatment to which the appellants may be subjected would not violate Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR);

ii) SIAC erred in law by finding that there are adequate safeguards to enable verification of observance by the Algerian authorities of the assurances which have been given by the Algerian government.

iii) SIAC erred in law in referring to the fact that DRS officers were present during discussions about the assurances and have subscribed to them, there being no open evidence to support such a conclusion.

I shall refer to these three grounds as (1) the Article 3 issue; (2) the verification issue; and (3) the closed evidence issue.

Individual Appellants
53) Thus far I have been addressing the generic grounds of appeal relied upon by all the appellants. In addition, three of the appellants - W, Y & Z - advance a further ground of appeal to the effect that, in their individual cases, the Article 3 case should have succeeded by reason of the detailed evidence relating to their particular vulnerabilities. Submissions on their behalf were made by Ms Stephanie Harrison QC. Mr Robert Palmer responded on behalf of the Home Secretary. It is common ground that what may not amount to an Article 3 violation in relation to one person may nevertheless do so in relation to another, more vulnerable person. SIAC was mindful of that. Having listened to Ms Harrison's submissions, I am of the view that, absent success on one or more of the generic grounds of approval, there would be no basis for interference with SIAC's decisions on any of the individual cases. They are not inherently perverse. The important thing is that the circumstances of all the appellants should be reconsidered on the basis of a correct understanding of what Article 3 requires and of the verification issue.

Conclusion
54) It follows from what I have said that I would allow these appeals by reference to the Article 3 and verification issues but not otherwise. The cases should be remitted to SIAC for rehearing and redetermination.

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2015/9.html

Early Day Motion 748: Sexual Violence In Burma
That this House condemns the rape and murder of Maran Lu Ra, aged 20 and Tangbau Hkawn Nan Tsin, 21, by members of the Burma Army; notes that these two women were Kachin teachers working with the Kachin Baptist Convention; further notes that local police have taken no action; further notes that the Kachin WomenÕs Association Thailand has documented over 70 cases of gang-rape, rape and attempted sexual violence by Burma Army troops in Kachin and northern Shan states since the Burma Army broke a 17-year ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Army in June 2011; also notes that the government of Burma signed the Declaration to End Sexual Violence in Conflict last year but has failed to implement its provisions; calls on the Government to urge the government of Burma to stop immediately the military offensives in these ethnic areas and bring the perpetrators of sexual violence to justice; and further calls on the Prime Minister to enact provisions in the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative to send a team of experts to Burma to hold an inquiry and investigate this case.
Sponsor: Vaz, Valerie / House of Commons: 29.01.2015


Asylum Seekers: Women
Lord Hylton to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to consult Asylum Aid about ways to improve protection and fairness for women asylum applicants and support provided for those who have suffered gender-based harm.

Lord Bates: Home Office officials regularly meet with Asylum Aid and recently discussed Asylum Aid's Protection Gap campaign and other practical steps that can be taken to further improve the management of asylum claims from women.

Lord Hylton (CB): I welcome the positive points in the noble Lord's brief reply. Will the Government extend childcare to all women's interviews, especially in London and Liverpool, where it is not available? Will they provide training on gender violence to interviewers and interpreters, as is already done for the police? Finally, will they explain to women applicants why choosing a woman interviewer or counsellor can be of benefit to them?

Lord Bates: On his first point, we are very much open to reasonable suggestions as to how childcare could be improved. There are some practical difficulties on some of the sites, particularly in central London. As for having female interviewers, that is a very good step and we want to make progress on that. There is some practical difficulty over interpreters. I will get back to the noble Lord on his other points, if I may.
House of Lords / 28 Jan 2015 : <>Column 196


Nigeria Boko Haram - 4,000 Deaths and 900 kidnappings in 2014
Lord Judd to ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the scale of human rights abuses in Nigeria, with particular reference to the activities of Boko Haram; and what assistance they have offered the government of Nigeria in dealing with those responsible for the abuse.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: Over the last year, Boko Haram insurgents have committed widespread human rights abuses across north east Nigeria. These have included bombings, killings, abductions and sexual violence, and have resulted in more than 4000 deaths and over 900 kidnaps. Furthermore the UN estimates that the insurgency has led to over 1.5 million people being displaced. To assist the Nigerian authorities in their fight against Boko Haram, we are providing a substantial package of UK military, intelligence and development support. This includes training and advice to Nigerian units deploying against Boko Haram, as well as intelligence support with the Intelligence Fusion Cell in Abuja and assistance to the Nigerians in bringing increased development and prosperity to the North East. We are working closely with international partners supporting their assistance to the large numbers of people displaced by the conflict in the North East. The UK's contribution to the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) programmes to Nigeria in 2014 is £1.7million. The Department for International Development has provided £1million to support the Red Cross to provide humanitarian assistance in the North East of Nigeria.

House of Lords/ 28/01/15


Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Volume 94
This document provides an update of Country Guidance case law and UKBA publications and developments in refugee producing countries between 12th January and 26th January 2015 - Volume 94  <>here . . .

ARC Zimbabwe Country Report
ARC has prepared a COI compilation report on issues of relevance in refugee status determination for Zimbabwean nationals.
November 27th 2014 (published 15 January 2015)
http://www.refworld.org/publisher,ARCON,,,54b691994,0.html


New Removals Procedures Suspended
The charity Medical Justice has successfully challenged the new removals regime introduced by the Immigration Act 2014 resulting it the suspension of the relevant policy. The new regime purported to end the current practice of the sending a person copies of "removal directions" which serve to make individuals aware of their proposed removal from the UK. Instead, people would have received a single decision, a refusal, which would have included notification of their liability to removal and after 72 hours, they would have become liable to removal – without further notification, even if many years passed before anyone tried to remove them. Medical Justice formally threatened legal action on the basis that the new policy was unlawful. The Government agreed to suspend the removals policy with immediate effect and to consider amending it. This is a significant victory for Medical Justice, who was represented pro bono by the Public Law Project.

Stricter rules for British Citizenship
The Government has issued new policy on the meaning of "good character" for the granting of British citizenship. It is a requirement of the law that British citizenship can only be granted to people "of good character". The new policy penalises people who have had breached immigration law in the past. For example, anyone who entered the UK unlawfully is barred from becoming a citizen until 10 years have passed since the date of the relevant transgression. Trafficked persons are often brought to the UK against their will by those controlling them, yet they will still be subject to these new rules.

European Free Movement
The Irish High Court has this month issued an important judgment awarding €100,000 to a claimant for a breach of European Free Movement rules by the Irish immigration authorities which had denied him the ability to work. The case, Ogieriakhi -v- Mnister for Justice and Equality1, was referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union by the Irish Court. The case may encourage more claims of damages for such breaches in other EU states in future.

Source ILPA Immigration Update 65


MR (Permission to Appeal: Tribunal's Approach) [2015]

UKUT 29 (IAC) Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)
(1) A judge considering an application for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal must avoid granting permission on what, properly analysed, is no more than a simple quarrel with the First-tier Tribunal judge's assessment of the evidence.

(2) When granting permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal, it is unsatisfactory merely to state that the applicant's grounds are arguable.

(3) The requirement, emphasised in Nixon (permission to appeal: grounds) [2014] UKUT 368 (IAC), to engage with each and every ground of application, need not involve anything of an unduly elaborate, burdensome or analytical nature. The reasons for granting or refusing permission to appeal, in whole or part, in any given case will almost invariably be capable of being expressed in a concise and focused manner.

Introduction
1. This appeal originates in a decision made on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Home Department (hereinafter the "Secretary of State") dated 18 December 2013. By this decision the application of the Respondent, a national of Brazil aged 33 years, for a derivative residence card under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 (hereinafter the "2006 Regulations") was refused. The Respondent appealed, successfully, to the First-tier Tribunal (the "FtT"). The Secretary of State appeals, with permission, to this Tribunal.

Decision
9. We dismiss the Secretary of State's appeal and affirm the decision of the FtT.

http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKUT/IAC/2015/29.html


[Two convictions under s.25 (1) (c) of the Identity Cards 2006 Act, Quashed]

Mulugeta & Ors v R. [2015] EWCA Crim 6 (27 January 2015)

The applications of Farhiya Mohamed Issa and Bahram Firouzi for an extension of time and permission to appeal their respective convictions of possession or control of an identity document that related to someone else with the intention of using it to establish registrable facts about themselves in 2009 and possession of false identity documents with intent in 2009 are referred to this court by the Registrar. We extend time and grant leave. The conviction of Eyasu Mulugeta for seeking leave to remain in the United Kingdom as a refugee by deception in 2006 is referred to this court by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

The three cases have been listed and heard together by reason of the common issue raised, that being, notwithstanding their guilty pleas, that their convictions are unsafe by reason of the failure of their legal representatives to advise them adequately or at all of the availability of a defence under s31 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 [the 1999 Act]; and, had they been so advised, there was a reasonable prospect that they would have been able successfully to advance a defence under that section at trial.

Farhiya Mohamed Issa

On 17th February 2009, the appellant pleaded guilty to an offence contrary to s.25 (1) (c) of the Identity Cards 2006 Act. A sentence of 12 months' imprisonment was imposed. The relevant facts are as follows.

On 27th November 2008, the appellant had attempted to enter the UK with someone else's genuine Refugee Travel Document. The attempt was unsuccessful. Upon challenge she initially sought to claim asylum, later that day withdrew that claim, but subsequently, re-instated the claim.

The appellant's case is that she had left Somalia due to threats to her life there. She had been raped and suffered post traumatic stress disorder and depression. She was a lone woman of a minority clan and had a well-founded fear of persecution. She was targeted for violence by al-Shabaab for selling cigarettes to Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu in October 2008. She left Somalia and fled to Dubai. From there, her family arranged for an agent to take her to the United Kingdom. She had left Dubai the day before her arrest transiting through Holland.

On 30th May 2012 the Secretary of State for the Home Department [SSHD] refused to grant the Appellant's Humanitarian Protection under the provisions of § 339C of the Immigration Rules 1 and instead granted her discretionary leave to remain in the UK for 6 months. Ultimately he rejected the Appellant's claim to be a refugee. The Home Office refused her claim for asylum on 26th June 2013. She successfully appealed that decision. On 21st May 2014, the FTT found that the Appellant was a refugee and entitled to asylum status.

In a carefully analysed review of the facts the respondent accepts the appellant was likely to have been able to establish all elements of a s31 defence. The appellant claims not to have been advised of the defence. The respondent has reviewed the file of the solicitors who represented the appellant below and makes the concession indicated in paragraph 3(ii) above.

We agree with the respondent's analysis of the facts and the law in Issa's case. Her conviction is thereby unsafe. Her appeal is allowed.

Bahram Firouzi

On 10th July 2009 the appellant pleaded guilty to an offence contrary to s.25 (1) (c) of the Identity Cards 2006 Act. He was sentenced to 9 months' imprisonment. The relevant facts are as follows.

On 11th May 2009 the appellant entered the United Kingdom, using a false passport. On 24th May 2009 he was stopped at Gatwick Airport, attempting to board a flight to Canada and in possession of a French passport in the name of Alexis Olivie Couvrat. He was arrested and interviewed by the police when he had the assistance of a solicitor. He informed his solicitors that he was Iranian. He had suffered religious persecution, was fearful of returning to Iran and that he was likely to be arrested as a result of his conversion from the Muslim faith to Bahá'í. His life was in danger. He had left Iran two months earlier, using a forged passport as he was fearful of using his own. He travelled to the United Kingdom via Thailand and Uganda. He said that he had been in the UK for between seven and ten days and intended to use the French passport to travel on to Canada to seek asylum. He obtained the passport from a man in Uganda. He had paid $15,000. He had been in the UK since 11th May 2009. On 8th July 2009, the Applicant applied for asylum.

On 6th August 2009, the SSHD refused the appellant's asylum application. The appellant appealed. Eventually, on 13th February 2012 the Upper Tribunal concluded that he was likely to be viewed as an apostate and would be at real risk on return to Iran.

In the circumstances the respondent accepts that had the s31 defence been raised, the Crown could not properly have sought to say that the appellant was not a refugee and it was arguable that he could have shown to the requisite standard good cause for his illegal entry or presence (s31 (1) (b)). Further, that the appellant's original intention to travel on to Canada would not of itself have deprived him of the statutory defence; see R v Asfaw [2008] 1 AC 1061, nor would his transit through Thailand and Uganda; see R v Kamalanathan [2010] EWCA Crim 1335 §§ 4-5:

However, the respondent asserts that the appellant cannot show:

(1) that he "… presented himself to the authorities in the United Kingdom without delay" (s31 (1) (a)); or

(2) that he "… [made] a claim for asylum as soon as was reasonably practicable after his arrival in the United Kingdom (s31 (1) (c)).

We disagree. The appellant did present himself to the authorities as soon as he arrived in the United Kingdom on 11 May 2009 and proceeded through immigration control, albeit that at that time he did not claim asylum. This appellant entered the United Kingdom with false documentation. His physical entry was not concealed from the authorities. We are satisfied that his claim for asylum was made during interview following arrest on 24 May. This is apparent from the following sources of evidence. First, in a client care letter dated 12 June 2009, Adam James, the Higher Court Advocate representing the appellant "confirm[ed]" that he had made an application for asylum when arrested and that this application would be processed. Second, the transcript of proceedings in the Lewes Crown Court on 12 June 2009 confirms that the court was informed of that claim being made through his interview. Third, the case was adjourned for enquiries to be made of the appellant's refugee status.

The period of his stop over in the United Kingdom is a significant factor to bear in mind, particularly in view of the comments made by Hughes LJ (as he then was) in the case of R v Sina Jaddi [2012] EWCA Crim 2565 § 30, but not determinative. The crux of the matter is whether, in the words of Thomas LJ as he then was in Kamalanathan, the appellant was in "transit".

Mr McGuinness draws our attention to inconsistencies in the appellant's accounts over time, particularly relating to the identity and number of his relatives now living in Canada, but does "not resile from the concession" he made, that the respondent "accepts that his intention was to go to Canada". We do not discount the possibility that the Crown would seek to investigate his account, although note that there is no existing contrary evidence concerning purchase of onward travel documentation or connections in the United Kingdom. The Upper Tribunal's findings adverse to his credibility are confined to minor details but not the fact of his refugee status.

In all the circumstances we are satisfied that he could reasonably be expected to establish the fact of his transit and intention to claim asylum in Canada by reason of his relations already residing there and his stated dependence upon various agents' advice concerning the necessity for stopover.

The respondent making the concession in paragraph 3(ii) above we are satisfied that a s31 defence would "probably have succeeded" in this appellant's case. In those circumstances the conviction is unsafe. The appeal is allowed.

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2015/6.html

Last updated 30 January, 2015