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News & Views Monday 25th February to Sunday 31st March 2019

 

More Children Killed by Unsafe Water, Than Bullets

UNICEF’s 16-nation study into how water supplies effect children caught up in emergencies, also shows that children under-five are on average more than 20 times more likely to die from illnesses linked to unsafe water and bad sanitation, than from conflict. “The odds are already stacked against children living through prolonged conflicts – with many unable to reach a safe water source,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “The reality is that there are more children who die from lack of access to safe water than by bullets."

According to the report, every year, 85,700 children under-15 die from diarrhoea linked to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene facilities (WASH), compared with 30,900 from conflict. Some 72,000 under-fives die annually from similar illnesses linked to WASH-access problems, compared to 3,400 from war-related violence.

UNICEF studied data from Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It compared World Health Organization (WHO) mortality estimates for “collective violence” and “diarrhoeal disease”. On average, mortality estimates were higher for diarrhoeal disease than violence in under 15-year-olds – except in Libya, Iraq and Syria. Under-fives were more likely to die from diarrhoeal disease in all countries except Libya and Syria, the UN report found.

Read more: UN News, https://is.gd/wLRUgi



Charity Launches Super-Complaint Against Police for Treating Slavery Victims as Criminals

Hestia, a charity that specialises in helping victims of slavery, has lodged the complaint today after its investigation found just seven per cent of reported cases of modern slavery were being referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) by police. This is despite a 250 per cent rise in the number of operations to more than 1,100, which the National Crime Agency (NCA) last week said had been fuelled by children being exploited by county lines drug gangs.

The super-complaint, which will automatically trigger an inquiry by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, is being backed by the Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove. “Victims are being alienated by the criminal justice system to the extent that they disappear or in some cases return to their captors,” said Baroness Newlove. “Not only is this demoralising but it undermines our fight against this crime. It also seriously undermines our ability to prosecute offenders if we are no longer in touch with the victims.”

Key complaints uncovered by Hestia included victims saying they were not believed by investigating police officers or being treated as criminals when they had been forced to commit crimes by their exploiters. Section 45 of the Modern Slavery Act explicitly provides a defence of being forced to commit a crime. Police officers also prioritised investigating the immigration status of victims over their crimes, according to Hestia, while some female victims of sexual exploitation were interviewed by male officers and male translators. There was also a regional lottery. Just six police forces were responsible for 75 per cent of the cases referred to the CPS. They were the Metropolitan Police Service, West Midlands, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Northumbria and Kent.

Hestia has supported more than 3,300 victims of modern slavery since 2011 and is one of 14 bodies in the UK with the right to lodge super-complaints.It has based its super complaint on evidence from police and agencies involved in tackling modern slavery, Freedom of Information requests to all 43 police forces, interviews with frontline staff and supporting reports from two legal expert organisations.

Source:  Charles Hymas, Telegraph, https://is.gd/UzifAH




‘Serious Failings’ in Almost Every Stage of Immigration Detention Process

The Home Affairs Committee said a series of “irresponsible” failures by the department had led to people being wrongfully detained, held in immigration when they are vulnerable or unnecessarily detained for too long. In a damming indictment of the system, the cross-party MPs concluded that the government had “utterly failed” to oversee the safe detention of individuals in the UK, and called for “urgent reform” to ensure it is more transparent and humane.

Yvette Cooper MP, chair of the committee, described the Home Office’s approach to immigration detention as “careless and cavalier”, citing casework failures, insufficient judicial safeguards and a general lack of humanity in the system. She added: “Making the wrong decision on detention can have a devastating impact on people’s lives – as we saw from the Windrush scandal, but also from many other cases we have seen. The lack of any time limit and of proper judicial safeguards has allowed the Home Office to drift and delay, leaving people stuck in detention for months who really shouldn’t be there at all.”

Pressure has been mounting on the government to impose a time limit on detention. In January, Tory MPs David Davis, Dominic Grieve and Andrew Mitchell joined forces with Labour MPs to impose a 28-day limit on all detainees apart from foreign national offenders. A recent report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) also backed a time limit, as well as calling for the Home Office to lose the power to detain people in immigration centres and for detention estates to be made “less like prisons”.

Sonya Sceats, chief executive of charity Freedom from Torture, welcomed the committee’s report, saying: “Far too many vulnerable people are being wrongly detained, for no good reason, and without adequate safeguards. The impact of detention on torture survivors is devastating. It compounds trauma and can severely hamper recovery. Yet torture survivors continue to be detained.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Detention is an important part of our immigration system – but it must be fair, humane and used only when absolutely necessary. We do not detain people indefinitely, and the law does not allow it – most people detained under immigration powers spend only short periods in detention. As the home secretary made clear in our response to Stephen Shaw’s follow-up review of the welfare in detention of vulnerable people, we are committed to going further and faster with reforms to immigration detention, and a comprehensive cross-government programme of work is in hand to deliver on that commitment.”

Read more: May Bulman, Independent, https://is.gd/ihSAtC

Access the full report: https://is.gd/72RXo7