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--Updated 26 July, 2016

  News & Views Monday 25th July to Sunday 31st July 2016  
Migrant Children Are Being Failed by UK

The UK is shirking its responsibility to care for thousands of unaccompanied migrant children, dismissing them as “somebody else’s problem”, a report has concluded. Unaccompanied migrant children have been systematically failed by the EU and its member states, including the UK, and as a result, thousands are living in “squalid” conditions, treated with suspicion by authorities and preyed upon by traffickers and people smugglers, according to the House of Lords EU home affairs subcommittee report. More than 10,000 children are estimated to have gone missing. The UK’s reluctance to take its share of these children is “deplorable”, says the report, entitled Children in crisis: unaccompanied migrant children in the EU.

Read more: Amelia Gentleman, Guardian, http://tinyurl.com/znjcfsw


Asylum: Religious Freedom

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what representations she has received on reforming the questions asked on asylum applications related to persecution related to religious beliefs.

Mr Robert Goodwill: In June 2016 The Home Office received the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for International Freedom of Religion’s report, ‘Fleeing persecution: Asylum claims in the UK on religious freedom grounds’. We are carefully considering the report and its recommendations and will provide a response in due course, including whether we will consider whether any changes to the way we handle religious-based claims are appropriate.

The report acknowledges the progress made by the Home Office with regards to guidance and training provided to its staff but highlighted the Group’s view that there were some discrepancies between the Home Office policy and practice. The Home Office carefully considers all asylum claims on their individual merits and grants protection for those who genuinely need it, in accordance with our international obligations under the Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). In every asylum case the particular circumstances of the individual are considered in light of published country information, which includes issues relating specifically to religious freedoms.

Published guidance on the interviewing and consideration of religious claims is regularly reviewed and takes into consideration the views of religious groups and other stakeholders.

http://tinyurl.com/h4v5uws


 

 

 

Judicial Review in the Upper Tribunal

A significant practical problem is the lack of direction on how to actually make an application at the Upper Tribunal. At a time of increasing numbers of distressed applicants all looking to have their accounts heard, this causes considerable distress not just to the applicant’s but also to those representing them.

The Upper Tribunal website says that the completed claim form should be ‘sent’ to the Upper Tribunal at Field House. No indication as to the method in which it needs to be issued, is given. Furthermore, the website simply states that the issuing counter closes at 4:15 pm. One would only assume that this meant all judicial review applications needed to be lodged before this time.

Read more: Roshni Jobanputra, Duncan Lewis, http://tinyurl.com/zkwncse


Early Day Motion 376: Human Rights In Kashmir

That this House condemns recent attacks on civilian protestors in Kashmir, many of whom are children, from Indian armed forces with the use of pellet guns in particular causing many injuries; urges the Government to remind the Indian government of its human rights obligations and ask it to withdraw the Indian Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1990, to bring it in line with the responsibility of the Geneva Convention which applies to 500,000 troops in occupied Kashmir; and calls on the UN to intervene in order to assess the situation and act as observers and peacekeepers and to apply sanctions on trade, defence and arms if the above minimum conditions are not met.

House of commons: 21.07.2016 http://tinyurl.com/zkjwy4l


Somalian Journalist Defeats Theresa May

The respondent MSM had worked as a DJ at a Somalian Radio Station from May 2011 until September 2013. In October 2013 he arrived in the UK and applied for asylum on the basis that he was at risk of persecution on return to Somalia for reasons of political opinion and, in particular, due to his profession as a journalist.  He claimed that he had received death threats from Al-Shabaab, which forced him to leave Somalia.

The Secretary of State refused MSM’s application for asylum, essentially on the basis that his claims about Al-Shabaab were not regarded as credible.  MSM’s appeal was dismissed by the First-tier Tribunal (FtT) judge on the basis that MSM’s evidence about coming to the adverse attention of Al-Shabaab was “a total fabrication”. Furthermore he found that the principles in HJ(Iran) (homosexual refugees cannot be expected to hide their sexuality – see our post) did not apply because that case concerned a situation in which in order to avoid the well-founded fear of persecution the application would have to deny himself a fundamental right under the Refugee Convention, namely his innate sexual orientation.  The right to practise one’s profession is not such a right and it was therefore reasonable to expect MSM to revert to teaching as a means of supporting himself while thereby avoiding persecution.

MSM successfully appealed against the FtT’s determination.  The Upper Tribunal preserved the findings of fact rejecting MSM’s claims in relation to the threats.  However, it accepted MSM’s claim that “the pursuit of his chosen career in journalism will involve the expression of political opinions and [it is] at least partially driven by political conviction related to conditions prevailing in Somalia”. The tribunal concluded that if MSM returned to Somalia and continued in his profession there was a real risk he would be persecuted for his political opinion. The tribunal rejected the Secretary of State’s argument that the right in question was the right to practise one’s chosen profession, which is not protected by the Convention. The tribunal made clear that it was a “case of risk arising out of imputed political opinion” and that “the fact that the imputation of the political opinion arises in the context of the appellant’s chosen profession is immaterial and incidental”. As for the modification of conduct question, the tribunal rejected the Secretary of State’s argument that this would not involve the forfeiture of a fundamental human right on the basis that the underlying right was freedom of expression.

Read more: UK Human Rights Blog, http://tinyurl.com/j36ry7k