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  News & Views Monday 25th April to Sunday 1st May 2016  

Asylum Seekers Poorly Served by ‘Sausage Factory’ Law Firms

People seeking asylum in the UK face a hostile and cynical asylum process. Although legal aid is still available, cuts to publicly funded asylum legal services appear to have had a devastating effect on their availability and quality. Asylum law has some of the most brilliant, most committed lawyers, going far beyond the call of duty, putting in far more hours than they are paid for to provide a thorough service and craft creative and clever legal arguments. They make their services available for most, if not all, of their professional lives at legal aid rates, far below what they could earn from privately paying clients. Yet there are still concerns about the overall quality of publicly funded asylum legal services provided: why? These are complicated issues but this article attempts to give a brief insight, based on completed and continuing research carried out on the quality of asylum services and the situation of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in the UK.

Read more: Jo Wilding, Justice Gap, 28/04/2016


Migrant Crisis: Austria Passes Controversial New Asylum Law

A decision on whether to grant asylum to migrants would be made within an hour and those not accepted would be sent back immediately. Austria has passed a controversial new law that restricts the right of asylum and allows most claimants to be rejected directly at the border. Rights groups say the law undermines the principle of protection from war and persecution. It comes days after Austria's far-right came top in the first round of a presidential election. Austrian officials say they are also considering building a fence at the main border crossing with Italy. The new asylum law lets the government declare a "state of emergency" over the migrant crisis and reject most asylum-seekers, including those from war-torn countries such as Syria. It also limits any successful asylum claim to three years. "These amendments are a glaring attempt to keep people out of Austria and its asylum system," said Amnesty Europe director Gauri van Gulik.
Read more: BBC News, 27/04/2016


US: 20 Years of Immigrant Abuses

The United States Congress should repeal provisions in two 1996 immigration laws that have subjected hundreds of thousands of people to arbitrary detention, fast-track deportations, and family separation, Human Rights Watch said today. “The US appears to be coming to grips with the harm caused by its 90s-era crime laws,” said Alison Parker, co-director of the US program at Human Rights Watch. “These 90s-era immigration laws also deserve serious scrutiny and reconsideration.” President Bill Clinton signed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, known as AEDPA, on April 24, 1996. The legislation, passed in the aftermath of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, greatly expanded the grounds for detaining and deporting immigrants, including long-term legal residents. It was the first US law to authorize certain now-widely-used fast-track deportation procedures.

Read more: Human Rights Watch, 25/04/2016


Restoration of ILR Until Resolution of Forthcoming Appeal

Cyrus, R (on the application of) v SSHD [2016] EWHC 918 (Admin) (26 April 2016)

Introduction
1.         In this case the Claimant seeks interim relief as part of a claim for judicial review. The Order sought is an Order that the Defendant should grant or reinstate the Claimant's indefinite leave to remain ["ILR"] in the UK pending the resolution of his claim and his anticipated appeal against a decision of 8 April 2016 to refuse his human rights claim of 19 August 2015 and to maintain the decision to deport the Claimant from the United Kingdom

Conclusions
44. It is agreed that the deportation decision taken on 28 October 2015 was enfranchised by a legal error. For the reasons I have already given, I am unable to conclude that that error was immaterial. The removal of the Claimant's ILR was an automatic consequence of the decision to deport. I therefore conclude that the integrity of public administration is best served by an Order to restore the Claimant's ILR.

45. I accept from the Secretary of State the proposition that, at least where Section 76 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 is concerned, the revocation of the deportation order does not imply automatic restoration of a previously existing Indefinite Leave to Remain. However, this Claimant is not in the situation of Mr George and may never be in such a situation.

46. On the facts of this case it would seem to me appropriate and a correct application of the modified American Cyanamid approach, that the Claimant should have the restoration of ILR until the resolution of his forthcoming appeal, putting him in the same position in relation to his immigration status as he would have been if (1) he had been an adult convicted of such a serious offence and subject to automatic deportation, or (2) the decision on certification in his case had been approached without legal error.

47. I wish to stress that nothing in this judgment should be thought to affect either way the outcome of the Claimant's forthcoming appeal against the fresh decision taken earlier this month.

Published on Bailii, 26/04/2016


Transnational Day of Solidarity With People In Detention & Protests Against Detention Centres

Saturday 7t May 2016

The last few years have seen an immense rise in protests inside and outside of detention centres. On Saturday May 7th, simultaneous demonstrations will be held around the UK and beyond, to protest against the existence of immigration detention centres and show solidarity with the 30,000 adults and children who are being detained against their will under the Immigration Act every year in the UK – without judicial oversight, a time limit, or adequate access to legal support, translation, and healthcare. We will come together with people inside detention to demand the closure of all detention centres and an end to border and migration controls!

May 7th is part of a wider transnational campaign to shut down detention centres and end the inherently abusive and violent system of immigration detention that criminalises, detains, and imprisons people simply because they have chosen or been forced to migrate. Actions also take place in solidarity with wider struggles against borders and migration controls and with people who are living in detention without walls, from Calais to Idomeni. So far actions have been planned across the UK and in The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Iceland.

The detention estate in the UK has been expanding for many years, often run by private companies such as G4S, Serco, and GEO, who profit from the imprisonment of people considered to be “illegal” by governments. Detention centres are rarely discussed in the media or on the street, with the Home Office banning the UN from entry into Yarl’s Wood, but May 7th plans to bring to attention their existence and the dehumanising conditions for people imprisoned within them. Along with constant physical and sexual abuses of detainees by detention staff, there have been 2,230 attempted suicides since 2007 (an all-time high), and 26 deaths across the UK detention estate since 1989 – showing the devastating effects of detention on physical and mental health. Despite claiming not to, the Home Office consistently ignores its own guidelines and detains pregnant women, children, or survivors of torture, all continue to be detained at one point or other. We want to challenge the inaction taken by many organisations and charities, who so often rely on having good working relationships with the government.

These demonstrations take place directly in organisation and solidarity with the very people who are currently detained, or who have lived experiences of detention and the actions they take daily to protest their imprisonment and deportation, such as yard occupations, hunger strikes, riots, and resistance to forced removals. We want to let people held inside detention centres who face state violence on a daily basis know that their struggles are not unheard, that people on the outside are listening and want to come together in fighting against detention and deportation.

We Do Not Call For A Time Limit, We Demand An END To Detention!

Demonstrations will be held at:
Dungavel detention centre (Scotland, UK)
Morton Hall detention centre (Lincoln, UK)
Yarl’s Wood detention centre (Bedfordshire, UK)
Cedars detention centre (West Sussex, UK)
Campsfield detention centre (Oxfordshire, UK)
Brook House detention centre (Gatwick, UK)
Tinsley House detention centre (Gatwick, UK)
Harmondsworth detention centre (Middlesex, UK)
Colnbrook detention centre (Middlesex, UK)
The Verne detention centre (Dorset, UK)
Detention centre near Schiphol Airport (The Netherlands)
Reykjavik (Iceland)
127 bis detention centre (Steenokkerzeel, Belgium)
Coquelles detention centre (near Calais, France)
Märsta detention centre (Sweden)

Exhibition at ex-detention centre, focusing on deportations and conditions inside detention centres (Frankfurt, Germany)

This day of protest has been called for and supported by groups across borders: Movement for Justice, Leeds No Borders, We Will Rise, The Unity Centre, No Borders Iceland, SOAS Detainee Support, Black Women’s Rape Action Project, Brighton Migrant Solidarity, Campaign to Close Campsfield, Manchester Migrant Solidarity, Anarchist Group of Amsterdam, No Borders Sussex, Migrant Solidarity Group of Hungary, Getting The Voice Out, Faites Votre Jeu!, No Borders Frankfurt, No One Is Illegal Stockholm, Borderline-Europe, Calais Migrant Solidarity, Anti Raids Network, No Borders Women and Non-binary folk, Shake! – Young Voices in Arts, Media, Race & Power, Detained Voices, Close the Verne, Shut Down Morton Hall, South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group, Barbed Wire Britain, Migrant Rights Network, Right to Remain, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, No Deportations-Residence Papers for All, Welcome to Hungary, SOS Racismo Madrid

For stories, experiences, and demands by people held in UK detention centres see http://detainedvoices.com/

WHAT YOU CAN DO
-           Join us in organising a demonstration, action, or activity for May 7th
-           Circulate and translate this message across borders
-           Send a message of solidarity and support
-           Cover this story to help awareness of the detention estate and actions spread
-           Connect with people inside detention and let them know about May 7th

Detention Centres - 2016 Is The Year We Shut Them Down!

Contact shutdowndetentioncentres@riseup.net or 07440435814 for more information.
https://shutdowndetentioncentres.wordpress.com/


UKHO CIG Mali: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Basis of Claim

1.Fear of persecution or serious harm by the state and/or by non state actors because of the person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation and / or gender identity.

1.1Other Points to Note

1.2.1 This guidance refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons collectively, although the experiences of members of each group may differ.

Published on Refworld, 27/04/2016


UKHO CIG Mali: Security and Humanitarian Situation in Northern Mali

1.1 Basis of Claim

1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by non-state and / or state actors as a consequence of the general security and human rights situation in the regions (provinces) of Tombouctou, Kidal, Gao and part of Mopti; and/or

1.1.2 That the security situation in Mali presents a real risk which threatens life or person such that removal would be in breach of Article 15(c) of European Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 (‘the Qualification Directive’).

Published on Refworld, 27/04/2016


UKHO CIG Mali: The Bellah (also known as the 'Black Tuareg')

1.1 Basis of Claim
1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by non-state actors as a consequence of being a member of the Bellah (black Tuareg).

1.2 Other points to note

1.2.1 The Tuareg communities are based in northern Mali. No evidence could be found of black Tuareg, in any significant numbers, living in the southern regions of Mali.

Published on Refworld, 27/04/2016


Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Volume 123

This document provides an update of UK Country Guidance case law, UK Home Office publications and developments in refugee producing countries (focusing on those which generate the most asylum seekers in
the UK) between 5 April and 18 April 2016.

Download the report here . . . .


Very, Very Expensive to Fall in Love With a Foreign National

It has never been more expensive to fall in love with a foreign national. Sadly, it looks like it is only going to get more expensive. British citizens with non-European partners face being priced out of the UK with the constant raft of changes to the visa requirements for UK partners. Earlier this month the government announced a consultation paper proposing new fees for proceedings in the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) and Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). If the proposals are brought in, they will result in a fee hike in excess of 500%.  Most families will hope never to have to step inside the Tribunal – it is only necessary where an initial visa application is refused. However, with the ever-complex requirements it is real possibility for some. Justice Minister Dominic Raab suggested that the fee hike was justifiable to protect British tax-payers and in so doing deliberately, and inaccurately, inferred that British tax payers are never involved in appeals in the Immigration Tribunal. That is simply not true.

Read more: Ashley Fleming, Justice Gap, 29/04/2016


French Travellers and Ors v. France – Violation of Article 8

The applicants are 25 French nationals (application no. 27013/07) acting on their own behalf and on behalf of their minor children. The case concerned the eviction proceedings brought against a number of traveller families who had been living in the same place for many years. The domestic courts had issued orders for the families’ eviction, on pain of penalties for non-compliance.

Relying in particular on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights, the applicants complained that the order requiring them to vacate the land they had occupied for many years amounted to a violation of their right to respect for their private and family life and their homes.

In its judgment on the merits of 17 October 2013 the Court held that there had been a violation of Article 8 in respect of all the applicants, in so far as they had not had the benefit, in the context of the proceedings for their eviction from the land they had been occupying in the locality of Bois du Trou-Poulet in Herblay, of an examination of the proportionality of the interference in compliance with the requirements of Article 8. It also held that there had been a violation of Article 8 in respect of those applicants who had applied for relocation on family plots, on account of the failure to give sufficient consideration to their needs. It had also decided that the issue of the application of Article 41 (just satisfaction) of the European Convention was not ready for examination and postponed its assessment of that issue to a later date.

Just satisfaction: 600 euros (EUR) to Catherine Herbrecht, EUR 2,000 each to Pierre Mouche, Rosita Ricono, Paul Mouche and Gypsy Debarre, EUR 2,000 each to the couples consisting of Thierry Lefèvre and Sophie Clairsin and Patrick Lefèvre and Sylviane Huygue-Bessin, and EUR 3,000 to Solange Lefèvre in respect of pecuniary damage; EUR 7,500 each to Laetitia Winterstein, Germain Guiton and Michelle Perioche, EUR 7,500 jointly to Mario Guiton and Stella Huet, EUR 15,000 each to Martine Payen, Catherine Herbrecht, Catherine Lefèvre, Sabrina Lefèvre, Solange Lefèvre and Sandrine Plumerez, EUR 15,000 each to the couples consisting of Thierry Lefèvre and Sophie Clairsin and Patrick Lefèvre and Sylviane Huygue-Bessin, EUR 20,000 each to Pierre Mouche, Paul Mouche,


Australian Offshore Detention of Asylum Seekers ‘Illegal’ Rules Court

Papua New Guinea's Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that Australia’s detention of asylum seekers on its Manus Island are "unconstitutional and illegal" and that they must stop. The court said the detentions are contrary asylum seekers' "constitutional right of personal liberty," and ordered the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea to "take all steps necessary to cease and prevent" the continued detentions and transfers of refugees to Manus. Australia, under its immigration laws, has been sending asylum-seekers who try to enter the country by boat to remote processing centres on Manus or the tiny Pacific island of Nauru, and it doesn’t allow them resettlement in Australia even if they are found to be genuine refugees. There are around 850 people detained in Manus and around 500 people in Nauru on behalf of Australia.
Read more: TRT World, 26/04/2016


Comprehensive Support Regime for Recognised Victims of Human Trafficking

Galdikas & Ors, R (on the application of) v SSHD& Ors (Rev 1) [2016] EWHC 942 (Admin) (26 April 2016)

Introduction

1. The United Kingdom Government considers that human trafficking is a form of modern slavery, because the essence of it is that its victims are coerced or deceived into situations where they are exploited. The United Kingdom has opted into the EU's Trafficking Directive 2011/36 ("the Directive"), which requires the United Kingdom authorities to set up a regime for providing support for those who have been recognised as victims of trafficking. The Home Office and the Ministry of Justice have jointly funded a national support service for adult victims of trafficking in England and Wales under a victim care contract, which provides vulnerable victims of trafficking with care and support. This case is not concerned with the issue of whether particular individuals should be recognised as victims of trafficking, but instead it raises questions concerning the support that such victims should continue to receive after a conclusive grounds decision has been made that they are actually victims of trafficking.

2. The present application is principally concerned with the issue of whether there has been a failure by the Secretary of State for the Home Department ("SSHD")[1] and by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions ("SSWP")[2] to put in place a comprehensive support regime for recognised victims of human trafficking in accordance with the United Kingdom's obligations, in particular after the conclusion of the 45-day recovery and reflection period in which those victims are entitled to assistance and support. The relief sought is principally concerned with the nature and legality of the regime in force and more particularly if the regime is compatible with EU law and public international law. The Claimants' case is brought with the assistance of evidence from Ms Phillipa Roberts, who is the Legal Director of Hope for Justice ("HFJ"), which is described as an "anti-trafficking charity" and which assists victims of trafficking. The Defendants' case is supported by evidence from Ms Helen Sayeed of the Asylum, Strategy and Trafficking Team at the Home Office.


Conclusions

I conclude in respect of the issues raised on this application that:

(1) Article 11 (2) of Directive 2011/36:

    i) Sets out an obligation separate from Article 11(1) of the Trafficking Directive 2011/36 so as to provide a free-standing duty of support which is not linked to criminal proceedings;

    ii) Imposes an obligation on the UK to provide a trafficked person with assistance and support as defined in Article 11(5) of the Directive, in the post 45-day reflection and recovery period; and

    iii) Does not create an independent right of residence.

(2) The Victims of Modern Slavery: Competent Authority Guidance (v.2.0) under the heading Victims who are helping police with their enquiries at pps 67-68 (under Section 19.2) is unlawful in that it does not allow victims or their legal representatives to request Discretionary Leave to Remain (DLR) on the grounds of agreeing to assist the police with their enquiries.

(3) Applications for DLR have to be considered in compliance with the Trafficking Directive 2011/36 and Article 12 and other provisions of the European Convention on Against Trafficking in Human Beings.

(4) For the purposes of the preceding paragraph, consideration of an application for DLR in compliance with the Trafficking Directive 2011/36 includes consideration of the duty to provide support under Article 11(2) of that Directive, including where necessary, support pending determination of an application for DLR.
It is also appropriate to make orders that

(1) The anonymity Order is lifted in the Subatkis claim CO/5652/2015.

(2) The Claimants' claim for judicial review is allowed to the extent identified in the Paragraph 116 above.

(3) Pending any remedial action taken by the First Defendant to remedy the deficiency in the Guidance identified at para 2 of the Declaration above, applications for DLR from victims of trafficking on the basis that they are helping police with their enquiries be accepted from such victims and their representatives.

(4) The Defendants shall pay 50 % of the Claimants' costs.

(5) There shall be a detailed assessment of the Claimants' publicly funded costs pursuant to the provisions of the Community Legal Services (Costs) Regulations.

(6) Adjourn the claim set out in paragraph 114 above for further consideration.

Published on Bailii, 26/04/2016


Theresa May Faces Backlash Over Call to Leave ECtHR

Theresa May’s call for Britain to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights would be a betrayal of the post-war generation who helped create it, human rights groups have said. In a speech on the EU, the Home Secretary said that the ECHR was able to “bind the hands of Parliament”, by preventing the deportation of foreign criminals, and called for Britain to stay in the EU but withdraw from the Convention. The comments drew immediate criticism from human rights campaigners.  Amnesty said that leaving the ECHR would “strike at the very architecture of international protections”, while Liberty criticised Mrs May for “playing fast and loose” with the legacy of Winston Churchill, who was one of the Conventions early architects.  Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham, meanwhile, called the proposal a “backward step” that Labour would “fight all the way”. 
Read more: Charlie Cooper, Independent, 25/04/2016


Turkey: Refusal to Provide a Public Service to Followers of the Alevi Faith, Entailed A Breach of Their Right to Freedom of Religion

In today’s Grand Chamber judgment1 in the case of ?zzettin Do?an and Others v. Turkey (application no. 62649/10) the European Court of Human Rights held: by 12 votes to 5, that there had been a violation of Article 9 (right to freedom of religion) of the European Convention on Human Rights, and by 16 votes to 1, that there had been a violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) taken in conjunction with Article 9 of the European Convention.

The case concerned the domestic authorities’ refusal to provide the applicants, who are followers of the Alevi faith (the country’s second-largest faith in terms of the number of followers), with the public religious service which, in the applicants’ assertion, is provided exclusively to citizens adhering to the Sunni understanding of Islam.

The applicants had requested that the Alevi community be provided with religious services in the form of a public service; that Alevi religious leaders be recognised as such and recruited as civil servants; that the cemevis (the places where Alevis practise their religious ceremony, the cem) be granted the status of places of worship; and that State subsidies be made available to their community. Their requests were refused on the grounds that the Alevi faith is regarded by the authorities as a religious movement within Islam, more akin to the “Sufi orders”.

The Court held in particular that the authorities’ refusal amounted to a lack of recognition of the religious nature of the Alevi faith and its religious practice (cem), depriving the Alevi community’s places of worship (cemevis) and its religious leaders (dedes) of legal protection and entailing numerous consequences with regard to the organisation, continuation and funding of the community’s religious activities. In the Court’s view, the Alevi faith had significant characteristics that distinguished it from the understanding of the Muslim religion adopted by the Religious Affairs Department. The Court therefore found that there had been interference with the applicants’ right to freedom of religion and that the arguments relied on by the State to justify that interference were neither relevant nor sufficient in a democratic society.

The Court further observed a glaring imbalance between the status conferred on the understanding of the Muslim religion adopted by the Religious Affairs Department and benefiting from the religious public service, and that conferred on the applicants, as the Alevi community was almost wholly excluded from the public service in question and was covered by the legal regime governing the “Sufi orders” (tarikat), which were the subject of significant prohibitions. The Court therefore held that the applicants, as Alevis, were subjected to a difference in treatment for which there was no objective and reasonable justification.

Read the full briefing here . . . . .


UKHO CIG Pakistan: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

1.1 Basis of Claim

1.1.1 Fear of persecution or serious harm by the state and/or non-state actors because of the person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

1.1.2 For the purposes of this guidance, sexual orientation or gender identity includes gay men, lesbians, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons though the experiences of each group may differ.

Published on Refworld, 27/04/2016


UKHO CIG Yemen: Security and Humanitarian Situation

1.1 Basis of Claim

1.1.1 That the general humanitarian situation in Yemen is so severe as to make removal a breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR); and/or

1.1.2 That the security situation in Yemen presents a real risk which threatens life or person such that removal would be in breach of Article 15(c) of European Council Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 ('the Qualification Directive').

Published on Refworld, 25/04/2016


Last updated 30 April, 2016