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News & Views Monday 8th Feruary to Sunday 14th February 2016

Home Office Admits Thousands of Child Asylum Seekers Deported Back to War Zones

 Thousands of young people who sought refuge in Britain as unaccompanied child asylum-seekers have been deported to repressive regimes and countries partly controlled by Isis and the Taliban, the Home Office has admitted. Over the past nine years 2,748 young people – many of whom had spent formative years in the UK, forging friendships and going to school – have been returned to countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria. The figures were finally published by the Home Office minister James Brokenshire this week. Previous Home Office figures significantly understated the scale of the deportations.
The bulk of those deported – some 2,018 – were sent to Afghanistan, but around 60 young people have been deported to Iraq since 2014, the year Isis seized control of swathes of the country. The findings, which were triggered by questions from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Labour MP Louise Haigh, raise serious concerns about what happens to child asylum-seekers when they turn 18, and at a time when Britain is being urged to help thousands of orphaned child refugees from Syria.

Read more: Maeve McClenaghan, Independent, 09/02/2016


Torture Victims Face Two-Year Delays in UK Asylum Claims

Torture victims who claim asylum in Britain are facing delays of more than two years before their cases are resolved, according to a report by the official immigration and borders watchdog. The delays to torture survivors’ applications are caused by Home Office unwillingness to accept evidence supporting their claims from bodies other than Freedom from Torture and the Helen Bamber Foundation, the chief inspector of borders and immigration said. The inspector’s report also disclosed that 85% of 1,400 reports by qualified medical practitioners raising concerns about detention of a possible torture survivor have been rejected by the Home Office. The handling of torture survivor cases are the most serious failings in the chief inspector, David Bolt’s report on asylum casework. The inspection was carried out between March and July 2015 just before a sharp increase in asylum applications amid the migration crisis.
Read more: Alan Travis, Guardian, 04/02/2016


Judicial Review Decision Notice - R (Application of Bhudia) v SSHD

[Headnote:   (i)                  The correct construction of paragraph 284(iv) of the Immigration Rules is that the applicant has a period of 28 days within which to make an extension of stay application, measured from the date immediately following the last day of leave in the United Kingdom.  (ii)                The purported requirement in Form FLR(M) that an application for further leave to remain in the United Kingdom as a spouse be supported by certain correspondence in specified terms is unlawful.  (iii)              The requirement previously enshrined in paragraph 284(ix)(a) of the Immigration Rules that an applicant provide an English Language test certificate in specified terms is satisfied where the applicant has already provided a certificate of this kind to the Secretary of State which has been accepted as valid.  (iv)              The jurisdiction of the Upper Tribunal in judicial review proceedings to determine any of the issues raised is not extinguished by the Secretary of State's withdrawal of the decision under challenge: R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Salem [1999] AC 450 applied. ]

Introduction

 1. This judgment, to which both members of the panel have contributed, determines the Applicant's substantive application for judicial review, permission having been granted by order of His Honour Judge Raynor QC dated 13 February 2015.

 2.  The material facts are uncontentious and we summarise them thus. The Applicant is a national of India, aged 24 years. She and her husband were married in India on 19 October 2011. Her husband is a person present and settled in the United Kingdom. On 05 February 2012, the Applicant was granted entry clearance, valid until 15 May 2014, in her capacity of spouse of such a person. On 30 May 2014 she applied to the Secretary of State for the Home Department (hereinafter " the Respondent") for further leave to remain in the United Kingdom in the same capacity. By the Respondent's decision dated 02 July 2014 this application was refused. This refusal is the subject of the Applicant's judicial review challenge.

Order

   24. The Applicant succeeds and we make an Order quashing the Respondent's decision dated 02 July 2014.
 
25. The effect of this quashing order is that the Respondent will be obliged to undertake a full reconsideration of the Applicant's application, duly guided by this judgment. This exercise will also engage the public law obligation to take into account all material considerations and evidence, which will include anything new or additional that may be provided by the Applicant. We trust that avoidable future litigation will not eventuate.

 Published on Bailii, 08/02/2016


UKHO CIG: Malawi: 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 and / or gender identity.

1.2 Other points to note
1.2.1 This instruction refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons collectively, although the experiences of members of each group may differ.
1.2.2 Decision makers should also refer to the Asylum Instructions on Sexual Identity Issues in the Asylum Claim; Gender Identity Issues in Asylum Claims; and Gender Recognition in Asylum Claims.
1.2.3 Where a claim by a male applicant falls to be refused, it must be considered for certification under section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 as Malawi is listed as a designated state in respect of men only.
Published on Refworld, 08/02/2016


Continuing Conflicts that Create Refugees – January 2016

Deteriorated Situations: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Korean Peninsula, Yemen
January 2016 saw an intensification of Yemen’s war, amid heightened regional rivalries between Saudi Arabia and Iran complicating prospects for peace. Political tensions increased in Haiti, Guinea-Bissau and Moldova, where protests over endemic corruption and a lack of confidence in the government could escalate. In Africa, Boko Haram’s deadly attacks increased in northern Cameroon, and Burkina Faso was hit by an unprecedented terror attack. On the nuclear front, in East Asia, North Korea’s announcement that it had carried out a successful hydrogen bomb test was roundly condemned, while nuclear-related sanctions on Iran were rolled back in accordance with the July 2015 deal.

In Yemen, violence increased as the Saudi-backed coalition intensified its air campaign, mostly targeting the capital city Sanaa, in response to cross-border incursions and rocket attacks by the Huthi/Saleh bloc. The Huthis continued to carry out a devastating siege of the southern city of Taiz, where both sides routinely use heavy weapons in civilian areas. Amid heightened regional tensions following Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on 2 January, UN-sponsored talks scheduled for 14 January were delayed as both sides made new demands for restarting negotiations. Lawlessness and the expansion of jihadist groups continued to plague the south, particularly Aden, where ten people were killed in a car bomb outside the security chief’s home on 17 January and eleven in a suicide bombing outside the presidential palace on 28 January. Crisis Group has called for all sides to prepare for substantive talks that produce agreement on a comprehensive ceasefire, and for free, unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid and commercial goods to war-torn areas.

Elsewhere political tensions heightened. Moldova’s capital Chisinau was rocked by protests over corruption and demands for early elections, highlighting severe discontent which could worsen if protesters’ demands are not met. Haiti’s presidential run-off election, originally planned for 24 January, was postponed for the second time amid growing concern over a series of violent protests by opposition supporters, and disagreement over the validity of last year’s legislative and presidential polls.

In Guinea-Bissau, the struggle within the ruling party (PAIGC) between the dominant faction led by former Prime Minister Pereira and the coalition around President Vaz worsened, almost causing an institutional crisis. Following Prime Minister Correia’s failure in December to win a parliamentary majority for his government’s program, the PAIGC averted a second defeat, which would have led to the dissolution of government, only after replacing fifteen dissident MPs. Parliament adopted the plan on 28 January in a second vote boycotted by the leading opposition Party for Social Renewal (PRS).

Elsewhere in West Africa, deadly Boko Haram attacks intensified in northern Cameroon, with 25 separate attacks, which left at least 88 killed and some 100 injured. In Burkina Faso, 30 civilians, most of them foreigners, were killed in an unprecedented terrorist attack on 15 January claimed jointly by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al-Mourabitoun, an AQIM splinter group. In the north, jihadi groups are also suspected to have attacked gendarmes near the border with Mali and kidnapped an Australian couple.

Tensions rose in East Asia following North Korea’s claim that it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb at the country’s underground testing facility on 6 January – although many governments, while condemning the move, expressed scepticism over the claim. On a positive note, the UN, U.S. and EU lifted nuclear-related sanctions on Iran after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed on 16 January that the country had honoured its commitments under the July 2015 nuclear deal.
Deteriorated Situations: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Korean Peninsula, Yemen

Improved Situations: Iran

February 2016 Watchlist

Conflict Risk Alert: Moldova

Conflict Resolution Opportunity: None

Source Crisis Watch Issue 150, Published 03/02/2016



Asylum Research Consultancy (ARC) COI Update Volume 118

 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 26 January and 8 February 2016. Download Volume 118


Criminals with UK Children Cannot be Automatically Deported

The EU’s top court has told the home secretary, Theresa May, she cannot deport a Moroccan mother with a British-born son simply because she has a criminal record. The advocate general of the European court of justice has told May that it will be contrary to EU law if she automatically expels or refuses a residence permit to a non-EU national with a criminal record who is a parent of a child who is an EU citizen. The preliminary opinion of the court’s advocate general, Maciej Szpunar, however, adds that while, in principle, deportation in such cases was contrary to EU law, he agreed with UK representations that there should be exceptional circumstances when a convicted criminal could still be deported depending on the seriousness of the offences involved. The intervention by the EU’s most senior court is likely to be taken by Eurosceptic campaigners as evidence of unwarranted interference by Europe in the powers of the British home secretary to deport convicted foreign criminals even if it does allow her to press ahead with the Moroccan woman’s deportation.

Read more: Alan Travis, Guardian, 04/02/2016


UKHO CIG: Ghana: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
 
1. Introduction
1.1 Basis of Claim
1.1.1 Fear of persecution by the authorities and/or non-state actors because of the person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

1.2 Other points to note
1.2.1 This instruction refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons collectively, although the experiences of members of each group may differ.
1.2.2 Decision makers should also refer to the Asylum Instructions on Sexual Identity Issues in  the Asylum Claim; Gender Identity Issues in Asylum Claims; and Gender Recognition in Asylum Claims.
1.2.3 Where a claim by a male applicant falls to be refused, it must be considered for certification under section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 as Ghana is listed as a designated state in respect of men only.

Published on Refworld, 05/02/2016
http://www.refworld.org/docid/56b44c2e4.html


SM (Lone Women – Ostracism) Pakistan v. SSHD

 [Headnote:  (1) Save as herein set out, the existing country guidance in SN and HM (Divorced women – risk on return) Pakistan CG [2004] UKIAT 00283 and in KA and Others (domestic violence – risk on return) Pakistan CG [2010] UKUT 216 (IAC) remains valid.

(2) Where a risk of persecution or serious harm exists in her home area for a single woman or a female head of household, there may be an internal relocation option to one of Pakistan’s larger cities, depending on the family, social and educational situation of the woman in question.
(3) It will not be normally be unduly harsh to expect a single woman or female head of household to relocate internally within Pakistan if she can access support from family members or a male guardian in the place of relocation.
(4) It will not normally be unduly harsh for educated, better off, or older women to seek internal relocation to a city. It helps if a woman has qualifications enabling her to get well-paid employment and pay for accommodation and childcare if required.
(5) Where a single woman, with or without children, is ostracised by family members and other sources of possible social support because she is in an irregular situation, internal relocation will be more difficult and whether it is unduly harsh will be a question of fact in each case.
(6) A single woman or female head of household who has no male protector or social network may be able to use the state domestic violence shelters for a short time, but the focus of such shelters is on reconciling people with their family networks, and places are in short supply and time limited. Privately run shelters may be more flexible, providing longer term support while the woman regularises her social situation, but again, places are limited.
(7) Domestic violence shelters are available for women at risk but where they are used by women with children, such shelters do not always allow older children to enter and stay with their mothers. The risk of temporary separation, and the proportionality of such separation, is likely to differ depending on the age and sex of a woman’s children: male children may be removed from their mothers at the age of 5 and placed in an orphanage or a madrasa until the family situation has been regularised (see KA and Others (domestic violence risk on return) Pakistan CG [2010] UKUT 216 (IAC)). Such temporary separation will not always be disproportionate or unduly harsh: that is a question of fact in each case.
(8) Women in Pakistan are legally permitted to divorce their husbands and may institute divorce proceedings from the country of refuge, via a third party and with the help of lawyers in Pakistan, reducing the risk of family reprisals. A woman who does so and returns with a new partner or husband will have access to male protection and is unlikely, outside her home area, to be at risk of ostracism, still less of persecution or serious harm.]

Published on Refworld: 04/02/2016


AR and NH (Lesbians) India v. SSHD

 [Headnote: (1) The guidance in MD (same-sex oriented males) India CG [2014] UKUT 65 (IAC) stands. The guidance at (a) – (f) in MD (India) applies equally to lesbians. 
(2) A risk of persecution or serious harm for a lesbian woman in India, where it exists, arises from her family members, and the extent of such risk, and whether it extends beyond the home area, is a question of fact in each case.
 (3) The risk of persecution or serious harm is higher for uneducated lower class lesbian women in rural areas, who remain under the control of their family members and may not be permitted to leave the home to continue meeting their lesbian partners.
(4) Where family members are hostile to a lesbian woman’s sexuality, they may reject her completely and sometimes formally renounce her as a member of that family. In such a case, whether relocation to a city is unduly harsh will be a question of fact, depending on the ability of such a lesbian woman to survive economically away from her family and social networks.
 (5) If a lesbian woman’s family wishes to pursue and harm her in the place of internal relocation, their ability to do so will depend on the reach of the family network, how persistent they are, and how influential. The evidence indicates that there is normally sufficient state protection for women whose families seek to harm them in their place of internal relocation.
 (6) In general, where there is a risk of persecution or serious harm in a lesbian woman’s home area, for educated, and therefore ‘middle class’ women, an internal relocation option is available. They are likely to be able to relocate to one of the major cities in India and are likely to be able to find employment and support themselves, albeit with difficulty, and to live together openly, should they choose to do so. In general, such relocation will not be unduly harsh.]
Published on Refworld, 04/02/2016


Last updated 10 February, 2016