Health regulations – and – Change to Azure card

Still human still hereThe new health regulations have now been now been published (see last update for a summary).  The full details can be accessed at: 
The Home Office has announced that the £5 carryover limit for users of the Azure card will be removed from Monday 23 February 2015. This is a welcome change that we have been pressing for some time and will allow asylum seekers to carry over unspent money from one week to the next if they become ill or if they are trying to save for particular items. Azure Card users should receive a mail-shot to inform them of the change shortly

JCHR report on violence against women and girls

JCHRThe Joint Committee on Human Rights report on violence against women and girls has been published. The key findings on immigration and asylum are from page 53. Some significant findings include the following (with thanks to Laura):

– women at risk of domestic violence unable to regularise their immigration status are left with the choice of remaining in a violent relationship or being left in destitution;
– screening processes for gender-based asylum claims are inadequate
– the detained fast track has a traumatising effect on asylum seekers who may already be experiencing mental health issues and limits their ability to give a cogent account of their claim;
– there is a ‘culture of disbelief’ which leads to women being less likely than men to receive a correct decision on their asylum claim, although this point is not accepted by the Minister;
– the UK does not have a gender-sensitive interpretation or gender-sensitive reception procedures, e.g. women can be given male interpreters in front of whom they find it difficult to disclose testimonies of sexual violence, and can be housed in mixed accommodation. Continue reading “JCHR report on violence against women and girls”

The State of Detention

DF State of DetentionDetention can be seen in many ways: through official statistics, legal judgments, monitoring reports, visits to detention centres, or through being detained yourself. This report brings together and reflects on many of these partial perspectives on detention, in order to understand the key problems of the detention system.

We believe that a picture emerges of the state of detention today. It is a picture of a system in crisis. This is a crisis of over-extension.

Detention has expanded too fast, with insufficient checks and scrutiny. Political priorities to detain and deport have overridden practical considerations of effectiveness, as well as basic concern for the people detained. In the words of the Chief Inspector of Prisons, following the death in handcuffs of an elderly man with dementia, “a sense of humanity has been lost.” Continue reading “The State of Detention”