“Beyond Belief” – Home Office Asylum Interviews Reveal a Culture Tainted by Prejudgement

“Beyond Belief” – Home Office Asylum Interviews Reveal a  Culture Tainted by Prejudgement Freedom from Torture today publishes a new report on the experience of the asylum interview for torture survivors seeking asylum in the UK. The report argues that the Home Office repeatedly breaches its own guidelines, and calls for a fundamental culture change.

Key findings: – Arriving in Britain, traumatised from torture and sexual violence, as well as a harrowing journey, survivors are often prevented from giving a full account of their experiences or are denied the opportunity to explain the relevance of their evidence. The Home Office fails to follow its own guidance and aspiration to create a ‘positive and secure environment’ for the survivor.

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Refugee Week – powerful Stay Home for Labour online event

Refugee Week Facebook event – it took place on Wednesday 17.6.2020, but is available for viewing. You may find it interesting to hear the stories of people with lived experience, and hear from Shami Chakrabarti, Alf Dubs and Jeremy Corbyn: 

Shaista spoke about Status Now at 1hr 17 mins on this Zoom event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGGeBUdY-ps

This is a powerful discussion, giving a voice to people with lived experience, also featuring Shami Chakrabarti, Alf Dubs and Jeremy Corbyn.

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I oppose inhumane immigration detention

Detention Action: Sign the petition: In the wake of the killing of George Floyd by US police, the UK must act on its own record of systemic racism.

We are raising our voices to oppose the Government’s inhumane practice of indefinite immigration detention.  

Immigration detention began in the UK as a way to imprison and deport black and brown people who came from Commonwealth countries.

Today, thousands are locked up every year. The majority of people we see in detention centres are black and brown people. Many are those who consider the UK their home, torture and trafficking survivors, and those fleeing persecution.

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Safe Passage for children:

Safe Passage

11.6.2020: Safe Passage writes: we would be so grateful if you would consider adding your name to the letter, helping us show the PM the strength of interfaith support for welcoming more refugees. It is pasted below

If, after reading the open letter you/ any others would like to add your names, please do reply to Safe Passage by email info@safepassage.org.uk, including the full title by which you would like to be referred to in the list of signatories

 In addition, please do not hesitate to forward this on to any other contacts you may have that might be interested in signing.

With Refugee Week starting on 15th June, we are setting an initial deadline for signatures of the 11thJune.The exact date for publication of the letter is yet to be decided and will depend on when we are most likely to generate public and press interest, but we will of course keep you updated as things progress.

[QARN has agreed to sign this letter]

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Status Now update

5 June 2020: Status Now stands in Solidarity with #blacklivesmatter for #healthandsafetyforall

5 JUN 2020 – Status Now Network’s Reference Group is up and running, meeting on a fortnightly basis and taking action in between to develop the following:

Parliamentary and political engagement

  • British MP’s, via constituents and Trades Union representatives in UK Parliament.  BFAWU was a founding signatory and, following the death of  member Belly Mujinga,  TSSA have joined us, as has the Trade Union Coordinating Group https://www.tucg.org.uk[https://www.tucg.org.uk/
  • Template letter based on the content of our Open Letter to UK Prime Minister and Irish Taioseach will be coming to you to use when contacting relevant UK MP’s in your networks. 
  • Letter will ask them to support a forthcoming Early Day Motion. If you have an MP that you want to ensure is connected up to this part of our work please email  statusnowforhealthandsafety@gmail.com with your details and ideas. 
  • Historic Irish Dáil Éireann debates to end Direct Provision via our Irish lead http://www.masi.ie/

See  more detail about these aspects of campaign development at http://www.rapar.co.uk/news/there-is-no-gene-for-being-an-ethnic-minority

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Status For All – Status Now

The Jesuit Refugee Service put out a call on 7 May 2020: #StatusForAll:

Status for All

We have written to the Prime Minister asking that the government grant a period of “Leave to Remain” to everyone with insecure immigration status. We are joined by over 30 front-line facing organisations working with asylum seekers, refugees, and those with irregular immigration status.

A period of ‘leave to remain’ is the most effective way of ensuring people can access support they need during this crisis, such as accommodation and healthcare, and thereby protecting society as a whole.

Click to read the letter in-full below.

….

This is similar to the the Status Now call of 28 March 2020:

Dear Sirs
RE: ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE, HOUSING AND FOOD FOR ALL We call upon the British and Irish States to act immediately so that all undocumented, destitute and migrant people in the legal process in both the UK and Ireland are granted Status Now, as in Leave to Remain.  In this way every human, irrespective of their nationality or citizenship can access healthcare, housing, food and the same sources of income from the State as everyone else.    Everyone has the right to be in an environment where they can follow the Public Health directives necessary to limit COVID19 viral transmission to the absolute minimum and to care for themselves, their loved ones and their living and working communities.It is imperative – being in everyone’s best interests – that the basic needs of all are met.   People living in extreme poverty and/or destitution and/or without immigration status in the UK or Ireland and/or without access to the NHS or the Irish Health System:   •            Are unable to socially isolate as needed
•            Cannot access health care, and income and other social support
•            Cannot contribute openly and without fear, to making the population as safe as possible, alongside everyone else.

Call for 28 time limit on immigration detention


4 June 2020: [update 20.6.2020 This call has been shelved for now due to the nature of the current Immigration Bill, but the issue has not gone away]

Urgent, please contact your MP regarding this call from Detention Action

David Davis MP (Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden) has tabled amendments to the Immigration Bill to introduce a time limit for immigration detention. These are the amendments, which came so close to succeeding in the last Parliament. His amendments are receiving strong cross party support across the House of Commons.

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A Short History of Resistance to Immigration Detention and Deportations in the United Kingdom

April 2020: Bill MacKeith, published by Oxford Against Immigration Detention http://oaid.org.uk

In 2019, ‘enforced returns’ from the UK fell to 7,361, 22% lower than the previous year and the lowest number since records began in 2004. Over the same period, there were 11,421 ‘voluntary’ departures. 

On 31 December 2019, there were 1,637 people in immigration detention, 8% fewer than on 31 December 2018, and fewer than half the number on 30 September 2017. The number of people entering detention in 2019 was similar to the previous year at 24,443. Prior to this, there has been a downward trend since 2015. (Immigration Statistics, Year Ending December 2019)

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Court: bar set too high for NHS surcharge and visa fee waivers

Guardian: 21 May 2020 Tribunal says if migrants can prove they cannot pay fees then they should not have to do so

The Home Office asked the family to pay £7,665 in visa fees and the health surcharge, even though the family produced evidence to the court of having just one penny in their savings account. The Home Office said they did not meet the destitution test because a friend was giving them accommodation and they were getting basic support to survive from their church and a food bank. …
[…] The court ruled that the Home Office was applying the wrong test for whether or not people should have to pay thousands of pounds for their visas and NHS surcharge… Read more

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Immigration Bill – the issues

Update: this Bill was passed at the 2nd Reading  Download this briefing

The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill will end the EU’s rules on free movement of persons into the UK, bringing EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members under UK immigration control. This means they will require permission to enter and remain in the UK. Continue reading “Immigration Bill – the issues”