Channel Crossings

That which is morally wrong cannot be politically right

In October 2014: In the House of Lords: Lord Hylton asked what naval or air-sea rescue contribution they will make to prevent refugees and migrants drowning in the Mediterranean. [HL1977]. The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con) responded: 

We do not support planned search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. We believe that they create an unintended “pull factor”, encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing and thereby leading to more tragic and unnecessary deaths. The Government believes the most effective way to prevent refugees and migrants attempting this dangerous crossing is to focus our attention on countries of origin and transit, as well as taking steps to fight the people smugglers who wilfully put lives at risk by packing migrants into unseaworthy boats. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201415/ldhansrd/text/141015w0001.htm

In 2015: Speaking during a visit to Vietnam, David Cameron said that attempts to enter the UK had increased because

“you have got a swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean, seeking a better life, wanting to come to Britain because Britain has got jobs, it’s got a growing economy, it’s an incredible place to live”.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jul/30/david-cameron-migrant-swarm-language-condemned

In 2021: this lack of humanity, the ‘othering’ of people seeking a safe place to live continues


Updated 2 December 2021: BBC: Channel migrants: Pushing back boats will increase danger, MPs warn

UK plans to turn back people attempting to cross the Channel are dangerous and probably unlawful, MPs have warned.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said last week the tactic would help deter smuggling gangs, following the deaths of 27 people in a small boat.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights is urging Ms Patel to scrap the policy. [see below]

Continue reading “Channel Crossings”

New Plan for Immigration

We will collate reports of the Nationality & Borders Bill which has come out of the recent ‘New Plan for Immigration’.


2 December 2021: Immigration Advisory Service briefing : Committee’s report finds Patel’s immigration plan to be illegal:
A report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights has found that Priti Patel’s new
immigration plans contained in the Nationality and Borders Bill could be illegal.

The report comes as part of the committees ongoing legislative scrutiny of the Nationality and Borders Bill and is focused on part 3 of the bill which sets out changes to immigration law and new powers for enforcement.

The home secretary has claimed that the Nationality and Borders bill will fix the “fundamentally broken asylum system”. One of the tactics that the Home Office has suggested includes pushback methods that would see small boats turned back towards France. In their report, the committee said that this is “likely to see the UK act in contravention of its international obligations.”

Continue reading “New Plan for Immigration”

Together with Refugees – show your support

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QARN is a signatory to Together With Refugees: please get involved in the Orange Hearts campaign at their your local level.

We would be very happy to display your Quaker hearts on our website – please send them by email to info@qarn.org.uk and include a line which could be included, about which Quaker Meeting they are from.

The Nationality and Immigration Bill (Anti-Refugee Bill) went to committee stage in the week beginning 18th October and Together With Refugees and City of Sanctuary are launching a campaign whereby all over the country people will join in the Show Your Heart activities, showing their support for refugees by displaying orange hearts in public places. The orange heart represents compassion for people fleeing war and persecution. Inspired by the refugee nation flag, and the colours of a lifebelt, the heart symbolises hope and kindness. By recreating and sharing the heart on your social media channels you can show your support for refugees. 

On 6 December 2021, there will be a big reveal of orange hearts at landmarks around the UK. You can coordinate your efforts around these dates and share your pictures on social media using the #TogetherWithRefugees and #WhoWeAre hashtags. You will also soon be able to submit them to an online exhibition on the Together with Refugees website.

Continue reading “Together with Refugees – show your support”

QARN next meetings

Next QARN meeting: 22 January 2022

QARN’s quarterly meetings usually run from 11am – 4pm but while we are on Zoom we keep them shorter.

Plans for where and how we hold our Meetings depend on the progress of measures being put in place in relation to Coronavirus. We currently meet using Zoom https://zoom.us/ and Quakers are welcome. We plan to start at 10.30am to manage the technical aspects of a Zoom meeting, falling quiet at around 10.45am, and beginning business at 11am; and we aim to end around 12.30pm. The meeting link will  be available to those who receive our emails, but for other people, please contact us via info@qarn.org.uk giving your name, and the Quaker Meeting to which you are attached. Thank you.

Our next planned meeting dates: Saturdays: 22 January 2022 – on Zoom while the pandemic roams. All those interested who are attached to Quaker meetings are welcome – if you are not on our mailing list please email:  info:qarn.org.uk for the Zoom link

If you are not already receiving our emails on the QARN network and want to join the network, or just this Meeting, please email info@qarn.org.uk  including your name and the Quaker Meeting you are attached to. There is no cost involved.

Epistle from ‘Envisioning a world that is open to all: let us see what love can do’ Conference at Woodbrooke, Birmingham, UK   27-29 September 2019

Ffriends,

From a gathering of 60+ people[i], including Quakers and non-Quakers, people who have experienced the weight of the immigration system, artists, poets, musicians and singers. Continue reading “Epistle from ‘Envisioning a world that is open to all: let us see what love can do’ Conference at Woodbrooke, Birmingham, UK   27-29 September 2019”

QARN Leaflets: Download them here, including ‘Excessive Fees’

We have the following leaflets here: About QARN_Detention_Language_Hostile environment_Removals Deportations_Excessive fees

QARN has put together leaflets that you can download from this page by clicking on the links below. Please feel free to download and print off your own copies. There is also a form below, for ordering printed copies of our leaflets – which are free:

12 April 2020:  The newest leaflet from the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network (QARN) supports our campaign about the recent increases to the fees for those seeking refuge in this country.   Along with other groups and faith bodies QARN seeks to inspire others to express outrage at this injustice.

Continue reading “QARN Leaflets: Download them here, including ‘Excessive Fees’”

APPG Inquiry: quasi detention in camps_deadline 25 June 2021

Updated November 2021: QARN made a submission to this inquiry which you will find here: https://appgdetention.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/QARN-APPG-quasi-detention-inquiry-submission-25-June-2021.pdf?x39181

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Immigration Detention Inquiry into quasi-detention: https://appgdetention.org.uk/inquiry-into-quasi-detention/

Interim report – summary of oral evidence sessions is here: https://appgdetention.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/210907-APPG-Inquiry-Interim-report-Summary-of-oral-evidence-sessions.pdf?x87756

Information about the oral submissions is here: https://appgdetention.org.uk/inquiry-into-quasi-detention-oral-evidence-sessions/

and written submissions can be accessed here: https://appgdetention.org.uk/inquiry-into-quasi-detention-written-evidence/

In early September 2021, the APPG submitted a series of questions to Clearsprings Ready Homes and Migrant Help (contracted by the Home Office to provide services at Napier Barracks and Penally Camp). The group received the following information from them in late September 2021: Read more here: https://appgdetention.org.uk/inquiry-into-quasi-detention-written-evidence/

Continue reading “APPG Inquiry: quasi detention in camps_deadline 25 June 2021”

Concerns about the use of army barracks etc.

This post is being updated with reports of atrocities around the army camp accommodation, and other Home Office plans to accommodate people in new sites:

You can write to your MP in support of the #CloseTheBarracks campaign.

This post is being updated with reports of atrocities around the army camp accommodation, and other Home Office plans to accommodate people in new sites:


Updated 28 November 2021: Guardian: ‘Shocking’ that UK is moving child refugees into hotels

Children’s Society criticises practice of placing unaccompanied minors in hotels with limited care

Record numbers of unaccompanied child asylum seekers who arrived in the UK on small boats are being accommodated in four hotels along England’s south coast, a situation that the Children’s Society has described as “shocking”.

About 250 unaccompanied children who arrived in small boats are thought to be accommodated in hotels, which Ofsted said was an unacceptable practice.

Continue reading “Concerns about the use of army barracks etc.”

On EU Borders

See also: https://qarn.org.uk/channel-crossings/


Update 17 November 2021: In short, The refugees were divided into three parts Some of them remained on the Poland border Another part of them are the place of Belarusian soldiers to another place The third part has returned to Belarus and the government has provided them with a temporary place

from Lagkadikia Camqu Hama: 15 November 2021: Tonight this butterfly named Kardin Adnan, a Kurdish refugee, died in front of the European border of humanity, in front of the world because of the dark cold weather ….Yes, Kardin died in front of the Polish gate when the whole world sees Europe of human rights and humanity!?!?!


Human Rights Watch: Stuck in Limbo Between Poland and Belarus

“Die here or go to Poland.” This was the “choice” that a Kurdish man from Syria told me a Belarusian border guard had given him, as he described his horrific experiences on the Poland-Belarus border, pleading with the guard to be allowed go back to the capital, Minsk. He told me he had been pushed back from the Polish side of the border several times, sometimes violently and that his pleas for asylum were ignored by Polish border guards. He ended up, as many have, back on the Belarus side, a place many migrants described as pure hell.

Migrants described the Belarussian border as a place of brute violence, where they were forcibly kept in open spaces without shelter, food, or water for days to weeks, vulnerable to theft and other abuse, and blocked from returning to Minsk or their home countries. They told me how Belarusian border guards pushed them – exhausted and abused – to try again to enter Poland, in most cases unsuccessfully, resulting only in their forced return to Belarus and further abuse.

Read more: Lydia Gall, Human Rights Watch, https://rb.gy/r47khe


9 November 2021: Guardian: Germany urges unity as crisis worsens for migrants at Poland-Belarus border

German interior minister says Poland needs support to deal with ‘hybrid threat’ of politically organised migration

What is happening at the Polish border and who is to blame?

Germany needs to get the “whole of the democratic world” onboard to support orderly immigration to Europe, its interior minister has said, amid a worsening crisis at the Poland-Belarus border.

Horst Seehofer accused Belarus and Russia of exploiting refugees and migrants in an attempt to destabilise the west, and said EU countries must stand together in the face of a “hybrid threat” posed by “politically organised migration”.

Polish police blocked hundreds of people from entering the country on Monday after Belarusian authorities had escorted them to the border.

Poland and other EU countries have accused Belarus of trying to provoke a new refugee crisis in Europe in revenge for their criticism of Alexander Lukashenko’s brutal crackdown on domestic opposition. Minsk has reportedly issued special visas allowing migrants to fly into Belarus from Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries.

Read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/09/poland-warns-of-armed-attempts-on-its-border-as-germany-urges-eu-to-act

ICIBI: Second annual inspection of ‘Adults at risk in immigration detention’

This report from ICIBI links well to the report of 24 November 2021: BBC – Brook House detention centre whistleblower ‘abuse’ inquiry begins – see that and other information about the Brook House Inquiry below

21 October 2021: Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration – ICIBI Report Published: Second Annual Inspection of ‘Adults at risk in immigration detention’ July 2020 to March 2021

This inspection found that work to address shortcomings in the Home Office’s policy and procedures for identifying and safeguarding vulnerable detainees was moving at an unacceptably slow pace. Though seven of the eight recommendations made in ICIBI’s first annual inspection were accepted in full or in part, none of these had been closed by January 2021.

Continue reading “ICIBI: Second annual inspection of ‘Adults at risk in immigration detention’”

Young People

23 November 2021: Guardian: Performative cruelty’: UK treatment of refugees worst ever, says charity

Kent Refugee Action Network says young people arriving on south coast are a benefit, not a problem

On a windswept, bitingly cold day in Folkestone a discreet green portable building is a beacon of welcome on a stretch of the south coast patrolled by Border Force boats and self-proclaimed migrant hunters on the far right.

Inside its cheerfully decorated walls are workers from Kent Refugee Action Network. The organisation has supported young asylum seekers who arrive on the south coast for more than two decades.

Despite the plummeting temperatures and supposedly enhanced border patrols along the French coast, people continue to head for Kent’s shores in unseaworthy small boats.

Continue reading “Young People”

Plans to open ‘prison-style’ immigration camp on site of former Medomsley Detention Centre

Updated 23 November 2021: Re: Hassockfield/Consett/Derwentside immigration detention centre to house women will open by the end of 2021!

iNews: As migrant channel crossings hit a new record, insiders says centres like Yarl’s Wood can never be humane

For 20 years, Yarl’s Wood has been holding asylum seekers without time limits. Now a controversial new centre is replacing it to hold women. Is it time to call an end to detention?

Agnes Tanoh still remembers the fear of being taken into Yarl’s Wood, nearly a decade on. “You walk through the gates,” says the 65-year-old Ivorian refugee, “and the tunnel you take to reach the first office destroys your mind. I thought, ‘I am going somewhere I may never leave.’”

It was March 2012 when Tanoh was arrested and taken to the notorious immigration detention centre in Bedfordshire. After the disturbing ordeal of fleeing her home country the previous year, with her life at risk, she was incarcerated indefinitely as she awaited news of her fate.

“You haven’t defended yourself at trial,” she explains. “Being taken to a detention centre is being given a sentence without a time limit. It can be one week, three months, one year – you don’t know. Detention breaks families and causes distress and trauma.”

Continue reading “Plans to open ‘prison-style’ immigration camp on site of former Medomsley Detention Centre”

The Observer view on Priti Patel’s fake migrant crisis

21 November 2021: Observer editorial: The home secretary fans rhetorical flames on asylum seekers and refugees, but the numbers disagree

[…] Patel gives the impression that there is an escalating crisis in terms of the numbers of people arriving in the UK and trying to illegitimately claim refuge. This is not true. There is absolutely a crisis for asylum seekers trying to reach British shores by making the treacherous Channel crossing in small boats and dinghies. The British government should be doing all it can to clamp down on the people traffickers making a fortune by charging desperate people to attempt the crossing. But the number of people coming to the UK to claim asylum fell by 4% last year and stands at less than half what it was in the early 2000s. Britain receives a fraction of the asylum applications of Germany and France and fewer per resident than the EU average. Low-income countries host nine out of 10 displaced people worldwide.

Continue reading “The Observer view on Priti Patel’s fake migrant crisis”

ICIBI -an inspection of asylum casework (August 2020 – May 2021)

ICIBI – Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration: An inspection of asylum casework (August 2020 – May 2021) This report will have been with the Home Office for some time before its release. This report was sent to the Home Secretary on 23 July 2021.

18 November 2021: Publishing the report, David Neal said:

I welcome the publication of this report, which explored the efficacy of the Home Office’s ability to make timely and good quality asylum decisions. It examined resourcing, training, workflow, case progression and the prioritisation of cases, as well as the quality of interviews, decisions and quality assurance mechanisms.

The inspection began at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. While the pandemic had impacted asylum operations, most, if not all, of the issues identified by this inspection predate it. Primarily, the Home Office is still failing to keep on top of the number of asylum decisions it is required to make. The inspection found that the length of time asylum claimants had waited for a decision increased annually since 2011. In 2020, adult asylum claimants were waiting an average of 449 days. This increased to 550 days for unaccompanied asylum seeking children.

Continue reading “ICIBI -an inspection of asylum casework (August 2020 – May 2021)”