6 June 2014: I am writing to you today because I wanted to ask you to give us some extra support to spread the word about why the UK government should not lock up women who seek asylum.
In London next week William Hague, the foreign secretary, and Angelina Jolie will be hosting a huge summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. This is such an important initiative and I really welcome it.
But it’s vital that when governments talk about protecting women who experience sexual violence in conflict, they don’t forget women who have to cross borders and seek asylum.
Most of the women who come to the UK seeking asylum who are locked up in Yarl’s Wood detention centre have experienced rape in their home countries. I think they should be treated with dignity and given a fair hearing, rather than being imprisoned. Continue reading “Why the UK government should not lock up women who seek asylum – petition”
Surround Harmondsworth on 7th June 2014 @ 1pm.
Calling on friends, family and supporters of individuals being held unjustly in one of the many detention centres around the UK. Protest to occur at Harmondsworth detention centre near Heathrow Airport in Solidarity with mass hunger strikes that occurred a few weeks ago. This action was calling for a review of the detainee fast-track system which asylum seekers’ cases are pushed through when their are detained. Other issues included lack of access to legal representation and severely inadequate health care facilities.
Speakers at the event will include ex-detainees and John McDonnell MP. Protest organised by Movement For Justice by any Means Necessary.
On 1 April 2013, new legal aid changes were introduced through the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). The act has significantly reduced the scope of legal aid available in civil cases.
Legal aid in immigration and asylum cases was reduced to a few specific areas of immigration law namely:
1) Asylum applications and appeals;
2) Certain asylum support issues;
3) Advice and representation for challenges to immigration detention (e.g. bail applications);
4) Advice and representation in certain domestic violence related cases where the immigration status of a migrant victim of domestic violence is dependent on his or her partner, and that partner is either a British citizen, settled person (i.e. has indefinite leave) or has terminated their partnership with from someone exercising European free movement rights;.
5) Judicial review applications;
6) Advice and representation for proceedings before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission which deals with deportation, exclusion and deprivation of citizenship cases where information is to be kept confidential for reasons of national security;
7) Advice and representation if you are an identified victim of trafficking.
British Quakers formally declared their opposition to unfair Government cuts in 2011 because of their impact on the poorest in society, especially those unable to work. The impact of cuts to legal aid has hit many such people, particularly migrants on low incomes or unable to work who can no longer pay for representation to help with the most important issues in their lives, like fighting their removal from the UK, or being united with their family members overseas. Continue reading “New legal aid cuts hit migrants – and what you can do to help”
Here is a minute from Central England Asylum Group meeting 29.5.2014:
14/22 Follow-up to the European elections
We are concerned that the rise of xenophobic political parties might eventually have a serious effect on the asylum and immigration policies in the UK. This concern reflects the wider picture across Europe following the recent elections. We urgently need Quakers to join forces with other churches and faith groups to present a positive vision of how all individuals and communities can participate fully in society. As well as making strong public statements, we need to go beyond this and engage members of the public in a positive discourse about inclusion and diversity. We need to step outside our “comfort zone” and engage with people who may not agree with us. We feel that this is urgent because of the imminent risk to our culture of tolerance and support for human rights.
We hope that Friends will take every opportunity to raise this concern in their local Councils of Churches and inter-faith groups.
We will send this minute to the AM clerk, with copies to all local meetings within Central England, to QARN, and to Jessica Metheringham.