Ending Immigration Detention

Updated 24 June 2022: This system is so cruel, playing with people’s lives :

BBC: Asylum seeker and pandemic volunteer released by Home Office

An asylum seeker who helped the vulnerable during the pandemic has been released from an immigration centre.

Richard Nomba, who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo, was taken from his Swansea home and detained at Brook House at Gatwick Airport on Tuesday.

Mr Nomba, who arrived in Swansea in 2018, said he was released on Friday evening to continue his appeal.

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Further Housing issues

22 June 2022: New co-research by Solidarities into asylum housing and dispersal policy: Asylum Housing in Yorkshire: A case study of two dispersal areas

The Migrants and Solidarities research project, a cross-European partnership, carried out co-research into asylum dispersal housing in Yorkshire alongside researchers with lived experience from two of our partner organisations, Doncaster Conversation Club and St Augustine’s Centre Halifax.

The co-researchers reported on the impacts of poor quality housing, inability to resolve issues and the challenges of accessing support and services for those dispersed to small, isolated villages, making important recommendations on how the asylum housing dispersal system could be improved.

You can read the full report, ‘Asylum Housing in Yorkshire: A case study of two dispersal areas’ here https://solidarities.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Report_Online-1.pdf, a summary by researcher Mette Berg here https://solidarities.net/asylum-in-difficult-times/, and share on social media here https://twitter.com/Solidarities_/status/1539178741531803649.

Understanding the roots of the UK’s immigration system

This post also includes examples of racism that are underpinned by the ongoing hostile environment

Updated 22 June 2022: Independent: Grenfell and Rwanda have something terrible in common – they highlight how we treat refugees in Britain

Our treatment of people fleeing war and persecution is what colonialism and systemic racism look like in real time

[…] The echoes of history should send a shiver down our spines. There must be change. A refugee protection system should be based on justice and compassion. To get there, the structural racism that underpins the current regime must be called out and torn down.

Tim Naor Hilton is the CEO of Refugee Action

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Opening Hearts through Arts

Updated 22 June 2022: Trying to heal in the midst of chaos

The retraumatisation of the hostile environment

shado and Counterpoints Arts have collaborated on a series of articles in celebration of Refugee Week 2022. They are written by artists, activists and journalists who are creating change in their communities and exposing first-hand the hostility of the UK’s asylum system. This piece is written by Loraine Mponela, a mother, writer, community organiser and migrants’ rights campaigner. She is originally from Malawi and moved to the UK in 2008 where she now lives in Coventry. Loraine is the ex-chair (2018-2022) for Coventry Asylum and Refugee Action Group (CARAG) and is the co-chair for the Status Now 4 All Campaign which is calling for Indefinite Leave to Remain for all that need it in the UK and Ireland. Loraine also sits on the advisory group of Refugee Week UK.

This year’s Refugee Week theme of ‘Healing’ has brought up a lot of questions for me around the healing that needs to take place for refugees trying to settle here in the UK. The immigration system is constantly stabbing and prodding at us. How can a wound heal if it keeps on being opened?

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Concerns about the use of army barracks, hotels, offshoring etc etc.

This post is being updated with reports of atrocities around the army camp accommodation and hotels, and other Home Office plans to accommodate people in new sites such as Haasockfield/Derwent, and Rwanda:

Care4Calais: #StopRwanda https://care4calais.org/stop-rwanda/

Updated 22 June 2022: BBC: Plan to reverse European Court Rwanda rulings

The European Court of Human Rights block on sending asylum seekers to Rwanda could be overturned by ministers under new proposals.

The plan, being introduced to Parliament, would allow ministers to ignore the court’s injunctions.

It is an addition to planned changes to the Human Rights Act, and could also affect future cases involving migrants.

Critics say the proposals are confusing and would create two tiers of rights that hand more power to ministers.

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Events in May and June 2022

Events are coming up for Refugee Week, including an online QARN-Woodbrooke meeting on 16 June 2022 – details below

Refugee Week: https://refugeeweek.org.uk/

20 June 2022: 5pm London and Zoom: Status Now: How do we campaign against the hostile environment?

Monday 20 June 2022 at 5pm online and in person (London): More details on how to register and attend at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-hostile-environment-how-do-we-hold-to-the-government-to-account-tickets-359280195737

There is a leaflet for this event here:

16 June to 1 July, Carrs Lane Church Birmingham:

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Changing the Conversation on Asylum in the UK

Woodbrooke/QARN event: ‘Changing the Conversation on Asylum in the UK’ held by zoom on 16 June 2022

Below you will find a video of presentations: the speakers agreed to be recorded and you can see the video of presentations by Mariam Yusuf, Rogelio Braga, and Moses Mbano

Loraine Masiya Mponela’s poem and the transcript, which was written for this event.

and a toolkit which can be downloaded

Changing the Conversation on Asylum

This evening event, coming just before Refugee Week, offers a chance to hear from those in the asylum system working to change the conversation on asylum through art, poetry and activism.

Loraine Masiya Mponela pre-recorded her poemThere is plenty room for those wanting to do the right thing’ for this event, because she was speaking elsewhere.

You can watch her recording here

There is plenty room for those wanting to do the right thing

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Would Little Amal go to Rwanda this year?

Quakers in Britain: Fred Ashmore discusses the harshening hostile environment for refugees and asylum seekers and shares what a response rooted in love and justice could look like.

Last year, many British Quakers took part in or witnessed a series of events throughout Britain in which a 3m tall puppet, Little Amal, journeyed from the Syrian border via Dover to Manchester, joining in events and rallies during her journey. Amal symbolised the search for a new life of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers. The events were inspiring and full of hope.

Little Amal’s journey ended in late 2021. Since then, the UK government has passed the Nationality and Borders Act – legislation which changes the potential outcomes for those who come here full of hope. This year, 2022, Amal would be identified as a criminal because she didn’t travel by one of the government’s approved routes. A real life Amal could well be rejected from applying for asylum in the UK and could even be deported to Rwanda under the government’s scheme.

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Home Affairs Committee interviews David Neal, ICIBI – Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration

15 June 2022: Home Affairs Committee Oral evidence:  Migration and asylum, HC 197 on 8 June 2022. The witness is David Neal, ICIBI – Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration:

Members present: Dame Diana Johnson (Chair); Ms Diane Abbott; Paula Barker; Tim Loughton; Stuart C McDonald; Matt Vickers

Read the transcript: https://committees.parliament.uk/oralevidence/10372/html/

Watch the meeting

This interview raises many interesting issues about the relationship between ICIBI, Priti Patel and Home Office Ministers; about David Neal’s use of his role; and about the limitations of the system in keeping the system to account.

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Little Amal – The Walk: Hope. Too BIG to ignore.

Start with Hope, change will follow

Updated 5 June 2022: Amal is back on the road in UK 19 – 27 June 2022

She will be visiting Manchester, Bradford, Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cheltenham, Bristol, Stonehenge, London, Canterbury, and ending on the beach at Folkestone where she arrived last year: https://www.walkwithamal.org/events/

Continue reading “Little Amal – The Walk: Hope. Too BIG to ignore.”