If you have not already signed one of the many template letters opposing the Bill, which are being circulated by the Refugee Council, Detention Action and others, you might like to crib from this letter which I have sent to my MP.
It identifies our Quaker position and refers to the New Plan for Immigration which took up so much of our time earlier this year. It does not cover everything of concern.
Continue reading “Suggested letter to MPs – New Plan for Immigration”
18 June 2021: UNHCR: World leaders must act to reverse the trend of soaring displacement
Congolese asylum-seekers await health screening in Zombo, near the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in July 2020. © UNHCR/Rocco Nuri
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is today urging world leaders to step up their efforts to foster peace, stability and cooperation in order to halt and begin reversing nearly a decade-long trend of surging displacement driven by violence and persecution.
Continue reading “UNHCR: World leaders must act to reverse the trend of soaring displacement”
Despite the pandemic, the number of people fleeing wars, violence, persecution and human rights violations in 2020 rose to nearly 82.4 million people, according to UNHCR’s latest annual Global Trends report released today in Geneva. This is a further four per cent increase on top of the already record-high 79.5 million at the end of 2019.
The report shows that by the end of 2020 there were 20.7 million refugees under UNHCR mandate, 5.7 million Palestine refugees and 3.9 million Venezuelans displaced abroad. Another 48 million people were internally displaced (IDPs) within their own countries. A further 4.1 million were asylum-seekers. These numbers indicate that despite the pandemic and calls for a global ceasefire, conflict continued to chase people from their homes.
“Behind each number is a person forced from their home and a story of displacement, dispossession and suffering. They merit our attention and support not just with humanitarian aid, but in finding solutions to their plight.”
“While the 1951 Refugee Convention and the Global Compact on Refugees provide the legal framework and tools to respond to displacement, we need much greater political will to address conflicts and persecution that force people to flee in the first place,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.
Girls and boys under the age of 18 account for 42 per cent of all forcibly displaced people. They are particularly vulnerable, especially when crises continue for years. New UNHCR estimates show that almost one million children were born as refugees between 2018 and 2020. Many of them may remain refugees for years to come.
“The tragedy of so many children being born into exile should be reason enough to make far greater efforts to prevent and end conflict and violence,” said Grandi.
The report also notes that at the peak of the pandemic in 2020, over 160 countries had closed their borders, with 99 States making no exception for people seeking protection. Yet with improved measures – such as medical screenings at borders, health certification or temporary quarantine upon arrival, simplified registration procedures and remote interviewing, more and more countries found ways to ensure access to asylum while trying to stem the spread of the pandemic.
While people continued to flee across borders, millions more were displaced within their own countries. Driven mostly by crises in Ethiopia, Sudan, Sahel countries, Mozambique, Yemen, Afghanistan and Colombia the number of internally displaced people rose by more than 2.3 million.
Reports coming in from around the country about serious delays in the changeover of ‘Aspen’ card provider on 21 May 2021, leaving people destitute; see the Home Office ‘fix’ as an attachment below … but people are still without money for food two weeks later.
Updated 14 June 2021: Faith is still waiting … see the post below of 7 June 2021.
11 June 2021: Independent: Fifty Charities Urge Home Office to Act on ‘Crisis’ in Asylum Support Payments
Continue reading “Aspen cards and surveillance of people in the asylum system”
Updated 4 July 2021: Guardian: Meet Little Amal, the puppet girl refugee about to walk 8,000km
Later this month, in one of the most ambitious live artworks ever staged, a giant puppet will trek from the Syria-Turkey border to Manchester, in a moving-theatre show of solidarity with asylum seekers
On the last Tuesday of July, a big little girl will step out into a Turkish city, a few miles from the Syrian border, to begin an 8,000km trek to Manchester. Little Amal is nine years old and is searching for her mother, who went off to find food and never returned. She is the central, and only, character in a spectacularly ambitious theatre project. The Walk will face down international Covid restrictions in a visionary act of solidarity with the plight of refugees, defiance of the borders that put their lives in danger, and belief in the humanity of ordinary people faced with a global humanitarian crisis.
Continue reading “The Walk: Hope. Too BIG to ignore.”
27 May 2021: Amnesty International: UK: ‘Reckless’ new plan on immigration sees major decline in processing asylum claims
Quarterly immigration statistics published by Home Office today: Long outstanding asylum claims 50% higher than a year ago
‘The Home Office’s new asylum rules are reckless and impractical’ – Steve Valdez-Symonds
New statistics published today by the Home Office show that immigration rules introduced by the Home Secretary last December have led to more than 1,500 people who have sought asylum in the UK being warned the Home Office is looking to send them to other countries. Although there are no agreements in place for those countries to accept responsibility for their asylum claims. To date, none of these people have been removed from the UK.
Continue reading “UK: ‘Reckless’ new plan on immigration sees major decline in processing asylum claims”
What are the priorities?
19 May 2021: Guardian: Britain’s borders: wide open to Covid, slammed shut for people in need
“During the first three months of the pandemic – from 1 January until lockdown on 23 March last year, 18 million people arrived in the UK from abroad. But only 273 of them were obliged to quarantine. By contrast, across the 12 months to March 2020, 23,075 people were thrown into immigration detention centres: prisons for people who have not been convicted of any crime but are suspected of entering – or remaining in – the country without the correct paperwork.”
Read the article here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/may/19/britain-borders-covid-government-indian-variant-migrants
10 May 2021: Rethinking Security: Article by David Forbes
As the UK Government prepares to announce its new Sovereign Borders Bill in parliament, David Forbes argues that the very idea of ‘sovereign borders’ is false and ignores both the reality of international legal commitments and the disastrous precedent of Australia’s flirtation with the concept.
The British people were invited to respond to a Consultation about Home Secretary Priti Patel’s New Plan for Immigration over the six weeks to 06 May. This has proved to be a highly contentious process, with almost 200 refugee, human rights, legal and faith groups publicly condemning the process, not least for excluding the perspective of refugees.
None of us were invited to challenge the title ‘Sovereign Borders’ attached to the post-Consultation Bill which will be announced in this week’s Queen’s Speech. Nor were we invited to question whether “sovereign borders” is an appropriate concept to apply to complex issues of migration and asylum which are defined in customary international law.
Continue reading “The Immigration Plan and the ‘Sovereign Borders’ Bill”
UNHCR: For stateless people in the UK, the road to recognition can be tortuous
I AM HUMAN
I am a human being just like you all,
I have great moments and sometimes I stumble and fall.
I am merely a human being first and foremost,
Do not treat me like I am a number, I am not a ghost.
I have a family which I have not seen in years,
I try to wash away the pain but all I feel are tears.
Running down to the bottom of my face,
I may not have a document, but I am part of the human race.
I fight my battles inside and out, trying to prove I am worth much more,
I try to show you what I am all about, but you keep slamming the door.
I have worked hard for all that which I have achieved,
I am still human if only you will believe.
Believe, that I have a right to live and be free as everyone else,
My circumstances, my life in chaos, I am in a mess.
Through no fault of my own I find myself here stuck,
I am stuck in this injustice, riding extremely low on my hope and luck.
But I believe in all the good that still exists,
the truth will surface if I persist,
I will continue to raise my voice for those who cannot,
this choice I do not regret.
I am still a human being, lest you should forget
from the report ‘I Am Human’ (the link is below)
Most of us take our citizenship for granted. But for people who are stateless, the lack of citizenship is often an identity crisis that can last many years – sometimes, the best part of a lifetime.
Stateless people living in the UK told UNHCR of the limbo they find themselves in as they seek recognition of their status.
Continue reading “For stateless people in the UK, the road to recognition can be tortuous”
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants launches a landmark report, We Are Here, looking at the experience of undocumented migrants in the UK. This in-depth research, based on interviews, focus groups and surveys, finds that:
– 82% of the undocumented people in the research entered the UK using legal means, with only 15% entering via irregular means
– 2/3 of the undocumented migrants in the research had lived in the UK for at least 10 years
– 3/4 of the undocumented people in the research had family ties in the UK – almost half had dependent children here
The report also looks at how barriers within the immigration system, such as complex and expensive pathways to settlement, mean that people who had legal status at one time end up losing it, and hence become vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
Continue reading “We are here”
QARN signed this letter
Updated 16 June 2021 – see the response below:
30 April 2021: Women for Refugee Women: New Plan will harm women:
OVER 70 LEADERS WORKING WITH REFUGEE WOMEN COME TOGETHER TO HIGHLIGHT TO THE HOME SECRETARY THAT HER NEW PLAN FOR IMMIGRATION WILL HARM WOMEN
The government’s New Plan for Immigration will harm women seeking asylum. Today, 30 April 2020, more than 70 leaders of organisations and groups supporting women who have sought asylum write to the Home Secretary to express shared concerns about the New Plan.
Read the full letter below:
Continue reading “Women for Refugee Women”