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.
27 May 2021: Compas: Forced worklessness and fatherhood by Candice Morgan-Glendinning & Melanie Griffiths
Research being launched on 8 June: Political and media discourses around immigration tend to make a sharp distinction between desirable and undesirable migrants. Some people are more welcome than others, including on the basis of factors such as income level, savings, education, employment status and area of work. Foreign nationals with low incomes, who are out of work or deemed ‘low skilled’, tend to be portrayed as abusing the system, undercutting British workers and as a burden on the taxpayer.
Less known, are the many ways in which the immigration system itself forces unemployment upon people (whilst simultaneously draining people of savings through the huge sums required for immigration applications and appeals). Many migrants, including people claiming asylum or subject to Deportation Orders, rarely have the right to work or access public funds. The few asylum seekers who do get the right to work are only eligible to work in jobs on the Shortage Occupation List, which are graduate level or above and include civil engineers, archaeologists and chemical scientists. And those who do receive any financial support, only get a fraction of mainstream benefits.
Continue reading “Forced worklessness and fatherhood”
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.
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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”
Ekklesia: UNHCR, THE UN REFUGEE AGENCY, has released a new study showing that many of those who find themselves in the UK without a nationality face major obstacles trying to navigate the country’s statelessness determination procedure, and hence experience prolonged periods in legal and personal limbo.
To better understand the situation faced by stateless people in UK, the UNHCR interviewed a selection of those who had an ongoing application or had been recently recognised as stateless. The resulting report, I am Human,’lays out the challenges they face, for example in obtaining evidence to support a statelessness leave application.
Continue reading “Huge obstacles faced by stateless people in UK”
November 2020: IFF Research on behalf of Dept of Education:
This study has attempted to fill the evidence gap about what happens to Dublin III and Calais Camp Clearance children and young people, their support needs, and the experiences of the local authorities they move into, from the perspectives of staff within local authorities and the children/ young people and their families. It has found a mixed picture in terms of outcomes for children and young people, with the majority of those covered by the available data having become a looked after child at some point.
Family living arrangements broke down in around one-third of cases. Upfront assessments are sometimes squeezed by time or information and local authorities would feel more confident making recommendations if they could do a more in-depth, holistic assessment, which they felt would also help to identify potential issues that might affect the sustainability of the arrangement in the longer-term. This is important as the survey identified that relationship issues were the biggest factor in the breakdown of an arrangement. Assessments therefore need to look beyond finances and housing to consider wider issues such as how it will impact on the dynamics of wider family (which would involve a more in-depth assessment). Local authorities also emphasised the need to make very clear to families that no extra substantive financial support or housing support will be on offer, to manage their expectations.
Continue reading “Study of children joining family in England under the Dublin III Regulation”
Melanie Griffiths, University of Birmingham, England
Colin Yeo, Garden Court Chambers, London
Abstract – the full text is here: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0261018320980653
In 2012, Home Secretary Theresa May told a newspaper that she wanted to create a ‘really hostile environment’ for irregular migrants in the UK. Although the phrase has since mutated to refer to generalised stateled marginalisation of immigrants, this article argues that the hostile environment is a specific policy approach, and one with profound significance for the UK’s border practices. We trace the ‘hostile environment’ phrase, exposing its origins in other policy realms, charting its evolution into immigration, identifying the key components and critically reviewing the corresponding legislation.
Continue reading “The UK’s hostile environment: Deputising immigration control”
The Committee of Public Accounts is appointed by the House of Commons to examine “the accounts showing the appropriation of the sums granted by Parliament to meet the public expenditure, and of such other accounts laid before Parliament as the committee may think fit” (Standing Order No.148).
The report itself is here: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/3561/documents/34409/default/
Conclusions and recommendations
1.It is unacceptable that the Department has failed to engage adequately with local stakeholders. The Department and its providers have repeatedly failed to properly consult and communicate with local authorities and NHS providers, and local MPs on the use of hotels in their areas. We are concerned to hear that the Department moved service users that had contracted COVID-19 to a hotel in another local authority at the last minute and without notifying either the relevant local authority or the relevant NHS bodies affected. We are similarly concerned to hear that in another local authority, the provider had told the local authority but had not informed the local health commissioner that 160 asylum seekers were moving to a local hotel and would need medical services. Where plans are shared, this is not done so with enough time to allow health and well-being services to put the necessary support services in place. It is essential that the Department contacts local care commissioning groups or equivalent before relocating asylum seekers in their areas so that their medical needs can be properly catered for. The Department accepts it needs to improve how it works with local partners, but despite its claims to have redoubled efforts since we last discussed this issue in June 2020, MPs’ and local authorities’ concerns have continued.
Recommendation: The Department should, as a matter of urgency, communicate with NHS bodies, MPs and other key stakeholders such as police, setting out how it will consult and engage with them in future. The Department should write to the Committee within three months to confirm its approach.
Continue reading “2020 Nov Public accounts committee: Asylum accommodation and support transformation programme”
4 December 2020: Quakers in Britain have submitted evidence to the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, calling on the government to embed anti-racism in policies, practice and discourse across society.
The Commission asked fundamental questions about the reasons and solutions for racial and ethnic disparities in the UK.
Quakers’ commitment to anti-racism stems from their belief that there is that of God in everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality or any other characteristic.
Quakers in Britain recently affirmed their commitment to tackling racism within their organisation.
Quakers do not want the Commission to be an excuse for the government to delay taking action to tackle racism. They called on the Commission to implement the recommendations of previous inquiries.
Continue reading “Quakers call for action on racial and ethnic disparities”
Throughout history, human beings have migrated. To escape war, oppression and poverty, to make a better life, to follow their own dreams. But since the start of the 20th century, modern governments have found ever more vicious ways to stop people moving freely.
The UK border regime includes the razor wire fences at Calais, the limbo of the asylum system, and the open violence of raids and deportations. Alongside the Home Office, it includes the companies running databases and detention centres, the media pushing hate speech, and the politicians posturing to win votes. It keeps on escalating, through Tony Blair’s war on refugees to Theresa May’s “hostile environment”, spreading fear and division.
This book describes and analyses the UK’s system of immigration controls. It looks at how it has developed through recent history, the different actors involved, and how people resist. The aim is to help understand the border regime, and ask how we can fight it effectively.
NB: we will be glad to send copies for free to asylum seekers and other people without papers. For other people and groups fighting the border regime, we can send at cost price or whatever you can afford to donate.
Continue reading “Corporate Watch report on UK Border regime”