International: Children deported to Kabul will face ‘horrible risks’ and more news

Gladys Mabvira finally released from Yarls Wood 

 Gladys Mabvira is an opposition activist from Zimbabwe. Despite the enormous risks she would face if returned to Zimbabwe, she has time and again been issued with removal directions by the Home Office. Only her strength in adversity and last minute legal actions kept Gladys with us here in the UK. She has this morning been released from Yarls Wood IRC on temporary admission, after spending six months detained there. Gladys has been an inspiration throughout – frequently asking after other individuals for whom NCADC is campaigning – and never giving up her fight for freedom. Just days before she was released, she wrote a damning statement on the conditions in Yarls Wood.

Read Gladys’ statement on the NCADC blog.

Air France refuse to fly Patrice to torture in Cameroon

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On 13 February an Air France pilot refused to carry Patrice on the flight as Patrice maintained he would be tortured if removed to Cameroon. Thank you to everyone who raised awareness of Patrice’s flight with Air France – by phone, email, fax, letter, Twitter or Facebook.

Patrice said:

The escorts came for me at 01:30 am Monday morning and we had to drive around and around and then find somewhere to wait. I do not know why they came so early.

Eventually we arrived at the airport, one escort went to the plane to see if they could take me. I think they were told they had to wait until the Air France pilot arrived. When the pilot did arrive, he came over to the van and asked if I was Patrice Ndjonssy and asked if I was ready to fly with them. I said No I do not want to go back as my life will be in danger. He said okay I won’t carry you and went back to the plane. So here I am back in Colnbrook STH, no doubt waiting for RDs number 14.

I thank all the people who supported me and got in touch with Air France. But now UKBA say that the next thing will be a charter flight, but a charter flight to where to as I understand Cameroon will not accept such flights. I have been told by other detainees that a charter flight to Nigeria in January carried other nationalities than Nigerian. I believe they were from Tanzania and Somalia and they were dumped at Lagos airport to make their own way back to their countries

Patrice fled to the UK in 2008, to escape persecution in Cameroon. His safety is at severe risk should he be removed.

Find out more about Patrice’s campaign here.

Charter flight delayed; numerous detainees did not fly

On Tuesday 14th February at 6.30pm activists from the NoBorder network blockaded Harmondsworth migration prison near Heathrow to try to stop a charter flight to Ghana, scheduled for 12.10am.
The blockade lasted for over 6 hours but ended at 1.30am with 11 protestors taken into custody, charged with public order offences.
The detainees were taken by coach to Stanstead where the plane took off, several hours late, and with a number of people not on the flight thanks to last-minute injunctions. Thanks to the blockade the deportation of another Harmondsworth detainee on a commercial flight was prevented as the escorts were unable to leave on time.
The protestors were held in police custody for 36 hours and went before a judge at Uxbridge Magistrates Court this morning (Thurday 16th February). NoBorder activists went to the court in solidarity, some entered the courtroom while others held a demo outside. All 11 protestors were released on bail and are due back in court on 8th March.
Press articles: | Guardian | Independent | BBC |
No Borders activists occupy Barnardo’s HQ over child detention  17 February, London NoBorders
Tens of No Borders activists are currently occupying the headquarters of
Britain’s largest children charity, demanding that it “quits the child
detention business”.
The latest protest at Barnardo’s offices in Barkingside, Essex, started at
1pm in a bid to force the charity to stop providing its services at a new
detention facility near Crawley, Sussex, to hold families facing forcible
deportation. Read more
News round up:

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Sheffield demonstration over asylum housing contract BBC, 15 February

BBC Report on the protest against plans to hand over asylum seeker housing contract to notorious detention and deportation company G4S.

About 40 people stood outside the city’s town hall after it was announced that the UK Border Agency planned to sign a regional contract with G4S. South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG) said “G4S was not the best company for the job”. G4S said it would work with local agencies to engage asylum seekers.

Stuart Crossthwaite, from SYMAAG, said: “We believe they got the contract because they undercut the other bidders. For them its about saving money.

“Saving money means moving people to the cheapest housing and the cheapest housing is not going to be the best housing by any means.”

More details about the Yorkshire campaign against G4S’s involvement in refugee housing here

Respect and suicide prevention at the UK Border Agency Clare Sambrook, Open Democracy 14 February 

Suicide is an ever-present possibility across the UK’s immigration detention estate. Clare Sambrook comments on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) report, which has found serious failings in suicide prevention.

“Staff did not carry anti-ligature knives,” inspectors found on their unannounced visit last October to Waterside Court in Leeds, one of the UK Border Agency’s holding facilities for immigration detainees. What’s more, escort staff at the commercial contractor Reliance Security “had difficulty in locating anti-ligature knives and one van did not have a knife at all

International: Children deported to Kabul will face ‘horrible risks

Children deported to Kabul will face ‘horrible risks’  Alice Farmer, Human Rights Watch

Picture your 16-year-old son, brother, cousin or friend. Picture him without his parents in a strange country, where he is picked up by uniformed officials and put on a plane alone. Picture him dropped off in a strife-ridden city, like Kabul or Baghdad, and left to fend for himself. Picture having no idea where he will end up.

That is what the United Kingdom Border Agency wants to do to migrant children in Britain. It has a proposal to start deporting unaccompanied 16 and 17-year-old Afghans early this year, even if it cannot find the children’s families back in Afghanistan. It is quite obvious that children returning to Afghanistan, especially under these circumstances, face risks of destitution, violence, and recruitment into armed forces.

Legal Updates: foreign national former prisoners; children in deportation cases

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Foreign national former prisoners: Gemma Lousley, at the Justice Gap
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the rights of foreign criminals are routinely privileged over those of the individuals they have offended against, as well as the wider public interest – or so many press commentators would have us believe. The reality, predictably, is rather different. For foreign nationals held in prison, accessing justice and exercising rights is not, in fact, easily done; and as significant budget cuts take hold in the prison estate, and the government’s legal aid ‘reforms’ loom ever closer, it is questionable how often, in the future, it will be done at all.
The importance of children in automatic deportation cases: February 13, 2012 by Wessen Jazrawi at UK Human Rights Blog

Sanade, Harrison & Walker v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] UKUT 00048(IAC)

This case concerns the application of human rights exceptions to the deportation of individuals who were married to British citizens or who had British children.