Harvey Wittika had been living and working in the UK for more than a decade before his status was revoked – he died alone in Glasgow just months later.
An organisation campaigning for the rights of migrants has called for an inquiry into the death of a man in Glasgow.
Harvey Wittika died after falling from the second floor of his flat building in Glasgow on August 6.
The 37-year-old from Malawi had been living in the city for around six months before his death while waiting for his Leave to Remain.
Before moving to Glasgow, he had graduated with a master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire. After struggling to get work in the industry, he was employed as a chef in Wagamama’s and Nando’s in St Albans before the Home Office refused to renew his application to stay in the UK.
Status Now 4 All, a coalition of over 100 organisations and community action groups campaigning for undocumented migrants and migrants in the legal process, have called for a fatal accident investigation into his death and have written to Scotland’s Procurator Fiscal.
EDM #7: That this House recognises that there are many barriers that prevent people from accessing and maintaining stable immigration status even when they were either born in the UK or have lived in the UK for many years; further recognises that the majority of undocumented migrants have lost their status through no fault of their own, including through an inability to pay application fees, lack of access to legal advice, mistakes on the part of decision-makers and complexity of immigration rules; understands that the harm done to individuals through hostile immigration policies extends to family members and the communities that they are part of; notes that the UK has one of the most complex and expensive routes to regularisation in Europe; further notes that all current routes to regularisation and settlement are far too long, complicated and inflexible, leaving people with no options but to live undocumented; understands that migrants who do not have access to the public safety net or the right to work are vulnerable to exploitation and; and calls on the Government to support recommendations made by Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants in its report, We Are Here: routes to regularisation for the UK’s undocumented population, published in April 2021 by introducing new routes to regularisation and removing barriers which cause migrants to become undocumented.
RE: ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE, HOUSING AND FOOD FOR ALL
On March 27th 2020 we called upon the British and Irish States to act immediately so that all undocumented, destitute and migrant people in the legal process in both the UK and Ireland are granted Status Now, as in Leave to Remain. (Copy enclosed)
“Not having my status limits my joy, my happiness, nothing makes me excited. People take advantage.
I cannot even work. The pain is terrible. Terrible. People cry at night. There are suicides.
In limbo, I cannot do anything I want to do, and I don’t know what is going to happen to me.
Locked down all the time, not just now. Let us have a chance.”
(Voices of people without status)
Who we are: The Status Now Network is a unique coalition of almost 130 organisations and community action groups, alongside individuals, who are campaigning for Status Now 4 All. Our member organisations are listed on our website: https://statusnow4all.org.
We call upon the British and Irish States to act immediately so that all undocumented, destitute and migrant people in the legal process in both the UK and Ireland are granted Status Now, as in *Indefinite Leave to Remain. In this way every human, irrespective of their nationality or citizenship can access healthcare, housing, food and the same sources of income from the State as everyone else.
Government accused of downplaying toll after information requests reveal discrepancies
Ninety-five people have died in asylum accommodation since April 2016, almost double the figure recently admitted by the government, raising suspicions the Home Office has deliberately downplayed the death toll.
And the data reveals that in the past two years there has been a particularly sharp increase in the number of deaths of those housed under asylum support provisions, such as in hotels.
Deaths leapt from four in 2019 to 36 in 2020 – a ninefold increase – with a further 33 people in the first eight months of 2021, bringing total deaths since the start of 2020 to 69 people, according to freedom of information (FoI) requests by the investigative journalism organisation, Liberty Investigates.
Dr Sabir Zazai, chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, called the figures “devastating” and urged an independent inquiry to establish why so many people in the state’s care were dying.
As recently as three months ago the Home Office said 51 people had died in its asylum accommodation, following FoI requests made by the Scottish Refugee Council (SRC). The new, much higher number has shocked experts and raised questions over the significant discrepancy in death tolls.
Updated 23 October 2021: In London today (see below). Tomorrow is Little Amal’s 10th birthday:
11:00 & 13:00 Victoria & Albert Museum Little Amal will attend a birthday party for young friends, including cake made by Yotam Ottolenghi! Book a free museum entry ticket for 11.00 or 13.00 to join her here
16:00 Trafalgar SquareAll of London are invited to join Boy Blue for this spectacular celebration of Amal, dance and hip hop in the iconic setting of Trafalgar Square. Expect high energy performance, an appearance from the birthday girl and some surprises along the way.
19:00 The Roundhouse, Camden: A one-off concert full of surprises and an extraordinary line-up will finish Amal’s birthday in epic style! Tickets available for purchase now here
Updated 22 October 2021: Big day tomorrow in London:
10:00St Paul’s CathedralAmal arrives weary at St Paul’s Cathedral in the heart of the London. The Great West Doors, the ceremonial doors of the Cathedral, will open wide allowing children from across London, members of St Paul’s community and other faith leaders to welcome Amal to the Cathedral. An unforgettable performance combining spoken word and music, directed by Phyllida Lloyd will then unfold around Amal! This event will be held outside the Cathedral and is open to all to attend.
13:00The Globe Theatre Watch as Little Amal meets the company of Twelfth Night in this iconic performance space
16:00The Southbank Centre Little Amal will attend Welcome Wishes, a special event in the London Literature Festival. Join her for interactive storytelling, aimed at spreading the message of global community and friendship contained in Swallow’s Kiss – a new novel written by Sita Brahmachari and illustrated by Jane Ray.
17:45National Theatre Singer-songwriter Juliana Yazbeck will perform a welcoming solo that will lead into the choir performing ‘I Am My Own Way Home’ from Pericles. Watch this performance on the Terraces from below with Little Amal.
19:00Somerset House Follow Little Amal into the beautiful courtyard, and form an audience for an original contemporary dance piece. Choreographed by Ruby Portus, this troupe is composed of the National Youth Dance Co and the Sadlers Wells Company of Elders, dancing to live music from Baque Luar.
Updated 20 October 2021: The Information Commissioners Office has commented recently about The Data Sharing Code of Practice, which is a statutory code made under section 121 of the Data Protection Act 2018 that was first published by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in December 2020 and came into force on 5 October 2021 saying that “data sharing must engender trust in how personal data is used in order to drive innovation, economic growth and the delivery of more efficient and targeted services.
In the ICO’s view, data sharing will be central to the United Kingdom’s recovery from the covid-19 pandemic.”
Status Now notes that the absence of firewall between health and immigration data and the Government’s drive to implement its ‘status checking’ project undermines any potential for engendering trust.
Event in Coventry:Oppose the Nationality and Borders Bill: No to hostile environmentWednesday 20 October 2021, 13:30-14:30 Broadgate, Coventry, CV1 1, United Kingdom: Please join StatusNow signatory organisation CARAG – Coventry Asylum and Refugee Action Group and other Coventry local groups as we continue to oppose the anti-Refugee Bill. We will also remember Henok.
The Tories planned Nationalities and Borders Bill will make the mere act of seeking asylum illegal, contrary to the UN Convention on Refugees and Human Rights Acts. We say Refugees Welcome Here, No One Is Illegal! Come and join us to show your support for the right to asylum.
After fleeing his native Eritrea as a child and living for years as a refugee, Henok Zaid Gebrsslasie hoped to make a life for himself in the UK. Aged 23, he was found dead at a mental health facility in Coventry, West Midlands, and is thought to have taken his own life. His death is one of a growing number among young asylum seekers which a charity said could just be the “tip of the iceberg”.
Event: On Thursday 14th October 2021Register NowPeople & Planet is hosting a free online workshop with These Walls Must Fall about the companies that profit from UK immigration enforcement government contracts, many of which UK universities are also invested in. These Walls Must Fall campaigners will speak from personal experience about private companies’ behaviour in immigration detention, deportations and asylum housing.
The workshop is for students who want to action and start a Divest Borders campaign to get their universities to divest from the border industry – but it’s also open to all.
Organised by the national office of the National Union of Journalists [NUJ] Ethics Council – Ethical of reporting of the Afghan crisis, asylum and refugees: the NUJ ethics council would like to invite you to an online public meeting this Thursday 7 October starting at 17.00.The event is focused on the ethics of reporting on the Afghan crisis, asylum and refugees. Speakers include –
Farhad Mohammadi – BBC journalist in Kabul and now in the UK
Michelle Stanistreet – NUJ general secretary
Daniel Trilling – journalist and author
Jeremy Dear – IFJ deputy general secretary
Chris Frost – chair of the NUJ ethics council
To details of how to attend on the night, please contact the Manchester Branch of NUJ who are StatusNow signatories: NUJManchester@nuj.org.uk
Once again, this time in the Nationality and Borders Bill, the Home Office seeks to oust the jurisdiction of Senior Courts from considering an appeal from a first-instance immigration tribunal decision. Its last substantial attempt to do so was the ouster clause it sought unsuccessfully to introduce to the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Bill in the 2003-2004 session of Parliament. At that time, it sought to oust statutory appeals and also the jurisdiction of the High Court on Judicial Review.
This time the effort is focused on solely on statutory appeals and is an attempt to exclude appeals to the Court of Appeal. It is still wrong. A first instance tribunal decision on a question of international protection or human rights, involving compliance with international treaty obligations, ought to be capable of appeal, as part of the standard procedure in the UK constitutional order for the rule of law. The Home Office gains nothing by this latest effort. Instead, the rule of law is damaged and the High Court is left to supervise the resulting delinquency if and when it entertains a judicial review against an immigration appeal decision impugned. To understand what is going on, one needs to look at the provision for priority removal notices in the Nationality and Borders Bill.
Albania’s foreign minister has furiously denied reports that migrants arriving the UK on small boats will be flown 1,500 miles to Albania to have their asylum claims processed, labelling the plans “fake news”.
3 October 2021: The flyer below was distributed outside the Conservative Party conference in Manchester by members of Status Now
2 October 2021: Justice Secretary’s ‘open-mind’ suggestion needs Activation and Expansion
The Justice Secretary’s ‘open-mind’ about allowing asylum seekers to work while their claims are being processed needs activation and expansion. Dominic Raab, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, reportedly said that allowing asylum seekers to work would assist with integration and contribute to resolving the country’s labour shortages. His remarks are supported by some senior Tories which may indicate a growing recognition that the current law, banning people who seek asylum from being contracted in paid work while they wait for a Home Office decision, is morally and practically wrong. It is irrational that we have tens of thousands of residents in this country who can contribute to alleviating the current labour crisis but are denied the right to work and forced into years of unemployment and poverty while employers are desperate to fill job vacancies.