Spotlight on the impact of Statelessness

European Network on Statelessness: an article from SNN member Liew Teh: “Everything is stuck”: Left in limbo and stateless as a British Overseas Citizen

[There are updates with other relevant articles below]

I arrived in the UK in 2001 at the age of twenty from Malaysia, with feelings of excitement as I embarked on an Engineering Degree at the University of Wolverhampton. I went on to complete a master’s degree in Advanced Technology Management and became a member of the Institution of Engineering Technology and Institution of Mechanical Engineering. My positive experience of the UK inspired me to stay here, living and working to pursue my chartered engineer’s training. I have, however, ended up experiencing life in limbo as a stateless British Overseas Citizen, trying to resolve my status and my right to work.

The beginning of a nightmare

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Stop deportations – events – what you can do

Zimbabwe Human Rights Organisation: ZHRO: join the demonstrations at the Zimbabwean Embassy, 429 The Strand, every week on a Wednesday 11:00am to 1:00pm, singing, drumming and protesting.


Updated 28 August 2021: TUI action from today:

Manchester: People showing solidarity at a demo outside the TUI offices on Market Street at 11am, Saturday, 28 August – as part of a nationally coordinated set of actions opposing all deportations that this holiday company is currently being paid by the British Government to deliver.

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Spotlight on Mariko Hatashi from Southeast and East Asian Centre: SEEAC

24 August 2021: International Public Policy Observatory IPPO: Written by Mariko Hayashi, Executive Director of our signatory organisation Southeast and East Asian Centre (SEEAC), and an independent researcher on migration and human rights:

Consultation burnout and a fear of being forgotten. This is what COVID-19 ‘recovery’ feels like for many marginalised communities

One positive outcome of the pandemic should have been a greater commitment to supporting UK communities – including my own – who have been especially vulnerable. But all that many of us feel now is consultation fatigue and growing frustration

COVID-19 has placed a harsh spotlight on the pre-existing inequalities and discrimination faced by some of the UK’s most invisible communities and groups – including those which I belong to and represent: the East and Southeast Asian (ESEA) community and migrants.

It would be heartening to think that a positive outcome of the pandemic would be a greater commitment to supporting communities including my own which have been especially vulnerable. However, with most COVID-19 related restrictions now lifted and things ‘getting back to normal’, I fear that many marginalised communities will be forgotten again.

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Why are European countries fixated on deporting Afghan nationals?

20 August 2021: StatusNow4All: Europe has deported 71,065 people back to Afghanistan since 2009

The UK figure is the highest: 15,755 people between 2008 and 2020

Have European nations ever valued the lives of the Afghans that sought sanctuary on its soil?  Their actions tell us ‘No’. Very many injustices and ill-treatment are being endured by Afghan people alongside many others in the UK asylum system, as most harrowingly demonstrated in the death on Wednesday of a five-year-old Mohammed in Sheffield.

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We Need Practical Resources that Enable Positive Acts of Compassion with Everyone who Needs Them

The support that is being offered to Afghans highlights the lack of help and resource being given to people fleeing similar threat and oppression elsewhere.
Sir Peter Soulsby, City Mayor for Leicester

The plight of the Afghan people who are now fleeing from their homes is prompting positive and compassionate responses from a wide range of bodies and groupings across the UK. Councils such as Abergavenny, and conurbations such as Greater Manchester and Liverpool are receiving some additional monies via the Home Office to house people. However, as Sir Peter Soulsby, City Mayor for Leicester, an organisational signatory to the Status Now Network has observed to us this morning:

As we have always done, Leicester will welcome those seeking refuge from conflict and oppression. We will be taking the opportunity to participate in the resettlement scheme announced today as a response to the truly awful situation in Afghanistan. We expect that resources will be provided to local councils so that we can provide and co-ordinate the support that will be needed. Leicester will proudly offer sanctuary and a new home to Afghans fleeing the Taliban. The support that is being offered to Afghans highlights the lack of help and resource being given to people fleeing similar threat and oppression elsewhere. These people too are welcome in Leicester and deserve better from the government.

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Asylum seeker was made “scapegoat” by British authorities

11 August 2021: BBCChannel migrants: Asylum seeker cleared of people smuggling was ‘scapegoat’

n Iranian asylum seeker cleared of people smuggling has said he was made a “scapegoat” by British authorities.

Fouad Kakaei, who steered a dinghy across the English Channel, was found not guilty at a second trial after appealing against his first conviction.

His barrister believes a law intended to prosecute people smugglers is being used on asylum seekers, because they are “easy targets”.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-57722096

UK deportation flight to Jamaica

11 August 2021: The GuardianUK deportation flight to Jamaica leaves with just seven people onboard

Only seven people were deported to Jamaica on a Home Office charter plane in the early hours of Wednesday morning at an estimated cost of £43,000 a person, despite 90 being earmarked originally for the flight.

Concerns were raised about the UK’s decision to go ahead with the flight due to opposition from the Jamaican government because of Covid worries. Fears were also expressed about the vulnerability of some of those due to fly because of trafficking indicators and mental health problems.

A series of urgent high court injunction applications seeking to block some of the deportations continued almost until the flight took off at 1am on Wednesday morning.

Read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/aug/11/uk-deportation-flight-jamaica-leaves-seven-people-onboard

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‘I built a life and then abandoned it’: Playwright who had to flee to the UK after writing play featuring trans actors

My London: Rogelio Braga says it feels like his ‘life has been taken away’ from him as he cannot return home to his family

A Filipino playwright has waited almost two years for asylum in the UK after he and his family were sent death threats in his home country.

Rogelio Braga, 41, came to the UK for a short stay to study when he received a call saying he could not return home as he would no longer be safe due to threats of extra-judicial killing.

“It’s a tragedy,” he says. “At my age, I already built a life. Everything is there. And then you have to abandon it. I’m in a limbo.”

“It’s a weird experience,” he explains, “it’s like your life is taken away from you.”

Read more: https://www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/i-built-life-abandoned-it-21264844

Invisible heroes

8 August 2021: TogetherintheUK: The essay “Invisible Heroes” by Ruth won a TogetherintheUK Special Award in the Storytelling Competition. We wanted to acknowledge the bravery of writing about the pain and difficulty of being undocumented. It is a very clear account of what it means and the difference the Right to Remain means to people’s lives.

Invisible Heroes

Here we are in a country that we thought we could call home, a place to accomplish our dreams and to work to support our families back in our countries. Most of us chose to overstay after our visas expired so we could continue to work. But little did we know that doing that is the wrong decision as it only makes matters worse.

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Shoulder to shoulder – everywhere – until deportations stop and statusnow4all starts

StatusNow logo

This Network stands shoulder to shoulder with all those committed to ending the Home Office’s plans to deport anyone, to any country.

Like many other big businesses whose profits have increased during COVID, the travel company contracted by the Home Office to operate several of this summer’s flights, TUI, is making a killing – in more ways than one (See Corporate Watch’s depth analysis on TUI published in January of this year).

When signatory organisation Southeast and East Asian Centre (SEEAC) alerted us in April to a flight that targeted people from Vietnam, it was just days after the Home Office had been exposed – yet again – for breaching its own deportation rules.

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‘My life is frozen’

From StatusNow signatory Jesuit Refugee Service: ‘My life is frozen’ – life in limbo for people seeking asylum

The impact of having their lives put on hold is devastating for refugee friends

This week the Independent published a special report looking at the lives of people seeking asylum, who are forced to live in limbo. As they spend years waiting on a decision to be made on their asylum claim, they live in great uncertainty, banned from working, and at risk of exploitation and abuse. These stories echo the harrowing experiences of the friends of JRS who are battling this hostile system, which is founded on suspicion. As they desperately seek to be recognised as refugees, they struggle to survive.

Data shows over 1,200 people seeking asylum currently in the system, have waited more than five years, with 399 more than a decade.

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Secret deal to remove Zimbabweans from UK

StatusNow4All network members picked up intelligence about people being summarily snatched when reporting or at home – you will find below a series of updates since then.

Below you will find a petition, a suggested letter for your MP, information about demonstrations, letter from APPG Zimbabwe asking the Government to take note of the dangerous situation and halt the removal of people to that country,

We are reminded that UK Governments over many years have often acted in their own interests, and have broken agreements or made deals with the Zimbabwean Government, regardless of the impact on Zimbabwean people.


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COVID-19 has also laid bare existing fault lines within society and has exacerbated inequalities.

Updated 3 August 2021: ZeroCovidNow@ZeroCovidNow1: Undocumented migrants have faced exceptionally harsh conditions throughout this pandemic while being invisible to much of the media and political class. Hear from one undocumented mother, with a young child, about the challenges of the pandemic. #ZeroCovid#StatusNow

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZeroCovidNow1/status/1422523853247553540

Facebook: https://fb.watch/78YqjsX8xW/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GM_Bo1bOJ9E&t=1s

Continue reading “COVID-19 has also laid bare existing fault lines within society and has exacerbated inequalities.”

EU citizens are the guinea pigs of the new digital border system

Updated 2 August 2021: Guardian: EU citizens who applied to stay in Britain facing threat of deportation

The Home Office appears to be in breach of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, says legal charity

European citizens who have applied for settled status are being detained and threatened with deportation, a development that contradicts assurances from ministers and appears to contravene the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

The Home Office has served EU nationals with removal directions even though they could prove they had applied for settled status, which should protect their rights to remain in the UK.

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