SistersNotStrangers Conference

Details of Sisters not Strangers Conference on Friday 16th Feb 2024, 2:00pm to 5:00pm in Liverpool

Join us for a powerful event of connection and collaboration as SistersNotStrangers comes to Liverpool for an afternoon conference! 

This event is a unique opportunity to meet members of our coalition, particularly those working with asylum seekers, refugees, or individuals with lived experiences.

SistersNotStrangers is a UK-based coalition dedicated to supporting asylum-seeking and refugee women. It is made of 7 groups: The Women’s Group (Swansea), DEWA (Sheffield), Women for Refugee Women (London), CARAG (Coventry), Refugee Women Connect (Liverpool), Women Seeking Asylum Together (Manchester)c, Women With Hope (Birmingham).

Our mission is to campaign against destitution and other inhumane policies affecting women seeking safety in the UK. SistersNotStrangers envision a world where these women are seen as sisters, not strangers – as women, neighbours, mothers, colleagues, and activists.

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Exporting people seeking asylum – Rwanda

27 January 2024: Guardian: Revealed: UK granted asylum to Rwandan refugees while arguing country was safe

Home Office said refugees’ fear of persecution was ‘well-founded’, undermining Rishi Sunak’s claims about East African country

Four Rwandans were granted refugee status in the UK over “well-founded” fears of persecution at the same time as the government was arguing in court and parliament that the east African country was a safe place to send asylum seekers.

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Concerns about the use of barges, army barracks, hotels, offshoring etc etc. continued 2023

This post follows on from the initial post which became very long, but can be found here Here we update the post with reports of atrocities around the army camp accommodation and hotels, and other Home Office plans to accommodate people in new sites. These are the consequences of the hostile system that leaves people languishing without a decision for long periods of time.

See also posts regarding ‘Detention Centres‘ such as such as Hassockfield/Derwentside, and also the post regarding plans to export people seeking asylum to Rwanda 

Re: children:

StatusNow4All: our campaign: ‘Indefinite Leave To Remain’ for people who are undocumented, destitute, and those in the legal process #HealthAndSafetyForAll

24 January 2024: Open Democracy: Torture victims being housed on Bibby Stockholm in possible breach of rules

Revelation comes weeks after death of Leonard Farruku on board the controversial asylum barge

Vulnerable people including victims of torture are being housed on the Bibby Stockholm in a potential breach of the government’s own guidelines, those on board have told openDemocracy.

The allegations come just weeks after the death of a man on board. Leonard Farruku, an Albanian man, is thought to have killed himself in December. Speaking to us, his former roommate warned Farruku’s death was “just the beginning”.

Current residents of the barge spoke on condition of anonymity and included a man from the Horn of Africa, who told openDemocracy that he was a victim of torture. The man, who had previously been housed in a hotel and receiving psychological support, has been on the barge in a shared room since November 2023. Members of local residents’ organisation Portland Global Friendship Group, which offers informal pastoral support and activities for dozens of people on the Bibby Stockholm, told openDemocracy that they knew of at least two other victims of torture – one from Russia, another from Iran – who were also on board.

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Children and the Hostile Environment

23 January 2024: Written jointly by the Refugee Council, the Helen Bamber Foundation and Humans for Rights Network ‘Forced Adulthood -The Home Office’s incorrect determination of age and how this leaves child refugees at risk.

It was written jointly by the Refugee Council, the Helen Bamber Foundation and Humans for Rights Network. It found that at least 1,300 refugee children were placed in unsupervised adult accommodation and detention in an 18-month period (January 2022 to June 2023), after being wrongly age-assessed on arrival in the UK. We think that real numbers are likely to be much higher as data was not received from all local authorities. 

This data paints a bleak picture of separated children‘s experiences on arrival in the UK. Behind each case there is a child who has been failed by the system, experienced abuse, exploitation, distress, or harm. All of these traumas are entirely preventable, children are subjected to these harms as a direct result of being wrongly placed in adult accommodation due to the Home Office age assessment policy at the point of entry.

This is a safeguarding crisis on an unprecedented scale which we like to bring to your attention in the hope it will be possible for us to work together to address system failures and ensure that all children are protected from the moment they arrive in the UK.

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Home Office starts X-raying migrants’ bones and teeth to determine their age

10 January 2024: iNews: Home Office starts X-raying migrants’ bones and teeth to determine their age

Those who refuse to have X-rays to determine their age may be penalised, according to the Home Office

The Home Office will begin using teeth and bone X-rays to determine the age of asylum seekers arriving in the UK.

New legislation, that came into force on Wednesday, means the Home Office will now be able to use “scientific methods” to assess age, including radiographs of molars, hands and wrists, and MRI scans of the thigh bone and collarbone.

The British Dental Association (BDA) has described the X-rays as “pseudoscience” which fail “basic tests on ethics and accuracy”.

Read more:

StatusNow4All Newsletter – January 2024

Status Now 4 All Newsletter: January 2024

Welcome to the first Status Now Newsletter in 2024.  We hope the holidays have given you the opportunity to recharge your batteries and are ready for a year of vigorous campaigning in 2024!

Here are a few notes on how 2023 ended with regard to immigration and refugee issues, giving some context on the work we will be doing over the next 12 months.

Winning support from the trade unions

Status Now marked International Migrants Day on 18th December with a social and discussion event held in partnership with Unite the Union.  Supporters gathered to enjoy Filipino food provided by the domestic workers support group, Waling Waling and discuss what more could be done to build trade union solidarity with the fight for migrant and refugee rights.

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Now I Sing

3 January 2024: ‘Now I Sing: 50 poems to celebrate 50 years’ by Loraine Masiya Mponela

In the next of our serious of posts about how we can open hearts through the arts, we join Loraine Masiya Mponela in celebrating the publication of her second book of poems: ‘Now I Sing: 50 poems to celebrate 50 years’

The book is available here:

Painful pitfalls and pinnacle triumphs.Now I Sing by Loraine Masiya Mponela is both a lamentation and a celebration, offering 50 poems for the 50 years she has lived. This collection honours her people’s ancient wisdom while imagining her future. Reflecting on individual and collective journeys, it is a book about courage, fear, desperation and excellence.

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Future changes to visa rules

Updated 19 January 2024: Thank you Freemovement: Scientific Age Testing of Children Becomes Law

The Immigration (Age Assessments) Regulations 2024 providing for the use of scientific age testing of children have come into force on 10 January 2024. A reminder of the response from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to these proposals:

Evidence shows that using x-rays to determine age can be widely inaccurate and the practice is ultimately unethical. It is appalling to see that the Government is persisting with these plans, which hinge life-changing decisions for some of the most vulnerable young people in our society on unspecific scientific outcomes and includes exposing them to radiation.

We have covered these regulations extensively, from when the drafts were first published, to when the relevant section of the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 was brought into force, when the House of Lords’ Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee raised concerns and when the regulations were voted on by Parliament.

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