Refugee Week – Events in June 2022

Refugee Week: https://refugeeweek.org.uk/


Updated 28 June 2022: On the 29th [9 to 10am] and 30th June [9.30 to 10.30am] 2022, Refugees for Justice will be at Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL 

to support their member challenging Home Secretary to have an public, transparent, and impartial inquiry into the situation of moving asylum seekers into hotels during the pandemic, which led to the Park-inn tragedy, 6 people were stabbed including a police officer and 1 asylum seeker shot dead.

Please share this poster and use the #ENDHOTELDETENTION during the court day 29th &30th June 2022 and from now; and if you are around London and if you could attend please turn up and let’s show support for a public, transparent inquiry, Justice must be served, there must be accountability, and we need to make change in the approach and the treatment of asylum seekers.

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

This post is being updated with reports of atrocities around the army camp accommodation and hotels, and other Home Office plans to accommodate people in new sites such as Haasockfield/Derwent, and Rwanda:

Care4Calais: #StopRwanda https://care4calais.org/stop-rwanda/

Updated 27 June 2022: Stop Rwanda Flights: demonstration in London on 19 July 2022

Care4Calais: On Tuesday 19 July 2022, we will go to court again for the hearing to decide whether the Rwanda policy itself is lawful.

This demonstration is called jointly by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Care4Calais, Stand Up To Racism and supported by unions including PCS Union, UNISON, Unite the union, National Geographic Education, GMB Union, The Communication Workers Union, Fire Brigades Union, NASUWT, ASLEF – The UK Train Drivers’ Union, UCU – University and College Union and Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union – BFAWU, as well as Refugee Council, @Citizenship Coalition, Amnesty International UK, StatusNow4All.

Tuesday 19 July will be a day of action where in workplaces, colleges and communities we are asking you to join the 11am – 12 noon Twitterstorm, by holding up posters for selfies and sharing your pictures on all social media platforms, especially Twitter, with using #StopRwanda

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Further Housing issues

Updated 25 June 2022: Guardian/Observer: Revealed: dozens of vulnerable asylum seekers have died in Home Office housing since 2020

Data shows number of deaths is higher than admitted as experts question safeguarding and fear chances to save lives were missed

Dozens of asylum seekers who were officially recognised by the Home Office as vulnerable and potentially in need of protection have died in government accommodation, with previously undisclosed internal documents suggesting a number of the cases involved safeguarding failings.

New data obtained in a joint investigation by the Observer and Liberty Investigates has found at least 107 deaths of asylum seekers who were provided with Home Office housing between April 2016 and May 2022, far more than officially admitted. Eighty-two have died since January 2020.

At least 17 people died by suicide or suspected suicide, according to analysis of Home Office records released under information laws. Half of those who have died since the start of 2020 (41) were flagged as having a “safeguarding element” – a label officials assign to individuals recognised as having vulnerabilities or needs such as a health problem.

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Status Now Refugee Week event

Event on 20 June 2022: Status Now Refugee Week event: How do we campaign against the hostile environment?

Status Now Refugee Week Event “How do we hold the Government to account for its Hostile Environment?”

The setback in the Court of Appeal over the challenge to refugee deportations to Rwanda has added urgency to the task of fighting for the human rights of migrant people.

Watch the recording of this hybrid event – zoom and live in London:

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Status Now newsletter: June 2022

10 years of hostile environment: It’s time to change!

Last month marked the tenth anniversary since the then home secretary, Theresa May, declared the aim of building a hostile environment for migrants in the UK.

The policies which followed have produced scandal after scandal, with the infamous undermining of the rights of people from the Windrush generation of Caribbean migrants being only the most well-known.  There is scarcely any group of people who came from abroad – whether they be refugees, migrant workers, students, or the family members of people settled here who haven’t felt the harsh consequences of this set of policies.

The government made the mistake of thinking that the hostile environment would be popular with the majority of people in the UK, but that hasn’t been the case.  Right from the early days of its ‘Go Home vans’ campaign, through to the refusal to provide sanctuary to asylum seekers corralled on the wrong side of the English Channel, the shocked response to what was inflicted on Windrush generation people, and taking in solidarity shown to migrant workers in the key posts that kept the country running during the worst period of the Covid pandemic, more and more people have been showing a willingness to take the side of people who are trying to settle into normal lives in the UK.

The Status Now Network grew out of this popular reaction to the hostile environment.  We are working today to win greater recognition of the injustices being inflicted on people settling in the UK, and for the solidarity that will be needed to defeat the threat that the hostile environment poses to their lives.  Our demands remain:
End the hostile environment!
Status Now, for all!
 
The Hostile Environment: How do we hold the Government to account?
 
The Home Office’s immigration policies have taken a battering over the course of the last few years. The public response to Go Home van campaigns and the Windrush generation scandal has shown increased awareness of the injustice being inflicted on migrant and refugee people.

Despite the mounting tide of criticism, Priti Patel and her colleagues have stuck firmly to the line of the hostile environment and are continuing to plot a new offensive against migrants and refugees that will come straight from the ‘culture wars’ playbook.
How should the grassroots migrant and refugee rights movement square up to this challenge? What sort of projects do we need to embark on that will unite the different sites of resistance to immigration policies and consolidate a united front opposition to entrenched racism in this area of policy?

The Status Now Network is working to open up a discussion about the role that a People’s Tribunal might play in indicting government policy and relating all its aspects back to a full frontal assault of all working people in the country today.

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Barriers to Wellbeing

Updated 6 May 2022: Women and Equalities Committee: Subject: Equality and the UK asylum process Wednesday 27 April 2022

Witness(es): Rosalind Bragg, Director, Maternity Action; Ms Rivka Shaw, Policy Officer, Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU) – SNN signatories; Esther Muchena, Asylum Service Manager, Scottish Refugee Council

A person from RAPAR reports: I was approached by Greater Manchester Immigration Unit (GMIU) to give my experience on the Asylum system which ranges from dilapidated accommodation, NHS cost, long stay in the system etc The GMIU lady made a presentation of this issues at the Parliament- Women and Equalities committee held on the 27th April 22.

This is the video clip. https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/80d5df93-25d6-4c74-987c-56f5481d3b64


Edinburgh Evening News: Edinburgh residents gather in Nicholson Square after immigration officers seen at Beirut restaurant

Hundreds of protesters stood united, some shouting angry chants and others in floods of tears, as an impromptu demonstation forced an apparent immigration raid to be abandoned in the centre of Edinburgh.

Read more: https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/edinburgh-residents-gather-in-nicholson-square-after-immigration-officers-seen-at-beirut-restaurant-3682568

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EDM #1442: Undocumented migrants and covid-19 vaccination

Early Day Motion 1442 tabled on 3 February 2021: Undocumented migrants and covid-19 vaccination

Motion text: That this House believes that access to essential healthcare is a universal human right; regrets the continued existence of structural, institutional and systemic barriers in accessing NHS care experienced by undocumented migrants and those awaiting determination of their asylum, visa and immigration applications; considers that an effective public health response to the covid-19 crisis requires that the most vulnerable can afford to access food, healthcare, and self-isolate where necessary; understands that some of the most vulnerable people in society will not access vaccination against the virus, since to disclose their identity to the authorities would risk their arrest, detention and deportation; fears that without urgent Government intervention this will lead to further avoidable premature deaths, especially in the African, Asian and Minority Ethnic population; and therefore calls on the Home Office to grant everyone currently in the UK at this time who are undocumented migrants and those awaiting determination of their asylum, visa and immigration applications indefinite leave to remain, and to be eligible in due course to receive the covid-19 vaccination.

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The immigration detention estate for women

Updated 23 November 2021: Re: Hassockfield/Consett/Derwentside immigration detention centre to house women will open by the end of 2021!

iNews: As migrant channel crossings hit a new record, insiders says centres like Yarl’s Wood can never be humane

For 20 years, Yarl’s Wood has been holding asylum seekers without time limits. Now a controversial new centre is replacing it to hold women. Is it time to call an end to detention?

Agnes Tanoh still remembers the fear of being taken into Yarl’s Wood, nearly a decade on. “You walk through the gates,” says the 65-year-old Ivorian refugee, “and the tunnel you take to reach the first office destroys your mind. I thought, ‘I am going somewhere I may never leave.’”

It was March 2012 when Tanoh was arrested and taken to the notorious immigration detention centre in Bedfordshire. After the disturbing ordeal of fleeing her home country the previous year, with her life at risk, she was incarcerated indefinitely as she awaited news of her fate.

“You haven’t defended yourself at trial,” she explains. “Being taken to a detention centre is being given a sentence without a time limit. It can be one week, three months, one year – you don’t know. Detention breaks families and causes distress and trauma.”

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

Updated 11 November 2021: Kanlungan Filipino Consortium@kanlunganuk From today, care home workers must prove they are double jabbed through the NHS COVID pass but for people who don’t have a GP or NHS number, this will be impossible. Our Advocacy and Campaigns Officer explains here why barriers to healthcare for migrants must be removed (South East London BBC News)

NEON@NEON_UK · : We really need to focus on making sure that health care is accessible to all in this country, especially in the pandemic. It’s just another example of how the government’s immigration policy makes no sense from a public health perspective. @FrancescaHumi on @BBCNews today.

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Scottish Housing Forum for Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Reminder: Date for your diary – 21 September 2021: Are you an asylum seeker, refugee or a supporting organisation in Scotland? If yes, please join us for this tenancy participation event.

MigrationUK, Scottish Asylum and Refugee Action Group, Status Now 4 All (Scotland) and Tenancy Participation Advisory Service (Scotland) are inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

TOPIC: Scottish Housing Forum for Asylum Seekers and Refugees: Tenancy Participation

SPEAKERS :
Tony Kelly, Tenancy Participation Advisory Service (Scotland)
Asylum Seekers and refugees with lived experience on housing issues
Peer group representatives
Support services

TIME:
Sep 21, 2021
06:30 PM London

About this event: The aim is:

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Scottish Government Act – Stand against the New Immigration Bill: 2 September 2021

Peaceful demonstration: Scottish Government Act – Stand against the New Immigration Bill: 2 September 2021

StatusNow4All Scotland

See the videos of the livestreams here: https://www.facebook.com/MigrationukServices and here: https://www.facebook.com/StatusNow4All

The National: Holyrood demo over Patel’s Nationality Bill

MEMBERS of a group campaigning to end evictions in Scotland have mounted a demonstration in Edinburgh over the UK Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill, claiming it would see the criminalisation of asylum seekers.

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Living Precariously or Health and Safety for All – a call for Indefinite Leave to Remain now

29 August 2021: StatusNow4All: Living Precariously or Health and Safety for All – a call for Indefinite Leave to Remain now

The asylum system is broken: there is a backlog of around 70,000 asylum applications which the newly arriving current Afghan applicants are expected to join. On 16 August 2021 the Home Office suspended its decision-making processes relating to asylum applications made by people from Afghanistan by withdrawing that country’s policy and guidance.  It is a gross miscarriage of natural justice to suspend legal process for those waiting for decisions or appeal hearings or in detention when a simple decision could immediately be put into effect – a grant of Indefinite Leave to Remain. 

This is why StatusNow4All calls for ALL those who do not have settled status to be given Leave to Remain. It is imperative for the Government to exercise its authority immediately by granting Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) and the right of access to Family Reunion as a matter of urgency to all people from Afghanistan who are currently in the UK. With political will, this can be done: nothing less than ILR will give people equitable access to healthcare, housing and food. 

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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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‘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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