Daily Archives: Thursday, December 11, 2014

Event at UEL: The rights of women seeking asylum: The role of research and civic engagement in securing the rights of women to protection

MA in Refugee Studies
Feminist Research Group
Centre for Social Justice and Change
Seminar & Lecture Series

The rights of women seeking asylum:
The role of research and civic engagement in securing the rights of women to protection

Date: Monday, December 15, 2014
Time: 6 to 8 pm
Room: EB.G 07, Docklands Campus

All welcome!

Debora Singer MBE
Policy and Research Manager, Asylum Aid
Gabriella Bettiga
Immigration Solicitor, Lawrence Lupin Solicitors

This seminar engages with the question of how to secure the rights of women seeking asylum. In doing so, it examines why women’s experiences of persecution have tended to be excluded from the dominant interpretation of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and explores why women are often unable to benefit equitably from protection under the Refugee Convention. In the past decade, Asylum Aid has been working, lobbying and campaigning to secure the rights of women to protection under the Geneva Convention. Asylum Aid is a NGO based in London which provides free legal representation to asylum seekers and has a national profile in the UK.  Its Women’s Project, set up in 2000, aims to enable women fleeing serious human rights violations to gain protection in the UK through its casework, research, lobbying and campaigning. By discussing their work, the seminar will point to the way in which research and civic engagement can gradually bring the change and improve the lives of women seeking asylum.

Debora Singer is Policy and Research Manager at Asylum Aid where she has worked since May 2004.  She manages the Women’s Project and lobbies and campaigns on issues affecting women asylum seekers.  As part of this work, Debora launched the Charter of rights of women seeking asylum in 2008, to persuade the UK to adopt a gender sensitive asylum system.

Before joining Asylum Aid, Debora worked as Policy Manager at Victim Support focusing on issues of sexual violence, domestic violence and human rights as they affected victims of crime.  In 2006 she obtained a distinction for her Masters degree in Refugee Studies at University of East London. Asylum Aid published her MA Dissertation research on women asylum seekers and international human rights mechanisms, which has had an impact on various campaigns and policy documents. Debora has become well known for her persistence and enthusiasm in lobbying strategically and achieving long term impacts. A well-respected campaigner, responsible for a series of creative campaigns on the rights of women seeking asylum Debora was awarded an MBE for services to women in the 2012 New Year Honours List.

Her most recent publications include chapters in edited volumes: Gender in Refugee Law: From the Margins to the Centre, Arbel, E. et al. Eds. Routledge 2014; and Moving in the Shadows: Violence in the lives of minority women and children, Rehman, Y. et al. Eds. Ashgate 2013.

Gabriella Bettiga, is an Immigration Solicitor at Lawrence Lupin Solicitors since 2003. She is Head of the firm’s Supervisors, as well as Manager of the fast-track and detention scheme. She is in charge of the firm’s training programme and regularly delivers training courses.

Her private casework has included the points-based system as well as human rights, asylum and outside-the-rules applications. She also regularly deals with Judicial Reviews and Court of Appeal matters. Gabriella studied an LLM in Human Rights (in particular the rights of the child), Islamic law, Immigration and Asylum law at the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Gabriella is a Trustee at Asylum Aid and a member of the Women’s Project Committee promoting the Women’s Asylum Charter. She has been involved with various NGOs in several projects and policy work in relation to gender issues in asylum claims and detention.


Urban refugees in Gaziantep


Here are some pictures showing in which conditions Syrian regugees live like in Gaziantep …. for rent!





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Join ICC to safeguard human rights every day

HRD 20412

By ensuring accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, the ICC system is a powerful mechanism for protecting core human rights.

This Human Rights Day, all states should commit to joining the Court to safeguard the human rights of their citizens every day.

This year, the theme of Human Rights Day is Human Rights 365, meaning that every day is Human Rights Day. It celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights.

“The power of the Universal Declaration is the power of ideas to change the world. It tells us that human rights are essential and indivisible – 365 days a year,” says UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

Governments and civil society attending the 13th session of the ICC’s governing body – the Assembly of States…

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Why is UNHCR Doing RSD Anyway? A UNHCR Report Identifies the Hard Questions

Back in 2001 and 2002, when I was working on setting up legal aid for asylum-seekers applying to UNHCR for refugee status determination (RSD) in Egypt, UNHCR officials would sometimes tell me: “Why don’t you put your energy into getting the Egyptian government to live up to its responsibilities? UNHCR is not even supposed to be doing RSD.”

By this time, UNHCR had been doing RSD in Egypt for nearly five decades, and so many people in Cairo took it for granted that this was UNHCR normal role. But it was a provocative question. So, whenever I met up with an Egyptian lawyer or human rights activist, I would ask their opinion: “Do you think we should push the Egyptian government to take over from UNHCR and start deciding refugee cases?” I would always get the same answer: “Are you crazy? Why would anyone want to have the Egyptian Government…

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

Written by Martin Russell

ASEAN: building an Economic Community © MasterLu / Fotolia

The Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) has long been one of the developing world’s most active regional organisations. Set up in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, it has — like the EU —helped to bring stability to a formerly turbulent region. Successive enlargements have added Brunei, former Cold War adversaries Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, and —most recently — Myanmar.

However, in contrast to the EU, ASEAN remains a mostly intergovernmental organisation. Decisions are non-binding, taken by national leaders at annual summits, based on the principles of consensus and non-interference in domestic affairs. ASEAN has no equivalent of the EU’s strong supranational institutions such as the European Commission. Partly because of this, progress towards regional integration has been slow.

After criticism of its weak response to the 1997 Asian financial crisis, ASEAN decided to step up cooperation. Its…

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Cracking intercepts: the war on terror and difficulties with Human Rights

UK Human Rights Blog

TheImitationGame-BCLiberty v Government Communications Headquarters ( IPT/13/77/H); Privacy International v FCO and others (IPT/13/92/CH); American Civil Liberties Union v Government Communications Headquarters (IPT/13/168-173/H); Amnesty International Ltd v The Security Service and others (IPT/13/194/CH); Bytes for All v FCO (IPT/13/204/CH), The Investigatory Powers Tribunal [2014] UKIPTrib 13_77-,  5 December 2014 – read judgment

Robert Seabrook QC is on the panel of the IPT and  David Manknell of 1 Crown Office acted as Counsel to the Tribunal  in this case. They have nothing to do with the writing of this post.

This is a fascinating case, not just on the facts or merits but because it is generated by two of the major catalysts of public law litigation: the government’s duty to look after the security of its citizens, and the rapid outpacing of surveillance law by communications technology. Anyone who has seen The Imitation Game, a film loosely based on the biography of…

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An internship at RIJ

Refugees International Japan Blog

Hi, I am Siri and I have just completed a three months internship at RIJ. Please read on to learn more about what an internship actually is and what you can gain from it.

What is an internship?_S__5816361
An internship is all about gaining work experience in a given field. It may be something you know you want to do or to explore opportunities and see what suits your interests and education. Whichever reason you have, it is important to acknowledge that the organization you are working for is doing actual work, this is what they do and you should support their work as best you can. If you discover that this is not the field for you, try to do your best with the time you are spending there – you can still learn a lot.

I am lucky enough to have an internship that complements my interests and my…

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Scott Morrison may gloat but asylum seekers’ boats haven’t really stopped

Subversion #1312

The Guardian

Two facts emerge as the UNHCR meets in Geneva to look at protection for refugees at sea: more people than ever are fleeing their country by boat, and deterrence doesn’t stop them…

For all the slogans and military operations, over 54,000 people have boarded boats across the Indian Ocean this year, with around 20,000 in just the two months of October and November. As much as Scott Morrison may gloat, the boats haven’t really stopped.

The point you won’t see on any media release or hear at a doorstop press conference is this: even if people haven’t drowned on the way to Australia, they’ve still drowned. Because people fleeing countries in the region are still getting on boats.

There are many inconvenient facts for those who won’t stop talking about stopping the boats. But perhaps the facts are not so bothersome if they aren’t on the…

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Did the Torture Report Just Open the U.S. Up to ICC Prosecution?

Justice in Conflict

Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo Bay (Photo: AP) Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo Bay (Photo: AP)

Does the recent ‘torture report’ on CIA ‘enhanced interrogation methods’ leave US citizens vulnerable to prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC)? That was the question I was asked to answer in my latest article for the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage, originally posted here.

Dec. 9 saw the much anticipated release of the U.S. Senate’s “torture report,” outlining in harrowing and tragic detail the CIA’s program of “enhanced interrogation techniques” in its “global war on terror.” On Dec. 2, the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court also released a report in which it made clear that it was inching closer to opening an official investigation into crimes in Afghanistan – including U.S. interrogation techniques. These developments could very well expose U.S. officials to formal investigation – and potentially prosecution – by the ICC. But is the court truly prepared to…

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CIA torture report: Former Agency chiefs criticise ‘partisan attack’ on the agency – Americas – World – The Independent

Indiĝenaj Inteligenteco

George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden jointly challenged the main findings – that the CIA lied about the extent of the torture, which included waterboarding, wall slamming and “rectal feeding” of prisoners, and that the interrogations yielded no useful intelligence.

“The committee has given us … a one-sided study marred by errors of fact and interpretation – essentially a poorly done and partisan attack on the agency that has done the most to protect America after the 9/11 attacks,” they wrote in The Wall Street Journal.

“In no way would we claim that we did everything perfectly, especially in the emergency and often-chaotic circumstances we confronted in the immediate aftermath of 9/11,” they said.

via CIA torture report: Former Agency chiefs criticise ‘partisan attack’ on the agency – Americas – World – The Independent.

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Victims at the ICC: What is the Way Forward?

Justice in Conflict

The following is a guest-post on the future of victims and victim participation at the International Criminal Court. It was written by Stephen Smith Cody (Director of the Atrocity Response Program at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law), Susana SáCouto (Director of the War Crimes Research Office (WCRO)) and Chris Tenove (a doctoral candidate at the University of British Columbia).

A witness testifying before the ICC. (Photo: Reporting Kenya) A witness testifying before the ICC. (Photo: Reporting Kenya)

When the Assembly of States Parties convenes this week, members will select judges, finalize a budget, and debate new rules and regulations. Another topic sure to arise is the major reform of the Registry of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Such actions don’t make headlines, but they have serious implications for how the ICC operates and how it relates to one of its key constituencies, victims of crimes. We have several concerns about how proposed reforms of the Registry might…

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