Tag Archives: asylum

Re-blog: Parliamentary inquiry into asylum: our evidence

From the Refugee Council:

Parliamentary inquiry into asylum: our evidence

24 Apr 2013

The Refugee Council has submitted evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee, which launched an inquiry into the asylum system in February for the first time in ten years. The evidence has been published on the Committee’s website this week, alongside 98 other submissions from organisations and individuals. The Committee has now begun hearing evidence from key stakeholders, such as the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.

The aim of the inquiry is to look at, among other things, the effectiveness of the screening process for asylum applicants including the Detained Fast Track, the assessment of credibility of vulnerable asylum seekers, whether support to asylum seekers is sufficient and effective, the prevalence of destitution, and whether the media is balanced in their reporting of asylum issues.

The Refugee Council’s Advocacy team drew evidence from across the organisation to highlight the issues our clients regularly face. Our evidence includes:

How the dispersal of pregnant women in the asylum system puts their health at serious risk

Living on Section 4 support, including how the cashless system poses risks to pregnant women

Gaps in receiving asylum support and destitution as a result

Obstacles people experience in finding support, housing and employment after being granted refugee status

Problems for refugees applying for travel documents due to the new Biometric Residence Permits

The disproportionate and discriminatory nature of some reporting of asylum and refugee issues in the media.

Read our submission here, or to read all the evidence submitted to the Committee, click here.

Original News Story via Parliamentary inquiry into asylum: our evidence.

Re-blog: Asylum claim process flawed, says Amnesty report

Re-blog from the Refugee Council – Asylum claim process flawed, says Amnesty report.

Asylum claim process flawed, says Amnesty report
19 Apr 2013

Copyright: Refugee Council

Amnesty International UK and the Still Human Still Here Coalition have released a report this week further highlighting critically flawed decisions made by UKBA border officials in charge of deciding asylum claims.

Statistics used in the A Question of Credibility report show the process, first highlighted by AI UK in their 2004 report Get It Right: How Home Office decision making fails refugees, is actually becoming more inaccurate with regard to first-instance decisions, with 25 percent of refusals now being overturned on appeal.    Despite repeated calls for decision-making policy to be reformed, such as in the recent Refugee Council report Between as Rock and a Hard Place, perceived shortfalls in areas such as access to legal aid and flawed decision-making based on credibility issues have not been effectively addressed by the Home Office.

Research showed that in sample cases, the caseworkers often incorrectly applied caselaw, or did not follow the relevant credibility or operational guidance notes instituted as part of Home Secretary Theresa May’s recommendations.  While some of the negative decisions could be chalked up to reasonable disagreements between the judges at different stages in the process, the majority of  cases cited in the study were overturned primarily due to the fact the ‘UKBA case owner had wrongly made a negative assessment of the applicant’s credibility’.

Further, a significant number of reviewed cases also had their decisions reversed at appeal stage, on the alarming basis that the UKBA officer speculated what was likely to happen or how the applicant should have acted using solely  their own judgment, often not referring to region-specific research that would have alerted them to the fallibility of these decisions.  In other cases, the case officer did not ‘give appropriate weight’ to evidence, such as medical records and other documentation, which added credence to the applicant’s case.

While Amnesty admits that its research cannot be taken to correspond to all cases, the report is substantive, and in addition to a growing body of work that underlines the same conclusions supports a widening call to overhaul asylum claims’ procedure.  The monetary cost of unnecessary appeals is substantial, but the cost to the individual fleeing persecution cannot be measured in pounds and pence.

Read the full report: A Question of Credibility: Why so many initial decisions on asylum claims are overturned at appeal in the UK


New Thematic Publications on Gender Issues; Asylum/Protection; and Statelessness

Details of these new publications were originally circulated by Elisa Mason on the incredibly useful: Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog.  Further details can be found on the website at:  http://fm-cab.blogspot.co.uk/

New Publications on Gender Issues

Action Research with Refugee Women: Good Practice and Solutions to Community Participation (IARS &IDRICS, 2013) [text]

“Becoming Queer Here: Integration and Adaptation Experiences of Sexual Minority Refugees in Toronto,” Refuge, vol. 28, no. 2 (2011) [open access text]

Blind Alleys: The Unseen Struggles of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Urban Refugees in Mexico, Uganda and South Africa (ORAM, Feb. 2013) [access]
– Part I is “Guidance for NGOs, Governments, UNHCR & Program Funders”; Part II is country findings (presented in three separate reports).

Guidelines on the Transposition of the Asylum Qualification Directive: Protecting LGBTI Asylum Seekers (ILGA Europe, 2012) [access]

UN Report Highlights Displaced Women and Girls’ Risk for Sexual Violence, Demands Greater Action to Help Survivors (AlertNet, March 2013) [text]

Women’s Asylum News, no. 116 (March/April 2013) [full-text via Refworld]
– Lead article is “Missed Out Campaign – Success.”

New Publications on Asylum/Protection

Lettres Actualités Droits-Libertés (Centre de Recherches et d’Etudes sur les Droits Fondamentaux) [access]
– Browse back issues of these legal analyses to locate a number that focus on asylum and refugee issues; examples of “Letters” published so far in 2013 include: “Consécration du visa de transit aéroportuaire (VTA) comme instrument de police de mise à distance des demandes d’asile“; “Droit d’asile: Le Conseil d’Etat aux prises avec les mutilations génitales féminines”; and “État des lieux alarmant des conditions d’accueil des demandeurs d’asile en France.”

New Network Monitors Abuses of Deportees (IRIN, March 2013) [text]
– Discusses the Fahamu Refugee Programme’s Post-Deportation Monitoring Network.

A Numbers Game: Counting Refugees and International Burden-Sharing, Tasmania, 19 Dec. 2012 [text]
– Public lecture.

Oral Update on the High Commissioner’s 2012 Dialogue on Protection Challenges: Faith and Protection, 56th Meeting of the Standing Committee, 5-7 March 2013 [text]
– See also related presentation.

Refuge, vol. 28, no. 2 (2013) [open access text]
– Special issue on “Is the 1951 Refugee Convention Outdated?”; includes three feature articles on refugee camps, urban refugee livelihoods, and protection in Ireland, respectively. These are followed by three focused sections on asylum policy in Canada, protection in South Africa, and CARFMS 2012 conference presentations.


Refuge from Inhumanity: Enriching Refugee Protection Standards through Recourse to International Humanitarian Law, Oxford, 11-12 Feb. 2013 [info]
– A podcast is available for “Panel VII: Perspectives on Protection against Refoulement under IHL.”

Refugee Protection Seminar Series, Oxford, 16 Jan.-6 March 2013 [info]
– Podcasts of the various presentations are available on FMO.

New Publications on Statelessness

Adopting the Stateless (SSRN, Feb. 2013) [text]
– “This article proposes a nexus of statelessness and intercountry adoption where legislation is put forward to adopt stateless individuals, particularly children. This article will analyze pending legislation for the adoption of North Korean stateless persons and recommend legislation to address broader issues of statelessness.”

Background Note on Gender Equality, Nationality Laws and Statelessness (UNHCR, updated March 2013) [text]
– Reviews laws in 29 countries which do not allow women to confer nationality to their children.

Debating the ‘Right to Citizenship’ (ENS Blog, March 2013) [text]
– Comment re. recent seminar on “The Right to Citizenship: Towards fuller implementation of Article 15 UDHR,” Maastricht, 7 March 2013.

Lost in the Forest: Stateless Children in Borneo’s Palm Oil Industry (Pulitzer Center, Jan. 2013) [access]
– Video report.

No Residence, No Rights (ENS Blog, March 2013) [text]
– Focuses on Serbia.

Statelessness and Citizenship: Camps and the Creation of ‘Political Space’, Oxford, 20 Feb. 2013 [access]
– Podcast of this seminar now available.



Call for Papers: Disability, Asylum and Migration

Call for Papers:

Disability and the Global South: An International Journal


Disability, Asylum and Migration

Guest Editors: Maria Pisani (University of Malta) and Shaun Grech (Manchester Metropolitan University) Much has been written and documented on migration and the movements of people within and across national borders. In the light of environmental disasters, wars and conflict, food shortages, and environmental degradation, issues concerning the migration – development nexus have received considerable attention with the development literature infused within broader subjects of poverty reduction and humanitarian intervention. However, within the research and literature on forced migration one is immediately struck by the stark absence of disabled people. This absence is evident also across all of the disciplinary fields  in forced migration including international development, anthropology, global health and humanitarian action. Moreover, many countries of resettlement, such as Canada and Australia, actively exclude disabled people from their refugee and asylum programs. Critically, disability studies has yet to extensively engage with the predicament of disabled refugees and asylum seekers and their journeys across a range of geopolitical spaces. This is despite the fact that wars, conflict and environmental disasters that cause people to migrate are also a major cause of impairment and impoverishment, whilst the forced migratory passage impacts disabled people as they flee or attempt to reconstruct their lives in other places. This negligence is sustained by the virtual exclusion of disabled migrants, including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), refugees and asylum seekers from major policy documents such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the most recent offering, the WHO/World Bank (2011) World Report on Disability.

This special issue aims to transcend disciplinary, epistemological, and other boundaries, inviting researchers, activists and practitioners to engage in critical debate around all aspects of the migration experience and disability, following journeys for asylum from global South to global North or within the global South. We are keen to hear from those in the global South, in particular empirical work that prioritises and renders visible these lives and voices, and that pushes for disability and migration as a key area of study and practice. We encourage contributions exploring a range of themes including (not exclusively):

*  Causes of forced migration among disabled people in the global South . Experiences of disabled people during exodus and post-conflict/humanitarian contexts . Intersections of disability, race, culture,  poverty, gender and legal status in the migration process . Asylum, disabled bodies, and (re)construction of disabled lives across borders . Globalisation, neoliberalism and the role of the disabled migrant in contemporary imperialism . Racism, xenophobia and the position of the disabled migrant . Medicalisation and treatment in the West

*  Disabled migrants in policy and practice: critical analyses . Disabled migrants in resettlement . Disability and migration in disciplines: reviews and approaches for inclusion (e.g. disability studies and migration studies) . Disabled migrants, voice, and claims for social justice

Those wishing to submit an article, please email your full manuscript to both Shaun Grech (S.Grech@mmu.ac.uk) and Maria Pisani (maria.pisani@um.edu.mt). Please insert ‘Submission for Disability and Migration Special Issue’ in the subject line. Manuscripts will be sent anonymously for double peer review, and comments and recommendations relayed to authors through the editors.

Deadline for submission: 1st September 2013.


Courses: Upcoming HREA E-learning Courses on Migration & Asylum

*** Apologies for Cross Posting ***

Source: Forced Migration Discussion List.

Courses:  Upcoming HREA E-learning Courses on Migration & Asylum

Dear Colleagues,

HREA will be offering two new e-learning courses “Migration and Asylum (Foundation Course)” and “EU Migration and Asylum Law and Policies” from 13 February-26 March 2013:


This course introduces the participants to the international migration system; discussing and analyzing the most commonly used categories of migration (including the migration-asylum nexus), its causes and consequences, current trends and figures, as well as the main international, regional and national policy and operational approaches and challenges.

Week 1. Introduction to Main Concepts in Migration Discourse Week 2. Global Trends in Migration Week 3. The Migration-Asylum Nexus Week 4. The Legal Framework Week 5. Policy Approaches: Migration Policies and Practice Week 6. International Migration and Social Justice

For more information and online registration, please visit:



The European Union (EU) is one of the central players of today’s international community. Composed of member states which were traditionally sending countries, they have become key destinations for migrants and refugees from all over the world in the past half century. The internal EU migration trends have also special features as older members and newer ones have different patterns for sending and receiving migrants. A number of complex policies and programmes have therefore been designed in views of addressing these phenomenons while cooperating with third countries in the areas of migration and asylum. For those living and working outside the EU, understanding its complex migration system can be a true challenge. This course aims to provide participants with a clear overview of the basic EU migration and asylum laws and policies and policy-making procedures, allowing them to focus deeper on a specific topic of their interest through assignments.

Course outline

Week 1. Introduction to EU Policy on Immigration and Asylum Week 2. Institutional Framework of European Immigration and Asylum Policies Week 3. Control of External Borders and European Visa Policy Week 4. Employment and Migration Week 5. Status and Integration of Third-Country Nationals Week 6. EU Migration and Asylum Law and Policies in the International Context

For more information and online registration, please visit:


The courses involve approximately 50 hours of reading, on-line working groups, interaction among students and instructors, webinars and quizzes, and are offered over a 6-week period. The courses integrate active and participatory learning approaches within activities and assignments, with an emphasis on reflective and collaborative learning. The maximum number of course participants is 25.


The courses are aimed at practitioners and professionals who want to gain knowledge in the field of (im)migration and asylum, government officials (local and national level) dealing with migration and migration-related issues; EU policy makers; national authorities of EU and non-EU countries dealing with migration and asylum policies; staff of inter-governmental organisations such as the IOM and UNHCR; NGO staff members and service providers; and students of law, international relations, politics and social science. Participants should have a good written command of English and have high competence and comfort with computer and Internet use. HREA aims to ensure equal gender and geographical distribution across the selected participants. The maximum number of course participants is 25. It also possible to audit the course. A Certificate of Participation will be awarded upon successful completion of the course.


Tuition fee for participants: US$ 435 (25% discount) if paid by 15 December 2012; $ 490 (15% discount) if paid by 15 January 2013; $ 575 after 15 January 2013.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have further questions.

Best wishes,

Paula Carello
Program Director Migration & Asylum
Human Rights Education Associates (HREA)
E-mail: p.carello@hrea.org

Event: 2013 Nordic Asylum Seminar

*** Apologies for Cross Posting ***

Source: Forced Migration Discussion List.

The University of Bergen, Faculty of Law, has the pleasure of inviting you to the 2013 Nordic Asylum Seminar, 6-7 June 2013, in Bergen (Norway).

The 2013 Nordic Asylum Seminar will include speakers and participants from all the Nordic countries and other countries as well; representatives of the migration administrations, researchers, NGOs, politicians and other stakeholders. The seminar is co-sponsored by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) and the Ministry of Justice and Public Security.

The Seminar consists of plenary sessions as well as workshops, where researchers have an opportunity to present their work. We especially encourage early career researchers to submit new material for discussion during the workshops. We kindly invite you to submit abstracts of not more than 300 words on the following themes:

– The EU and Nordic asylum law and policy

– Exclusion from refugee status/complementary protection

– Asylum applicants with special needs

– Generalized violence and the need for international protection

– Protection of environmental refugees

– Possibly other themes if suggested by participants and accepted by the organisers

Abstracts should be sent to Jessica Schultz at jessica.schultz@jur.uib.no by Monday, **January 28, 2013.**

Other relevant dates for the seminar include:

– 13 February 2013: Decisions regarding acceptance and allocation of workshop papers will be communicated

– 15 April 2013: Registration deadline for seminar participation

– 20 May 2013: Submission of workshop papers

The preliminary programme may be found at http://www.uib.no/jur/seminar/2012/11/nordic-asylum-seminar-2013 .


New Publications on Rethinking Integration; Greece; Food Insecurity; Human Trafficking; Halifax Public Libraries; Children; Asylum

Rethinking integration

Rethinking integration

Rethinking integration.
A new report written by Myriam Cherti and Clare McNeil for the IPPR.

IPPR has published a report setting out what they call an ‘everyday integration’ approach to bringing cultural minorities into the mainstream.

The report argues that this contrasts with the ‘group multiculturalism’ which has been advocated by academic researchers in the past, and the more recent assimulationist approaches which have been advocated in recent years by government.

[Access Full Report].
(Source: Migrants’ Rights Network).

Update report Greece/ June 2012.
Report written by Thanos Maroukis for the CLANDESTINO Project.

In a new report posted on the project’s website they have set out an alternative assessment for 2011 which suggests figure of 390,000 as representing the upper range of credible estimates. This figure is calculated on the basis of CLANDESTINO’s baseline estimate for 2007 updated to take into account apprehension data provided by the Greek authorities and other factors used by researchers to interpret data.

[Download Full Report].
(Source: Migrants’ Rights Network).

The State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI).
Produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
[Download Full Report]
(Source: IDS – World Food Day: What hope for a new era of global action on food security?).

First Annual Report of the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking

First Annual Report of the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking

First Annual Report of the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking – Cm. 8421.
Produced by the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group (IDMG) on Human Trafficking.

Fuelled primarily by those who seek to make a profit from the misery of others, human trafficking is the vilest of crimes and equates to modern day slavery.

Men, women and children from across the world are exploited and forced into performing services or other work against their will. In some instances the exploitation can be experienced over a prolonged period of time. Those who are exploited may face years of sexual abuse, forced labour, or domestic servitude and, in many instances never fully recover from their traumatic experience.

[Access the Report]
(Source: The Metro – Trafficking misery: illegal trade of humans into Britain ‘rising every year’).

Asset Mapping at Halifax Public Libraries: A Tool for Beginning to Discover the Library’s Role with the Immigrant Community in Halifax.
Article written by Kenneth Williment and Tracey Jones-Grant and published in Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, vol. 7, no. 1 (2012).
[Download Article]
(Source: The Network E-bulletin).

Into the unknown: Children’s journeys through the asylum
A new report by the Children’s Association.
[Download Full Report]
(Source: The Network E-bulletin).

Tell it like it is: the truth about asylum.
A new report by The Refugee Council.
[Access the Report]
(Source: The Network E-bulletin).