Thursday, 15 January 2009

News Round-Up

Immigration Minister Calls For Changes In 'Outdated' Geneva Convention.

Yes our old friend Phil Woolas, the immigration minister, has been at it again. He has called for the Geneva Convention to be scraped, as he claims that "a significant number of people who claim asylum" are abusing the 58-year-old convention, which enshrines individuals' rights to asylum from state persecution. His proposals closely mirror those of that other fine upholder of liberal democracy the French president Nicholas Sarkozy. [See: Guardian 10 Jan]

From Belsen To Zimbabwe: Sorry Minister, But To Call The Geneva Conventions Outdated Traduces 60 Years Of Torture And Abuse.

In an article in the same paper 3 days later Helen Bamber, founder of the Helen Bamber Foundation, a UK-based human rights organisation that works with survivors of genocide, torture, trafficking and rape who seek safety and refuge, attacked Woolas' ignorance of the "documented fact that patterns of migration mirror patterns of global conflict." [See: Guardian 13 Jan]

Campsfield: 'Staff Ignored Suicide Threat'.

Detainees at Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre claim wardens repeatedly ignored warnings an inmate was going to commit suicide.

Brice Mabonga, a 33-year-old detainee from Congo, tried unsuccessfully to kill himself on New Year’s Day, after spending more than a week on hunger strike.

It is believed Mr Mabonga, who had been in the Blue Wing of the Kidlington facility, attempted to slit his throat with a sharpened plastic knife in order to avoid deportation on January 2. [More on this story: Oxford Mail 13 Jan]

Lack Of Accountability Is At Heart Of The Mistreatment Of Asylum-Seeker.

In an article in the Independent, the paper's Law Editor, Robert Verkaik, argues that "a disturbing feature of Britain's record on immigration is the treatment of failed asylum-seekers (sic). Successive governments have overseen the establishment of a system that is best suited to meeting deportation targets, rather than the care of some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Immigrants who have committed no criminal offence can be locked up for as long as three years. Failed asylum-seekers have few rights and often know very little about the legal system in which they are held. In such a climate, it is easy to see how those employed to guard them are in a position to abuse their power." [See: Independant 14 Jan]

[Courtesy of NCADC]

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