Monday, 22 December 2008

'Tis The Season Of Good Will...

...Unless Of Course You Are A Migrant!

It seems fitting that in the week leading up to Xmas, and against the backdrop of the global financial downturn, that a number of so-called Christian countries should be putting up the "no more room at the inn" signs.

In Spain the recession is beginning to bite and unemployment is starting to rise. And of course the easiest and most populist option for the government is to target migrants. To this end they are proposing new legislation to limit immigration, that also allows police to hold sans-papiers for longer prior to expulsion and that will make it harder for foreign-born residents to bring relatives into the country.

Currently 10% of the Spanish population are legally entitled residents and a fair portion of these were once so-called 'illegal immigrants', cornerstones of the building industry boom in the late 90's and early '00's, together with the agricultural labourers that the Costa del Polythene depends upon, that were granted residency during the 2005 amnesty. These people have brought enormous wealth into the country but as times are getting hard they are going to be the first to suffer.

Further east, Italy has already seen widespread repression and attacks on the Roma and migrant populations (see the 1st & 5th October posts), with the Army being sent onto the streets following a state of emergency being announced in the South of the country.

In Greece during the on-going civil uprising (which, if the BNP are to believed, has been caused entirely by 'asylum seekers') there have been a series of savage attacks on migrants carried out by the police in concert with fascists from the Golden Dawn organisation. The police have also been carrying out mass arrests of migrants and an unknown number of these are currently remanded in custody, and can be held up to 18 months before they have to be tried or released. Many have also been tried in flagrante delicto [in a police or Magistrate's court] and convicted in the absence of adequate interpreting facilities.

Greece has a long history of deaths of migrants at the hands of the police, many of whom are Golden Dawn members and sympathisers. [See] Just a week before Alexandros Grigoropoulos was shot, a 29-year old Pakistani named Mohammed Ashraf was killed by the riot-police in Athens as they dispersed a group of migrants waiting to apply for green cards.

The current picture is confused but atleast 50 migrants have received 18 month sentences (without the right to parole). There are also reports that there has been an increase in the number of migrants being rounded up and suffering forced illegal deportation.

The Southern hemisphere is also lacking in seasonal good cheer for migrants. In a rapid about turn, the Australian government have gone back on their decision to end the so-called "Pacific Solution" of using remote Pacific islands to house detained asylum seeker (see the 1st July post). Kevin Rudd's government, one of whose members labeled it a "stalag", have decided to open the £180M detention centre on Christmas Island, 1,000 miles from the Australian mainland.

Meanwhile, we have slightly better Xmas news here in Brighton. Kandazi and Harvey Sisya, 13 & 15 years old respectively, and their mother Gift Mubanga, have been bailed from Yarl's Wood IRC and will spend Christmas back in Hove, which had been their home since 2001 until they were detained on 28th November. Their attempted deportation back to Zambia on 16th December was stopped following a last-minute court injunction, a full judicial review of which is due to take place on 9th January. In the meantime the campaign for them to remain in the country started by Kandazi and Harvey's fellow pupils at Hove Park School continues. We wish them well.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Tories Claim UK Asylum Process Inhumane

In an interview on the BBC's Today programme Iain Duncan Smith has claimed that the government's asylum process is inhumane. "The British government is using forced destitution as a means of encouraging people to leave voluntarily. It is a failed policy," he said.

He was presenting a new report from the right-wing think tank Centre for Social Justice, which estimates that at least 26,000 so-called 'failed asylum seekers' are subsisting on Red Cross food parcels in the run-up to Christmas. The same report also claims that hostility at the start of process prevents the proper submission of asylum claims and compares the UK system to Sweden's, where 80% of 'failed asylum seekers' return voluntarily to their country of origin compared to only 20% for the UK.

Does this mean that the Tories are suddenly becoming the Party of Compassion? Needless to say at the heart of the report are claims about the major possible financial savings that a change in the asylum process could bring, as the cost of forcibly removing a 'failed' asylum seeker is £11,000 compared to just £1,100 for voluntary removals.

Interestingly, this comes on top of a recent landmark legal ruling that has paved the way for thousands of asylum seekers in the UK to be allowed to work. The High Court, in case brought on behalf of an Eritrean asylum seeker, whose application for entry to the UK was refused, has ruled that current laws preventing him from taking a job are incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. This ruling could also affect asylum seekers who are also currently destitute and in limbo as they are from countries including Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe which are also considered too dangerous to return to.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Oakington IRC Condemned As Unsafe

The latest HM Chief Inspector of Prisons (HMCIP) report in to Oakington Immigration Reception Centre in Cambridgeshire, the government's flagship "fast-track" asylum centre, had "lost direction and purpose and is not performing well, especially in the areas of safety and respect". In fact, the relationships between the Global Solutions Ltd (GSL) security staff running the centre and the 328 detainees had deteriorated to the extent that they are significantly worse than at any other removal centre.

"Half the detainees, compared with a third last time [2005], said that they had felt unsafe. Only 60%, compared with 89% last time, and 94% in 2004, said that most staff treated them with respect. These are significant and troubling slippages." The use of force to control detainees had also increased at the centre from 53 incidents last year to 34 in the first six months of this year. The number of detainees put on segregation for breaching rules has also risen, from 328 times in the whole of 2007 to 220 in the first six months of this year.

The report also states the management and staff take so little interest in individual detainees that they were unaware of the fact that they had been holding one Chinese man for nearly two years. The Chinese authorities had said that the remote village he came from did not exist and it took 16 months before an immigration officer bothered to check on the internet and found it was genuine. "After 16 months, a member of the UK Border Agency team at Oakington established through the internet that the village did indeed exist and sent a copy of the map showing the village to the case owner. She also reported to the case owner that he appeared compliant and would like to return as soon as possible."

When the information was then passed on to the relevant case worker, the man was issued with a notice of non-compliance with the authorities and threatened with legal action and his monthly review also continued to claim that he had given false information about his address. On top of this "he had already served a short custodial sentence for having a false document and was now at risk of a further custodial sentence," the report said.

Interestingly, Global Solutions Ltd is the company that, in addition to already running Tinsley House, will be operating the latest addition to the Detention estate when Brook House at Gatwick Airport opens at the end of February or the beginning of March next year. We can only hope that the GSL staff make a better fist (if that's the right phrase) of their duty of care that the law imposes upon them. But given the number of complaints from staff about the way that management are forcing them to cut corners and disregard the welfare of the detainees in their custody (see "Outsourcing Abuse", the latest publication by Medical Justice) we somehow doubt it.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Plans For Joint Afghan Deportation Flight Ends in Diplomatic Row

Things have moved on since our last post in the attempts by the UK and French governments to carry out a joint deportation of Afghans back to Kabul under the 2003 Dublin Regulations. Despite widespread secrecy about the flight, details began to leak and a campaign of opposition to the flight began on both sides of the channel including pickets of the Coquelles detention centre where the French detainees were being held and of the French Tourist Board in London.

Flight PVT008 itself, the "London-Lille-Baku-Kabul" charter operated by Hamburg Airlines, was due to fly from Stansted today Tuesday 18th at 7pm with about 30 UK-held Afghans on board. At Lille it was planned to pick up the 62 French-held Afghans and from there to Azerbaijan, before flying on to the Afghan capital Kabul where the deportees will be released.

However, a press release from the wonderfully 1984-sounding French 'Ministry of Immigration, Intégration, National Identity and Solidarity Development' yesterday announced that Nicolas Sarkozy's government had cancelled a flight at the 11th hour, referring to 'a legal difficulty related to the flight'. This 'legal difficulty' turned out to be the fact that not only did the flight violate article 4 of the European Declaration on Human Rights, which forbids the "collective expulsion of foreigners", but that 11 of the Coquelles Afghans made an emergency appeal to the European Court of Human Rights on the afternoon of the 17th November asking it to prevent the deportation as the "present situation appears to present too elevated a risk of inhuman and degrading treatment" should they be returned. This request was facilitated by 2 of the French migrant support groups, Cimade (Comité Inter-Mouvements Auprès des Evacués) and Gisti (Groupe d'Information et de Soutien des Immigrés), that had been active in the campaign against the flight.

As the situation now stands, the joint British-French project that started with the Dublin accord and the closure of Sangatte, and that was due to be ratcheted up to a new level, lies in ruins amidst a diplomatic row. This can only be a good thing for the migrants left in France along the Channel coast trying to survive the coming winter whilst being hunted by the state and having anyone who dares to offer them support persecuted under the assisting 'illegal immigrants' legislation.

For further information see: the Statewatch and Telegraph stories

Friday, 7 November 2008

Anglo-French Deportations to Afghanistan

The first flight to result from a new Anglo-French pact to return refugees to the Afghan war zone is due to take place within the next few days. Despite the recent upsurge in fighting in the Afghan-Pakistan border region, the plans by Barak Obama to dramatically increase the US military presence there next year, together with the deaths of NGOs and even DHL workers in previously 'safe' Kabul, the British and French authorities have decided that now is the time to send a strong message to potential refugees from the war zone - "We will send you back to Afghanistan, irrespective of the conditions."

An unknown number of refugees currently held at Harmondsworth IRC will be flown to France, prior to joining 57 Afghans who were recently arrested in the Calais and Dunkirk region, currently being held in the Coquelles detention centre, on the special Paris-Bakou-Kabul charter flight. Thus the British and French governments will be completing the endless refugee carousel to a country listed, by Crisis Watch amongst others, as among the top "continuing conflicts that create refugees."

See: Indymedia background article

Monday, 27 October 2008

Titan IRC Plans Revealed

The UK Borders Agency have revealed the plans for the latest co-called Immigration Removal Centre at Bullingdon near Bicester, on ex-military land next to HMP Bullingdon according to the BBC. The land had previously been flagged as the site for one of a series of propsed 'immigrant accommodation centre', plans that were dropped in June 2005 following various planning appeals, a judicial review and a final Court of Appeal decision in its favour.

The new IRC is to be twice the size of the soon to be opened Brook House at Gatwick Airport and 4 times the size of Campsfield, the other IRC in Oxfordshire, holding 800. It will also be built to the same standard as the Category C prison it will stand next to. Bullingdon will be the next stage in the government's massive expansion of the immigration arm of the prison industrial complex by 1300-1500 places and stands alongside the planned new 2500 place titan prisons.

No Borders Brighton Film Night

ROMA IN ITALY (provisional title)

With an Introduction by the Director John Sinha
A New Film About The Living Conditions And Persecution Of The Roma People In Italy


A Film About The Lives & Struggles Of Migrants Working In The London Underground

Tuesday 28th October 7.30pm

We hope to also have some food available for those of you coming hot foot
from work and play.

Monday, 20 October 2008

The World According to Phil Woolas

Well it was only a matter of time before the right-wing knee-jerk (or should that be right arm elbow-jerk?) kicked in and the mainstream parties made a dash to the right over migration in light of the economic downturn. The last refuge of the scoundrel anyone?

In a Times interview on 18 October long-time Labour Party apparatchik Phil Woolas, who has recently been handed the poisoned chalice of the position of Immigration Minster, broke party ranks and called for a 70M limit on the UK population (though he appeared to back track the next day).

Despite nailing his anti-racist credentials to the mast, he claimed that dealing with immigration was his "lifelong purpose"!? “I've been brought in to be tougher and to change perceptions,” he boasted.

His argument seems to be that in times of increasing unemployement racial discrimination and right-wing aggitation increases, therefore the Labour government should pander to this by limiting immigration and ensuring employers put British people first.

He also hailed the new points based immigration policy for non-EU migration as the ideal tool for this purpose. This policy, rather than looking upon migrants as human beings, sees them as economic units to exploit. If they have the requisite skills then they can come to the UK until they are no longer wanted, then they are out on their ears.

Not satisfied with having plundered the rest of the world through the British Empire and continuing to exploit the Third World for after its demise through the offices of multinational companies, the World bank and massive debt, now we have the modern equivalent of the slave trade - the skills drain. The developing countries have for a long time supplied doctors, nurses and other skill bases that the UK have been unable to satisfy itself. Now it is just being made more explicit.

Needless to say Frank Field, the Labour Party's own Enoch Powell, welcomed the government's change of tack and even managed to out 'sound bite' the chair of Migrationwatch Andrew Green (has anyone ever heard of anyone else being a member or spokesperson for this reactionary organisation?).

Not to be outdone, the Tories made their own bid of the amoral high ground by highlighting the fact that 80 per cent of migrants to Britain since 1997 have come from outside the EU. Dominic Grieve, shadow home secretary, claimed that there had been a " failure to control economic migration from outside the EU" and of course called for a " fundamental change in approach." (See)

See also the excellent analysis of the Woolas coverage on Indymedia.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Doublespeak About New EU Migration Centre

Louis Michel, the EU's development commissioner, has opened the new Migration Management Centre in Bamako, the capital of Mali. Mali is the world's fifth poorest country and an estimated 4m of its 12m population are abroad.

The Migration Management Centre is part of a pilot scheme allegedly to try to dissuade Africans from taking the hazardous routes to Europe. Mali was chosen as a venue as it is a hub for tens of thousands of Africans who try to get to Europe every year via boat to Spain's Canary Islands from the west coast of Africa. Last week, for example, Spanish coastguards intercepted a group of 230 Africans, the largest single boat load detained so far.

The aim of the centre in the eyes of the European countries that financed it is to offer seasonal work for temporary legal migrants as part of a network of European migration centres across west Africa.

The Association of Malian Deportees however, which operates as an aid organisation for returned immigrants, claims that the new centre was being established simply to strengthen the EU borders against so-called 'illegal' immigration and to facilitate the more efficient expulsion of immigrants from Europe.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

3 Days of Anti-Racist Iniatives in Italy

Yesterday (4 October) saw the first of three days of anti-racist actions in Italy against the increasing attacks on the migrant communities in Italy [Link in Italian]. In Rome thousands of people demonstrated against racism near the Coliseum in the wake of a series of violent assaults on immigrants in Italy. Hundreds of Chinese immigrants were among those who took part in the demonstration, two days after a 36-year-old Chinese man was beaten up by a group of teenagers in the Italian capital. Demonstrators also held pictures of six African migrants who were killed by mafia gunmen on September 18 in the southern town of Castel Volturno.

Meanwhile, another 15,000 people demonstrated against racism in Caserta (a southern town near Naples) close to Castel Volturno where the murders took place. The Italian police claim that the deaths were a result of the local Camorra attempting to protect their lucrative drugs trade. Meanwhile, the Italian government responded by sending in 500 troops to the area as part of the 'state of emergency' [see 14 August post below]

At the Rome demo, placards were also held up in memory of Abdul Salam Guibre, a 19-year-old Italian of Burkina Faso origin, who was beaten to death with a metal bar on 14 September in Milan by two bar managers who accused their victim of stealing some biscuits. [Link]

One of the most recent racist attacks was on a 22-year old Ghanaian student who was beaten up by local traffic police in Parma. He was arrested by plain clothes cops who failed to identify themselves but did manage to kick and brutally assault him, leaving him with a black eye. [Link]

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Stop Racist Government Attacks on Roma People in Italy

2 Noon Friday 3rd October 2008

Demonstrate at the Italian Tourist Board
1 Princes Street, London W1B 2AY (near Oxford Circus)

Roma people in Italy are facing the worst persecution since the Fascist era and the Italian state is complicit in these attacks. The state’s lies encourage Italians to view Roma as illegal immigrants, as part of a generalized right-wing response to migration into Italy.

Whilst we believe anyone should be able to settle wherever they want, it is important to point out the deliberate lies of the Italian government. Roma are not recent arrivals. Many have settled in Italy for 40 years and are Italian citizens. Those who have recently arrived have done so as part of the wider process of perfectly legal and natural economic migration within the EU. Some wish to travel, others wish to settle. They should have the same legal protection as other EU citizens.

Read the full callout here

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Campsfield Detainees Exploited as Cheap Labour

Detainees at the Campsfield House immigration prison in Oxfordshire are being "exploited for cheap labour" due to staff cuts, the Oxford and District Trades Union Council has revealed. The rejected asylum seekers, who are locked up for lengthy periods pending their deportation, are being paid £5 for six-hour shifts of cleaning and kitchen work.

Campsfield is run by Global Expertise in Outsourcing (GEO), formerly known as Wackenhut, a company notorious for being at the centre of all manner of inmate-abuse scandals in the States. GEO are one of the many US companies that have spread their tentacles around the world running prisons for profit in a number of countries.

As part of their project to screw as much profit out of Campsfield as possible, the company has cut back on both staffing levels and educational, recreational and other provisions at the centre. Over the past year, GEO has sacked education workers, nursing staff have departed, staff turnover has increased, the welfare officer has left and in September, the chaplain was suspended. This is just another attempt to that last drop of blood from the same stone.

For the full story see Corporate Watch's latest news

IOM Introduces New Bribe For Refugees to Return Home

The well known anti-migration front organisation International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has launched a new programme called 'Return and Rebuild', providing extra 'support' for refugees returning to war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq under its so-called Voluntary Return and Reintegration Programme (VARRP). [see Corporate Watch's Latest News]

The IOM originated as a 'tough love' alternative to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and is at the forefront of western government's efforts to stem the tide of their unwanted economic migrants. IOM runs a number of what are effectively concentration camps around the world to hold some of these migrants until they can be returned to their countries of origin. One of these was the notorious detention centre on the Pacific island of Nauru mentioned in the post of Tuesday, 29 July 2008.

The VARRP scheme is open to any asylum seeker with a pending application as well as those whose applications have failed and who have already lost there appeals or who are awaiting a decision. The applicant must agree to sign a waiver stating "“the IOM has no responsibility for me and my dependents once I return [country of origin] and I hereby release IOM from any liability in this respect" and agree not to return to the UK for atleast 5 years. In return they are provided with "targeted payments" to help provide them with equipment for starting up a small business or to start an educational course. As such, IOM are just another deportation agency, except this one has carrots as well as the usual sticks.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Gambia Refuses to Accept Deportees

Everyday around the world thousands of so-called 'illegal' immigrants are forcibly repatriated. Many are carried on regular charter flights next to holiday makers [XL was one such company, the loss of which will not be mourned in some quarters], others are carried on special one off charters used for mass deportations. One such flight on Friday 18th from Spain to Banjul in Gambia carrying 103 migrants was forced to return to Spanish territory in the Canaries as “(t)he Gambian authorities were not ready to receive the migrants in that short time,” according to Kebba Touray, Gambia’s ambassador to Spain.

Gambia, a former British colony whose thin sliver of territory juts into French-speaking Senegal, is one of a string of West African states which have signed immigration accords with Spain allowing the repatriation of illegal migrants. The carrot used by Spain, which is in the front line of European Union efforts to stem a tide of African job-seekers trying to reach Europe to seek a better life, to secure these agreements [part of the Fortress Europe project] is a pledge of future development aid for the West African governments who sign up.

Madrid repatriated several thousand West African migrants last year, with the returning migrants escorted by police to try and prevent protests from the forcibly returned migrants. These agreements also allow for European Union planes and warships to regularly patrol in West African countries' territorial waters to intercept the migrants trying to reach European shores. Hundreds drown in these risky voyages in flimsy, open boats as they try to avoid these military patrols.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Council of Europe Question UK 'Fast Track' Deportation Policy

Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in a new report has claimed that changes in Britain's asylum and immigration controls could breach human rights legislation. And that “(i)mprovements must be introduced to strengthen effective respect for the rights of asylum-seekers and immigrants in the United Kingdom.” It also recommended "drastically limiting" the policy of "administrative detention" (internment to you and me) of migrants, and proposed a maximum time limit for detentions.

The report added that "(t)he UK authorities should consider regulating the so-called 'Detained Fast Track' by introducing special legislation fully in compliance with the standards laid down by the European Convention on Human Rights", and that "(t)his type of detention should in particular be forbidden for vulnerable persons, such as unaccompanied minors, for whom alternative measures should be provided."

The Home Office have of course rejected the criticism. Their response, which was included in the report said that "(t)he government has no wish to detain people any longer than is required and this is particularly true in the cases of families with children. However, there are occasions where detention is prolonged as a consequence of attempts to frustrate the removal process."

So that means there will not be any change in UK detention policy any time soon despite the Council of Europe's criticisms.

UK To Sign The UN Convention On The Rights Of The Child

The BBC has revealed that the UK government is to sign the UN Convention
On The Rights Of The Child in full. The Convention obliges signatory
countries to "take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child is
protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the basis
of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child's
parents, legal guardians, or family members."

For the past 17 years the UK has retained an opt-out the convention's "best
interest" rule, allowing child migrants and asylum seekers to be locked up
for weeks or months without judicial scrutiny. The change will force the UK
Border Agency to put migrant children's welfare first in deciding whether to
detain or deport them. This, together with the 'Child M' case, should mean
that the end of routine internment of migrant children in the UK.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

An End To The Internment Of Children In The UK?

An eight-year-old Iranian boy, known only as Child M for legal reasons, who
has been locked up at Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre with his
family since July 15, was released from custody on Thursday in response
to the launching of High Court proceedings against the Home Office
challenging the legality of his detention. His lawyers are currently seeking
a judicial review,arguing that his detention was unlawful under English
common law and under the Human Rights Act.

The child came to the UK in 2007 with his mother and other members of his
family on holiday to recover from the death of his father. Whilst in the UK, a
photocopy of The Satanic Verses was found in their house and reported to
the Iranian authorities, who issued an arrest warrant for his mother. The
family then claimed asylum, but the Home Office subsequently refused
them leave to stay and issued a order for their deportation back to Iran.

If successful, this court case would result in a landmark decision that could
see the end of the routine detention of minors, and hence their families, in
UK immigration centres in future.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

No Place For Children

Throughout its years in government - from Tony Blair's famous "Education,
education, education" speech to the more recent "Every Child Matters"
programme - Labour has
claimed to champion the needs of the younger
generation. For the 2,000 children who are sent to UK immigration detention
centres every year, however, these claims ring hollow.

These children are torn from their homes, their communities and their friends,
locked up for an indeterminate length of time, and denied adequate education
and health care. Their only crime is to have parents who have applied for
asylum in the UK.

This week the New Statesman launches a major campaign, No Place for
Children, which calls for an end to the practice of detaining children for
immigration reasons. Together with its backers - the Children's Commissioner
for England, the Children's Society, Bail for Immigration Detainees and Women
for Refugee Women - they believe the current situation reflects shamefully on a
government that prioritises appearing "tough on immigration" over the welfare of
innocent young people.
[part of a NS press release]

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Camsfield Hunger Strike Follow Ups

Following the recent hunger strike at Campsfield Immigration Internment Camp by 13 Iraqi Kurds, the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR) and the Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq (CSDIraq) have called for lobby at Campsfield on Saturday 30 August from mid-day and a lunchtime lobby of the Home Office, 2 Marsham St, London on Thursday 11 September.

For more information please contact:
Dashty Jamal, Secretary, International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, tel: 07856032991, e-mail: l,
Sarah Parker from csdiraq. on 0208-809-0633, email: . IFIR:PO.BOX1575,ILFOD, IG1 3BZ, LONDON UK Tel:0044 7856032991

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Manchester Demo in Support of Italian Roma

There will be a demonstration on Friday 19th Sept in Manchester outside the Italian Consulate (111 Piccadilly Manchester, M1 2HY) at 11.30am.

The demo follows serious attacks on Roma people in Italy including physical attacks on camps, threats of fingerprinting of the Roma population (including children) and right-wing/fascist manipulations by Italian politicians & press that are linking Roma people to 'crime' and 'illegal immigration' which is increasing popularist calls for their expultion from Roma and destruction of camps. [see 14th August post]

Manchester No Borders and Roma groups in the north-west have already confirmed they will participate.

Please come & bring placards & banners!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Campsfield Detainees End Hunger Strike

The 13 Kurdish refugees held at Campsfield Detention Centre in Oxfordshire ended their hunger strike on Sunday 17th August, following a visit from International Federation of Iraqi Refugees (IFIR) representatives. They had been on hunger strike since Saturday 9th demanding an end to forcible deportations to Iraq and the release of all Iraqi Kurdish asylum seekers from detention. Other detainees in Campsfield from countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and the Congo had also joined the hunger strike in solidarity with the actions of the 13.

Faxes and letter of protest against the forced repatriation of Iraqi asylum seekers can be sent to:
Jacqui Smith
Home Secretary
2 Marsham St
London SW1P
Fax: 020 7035 4745.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Italian Migrant Policy and the 'State of Emergency'

In recent months the persecution of Roma migrants in the Napoli area has received some press coverage when a Roma settlement was attacked and set on fire. However, the widespread police raids across the country the same week where nearly 300 migrants were detained received scant coverage. As has the declaration of a 'state of emergency' in 3 Italian regions - Sicily, Apulia and Calabria - in July in response to a so-called 'refugee crisis'. This 'state of emergency' has now been extended across the whole of Italy.

Italian troops now carry out joint patrols with the Carabinieri outside "sensitive sites", which of course include immigration detention centres and administrative offices such as those responsible for migrants' documentation.

Even the Council of Europe are taken aback by the newly declared war against migrants in Italy and the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, has issued a strongly worded report criticising the Italian government's actions. He publicly criticised the decision to criminalise migrants’ entry and irregular stay, saying that he saw it as a worrying departure from established international law principles. “These measures may make it more difficult for refugees to ask for asylum and is likely to result in a further social stigmatisation and marginalisation of all migrants - including Roma” . "Commissioner Hammarberg also noted with grave concern that Italy had forcibly returned migrants to certain countries with proven records of torture."

No Border Patras

Greece has long been one of the frontier states of the Fortress Europe war against migrants. It is one of the countries where migrants suffer some of the harshest detention conditions. Medicins Sans Frontiers recently declared a number of humanitarian crises at the detention centres on Lesbos and Mytilini.

Many of the migrants in Greece are refugees from war-torn Afghanistan. In the Greek city of Patras a temporary settlement of migrants, originally set up by Iraqi Kurdish refugees and that has been in existence for about 13 years, is home to around 3000 migrants, mainly Afghans. The settlement has been subjected to constant police harassment for a number of years and is effectively under a state of siege.

In February this year police attempted to dismantle the settlement, causing what the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees also labelled "a humanitarian crisis" when the settlement's 400 children were forced onto the streets of Patras. Most ended up sleeping rough znd having to fend for themselves.

No Border Patras have called for 3 days of actions and events on August 29th - 31st to highlight the situation in Patras. The english language call-out can be found at: No Border Patras.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Another Asylum Seeker Driven to Suicide

Nadir Zarebee from Iran hanged himself in a Manchester park on Tuesday 5 August after being asked to leave his home in Trafford by Home Office's NASS-appointed 'accommodation provider' MNQ.

An emergency demo in Manchester was called last Saturday 9th August by the International Organisation of Iranian Refugees (IOIR), supported by the North West Asylum Seekers Defence Group (NWASDG), and Manchester Revolutionary Communist Group/Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) Anti-racists, refugees and supporters assembled in Piccadilly Gardens then march to the BBC who censor the racist treatment and brutal human rights abuses of migrants and refugees.

The march has the following demands:

No to deportations!
Stop starving asylum seekers!
No immigration controls!
For the right to work
No to destitution!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Iraqi Kurds on Hunger Strike at Campsfield Detention Centre 9th August

Press Release from the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees:

Fazzel Abdul reported to IFIR that On 9 August at 5pm 13 Kurdish asylum seekers detained at Campsfield detention centre started a hunger strike. To protest at their continuing detention.

Fazzel Abdul reported that Kawa one of the asylum seekers had collapsed earlier today (11 August 08). A doctor was called, but Kawa was not treated and is continuing the hunger strike.

Fazzel said we are calling:
1. to be released from the detention centre
2. to stop the policy of forcibly deporting Iraqi Kurds
Fazzel said 50 other asylum seekers from around the world also detained in Campsfield have joined the hunger strike today.

For further information contact Fazzel 07743 697993

IFIR and CSD Iraq asks that Human and refugee rights campaigners support the hunger strikers

International Federation of Iraqi Refugees
Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq
11 August 2008

IFIR:PO.BOX1575,Ilford, London, IG1 3BZ Tel:0044 7856032991

Monday, 11 August 2008

Dikili No-Border Camp 2008

Here is a link to the English call-out for the Dikili No-Border Camp on 3rd - 7th September at Alder Beach, Dikili-Izmir, Turkey:

Homeless earthlings’ camp at the border

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Police immigration detention cells "squalid and unfit"

A joint report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons and the Inspector of Constabulary has condemned suite of 13 cells in Southwark, south-east London, unhygienic, unsafe and unfit for use. The inspectors found that some of the cells had congealed blood and human waste on their walls and recommended that the facility should be closed until the fundamental concerns were remedied. The report also said that the problems at Southwark arose from the fact that the UK Border Agency contracted the facility from the Metropolitan police, yet failed to provide any oversight to ensure acceptable conditions. [See:]

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Australia ends detention regime for asylum seekers

Almost seven years after Australia sent commandos onto the MV Tampa to block the Afghans migrants on board from reaching the mainland after the fishing vessel sank in international waters, the government has said it will now abandon it's controversial policy of jailing all asylum seekers.

Chris Evans, Immigration Minister of the centre-left Labour government, said detention in often-remote immigration jails would now be used only as a last resort. "Desperate people are not deterred by the threat of harsh detention. They are often fleeing much worse circumstances."

The ending of ex-prime minister John Howard's so-called "Pacific Solution", under which asylum seekers were sent to special detention centres in the Papua New Guinea island of Manus and the tiny Pacific state of Nauru, had been a pledge in last year's election.

Friday, 25 April 2008

UK No Borders Network Newsletter 4 Out

The fourth newsletter of the UK No Borders network is out now and should be available for download soon from here.

Migrant Criminals A Myth

According to a report submitted by two chief constables to the home secretary, there is no evidence to indicate that the recent expansion of the EU and consequent immigration of Eastern Europeans has lead to any sort of increase in crime. The report points to an increase in tensions in communities that have received new migrants as the cause of the myth of immigrant criminals but has found no evidence to actually support it.
The full story can be found here.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Harmondsworth Prisoners Organise

116 Harmondsworth prisoners have signed a petition calling out the Home Office for (from the petition):

1. Turning a blind eye to overwhelming evidence that purports to strenghten our cases.
2.Not allowing sufficient time in preparation of our cases; with a view of making us frustrated and succumbing to removal/ deportation.
3.Maliciously misrepresenting and miscopying the facts of our cases, for the purpose of making it easy for the Judges to arrive at sinister and unjustifiable decisions.
4.Providing us with legal representatives who are more interested in soliciting our deportations, than foiling them.

Riot police entered the detention centre and appear to be dispersing prisoners to other Immigration Removal Prisons to break the organisation. Other details are sparse.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Oakington IRC Detainees On Hunger Strike

Detainees in Oakington Immigration Removal Prison began a hunger strike on the 28th of March to protest against the poor food and conditions inside. People's asylum claims are also apparently being overlooked if they don't speak English and consequently have no idea what their status is. The full story can be found on the BBC website.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Asylum System Branded 'Shameful'

The Independent Asylum Commission has published a report severely criticising the treatment of asylum seekers in the UK. The report can be found here and contains some interesting insights in to immigration removal system in the UK. However, it's worth noting the first point of the summary...

The Commission has found almost universal acceptance of the principle that there must be an asylum system, and that it must be applied fairly, firmly and humanely. These criteria must be fulfilled for the UK system to be ‘fit for purpose’.

... precludes the possibility that the report will do anything to challenge the root causes of the racism inherent in immigration policy.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Harmondsworth Four Acquitted!

The Harmondsworth Four, who have been on trial for the disturbances in Harmondsworth Immigration Prison, were acquitted on the 22nd of this month. The Support The Harmondsworth Four campaign held protests outside the courts every Monday of the trial.

UK No Borders Network Newsletter 3 Out

The third newsletter of the UK No Borders network is out now and should be available for download soon from here.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Latest Issue Of 'Crossing Borders' Out

The fifth issue of Crossing Borders (a newsletter to aid transnational communication between all those involved in migrant struggle) focusing on women's experiences of migration is out now in Dutch, English, German, Italian and Spanish with more translations on the way.

Click on the link above for back issues and translations or read the current issue in English here (link opens a .pdf file).

Fight Back With Women In Yarl's Wood

Feminist Fightback is calling a picket of the Serco Research Institute in London in solidarity with women in Yarl's Wood Immigration Prison. Yarl's Wood holds as many as 405 women and child migrants who are struggling against poor conditions, unjust detention and the threat of deportation to countries in which as many as 70% of the detainees have been sexually assaulted (reported by Legal Action for Women).

Picket Of The Serco Research Institute
Saturday 8 March 2008, 4:30pm
Serco Research Institute, 22 Hand Court, London, WC1V 6JF

Followed by fundraiser for Iranian organisers attempting to escape Iran. 8pm at the Ivy Inn, Holborn, London

Support The Harmondsworth 4

For the past month four men have been on trial at Southwark Crown Court for alleged offences during disturbances at Harmondsworth Immigration Prison in November 2006.

The Support the Harmondsworth 4 Campaign is holding a demo this Friday outside the offices of Sodexho in London, whose subsidiary Kalyx runs Harmondsworth. Please join in solidarity

Demo Outside Sodexo HQ
Friday 22 February 2008, 4:00 - 6:00pm
Sodexho, 25 Chapel Street, London NW1 5DH

Saturday, 16 February 2008

An African Man Injured In Tinsley House

Amadov Nyang, an 34-year-old man African man (his exact origin is unknown publicly at the moment) resident in the U.K. has been reported to have caused himself severe harm after being imprisoned in Tinsley House Immigration Removal Centre, near Gatwick Airport. Amadov is said to have broken three bones in his neck after repeatedly hitting his head against a wall and is currently paralysed and may not recover. Amadov was under threat of deportation but the details of his situation are not clear.

Story from the Metro.

Friday, 15 February 2008


We wanted to have a space on the web to post news and display our contact details. Hopefully this will be updated fairly regularly so check back soon and feel free to get in touch if you think we can work together. Alternatively, have a look through the links to other groups in the No Borders network to see if there's a group closer to you.
Love and Solidarity